When "All Inclusive" Isn't

Norwegian Cruise Lines is increasing per capita "gratuities" on all of its ships.


Gratuities on most of the fleet go up 3.6%.  Suite guests will be charged $16.99 per person, per day (10% increase).


Guests on Norwegian Sky will pay $18.99 per person, per day, an increase of more than 40%, which Norwegian said is due to the “all-inclusive” nature of the ship.


All inclusive? That's "all inclusive" EXCEPT for the $40 per couple per day automatic levy euphemistically called a "gratuity." Got to wonder: What else isn't included under "all-inclusive?"

Tags: Norwegian Cruise Line NCL Gratuities

3 Answers

I think like everything else, gratuity rates are rising.  On my last river cruise, gratuities were not included, however.



Regarding "All inclusive", We have 120 days sailing on Regent, which is billed as a so called "all inclusive".  I suggest the term "quasi all inclusive" to be more accurate.  We have going on 500 days sailing on Princess and HAL, but neither of those are anywhere near all inclusive. I'm not aware of any of the 11 majors that consider themselves all inclusive, but maybe I'm mistaken. Years ago, in the HAL brochure, they used to use cringe-inducing superlatives like "luxury" all the time, until they got laughed out of "Dodge".


Berlitz says this in their guide "How inclusive is all-inclusive?": "It usually means that transportation, accommodation, food, and entertainment are wrapped up in one neat package. If drinks are included, it's mostly a limited range of low-quality brands, and bartenders tend to be overgenerous with ice for cocktails. While that concept works better aboard small ships (those carrying 251-750 passengers, large resort ships (those carrying more than 2,501 passengers) provide a larger number of facilities and a bigger number of reasons for you to spend money on board. So mostly inclusive might be a better term to use."


Now, the Regent ships are our favorites, however, their initial cruise prices have proportionally really gone up over the last three years or so in relation to the mass market lines. I'm not a fan of extra charges, however, we have found that if we really load up on extra charge services and cuisine on the mass markets in order to make the over all cruise commensurate with the Regent product we find the total to still be two thirds to one half of what we would now pay on Regent. Didn't use to be such a distinction, so we keep looking at Regent brochures. 


By the way, Regent lists this as one of their freebies:  "FREE Pre-Paid Gratuities". And that is true.  



FREE Pre-Paid Gratuities?  Good one! I'm having to reach a ways out on the calendar for Seabourne ships. In the meanwhile I've got a bunch of short Princess Cruises booked (to "tide us" over).

Big Smile



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