All Inclusive Cruises with NO Surprises - Agencies?

That's what the daily newsletter/activity roster on your cabin door is for. PA announcements should be strictly for emergencies and "This is the Captain Speaking."

Wow, that sounds really annoying. Haven’t experienced that on Viking or Seabourn.

They do have daily announcements and emergency drill announcements, but that’s all.
Regent assigned me a travel agent, but really it's expected that you will use the web site to reserve a cruise and shore excursions. The agent is just there to explain stuff, or let me know when there is a special upgrade available.

Thanks for all the info, this thread will be useful for a lot of folks. No one has actually recommended a travel agent though. It may be nice just to go to them, tell them what one wants and go from there.
We’re most familiar with Viking Ocean and they are “virtually” all-inclusive and no surprises.

All food is included in the fare including the two special restaurants.

Unlimited wine/beer is included with all meals. These are good, but not awesome wines and beers. If you want higher end wines, beers, or liquor there is a “silver spirits package” for unlimited higher end stuff including cocktails. This seems fair to the folks who aren’t big drinkers, while offering something for those who are.

They offer prepaid gratuities as well. This gets distributed to all ("This charge will be shared among the onboard staff who helped support and provide your cruise experience, including the waitstaff, stateroom stewards, buffet stewards, galley staff, laundry staff and others”). As much as we really liked our stewards (you kinda get to know them on along cruise), it’s nice to see the tips distributed to people with less facetime who might not get tipped as much in other setups. On the other hand, I’d personally prefer just folding this into the base price, but that’s not how the world works apparently.

Finally, excursions are an extra charge - beyond the included ones. These are also prepaid (if you wait to purchase them until the cruise most of the good ones will be completely booked and unavailable). So this is another upfront charge to decide on, but won’t be a “surprise”.

So if you are looking to avoid and end of cruise surprises, Viking provides this. There is absolutely zero upsell for anything. There really isn’t much for them to upsell - though there are a couple of shops onboard.

When you are shopping for cruises it’s very easy to know what the cost will be for a Viking cruise. It’s all spelled out upfront with no surprises built in.
We had a similar experience with Windstar. Awesome food, no upselling, updated boat with a high ratio of staff to guests. We don't drink any more and declined the alcohol package, we did have wine with dinner one night.l, no charge. The excursions were extra but that well documented. We liked it well enough to book with them for next spring in Tahiti.
It depends

If al inclusive means literally that - as in no extra charges and money is not really a concern - the lux lines such as Crystal and Regent.

Pre-Wife-taking-me-upstairs-and-forcing-herself-on-me-for-60-seconds-cause-we-needed-to-have-kids about 14 years ago- oh-who-am-i-kidding-it-was-more-like-45..... and my business was rocking - - -we only cruised on Regent or Crystal and yes, it was nice not to sign for this and that.

Anyhow we had kids, priorities changes and since 2009 I was basically planning an early exit from what was supposed to be 30 more years of printing money. We tried the mainstream lines and honestly - wile there's elements of it I don't like - -I've come to sort of like "almost" all inclusive....the ship within a ship concept. On Celebrity that's booking one of the better suites on ships they have "Retreat" suite Class. All sorts of amenities but most of the booze and specialty restaurants are included. Yes - you pay for *some* booze and some shore excursions but I like that. I DON'T drink - so I figure why contribute to other people's booze fund? On the other hand - show me a porterhouse and a true Maine Lobster - I won't even look at the price - -so why should the kale eating yum yum pay for my lux food - and so on.

To each his own - but the upgraded class of service on Celeb and RCCL -- satisfy my "almost all inclusive" definition - - and with kids its sort of nice to have more choices and activities on board. Also, it's actually like being a bigger fish in a smaller pond NOT to say a Suite passenger is better than someone else. What I mean is that you get pre boarding, more attention from staff, etc.

If money was no object - Crystal for me. With Celebrity top category suites - Penthouse or Royal Suite as #2. Mind you if someone didn't need a huge room - Sky Suite would do the trick too. Again to each his own.
+1 on Viking. We did our first (river) cruise with them this year.
We're booked on Silver Sea's "South Side Story" -an all inclusive 140 day cruise. Door to door It's on a small ship w less than 400 guests and over 300 crew. Includes 82 excursions but we did add a "hop scotch adventure" (leave the ship / fly to Kenya for a four day safari & reboard in Zanzibar). Pretty much a BTD, once in a lifetime experience.
We're booked on Silver Sea's "South Side Story" -an all inclusive 140 day cruise. Door to door It's on a small ship w less than 400 guests and over 300 crew. Includes 82 excursions but we did add a "hop scotch adventure" (leave the ship / fly to Kenya for a four day safari & reboard in Zanzibar). Pretty much a BTD, once in a lifetime experience.

I have sailed on Silverseas a number of times and really enjoyed it. At the end of one cruise we did the 4 day safari out to the Masai Mara and loved it.
We have done 20 plus cruises. From Carnival to Crystal and several other lines in between.

I do not understand the 'no surprise' issue. On the mass market lines you pay for fare and you are billed a specific amount for gratuities. No surprise, all laid out when one books.

Once on board there are no surprises. You pay for any beverages that you consume. Either pay as you go or some type of package. You can buy the package after boarding the ship. It give you a chance to do the math that works for you.

I believe that the source of the challenge for some is the sign and sail cashless environment. If one signs for drinks etc. without looking/understanding the price or realizing the cumulative effect of doing so over the length of the cruise then yes there may be a surprise. But should not be. Plus, a cruiser can get an account statement at any time from the purser's desk. Most cruise lines have on line systems that allow the customer to review their on board accounts in real time in the comfort of their cabins.

It is all about ship, itinerary, and value for us.
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