Shop around this autumn and you’ll find cruise lines are giving away drinks
packages, gratuities and Wi-Fi, and sometimes a combination of all three
Best deals at sea
It used to be that only wealthy cruisers could afford to sail in all-inclusive six-star luxury, but with more ships and more capacity coming along each year, perks such as free drinks and excursions are becoming more popular.
Oceania Cruises (oceaniacruises.com) is one of the most generous. Those booking a veranda category cabin or higher on more than 120 of its voyages before the end of September will not just get their gratuities paid (worth from £73.50 per person on a one-week cruise) but also qualify for a complimentary drinks package and free unlimited internet or Wi-Fi. The company usually charges £105 for 200 minutes. Mention ‘OLife Advantage’ when booking.
Book an oceanview or higher category cabin on Norwegian Cruise Line (ncl.co.uk) before the end of the month and you can choose from one of four benefits — either free drinks, $50 per person to spend on speciality dining and 250 minutes’ Wi-Fi time per cabin. Big spenders booking a suite in The Haven, an exclusive area on eight Norwegian ships, will get all four perks.
Artist’s impression of The Haven Courtyard on NCL’s upcoming Norwegian Escape
Celebrity Cruises (celebritycruises.co.uk) has a buy-one-get-one-half-price offer on selected voyages in Europe departing between April and October, 2016 and has thrown in a free classic drinks package (free unlimited house wines, spirits, beers and soft beverages) worth $55/£36 per person as an extra sweetener. Bookings must be made before the end of September.
Thomson Cruises (thomson.co.uk/cruises) is giving away a free drinks package worth £199 per person per week with all summer 2016 cruises booked online (with the promotion code 51917) before the end of September.
Rather than risk being outmanoeuvred on the all-inclusive front, six-star companies that already include drinks and gratuities in the price as standard are finding new perks to give away.
Starting this month, all Crystal Cruises (crystalcruises.co.uk) passengers receive up to 90 minutes of free internet time per person per day. Crystal charges from $55/£36 for two hours or $0.74/49p a minute.
Silversea (silversea.com) is now including flights, transfers, selected shore excursions and one hour of free Wi-Fi a day in the cost of its 2016 Asia cruises on Silver Shadow. That’s in addition to the drinks and gratuities that were already included. The company is also including a free two-night pre-cruise stay at a Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong, Singapore or Tokyo. From £3,300 per person for a seven-night cruise round-trip from Singapore departing February 6, 2016.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises (rssc.com), which includes flights, transfers, drinks, excursions, gratuities and Wi-Fi as standard, has been scouting around for more giveaways as other companies challenge its position as the world’s most inclusive cruise line.
The result is free UK airport transfers with selected Baltic cruises next year (for distances of up to 75 miles only) and complimentary pre or post-cruise packages with a number of itineraries. A three-night trip to Angkor Wat and Bangkok with guided tours of the temples or three nights in Singapore with a trishaw ride and visit to Raffles Hotel are now free with Regent’s 16-night Singapore to Bangkok cruise departing on January 18, 2016. They would usually each cost £1,089 per person. The cruise itself is from £7,219 per person.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia Photo: AP Images
On the rivers
It’s not just ocean-going lines that are turning to the more-inclusive pricing model to attract passengers.
The River Cruise Line (rivercruiseline.co.uk) is giving away an excursion package worth £84 per person with its five-day Turkey and Tinsel cruises on the Rhine if booked by September 30. Departures are on November 19, 23 and 27, 2015 sailing between Andernach and Bonn. From £289 per person including coach and ferry travel.
Emerald Waterways (emeraldwaterways.co.uk) is not going entirely drinks-inclusive, but with packages from just £29 per person for an entire eight, 10 or 11-day cruise it’s as near as makes no difference. For that, passenger can imbibe as much as they like (but wine by the bottle, champagne and drinks in the cabin minibar are excluded). The offer saves up to £160 per person on an eight-day cruise and is available until September 30.
Telegraph Cruise & Travel Show
Monty Halls will be speaking at next month’s Telegraph Cruise & Travel Show about his adventures in the Galapagos and the Sardine Run in South Africa. The former Royal Marine turned travel adventurer will headline the show, being held at Exhibition Centre Liverpool on Saturday October 17 and Sunday 18, 2015.
Over 50 cruise and travel brands will be exhibiting, along with Telegraph journalists and cruise and travel experts. Tickets on the day cost £10; advance prices available (quote: CRUISE25). Offer valid until midnight on September 27.
For more information and to pre-book a session with a Cruise Lines International Association expert, visit telegraph.co.uk/cruisetravelshow.