Celebrity Cruises (along with many other cruise lines) started mid-2021 to sell their crossings with a basic package which they named “Drinks, tips and Wifi included” and that applies to most bookings on Celebrity these days.
The advantage is obvious – it includes a BASIC wifi version, all tips that are normally added automatically (although you could theoretically have them removed and tip individuals) and especially the classic version of the drinks package.
Cruise lines introduced these “all-inclusive” programs to better market their sailings as the sentiment among cruise passengers changed and the feeling of being nickel and dimmed with all those extra charges started to bother people.
Time will tell if these packages are here to stay, but for now they’re sold out and since you can book cruises up to two years in advance, they’ll be with us for a long time to come.
You can access Celebrity’s website here where they explain their “Always Included” system.
Vacations should be easy from the start. So when it comes to your precious vacation, we’ve made your experience more convenient and relaxing by always including our most popular amenities. Now every Celebrity cruise always includes drinks, Wi-Fi and guidance* on every sail, in every room, every time. It’s so simple.
- Choose from an incredible array of beers, spirits, cocktails, liqueurs, frozen drinks, wines by the glass, sodas, juices, specialty coffees and bottled water from our Classic Drinks Package.
- We know it’s important to stay in touch, that’s why we’ve included basic Wi-Fi access for all guests. Browse the web, check email, and send text messages using messaging apps.
- We have what you need. Sit back and relax while we make your vacation as memorable as possible.
Is it really that simple? Well, it depends on the perspective.
Tipping is a big ticket inclusion. The amount depends on your cabin type:
- $15.50 per person per day in regular cabins
- $16.00 per person per day in Concierge Class and AquaClass staterooms
- $19.00 per person per day in suites
Now adapt this to the number of days on your cruise and the total number of guests in the cabin. It’s worth it !
But let’s keep in mind that the drink package and the wifi are the two basic versions. The wifi is pretty much unusable for practical purposes unless you upgrade to the Premium “Stream Quality” version which is also anything but stream quality, but in many cases it at least lets you work during your browsing and if you’re lucky Skype also works. Definitely upgrade to Premium xCelerate wifi or expect it to be completely useless.
On my current Solstice Browsing, their “high speed” stream quality wifi was completely useless four days out of six. This is something to anticipate when you go on a cruise, but don’t feel bad about asking for a refund if you paid for internet service, as I certainly did.
My cruise reservations are made through the Casino, either Blue Chip Club or MGM. Plus: They are free, I only pay the port tax. However, they don’t come with those inclusions, so I have to pay for gratuities, beverage package of my choice, and premium Wifi separately.
Here are the two different menu choices, CLASSIC & PREMIUM:
I think the value of upgrading to the premium package largely depends on what you usually drink.
At the Martini Bar (my favorite outlet) usually all drinks are made with Gray Goose or Ketel One, both of which are on the Premium menu. Even if offered, I really wouldn’t drink a Martini made from Smirnoff or Stolichnaya. – awful!
The Premium list also includes Hendricks Gin, DiSaronno Amaretto and Baileys.
There isn’t much on the Classic menu that I would like to drink in terms of alcoholic beverages. Maybe Malibu and Bacardi for a tropical cocktail but that’s about it.
Wine lovers should almost certainly upgrade to the premium list for the nominal Supplement of $10/day. The quality of the wines, however, depends on the navigation. Some sails apparently do not have great wines on board that come with these packages. I am not qualified to comment on this as I am not a wine drinker.
However, if that $10 a day is the difference it takes to make the inclusions actually consumable, I’m all for it. I say it’s worth it.
Personally, since I have to pay for my drinks package separately, I can use Captains Club Happy Hours every night and I rarely drink these days. I usually book the non-alcoholic premium package for $22/day minus the casino discount. The best value and it includes Pellegrino sparkling water as well as specialty coffees.
All of these “Always Included” package deals are marketing gimmicks and the price difference is somehow reflected in the initial price you pay for the base fare. It’s not charity, cruise lines have a business to run and bills to pay.
As always, approach this with open eyes and common sense. What do I like to consume, what do I need to consume and what makes sense. Many people overspend on cruises and then are surprised when the bill comes in on the last day. It doesn’t have to be like that. Buy what you need and what makes sense, and avoid all the nonsense that comes your way. These package upgrades probably significantly improve the quality of your cruise experience, but think about it or talk to your cruise companion about what you like to do on the ship.