Cruises to Alaska on Royal Caribbean include dining, entertainment, activities, and transportation to some of the world’s most stunning ports, but are they all-inclusive?
The idea of an all-inclusive Alaska cruise is tempting, but Royal Caribbean cruises are not all inclusive. There are additional costs you may incur that are not included in the base cruise fare.
Royal Caribbean’s approach is to offer a lower entry price to a cruise, allowing guests to pay as many add-ons as they like.
Because of this, it is possible to sail to Alaska with Royal Caribbean and not spend anything extra once on board. There are more than enough complimentary food, beverage, activity and entertainment options to keep passengers busy throughout their journey.
However, if you’re looking for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise experience, there are a few purchases you can do before you set sail so you’ll have almost all inclusive once aboard your Royal Caribbean ship.
Let’s dive deeper to see all-inclusive Alaska cruise options and how you can create an all-inclusive Royal Caribbean experience.
Which Cruise Lines Offer All-Inclusive Alaska Cruises?
None of the mass market cruise lines (Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, etc.) offer an all-inclusive Alaska cruise experience in their base fare. Some, however, allow you to purchase additional packages that aim to provide a more complete experience.
Holland America, for example, offers the “Have It All” package, which includes a $100 shore excursion credit, an exclusive beverage package, one-night dining specials, and a Wi-Fi package for $50 per person, per day.
However, this is still not entirely all-inclusive, as it only includes one night at a specialty restaurant and a limited number of dollars toward shore excursions.
Truly all-inclusive Alaska cruises are hard to come by, only found on luxury or expedition cruise lines like Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas. And even then, you’ll have to pay extra for things like spa services and shore excursions.
The good news is that while a Royal Caribbean cruise is not fully all-inclusive, you can turn a standard cruise experience into an all-inclusive sailing by purchasing just a few add-ons.
What’s included on a Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise?
Like any Royal Caribbean cruise, it’s important to realize what’s included in your cruise fare when planning an Alaska vacation.
The following are included in the base cruise fare with Royal Caribbean:
- Lodging (your cruise cabin)
- Gratuities (prepaid in advance at $16 per person, per day)
- Meals and snacks (except specialty restaurants)
- Beverages (water, tea, coffee, lemonade, iced tea, milk, juices, and hot chocolate)
- Children’s Programming Adventure Ocean
- activities and entertainment
- Pool and sundecks
Related: What is included in the Royal Caribbean cruise fare?
Although there is a lot included, there are several add-ons that are not included in the cruise fare. Specialty restaurants, Internet, alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees, and shore excursions are just a few of the additional costs you may incur on an Alaska cruise.
Related: Top 30 additional cruise costs not included
A step-by-step guide to creating an all-inclusive Alaska cruise with Royal Caribbean
There are a few key add-ons to purchase prior to your Alaska cruise that can provide an all-inclusive experience once on board.
By purchasing them in advance on Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner website, you’ll find minimal additional costs (if any) on board your ship.
Step One: Buy a Drink Package
To keep cruise fares lower for all guests, Royal Caribbean does not include alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees, soft drinks or mocktails in your base cruise fare. So, to create your all-inclusive Alaska cruise, you’ll want to purchase a beverage package.
There are three main beverage packages available on Royal Caribbean:
- deluxe drinks package (alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks)
- $67 to $79 per person, per night
- Royal Refreshment Package (non-alcoholic beverages)
- $28 to 38 per person, per night
- classic soda pack (Coca-Cola Freestyle Drinks)
- $9 to $14 per person, per night
Beverage package prices may change from day to day. As with any pre-cruise purchase on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner, you can cancel and rebook any add-on if you see a drop in price.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner Site
Therefore, we recommend reserving drink packages as soon as possible. If the price drops, you can cancel and rebook the package without penalty. If you wait to book, on the other hand, and the price increases, you’ll have to pay the higher price.
Step Two: Buy a Special Meal Package
Although there is more than enough complimentary food included on an Alaska cruise, if you really want an all-inclusive experience with Royal Caribbean, you’ll want to book a dining package.
The unlimited dining package is the best option for those planning an all-inclusive Alaska cruise. This package allows guests to dine at specialty restaurants an unlimited number of times during sailing at a fixed price.
Related: The Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Unlimited Dining Package
Specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean offer cooking styles and cuisines not found anywhere else on board, and provide a more intimate setting than the main dining room or the Windjammer buffet.
You can expect to pay around $225 per guest (plus 18% gratuity) for an unlimited dining package on a 7-night Alaska cruise.
Step Three: Pre-book an internet package
Internet is not included on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and if you’re looking to create an all-inclusive vacation while staying connected to friends and family back home, you’ll want to purchase an Internet package.
The best option for a Royal Caribbean internet package is the VOOM Surf & Stream package. This package covers both web browsing and streaming, allowing you to surf the web, watch YouTube videos, and Facetime with loved ones back home.
For a 7-night Alaska cruise, a VOOM Surf & Stream Internet package will cost around $17 per device, per day.
The total cost of an all-inclusive cruise to Alaska on Royal Caribbean
If you purchase a deluxe beverage package, unlimited dining package, and internet package prior to your Alaska cruise, you can expect to spend around $920 per person for a 7-night trip.
What about shore excursions on an Alaska cruise?
Shore excursions are not included in the price of a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, but are in high demand. From whale watching tours to kayaking, you’ll certainly want to consider booking an excursion for your Alaska cruise.
Related: Alaska Cruise Excursions
Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise excursions must be booked individually; there is no “Unlimited Shore Excursion” package available. Alaska shore excursion prices range from $30 for basic walking tours to $500 for glacier helicopter landings.
It is not necessary to book shore excursions on an Alaska cruise. In fact, many of Alaska’s cruise ports offer plenty to do without breaking the bank. However, shore excursions are a significant additional cost to the budget of a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska.
Another alternative: book a Star Class suite for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise
Star Class is the upper level of Royal Caribbean’s Royal Suite Class. It’s the closest you’ll get to an all-inclusive Alaska cruise with the cruise line, and it’s only available on Quantum-class ships sailing to Alaska.
Star Class on Royal Caribbean includes priority boarding, access to the Coastal Kitchen restaurant, deluxe stateroom amenities, complimentary VOOM Wi-Fi for every guest, concierge service, access to the Sun Deck Suite, laundry facilities, a Royal Genie, gratuities, dinner specials and a Deluxe Drink Package.
Related: Beginner’s Guide to Star Class Sailing
Essentially, Star Class provides the most complete experience you can find on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Some of the only plugins not included with Star Class are retail and spa services.
The warning? Star Class is not cheap, and the price of these cabins on an Alaska cruise is often in the high five figures. However, if you’re looking to splurge, and have the budget to do so, book a Star Class room for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise.
If you can’t afford $15,000 for a vacation, you’re better off booking the deluxe beverage package, unlimited dining package, and internet package in addition to your cruise fare in a regular cabin. This provides an “all-inclusive” experience at a more reasonable price for any cruise to Alaska.