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  • Writer's pictureJason Leppert

Weighing Cruise Inclusions Against A La Carte Extras

Is it absolutely necessary to pay more onboard for extras like specialty (read extra cost) dining and entertainment to get the most of a cruise? The question is a valid one for sure.

In fact, a friend of my wife’s just returned home from a Mediterranean cruise aboard Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Reflection without paying for anything beyond the base sailing, save for shore excursions that is, and had mixed feelings about the experience. He personally felt that you shouldn’t have to pay more to get a full cruise experience but that the Reflection in particular was much identified and occupied by its specialty restaurants, which may have led to missing out on what makes that particular ship unique.

Cruises are often misunderstood to be entirely inclusive across the board. In reality, there are two extreme choices, with variations in between all-inclusive luxury cruising and what Douglas Ward, author of the “Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships” annual guide book, would call all-exclusive standard cruising – at least as he describes Norwegian Cruise Line, known for its vast array of specialty restaurants.

For luxury, guests enjoy most everything complimentarily, resulting in a much higher fare initially but greater freedom and

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