9 Best All-Inclusive Cruise Lines — Options for Ocean and River Cruises Across the World (September 2023)
For many travelers, a cruise is an easy (and sometimes affordable) way to see multiple destinations in one trip. You can island hop around the Caribbean or Mediterranean. You could additionally sail up the New England coast or the Alaskan coast. You could likewise even see the far-away tropics of Micronesia. The whole time, you barely have to lift a finger. Once you’re on the cruise ship, all you have to do is sit back and relax.
Of course, if you’re specifically looking to get the most out of your cruising experience for the money, you’ll want to look for an all-inclusive cruise package. However, not all cruise lines offer all-inclusive options. Furthermore, you may find that your base cruise fare is affordable, but once you start adding on drink and dining packages, as well as excursions, the cost adds up quickly. Even if the cost isn’t a factor for you, you may be annoyed that, once you’re on board the ship, you suddenly have to pay extra for specialty drinks or dining.
So, looking for the best bang for your buck and the simplest booking process possible? Then check out these 9 best all-inclusive cruise lines, from the most luxurious to the more budget-friendly. While there may be add-on packages to enhance your trip, you’ll find that most of your needs (and wants!) are covered with just one, simple fee.
Table of Contents
Touted as one of the most luxurious cruise lines in the world, Regent Seven Seas claims that it’s the only “true” all-inclusive cruise line. Your luxurious accommodations, dining, shore excursions, entertainment, and activities — everything you would expect is included, but then there’s also so much more. The cruise line even takes care of your flights to the port destination, too! Additionally, shore excursions are unlimited.
Pros: Just about every single thing you could want during a cruise is covered in the price of your fare.
Cons: With so much included and so many extra, luxurious touches, this cruise line charges top dollar.
Inclusions: Round-trip airfare, land programs, pre-cruise hotel stays, airport transfers, unlimited shore excursions, unlimited beverages, dining, gratuities, and WiFi.
Add-Ons: But for all of Regent’s claims that the line is truly all-inclusive, it does charge extra for a few things, such as spa treatments, shopping, and special activities.
Ports and Destinations: Regent Seven Seas sails to destinations all over the globe and even offers world cruises if you just can’t decide on a single continent to explore this vacation.
Ships: Seven Seas Grandeur, Seven Seas Splendor, Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner, and Seven Seas Navigator.
Audience: Big spenders and luxury travelers, especially those in the older crowd. Those looking for a party atmosphere or a place for the kids to run wild will not prefer this option.
Seabourn is another luxury cruise line, but its inclusions aren’t quite as vast as what you’ll get with Regent Seven Seas. Still, you’ll hardly be wanting anything on one of these intimate small ships. Expect a refined experience with a high level of service. Along these lines, the crew-to-cruiser ratio is an impressive 1:1.
However, do note that since Seabourn does specialize in small ship cruises, you won’t get all the amenities that you might find on a mega cruise ship. Accordingly, prepare yourself for smaller numbers of restaurants, fewer activities, and fewer pools.
Pros: Seabourn offers a very high level of personalized service in an intimate atmosphere. The brand also has a robust rewards program, through which you can even earn a free cruise.
Cons: Small ships come with fewer options. Additionally, because this is a luxury cruise line, prices are higher than what you might find elsewhere.
Inclusions: Suite accommodations, in-suite bar, wines and spirits, all dining, gratuities, water sports, concierge service, valet service, personal shopping services, and luggage shipping.
Add-Ons: Extra services and amenities are available for a fee on the ship, such as cabana rentals.
Ports and Destinations: Seabourn sails to destinations worldwide and also offers global sailings.
Ships: Seabourn Pursuit, Seabourn Venture, Seabourn Ovation, Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Quest, Seabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Odyssey.
Audience: Luxury travelers, specifically those who value a high level of service and an intimate atmosphere with no crowds.
Like Regent Seven Seas, Scenic claims that it’s another “truly” all-inclusive cruise line. Scenic, however, sets itself apart by not just taking travelers to the same ol’-same ol’ popular cruise ports, but also to destinations that larger cruise ships just can’t access. You’ll find itineraries that take you through the famed rivers of Europe and Asia, as well as small-ship itineraries designed with adventuring in mind, with trips to the Arctic and Antarctica.
Pros: Scenic goes to a few unique destinations that its competitors do not.
Cons: Reviewers report that the service is less than stellar and foodies may be disappointed by the options.
Inclusions: Airport transfers, tour experiences, meals, beverages, in-suite bar, shore excursions, gratuities, bike rentals, butter service, WiFi, and internal country flights as needed during your cruising itinerary.
Add-Ons: Extra add-ons will include special adventure activities, such as submarine excursions or helicopter rides. Spa treatments and fitness classes are also extra.
Ports and Destinations: Scenic sails to major cruising destinations around the world, but it sets itself apart by also offering river cruises in Europe and Southeast Asia.
Ships: Scenic Spirit, Scenic Eclipse, Scenic Eclipse II, Scenic Sapphire, Scenic Diamond, Scenic Gem, Scenic Azure, Scenic Crystal, Scenic Jewel, Scenic Jade, Scenic Jasper, Scenic Opal, Scenic Amber, Scenic Pearl, and Scenic Ruby.
Audience: Luxury travelers who want an adventure.
Silversea hasn’t always been fully all-inclusive, but that’s exactly the experience that travelers will find on Silversea’s ships these days. Silversea offers a nice blend of luxurious relaxation and entertainment and excursions, so most travelers will find plenty to keep their itineraries full, no matter why they like cruising. The ships are on the smaller side, though, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re more accustomed to sailing on mega-ships.
Pros: Silversea is known for its large accommodations, as well as its fine dining.
Cons: Unlike cruise lines that try to set themselves apart with river cruises or bucket-list adventure activities, Silversea offers more of your traditional cruise experience, just with an elevated upgrade. This is a pro for some, but a con for many.
Inclusions: Door-to-door transfers, shore excursions, dining, butler service, drinks, WiFi, gratuities, laundry service, and entertainment.
Add-Ons: You can add on extras such as airfare and extra shore excursions, as well as spa treatments and shopping.
Ports and Destinations: Silversea travelers to a range of major destinations across the entire world and also offers global sailings.
Ships: Silver Cloud, Silver Dawn, Silver Endeavor, Silver Moon, Silver Explorer, Silver Muse, Silver Nova, Silver Origin, Silver Ray, Silver Spirit, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, and Silver Wind.
Audience: Luxury adult travelers, both young and old, looking for a refined experience
So, you won’t automatically get an all-inclusive package when you book just any cruise with Holland America, but if you simply choose the “Have It All” option when you book, you’ll enjoy all the all-inclusive amenities you need. Do note, however, that this all-inclusive option is only available on cruises that are six days or longer.
Holland America is likely one of the more well-known and longest-standing cruise lines to offer an all-inclusive option. However, the line isn’t quite as high-end as some of the others. While this may mean that you’re not sipping Champagne and eating caviar poolside, it does mean a more low-key atmosphere (think smart casual), if that’s what you’re after.
Pros: Holland America offers everything you might want from a traditional cruising experience, just all-inclusive.
Cons: The all-inclusive package is only available on certain cruises.
Inclusions: Dining, drinks, shore excursions, service fees, and WiFi.
Add-Ons: If you don’t purchase the Have It All package, you can add on extras as you cruise, just like you might during any cruise.
Ports and Destinations: Holland America travels to every continent.
Ships: Eurodam, Koningsdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Nieuw Staendam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam, Volendam, Westerdam, Zaandam, and Zuiderdam.
Audience: The vibe is senior-friendly.
Viking is an award-winning cruise line that offers a blend of ocean and river cruises. It also offers a few “expedition” experiences that will take you to unique destinations such as Antarctica. Viking sets itself apart in a few ways, though. It’s one of the few luxury-leaning cruise lines to offer a Mississippi River cruise. It’s also one of the few all-inclusive cruise lines to include spa services in its inclusions.
Like Holland America, Viking also offers a lower-key environment than what you might find on other, premium cruise line vessels. Things are still refined, but you won’t get a side eye if you don a pair of shorts and your favorite sandals.
Pros: The Viking experience is premium without being overly formal. The cruise line also offers a nice variety of itineraries and destinations.
Cons: There’s not always a lot of flexibility when it comes to making onboard restaurant reservations and/or shore excursions. If you like to pick what you’re doing for the day or where you’re eating that night on the fly, you might find this frustrating.
Inclusions: On-shore excursions, WiFi, select drinks, dining, fitness classes, laundry service, airport transfers, and spa services.
Add-Ons: You may have to add on extra drinks and extra shore excursions, as well as gratuities. You can sometimes also add on airfare.
Ports and Destinations: Viking offers ocean cruises throughout Scandinavia, Northern Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Asia, and Australia. River cruises are available in Europe, Asia, Egypt, and North America.
Ships: Viking’s ocean ships include Viking Star, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Viking Orion, Viking Jupiter, Viking Venus, Viking Mars, Viking Neptune, and Viking Saturn.
Audience: Retirees make up the bulk of passengers here and kids are not allowed.
You’ve likely noticed that many of the all-inclusive cruise lines on our list cater to the older set. However, if that’s not really your crowd and you want a cruise where you can let your hair down and have a good time, then consider Virgin Voyages. The adults-only cruise line is luxurious but never stuffy.
The one thing, though, that you have to keep in mind with Virgin is that it’s a brand-new cruise line. This means it’s still working out the kinks. It’s figuring out its operations. It also only has a handful of ships (though the fleet is growing) and only travels to a handful of destinations. Still, if you can snag your spot on one of these vessels, you may just find your new favorite way to travel.
Pros: Virgin offers a very unique, youthful vibe that you just won’t find on similar cruise ships. Travelers rave about the staterooms, as well as the onboard dining.
Cons: Virgin has a limited number of ships and itineraries. Additionally, the cruise fares aren’t as inclusive as what you’ll get elsewhere.
Inclusions: Dining, non-alcoholic drinks, WiFi, gratuities, entertainment, and fitness classes.
Add-Ons: Unfortunately, alcoholic beverages are only sold per drink. Spa treatments and shore excursions are also extra.
Ports and Destinations: The Caribbean, Europe, and South Pacific.
Ships: Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady
Audience: While the cruise line is adults-only, the crowd skews younger.
Oceania similarly offers a lot of inclusions, but maybe not as many inclusions as some other cruise lines. It’s very nearly all-inclusive. You’ll find that you get special perks like round-trip airfare if you book the correct Oceania Cruises package, but you might still be stuck paying for random items otherwise, like access to top-tier dining options.
Regardless, if you don’t mind a little extra-carefully shopping for the best cruise fare from Oceania that’s going to encompass the things that matter most to you, then you might find you like this cruise line.
Oceania offers small ships and better prices than you might get with some of the other small-ship cruise lines we’ve mentioned on our list so far. That’s the trade-off for the lack of complete all-inclusive rates. You might have to pay here or there for something extra, but overall, you’ll get a more affordable cruising experience.
Pros: Oceania is known for providing small-ship environments at an agreeable price, with an adult, upscale atmosphere.
Cons: Oceania’s service isn’t as highly rated or as personalized as what you might get with other cruise lines. Reviewers also report that Oceania lacks a little in the entertainment department.
Inclusions: Depending on the package you book, you’ll get round-trip airfare, dining, WiFi, drinks, shore excursions, and hundreds of dollars of ship credits to spend.
Add-Ons: Oceania offers a wide range of add-on packages that you can mix and match to create your perfect cruising experience.
Ports and Destinations: Oceania travels all over the world and also offers around-the-world cruises.
Ships: Oceania Marina, Oceania Nautica, Oceania Riviera, Oceania Tahitian Princess, Oceania Regatta, and Oceania Insignia.
Audience: Adult travelers looking for a (relative) good deal.
With small, intimate ships and an impressive crew member-to-cruiser ratio, Azamara provides personalized experiences across its handful of ships. The experience is very similar to what you might find on a standard cruise ship but slightly upgraded and geared toward adults only. You’ll find that you need to book a better stateroom or suite to get more and more free amenities, so keep that in mind as you shop for your ideal cruise.
Pros: Azamara provides intimate, boutique-style settings for cruisers across a wide range of age groups.
Cons: To get the fully all-inclusive experience with Azamara, you’ll have to book a higher-end suite.
Inclusions: Inclusions differ according to what room type you book, but can include dining, gratuities, drinks, laundry service, concierge service, WiFi, in-room bar, butler service, tea service, and onboard credits.
Add-Ons: If you book a simple stateroom, then you may end up paying for add-ons such as specialty dining, WiFi, laundry service, or high-end spirits.
Ports and Destinations: Azamara sails to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, South America, Asia, Africa, Northern & Western Europe, and the Panama Canal.
Ships: Azamara Journey, Azamara Onward, and Azamara Quest
Audience: The audience aboard an Azamara cruise ship will differ according to your itinerary. Shorter itineraries tend to skew younger, while longer itineraries skew older. Overall, though, the cruises are geared toward adults.
Comparing the 9 Best All-Inclusive Cruise Lines
|Cruise Line||Pros||Cons||Audience||Type of Cruises|
|Regent Seven Seas Cruises||Lots of luxurious inclusions||On the pricier side||Big spenders and luxury travelers||International ocean cruises|
|Seabourn||High level of service, rewards program, and intimate atmosphere||Small ships come with fewer options||Luxury travelers looking to get away from the crowds||International ocean cruises|
|Scenic||Gives you access to unique destinations||The focus is on adventure experiences and small-ship itineraries, not the on-ship service||Adventurers who like luxury||Both international ocean cruises and river cruises in Europe and Southeast Asia|
|Silversea Cruises||Large staterooms and fine dining||A very traditional cruising experience||Luxury travelers, both young and old||International ocean cruises|
|Holland America||Truly all-inclusive||The all-inclusivity comes with a few caveats||Seniors||International ocean cruises|
|Viking||Premium without being stuffy||Not a lot of flexibility with on-board dining and shore excursions||Seniors||International ocean cruises, plus river cruises in Europe, Asia, Egypt, and North America|
|Virgin Voyages||Unique, youthful vibe||A limited number of ships and itineraries||Young adults||The Caribbean, Europe, and South Pacific|
|Oceania||Small-ship environments at an agreeable price||Lacking in service and entertainment||Travelers looking for a good deal||International ocean cruises|
|Azamara||Intimate setting on small ships, with a wide mix of passengers||To get all-inclusive fares, you’ll have to book a suite||A broad mix of younger and older travelers||Mediterranean, Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, South America, Asia, Africa, Northern & Western Europe, and the Panama Canal|
How to Book an All-Inclusive Cruise
So, do you have your eye on one of the above cruise lines? If you’d like to give one of these all-inclusive cruise lines a try, there are a lot of different ways to go about booking your cruise. From cruise-specific booking websites to online travel agencies to cruises available through airlines and hotel rewards programs, your options are vast. Of course, you can also always book directly with the cruise line.
If you’re looking for the most streamlined, easy process, you may want to book directly with your chosen cruise line. In fact, you may find that, with some of the more exclusive, luxurious cruise lines, this is the only way to do it.
However, if you’re trying to snag a great deal, consider looking at the options available from your favorite travel rewards program, or check out favorite travel booking hubs like Expedia or Priceline.
In most instances, no. You’re not going to be able to roll up to the cruise ship and get every single thing you want, for free once you’ve paid your cruise fare. Even with the cruise lines that claim they’re “the most” or “the truest” all-inclusive line, they’ll still charge you extra for things like on-ship shopping, spa treatments, or extra liquor or cigars, depending on the line.
It all depends on your travel style. If you know you like to let your hair down and have more than a few drinks during a cruise, you could benefit from not paying for all of those drinks separately. Likewise, if you’re into cruising for shore excursions, you might save cash by booking with a cruise line that offers unlimited shore excursions included in your fare.
While your options will be slightly more limited if you’re trying to book an all-inclusive cruise on a budget, it’s worth taking into consideration how much money you’ll save by going the all-inclusive route. An all-inclusive cruise might just be more budget-friendly than you think, in the long run, despite the initial sticker shock.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Get The Vacationer Newsletter
Get highlights of the most important news delivered to your email inbox