Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

Can you get an all-inclusive Alaska cruise?

25 Jan 2023
Jenna DeLaurentis

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 enticing, but Royal Caribbean cruises are not all-inclusive. There are extra costs you may incur which are not included in your base cruise fare.

Royal Caribbean’s approach is to offer a lower entry price to a cruise, allowing guests to pay for add-ons as they wish.

Because of this, it’s possible to cruise to Alaska with Royal Caribbean and spend nothing extra once onboard. There’s more than enough complimentary food options, beverages, activities, and entertainment to keep passengers busy throughout the entire sailing.

If you’re looking for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise experience, though, there are a few purchases you can make before your sailing to have almost everything included once onboard your Royal Caribbean ship.

Let’s dive in to look at all-inclusive Alaska cruise options and how you can create an all-inclusive experience on Royal Caribbean.

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 extra packages that aim to provide a more all-inclusive experience.

Holland America, for example, offers the “Have It All” package, which includes a $100 shore excursion credit, signature beverage package, one night specialty dining, and a wifi 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 dollar amount for shore excursions.

Truly all-inclusive Alaska cruises are hard to come by, only to be found on luxury or expedition cruise lines like Seabourn and Regent Seven Seas. And even then, you’ll still have to pay extra for things like spa services and shore excursions.

The good news is that, while a Royal Caribbean cruise is not entirely all-inclusive, you can turn a standard cruise experience into a more all-inclusive sailing by purchasing only a few add-ons.

What is 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 is included in your base cruise fare with Royal Caribbean:

  • Accommodations (your cruise cabin)
  • Gratuities (pre-paid in advance at $16 per person, per day)
  • Meals and snacks (excluding specialty restaurants)
  • Drinks (water, tea, coffee, lemonade, iced tea, milk, juices, and hot chocolate)
  • Adventure Ocean child programming
  • Activities and entertainment
  • Fitness center
  • Pool and sun decks

Related: What’s included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare?

Although there's a lot included, there are several add-ons not included in the cruise fare. Specialty restaurants, internet, alcoholic drinks, specialty coffees, and shore excursions are just some of the extra costs you may incur on an Alaska cruise.

Related: Top 30 extra cruise costs that are 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 before your Alaska cruise that can provide an all-inclusive experience once onboard.

By purchasing these ahead of time on Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner website, you will encounter minimal (if any) additional costs onboard your ship.

Step One: Purchase a drink package

To keep cruise fares lower for all guests, Royal Caribbean does not include alcoholic beverages, specialty coffees, soda, and mocktails in its base cruise fare. Therefore, in order to create your all-inclusive Alaska cruise, you’ll want to purchase a drink package.

There are three main drink packages available on Royal Caribbean:

  • Deluxe Beverage Package (alcoholic & nonalcoholic beverages)
    • $67 to $79 per person, per night
  • Royal Refreshment Package (nonalcoholic beverages)
    • $28 to 38 per person, per night
  • Classic Soda Package (Coca-Cola Freestyle beverages)
    • $9 to $14 per person, per night

Drink package prices can change from day to day. As with any pre-cruise purchase on Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner, you can cancel and rebook any add-on if you see a price drop. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner site

Therefore, we recommend booking drink packages as soon as possible. If the price goes down, you can cancel and rebook the package with no penalty. If you wait to book, on the other hand, and the price increases, you’ll be stuck paying the higher price.

Step Two: Purchase a specialty dining package

Although there’s more than enough complimentary food included on an Alaska cruise, if you truly want an all-inclusive experience with Royal Caribbean, you’ll want to book a dining package.

The Unlimited Dining Package is the best choice for those planning an all-inclusive Alaska cruise. This package allows guests to dine at specialty restaurants an unlimited number of times throughout the sailing at one set price.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean’s Unlimited Dining Package

Specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean offer cooking styles and cuisines not found elsewhere onboard, and they provide a more intimate atmosphere than the Main Dining Room or 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 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 before your Alaska cruise, you can expect to spend around $920 per person on a 7-night sailing.

What about shore excursions on an Alaska cruise?

Whale watching in Sitka, Alaska

Shore excursions are not included in the price of a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, but they are highly sought-after. 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’s 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 helicopter landings on glaciers.

There’s no requirement to book shore excursions on an Alaska cruise. In fact, many of Alaska’s cruise ports offer plenty to do without spending extra. However, shore excursions are an important additional cost to budget for on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska.

Another alternative: book a Star Class suite for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise

Star Class is the top-tier 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, Coastal Kitchen restaurant access, luxury stateroom amenities, complimentary VOOM wifi for each guest, concierge service, access to the Suite Sun Deck, laundry, a Royal Genie, gratuities, specialty dining, and a Deluxe Beverage Package.

Related: A beginner’s guide to sailing in Star Class

Essentially, Star Class provides the most all-inclusive experience you can find on a Royal Caribbean cruise. A few of the only add-ons not included with Star Class are retail and spa services.

The caveat? Star Class isn’t cheap, and the price of these cabins on an Alaska cruise is usually in the five figures. If you’re looking to splurge, though–and have the budget to do so–by all means, book a Star Class room for an all-inclusive Alaska cruise.

If you can’t shell out $15,000 for one vacation, you’re better off booking the Deluxe Beverage Package, Unlimited Dining Package, and internet package on top of your cruise fare in a regular cabin. This provides an “all-inclusive” experience at a more reasonable price for any cruise to Alaska.

Planning an Alaska cruise? Here’s our best advice: