UPDATE: Celebrity “Always Included” offering includes beverages, WiFi, and gratuities but ADVERTIZED rates don’t include those perks

Celebrity has changed its pricing once again and it is confusing buyers. After introducing its “Always Included” program several years ago, which included its Classic Beverage package, Wifi, and gratuities. Celebrity is now promoting bare-bones fares which do not include anything – no Classic Beverage package, no WiFi, and no pre-paid gratuities. (Suite guests receive the Premium Beverage package and premium WiFi, and pre-paid gratuities unless they select a bare-bones rate.)

Celebrity’s guests have come to expect the “Always Included” perks in Celebrity’s advertised rates. But that isn’t the case now, and many are surprised and irritated. We’ve had complaints that loyal customers feel there is a bait-and-switch advertising effort going on. Lure in potential travels with a low rate, but then surprise them when they discover the expected perks are no longer included but are available for a significant up-charge. This is a common marketing ploy with cruise mass market lines – Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian, but it had not been with Celebrity Cruises, a line trying to position itself as almost a luxury line.

The Perks Were Never “Free”

It should be noted that while Celebrity ads and promotions have offered 1, 2, 3 or 4 FREE perks for a long time, these perks were never free. A simple search for the same cabin on the same cruise without any perk versus with perks would always show the same cabin without any perks was always lower than that same cabin with perks. Staterooms with “Free Perks” were always offered at a higher fare price but did offer guests good savings versus paying for the perks separably (adding a beverage package, unlimited WiFi, or paying gratuities at the end of the cruise). The perks offer value savings, they just weren’t free.

Add-on Beverage Package Not Affected

Also, this surcharge does not apply to guests who choose to add on a standalone beverage package. The Classic Package is $59/person per night, while the Premium Beverage Package is $69/person per night.

Whether a perk is right for you means doing the math. A good travel adviser helps their clients understand their options and which options give their clients the best value. We do this with all of our clients.

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