When you are looking to book a holiday, one of the key questions you’ll have to consider is the board basis that you want.

It’s all pretty self-explanatory when you’re booking a hotel, from with options like Room Only, Bed and Breakfast and All Inclusive doing what they say on the tin.

But how does it work when booking a cruise holiday?

Although each cruise line will have its own packages that are available to those onboard, there are some general rules that you can look to work from.

When it comes to food, each cruise line will have at least one restaurant where dining is included over the course of your trip - in the same way that a hotel will have a main dining room for guests to make use of.

The majority of ships will actually have a number of different restaurants where you can dine without a fee, although some of those may need reservations and you may be limited on how many times you can visit. Our expert team will be happy to be explain how things may be different on the ship of your choice.

Each cruise line will also include a number of dining options that incur an additional charge, which may be a themed restaurant featuring cuisine from a celebrity chef or a unique dining experience - such as small plate dining from a special menu designed especially for the occasion.

Alongside dining, you’ll want to enjoy some drinks whilst you are away at sea, but you need to factor in how much that will cost on top of your cruise fare.

As a general rule, you’ll be offered free tea and coffee in the main dining room along with tap water and a selection of juices, whilst wine may also be offered at certain meal times.

Aside from that however, you can expect to be charged for alcoholic and soft drinks in many restaurants and in the bars onboard, whilst bottled water and speciality tea and coffee is also going to cost.

You might decide to try and make use of special deals onboard, like Happy Hour where prices may be lower, or invest in a special package before you sail where you will pay a set fee for all inclusive drinks over the course of your trip.

If looking into the latter, you will need to ensure that the cost of the package is cheaper than if you were to simply buy drinks as you go along whilst it is also well worth looking for special offers where a drinks package is included.

Although 'Free Drinks' may appear at first to be a relatively small incentive offered by a cruise line, the reality is that for a family looking to take a holiday at sea, it could be a HUGE saving on what you would otherwise expect to pay.

After dining on an evening, you’ll want to enjoy some entertainment and the vast majority if evening entertainment will be included as part of the package - which could even mean you’ll get to see a show that wouldn’t be out of place in the West End without paying a single penny extra.

What may cost you extra however is some of the activities that will be offered during the day, which will vary from cruise line to cruise line - although you may well be surprised at just how many of them ARE included.

A notable exception will be treatments in one of the various spas that can be found at sea, although this will largely be in line with what you would expect from a traditional hotel.

Shore excursions are another additional cost to bear in mind, because you might not want to spend all your time in port doing your own thing. You can book many of these trips in advance so you know they are already covered, or if you know that there will only be limited availability and you don’t want to run the risk of not getting a place.

If you’re unsure of exactly what will be included with your next cruise holiday, then our expert team is here to help so pick up the phone and we’ll be able to answer your queries and move you a step closer to your next holiday at sea!