We've done 12 cruises over the past 14 years-obviously we love it! But recently have been thinking we need a change and we're considering an all-inclusive resort, most likely in St Maarten. Our last time there we made a point of visiting a couple of resorts. My question is, how would you compare a cruise to an "all-in" resort, other than the fact that you're parked in one location for the week...or 2? Which is a better value? We are moderate drinkers so the "all you can drink" thingy is not really an issue. The couples we know who have been and love it are big party people, so I'm thinking that's the big attraction.
Splendor of the Seas 1997
Regal Empress 1998
Sovereign of the Seas 2003
Princess Sun 2006
Princess Sea 2007
I've done both on sevral occasions. Every time I've done an all inclusive I did it at the end of a business trip. My lttle way of "stickin' it to the man". If I had to decide whether to travel on my own dime and do one or the other, I'd cruise every time. IMO all-inclusives are expensive for what you get. I've never been to an AI where the service, the food, or the atmosphere was as nice as the worst cruise I've been on. That's my opinion.
I have never been to an AI so I cannot answer except with conjecture.
I personally love the travel aspect (seeing new places every day) of cruising as one of the main reasons why I cruise. I get rather bored waking up and doing the same thing every day, especially if it is just sitting in the sun and swimming.
I also tend to think that the included alcohol is a huge attraction to these places. But personally, if all I am doing is relaxing I prefer my own living room with my 6-foot HDTV, blockbuster membership, and whatever food I want any night.
I am not much of a caribbean cruiser nor a "day at sea" guy, so an AI vacation would be lost on me.
FWIW: I live in Phoenix so I am pretty used to warm weather anyway. I guess that is part of it.
We can't even get hot sunny weather in our 4 month summer now (May- August) MUST BE GLOBAL WARMING THEN!
We brits love the sun on our cruises, and a problem for us is lack of sun loungers and deck space onboard, as we ALL want to be out on deck catching the sun, I have read that some Americans aren't worried so much about getting tanned as you have good weather anyway and its not such a novilty for you...and a lot like to spend the day in the casinos - we Brits on the other hand are not that interested in gambling, and probably would only go in for a while in the evenings. So you may find our casinos small on a brit ship.
P&O Arcadia -Canaries, Aurora- Bruges, Arcadia -Med, Aurora Amsterdam, -Arcadia -Venice, and Ventura Bruges. In 2009 - Oriana and Oceana Fjords.
I have also heard that most Americans probably wouldn't like the food because it is too heavy for our tastes - lots of gravy, lots of friend foods.
We don't care for mashy peas or turnips.
As I said, in addition the food being different - "beer, beans and bacon," I have heard that most of the service staff are East Indians.
It is true Americans have stopped tanning. We are all concerned about wrinkles these days. It is funny because I have a home in San Diego, and when we go there we see the ladies in their late 40s/50s who obviously used to tan on the beach every summer when younger, and many of them have sun damaged skin, wrinkly faces and sun spots on their chests. You can actually tell the difference between a 50-y.o. from Britain or the US North and a Californian because the ones from cold climates usually have far fewer wrinkles.
Not so mych in Phienix because we tend to avoid the sun in summer, its TOO hot.
I would consider doing an AI, however, it would have to be in a well populated island with lots of excursions and activities to keep me occupied. I typically come home with a farmers tan, albeit a tanktop not a t-shirt and shorts instead of pants. I absolutely can't sit on a deck chair for more than 30 minutes at a time before I start thinking about what else I should be doing at that time. I can read a book and last longer tanning in a lounger, but the noise on deck would distract me, so I'd liekly get up because I can't get into the book.
AI's have free booze, but I am usually good for two drinks (usually a frozen drink and drink of the day) and can drink ice cold water all day and be happy. A co-worker is quite obsessed about drinking and getting drunk that she wouldn't even consider a cruise becasue you have to pay for the booze, but a 3-star AI would do her just fine because all the rum drinks and domestic beer you can drink are included. If the food was bad it wouldn't matter because she can eat a salad and drink more booze....
Cruises have me, if someone paid for me to go to a all inclusive, I'd go...
2007 Victory & Triumph
2008 Conquest & Liberty
2009 Valor, Freedom, and Splendor
2010 Glory and Liberty
I go for an all inclusive cruise. All the benefits of an all inclusive resort along with the benefit of seeing the world. If I was going to stay in the Caribbean, I might go for the land resort as there is not a lot of difference on the various islands once you have been to many.
"The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."
F Scott Fitzgerald
Seven Seas Voyager (30nts) - Dubai - Cape Town - Nov 14
Freedom Of The Seas -07
Radiance Of The Seas-07
Adventure Of The Seas-05
Navigator Of The Seas-04
Soverign Of The Seas-02
Big Red Boat-93
I have been on 3 cruises and to 3 AI resorts all in cancun' and in may i am going to puerto plata Dominican Republic and staying at the RIU
it's like comparing apples to oranges, it's all subjective. I prefer the food on a ship but 4 and 5 star AI food is comparable. Even moderate drinkers should prefer AI as it doesnt add to the bottom line cost of the trip. That is my biggest complaint that cruises make you use a calculator to find the true cost of a vacation. First you have the cruise rate then you have to add air, transfers, port charges, government fees, gas surcharges, tips for cruise employees and porters and taxis, soda card costs, specialty resturants, bar tab and other add ons make it difficult to find the bottom line cost quickly. whereas AI resort packages include everything but tips in one price (some resorts even the staff tips are included and tipping is not nessesary) like cruises there are different levels of class and you pay for the nicer vacation. service at resorts can be better than on a cruise depending on the cruiseline and resort chain. Most resorts have much bigger and nicer rooms. The destination is static but most resorts offer enough entertainment where you don't get bored. If you do get bored you have the luxury of time to spend exploring the destinations sites and culture without having to rush back before the ship sails. You don't have to worry about seasickness but bad weather can put a damper on your stay as resorts can't dodge bad storms like ships do.
We used the cruises to sample multiple islands and find the ones we were interested in possibly returning to for a longer stay, cruising offers multiple destinations while unpacking once but limited time in port does not allow for thorough exploration, just a quick excursion to a tourist attraction and back. I am a beach person so a good beach, pool, service, and no extra add ons to calculate appeal to me. Though a good price on a balcony cabin has its charms too....both deserve a try!!!
Been to both. Went on an AI in Jamaica, 5 star resort, but was very bored. I'm not much of a drinker, and get bored just laying around by the beach. Not to many excursions and was recomended to not venture out alone due to crime rate and deminstrations going on. So were going on a cruise for our vacation this year. I just think that a cruise is so much more active. If you want just rest and relaxation a resort would be good!
05/01/10 Sapphire Princess
09/14/09 Enchantment of the Seas
10/19/08 Crown Princess
03/04/04 Majesty of the Seas
We have been thinking about a A/I trip instead of a cruise for 2010 vacation. I think it would be nice to see the whole island instead of just a few hours in one port on the island.
I think one needs to be picky about the Island though! I have heard great things about Aruba and we absolutely loved St. Thomas and St. Maartin when we visited there on a cruise. The couples resorts in Jamaica intrigues me though and sounds real nice.
I too wish cruises were all inclusive! I have heard though that the Alcohol sales and Casinos are really where the cruise lines make their money though and I don't suppose that all inclusive would fit that sales model very good!
Caribbean Princess 07
Carnival Valor Feb. 08
Carnival Holiday Dec 08
Carnival Triumph Feb 09
Island Princess coming in Nov. 2009
After going on 2 cruises, we opted for a land vacation last August at an AI in Cancun. Eight days in Mexico seemed like the perfect vacation. However, like another poster mentioned, it's like comparing two totally different things (cruising vs. AI's).
Both have something different to offer. Alcohol is not a factor for me at all so the "free alcohol" was wasted on me but it was nice to have soft drinks included. Our stay at the Oasis was fabulous mainly because we didn't spend much time in our room. Between the local attractions, the beach, sun beds, the pool and outdoor movie theater we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. There were 3 formal meals with snacks throughout the day(very similar to cruising but on a smaller scale). Hurricane Dean arrived 2 days after we did and stirred things up a bit but only a minor disruption in our schedule (much like a missed port). We visited Chichen Itza, Valladolid and El Rey ruins, went horseback riding and rode the bus the entire length of the hotel zone for only 65 cents. We took the ferry in Playa Del Carmen to spend a few days in Cozumel before flying home. What a great vacation!
However on cruises there is a myriad of onboard activities, choice of dinner seatings, and a variety of destinations. I like the idea of a floating hotel but won't discount my land vacations. Two days at sea and I am ready to jump ship. Seven or eight days holed up in a resort with a book is not my idea of a vacation. We like to go, go, go.....
Do the AI, just be sure that you can venture out and sample what the local flavor has to offer. For us, it's only DD and I. As a single woman with a child, we find cruising offers a sense of security while onboard. However, in Mexico (Yucatan Peninsula) we felt totally safe as well. We DID NOT feel this way in Ocho Rios and this was supposed to be the good part of Jamaica vs. Montego Bay & Kingston. The vendors were very aggressive and I have no desire to return - even for a port stop. Let us know how it works out for you.
__________________ Current Bookings
RCCL Allure of the Seas - W. Caribbean (8/2011)
Norwegian Jade - W. Mediterranean (11/2010)
CCL Freedom - Panama (8/2010)
Norwegian Star - Mexican Riviera (4/2010)
Norwegian Sky - Bahamas (12/09)
Diamond Princess - Alaska Northbound (8/09)
CCL Destiny - S. Caribbean (8/08 )
Norwegian Sun - W. Caribbean (3/08 )
Norwegian Gem - Celebrity Cruise with John Legend & Bobby Flay (12/07)
Legend of the Seas - W. Caribbean (4/07)
Caribbean Princess - W. Caribbean (8/06)
Every time I think about booking an all inclusive, I book a cruise. Afraid we'll get bored or something. I like all the different ports and all the cruises we've been on. I'd go crazy sitting on a beach for too long. I suppose we may try it sometime but I'd be very picky about which island to choose. It would be pretty nice to explore an island in depth, however.
If there are no bugs, that is.