From someone who has been on nine cruises, several tropical resort hotel stays but never an all-inclusive, I'm curious to compare.
For those of you who have experienced both the all-inclusive resort and a cruise, what do you see as the benefits and drawbacks of both?
I enter into "the cruise discussion" with friends and relatives who have been to all-inclusives, and quite frankly, they rave about the experience, even going so far as to say "there is no way a cruise could compare". One major negative point for cruising is the booze factor, and since I don't drink much, this point is moot for me, but important to them. I also hear that the availability of drinks can be restricted at a resort, as well as say, admission to entertainment, etc. And a cruise sounds like a way more intimate and friendly experience. So much to compare.....
I guess I have to try an all-inclusive, just to say I did.
Just 1 month to go until the "Cruise Cynic Mystery Cruise" ... January 2008
Never been on an all inclusive and like you say since we don't really drink enough to make it an issue, the $$$ saved there don't matter to me. My daughter, however, has been on several cruises and to a few all inclusives and she swears by the all inclusives. She still cruises but says it costs her a whole lot more on the ship when she gets done paying her bar bill than it does at the all inclusive resorts. And they have a great time at both.
I, too, have only experienced cruising....but I don't think an all inclusive would appeal to me as much as a cruise. I, too, do not drink so that is not an issue. I enjoy waking up in a different port each day, but more importantly, I love sitting on my balcony watching the ocean go by.
Mary Lou Scanlon
NCL Pride of America April 24, 2010
NCL Epic February 12, 2011
RCCL Allure of the Seas - September 18, 2011
Celebrity Eclipse - February 11, 2012:
RCCL Navigator OTS - February 9, 2013
I've been to all inclusive resorts, and they are too confining for me. If I'm on a land trip, I like to be on the move, seeing new places, trying new restaurants. A cruise offers new ports and I can always opt to try the local cuisine. Guess that tells you that I'm a "port" person. That's not to say that I don't like to visit the same port over and over. For instance, Cozumel is one of my favorites as it offers world class scuba diving.
having done both i would opt for the cruise. You are limited to your dining choices at an all-inclusive unless you travel into town and pay for your dinner out-of-pocket. As for the alcohol issue - the inclusives use basic "bar booze" so if you want say Grey Goose Vodka you will have to pay for it.
You have to pay for a taxi if you want to go off property and explore. Sometimes excursions are included sometimes not.
If you want something "extra" that is not part of the basic package you will have to pay for it.
I've taken many cruises but never an all inclusive stay at a resort. I don't think I would like the land vacation, because there wouldn't be enough variety and things to do to keep me from getting bored. As far as price goes; two years ago, my hubby and I took my daughter and her 3 girls to Orlando for a weeks' vacation. Although we had a terrific time; I added up what I paid for air fare, tickets to Orlando, meals for 6 people, 3 times a day for a week, the cost of a rental van; and then we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was kind of pricey. I told my daughter, we could have had a very nice cruise for a week for what that trip cost me. I figured I spent $10,000 for one week. I think we could have gone cruising for two weeks for that price. I think cruising is the best value around.....that's why I have two cruises booked this year and no land vacations.
Having done both I have to say that it depends on what type of vacation you are looking for. Go on a cruise if you want to visit a lot of places, if you are with a group and if you don't mind dressing up and the go go go of so many activities. Go on an all-inclusive if your goal is to relax. If all you want is a book and some sun and you don't feel like being on the go all the time. On an all-inclusive you can also go visit sites, take tours, etc. I find an all-inclusive is more relaxing.
I agree with LisaK. I stayed at an all-inclusive in Cozumel in 2002, and it didn't matter what I ordered to drink, Pina Colada, Margarita, etc...all the drinks with the exception of Cervesa, tasted like rum punch (watered down at that). The hotel that I stayed at offered non-motorized water sports for the guests; however, any excursions cost as much as the cruise line charges. If you want to go off property, it is just like LisaK said, you have to pay for it, whether it be only a taxi fare or taxi fare and ferry fare, depending where you want to. Bottom line...it can be quite expensive.
I haven't stayed at an all-inclusive resort in many years, so I can't really compare price-wise. What I remember is that if you wanted to go to a different restaurant away from tghe hotel, someone had to drive you and bring you back. If you went to the beach but off the hotel's property, you were assailed with begging children. The hotel kept "guards" on its private beach to keep the beggers away.
Like some of the other posters, I prefer a cruise tol land vacations.
Oh boy... for me it is NO CONTEST!! Cruising wins, big time.
Posters so far are steering you right. If you are looking for so-called total relaxation, an all-inclusive may be your best bet. Stretching out pool or ocean-side with the cocktail of choice in hand is just loverly and some people can do it for days on end. Sure, activities and entertainment are offered, but the entertainment is usually akin to productions that could be staged by the people in your office in their off-hours. It's generally too warm to really enjoy non-water-based activities. Water sports can be deceptive, too. Resorts list all kinds of great "toys" but you often find they have very limited supplies of these toys and that your use of them is extremely restricted and/or by appointment only. Booze is plentiful and after lots you don't even miss the quality.
Then there is the food. We had our first (and last) all-inclusive experience last year with family who do this annually. They raved about the food at our resort being sooo much better than other resorts where they'd stayed previously. It scares me to think what they ate in those other places! Imagine the worst cafeteria food ever. The specialty dining options were marginally better, we were eligible for 3 nights in these. Waters smiled charmingly and took note of our special request (including one "no potato, please, due to allergies) and brought out cookie cutter dinners as they came off the kitchen assembly line. No request was ever met.
We like lots of entertainment options on vacation and lying in the sun is something we enjoy as downtime, not fulltime. The resorts are beautiful, ours no exception, but after 48 hrs my husband and I could have cheerfully come home. We were just bored to tears. Normally I want to cry at the end of a vacation - only this time they were tears of relief!
Oh yes... our other family members are off to this year's all-inclusive today. We wish them much joy, and are so happy not to be going along! Our ship sails on May 2nd.