We've done both, although many more cruises than all-inclusives. We did our all-inclusive in Jamaica and didn't like it.
We didn't like the fact that the hotel was THE destination. You couldn't wander down the street to shops or restaurants. In one week, we went to one restaurant outside of the hotel, and someone from the restaurant with a car had to come and get us and bring us back.
Also ,whenever you went off the hotel's private beach, you were inundated with beggers. The hotel had guards on its beach to keep them away. Also, the service at the hotel was terrible. Never went back to Jamaica. I realize that things could have changed a lot, but that was our experience.
I have never cruised but have done 2 all-inclusives. My favorite all-inclusive was to the Aventura Spa Palace near Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. It is part of the Palace Resorts chain of 5 resorts in Cancun/ Cozumel area. One thing that was great about this resort is that two excursions are included in your price. We went to Chichen Itza and chose not to take another. But there are tons of options to choose from, and there is a lot to do at the resort (spa services, biking to a nearby town, pool, shows, etc.)
I did all inclusive at the Wyndham Rose Hall in Jamaica about 5 years ago. It was alovely property & I thought the staff was very respectful to kids. A week was just too long -- we were bored. The property had a pool with a swim up bar, a water slide, a lazy river, ocean front, 4 restaurants, about 4-5 bars & a golf course, but it was so . . . blah. We did the obligatory Dunns River Falls; we also took the hellaciously long / dangerous bus ride to Negril to go cliff diving. Rick's American Cafe, the western most point on the island, was a lot of fun.
If you really want quiet or you like to read & play scrabble (seriously, we ended up playing about 3-4 games a day) you will get lots of R&R.
If you want activity, stay on a cruise. My other suggestion would be Cancun. It doesn't have to be all inclusive; food & drink are not that expensive there.
I have done both and as a matter of fact I am leaving in 3 weeks for 8 days at an all inclusive in Aruba.
Both have advantages and I personally prefer cruising. My wife (Gram to most) sometimes like to simply "veg" not moving , touring or worrying about schedules and activities. For that we find the all inclusive fits the bill for us.
Although some of the nicest all inclusives are in Jamaica, and this is a beautiful island
with many wonderful people, there are just enough negatives that Jamaica would not be on my top 10 destination list. Many people find some of the off resort property experiences in Jamaica to be less than pleasent and many folks are concerned about tourist safety issues in Jamaica (which is why almost all resorts are all inclusive, so you don't have to leave the property).
I wouldn't hesitate to do the all inclusive thing in St Lucia, Antigua, Aruba, Cucracao, Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas , Turks and Caicos or the Bahamas.
Just my opinion.
Just one persons opinion.
I need this info also. My big concern is will a 15 yr. old boy be completely bored at an all-inclusive, as opposed to a cruise (he's been on 2 and had a blast). I like to veg on the beach or by the pool, but he needs friends and things to do. What's your experience?
We took our 19 yr old son last year on the Explorer of the Seas, his first cruise. 2 months ago, I asked him if he wanted to do an all inclusive at Riveria Maya, in Mexico at a 5 apple resort, (of course all drinks included, he is over 18 in mexico), or do a cruise, he is now 20. He didn't even have to think about it, cruise definitely. Ask your son, but in my opinion, I think he would enjoy the cruise more. Maybe you can do a cruise w/lots of sea days, and eat in the buffet as opposed to the dining room, then not as structured for you. And you could stay on the ship in port and enjoy the ship without all the people. Just my thoughts. We are doing an all-inclusive in June, and I already know I will not enjoy it as much as a cruise, but we are going with 8 other people, so that wil help to make it a great time. Good luck w/your decision. Hope this helps some.
NCL Dawn (Repo 14 nite) 11-1-09
RCCL Mariner of the Sea (Mexican Riviera) 4-18-10
Have done both & I actually got bored also w/the all inclusive. Some friends went with us even & they are trying to talk us into another (they skipped out on the cruise in Jan) too bad for them! I don't know - I just got so pampered & had such unlimited amount of things to do on a cruise - it is sure hard to beat.
We have done both, and we like cruising. better. As the others have stated, you are very limited as to what you can on the property. Sure you can take side-trips(excursions) some are included in the cost of the resort, some are not. You are limited to your restaurant choices, if you don't care for the resorts restaurants, you are stuck, unless you want to pay for a taxi to take you into to town to pay for a meal at a restaurant.
Liquor- at most inclusives the liquor that is included in the cost is basic " bar liquor" if you like to drink a premium brand you will have to pay extra for that.
We went to Couples in Jamaica had a great time, we just like crusing better.
We have done both and prefer cruising. We stayed at Sandals Royal Caribbean last
fall and were disappointed with the food and entertainment. We did get a chance to
learn how to scuba dive and really enjoyed that. However, your best value will be with
the cruise and if your children really love it, Why mess with a good thing??
How does an all inclusive compare in price vs a cruise. I am pulling for another cruise, but since we do drink a fair amount of alcohol, my friends seem to think it would be cheaper to do the all inclusive,
Take in to consideration that we cannot live without a balcony room on a cruise,and at an all inclusive we would prefer an oceanfront (not oceanview)room.Pllllease tell me a cruise (with a $800 bar bill )would be more cost efficient!!!!
We did an all-inclusive in Jamacia in March. We will probally not do another one since we were bored and stuck in the resort. You could not leave and we are use to cruising. Our resort did not have the menu choices like on a cruise. We will stick to cruising.