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All-Inclusive or Cruise?


Bently57

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We just got back from an all-inclusive vacation. We had never done one before, and thought we should at least try it. Well...the bottom line is that it was very nice, but in the end...not for us.

 

Some people avoid cruises because they are afraid they will feel 'trapped.' In our case, we felt more trapped in the all-inclusive. While very nice, there wasn't a lot to do besides lounging at the pool, drinking, and pool games. While I do like those things; 7 days of it is a LOT. The entertainment options after 5 pm were pretty light.

 

You could not really walk to town at night; it would be too dangerous. In the day, it could be done, but it was a 30 minute walk along a beach with a lot of obstacles and deserted buildings, and it was around 90 degrees.

 

We ended up taking a private tour in the area in the middle of the week to help break things up, but it was expensive.

 

The food, the drinks, the service were spectacular...but a cruise, for us, offers so much more. Has anyone else out there had the same experience?

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Yep, we've done our fair share of all-inclusive resorts in Riviera Maya and they still remain as one of our options to consider for vacation.

 

That said, it's hard to beat an all-inclusive experience on an S-Class ship. Celebrity has been offering the Free Classic Beverage Package program on-and-off lately and they also offer a limited number of "Ultimate Dining Packages" on select sailings for $29/person/day. We upgraded to Premium Package and bought the dining package as well on our Silhouette sailing; we ended up totally enjoying the "all-inclusive" experience. Plus, you get to visit a few ports of call ;)

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We just got back from an all-inclusive vacation. We had never done one before, and thought we should at least try it. Well...the bottom line is that it was very nice, but in the end...not for us.

 

Some people avoid cruises because they are afraid they will feel 'trapped.' In our case, we felt more trapped in the all-inclusive. While very nice, there wasn't a lot to do besides lounging at the pool, drinking, and pool games. While I do like those things; 7 days of it is a LOT. The entertainment options after 5 pm were pretty light.

 

You could not really walk to town at night; it would be too dangerous. In the day, it could be done, but it was a 30 minute walk along a beach with a lot of obstacles and deserted buildings, and it was around 90 degrees.

 

We ended up taking a private tour in the area in the middle of the week to help break things up, but it was expensive.

 

The food, the drinks, the service were spectacular...but a cruise, for us, offers so much more. Has anyone else out there had the same experience?

 

I travel on my own and many years ago I went to an All Inclusive.

I found cruising in 2003 and have never gone to AI again. As a

solo traveler, personally, cruising is so much better:)....it feels so

much nicer (to me)....whether it is having a drink at one of the bars,

participating in one of the activites, or having dinner, I just feel

much more welcomed on the ship.:) I didn't think the food at the AI

was spectaculor or the service for that matter. Oh, seeing places

I have not been to before is a plus for the cruise too;)

 

Going to an AI is not for me either.

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I find cruising and all-inclusives to be very different vacations. I enjoy both but definitely feel more pampered and catered to on a cruise. The food is also better on a cruise. That said, we still do all-inclusives occasionally. Sometimes the budget decides which we will do and sometimes it's a matter of itinerary.

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This is the second year we have choosen a cruise over all inclusive and there were many. The cruises seem nicer in terms of rooms (minus the jacuzzi tub), facilities, and entertainment. I like the fact that we are seeing different ports. Last year we made the mistake of sailing with a company that didnt have drink packages and it was our most expensive holiday ever. I am happy to be on celebrity this year with the premium package included for free.

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We've probably spent more time at all-inclusive resorts than we have on cruises, but have no particular preference. While food, liquor, accommodation, etc. are all important, there's as much difference between individual ships and between individual resorts as there is between ships and resorts as a whole. Assuming that we are aiming for a similar quality of service, it then becomes a question for us of the nature of the experience we are seeking.

 

Cruising generally provides quick and varied exposure, while all-inclusives provide greater depth of exposure to a narrower area. So a Caribbean cruise might give you the opportunity to sample a variety of islands for a short period of time, while staying at a resort might give you the opportunity to get an in-depth exposure to a single island.

 

We enjoy both, and find that cruises are useful in scoping out destinations for possible future all-inclusive vacations. :)

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I've done three cruises in the past (13 and more years ago) but have done about 30 AI resorts, mostly in Mexico, since 2004. We are taking our first cruise in years next Friday and I have to say I find it all very overwhelming and A LOT of work!!! We book an AI in a matter of minutes, and we are all set to go. We are not the kind to stay on the resort, we tend to leave daily to see the area, dine out (even tho we are doing AI), go for drinks, etc.

 

After booking this cruise, it's been filling out on line paperwork, requesting special luggage taqs, researching island destinations (decided to not book any shore excursions, will just grab a taxi or something-besides, I'm NOT getting up at 8am on vacation), deciding on specialty dining (at an extra price!) and upgraded to premium drink package so I can get the wine and drinks we want. Stress.

 

Not to say we won't LOVE the cruise life again (we DID enjoy the ones we took in the past) and we are really looking forward to this trip, but I long for a carefree vacation at this point............

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our recent .experience is just the opposite of OP... after many enjoyable cruises to many diff places, we have concluded things are changing even on a great line like Celebrity. It has become less elegant, too noisy around the pool etc., not as relaxing and alot of sales pitches going on. Too many alcohol packagers

 

Our recent stay at an all inc..sounds like a beach shoe..was so relaxing.. We felt totally pampered, never rushed, never pushed to buy stuff...and they had an offshore island so it was like an excursion day going there. The oceanfront room was huge and beautifully appointed, lots of storage, w/ a great bathroom & soaking tub, nice balcony.

 

the food choices were varied and excellent and something to do all day & night or not depending on your own choices--much less structured!

 

we will cruise again but look forward to the a/c

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We just got back from an all-inclusive vacation. We had never done one before, and thought we should at least try it. Well...the bottom line is that it was very nice, but in the end...not for us.

 

Some people avoid cruises because they are afraid they will feel 'trapped.' In our case, we felt more trapped in the all-inclusive. While very nice, there wasn't a lot to do besides lounging at the pool, drinking, and pool games. While I do like those things; 7 days of it is a LOT. The entertainment options after 5 pm were pretty light.

 

You could not really walk to town at night; it would be too dangerous. In the day, it could be done, but it was a 30 minute walk along a beach with a lot of obstacles and deserted buildings, and it was around 90 degrees.

 

We ended up taking a private tour in the area in the middle of the week to help break things up, but it was expensive.

 

The food, the drinks, the service were spectacular...but a cruise, for us, offers so much more. Has anyone else out there had the same experience?

 

We feel exactly the same way. We've done one all inclusive resort versus many cruises, and will likely never go to an all inclusive again. We love vacations that are not cruises, but an all inclusive resort is just not for us. We'll stick with cruises and land vacations that give us more options and variety than an all inclusive.

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Yes...I don't mind a land vacation. We stay in one hotel for a few days, then move on to another, and we don't feel 'trapped.' I think an all inclusive could be nice if there were more viable options for getting out than we had. However, then you are spending money on meals and drinks that are already paid for at the all inclusive, so then hotels or even a condo rental would be a better option, wouldn't it? I think it is more that it is just not for us. My boss doesn't like cruises. To each his own!

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How wonderful it is to have so many choices to compare in order to find what is the best vacation, especially since it is so individual, and age appropriate. Since we are not much for alcohol, the alcohol at an AI or a package on a cruise with Celebrity don't factor in when we consider vacations. Also, both of us are very active, so an AI isn't our idea of a vacation due to its lack of a variety of learning opportunities. It is great for relaxation, but I get bored easily. My husband enjoys combining training with driving, but also loves the fact that his food and bed travel with him on Celebrity. We have even combined the two, and found that we really enjoyed all both had to offer.

In 2014, we are doing the Baltic on the Eclipse, and are very excited to see Russia, Estonia, along with all the other cities this cruise has to offer. We could never do this on an AI vacation. So, options for everyone, along with the freedom to choose is a real win. Let me add that cruises can have a very high intensity of planning unless you are doing a TA. Air reservations, transportation, cruise cabin choice and tour arrangements do take lots of time...I certainly understand what the OP was saying!

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How wonderful it is to have so many choices to compare in order to find what is the best vacation, especially since it is so individual, and age appropriate. Since we are not much for alcohol, the alcohol at an AI or a package on a cruise with Celebrity don't factor in when we consider vacations. Also, both of us are very active, so an AI isn't our idea of a vacation due to its lack of a variety of learning opportunities. It is great for relaxation, but I get bored easily. My husband enjoys combining training with driving, but also loves the fact that his food and bed travel with him on Celebrity. We have even combined the two, and found that we really enjoyed all both had to offer.

In 2014, we are doing the Baltic on the Eclipse, and are very excited to see Russia, Estonia, along with all the other cities this cruise has to offer. We could never do this on an AI vacation. So, options for everyone, along with the freedom to choose is a real win. Let me add that cruises can have a very high intensity of planning unless you are doing a TA. Air reservations, transportation, cruise cabin choice and tour arrangements do take lots of time...I certainly understand what the OP was saying!

 

I suppose planning a cruise does take more planning than an all inclusive. However, we use a travel agent and I let him do all the intensive research on flights and shuttles and so forth. I enjoy researching the cabin though.

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All inclusive does not interest me. We do like to break away from cruising every so often. We just spent eight nights in Key West where we rented a home for the stay. It was great. Private pool and plenty to do within walking distance from the Truman Annex where our home was located. This appeals to me more than an all inclusive.

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I've done three cruises in the past (13 and more years ago) but have done about 30 AI resorts, mostly in Mexico, since 2004. We are taking our first cruise in years next Friday and I have to say I find it all very overwhelming and A LOT of work!!! We book an AI in a matter of minutes, and we are all set to go. We are not the kind to stay on the resort, we tend to leave daily to see the area, dine out (even tho we are doing AI), go for drinks, etc.

 

After booking this cruise, it's been filling out on line paperwork, requesting special luggage taqs, researching island destinations (decided to not book any shore excursions, will just grab a taxi or something-besides, I'm NOT getting up at 8am on vacation), deciding on specialty dining (at an extra price!) and upgraded to premium drink package so I can get the wine and drinks we want. Stress.

 

Not to say we won't LOVE the cruise life again (we DID enjoy the ones we took in the past) and we are really looking forward to this trip, but I long for a carefree vacation at this point............

 

Okay let's be reasonable here. Filling out on line paperwork? 10 minutes? Ordering luggage tags (optional)? 2 minutes? Researching destinations? That's part of the fun, do as much or as little as you want! Dining/upgrading? Less than 5 minutes on line. So an extra ~ 30 minutes preplanning for a cruise vs. AI = not overwhelming.

 

I get that you like AI's, and I have done them too, I just want to keep the record straight.

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Okay let's be reasonable here. Filling out on line paperwork? 10 minutes? Ordering luggage tags (optional)? 2 minutes? Researching destinations? That's part of the fun, do as much or as little as you want! Dining/upgrading? Less than 5 minutes on line. So an extra ~ 30 minutes preplanning for a cruise vs. AI = not overwhelming.

 

I get that you like AI's, and I have done them too, I just want to keep the record straight.

 

Yeah, I personally think it's more overwhelming. Having done so many land stays (not necessarily AI), for me it is. It's also more scheduled and I feel more "go, go, go". That's not a bad thing necessarily, we have enjoyed our past cruises, but need a vacation when we get home. It's also more stressful because we haven't done one in a long time.

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Yeah, I personally think it's more overwhelming. Having done so many land stays (not necessarily AI), for me it is. It's also more scheduled and I feel more "go, go, go". That's not a bad thing necessarily, we have enjoyed our past cruises, but need a vacation when we get home. It's also more stressful because we haven't done one in a long time.

 

When you do land trips though, don't you still have to research things like activities, restaurants, transportation, accommodations?

 

I enjoy both cruises and land trips for different reasons. In terms of the amount of work involved in planning...that depends on the individual. Some people plan things right down to what they'll be having for dinner each night in the dining room while others are more "go with the flow"; however, the same is true about land trips as well.

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Have done many cruises, AI and in the past several years started renting in the places we like. All are good for different reasons. Just like cruise lines not all AI are the same. You can get everything from bargain basement to exclusive.

Do you want more time to really explore 1 area-country-island or do you want to see several places.

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It wasn't a bargain basement kind of place. It was gorgeous and with wonderful service. I had a nice relaxing vacation there and I am thankful I had the opportunity of experiencing it. But would I go again? Probably not. It is just "not me."

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our recent .experience is just the opposite of OP... after many enjoyable cruises to many diff places, we have concluded things are changing even on a great line like Celebrity. It has become less elegant, too noisy around the pool etc., not as relaxing and alot of sales pitches going on. Too many alcohol packagers

 

Our recent stay at an all inc..sounds like a beach shoe..was so relaxing.. We felt totally pampered, never rushed, never pushed to buy stuff...and they had an offshore island so it was like an excursion day going there. The oceanfront room was huge and beautifully appointed, lots of storage, w/ a great bathroom & soaking tub, nice balcony.

 

the food choices were varied and excellent and something to do all day & night or not depending on your own choices--much less structured!

 

we will cruise again but look forward to the a/c

 

hcat, would you mind letting us know which A/I you experienced? Not just location but resort? Thanks.

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OP thanks for your thoughts.

 

When we did our first cruise in 2005 our choices were Cruise, Vegas, or AI. My first choice was Vegas and figured I would be bored with a Cruise or AI. My wife won out and we were going on a Cruise with Celebrity and I had no idea who Celebrity was and what I knew about cruising was learnt from watching "The Love Boat" in the late 70's.

 

Boy! was I wrong I fell instantly in love with the cruising concept and wanted to go again. Fast forward to 2009 and went to Vegas with friends we did enjoy ourselves but, was thinking the entire time that our money would have been better spent on a cruise.

 

An AI doesn't interest me one bit.. 1) I am a redhead with fair Irish skin and NEVER lay out in the sun. I love the summer but I always have to wear a hat. 2) I do not drink Alcohol so all you can drink is of no interest to me at all. Therefore, I don't think we will ever go to an AI.

 

Regards,

Kevin Reid

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I agree with the OP on everything.

 

However, I think my main reason for preferring cruises over a warm -destination AI now is simply that at most AI resorts I've been to, you are exposed to heat, humidity and sometimes bugs when you are anywhere but your room or possibly an a la carte restaurant or gift shop. AC is rare in public areas, and there are few activities or meals you can enjoy if the weather is too hot, not to mention rainy or windy. Ceiling fans and trade winds are lovely, but I'm a Canadian used to cooler temperatures, and I can get bored pretty easily if my only escape from the heat is my hotel room. I'm not a sun-worshipper anymore. A Caribbean resort in unpleasant weather is pretty boring for me but I can always find something to do on a ship.

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We have been cruising for over 10 years and decided 2 years ago to include an A1 in our vacation plans. Now we usually do one A1 a year and one cruise a year.

But next year, we have rented a condo in Puerto Vallarta. I'm eager to see what's that like.

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