Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Mr and Mrs C

Where you disappointed in all inclusive after cruising?

Recommended Posts

We have done 9 Caribbean cruises, 8 on Ncl, and one on carnival. We’ve absolutely loved them all but are looking for something different, and more budget friendly.  Pricing has gone crazy for cruising since we started 10 years ago. Looking at going to Punta Cana next winter (cheaper then a cruise) for a week instead of cruising, I’m thinking if we skip 2 years of cruising we would do an Alaska cruise for something different.

 

My question is have you done cruising and all inclusives? I know the food and entertainment is no where near the quality of cruising. The only way I can sell it to my family is if I can find some interesting excursions to do, any suggestions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’re having the opposite problem.  Going on our first cruise next February.  We love our all- inclusives!  We are total beach people who love to relax, swim, eat, drink and repeat!  There are so many excursions so you will be just fine!  We are staying at iberostar hacienda dominicus in May.  We are staying on the Caribbean side of Dominican Republic, Bayahibe.  We prefer the nice calm waters vs the Atlantic in punta Cana.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been on nearly 20 cruises on most of the major cruiselines and did my first all-inclusive stay last December at the Hyatt Zilara in Montego Bay.  I have to say, I really loved it!  We stayed 7 nights and never felt the need to leave the resort, there was so much to do.  All non-motorized water sports were included, there was something going on all day and night, music everywhere.

 

I felt the food was comparable to the complimentary dining options on a cruiseline, and there were 11 different restaurants to choose from, no reservations required.  Our "suite" was huge, with a large balcony equipped with a table and 2 chairs plus a full size bed to take naps on. 

The best part was that once you've paid, there are no extras or surprises.  EVERYTHING is included - all drinks, food, tips, etc.  While I still love cruising and being on the open seas, with a new port to explore every day or so, I can't wait wait to go back to the all-inclusive.  I booked it as a package deal with airfare, r/t non-stop Orlando to Montego Bay, 7 nights, all for less than $1700 a person.  I thought this was a great deal.

That said, I just returned from a 7-night on Oasis of the Seas and will be on a 10-nt. Italy/Greek Isle cruise Aug. 1.  The AI beat out Oasis, in my opinion.  I'll let you know how the NCL August cruise fares.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We considered an all inclusive, Aruba was in mind, my brother and his Wife are heading there for the second time and they asked us to join them.....would of loved to go, just can't swing the time off work☹️. Any how, the draw for us would be....get off the plane, be on a beach within an hour

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Mr and Mrs C said:

We have done 9 Caribbean cruises, 8 on Ncl, and one on carnival. We’ve absolutely loved them all but are looking for something different, and more budget friendly.  Pricing has gone crazy for cruising since we started 10 years ago. Looking at going to Punta Cana next winter (cheaper then a cruise) for a week instead of cruising, I’m thinking if we skip 2 years of cruising we would do an Alaska cruise for something different.

 

My question is have you done cruising and all inclusives? I know the food and entertainment is no where near the quality of cruising. The only way I can sell it to my family is if I can find some interesting excursions to do, any suggestions?

 

We have done both. Sometimes the food at AIs is much better than on the cruise, sometimes it is about the same. it is certainly no worse than on NCL ships. As far as entertainment, it is different. There is more to do at night, just not the big shows.

Almost every excursion that you can do through the ship you can do at an AI, in fact there are often more excursions available because you don't have to worry about missing the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've done 13 cruises, number 14 coming up in three weeks.  We tried an AI for the first time last summer and loved it, and have booked the Explorean in Cozumel for this July.  I think AIs will be our summer go to, when they're cheap and cruises are crazy expensive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DH and I do a mix of both cruising and AI resorts. I think the food is about the same for both vacation choices.  We usually only do cruise now to places that are more port intensive ( Europe, Alaska, Iceland -2020). If we want a "beach" vacation it is more cost effective to do a land-based AI. I really enjoy the Hard Rock Riviera Maya in Cancun. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have done several cruises and love them.  For a different experience, we decided to try an all-inclusive in Punta Cana.  It was nice to have the chance to compare the two experiences.  Don't know if I am allowed to mention the resort we stayed at, so will leave that out for now.

For us, there is no comparison, really.  We love to explore and do things.  Typically when we vacation we travel through the area and visit as many places as we can.  We were told by the resort that it was not safe to leave the resort on our own.  If we wanted to do something not offered by the resort we needed to book with a tour - for an extra expense.  We loved the opportunity to relax around the pool, but if you didn't get there by 10 or 11 in the morning, there would be no place to sit.  There were limited places to eat and the food was so-so.  Entertainment options were very limited (and very poor quality).  My take on this experience (and that of everyone in my family) - if you want to spent your time at the pool and drink all day, then this is the place to go.  We decided this was not for us,

We love cruising.  Always something to do, lots of different places to eat.  And then there's the destination to explore.  Hubby calls cruising two vacations.  One to relax and have fun while you are on the ship and one when you get to your destination.

I know that everyone has different experiences so someone else may find all-inclusives to be amazing (probably also depends on where you go).  For us, we could have gone on another cruise for about the same price without the hassle of flying.

I need to add to be fair- we went with a group of 40 people.  There were many in our group who really liked the all-inclusive and some who even booked for this summer again.  So it really depends on what you are looking for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, bjtravelnews said:

We have done several cruises and love them.  For a different experience, we decided to try an all-inclusive in Punta Cana.  It was nice to have the chance to compare the two experiences.  Don't know if I am allowed to mention the resort we stayed at, so will leave that out for now.

For us, there is no comparison, really.  We love to explore and do things.  Typically when we vacation we travel through the area and visit as many places as we can.  We were told by the resort that it was not safe to leave the resort on our own.  If we wanted to do something not offered by the resort we needed to book with a tour - for an extra expense.  We loved the opportunity to relax around the pool, but if you didn't get there by 10 or 11 in the morning, there would be no place to sit.  There were limited places to eat and the food was so-so.  Entertainment options were very limited (and very poor quality).  My take on this experience (and that of everyone in my family) - if you want to spent your time at the pool and drink all day, then this is the place to go.  We decided this was not for us,

We love cruising.  Always something to do, lots of different places to eat.  And then there's the destination to explore.  Hubby calls cruising two vacations.  One to relax and have fun while you are on the ship and one when you get to your destination.

I know that everyone has different experiences so someone else may find all-inclusives to be amazing (probably also depends on where you go).  For us, we could have gone on another cruise for about the same price without the hassle of flying.

I need to add to be fair- we went with a group of 40 people.  There were many in our group who really liked the all-inclusive and some who even booked for this summer again.  So it really depends on what you are looking for.

 

If the resort told you it was not safe to leave...you stayed at the wrong resort in the wrong part of town. There’s a place called Principe Bahia I believe that is kind of on the outskirts or town. It’s a seedy area with nowhere to walk to. It’s also very cheap. You get what you pay for.

 

There are plenty of places where it is perfectly safe to walk around. Hard Rock wouldn’t build a resort in an area where their guests are not safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want a taste of what in AI is like, buy a daily resort pass on your next cruise stop in Cozumel or Jamaica. It’s dirt cheap, $50 bucks or so, and you get food, open bar, pool, beach, snorkeling etc from 9am-5pm. So essentially you get the exact same AI experience as the other guests...you’re just not staying the night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We enjoy both AIs and cruises. IMO the only thing that cruises have over AIs is entertainment. AIs have some but nowhere near as much and nowhere the quality. Food is comparable but I’ve had been on some cruises and better at some AIs. What’s really nice about AIs is how relaxed it is. No swiping your card for a drink. No waiting for the ship to dock so you can get off for a few hours. No stressing about making it back in time to board. Plus the rooms and facilities are so nice to be able to walk out of your room and be at a huge pool or beach.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before we started cruising (after moving to US) we had two A/I vacations in Dominican Republic.

In Iberostar, Punta Cana (2000) and in Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, La Romana.(2002)

Both were a great quality

 

First we enjoyed as it was our very first time in exotic Caribbean so everything was very new and exiting

Second time  we started getting very bored.

 

In 2003 we tried our very first cruise in North America and never looked back.

To us cruises are more interesting. We love change of scenery, different ports, we enjoy ship's entertainment much more.

Sailaways are very exciting even after 40 cruises.

A/I includes unlimited drinks and this is the only pro, but you can have a package one way or another.

 

Also we can cruise from nearby or little bit away ports so flying is not involved, making it cheaper.

Edited by Tatka

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, CruisingNole said:

 

If the resort told you it was not safe to leave...you stayed at the wrong resort in the wrong part of town. There’s a place called Principe Bahia I believe that is kind of on the outskirts or town. It’s a seedy area with nowhere to walk to. It’s also very cheap. You get what you pay for.

 

There are plenty of places where it is perfectly safe to walk around. Hard Rock wouldn’t build a resort in an area where their guests are not safe.

 

We stayed in two quality resorts in Punta Cana and La Romana.

Quality of resorts was great, however area around wasn't really safe. And we saw security with guns on the beach at nights.

 

It is a normal thing for A/I in poorer countries were most areas are shady

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Tatka said:

 

We stayed in two quality resorts in Punta Cana and La Romana.

Quality of resorts was great, however area around wasn't really safe. And we saw security with guns on the beach at nights.

 

It is a normal thing for A/I in poorer countries were most areas are shady

 

 

 

La Romana, that’s where the resort I was referring to is located. Probably the least desirable area you want to stay in when visiting Punta Cana. It’s fine as long as you are OK with being confined to the resort. Not my thing, but it works for some people. And it’s dirt cheap for nice accommodations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've cruised about 5X (one more coming up in June) and have stayed at an AI at least 50X.  Hands down the AI for us.  A cruise is something different and fun to do here and there, but we prefer a land/resort/hotel vacation (not always AI) and having our own schedule.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, CruisingNole said:

 

La Romana, that’s where the resort I was referring to is located. Probably the least desirable area you want to stay in when visiting Punta Cana. It’s fine as long as you are OK with being confined to the resort. Not my thing, but it works for some people. And it’s dirt cheap for nice accommodations.


Well. Just made a search for June, which is an off season for Caribbeans

https://book.applevacations.com/Availability/Default.aspx?itin=1

 

$1306pp minimum.

Maybe it is a dirt cheap, but when comparing to cruising overall it is not.

 

At least for us. And if you start including options of safe areas, better flights, it increases dramatically. 

Edited by Tatka

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm finding that cruising is expensive.  Shore excursions, upcharges and all the other charges cruising just never had - they all add up.

 

Also, Apple not always the best place to get decent pricing, but it is nice for a first timer.  You want to check with Expedia/Orbitz - price it as a package and separately with air.  Take advantage of promo codes, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Tatka said:


Well. Just made a search for June, which is an off season for Caribbeans

https://book.applevacations.com/Availability/Default.aspx?itin=1

 

$1306pp minimum.

Maybe it is a dirt cheap, but when comparing to cruising overall it is not.

 

At least for us. And if you start including options of safe areas, better flights, it increases dramatically. 

 

Try this place. Less than $550pp for 7 nights in junior suite ocean front. You will not find a cruise in a junior suite that includes alcohol for anywhere near that.

 

 

59D29A14-0D93-4A83-B561-26469B3DFE22.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love cruising AND AIs.  Depends on the situation. 

  • For long weekend getaways, AIs are much better because you don't have the hassle getting to port, waiting in lines, muster drills etc. 
  • I like cruises with a group and kids because the kids can have freedom to roam the ship safely and there are countless things to do vs many AIs that don't have the variety of activities for kids.
  • AIs are great when you don't want to be on a schedule- sometimes I want to lay on the beach until after sunset.
  • Cruises tend to have way better entertainment
  • AIs usually have nicer accommodations for the price- larger rooms and bathrooms
  • Cruises have the best water views from your balcony
  • AIs don't feel as crowded as cruises
  • Cruises allow you to visit multiple countries/ports in 1 week

It's a coin toss for me.  We usually do cruises with kids for spring break and AIs for couples/adult trips.  I wouldn't turn down a chance to do either!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve been on several cruises and I wanted to try something different for our honeymoon so we did an all inclusive in Mexico. We were extremely bored the entire time! We are used to the entertainment on the mega ships, always something going on, but at the resort there was really nothing!! It’s nice if you want to just sit by the pool all day and drink but that’s about it. I didn’t really enjoy the food either. So we’ve continued our cruising after that experience. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Resorts can vary regarding entertainment.  Even if we do an AI, we still leave the resort, usually at least once a day.  It can be boring to sit there all week, but some people also need that relaxation from life.  It's nice to be able to choose to be "lazy" or active, and on your schedule.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like cruises for longer trips and resorts for shorter - shorter than 7 days prefer an AI, 7 or longer prefer a cruise.  I've been to AIs in Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Cabo San Lucas, and Costa Rica Pacific side (near Manuel Antonio).  There are definitely pros and cons to both.

- Entertainment.  Cruise ships generally have much better and more variety.

- Pool areas.  AIs are more peaceful and there generally isn't the overcrowding on these places like cruise ships.

- Food.  I think the specialty dining options on cruise ships are better than the restaurants in an AI, but this is case by case and vary across AIs, just like they vary across cruise lines.

- Excursions.  Doing excursions from an AI (or a hotel) are better than a cruise ship because you don't have the time restrictions and have more options.

 

Some other benefits on AIs:

- some AIs are adult only

- many AIs have partnerships so you can go to other resorts (often through complimentary shuttles) so you aren't always restricted to just one AI. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...