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Is a cruise or all inclusive resort a better vacation value?


I love cruising and I love all inclusive resorts so I’ve been asked many times which is the better value. Well there is no one answer but let’s take an example and compare an oceanview room at an adult only all inclusive resort with an oceanview cabin on a 7 day Caribbean Cruise.

All major cruise lines include meals and entertainment in the basic cruise fare but except for a few luxury lines there are lots of extras you must add to your vacation budget. Coffee, tea and fruit juice are usually complimentary but you’ll pay for most other beverages whether you order a soft drink, bottled water, beer, wine or cocktail and a 15-20% tip will be added to your drink cost.

Specialty restaurants requiring a reservation charge a fee. Coffee drinks and gourmet ice cream are not included. Exercise equipment is free but classes often carry a charge. Transportation from the airport to the cruise ship and back are extra. Gratuities for your cabin steward, dining staff and other services will be added to your bill at the end of the cruise and shore excursions such as a snorkeling trip will be extra.

By contrast, at an adult only all inclusive resort like Sandals all of your meals, beverages, gratuities, airport transfers, entertainment, land and watersports are free. Snorkeling, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, water trikes, Hobie Cats, windsurfing, waterskiing and SCUBA , is all included and you can enjoy fitness classes and equipment at no charge.

Specialty restaurants such as Italian, Japanese Teppanyaki and French are all included at no extra charge and you’ll find ice cream shops, swim up pool bar, English pub and nightclub all complimentary. Golf is included at many of the Sandals Resorts and even destination weddings are free!

To give a price comparison, I have compared apples to apples: balcony rooms, oceanview, 7 nights, 2 people:

Cruise:

• Oceanview stateroom with balcony: $2725 for 2 people

• Gratuities @ $80 per person = $160

• Alcoholic beverages, 2 drinks per person per day @ $7.50 each = $105

• Diet Coke, or other soft drink, 2 per day per person @2.50 each = $35

• 2 bottles of water per day per person@ $3.00 each = $42 for the week

• Snorkeling excursion for @ $60 per person = $120

• SCUBA, 2 tank dive @ $105 per person = $210

• Kayaking excursion @ $59 per person = $118

• Airport/port transfers $35 per person each way: $140

TOTAL: $3655.00

 

Sandals Resorts:

• Oceanview room with balcony: $2400 for 2 people

• Gratuities: $0.00

• Alcoholic Beverages: $0.00 unlimited

• Soft drinks: $0.00 unlimited

• Bottle Water: $0.00 unlimited

• Snorkeling: $0.00

• SCUBA: $0.00

• Kayaking: $0.00

• Airport/resort transfers: $0.00

TOTAL: $2400.00

So if you’d like to visit several tropical islands in a single week cruising may be your best choice,  but dollar for dollar your money may go further on an adult only or family friendly all inclusive vacation. Whichever vacation experience is right for you I am happy to help so please call or email sandi@totemtravel.com or contact one of the Certified Sandals Specialists at Totem Travel.

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