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Why an All-Inclusive Resort Is Better Than a Cruise

Woman enjoying vacation holidays at luxurious beachfront hotel resort with swimming pool and tropical lansdcape near the beach
Written by Mandy Voisin

This blog post was updated on July 2, 2020.

A vacation at sea might seem like a great idea, and, for the right person, it can be. After all, it’s pretty awesome to be eating a steak under a chandelier in the middle of the Atlantic. Cruises are easy to plan. You book your ticket, and automatically your food, lodging, and activities are arranged. You get to see multiple places in one trip without having to schedule extra flights or transportation. And it’s a great way to make friends and meet new people since you’re all stuck on a boat together.

But given the choice between an all-inclusive resort or a cruise, I’ll pick the all-inclusive any day, especially since flights to the Bahamas are pretty short.

Don’t get me wrong, cruises are great. I’ve been on a few and I enjoyed them — but in full disclosure, I think I enjoyed them because I was on vacation, not because I was on a cruise. A couple of years ago, we decided to try out an all-inclusive resort instead, and the overall experience was much better. We had the same benefits (No planning! Food included! Activities arranged!) but with far fewer drawbacks.

Here are a few reasons why:

You Don’t Get Seasick

Cruise sea motion sickness tourist woman seasick on boat vacation with headache or nausea

For those who are prone to turning green out at sea, this one’s a biggie. Not having to worry about seasickness spoiling your trip is one of the main reasons why people prefer staying on land. Of course, there are some drugs to help cope with seasickness, so if you’re prone to motion sickness, you do have a solution. But with an all-inclusive, you don’t have to worry about seasickness at all. Just think about it, the resort has all the amenities you can want, but without the experience of those nasty waves of nausea. Need we say more?

All-Inclusive Resorts Cover Much More

Young couple active leisure swimming pool concept

Cruise fares generally cover accommodations, meals (but not at all onboard restaurants), non-alcoholic beverages, and pool use. But most of them charge extra for soda, alcohol, meals in special restaurants, tips, and certain onboard activities. You’ll also have to shell out extra for excursions onshore, spa treatments, and souvenirs.

An all-inclusive resort is actually pretty close to “all-inclusive.” All of the onsite restaurants are generally included, as well as soda, alcohol, and coffee. Beach and pool access, fitness classes, kids programs, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boards, and more often come with the initial rate — whereas you’ll pay extra for them at a port on a cruise. You’ll still need money for souvenirs and tips, but overall it’s a much better bang for your buck.

All-inclusive resorts also tend to have more special events. A few years ago, we went to the Hyatt Ziva all-inclusive in Jamaica. We were there over New Year’s Eve, and they had a black-tie event, completely free of charge. Stations were spread out across the resort offering prime rib, seafood, dozens of desserts, and drinks. At night we had fireworks and champagne toasts. It was absolutely magical and unexpected and completely covered by the initial price.

You Have More Room at an All-Inclusive Resort

family having breakfast in bed

Cruise ships by nature have way less space than an all-inclusive, which means your room will probably be very small unless you paid for a premium room. Standard hotel rooms are much larger than cruise cabins. If you only plan on sleeping in your room, it might not make a big difference to you. But if you have kids sleeping with you, or you like to spend time in your room on vacation, a cruise cabin can get really tight.

You may also like: How to Find the Best All-Inclusive Resort for Your Budget

You Have More Freedom at an All-Inclusive Resort

woman having breakfast by the swimming pool at a luxury resort

When you start your cruise, you’re often given meal times since they can’t accommodate everyone at once. The ship docks at specific times and leaves at specific times so you have to keep your eye on the clock when you get off. But at an all-inclusive, you can eat whenever you want, wherever you want (many allow you to order food and drinks from the pool!). You can spend as much time at the pool or beach as you want without having to rush back to get on a departing ship. And you can hit the beach whenever you’re ready, without having to wait for the ship to dock. Plus, you can chill in your swimsuit all day if you want to (many cruises require you to put on a cover-up for meals or other activities).

Resorts Are Way Less Crowded

Sunny day on the beach

A smaller space means less room for people, which means a cruise ship can get really crowded. Even after you dock, you can’t escape the crowds, since multiple ships often dock at the same ports. Meanwhile, an all-inclusive resort usually has a private beach just for guests so you have plenty of space and even privacy.

Not to mention, certain all-inclusive resorts tend to be more quiet and peaceful than cruise ships. For example, some resorts are for adults only, so if you’re trying to avoid the chaos of kids running around, an all-inclusive is the way to go. If there’s a lot of noise and you want to get away, it’s much easier to escape to somewhere private at an all-inclusive resort than on a boat in the middle of the sea.

Cruise Ships Are More Affected by Weather

Strong storm wind sways the trees and breaks the leaves from the two palm trees

An all-inclusive resort will never sail away without you, and your vacation is much less likely to be canceled should bad weather arise. During hurricane season especially, (June 1 – November 30) there’s a chance your trip will be canceled. Cruises will do everything in their power to prevent a cancellation, however, which means outrunning the storm. If that’s the case, you’ll probably have inclement weather and have to deal with choppy seas, which can exacerbate seasickness.

Ultimately, a cruise is for those who want to visit multiple locations, and an all-inclusive is for those who want to truly relax. And don’t forget, taking flights to the Bahamas or anywhere in the Caribbean is quick and easy! Once you arrive, you’ll realize the all-inclusive resort truly is all-inclusive, which means you have fewer decisions to make and can go home well-rested in mind and body.

Did you have an amazing time at an all-inclusive resort? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

About the author

Mandy Voisin

Hey I'm Mandy. Writer, traveler, wife, mother, author, woman, over-sharer. I like to talk about the grit of travel, the beautiful, and the people that I meet.