If you're looking for a getaway where everything is taken care of, which vacation type -- a cruise or an all-inclusive resort -- is truly the better deal? The answer isn't black and white, but we'll break down what you get with each, so you can determine which is best for your next vacation.
Pick the cruise if:
- You want to visit multiple destinations in a week and have plenty of activities to choose from when onboard.
- You don't drink. At an all-inclusive, you will be subsidizing someone else's alcohol consumption.
- You drink wine. Many resorts have limited, uninspired wine lists, says Blank. Cruise lines have more extensive options, especially for connoisseurs, even though you have to pay for a glass or bottle.
- You like Broadway-style entertainment at night. Resort entertainment, when there is some, tends to be more low-key, showcasing local acts, or centered around discos and night clubs.
- You like to gamble. Few all-inclusive resorts have onsite casinos.
- You have trouble with mobility, and like the self-contained nature of a cruise ship versus a resort, which can be spread out across a huge property.
- You want to receive excellent service. Blank says that, in general, even the most affordable cruise lines, such as Carnival, offer more consistent and friendly service than many all-inclusive resorts.
Pick the resort if:
- You're looking for a truly relaxing vacation, with very little on the schedule.
- You like hanging out in a bathing suit all day. Most cruise lines make you put on a cover-up to grab a buffet meal.
- You want to be able to walk on the beach at sunrise or sunset ... or any time you want. With a cruise, you're restricted to hours in port; at a resort, the beach is right out your front door.
- You want to eat and drink as much as possible without worrying about racking up high bills for cocktails or trying out multiple dining options.
- You plan on taking advantage of water sports and other activities. If you want to spend your vacation snorkeling, kayaking and body surfing, you'll save money at the resort where these activities are included versus a cruise, which charges for these activities in port.
- You're an avid golfer or scuba diver. You can book resorts that are dedicated to these activities, with included or onsite offerings. On a cruise, you will only be able to book these tours on port days.