The Pros and Cons of a Cruise vs. an All-Inclusive Resort

If you’re the kind of traveler who prefers not to spend hours planning every microscopic detail of a holiday, you will find the idea of cruises and all-inclusive resorts very attractive. But if you can only choose one or the other, which is the best bet? Here, we’ve weighed up the pros and cons of each, and hopefully provide enough information to help you decide which will better suit your needs.

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Image Credit: Kabacchi

Cruises move, resorts stay still

This is fairly obvious, but it needed to be said. When you opt for a cruise, you will be taken to various destinations that you will be free to explore on your own or perhaps join a tour group. When you go for the resort, you will typically not see very much beyond the immediate vicinity of the resort, since they are often located in remote locations. You can of course book day excursions at an all-inclusive resort, but they may be pricy if booked through the hotel, and they involved long hours on a coach or boat to get you to the destination.

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Image credit: Roderick Eime

Activities and rooms 

Both all-inclusive hotels and luxury cruise ships offer many activities that you can enjoy (usually inclusive). Think of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and even casinos in some cases. However the room size can greatly differ. On a ship, your room size (even if you’re in a suite) is likely to be much smaller than if you’re in a hotel on land. So if you like space, and lots of it – then a hotel may be more your thing.

Variety and experiences

Cruise ships tend to offer a much more ‘tailored’ experience than hotels. For example, you can cruise pretty much anywhere and enjoy many destinations during one vacation (without the worry of packing and unpacking). A hotel however, is located in one place, and one place only. You’ll usually stay in that resort for the full week and probably not leave the city or region.

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Image credit: Victoria Winters

If you don’t like it, can you leave.

If, by some unhappy accident, you discover you’ve booked the resort from hell, leaving is usually a simple matter, although you may lose a bit of money in the process. On a cruise, of course, it is a little more complicated. You could be stuck there for days or even weeks until you can disembark and fly to another destination to finish off your holiday. You have the same problem in the event of illness or injury where you would normally have to wait until the ship reaches port before you can receive full medical care and make a holiday illness claim.

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Image credit: Kabacchi

When things go wrong, the consequences are different

A whole range of adversities can affect both resorts and cruises alike. Storms, natural disasters, power failures, and illness outbreaks are all possibilities. Storms are much more of a problem if they strike while you’re on a cruise, but modern cruise ships have a vast array of technology available to help captains to detect and avoid storms. Resorts can’t really manoeuvre very well, so if a storm strikes while you’re there, you’ll just have to hunker down and wait it out. On the plus side though, most 4* or 5* resorts do have good back-up weather options for when bad weather does hit.

Although both can be very enjoyable in their own rite, the differences between a cruise and an all-inclusive resort are vast so be sure to take the above info on board, carry out some more research and choose according to your holiday requirements.

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2 Comments

  1. Tammy March 18, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    There seems to be good and bad about both of them for me. I’m learning more towards a cruise because you get to go places. I’m just hoping I don’t get sea sick!

  2. Kathy March 18, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    Ships kind of scare me although I have always wanted to try taking a cruise. They look fun! A resort sounds nice too and I love having a large room to stay in and relax. I don’t really like being to cramped. Tough decision.

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