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Old 06-11-2009, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Seattle
1,743 posts, read 3,197,829 times
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With the cost of a week long cruise this year starting at less than $400pp , the extra cost for drinks is becoming less significant.

The last all-inclusive we stayed at was $180 pp per night. You can do a lot of drinking with the extra cash, if that's what you'd like.

We find the the all-inclusives much more laid back with more casual activities. I'm not sure we could spend more than a week there as we just get bored too easily.

We enjoy the variety of being in a different port each day with different activities. Of course they all cost.

We found the meals on cruises to be a bit better than all-inclusives too although this is pretty subjective.
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Old 06-11-2009, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Maryland
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When I did my Royal Caribbean Lines (RCL) Caribbean cruise in March 2008, RCL charged $45 for unlimited soda refills. They gave you a special non-slide glass and a sticker they put on your badge just in case you forgot the glass. I think sodas were $2 a piece so you had to drink a lot of sodas to get your money but, I liked only have one charge for sodas vice having a long itemized list for them at the end of the cruise (you'll only have one charge at the end but, I'm not keen on LONG bills). I don't know how many sodas if any came with the meal.

Concerning tips, tips were automatically included at bars that sold alcohol. I thought this stunk as the first bar I went to, the bartender made me 20 minutes to get a drink. Tips were optional for your cabin steward and head waiter in the formal dining room. The ship would drop off tip envelopes before the end of the cruise that you could put the tips in and leave in the room (I think).

I remember RCL charged for optional things on board the ship like doing a yoga class or playing bingo. They had bingo game with special cards where you could win a free cruise. I didn't win but, that was a little exciting. They did have free optional things like trivia contests. I won a genuine RCL pen once playing. I know no big deal but, it was still neat.

The optional excursions off the boat were good to outstanding (I really enjoyed the pirate tour in St. Thomas). However, I did have one case where a friend and I were left stranded after a deep sea fishing trip. We had little money at that point (I refused to pay RCL $5.50 to use their ATM). We ended up footing it. Fortunately, the walk was just under 2 miles. We told our travel agent about it after the cruise and found out we should've spoken with customer service the minute we got back. We may have gotten some kind of compensation. If you have any problems on optional tours, make sure you bring it to the ship's customer service attention as soon as you get back. Then, they could do something.

One thing about a cruise, if you think you'll see a lot of people on an all-inclusive, that's nothing compared to the big ship lines like RCL. We had over 3,800 passengers on my cruise. Their new Oasis class ships will hold 5,400 I believe.

The ship I cruised on Adventure of the Seas was beautiful and HUGE. It had 15 or 16 decks including the small chapel. I was amazed that they had a ice skating rink on board the ship. I had to see it to believe it.I don't know if there was any charge for skates. I don't ice skate. They also had a full length basketball court, miniature golf course, rollerblading course, jogging/walking track, 2 small pools and 2 whirlpools (I think), the mandatory fitness center which was good, 3 formal dining restaurants where you didn't have to pay, 2 I believe where you did, 2 informal dining rooms where you didn't have to pay, 5 or 6 bars, a casino and a mini shopping street with 6 or 7 shops selling duty free alcohol, jewelry and cameras, t-shirts and other typical touristy stuff and I forget what else. There are lots of places on board the ship to blow your money.

If you do a cruise, make sure you get a cabin with a balcony. It was awesome to watch the ship come into port and depart. Plus, you got to raz the late returnees. Some of them were rather cheeky.

That's all I can think about my cruise tip wise. I hope to do another one with RCL next year. I think a cruise ship is the best way to see the Caribbean.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:08 PM
 
943 posts, read 3,818,186 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chilkoot View Post
With the cost of a week long cruise this year starting at less than $400pp , the extra cost for drinks is becoming less significant.

The last all-inclusive we stayed at was $180 pp per night. You can do a lot of drinking with the extra cash, if that's what you'd like.

We find the the all-inclusives much more laid back with more casual activities. I'm not sure we could spend more than a week there as we just get bored too easily.

We enjoy the variety of being in a different port each day with different activities. Of course they all cost.

We found the meals on cruises to be a bit better than all-inclusives too although this is pretty subjective.
How did you get $180 per night. I looked on expedia and there was nothing close to that. I think the lowest was like $400 a night? Maybe that was for two people, I guess.
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Old 06-11-2009, 05:09 PM
 
943 posts, read 3,818,186 times
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Thanks to everyone that responded.
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Old 06-12-2009, 04:41 AM
 
Location: Maryland
83 posts, read 300,070 times
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I forgot to mention something about all-inclusives. I've never done one myself however, my step-mom did. She and her husband did a honeymoon thing at an all inclusive in Mexico. I don't remember the name of the resort. It apparently had a 3 tier system that determined what drinks were included as well as other services. She said she had a serious blast. So, they can be very nice.
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Old 06-12-2009, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Seattle
1,743 posts, read 3,197,829 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ogplife View Post
How did you get $180 per night. I looked on expedia and there was nothing close to that. I think the lowest was like $400 a night? Maybe that was for two people, I guess.
It was a special deal Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica was having about 3 years ago. A decent all-inclusive is expensive. We had a good time there but our preference is cruising, 15 so far. It's hard to beat the value this year which may go into next spring.

Royal Caribbean usually has good deals and they have a good product. They will nickle and dime you to death but most other lines do to. Once you decide which vacation to go on, look at the cruise line demographics. We were on a Mediterranean cruise 10 years ago where the average age was about 70. The ports were fantastic but it would have been nice to have a few couples onboard that were our age.

There is much to consider. Do you like dressing up for dinner? Most lines require or strongly prefer it. If not, try something like Windstar. Very classy and a little more casual.

This site is invaluable for cruise info.
Cruise Critic Message Boards
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Old 06-12-2009, 02:33 PM
 
Location: NoVa
2,125 posts, read 2,908,868 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annerk View Post
Keep in mind that many of the all-inclusive resorts are all-inclusive for a reason--outside the resort gates lurks a very dangerous area. Jamaica in particular. YOu can't leave because it's just not safe.
That's simply not true!

My husband and I went to Negril - Jamaica and didn't encounter the so-called 'danger', eventhough we chose the 'a la carte' route. We went into town every night during our stay and always went to places where locals hang out. We had a great time, not to mention the best local food which no all inclusive resort can top. We always made our impromptu stops on the way back to the hotel (around 10 or 11 pm by then) at several local fruit stands on the road side to buy fresh mangoes and other tropical fruits, nobody bothered us.

I personally would never go to a place where I would be confined behind a gate at all time, no matter how ritzy the gate is.

Now to answer OP's question: If your idea is just to relax and do nothing, all inclusive is better. There are also many 'adults only' all inclusive resorts, which is good if you don't feel like being surrounded by little kids on your vacation.
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Old 06-12-2009, 03:32 PM
 
2,190 posts, read 6,937,404 times
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Lots of great info here...

Bottom line, all inclusive and cruise are too board of terms and vary vastly...My advice is to determine a budget, add in unforeseeable items and use websites like cruisecritic dot com (don't know one for A.I.) to see what's more appealing to you for the money.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:30 AM
 
26,590 posts, read 54,565,311 times
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Originally Posted by graceC View Post
That's simply not true!

My husband and I went to Negril - Jamaica and didn't encounter the so-called 'danger', eventhough we chose the 'a la carte' route. We went into town every night during our stay and always went to places where locals hang out. We had a great time, not to mention the best local food which no all inclusive resort can top. We always made our impromptu stops on the way back to the hotel (around 10 or 11 pm by then) at several local fruit stands on the road side to buy fresh mangoes and other tropical fruits, nobody bothered us.

I personally would never go to a place where I would be confined behind a gate at all time, no matter how ritzy the gate is.

Now to answer OP's question: If your idea is just to relax and do nothing, all inclusive is better. There are also many 'adults only' all inclusive resorts, which is good if you don't feel like being surrounded by little kids on your vacation.
Tell that to my friend who was MURDERED BY THUGS less then 20 feet from the gate to his resort in Montego Bay after going to dinner with his wife two blocks down the street. He was stabbed even though they readily complied and gave up jewelry and cash and died in her arms in the street.

Jamaica is overall not a safe place. Gorgeous, absolutely, but not safe. Anyone who thinks it is kids themselves.
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Old 06-13-2009, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Spring/The Woodlands area
228 posts, read 884,538 times
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I would definitely go with a cruise!! I would be very bored going to ONE place for a week vs a cruise ship with 3 ports. But, I love cruising! I dont think you can beat the value of a cruise.
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