Cruises Vs. All- Inclusive Resorts: Which is Better for Your Family Vacation


It’s time to plan your vacation but you are facing the decision on whether to book a cruise or an all- inclusive resort.  The decision is difficult since you are trying to please your entire family without breaking the bank.

The question is which one of better suited for my family.  The answer is there is no right answer, cruises work out better for some families while others prefer the no worry about anything element to an all-inclusive resort.  It’s really important to know what you are getting for your money on a cruise.  So many people think that cruises do include everything, while they do include a lot of things, they are definitely not all inclusive.

Royal Caribbean Harmony Of The Seas

Here’s some of the things that are included in your cruise price.

1.  Most Meals- Yes, that’s right not all meals are included.  Cruise lines are now adding special restaurants to their offerings onboard.  Keep in mind that these restaurants do incur an additional charge but remember that you don’t have to eat there, you can stick with the buffets and main dining room.

2.  Entertainment- Ships are getting more and more amazing with rock climbing walls, bowling alleys, incredible water slides, ziplines and more.  It’s definitely not just your ordinary broadway type show any longer.

3.  Multiple Places without unpacking- One of the biggest advantages is you get to visit different locations on your vacation without unpacking your suitcase.

Now Here’s Some Things You’ll Need to Consider That Aren’t Included in Your Cruise Price

1.  Tips- Tips for the cruise staff are not automatically added to your cruise.  They can be added with your booking to make it easier for you onboard and to help you budget.

2.  Drinks- The only drinks that are automatic as part of your cruise are coffee, tea and water.  If you want soda, beer, wine, juice or mixed drinks they are extra and often very expensive.  But, just like with tips these beverage packages can be added to your booking to help you budget for your trip.

3. Transfers- Most cruise lines DO NOT include your transportation to and from the port .  Again, these can be added at an additional cost.

Now let’s take a look at what your family can expect at an all- inclusive resort

All-Inclusive resorts have their pros and cons, as well.  Here’s a look at the Pros

1.  All Meals are Included- Breakfast, lunch , dinner and snacks are all included in your resort price.  No need to worry or budget for food, it’s all you can eat!

2.  Transfers are included- If you book your vacation with a travel professional they will always include your airport transfers to and from the resort.

3. Entertainment- All your entertainment is included from shows to water sports and much more.  You’ll never be bored unless you actually want to be.

4.  Drinks- This is huge! Resorts include all alcoholic beverages, soda and more.  There is never a limit and never an additional charge.

5.  Tips- Most all-inclusive resorts don’t allow tipping for their staff since it is normally included as part of the resort price.

So, that’s just a quick look at some differences between cruises and resorts.  In the end, I prefer the resorts for a lot of reasons.  They are generally less crowded since there is more room to spread out so I don’t really notice the crowds as much.  Resorts have great programs for kids that you don’t have to pay extra to have your kids join.  Resorts do so much to make your stay really amazing, one of my favorite things is the special party nights at some resorts from beach parties and chocolate parties.  The biggest factor for me is that I can budget a lot better for my trip, once the final payment is made I know that I don’t have to spend any more out of my pocket unless I want to add things like excursions or any souvenirs we all want to buy.

Honestly, use a travel professional to help you book your vacation  You are spending a lot of money for vacation. A travel coordinator can help you choose the right resort or cruise line for your trip, they really aren’t created equal.  The bottom line is to choose what will give your family a great time and wonderful memories.