Cruises vs. All-Inclusive Resort Vacations

Published 06/06/2016

Cruise vs All Inclusive

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When planning a vacation, you often want to squeeze the most out of your dollar that you can without sacrificing the quality of the trip. Cruises are known for including everything you need once you set foot onboard. However, all-inclusive resorts take care of everything as well. By comparing and contrasting what each type of vacation has to offer, you can decide which one best suits your travel needs.

Food and Drinks

On a cruise, meals are included in the price at most of the eating establishments onboard. However, drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are often extra. At an all-inclusive resort, all food and drinks are included in the price when dining at on-site restaurants. A drawback may be that the dining options are fewer in number than some cruises.


Cruises and all-inclusive resorts offer a multitude of activities on site. Water parks, ropes courses, swimming pools, plays, concerts, and more are all popular options often included in the price of the vacation. Additionally, fitness classes and watersports are also included. Shore excursions on cruises usually carry an additional fee. In contrast, resorts often have sister properties that allow guests to participate in off-site activities at no additional charge.

Travel Time and Expense

Whether you are booking a cruise or a resort vacation, you still have to pay to get there. Many cruises leave from ports located in the US, meaning you don't have to travel as far to get to the ship. All-inclusive resorts are almost always located outside of the country, meaning you'll have to travel farther to get to the resort. This not only means a more expensive flight, but it could also extend the length of your trip depending on how long it takes to travel to your destination.


Cruise ships often have at least 15 decks and enough space to accommodate more than 3,000 passengers in addition to the crew. They are not small by any means. However, obviously everyone must stay on the ship unless it is a port day. The only time for passengers to take in the sights are on days that the ship is in port. At an all-inclusive resort, you have more freedom to plan what you want to see and when you want to explore.

Standard cruises are generally cheaper than all-inclusive resort vacations because you are expected to spend money on additional activities. Spending a little more up front for a luxury cruise includes quite a bit more and saves the stress of racking up additional charges on your vacation. All-inclusive resorts and cruises both offer everything you need for a relaxing, exciting, and adventurous vacation. It really comes down to if you want to spend most of your time on land in one location or on a ship sailing to different ports.