Let me start by saying I will always love cruising. Speaking as a U.S. Navy veteran, I love the sea and will continue cruising with my new grandson, #TheCruiseKid. Now it’s time to try my first all inclusive experience.
Recently, my very close friends started visiting all inclusive resorts. They are 5 star Mariners on Holland America Line, but wanted to check out all inclusive resort vacations. Now they’re hooked.
Advantages of all inclusive resorts
Larger, more spacious rooms. We all know that cruise ship cabins (except the more pricey suites) are 200 square feet or below. Cramped quarters for two people if you are going on a cruise longer than 7 days. Marty and I have sailed on two 14-day southern Caribbean cruises on Holland America and after a couple of days, we continued to step over each other. Also, the bathroom is a little bit cramped.
The constant cutbacks and added fees. This applies to most cruise lines. Do you remember the days of chocolates on the pillows at night, the automatic twice a day room service, you didn’t have to request an ice bucket be in your cabin, and finally, table cloths. As cruise lines build more and more ships, accountants are scrambling to cut costs and generate more revenue. I get it! It seems like all inclusive resorts must have different accountants on their payroll, because from what I see, the liquor is flowing freely and they’re not added fees! Certainly not a fee for a second entree!!!!
The days of old. Back in the day, ballroom dancing and formality were the hallmark of Holland America Line cruises. No longer. BB Kings Blues Club and the Rolling Stones Rock Room have replaced the tradition of Holland America. I realize that they are focusing more and more on multi-generational cruisers to replace senior citizens who have made Holland America great, however, I’m finding that some of these affluent clientele are moving their vacation dollars to all inclusive resorts.
More space. If you look at most all inclusive resorts, you will see it’s like a 15,000 acre version of Half Moon Cay complete with many swimming pools, over 20 restaurants, bars every 20 feet and amazing ocean views. Great spaces for kids, teens and adults. Lots of activities, high action parties, and entertainment staff that move through the resort.
Cost. When you add in the cost of specialty restaurants, the Navigator wine package, cost of excursions and gratuities, the price of a cruise can go sky high. All inclusive resorts, for the most part, are truly all inclusive.
In conclusion, I will be joining my friends who are 5 star Mariners on Holland America, along with many of their family members at the Palladium Colonial Resort in Riviera Maya for a one week stay to compare for myself all inclusives vs. cruising. My friends will continue sailing on Holland America Line (they love their 5-star Mariner status, over 700 days), and I love my 3-star Mariner status. I look forward to sharing my all inclusive experience and hope you enjoy it.
Scott Lara, The Cruise Genius