Cruise vs resort: What's the better value?

Two of the most sought-after vacations, cruises and all-inclusives, both provide a great break from life. But when it comes down to it, which one has more bang for your buck? A cruise out on the high seas, or an all-inclusive resort? There are pros and cons to each option, so let’s break it down and see who it is that comes on top.

Cruise

Let’s start off by look at the pros and cons of going on a cruise. A typical 7-night Caribbean luxury cruise trip can cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of $1914 (as quoted on Expedia) per person.

Pros

  • One of the biggest pros of a cruise is that you are able to visit multiple locations in a safe and structured way. Your cruise ship with take you from one port to another without having to worry about making additional travel plans.
  • In addition to being able to see multiple cities in one trip, your cruise ship itself is an adventure. On board you have access to a seemingly endless amount of activities, from mini-golf and surfing, to live music and other forms of entertainment, you name it. Ships are becoming more and more grand, essentially becoming their own floating resort!
  • Prices can vary significantly from one room to another. An inside cabin can be roughly half the cost of a suite with a view of the open water around you. So, no matter what your budget is, you should be able to find a cabin that fits.

Cons

  • Any excursions or activities outside of the ship will often cost you extra, raising the price of your trip.
  • Getting comprehensive and reasonably priced travel insurance can be a little more difficult when going on a cruise. Cruises present their own enhanced level of risk, so it is worth while seeking out cruise specific insurance. Also, depending on where your cruise takes you, you will also need to ensure you are able to provide proof of valid travel coverage.
  • While most meals on board your ship are included, alcohol is not. Most ships do offer drink packages, which can certainly save you money. But, there is no getting around the fact that those piña coladas and cervezas will be a significant added cost to your trip. In addition, many of the specialty restaurants on board will come at an added cost as well.

All-inclusive Resort

Alright, now we’ll dive into the pros and cons of opting to go to an all-inclusive resort. For an 5 star all-inclusive 7-night resort trip to the Dominican Republic, you are looking at spending somewhere around $2,215 (as quoted on Expedia).

Pros

  • While there may be some additional costs for day excursions that go beyond your trip package, you have access to many activities that are built into your package right there in the resort.
  • The biggest perk is in the name, “all-inclusive”. Food, alcohol, and most amenities are built into the cost of the tip, meaning that you do not have to pay for much while you are there.
  • Travel insurance for all-inclusive trips are easy to obtain. To find the best price for the travel coverage you need, shop around online. Be mindful however if your resort is in Cuba, as you will need proof of your travel insurance.

Cons

  • With an all-inclusive resort trip, you are stagnant in one location, you don’t really get to see anything beyond the borders of your resort.
  • Staying within the confines of your resort is often done for your safety, as sometimes it is unsafe for tourist to venture into nearby neighbourhoods.

Who comes out on top?

So when it comes down to it, which option holds more value? While the answer to that question can vary from person to person, and what it is they value in their trip, we are going to answer based on the pros and cons above.

While the cruise is initially cheaper, after adding in alcoholic drinks, specialty food, and additional excursions or activities, the cost can quickly surpass that of an all-inclusive trip. The big plus that a cruise still holds is the notion that you are able to visit multiple port cities during your vacation.

But, with an all-inclusive, the description is in the name. You may pay a little bit more for your vacation upfront, but you can rest easy knowing that you will be hit with very minimal additional fees. This “all-inclusive” characteristic is what gives it the value edge over a cruise vacation.