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Thread: Thoughts on cruises vs all-inclusive vacation?

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Misterman View Post
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    I looked at doing a Sandals resort. But fuck me!! It's great that everything is included and everyone isn't standing there with their hands out. But to get value out of that place, I'd have to be out on a dive boat doing 10 dives a day. It was like 6500$ EACH for the one I priced out. The extra 9 grand for the two of us would pay for a hell of a lot of stuff at a regular Mexico resort.
    More misinformation. They aren't even close to that expensive unless you are getting the honeymoon suites with butler service or other similarly ultra-premium suites/cabins. Sandals resorts have to be booked well in advance because all the cheap rooms (which are still amazing) get booked first.

    I have been to Sandals resorts 5 times now and not once have I paid anywhere near that. The highest I have ever paid was $3300 in peak season for a mid-tier room with a private (for the group of villas) infinity pool at one of their more expensive resorts to get to (Grenada). Every other time has been $2200-2600/pp including airfare in standard/deluxe rooms. They also have resorts in about a half dozen different countries, and Jamaica is the cheapest (below $2000 off season for a normal room).

    Most 2-tank dives are $250/USD per day in the Caribbean or Hawaii, so if you're a diver it doesn't take long to claw lots of value back out of Sandals, or make it equitable to a much cheaper resort in which you've paid for some excursions. Things like Snorkel tours and water toys are free, and food is miles ahead of any standard all inclusive resort which for me is a big draw to them. There is also no tipping (staff can lose their jobs if they accept one) so you are saving a few hundred there as well.

    The only way you are paying $6500/each at a Sandals is in an ultra premium room.

    Just as an example, if I look right now for later in January/February which is part of peak season for Sandals, their most expensive resorts in St. Lucia can be had for $3,500/person including airfare with upgraded rooms. If I go to their most expensive resort which I believe is Antigua, even if I pick a "Seaside Honeymoon Butler suite", I am nowhere near $6,500/pp including airfare.
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 01-04-2019 at 10:21 AM.

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    They aren’t cheap for sure, but I agree there is value there.

    Also best I can remember Sandals doesn’t do anything in mexico, if you are going to do a comparison, compare to a 4-5 star resort in the same country.

    But in any case if you are trying to get away for a week for 1000 bucks. Sandals isn’t for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by killramos View Post
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    They aren’t cheap for sure, but I agree there is value there.

    Also best I can remember Sandals doesn’t do anything in mexico, if you are going to do a comparison, compare to a 4-5 star resort in the same country.

    But in any case if you are trying to get away for a week for 1000 bucks. Sandals isn’t for you.
    Correct. The company was born in Jamaica where they have the majority of their resorts (8), and then they also do St Lucia (3), Antigua, Grenada, Barbados (2), Bahamas, and Exuma. Sandals is adults only, but "Beaches" is their sister brand that is family friendly. I have been to numerous "5 star" resorts in Mexico, Dominican, and Cuba and none of them are even close to a Sandals based on my experience - particularly in the areas of food quality, cleanliness and service. It's definitely something that can vary though.

    For a standard room, most Sandals resorts are low to mid $2,000 (includes airfare) and you get exactly the same perks as the people paying $4000/person for a butler suite, minus the butler which you are expected to tip handsomely when you check out - that is the only tipping exception at Sandals. I have seen them below $2,000 in low season. The standard rooms book up really fast though for exactly that reason - they are still super nice and you get all the same perks as the premium rooms for the most part - the more expensive rooms have more alcohol in the room and some spa credit but it isn't a lot. My friends have had butler rooms before and you get a cell phone so your butler can call you regularly and see if you need anything (or vise versa). Honestly it was more annoying than anything else, and you just don't need that much stuff throughout the day. Not worth it at all IMHO. Couple times we had pizzas delivered to the beach and whatnot, but that isn't worth a couple grand.

    No Sandals in Mexico. If I am looking at spending even $1,500 elsewhere though, I just go to Sandals for the extra $500-700 which is easily made up in resort quality/cleanliness, food quality, top shelf booze/premium beer, service, and free diving/excursions. I also LOVE that they are all non-smoking, for me personally there is nothing worse when I am on vacation trying to enjoy a meal and someone lights up right beside the restaurant. Adults only is also a major perk, but there are other adults only resorts (eg. Secrets).
    Last edited by Mitsu3000gt; 01-04-2019 at 11:17 AM.

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    We like doing lower tier cruises as they are good bang for buck - $500 airfare, $700 7 day Caribbean cruise on newest Carnival ships. Always the most care free and relaxing vacations.

    I thought food is way better than all inclusive resorts and it's nice to visit different ports. Never had line ups for food except for embarkation day.

    For some cruise lines, tips aren't really mandatory. They are automatically added to your bill but you can ask them to change it if you prefer to give tips directly.

    The experience all depends on which boat you're on and the group you're with. We usually have at least a dozen in our group - might be more boring in a small group.

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    For good cruise deals, check out vacationstogo.com

    Thank me later. And before anyone asks, I did book with them once on a nice high end Princess ship with a suite for a 10 day cruise and the prices (while still pricey) were WAY better than anywhere else.
    Last edited by shakalaka; 01-04-2019 at 11:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 96integra View Post
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    We like doing lower tier cruises as they are good bang for buck - $500 airfare, $700 7 day Caribbean cruise on newest Carnival ships. Always the most care free and relaxing vacations.

    I thought food is way better than all inclusive resorts and it's nice to visit different ports. Never had line ups for food except for embarkation day.

    For some cruise lines, tips aren't really mandatory. They are automatically added to your bill but you can ask them to change it if you prefer to give tips directly.

    The experience all depends on which boat you're on and the group you're with. We usually have at least a dozen in our group - might be more boring in a small group.
    100% agreed on everything especially the last part.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
    and I did not have the only say in the matter (most people just want it done ASAP and don't care about quality).
    Quote Originally Posted by Mitsu3000gt View Post
    If anything we made a better decision because we had a consensus and were all on the same page.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shakalaka View Post
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    For good cruise deals, check out vacationstogo.com

    Thank me later. And before anyone asks, I did book with them once on a nice high end Princess ship with a suite for a 10 day cruise and the prices (while still pricey) were WAY better than anywhere else.
    nice, that site looks promising!
    there's some nice 7 days caribbean cruises there that are quite tempting.

    max budget i have for this trip is around 1500$ each as we already have some big vacation planned for later this year and next year as well.

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    Cruises sound awesome :
    Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas returns to port early after Norovirus sickens 277 on board
    https://nationalpost.com/news/world/...is-of-the-seas

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    Cruises sound awesome :
    Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas returns to port early after Norovirus sickens 277 on board
    https://nationalpost.com/news/world/...is-of-the-seas
    They are supposed to screen before you get on board, but I'm sure lots of people just lie on the questionnaire. We also made sure we carried and used hand sanitizer lots, and there are tons of stations all over the ship. On ours, they had crew squirting sanitizer on everyones hands before they entered the buffets and the dining rooms, wouldn't allow you by otherwise.
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    I think everyone has covered most of the obvious things so far about cruises.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the one I was on, and I was younger. It was all inclusive, including some fancier "dining" options that were full 5 course meals. I don't know, maybe that was paid for in advance with the package possibly?

    There was good entertainment as well (theatre, comedy skits, etc), but I will say, it can be hella boring for kids on the "at sea" days.

    My only real problem with cruises is wind. If you have visions of tanning on the deck, well, maybe. Unless there are 40+km/h winds the whole time, then you are shivering your ass off and trying to stay in walled areas. That really put a damper on our trip for me.

    Overall, I think everyone should do a cruise at least once. It certainly is a different experience vs an all inclusive.

    All inclusive is less stress though, mainly in the lead up to it, less planning and whatnot required, easier to modify plans at an all inclusive. On a cruise, you gotta be on time for everything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExtraSlow View Post
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    Cruises sound awesome :
    Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas returns to port early after Norovirus sickens 277 on board
    https://nationalpost.com/news/world/...is-of-the-seas
    Norovirus is notorious for ripping through cruise ships because of how contagious it is and how dirty everything is including the average passenger. Some people have a gene that makes them immune to it but I am not that lucky haha. Anytime you have something that spreads that easily in a cramped area with ~5,000 people, it's not going to end well.

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    I was on that exact ship a month ago. They are nuts about cleanliness and hand sanitizing, but shit happens I guess.

    At least everyone got a full refund and still had a few days of fun.

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    Where is everyone looking for deals on European river cruises? Are there any good sites for this?

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