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Cruise vs. Island Resort

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Are you currently trying to decide whether you want to take a cruise or stay at a resort on an island? If so, read on as I give you my personal pros and cons of each.

I’ve personally done both – a cruise twice and resorts on different islands numerous times. I think it all comes down to how you want to spend your holidays. Ask yourself these three questions to start off:

  1. How much money am I willing to spend?
  2. What does your ideal vacation look like? Is it action packed with activities or   relaxing?
  3. Laying by the pool or the beach?

The answer to these questions will help you when deciding on which is the better alternative.

Cruises:

Cruise Line: Norwegian – Epic
Ports: Naussa, St. Maartens, St. Thomas

Pros:

  • Multiple travel destinations!!! I would say this is the #1 reason as to why I enjoyed the cruises. I got to explore three different islands in one trip. Although they were only day trips, it still got us off the boat to adventure of and see what the islands had to offer. Another great thing about this is that it gives you an idea of whether or not you would want to return to the island for a full trip. For instance, we had so much fun in St. Maarten that I would definitely return for a full week long trip.
  • Activities: Our cruise ship had a lot to do when we were days at sea. Nightly entertainment (and more than one to choose from), bowling alley, water slides, tennis/basketball courts, pools, BARS. My favourite was the duelling pianos. If you like pub settings with good music and even better drinks, you’ll love this.
  • Food: there’s so many restaurants to pick from and every one I went to the food was good. I know some people find resort food very bland but the food on the cruise ships were delicious. Especially the breakfast buffet & ice cream bars.

Cons:

  • Cost: I wouldn’t say the cost of booking the cruise is the deal breaker but more so the hidden costs. Unlike resorts, drinks are not included unless you buy one of their packages, which is usually overpriced. You have to use the cruise’s “card”, which is linked to your credit card. It makes it so simple, want something? Just swipe. The only downfall is you don’t realize how easy it is to spend a lot of money. You almost feel like you’re using a monopoly credit card.
  • Time Limits: Your time is limited at the ports, which if you’re someone who likes to take their time and explore could be a major downfall. The days can seemed rushed and you may feel like you didn’t really get enough time to take the island in for all it’s worth. Also, if you’re anything like my parents – always fashionably late – beware. I’m sure they were one of the last people to make it on the cruise and were mere minutes from being left there. My sisters and I did get a good laugh though as we watched them run on the dock from our balconies.
  • Sea Sickness: I was fine throughout my entire trip. I actually didn’t even realize we were on a ship, that’s how smooth it seemed but for some who easily get sea sick this can be an annoyance and put a damper on your entire trip. No one wants to be laid up in your room all week long.
  • Room Sizes: to me this wasn’t a deal breaker since I didn’t spend much time in my room but if this is a factor to you just know that cruise ship rooms are tiny in comparison to resorts. However, if you do go for a cruise get a balcony room! It’s worth the extra dollars to wake up and sit out on your balcony. The views are priceless TRUST ME!

 

Island Resorts:

Islands: Dominican Republic, Cuba, Bahamas, Mexico (not an island but resort)

Pros:

  • What Wallet?! All inclusive resorts are the best because you don’t need to worry about a damn penny since the costs are all up front. Leaving your hotel room with nothing but your room key and sunglasses is the best feeling ever. Want some food? Treat yourself! Want a drink or 10 at the pool bar? Girl, treat yourself!
  • Pool Bars: who ever thought of putting a bar right in the pool… genius. That’s all I need to say about this. It speaks for itself!
  • Food: Out of all the resorts I’ve stayed at the food has been delicious! Plus I love that I can go to the buffet any time of the day and stuff my face with nachos and guac. Also, resorts usually offer a variety of food selection from Italian, Mexican, Japanese, American, etc.
  • Beach: unlike a cruise, you get to enjoy the beach every single day if you choose to!
  • Emergencies: ok no one wants to be negative Nancy but if for some reason you needed to return home it is a lot easier coming from a resort compared to a cruise where you may not be at port for a few days.

Cons:

  • Land Locked: unlike cruises, wherever you decide to visit is literally where you’ll be staying all week. You won’t be visiting other islands (duh).
  • Entertainment: although they do have nightly shows at resorts, the level of sophistication and diversity is not up to par like the cruise ships most of the time. 

 

 

My Favourite:

All inclusive resorts for the win! I like being able to tan by the beach in the am, play some volleyball then wander over to the pool bar in the afternoon. I also like that I can leave the resort and go explore what the island has to offer without feeling rushed. I have all the time in the world, I’m on vacay mode!

 

 

 

 

 

Let me know what your pros and cons are. Are we on the same page? What’s your favourite way to vacation?



22 thoughts on “Cruise vs. Island Resort”

  • I’m trying to convince my bf to take a cruise, but he keeps pointing out the sea sicknesses and whatever hyped up stuff you hear about in the media (which, I get it… poop happens–but not always!). I totally hear you though on the inflated drink costs. They can get so $$ and you’re on island time so it’s like “TAKE MY MONEY!” until you get home and you have to pay off those bills, lol. I love all inclusives though. SO NICE to step out of the room, eat whatever you please, and have so much around you <3 Girl, you're making me want to book another vacation badly, lol.

    • Book a vacation you deserve it 😉 haha!! It’s always fun to try things at least once so a cruise can’t hurt! The cruise ships are so big that you barely feel the movements which helps avoid any sea sickness. The only time I find you can really feel it is when we were at the front of the ship (it was a restaurant with all glass windows) so looking out made you weary but the rest was easy peasy! Go get some sun girl!! Lol

  • I haven’t really tried going on a cruise. I am an Island/resort person though. And I always assumed going on a cruise would be pricier than booking a resort. I guess it’s really the fear of the ocean. Just thinking of getting trapped on a cruise gives me the creeps.

  • I love to cruise! We cruised to Bermuda in October and I could have asked for a better trip. The food and entertainment was awesome! Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  • I think the all-inclusive would be what would sell me on a resort. Every time we go on a vacation, it is hard to spend money while we are there because we already spent enough getting there. This would definitely alleviate that stress and I think my family would enjoy themselves a lot more.

    • I couldn’t agree more. It is a stress reliever knowing you don’t have to worry about forking up anymore money than you already did once you arrive to your destination/trip. It makes it much more relaxing!

  • You posted this at exactly the right time! I was just debating whether my family and I should go on a cruise or just travel to an island on our own.

  • Oh I feel like that’s such a hard decision! We love both so much. I think I have to actually choose a cruise. I love the feeling of being on the ocean!

    • I agree being on the ocean is a great feeling like when you wake up and you can’t even see land but water all around – pretty crazy feeling!

  • My husband and I were thinking about planning a trip and wasn’t sure if we just wanted to stay at a resort or do a cruise. Thanks for highlighting the pros and cons of each. This helps!

  • This is such a great and informative post! I’m on vacation in Hawaii right now and having an absolute ball. I’ve never been on a cruise, though, and am dying to try one!

  • Living in Jamaica, I have this discussion with people ALL of the time. They tell me, “Oh, I came to Jamaica on a cruise. The weather was great and the water was beautiful but the people were pushy and kind of frightening.” I explain that once cruise ships start coming to any port, especially in poor countries like Jamaica, the ports will attract rather desperate folks who are trying to feed their families. If you want to “see Jamaica,” you have to be on land for a few days.

    The all-inclusive resorts here are amazing, especially up in Negril with it’s 7 mile white sand beach to walk on. Even the family-run, smaller resorts and guest houses offer lovely accommodations. Jamaicans are generally fabulous cooks, so little restaurants or “cook shops” pop up everywhere with inexpensive meals.

    My only personal cruise experience was to Alaska was similar to what people say about theirs to Jamaica. The ship pulled into little towns filled with junky gift shops, where 99% of the items were made in China. The landscape we saw was gorgeous but I didn’t feel like I really “saw” Alaska, beyond a few excursions we took. Sadly, I was also early pregnant and very seasick. We did take a ballroom dancing class and the shows were fabulous.

    So, yeah, having travelled all over the world, mostly on foot, I’d suggest staying on-land no matter where you go.

    • That’s a great way of explaining it! Couldn’t have it explained it better myself. Thanks for your input Valerie 🙂 and I agree, staying on land is my go-to too!

    • Couldn’t agree more – nothing ruins a fun time like hidden costs! Lots of fun all around though, thank you! 🙂 P.S I’m counting down the days til summer… over winter lol!

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