all inclusive…worth it? | Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews Forums

Hi. We are just back from a cruise and I was dizzy a lot and just not feeling myself at all. So, next time we will be vacationing at a resort. My husband wants to go to an all-inclusive. Is it worth it? Tell me everything I need to know about all-inclusive resorts. Thanks.

The thing about an all inclusive is that they are pretty much just that….all inclusive. You don’t need to pay anything extra, unless you opt for excursions or go shopping. You get your air fare, your transfers to the hotel, your lodging, food, drink. Everything. You might decide to tip for good service, but other than that the cost of your vacation is predetermined. Definitely the way to go, IMHO.
it all depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation. Personally I’m not a huge fan of All Inclusives, as we like to explore the country we’re visiting and do our own thing. Having said that, we’ve been to a few All Inclusives, just because they’re cheaper in the end. If you like being on the beach, and relax, than it’s certainly the way to go. It’s just wonderful that you can order your drinks without having to pay for them, walk to the buffet and grab a bite to eat and walk away from it again and eat at a la carte restaurants without having to bring your wallet. It can get expensive if you want to go on excursions, because basically you pay double for those days (you pay for your dat at the All Inclusive plus for your excursion).

Last year we went to Barbados and St. Lucia and decided to do our own thing, i.e. booking an apartment, rent a car for a few days and try to get a better feeling for the islands. It was great, but I hadn’t counted on the fact that life was so expensive on both islands. We didn’t even eat out every night, but groceries turned out to be really expensive too. Another thing we overlooked was the fact that we’d booked apartments that weren’t right on the beach. Whenever we went to the beach, we had to pay for the rental of the beach chairs and umbrella. Would I do it again? Certainly, because I have the feeling I got to know the islands a bit better than most people who stay at an All Inclusive. I would only be a bit more prepared for a certain things, like saving up more money before the trip!

Hope this info helps, enjoy your trip!

Hi nadinest, and welcome to Debbie’s.Plenty of people, over the years, mention vertigo/dizzyness as a reason why they won’t travel. Good for you for asking about alternatives.AI’s are the business model for Cuba, The Dominican Republic and Mexico. All of the Travel Companies, Tour Operators and Airlines are partnered with the resorts so it pretty well works like this:A return airfare to Varadero or Puerto Plata might run about $800 out of TO, but an AI vacation for the same flight at a nice resort might only be $759. Maybe less.. "AI Hotel costs you nothing"The huge volume of bookings through AI’s means many discounted vacations end up cheaper than the airfare alone. Maybe most.Best advice to date is: Find an area you like and the cheapest AI resort there; then price the flight and separate accommodations to see what’s best.Chances are, you can use the AI as your base and travel all over at a lower cost than booking a flight, hotels, taxes, transfers and visitor permits, separately.

I agree with the others. When researching an AI, the very first thing I want to check is the food. How many a-la-cartes can I go to and what is the quality of the buffet. I can handle any buffet but not for the whole week. Some a-la-cartes are not better than a buffet, so check other comments and adjust for your life style. Keep in mind that 4 star in Cuba is NOt the same as a 4 star in Canada or Mexico even. Stars are pretty much meaningless. They just tell you what features are offered and what one person thinks.Another difference to us is that a cruise seems to require a few days or more to relax after just to wind down. It’s great to visit 4 ports in a week but if your goal is relaxation, it’s better at an AI.We’ve done both AI’s and do-it-yourself and it really depends upon your time limit and goals. My wife refuses to cook on a holiday anymore and cooking yourself is cheaper but not so much fun if you have only one week. Two weeks or a month is more the time to check out condos or villas.

Keep in mind that having that swaying feeling is perfectly normal for a few days after a cruise but it should not adversely affect you while on the boat. If it does, time for meds.

We’ve done both. AI’s are great for worry-free couch (beach) potato vacations. We really appreciated it when our daughter was young – she had a lot of activities provided, and we didn’t have to take care of her every second of the day, worry about where to eat dinner, etc. etc.Punta Cana and Cuba are mostly populated by AI resorts. Mexico is more mixed – AIs are very common in the Cancun-Riviera Maya area, but much less so on the Pacific Coast. We like smaller places, a feeling of being in Mexico, exploring new places and restaurants and, for that, we find AI resorts real confining. I would never go to Puerto Vallarta town or Zihuatanejo, for example, and stay in an AI unless it was extraordinarily cheap, central and I planned only to use it for breakfasts, drinks and the occasional lunch. Nor for that matter would I go to a small town in southern France and look for an AI resort – when in France I want to feel like I’m in France and explore. And that is not the case in big Iberostars, Rui’s, etc. Yes, you can strike out from an AI, but not a lot of people make the effort to do it.Depending on your tastes, AI’s and non-AIs can be either cheap or expensive. An advantage of AI’s is you don’t have to think about your budget – most is already paid for. (But do remember to tip the often underpaid workers at AIs, and remember too that excursions… can get expensive pretty fast.)So it does really depend on what you are looking for, what you want out of your vacation.

Lastly, it is important to know that not all AIs offer the same things. Beyond real big differences in the quality of food, the availability of vegetarian options, and decent wine and booze, some also have extensive fantastic all included activities (the Club Meds especially) and others sometimes offer excursions or even basic golf (some of the Palace resorts around Cancun). Too, the feelings of the places vary alot – some cater to the partying 20-something crowd, while others are more romantic or family oriented. It pays to have a very good travel agent who can advise you, or to spend alot of time reading reviews before making your choice.

I can say from my experience that all inclusive has less personal treatment. In most of the Caribbean all inclusive´s, food is a bit less luxurious. But in general you are covered for any resource in the hotel, with access to all places, drink and eat as much as you want.

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