We've been on 15 cruises on Carnival, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean. For our 25th anniversary we decided to try Jamaica and started doing research. We wanted a vacation without kids running around as our kids are now adults (we didn't want kids in the "adults only" hot tubs because the parents think that that the rules don't apply to their children)
Couples had the best reviews, so we decided on Couples Tower Isle. This will be our fourth year in a row that we've been there. (I won't lie, we had one cruise in the middle after our son's return from Iraq), but it's been all Couples since.
The "crew" at CTI is outstanding, as I'm sure they are at all Couples' properties, so I can't recommend one over the others, but pick a couples vacation, you won't be disappointed!
Tell them I sent you, and to put a couple of drinks on my tab for you. (I think I forgot to pay my bar tab before we left last time,
oh wait, there wasn't one!)
We've cruised and AI'd. Unless the cruise leaves from NY/NJ, we are never going on one again. Doesn't make sense to fly somewhere to cruise, when we can fly to Jamaica. While the ports of call seem interesting, there is only a limited time there and the excursions seem to be about the same wherever we go. But a lot of people don't like the beach - so if you're one of these people that always need to be moving and doing something, maybe a cruise is better. But you can also go on some great local trips in Jamaica if you don't want to sit on the beach or by the pool.
Cost and service wise, can't really compare. Couples has blown every cruise away!
My husband and I did both last year, a cruise in March and Couples in December. We enjoyed the cruise. It's like a road trip where you don't have to unpack every night. We enjoyed seeing different ports while on vacation. The food and service was wonderful. This was the second time we'd been to Couples, the first being CSA in Sept 2010, and this last time we tried CTI. Here are the reasons we would choose Couples (or an all-inclusive for that matter) over a cruise any day of the week:
#1 - there are way more food options at Couples than on a cruise (could have been the cruise we were on though). At CSA when we were there there were 2 options for breakfast, 4 options for lunch, and 4 options for dinner...all included. On the cruise there were 2 options for breakfast, 1 option for lunch, and 2 options for dinner that were included. The food at Couples was much better in my opinion, and I feel as though there were more menu options at Couples.
#2 - The bar bill. On the cruise I had 2 drinks all week. At Couples, I couldn't even keep track. I'm not saying I'm a lush, but it's nice to not have to worry about a bar bill at check-out.
#3 - The staff. We made friends with our dinner waiters on the cruise, but at Couples every single staff member becomes a part of your extended family. We never had anyone that was rude on the cruise, but I didn't feel like they made it a point to remember anyone (other than our dinner waiters). We made a connection with many of the staff members at Couples and I kid you not, after saying hi and telling them your name they remember it for the rest of the trip. The bartenders also remember what your usual drink is
#4 - When I go on vacation to a tropical location, I want to be a beach bum. When we went on our cruise, I put my swimsuit on twice, once to go snorkeling on an excursion, and once when we stopped at the private island. At Couples, you live in your swimsuit from the time you get up until the time you go to dinner. Also, on the cruise, I put on sunscreen once. At Couples I go through a bottle a week.
#5 - The excursions. We paid to snorkel on the cruise. At Couples, it's included...and you can go as many times as you want while you're there! Not to mention the glass bottom boat, tennis, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, or the catamaran cruise. There are also numerous activities that go on throughout the day like martini classes, margarita mixology, hat making, Tye-dying, bonfire on the beach, volleyball, or a movie on the beach.
#6 - The fact that it's couples only! While we never really saw any kids on the boat because they were in the kids club, there were a lot of spring-break college singles and it got kind of rowdy. If that's your thing, great, but my husband and I like some piece and quiet when we want piece and quiet on vacation.
There are a million other reasons I could state, but overall, I just find Couples more relaxing than a cruise. I can't wait to book our next trip (and we've been home for 14 days)!. We were going to book CSA for September 2014 but now we're waiting for the booking info on Barbados before we decide which resort we're going to.
My wife and I have done a Caribbean cruise once, on our honeymoon, and been to several Caribbean all-inclusives since. We will never go on a Caribbean cruise again. Nuff said. Alaska or Med... maybe. Never again in the Caribbean.