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  1. #1

    Default Can't decide between cruise and all inclusive?? Help??

    Hi All- I am new to these boards and need some advice from you. Husband and I love to cruise and have been on 4 cruises in 3 years. Anyway, coming up this year we have some pretty big milestones: My husband turns 50 in October and he graduates from nursing school in December. So we want to take a special vacation in January 2014. We were looking to book our very first suite on NCL and enjoy all the perks. But then we discovered that all inclusives give you much more bang for the buck and are actually cheaper than a cruise. Especially a suite level cabin. So we are trying to weigh the pros and cons of an all inclusive and a cruise. Anyone who has done both tell me your opinion? Also, we are trying to decide between CN and CSA. Thanks -Kim PS this would be our first all inclusive and first time to Jamaica.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    1,398

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    I would do all inclusive every time. You won't go wrong with any of the Couples Resorts. we've done all four. Why not try the new one in Barbados?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    341

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    I'll tell you what I think... The beach doesn't move! I like walking in the sand! I like getting in the water when ever I want! I like a bathroom that I can walk around in! I like being in a lounger , looking up, and seeing palm trees! I like no tipping! I like not having to wait in a line! I like my morning coffee and banana bread on my veranda!I like just having to walk to the "snarklin" boat or the dive boat! I love the quiet! I love holding my wifes hand and walking along the winding paths through all the tropical plantings! I love looking for star fish [I know they're not fish] as the sun is dropping into the sea! I like a cold Red Stripe at one of the beach bars! I love, Couples Swept Away!!!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    242

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by irishkim814 View Post
    Hi All- I am new to these boards and need some advice from you. Husband and I love to cruise and have been on 4 cruises in 3 years. Anyway, coming up this year we have some pretty big milestones: My husband turns 50 in October and he graduates from nursing school in December. So we want to take a special vacation in January 2014. We were looking to book our very first suite on NCL and enjoy all the perks. But then we discovered that all inclusives give you much more bang for the buck and are actually cheaper than a cruise. Especially a suite level cabin. So we are trying to weigh the pros and cons of an all inclusive and a cruise. Anyone who has done both tell me your opinion? Also, we are trying to decide between CN and CSA. Thanks -Kim PS this would be our first all inclusive and first time to Jamaica.
    We have done cruises in past, but thought they were too structured for us. Meaning we felt we were always on a schedule on/off boat, meals, activities. We are also beach people and never felt connected to beaches we visited on cruises since only there a few hours.

    I love CSA, but to give you a recommendation i would want to know what you like and don't like on vacation...as everyone is different.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    116

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    You are where we were 4 yrs ago. We had been on 3 cruises in 4 yrs and really loved them. The we decided to try an allinclusive resort in Cancun. We went there in May 2010 and really enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere of an allinclisive resort. In May 2011 we went to Cn and fell in love with this resort. The rooms are nice not luxurious. The food is very good. The drinks are good. the included excursions are good. The beach is GREAT. CN is layed out so that you are never far from anything that you want to do. We returned to CN in May 2012 and are booked to return to CN in May 2013.

    This vacation to CN is so relaxing. You set your own schedule and can change it if you choose. If you coose to book CN, you will not regret it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    1,300

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    We've cruised 3 times (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity) and have stayed at AIs in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. Here's my take - while I think cruises are wonderful, there are certain drawbacks, especially when compared to a Couples resort. First off, no screaming kids at Couples! A Couples vacation is much more romantic than a cruise. Secondly, you have, for the most part, a fixed price at Couples. Cruises nickel and dime you for everything these days - premium restaurants, alcohol, even soda pop. Even the tips are included at Couples. Thirdly, I find Couples to be much for relaxing than a cruise. When I'm on a cruise, it seems like we're always rushing - waking up early to get into port; rushing around so that we get back to the ship on time. That's simply not the case at Couples. You can be as laid back or active as you want. No doubt, it is hard to compete with the excitement of waking up at a new exotic destination every morning. And the rooms at Couples, for the most part, will not seem as exotic as a suite level cabin (those are very nice). Finally, the entertainment at night is probably a little bit better on a cruise - more options and better casinos. Of course, there's always the option to go off resort if you want at night to experience something different. You certainly can't do that on a cruise! Good luck with your decision.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    564

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    1. you have to pay for drinks on cruises and they are high priced/you can't bring your own on board and there is mandatory tipping which adds up.
    2. children are allowed
    3. you are stuck to the cruise ships schedule for hours in port which are often limited and then you either pay for an excursion or hire your own driver, another expense
    4. a lot of lines and crowds
    5. cruises are good for getting a sampling of a place you may want to return to for a full week vacation
    6. Unless you are doing Panama Canal, Med, or Alaska passage I don't see the point in doing one in the caribbean.

  8. #8

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    Thanks everyone for your advice! I am really leaning towards booking an AI. I am torn between CSA and CN. But I really think we are going to go for it. We can cruise anytime!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    2,387

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    The ONLY thing better about a cruise Maybe is that you get to more than one place. I like to cruise too but csa stole my heart.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    455

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    Irishkim,

    My wife and I are repeat customers of Couples San Souci. Our first time was our honeymoon 2 years ago and absolutely loved it. CSS has to be the most relaxing, romantic place on earth. We did a cruise on the Oasis of the Seas last February, and yes it's nice. Very well appointed, great food, great service, lots of things to do, things to see. That ship and the staff was certainly first rate. The room was nice, but not huge. The ship was spotless, the staff was friendly. The entertainment was top notch. There certainly wasn't a moment where there wasn't something to do.
    If sea bound adventure is your style, a cruise is awesome. To me there are some drawbacks to a cruise. The crowds, the lineups, the kids, the tipping, the extra costs. Those you do not find at Couples. There were many times we would be sitting on our balcony on the ship wishing we were at CSS.
    CSS is a place to truly relax with your SO and enjoy. None of the Couples resorts are huge or over crowded. The service and food are amazing. They are clean, comfortable, and as quiet or loud as you want. Couples resorts are a place of romance. No kids, no singles, no roving gangs of drunks whooping it up, and I don't have to wait till the next port to walk barefoot on the beach or go float in the ocean.
    Both Couples and a cruise have their good points, but for us it's Couples hands down.
    I've been on a cruise wishing I was at CSS, but I've never been at CSS wishing I was on a cruise.... or wishing I was anywhere else.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    195

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    I agree 100% with zarafort. The only thing I have to add is the fact that when you stop at a port to do an excursion you are only there for a short time and so how can you really tell if you like the place. Besides that I like being on solid ground esp. when I'm in the shower or eating. It's the pitts to have to try to "hand on" while you are taking a shower and/or chance getting sea sick. Been there done that. No Fun.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    12

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    How many places do you know that the attire for the day is a swimsuit?
    Think of all the things you don't have to pack. If you want relaxing, Couples is the premier place to unwind with the love of your life, and be pampered to the max!

  13. #13

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    Weíve only done one cruise, and while we did enjoy certain aspects of it, we werenít in a hurry to do it again. Weíve also done vacations to non-AI destinations, like Hawaii, and having to either spend a fortune to dine out all the time, or have to shop and cook in a condo. is not our idea of a perfect vacation. We do Hawaii for the diving and direct flight only.
    So yes, cruises include the food, and yes, many have any time dining, but with that comes line ups and waits for tables. Thereís also such an extra expense for drinks/wine, and doing excursions (or at least getting to from a beach) on the port days. We did enjoy seeing new places, and picked a cruise with a port a day (not available any more), but the stress of clock watching wasnít enjoyable for us. The risk of missing the boat always hung over our heads. The idea of sea days and being stuck on the ship with pools the size of a bath tub, filled with screaming children, is not appealing either. We miss the beach too much.
    Weíve done many AI trips, including 3 of the 4 Couples resorts. We are hooked on AI, and even more so Couples for the un-crowded atmosphere, no screaming kids, and mostly the excellent, friendly service.
    We like being able to decide when to get up and wander to breakfast, then to the beach, take out a hobie cat or kayak, or some other activity. Some days we go for a dive or snorkelling or go on the cat cruise. Itís so nice to be able to eat and drink when and where we want without pulling out a wallet, or a ship card that you know is racking up a big bill for the end. Itís fun to try all the different blender drinks. We like that they usually arenít that strong (although Iím sure they would if you asked), so we never get drunk, and we just enjoy our day.
    We like being able to watch the sunset from the beach, wander back to the room and get ready for dinner. Being able to dine open air is something we really enjoy, and not something you get in a chilly shipís dining room, stuck inside with the windows covered. Then after dinner we enjoy taking in the entertainment, and going for a walk, then perhaps sit on the balcony for awhile and listen to the night sounds. The roaming Sax player is also something we really like. I missed all that so much on a ship. Sure, they have entertainment, movies, casinos etc. onboard, but itís mostly indoors and stuff you can do at home. Thereís none of the ambiance, sounds, and general vibe of the island.

  14. #14

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    We have been on 9 cruises, our first was in 1997. In my opinion, cruising has changed alot, and not necessarily for the better. Up until 2008 I would have never imagined that we'd choose anything over a cruise vacation, but then in 2010 we found a great deal on a Jamaican all-inclusive (not Couples), which we enjoyed tremendously. (The best part was not receiving that bill on the last day of your vacation!) We cruised in 2011 and while I'd never complain about being on vacation, it did not live up to past experiences. Shortly after returning from that cruise we wanted to make plans for our 20th anniversary, and we splurged on Couples. Bottom line: I can't see us cruising again for a very long time, if ever.

  15. #15

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    Thanks everyone for welcoming me to the couples family. I have gotten a lot of information already. We have been sold on Couples and will be booking our trip for January 2014 (boohoo that I have wait that long). We have decided we are going split between CN and CSA. Can't wait to see you all there.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    333

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    We have been on 18 cruises , the last being a Mardi Gras/family reunion February of 2012. Cruise lines have changed a whole lot since we took our first. They are gettint more "nickle and dime" in charging guests. Food and service has gone downhill. We have been going to Couples since 2007. Once a year in December and then May when Randy got us with a special. The biggest advantage to us is the beach. On a cruise we like to do beach excursions. They usally only last a few hours and then back to the ship. At Couples you can spend as much time as you want doing what you want. If you like to SCUBA it's a no brainer. On a cruise you are paying well over a $100 to do a dive. Snorkling , glass bottom boat, all that is at your fingertips at Couples. We may book a cruise again, but there is no uncertainly as to our return to Couples. We will be at CSS December 01-08 and then to CSA until December 15, 2013.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    66

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    cruises are crowded and nickel an dime u to death!I love my ai...wish my whole life was pay upfront and no kids haha

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    325

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    There have been some good responses here. Here's my take, I've been on around 14-15 cruises, I've been to AI's 6 times. I think both have their place and are wonderful vacations. But, you have to keep in mind where you're asking this question, you're not going to get much of a non biased answer here. For the most part every reply here is going to prefer AI. If you posted the same question on the big cruising forum on the internet you are probably going to get the opposite answer.

    I would say if you haven't gone to an AI that you should do it, then you can compare it for yourself.

    One thing for people to keep in mind is that very much like the choices in AI's with Couples being much better than many of the others is that Cruise lines are also like that. So if you compared Carnival, Princess or NCL to Oceania or Silversea you'd find there is a huge difference. But also like Couples you pay for that difference.

    The bottom line is it's all good.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by irishkim814 View Post
    Hi All- I am new to these boards and need some advice from you. Husband and I love to cruise and have been on 4 cruises in 3 years. Anyway, coming up this year we have some pretty big milestones: My husband turns 50 in October and he graduates from nursing school in December. So we want to take a special vacation in January 2014. We were looking to book our very first suite on NCL and enjoy all the perks. But then we discovered that all inclusives give you much more bang for the buck and are actually cheaper than a cruise. Especially a suite level cabin. So we are trying to weigh the pros and cons of an all inclusive and a cruise. Anyone who has done both tell me your opinion? Also, we are trying to decide between CN and CSA. Thanks -Kim PS this would be our first all inclusive and first time to Jamaica.
    Wife thinks I`m nuts. Won`t even talk about going anywhere else but Couples(not that she minds LOL). 288 sleeps til CN
    Ere De Fun Don Done
    Grand Lido Sans Souci Feb. 2002, Couples Negril Feb. 2010,
    Couples Negril,Feb. 2011, Couples Negril Jan. 2012,
    Cool Runnings eh!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    291

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    I've never been on a cruise, so I can't really do a fair comparison between the two. BUT, I can tell you that the only reason I have never done a cruise is that I can't stand the thought of spending any money on a tropical vacation that is not spent at Couples. Yes, they really are that good!

    Mark & April
    CSA - 06/03 (Honeymoon), 07/08, 10/09, 10/11, 5/14
    Secret Rendezvous - 11/05 (CN), 06/07 (CSS), 12/12 (CTI)

  21. #21

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    Again thanks so much to everyone! We are booking a split CN/CSA for January 2014. We have been sold on AI and hell we may never cruise again!

  22. #22

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    No comparison....All Inclusive winds "hands down" and Couples has the know how!! Do not hesitate!
    You will have no regrets....

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    197

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    We've done at least 20 cruises throughout the world and 8 trips to CN. Here's my view. We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cruises. BUT, if the choice is b/t a cruise of the Caribbean and Couples, choose Couples. No question about it. Caribbean islands are very different BUT, if on a cruise, they all seem the same. Nice beaches, shops with jewelry, liquor, and T-shirts, etc.

    We recently did a Caribbean cruise (with family who wanted to do it). Swore we'd never do it again. Reason? See above. There was nothing to see or do in the islands so we stayed on the ship. If you plan to do that, do Couples b/c all the food, alcohol and watersports are included. And you don't have to deal with kids, Bingo, and some of the less pleasant aspects of cruising.

    If we want just to relax as a twosome, Couples is absolutely our choice. You show up and start relaxing. Everything is included (which it's not on a ship). We LOVE it!!

    Now, being honest, if you're looking at a vacation to the Med, Baltics, etc. . . . a cruise is a great way to explore diverse ports without taking a bus, etc. More touring, less relaxing. So, it really depends on where you're going and what you're looking for in a vacation.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    13

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    BarDar nailed it!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    531

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    27th cruise coming up in February, so we do love cruises and when our (3) children were small cruises were a great way to take them on vacation and see the world. I love being at sea and can really get relaxed. The service on the ships is almost 5 star in most cases. We usually fly out of Miami from our home in Va and we love to stay a few days in South Beach before our cruise.

    We do love the AI's, but we are not big drinkers and we do have a couple of frozen drinks during the day and a couple glasses of wine each evening. Most of the AI's are adults only and we enjoy that aspect of our vacations.

    We tried several resorts in Cancun where they did not enforce the Couples rule and it could get pretty crazy when the singles got trashed each evening.

    We have been going to Jamaica for about 15 years starting with the 'S' resorts in Mobay and then several other resorts in Negril. We walked by CN one day and decided to check it out. Our next Negril trip was to CN and then after several more trips to CN we decided that we would start trying the other Couples resorts. We were just at CTI in September and we really loved it. We only have CSA to try this fall.

    Looking forward to trying the new Couples resort in Barbados if they stick to just adults only and couples only.

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