I spent last weekend in Jamaica checking out some all inclusive resorts. This trip was a reward for my sales in 2018 so it was sort of a working reward. I am not someone that would typically choose an all inclusive resort for my vacation but I know a lot of people really enjoy them. I toured a few different properties so I was able to really see that there is something for everyone but it is a matter of choosing the right resort for the guest.
In some cases one company might run several different resort types and they are all connected to each other so while staying at one you also have access to the others. For example, I was staying in Secrets St James and on either side of my resort were other resorts run by the same company. Anyone at Secrets St James has access to everything at Secrets Wild Orchid and vice versa. You actually might not even realize they were 2 different resorts though because they seemed very connected and similar. On the other side of my resort was Breathless, which is also run by AmResorts, but if you wanted to be able to enjoy that resort you had to be staying in a preferred club room at Secrets. However, everyone staying at Breathless could use everything at Secrets St James and Secrets Wild Orchid. There was a walking bridge that connected the resorts so you would have to show your room key to walk over to the Breathless side. There was a noticeable difference between Breathless and Secrets. The guests at Secrets were mainly couples and I would say most were mid 30s and up. It was a laid back vibe at the resort with plenty of dining options and a bit of nightlife but it was mostly about hanging by the pool and on the beach. Over at Breathless the crowd was a good bit younger and less couples. It was much more of a party resort.
I also toured some resorts that were not connected to me mine so I was able to see the difference when there are not multiple resorts connected together. One of these was Zoetry, which is a smaller more boutique type all inclusive. This resort had a max capacity of about 100 guests compared to the almost 1,000 at the 2 Secrets resorts I was at. Zoetry is a resort for those looking to really getaway and de-stress. It is small and quiet but still right on the water and includes pretty much all the same things as the bigger resorts. Personally this is my idea of vacation, however if you were someone looking to party you would not enjoy this resort. Since there is not another resort connected that you could just hop over to you would want to be sure you pick the resort that is offering what you are really looking for in a vacation.
Generally, an all inclusive resort is going to include your food and beverages as part your hotel package so they offer one upfront price. Most will have a beach and pool and include some water sports. If you want to explore something outside the resort many times they will have excursion options they can recommend with a supplier they trust. There is something for almost any budget and any age group so I can see why all inclusives are a popular vacation option.
I personally prefer cruising to almost any other type of vacation but as a travel agent I do always want to research all options for my clients. All Inclusive resorts are a popular option so I have made it a point to get to check out some of them. Just like cruising there are many different types of All Inclusive resorts and something for all budgets. There are some that are adult only and others that are family friendly.
I am on my way to Jamaica for a stay at an All Inclusive resort so I thought this might be a good time to compare going to an All Inclusive vs a Cruise. Both vacation options offer some similar things. They both offer accommodations and most meals in your upfront cost. The pros and cons really vary based on what you are looking for in a vacation.
You might want to pick a cruise if...
#1 If you want to see more than one destination during your vacation
#2 If you are not a big drinker and don't want to be paying for alcohol to be included.
#3 If you like the idea that if the weather is bad your vacation can change where it is going to avoid the weather.
#4 If you want to avoid flying since many cruise starting points could be within driving distance. Even if you cannot drive to the starting port you might find cheaper flights for a cruise than flying to an island destination for an All Inclusive.
#5 If you do not have a passport. While it isn't recommend it is possible to take a cruise out of the United States and not have a passport.
You might want to pick an All Inclusive if...
#1 If you really want a vacation where you really don't do much at all Most All Inclusives will not have much scheduled for each day so you can just lay around the pool or on the beach.
#2 If you want to spend more time in one place and be able to go to the beach at any time (most of the All Inclusive resorts will have some kind of beach even if you can't always swim there).
#3 If you are a big drinker and like a vacation that includes all you can drink in your upfront cost.
#4 If you want to have the option for some water sports that won't cost you extra (most resorts will have some type of water sports like kayaking included)
#5 If you get motion sickness and prefer a vacation that stays on solid ground.
If you are unsure what might work best for you a good travel (shameless plug) will be happy to help you figure that out.
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