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  • Lorinda Leigh

Caribbean Honeymoons - All-Inclusive Resorts VS Cruising

I LOVE vacations. I mean, who doesn’t? Although I’ve only been on one honeymoon, I’ve done my fair share of traveling. I’ve stayed at different brands of resorts on multiple islands and just recently disembarked from my first cruise. I’ve never come face to face with a vacation I didn’t like, but there are definitely some things I favor about one type of trip over the other, especially for a honeymoon.

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For me, the biggest difference was the pace of the trip. I’ve always felt so relaxed at resorts, whereas the cruise seemed a little rushed. We were always headed to another location, which meant being back on board at a certain time. Some days, all on board was as early as 3:30pm. Had we not been on a moving vessel, we could have explored for hours longer before getting ready for dinner! You also have the ability to see many parts of an island and do multiple things from a resort.

On the flip side, you do get to see multiple places on a cruise, and only one if staying at a resort. So if you want to cover as much ground (err…. ocean) as possible, and don’t mind only having 6-8 hours at any one island, then the cruise may be more enjoyable for you. Just make sure to research the places beforehand so you know exactly what you want to see and don’t waste precious time figuring it out when you get there!

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The cruise also didn’t seem as relaxing to me because I didn’t have the lazy pool days that I always do while staying at a resort. This might not be the case with all cruises, but both of the days that we were at sea were crazy windy, which made it a little chillier and difficult to relax or read by the pool. The pools also felt much more crowded to me than the resorts I’ve been to, as there were only 2 main pools and 4200 people!

The other HUGE difference to me was the amount of experiences/ food included. When you go to an all-inclusive resort, most everything is included... hence the term “all-inclusive”. Usually the resorts have multiple different restaurants and you can go to any of them on any given night, or to the buffet. Alcohol is also included which is a money saver. Cruises offer packages for alcohol but it doesn’t come included with the standard rates and can get pricey. Our cruise also had specialty restaurants that you had to pay extra for. Although the menu changed every night in the main dining room, and the food was DE-LICIOUS, it is still nice to have the scenery change of different restaurants.

I will say that the shows where much better than I’ve seen at any resort. You could just tell by the talent, costumes and props that the company put a large amount of money and effort into them, and it definitely paid off. I felt as though I had purchased a ticket to a show at the Hippodrome here in Baltimore. The entertainment team was wonderful as well. There was never a dull moment on board and the staff was hilarious. The cruise director and one of the guys from the entertainment team even put on a morning show everyday that you could watch on one of the TV channels onboard!

My last thought is on the rooms. I'm sure it's no secret that a room at a resort is going to be larger than a room on a cruise ship. Going into our cruise, I didn't think this would bother me as much as it actually did. We started with an interior room, since we figured we would hardly be in the room, and ended up upgrading to a balcony halfway through the week. I'm not exaggerating when I say that there was barely enough space for two people to move around in the interior room. Getting ready for dinner proved to be a little difficult and we had to keep our suitcases and bags tucked away because there was literally no floor space for them. The balcony room was much more spacious but still doesn't give you the same openness of a room on land.

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All in all, my verdict is the all-inclusive resort. Don’t get me wrong, I GREATLY enjoyed my cruise and would even go on another! I just like the slower pace and freedom of being on land. I also really REALLY enjoy being able to order a margarita while siting on the beach, knowing it’s already been paid for!

{If you are going on a cruise, I recommend researching the islands and deciding on excursions/ what to see beforehand to make the most of your time on land, splurging for a balcony room, purchasing a drink package and expecting days at sea to be windy. If you are staying at all all-inclusive resort, I recommend choosing one with multiple restaurants and pools!}

I’ve stayed at and based my opinions on the following:

Dreams Punta Cana

Dreams La Romana

Sheraton Grand Resort Bahamas (Has since changed ownership and is now the Riu Palace.)

Riu Caribe Cancun

MSC Divina (Cruise Ship)

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