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Cruise...Resort...which would you choose?

Wedding is 5 months away (short engagement; I just started wedding planning, too) so I'm scrambling to book something before prices jump...

I'm the pragmatic (read: cheap) one; he's the baller (it works well; I help him budget and save money and he forces me to live luxuriously).

I'm looking to spend no more than $4k for a 5-7 day honeymoon, but I'm more comfortable with the $3k range; he's been looking at Sandals resorts in the $6k range (we live in the Baltimore, MD area so this would require flying).

I'm looking into Royal Carribean cruises to the Bahamas and found one for 7 days, balcony, leaving Baltimore for around $3,500. (I know there are the extras--I figure we'll bring around $1k in spending money for the week...or is that not enough?)

He's looking into Sandals resorts in Jamaica and St. Lucia.

Now, I can be talked into spending more for the right price. Realistically, since we're older, we're going to start a family pretty soom after the marriage so this could be our last BIG trip for a couple years 'till the kids are old enough to leave with grandparents (or bring with...who knows). At the same time, I am NOT going into debt for our wedding and honeymoon. Our budget would easily accomodate $4k; we could swing the $6k if we cut corners with the wedding (sorry Moms, corsages and that Irish handkerchief are out).

Bottom line: is a Sandals resort worth the cost? Or would a Royal Carribean cruise to the Bahamas be just as nice? I would really love your inputs. THANK YOU!!!


Note: while I'd much rather spend the money on a jaunt to Ireland (love love love it there and cannot wait to go back) or Napa, FI is much more intent on a beachy locale. I'm from San Diego originally so a beach is a beach is a beach to me...but I've agreed we'll go the beach route. So we intend to go somewhere beachy for sure.
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Re: Cruise...Resort...which would you choose?

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    edited December 2012
    I think honestly it depends on what you want to do.

    One thing I think is silly is that so many people think that Sandals are the only resorts or if you are on your honeymoon you have to go to a sandals resort. I think they are way overpriced for what you get. Some people think they are worth it, other think the same thing.

    Personally, if it were me. I would go to a resort and you can find amazing great resorts in your 3-4k price range that include airfare. I like being on a resort because then you can explore the area and do the many things available there. When my husband (Then boyfriend) and I were researching for our first caribbean type experience we leaned towards a cruise because they appeared to be cheaper. After airfare and everything else we realized that a cruise would be about the same as a resort so we decided to go to a resort instead. The other reasons I prefer to go to a resort/AI is because they have all the alcohol included and you get to experience much more of the local culture and the area. I have never personally been on a cruise so I may be biased but I did look into it very thoroughly and it just annoyed me that it seemed to nickel and dime you for everything form fuel surcharge to room tips and drinks. Those are things that are all included in the price at a resort so it made it more appealing for me. We also are very active people so we wanted more time to wander and experience the area.

    We ended up going to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico which was a gorgeous area. And I think a week there was the perfect amount of time. There is so much history and culture there as well as fun things like XPlor which is full of zip lines and snorkeling and other fun things to do. You could swim with dolphins or sting rays and swim in a cenote. There is a ton of things to do and I couldn't imagine doing all of that in a 10-12 hour stop. It was also fun to just walk down the town's main street, 5th Avenue, and check out the bars and restaurants.

    I really do think that you and your fiance are going to know whats best for you. I know there are other ladies on here that hate resort, but love cruises. CMG is one of them and she is great about all things cruises. And we may differ on opinions but she knows what she is talking about. So hopefully you will hear from both sides.

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    06.09.2012

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    I don't like cruises because I feel constrained by the activities on the boat, and the time in ports. I much prefer to plan my own travels and find adventures that excite me. A resort is much nicer for me so I can enjoy the chill time, but also do activities that really interest me.

    That said, either can be done on your budget. Depends on what you like to do. Laying on a beach is pretty much laying on a beach, if you don't explore the area nearby and take in that unique culture/flavor.
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    I've been to two sandals resorts, the Royal Bahamian (twice) and Sandals Negril  in Jamaica.  I'd say the one in the Bahamas was worth the money, the one in Jamaica, probably not.  In February we went to Cancun and stayed at an AI.  It was the Sun Palace.  I'd recommend that over Sandals based on cost.  There are many palace resorts in Cancun so you can go visit the others and have lunch or use their pool for free.  I wouldn't recommend the cruise.  
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    Sandals is one of the more expensive all-inclusive resorts, and from what I have been told not exactly worth what you pay.
    The only downside to a cruise is that the alcohol is not included, and my FI's mom said the drinks are usually &10+. I like to enjoy a pina colada by the pool on vacation, so for me this would be a huge deal breaker.
    There are plenty of resorts, that are all inclusive and even include some activities that are much cheaper than sandals.
    Try these websites, and look at these hotels and maybe it will help you guys make a decision! :)
    www.excellenceresorts.com
    www.secretsresorts.com

    and try google searching all-inclusive resorts in the carribbean (or whichever area you are interested in) and you will see many more all-inclusives much more reasonably priced!

    Hope this helps!! Good luck!
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_honeymoon_cruiseresortwhich-would-you-choose?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:11Discussion:7e79e6a4-4279-4b84-a254-17a29da7e5c3Post:649a7059-69c8-4f34-b020-2adff33febb6">Re: Cruise...Resort...which would you choose?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Cruise...Resort...which would you choose? : I've been on several cruises and will tell you that the bolded is an exaggeration.  I'd estimate on the very high end you might pay $7 for a pina colada aboard the ship, and pool side these kinds of drinks are very often on special.  And if you're a beer drinker, most every day they'll have bucket deals.   Also, if you chose to do so, on most cruise lines you can now add a drink package.  For our upcoming one, the option is a little over $50 a day for unlimited specialty coffee, soda, beer, wine (by the glass) and mixed drinks. <strong> With an approximate cabin cost of $250 per day per person, plus the drink package, a cruise would still average out to be the same or less than an all inclusive resort.</strong>
    Posted by Sleeper2013[/QUOTE]


    I think that is a huge if. We compared prices before deciding on a vacation and found that with all the add on's that cruises do it would be cheaper to go to a resort. The nice thing about booking a package with a resort is it includes the airfare to get there and many activites and other things. Tips are included, as are drinks and all meals at all restaurants. Cruises charge extra for the tips, extra for the oil surcharge, extra for drinks (only water is free) and after all of that it ends up adding around $75 a day extra. So your cruise that was very affordable just added a ton of extra charges. The nice thing about All Inclusives is you can usually get them for the same price and it includes Air Fare (Which is never included in price of cruise) and everything else.

    image
    06.09.2012

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    In Response to Re:Cruise...Resort...which would you choose?:[QUOTE]In Response to Re: Cruise...Resort...which would you choose?:In Responise to Re: Cruise...Resort...which would you choose? : I've been on several cruises and will tell you that the boldednbsp;is an exaggeration.nbsp; I'd estimate on the verynbsp;high end you might pay 7 for a pina colada aboard the ship, and pool side these kinds of drinks are very often on special.nbsp;nbsp;And if you're a beer drinker, most every day they'll have bucket deals.nbsp;nbsp; Also, if you chose to do so, on most cruise lines you can now add a drink package.nbsp; For our upcoming one, the option is a little over 50 a day for unlimited specialty coffee, soda, beer, wine by the glassnbsp;and mixed drinks.nbsp; With an approximatenbsp;cabin cost of 250 per day per person, plus the drink package, a cruisenbsp;would still average out to be the same or less than an all inclusive resort.Posted by Sleeper2013I think that is a huge if. We compared prices before deciding on a vacation and found that with all the add on's that cruises do it would be cheaper to go to a resort. The nice thing about booking a package with a resort is it includes the airfare to get there and many activites and other things. Tips are included, as are drinks and all meals at all restaurants. Cruises charge extra for the tips, extra for the oil surcharge, extra for drinks only water is free and after all of that it ends up adding around 75 a day extra. So your cruise that was very affordable just added a ton of extra charges. The nice thing about All Inclusives is you can usually get them for the same price and it includes Air Fare Which is never included in price of cruise and everything else. Posted by dazyabbey[/QUOTE]


    Had to chime in drink packages on a cruise are worth it depending on how much you drink. With all the costs added with a cruise and depending which resort the pricing could be very close. However, water is Not the only drink included on a cruise coffee, tea and juice are included at no additional charge and a soda package is usually around 6 per day per person.
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    dalm0mdalm0m member
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    edited December 2012
    If you are driving to the port & paying $3500 before the extras, you are way overpaying for your cruise.  Shop around -- seriously.  I'm paying less that that for a 9 day cruise out of NYC for New Years Eve to much better ports.  The Bahamas aren't all that great. 

    A cruise will end up being more elegant but if you like to drink or gamble, you could end up with a $6,000 cruise bill so an AI may be better for you.
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    I'm a little late to the party, but check out Barcelo or RIU all-inclusive for most carribean and spanish-speaking destinations.  I did a 5-day in Costa Rica (Longaste Beach) for $1100 including airfare and transportation from NYC and a full day excursion to go horseback riding, white water tubing, rock climbing, ziplining, cold spring swim and hot volcanic mud bath.  If I hadn't already gone w/ my girlfriends, I'd have done this for my honeymoon.
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