Are cruises better than resorts?

What do you all think? For example would a family have a better experience doing a weeklong Carnival-type cruise or spending a week at a resort like Sandals or Club Med?

It seems to me the allure of a cruise was to go to different locations like islands but it’s getting more and more it seems the ameneties on the ship (entertainment, pools, activities) are to enduce you to really stay on board.

As for us we’ve only been on 1 cruise to the Bahamas and I thought the I’d rather have spent all the time at the Bahamas rather than the boat.

Took a Carnival cruise in 2003. Left Miami, went ashore in Belize for most of a day, then in Key West, and then back to Miami. In between, you’re cruising through open water, not much to see except for the ship itself. The ship as a whole was pretty nice, but our rooms were somewhat Spartan.

In 2007 I stayed at Moon Palace in Cancun. The resort is huge, with about 1.5 miles of beach. There’s a golf course, a bajillion restaurants and pools, PWC you can rent, field trips where you can ride ATV’s and speedboats, go snorkeling, take organized/guided trips to Chichen Itza and other sites. Our rooms were gorgeous: marble floors, tons of space, a shower big enough for two.

If someone offered me one or the other for free in the future, I’d opt for the resort.

I prefer cruises, since every other day or so you get to a different island where you can buy made in China tourist crap in the duty-free shop at the cruise dock.

I like cruises, altho I try to avoid the super-mega-gigantic ships. I like seeing different places, I like being able to do absolutely nothing if I choose, I like not having to clean or cook. Granted, I’ve never been to a resort, per se - at least not an all-inclusive destination. But I have gone on vacations where we lived out of a hotel and did the local tourist stuff, and after a couple of days, I was ready to move on.

The cabins on a cruise ship, especially the cheapest, interior cabins, are minimal, but apart from changing and sleeping, we never stayed in them. There are so many places aboard where you can go to either do stuff (like trivia contests or karaoke, or pools and bars and the casino) or just sit and chill (libraries, lounges, quiet deck areas.) I always enjoyed finding a deck chair away from the noise, planting myself, and watching the water go by. Or knitting. Or reading. The bliss of no schedule and no responsibilities was so refreshing!

I’m going on a cruise around the British Isles in Aug/Sept - counting the days… :smiley:

To me, the entire point of traveling is getting to see, and experience, another culture. That means that I want to eat the local food, shop at local markets, hike their land, and meet the locals in their favorite watering holes.

IMO, the best thing you can do for your family is to introduce them to the world. Let them experience different people, different foods, different cultures. I don’t get why anyone would choose to travel thousands of miles only to never leave their Americanized, sanitized ship OR their Americanized, sanitized resort. I mean, that’s akin to landing in Oz and never leaving the house.

Yeah, but the OP isn’t asking about travel. I think he’s asking about a family spending time together on vacation in a relaxing, worry-free environment.

A cruise is as worry-free as anything can be…you have almost no decisions to make.
You will all sit down to eat dinner at exactly 6:00pm, the show begins at 8:00, etc. And whatever else the family members choose to do on board during the day( dancing, kareoke, kid’s playtime, or drinking at the bar…you will always be within a 3-minute walk from each other.

A resort seems like a better idea to me, because it’s not as regimented.
YMMV of course.

It depends on what you want.

I like to travel, a lot. Sometimes the whole family goes, all my five kids.

I’ve cruised, I’ve plunked my ass down at a resort, I’ve backpacked, I’ve done mission trips, I’ve camped.

Cruises~ I love how I wake up every morning in a different place. There is something to be said about running around all day, but knowing exactly where you’re going to end up that night. No packing unpacking, dragging the back pack around. All of my kids love cruises.

Resort~ an American prison in a nice place. Perfect if you want to lounge around and do not much. I typically want to explore in the boonies, but being forced to be relaxing isn’t bad either. Kids enjoy this, too

Backpacking~ great times not knowing exactly where you’re going to end up. Logistically a little more of a pain in the ass with seven people, five of them kids. All of us are really good travelers, but sometimes mixed results.

Mission trips~ had some unbelievable experiences, did some good, but not my first choice anymore. That being said,I have a kid in Haiti right now, and I wish I was back there again.
I do highly recommend going on at least one during your lifetime. Kids like them,.

Lots of variation on camping, we go the tent route, make sure you take your kids at least five times. We’ve done a lot of camping. It’s cheap, good to get out, and there’s always a fire. There are a ton of national, state, and local campgrounds.

Back to the op, cruise are better, and often cheaper in my opinion. Plus you wake up in a new place everyday!

Cruises are worry free with kids. I’ve only cruised with Norwegian, and it wasn’t regimented at all. You can eat whenever you like, or you can make reservations at certain restaurants. They do have a schedule for things like a show, but there are often multiple things going on at any given time, and you’re under no obligation to see any of them.

I’m really surprised that I like cruises so much, but it is a very easy way to travel, especially with kids. You can be right in the thick of it, or off on the side, reading a book. Great service, food is pretty good.

I think my problem with the cruise we were on was while on ship, they were constantly trying to hit you up for money. Overpriced drinks for example or activities like Bingo where you have to pay. Plus this one didnt have the fancy pools and amenities like Disney cruises have.

But maybe other cruise ships dont do that?

I’ve only done the one cruise line, Norwegian, four or five times, so my answers reflect that. I don’t know how other cruise lines work

Neither me or my husband drink much, so we don’t get some awful bill at the end reflecting $6 beers, all day long. Make no mistake, they make a lot of money off of booze, and they do not allow you to bring your own, don’t even try to smuggle it on. You can buy a bottle of booze from the bar, instead of individual drinks, at least at the beginning of the cruise, but that isn’t cheap, either.

There is a daily charge of ten or twelve bucks a day per person for all gratuities that is paid at the end. I don’t really mind but Idon’t tip at all then, unless it was something extraordinary.

There are shore excursions the cruise line arranges, and a lot of people do those. I think they’re a little overpriced, but you are paying for reputable firms, and they will hold the boat for them if they’re late. If you go off on your own, there are no guarantees.

If you go to their private island you can rent snorkeling gear or parasailing, kayaks, etc. Again, tourist pricing. We’ll rent two or three snorkeling packages, share them all day.

I own my own business, and typically take employees once or twice a year on vacations. I like cruises for the company because I provide the airfare and the cruise, and they pay anything else extra. I feel like they can have a fantastic time with no required out of pocket costs.

Also, I am a cheap bastard, and am not overly sensitive to sales pitches to spend more money, so I haven’t really noticed any pleas to spend more money, other than the drink waiters, but they are polite and low key. No pressure that I’ve noticed. My kids also have been trained that they’ll get nothing and like it, so they don’t pester us for any extras. I’m not sure there are any extras they can even have, other than pop. Pop is another $3 per day give or take, but my kids are thrilled at that, and drink their weight.

All the ships I’ve been on have had at least two pools, four hot tubs, basketball courts, etc. All free, but I’m not getting in that hot tub, no way.

To put this in perspective, Norwegian costs less than $50 per day a person for the Caribbean cruises we’ve been on. All food, lodging, entertainment. I think it’s a great value.

It’s been clean, decent food, surprisingly good entertainment, excellent service, and we’ve been to some great places we couldn’t have afforded otherwise.

Once we get off that ship at our destinations, we go on adventures of the beaten path. Then come back at the end, tired and worn out, with a clean room and good food waiting for us. And I don’t have to think about a thing.

My hotel room moves to cool places, and I think that’s awesome.

Everything you could possibly want to know, one ship at a time :

As with most things it depends on what you want. I took a New England/Canada trip out of NYC, hated the first and last day (“fun day at sea”) but the middle four days with a stop in a different city was great. Similar experience on a Hawaiian cruise where all major travel by the ship was at night.

It will vary but we’ve had good luck searching for local tours. Many have a price per van, regardless of the number of seats you use. It was great to have just the four of us and being able to work with the guide to tailor our day.

I like the “idea” of cruising but actually hated every cruise I’ve been on. One of my complaints was yes, you do wake up in a new place every morning, but we also had to be back at the ship by early evening. So we never really got to experience nightlife or restaurants at any of the destinations.

Plus the ship feels more like a prison than any resort. It’s like being in a large casino/hotel you can’t leave.

I enjoy cruises, and the biggest selling point for me is the fact that my vacation begins when I step aboard. I live near and cruise out of NYC, so I manage one short trip into the city and one short trip back, no 2 hour flights, no layovers, no spending a full day trying to get to and from your destination.

These threads are useful for me because in my moments of weakness I may be swayed towards a cruise but the realities brought up by everyone’s comments make me realise that they represent my ideal storm of a hateful holiday.

I don’t like forced tipping, don’t like being around other holidaymakers, don’t like organised entertainment, don’t like sharing my pool with lots of people, don’t like full board or all-inclusive, don’t like organised “excursions”, don’t like being ripped off on drink, don’t like being deprived of a kitchen, don’t like being able to come and go as I please,

My wife is pretty much on the same wavelength as me. We love exploring new places and travelling and the ability to just wander as we wish. The thought of waking up every morning in a new place is very attractive but I think that is the only aspect of cruising that would count as a positive to me.

As it happens, a colleague of mine has just come back from an all-inclusive “Sandals” type resort and as they described their holiday (they loved it) I couldn’t help but think that, if anything, it sounded worse than a cruise. All the same drawbacks and not even the benefit of changing scenery.

So different strokes and all that. If those were absolutely the only two types of holiday on offer and I were forced at gun point to choose I’d go for the cruise but they both seem much of a muchness. Personally I’d go with private villa and hire car every time, more bang for your buck and greater freedom to boot.

I love cruising, because I love sitting on the deck and looking at the ocean. It’s nicer to do that on the empty balcony of a cruise ship than on a crowded beach somewhere.

Actually, it’s not that hard to smuggle booze on to cruise ships. I’ve done it. Just threw a couple of bottles of vodka into the suitcase, wrapped up in clothes; the security people either didn’t notice or didn’t care. I was in my 20s, too, at the time so I would have expected more scrutiny than older folks.

If you really want to be careful, do what my mom does. She likes wine, so she buys boxed wine and lays shoes on top of it. When laid flat on the security scanner, it looks like shoes in a shoebox. Mom cruises once or twice a year and it’s never once been a problem. They use multiple cruise lines, but usually ones targeted at older travelers (more Norwegian than Carnival, if you get my drift).

Sure, I wouldn’t pack anything I wasn’t willing to ditch at a moment’s notice in case of an actual search (“Oh, I can’t bring this? Really? So sorry!”), but it’s not that hard. Don’t count on getting in onboard at any port, though. They scrutinize you much harder at ports and you have much less baggage to hide it in; however, they will stash it for you until the cruise is over (many cruise ports offer incredibly cheap liquor, like $4 bottles of decent rum).

On the other hand, some people take vacations to, ya know,… relax. So they leave the smuggling and being scrutinized to the cop shows on TV, not in real life. :).

We’re cruising this summer and plan on getting one of the drink packages. You pay a flat rate per day (around $50-60) and get all the booze you want.