Summer is coming up fast, and your thoughts are probably turning to those of vacations: relaxing, carefree days with your spouse or extended family, sightseeing and enjoying some new and delicious foods that you don’t have to cook.

Two great vacation options that have been creating quite a buzz lately among travelers are going on a cruise and taking an all-inclusive vacation. While they share some characteristics in common, there are some important differences to ponder. For example, consider the following factors:


When it comes to overall price and value, cruises probably come out on top. While cruises do not necessarily include everything in their price, they tend to offer the best per-day value. For example, the cost of a cruise typically includes all food, lodging and entertainment. If you are traveling with the grandkids, they often throw in childcare options for no additional cost. On the other hand, all-inclusive resorts often charge for alcohol and soda, which you may or may not be interested in consuming. And, despite their name, the resorts are not always all-inclusive. Some activities like spa treatments and trips to locations away from the resort are not usually included in the overall price.

Winner: Cruises

Entertainment and Amenities

While all-inclusive resorts do offer a fair amount of entertainment and amenities, cruise ships probably feature just a bit more, notes Cruise Talk. For example, cruises usually offer Broadway-style shows, comedy clubs, ice shows, pool-side movies and much more. Granted, all-inclusive resorts and cruise liners both tend to have beautiful pools, water slides and cirque shows, but overall the variety and styles of entertainment on cruise ships tends to be a little bit better.

Winner: Cruises

Space to Spread Out

As Legacy Travel notes, cruise line owners have learned that the best way to earn money is to book as many people as possible onto the boat. Depending on the time of year that you travel and how popular the trip is, you might end up feeling like you are stuck in the proverbial can of sardines. On the other hand, all-inclusive resorts give you a lot more room to spread out. Your room will undoubtedly be bigger than the average state room, and you can wander around the resort at will without feeling like you are stuck on a boat. Since you will be staying in one spot instead of moving around from place to place, you can also feel like you are truly getting to know your resort’s location. This can also be important for vacationers who want or need to stay in touch with friends or family back home while they are away. For example, if you want to check in with the house or pet sitter while you are away, it might be easier to do so with a device with FaceTime, like the new iPhone, from a domestic all-inclusive resort as opposed to trying to make a call from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Winner: All-Inclusive Resort


While both cruises and all-inclusive resorts are famous for their giant spreads of tasty foods and beverages, the quality and variety can and does vary from ship to ship and resort to resort. Do some research ahead of time by speaking with either a travel agent and/or friends who have traveled to places you are considering, and see if their guidance will help you decide which option will have the best and food options for you and your family.

Winner: Tie