All inclusive or no?

Sep 22nd, 2001, 07:08 PM
  #1  
Jereme
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All inclusive or no?

My fiance and I are planning a honeymoon to the Caribbean and are wondering if it woulod be better to go all-inclusive or not. What are the pros and cons, and are those type of resorts worthwhile?
 
Sep 22nd, 2001, 08:20 PM
  #2  
e
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Generally NO. You'll want to get out and sample the local cuisine and usually the AI food gets's boring after a few days, and you'll want to get "out" for a change of scene.
 
Sep 22nd, 2001, 10:36 PM
  #3  
Will
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I would not go to an AI unless it is a very upscale AI which has good recommendations from friends, travel agents, etc. I would be concerned about spending a lot of money for AI and then getting very poor food, drinks, service, etc.

You should continue your research, select a few specific resorts and post queries on the web about those resorts.
Be sure to ask how up-to-date the responder's experiences are. Some people have one bad experience and will bash a resort for years.

AI vs non-AI is just too general a topic to get useful information.
 
Sep 23rd, 2001, 06:19 AM
  #4  
paula
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I think it also depends on which island you are planning to visit....there is a reson there are so many all-inclusives in Jamaica - it is not advisable to go off on your own there. Islands with more all-incusives tend to be less user-friendly off-site. If there are fewer all-inclusives, that is because there are so many dining and entertainment options off-site that are easily accessible.
 
Sep 23rd, 2001, 06:44 AM
  #5  
Kim
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We are all-inclusive people all the way. Why worry about what and where you are going to eat? Just enjoy your vacation.Just because you are at an all-inclusive does not mean you cant go out and enjoy the local food and sights.
we have been visiting the caribbean for a few years and always stay at an all-inclusive. email if you like or have ?
 
Sep 23rd, 2001, 07:15 AM
  #6  
Vic
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I haven't been to Club Med in many years. However, we have stayed at a number of Club Meds in Tahiti and Mexico.

Things may have changed, but I doubt it.

Advantages:

You have a good idea of what the trip will cost. Our experience was that they were great values.

You can meet people. As an example, meals are served at big tables, and you must sit where they put you.

They have many free activities, like picnics on their own island, sailing and organized pool activities. But they will leave you alone if you wish.

Do you want to be alone on your honeymoon or do you want to make friends? At least in the past, the guests tended to be in their twenties and early thirties. The ones closer to the US tend to have younger guest, because they are more affordable.

Possible disadvantages:

The compounds tend to be in isolated areas. It's hard to remember that you are in a foreign country. It seems like you're in a place suspended from any reality.

The food is not great. Invariably, people would complain about the food or the free vino. Then in the next breath, they would tell you that it was their tenth visit to a Club.
 
Sep 23rd, 2001, 12:26 PM
  #7  
freewoman
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All AI are not like Club Med. The last time I went AI was in Aruba. We not make to sit with people we didn't know. We were seated in the dining room like everybody else and you could not tell who was AI and who was a la carte.

I think the reasons for choosing AI vary. When I go to Grand Cayman, for instance, I would never go AI because there are too many wonderful restaurants to try.

But I am planning a trip in June 2002 with myself, my daughter, her husband and their baby. I will book AI for that trip because it will just be easier all the way around.

Also if you are a drinker, the AI is a good deal, because most all of them include all meals, all drinks (including alcohol) and all snacks. Some I have been looking at also include room service.

The AIs I have been on that had good food. Maybe not gormet, but good food and many choices.
 
Sep 24th, 2001, 06:03 AM
  #8  
Mary
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We've done both and totally prefer the AI's. You can still go out on excursions and enjoy nice meals out. We did a few times. Our least stressful vacations have been at AI's. Many AI's have great food and offer top shelf liquor as part of the package but it's still a good idea to research the property. we've also found that our AI packages end up costing about the same as non-AI (once you add up the separate airfare, food, taxis, etc.) and the AI hotels we've stayed at were nicer than the non-Ai's (not including Sandals which in general, are more expensive, but very nice I hear). Just my opinion.
 
Sep 24th, 2001, 06:15 AM
  #9  
Mary
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Just a quick follow-up to Vic's note. I have never been to an all-inclusive where the workers told me where I can and cannot sit for a meal, and we've always had tables to ourselves. The restaurants at the AI resorts I've been to have very nice with very good food (with the exception of the Iberostar in Playa del Carmen--nice restaurants but didn't care for the food much).
 
Sep 24th, 2001, 07:18 AM
  #10  
Jim
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We've done both and it really depends on what you like to do on vacation. If you like to site-see and intend to spend a lot of time away from the resort, it may not make sense to go to an AI where you will be missing meals and activities you already paid for.

If, like us, you veg out and lay on the beach and drink pina colodas all day, you'll get your monies worth at an AI. We also don't like to spend a whole lot of time trying to figure out where we want to go and eat and then arranging transport back and forth. At an AI it's all there. Plus we bring a miminal amount of money with us so we know within a hundred bucks what the cost of the trip will be before we go.

I would caution you to book with an upscale AI such as Sandals or one of the Grand Lidos. The food will be more or less consistent.
 
Sep 24th, 2001, 10:44 AM
  #11  
Dolli
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I am for the AI's myself. We don't feel bound in any way to the resort we stay at but the convenience is worth it for us. We don't have to carry alot of money around and the trip is paid for in advance for the most part. I have never been to an AI that I couldn't find something to satisfy my taste. I think everyone has their own opinion about traveling but for us, we wouldn't go any other way.
 
Sep 24th, 2001, 04:51 PM
  #12  
Jeremy
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All the all inclusive fans seem to think that picking a place to go out to dinner is a pain. For most people its really not hard to read the guide you get and pick a place with good local food. I stayed at beaches TC, and would never do AI again!
 
Sep 24th, 2001, 09:03 PM
  #13  
Diane
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Our favorite hotel in Negril is Charela Inn. There, I would probably take the meal plan (We went last year for 8 nights, stayed elsewhere, but went to dinner at Charela four times! There are other lovely hotels, but now we've done our exploration and made our choice!) You couldn't get me to an AI in Negril unless it was free. They are bigger than the little hotels we prefer, and beaches are packed with people...all those chairs lined up...filled with people shoulder to shoulder...St Martin/Ste Maarten is another place where there are too many good restaurants to limit yourself. I also feel that way about Puerto Rico. I'd head for a small place on the Southwest coast before staying in one of the big fancy San Juan hotels, but even staying in San Juan, there are too many good restaurants to be stuck in one spot for all your meals.
 
Sep 25th, 2001, 12:29 PM
  #14  
Antoinette
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It really depends on the property and what you are paying. Our first all inclusive was to the Radisson Cable Beach in the Bahamas. We were there in 1997 and 1999 and loved it! The food was tasty and we were able to get true top shelf liquor such as Grey Goose and Sky vodka martinis. Many of the guests here are also on the non inclusive plan but in no way was any distincition made between us. This past year we went to Beaches Turks and Caicos. More expensive than the Radisson ( Beaches cost $7300 for one room;family of 4) but we were told that this was the all inclusive to end all inclusives. What a joke. Mostly buffet dinners with a few mediocre sit down restaurants served by a surly staff (think no tipping which removes all incentives for good service). Beaches' idea of top shelf liquor is Absolute. I wrote a letter of complaint and received a form letter stating that they have passed on my complaints (although they do no address any of the complaints I listed) and offered my a free one night stay which is subject to availablilty, black out dates, is non-transferable, non-refundable and valid for one year from date of the letter (August 8, 2001- received by me on September 25, 2001). Beaches/Sandals properties are a joke! Stay away from this type of all inclusive.
 
Sep 26th, 2001, 09:43 AM
  #15  
Tracey
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In my personal opinion it depends on where you are going. Unless it is a place where you don't feel comfortable leaving the resort I don't think AI is the way to go. I think part of the fun is picking a different eatery for each night. Also if you do go strike out on your own it is sort of like you are wasting your money that you paid up front for the AI. But I guess the main thing is just that you have fun whatever you do.
 
Sep 26th, 2001, 09:57 AM
  #16  
Mary
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I also want to add that when we did non AI in St. Lucia, we went out for a nice dinner for two, three times. We paid roughly $150 each time. It was always about $100 for dinner and $50 for the cab there and back. This was an expense we really didn't anticipate but should of. Something to keep in mind, anyway.
 
Sep 27th, 2001, 05:47 PM
  #17  
Monique
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I have done both AI vacations and non AI vacations. I completely prefer AI. I have already done 2 extensive tours of europe, reading guide books finding that next hotel doing some day tours but mostly on my own to get the real feel of the countries I was in. That doesn't mean that I am not ever going to be interested in the culture or tour part again but at this stage of my life I'm not. I have been to 2 out of 3 of the Grand Lido's in Jamaica and only left the resort once to visit a local school. Fine with me. Most relaxing vacations I have ever had. Also I love all of the restaurant choices that I had at the resorts. I hate finding a place to dine in my home town let alone another country. I hate meat. I hate it. It grosses me out. Now hubby LOVES steak seafood and chicken. You would think the nicer restaurants would also have a nice universal pasta dish on their menus but sadly not often enough for me. They will have something horrid sounding like eggplant in a crusted almond sauce. Oh Yummy, NOT!!!!
Also I don't drink very much at home since you have to drive to the bars near my house and I have little kids so drinking at home is out. I love to be able to knock back a few on vacation and not have to worry about the cost or figuring a tip. I wish I had drinks that were as tasty at home as they were at the Grand Lidos. Also I don't even consider the Club meds to be ALL inclusive. They don't really include drinks and you still have to have bar beads. What a PIA. I love to never take out my wallet. I loved the 24 hour room service that was included at the Lidos. Service never suffered in my case. I thought it was much better than at the Ritz in Paris which I have stayed at. I don't know about other all inclusives but I sure did love the Grand Lidos.
 
Sep 27th, 2001, 06:18 PM
  #18  
Vic
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As I stated in my post I haven't been to a Club Med in many years so what I say may be quite dated. When I said that you could not choose your meal companions I didn't mean it as a negative. Club Med people tend to be young and gregarious. As an example, it was tradition for everyone to gather each evening and sing and dance together. The philosophy of the Club is summed up by the fact that there are no locks on doors. It really is a club. It's not like going to Caneel Bay on the American Plan.

If you want to be alone, you can. Most of the Clubs have restaurants where you are served by waiters.

By and large with many exceptions you will not see the very young and the old. It really is a place for young singles and couples.
 
Oct 1st, 2001, 06:08 AM
  #19  
Sap
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Just make sure you do research on the property ahead of time, no matter if you go AI or not. Not all hotels in particular chains should be grouped to together. Not all Sandals/Beaches resorts are created equal. Some have better food than others. Some have better rooms than others. Some have a ton of choices. Some only have a few. Start by thinking what is most important to you. For me food is THE most important consideration. Aruba had such fabulous restaurants, I had no need to stay at an AI. In Jamaica travelling to restaurants for me wasn't feasible, so I found an AI that had exactly what I wanted.
 
Oct 2nd, 2001, 04:26 PM
  #20  
Diane
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I must note that if you go to Negril, Jamaica and stay at one of the gorgeous family run hotels on Negril's beach (check out Rants and Raves for some perfect picks), "going out" to another place for dinner usually consists of ambling down an exquisite beach, walking up and checking out the menu, listening to live music, and making your pick. Or you can pay $10 for a cab (who will wait for you and bring you home again) to eat somewhere on the cliffs. Wish is was as easy at home!
 

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