Need Opinions of All Inclusive

Old Jan 9th, 2002, 11:46 AM
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Need Opinions of All Inclusive

I've heard arguments both for and against all-inclusive resorts. Am trying to decide. Opinions, please.
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 12:01 PM
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That really depends on two things: you and the place you are going.

I have done both ways and like both under certain circumstances.

For instance, I would never do an AI on Grand Cayman ---- too many great restaurants to try.

But I have booked an AI for me, my daughter, her husband, their baby and daughter's mother-in-law for June. Just felt with that many of us it would be easier to do AI and I don't think there are all than many restaurants to choose from anyway as this is not my dream destination. Chose it because it was close and don't want to spend too much time on a place with a baby!

Also, if you drink alcohol, it can be a good deal, because most of the AIs include your drinks. If you don't drink, you probably would be better off not going AI.
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 12:04 PM
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OOPS!! Should have proofed before sending that last post. Found several typos, one of which should have said "don't want to spend that much time on a PLANE with a baby."

Sorry, English Teacher, if you're on this board
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 12:24 PM
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I've done both and love AI. Wouldn't do it any other way. I suppose if money isn't at all an issue, you may prefer non-AI. But even so, some people love the ultra AI's like Sandals, etc.

Usually, I find food and drinks to be very pricey and not worth it in the Caribbean (non-AI). People will boast that this island has great restaurants or that island has great restaurants, but more times than not, these restaurants are going to cost you $100+ for two people for dinner.

I've never had bad food at an AI (though I'm sure it exists) and have always been able to get top shelf liquor (which probably isn't always the case). Never felt over-crowded on a resort or in their restaurants, but we usually go in the off season. I never felt like we were a "number."

We've been to some very beautiful AI resorts. They can range from one star to six stars, depends on what you're looking for and what you want to spend.

Overall, I feel you get more for your money at an AI, especially if you can do a package deal which includes airfare and airport transfers. Of course, however, do research on any hotel you're considering.
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 01:04 PM
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If you're a drunk who prefers mediocre food, or if your island is a warzone (Grand Bahama, St. Maarten, Jamaica), then AI is for you! Well, that's overstating it a bit, but that's basically the anti-AI opinion. Other people who simply prefer to lie on the beach all day also enjoy AI. My wife & I, we prefer to explore the destination, eat out, and soak up the culture as well as the rays. It's a very personal choice.
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 01:18 PM
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I think it greatly depends on what type of vacation you are looking for, whee you are going, what you plan on doing, etc.....

For some vacations, we want so hassles - not even the hassle of having to sue our brain to find a place for dinner! Sometimes for us, we jsut want all the drinks, food, watersports, etc... without having to worry about money. WE have been to several good all-inclusives but they have to be good for us, meaning there has to be many choices for good, good service and quality, presentation, etc.... Also, if you are going to an island that does not offer many choices off the resort or you would feel unformatable leaving the resort, would take advantage of the all-inclsuvies water sports, then this would be a good choice for you.

There are many advantages to non-inclsuive. You can really get a good feel for the island, the people and food as you can explore different restaurants without limitations. If you are not a big eater or drinker, no interests in water sports, then it is a waste of money. Going off on your own is great fun - you get to see and try so much more and really get to experience the island. More active vacation I feel.

Both are great but really a personal choice.
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 01:38 PM
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Hello Again Penney, I feel the same way it depends on how much effort you want to spend trying to find a place to eat or just vegging out and spending no effort on anything. If thats what you want the the All-inclusive it the way to go. Vacation to me means relaxing and not doing anything but soaking up the sun and having fun!
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 02:05 PM
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Hi Tom: Just wanted to add that even if you do AI, it doesn't mean you're a prisoner to that resort. You can still go on excursions, visit some hot spots or restaurants, and still feel like you're getting your money's worth.

No surprises either. I was surprised to find that the non-AI's will tack on a tax, and then a service charge on top of that (which we didn't know until we checked out). This added on a nice chunk of change to the total bill. While I'm sure the AI's do this, at least you know the total cost beforehand.
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 02:17 PM
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All-inclusives are good if you're going to an island which doesn't have many good places to eat. It can also be worthwhile if you're a boozehound. But if you go somewhere with great restaurants, St. Martin for example, which has some of the finest restaurants in the Caribbean, definitely skip it.
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 02:56 PM
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Many people are of the opinion that if you go to an AI that you are there just to veg. That is not true. We have done four of the Sandals and liked three of them. We have not spent the entire time on the grounds. Another opinion tends to be that you are prepaying money for food and don't know what you're going to get. The Sandals have all you can eat buffets and restaurants that offer a variety of different foods. They also use a good quality name alcohol. Having also vacationed on our own, we came out at spending about the same amount. Maybe the one downside is if you don't use the activites, as you really are paying for them. It does depend some on where you are going. For instance, last year we were in Curacao. There were some wonderful locally owned restaurants that I wouldn't have missed for the world.
Bottom line? Traveling independently is a great way to experience local customs and foods, but the AI's really are more relaxing.
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 03:47 PM
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We usually go AI for another reason - We don't have a lot of money and would rather spend what we have exploring our destination both on shore and underwater. We still eat a few meals off the resort but if we don't enjoy the restaurant, we don't feel ripped off. Also, we spend about have our vacation taking paid tours and excursions. Some of these tend to be expensive. Last year we took a helicopter trip over Montserrat (sp?) as well as two dive trips and spent a day in St.John in Antigua. We would not have been able to do that if we were not at an all-inclusive both for lack of money and lack of time (takes time to find the decent restaurants in a place you've never been before. Finally, I am diabetic and I like knowing I can get food or drink anytime I want or need it. Just works for us where it probably would for others.
Old Jan 10th, 2002, 06:27 AM
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Just like any other type of hotel, you need to research your AI hotel. I am both a big eater (high metabolism not fat) and a big drinker (only on vacation). I like the fact that at an AI, I can have as many frozen drinks as I want and not have to worry about the cash it's costing me. I'd rather pay up front and just enjoy my trip.

That being said, I also like taking trips that aren't AI. I love Aruba and would never consider going AI there. Probably if I went to the Caymans, I's feel the same way.

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