Tuesday, September 28, 2010
All Inclusive Resort v. Disney Cruise Line--A Comparison Trip
We had a 6 day stay booked at the Crown Paradise Club on the southern edge of the strip in Cancun during winter break. The strip in Cancun is shaped like a 7 with resorts up and down the “7.” Crown Paradise Club was near the bottom of the club. We picked the resort due to a “kids stay free” special, it was an all inclusive resort, and it had a kids club. Also, for reference, all inclusive means that all food, all drinks—including alcoholic beverages, non-motorized water sports, and entertainment are included in your stay. Crown Paradise Club had 6 on-site restaurants, 4 pools, a kids club that had its own pool, a water slide area, golf and tennis across the highway, and was on the ocean.
We checked in, received our bracelets that must be worn to indicate your status as a resort guest, and began our stay. I must confess, that I am actually suited for a lifestyle where you get up, brush your teeth, put on a swimsuit and cover up, reserve your beach or pool chair, have some breakfast, then lounge throughout the day until say 4:00 pm or so, then shower, change clothes, have dinner, take a walk, go to sleep and repeat. I am comfortable wearing a swimsuit for the majority of the day. And, since I am suited for that lifestyle, Cancun and I fit together very well.
Our lazy days drifted together and were punctuated with times at the kids club, brief rain showers during the day, discussions about which restaurant to eat dinner, and daily miniature golf. We had a good time.
And, to think that there would be things you wouldn’t like staying in a tropical paradise, but there were, and this was a comparison trip after all.
Here’s what we didn’t like: that we had to reserve a spot for us to eat dinner each night. This was especially inconvenient on our first night when we arrived after a long day of travel only to discover that getting our first meal at our all inclusive resort was going to be an ordeal. Most nights the “buffet” style restaurant that did not require reservations was open, but since this was the holiday season, that restaurant was often not available. On our first night, we ate Cancun’s version of Italian. We didn’t eat there again the rest of the trip.
While we enjoyed our time on the beach, we would have liked more opportunities to explore. On a cruise, those options are easily available to you. At the resort, we got the “hard sell.” We chose not to take the bait. It also meant taking taxis, etc. On a Disney Cruise, transportation is typically included in port excursions. Interestingly, Crown Paradise Club was a port excursion for cruise ships in the area. We talked to some people at the resort who were day guests from a cruise ship. Waking up in a different port each day is a part of cruising we like.
Entertainment was a bit. . . well, it wasn’t the same caliber we found on a cruise. Enough said.
The kids club at the resort had variable hours. To quote the staff, “They were in Cancun to party, too.” The pool for the kids was awesome with a pirate ship to climb/play on, plenty of water slides etc. But one day when we picked up the boy, we saw poop on the wall all the way down the hall, and the pool wasn’t heated, so if it was a bit chilly, the kids watched TV. The boy didn’t spent too much time there after that. The Kids Clubs on board the ship are great and we often can’t get the boy to leave.
Disney Cruising came out on top of the comparison and we have cruised 2 times since with another cruise on the horizon. For us, we just had to take the time and do the comparison. We’re glad we did, because now we know. . .