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All-Inclusive Cruises Cure the Recession Vacation Blues
by Roy Witman © 2009

If you search the Internet for recession vacation deals, you'll find one recurring theme: cruises. That's because all-inclusive cruises provide value that you simply won't find in land-based vacations that require fees for airfare, hotels, rental cars, meals, snacks, activities, entertainment and more.


Among other benefits, CNN points out that "if you are considering Europe, there's no more economical way to do it this summer [than a cruise], since your transportation, meals and lodging are included and you can pay in U.S. dollars."

Praising the benefits of cruising, reports, “All-inclusive cruises are the greatest way to take a luxury vacation during an economic recession. Overall the cost per day for the amenities you are purchasing can be less than half of a traditional vacation. In addition, a cruise vacation offers many things which may not be available on a traditional vacation at a fraction of the cost.”

USA Today

Pointing out the enormous value of cruises, USA Today reminds readers that cruises are not just for recessionary times. "The cruise industry always has been relatively resistant to economic downturns, thanks in large part to its reputation as a provider of good value as compared to land resorts."

How Do Cruises Provide Better Vacation Value?

Think about booking a traditional land-based vacation. Airfare is needed to reach your destination. Then you pay for a hotel room (more than one if you have older kids). Three meals a day multiplied times the number of people in your party adds up quick especially when you must also include the cost of snacks. Unless you want to spend all day in the hotel's swimming pool, you'll have to pay for activities and entertainment. Then there's transportation to get where you're going: that means a rental car.

Cruises, on the other hand, are mostly-inclusive or all-inclusive. This means that, rather than paying for each element of your vacation individually, you pay one discounted fee for everything. Three meals a day are included as are snacks. Your stateroom, onboard activities (which include everything from rock climbing and bowling to kid-specific fun and Los Vegas-style shows) is also built into your price. And with so many ports-of-call across the nation, it's easy to find one you can drive to rather than fly.

While land excursions and off-ship events do incur additional fees, many are nominal. Even with adding excursions, cruising typically still provides more value for your money than land-based vacations.

Do It Yourself or Choose a Cruise Specialist?

Travel and Leisure magazine gives this sage advice: "A good travel agent will keep track of price drops (rebooking you if the cruise line doesn't automatically credit the difference), advise on whether to buy airfare with the cruise line or independently, and analyze deals. If an offer seems too good to be true, it might be-does the room look out onto a lifeboat or sit right below the disco?"

When it's time to choose the destination for your vacation, weigh the total cost of cruises against land-based destinations. You'll quickly see you get more for your money when you set sail on the open sea.