What’s included in an “all-inclusive” vacation?


So, you’ve been wondering…

What really is included in an “all-inclusive”? Surely it’s “just marketing” or there has to be some caveat.

Surely it’s “just marketing” or there has to be some caveat.

This post is going to answer these questions!

We’re going to talk about the different types of resorts, how and why they’re different, the food you can expect on an all-inclusive resort, the drinks, and the entertainment.

We get questions about this from time to time and figured we should help out our audience with a proper explanation!

Types of resorts

First of all, the different types of all-inclusives will affect what you can expect from your all-inclusive experience.

There are adult-only travel options on cruises and resorts. These include brands such as Sandals, Secrets, and Couples Resorts. Adult-only travel is the most popular category for romance travel, such as weddings, honeymoons, and anniversary celebrations.

Family all-inclusive travel focuses on guests who would want to travel with their children to create awesome memories on a relaxing vacation for school holidays or family reunions. Kid-friendly activities are available on these vacations.

As kind of a subcategory to the family packages, there are themed all-inclusive holiday options for resorts. For example, Disney has their own branded holiday experiences (yes, they have more than just theme parks!). They have resort-type experiences where you can stay on-site at one of their parks and enjoy a dining package as well as access to the theme parks.

Besides the Disney options, Karisma has a Nickelodeon-themed resort and many Beaches resorts (the family-oriented version of the Sandals resorts) often have Sesame Street characters milling around the resort.

 

What food is included in an all-inclusive?

As for the food available in each of these types of resort, one of the amazing perks of staying on a resort is the open buffet available on nearly every resort.

There are different dishes available for different times of the day. The breakfast buffet could include eggs done ten different ways; sausage; bacon; done-for-you omelettes (my personal favourite!); and many options for local fruits.

I know it doesn’t seem like much, but in my opinion you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten local fruits in the Caribbean.

Trust me.

My family was raving over the bananas when we had a stay at Beaches Turks & Caicos together.

Not only is the fruit amazing there, but some of the fruit that you find there you’ve never seen anywhere before. One of our favourites is guava [Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guava] which is regularly used to create delicious juice (the juice is often available for breakfast at the buffet).

Don’t worry, though.

If you’re not the type to enjoy experimenting with new foods, there will be plenty of familiar favourites for you to choose from. I’ve seen resorts with hotdogs and chicken nuggets, onion rings and nachos, as well as steak, pork chops, mashed potatoes, green beans, soups and chili.

There are often stand-alone a la carte restaurants, too, with themes for each restaurant. Japanese restaurants with sushi and sake, or texas steakhouses with some of the best steak you’ve ever tasted.

How about a Mexican restaurant with tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas?

They’ve also got restaurants serving all types of seafood, from lobster and crab to codfish and mackerel.

Something must be said about the desserts.

They have desserts all over the resorts, from the buffet to the a la carte restaurants. The award-winning chefs make the desserts, also. I can’t really add anything more. You really need to try them.

Desserts at Sandals

And oh, the desserts!

 

As far as food is concerned, you’ve got nothing to worry about when staying at an all-inclusive resort. The restaurants will look a little different, but there are always a host of options on any all-inclusive vacation.

What drinks are included in an all-inclusive?

Again, the drinks are pretty exceptional. You can get just about anything on an all-inclusive resort or a cruise, and actually part of the draw for the drinks is the local fresh fruit juices.

I know I’m repeating myself, but it really is something impressive when you get fresh fruit juice a short distance from where it’s grown!

I’m not sure why that is, but it’s maybe because the fruits are left to ripen on the trees longer, rather than being harvested prematurely to ripen while being shipped up North.

Whatever the reason, the fruit juices on resorts is amazing!

There is soda readily available for those who prefer to drink it. Most of your commonly known brands are represented in the fountain drinks: Mountain Dew, Ginger Ale, 7 Up, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, etc. Generally, some resorts offer exclusively pepsi products while others offer Coca-Cola products.

Alcoholic beverages are also often a big question of people looking at resort options. There are bars everywhere.

They even have swim-up bars in some of the pools!

What's included in an all-inclusive?

A swim up bar at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica, where you can get a fruit smoothie, soda, or your favourite beverage.

Not only do they have bars available everywhere, but there are staff members who serve drinks, milling around the pool deck and the beaches, just looking for somebody who they can bring a drink to.

Whatever you ask for, they’ll bring your order to the bar and return promptly with your beverage.

You can order just about any drink you can desire while waiting for dinner, in deck chairs by the pool, while lounging on the beach, relaxing in a hammock, or even relaxing in the pool!

Just remember to drink responsibly.

We want our clients to enjoy themselves. Alcohol combined with a hot climate that you’re not used to can be dangerous. Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

We know that some parts of the world don’t have clean drinking water. That’s never a concern at any of the resorts that we recommend here at Travel Time – TPI.

One of the reasons you need a knowledgeable travel agent is choosing the right resort, and this is one of those issues. You need to know what you’re getting.

 

What entertainment is included in an all-inclusive?

Entertainment is also a big question.

A lot of people start thinking “what am I going to do for a week in what’s basically a glorified hotel?”

To these people, we have two things to say:
First of all, it’s not a “glorified hotel”. That’s really an oversimplification of what the experience is when you visit a resort. We’ve already talked about pools, beaches, drinks, and food.

 

For adults

There are always interesting things going on at the resorts we recommend.

These activities are diverse and nobody will like all of them, but once settled into the resort you’re sure to find some activities you enjoy, whether you’re traveling as a couple or as a big group of people.

That goes for introverts and extroverts alike. There really is something for everyone.

For example, most resorts will have organized activities on a large open section of the pool deck. These could be dance classes or competitions, aerobics, or yoga.

Bars and restaurants on these resorts might have karaoke night or mix and mingle events based around connecting singles or business professionals. They might have a live band on stage one night and a pianist doing a show the next night.

There are also cultural events.

The resort is full of people from all over the world. This applies to the guests as well as the employees. There might be a Brazilian samba night with dance instructions for people who want to join in, or a Caribbean band playing cool island vibes music.

Shuffleboard and huge-sized chess sets can be great fun for small groups of people to have some relaxing fun in the sun.

And then there are the water sports.

Resorts often have kayaks, inflatable water toys, snorkeling, and more. All of these are available for guests to use.

Beaches Negril Snorkeling

Snorkeling with starfish at Beaches Negril. Floaty vests are also complimentary. Source Link

There are often pool volleyball games where an event coordinator makes rounds to invite guests of the resort to hop in the pool and get assigned a team with other guests for a pool volleyball competition.

For those interested in connecting with other guests, these events are fantastic for meeting new people and connecting with other people staying on the resort. Some people make lifetime friends meeting other travelers while participating in these events.

 

For kids

For children, there are plenty of options, too.

Remember we said there are sub-categories of resorts that are majorly focused on families?

These resorts cater to the children’s experiences, making sure they’re having fun and finding plenty interesting things to see and do.

Family-centred resorts have a kids club with designated well-trained and experienced supervisors for your children.

Your child will be with a group of other children of parents on the resort, and they’ll get to make crafts, play in kiddie pools and splash parks, and do all kinds of fun stuff.

They may even get a visit from Elmo or Mickey!

Elmo at Beaches Resort

Sunburned Elmo dressed appropriately for the weather, strolling around the pool deck at a Beaches Resort. Source Link.

This leaves plenty of time for the parents to lounge by the pool or enjoy the white sandy beach. Then it’s just a matter of picking up the children before heading to the restaurant for dinner!

 

Conclusion

It’s difficult to sum up everything that’s included in a resort experience. We’ve spoken about what food is included as well as what restaurants and what the buffet might serve.

We’ve spoken about the safety of water, soda, the alcoholic beverages and the local fruit juice specialties.

We’ve addressed many different types of entertainment to enjoy for adults and children.

There’s certainly nothing lacking in any all-inclusive resort experience.

What did we miss?

Was there something you wanted to know about? Leave a question in the comments!

Leave a question in the comments!

Maybe you’ve visited a resort and think there was something we should have included. Let us know in the comments below!

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