Posted on January 17, 2022
Has your cruise been canceled and you’re wondering what your next step is to resuscitate your vacation? Or maybe you want to book a cruise but the recent CDC advice not to take a cruise has given you pause? Try taking a timeshare vacation instead, since you may not realize that many of the best parts of a cruise can be mirrored at a timeshare resort.
Think about it. Chances are that you wanted to visit the Caribbean, do some sightseeing and shopping, catch a live show and eat to your heart’s content. Timeshares can check all of those boxes, and then some.
Here are a few reasons that vacationers take a cruise, and whether timeshares stack up:
Warm Weather Getaway – especially during the winter, the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico are in the bullseye for cruise vacationers escaping the cold. Top destinations such as Nassau/Paradise Island, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and the Mexican Caribbean coast are on every cruise line calendar.
Some of the most luxurious timeshare resorts in North America are also in these destinations. Amazing resorts in Cancun, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas and across St. Maarten in addition to places like Aruba and Barbados are just the beginning of exploring the region.
All-inclusive Meals – from the breakfast buffets through to the midnight buffets, it’s all you can eat, all the time. Cruises are legendary for letting guests eat as much as they want, but all-inclusive timeshare resorts can give you the same “fulfilling” experience. Plus, many resort all-inclusive plans include alcoholic beverages, such as the all-inclusive plans at Divi Resorts, whereas most cruise lines will charge extra for such libations.
Casinos – cruise ships have casinos that give you the chance to hit it big, but timeshare resorts can also give you that thrill of chasing the big win. Stellaris Casino next to Marriott Aruba Surf Club is just one example, another is St. Maarten’s Casino Royale. And do we even need to mention the casinos of the Atlantis Resort next to Harborside Resort at Atlantis on Paradise Island?
Live Entertainment – the stage shows and club entertainment on cruises are a great draw and have improved significantly over the years. Shows like Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and even cruises featuring rock band KISS have popped up on cruise itineraries. But timeshare resorts are located in some of the top entertainment capitals of the world such as New York City, Las Vegas and Orlando.
Many timeshare resorts now offer live entertainment onsite, such as the shows on offer through the amazing resorts with Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Club in the Dominican Republic.
Shopping – it is amazing how many people will pay big bucks to take a cruise just for the duty-free shopping available on-board ships and in places such as St. Thomas. But the deals are just as good in places like Nassau, Cozumel, Cayman, St. Thomas and St Maarten regardless of whether you’re stopping in for the day aboard a ship or for a week in a timeshare resort.
Here’s a tip: get the shopping info from the cruise line for a particular place and take it with you when you head out for your timeshare vacation. Then go shopping and have the shops match the deals from the ships if they are better than what you can get on your own. Believe me, the shops will do whatever they can to get the sale. And with fewer crowds.
Tours and Activities – most cruisers set sail to explore the towns they visit during their cruise, through shipboard shore excursions or on their own. This will most likely cost extra, and even many of the onboard activities now cost extra such as the go-karts, laser tag and relaxing in cabana-style beach clubs.
Sightseeing activities during a timeshare vacation also cost extra, but most of the amenities and activities at the resorts are provided at no additional cost.
Kid’s Activities – we acknowledge that cruise lines have outdone themselves to develop supervised programs and amenities to cater to kids. Some of today’s ships have incredible water slides, game rooms and special areas for children as well as teens. But timeshares definitely fare well in comparison.
Marriott Vacation Club is one company that has developed an excellent range of programs and activities. For instance, Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club has a designated Kid’s Night Out with pizza and movies, along with activities such as Salsa dancing, interacting with Iguanas, hair braiding and face painting.
Remember that one kid’s activity that is universal – surfing the web with Wi-Fi – is complimentary at most timeshare resorts, whereas cruises will charge for any decent amount of Wi-Fi time.
Most vacationers look at seven-day itineraries for cruises, even though the lines offer shorter 3-4 day and even longer 10+ day sailings. Looking at a seven-day trip, you’ll usually get three or four ports, which means you’ll be on the ship the rest of the time.
Many travelers, especially experienced cruisers, don’t mind that since they often like to stay on the ship much of the time to enjoy the service. Especially if they have been to the ports before, which can become repetitive in the cruise industry.
For those cruisers who want to explore the ports, they can sometimes feel rushed or limited when it comes to cruising due to the shortened timeframe on land. Always looking at the clock to make sure you don’t miss sail-away.
Below we’ve taken a look at some of the reasons why it’s better to vacation in a timeshare than on a cruise:
Have you ever really tried to stay in a cruise cabin for any length of time? Especially in an inside cabin? Sure, many of the cabins on the newer ships have balconies but, unless you’re paying big bucks, chances are you’re tripping over each other trying to get around and get ready for the day or evening activities.
Compare this to timeshares, where the most popular ownership according to the American Resort Development Association is a two-bedroom, condo-style unit. Living rooms, full bathrooms for more than one person at a time and all the modern conveniences are there. As is the balcony.