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Old 12-13-2005, 10:14 AM   #1
TanaL
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Disney Cruise vs. Beaches Jamaica?

Has anyone been to Beaches in Negril, Jamaica? I would love to hear a comparison of the two vacation options. We're considering both and the cost is about the same for the week we're looking at. We've been on one Disney Cruise and plan to do many more -- love the service and quality and we love cruising.

On the other hand, the kids are a little more into the Sesame Street characters than the Disney characters right now and they won't be this age for long. If the Pooh characters were on the cruise line, this probably wouldn't be much of a factor, but right now Elmo and Cookie Monster are more familiar to them than Chip and Dale.

Any input is welcome. Thanks!
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Old 12-13-2005, 11:44 AM   #2
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No contest

FOUR of the Magic's CM's vacationed in Negril a couple of years' ago:they had to barracade themselves into their room at night for fear of thieves, and were unable to use the beach - due to constant abuse from drug-sellers. Naturally, others will tell you of better stories, but our CM pals will NEVER go there again.

Disney cruise would be far preferrable in my opinion.
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Old 12-13-2005, 12:01 PM   #3
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Our next door neighbors went to Beaches Turks & Caicos this past spring. Met several families that had been on DCL Cruises in the past, and they all said the DCL Cruise was better.

They came back and said they had fun and enjoyed it, but after hearing all these strangers raving about DCL, (as we have been for that past few years), they said they wished they had gone on a DCL Cruise instead.

They plan to make the trip soon.
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Old 12-13-2005, 12:48 PM   #4
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I have done both although we went to Beaches Turks and Caicos twice and have only been on the 4 day Wonder. We are scheduled for the Magic in April and am thinking about going to Beaches Negril next Nov. My family really loves them both. They are different types of vacations though. At least for us. I think Beaches is more relaxing since there is so much to do on the cruise. The kids clubs on DCL is far superior. My dd is 5 and never really cared for Sesame Street although she knows who all of them are.
The nighttime entertainment at Beaches is pretty cheesy but really fun. A lot of audience participation.
I am very lucky that we are able to do both. We go to beaches during Oct./Nov. when it is cheapest. I would have a hard time deciding between the two.

Jackie
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Old 12-13-2005, 03:16 PM   #5
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Tana....why hello fellow Turkeyday sailor......I had Beaches booked for last year Turkeyday and when I told the DDs we were trying something different they wanted to sail DCL AGAIN! Now as you know they are 15 and 13 but they really want to sail again.....now DW wants to try something else. And yes, it is similar in price Beaches is all inclusive.....I would make out far better there.... I still isn't out of the question for Turkeyday 06 for us......still trying to convince DW that the 10 day x-mas cruise will be fun.....how could it not be?
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Old 12-13-2005, 03:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeannieH
FOUR of the Magic's CM's vacationed in Negril a couple of years' ago:they had to barracade themselves into their room at night for fear of thieves, and were unable to use the beach - due to constant abuse from drug-sellers. Naturally, others will tell you of better stories, but our CM pals will NEVER go there again.

Disney cruise would be far preferrable in my opinion.
Were they at a private resort? I know a lot of people who have gone to the Carribean, including Jamaica, and/or Mexico and said they were fine as long as they stayed on resort property. Once they leave property, its a different story.

We did spend a week in a private Villa in Mexico this year and didn't get harrassed at all when we walked into town. But we stayed in a little resort town South of Playa del Carmen. I have friends who did get bothered to buy drugs in Playa.
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Old 12-13-2005, 04:42 PM   #7
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There is a vast difference between staying at Beaches or Sandals versus other options in Jamaica.

I think if your kids are into Sesame Street characters at this time, then Beaches is the way to go. I actually know a family that goes to Beaches every year. Their kids range in age from 6 to 25, and they all LOVE it.

If DCL cruisefare and Beaches are roughly the same in price, then Beaches is the better deal because they are all inclusive whereas most cruises aren't. At Beaches all alcohol (premium liquor) is included, and almost all activities (scuba diving has a cost attached), and no tipping. Of course the spa at Beaches costs extra (bummer). With the cruise line you're paying for all your drinks, and all of your excursions, plus tipping.

If you want to do any off-property tours of Jamaica those will be additional.

Now, which Beaches are you looking at in Negril? Beaches Sandy Bay is smaller and costs a bit less than Beaches Negril. And they will tell you that you can stay at one and play at two (meaning you can save money by staying at Sandy Bay but still enjoy the amenities of Beaches Negril). HOWEVER be careful, they have instituted a new policy where you can only check the kids in for the kids acitivities at the resort you are staying at.... So if you think you'll spend a lot of time at Beaches Negril, then plan on spending a bit more and stay there.
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Last edited by ivanova; 12-13-2005 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-13-2005, 07:37 PM   #8
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Hi, I'm new here (well new to posting, but I've been lurking for years!!) We just got back from a 3 day cruise on the Wonder and had a blast.

That being said (that we had fun on the cruise) I think our next family vacation is back at Beaches Negril. We took the girls there last year when they were 11 and 13 and they had a blast. We felt safe with them walking around the resort from room to pool, to dinner by theirselves (as long as they were together of course!!). I've heard the horror stories about Jamaica too, but with 2 trips in the past year to Negril, I haven't seen any of it.

While the cruise was fun, Beaches was much more economical because EVERYTHING was included (except the one horseback trip we went on) the girl snorkled every day, and went scuba diving and that was free also. All drinks and food were included so all inclusive really is the way to go. Our credit card bill from the ship was almost $400 and we really didn't do much extra.


Not sure why I decided to start posting after lurking so long, but I think it's because I LOVE Beaches Negril so much that I had to step up and say something....oh, I'm also working on my trip report for my cruise from the 8-11th of December!!

Michelle
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Old 12-13-2005, 08:55 PM   #9
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We've done a DCL cruise and went to Beach Turks & Caicos. We thought the cruise was FAR superior (and for us, actually far less expensive--we always travel the 2nd or 3rd week in November.) While both are quite relaxing, we found far more to do on the cruise. Because alcohol is included at Beaches, it seemed like the number one activity was drinking, starting early in the morning. We did not feel like there was a lot of activity to do, especially since the ocean was off limits 4 out of the 7 days (due to red flag conditions.) We enjoy playing tennis, but the courts were Jamaican style (sand), and not easy to play on. We compared Beaches to Club Med Sandpiper, which we found to also be far superior to Beaches, in terms of activities offered, kids activities, and dining.

The kids did enjoy the kids clubs, and had some freedom wandering around by themselves both on the cruise and at beaches. As a parent, I found Disney's kids activities to be more structured and supervised.

Food was much better on the cruise than it was at Beaches. We went to Sandals in Jamaica for our honeymoon, and found the food to be quite good. Beaches (a sister resort) was quite deficient in this area, and I actually lost weight in spite of the all you can eat meals. While Disney was not perfect, there were more choices, and the food was of a better quality.

As far as characters, they are not a major part of either vacation. Sure, you will see them every day, but it is not what you plan your vacation around. You are far more likely to see Mickey and Minnie that Chip and Dale, so that should not be the deciding factor.

Sorry to be so long, but I'll answer any other specific questions you may have too.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeannieH
FOUR of the Magic's CM's vacationed in Negril a couple of years' ago:they had to barracade themselves into their room at night for fear of thieves, and were unable to use the beach - due to constant abuse from drug-sellers. Naturally, others will tell you of better stories, but our CM pals will NEVER go there again.

Disney cruise would be far preferrable in my opinion.
Depending on where they stayed in Negril that is possible - but it's also like saying we went to a bad part of (insert your town name here) and barracaded ourselves in our room. Jamaica seems to get a bad rap on a lot of message boards and some travel agents like to strike fear into their customers about the country. We've been there several times to a variety of all inclusive resorts and NEVER had a problem. We also spend time outside of the resorts and have yet to feel intimidated or feared for our safety. I've been to Sandals Negril and on that trip we visited Beaches Negril as they have an awesome adults only restaurant and the entire resort was supurb. When we have kids we definately plan to stay there.

I agree with all the posters that said they are two entirely different vacations. For our family cruises tend to be more expensive due to all the extras.
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Old 12-14-2005, 06:35 AM   #11
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I was thinking about the differences last night when I couldn't sleep and in my opinion Beaches wins my vote, but everyone is different.

Kids clubs

The girls didn't really use them in Jamaica and stayed by the pool or snorkeled all day.

They did use them alot on the cruise and they seemed to be pretty structured (except for the teens, they seemed to wander around alot)

Food
while we liked the food on the cruise I think we liked the variety at Beaches better. We didn't go hungry that's for sure. All the girls ate on the cruise were chicken strips, I was afraid they would start clucking soon!


Activities

DCL had tons of activities planned but you had to pay for alot of them and at Beaches the same type of activity would be free. Like snorkeling, or the floats at the beach, they are all free at Beaches. All water sports are included at Beaches (except things like jet skis or para sailing)

Service

Service at both places was excellent. Everyone on the cruise was great, and we also had wonderful service at Beaches, we really love the Jamaican people they all seem so happy and friendly.

Only complaint I had at Beaches was occasionally the water pressure in the shower was bad, but I figured I wouldn't let it bother me since I was in Jamaica!!!

Any questions just ask....if you couldn't tell I LOVE Beaches Negril and we are planning a trip down there next summer.

I asked the girls this morning which place they liked better and the 12 year old said Beaches, and the 14 year old said the cruise (but I think that's because she met a cute teenage surfer named Ben on the cruise!!)

Last edited by MichelleVW; 12-14-2005 at 09:03 AM.
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Old 12-14-2005, 12:40 PM   #12
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The beaches were the main problem area - the CMs were hassled constantly by drug-sellers and felt threatened. I do believe if you stay at an all-inclusive hotel/villa, then probably you would have no problems. But, if I spend $1000s on a vacation, I wouldnt want to be imprisoned for the duration. Just a matter of preference. Cruises in our opinion are a far better option.
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Old 12-14-2005, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeannieH
FOUR of the Magic's CM's vacationed in Negril a couple of years' ago:they had to barracade themselves into their room at night for fear of thieves, and were unable to use the beach - due to constant abuse from drug-sellers.
Given the above, I highly doubt these "CMs" stayed at Beaches (frankly, unless they were ship officers, they couldn't afford it - we've done this and the Turks & Caicos property, and both are easily as expensive as a category 6 or lower DCL cruise if you stay in the suite level). Like all the other upscale resorts in Jamaica, Beaches Negril is a closed compound with armed security guards; the ones at each end of the beach keep out anyone not staying at the resort. Or stated differently, the last thing you're going to experience at Beaches Negril is some thug trying to sell you drugs.

As far as the overall experience compared to DCL (which is really an apples to oranges comparison, a land resort vs. a cruise), I'm with Michelle VW - not as much activity and entertainment as the cruise, but better food, service and a heck of a lot more relaxing.

The resort beach:



A typical basic suite bedroom:



Section of the main pool:


Last edited by Danthesand; 12-14-2005 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 12-14-2005, 02:11 PM   #14
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Frankly you are as trapped or more on a cruise ship. With an all-inclusive, you can leave the resort anytime. A cruise ship only allows you to get off when the ship stops - unless you want to swim to shore! Many all-inclusives offer excursions similar to a cruise ship with vendors they trust - in fact, if you've gone to Tulum or many other DCL excursions you've seen the resort buses pull up next to your bus. Just like with a cruise, the adventurous may choose to go sight-seeing on their own, but should do some research. Plenty of cruisers have been offered the opportunity to invest in recreational drugs in Nassau, so cruising is no guarentee you won't manage to find the seedier side of things.
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