The pool deck beer cart guys earned their tips today. Atop the 6,360-passenger Allure of the Seas, the whole city seemed to gather to experience a sunny sea day. “I got winner” was heard frequently at the six ping-pong tables, passengers from 10 to 60 waited for their chance to surf or zip, and the pools looked like mobbed swimming holes during a heat wave.
Below, Central Park, the Boardwalk and the Royal Promenade were funereal by comparison — although noise did carry down seven decks from the kid-friendly H20 zone to mingle obnoxiously with Central Park’s piped-in bird chirps. And kids intent on seeing dancing cupcakes and DreamWorks characters did take a brief break from the pool to witness the “Move It! Move It!” parade in the Promenade. But despite designers’ best intentions to spread passengers throughout the ship, Allure’s pool deck is still king on Caribbean sea days. In fact, no other ship in cruising comes close to creating as much top-ship buzz. Even so, the world’s largest — and perhaps noisiest — ship has a few quiet pockets on the sun deck.
Action: Mid-ship pools. When it’s really hot, getting attacked by a giant, multicolored water-spraying octopus doesn’t sound so bad. This young buck pictured above knows the protocol for muggy days in the Caribbean. But so do thousands of other passengers, who were atop the ship sipping coronas, manning aqua cannons and slathering on the SPF 30. Allure’s four mid-ship pools were packed, and not surprisingly, all poolside real estate was occupied by towels, shoes, floppy hats, books or bodies. Still, there were plenty of deck chairs on the fringes (and the promenade that encircles the pools one deck above), and the shaded wings were near empty save for a few passengers buried in books.
Relaxing: The Suite Sun Deck. Suite passengers have it good. Flash a gold key card and you can climb up to a reserved top-ship deck where the crowds thin and the decibel level fades. There’s a bar, plenty of padded loungers and unadulterated views of sea and sky.
Action: Surfing the FlowRider. The lines were long-ish for Allure’s pair of surf simulators, one dedicated to stand-up surfing, the other to boogie boarding, but the wait between rides was still no longer than 15 minutes. Know that you’ll be surrounded by a small peanut gallery in bleacher seats, and the eager onlookers will cackle with glee when your balance gives out and the jet stream flips you backward nearly claiming your suit. They’ll also cheer you on if you manage to stand for more than a few seconds — but the mob’s real joy is to witness the wipeout.
Relaxing: The “secret” shuffleboard courts. The classic cruise standby is lost but not forgotten. A pair of shuffleboard courts are situated above/behind the AquaTheater pool. One was occupied, one empty. Go ahead, gaze away. Even the thumping beats from the World’s Sexiest Man competition below couldn’t poison the view.
Action and Relaxing: The Adults-Only Pool The 16-and-over Solarium was less monastery-like than expected. (Celebrity’s version, the AquaSpa pool, is far more conducive to falling asleep while pretending to read.) The Solarium is definitely quieter than the rest of the Lido music-wise, but conversation was buzzing, thanks in large part to the group leader pictured in the green shirt. While most occupants were content to lounge, he made sure that there was some singing and salsa dancing, too.
Missed any of Dan’s reports from Allure? No worries: They’re all right here.
We stayed up so you don’t have to: See our feature 24 Hours, 24 Photos, 24 Activities on the World’s Largest Ship.
Read up on other Royal Caribbean ships.
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