Live From Allure of the Seas: 7 Things Not to Do on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship

August 9, 2011 | By | 42 Comments

On a ship with multiple time zones, its own Boardwalk and Central Park, and some 20 places to eat, passengers won’t get to do everything in a week. During a seven-night Western Caribbean voyage on the 6,360-passenger Allure of the Seas, we certainly tried, sampling bison and six table salts at the ship’s $40-a-head restaurant, attending evening shows that actually “sold out” and wandering the streets of the Caribbean’s newest port in search of jerk chicken and cheap Red Stripe.
What we found: Unless Allureans are superhuman or, more realistically, booked on back-to-back sailings, they’ll have to make some hard choices. You may not be able to acquire a balloon saber and master stand-up surfing and gorge on seared meats at the Samba Grill, Allure’s top-ship carnivorium. But we’re here to help. So you have time for all the good stuff, here are seven things not to do on the world’s largest cruise ship.
From a tour of his cabin to the 411 on sun deck hideaways and the for-fee steak in the main dining room, Dan’s been all over Allure. Missed any of his reports? No worries: They’re all right here.
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    Comments

    42 Responses to “Live From Allure of the Seas: 7 Things Not to Do on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship”

    1. Greg Nilevsky
      August 9th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

      Can you post the movy how the sister-ship was builed? Or whare can I bay the copy of this film?

    2. Cruise Critic
      August 9th, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

      @Greg, we’ve seen the Oasis construction video on the Discovery Channel, but we’re not sure where you can purchase it. Google?

    3. Lillian
      August 9th, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

      Love the windjammer- Plenty of seats and more choices than Johnny Rockets fro breakfast. Plenty of seating in Pool Areas unless you want to sit at Befalssic classach Club pool.

    4. Lillian
      August 9th, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

      I meant Beach Club Pool which is salt water!

    5. Brad
      August 9th, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

      @Greg, I have a copy of the Oasis’ construction, which was given to me by the Guest Services Manager when I was on board the Allure this past January. I wouldn’t mind sending you a copy somehow, if you’d like.

    6. Nick
      August 10th, 2011 @ 11:12 am

      Does anyone know if you can make it to Dun river falls while docked in Falmouth? I’m not familiar with Jamacia enough to know and I didn’t see any excursion to there.
      Thanks

    7. Cruise Critic
      August 10th, 2011 @ 11:43 am

      @Nick … absolutely. Falmouth is positioned between Mo-Bay and Ocho Rios, so many cruisers head one way or the other. It’s about an hour ride (give or take 10) from Falmouth to Ocho Rios.

    8. C Hixon
      August 10th, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

      I agree with skipping the Windjammer, much better food at other places. Didn’t even get off in Falmouth, ran the track. Also agree with running the track. I usually do treadmill because on other ships the track is on upper deck running by people in lounge chairs and tons of wind, on deck 5, it’s great, little bursts of wind and I’m not an outdoor runner. The gym on this ship is too small for the amount of people. Done this itinerary so many time, the Allure was the destination!

    9. JS
      August 10th, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

      Thanks for the candid summary. I was afraid the “7 things not to do” would be stupid, patronizing things like “Don’t forget to eat at every expensive Specialty Restaurant at least once” or “Don’t miss out on the private (and expensive) yoga classes in the spa”. This slide show is actually very helpful, rather than acting as a plug for RCI. Thanks again.

    10. Al and Nancy
      August 10th, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

      We loved the Oasis and going on the Allure in November. The Windjammer is not the place to go eat unless you like people on top of people. There are so many other places to go eat you can leave this place alone. I have sent RCCL remarks about the Windjammer to be told they found nothing wrong with this area.

    11. Jo & Crew
      August 10th, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

      We went on Oasis last year at this time..and just got off the Allure on Sunday..both ships kept our family entertained, fed, laughing ourselves silly..we’ve had no problem getting as wild and crazy as we want..but each time/high season we’ve been able to find quiet little spots to relax, read, listen to jazz, etc…I agree Park Cafe is my favorite…love those prime rib sandwiches and made to order salads…

    12. Lynne Coppoletta
      August 10th, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

      Do the same seven things \Not to do\ apply to the Oasis as well? We have a party of 14 booked next month and it’s a first cruise on the ‘mega’ ship for all. (My DH and I have 41 cruises so far and planning more).

      The ship is the destination for us too.

    13. bill pulkownik
      August 10th, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

      as much as we enjoy cruisings, and we have had our share with many lines, the size of these new bemoths is getting ridiculos. the present harbors will not handle these ships, who in the hell wants to ride in a tender with waves running 3-5 feet just to visit an island or such, where the tourist who make the trip to shore are walking shoulder to shoulder. the so called nitwits or as they prefer, “THE POWERS TO BE” running this mine is bigger than yours routine, should hit the nearest ships head, and give their brains a good flush.

    14. Marti
      August 10th, 2011 @ 7:37 pm

      Thanks for all of your postings! Getting on the Allure this Sunday, usually prefer the Voyager Class (this will be 22 RCI cruises) but hubby has to try the biggest one (by 2 inches). What’s your take on the ability to get into the booked comedy club shows?

    15. Judie Goodman
      August 10th, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

      I am adding another thing not to do on this ship–don’t board it. It sounds like a monstrosity and I’d rather take a ship that has reasonable proportions whose main purpose is not to see how much money they can wring out of each passenger — or better yet relax at an all inclusive. I have taken over 125 cruises since 1978 and miss the years when cruising meant reasonable priced relaxation, fun and games geared for everyone AND the sights, sounds and sense of being on the ocean, not an ocean going city.

    16. Jane Smith
      August 10th, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

      Thanks for giving a shout out for Falmouth. Although my husband and I have enjoyed several great shore excursions in Jamaica, we really enjoyed the historic walking tour and just bumming around the town and port. Our guide kept a leisurely pace all the while sharing fascinating information about the settlement and development of Falmouth. Besides, how can you go wrong with jerk chicken and a cold Red Stripe?

    17. Jill W
      August 11th, 2011 @ 12:02 am

      We are going on the Allure this Sunday too. I’m hoping its not too crowded. Any other tips to make this one of our best cruises ever?

    18. Ken Gerbehy
      August 11th, 2011 @ 8:02 am

      Will be on the Allure on the 28th ! As B to B cruise the other ship will be the Carnival freedom !! Is it as crowed in the windjammer as it was on the Liberty of the seas was !! What’s your opinion for the best pay restaurant ? Love trying new ships .this will be our 72 cruise !!

    19. Cruise Critic
      August 11th, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

      @Marti, the comedy club is a smaller venue — 120 seats says the fact sheet — but the activities director say you can almost always get in as a standby. *Reservations* might sell out … so if you don’t want to chance it, pre-book and show up more than 10 minutes before showtime.

    20. Cruise Critic
      August 11th, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

      @Ken. I enjoyed Izumi … decent food (I usually go with ‘cooked’ sushi on cruise ships, so had the bbq eel-avocado roll), dark lighting, gently illuminated sushi bar (where they usually put the walk-ins, said the hostess). You pay an upfront service fee ($3 for lunch, $5 for dinner) and then the menu is a la carte. I ended up spending $35, which included a couple of Ichibans. 150 Central Park was a trip, too.

    21. chairachel
      August 12th, 2011 @ 9:50 am

      Sailed on the Allure in July. It was our first cruise — ever! We did eat in Windjammer a couple of times and then discovered the Solarium cafe for breakfast and lunch. There was never a crowd and I liked the healthier selection. I took a couple of yoga classes and the one on the helipad was an experience. Not used to doing yoga, especially balances with the wind in my hair and face. It was a miracle that I didn’t lose my hat! We were told that we got spoiled going on such a large ship for our first cruise. My DH and I don’t think so. Can’t wait to go on another one.

    22. Nancy
      August 13th, 2011 @ 11:07 am

      My husband and I went on our 1st cruise in January of this year on the Allure. What an amazing ship! We loved it. The ports we visited were St.Thomas. St. Marteen & the Bahamas.We enjoyed it so much we have another cruise booked on the Oasis in February 2012. Excellent job, RCCL!!!!!

    23. NWalley
      August 15th, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

      Just completed Allure cruise. Aug 7-14

      Ship was nice but 6000 people is a bit much. While the neighborhoods broke up the crowds; I did find an edge to the staff and definately felt they were all about making MONEY.

      Some details:
      Room deck 6 balcony rooms – adjoining with room for our 3 girls 19, 17 and 11. Were fine and comfortable. Annoying that the adjoining door was locked for 1st 2 hours of arrival which meant a hassle to unpack (had to wait for a Supervisor). Check the shampoo containers as ours was empty and we had to wait 1.5 hours for it to be filled! Big drag on a formal night. The dress code in the dining room is \very loosely\ followed. Also couldn’t enjoy balcony as we were surrounded by smokers. If you book a joint roon for your kids – ask Stateroom attendant to leave all materials in your adult room – we found coupons and compass details that our kids never even looked at many missed opportunities.

      Also the amenities in the room were lacking – only soap and combo shampoo/conditioner. on other RCCL cruises you had daily body lotion and a tube of chapstick.

      Pools were small and even my daughter said it felt like a community bath – hot tubs were too hot for the hot weather.

      Deck seating was competitive but we are early birds there by 7:30 and scored great seats every day. Staff around pool was terrific and worked VERY HARD to keep place orderly and clean. Bar staff was good.

      Ate in Solarium Cafe for bfast and lunch -perfect for us. Drinks on ship $6.33 per were reasonable.

      Entertainment was 1st rate.

      Ordered diamond wine package online and it was a good deal.

      Food in dining room was above average but not 5 star. Service was very attentive. We were not willing to pay up to eat at Central Park.

      Shops on board have VERY limited stock – which led to disappointment and the staff couldn’t have cared less. So if youlike it buy it.

      Did Water Island bike tour on St Thomas and it was EXCELLENT!

      Champagne and Bow Stern bars were very nice.

      Photo staff was terrific – fun and very knowledgable.

      The kiosks on board for printing boarding passes did NOT work and it was only when I went NUTS on Sunday (departure day) at 5AM as the staff refused to print my passes for me. Also the kiosks keyboard have the letters worn off from excessive wear. Hope you remember your qwert typing lessons! PS finally a Supervisor took me behind the scenes to print the passes.

      We were all exited off the ship by 9:30AM -really did feel like a big RCCL shove. But I know time is money and they needed to ge ready for next 6000 paying clients. Take the express walk off option for departure and take an early flight so you do not loose the entire day to travel.

      Have to admit – I may not cruise again – I have cruised 4 times and 3 on RCCL.

    24. Susan Thompson
      August 20th, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

      Well, as much as I had initially longed to cruise on Allure or Oasis, I have now completely changed my mind. Our first cruise was on Carnival Sensation (which it wasn’t) and I never felt relaxed at all. I had hopes that one could go on Allure and pretty much lose yourself on the ship but it sounds like crowd, crowds and more crowds to me now. After reading the reviews, I can tell those two ships are not for my husband and me.

    25. Mary
      August 21st, 2011 @ 5:25 pm

      SOOOO glad to read about the mega ships and now know I will never go on one and seek out the smaller ships. I do not want to sail and relax with an entire city. When I vacation I want vacation–away, period.

    26. Jenn
      August 22nd, 2011 @ 11:05 am

      Just came off Oasis and feel that many of the items listed in the “7 things not to do” are applicable – especially the “don’t eat in the Windjammer”. Regardless of ship size, the Windjammer has always felt too crowded to me, but given the fact that it’s proportionally smaller…count me out! I was thrilled to be able to avoid it for the week.

      The one thing I’d add to this list,and it’s not so nice….don’t have the expectation that the service level will be the same as on smaller ships. You are simply a number on these megaships and although that may be true regardless of ship size, it is very apparent on Oasis.

    27. Jill
      August 22nd, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

      I think cruising on any ship is all personal opinion..I would never have gone on half the ships I have been on if I had listened to a bad review. I have made my 54th cruise and the Allure was #53, The Rhapsody to Alaska was #54 two weeks ago. I have read reviews on both ships and after having sailed them..I could not agree with anything said. The Allure is big but quite beautiful..forget how many people are on it! They said the Rhapsody was “old”..it too was a beautiful ship. Love the Windjammer as I do not like 2 hour formal meals…so you see it’s all our personal opinions. Each ship is different, each crew is different (we are all different) . The fact is you go to Walt Disney World and it’s expensive too. There is not a better deal than cruising when you factor in hotel, meals and destinations and just the view! We are the luckiest generation as most our parents could not afford such a luxury for themselves let alone the entire family. Leaving on a 14 day Med cruise in a month..yes I feel very lucky every time I board a cruise ship.

    28. Laura
      August 25th, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

      My family is going on our first cruise October 30 on the Allure and I was very excited about it but after reading all of this, i’m a little bit nervous now. I have made reservations for the entertainment (Chicago, Comedy show, Oceanaria, Blue Planet) and one night in the Chops restaurant. Haven’t booked any shore excursions yet because it is hurricane season and I figure as we get closer we’ll find something fun to do. Any suggestions for great excursions would be appreciated, kids are 13 and 16.

    29. Diane
      August 28th, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

      We have sailed with Princess, Carnival and the RCC and our favorite cruise was on the Oasis.

      After that cruise I can’t imagine any other cruise topping it.

      Yes, the ship is big but honestly our room was far quieter then on any other ship we have been on. No noise from our neighbors slamming the balcony door closed (as on both the Carnival and Princess) nor did we hear anything from either of the rooms beside us. At times we thought we didn’t have neighbors.

      The adult only area was perfect and using the hot tubs at 5:00-6:30 was wonderful. Hardly anyone around.

      We had excellent service wherever we went. I always treat the staff with the utmost respect and in turn I feel they respond far more positively then if I was \uppity\ with them. They do have an extremely hard job working on a cruise ship and sometimes I think people forget this.

      I am not one to complain about small matters anyways. My vacation time is very precious and I will make the best of any situation.

      All cruise lines try to sell you something while your on board (that’s how they stay \afloat\ lol) but the worst was on the Carnival. How many times do you have to say no to a coke card while your eating your dinner?

      We never had anyone approach us on the Oasis to buy one of the drink cards, have our picture taken etc.

      As for being nickeled and dimed. I allot so much for spending and I stay on budget. How many pictures does one person need?

      I can’t say enough good things about this ship and we plan sailing on the Allure come Feb/2012

      So to all you nay sayers, you don’t know what you’re missing if you decide not to cruise with the Oasis or the Allure.

    30. julie
      September 8th, 2011 @ 8:43 am

      Greg,
      Is there a beach in Falmouth or which beach would be nice and closest to the port?

    31. Ray
      September 24th, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

      We are looking forward to our November sailing on the Allure. As frequent travelers, my wife and I like the luxury of choice. We like mega resorts in Las Vegas for the amazing gourmet dining options, the quality entertainment and the endless shopping experiences.

      I chose the Allure because we have been on smaller/quaint ships and I found myself bored to tears in hours. My wife can plant herself in a lounge chair and remain there for hours. I need activities and things to explore.

      While the same casual phenomenon has overtaken Vegas with a wide array of what would be considered “Dressed To Impress” outfits we have no allusions that the formal nights will include someone’s version of being well dressed being pressed shorts, we plan to dress for the evening and it may include my own tux. This is part of our cruising fantasy.

      As for the crowds and various up-charges for dining, beverages and other strategic add-ons, “caveat emptor.” Land-based mega resorts also find creative ways to extract funds from your pocket. For us, dining is always part of the travel experience and we like the gourmet options and believe me when compared to one of the top chef eateries in Las Vegas, the up-charge is like a cheap meal at Outback.

      I am sure there will be elements unique to the cruise that will challenge our acceptance but one aspect that will be an issue for us will be unruly parents (notice I say parents because children take their cue from them). Until the cruise lines choose to build a mega ship with all of the amenities of an adult resort, we will have to find ways to accommodate kids and frequently remind those in charge to enforce the rules.

    32. Jeanete
      October 17th, 2011 @ 1:04 am

      I am a cruise virgin no more! Just got back from my very first cruise and had an amazing week with my husband on the Allure! And that’s saying a lot considering I was one of the skeptics and was so against cruising as a vacation of choice. My husband had asked to go on a cruise for the longest time and I would recite a litany of protests: I hate crowds, you have to be a bikini model to show up on the pool deck, Titanic sank, I might get seasick, Norovirus…
      I guess I agreed to go on this one because if I had a horrible time I can tell him a smug I-told-you-so. And I’ll admit I was intrigued by the world’s largest cruise ship title.
      Here’s what I discovered:
      Boarding the world’s largest cruise ship took about 15 minutes, a lot faster than I expected anyway, well organized and efficient
      I didn’t mind eating at Windjammer at all, even though it gets busy at times, we always found a perfect spot, and never had to eat the same food twice.
      My husband and I opted not to do formal night or any other night at the main dining room because we didn’t feel like sitting through 2 hours of dinner. We are saving that for next time when we’re with either a group of friends or family. And we’re saving the specialty restaurants for next time, too.
      There were other places to get complimentary food like Sorrento’s for pizza, Cafe Promenade and Park Cafe offered light meals…
      We watched Chicago, Ocean Aria, Blue Planet, Ice Games, a 3D Dreamworks movie, and enjoyed all of them (with a few hundred other people)!
      When I felt like getting away for some quiet time or afternoon nap, I retreated to our balcony stateroom, the perfect place for solitude.
      It was fun being with a big crowd too, for themed parties, parades on the Royal Promenade.
      Hand sanitizers were everywhere.
      The Captain and Crew, Cruise Director, Staff…
      excellent!
      I agree with the ladies, Jill and Diane. It’s really up to the person to make the most of the cruise on the ship they have chosen. You won’t enjoy something if you’re focused on what’s lacking or what’s too much.
      For me it was the perfect vacation. I chose to do what I wanted to do and when. I slept in or woke up early; ate at the buffet or ordered room service; enjoyed the sun when it was out in Falmouth; didn’t complain when it was overcast in Labadee because I at least did not get sunburn; nor did I mind the rain because I had the best afternoon naps then (a luxury when you have 3 very active children, one with special needs, and a full time job as a nurse);joined the crowds for fun times or stayed away if I wanted peace and quiet…
      So I told my husband I had an amazing vacation on the Allure and promptly put a deposit for our next one!!!

    33. Juris
      January 23rd, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

      When I read some of the negative reviews written by some people, I can’t help but realize how petty some of their complaints are! I remember reading some reviews once for a hotel in Mexico (The Bahia Principe Akumal). If I had paid attention to those reviews, I never would have gone to that resort, however, I did go and it was fantastic! You just can’t please some people! Some people expect perfection! Some people here have complained about adjoining rooms being locked for a whole hour upon arrival or waiting for a whole hour to have their shampoo bottles filled! Really? Get a life!

    34. pauline barnes
      February 1st, 2012 @ 6:11 am

      My husband & I are going on the Allure at the end of Febuary (my 65th Birthday treat) thanks to everyone who has contributed to this site, all the comments both for and againest are very helpful for us to get an overview. Could anyone tell me where and how we pre book the various excusions and shows? I particully want to go to the Dunn Falls but cannot find and bookable excusions.

    35. Michael
      March 30th, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

      As a traveler on both Oasis and Allure, I will have to agree with Juris. You aimply cannot please some people. Except for the cruise staff parade at the beginning of the cruise, I would never have guessed that there were 6,300 passengers on the ships. The only line we ever had to stand in was when picking up luggage at the port on the last day. We always felt that the staff was there to serve and and we were waited on like royalty. Not every employee is going to please you, but a smart person can dispense with that problem quickly and efficiently. There are always options.
      If you cannot make reservations for excursions, plan ahead next time. If you can’t take the smokers on their balconies for a few minutes at a time, there are ships that prohibit smoking. Be smart, do your research, and shop around and plan and act ahead next time.

    36. Luis
      April 29th, 2013 @ 12:56 am

      how can I obtain a copy of the construction of the allure of the Seas aswell. I went on the ship May of 2012 excellent and nothing but fun!

    37. Debbie
      May 4th, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

      Can we purchase more pictures taken on Allure of the seas after our cruise? Or a picture CD?

    38. LoryB
      June 9th, 2013 @ 10:50 am

      I will be taking my first “real” cruise next week with my 10 almost 11 year old grandson and I so appreciate the positive comments made … Having traveled and lived in other countries have found others march to a different tune and perfection in one country is not perfection in another … I find, like others, if you treat most people with respect you will be treated in kind..there are exceptions but my 14 grandaughter has asked me, “How come everyone is nice to you, grandmom?” She knows…We are looking forward to this but wanted to get the most out of the trip we paid for ~~ taking advantage of what is offered as part of the voyage. I found so many answers here and appreciate them so much! This has been very helpful!

    39. Ed Pariso
      September 7th, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

      Getting ready to set sail on Allure of the Seas for our 2nd time..also been on Oasis. Between these crusies we decided to go on some other cruise lines. Once your on these big ships ..even the other big ships just don’t seem to have enough to do. And we went on a few very high end ships…still boring to me.

      These ships are anything you like…lots to do or relaxing. We are always able to find spot to ourselves and get away. Its has been very hard to find other cruises I can do it all.

      So were back to our favorite.

      Ed & Betty Pariso

    40. Roger D G Thomas
      November 10th, 2013 @ 2:39 am

      We are sailing on the Allure next May 2014(25th)for a 7 night ‘Eastern Caribbean’ itinery Nassau,Bahamas,St.Thomas U.S.V.I,St.Marteen out of Ft.Lauderdale.We have also added 2 night s at Miami EPIC as a post-cruise stopover to extend our stay in the U.S.A as it’s our first trip over the pond!.I booked Allure nearly two years in advance to secure an end Board-walk balcony cabin so we would effectivly get a ‘free’sea-view after reading reviews and getting a great price!My wife and i have previously sailed on two R/C ships ‘Adventure’ 5 night Canary islands and ‘Brilliance’ 7 night emirates cruise from Dubai.We had two great cruises so far and have learnt a few lessons along the way.We had main dining room food for every night and for us we found the food mostly lovely!Service varied but once you got on first name terms with the staff a few individuals excelled.We are going to keep an open mind for our holiday(vacation i believe you Americans call it?)and have found great staff and friendly people for the most part of our previous sailings.There is usually a few ‘moaners’ whever you go who seem to enjoy being awkward or demanding just for the attention and who expect the Earth.It’s not The Ritz in London,it’s a ship!When our romance package flowers failed to arrive i didn’t go loopy at the desk i simply waited and then made a phone call,eventually the flowers arrived along with about 4 plates of choc-covered strawbs!More than we expected and for us we were more than satisfied!There are ways and means of having a super holiday and it starts with attitude(or lack of it!)Sure it’s a big ship,bound to have crowds,i expect a little waiting time but it looks fantastic!i want to sail the current ‘biggest Cruise ship in the World’ to a few lovely stops and with planning(have all my trips booked now including 1 with a private operator)we are set to have the holiday of our lives and were not going to let a few slip-ups or rude individuals spoil that!There are a few bad apples everywhere but mostly holidays are about fun,experiences,a little romance and an amazing venue with sunshine and blue seas an added bonus!I for one can’t wait to see the shows,taste the cocktails and party!See you on-board if your booked on this sailing,can’t wait for the ‘Magic’ to begin!

    41. Cruisemanic
      February 12th, 2014 @ 6:16 pm

      We only ate in the Windjammer when we were on Allure and it was just fine.

    42. maree
      July 20th, 2014 @ 4:00 am

      Is it worth the$150 for touring the ship? Hasanyone done the behind the sceans?

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