Day one was very smooth, we drove to the Fort Lauderdale port for the first time ever. I had reserved parking at the "Park N Go" and I must say for the internet price of $7.99 per day, I could not have been more pleased. We pulled in, parked and were on a shuttle within 2 minutes. The driver loaded our luggage right at the back of our car. We took the keys with us. We then proceeded to the port and were there in under 5 minutes and dropped off at the porters. We checked in at the ship walking right up to the counter. This was our first RC cruise so we were put in the appropriate waiting area to board. It want very quick and we were aboard ship by 11:25 AM. I recommend Park N Go, and applaud the ports speedy check in.
We were told our cabin would not be available until 1 PM and it was. We used the hour and a half to head to the Windjammer Market to eat. This was the one and only time we used the buffet and I would rate the food as pretty much typical of buffets. It was alright, but nothing we ate was to rave about.
We used the rest of the time until our cabin was ready to book an excursion for St Thomas and to explore. Everything about the ship itself is just a huge "WOW" From the Promenade, Central Park, Boardwalk, general areas, pool areas, this ship is clean and gleaming.
We had chose to book a Balcony over looking Central Park and it was ready at 1 PM as promised, suit cases fit under the bed and there was ample storage space, cubby holes, nooks and crannies to meet our needs. The bathroom seemed a little small and for sure the shower was confining. The bed was really comfortable and their information system on the TV was the best I have ever seen. The cabin was well decorated. The downside was the location of the cabin that we chose. It was as about mid ship as you could get and that is what we wanted. We did not realize that there are no mid ship elevators or stairs. This cause us to do a ton of walking on this monster ship (it was probably good for us) The other downside was that while it seemed novel to have the park balcony, that was lost quickly and it seemed as though you were in a hotel rather than on a ship. In hind site I would have preferred an ocean view or a Balcony over water. The park Balconies are not very private and it is quite easy to look into other cabins. At night we always seemed to have a clown down in the park or on a balcony yelling or talking loudly very late at night and early in the morning. Noise seemed to carry very well in the park.
One place the ship did not get a big wow was the food offered in the main dining room. I have always heard people tell me how much better the food is on RC, I cannot make a total judgement, I'll just say I sure did not see it on this ship. It was not my assessment alone, everyone at our table and other people we talked to agreed, while the food was not bad, it was just OK. Steaks were less than tender, baked potato's served barely warm, many selection not really exciting. We did not do any upscale dining, we heard for other most of it was very good. We did hear some complaints about the Samba Grill and poor menu selections at Giavanni's. But that was hear say. People raved about Chops and Cafe 150 in the park. The park Cafe had fantastic Beef sandwiches and was a great place just to grab a bite to eat or have coffee. The hot dog joint on the board walk had great hot dogs as well (6 different types) Sorrento's had OK pizza, but a little tip, it takes about 15 minutes and they will make one to your specs and they turn out as a really good pizza. My advice make your own and ask for extra sauce as they seem to like to skimp. Cafe Promenade was also a great place to just get a finger sandwich, pastry or just have coffee. Eating was not a total loss, just very disappointing in the Adagio main dining room. That also held true for breakfast there, only the service for breakfast seemed to be equally as bad. Don't even order toast, crust is like stale to rubber and the toast will not melt butter, go with an English muffin. I ordered an omelet and the whole table was done eating before I was served. Usually to get a second cup of coffee you had to chase down a waiter. Our wait staff at night was just average early on in the cruise, but really dialed it up toward the end of the week as envelope time drew near. Again they were not bad but just average. In their defense they had a whole table of young kids at their station as well and they had to give that table a lot of attention to manage them. The parents all sat together at another table.
Entertainment was the best I have ever seen on any ship, there just were not enough evening options. We booked all of our shows online and I suggest you do the same if you want to be sure to get in. Chicago stage play was great, comedy was great, Ice Games great, Aqua Show unbelievable, Blue Planet was really good! The headliner show was very entertaining. One black eye on the entertainment was the "Quest" adult scavenger hunt. What part of "Adult" do parents not get when they pile into the theater with all their children. The more disturbing thing is the way RC handled it. They just told the people they did not want to hear that they were offended. They should have been held to the "Adult" nature of the program and should have been made to leave with their children. Nothing about the show offended me other than that fact that Children were allowed to stay and witness an adult show. Very irresponsible by the staff and cruise director of the Allure.
When my wife and I toured the Casino before it was open we really got excited about all the modern and latest machines they had to offer. Once the Casino did open our excitement was short lived and we and many found out it was the tightest Casino I had ever been in. The just suck money in with little to no return. Gambling is a form of entertainment, people like to play. You did not get to play her, they just suck the money in. Over 6000 people on the ship and never did you have a problem getting on any machine you wanted to. I have been on ships where you can't find a seat. RC needs to wake up, they could fill this really nice casino up if they made it fun! Loosen UP!
All in all it was a great cruise, I commend the staff on how well they handle 6200 people as a whole. It never felt crowded on this ship. The ship is awesome and unique and could eat other ships up! They have a lot to be proud of, but there is a lot of room for improvement in many areas.
I will not do port reviews as we had been to them multiple times before, we just book this cruise to experience this ship. Oh and I must mention that out Cabin Steward Bobby Steven was fantastic, very friendly and met our every need