We were onboard the Allure of the Seas early May, touring Western Caribbean. This ship is obviously impressive and since most features have been covered by other reviews, I'll just list a few specific items that were no covered in the brochures.
Embarkation: We stayed overnight in Ft. Lauderdale before the cruise, not wanting to chance on any delays. From our hotel, we were shuttled to the cruiseport at 10:30 am. We were advised not to arrive before 2 pm so we were expecting a long wait at the terminal. Not so. The agents at registration were very friendly and efficient. The waiting area has a play gym so kids are kept busy. Everyone boarded in orderly fashion and we were on the ship at noon. We were told that our rooms would not be available until 1:30. No problem. We were heading to the Windjammer buffet before we checked the ship's interactive directory and found out it was packed. So we had a quick lunch at the Promenade Cafe instead. You can imagine everyone was looking for lunch so it took a while to get a table. Some folks were simply parking themselves there to wait for their rooms.
Rooms: Our 2 rooms were available exactly at 1:30. We were quite delighted to find that we were upgraded to a Central Park view room, even though we had booked 12 days prior to sailing for the lowest price cabin. The room is close to 200 square feet and very roomy compared to what I'm used to on other ships for the inside category. The beds are pushed together but the room stewards would come and check to see if you want them separated. I love the window seat looking out onto Central Park. It was hard to imagine you're on a ship. The bathroom is compact but has lots of storage. There are lost of hooks to hang wet bathing suits. I especially like the hand-held shower head for helping with the kids. We were given 2 heavy glass tumblers in the bathroom but luckily I had brought a small plastic one for the kids.
Dinner/show reservations: Since we booked very late we were given the late seating for dinner and that was not suitable. We had to get the change done at the Adagio dining room. We had to wait about 20 min but there was a spread of drinks and cookies for everyone so time passed quickly. We were also able to reserve for shows that were fully booked on-line prior to sailing. This is done so that it's fair for passengers who might not have access to internet so no one misses out. Reservations are done at Sudio B which is the ice rink. That was done very quickly after we were given a list of all shows to choose from.
Interactive TV: The TV in the room is also your message center. The inbox is usually full of sales notices but also info about the ship overall. There is a channel reserved for Captain Johnny and he goes through some very interesting facts about the ship and about the ports we are visiting. I found the personal calendar very useful. The shows we booked are automatically entered but you can also add other items such as spa appts and such. You may print a copy at Guest Services and there you have your week's calendar and you won't miss anything. I bought a magnet at the gift shop and stuck the calendar to the wall by the door.
Kids Club: Kids are divided into age groups in the Adventure Ocean clubs. The first day was Open House and the parents get to check it out and register. The kids are given lanyards to hold their room key and to access the club. They check the parent's card as well to make sure you are authorized to sign the child out. The kids are also given bracelets prior to boarding. These bracelets are color-coded to match the parents' muster station. This is a great safety feature as you don't need to run all over to find your child in case of an emergency. The Adventure Ocean staff will bring the kids to the right station for you.
Young kids will love going to the character breakfast, you'll need to register but it's free. My daughter loved the time when Po came to their club to show them how to Kung Fu.
This is a great ship with lots to do and lots of things to spend money on. We did not do any specialty restaurants, the dining room is outstanding and you get to know your waiters. Oceanaria and Chicage are fantastic and not to be missed. I have always been a reluctant cruiser because I usually smell cigarette smoke anywhere on the ship. Not the case on the Allure and even half of the casino area is smoke-free. Very fun family-oriented cruise for us. I'm sure we'll be back soon.