My boyfriend and I (both 25 years old) traveled on the June 3rd sailing of The Allure of the Seas. We booked the cruise about 4 months in advance through RCCL directly and from here, I started researching the ship and reading reviews up until the day of departure.
The entire experience was absolutely wonderful. We did an ocean-view guarantee room and were placed in stateroom 7522. It was the perfect location on the ship with easy, convenient access to the boardwalk, central park, and only a few floors up from the MDR. We could take the stairs mostly everywhere except up to 15 for the pool. We were at the very front of the ship. If/when I cruise on the Allure again, I would try to request the same stateroom/area.
The window in our stateroom was huge (about half the size of my body) so it was nice to have so much sunlight. The room itself is tiny, but RCCL was thoughtful with their placement of cabinets for organization and storage. The bathroom, though tiny, worked out fine and I liked the shower enclosure with the foot rest for shaving your legs.
Our stateroom attendant, Everton was great too. He, along with all of the stateroom staff we met throughout the week, were always so friendly and interested in our daily activities and overall experience. Our cruise director was Anna Bass and she blew any other cruise director both my boyfriend and I had ever experienced out of the water. She was a great entertainer and has the best personality. We actually ran into her at the elevators and had the opportunity to chat a bit with her about our days on board. Anna -- you are truly, truly phenomenal!
We pre-booked many of our shows -- Oceanaria, Blue Planet and the Comedy Show. Oceanaria and Blue Planet cannot be missed, and while the comedy show was funny, it was just ok overall. We also went to the Love and Marriage Game Show, hosted by Anna the Cruise Director, and this was a highlight. Absolutely go to this -- you'll love it. We also went to the belly flop and sexiest man competitions, both entertaining and a good show to check out if you're sick of the sun.
Our ports of call were Mexico (we absolutely LOVE the Twister boat to Isla Passion excursion and would recommend it to anyone!), Jamaica (went to Dunns River Falls, phenomenal), and Labadee (decent for a cruise port, took an excursion to a private beach, zip lines looked fun).
Our overall food experience was great. I am not a picky eater whatsoever, but a good cook and enjoy yummy food. We did not eat in the Windjammer once, and I'm happy that we avoided the over -crowded, buffet all together. We ate breakfast almost every day in the Solarium Bistro. It was never crowded and had great healthy options for me, and other options like waffles, pancakes and sausage for my boyfriend. We were going to go to Park Cafe for the bagel bar for breakfast one day, but the line was a bit long so we went back to the Bistro. We ordered room service one day and it was on time, and had a good variety to choose from for options.
We ate dinner in the MDR every night. Our waiter and assistant waiter were sweet, attentive and got to know what both my boyfriend and I preferred to eat. Some nights the food was good, not spectacular, but not bad, and other nights, it was phenomenal! Certain dishes are done better than others. Our waiter would bring us 2 appetizers, even if we didn't order them, because he knew we'd like it, and was great about suggesting entrees to try that evening. We were originally paired up with 2 other couples to eat dinner, but asked our Head Waiter if they could accommodate a table for 2, and the change was made the next day. This way, we felt much less rushed through dinner and could enjoy ourselves and our meals together.
We ate Giovanni's Table on night and it was absolutely worth the $20 per person. It's family style, so we ended up sharing a few dishes and 2 desserts. I am glad we decided to get a little bit of everything -- this way we were able to try a lot of different options on the menu. The tiramisu at Giovanni's was leaps and bounds better than the MDR. Again, our waiter was phenomenally friendly and attentive. We also ate outside in Central Park and it was quiet and a nice place for the two of us to enjoy dinner.
Most days we had lunch in Park Cafe. The salads and sandwiches are great. I waited until the last day to try the infamous roast beef and honestly, I could have eaten it every single day for all 3 meals. So delicious! Park Cafe and Solarium Bistro also have a lot of other drink options other than just plain water, like lemonade and flavored water.
We ate at Rita's Cantina and the food here was great too. We are huge Mexican food fans and Rita's Cantina did not disappoint. We had the chips and salsa, each got a soup, along with fish tacos and enchiladas. The food itself isn't expensive at all, but after a few margaritas a piece, the bill does add up quickly. The pizza in Sorrento's is fine too, super cheesy and the crust is prepackaged/frozen, but was fine for a quick bite. We got ice cream in the ice cream shop, along with candy from the candy shop, and both were yummy. We didn't find this overly expensive either.
We loved the Bow and Stern pub and their live music. There is honestly so much to do, there isn't enough time in the 7 days to do it all. My boyfriend rock climbed, I went to the spa, we both had a great time on our own. The spa was worth the expensive, but wait until the days the ship is in port because you'll get a better deal through your Cruise Compass.
The ship really doesn't feel too crowded, and we sailed on a full ship of 6,000 plus customers. Yes, on sea days, the pool is packed, but we never had an issues getting a lounge chair in the general pool area we wanted. We spent one morning in port, before heading off on an excursion, by the pool and we were the only ones out there at about 10am. The kids become a bit of a pain jumping in and out of the pool and doing handstands around 50 people in 1 small pool, I wish they were limited to certain pools/the kids area. The solarium was never crowded, and was a nice place to go when you had too much sun, but was a bit hot under those glass ceilings.
There are long elevator lines/crowds after shows/performances or before dinner times, but just take the stairs and you'll avoid it. I have very, very few complaints about the overall experience. Nothing even worth noting here.
Both my boyfriend and I have previously cruised with Carnival (together and separately) and there is really no comparison to the experience RCCL provides. Royal Caribbean is truly, the only cruise line to cruise with, and the Allure is a phenomenal ship that offers you an amazing vacation. You get what you pay for! After this vacation, I will never cruise with any other company other than RCCL, on any other ship other than Oasis class. Thank you RCCL for the vacation of a lifetime!