On June 3rd my fiance, her two adult daughters and myself, departed Fort Lauderdale on the fabulous Allure of the Seas. We arrived at the airport and within minutes of getting our luggage, were on our way to the dock. I don't know if Royal offers transportation to and from the dock, but if it's offered, don't bother with it. The ride was less then 10 minutes and cost less the $20 with tip. As we approached we were absolutely in awe. We have been on the Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and the Norwegian Sky. I have also been on the Radiance of the Seas, the Carnival Paradise and the now defunct Windjammer Barefoot Cruise line Yankee Clipper. After our first glance at the Allure, well, all we could say was WOW! Our luggage and check in procedure was smooth as silk. We were directed to the waiting area, We arrived shortly before noon so the ship wasn't ready for boarding. We barely sat down when they announced that boarding would commence. Getting on the ship was a breeze. We headed directly to the Windjammer Buffet. Needless to say it was a mob scene, but we managed to find seats and have a quick bite. The feeding frenzy had begun. We took a brief tour of the pool area, got a drink, and relaxed on the deck. Soon after we headed to our rooms where we found our room steward, John Evans. He would be handling both our balcony rooms. A quick work about John, I don't think he sleeps. He was always in the hallway or rooms and if he saw or heard us coming, he ran to open the door for us. The rooms were large, plenty of space for storage, but you must be creative. The balcony was superb. We were next to the last room on the 11th deck. From the public space in the back we were able to watch any of the pool shows, movies or other activities.
The dining was great. We ate in the MDR every night at 830. We never tried any of the other dining options except, the hot dog stand, the Promenade Cage and the Central Park Cafe. We had lunch at the Windjammer daily and breakfast was a mix of room service and buffet. We had no complaints of the quality of food. Our waiters, Kardi and Alvin were great. They were so much fun.
The shows were awesome. Chicago is a must do. So is Blue Planet. The dive show was very entertaining as was the ice show. Be forewarned, book your shows when you book your trip. We booked all our shows in advance but still couldn't get into the comedy show. We didn't see the headliner after some fellow cruisers said he wasn't worth seeing. So we gambled instead.
The casino was very large and had smoking and non-smoking areas. Even the smoking areas weren't all that bad. Must be a good ventilation system. We gambled nearly every night and I left a contribution to the Retired Dealers Widows and Orphans Fund. ( I lost).
The activities on the ship never seem to end. There is always something going on someplace on the ship. A helpful tool is located at each elevator area. With a touch on the flat screen you will immediately know where you are, yes, you can get lost, what is going on, where and how to get there. Use it!
The pool and sports area is huge. We almost never had a problem finding a lounger. Bar service was prompt. Take advantage of the bag of beer program. Buy the insulated bag and 8 beers and after that, every time time you fill the bag, you pay for 7 but get 8. After 3 refills the bag has paid for itself. Do the math, 4 days at sea, 4 bags of beer, yep, works for me.
There was some excitement on board, or shall I say, on the water. On our last day at sea, we came across 5 Cubans in a rubber raft, floating about 25 miles from Cuba. They had been at sea for 3 days. They were rescued by the crew and later transferred to the Coast Guard Cutter Kodiak Island.
Our departure was very smooth. We chose the express check out and were off he boat in minutes and through US Customs shortly thereafter. All in all it was a fabulous trip and we will be back.