Arrived the day before stayed at the Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Airport for $82.00. Free airport shuttle from outside baggage claim to the hotel. The 5 minute transfer itself took me over an hour in waiting time. The onslaught of hotel guests and lack of larger transport vans made me miss the shuttle due to rude pushy people that flash mobbed the van as it arrived. The hotel itself has seen better days for sure. The pool area was nice. For $82.00 one really could not complain for just an overnight stay.
Day 1 - Boarding & Departure:
Took a large van from the hotel for the 4 of us and all of our luggage (9 pieces) to the port $35.00. As soon as you are dropped off porters are waiting curbside to take your luggage. Be sure to tip the porters if you want your bags to make the ship. LOL! Anyway you should do it they work hard. Within 10 minutes from curbside we were whisked in the departure terminal checked-in and on our way up the escalators to the ship. This is the time where you should really start getting excited about what lays ahead of you it always is for us! When you step on-board you really cant believe you just walked in to a ship. It was like entering a shopping mall/hotel. Incredible. Since our cabins were not going to be ready until 1.30 we walked around the ship in disbelief looking at all the things we had seen in video and read about. The anticipation was now becoming reality. Enjoy as much of it as you can because the week will be over before you know it. We made our way to the Central Park Cafe for a quick bite to eat. Had the "roast beef sandwich" that everyone on this board brags about which was descent. I wouldn't go as far to say it was "the best". Shortly thereafter our an announcement was made that our cabins were ready so we headed up to the 11th floor Central Park Balcony adjoining staterooms 11635 & 11637. All of our luggage was outside our rooms by 3pm which was incredibly fast. Ample space for myself wife and two daughters (11 & 6). The balconies even opened up to adjoin so we had one huge balcony overlooking Central Park with its serene ambiance. The foliage within the park even had bird and bug sounds to add to the park like effect. Muster drill was smooth. After a short video presentation on safety we departed. We dined in the dining room this evening which was terrible and saw the 9pm production of "Chicago" which was awesome.
Day 2 - At Sea:
Woke up had breakfast in the Windjammer with the kids. The place was a complete zoo and the food was mediocre at best. Forget the fresh omelette's stations, the fresh waffles and any other station which you may be use to from other ships. This ship doesn't have it. The area is too crowded and too small to handle anything like that. Huge disappointment since we were spoiled on our last two Celebrity cruises which did have it. For a quieter breakfast experience but still no made to order stations visit the cafe at the Solarium pool. Less crowded. Afterwards my daughter went to ride the flowrider which if your going to do is best to do early on in your cruise before the rest of your 6,000+ fellow passengers discover it! The rest of the day we spent by the pools and the herds of other people wanting to do the same thing. The frozen yogurt stations are located in the pool area and are very popular. Be careful around the pool decks because they get extremely slippery. I cant tell you how many people we saw bust it out there. Major design flaw on the deck surfacing - when wet they become ice rinks. They even have an attendant squiging the surface throughout the day to no avail. This evening was formal night. Dress to impress. Have some pictures made. Enjoyed the best meal of the cruise this night in the dining room. Hit the casino later. Kids went to the kids club til late.
Day 3 - Labadee, Haiti:
The Best stop on this itinerary which they should have saved for last. The ideal beach day with the perfect setting. FYI: RCCL films the familiar commercials here. If you wish to have a lazy beach day this is the place to do it. You can either do nothing and lay on the beach or you can venture to other areas of the cove and do anything from zip lining, wave-runners, lounging, shopping, eat, drink etc....RCCL owns and runs this stop so the lunch buffet is provided as is water, tea, punch...everything else you pay for. We ended up renting a raft, buying goggles, paying for an all day water slide pass and of course buying some souvenirs from local vendors which they have set up in the village. Turned out being an expensive lazy day at the beach.
Day 4 - Falmouth, Jamaica:
We had planned on doing another beach day here but our kids were still wiped out from the day before. The ship docks at a newly built "destination" port/village much like Costa Maya less the pool and way more shopping. We never left the area which mind you if you do is about a 30 minute++ cab ride to anywhere on either side. Since we had been to Jamaica so many times before we just stayed put and enjoyed the shops and the ship without the worry we had on our last visit - where our cab driver decided to jack the price of the ride up by double on our way to Dunns River Falls - left a really bad impression on us.
After shopping we boarded the ship around 3pm kids went to the kids club and we finally got to enjoy the Adults Only (16+ but don't worry they don't go in here its too boring for them) Solarium pool - which if you don't have kids with you this is where you want to be. You cant hear the blaring music from the main pools, its quiet, very resort like and very relaxing. The area could use some soothing spa music as on Celebrity to make this area The "Perfect" place. This evening we had dinner at the Sushi place which was fantastic, low key and perfect.
Day 5 - At Sea:
Ahhh another sea day where you can really feel the max capacity of this beast at its fullest. Since this was my wife's birthday I let her decide what she wanted to do and she wanted to be poolside with cocktails...which led to more cocktails and then the casino and then dancing...great day/night!!!
Day 6 - Cozumel:
Our least favorite stop from many prior cruise visits. Feeling the sting from the night before we had a lazy early day looking at the shops at port which are all typical Mexico. A mini Senor Frogs keeps things rocking in the blazing heat from those that have not experienced the madness - no Gracia's! Had it not been for my daughter wanting to get off (which she has done many times before) to look around we would have just stayed on the ship and enjoyed the pool. So, unless your going to visit a beach area I would recommend just staying on the ship. Our ship was delayed here twice this day. Several groups of tours were over late getting back to the port causing us to leave nearly two hours behind schedule. Then an hour and a half after leaving Cozumel an emergency call came from the speakers followed by the captain informing us that we were turning back to port due to a serious medical emergency from one of the passengers. The ship came to stop about 100 yards from the port and a boat from shore met the ship and offloaded the patient and family. Ambulance lights could be seen at the port waiting. We later found out a passenger had a stroke. We as did everyone else on board felt so bad for them. We hope that passenger made it in time and is doing as good as can be expected.
Day 7 - At Sea:
...they keep telling you that your vacation is not over yet but this is the day you realize sadly its almost over. We tried to do everything we could this day. Kids went ice skating in the morning, we played mini golf, swam, rode the carousel, saw Blue Planet, watched the parade, packed, had dinner, hit the casino, stayed out till 2am...What a vacation!
Day 8 - Now that we have your money - get off OUR ship!!!
That's right the ship is no longer yours. Other happy travelers are waiting outside with all the excitement and anticipation you had the week prior. Its over. After receiving the shock of your account statement you proceed to be herded to the cattle call which is disembarkation. Have fun. NOT!
So after getting off the ship we have made it a tradition to not go home. How depressing would that be? Instead we head straight for the beautiful Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida for a few relaxing beach days to unwind from the busy, busy week on board Allure of the Seas.