We Flew Jet Blue direct from Boston to Ft Lauderdale, we like Jet Blue and have never had any problems with them. We arrived Friday July 13th, early afternoon in Ft Lauderdale, took a cab for 20 dollars plus a tip to the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 which is located not far from the port. We got a free upgrade to a hypoallergenic room in the tower section on the 8th floor, great view all around and perfect to see the cruise ships from our balcony. The Hyatt was an outstanding place to stay pre cruise, they had great atmosphere, good drinks, nice pool and grounds. There was also access to the water taxi for dinning and to just tour around which was fantastic! We got up early to watch the ships come in which is a site to see when considering the size of these ships. The Oasis pulled in on Saturday and the Allure on Sunday. We took a taxi/van from the hotel for 14 dollars, plus we gave a tip and it took maybe 5 minutes to the ship.
We have previously sailed Carnival with our 3 kids the past 2 cruises which were also both quite good, this one was the first without them, also the first my wife and I have taken with Royal Caribbean. We were absolutely amazed by the speed and efficiency we got moved along and checked in on the Allure. From the street to walking on the ship was probably 10 minutes, incredible achievement considering the 6000+ cruisers boarding. We left all our luggage tagged with the baggage/porter and gave him a tip. Our luggage tags we had mailed to us pre-cruise by following the cruise online check-in. Note: I recommend completing everything in advance online with Royal Caribbean, all waivers for activities, dinning times, shows, check in and tours.
After getting on board we walked around, took pictures and got our bearings. We only carried one bag each to make it easier to get around since you can't get in your room until 1pm. We did try to go into the Windjammer to grab a bite and by the time we arrived, they were controlling the people going in so, we left and went back later when there wasn't a line. That was the first and only time we ever seen a line for food in the Windjammer the entire cruise. We knew there was a ton of places to eat so we got some Pizza.
When we got to our room it wasn't long before our bags showed up except one. We later were called down to deck 2 to retrieve it, there were tons of bags and people being asked to go through them because they saw something on the X- ray when screening. We had a little palm travel iron which they confiscated. It was amazing to see how many people tried to bring on irons, steamers and other stuff; one guy had a base ball bat in his garment bag, didn't quite know why. My wife is obsessed with ironing clothes so; this was a hit to her and ended up costing us 38 dollars to get our clothes pressed. On the bright side she didn't have to do any ironing all week ;-). They do return things at the end of the cruise although we forgot to pick our iron up. Our room, 11676 on deck 11 was fantastic! The rooms alter the bed and couch as you go from room to room. We had the couch first when you enter then the bed and balcony. The rooms on either side of us had the bed first when you enter then the couch and balcony, It doesn't make a whole lot of difference. We liked it with the couch first when entering because it seems to give you better access to everything. The room space is creatively constructed with tons of space and little cubby holes to put things away. We had 5 suit cases and had no problem storing everything. The iPod docking station and flat screen TV was a plus. We loved the ocean view balcony instead of the inside park view balcony for we love to see and hear the ocean. The Bathroom showers had a cool round design, small but were well constructed and worked great. Note: Watch the steam from the bathroom keeping both that door open after a shower and the balcony door, if it gets to steamy the sprinklers can go off which happened to a room a few over from us and all their stuff got soaked. We heard they got taken care of and all ended well, no electronics got damaged however, it was a huge inconvenience for them, the water takes time to be shut off and they had fans blowing for days.
The ship- The Allure is beyond words, it is spectacular, state of art in every way, and everything is clean, modern and well maintained. There are tons of places to go, never seemed crowded to us unlike other cruises. If you want to be in the crowd you can jockey for a spot right by one of the many pools or if not, take a level or two up on a chair, still see everything and have access to the pool without the crowd. The hot tubs were never crowded and they had places for adults only as well. It was nice for us to go in the adult section a few times. We absolutely loved the set up of the ship and the neighborhoods! Also, there wasn't a smoke problem as bad as our other cruises; I think a lot of that had to do with how big the ship is and the control over the areas from which people are allowed to smoke. The casino is down on deck 4 and you don't have to walk through were most of the smoke is, it was nice to only have to go through it when we were just looking around the first day, other ships we were on you could not get anywhere without going through/past the casino.
Activities- We pre- booked our shows which were all fantastic; I can't say enough about how great they were compared to past cruises. There is so much to do it's impossible to get even a portion of it done in one week. We saw the Aqua show, the Headliner show and Blue Planet and all of them were incredible. The pre-booking of them and showing up a bit early made it stress less and enjoyable. The Allure has a great system and it works well for the shows. I didn't do the flow rider which I plan to next cruise however, I did climb the rock wall! I made it all the way to the top and back down, it was fun and they have easy equipment to help keep it safe and organized, I will do this again.
The food- The dining room was close to the quality of the other ships we have been on except the deserts were just ok, the food in the specialty restaurants we went to was much better. In the order of how we liked them it was: 150 Central Park with a set menu as the best, then Chops and Giovanni's. We also did Rita's and that was just plain fun! The Windjammer was great for a buffet style. We went there every morning had the fresh squeezed orange juice for 3.50 ea. and always found a good seat. Service was good for they would clear your table and refill your coffee for you. We read lots of negative reviews about the Windjammer and my wife and I completely disagree. The quality for a buffet style set up was well organized with different stations to go to therefore no lines getting what you want and the food was always warm with plenty of selection. There are plenty of places to eat for free, the pizza was great and the park cafe did have the best roast beef sandwiches as we had read.
Over all- This cruise was the absolute best and unless we are with the kids we will never cruise on another line for some time. The Allure is great for kids, so much to do and they have curfew for kids 17 and under. One thing my wife and I talked about was how there seemed to be so many places to spend money for the kids that our kids would be out of control and it would be so stressful trying to control them. You could show them and keep them happy, all the free deserts in the world but offer them a cup cake for 5 dollars and they would want that thinking its better ;-).
Pictures on board- We bought the package ahead of time 15 pics for 199 dollars. The system they have is incredible, I only suggest you talk with them the first day of the cruise and if you are pre-paid, make sure they don't try to double charge you which they did to us; we had to get it straightened out the morning of departure. They give you a disk of all the pics however they are protected and then you pic the ones you like the most up to 15 and it opens them to do as you wish with.
All in all, our cruise was so fantastic we pre-booked on board for the Oasis of the Seas next year and then we most likely will try the Freedom class ships going forward.
The people were great and our Housekeeper Monique was the best making it fun communicating with her throughout the cruise! All the action and entertainment on board and the professional staff seemed to make it a great time.