We Left for our cruise early September a group of 48, celebrating some birthdays on board. I came on cruise critic where I found helpful information so I thought I should pay it back.
Im new to cruises, but i am a frequent traveler, and frequently vacation to all inclusive resorts.
Smooth process, arrived at 11:30AM, In the ship less than 45 minutes later, our entire group of 48 arrived by private bus. Everything was easy. Once on board, some went to the pool, some tried to eat at the WINDJAMMER, which was packed and not so good.
For a first timer, Our standard ocean balcony room was shockingly tiny. For 3+ persons i would recommend a junior suite. There is no tub, just shower head. The bathroom is about the size of an airplane bathroom. The balcony looking to the ocean is the way to go. The balcony is of good size. THe stateroom attendant was so helpful it was unbelievable. He deserves 5 stars himself, his name is Derry. Awesome person, provided the best service I have had anywhere in my travel; he was one of the highlights of the Allure.
Full at most peak hours, sometimes waited 5+ minutes for an elevator, had to wait because we had a stroller for our child. If just my wife and I, stairs is the way to go at all times.
I tried most of the frozen drinks and liquors on board. THe drinks are overpriced, especially the beers; but I expected that. Get ready to spend; this is one advantage of all inclusive high end resorts.
The windjammer is extremely packed for breakfast. Almost impossible to find a table for any party larger than two persons. The breakfast food is normal fare, nothing to rave about, nothing impressive, tired of it by the second day.
For lunch, we ate here once, and again, nothing special, so I quickly grew to hate the place.
For Dinner, we went here often because they had food our children liked. The food was unimpressive here. The deserts were disappointing, nothing special, did not want to waste my calories on average foods,average desserts. Service was not bad, and the workers were pleasant, the underwhelming food was not their fault.
THE SUSHI RESTAURANT
We had no reservations one night but were able to walk in. The sushi was good. I tried the lobster roll and the shrimp roll, and a couple of others and they were all good enough where I would recommend the place. I did feel that the prices were high; my Wife and I spent about $45 for 4 rolls, and a beer. This is what we pay while at home so there was not much value there as there was no discount from street pricing.
The Chops Grille:
It was not top Steakhouse quality, but it was better than eating in the MAIN DINING ROOM OR WINDJAMMER. The steak was a little fatty, but arrived at proper temperature. THe sides were good. The Desserts were excellent, the chocolate cake and the creme brule. I was expecting that quality of a dessert at the main dining room but that never happened. The appetizers were good, the crab cake and the tuna were both good, the portion of both items I felt were too small.
The Main Dining Room (MY TIME):
We went here on the LOBSTER night (Thursday) and the first night (Sunday). We never went back because the food was nothing to rave about. The menu sounds great, but when you try the food, it does not taste like what it is supposed to. An example I will give is the halibut, have had it many times, but this halibut
tasted nothing like what Im used to. The same would occur with the other cuts of fish, it was always off taste. I also did not care for the dressing up every night; in my opinion its making a big deal out of nothing special. Some people dress in gowns to a dinner that is unimpressive at best; I dress in suits to go to work, so i do not see the fun in having to do it on vacation. The appetizers were just okay, nothing great. THe lobster was good, the desserts again were poor, service was always good or great.
THe Solarium Restaurant:
This is an awesome option to escape from the the WINDJAMMER for lunch and breakfast. There are less crowds at least
The Park Cafe:
THe roast beef sandwich saved me many a times, thanks to cruise critic reviews I knew about it, and it lived up to the expectations. The make your own salads were awesome. I ate here so many times, awesome place to eat at. Great wraps, and sandwiches.
THE PIZZA SORENTOS:
Some people on this forum hate on this place for no reason. I do not agree that it is microwave quality. They put it in the oven in front of you and you add your own ingredients to it. It saved me many times and the quality and tastes I felt were better than average. It is not the best pizza I have had, but it tastes better than average, definitely better than microwave, and they have good toppings (chorizo, pesto, fresh garlic, fresh mozzarella, spinach, ham, corn, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and many more). From the ready made pies the florentine and the seafood pies were good. The cheese was average, the pepperoni was average.
Other people in our group ate at the Italian and the 150 CENTRAL and they raved about both.
They are horrible; warm water in the summer, very cramped, over crowded. The ship wasted space on a mini golf course that gets rarely used, and a full court basketball court, space that should have been made pool area. Eliminating one of these two could have provided the biggest pool on the ship. There were plenty of chairs available, but again the pools were not that inviting.
Excellent gym, every machine you could want.
The place is beautiful, they have their RCL team on land so they take care of you well. The bars and drinks are there and the buffet barbecue was good enough. Eat early because some things run out early (RIBS especially).
I was able to get a tour operator to transport 20 of us to Montego Bay. Took us to an excellent place for JERK CHICKEN, PORK, SHRIMP, RIBS; to the Beach, and some light shopping. They stayed with us and offered us great service for about $20 per person for the entire day till it was time to board. The tour operator's name is WINDELL JOHNSON, PH# 18768456267. He has a lady partner that gave us the whole intro to JAMAICA, and she was so pleasant and cordial. They were a true gem in JAMAICA; Awesome people; If you need this type of service, this is your guy; Modern bus, and they give you all the tourist tips and avoid the tourist traps.
Spent the day at PARADISE BEACH, took a taxi there ($8p/p). Had restaurants, beach, water games, etc.
I preferred the JAMAICA port, but Mexico was okay.
GOOD SHOWS, YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THEM, SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
Went to boleros a few times and had a good time. The DJ needs to upgrade his play-list to 2010+ songs.
We had fun because we were 48 and made the best of it.
We had a private party at DAZZLES for 50 people, all drinks included, spent about 5k for premium drinks and frozen drinks for 4 hours for 50 people. We partied hard, the staff coordinator was a little rude at first but turned out better as it went, that or the drinks made him seem better. The DJ was a little clueless at first, but he finally figured we should listen to what we want and not what he wants, since we are paying; In the end I am thankful they granted us this beautiful space to hold the celebration. It was an amazing venue.
In summary, I do feel the quality foods are pushed towards the paying restaurants (DUH!), so it is what it is, MAIN DINING ROOM, WINDJAMMER, serve second rate meals. I would cruise again. I know now what to look forward to. The allure is a beautiful ship. It is big. It does not always feel packed. I had a good time, I would recommend it, everyone should cruise at least once to say they did it, and they should do it in the bigger better ships, like the ALLURE.