I was a bit apprehensive about cruising...was it for us? a family of 4...kids aged 14 and 10? It turns out that I had nothing to worry about as there was more for us to do than we had time for.
I know that programming for teens and kids is difficult but Allure knows how to do it! Both kids made friends in an instant and my son, who turned 14 on board, was out and about with the teens every day and night, in fact, he usually stayed out til 1:00 a.m. and only one night did we get in after him. My 10 year old really liked the activities geared for her age group. Our kids often ditched us for dinner...leaving us to dine alone (too bad for us, eh?).
I really like the room location being near but not beside the elevators. The oceanview balcony was fantastic...our little private piece of paradise which was worth the extra! Room service was great, the spinach and artichoke dip was a super snack and cookies and milk at bedtime were sinfully delicious!
In Nassau, my husband and daughter did the Blue Lagoon Dolphin encounter and enjoyed themselves. My son and I did the Altantis Aquaventure and it was fine...but really nothing great. Beware though, the day in Nassau is very short and with over $500 in excursions, pretty expensive for a few hours.
In St. Thomas, we winged it and shopped a bit and then took a taxi to Magen's Bay where we spent the day swimming, walking the beach and refreshing ourselves at the beach bar.
In St. Maarten, I had booked a tour with Jo Junie Tours...now this will sound seedy...a guy, his van and a cooler full of beer, rum punch, pop and water...but this guy knows his stuff, the van is new and the cooler is full and he's happy to serve.
When I cruise again, I'll not book excursions through the cruise line but book on my own. That said, when I first tried to book online (not through Royal Carribean) for Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter, it asked for the cruise line and I entered this and then got an e-mail to say they have an exclusivity agreement with Royal Carribean so I couldn't book. The cost online $98..the cost through Royal Carribean $131. Hmmmm....
The dining on board was very good and I didn't pay for any other onboard dining. Drinks were costly but probably as expected...I think $15 for two beer is a bit expensive but, hey, we're on vacation!
I wrote this review as the thoughts came to me. If you are a family considering a cruise, this would be a great pick!!!