We've been on a lot of Royal Caribbean ships, but never tried Oasis Class. As a Christmas treat, we decided to try the Allure. We usually cruise as a family of five, but we lost our wonderful Papa this past September. It was our first Christmas without him and our first cruise without him.
The Allure is truly a beautiful ship. As on all the Royal Caribbean ships, the artwork is really interesting.
Here are my impressions of our week, starting with the positives:
:) The service was top notch. The staff couldn't do enough for us. Our Cabin Steward was Jimmy, Waiter was Cletus, and Assistant was Agnello. They were the best! The Diamond Concierge, Dexter, went out of his way to make us comfortable and the bar servers in the lounge kept our glasses full.
:) The ship was EXTREMELY clean. More on that later, but it was spotless.
:) Chicago and OceanAria were very well done and we really enjoyed them both. Didn't see Blue Planet. the singers and dancers were among the best we've ever seen at sea.
:) There is truly a ton of activities. There is no way anyone could ever be bored on the Allure.
:) The Prohibition Party was really fun and worth the $35 per person.
:) We had Christmas dinner at the the Brazilian steakhouse and it was great! Tons of meat, though. A very enjoyable experience and reasonably priced.
:) Central Park is a very cool place. We really enjoyed the atmosphere there, and loved that our stateroom was right around the corner from it.
:) Embarkation and Debarkation were a breeze. Way easier than other experiences.
:) Roast Beef sandwiches are as good as people say.
Unfortunately, there were negatives:
:( I really felt the crowds, especially if you were anywhere nearby when a show let out.
:( The size of the ship made it a less intimate, special experience. We like big ships, but this was just too much. Much of the time I felt I was in a mall, not on a ship.
:( Room service was horrible. Long wait for a burger at 2pm, and it was crusty, dry, shriveled up. Usually the room service burger is better than what you get on deck. Not on this ship.
:( Chair Hogs were out in full force. First day at the pool I sat down on an empty chair at the end of a row. Oh, no...I couldn't sit there, said the snippy woman from 4 chairs over. That chair is SAVED. Along with all the other chairs in the first row by the pool. They were a party of 15, and one of her kids might need it later. After a brief exchange, I let her win after she promised me that if I sat there, she'd make sure her kids annoyed me when they returned. Whatever....it wasn't worth the confrontation and she looked like she was going to slap me if I held my ground. Again, not worth it.
:( The nasty attitude of the CHOG previously mentioned seemed to be the attitude of the week for many passengers. There was a lot of rudeness going on, and I really hate to witness that. The staff onboard want nothing more than to please us, and a smile and thank you go a long way. Don't know why that's so hard for people.
:( The ship was very clean because NORO was sailing with us. I was told by a staff member that about 70 people were sick. Staff was serving us at the buffet (don't dare touch that serving spoon or they will have a heart attack) and Purell was being offered (insisted on, actually) at every entrance to any venue. Interesting that it all went away on the last morning, where we were back to serving ourselves. Guess nobody cares if we get sick since we're leaving. Most likely they just didn't have the manpower to provide that service on turnaround day.
:/ Our kids were in a B1 Boardwalk balcony cabin. It was an Upgrade Fairy visit that took them out of their inside cabin, and we were very appreciated. Would never want to complain about such a kindness by the Fairy! It had a great view of the Aqua Theater and it was nice for them to have a balcony. But, BEWARE before booking such a cabin. It is LOUD! Even with the balcony door closed and locked, the festivities down below (they were on deck 8, 2 decks up from the Boardwalk itself) you can hear everything, until late at night. If you like to sleep before midnight, forget it or bring your earplugs!
:( Johnny Rockets was not as well run as on most ships. They had serious issues during our visit. 45 minutes to get your food, and then the order was wrong. Twice.
:( Didn't think the dining room food was as good as usual. Mostly it was the selection of food...I'm not big into seafood, and my usual default selection, the steak, was not as good as it has been in the past.
:( The Comedy Show was terrible. It wasn't just us....nobody in the room was laughing much at all. Disappointing, because i really was looking forward to it.
Overall, it's probably a ship that all experienced cruisers should try once and see if it's for you. I would go on the Allure again, but only if I got a great deal. I wouldn't pay extra for the experience, and I would be very careful in my cabin selection. We'll probably stick to Voyager and Freedom class in the future.