My Biggest Complaint - Cruise is over!: Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by pittnh
Overall Member Rating
My Biggest Complaint - Cruise is over!
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Ports: Had a wonderful time at each port. Did the Blue Lagoon excursion in Nassau & the Sapphire Beach excursion in St. Thomas. All wonderful. Really enjoyed the snorkeling which is included in the the St. Thomas excursion package. In St. Martin, didn't book an excursion but just took a taxi to Orient Beach. What a beautiful beach! Wish we had more time there.
Dining Room Food Quality/experience: Very good to excellent. I found the MDR to be very enjoyable. Sure there were a couple of dishes/deserts that misfired, but we had a great waiter who tried to suggest what were the hits & misses each night. Even though it is "banquet food", it is truly amazing that they can make the MDR feel like an intimate dining experience with such varied choices and distinct flavors. We ate there 6 of 7 nights and I wouldn't have minded going all 7 nights.
Crowds: It has been mentioned ad-nauseam, but More the ship didn't feel crowded. Wasn't sure I would believe it until I actually experienced it. It was certainly a lot better than 4th of July week at the Maryland coast. Never had an issue finding deck chairs, and the last sea day was particularly empty. With 4 pool areas, not including the Solarium, it seemed like there was plenty of room to spread out. Now if you didn't have advanced show reservations you would probably complain more about the crowds, but to me it wasn't much of an issue.
Interior Balcony rooms: An interesting concept that is possible due to the size of the ship. Stayed in a Central Park balcony. Good way to save a few bucks over an ocean front balcony and still have the added space which is especially nice for room service.
Roast Beef Sandwich: Definitely lived up to the hype. The bun is the key.
Boardwalk Hot Dog shop: Extremely under-rated. Ate there once and it was a great dog. Would have loved to try a few other selections but ran out of time.
Service: Excellent, the staff really tries hard. For the price paid, can't complain about the level of surface received or the overall cleanliness of the ship.
Windjammer Buffet: It is what it is, the main buffet on the ship so naturally people tend to gravitate there. I was expecting a smaller setup based on the comments here but I thought the room was fairly large and we never had an issue with getting a table. In fact one day after securing a table of 8, I said I would wait and hold onto the table while everyone else got their food. The waiter heard this and told me to go to the buffet and that if anyone tried to take our table they would have to deal with him! The flow at the buffet isn't setup real well for a crowd, but there are so many other places to go if you are bothered by congestion.
Shows: Saw all major ones, all excellent. Blue planet I thought would have a little more acrobatics than it did.
Pools: Pools are deceptively big. Pictures don't do them justice. Nice to have 2 freshwater pools . Would be nice to have a slide in one of the pools since young teens are a little too old for the H2O zone, but I never thought crowds in the pool were an issue.
Embarkation/Debarkation: A total breeze and non issue. On the ship by 11:30 and had no trouble getting settled in the Windjammer. When lunch was finished, our room was ready and the bags had already been delivered.
I'll also offer a few things that I would describe as more annoyance rather than a significant problem.
Smoking: I'm a no-smoking zealot, so to me any smoking is too much. That said it wasn't too bad, but it was noticeable when walking past Bolero's on the promenade. And it really should be banned on the sports deck, the whole row along the rail is smoking on the port side and you get a strong whiff if you are walking towards the towel station trying to avoid congestion of the deck chair area.
Ship's movement: Probably my biggest disappointment/surprise. The ship was a rockin....the last 2 sea days the main pool looked like a wave pool. Even the toilet was wavy. Now it wasn't enough to get me sick, but it did affect several in my party who couldn't eat much at dinner that night. Finally calmed down the final night but I really thought it would be a little smoother sailing.
Johnny Rocket's breakfast: Thought this would be a lot better than it was. Pancakes were better than MDR or Windjammer since they were made to order, but eggs/omelets were about the same quality as Windjammer and the hash browns were actually worse (frozen potato cubes).
A couple of closing thoughts. I've seen some comments about "not feeling like you're on a ship with the Allure". I can agree with this to a certain extent. I really liked the serenity of Central Park and it is beautiful, but if you are sitting there it feels just like a park and not a ship. So you have to seek out more those spots that have the great views over the ocean and makes you realize that you are at sea. They are there, just have to work a little to find them. And you should pre-book shows on the Allure. That fits into my personality so it wasn't a problem with me. But I can see if you are a spontaneous type of person, you might not be able to just walk up and attend the show at the time you want to see it.
All in all, a great trip. Less