Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by big al: Big Al's 3 night Valentine'd Day cruise On The Allure
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Big Al's 3 night Valentine'd Day cruise On The Allure
Let me first say we all had a great time on the amazing Allure Of The Seas for a special 3 night Valentine's Day cruise 2/14-17. I usually give my wife an option of Ruth Chris, Capital Grille, or Arby's , but this time I included this special sailing on the Allure, and that 's what she chose. We went with another couple, our good friends Bill & Melanie. It was their 2nd cruise, and for us, our 28th cruise overall, 12th on Royal ( Diamond ). I had cruised on the Oasis in Jan '10, so I was familiar with the ship. For Bill & Melanie, they had cruised with us on the Navigator Of The Seas in '08, so this was their 1st time on an Oasis class ship.
I want to mention that what you will read are my observations & opinions, which is what I always try to express. Food & entertainment are VERY subjective, service perhaps a little less subjective. What was NOT subjective was the weather...in my 28 cruises, this was the WORST 3 straight days I've ever experienced. We literally had 3 More straight days of rain & clouds from drizzle to downpours. Saying I wasn't dissappointed with the weather would be lying, but RCI cannot control the weather. The Oceanaria show ( diving show in the Boardwalk area) was cancelled Thurs & Fri, and FINALLY went on Saturday at 4:30 and again at 7:30 PM ,both in a slight drizzle. I commend RCI for doing their best to try and get this AMAZING show on...and they didn't dissappoint! Don't miss this spectacular show of diving, aqua acrobatics & adventure.Some people don't like going to shows ..they say ,"it's not my thing"...well, go to this and if you're NOT impressed, then perhaps an MRI should be your thing ...what these young people do while the ship is moving and the wind is blowing is simply awesome and borderline insanity...
The Allure looked great- she was clean and everyone was friendly. We got on fast, thanks to my Diamond status and went right to the Park Cafe for some roast beef sandwiches & salads. Despite some recent negative/ mediocre posts on the sandwiches being "tough" or "overrated", we all found the sandwiches quite yummy. Off to our cabins, D5's #'s 7208 & 7210. The cabin was spotless. We met our Stateroom attendant, Blanca from Poland, and IMO, she may have been THEE best cabin steward we've ever had. Blanca was so sweet and anything & everything we asked for ( extra towels, ice, Cruise Compass in Spanish for my wife,etc.) it was done IMMEDIATELY. She had a smile on her face everytime we saw her and always asked how our day, dinner, show,etc., was going. She handles cabins 7200-7218 on the PORT side. If you want a great cabin steward, and you want to be on deck 7 port side, get one of these cabin numbers, you will be very glad you did. We miss her already!
We had a Sail Away party at 3 PM at the Sky Bar on deck 16 and I finally met some people I had been conversing with for months on the CC Roll Call boards. I met Jordan ( Borat ) and his girlfriend, who was on her 1st cruise,Joy & Andy (Derorim), Lisa & Jon ( ottocal), also bjcrazn & dd, and Tammy as well..if I missed some other names, I apologize. Everyone was so nice.Oh, there was a nice couple from Detroit, whom Bill & Melanie talked a bit with, I forget their names, but they came around as well...
We ate in the MDR twice ( MTD) at 6:45 PM, deck 5, table 706. Simon, from India, was our waiter .He was very sweet & kind, and very attentive. He gets a thumbs up from Big Al! I had Prime Rib that 1st night with Shrimp Cocktail as the starter ( Hello Roy!). Others had the same,or fish. No esgargots, which was a dissappointment. I've waited YEARS for RCI to have escargots on the menu, they FINALLY put in on the menu, and now there's apparently a worldwide shortage of escargots..on the 2nd night we ate in the MDR, I had a strip steak,which seemed more like small filet, though not as tender. It was OK, not great, not bad. The bay scallops,substituting for the escargots though, were quite yummy. Key Lime Pie for dessert was also quite good.
On the 2nd night ( Fri), which was formal night, we ate at Chops. We've eaten there maybe a total of 15 times on all our RCI cruises, and this ranks among the top 3, along with our last cruise on the Liberty last November. Ou waiter, from India, was terrific. It was raining, so getting to Chops on Central Park was wet ...I will say that this was both the fullest and NOISIEST Chops venue I've ever been to. It was darker and more cozy than other ships.. Very loud crowd, which thankfully didn't negatively influence our food or the great time we had there.We started with some appetizers like crab cakes, which Melanie said was THEE best she had ever had anywhere ( I agree...don't miss if you like crab cakes) I had the NY Strip, Melanie had the Pork Chops, and Bill had the Porterhouse, my wife had the NY Strip. I will say the roasted potatoes with prosciutto were to DIE for and the mashed potatoes were great as well along with creamed asparagus. The bread was an onion sourdough loaf, very warm & tasty. I had the red velvet cake which was very good, but by that time we were all quite full. I've always said the side dishes at Chops are the BEST thing they have and we shared about 5 dishes..some at our table ordered THREE appetizers at once!! The nerve of someone ( who will remain nameless) ordering all those extra calories just because they sounded and IN FACT were delicious is OUTRAGEOUS!! It was wonderful.......
We also attended Ice Games, the ice show. I thought it was good, but the ones on Oasis & recently on the Liberty I thought were better. The skaters were great, music not as great as other shows. Couple with the rings were great. I did not see Chicago, but my wife went with Melanie and they said the show was very good, but FREEZING!! Coldest they have EVER been in a theatre they said .We also saw the Headliner show, who was Paul Boland, an impressionist singer & entertainer on Sat night. He was very good, although I thought some of his impressions were not right on ( Elvis, Stevie Wonder,a few more..), others like Louis Armstrong, BeeGees, Elton, Travolta were good...
We got off at Nassau and walked around Bay St., the main drag. Bought a few t-shirts..The Bahamians were out & about as you got near the terminal entrance with their "what are you going to do today" questions. Not as bad as my 12 other trips here. Just keep walking. We got off around 9:15 AM and stayed till noon, then headed back just as it started raining again ( it was almost partly sunny in the morning, then just a bit cloudy)...lunch was pizza at Sorrento's & sandwiches at the Cafe Promenade. Both quite good as always. I will say once again RCI has soooo many problems with their draft beer. Every bar had their draft beer broken.Every BAR! The bartenders all admitted they have a problem on Royal ships with their draft beer. Why is it so difficult to get the draft beer fixed? Obviously I know it's not a priority, but I would LOVE to cruise on ONE RCI ship that has ALL their draft beers in EVERY bar working.NCL, Disney, and even Carnival have 4-5 different drafts that all work. RCI has maybe 3 ( in some bars, most have 1 or 2), and 90% are broken. Please Mr. Fain & Goldstein, try & fix this..
Some final thoughts & points: A few venues were short in help: Vintages, where we waited 10 minutes to order wine, then finally walked out because we had to go to a show; the Guest Services phone line NEVER answered ( I called 4-5 times to ask questions) ; Starbucks needs a few more people in there -always 5-6 people on line.. also we could not get into many lounges quite often: the Viking Crown Lounge was rented for a private function the 1st night..Dazzles was almost closed to the public the entire time except the last night, when we couldn't go. I know people have the right to rent out public rooms for parties, weddings,etc., but it was still frustrating. James Brown, a singer in the Bow & Stern British Pub, was both funny and very good- nice variety of songs from James Taylor to the Eagles, to Del Shannon, to Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. He came to our table and chatted with Bill for a while mostly about guitars and cruise life. He is from Canada. Go see him...the Sweet Caroline sing-along was a blast...also Capt. Johnny gave a terrific speech & intro imitating a Romanian duo that did amazing acrobatic feats of strength (earlier in the show) with his first officer..it was hilarious..this was at the Crown & Anchor party for past guests in the Aqua Theater..The Allure was great, but 3 nights is just not enough to see & do everything the Allure has to offer. I hope RCI considers doing 4 & 5 night cruises once in a while on Oasis size ships ( Though I think the Liberty is GREAT for that!!). At least there would be more time to see more. Better yet Mr. Fain & Goldstein, why not make your new 3rd Oasis class ship do 4 & 5 night cruises all year long from Port Everglades and include Labadee,CoCo Cay, and/ or Cozumel ...it beats Nassau and one day at sea anytime!!! Any questions fire away..back to 1750 calories a day, down from 8000 and no CUPCAKES ( yes, Roy, I had them!!) for at least 24 hours..one must have some discipline...Cheers to Blanca,Simon, Cruise Critic members,James Brown ( and yes, "I FEEL GOOD!"), Capt. Johnny, and the entire Allure crew for making this a memorable Valentine's Day celebration!!!
Big Al Less
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