I booked with a travel agent our very first RCI Cruise on the Allure in 2011 for our June 2013 Sailing!!!! Many, many thanks to all the wonderful CC members for the information and suggestions on sailing this large ship. I made a listing of all the Speciality Restaurants and Shows that we wanted and then tried to contain our excitement as the months and months went by to our Sailing date. This was my gift to my daughter and two grandaughters for our 'girls vacation'....I wanted to have all our ages experience the size and wonder of this ship as each of us could plan our activities based on what we liked to do.
Based on the helpful CC comments, we booked our flights for arrival in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday mid-morning and stayed at the Pelican Grand Beach Hotel so we would be right on the ocean...our girls loved the beach, lazy river and we thought the hotel with veranda and rocking chairs was beautiful and relaxing. We ate all our meals between their dining room and bar and had great food and service. Would definitely stay there again.
We had car service pick us up at the hotel on Sunday 11:00 am, arrived within 15 min at Port Everglades and went right to the Suite Door. As all the CC have previously said, the check-in was very, very fast and we were having our pictures taken by 11:25am and on the Royal Promenade by 11:35 am.....WOW it is hard to describe our first impressions other than amazement at the beautiful ship. We had no plans to eat as we had a nice brunch at the hotel so we took the elevators to Deck 16 and started to explore. The announcement came at 1:00 pm that cabins were ready. I was amazed based on the fact that the ship was sailing with full capacity that they could turn the ship around so fast. My previous cruises were with HAL and they are so much smaller and promise cabin entry quickly.
STATEROOMS: I booked two Grand Suites for us...one for Grammy and Teen Girl and other for daughter and pre-teen girl..we couldn't get connecting GS so I booked one on Deck 11 and one on Deck 12 right over each other on the Starboard side so we would be able to see the ports. Great location in mid-aft area right near elevators and Concierge Lounge on 11. The size was wonderful and very, very spacious with lots of storage and GREAT Bathroom. The balcony was nice for relaxing and having morning coffee. We had no noise from any adjoining cabins and I paid attention to CC advise to keep balcony door Locked so the AC would run. Very comfortable for sleeping even in the humid Caribbean.
DINING: We booked all dining reservations except for Vintages and 150 CP pre-boarding about 90 days before sailing. We had My Time Dining and I made three night reservations in the Main Dining Room for table of four. After the second night, we decided to cancel and enjoy Vintages for Dinner/Wine which was fabulous and lots of fun for all of us. We booked Speciality Dining for the other nights...Chops Grille, Izumi, 150 Central Park and Giovanni's Table. Each of them were wonderful and the food/service was excellent. The girls loved, loved 150 Central Park and truly felt that they were dining in New York City fancy restaurant...Captain Johnny came by that night on his motorcycle while we were eating!!!! It would be hard to rank these four as each had it's own flavor/atmosphere but we all agreed it was special to try all the menus. The Main Dining Room was beautiful but the food was not as good as the speciality restaurants.
ENTERTAINMENT: We booked Oceanaria, Comedy Show (adult only), BLue Planet, Ice Show, Chicago pre-boarding about 90 days before our sailing. Loved all of them and found great excitement with each of them. We also went to the Let Us Entertain Me and White Hot Party but didn't need to book ahead. I thought the crowds would be a problem when exiting after the shows but everyone was orderly and we were able to always go on our way except for the Royal Promenade which was packed each evening.
PORTS: We had Barefoot Beach Cabana B1 booked through our wonderful concierge Fernando and loved Labadee. The day was perfect with sun and breeze and we ended with a wonderful 'Captain & Crew Sail Away Party' on the helipad...I even got a special 'horn blast' as we sailed away from Labadee. The girls did a RCI Dunn River Falls & Dophin Swim in Jamaica and loved both. I stayed on the ship and had a relaxing Spa treatment and then did some shopping at the Falmouth port shops. We separated in Cozumel with the girls doing a private snorkeling excursion to three off-shore reefs and I did a Dolphin Swim. We didn't plan the sailing for the ports but rather for the ship itself being the excursion!!!
DISEMBARK: We did Luggage Valet and were able to leave the ship at 8:00 am, cleared customs and arrived at curbside for our car service by 8:20 am....our flight was leaving FLL at 11:30 am but we were able to just relax and re-visit our FABULOUS 7 Days on the ALLURE!!!!!
We would sail on her again ......The level of service and cleanliness of the ship was outstanding....
The girls did not want to try any of the Teen Activities but rather did their own and thoroughly enjoyed all the experiences...especially the FLOWRIDER and ZIP LINE.....