For my 65th, we chose the Allure of the Seas for a family cruise with my children and grandchildren. 9 of us. We had heard it had something for everyone and we were not disappointed. It exceeded our expectations! I have to admit, I was feeling nervous and overwhelmed thinking about a ship with 6000 passengers and being mega sized. But it actually was very easy to maneuver and took no time to figure out where everything was. Very well laid out.
We lucked out on our cabins. I had origianlly booked three cabins close together on the 11th deck forward. But about three weeks before the cruise, I called my travel agent to see if we could we could get upgrades and we could at small additional costs. Two of us were in grand suites and the other was in a jr. suite.
All of our cabins were so spacious and well appointed. Very large balconies. Lots of storage room with drawers and closet. Grand suite bathroom was beautiful. Double sink, Gilbert & Soames amenities, more storage. Bathtub great for bathing the young kids. We had our grandchildren sleep over a few nights and the cabin steward set up the couch for them. With the privacy curtain we could pull between our bed and the living area, it felt like two rooms. Our balcony had a small table and two chairs and two loungers as well. We were on the starboard side and it was great for the Western Caribbean as it faced the ports we visited...Labadee, Jamaica, and Cozumel. We were all now on Deck 6 and 7 and I was concerned as to noise and being lower down. But we loved being there. We were close to the Aft elevator bank and only steps from the Boardwalk with the Aqua Theater, Carousel, Hot Dog stand, and other fun shops for the kids. The dining room was right down the staircase as was the Royal Promenade. Being in suites, got us into the Suite Concierge lounge and we really enjoyed out "Happy Hour" freebies, such as complimentary wine, mixed drinks, and food. The suite concierge was also very helpful in making suggestions and getting us reservations. We are now spoiled, but know this was a rarity and we were very lucky!
The shows were phenomenal. I went to every single show with at least one member of my family. Chicago was great (not as good as a full blown Broadway production) but very good dancers and singers. Second favorite was Blue Planet, my husband saif the Aqua Theater show with the high diving was his favorite. The grandkids LOVED the ice shows. My son and his wife really enjoyed the late night comedy show. My husband and I enjoyed the outdoor musicians in Central Park.
The check in process went smoothly and quickly. We were onboard by noon and we ate lunch at the Windjammer and beat the crowds. Our room was ready at 1:00pm. Luggage was even in the room too! The check oout process was a bit longer, although very well organized onboard ship with waiting areas until your number was called for debarkation, once in the main area off ship, there were long lines to get out of customs.
I did My Time Dining as I wanted to plan around the shows. I booked all the My Time Dining and show reservations about 80 days pre cruise. We made some small changes when on board, but having already had reservations it made it easier to change when needed. I would try to get the same table every night if you can, makes it a nicer dining experience when the waiters know you and you have a connection.
Kids Club was terrific - the 3 yr. old and 5 yr. old couldn't wait to go, the 7 year old didn't go as much, but when she did, had fun. The staff excellent, caring, and kind. Made it easier for adults to have some alone time knowing kiddies were safe and sound and having fun.
Tip: We loved our Royal Connect phones...we got them immediately upon getting on board - they go very fast. Each of us (6 adults) had an RCCL iphone that was interlinked to all of us so we could call, text, and know the location of us all. Cost is $30 per phone, but well worth it if you are with others. Internet costs $180 for the week and if you wanted to call or text with your own phones, you both would have to pay $180 each....these Royal Connect phones were perfect.
This was a terrific cruise and we would do it again. The only concerns I have are for the extra costs. Small costs here and there for Starbucks coffee, Johnny Rocket's, cupcake store, ice cream parlor, candy store, speciality restaurants, spa, soda (get the soda package if you love soda, fun machines that mix all types of soda flavors for you), photos, bingo, etc. I will come with a more expanded budget next time. Have fun on this ship!