We sailed on the Allure on Sept. 1 2013 (7 night eastern Caribbean itinerary). We had sailed 6 months prior on the Oasis of the Seas and had an amazing cruise. Overall, our experience on the Allure did not match up with the level of service we received on the Oasis.
First, let's start with the positive aspects of our cruise. Our stateroom attendant was by far the best we encountered so far. He was very courteous, friendly and attentive to our needs. Also, we enjoyed more the shows on the Allure as compared to the Oasis (especially Chicago and Blue Planet). We also enjoyed very much the cruise director Ken Rush. He was hilarious and very present throughout the week. We also appreciated the fact that the overhead announcements were kept to a minimum.
Now, the not so good. We were not so satisfied with our cabin (superior ocean view balcony category D2 #11712). In 7 cruises, we have never had a cabin so poorly soundproofed. Unfortunately, this cabin happens to be a connecting one, and we could hear literally everything from our neighbours. For example, we could hear them talk, flush their toilet, use their hair dryer and even put down their cup of coffee on a plate in the morning. At night, we could hear them snore. Also, it was nearly impossible to get more than 1-2 hours of continuous sleep at night due to the constant slamming of the cabin doors in the hallway. This was by far a major inconvenience as it prevented us from getting some rest on our vacation.
On our first night, we encountered some terrible service in the MDR. We waited about 20 minutes just to receive menus. We had to remind our waiter for everything; water, bread, desert menu, coffee, etc. The bar service waiter took our order for two diet cokes and never returned with them. We asked our waiter for 2 diet cokes and never received them. It is my opinion, from observing our waiter and his assistants, that they didn't seem to be very organized and weren't working as a team. Being extremely disappointed with our first dining experience, we presented to the guest services counter to express our issue. They made some sort of report to the Maitre D'. The next evening, we were placed in a different section of the "my time dining" MDR where, thankfully, we received better service. This, unfortunately, lasted only until the second formal night. The MDR was so busy on the second formal night that we were assigned to another section with service which, once again, left to be desired. We observed the waiters, and once again, they appeared to be disorganized and not really working as a team. Our order would come out on a trolley and sit their for 15-20 minutes until someone realized it and served our plates. Our 3 course diner lasted 2h30mins. On our previous cruise on the Oasis, we had received EXCEPTIONAL service from Elsie and her team. Unfortunately, our dining experience did not compare to our previous experience, and left us disappointed.
We found the food in the WindJammer to be very basic, not any better than what you would find in a typical buffet back at home. One thing we did enjoy however was the fact that they now find a table for you, which saves you a lot of hassle.
We did appreciate the pool deck. We never had an issue finding a lounge chair. The solarium was by far our best spot to relax as it was tranquil and reserved to guests 16+.
The cleanliness of the ship was good, except for the restrooms on decks 4, 5, 15 & 16. We encountered some pretty filthy restrooms on those floors (toilet paper all over the floor, urine on the floor, etc.) I believe that they could benefigt from having a housekeeper permanently stationed to those restrooms in periods of high affluence.
We did go once to a speciality restaurant (Chops). The service was definitely better that in the MDR, and so was the food, but honestly, at 30$ extra per person, it was not really worth it.
The coupons for C&A Society are now digitalized, which means they are supposed to be loaded on your SeaPass card and automatically applied to your first eligible purchase. That wasn't a huge success for us. For example, we presented to the Casino bar hoping to redeem the BOGO beer or wine. The bartender swiped our card and says "nope, sorry, go to guest services". So, we had to go up to guest services, wait in line, explain the issue, and 1 hr later we finally got to redeem our coupon. I do understand that this was the first week that they have implemented this digital coupon system, and it might not be perfect yet. Personally, I prefer the traditional coupons. It's just easier keep track of them. Besides, the whole point of the digital coupons is to save paper. Yet, they still deliver to your stateroom a welcome back letter with a list of the coupons you are entitled to printed on it... How is this saving any paper at all?
And last but not least, Guest Services. We booked through Cruise.com and we were suppose to receive a 75$ on board spending account credit (which we never got). We presented multiples times to guest services in order to solve this matter and no one there has been of any help. All they wanted us to do was to contact Cruise.com and solve the issue ourselves. I understand that I booked through a 3rd party, but is it really up to us to solve the communication issues between RCCL and their whole sellers? We paid over 2,200$ to go on the cruise and spent over 1,000$ on board! I find that it's a slap in the face to the customer to have to fix that kind of issue for a mere 75$. As repeat cruisers with RCCL and Crown & Anchor Society members, I think this is a slap in the face to us. It's purely poor customer service.
In conclusion, as you can tell, we weren't really satisfied with our experience on the Allure. Will this be the case for everyone? Maybe not. Will we cruise with RCCL again? Probably, but not on an Oasis class ship again.