This was my 9th cruise with RCI, and my first time on the Allure of the Seas. There is one word to describe this ship, HUGE. It was like being on a floating mall. It had it's advantages and drawbacks. The best advantages were the variety of shows and places to eat. The Ocean Aria show was amazing.
Getting on the ship wasn't too bad. We were there early and got on the ship by 11:30AM. The first day on board I knew I was on a ship with a lot of people. I hated it on the first day and was wishing we had chosen another ship. After the first day it got better. Unless there was a show, or a peak time for the Windjammer, or getting off the ship the elevators were not too bad. However, during peak times you were like a sardine crammed into the elevators which did not feel air conditioned at all.
If you cruise primarily to for onboard activities, you will be happy with this ship. If you cruise to actually go places and just use the ship as transportation to get there, you may not like it as much as some of the "smaller" cruise ships such as the Radiance class, which is our favorite so far.
Most of the staff on the ship was very nice as you would expect from RCI. Unfortunately, on this ship I ran into several who had attitudes, were either too stressed, or too tired to do their jobs. This was unusual for RCI. I don't know if it is because the ship is so large and the odds are just greater with a larger number of crew that you will have more bad apples, or just this particular crew on this ship. Of course, most were wonderful and very nice.
There were two sales on Deck 5 advertised for 9AM. People were waiting for the sale and the staff did not even get there and start setting up until 9AM, while we all waited 20 minutes for the set up. That was aggrevating. Another cruiser told me she had been on the Oasis and that didn't happen on that ship.
The cruise Director, Mr. Brooks, was the best I have ever seen. He was funny, informative and not obnoxious.
If you go on this ship don't miss the shows, they are wonderful. I am normally not a cruise ship show person, but they were very good on this ship.
If you like health food, the Solarium has health foods for breakfast and lunch that are complimentary. We also enjoyed the Park Cafe very much.
We sat through the shopping guide seminar and it was really long, and I would not bother to do it again.
Our cabin was in the front of the ship on Deck 9 and it was a category M oversized interior stateroom. We normally get an outdoor balcony, but this was a nice room. The bathroom has a nighlight so you can see if you get up at night. They have lights over the pictures in the room that give you ambient light to see by if you don't want bright lights. The TV was a fairly large flat screen and interactive. The bed was comfortable. I would stay in a room like that again.
I have read reviews that people could not feel this ship move. We felt the ship move. It may be the time of the year, but on the two sea days coming home it was rocking a little bit.
We took the early departure and got off the ship and to our car by 7:30AM. We arranged our departure information on Tuesday. I was very surprised at how easy and not crowded getting off the ship was at that early hour.
My husband enjoyed sitting in the bleachers watching people try to surf in the wave pool. There is a game room with board games and cards for something to do on sea days. A lot of trivia games. There is an arcade, but it costs extra to use the games. The photo kiosks are really cool. They use facial recognition and you can view your photos on the kiosks. They also have a photo store with "private" photo sessions, but they were really pricy. There are designer shops, Coach, Guess, and Britto. There are several specialty restaurants and they offer a package for $80 per person you can go to four of them. We considered it, but did not do it. I think it would have been nice, but you would likely need to dress each night for those specialty restaurants.
The menu in the dining room is different on this ship. No escargot and I was very dissapointed.
All in all, the Allure was not my favorite ship for a relaxing vacation. For families with kids, it would be a great ship. If your children are grown, you may not enoy this ship as much. I did not. Our next cruise is on the Liberty and I am hoping that ship does not have the same cattle ship feeling that this ship had.