RCL Allure of the Seas is a magnificent ship. There are so many options for entertainment, food, sport activities, and relaxation. Overall, I was very pleased with our vacation experience on this ship. I would like to highlight some Pros and Cons:
1. Several different food choices available. There are 7 specialty dining options. I believe there are 22 restaurant options all together. We love the Park Cafe! The Wipe out Cafe serves fresh made to order omelets in the morning. The Chef's Table was well worth the money!
2. Many activities, both day and night, available for all age groups. You can pretty much do whatever your heart desires such as: Ice Skating, Zip lining, miniature golf, swimming, basketball, Dodgeball, ping pong, flow rider surfing/body boarding... I am sure there is more that I am missing.
3. Shows: Chicago, Blue Planet, and OceanAria. All were fantastic!!! Best shows I have ever seen on any cruise ship. I especially liked Blue Planet.
4. Soda Package has 100+ different soda flavor options. Never seen anything like these machines. If you buy the soda package, then they give you a special cup with a sensor chip in the bottom. You place the cup in the machine, and select whatever soda and flavor your heart desires. You can still go to any bar for soda with or without your special cup. Not that drink soda all the time, but it was a nice option.
5. Boleros Latin club/bar was phenomenal at night. Excellent Latin/samba music at night. Everyone dancing. It was lots of fun!
6. The interactive TV was a great feature that gives access to see your account billing, plan shore excursions, make specialty dining reservations, see an activities planner, etc.
7. Our ocean view cabin was large, comfortable, and clean. Had a wonderful stateroom attendant!
1. I did not particularly like specialty restaurant 150 Central Park. My overall impression of the dining staff and environment was that they were "Pretentious Snobs!!!" My mother is a chef. She is also a bit overweight. The Hostess gave us two table options available. She urged us to try one of the green couch options, because "they are extra wide." I was like "What?... She did not just say that!" I could tell by her body language and tone that she was just speaking what was on her mind. They were all quite rude!!! My mom thought is was more so cultural. We asked the waiter to give a white wine suggestion. Told him what I wanted. All he was interested in doing was up selling us a Riesling wine $16.00 a glass. I was getting frustrated, so I told him to go ahead and serve us 2 glasses of the Conundrum California wine. I had also asked for another final entree choice, because they were serving Venison. They brought me out a 10 oz Filet Mignon in the middle of the plate. There was no finesse to the dish. I told my mom they should have let the meat rest and then thinly sliced it to look like the Venison dish. I did not need 10 onces of meat after 5 other entree dishes. Then finally dessert. In the beginning the waiter took away our menu, and told us we would not need to read it because he would explain everything. When our dessert came we were scratching our heads. The people next to us had a lovely chocolate souffle. We had a tres leche cake??? Menu was suppose to be the same for everyone. Our waiter then said, "Didn't you read the menu?" I said, "No! Because you told us to not worry about it, and took the menu from us abruptly." That did it!!! When my mom and I left we both said, "That was sooooo uncomfortable... I could not get out of there soon enough!!!" I had felt like walking out in the beginning of the meal, which I have never done before. So case in point, do not bother going to 150 Central Park. They are rude, the food was awful, and it is highly uncomfortable. I have a feeling we are not the only ones that felt this way.
2. Shore excursions. The first day of the cruise we ordered 2 tickets for the St Marteen Sensationl SM125 excursion. I found out the night before that only 1 ticket was charged and in the envelope. Then I went down to Guest Relations to have it fixed. The Guest Relations representative did not even know he had access to set up a shore excursion purchase when it is after hours. He had to have another person help. Finally got resolved. When we actually went on this excursion, it was suppose to stop at one beach on the French side, and one beach on the Dutch side of the island. We only stopped on the Dutch side of the island--Orient Beach. Was not a very good beach. There was lot of seaweed and reef debris on the beach and in the water. When we got there we encountered many locals parading around our beach chairs attempting to sell us scarfs, bracelets, necklaces, etc. Many times I nicely told them no and asked to leave me alone. Finally I had to be rude and tell them not to stand in front of me, because it was blocking my view of the beach and I could not relax. The local woman replied, "We are all friendly." I said, "No, you are being rude, because I paid all this money to come and relax on the beach. Instead, I have nothing but locals in front of me trying to sell me things." There was even a point when my mom told them no, and the local placed her bag of scarfs on my mom's body. I am going to talk directly to RCL headquarters about this experience. They really need to send an undercover employee to evaluate the excursion, and find out what is really going on!!! We also did the Atlantis Aquadventure and Shallow Dolphin experience in Bahamas. Overall, it was a good excursion, except that there was hardly any time available in Bahamas. There is A LOT of walking involved at Atlantis, and zero assistance available for elderly or disabled persons. Also, some of the water slides and the lazy river were not open until 10 AM. We had to be back on the ship at 12:30 PM. I felt the $138.00 was too expensive of a price paid for so little time to enjoy the water park, and then for the rides to not me open until 2 hours before we leave?!?!
3. The new Crown and Anchor Society discount program. Use to be that we would get coupons to get discounts off of drinks, excursion, specialty dining, etc. This time it was all electronic. Except, I did not know about this until the end of the cruise!!! The last night of the cruise I found out that the waiters run your sea pass card through the system and it prints a list of discounts available one can use for the purchase. After dinner that night I decided to go downstairs and buy a cappuccino to go with my take away dessert. Come to find out from Guest Relations that a waiter in Chops Grill on the first night of the cruise used my 25% discount off of my coffee beverage, so it was no longer available. Again, I had the same Guest Relations representative that I had issues with regarding the St Martin excursion. So of course, I was attempting to offer feedback that the waiter on the first night of the cruise should have given me the print out, he had showing all my available discounts, and made me aware of the discount being applied...so that later I would not be confused about the discount already being used when I thought it was still available. When talking to Guest Relations representative, it was like talking to a brick wall. He made no eye contact. Gave no empathy. Did not offer to enter my feedback. He refused a couple of times to give my sea pass card back... why? I don't know. This was the last experience I had on the ship. So frustrating!!! I have spent thousands of dollars on cruises with RCL, and the Guest Relations Manager was being Stingy over a 25% discount on a $3.08 cappuccino...hmmmm I did not feel like a valued Crown and Anchor Society member.
4. Debarkation. In the middle of Debarkation, RCL decided to run a fire drill. Really??? Yes, really. Delayed our group about 1 hour from getting off the ship. We arrived in the Crown and Anchor Debarkation lounge at 0825 AM, and our number was called at 0935 AM. Meanwhile, ship crew was flooding the lounge area and all other areas of the ship. This made it very congested with people trying to find there debarkation spot. When we finally got off the ship... the process was backwards from every other cruise I have taken. They had everyone pick up their luggage and then spiral through a never ending line to go through customs. Ridiculous. I'll paint the picture. Large families.... children everywhere... people trying to drag multiple pieces of luggage through a spiral maze of a line... for about 45 minutes until we got to a customs agent. Horrible plan. For those that don't know... usually you go through customs first and then pick up our luggage. At least on all my other cruises--which is several--this has been the case.
Don't let the Cons deter you completely from going on the Allure of the Seas. I still feel overall that our experience was excellent. There will always be hiccups. This ship definitely has a lot to offer!!! Also, let me suggest for pre or post cruise to stay at the Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale. We stayed at the Ritz pre cruise, and we stayed at the Marriott Harbor post cruise. Marriott Harbor is in a better location as far as beach privacy and proximity to cruise terminal. However, the Ritz was closer to Fort Lauderdale entertainment. The Ritz was also cleaner and more elegant. The Sunday Brunch at the Ritz as far more superior than the Marriott Harbor. I was especially happy that when we arrived at 6 am--via red eye--that the Ritz had no hesitation about checking us in and making us feel comfortable to get some sleep. Excellent service from the Ritz. One last thing, we had an excellent dinner at The Casablanca Cafe--definitely check them out!!!