Beware Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas cruise ship. I cannot over-emphasize this enough, beware! The reason I say this is because after you've cruised on Allure, anything else is going to seem substandard and a disappointment. We cruised on Allure on a 7 night cruise the week of Thanksgiving and the ship was almost at capacity with about 6000 guests, 1500 of which were kids, and it was incredibly enjoyable. RCCL has this down to a science and everything -- I mean EVERYTHING worked like a well-oiled and well-practiced machine. The ship itself, the largest you can cruise on today, is truly an engineering marvel and there is a new delight around every corner. I could write pages about so many of the WOW aspects but I won't because part of your fun is discovery.
The Broadway production of "Chicago" is not better on Broadway. The comedy club is a series of huge belly laughs without being rank or vulgar, with Cary Long & Kevi Rogers, two very funny men. The Headliners show with Savannah Jack was excellent and very entertaining, again very talented entertainers & musicians. The jazz clubs are superb, frequently with Jim on jazz piano, very talented, and the pool areas are outstanding. There is something for everyone all the time. The only thing I did not personally care for was the Glow Party but each to their own. Ken Rush the cruise director was unbelievable, participating as emcee at almost every activity. Captain Johnny was also at many events and seen around the ship, once with the traditional ship's parrot, clearly proud of his crew & ship.
Lucy was the RCCL port expert, sharing fabulous tips about how, what & where to shop for your best deals in the ports of call, as well as many times the name if the store manager to ask for when you get to that store. Victor, our stateroom attendant, was very attentive and prompt with any request, always available. Something for everyone, also including a full service spa (think mani, pedi, facial, massage, collagen, everything), a well-equipped workout/exercise room, and a running/walking track on deck 5 around the perimeter of the ship. And kudos for having several kid/teen only areas on different decks.
As far as cabins, we opted for a balcony cabin and loved it. For balcony cabins, you have a choice of ocean-facing or internal facing, where with the latter your balcony will overlook Central Park (deck 8) or the Boardwalk (deck 6). I would recommend something overlooking Central Park, around deck 9 or higher because the sounds from the Central Park activities is typically much less than the Boardwalk activities. LESS, however, not meaning silence. We were on deck 10 overlooking Central Park, and noise from the park was never an issue at all.
Every RCCL crew member, I mean EVERY, was polite, gracious, friendly and as helpful as possible, rivaling or exceeding the Disney employee standard. Helpful is the name of the game here - there are many large touch-screens around the ship, especially near the elevators, where you just touch it to find out how to get somewhere or to get a list of what's happening now or what's on the schedule for later.
There is an incredible variety of things to do all the time. You can bring 100 books and read them in a deck chair for the entire cruise if you want to, but don't short-change yourself by not participating in some activities and be sure to see some if the very excellent shows, you won't be disappointed. The show performers, singers and musicians are professional expert quality, taking their job of entertainment very seriously.
With this many people, you would think that getting on/off the ship would be a logistics nightmare, especially the initial boarding and final disembark, but this was well planned & executed, smooth & painless, again showing the organizational skills of these operations. All delays here were clearly the disorganization & chaos of the Ft Lauderdale customs, very understaffed operations, coupled with passengers who didn't want to follow crystal-clear instructions.
Bottom line: if you have a chance to cruise on the RCCL Allure Of The Seas, run, do not walk, to take advantage of it and all that it offers. But like anywhere else where there are a lot of people, remember to pack some patience. It is inevitable that you will see rude, impolite, inconsiderate people. Expect it, they paid for their cruise tickets also, and don't let them ruin your cruise because you will also meet some super new friends.