How do they do it in terms of embarkation and getting off the ship? Easy and speedy. We needed some assistance with wheelchair service from the ship so maybe this helped, but it looked like our arrival around 11:30 with thousands of new found friends worked well for all. We went off to find some lunch and based on the favorable CC reviews went to Park Cafe (Deck 8 Central Park) for the much publicized roast beef sandwiches. They were really quite good so we returned several times later in the cruise. Same place has panini sandwiches and a salad bar while in morning has a bagel bar with toppings and other breakfast treats. But you won't find omelets here or pretty much most places on the ship. Certainly the Windjammer Buffet while having prepared eggs did not have made to order omelets.
The Windjammer did provide a variety of food and bonus people watching as some folks tried to break the Guinness record for weight of plate. I thought the food itself was average at best. They do move you to a table based on the size of your group. We tried Vintage for Tapas one day for lunch and found it to be interesting change of base with good variety and a chance to people watch outside in Central Park. For Dinner we loved 150 Park which was $40, but gave us the equivalent of fine dining experience back home. For big eaters the portions were on the small size, but nice variety of textures, tastes, and chef type presentations. Also went to Izumi for sushi and their hot rocks where you watch your food heat up on a 500 plus degree rock. Hopefully remembering not to touch your hand to rock so you are not watching yourself cook.
Main Dining Room provided the rest of our meals and had a good variety and for the most part decent food. Not exciting, but what can you expect with 1000's being served. Only bad experience was the NY strip steak under their classic section. Any claim to NY relationship should be taken with a grain of salt. Service was prompt and professional as our waiter helped answer questions and make recommendations.
My favorite areas of ship was the promenade for lots of activities and people watching, the Boardwalk for the mix of shops, restaurants and shows, and Central Park for a relaxing place. Who thought you could be at sea and enjoy a park. Only negative part of ship was finding a good place to connect to the Ocean. Still possible,but seemed remote.
Entertainment was varied and great. Loved the mini version of Chicago. Enjoyed the ice show, Blue Planet, Ocean Aria, the Headliner (abba tribute group) and the Late night (11:30) adults only n Comedy show. When the reservations open up before the cruise make sure to make reservations. While it is true you can try to get in by walking up to venue after reserved seating is over making your reservations in advance was much easier for us. Once we had our show reservations than we could coordinate any alternate dining plans at the wide variety of restaurants onboard for a per person fee. We chose early dining in the MDR as we thought coordination with show times was easier.
Ship was under the slower speed approach given propulsion issues discussed on CC boards. To that was added a problem during a lifeboat drill that left one lifeboat unable to be brought back on board and finally we had major headwinds that put us behind schedule in several ports.
We travelled with old friends and our small table was just right for us to enjoy our vacation together on this beautiful ship. It looked to me like people and groups of all ages and sizes would enjoy the Allure and would not have to be concerned about shore excursions, though one could do that through the ship or privately. Our friends are pool people so they made should to maximize their time in the sun. I enjoyed the hot tubs daily especially after I took a fall off of a low sidewalk at one of our stops. One friend survived the zip line and is now waiting for the bungee jump that will likely follow in the years ahead. We watched the flow rider, but did not try them out. I look to the young and the more athletic to show off their moves.
We left the Allure tired (mostly because of going to late shows and parades, etc), but happy. We will be back.