Although any experience is subjective, here is my balanced review with my feedback to those considering ALLURE to LABADEE, JAMAICA, COZUMEL.
Me and a friend departed 1/20/14 from Ft. Lauderdale:
1) BOARDING SHIP- We arrived very early at 10:30am and were able to get right on the ship after 11:00am..then had lunch. All went smoothly and avoided later afternoon crowds.
2) SHOWS: Suggestion. Reserve your shows as soon as you book your trip ( or when RC lets you). Also you must arrive 1/2 hr before show starts to get the best seats even with reservation. The ship should offer more than 3-4 times a show is performed. It seems punitive that you offer a show and then have it sold out or fully booked? CHICAGO was disappointing. I was really excited as I have seen this on Broadway. Some performers were talented and some seemed average. The stage was also a bit small for this type of show. Also why have the band take up 75% of the stage? ICE GAMES was excellent! LOVED IT. BLUE PLANET also wonderful. We missed ARIA because it was booked :-( The fountain to music was technically messed up by ship..they were airing a movie at same time.
3) FOOD- We did main dining room twice. Food was average in main dining, including desserts, Given mass production making a lot of meals, guess this was to be expected. However, I guess I was hoping for better. We ate at 150 CENTRAL PARK ( BEST FOOD ON THE SHIP), CHOPS ( VERY GOOD), and GIOVANNIS ( I thought it was good..not amazing. The person I was with loved it). Johnny Rockets: Burgers was excellent. WORTH IT! Donuts and also the hot dogs on the Boardwalk were great! And free by the way! Windjammer Cafe was literally a zoo at times..people running around randomly as if it was the last meal is existence. For lunch and dinner they seemed to have a lot of Indian and Asian options, but fewer standard American cuisine, which seemed disappointing. I would want more American cuisine.
4) BEVERAGES- We did NO beverage packages and it all worked out. Maybe had 4-6 cocktails a piece each day on 5 days or so and some sodas. It worked out to be less than the package and we drank what we wanted. That beats over $700 total for package for two people to drink cocktails and soda all week ( at least it worked for us)
5) ACTIVITIES: BLAZE danceclub- very fun but dancefloor a bit small for this type of ship. Music was great. We did zipline and also rockcliming wall, which was fun. CASINO was great, although the ship needs much, much more powerful system to remove tobacco smoke and a lot of Febreeze. Don't bother with the Bingo- they charge you a lot to play, they go way too fast calling numbers, and coax you into playing it rest of week as the jackpot rolls over. Bingo seemed like a total scam to get you to play it all week.
6) POOLS AND SAUNAS- we loved the Solarium area. Nice and quiet away from chaos near main pool.
7) Air conditioning- rooms were cool but elevators hot at times. people complained alot that elevators were not cool sometimes.
8) EXCURSIONS- Book the Cabana in Labadee. We loved that and totally worth every penny. Jamaica:IRIE MON BEACH BREAK- ABSOLUTELY AWFUL. WHY WOULD ROYAL CARRIBEAN RECOMMEND THIS? the beach was small and unimpressive ( why spend $170 for 2 people to drive 35 minutes in a bus to a tiny beach with bathrooms awful and worn out facilities with staff trying to scam you to buy umbrellas and you have to pay for beach towels???). We also wanted to head back to ship early ( as bus operator said we could upon trip out). Then we tried to leave and told NO- we would have to take a taxi. Cozumel was beautiful and we hired a private operator to take us snorkeling, which was wonderful
The ship is stunning and a visual marvel. Everything was new and modern. Overall the staff was very nice with maybe just a few exceptions. Now that we learned from the experiences above, I would do it again. I would recommend, although RC should make some modifications for the above.