This was our 25 year anniversary cruise so we spent a little more than usual. When you live in Miami and add it all up (room, unlimited meals, activities & shows) you can't beat the deal a cruise offers. We cruised a lot on Carnival and decided upon RCCL this time. The Allure is a engineering & design phenomenon. Being only 3+ years old, it did not show much wear and was well kept up. I give the ship an "A" rating. It may be the biggest & best but due to an engine/motor problem, it only cruises at 16-17 knots and that made delays to stops at two ports (St Thomas & St Martin). The ship did not offer any perks to make up for these delays.
Next was the shows...there were two that were "A" rated outstanding...Ocean Aria and Blue Planet. These two can compare & beat Vegas. The Ice show was also excellent. The two guest comedians we mediocre. There were tons of activities but we pretty much baked in the on deck by the pools and played a little Bingo.
The staff & service was mixed. Some were friendly & accommodating while others made you feel like they were doing you a favor by serving a drink. Speaking of drinks, if you like to drink top brand spirits and can hammer them down, buy the $55@ day unlimited beer, wine, liquor & bottled water package. I tracked my usage over the week and came back way on top! Make sure you order by name brand or you get the house spirits. I'll give the customer service an overall "B" rating.
Now comes the food. Ok, so the ships figured out another way to make money by adding specialty restaurants. Reason...If you don't drink, gamble or get off the ship, they lose money. So they realized that everybody likes to eat so they added these a while back. We're old school and like to get the value of the free meals offered. We were disappointed with the Windjammer café...not a lot of variety and the quality is fair. But there are plenty of other options like the Boardwalk dog shop. If you like hot dogs, you'll be in heaven. Johnny Rockets is only a small additional fee but worth it for their burgers, fries & shakes. Also Rita's cantina is great Mexican. Secret...go to the Central Park Café for deli sandwiches & great salads. Last is the dining rooms. We ate breakfast there everyday rather than fight the AM buffet crowds. The food cooked to order & much better. Try the eggs benedict. For dinner, we did late seating in the main dining room. The service is tops. We always tip the waiter & assist. waiter at the beginning of the cruise to get their attention and it pays off. As for the food quality, it started off fair but got better as the week progressed. Three top meals were Maine lobster tails, Prime Rib night and delicious rack of lamb chops. Don't be bashful when ordering, order as much or multiple courses and get your money's worth. They enjoy serving you. Overall, I rate all these food options at B+. If you want "A" rated food, go ahead & spend the money for the specialty restaurants but we feel we got value received.
Hope you enjoyed this review!
We spend just a few hours shopping here. Go to Maury Roberts Liquors for the best booze prices and Cuban cigars. Get the Havana Club Anejo and you be making the best rum & cokes ever when you get home.
This was the best stop. Here you can walk down Front street in T-shirt, flip flops & sunglasses and shop until you drop. Then walk one street over to the boardwalk and a mile of beautiful white sand beach. You can rent lounges here cheap and they'll bring you $6 drinks all day long. Plenty of beach activities here. Make sure you try the jerk chick & grilled conch at one of the local beach restaurants.
If you want to avoid the beach crowds at Megan's Bay, go to Emerald Beach at Lindbergh Bay. Its close to the port. You can rent lounges here cheap and get drinks & food right next to the beach. Nice & quiet beach with beautiful view.