Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas is an awesome ship! We had a balcony in the interior aft area right beside the rock climbing wall.
This balcony was great for viewing all of the aqua shows, which were nightly and OUTSTANDING! We were initially blown away by all of the shopping and restaurants in the Promenade and the Central Park areas. The ship was very clean from the pools to the restrooms to the restaurants. RC also offers several alcohol packages, we chose the beer and wine which worked out great! Solarium dining area was great for healthier options. The fitness area is also OUTSTANDING!
Starbucks is on the ship which is awesome! However the service was ridiculously slow.
Great entertainment options! Comedy Club, multiple bars, movies and shows.
Best part of the ship is the rock wall, surf areas, and zip line! Just awesome and there was NEVER a wait!
Our nightly waitstaff was exceptional! Often added an entree when trying to pick between two options. Our drinks were ready when ordered, and the deserts were great! As well our stateroom attendant knew us by name and cleaned/organized our room twice daily which was a treat!
Apparently we were on ship with a large corporate party which rented out the Boardwalk area twice. This area is one of the larger congregation areas, and with the corporate parties came bands, catering, ice carving, special activities, and so forth. So, from roughly 5-10pm we watched from our balcony as "preferred pump" employees sauced it up. Nightly shows also somewhat conflicted with dining times,therefore having to pick one or the other. Missed Chicago at 7 because dinner at 6 ran over.
We are vegetarians, so I was curious as to what foods would be available to guests in the dining room. Most of which lacked intrigue, pasta sauces tasted closer to Chef Boyardee. Ultimately the starter plates were the better option. The other carnivores in our group felt that the food tasted "bland, flavorless, and chewy." Popular opinion was that this line of eating was meant to divert people to the $$$ restaurants. Most of the complimentary dining buffet style dining was good.
Smoking on-board in certain areas IE the casino overwhelmed the dining room and pools areas. I wanted to gamble but the smoke was too much to take.
Royal Caribbean suggests that ice skating is available, however this is limited to a couple of hours total for the cruise.
Pool situation was difficult because there weren't really large pools, just smaller pools with water lounging areas. Kids section is for children under 5 so our 6 year old opted to swim elsewhere. Could use a water slide.
Excursions weren't organized well, especially the tour of Atlantis, whereby it took about 1 hour 15 minutes to get there, 45 minute tour, then back in line to be back by 12 noon. Very disappointed, we had several excursions planned but after that epic fail, we cancelled the rest and opted for independent beach and city touring. Ship size here was a detriment due to the sheer number of people coming off the ship and the others in port. Every port had 3 other ships disembarking at the same time making for chaos!
Lastly, tipping. We prepaid our gratuities however we had to decide on EVERY purchase whether we'd like to add gratuity. All in all, we paid almost $250 in gratuity. I noticed that several bar staff showed their displeasure when additional gratuity wasn't added. Service in this area truly lacked. General service personnel did not look like they enjoyed themselves and serving customers (even if you are the only one) was often a chore and cumbersome. I sometimes felt to be an inconvenience. We were constantly reminded of the diversity of the staff, however the upper management nightly reminders of how hard the staff worked got old.