We sailed on Allure of the Seas on January 26, 2014 out of Ft. Lauderdale. Just like our previous two cruises on Oasis of the Seas, the boarding process was smooth and it did not take us long to be onboard and enjoying our lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace. There were five family members again for this cruise and it is always great fun to be able to travel together. We all enjoyed our lunch and did not have to wait to be able to get into our staterooms and unpack and prepare for the week of fun activities that the ship has to offer.
We purposefully arrived in Ft. Lauderdale early on Saturday so we could get out on the point of rocks and watch as Oasis of the Seas left for their destination to the Eastern Caribbean ports at 5pm. We got some beautiful pictures of Oasis as it left port and then sailed past us waving and cheering them on their way. It is always a festive party on the shore as these big ships sail out of Port Everglades. Now all we had to do was to wait 24 hours and our sail away at 5pm on Sunday!!
Because Allure has the same deck plan as Oasis, it was very easy for us to jump right in and know our way around the ship. We were on Deck Ten again but instead of an ocean view balcony, we had a balcony that overlooked The Boardwalk. It is amazing that when you close the balcony door securely and realize there is NO NOISE from everything that is happening down on the boardwalk. There was a great view of the ocean behind the ship so we really enjoyed this vantage point this time.
The crew on Allure is exceptional!! Our captain, Captain Tore Grimstad took us out of port right on time and we enjoyed cheering and waving from Deck 15 to the partiers on shore as we sailed out to sea. This is always a great way to begin a cruise! It is also a lot of fun to watch the pilot boat as it leads us out and then zooms up close to the side of the ship as the captain goes from the pilot boat to getting on the ship.
We ate dinners each evening in the My TIme Dining section of the dining room. Our waiters this time were Prabu and Vansanth, both from India. They became close friends as the week progressed and were outstanding in their service each evening. It never ceases to amaze me just how jovial and truly friendly all of the hard working people are when you think that they are on their jobs seven days a week, week after week for months. It is only the faces of their passengers that change each week but they always make it feel like you are number one as they serve you all week. Our cabin steward was Syam and he too always had a big smile on his face as he greeted us each time we came to our room. The towel animals all week are always a delight to our day as well.
Having done the Western Caribbean ports on the Oasis previously, we knew exactly what we wanted to do in each port and that made planning much easier. The BBQ on the beach in Labadee was wonderful and the lines, although long, moved quickly. The beach is very rocky at waters edge so it helped to have the rubber floating mats that are available for $14 for the day... you could get out and away from the rocks without hurting your feet! And while we were enjoying our day in the sun and surf in Labadee, family back home was enduring yet another snow storm and a pipe that froze and burst over the ceiling of our family room... Once we got home, all we wanted to do was to just go back and get on the ship again!! (Repairs begin in the next two days.)
Royal Caribbean always seeks to deliver "the WOW" and I have never known them to fail in that goal. Each cruise is always better than the last one. The shows on Allure are even better than the terrific entertainment we enjoyed on Oasis. Our favorites were "Ice Games" in Studio B and "Chicago" and "Blue Planet" in the Amber Theater. We also really enjoyed "Ocean Aria" in the Aqua Theater at the aft of the ship. This is the first time that we have been able to get to the right place at just the right moment and we had the BEST seats for the parade through the Promenade on day two of the cruise. We got many wonderful pictures that will occupy a special place in our scrapbook of this cruise that my wife always completes once we have returned home.
If you have never cruised, go with Royal Caribbean! If you have cruised, think about taking one on the Oasis or on the Allure. These are two magnificent ships and they both definitely deliver the Royal Caribbean "WOW"!!