Just got back to cold Chicago after sailing on the Allure for a wonderful week! First, for anyone reading this review let me explain the situation. My mother in law paid for the cruise so I might not be spot on about pricing stuff and what you get for your money but these are my opinions.
The travelers were myself, wife, and 19 month old daughter, my mother and father in law, and my brother in law and his fiancée. We each had our own ocean view balconies on deck 9 and we had connecting room with in laws to help with our daughter. This ship is amazing and our cruise was to the Eastern Carribean (Nassau, St Thomas, and St. Martin). embarkation went real well and with a few hiccups. the boat was in dry dock the week before for repairs so not sure if their system was slow and laggy because of that or if they just had tough time with their computer system but that slowed down process a little bit but not much at all. we got on the boat at 1230 and room was all ready (probably not the norm but with no passengers beforehand I was excited to drop stuff off and walk around).
Dining: Park café is nice place to eat because of outdoor relax dining but a little over rated on food but still good and nice for quick bite or snack. Main dining room (which we ate in as a family of 7 every night but one) was nice. Our head waitress seemed a little disinterested but our assistant waitress Ying Ying was AMAZING!!! after day one she had endless fruit cups and bread and glass of milk ready for our daughter every time we showed up (we had 6pm dining). the food was good and they had no problems when I would ask for two entrees. by "good" I mean decent choices and pretty good taste but the taste goes up when you sit there and realize you get a five course meal with zero cleanup! My ife and I ate at chops one evening and that was a fantastic experience. For the $35 (we got coupon for free through AAA) you would normally pay it is well worth at least one meal. finally a charred steak cooked right there and unlimited salads or apps or sides that you want and an 18oz porterhouse and 9oz fillet for a total of $70 total??? very good deal and great atmosphere
The pools and decks and activities, ie. flow rider, zip line, rock wall, were all great. We are not picky on seating around pool and if you are bringing a child there are plenty of seats right above toddler pool for you to park your stuff in the sun and head down to the pool (fyi the deck above makes for some great pics above your little one splashing around!!). yeah the decks can be crowded for some reviewers but we never found it a problem to meet up with our group and scout out areas in the sun together. and on our cuise the crew did a great job of walking around all day and cleaning up towels that people were "reserving seats" . they would keep an eye on chairs for half hour then clean up towels.
so much to do on the boat we didn't have enough time to hit everywhere. on a semi sour note-I read all the reviews and booked entertainment ahead of time online. the second night we were supposed to do comedy show but only showed up 8 minutes early and our seats were given away and doors shut. the gentlemen let me know FOR ALL SHOWS YOU MUST SHOW UP 15 MINUTES AHEAD OF TIME EVEN WITH RESERVATIONS. I get it so I wasn't upset just kind of bummed. My brother in law and his fiancée caught the comedy show a couple nights later with no reservations but just barely. the other shows we missed mainly because we had 6pm dining (which was at least 1.5hrs each night) and with our daughter it just got complicated after long dinners so I cant speak much about the shows.
our room was very nice and balcony was much bigger than previous carnival cruise we had taken. they do have free pack in plays for young ones but try to bring your own sheets and plan on packing it up each day (roman the stateroom attendant offered each day but it was easier for myself to do it) and hide it next to couch.
the main problem that we had was leaving fort Lauderdale they had to wait for cruisers (didn't know they did that but they do) so we left about 2.5 hours late but since Nassau was so close we got in in time no problem. then in Nassau we left about 4.5 hours late because their system for checking people in was screwed up so we had to wait for them to confirm everyone was on board. this lead to excess speeds (think the channel on tv read little over 25knots at points) to make up time to get to St. Thomas. this lead to major swaying of the boat and room was creaking all night long. none of us get sea sick because we have our own boats but if not good at sea this definetley would have effected you.
all in all this ship is amazing with so much to do. every cruiser is different and will find their own quirks about this boat each time but we had an amazing trip and royal carribean did an awesome job with this class of ship. even if you just walk the boat and see how amazed you are when you realize you are floating its just amazing feat!
fyi for anyone traveling with a toddler we strongly suggest an umbrella stroller. some people had some huge strollers that would hold stuff. however people are much more forgiving if you try to fit into elevator with umbrella stroller and ten times easier to just fold up by deck chairs and squeeze through some tight places in eating areas if needed. Just my opinion.
We did not want to pay the money for Atlantis and it was a short stop so we just walked around. We had our 19 month old daughter with us so we just walked the shops. We found a great fountain for her to play in at the end of the first street! she loved it and it cooled her off.
We did the Lotterie farm ropes course. This was an amazing fun excursion. think it was about $97 pp which I would say was a little expensive but still very fun. what a workout though. felt like a spider monkey afterwards because of all the maneuvering you have to do in the trees. I would say it took my wife and I about 45 minutes to get through the course and probably a total of 7 zip lining stations with other ropes course stations in between. bus ride to and from got to see a ton of the island as well!!
this was a great excursion. very well priced at about $56 pp and got an AMAZING catamaran ride out to trunk bay with some great snorkel time, I would say about 40minutes of pure snorkel. afterwards you get lots of rum punch with an amazing crew! definitely suggest for great day out on the water!!