Having been cruised with Norwegian, Celebrity, Carnival, our preference has repeatedly taken us back to Celebrity. We decided its time to try either Holland America or Royal Caribbean. Upon hearing much hyped Allures of the Seas, we decided to go Royal Caribbean, big mistake!!! Prior to this trip, I've always though Carnival is perhaps the worst cruise line for its mediocre food, mediocre ship and spring breaker crowd, yet our experience with Royal Caribbean was far worse than experience with Carnival!!! Through out the cruise, we refer Allures of the Seas simply as Nightmares of the Seas.
Embarkation: It took two hours!!! Check in alone took an hour, with multiple people doing check in having issues with their system. And they somehow miraculously check in my spouse TWICE, hence unable to check me in even though the booking is under my name. Everything was duplicated under my spouse name. They had to go to supervisor, who couldn't resolve the technical issue. Then went to another supervisor level up, change the booking. While other check in people next to us had issue registering their credit cards. The longest check in. Finally after an hour and 4 technical supervisor they checked both of us in and issue us sea pass card. Go with boarding, or so I though. The line for boarding was 15 mins long, which is ok. My spouse boarded in front of me, when its time for me to board, my sea pass just issued 15 mins didn't work. So the person scanned the card took my card and say he will go and re-issue the sea pass. I waited outside while my spouse waited inside looking at me on the outside for 50 minutes. No sign of the person who took my sea pass. Finally, I got so frustrated and return downstair at the check in counter and saw one of the supervisor who assisted our 'hour-long-duplicated-check-in' in regard to my failed sea pass, and she instructed to me go the counter on far side where another check in person told me they need to re check me in because I'm NOT in the system, even after check in and issued a sea pass card. Their check in process was a BIG FAILURE!!! That wasted another 10 minutes of my life. Finally, got a working sea pass card and boarded the ship.
Departure: The Ship was set to sail at 4:30pm, everyone participated in the emergency drill and went to pool deck waiting to sail away. We saw cranial, celebrity, HAL, princess ships all sailed away. We kept waited. An hour pass by, 2 hours passed by. We tired of waiting and went to dinner. By the time we finished dinner at 8:30pm that's when ship started to move. Four hours behind schedule. No explanation ever given...
Nasaau-first port of call: We arrived in Nassau in time despite the late departure (it was a very rough sail, they had to cancel ocean aria show). My spouse and I went to the gangway, and I scanned my sea pass first to ensure it work, then my spouse's sea pass didn't work and can't leave the ship. So we were instructed to go costumer service, waited in line for 30 minutes, and to re-issue my spouse' sea pass!!! Another hour wasted in our life!!! We had a tour booked on our own and almost missed it because of Royal Caribbean's incompetent system!!! We had a good excursion we booked our self. Ship was set to leave Nassau at 1:30pm and we try to get back to the ship at 12:30pm. Another loooong line at the front of pier. It took 40 mins to reboard the ship!!! We went to lunch and by the time we finished, ship still in port. We went look for a lounge chair, every chairs is taken. We circle for half an hour before we found two lounge chair available. In the mean time the ship is still in Nassau. In fact, the ship didn't leave Nassau until 6:30pm!!! Five hours behind schedule.
Shows: We had Chicago the show reservation on the second night (the formal night). We reserved all the shows a week before our sailing, as well as our my time dining reservation for each night. But we noticed nothing show up on my personal calendar. We had to wait in line and brought this up to the guest relation. They say there's no record under me. Everything, was duplicated under my spouse' name. They didn't know how this can happen. Great, I can't get into any show I made reservation for!!!! It get worst, they say there's no credit card information under our account. The guest relation was hard pressing on giving they the credit card info, which they already took during our 2 hours long check in. Somehow they lost that record. The guest relation just say 'Give me your credit card and I'll fix the issue' when he didn't even know what the issue was. Lying SOB. We complained to another guest relations with nonstop issue we've had since check in. And she finally gave us a sticker that allow us to go to shows without reservation since they couldn't fix the reservation system. We eventually were able to attend all the shows with the sticker. Ocean Aria was interesting and unusual for cruise ship, Chicago was good, Ice Game was ok, Blue Planet was decent. The ship overall has decent entertainment.
St Thomas: The second port of call, the ship arrived 45 minutes behind schedule. The ship suppose arrive at 10am, but it didn't docked until 10:45am. The announcement was made to allow passenger to leave the ship at 11:10am. A flood of 6400 passengers trying to leave ship at once. All elevators packed, people jammed like sardine, you can feel the breath of other people upon your face, and there are always some people coughing in close proximity. The elevator only goes to a deck before the gangway, where the hallway is jammed packed, with people. More merge lanes, merge with more passengers for stairway down another deck. The line to leave the ship was over an hour with completely jammed packed hallways... By the time we get to gangway to scan our sea pass to leave the ship it was 12:15pm!!! Apparently after 4 years of sailing the crew still don't know how to do crowd control to smooth the process.
More system failure: If you think that was the end of problem. Royal Caribbean is able to screw more things up. The onboard credit under our account 'disappeared'!!! We waited in ling for another hour to complain to the guest relation, and show them our booking record that shows the onboard credit. They had to email booking office to confirm the onboard credit (although they didn't know why it disappeared from their system) and reinstate it two days later. We prepaid gratuities at the time of booking. When we received our mid-sailing statement we were charged for gratuities all over again. Needless to say, we wasted another hour waiting in line to complain to a guess relation officer who say our record show we did paid gratuities and he didn't know why we are been billed for it again.
Lines: There's are lines, lines, lines and lines. If your ideal days is to waste 3 hours a day waiting in line, then this is the cruise for you. Especially with guest relation, there's a minimum 45 minutes wait at all time with, because lots of people have issues.
Elevators: Where ever you need to go, you will most likely need elevator to get to a different deck. There are always line for elevators. Most time you can't get into the elevator that arrive because its always jammed packed. You spend awful amount of time on this cruise in jammed packed elevator feeling other people breathing onto your face and have their sweaty skin rub against yours.
Crowd: The most over crowded ship I've ever been on. During the last two sea days, it took us an hour to get pool towels (they ran out of pool towel, and there's one hours wait time for them) and find lounge chair, you have to circle around pool deck, over and over and over 4-5 times before you'll find long chairs available, and available chairs are taken within 60 seconds. Of the 6400 passenger, probably 4000 were Brazilians. They have totally different culture, less personal space, and most travel with big family to have one kid wait in line and the rest 12 other members of family cut in the last minutes. All pool and jacuzzi are crowded with Brazilian families, and Solarium the 'quite' 'adult only' space are filled with Brazilian kids and teens.
Disembarkation: Took another hour. Our last disembarkation on celebrity Reflection took 15 minutes to walk out of ship. Allures tok an hour of waiting in line to walk out. You figure...
Ship: The ship is decent, there's no question about it. It's a beautiful ship, Central Park was interesting. One of the only two good thing about it, decide the entertainment.
Room: We had no major complained about the room, until the last night. Our D2 category balcony room is right across from crew access door that was closed during the sailing, except the last night when they move all the luggages of the deck, and it was loud and noise all night and morning til 3am. We couldn't sleep the last night.
Food: Main Dining Room was decent enough. Nothing to brag about when compared to other cruise line. The windjammer cafe food wasn't so great. The solarium cafe was even worse. Park Cafe food was decent, but prepare to waste 20mins of circling around looking for seating.
Overall: Failed check-in that took two hours, failed sea pass on two days, disappeared onboard credit, double billed for gratuities, two delayed leaving the ports (each over 4 hours behind schedule), I'v estimated wasted over 7 hours of my life waiting in line, more than half in line for guest relation. And the guest relationship officer always give you an 'I don't know how this happens?' reply with every issue. And you can tell they can't care less about the guest experience. The cruise is nothing but stress about waiting in line. It catering specifically to teenagers. I don't recommend this cruise to non-teenagers. And I would recommend my families and friends to avoid Allures of the Seas like a plague, it was simple Nightmares of the Seas for us.