I can't say enough about this awesome ship! Our vacation aboard the Allure of the Seas was wonderful from start to finish. Reviewers are correct when they say that a ship that holds more than 6000 passengers can feel less crowded than the smaller ships! We have sailed many cruise lines, but have fallen in love with RCCL for family activities. I won't write the book that I could easily do but will hit the highlights for you.
We traveled to Fort Lauderdale a day early and stayed at the Candlewood Suites, a good no-frills choice during the hectic Spring Break season. Great service and clean hotel. Took taxi to Port, $20 for 5 of us, so very good deal! Arrived at 11am and were honestly on the ship with drink-in-hand 30 minutes later! The check in was extremely efficient and everyone was very helpful and friendly. We toured about the ship and were "wowed" at every turn. Beautifully decorated and furnished, clean, and so much to see and do! Wow!
Our room was ready by 1:20 and we were met by our friendly cabin attendant, Rowena, who was extremely helpful and went above and beyond all week long (with teen in tow, that means keeping up with his quirks!). The room was perfect, large enough for our needs, and the bathroom was updated and nicely sized. We really like the rounded showers with doors. Plenty of storage space in closet, drawers and cubbies galore! We had a D1 cabin with larger balcony, which we loved but wish they would put a least one lounger as it would fit nicely. Our room was adjoining since we were traveling with another couple so they unlocked the connecting door and our balcony connection, too for the entire week. It was great and we had absolutely no problem with sound disturbances. Our son loved the Ipod docking station and the TV was great for checking on ports, your account, and watching shows.
Food was exceptional to very good in all venues. We ate at Giovanni's Grill (great meal, only complaint was allowing small children to run about and bump our chairs and make too much noise), Chips Grille (always a favorite with us), and had MTD for last five nights. We fell in love with Edwin and Clopy Fernandes who were our wait staff that we requested each night. We had to literally fight for their tables as they were very popular with the MTD crowd. Brenard, our wine steward was wonderful, also. We feel that all the staff in the dining room were very friendly and accommodating and now consider them friends. Down side of MTD we encountered is reserving your favorite table when you have all these requests for same tables at different times, therefore a better system might be in order. Food was very good and we all found something that pleased our palate every day.
Please make sure you do your research before cruising as to what restaurants serve what meals and utilize the electronic boards to determine wait times, and listen to the venue staff when they direct you towards certain areas for meals. The staff does an excellent job of steering people to different venues to minimize "traffic jams" and wait lines. For example, when we were at Giovanni's Table for dinner on night one, our waiter recommended Park Café for breakfast. Good choice as the Windjammer was packed as was the MDR and the Park Café had seats open and excellent choices for our meal. Speaking of the Windjammer, we found the food very good. It might be the same choices day after day, but there are so many options that you could eat for a month and not have the same meal twice. Excellent breakfast for free at Johnny Rockets, too. Wipe Out Café was too crowded an noisy for us however.
Our 15 year old son loved the ship and all the activities. We hardly saw him the entire week and he made many new friends. There is honestly so much to do for all ages! Don't miss the shows but be sure to pre-book before sailing. Chicago was Broadway caliber, and very well done. The Aqua Theater is amazing and we are still amazed that they can perform those feats of high diving, etc... in such a small pool while sailing. Blue Planet was equally wonderful, very colorful and well performed. The adult comedy show was funny, but definitely adult. We heard they offer an all-ages comedy show but some stated it was more PG-13. The Jazz Club was nice and we didn't get to many other of their wonderful clubs and music venues. The casino is much too smoky although the husbands did visit a few times with good results. We spent most of the week in the Solarium (adults only) area for quiet since our teen was occupied, and were very pleased.
We did go ashore for the private island in Labadee but did not do optional activities. Water was warm, and we were able to get a few lounge chairs to relax for awhile. The wait to get a drink at the bars was ridiculous and is one of our few complaints. The bartenders were very selective in who they wanted to serve but I don't know who employees them. There is a Haitian market with the usual travel souvenirs available and they take US dollars. Hubby and son were only ones off ship in Jamaica. They chose the Dunns River Falls climb and Bobsled run for their excursion. They enjoyed it since the guides basically left them alone instead of climbing with the group. Back on the ship, the rest of us had the place to ourselves! It was wonderful! We only got off the ship for an hour in Cozumel to do some shopping in the port. Easy off and on and the ship to ourselves again til mid afternoon.
Three of the adults in our party chose the Premium Beverage package. They enjoyed it and were mostly pleased with their selections, though not sure if they would opt for again. Plenty of bars to get drinks, or bottled water. I drank tap water from room and it was fine. Our son had the soda package and there were convenient dispensing machines around the ship, too. Of course there is standard tea, lemonade, flavored and plain water available at meals. Free frozen yogurt on pool deck, too that is very good.
Disembarkation was very smooth and relatively fast, less than an hour total. We chose late departure and waited in Dazzles lounge which had continental breakfast available. Although there was a line for baggage claim and then customs, it moved rapidly and headed for the taxi line to the airport. That also moved relatively fast and was organized. Party of 5 in Taxi-van was $30 to FLL. Again, I can't say enough about our wonderful week on the Allure of the Seas. I do not care for crowds and prefer small ships when I sail or cruise, but when people say that you never feel crowded on the Oasis Class ships, you can believe them!