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Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by sailorbeau: Not so Royal wines and service

Allure of the Seas 5
Member Since 2014
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Not so Royal wines and service

Sail Date: March 2014
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

I would echo almost all of the positive impressions found in past reviews of Allure of the Seas except those concerning the on board wines served in the Specialty Restaurants as well as the Concierge Lounge.

As a long-time wine educator and past cruise ship lecturer, I was quite disappointed with the second and third tier offerings chosen for food pairings at dining venues requiring up to a $135 up-charge. Guests purchasing the wine packages are limited to these budget wines but folks who choose the Specialty Restaurants deserve better. One exception was the wine pairings coupled with the exceptional menu offered at 150 Central Park which out-shined the wines poured to accompany the courses at The Chef's Table -- a more expensive venue.

With regard to wine service, RCI does not employ or train Sommeliers. Instead they designate certain bartenders and waiters as "Winetenders" and station them in various dining rooms, bars and restaurants on board. If a guest has a More question about a wine or its proper decanting, the server must seek out a winetender from wherever he or she might be stationed.

An almost laughable example of inept service occurred on my recent Allure cruise at Giovanni's Table.

I brought on board a special and fairly expensive wine to celebrate a special occasion. Carefully transporting this bottle so as not to disturb the sediment at the bottom, I asked if our server was schooled in the proper procedure for decanting an older wine. I also asked if our server had a flashlight to view the sediment as it approached the neck of the poured bottle. The server left the table and returned with two colleagues who shined their flashlights from above like spotlights as the server began pouring the wine into the decanter. "Stop" I said. "Are none of you Winetenders?" The answer was: "No but there is one at the restaurant next door whom we summons for VIP guests."

Well, didn't that make my wife and I feel special!! Less

Published 04/21/14

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Cabin review: 12254

Wonderful accommodations but not as much closet space as the Grand Suites on board Freedom of the Seas. No way to hear announcements other than emergency notices.

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