This was our fourth RCCL cruise and our first on Allure of the Seas. We were in Cabin 11729, the last of the boardwalk cabins overlooking the Aqua Theater. I really like being able to sit on the balcony and watch the shows and having quick access to the "secret" balcony was also great. It is a long walk to the room, so make sure you are on the right side of the ship before heading down the hall (made that mistake more than once).
This is the first cruise vacation we've taken where we were actually tired after it was over. There is so much to see and do on this ship that it is hard to not try to do it all. The next time we are on Allure, we'll probably have more time to relax since some things we wouldn't necessarily do again.
Plan your entertainment and specialty dining in advance. We saw a lot of disappointed people that had trouble balancing specialty restaurants and the entertainment. You really need to put together a calendar with all the port days (and times of departure) to make sure you maximize your time and don't double book yourself. That sounds kind of weird for a vacation, but I think first-timers on this ship would benefit by doing it. I know we did.
Blue Planet and Ocean Aria (Aqua Theater) were my favorite shows, but I enjoyed Chicago, too. The comedy show was great, too. Enjoyed most of the musical groups and found ourselves out dancing almost every night in one of the clubs. The parades, 70's Disco Party and other Aqua Theater shows were great, too.
Central Park was a favorite for us. We enjoyed sitting at the Trellis Bar for a drink before dinner or in the evening. The experience of sitting in Central Park and enjoying the ambiance almost makes your forget that you are on a cruise ship!
Embarkation was very easy. We just became platinum C&A members, so we were among the first to board. We were through the security line and check-in within about 20 minutes of arriving at the port. We then sat in the lounge for another 20-30 minutes before boarding.
We went to the Park Cafe for lunch as soon as we boarded. Like many others have said, the Roast Beef sandwiches are fantastic. But that secret is out and there was a line when we arrived.
We also did the Premium drink package. We thought it was a good bargain for us. We typically buy the 7 bottle wine package, some bottled water and the soda package. When we looked at the extra drinks we typically have at shows or elsewhere, it seemed like a better bargain to have the drink package. I liked being able to get smaller bottles of water versus those large ones that are delivered to your cabin.
We did Giovanni's Table, Chops Grille and 150 Central Park while on the cruise. We found ourselves in the main dining room only on the formal nights. There are just so many options for dining. We did go to Windjammer for dinner once because we were too tired to dress up after being in Jamaica. We only had breakfast in the Windjammer once, having breakfast in Johnny Rockets a couple of mornings, the Park Cafe on our last morning and the main dining room the other mornings. My wife loves Eggs Benedict and that's the only place to get them.
Disembarkation was easy, too. We did the Luggage Valet program, so we only had our carry-on luggage to leave with. We left the ship around 8:30am and were through customs and headed to the airport in about an hour.
Captain Johnny was the best captain we have ever had. He is so personable and enjoys visiting with people. During the Captain's Corner, he had on one red and one green sock. One of the passengers asked him why and he said that the channel is very narrow in Fort Lauderdale and he needs to be on the correct side of the red and green lights. The socks helped him remember which side was which. They showed some videos of him on his motorcycle and playing golf. He also played the trumpet with the orchestra during the night of the Captain's Reception. He was just great and I hope we can sail with him again.
We also enjoyed the Cruise Director Ken Rush. He also was really good with the passengers and he had a tough act to follow for us as the Cruise Director on our last cruise was Richard Spacey. It's hard to top him, but Ken did a really good job. We were also glad to see Katie as the activities director. She was also on our last cruise on Freedom of the Seas. Ken was really good with the Love and Marriage Game Show, Glow and the 70's party in the Royal Promenade.
We really wanted to see how far the build-out of the port area in Falmouth had progressed. We were on Voyager of the Seas in February, 2011. That cruise was the first RCCL ship to go to this new port. There was still a lot going on as far as construction back then, so it was good to see all the progress that has been made.
Many people have commented about how it doesn't feel crowded on the ship. I'll disagree somewhat in that on sea days (and one was particularly cloudy) you can feel like it is crowded in some places. Elevators on port days, embarkation/disembarkation and after shows can be hard to find. Maybe it was the ones we used most (in the aft section) that made it seem this way.
Overall it was a great cruise. The Oasis class ships are really a destination in themselves. So much to see and do that it is easy to come back from a cruise on one of them and need another vacation.