Delightful Journey for a First Time Cruiser: Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by mdtague
Overall Member Rating
Delightful Journey for a First Time Cruiser
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Because I'm overly cautious, I had us fly in three days before the cruise so we could explore the city. We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, which was wonderful although we didn't see anyone who would be cruising with us. After three relaxing days at the spa and on the beach, we went back to the airport to get a transfer to the port.
Even though we were offered several times to use Royal Caribbean's transfer service, we didn't as we used an outside source to take us to and from the port (FTL-Limo), which was nice and private. Getting to the port was a bit hard when they are trying to get 6000 people to the port and 6000 people away from the port. We entered the suite entrance around 11:30. The process of checking in was relatively quick, although the More agents checking you in never really seemed to be crunched for time.
As soon as we got our gold seapass cards, we were allowed to board priority. This might have been around 12. The gangway put us in the middle of Central Park and being pretty sneaky, we immediately went to see if our cabin was available. We had a crown loft suite, on deck 17. It was open! So we went in and unpacked our carry on luggage, which wasn't too much, but it made it much nicer to be able to not have to carry our luggage everywhere for another two hours.
We toured several bars and the ship as a whole on the first day and I decided that my favorite place was the Suite Sky Bar, which is forward deck 17. The bartender is Leo and you can't go wrong with him. Ever. We didn't try all of the restaurants, but we loved 150 Central Park, Chops Grille and all of the specialty restaurants. While we had two formal nights, most of the people who dined were dressed nicely so it wasn't an issue.
All of the ports were nice. Labadee is a private resort so it was extremely excluded from the rest of Haiti. We booked Cabana OW2, which was calm and Mark was nice (our cabana attendant). The lunch provided to us was very american and delicious and the golf cart was a quick way to get us around the resort. Be warned that the artisan market employees are extremely desperate to make a sale and they all sell the same goods. Only a few of them accept credit cards though so don't be afraid to say no or don't respond.
Next was Jamaica. We did the Dunns River Falls and Green Grotto Caves. Our tour attendants were very informative and the caves were really cool to see. The falls is a (in my opinion) a tourist destination as it's extremely crowded when cruise ships are present. Just make sure you stay on ships time since often times Jamaica will be an hour later of the ship.
Finally we have Cozumel. We booked the Coba Ruins Tour. Just know that you have to take a ferry from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen, which is where most of the tours are based out of. The tour was really quite nice and they added the nice touch of having lunch in a caverns and then being given the opportunity to tour those caverns. The tour didn't allot much time to buy stuff in port, although we stopped at a local market on the way to the ruins so we got our souvenirs from Mexico.
We never got to go see Blue Planet! (Or chicago). The comedy show was really good and we watched Ocean Aria from our balcony. The entertainment for the cruise was really cool and funny, with the sexiest man competition and belly flopping competition being just plain odd, which really made the cruise unique.
Being in a suite, we used the Concierge Lounge a lot (Deck 11), with our concierge being Fernando. He really is a life saver. We contacted him 6 months before our cruise and began to plan everything from the cabana to egg crate mattress toppers to getting additional room keys made for us. They will go leaps and bounds for whatever you need, if you ask.
There were three at-sea days. The first was the day after embarkation, when we did nothing but eat food and watch the water go by. The second at-sea day we did the All Access Tour, which was phenomenal to see how everything works in such a massive ship. The final at sea day was spent with our friends and packing.
When the day came to leave the ship, it was really quick but depressing at the same time since you get used to your de-facto home for a week. We had breakfast in the Concierge Lounge and was scheduled to get out in Group 11 which was around 7:45. We got off the boat earlier than that (7:30) but customs didn't open until 8am so we were in a line for a while. Once customs opened, we got our luggage and went through customs and just like that, we were out of the cruise terminal. Once again, we had FTL Limo transport us back to the airport and just like that, it was over.
For me, it was an amazing first time cruise. From the people I met to the places I went (on ship and off), this cruise really made my spring break exceptional (considering I come from a place of snow, snow and snow). Less
Cabin review: 1726
Unlike many of the stories of people being booked in a JS and upgraded, we bought into the Crown Loft Suite immediately. For our sailing, the Sky Loft Suite was almost $7000 more for the both of us, so we stayed put with 1726.The cabin was long but not very wide. It still felt very roomy. If you have a lot of luggage, put the empty suitcases under the bed since there's a lot of room there! The noise in minimal outside and if you don't want to hear it, just close the balcony door and lock it. If you are friends with your neighbor, then you can get housekeeping to open the balcony divider and you guys can hang out. Also, the second story shower was amazing with three shower heads!The dual bathrooms was nice so we could get ready faster and there was enough closet space for us but we are just a father/son. As a whole, deck 17 was nice but many people considered it mysterious and unknown as I heard several comments about people not knowing what could be that high on the ship. Some people did react negatively to it though (heard on the elevator) since they're all loft suites.
Port and Shore Excursions
Dunn's River Falls
Tourist Destination. Very crowded and not all that impressive IMHO. OK at best.
Green Grotto Caves
Tour guide and tour was surreal and hilarious. Not very crowded so it was very close and personable. Loved it!