Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by splash44: First family trip on Allure of the Seas
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First family trip on Allure of the Seas
My family and I took a 7 day cruise on the Allure of the Seas. My boyfriend and his daughter were just going to go but two months before cruise we were invited. We were so excited to go. We worked with a cruise specialist(not Royal Caribbean ), because we had to change reservation it was a huge ordeal to get our whole family on board. It took three hours on the phone and two phone calls to get us all together. They had to keep checking with Royal Caribbean.
Once we had our reservation, I went online excited to plan our entertainment while we were there. Royal Caribbean continued to have problems with online reservation for the evening entertainment. I made three calls and each time told they were working on problem. After a week of dealing with that I was told to contact web support. I did as they suggested. A week later web support contacted me and said they were working on problem and sorry for the delay. I could not even book excursions. I then called Royal Caribbean back More and was very frustrated at that point. I was able to book the excursions with them but was told all the shows were sold out and I would have to wait to do it on the ship. I was not happy. I wanted every thing planned so I could relax on the ship.
When we arrived at the port, I was very impressed with the friendliness and how organized everything was Within a hour we were on board the ship! Within a half hour of being on the ship we had our bags and Perez,our cabin steward, had our room ready. The ship was gorgeous!
When we arrived in the room I tried to book our entertainment through the interactive tv. I was told there was a billing error. I then called customer service. No answer. Later that evening I waited in line at customer service for over 45 minutes to tried to fix the problem. When i arrived at the desk the customer service rep said it was because we had two different reservations because of our change on adding people. She said she fixed it. I then went back to room and tried again. It did not work so the next day I waited in line again. This time she booked the shows for us. When it was time to go to shows, My daughter was informed she did not have a reservation. They let her in anyway. The next day we went back to customer service and ask why my daughter was not on the reservations. The lady at the counter informed us she never was. We were confused since we all were in the same cabin. The rep informed us that all shows were booked except the 10:30 and we would have to go to that one. We informed her that we had reservation and that we were not going to a 10:30 show with children when we had a excursions the next day. The rep then informed us that we should have looked at the sheet of paper that had reservations on it and she could not do anything. At that point a manager was involved. The manager fixed it.
The shows were awesome. We saw oceanar(amazing), and we saw ice games. Our children loved the shows. We waited in line for over a hour on stand by to get into comedy night(because customer service screwed up reservation) it was so worth it. The comedians were hilarious! If you wanted to do any of their entertainment during day, every thing cost extra. We played bingo and it cost 66 dollars.
The weather was gorgeous and the pools were packed. Allure of the seas has 6 pools. The only bad thing was that by 9:30 everyone had saved their chairs for the day even if they weren't there. Everyday at the pool Allure had a band playing for about a hour twice a day. It was wonderful. The bar service by the pool was horrible , we had to go get our drinks almost every time. At the bars you would have to wait for over 15 minutes to get a drink even when they weren't busy :(. The bartenders were not friendly at all. If you drink more than three drinks a day, I would defiantly do the drink card for each person. My boyfriend did the 55 dollar one and i didn't do one. My bill was huge(foo foo drinks :() even though I drank less.
The food on the cruise was very good. Windjammer had a great variety of foods. In the garden area there was the cafe and the breakfast and lunch was great! Sandwiches and salads. On deck 4 you could make your own pizza and next to customers service was a deli where you could get your coffee and mini sandwiches and desserts. The only problem we found was that when you wanted a evening snack there really wasn't anything. Timed dinning was wonderful and every evening a part of the menu changed.
If you were a adult we found that the club entertainment was extremely limited. Most of the action didn't start until after 12:00 and that was just to late for us. Every night on deck 5 they had a piano guy that we did not care for, they had salsa club, a dance club by the casino called blaze(younger crowd) but fun, a karaoke place (only adults after 9:00) and a beer joint with a great singer but the same guy every night.
In regards to kids entertainment, my kids became bored very quickly. They would go to activities but not a lot of kids participated. My daughter said that if they would have had more non sport activities during day they would have participated .
BEWARE Allure of the seas charges each person every day a 12 gratuity fee. That is a lot for 5 people. It cost us $420 in gratuity. We did not know that until we got the bill. We had already tipped everyone extra. We were not happy.
With all that said we would not do Allure of the Seas again. My boyfriend has done Princess, carnival etc and the customer service and cost was so much better than Allure of the Seas.
Tips for a smooth cruise
*if same price work directly with Royal Caribbean instead of cruise specialist.
*buy the 55 dollar card if you drink (it is per person), it will be a stamp that goes on your seapass. you can only get one drink at a time.
*buy the soda cups for kids, they stamp your kids sea pass and they just show it on ship when they want a drink.
*plan all your entertainment and excursions immediately when you book.
* take advantage of all the photographers on the ship. At the end of the cruise they sell cds(very expensive but worth it). The more pictures you have done the bigger variety you have to choose from. It was $180 for 10 pictures on a cd. Or make sure you have someone snap some pictures for you. Its worth it. They don't unlock your pictures until you get home and then you pick then.
*I hate to say it but in the morning before breakfast save your pool spot. Go to breakfast and then go to the pool. If your not going to pool until later be respectful and don't save a spot :(
* go for breakfast around 8:00/8:30 great time.
*make sure you grab towels by pool for all your excursions in the morning.
*with your drink card bottled water is included. Defiantly bring a couple for excursions. keep in mind when going back on ship you can not bring any drinks. so don't by a bunch of water or drinks.
*defiantly get the floats that you can rent for 14 dollars on the private island. Not a lot to do.
*don't bother doing the market on the private island. They swarm you like flies and everything was the same. They scared my kids(and me lol) You can get better at the market in Cozumel.
*When on land bargain bargain bargain... never take full price. They will always bargain. I bought a bracelet they said was $400. I talked them down to a $100(which in the states was still pricey).
*Cozumel has a wonderful market right when you get off ship. Defiantly shop there.
*In Jamaica they have Margarita ville. Its right when you get off the ship. Its awesome. you can swim with your kids at the pool for free. Coupons online.
plan all our excursions and entertainment on line before cruising. Less
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Cabin review: 11280
We loved the room. It was close to the stairs and the balcony was awesome. Defiantly worth the extra money! Perfect if you have 3 people or 4. A view of the ocean was fabulous.
Port and Shore Excursions
We booked catamaran /snorkel with Royal Caribbean. When you get off ship you go half way up dock and to the right you will see all the excursions listed. They sign you in and then you get on the catamaran. The minute you step on the boat its fast paced. They hand you your gear and you have to get ready while they are moving and giving instructions. They then send you jumping off the boat single file like (cattle lol). The time your in the water you have to follow the guy with the red flag. The first reef we only went five minutes from cruise ship. There were fish but not the greatest area. The equipment was very worn and my daughters snorkel broke in the water, and my mask leaked no matter what I did. The crew was very helpful and efficient. We went to two different reefs. The hole thing took about two hours. When we got back on they had drinks for adults and pop and water. The beer was in dixie cups and so was margaritas so we chose not to drink it because of the water. We weren't sure . it cost $180 for five people. I would not do again but my kids like it. Good for beginners, and not expensive.
We booked with Royal Caribbean our zip line excursion. It was canopy zip line in rosema.It was $100 dollars per person. Very expensive! Defiantly worth it. When you get off the cruise you go to end of dock to white tents. They will sign you up and put wrist bands on. A air conditioned bus will you take you to the company location. From there they put gear on you(make sure you go the bathroom). You put all your personal stuff in lockers that you have to pay for($ 7.00 i think). They tell you to leave camera and phones. I would not do that. The cd they let you buy at end is horrible. They then pile you in a two by two truck with a cover on it. Its a scary bumpy ride up and down for about 20 minutes. They are experienced and we were defiantly safe. It was exciting lol.
We then arrived at destination. Way above the treeline. You are with a group of about 11. The crew consist of about 6 guys. They are awesome. I was so impressed with safety aspect of trip. They were very well trained and also comical . We went on about 7 different lines varying from straight to curvy. Another cool thing about the company is that they do not cut any of the tree lines to put up the zip line. They tie it back with rope. Also all the platforms are held up by metal poles but they are not put into trees. They do a lot to preserve the area. I would defiantly do this again. My boyfriend is scared of heights and he did wonderful! Also if you want to tip I would do that at end and give it directly to them and not put money in the jar. Also get names because they will ask you on the comment card they have you fill out. They serve beer, pop and snacks at end. Snacks expensive and pop. Beer red stripe around $2.00. When you come back and before you enter gate on bus you have to have your sea pass out to show the border people. You just hold it up and they step on bus.
Labadee is a beautiful private island owned by the cruise ships.
When getting off at Labadee, there is a ferry that will take you across to one of the beaches. If you chose not to take ferry you can follow the path along the ocean and there are beaches there that are right on the ocean. Food is served at both location. We like taking the ferry across to the beach(the ferry is only one way) and we like the beach. Its not right on the ocean and it was calm and clean. The bathrooms are close with showers. We rented floats for $ 14 dollars. Defiantly worth it. If you don't do any excursions there is not much to do. The excursions are extremely expensive! Don't bother with snorkel stuff for the just the beach side. There are no fish lol. Its a great beach time though.The chairs are free(with a tip to the guy that carries them). Defiantly have chairs put in shade,The sun is intense Your sea pass is used to purchase drinks and to rent floats. You would only need money for the tips and market purchases. I would defiantly skip the market experience here. They swarmed us like flies and all the products were the same from market to market and prices not great. If you do go to market make sure you bargain if you think its worth it. If I were to go again I would defiantly walk around the island more. It just was to hot that day and we had kids. Don't take back any shells or bottled of water. They will take it.
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