Floating Mall: Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by nycgirl7777
Overall Member Rating
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Arrival and check in fine. Rooms ready as soon as we boarded. I have never experienced that before.
The ship is beautiful. There is something appealing to the eyes at almost every turn (with the exception of the inner halls). It is immaculate and the team has excellent hygiene procedures (but were a bit passive with teenage boys who bypassed all the hand gel opportunities). It is a big ship - if you have trouble walking distances, consider things carefully. You will often walk 1/4 mile to get from one destination to another. This was great for me -- I had a goal of walking 10,000 steps a day. With the assistance of 1 mile on the treadmill each day, I met my goal and walked more than 31 miles during the week (without taking an excursion that involved walking). I did More a bit more walking than some might because I couldn't stand walking through the casino because of the smoke (and sometimes we wouldn't walk through it).
I can honestly say everything about the ship was great. The Solarium is amazing (hot tubs are more like warm baths), all the amenities, seating, entertainment areas - all fantastic.
I found my experience a bit off from the other 8 cruises I went on (even the Oasis). The words "stale", "aloof", and "distant" come to mind. I have gotten very used to lots of group interaction, entertainment staff bringing people together and adding an extra "something", people interacting and meeting and greeting constantly. Lots of this typically happens around the pools. In this case, I don't recall and organized, but random, activities in that way (for example, the belly flop contest was at the Aqua Theater - more of a show. A volleyball net was set up, but no staff stuck around to encourage people to play or keep multiple age groups or type of people involved.). I recall feeling shuffled around from space to space on the Oasis to engage in this "fun" - perhaps I avoided some one that by finding my spot by the pool, but also missed some of the show (instead of group cohesion). The older girls did well meeting people and engaging in lots of activities. The younger one had trouble - kids in the kids club were kind of young, kids by the pools engaged nicely, but there was no consistency in who was there day to day. The majority of announcements were for jackpots and art auction - spend, spend, spend (floating mall). All of this in contrast to Freedom of the Seas. That is like a floating resort. More about fun and relaxation - with the staff helping out all the time.
Food was fine. After about four days the dining room menu gets very boring. Slight variation on themes. But this is what life is like.
I used the gym daily (sometimes twice). Small for the size of ship - over crowded in the mornings. No bathroom or shower. Very annoying. In contrast, I recall Freedom having a huge gym, locker rooms, and sauna. Carnival Dream has an amazing steam room, but small gym.
I joined the Thermal Spa. We had to tip 18% (more than the Cabin steward received). For what, I don't know. I was not given a tour, explanation or rules. On the second day I was given a locker key and a robe. Four heated chairs, two steam rooms, a sauna and two rainforest showers (just a large shower head - but nice). People would leave towels on the chairs. The staff would tell users they could remove the towels. How awkward - the could simply tell people some simple rules. Also not cleaned up very often (a sprite can sat on a ledge for more than six hours).
Ports? Blah - All about the ship. The beaches on Labadee, and near Falmouth and the Cozumel port are fair at best. Inside island excursions (I've been to each of these places at least four times) are okay - more time getting into groups and getting places than doing things. Shopping is somewhat unique art-wise, but otherwise the same across ports Falmouth is funny - a Margaritaville, Nathan's and sub shop. No nice Jamaican restaurant. Patties available and good.
Last comment - Entertainment. I love RC because of the entertainment. This time it was only okay. The main show was Chicago. Maybe not ship material? The children were bored (though loved Hairspray and previous shows). The Blue Planet show had amazing visuals, but they killed many of my favorite songs - especially Wonderful World. Perhaps too atrsy? I slept through the comedy show. . . Same one every night. Carnival Dream must have had 6 or 7 different performances. Less
Can't remember cabin type - interior. I prefer those - don't know why. I thought it was fine. I kept the girl's stuff organized and had the bed made up as soon as they got up (sometimes had to get them up because steward off from noon to 8).In sum, I will travel RC again and often (I am doing two a year already), but will leave the Allure and Oasis behind. Freedom class much better for the money. Will also try to avoid Labadee (my least favorite port), Falmouth and Cozumel. Mediterranean next.
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