Allure versus Freedom and Disney Fantasy: Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by docmama
Overall Member Rating
Allure versus Freedom and Disney Fantasy
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Allure of the Seas is a huge beautiful ship. The Central Park and Boardwalk are unique and a welcome break from the usual popular areas (pool deck and promenade). The "wow" areas are where Royal outshines Disney, which has a beautiful atrium/staircase main entry but cannot compare to the Royal ships Promenade or Central Park.
At POOL DECK: by far the worst ship for a crowded pool deck is Disney. Pool is way too small for ship of 4000 people. But, the reason everyone hangs out up there is the constant movies on the screen poolside (everyone loved this). Freedom has the screen but did not play enough movies, and Allure has NO big screen on the pool deck. So there is more room for everyone on the Royal pool decks but the movies on Disney More poolside are a huge hit. All three have ice cream machines at pool deck.
Older kids love the Flowrider, of course, and the kids wanted to stay at the pool for hours on all three ships.
PUBLIC AREAS: the only crowds on Royal ships were before and after shows and the Dreamworks parade, otherwise we couldn't believe how crowded it DID NOT feel. Windjammer was of course more crowded on Allure, but there are so many places to eat we only went there twice in a whole week. The amazing thing is that the Boardwalk and Central Park on Allure never felt crowded.
FOOD: I honestly cannot figure out why people complain about the main dining room food. It was outstanding on Allure, very good on Freedom, and just "ok" on Disney. Service on all three was great but felt more personal on Allure than the other 2 ships. Breakfast on Allure is free and awesome at Johnny Rockets. Salads and sandwiches at Park Cafe are wonderful. Plus for Disney is the rotating restaurants for breaking up the atmosphere. Rita's cantina is fun and margaritas were tasty but the fajitas are not good examples of the fare. Coming from Texas, fajitas have to be GOOOOD and they were not. Samba is excellent for meat lovers. We did not do upgraded Disney dining.
ROOMS: understandably we travel in suites, so we have no complaints at all. Disney wins for the 100's of free movies on instant TV access for the kids, but Royal has the best balconies.
CONCIERGE SERVICE: Freedom wins hands down, no contest. Personal service, never felt like a number. Disney concierge lounge is awesome, but no real perks otherwise. Allure concierge staff is great but with 80 suites you do not get that pampered feeling. Perk for Royal over Disney are the "no reservations needed for shows".
ENTERTAINMENT: we are a little skewed because with kids we don't take advantage of everything available to adults, but the nightly Disney shows are better than the Royal shows in general, although Oceanaria on Allure is awesome and should not be missed.
KIDS CLUB: Disney wins, no contest. Kids did not want to go on Allure.
Overall experience is excellent on all three ships but we adults like Royal better than Disney. We like the Freedom class better than the Oasis class based on the size alone but the Allure is gorgeous and should be experienced by avid cruisers at least once. Less
Cabin review: 12240
Clarification, were on the Royal suite, not royal family suite. Large luxurious room, dining on the balcony and the balcony jacuzzi are awesome. Lots of room for clothes and luggage. Extra perk of being escorted on and off the ship to avoid lines (I am sure everyone else hated us!!! but, we did pay for the extra service and is was worth it to feel like such a VIP on vacation!!).
Port and Shore Excursions
Snorkelling was great (Cozumel has the most beautiful blue water of anywhere on earth) and the excursion staff were wonderful EXCEPT they had woefully inadequate masks and snorkels. If we had taken our own it would be 5+ stars. Unfortunately they told us no need to bring anything and we regretted not taking our own masks.
Dunn's River Falls
Snorkeling and Dunn's River were absolutely awesome. I was leery because Dunn's River is supposed to be touristy and crowded but we were in a group of 15 and it was awesome. Snorkled remarkably close to shore and saw tons of fish.
Calm water, lovely "jungle" feel. Buffet at the barefoot beach was great with salmon/shrimp/scallop skewers. Barefoot beach never got crowded. Cabanas are great, cheaper (half the price!!) than Disney but no shower for the sand at the cabana itself like the Disney cabana (Disney cabana is expensive but much more luxurious).