Just completed a seven day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Allure of the Seas which began on May 25, 2014. It was amazing. We have cruised on many different ships with many different cruise lines and this trip would be at the top of the list. Dropping off the luggage and parking was a little confusing and could have had better signage, but from that point on there were no issues at all. Check in went smoothly except for the people in front of us who didn't have their cruise documents in order.
Our room was 12711, an inside balcony overlooking the Boardwalk. We were approximately ten rooms from the back of the ship. We loved it! Normally we get inside rooms for the darkness so we can sleep late, but for this trip it was worth waking up early to have the balcony. Next time we will take a few clothes pins to close the curtains completely. We could see the Aqua theater and also could see the ocean off the back. Some reviews said these rooms were noisy nut we did not find that to be bothersome at all. By 11:30 all was quiet on the nights of the Aqua show, and earlier than that on most nights. Ear plugs work great if you go to bed early. Originally we booked a Central Park view room but later upgraded. We could see a lot more with the balcony room. We had heard that the boardwalk rooms were noisier but we found the most noisy in Central Park beneath the kiddie pool.
The food was all very good. It would be easy not to pay any extra and enjoy your dining experience. There are so many free choices all of which were good. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer at least once and there was a lot to choose from and we thought it was good. We ate in the dining room every night but one and the service was good, there was a good selection, and it was easy to get multiple items if we wanted them. On the night we had an early show we told our waiter and he had us out of there in plenty of time. We ate lunch in the Solarium one day and really liked that. The salad bar in the dining room at lunch time was fabulous. We did eat at the Chef's Table one night and it was excellent. Certainly worth the extra money if you like to try specialty dishes and different wines. We also enjoyed Rita's Cantina for lunch one day. We had read reviews where some did not like it, but we found the food to be fresh and delicious, however the margarita was not worth $9.25. The milkshakes at Johnny Rocket's were great and just the right size. With all the dining choices, you have to really be thoughtful to remember to give them all a try.
The entertainment was great. All of the shows were high quality and more elaborate than what we had seen on other ships. Be sure to make your reservations on line for ALL the shows. Start checking about 90 days before your sail date to make your reservations. The comedy club is particularly small and advance reservations are an absolute must if you hope to get in. Blue Planet was our favorite, but I would have hated to miss any of them. Chicago is the one I would skip if you can't get them all scheduled, but that is not due to lack of quality. It just wasn't our favorite. We are not night club folks, but didn't realize there was a Jazz Club and I'm sorry we missed that.
We did excursions in St. Thomas and in St. Marten. Having been in Nassau several times we decided to explore the ship that day and did enjoy a massage in the Vitality spa. We did the Snuba excursion in St. Thomas. The company was well prepared and the people were nice. However, there was just nothing to see. Very few fish, no coral, just lots of sea grass. I'm glad we tried the snuba but would not do it again in St. Thomas. We heard others who snorkeled in St. Thomas say the same thing. The beach rendezvous in St Marten was nice. We got to see most of the island on our ride to Orient Beach. The water was beautiful with plenty of chairs and umbrellas (good purchase for just $3), the buffet lunch that was included was very good. The native vendors coming around all the time selling things got annoying, but they were polite and not too pushy. We thought this excursion was worth the money if you are not inclined to strike out on your own.
Overall there was nothing to complain about except that we had to leave after seven glorious days. We could have easily enjoyed another seven days. The neighborhoods like Boardwalk and Central Park really made the ship feel more like a luxury hotel in an outdoor setting rather than a cruise ship. The only time it felt crowded was on the first day as we embarked in to the Promenade area. There are so many places to go and sit to relax that you can certainly find some peace and quiet. With one of us being a Diamond member, it gave us access to the Diamond club where we were able to go nightly for hors d'oeuvres and free cocktails. A continental breakfast was also available there in the mornings. Located above Bolero's it was a great place to watch the parade on the grand Promenade.
We would highly recommend the Allure of the Seas and this cruise to one and all. It was money well spent on a fabulous vacation. Can't wait to do it again!