This was our 7th cruise - 3rd with Rccl. We're in our 50's travelled with another family, 3 teens and two in their 20's.
Our thoughts- overall a fun experience but like many repeat cruisers, I missed the 'cruise' feel and felt like I was at a resort - and sometimes it felt like sensory overload. But glad we experienced the Allure.
- Embarkation & debarkation: smooth, organized, on the ship with little wait. The best embarkation we've ever had.
Tip: print your sea pass paperwork beforehand
Getting off the ship was smooth too - remember that breakfast places close early!
- Room: 14594 larger balcony since it was on the 'hump'. The bed was comfortable but the sofa bed was extremely uncomfortable (hard) our son said the Pullman bunk for previous cruises was much better. Circular shower so felt roomier than previous cruise showers. There's also an automatic night light in the bathroom. Nice. The room was always ready when we needed it to be. One deck below solarium and pool and close to elevator made it easy for us. Tip: empty your dirty glasses or they may not be removed. Bring magnets or magnetic dry erase board for your metal doors/ walls.
- Customer service: from cabin steward to pool staff, everyone was polite and extremely helpful. Remarkable that so many rccl staff remembered our names after one meeting and even tho they work numerous hours and back to back cruises, the staff we interacted with were warm and hospitable. We looked forward to a relaxing drink at the small bar outside of the mdr 3rd floor.
All inclusive? With this cruise we felt like there were more tacked on costs - from specialty dining surcharges to prices for candy so didn't really feel like the money we paid covered everything- so didn't feel the value for money as we had
Deviously. We did opt for the premium drink pkg and liked that we didn't have to keep tabs - it was also good that sodas and bottled waters were included in this pkg.
- Activities: Lots to do for all ages so you can decide according to your interests. We enjoyed watching the kids participate in the sports activities - Ping pong, volleyball and dodgeball and rock climbing wall. Karaoke was fun - tho the bar is way too small a venue since this is popular. Would've been awesome to have the finals for karaoke at the aqua theater! We also liked that there were many places to go to - you never really felt like 6000 people were traveling with you. Pools - many to go to - would've like to sit at the sports pool but smoking section was located in that area. We loved watching the soccer games in the on air bar. And 2 of us did the all access behind the scenes tour and they loved seeing how the ship works - would recommend.
- Shows: I liked having reservations - we saw a lot of people waiting in line in hopes of getting into a show.
Chicago was good but we loved Blue Planet. We didn't make the comedy show since it overlapped the marriage show (always a fav) did feel like a lot of shows happened while we were at dinner. tip: book shows in advance then don't worry about it.
- Dining: with 9 of us, we chose the MDR 8:30 seating. The service was good, wait staff nice and attentive. Table 135 3rd floor was in a bad location tho- right next to the wait station so it was crazy hectic with dishes clanging and staff running in and out. The night the captain had dinner guests at his table we had extra staff hovering in the area waiting to serve the captain- at one point I almost had to ask one person to step away from the table since I thought I would be hit in the head with his elbow... Not a good experience with this location. Service was slow some nights but last night was very rushed - my soup was removed before I was finished. I had put my spoon down to talk to person on my left and the dish was immediately removed from the right! Late seating also meant you may miss out on some activities - next time I'll probably opt for my time dining.
-- Food: MDR was ok. Not the quality I remember from past cruises - I guess with so many specialty restaurants .... Windjammer could get packed but food is consistent. Made to order omelets at the wipe out cafe were good. I also enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere and choices in the solarium. soda machines at windjammer, cafe promenade. Boardwalk had Good donuts early in the a.m. Key lime were a hit. Had lunch at Izumi and create your own salad at park cafe - the best meals I had.
- Shore excursions:
Nassau snorkeling - saw a lot of vibrant fish in the reef but getting to the reef was disorganized- waited forever to get going then some people who booked late had to get off the boat - which delayed us further.
- Seablaster st.thomas - turtles were amazing. Rum punch was ok - staff spent a lot of time hawking t- shirts and requesting good reviews.
Photography: long lines during formal nights - Tip: plz don't wait til the last night to purchase. Grumpy people lining up, CDs not ready. Pretty much a madhouse. Prices are expensive but yes, I waited and spent over 200 for. Few Picts...
All In all a vacation is what you make it and we enjoyed our time together- plus We had one first time cruiser and she loved it!