After traveling on the Oasis of the Seas last summer, our family went on the Allure this summer. It was absolutely WONDERFUL! Although we partially knew what to expect, I would prefer the Allure over the Oasis anytime! There are many reasons why, and I will try to touch on those in this review.
We began the cruise vacation by driving into Fort Lauderdale and staying at the Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale Airport and Cruise Port. This hotel is wonderful for families; also, it is very reasonably priced for for the Fort Lauderdale area. Since breakfast was included, we ate breakfast at the hotel and made it to the cruise port around 10:45. Now, a few days before our cruise left, RCCL sent us an email stating that we could not board until 1 pm....don't listen to that! They let us board at 10:45, and I am so glad that we did because we were able to eat in the Windjammer peacefully (it didn't get really packed until about noon). The boarding process was pretty smooth. They do a More
fabulous job getting people on the ship within 15-30 minutes. I have boarded in Galveston (on a much smaller ship) and it took over an hour. So, this experience was wonderful! After we boarded, we went straight to the Shore Excursions desk to book excursions before it got too busy. I would recommend anyone getting on to do this, especially getting on the Allure. By around 4:00 pm, the shore excursions line is about 10 people deep, which can take about an hour to book just one simple excursion.
The Ship: The Allure is an amazing, HUGE ship! It truly is the best ship to go on if you like many different options to spend your day. The neighborhoods concept is brilliant, with each neighborhood feeling as if you are on a different ship. The Solarium is one of the best places on the ship, due to the seclusion and quite! It is absolutely wonderful! Central Park is nice, with many shops and a nice way to go from the aft to the forward of the ship for shows/entertainment. It is well kept, as many crew members are often outside trimming trees and bushes. The Boardwalk is very pretty, with the AquaTheater in the back. It has a fun, hip feeling and also hosts many parties and shows throughout the cruise.
Entertainment: The real reason that I was so impressed with the Allure was because of the amazing entertainment! There is so much to do, at all times of the day...I will ensure you that you will never be bored! Chicago was good, however it was not appropriate for children! I wish in some aspects that RCCL would've put a more family-friendly show on the ship, but it is a very well produced and wonderful broadway show. Blue Planet was the best show on the ship, with acrobats and excellent singing! This was on the last night of the cruise...and was a wonderful end to our experience onboard. The Ice Show (Ice Games) was great! the concept of monopoly was brilliant, and was far better than the ice show on the Oasis. Also, the AquaTheater show was much better on the Allure compared to the Oasis. Royal Caribbean really gets the best actors and performers!
Restaurants/Food: The food is the best thing about a cruise for me! The dining room was WONDERFUL! They pay attention to every detail and really accommodate any needs you have. The formal nights are the 2nd and 6th night, and individuals really do dress up, so come prepared! We did and it was a blast! The dining room does a great job of serving a variety of food every night, and there is always something to please anyone in your party. The Windjammer is not the best, as it has mediocre food and not very good service. I would recommend eating in the Dining room for all meals because it really is the best food on the ship. We tried the Park Cafe and Cafe Promenade twice, and that was pretty good. The Park Cafe was very nice for vegetarian and healthy options! I would encourage everybody to try this at least once. The Boardwalk Dog House is nothing special; we only tried it once, but we threw half of the hot dog away. Lastly, Starbucks onboard is great!! I am glad that they are adding it to other RCCL ships because it is nice to get a good coffee on sea days!
Cabin: Since we had a family of 4, we had two rooms that were connected. Since we were going to be spending a lot of money on shore excursions, we decided to just stay in an Interior Stateroom. It was spacious (for a cruise) and the couch was very nice to have. The connecting door was nice, and I will probably book every cruise with a connecting door from now on. Also, the bathrooms were a nice size and the shower was wonderful! Overall, the cabin gets 5 stars...it was excellent!
Ports: On our cruise (Eastern Caribbean), we stopped at Nassau first. In Nassau, we did a Glass Bottom Boat Tour excursion through the cruise line and it turned out to be well worth the money. Not only do you get to look at the fish through the glass bottom boat, but they take you on a nice scenic drive past celebrity homes, the Atlantis resort and many other attractions in the Bahamas. Nassau has decent shops, but in the summer time it is really hot, so we opted to get on the ship a bit early to relax. In St. Thomas, we took a tour around the island, which also stopped at Magens Bay Beach. GORGEOUS!!!! It was great! Although it was raining for some of the excursion, the beach was beautiful and I wish we could've spent more time there. In St. Maarten, we did a tour of the two sides of the Island (French and Dutch) and it was decent. Next time I return to this island, I will go to a beach!
Overall, the Allure and the vacation experience exceeded all expectations I had. The Allure offers wonderful entertainment and activities for the whole family, making it the ultimate vacation experience. For anyone looking to cruise in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, the Allure of the Seas is the way to go! Happy Cruising! Less
Allure of the Seas Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean
Since we had a family of 4, we had two rooms that were connected. Since we were going to be spending a lot of money on shore excursions, we decided to just stay in an Interior Stateroom. It was spacious (for a cruise) and the couch was very nice to have. The connecting door was nice, and I will probably book every cruise with a connecting door from now on. Also, the bathrooms were a nice size and the shower was wonderful! There is a vanity which has about 3 drawers, and the closet is nicely sized for the room. Overall, the cabin gets 5 stars...it was excellent!