This was our 18th cruise (third on Royal Caribbean). The Allure is truly one amazing ship! The ship is beautiful, the shows are outstanding, and there is always something going on (if you are looking). This was our second time on the Allure and I think we enjoyed it even more this time. The ice show was much better than last year -- not geared primarily for children this time, but they did have several shows in the afternoon specifically for kid. We chose my time dining and only had to wait two nights because we decided to eat prime time. The cruise director and the assistanct cruise director did an outstanding job. The captain's welcome aboard reception was worth going to and we had no problem getting several glasses of champagne. The cruise critic meet and mingle is always a good way to meet other people and discuss ports, ships, etc. (and Royal Caribbean always gives away some prizes which is nice). It would have been nice if we had been able to get a cabin crawl afterward (because we had friends with us that were first-time cruisers, but there was not enough interest. A slot pull would have been nice but again not enough people were interested. It is strange with so many people going on this ship, that there was not much activity on the Roll Call or even at the Meet and Greet/Mingle. The embarkation and disembarkaton went extremely smoothly which is truly amazing with so many people. We signed up for all of the shows on line beforehand and was able to see them all. We used the luggage valet service for the first time and it is well worth the cost. It was nice not having to pick it up until our final destination. This is definitely my kind of ship.
The onjly thing to see in Nassau is the Atlantis, however, they charge you to go onto their beach, usae their pool or go through the diggs (aquarium). WE took the taxi over ($4) and the ferry back (also $4). It is a beautiful resort.
St. Maarten is our favorite island. .It has something for everybody -- beautiful beaches, scenic mountains, lots of shopping (including amazing jewelry stores), bars and restaurants. Renting beach chairs and umbrealls with a drink included can be done right on the beach shortly after you get off the ship. We rented a car so that we could show our friends all of our favorite places -- Orient Beach, Sunset Beach Bar where you can watch the planes land and a tour of the whole island(both Phillipsburg and Marigot). The shops in Phillipsburg are conveniently located close together along Front Street which is nice -- so you do not have to walk long distances to get what you want. Do not miss St. Maarten.
The tour showed us much of the island but the driver was not as well informed as some of the others we have had. Still, it is worth seeing the island.
Sapphire Beach was a nice beach to just relax and get in the water for awhile. You can rent chairs and buy lunch, snacks and drinks there. Taxis/vans come by frequently to take peole back to the ship.