We flew in from Chilly Cincinnati on Saturday 22 Jan. We stayed at the Marriott Harbour Beach Resort(used Marriott Points). The resort was a $15 taxi ride from airport; it is about a mile from the cruise port. The hotel was nice, and our balcony had a nice view of the ships coming into and out of the port. We saw Oasis depart about 5:30pm on Saturday. I woke up around 5:30am on Sunday and Allure was already docked; there were four other ships lined up to come into port. The last one arrived around 6:30am.
HEADING TO PORT: We left the hotel around 10:30am for the port. We had our taxi stop at Walgreens(which is on the corner of the port blvd), so wife could get some hairspray,shampoo, etc for the ship. The taxi driver turned the meter off, while we waited; so the total bill from Marriott to the ship was about $9.00
CHECKING IN: From the time we left the taxi to check in was about ten minutes. They only had one gangway working; the employees told us that a service delivery truck rammed into one gangway in Jan; and it still had not been fixed. Anyway, we were on the ship within 20 minutes of our arrival. We stopped for welcome aboard picture.***PLEASE PLEASE, take the welcome aboard photo. The ship uses a facial recognition program with all pictures. This is based on you taking the initial picture when you board. We had at least 5 random pictures taken onboard the ship; and all of them ended up in our picture portfolio on deck 6.
Since we were meeting our group onboard, we decided to all meet at Rita's on the boardwalk for lunch. Rita's cost $6.95 and they bring you unlimited chips/salsa; my wife and I shared a chicken fajita platter; there was more food than the two of us could eat. The food is typical Mexican fast food; not too bad.
OUR CABIN: Richard was our stateroom attendant; he was good. Whatever we needed, he would get it; whatever we needed fixed in our room; he was on it. We booked 9723 on the boardwalk. We were four cabins from the end of the boardwalk; near the Aquatheater, with a balcony. Our bed was near the balcony. My wife and I both thought there was plenty of space for putting clothes away; we brought rolling duffle bags; so they slid under the bed; There is a new electric plug outlet on the desk; you can plug four different devices in; also there is an additional 110 outlet under the desk; there is an ipod/iphone dock on the desk; you can charge both an iphone and ipod at the same time. The sliding door on the balcony shuts out most noise; but not all. We could hear a little noise coming from the Boardwalk at night. However, at 11pm all noise seemed to stop. From our balcony we watched the Aqua show; watched rehearsals, watched the Madagascar family show; watched the Family outing on the boardwalk. Our friends had the next three cabins; so our stateroom attendant (Richard), unlocked the balconies; so we could walk back and forth. We enjoyed the Boardwalk cabin; you could see all the action; plus see the water from the back of the ship. You could also see the people climbing the rockwall and doing the zipline.
DINING: We chose the late seating; 8:30pm. We had three tables; 2 tables for six and one table for eight. Our dining room waiter was Luis; from the Phillipines. He was wonderful; always knew what everyone at the table wanted to drink; funny, and suggested we take two entrees or two desserts. The fresh baked rolls/breads were tasty. A quick run down; formal nights were Tuesday/Friday. Attire in Dining Room: on Formal night; we did not see too many tuxedo's. Some Suits; mostly sports coats/ties and open collar for men. Women were in long dresses/painsuits. Other nights; dress was casual. Friday night is lobster night. Other nights we had various types of fish/prime ribs/steaks/chickens/lambs/pork/ and pasta. Everyone in our group said the food in Main Dining Room was superb. We ate lunch in MDR once. You can order off the menu and they have a salad bar. The food was wonderful; the salad bar was awesome.
OTHER DINING VENUES ON SHIP: Below are the other venues where my wife and I ate; if I don't list a resturaunt; it is because we did not eat there.
*** let me start by telling everyone; my normal breakfast is Coke&Twinkies. My normal lunch is McDonalds.
WINDJAMMER: I love this place, they have a great variety; food is hot; salads are cold; the servers are friendly/ I ate several lunches in the Windjammer; did not eat any dinners here. They have the best desserts on the ship.
RITA'S CANTINA: We ate lunch here on Sunday. Food was ok; waitress was great.
PARK CAFE IN CENTRAL PARK: Ate lunch here once and breakfast once. I had egg salad sandwich and a chef salad; my wife had the Famous Roast Beef Sand; we both loved the food.***this is the busiest place on the ship. thank goodness for the electronic navigation system; which told us when a resturaunt was slow or busy. For breakfast I had a bagel; no big deal. standard bagel with cream cheese
SOLARIUM BISTRO: Ate here for one breakfast and one lunch. I have to be honest; I did not like this place; why? I don't like healthy choices. The breakfasts are healthy and so are the lunches. I had a salad for lunch one day; I asked the server for a hard roll; he said all they have available were oatbran and wheat bread; I said no thanks.
SORRENTOS PIZZA: Remember that you can get a pizza made to order here; you do not have to eat what is already on display. I ate pepperoni,with peppers and tomato; made to order.
PROMENADE CAFE: Had almost all of the desserts offered here. Crumb cake, three different type cookies; lemon cake, etc; nice
CHOPS: Ate dinner here. The petite fillet Mignon was excellent; so was the Cheesecake/Mud Pie for dessert. The salad was ok, the rolls were better in the Main Dining Room. All you side dishes are served family style; enough to feed 2-3 people. Wait staff was ok; our Main Dining Room servers were better.
WIPE OUT CAFE:Deck 15 Sports Deck: they have burgers/dogs/chili/pizza/fries/soft serve ice cream
DID NOT EAT AT THE FOLLOWING:Johnny Rockets/Vintages/150 Central Park/Giovanni's Table/Chefs Table/Samba Grill
ENTERTAINMENT: Let me entertain you; Royal did a superb job of keeping us entertained. We saw the Aqua Show/Chicago/Headliner Show(motown)/Blue Planet/Dreamworks Parade/Ice Show/Sailaway show in Aquatheater.
***If you have any specific questions about the shows; please ask
*** You need rerervations; suggest you book online prior to sailing; I spoke with many people on the ship who did not get to see shows; they did not know about the online booking; once they arrived at the ship the shows were sold out. ***comedy show; we did not see this show; it was sold out for the entire cruise.
OTHER VENUES AROUND SHIP:
Dazzles Bar/Nightclub: we were here three times. 70's disco night/pre dinner drinks/battle of the sexes game night. **this is a two story nightclub; they allow smoking on the upper deck.
Schooner Bar: came here for casual drinks/Also watched Dreamworks Parade from here; Schooner Bar overlooks the Royal Promendade.
Bolero's: came here for one drink:caution, they allow smoking
Rising Tide Bar: it goes from the Royal Promenade(deck5), to Central Park (deck 8).
Casino: never played but walked around it a few times; it is quite large.
Shops onboard: on the Royal Promenade you have four bars/two resturaunts/cupcake bakery/onair club;(they have a booth where u can send a video postcard, or video by email;; its free). Guest Relations Desk; The picture place is on Deck 6 across from Schooner Bar.
POOL&BEACH AREA/WATER PARK: I did the zipline with my wife; ***caution a member of our group did the zipline and broke her leg in three places; she hit the landing zone the wrong way. If u do the zipline, keep you feet and legs up. My wife did Flowrider twice. We went in the beach pool. There are whirlpool jacuzzi's all over the pool deck; everywhere u turn u will find one; they were never crowded. There are FREE ice cream machines behind two of the whirlpools on deck 15; there is also a ice cream machine in the Wipe Out Cafe.
NICE THINGS TO KNOW: Computer Navigator Screens by the elevators on each deck. These are vital to finding your way around the ship, for finding out which dining venues are crowded or not, it has the cruise compass on it. Capt. Johnny and Cruise Director Alan Brooks both attended out Meet&Mingle. I have to tell you; they spent more time with us than they did for the Crown&Anchor meeting. Alan Brooks is a great Cruise Dirctor. Capt. Johnny is a hoot. a few changes; the shore excursion desk is now in the middle of the Royal Promenade; they have a blue light on their kiosk. Luggage Valet Program. Well worth the $20.00. U set luggage outside room and pick it up at your baggage claim when u get home; they print your boarding passes for you. Just knowing that u don't have to hassle with bags/boarding passes at Ft. Lauderdale airport is good enough. This is a free service for suite guests. Also they have a kiosk by Guest Relations to print boarding passes; even if u don't use the luggage valet program. The Concierge lounge is two floors overlooking the Aqua Theater. The Diamond Lounge overlooks the Royal Promenade. There is a card room and Library onboard. The Crown Lounge on Deck 17 is smaller than most; I think this is due to the Skyloft Suites taking up the opposite side of the lounge. Suffleboard courts are behind the Aqua Theater screen on Deck 6. Running track is on Deck 5; goes completely around the ship.
SPA/GYM: Did not use the spa, used the gym one day. They are located on Deck 6 forward.
***tip. When re-boarding everyone seems to want to reboard at the first security checkpoint they come to. Royal has two security checkpoints in all ports. So when it is time to reboard and you see a long line; look for the second security line; chances are it will not be crowded.
OVERALL IMPRESSION: I liked the ship; did not feel crowded; there was full occupenciy; 6,000 onboard; staff was great; lots to do oboard; waters were calm/I would definitely go on Allure Again.