As most of you reading this probably already know, Allure is a very impressive vessel. There are several unique and interesting spaces on the ship that you cannot find anywhere else except for Oasis. However, there were several times where the number of passengers was a real problem but lets start at the beginning.
Make your shuttle arrangements ahead of time if possible. And the cab ride from the Miami airport is over $90 one way! We paid more for the cab than we did for the hotel at La Quinta in Fort Lauderdale.
Embarkation and debarkation are as smooth and quick as reported. This part of the voyage, RCL has down to a science. Check in stations are arranged by deck and we only had to wait for one couple in front of us. Port Everglades is a very busy place on Saturday and Sunday. We had 6 ships in port and departing within minutes of each other. It was quite a spectacle.
I hope anyone that books Allure or Oasis knows that you have to make your show reservations way ahead of time. We did this for Chicago, the Headliner show (without knowing who the headliner was), Blue Planet, the ice show and the water show. We missed the ice show because our Blue Planet show was canceled due to computer problems and rescheduled at the same time as the ice show the next day. The comedy show was not available for pre-booking at the same time as the other shows and we were not able to see the show even though it played twice per night.
This is one of my major complaints about these ships. While there are lots of entertainment venues, most are very small. There is a dedicated jazz club, Latin music club, comedy club, karaoke room, etc. but there is no secondary theater or showroom. I’m not sure what the capacity of the comedy club is but it is not very big. The Amber Theater and the Windjammer buffet are no bigger than Voyager class boats with thousands of fewer passengers.
My next major complaint is the lack of a cigar lounge on the boat. There is a small outdoor bar on the 17th deck where cigars are allowed but wind has a tendency to roar through this area. I went through an entire box of cigar matches trying to light a cigar one night and failed. The second night of the cruise, they didn’t even bother to open the bar. The bartender told me that the area was originally intended as a crew area as there is no elevator service and is not very nicely finished.
The food on the ship was good (but not as good as Princess or Celebrity) and the Solarium Café has a healthier selection of food and consequently was easy to get into. All cabins and touch screens around the ship show the status at all of the dining venues. This was sometimes helpful for breakfast and lunch but the status was not always correct unless you think a 20 minute wait is good.
Excursions were Atlantis Beach Day in Nassau, Coral World and Magens Beach in St. Thomas and Tiki Hut Snorkeling on St. Maarten. Coral World was okay. The snorkeling in St. Maarten was not very good, poor visibility in the water and not that many fish. The staff at the Hut were very nice and informative.
My final conclusion is that I’m glad we experienced Allure. However, I would not pay a premium for a cabin on one of these ships and even if the prices were the same I would pick a Freedom or Voyager class ship.