I booked a boardwalk-view cabin, 9325, for the novelty (it's no cheaper than a ocean-view). It's just three cabins back from the back of the ship, so had a very good view of the aqua theater and the ocean. Only the very far right side of the stage was blocked when seated. For our chartered sailing the aqua theater was used for daily parties, and was pretty rowdy. For most sailings, I suspect there isn't a lot of activity or noise. That said, closing and locking the door really does block all but the loudest noises. My overall impression: I missed opening the door to a balcony, having privacy, and listening to the sound of the ocean gliding by - but it was fun to try once. It was fun to sit on the deck, enjoy a glass of wine, and watch the shows or activity below - or the zip line above, or rock-wall climbers to the side. I found the cabin to be extremely quiet - never heard people above me or beside me, toilets whooshing, or doors slamming - with the huge caveat that the adjoining door to 9323 provides very little sound isolation. I would avoid getting a room that has an adjoining door if you don't need it. The balcony was usually shady, but did get some direct sun. The ship is designed so that every other cabin has the bed either by the balcony, or by the bathroom. 9325 has the bed by the balcony. I was pleased that the Rita's, a few decks below, doesn't vent into the boardwalk and therefore into the room. Never detected it was even down there.
Other ship comments:
- Absolutely perfect embarkation. I showed up around 1:00 and walked on with no wait. Luggage showed up 20 minutes later. Friends who showed up at the early, at 11:00, had the same experience. Awesome.
- Getting off with the express-walkoff (if you can carry your bags, you can walk off between 6:15 and 6:45). I was on the car rental bus by 6:20.
- Although there are a lot of elevators, they seemed to always take forever to show up. I usually took the stairs (up to deck 16 and back all day long, thank you very much). But if you're not up to stairs, give yourself some time and patience. There are also only two main elevator/stair locations - so you sometimes have to hike to get to them.
- The promenade, on deck 5, is a nice walking/run path on the outside (2.4 laps to a mile), but the view is obstructed by the life boats.
- Why does it take 2 hours to have a meal? This is a general complaint of cruising, not specific to the Allure I suppose. And can I get a refill on my wine during that time??
- The buffet was disappointing. Only had carved ham for breakfast one day. Selection not all that exciting for any meal, and didn't differ from one side to the other. No omelet station! The plastic white tongs simply do not work- comical trying to pick things up with them. That said, it had the same food as was on the daily menu for the main dining room - so at least you can pick what you want, and do so at a faster pace. Dinner is the same plastic plates as lunch and breakfast, and no table cloths either.
- Izumi Asian fare had great sushi (hint: you don't need reservations for the sushi bar, just for the tables). The hot-rock dish was unique, but I'd stick to sushi the next time. Had very good service here, and the dinner pacing was good too. This was my favorite place (hit it twice).
- Enjoyed the tapas and wine at Vintages in Central Park - made for a nice light dinner.
- Couldn't get reservations at Park 150.
- Rita's was actually quite good (though the guacamole tasted like it was from a plastic bag rather than fresh). Food came up quickly here too.
- Samba Grill, the Brazilian steak house, was good - not great. Though my partner thought the chicken was the best he ever had (and he wasn't the only one to find the chicken to be the favorite of all the meats). Pace yourself, you get a lot of food here. Nibble at the salad bar, don't load up. Really. Here too, took forever once we were done to get a check and get the heck out.
- Johnny Rockets for breakfast took an hour for french toast.
- Park Cafe was my favorite for breakfast and lunch - quick and light. The sliced beef sandwich for lunch was very very good. I could pop down there from the pool, pick up a sandwich, and be back at my deck chair in no time flat.
- The main dining room also offers a breakfast buffet. Same as the windjammer, but different venue, and nicer setting.
- Loved people watching in the royal promenade. They had a good sound system and good music - though it may have been specific to our charter.
- Solarium offers comfortable chairs and quiet atmosphere during the day if so inclined.
- Public bathrooms on the ship have paper towels instead of cloth. Not awful, just noticeable.
- I hardly felt the ship move. Kinda missed the gentle rocking at night.
- Casino was very large, with lots of tables and machines. Generally lightly attended, and generally smoky. Half the casino is non-smoking, but didn't seem to matter (like Lufthansa when they had one side of the plane as non-smoking...). There was a large variety of machines, but somehow not the ones I wanted to play.
- Staff was full of smiles, but somehow service just wasn't up to RCL standards. Slow slow slow. Orders often wrong. When will cruise lines get rid of the need to sign a slip of paper constantly? Give me a pin number or something I can poke into the waiter's machine.
- They did good pours with the booze (didn't carefully measure out a jigger). That said, the drinks really were too expensive. I think the cheapest wine was $8 a glass, plus obligatory 15%.
- The hallways to the staterooms are wider and taller than other ships - not that narrow cave-like feeling. However, this seems to be so that the staff can constantly have their carts out in the hallways. No more ninja attendants who magically take care of your cabin. This is more like a hotel where you see the maids all the time. And more often than not seemed like they were on their little phones. Seems like they could move their carts out of the way if they would hang up and get to it a little more.
- Shows were great (well, the adult shows). Chicago, Blue Planet, Ice Skating, Oceanaria - all outstanding shows and performers. Kudos.