We booked this cruise only to see the new ship. We've spent time in all of the ports on the itinerary, so this was really all about the experience onboard. I have to say the experience overall was disappointing and we wouldn't sail on the Allure again.
Embarcation and debarcation went smoothly and was about the best of any we have experienced. Wait times were negligible even though the cruise was completely sold out.
Most of our cruises have been on Celebrity ships. This was our first on a Royal Caribbean vessel, so maybe our expectations were set too high. The ship itself is beautiful, but food and service were sorely lacking.
The "neighborhood" concept works perfectly, turning this huge ship into very comfortable and manageable areas. Somehow, despite the fact the ship was full, it never felt crowded. The Royal Promenade, Broadway, Central Park, Pool and Sports areas were wonderfully conceived. Our cabin was above Central Park and was very comfortable and quiet. Storage in the cabin was a bit scarce compared to what we're used to on Celebrity ships.
The biggest failure on the cruise was the food. The food in the main dining room was mediocre at best. The breakfast buffet in the main dining room didn't even include eggs!!! The food was quite bland and didn't show much care in the preparation. We had much better luck having tapas at the wine bar, Vintages. We tried several different tapas, and each was excellent. We also ate at Chops Grill (mediocre and cold servings). We also tried the Windjammer buffet, which was acceptable, but only just. The Samba Grill, a brazilian-style steakhouse, was pretty good, but all about the meat. We also felt nickle-and-dimed having to pay extra for just about anything except the lousy Windjammer and Main dining rooms.
The Chef's Table, a special 5-course dinner for a maximum of about 14-16 people per night, includes wine parings and was a great idea, but the food just missed the mark. The chef displayed each course before it was served and talked about its preparation. Unfortunately the food itself was again a bit bland, though it was flawlessly prepared and looked great. The wine parings were quite good and the sommelier was knowledgeable and fun.
A huge disappointment is Royal Caribbean's wine package policy. I bought one of the packages before boarding the ship. I was outraged to find that had I waited until after boarding I would have received a 25% discount. There's something wrong with paying more by prepaying than waiting until the last minute. RC should definitely take a closer look at that policy.
Entertainment was a highlight. The Chicago show was truly Broadway-caliber. Blue Planet was okay, but could have been a bit longer and more exciting. The show in the Aqua Theater was spectacular, though I could have done without the Dreamworks shows. The Zip line was great fun, and we enjoyed watching the folks on the rock-climing wall and on the Waverunners.
Overall a mixed experience, and I will have to think hard about taking another cruise on an RC vessel.