--4 major entertainment shows (OceanAria, Chicago, Blue Planet, Ice Show) were outstanding in quality and execution (and I have been going to NYC/Broadway shows regularly for 20 yrs). You will be pleasantly surprised that a cruise line can produce this much variety, quality, and originality. All shows are produced in-house except ice show which is outsourced. 1 major show (Headliner) merely very good. Dreamworks kids shows very good, probably 'outstanding' if you are a kid that has seen the movies these shows are based on.
--Aspects of the ship were surprising. Always 'eye of the beholder' as far as cruising goes, but the art displays on board Allure are everywhere and fascinating. Beyond the obvious ones in public thoroughfares, if you search the nooks and crannies all over the ship you will find some of the best ones they have. I probably only saw 40% of what's on the vessel total.
--Staff. They are eager to please, polite, and they are everywhere. Probably the lowest ratio of staff-to-cruiser than you will find on any ship in the mid-class price range. Most are very effective in their jobs.
--Menu A at 150 Central Park. It's only offered during first 3 days of cruise so book it before you get there. This is where the chef experiments a bit, which is to say is not so concerned with provided a broader meny (call the B menu) that will appeal to the wider demographic of the ship's cruiser. If you like fine dining this is the place.
--Chef's Table. Only 14 people a day can have this experience in a special dining room (11th deck Concierge Lounge, second level) where the chef and wine expert explain in detail what you're eating and how it was prepared. Our spanish chef brought a special Serrano ham with him that was better than most you will eat as a traveler in Spain itself (he called it the best of the best in Spain, from pigs specially raised). We remarked how we wish we could take some back to our stateroom with us, it was so heavenly. And wouldn't you know it--when we returned to our cabin right after the meal a plate of it was there with a note from the chef. This, on a mid-tier cruise line. Wow.
--Central Park. OK, so they pipe the sounds of nature into the space, big deal. I defy anyone to find any space this peaceful, leafy, and green on any cruise ship sailing today (aside from the Oasis sister ship of course).
--Samba Grill. If you like meat, you will love this place. Eat very little appetizers (25% of what you'd normally have) and save your hunger for the main course. You will have about 9 different meats provided to you; I recommend you try all of them if you aren't too full.
--The Quest! Say what you will about this RCL mainstay adult game experience, but it is so hilarious even if you're just observing. Ultimately the overall experience of the game depends on the cruise director (this Quest with Allan Brooks was tamer than others I've seen) but they only do one per cruise so set your schedule to it.
--Stateroom stuff. We loved the LCD tv but esp. all the things you can do with it. Just about everything you need to do from booking (dinners, shows, excursions) to accounts to ship info to movies to browsing the Web to whatever can be done on the tv's.
--Technology stuff. Your photos are all indexed and placed in a folio so not much seaching through walls of pics to find yours. I understand they use facial recognition software to do some of this. Many IT-related advancements on board, too many to mention. You see it everywhere. WiFi in in rooms and everywhere on ship was useful if you have to be tethered to your employer, but it is signal-inconsistent and there are some traps they set that will cause you to inadvertently use more minutes than you think you are using.
--Mechanical stuff. I know the US theaters have long been using computerized equipment to do things on stage that were never possible before, but seeing all this stuff on a cruise ship (finally) was welcome and it enhanced all the major entertainment. Of special note is the stuff they can do with the pools and tampolines during OceanAria. You'll see what I mean if you do the Allure or Oasis.
--Screw ups in the dining room. They are still working out the kinks so expect some unexpected things to happen. I won't be more specific--this is only a quick review.
--Screw ups in the stateroom. Again, they are working out the kinks. When we arrived in our Grand Suite there was no daily schedule, kids program schedule or anything else waiting for us to tell us what was happening that afternoon or evening on the ship. By the time we got one at Guest Relations our 12 yr old had missed the launch party for her group. She never participated in it the rest of the cruise but I think she might have if she has been at that event and felt welcomed into the program. During the course of the cruise we never once saw much less talked to any staff from their well-publicized, supposively top of the line kids/teens program. They should have known we were coming with a child and made more of an effort to show us what's so great about it. They must know that some kids need the boost because it is an unknown to them.
--Peeves with ship design. Not many, overall this is one well-thought out vessel. (1) Bathrooms nearest the Adagio dining room were the smallest of any public bathrooms we saw on the ship. Shouldn't it be just the reverse? They are always so crowded with diners relieving themselves from all the drinking they were doing at dinner. (2) We never found an electrical outlet in our bathroom (Grand Suite) for shaver, etc. Maybe it was there somewhere but we never found it.
NOTATION ON MY RATINGS: I give dining a 5+ only if you do Chef's Table and 150 Central Park and even Samba Grill. The main dining room, Windjammer and public venues food was a solid 3 at best.