Embarkation: was super smooth. We parked at the Park and Go and paid $7 a day. Travel to the pier was fast and comfortable.
Food: We went straight to the Park Cafe to get the scrumptious roast beef aju sandwich we had heard about. They also had fresh salads, flavored water, soups and desserts. If you're penny pinching like us you'll choose Johnny Rockets for breakfast, Sorrentos for an afternoon snack, Park Cafe or Windjammer for lunch and the dining room for dinner. There are also complimentary sandwiches available at the mondo bar so check them out too! My family rated the food a ten. Even the windjammer had a great selection including freshly sliced roast beef, asian and indian selections and awesome desserts. It's a good idea to print off a copy of the complimentary restaurants and carry it with you. Expect to receive hand sanitizer before entering dining areas! This is a PLUS-PLUS in my mind!
* important tips to keep from getting sick *
Book the middle of the ship, take bonine every day and keep food in your stomach at all times (which is def. not hard to do!) If you wait to take sea sickness meds and get sick; it'll be too late! You'll have a terrible time and never want to go back again.
Drinks: We bought a total of about 5 drinks while on board and must confess that I am now addicted to "strawberry lava flow". If you buy a drink check to see if it is served in the souvenir glass. The plastic light up glasses are really cool! We also rode the High Tide bar; it was ok, nothing to write home about.
Activities and Shows: We saw Hairspray, Frozen in Time, Dreams, Headliner, Aqua Show ect. They were all fantastic. My only word of advice is to book these in advance online and make sure you show up 15 min. prior to the show to get a really good seat. If you don't show up early they may give your seat away!
Zip Lining, Ice Skating, the carousel & Surfing was a blast! No matter your age, give it a try and I promise you'll want to do it again. Be sure to fill out your waivers online ahead of time. Also try to catch a scrap booking class; it's only about an hour long but they let you use all kinds of scrapbooking tools and even give you a really cool kit for free! You can also purchase additional kits for between $10-$20 ea.
Perks: The Dreamworks characters were on board. They did photo ops; some were free & some not but it always seemed like you could catch a few and get a good "free" picture with them. The parades were a lot of fun too but if you want a good seat and viewing area, sit at the Schooner bar or in front of the photo area on the floor above the promenade. Do have your pics taken with the captain or at the various photographer areas around the ship. Look at your sign & sail card to find your photo folder in the Focus photo shop. You may get some good pics from photographers but we found that we got just as many good pics by taking them ourselves or asking others to take it for us. There will be various sales on board throughout the trip so don't be so anxious to buy right away. We were a bit disappointed in the RC shop. The prices on clothing was too high, not enough variety and the sizes all ran two sizes too small! Dreamworks movies were shown throughout our trip either on the TV in our room or in the theaters so check your cruise compass every day to see when & where they are taking place.
Room Tips: We had three in our room and when you fold out the couch; it's comfortable but it takes up a LOT of space! Pack less! We also decorated our room (because we had no window/ porthole) and the outside of our door to make our room easier to spot. We brought a cheap write on wipe off board in case we missed each other coming back and forth to the room. Beds were comfy and turn down service was great. My advice: forget getting a room with a window cause you're not in your room that much and there's nothing to see but water anyway! Book in the lower, middle of the ship which will experience less movement; although this ship is so big you don't feel much anyway! Our room was just around the corner from the dining room and we didn't plan this but it seemed to work out really well so we may do it again! Use your cell phone alarm to get you up at port; the wake up calls are unreliable! We also brought a pack of wipes and disinfected everything in our room before unpacking. Not that we NEEDED to but; we wanted to make sure we didn't get sick and have a bad vacation.
Overall the three of us gave this ship & trip a 10-Plus! We had a wonderful time and can't wait to book the Allure. We also agreed that after taking this ship and feeling spoiled, we may never take a smaller ship again!