A little bit of background - me, mid 30's, hubby, early 40's. We have no children, but like to spoil ourselves with good times with great friends and each other and this was a long-overdue tropical vacation for us. We made several new friends on board, thanks to this very website and the roll call boards. (a.k.a. The Allure Ir-regulars!!)
We were also travelling this week with my in-laws who live in Florida and a 3 other couples (their friends, also from Florida) Total group of us was 10.
There was a slight delay for the early boarders of this cruise, as we were told not everyone was off from the last cruise, and so while normally you can get on at 11am, it was closer to noon before the boarding process began. But it did go smoothly. Cabin's were ready by 1:30, instead of 1.
We had an Oceanview Balcony cabin on deck 6, close to the AFT elevators and really CLOSE to just about everything - this really was a great location, as we never felt far from anything!! A quick trip on the elevators got you all the way up to the pools, and all the other decks. The cabin itself is a little small, would be better if our bed was by the balcony, but closet space was good, that lower bar just needs to be removed, gets in the way of things. Need more drawers to put things away, cabinet by desk is USELESS, once you empty out the fridge of their items. Our neighbors had a nasty habit of slamming their cabin door, but overall, we could not hear them. Shower corner shelf also USELESS for travel size bottles, but the bar in the shower was nice. Storage in the bathroom really wasn't too big of an issue, since we have a hanging toiletry bag. Towards the end of the cruise, our Cabin Steward Michael, who was wonderful, was calling me Elizabeth, which is now a running joke with my husband.
OVERALL the Allure of the Seas is: Just STUNNING.... Breath-taking and a marvel at sea!! Beautiful everywhere you look, and I never ONCE saw anything out of place. The Staff was wonderful and Ken Rush shows his years of experience & was top-notch as CD. Every show was amazing and recommend making your reservations way in advance for them and for all your specialty dining. Entertainment was terrific. Everywhere you turned there was something else beautiful to see. Food in the specialty restaurants was INCREDIBLE. Service in Specialty restaurants was also INCREDIBLE. Lots of activities for kids of all ages day & night and NO, you honestly DO NOT feel like there are 6,000 other guests on board - never really an issue, just have patience with elevators at peak times on sea days.
Specialty Dining - We ate at 150 Central Park, Chops, IZUMI, Rita's (for Lunch), Giovanni's Table (for lunch), and the Chef's Table. Every place we ate and paid for was LOVELY. Yes, we also ate at Johnny Rockets as well, and had a hot dog on the boardwalk. Both were very tasty! Make sure you check out the Chef's Table dining experience - WONDERFUL, just make sure the waiter doesn't have a catastrophe with your double espresso! (Note, they did pay for my husband entire ensemble to be laundered, but the double espresso stain did not come out of the khaki-colored pants. And yes, we were still charged $150.00 to eat that evening as well - the extra copy of the cookbook will NOT replace the slacks!!)
MDR - We had MTD and only ate here on the 2 formal nights, and on both nights thought the food was lacking. Service the 2nd formal night was exceptional but that could be because the night before the rest of my party ate there and had a horrible dinner, so RCI was basically tripping over us to help us all. It should have been like that since DAY 1 in the MDR. Yes, jeans, t-shirts and casual shorts & sneakers were spotted on several different people in the MDR on those formal nights and would have thought that RCI should enforce this is alittle more. I mean if I can pack a few dresses, and my hubby can pack a tux, everyone can!! Yes, slightly annoying, but the people watching only added to our entertainment. Nothing was ruining this vacation for us!!!
Top 12 things I want to go back and do (that we ran out of time to do)
1. - Go to Vintages for wine & tapas
2. - Get professional photography done in their studio on board
3. - Take a dip in the solarium pool and hot tubs
4. - Try the rock climbing wall & maybe zipline
5. - Eat a cupcake
6. - Have breakfast at the Park Cafe (only made it there for lunch)
7. - See the fountain show at the AquaTheatre
8. - See the comedy show - booked it in advance, just didn't get there in time from the Chef's Table.
9. - go to the 70's street party on the promenade
10. - Gamble in the casino / participate in a trivia contest / go to a wine tasting/ see a movie in the theatre.
11. - Go to the front of the ship and go out on the "wing" to look in the binoculars!
12. - Watch an Aquatheatre show from one of the public balconies in the aft of the ship.
Areas needing improvement - Coffee other then at Starbucks was far worse than really anyone can imagine!! YUCK!! Just awful!! I guess RCI really just wants even more money from us to go to Starbucks everytime we want a descent cup of coffee! The donuts were OK, but thought that it was a Boston Crème donut, but there was NO CRÈME... The DECT phones for $25 each a week, so you need 2 phones, meaning 50 bucks, where your room phone with voicemail is FREE. (and they were your basic cell phone, no texting, no voicemail, no thrills and really should be FREE for disabled passengers) I also want to take this time to thank RCI for changing the location of the Meet & Mingle after they took forever to announce it right before we sailed. I would guess that more than ½ of our roll call was MISSING thanks to them moving it up to the Viking Crown lounge, and also an hour earlier than originally slated for.
Ports - We did not get off the ship in Labadee. We used this time to take advantage of a pretty quiet ship, slept late and just took the beauty of the ship in. In Falmouth, we did get off the ship after noon, and explored a little bit into all the stands of locals selling their crafts and goods. Of course I had to bring back Blue Mountain Coffee, and a few other trinkets. We stepped out of the gated area and only went a few blocks before turning around & going back closer to the ship/dock area. It seemed very safe, there were police everywhere and no one ever offered us drugs or sex or anything like that. If you are going soon, remember that it is still a port under construction, and don't go in expecting much. In Cozumel, we had the time of our lives with new found cruising friends, tequila tasting, jewelry purchasing and a great local lunch (avoid the chain places, you will be VERY HAPPY you did!!!). Our day in Cozumel was truly a highlight to a wonderful cruise.
All in all, I would recommend this cruise to almost anyone! I can not think of a better vacation for anyone. There is NO WAY not to have a great time onboard.