My husband, myself and our two children and their spouses went on this cruise. We flew from Kansas City to Ft. Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport North hotel. They provided free transportation from the airport to the hotel and free transportation to the pier. We called from the airport and had a short wait for the hotel's shuttle bus. We found the hotel rooms to be very nice and the staff to be polite and helpful. We selected a time to go to the ship when we checked in.
We took a cab to Bubba Gumps Shrimp and Seafood Restaurant for dinner. We enjoyed the food and the atmosphere and had a good time here. We walked across the street to the beach and watched the wind surfers and waded in the surf. We spent a nice night walking around and took a cab back to the hotel.
We had a free breakfast in the morning and went to the lobby and waited for the 10:30 shuttle bus. There were a lot of people waiting with luggage and we wondered if we would get on the shuttle bus for that time, but they called us by room number and we left on time. It was a short ride to the pier and we were excited to see the Allure. We checked our suitcases and walked to the terminal to check in. We had basically no waiting when checking in. RCI has the check-in down to an efficient process. We were there too early to get on the ship, and waited in a holding area for about 15 minutes, and then they started to call groups to board. You walk up a gang plank that goes up several levels and then board the ship.
We boarded on the fifth deck and walked down the Royal Promenade. We could see the Rising Tide bar when we stepped on board. We found out way to the Windjammer and sat down to eat 25 minutes after we checked out bags. We walked around after lunch and took pictures of the Navy vessels docked near us - it was Fleet Week. I took pictures of an aircraft carrier and two destroyers. Later a submarine showed up. About 1:30 we went to our cabins. Ours was a balcony on deck 10 overlooking Central Park. We were to the center of the ship and looked down on the Rising Tide bar, pathways, trees, benches to sit on and people walking through the park. We liked the balcony overlooking Central Park. It was quiet, but during the day we would hear music from the pool area above us, which did not bother us.
We ate at the early dinner seating and were on deck 3 of the Adagio dining room. We were to one side of the stage on the piano side at a table for six. This might not have been the best table for six, but probably not the worst, either. Our table backed up to a large lighted column and behind the stage was the kitchen. It was not noisy from the kitchen, though, and the music on the stage was not too loud, though we were close to it. We had good waiters and it worked out fine. The food and service were good in the main dining room.
We attended Chicago that night and it is a good idea to make reservations for the entertainment on the web in advance. We had done this and just walked up to the door, they scan your card and we walked in. Otherwise, you wait in line until 10 minutes before and then they let in guests without reservations. I think everyone got in to see Chicago that night - the theater is large and they do not reserve all the seats. We enjoyed Chicago and thought the ships singers and dancers did a great job.
The Ocean Aria water show is worth seeing. The theater is outside and seats about 1000 people. Lots of people were waiting in line, and I doubt they all got in. There are six performances during the week, they said, so everyone should be able to see it. They dive from quite a height. The water pool is very high tech and that is interesting, too. Watch for the sound, water and light shows in this theater during the week. We went to the one on the last night and it was really good. There were two for the week we were on board.
The Blue Planet was a wonderful production. The high tech theater makes the show possible. The ocean segment was my favorite from this show. Make a reservation and see it.
I always enjoy the ice show and Ice Games was a fun performance. We saw it on day 7, so it was a good last show to see.
We enjoyed the Boardwalk and ate at Johnny Rockets one day for lunch. Each neighborhood of the ship is fun to explore.
The elevator shows each neighborhood by the floor number, which helps. There are interactive boards on the main decks that have options for "what is going on right now" "restrooms" on the deck, "the compass" and other useful information. Very cool! The ship is divided in color quadrants on the ship representation and this helped when getting off the elevator and going to our room. Even I could turn the right way off the elevator!
The zipline runs over the Boardwalk and you get to it near the Sports Deck. They suit you up and you zip along for a short time, but it is fun do, anyway. I was scared to death, but I am happy I did it!
My husband tried surfing on the Flowrider. There are two Flowriders on this ship and often one is for Boogie boarding and one is for surfing. Be sure to sign the waivers for the Flowrider and the Zipline on the web. They scan your card and you don't have to fill out a form.
On the last day, in the water theater, they had "Captain's Corner". The captain, cruise director, hotel director and one other office answer questions about the ship. I went to this and it was interesting.
I took over 300 pictures on this cruise. The ship is amazing.
We were sorry to see the cruise end!