Just returned from the Eastern Caribbean sailing of The Allure of the Seas.
The ship and staff made the cruise exceptional......to save a lot of time for all, the highlights (and lowlights) will be in bullet format......
>>The ship is in excellent condition, as it should be, since it is just six months old. The crew is constantly working around the ship to keep things neat; clean; and tidy.
>>The crew is as good as we have seen to date on any ship. The friendliness and willing spirit of the crew to "go the extra mile" is evident throughout. The Cruise Directors staff is excellent as well - one exception, our Cruise Director, Ken Rush........let's just say he is real, and he is good - but definitely not real good.
>>Accommodations - very nice but small cabins. Not very much room to move about. In our opinion, just too big a sofa and coffee table to take up room. The baths are very interesting - the sink is closer to the floor than any we have ever seen. Being 6'4" that created a challenge to my even brushing teeth - where did they ever think a sink so small and low would work? Our cabin attendant was exceptional (thanks, Eka)
>>Dining - Well, with a ship of this size dining options are plentiful. We only ate in the Main Dining Room once, and it was a disappointment - rubbery lobster and very poor Prime Rib. The service wasn't much better. That being said, we ate breakfast and lunch in The Solarium all of our days on board. Very tasty; very healthful choices (note to the person who said the eggs in The Solarium "aren't real" - they certainly are!) The Solarium Cafe was a real find. In addition, The Solarium is an "adults only" area, so there is not a lot of noise - great for reading or relaxing in beautiful surroundings.
As for the alternative dining venues (and, at additional cost), Chops is quite possibly the best steak house on land or sea we have experienced. Excellent overall, from the service to the food. Well worth the additional cost.
Giovanni's was an interesting alternative dining choice. The food is very good; just not excellent in my opinion (note - I am very particular about Italian food, being born/raised in New York City). Still, a good choice.
Samba Grill - wonderful Brazilian Steakhouse - they bring around nine (yes, nine) delicious types of meat, and the plantains as an accompaniment are excellent as well. Only complaint here is on the night we were there, the waitstaff seemed very rushed. Samba is not a place for the fish lover!
Now, the rest.....Park Cafe - possibly the best roast beef sandwich you can get on land or sea - and the "make your salad" is fun as well. The cole slaw is fantastic.
Sorrento's - modeled after an old New York pizzeria, it has decent pizza; and, you can make your own if you like.
Promenade Cafe - typical sandwiches and deserts; however, since it's on Deck 5 (with the jogging track), great place to finish an early morning run and get a cup of Seattle's Best (our favorite) coffee to go. They also have some nice breakfast breads. The Cafe is open 24-hours.
The Windjammer Cafe we have seen gets low reviews from some. We found the food selection very good, and tasty.
There's a program on The Allure to help The Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the auctions are a lot of fun. Just a personal note - I bid (and won) the item to blow the ship's horn on leaving St. Maarten. We met with Captain Zinni on The Bridge; he is a most engaging and pleasant individual, and very accommodating.....great sense of humor as well.
We had a lot of trepidation sailing on The Allure due to just her sheer size; however, we found our way around this vessel easier than some ships we have been on that were one-third her size. There are interactive signs throughout the ship, making getting from point A to Point B very easy indeed.
One last item - embarkation was done - in under 30 minutes, and debarkation was as easy as could be - very efficient on behalf of the port and ship staff.
We had a very nice cruise aboard The Allure, and would definitely recommend her.