I have been on almost every class of RCL ship and I was a little apprehensive about Allure being "too big". This cruise proved it was not too big, although you don't really utilize the entire ship. However the options are there for whatever you want to do.
Embarkation at Ft. lauderdale was a breeze. Upon entering the ship, you enter right into the Royal Promenade, a great place to enter! I was amazed at how enormous this ship is. I still can't get over it's size. To say the ship is beautiful is an understatement.
Our stateroom was a balcony overlooking Central Park. I think next time I would stick with an ocean view balcony. The reason is, with the ship being so huge, we never had the sensation of ever leaving the dock, and with most of the activities inside the ship, we hardly ever saw the ocean so it didn't even feel like we were on a cruise! It felt like we were in a resort hotel of elegant shopping mall instead of a cruise.
There were so many options available for dining and activities, there was something for everyone. For activities onboard, I did the Flow Rider on Day 1 and there was very little wait. This is the time to do it. I did the zip line (once is enough) On Day 5 while still in port. I would pick a day to do this when there are no lines. I never got a chance to climb the rock walls or play golf, but those looked like fun. I don't ice skate, but I did enjoy the Ice Games show. It was very good.
The shows were absolutely fantastic. I loved Chicago and Oceanaria (the High diving water show), but Blue Planet was beyond compare- ANYWHERE! I saw it on the last day, but if I had known it was that good, I would have seen it twice. The Comedy live was great. I just wish there was more than one show during the cruise!!
The ping pong tables (6) were in an area shielded from the wind, so we were able to play a normal game.
The onboard actinides were endless. Lots of karaoke, even with a live band. However, like many of the ships, the list of songs was poor. There were lots of songs that are not good karaoke songs, but many of the popular karaoke songs were missing.
Dining options were o e of the greatest parts of this ship. With 24 restaurants, you can do the entire cruise and never eat a repeat meal. We had breakfast and lunch and several different places. Breakfast at Johnny Rockets was awesome, with all made to order stuff, including egg white omelets and really good French toast. Park Cafe was one of our favorite places to eat, with Solarium Bistro a close second. The roast beef sandwiches at Park Cafe were the best I ever had.
We never had to eat in a specialty restaurant since the dining room was so good. If I felt like having Italian food, there was always an Italian dish I could order as a second entree. I would recommend not paying extra for a specialty restaurant.
The balcony staterooms are small, and all identical regardless of which class. The drawer space was lacking also.
The fitness center was great except 1 thing- they now make you pay $99 for the use of the steam room and dry sauna! That's pretty crappy.
Ports of call- we did a western Caribbean trip and 2 out of the 3 were very poor. Labadee USED to be beautiful, but RCL ruined it with over-commercializing it. Now, if you want to enjoy it as it used to be ( secluded spots in beach cove areas), you have to pay $65/person to be taken to a more private beach area. Falmouth, Jamaica was a huge mistake for RCL, in my opinion. Absolutely nothing to do there, and since we've been to Ocho Rios many times (plus it's now an hour away), we decided to check out Montego Bay. It was horrible. And the 2 beaches there are very small and awful. Cozumel, is still ok. Plenty to do there.
Overall, this ship is the best by far in all aspects. Service, food, and everything on board was excellent. Crowds were never an issue. One nice thing was the ability to easily navigate the ship and activities by using the touch screen boards all over the ship. You can even see the occupancy at each restaurant so you can avoid ones that are more crowded at that time.
I think Allure is a wonderful ship and I would definitely go on it again. However, I may never get off the ship next time!