We are cruise addicts and cruise mostly Royal Caribbean although we have sailed on Disney and Carnival. We flew in the day before our cruise on Southwest and stayed at the Hyatt Pier 66. Wow, what a great location!. Normally we could not afford this hotel but it was low season and got a great price on a tower room. Views were amazing and I did not want to leave my wrap around balcony. I loved watching the Oasis and Freedom sail away right from my room. We spent the day on the water taxi touring the intercoastal waterway. Interesting to see how some of the rich live. Anyways for some reason I woke up at 5:15am and went out on my balcony and there was my ship just coming into port all lit up and beautiful.
We left our hotel at 10:30 and were at the terminal a few minutes later. As everyone has stated a very quick embarkation. You first enter the Royal Promenade and your reaction is WOW. We headed straight for Park Cafe which became my favourite place to eat everyday. I LOVE the salad bar and of course we tried the roast beef sandwich. It was very good but a little too much salt on that bun. I also enjoyed the flavored water. Central Park is beautiful and I even saw a butterfly on a sea day. Next we began our tour of the ship, we quickly found the video postcard booth in the On Air club and sent a postcard home to the kids which became a daily routine. My kids loved it but Grandma said everytime my 7 year old son watched one he would run to his room and cry :). We also headed to the Windjammer to get my honey stung chicken fix :). We got on early but it wasn't that busy yet, still manageable. I only went to the windjammer once this week as I had heard it was busy but I also just prefer service in the main dining room. The one time I went I did not find it to be that horrible. Rooms were open at 1pm and our bags were already there. WE had a balcony ocean view room at the aft of the ship. Great location as we tend to spend a lot of time on flowrider and the sports pool. Our room had the bed by the balcony door. I thought the new closet layout away from the front entrance was excellent and had plenty of space. We quickly unpacked and my husband headed to flowrider to get some rides in before it got busy. There were only 4 guys there so he had a great afternoon with plenty of turns. The zipline was also open and hardly anybody was there either. I am scared of heights but my goal this week was to at least try it once and I did! I screamed my fool head off and shook for an hour afterwards which was silly because it really is a very simple quick ride but...
Our muster station was in the aquatheatre which is a very comfortable place to sit but can be hot if you are sitting in direct sun. Muster drill went quickly and we headed up to Deck 11 for sailaway with the Pink Boa Society. This was a great location as we had a view of leaving port plus we could watch the sailaway show with the DreamWorks characters on the aquatheatre stage.
We then headed to dinner which was maindining. We asked for a large table as we were sailing alone and hoped to have somebody to chat with. We were guided to a table for 4 but nobody else was there. Finally the other couple arrived and we enjoyed there company immensely all week long. Our waiter was ok but did not do anything special for us and give us great service. No complaints though. Food was great and enjoyed a few new additions to the menu such as the lasagna and beef stroganoff. One complaint I do have is about the desserts. They are going downhill and they have changed the strawberry cheesecake to a thinner consistency and well as the keylime pie. Disappointing.
We booked all of our shows in advance at home online and were very pleased with the results. Everything went smoothly. The first night we saw Chicago and we thought it was excellent but too long to hold our attention. The next night we saw Ocean Aria which was spectacular. We loved the intimacy and decor of the comedy club as well as the comedians. The Headliner was The Unexpected Boys which most people raved about, I thought it was ok. We enjoyed the Ice Games Monopoly Show but our favourite show was Blue Planet. Do not miss this show. Very entertaining. AS usual Love and Marriage and Quest made us howl and the 70's show as usual was a great time and they us the Rising Tide Bar for a different twist which was great for us because we were on it!
Basically our routine was to get up early and grab a bite to eat from the dining room,Johnny Rockets or Park Cafe. My husband headed to the flowrider and I headed to aquafit. I enjoyed using the jogging track which is great because it is on deck 5 and is shaded with fountains along the way. I also used the gym which had great equipment but I did not like the porthole views. I prefer the panoramic view of the front of the ship. We usually ate lunch at Park Cafe or the Wipeout Cafe. In the afternoons we enjoyed playing volleyball in the sports pool, or flowrider, my husband pretty much lived there this week and I was often a flowrider widow. I am actually ok with this because it gives me time to explore the ship to my hearts content.
Ok so I said in the beginning you lose some things on the big ship so here is what they were for me.
1.Cruise Director: I enjoyed Ken Rush but on this class of ship you do not get an opening or closing act at the shows by the cruise director. I missed the typical cruise jokes and cruise director entertainment. I do realize this may be a positive for others but for me it is a negative.
2. This ship does NOT move! I enjoy the movement of the ship but again this is probably a positive for most people.
3. The aquatheatre is an amazing piece of technology and it was used for many events which it should be. Having the bellyflop in the aquatheatre was different and unique because they have underwater cameras which made the show interesting but I miss sitting pool side with half the passengers around you cheering on the contestants.
4. On the bigger ship you do not often see the same people twice so it lacks a bit of a personal feel.
That is really it for the negatives
-absolutely amazing ship with many places to spend your time, the neighbourhood concept is fantastic
-the artwork kept us looking for more, it is everywhere and it is fabulous
-many unique features such as the rising tide bar, postcard booth, zipline, carousel, 2 flowriders, comedy club, variety of music and dance clubs, above average entertainment,
-disembarkation and embarkation in each port was the best I have ever experienced.
-dining options are plenty, its hard to pick where to eat, we did not do a specialty restaurant because we enjoy the main dining room as well as the other free dining options, we were tempted though.
-we found the crew as friendly as any other ship we have been on and we did not find the ship to be crowded at all except on 2 occasions, day 1 on the elevators and on day 7 everyone seemed to be out trying everything they had not done yet.
-Ken Rushs Morning Rush show give you very helpful tips as well as "do not miss" ideas. I also really enjoyed Captain Zini's daily show as well
-the interactive tv is a bonus as well and very helpful, you will receive mail, book shows etc.
Overall we had a great time on the Allure and would sail her again in a heartbeat but we will also go back to the smaller ships as well.