We are very active seniors with 14 previous cruises traveling with three other adults. We particularly enjoyed the variety of activities on the ship including dancing and music at Dazzles, great entertainment, parades and the large walking/jogging track on deck 5.
After reading other reviews, I am amazed how so many people can be on the same ship but have significantly different viewpoints. So we will focus on the highlights of our experience on the ship.
Embarkation/debarkation were efficient and quick as everyone has reported.
The Assembly Drill without life jackets located in the dining rooms or theater was almost enjoyable. We learned two things immediately: 1) the sea pass can be used to track passenger attendance as well as reservations for entertainment venues, and 2) two locations for elevators and stairs (fore and aft)can restrict movement of 6,000 passengers. The only other times we noticed problems with moving between decks were just before dinner and immediately following completion of shows. Fortunately we like to use the stairs.
SERVICE--generally outstanding and crew members were usually friendly and cheerful. For those reviewers who were unhappy with service, It could be a result of someone having a bad day (passenger or crew member).
Frederik, our cabin steward, was always friendly and efficient. All the cabin stewards on the starboard side of deck eleven were cheerful and usually had a pleasant comment for us.
The waiters at table 540 in the MDR (Allan and Jorje) were fantastic. They were knowledgeable about the menu and quick to react to our needs. Service was among the best we have experienced on a ship.
DINING--We stayed away from the buffet most of the time, and opted for the Solarium, Johnny Rockets (JR), Promenade Cafe or the Park Cafe for breakfast. All of these were good, but our favorite was JR's. We were surprised the crew seated everyone and offered menus. Counter service was also available.
Lunch was enjoyed in the MDR and the breakfast locations mentioned above. Of course we also enjoyed the pizza at Sorrentos.
FYI--It is worthwhile to print out the table of dining choices suggested on Cruise Critic by a previous passenger. The chart reflects which locations are complementary for breakfast and lunch. The Daily Planner also reflects when restaurants are open and a $ sign indicates which have an extra charge.
Dinner was usually in the MDR. The food was generally good, but not great. We have noticed that the quality of food at all the major cruise lines is not as good as in the past. The wait staff and table mates made the evening events enjoyable.
Each of the couples at our table purchased the wine package, which was a disappointment. The selection was not particularly good. Next time I will order from the large wine menu instead of the limited selection in the wine package. Wine choices on our recent Princess and MSC cruises were better.
One evening our group enjoyed a nice dinner at Chops. The food was marginally better than at MDR, but was not the high standard we expected. The presentation and service was very good, but then we were spoiled previously by Allan and Jorje.
ENTERTAINMENT--Among the best we have seen. Print a copy of 'Showtimes at-a Glance' when you make reservations before you board the ship. It is invaluable, particularly when shows are cancelled or rescheduled due to weather.
OceanAria was fantastic. One person I met on board sailed on Oasis just before boarding Allure. He told me the Allure divers were superior and used the highest of the three dive platforms, whereas Oasis divers did not.
FYI-The aft balconies on decks 11 and 12 are excellent locations to watch movies or shows at the Aqua Theater, or just read during the day. Starting day 2, lounge chars and tables were available.
Blue Planet was also fantastic and some of the gymnasts from OceanAria were also in the performance. Very, very talented.
The Headliner Show was a Beatles group. With the great sound system, they sounded as good as the originals. They did not offer CD's at the end of the show, so we asked at the front desk and were told that copyright laws prevented the sale of CD's. What a disappointment.
Chicago was very good. But we have seen the show before, so it did not have the WOW factor of some of the other shows. The signing was top notch.
Ice Games was also very good. When they introduced the skaters at the end, we were surprised how many countries were represented. An international performance of talented performers.
The music on board was also great. We particularly liked The Frontliners, who are a very talented group performing several genres in Dazzles. They are fun to watch, listen and dance to their music. We usually found late at night the crowd obstructed our vision, even on the second floor and ultimately the noise level drove us out.
PARADE--Don't miss the 'Dreamworks Move It' parade on the promenade, which was jammed. We were fortunate to stake out a good vantage point at the Schooner Bar on the mezzanine. Another good location to watch is the photo shop area. Bring your camera. All ages will enjoy.
OTHER--We also enjoyed the pool area (but preferred the Solarium); rock climbing area, the zip line but its too short (Labadee has a better and much longer zip line for $85), the casino is big and enjoyable(but too smokey), the Boardwalk at anytime and Central Park at night. We started on the Rising Tide Bar but got off before the doors closed (no seats).
DISLIKES--Absolutely hated the miniscule oval sink in our bathroom (guaranteed to get you wet as the water falls to the floor). Our Boardwalk cabin with balcony was on the small side, considering the cost and size of the ship.
The ship was our destination. Would we sail on the Allure again? Yes, but not too soon. We need to rest.