THE KING DADDY OF REVIEWS! I've tried 2 put everything I've read in other's reviews into ONE review, plus add stuff I wish others would have written about.
Boarding ship is crazy fast. We parked right in front of ship for $15 a day. Or you can park farther away 4 half price & take van/bus. But u have 2 wait 4 van 2 fill & they pile your stuff in back. We had formal wear pressed & wanted 2 carry it safely onto ship.
When boarding ship, Take That Pix Seriously! The shot typically is our fave on various ships. DON'T bring luggage in shot. Leave stuff by camera guy. Look like you're having a blast! Smile with your mouth open, throw up your arms, hug each other.... That pix comes out soo nice. Do NOT just stand there lamely. Forget about those watching & fun pose! I grabbed my husband, kicked a leg up, he threw up an arm & we hollered out & the pix was our fave all week. The camera guys said people NEVER do that stuff!!! They loved it. The pix is More
a blank screen, but it will have the ship in ocean behind you and lots of ship facts along one side & say RCL Allure... Great fridge material. We have one whole side of fridge filled w/one pix from Each cruise we've been on. Speaking of pix, the Allure has it DOWN. You can walk up 2 a kiosk the same day pix r taken, swipe key card & see them on a screen. Or go 2 your photo tower, find your number & the prints are in a folder. We let em pile up & the last day bought our 2 faves from the week. $20 as usual. Coupons 4 buy 1 get 1 if you're an awards club member!
The Sun Deck is no longer a secret. The daily TV show even kept telling people how 2 get there. It was best place 2 be on departure day! Find it! Ask if u can't! And Definitely go back at night & look at moon through high powered binoculars! You can see moon's craters close up! One of the coolest things we did all week! To get 2 Sundeck, go all the way fwd on deck 14 port corridor, starboard corridor is a dead end.
Early off departure failed that morning due to weather. We waited nearly an hour, & then the coordinator opened up the far side of room where late people just showed up, so the ones waiting longest/up earliest were last off out of room. They were Pissed and let Everyone know about it, so the last half hour was miserable getting off ship. Soo much aggression and shouting out of mean phrases. All of it the female coordinator's fault for who she let out first. (Someone from RCL reading this?)
Booked 4 self & family members a year in advance 2 get the larger mid section balcony rooms. They bow out from ship, they're Very limited in #, u have great side views of ship/bridge & u get the same rate as other balcony rooms but the room's a bit larger & center ship so quieter and more still. Overall, rooms are fine, just Not roomy. Very little time 2 spend in them if u want 2 do everything offered on this ship anyway! If u ask 4 beds 2 be separated they will be like 8 inches apart. We laughed when seeing that. Balconies have 2 chairs and a table, so if they're not there, ASK. One reviewer complained they didn't have anything 2 sit on. Plenty of storage space in room & several shelves in bathroom several feet long 2 easily accommodate 4 people's stuff. Also wall shelving. Plenty of hooks 4 hanging things. Multiple bars for drying towels & things were spaced apart to accomplish this. Double sliding door showers had space and great shower pressure/hot temps. Includes lil bottles of shampoo, lotion, conditioner, bath gel AND bar soap, & shampoo in shower pump. If these r not in your room, again ASK for them. People wrote and complained they didn't get any. We did Every Day. 2 much of it! The bathrooms are tiled & decorated nicely, & good lighting. You have a lil fridge, & those sodas are cheapest on ship. So take it w/you 2 eat when you want so you don't have 2 pay dining room prices.
Bring ear plugs & have a sound machine on your phone if u r a light sleeper. When there were waves, typically at night when ship was going faster, the rooms do creak. They r boxes that were slid into place when building ship, & several people we talked 2 had some sleepless nights due 2 creaking/popping sounds that seemed 2 come from impossible 2 fix places. Beds were Super comfy, linens Super soft. Feather pillow. If there's ANYthing you don't like SAY SOMETHING 2 your steward so they can fix it. There's no reason 4 reviewers 2 write bad things about not having toiletries, a more firm pillow, extra towels, extra glasses, on and on. Those room stewards r there 2 make your life Great. Just tell them what u want!
Do take everyone's advice & book all shows ahead of time. We did early dinner & gave ourselves 2 hours 2 eat & then a show no less than 30 minutes later. Never felt rushed all week. Go online 2 see week's schedule & Really take time putting your schedule together so you get 2 see EVERY show & Never have 2 rush a dinner. There r some shows u can do earlier in day too. EVERY show was fabulous fun. Do Not miss anything if u can help it. Get involved. Clap, sing out, ... have a good time regardless of the lameos seated near u. Others will join in your fun vibe. Loosen up & make great memories!!! And keep checking the website 2 try & start booking shows/restaurants. It's supposed to go live a few weeks before cruise time, but I kept checking & it went live a couple weeks earlier than RCL said it would. I was able 2 book Everything 4 the perfect time 4 my group.
We skipped visiting ports as we'd been 2 all of them before. We skipped spa because of how it looked. We toured it the first day and there were car sales people all over. It was sooo annoying! All we wanted 2 do was see a massage room, but were literally Forced 2 listen 2 schbeals about teeth whitening & skin polishing & we'd keep saying we're not interested & they'd keep going & then we'd try 2 rudely walk off & they'd call after us w/coupons & asking questions. It was nuts! The salon area is the most unattractive I've ever seen on a ship. It's like a corner with no windows. And we were told we couldn't see the massage rooms! So we left & never returned. Otherwise, awesome ship. LOVED the covered walking/running track. Also the open air "track" up top.
Sign activity waiver online before sailing.
Rock climbing, they give u shoes/no socks required. Bring pants/socks in case u want 2 ice skate. They make u wear a helmet. Also helmet forced at zip line, and no jewelry or Anything allowed.
3-D movies daily in good size theatre, catch one.
Mini golf great 2 do at night when shady & cooler. Carousel better at night when lit up.
Anyone can use Pinnacle Club room. A great place 2 read.
Do ship activities when in port. No lines.
No bridge tours offered, but daily shows about ship on ship channel. If u want 2 wish someone a special something, ask the main desk first day or 2 how to set it up. The cruise activity director has a daily show instead of all those annoying announcements (THANK YOU!!!!!!!) and he does special wishes 4 anniversaries and bdays and such on TV. I heard u can buy add space in the Daily Planner for that stuff 2. But all this stuff fills up/sells out quick.
For Sure do a free video postcard & be sure 2 send yourself a copy 2 fwd later 2 whoever. We made a Get Well Soon sign 4 family members that had 2 cancel last minute due 2 illness. We used the ship in ocean background. The Facebook stuff wasn't working, so we emailed it. So Bring Email Addresses of those you want 2 send it 2! You type stuff into a computer touch screen, & you're in a room by yourself. Nobody around 2 help. It's easy 2 use though. Some funny things we did was point 2 where we were on ship, duck so viewers could see ship, line up off screen and swim/arm paddle by under ship. Too funny watching the playback! You have like 30 seconds total.
Solarium is glass enclosed & was humid all week. We avoided it.
To members of the rewards club, look 4 the coupon book in your room on day 1. Ask if it's not there! We used HALF the coupons in the book during cruise! LOTS of deals!
Kids weren't a problem on our cruise. The ones we saw always looked like they were having a blast & there were lots of squeals of delight. Teen groups were mostly seen at night hanging around clubs areas. No probs with them either. They were hitting all the elevator buttons though, which was expected (they're touch sensitive, one swipe and all numbers light up).
Ship felt elegant throughout. No ship can touch the show quality! No sequins & feathered girls here. Just great NY/Vegas quality entertainment. Killer sound systems, fantastic music, very unique shows, lots of goose bumps moments. Go up 2 an hour early & get good seats. We did, & being center middle 4 everything no doubt made our experiences awesome. Our party of 4 just relaxed, got a drink and chatted till show started. EVERY show was worth seeing! Do Not skip Ice Games like some suggested. I read several reviews that said they were lost by theme. Duh, it's Monopoly themed, and each time dice were rolled a different part of ship was featured. Fun show w/great music. Some Very creative acts and a really cool/sexy one. Loved it all. Do Not skip How to Train Your Dragon. It was great. If you can, watch the 3-D movie of it while on ship. Cool/super cute. Being refreshed on movie made ice show that much more enjoyable. They say no pix/videoing at any show, but nobody's going 2 stop u if u do. Just Never use a flash. It's dangerous 4 performers, and annoying to the rest of us. I think RCL realized no UTube video comes close 2 how awesome it is 2 experience these shows first hand. Heard some great "new" tunes I went home & bought.
Parade is filmed in center of promenade 4 video sales, so GO EARLY & get a seat along street at Sorrento's pizza. The parade characters stop there 2 dance & camera mug, so we felt like the parade was all about us! The cruise activity director MCs right above there. We have fantastic video! The ship camera guy is on Sorrento's' side of street, so be on that side since all the parade plays 2 his presence there. The parade will run twice in case you miss the first one, & it's listed in your Daily Planner/Cruise Compass so you'll be able 2 plan ahead.
Go see an outdoor night movie & be there when it starts 4 free popcorn. We saw Pirates 4.
If the merry go round seems silly, watch the TV show about it on ship's channel. After u see what it took 2 make the thing you'll ride it just because.
Central Park at night when violin/guitars are playing is very romantic. Visit here. The trellis areas with lil lights were the best spot on ship for self pix on formal nights. Came out so nice/pretty.
It's true about art on walls and in stairwells. All week we kept stumbling on something 2 stare at & ponder.
We did attend one kiddy activity. Watch in Daily Planner 4 the black light puppet show. Soo Cute/Cool!!! And notice the moving walls just outside theatre/Awesome! Show is in a SMALL theatre. So For Sure, Go EARLY and don't let people cut you in line. You'll see ADULTS do this all over ship. You HAVE to speak up so others will join you & the racket will cause ship personnel 2 remove the line skippers.
To those who wrote 2 take empty water bottles 2 refill on ship 2 avoid having 2 buy water, WRONG. There are signs EVERYWHERE that this is not allowed and you will be stopped if you try 2 do it. It is unsanitary and the ship does all it can 2 avoid the spread of sickness. Drinking off a water bottle and then sticking it up onto a community spout 4 a refill... hundreds of people later... gross! There are large bottles of water in your room 2 buy, but know that the water coming out of your sink is fine tasting, as in No Taste! Plus there's endless places on ship 4 free drinks as well of course, & room service drinks. U don't have 2 spend $!
We all went 2 the most popular pay restaurant 1 night, Giovanni's Table. It was Super. We did the same thing here w/ordering & had the best time tasting LOTS of stuff. Be forewarned that the apps here r bigger than in the dining room. Dining room's are lil samplers. Food at Giovanni's is served family style in center of table & the apps are enough for 4 to taste & then some. We liked Everything we ate here. The Only bad thing was the alcoholic coffees. We ordered 3 different kinds & they were all made way 2 strong. They took 2 off the bill after the waiter could smell the alcohol a foot from his face. Point, don't pay 4 something u don't like! A great time here 4 all though.
Another night we ate in the dining room early seating & then did 150 Central later that night. It was AWESOME. What a treat! Soo unique what was served, how it was served, the decor, service. Just ALL soo special. Worth every cent. One app was a lump crab cake w/veggie bits, toasted edges, topped w/an olive half w/caviar spilling out & topped w/cucumber foam among other tid bits. Gorgeous! Delish! And the decor was so pretty. When you go, look for the lit wire art casting beautiful shadows on the wall. VERY cool! We sat in those giant chairs. Soo comfy we felt drunk and a lil tired throughout the meal. Do Not miss eating here. Do be careful if the waiter gives you a taste of wine. If you okay him to fill your glass like my spouse did... That glass was $20!
Best free place 2 eat was Central Park Cafe. Lots of choices, not a lot of seating. We frequently got stuff here & ate it elsewhere. This is where the popular roast beef sandwiches are.
Best dessert on ship daily was the large chunk cookies at Cafe Promenade. The black choco w/white choco chunks one was 2 die 4 fudgy good. Find out when new batches r due & get em when soft. I ate Dozens of em! I am NOT EXAGERATING, best cookie I've had in my life, & I travel the world 4 a living!!! This is also where the popular sunflower seed bars are.
Like others said, plain/ready made pizza at Sorrento's is better than make your own.
No probs with room service timing or food temps. Good stuff.
Take other's advice and visit Windjammer when in port. It's a fun place 2 eat with lots of great window views & lots of choices.
The Mexican place and Brazilian place were never busy, no doubt due to bad reviews.
We did pre dinner drinks all cruise hitting different places each time. Vintages seating & tapas truly r a treat. We only got one glass of wine 2 share, but got lots of apps. The stuffed peppers were a bit hit.
Be sure 2 ask for choco strawberries at the champagne bar with your champ. And if you don't like your martini at Viking Crown Lounge, have em make you another. The mango one was our fave.
Be wary ordering Starbucks coffee for after dinner in the dining room. All ours came cold & we had no time 2 wait 4 more due 2 our show time.
We avoided dry cupcakes per others at cupcake place. And no reason 2 buy ice cream at parlor. Free pumps by pool were Delish. There are no dishes available like some ships. Just mini vanilla cake cones.
Johnny Rocket's was the only place we ate at twice. The fries, onion rings, shakes better than malts, chicken tenders, cheese burgers.... Awesome. Several dips for stuff too. They sing/dance if you ask em to! Look for the bean bag toss next to Rockets. Fun! By end of week we'd eaten at every free place offered, but just the most popular pay places.
Be aware, fresh OJ being pedaled in Windjammer costs money.
When eating lunch in dining room ask 4 a la cart side so u get table service but can also visit the great salad bar while u wait.
Rising Tide Bar sounds soo much cooler than it looks. You'll see.
We were about 400 short of 6,000 people onboard, but ship never felt crowded.
Do not let a rainy day or high wave day stop you!!! People stay in their rooms and ship seems empty. Take advantage of it!!! A hot tub in the rain is awesome! Empty shows r awesome. Empty pay restaurants r awesome. Be sure 2 bring an umbrella and some Dramamine just in case & get out there! Try not to put stuff off till last couple days. Weather can affect stuff & things r cancelled. The ONLY thing we missed was seeing a water show. There were 2, one on last night, but rain cancelled it. No people in this. Just music, lights & dancing water. Shorter show.
Must lock balcony door for AC to run.
Don't sign up 4 final bill 2 come via email (some people wrote they still hadn't received it weeks later). Let it be placed under your door the last night. Never had a problem w/my bill. Check it nightly on your TV while u remember easily what u spent so you won't struggle at end of cruise when there's a long list, and a longer line to fix things.
Prepay your gratuities, set it up online/call cruise planner ahead of time.
Formal nights change. Some weeks they were on sail days, on ours they were on port & sail days. Makes it tricky to plan when u want 2 eat in pay restaurants & not miss formal nights in dining room. Lobster for us was ON a formal night. Others wrote they had it on a random night.
No issues w/laundry services. Fair pricing. We carried on formal wear plus the next day's outfit all pressed & ready 2 wear & sent EVERYthing else 2 the laundry 4 pressing that first night. It all was back the next night before early dinner, so no ironing all week 4 us. By the way, someone wrote the rooms had irons. No they don't. If you call 4 one they give you one of those lil floor travel ones. Useless in my opinion. Sooo worth just letting the laundry service handle it. And if anything comes back not perfection, tell your steward & he'll resend it no charge.
One thing we found really useful was bringing a pad of paper/bright colored. We left notes for our steward and everything was taken care of all week. In fact, this was the first cruise I never met the steward till day 4 & never even learned his name!. He was like a ghost. We LOVED it. I read how others love all the interaction with them, but we loved the No interaction, just perfect service!
Safe is small, so keep valuables w/u you can't fit into it. I don't know WHAT people did with their laptops.
Book either side of ship for Eastern cruise. Some days the port side had the nice ocean view in ports, other days the starboard side had the better view. Be on Starboard side when departing Nassau. When you round the last bit of land, take a pix of lil light house with Atlantis in background. You can't mess up this shot, just gorgeous.
Be awake when entering St Thomas. It's very pretty to sail into here. Sometimes u r soo close 2 land, it's cool.
This is the first ship I was never cold on!!! Dining room was comfortable. Even the ice show wasn't shivery.
If u plan your cruise well, you will give the Allure 5 stars. If you treat your servers well they'll treat u well. If you use you p's & q's other guests will treat u well. Have a lil patience when necessary & there's no reason u won't return from your cruise telling everyone it was the cruise ship experience of a lifetime! Less
Allure of the Seas Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean