My partner and I recently returned from a 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Allure of the Seas (10/30-11/6). We have never been on a cruise before, but since we moved to Miami, we thought we would give it a try since it is so convenient to drive to the ports and not have to fly.
Being that this was our first cruise, we were so excited that we arrived at the port early, around 10:00 AM. Security opened around 10:30 and we were onboard a little after 11:00. Since our rooms were not going to be ready until after 1:00 PM, we explored the ship and were amazed by it's different "neighborhoods." We also used the time to finalize our dinner reservations at Chops, Giovanni's Table, Izumi and 150 Central Park. We ate lunch at the Windjammer, which was okay, but we decided not eat there for the duration of the cruise because there were better options. Our rooms were ready around 1:00 PM and our luggage had arrived by 1:30 PM.
Unfortunately it was a rainy, windy day so there wasn't much of a sail away party, but that was okay because we had appointments for some spa treatments as we were leaving port. The first night was a bit rocky because of the weather.
Breakfast was usually in the Solarium which was very peaceful and we had no problem finding lounge chairs to relax prior to 11:00AM. After that it got busy. We usually at lunch at the Park Cafe, Sorrento's Pizza or the Dog House. We enjoyed rock climbing, the zip line and tried the flow rider which was a lot of fun. In the evening we met up with friends for pre-dinner drinks at the champagne bar and also attended FOD meetings which was a great way to meet people. We only ate at the MDR twice, which was okay, the food was average. The specialty restaurants were awesome especially 150 Central Park.
The spa was nice, but they do try to sell you expensive products. You have to be firm but polite and say no. We thought it was unusual to have to pay to use the steam room, even when you have treatments booked so we didn't use it.
We stayed on the ship at Nassau, went snorkeling in St. Thomas which was fun and went shopping on St. Martin. For us this vacation was more about the ship then the ports of call.
Unfortunately we never got to see Oceanaria because it was cancelled twice due to the weather and another time because one of the performers was unfortunately injured. We also didn't see Chicago because it was rescheduled due to Halloween festivities and the rescheduled time was inconvenient. Blue Planet was awesome and the ice show was a lot of fun.
We felt that disembarkation was a long process. We were assigned group number 58 and didn't get off the ship until after 10:00. Later we found out, they didn't have enough agents at customs. Since we live in Miami, we will probably do early walk off next time with our luggage.
Overall it was an awesome trip. In fact while we were on board we booked another cruise, on the Liberty of the Seas to Cozumel in January 2012. I think we are now addicted to cruises!