Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by DarthGrady: A Week On The Greatest Ship In The World
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A Week On The Greatest Ship In The World
The Allure of the Seas is a rock star. Her arrival or departure at a port causes everyone to stop and stare. Whether they are millionaires on a yacht, dockworkers or fellow cruisers on another ship, everyone is impressed by monumentality. The Allure is monumental to be sure. The fact that humans built something so gigantic, complex and magnificent is nothing short of amazing. If anyone would like to read this review and see my pictures, follow this link: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1513962
My wife and I booked this cruise over a year ago while we were on Freedom of the Seas. At the time it was hard to fathom that any ship could be more impressive than Freedom. I could tell from pictures that Allure would be bigger. I could also tell that it had a park and a boardwalk. But the actual experience would prove to be much more impressive than viewing pictures could ever be.
We drove down the day before the cruise and More stayed at the Westin in North Ft. Lauderdale. The hotel was very nice and easy to find being right off I-95. We had a nice dinner at Southport Raw Bar followed by ice cream at Jaxson's. The next morning we drove to the port and parked at Park-n-Go. They have a nice lot near Port Everglades and offer shuttle service to and from the terminal. We only paid $5.99 per day, which is much lower than the $15 to park at the pier.
I was surprised by how quickly embarkation went. The new terminal is huge and they have numerous security and check-in lines to handle the large crowds. Having arrived at the pier around 11 AM, we were checked in and waiting upstairs before 11:30. They began loading the ship soon thereafter and we were on board before noon.
The Greatest Ship Ever Built
I have written many reviews of cruise ships in the past, but this one is going to take quite a bit more effort. The only logical way to cover such a gigantic ship is break it into sections and take it piece by piece. Royal Caribbean has chosen to divide the ship into "neighborhoods", so I shall do likewise.
Covering most of Deck 5 is the biggest-yet incarnation of the Royal Promenade. It is also the first neighborhood visited upon entering the ship. There are seven large anchor areas in the neighborhood along with numerous smaller shops. "Boleros", the Latin themed dance club. The "On Air", which is a mixed use sports bar and karaoke lounge. "Bow and Stern" is the ship's British pub. "Sorrento's Pizzeria" is directly across the street. Unlike its Freedom Class counterpart, most of the seating is outside in the Promenade. I think I prefer the setup on Freedom, it felt more like sitting in an authentic pizzeria. "Cafe Promenade" has a nice selection of pastries, cookies, coffees, teas and deli sandwiches. Guest Services is next door. The addition of self-serve kiosks allows guests to check their Seapass accounts and other functions without seeing a staff member. The "Champagne Bar" is across from Guest Relations, as well as the lower landing of the "Rising Tide Bar".
One is immediately taken aback by the scale and openness of the space. Unlike the promenades on the Voyager and Freedom class ships, the Allure's has a second level with balconies for the Schooner Bar (above Guest Services), Focus Photo Gallery (above the Champagne Bar) and The Diamond Club (above Boleros). Aside from those balconies, the other venues have faux second levels that give an illusion of height even though Allure's Promenade is actually one deck shorter than those on the older ships. Large glass skylights let in natural light from Central Park above.
Lower in the ship one will find Entertainment Place, situated mostly on Deck 4. First is the cavernous "Amber Theater", which is the ship's main show lounge. It seats well over a thousand people and is very similar to the main theater on the Freedom Class ships. The Amber Theater has been outfitted with 3D capable equipment and a great sounding audio system. The seating is comfortable, and they have added some poorly placed box seats along the back wall of the balcony. I say poorly because, while they seem enticing with their high top table and chairs, everyone seems to stroll into the theater during shows and stand right in front of them. We sat in one during Chicago (more on that later) and were constantly having to ask folks to move out of our way.
Outside Amber Theater are the "Jazz on 4" club, and the "Blaze" dance club. Both feature nightly music and dancing. Next to Jazz on 4 is the ship's "Comedy Live" club. It features live stand up throughout the week, although reservations are required. "Studio B" is also on Deck 4, which is home to the ice skating rink. It's also where the ice shows take place. I like that they have hallways on either side of Studio B now, which allow transit around the rink. On earlier classes the ice rink spanned the entire deck, which means one could not traverse front to back. Allure's "Casino Royale" is a large and impressive gambling hall that spans the width of the ship. Smoking is allowed on one side of the casino.
Occupying a huge piece of the ship between Deck 3 and Deck 5 is the gigantic Adagio Dining Room, Allure's main restaurant. Each level has a bar/sitting area in front of the entrance for waiting guests to congregate before meals. The restaurant is very nice, and pleasant to dine in. My only complaint is that they eliminated the staircases inside the dining room. This means that you have to walk out to the stairwells if you want to visit a different level of the dining room. I assume this was a space saving measure, but you really notice their absence each time you accidentally walk in on the wrong level.
Allure has a large Vitality Spa and Fitness Center forward on decks 5 and 6. It features a full gym and spa area. The spa area has a very nice thermal suite (a surcharge applies) that my wife enjoyed thoroughly. Although the gym is no longer at the top of the ship as it was on earlier classes, it still has many extra large windows to let sunlight in. The spa area also has it's own cafÃÂ© offering healthy alternatives to the ship's other restaurants. This is a feature I have not yet seen on a Royal Caribbean ship, although I have read that Celebrity has similar eateries in their spa areas.
Deck 6 and The Boardwalk
Prior to venturing outside into the Boardwalk I visited "Dazzles" dance club. It is definitely one of the nicest dance clubs I have seen on a cruise ship. The lower level has seating, a large dance floor, the bar and a small stage for live music. The balcony is all seating, but with its V-shape the dance floor is visible to most folks sitting up there. The good design and tasteful dÃÂ©cor is certainly a plus, but the real jewel of the room is the fantastic view. The entire back wall of Dazzles is glass, and it looks out onto the Boardwalk. In the day you get a cool view all the way back to Aqua Theater and the ocean. At night, club goers are treated to the fully lit up Boardwalk area.
The Boardwalk itself located on the aft area of Deck 6, and is totally open air above and to the rear. There are balcony rooms that look out onto it, giving what would otherwise be interior cabins a pleasant open verandah. As you enter The Boardwalk you get a sense of the Coney Island theme that the designers were going for. The walls of the entranceway have fun house mirrors and circus inspired panels. A Zoltar machine heckles guests to pay him for a reading of their fortunes. The centerpieces of the entrance are sculptures depicting the steps that the carousel horses go through during their creation. The real, full size carousel that calls The Boardwalk home then greets guests. You can really appreciate the detail and craftsmanship that went into it. One of the horses even sports a big Crown and Anchor logo on his saddle.
The Boardwalk is home to several shops and restaurants. The first that one comes across is the Boardwalk Dog House. It has several gourmet hot dogs on the menu, and is free of charge. I ate there once but was unimpressed. It tasted fine, but the bun was stale and hard just like nearly every other cruise ship hot dog I have eaten. I don't know why they can't ever seem to stock fresh bread. Across the way is a little donut shop. They serve coffee, teas and donuts in the mornings. Other shops include an ice cream parlor, a candy shop, a build-a-bear store, a novelty photo booth and a clothing store.
There are two large eateries on The Boardwalk. On the port side is "Rita's Cantina", a Mexican themed open-air restaurant serving tacos, fajitas and the like. They also have some pretty decent frozen margaritas. Across from Rita's is "Johnny Rocket's Diner". For those that aren't familiar, JR's is a 1950s themed diner serving burgers, fries and shakes. It has both indoor and outdoors seating. A surcharge applies to both Rita's and JR's.
While the Boardwalk is impressive, the real stunner of the area is the "Aqua Theater". It is a huge amphitheater with permanent beach chair seating. The "stage" is actually a rigid mesh that can be lowered to reveal a large pool beneath. The theater's pool, when the stage is fully lowered, is over 14 feet deep. This allows high divers to jump safely into the pool from high up on the superstructure. Water jets that create a "dancing fountain" effect also surround the stage. Flanking the Aqua Theater are the ship's dual rock climbing walls.
I did not spend a tremendous amount of time at The Boardwalk mostly due to its location on the ship. You have to mean to go there, it's not a place you walk through going from A to B. I strolled down the Promenade and through Central Park many times during the week while on my way elsewhere. Obviously there is no way to solve that issue, but it certainly seemed like the whole area was under used.
Moving back inside on Deck 6 we find the nautical themed "Schooner Bar", a Royal Caribbean institution. Like its counterparts on other ships it features pleasant leather loungers and live piano music at night. A slight wood smoke aroma piped in to add to the ambiance, a feature I enjoyed on the Radiance Class thankfully carried over. Of course this is Allure, so it had to be taken a step further. This Schooner Bar also features a great view of the Royal Promenade and the Rising Tide Bar since it is open to the vast area below.
Directly across from the Schooner Bar is "Focus", the ship's photo gallery. Unlike most other ships, you don't see endless displays of pre printed photos hung up for you to rifle through. Not on this ship! On allure you find large revolving drums containing hundreds of numbered folders. Everyone is assigned a folder, and this is where you will find most of your photos. This is achieved through a combination of facial recognition technology and the photographers swiping the Seapass before taking a picture. A few pictures are still printed, but they are mostly the port debarkation photos and other miscellaneous shots. Focus also has a small selection of cameras for sale, as well as camera supplies.
Lastly on Deck 6, but certainly not least, is the Diamond Club. It is a private lounge for Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle members of the Crown and Anchor Society. The lounge is located directly above Boleros, and has it's own balcony overlooking the Promenade. The lounge is very nice, as is the balcony seating. It has coffee and teas available at all hours, and they also serve a continental breakfast in the mornings. The Diamond event was held in Jazz on 4 each night, which I found to be a bit odd. The actual Diamond Club seemed like it would be plenty large enough to handle the crowds we saw in the Jazz club each evening.
Nestled in the very heart of the ship is its crown jewel, Central Park. Royal Caribbean could have just built The Boardwalk and hit a home run. With Central Park, they knocked it out of the park and into the next town. The first step into Central Park is nothing short of breathtaking. Living trees, shrubs, grasses and vines growing all around greet you warmly. The sweeping glass canopies look more like sculptures than functional skylights and overhangs. There are two areas in the middle of Central Park that don't have balconies. These areas are instead covered with ferns, vines and flowers that create a living wall. Bird sounds plays softly over hidden speakers, and a few real ones have even taken up residence. There are benches and seats tucked away all over, allowing visitors to sit and relax while in the park. The planning and execution of the park are stunning, and one forgets they are even on a cruise ship while spending time there.
Along with the experience of the park, visiting guests also have many dining, shopping and beverage options. There is a Coach store, along with a Britto art gallery in the park. "Vintages" is the ship's wine bar. It has great lounge and couch seating that seems more like a living room than a bar. I'm not a wine drinker, but it looked like they had a very large selection. "The Trellis Bar" is an open-air pub located close to the middle of the park. "Chops" steakhouse is located in the park, as is "150 Central Park" which is the ships high-end supper club. "Giovanni's Table" is a family style Italian restaurant. Cover charges apply to all, and all have patio seating.
My favorite place in Central Park is the Park Cafe. It is a free restaurant that serves sandwiches, wraps, soups and salads. They have a very good roast beef sandwich that I had several times. In the mornings they serve great breakfast sandwiches, the ham egg and cheese English muffin was my favorite. They also have a really nice "build your own bagel" station. My only complaint about Park Cafe is that it should have been bigger. After the first day, most folks figure out how bad The Windjammer is (more on that later). Park Cafe then gets very crowded, even with its' outside seating. Some folks even had to sit at the patio tables of Giovanni's Table.
The ship's kid's area is located forward on deck 14. It has several colorful play rooms and activity centers for the little ones. They also have a small arcade and movie theater just for children.
At the very front of Deck 14 is the "Sun Deck". It occupies the entirety of the roof above the ship's Bridge. They have stacks of lounge chairs out there for sunning. Guests can also walk out onto the bridge wings that stick out past the edges of the ship. Unfortunately this is as close to the bow of the ship as most guests can get. I really wish the guest accessible bow area had been incorporated into this class. I enjoyed that area a lot on the Freedom and Radiance classes.
Deck 15: Pools, Hot Tubs, And So Much More!
Deck 15 is where the ship's five guest accessible pools are located. All the way forward is the adults-only Solarium. A (partially) glass enclosed area with loungers, two hot tubs and a pool. It also has it's own restaurant, the Solarium Bistro. The food in Solarium Bistro fits in between the Windjammer and Spa Cafe on the healthy scale. They have a salad bar, soups and a variety of dishes. Almost all of the walls are glass, offering great views off the front of the ship. The upper level of the Solarium has more loungers and patio seating, as well as a full service bar. Just outside the Solarium (but still posted as adults only) are the two large cantilevered whirlpools, a feature carried over from the Freedom class. On Allure they are much larger and each divided into two sections. They have flat screen TVs above, and feature an "infinity" edge.
There are four large pools in the middle of deck 15, each with a different style and purpose. The "Main Pool" is just a basic pool for swimming; it also has a tiered sunning area adjacent to it that stretches up to the next deck. The "Beach Pool" is the only salt-water pool on board. It has a sloped sunning area that allows the pool water to flow around the lounge chairs as if they were sitting in actual surf. The "Sports Pool" is used mostly for pool games, as the name would imply. I saw many games of pool volleyball being played in it, which looked very fun. The last pool is located within the children's water park area. Each pool has its own hot tubs.
The "Living Room" teen club is located on Deck 15 aft of the pool area. It is a large lounge area with several TVs and video game systems. It also has a music room and outdoor seating area. I was pretty jealous of the outdoor teen area; it has big beanbag chairs and comfy looking couches. The "Fuel" teen disco is next door to the Living Room. It is nicer and larger than the adult dance clubs I have seen on other ships.
All the way aft on Deck 15 is the sports area. It is home to the ships dual Flowriders. One is used for body boarding, the other for surfing. "Allure Dunes" is the ship's mini golf course. There is also a full size basketball court, and two ping-pong areas that are enclosed to prevent wind interference. All of those features are impressive, but the big draw is of course the Zip Line. It stretches from behind the "Wipeout Bar" all the way across The Boardwalk to a platform on the opposite side. The ride is only about 10 seconds long, but the view can't be beat! The sports deck has it's own restaurant, "The Wipeout Cafe" It has assorted items like tacos, hamburgers, soft serve ice cream and delicious pretzel wrapped hot dogs.
Deck 16: Why you shouldn't visit the Windjammer on Allure,,,ever.
Aside from open decks for sunning, the only big draw on Deck 16 is the "Windjammer Marketplace". It is the ship's main buffet area, just as it is on all other Royal Caribbean ships. On Allure though, the Windjammer is almost comically under sized for the population of the ship. I don't have solid numbers to back it up, but it seems smaller than the Windjammer on the Freedom Class (which carry much less people). I never ate there, but I did walk through Allure's Windjammer once and that was enough for me. The crowding was ridiculous and it seemed like every single table was occupied. Thankfully I already knew about the Windjammer issues from reading Cruise Critic, so I was prepared to steer clear. The ship is designed so that passengers will disperse and use all of the other restaurants. Unfortunately most cruisers are still hard wired into the idea that there are two places to eat on a ship, the buffet and the main dining room. It's not until a few days into the cruise that the herd of folks migrate into the others areas and discovers that there are more and better alternatives on board. The "Izumi" Asian restaurant and sushi bar is next to the Windjammer. It looked very nice, but we never ate there due to the surcharge.
The highest deck of the ship is home to one of my favorite features of a Royal Caribbean ship, the Viking Crown Lounge. It has huge windows that look out onto the pool deck and the ocean. The VCL is a great place to sit, relax and enjoy its awesome views. The Pinnacle Chapel and Pinnacle Lounge flank the VCL; they are used for weddings and religious gatherings. The Loft Suites are also on this deck, but it's doubtful that I will ever get to stay in one.
After the quick embarkation and exploration of the ship we found our way to the cabins. We were lucky to get one of the interior cabins where the bed is against the rear wall.
The other setup has the bed in the middle, with the couch closer to the back of the room. The former feels bigger even though they have identical square footage. The cabins are very well thought out with little touches that go a long way to increase guest comfort. The room had three outlet plugs, plus a hidden one under the desk. It has a dual IPod dock with speakers and a clock, ample closet space, flat screen TV, and a hair dryer. In the bathroom there is a good-sized shower with sliding doors and small shelves for storage. They also built in a low output night-light so that the main bathroom light does not need to be turned on at night.
The only weird thing in the cabin was the counterintuitive light switches. There is one large "master switch" that has to be on for anything to work. If it is not on, nothing but the bathroom will illuminate. Aside from that there are two smaller switches, one for the main overhead lights and one for the indirect lighting that shine onto the pictures on the wall. There is also a switch for the bathroom light and the vanity light. As if that were not enough, there are duplicates of the two smaller switches by the bed, which will only work if the master switch is on. Confused yet? I was for a while. I was constantly hitting the wrong one, or forgetting to turn on the master switch. After a few days I got the hang of it, but it seems overly cumbersome.
Even though the ship is tremendously huge I found it very easy to navigate through. They did an excellent job signing things and keeping guests oriented. I also enjoyed being on such a new ship with everything working as designed. We had our first meal onboard in the Park Cafe, the roast beef sandwiches were excellent. The eatery reminded me of the Seaview Cafe on the Radiance which was another favorite spot of mine.
I headed to the Sun Deck and watched our departure from Port Everglades. After leaving the channel we were hit by some very high winds and the open decks were closed. Our serving staff at dinner was awesome. We were scheduled to see the Aqua Theater show that first evening, but the bad weather and high winds caused it to be cancelled. So we went to the Amber Theater and watched a 3D move instead. The audio and video quality was outstanding.
Day 2, Nassau:
I woke up around noon, no rush really. I don't even bother getting off the ship in Nassau anymore. Enjoying the sparsely populated ship is much more desirable than dealing with the crowds and junk peddling locals. My wife and I had lunchfast at the Wipeout Cafe. I love their pretzel dogs. I spent most of the day in and around the Solarium and the cantilevered hot tubs. The other ships in port seemed almost miniscule compared to our Allure.
I watched sail away from Nassau at the Sun Deck again. There was an Aida ship parked next to us. Apparently their dress code is a bit different than ours. I saw two different women sunning topless, and no one seemed to think much of it. You have to love those relaxed European sensibilities. I can't wait for our Puritanical country to catch up. We waved goodbye to the Bahamas and set sail for St. Thomas. We all spent some time in the Viking Crown before leaving for the ice show.
We all watched the "Ice Games" show in Studio B. It was well done, just like the other ice shows I have seen on Freedom of the Seas. It did seem a bit like a commercial as most of the sets depicted were locations around the ship. After the show we all went back to the cabins to get into our Halloween costumes.
The crew did a great job of dressing the ship up for Halloween. They changed the Promenades lighting to orange and had cobwebs, balloons and other props placed about. We had dinner in our costumes, which was a new experience for me. They also converted the Blaze disco into a walk through haunted house. We waited in line for it, and it was okay but nothing spectacular. We missed the costume parade on the Promenade, but I saw it later on TV. Some of the costumes people brought were very impressive.
After the haunted house my friend and I smoked cigars up in the suite guest sunning area. It is the only place on the entire ship where cigar smoking is allowed, and only after 7 PM. The whole situation is totally unacceptable since a cold, windy deck is no place for fine cigar smoking. It makes no sense that the smaller Freedom Class has lovely cigar lounges, but the gigantic Oasis Class does not. There should be some small lounge on the ship where folks can enjoy their stogies. That open deck up top is an insult. They even have two humidors on board selling sticks just to throw some more salt into the wound.
Later that night we all went to the Amber Theater again and watched Saw 3D. The movie was terrible, but it wasn't Royal Caribbean's fault. The producers should be ashamed of themselves. It was obvious that they were just wringing every last drop of profit out of the franchise with no regard for quality.
Day 3, At Sea:
My wife and I began our first sea day at the Crown and Anchor reception in the Aqua Theater. They had free champagne and a few mixed drinks. Captain Johnny welcomed us on board and they also had a high diving demonstration.
We had lunch in the main dining room. They have an excellent "create your own salad" bar. It has just about everything you could want in a salad, and it tastes fantastic. They also have regular menu items available.
In the afternoon my wife had a fun time on the Zip Line, and I had a drink while riding the Rising Tide Bar. We stopped into the Diamond Lounge early, right at 5 when it opened. It is much more crowded at 5 than it is at 7 when we usually went. One of the crew told us that we were some of the youngest Diamond members they have seen who actually "earned it" (referring to kids of Diamond members). I'm not sure if this was a jibe at the new policy (which allows children into the lounge) or not, but thankfully no one brought any kids in there during our sailing.
We went to see Chicago in the Amber Theater prior to dinner. It was very well done, but not really something I enjoyed. Not because of anything with the cast or musicians, I'm just not big on musical theater. We then had a nice dinner in the main dining room, and tried again to have cigars up in the wind tunnel. It was an early night in preparation of our arrival in St. Thomas the next morning.
Day 4, St. Thomas:
Unfortunately Allure does not dock at the Havensight. Pier, and instead ties up at Crown Bay. The area around the Crown Bay pier is much less appealing than Havensight, which has numerous shops, bars and the tram ride up to Paradise Point. There is only a small shopping area at the Crown Bay pier, and the area seems much more industrial.
We planned to get a taxi over to Magen's Bay while in St. Thomas, but the weather turned bad before we could even leave the pier complex. So instead of wasting the cab fare, we just got back on the ship and enjoyed the hot tubs in the Solarium. I tried the Boardwalk Dog House for lunch. The hot dog itself was ok, but the bun was stale so we went to the Park Cafe instead.
After relaxing in the room for a while I walked to the public deck the overlooks Aqua Theater at the aft end of Deck 12. They had just started a show so I took a few pictures. I didn't stay for the whole show since we were scheduled to see it later in the evening. I then went out to the front Sun Deck to watch sail away.
BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!
BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO!
It blared over the PA system announcing an injury at the Aqua Theater stage. I walked back to the aft deck to see what had happened. Another passenger told me that one of the performers had been injured during the show. The ship remained in port late so that medical personnel could take the performer off the ship for treatment. We later learned that the performer was treated for a compound fracture and will make a full recovery. Unfortunately our Aqua Theater show was cancelled again.
We went to Rita's Cantina for one of the special "Rita's Fiesta" they have during the week. It includes 3 margaritas, dinner, music and dancing. The whole thing is a lot of fun, and worth the $20 per person surcharge. I highly recommend it we had a great time!
After Rita's we briefly went to the Headliner Show featuring Tony Tillman. He is a song and dance act, and I did not really care for it. We left shortly after it started and later went to Studio B for The Quest. The Quest on Allure was one of the best and funniest that I have yet been to. The cruise director just made each section of the audience a team and had two Team Captains out on the floor. This really got everyone involved instead of it just being a few groups taking part. If you aren't easily offended and like to have fun go to The Quest!
Day 5, St. Maarten:
After a nice breakfast at Park Cafe we left the ship and caught a water taxi over to the downtown area. We did a little shopping and then hit the beach for a few hours. Later in the afternoon we returned to the ship and went up to the Solarium hot tubs again. I watched our final sail away from the bridge wing, it was sad to think that our next stop would be Fort Lauderdale. It seemed like the cruise had just started.
In the evening we went to the Crown and Anchor top tier event. They had the cast from Chicago perform a brief show for us. Bar staff were also serving free drinks. My wife and I each had a couple of drinks, and I felt that was sufficient. Some folks were not as restrained. I observed one couple taking several, (before they could have possibly been done with the ones they already had) stopping the waiters each time they walked by. I don't know why some folks feel the need to abuse the generosity of the cruise line, but its behavior like that that causes perks to be taken away.
After a good dinner we went to Comedy Live to see the show. After many cruises I can confidently say that Dan Wilson and Ralph Harris put on the best show I have seen thus far. I think the venue should be a bit bigger to accommodate more people, but the show was hilarious. After the Comedy Show we stopped into Vintages so the ladies could enjoy the sangria special. We then finished the night at Dazzles for the Michael Jackson dance party. All in all, it was a very good day.
Day 6, at sea:
We began our second to last day with a visit to Studio B for the "How to Train Your Dragon" ice show. I actually thought that it was better produced than the main ice show. The sets were better looking, as were the costumes and props. After the show we had an excellent lunch in the main dining room. The salad bar they set up is top notch and delicious.
Later we visited the sports and zip line. We also had some drinks in the Viking Crown lounge. My wife and I stopped by the loyalty desk and booked our cruise on Freedom of the Seas next year. They have a nice program that gives on board credit for future bookings made on board.
We all went to the main dining room for the last of two formal nights. The meal wasn't very good unfortunately. The lobster was dry and flavorless. The pasta dish was okay, but the desserts were downright boring. I was pretty disappointed since formal night dinners are usually the best ones. After dinner we watched the "Blue Planet" show in the Amber Theater. The show was excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I highly recommend seeing it to anyone going on Allure. The sets were very well done, as was the acrobatic work. After the show we stopped by Park Cafe for snacks. Two obnoxious children jumped in front of us in line demanding cookies from the lady behind the counter. The same two continued running about making noise with no parents to be found. So we left and walked over to Sorrento's and ran in to still more kids running about. I don't know what it is about walking onto a cruise ship that causes parent's to turn their spawn loose on the rest of society, but absentee parents are becoming an all too common problem.
Day 7, one last day at sea:
Our last day at sea was a fairly busy one. We first went to the backstage theater tour for Diamond guests. It was interesting to see where the cast gets ready for the shows. It's much smaller than you would assume. We then walked to Aqua Theater and watched the Dreamworks Aqua Show. It was tailored to children obviously, but I still enjoyed seeing the high divers and acrobats do their things. My friends then took a trip up the rock-climbing wall before we hit Johnny Rockets for milkshakes.
My wife and I used our free slot pull tickets from our Diamond books. I actually won something finally, a free T-shirt. We visited the Solarium hot tubs one last time before getting ready for our dinner at the "Samba Grill" Brazilian steakhouse, which is set up in the Solarium Bistro at night. The meal was good, but not up to par with other Brazilian steakhouses I have been to on land. The quality of the meats and salad bar was not in the same league as places like Texas de Brazil. But the price was much lower than a land based restaurant, so I wasn't upset. It's just unlikely that I will go again.
We went early to dinner so that we could attend the Oceanaria Aqua Show, which had been rescheduled twice before (once for weather and once for the inured cast member). We made our way out to the Boardwalk and got in line. After standing around for about 30 minutes we were informed that our show was again cancelled due to the winds. Everyone was understandably let down since there would be no more showings. The only thing that bothered me was that they should have made the call sooner. The weather had not changed at all between when we arrived and when they cancelled it. I understand that the weather can't be helped; but they should have been quicker to decide rather that leaving us to stand around for so long. We all went back to our rooms to pack and put our luggage out.
We had our final breakfast at the Park Cafe and set off to debark. From the point we left the cafÃÂ© to when we got to the curb was around 25 minutes. Not the best I have seen, but far from the worst. We had some trouble catching our shuttle back to the Park-n-Go lot. The area for guests to wait for shuttles is not very well signed. Everyone basically waits in a big group with no discernable system. Whenever a shuttle pulls up, folks just sort of mob to it. We eventually got to our car and on the road. The cruise was tremendously enjoyable, and I hope to visit Allure or her sister again one day. Less
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Cabin review: Q8543
Better configuration of the two that they used. The bed is against the back wall instead of in the middle of the room. 3 outlets on desk, plus one below it. Hair dryer, built in clock and IPod dock. Built in night light in bathroom.
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