Sailed on Royal Caribbean's "Allure of the Seas" on October 30th, we stayed 2 nights prior to our sailing at the Hyatt Pier 66 in a nice "garden view" room at a great government rate of $103.00 a night. Had a good lunch and dinner on the property and a great dinner at Bimini Boatyard. Checked out at 11 AM from the hotel for a 10 minute taxi ride to the port "knowing" that there was no way we would be able to get on the ship that early but I had to get out of the hotel and closer to the ship. To our surprise it only took 7 minutes from the time we walked into the pier until we boarded the ship at 11:20 AM. This was the earliest and fastest we ever boarded a ship and was unexpected considering the number of passengers that had to get off. We headed straight to Central Park cafe for a wonderful roast beef sandwich lunch and spent the next 2 hours familiarizing ourselves with 90% of the ship. Disembarkation was also a breeze, although we left the ship later than our departure time. There were lines but they were moving extremely fast because the custom agent was just standing at the end of the line taking our custom forms and peeked at our ID and off we were in 11 minutes.
Our room was overlooking the boardwalk, cabin number 9329, last room at the end of the hall. Room was nice and comfortable, unlike other bloggers statements we had plenty of room for storage and we were already accustomed to the bathroom which was similar to that of the Equinox. Our bed was by the window which I was not sure that I would like but turns out the beds next to the closet are much more restricted entering the closet and getting dressed. Definitely would recommend bed by the window. Our view from our balcony with the nice feature of the extended glass curve had a view of the cabins across the way, the whole boardwalk, the Aqua Theater, which we could easily watch the shows and late night movies. We also a great view of the ocean, rock climbing wall and zip line.
Restaurants: main dining room food was unexpectedly, for Royal Caribbean, good although service was uneven. Had a great meal at Central 150, expect superb service and great food and at least 2 Â½ hour dining experience with a great view of Central Park. Lunch was mostly at Central Park Cafe, hot dogs one day at Nathans and tried the Solarium one day. For breakfast we tried the Central Park Cafe, main dining room, Eggs Benedict were crappy, room service twice in the room, which was prompt and good and the rest of the mornings at the Solarium Bistro. Checked out the Windjammer Cafe for breakfast, lunch and dinner just to see what they offered and decided the place was not worth our time, after all this was not Celebrity. Food was limited; dining space was limited and no outside dining area. We enjoyed the "Diamond Lounge" for evening cocktails and Hors d'oeuvres. They moved the venue to the Jazz Club because of the number of members trying to get into the club.
Entertainment: Oceanaria, Blue Planet, Ice Games, Comedy Club and Headliner show were all great. We also enjoyed the Jazz Club, Boleros and the Sax and Guitar duo in Central Park. Definitely, as others have said, book your show tickets and restaurants online ahead of time. The Casino was fun with up-to-date slot machines, a fun slot tournament and no overwhelming smell of smoke as some other bloggers had mentioned. My wife actually won $400.00 on the Vibrant 7 penny slot machine one night so she was very happy.
Activities: we tried the Rock climbing wall and the zip line -â€“ which was a first for us. We loved the covered running/walking track with water fountains and bathroom accessibility. My wife enjoyed the Carousel on the Boardwalk. We each had spa treatments which were okay. Thermal room was way too small for the size of the ship, luckily we did get a 15 minute session in. Solarium Adult only pool was really nice, also the best kept secret is public lounging/sunning on decks 11 and 12 aft overlooking the Aqua Theater but you must look for them as the entrances are very out of the way at the very end of the hall on those decks.
Ports: we only got off at St. Marten Dutch Antilles and did a tour as this was our first time there. We really did this cruise for the ship regardless of where we were going.
Although the ship was sold out you never felt that there were 6,000+ guests on board except during peak time trying to get an elevator. The ship was very easy to get around with plenty of directional signage available and venues are broken up into neighborhoods.
All in all we had a great cruise; highlights were Central Park, our room overlooking the Boardwalk and Ocean, the covered track and the Solarium.