We've done a 7 day cruise on Allure of the Seas and just recently on Freedom of the Seas. I lost count of how many people we chatted with who had never sailed on any ship larger than Freedom but who expressed opinions (all of them misconceived) of how the Oasis and the Allure ships are, or how they "heard" that they were. I found myself repeating the same few sentences, "it's not what you may be thinking..." and "you'd be surprised at how NON-crowded the Allure of the Seas really is..."
As a matter of fact, my boyfriend and I both agreed 100% that the most recent cruise we just completed on the Freedom of the Seas was much more cramped and we felt much more impinged than we did on the Allure. The average wait for an elevator was 4 minutes. Too long when you consider how many elevators there on onboard. We took the stairs a lot, which I personally don't mind doing, but just to give you a general idea of how packed this cruise was.
Also, let me say that we both agreed that we will never again sail out of Port Canaveral! Disembarkation was a NIGHTMARE! Imagine 3,000+ passengers in a building that felt no bigger than a shoebox, with lines that crept along at less than a snails pace and that will give you a general idea of what it's like getting on and off the ship.
Truth be told, all around, our experience on the Allure was heads and tails above this most recent voyage on Freedom of the Seas. The food is no where near as good on Freedom as it was on Allure. Prime rib vs. "shoulder" cut and NO lobster in the main dining room on Freedom. On the Allure, we had a surf and turf night which included prime rib and a WHOLE lobster. Yes, the Allure is bigger. Yes, it costs about $200.00 more for an oceanview balcony, but it is WELL worth the extra money, and I am saying this with utmost confidence since I have now experienced cruises on both classes of these R.C ships. And please allow me to put this misconception to rest once and for all:
-NO NO NO - it is NOT more crowded on a bigger ship! Cruising is as "intimate" as you choose to make it! I got tired of hearing people say - "but the bigger ships don't feel as intimate".... ummm...hello....it's kinda your responsibility to make your cruise experience intimate! Go sit in a quiet corner some place, put on a nightie and take your sweetie up to your cabin with a bottle of champagne. Go sit in a dark corner in Vintage.
I've been reading multiple postings on this site of people complaining about other passengers not abiding by the dress codes, no offense to anyone on here, but I got the impression that the Freedom encompassed a more casual class of passenger; young families with small children, young couples in their early 20's, etc. and not necessarily people who are looking to get decked out in a gown and silver stilettos or a tux, which is cool. These are the same people who are not interested in paying a premium price for their cruise vacation. On the Allure, again, I mean NO offense to anyone here, the average price for a stateroom is a little bit higher and people are ready, willing and able to dress to the 9's on formal night. They actually look forward to it. I believe this is the demographic of the average passenger on a ship that costs more to sail on.
In a nutshell, if you want a cruise experience with all the bells and whistles and you have an extra $200.00 to spend, I say throw caution to the wind and sail on the Oasis or the Allure. Personally speaking, we won't go on any other ship ever again!