Allure of the Seas Cruise
12-18 - 12-25 2011
This is about our 24th cruise....the 4th time on Royal Carribbean. We are platinum members on Carnival. We also enjoy NCL. We have tried Princess and Holland America as well. I have previously read the reviews on Cruise Critic, and am puzzled by some of them. I am beginning to think that people are NOT satisfied if they have nothing to complain about. Let me break this down.
We live outside of Tampa Florida, so it's very easy to get to a Florida port. We decided that since parking is $15 per day, we would go to a hotel the night before where we can park the car there and they would shuttle you in. I found the Cambria hotel and we did just that. It is a wonderful place, very new and modern design. for $149...We had a king suite with 2 flat screen tv's...one in the bedroom and one in the den. Coffee maker, microwave oven, and refrigerator. When you get there, they ask you when you want to go to the port the next day....we choose 12 noon. The next day came and we were driven to the port...NO FEE.....and when we arrived back it was as simple as calling them to pick us up...within 25 minutes we were back to our car! We will use this service again.
Embarkation: One of the most simplest ones ever! They do it by the floor that you are staying on. We had an inside room 11133...so we went over to the 11floor window and within minutes were on the ship eating lunch. This was so impressive since this ship holds so many......and we arrived at a peek time.
Room: Even though we had an inside room the room was fairly big. The bathroom was nice with a round stall...Now we are pretty big folk, and had NO problem turning around in the shower as previous reported by some. The bathroom comes with lots of space to put all of your neccessities in. The sheets, the pillows, the duvet were soft....not scratchy as some reported...the Tv was fairly big and one night our remote control gave out and I called and a new one was replaced right away. We are use to the three closet doors on most Carnival ships....this one was small with two....but worked out well.
Food: Now here is where it gets interesting....A lot of people like to slam the Windjammer cafe....WHY....its a buffet people....You are serving a ton of food to a mass of people....you are not going to get perfection....BUT I have to say the food was EXCELLENT in the windjammer....as a matter of fact....when we were not in a specialty restaurant.....we did NOT go to the Adagio...but went to the windjammer several nights for dinner....they have the same food!! and we can where shorts!! THe food has a great variety every night. I also have to say that the desserts were great....better than on Carnival! We went to the Asian, Rita's Cantina, and the Italian restaurant....all were good...but the best was the Italian....sitting in central park eating a filet was very special on a Christmas eve night. There are so many places to eat....we need to go back to try out the rest!!
Shows: ONE word....REMARKABLE.....these folks really know how to put on a great show....I would suggest that you make your reservations ahead of time...we did and got front row seats....However, due to a mix up , I forgot my reservation I had for the Ice show....and we waited at the end of the week to pick it up...which meant we stood in line...however..we still wound up with front row seats for that and the comedy show. Chicago, the Aqua show, and the rest were first class.
Ship: All you can say is OMG! Royal Caribbean takes cruising to a whole new level. You don't feel your on a ship, but a five star floating hotel. These folks worked hard to deliver a different type of cruising and they delivered!! From the promenade deck filled with restaurants, and shops to central park with open skies, tree's and bird's whistling...to the Boardwalk where the carousel and rock climbing are....is a real treat.
Stops: The first was on the private island of Labadee Haiti. A perfect setting for a picnic and water play. One thing that bothered me was while I was enjoying a wonderful lunch, there were Haitian kids across a barbed wire fence begging for food. It bothered a few folks around us....and we inquired about it. They assured us that when the ship is done with lunch, the leftovers are given to the locals. Still seeing kids beg for food while your eating is disturbing. Jamaica....we had been a few times before...but not to Falmouth...we did a trip to the good hope plantation with lunch...we had only 4 people on this adventure....it was really nice and the guide was very informative...lunch was jerk chicken! very good. Cozumel was the last stop...and we have been so many times before...we just shopped and went back to the ship. I do have to mention that in all three places, buying things from locals presents some problems. They ALL want you to shop in their store...When someone starts talking....I start walking right by....just let the customers decided if they want to stop in.
The Allure of the Seas is a different ship....it takes cruising to a whole new level. We were so impressed with her, that we signed up for the credit card and for a future cruise. I am ready to book this ship again....or maybe try the sister ship...the Oasis.