We arrived at the port around 10am and parked in the lot. It ended up being $75 dollars for the entire time we were gone. That is the max amount. My only criticism was we were confused as to where to put our luggage I believe this is because we arrived when the last set of passengers was mostly leaving. So there was just a sea of people everywhere. You find a porter with a white vest and he will take care of your luggage. We sat in the port after getting our SeaPass until they called our row and ended up boarding around noon or so. Apparently, we could have boarded earlier, but there were still former passengers aboard. We selected to do the express check out, which required us to wheel off our own luggage between 645-730am. We were off the ship in 15 minutes - by far the easiest disembarkation I have ever had.
Our forward portside, outside ocean view stateroom was lovely. We did feel some "motion of the ocean" being in the very forward part of the ship. Plenty of room for the two of us. The head was roomy with a nice shower. We unpacked everything and utilized the closet and drawers and stowed our suitcases under the bed. It was perfect. I loved having a couch, fridge, and flat screen in our room. I had to ask for a robe, which apparently is only offered to a certain tier of cruiser, so I appreciated the Owen was able to procure one for me. I should mention he was a fantastic cabin steward; very fun, gracious, and friendly.
The Allure is a beautiful vessel. You can tell she is only a year old. She was tastefully decorated and there were plenty of signs to direct you where to go. I thought the interactive touch screens on every floor were a nice touch for such a big ship. I admit I thought the ship would be crowded, but I never felt that way. That being said, we did not have children, so we never went near the kids areas and we also never dined in the Windjammer buffet - mostly laying by the pool in the solarium area and staying forward, rather than aft. I liked having an adults only section. I never had problems finding a place to lay down or have to fight for a chair. Our ship was full, but never felt that way to me.
Every single crew member I encountered was friendly and helpful. Perhaps me being a friendly and smiling person, I appear easy to get along with, but I was really impressed with how lovely, fun, and friendly everyone was.
Out of the 6000+ paying passengers aboard, according to Ken Rush, our cruise director, about 50% were from countries other than the states. You could definitely tell, as everywhere we went, we heard a mix of Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin. It was awesome having such a diverse and interesting mix of people on the ship. Again, I never felt it was crowded and never encountered a rude passenger personally except for during the shows (see below).
PORTS (see port review section for others)
We went ashore as soon as possible to take advantage of the shopping in the Artisan market and to explore and take some photos before the beaches filled up. We shopped for t-shirts, carvings, small paintings, and jewelry. We then quickly went back to the ship to drop off our items and change into our suits. We went back ashore and enjoyed the BBQ picnic set up by the ship. Afterwards, we sipped a cool drink on the beach and soaked up the sun before our excursion began. We took the Haitian Cultural Tour (Paradise Cove, Haiti) which was one of the best excursions I've had in the Caribbean. You can check them out on Facebook for more details, but I highly recommend this excursion. Do not miss out.
I only shopped at Coach and the store that had the RCCL logo wear/booze/sundries. No bad experiences.
We mostly ate at the standard dining options with the exception of 150 Park Central for one night.
- Adagio (main dining room): We had standing My Time Dining reservations for 6:30 each evening. I would not do this again as unless you request a particular server (which they may not be able to accommodate), you will have a different table and server each night. I do not feel this is a great way to deliver the best customer service experience. Furthermore, how would one decide whom to give a tip to at the end of the cruise? We were lucky to sit at our preferred servers table most nights and Mejdi was fantastic.
- 150 Park Central: Simply stunning dining experience. I could write an entire review on this restaurant, but I will keep it brief. Feel free to message me if you want more details. The food, service, and experience were simply perfect. They had everything down to the tiniest detail honed to perfection. I was so happy to receive a personalized copy of the prix fixe menu at the end of the meal. The only surprise - when asked if we wanted still or sparkling water and we requested "still" it ended up not being tap water, if you will, but bottled Evian, which we were charged $10/bottle for. Really?!?
- Solarium Cafe: a healthier and more chill version of the Windjammer (which we did not dine at) lots of interesting salads, side dishes, and healthier options for lunch.
Park Central Cafe: make your own panini, salads, etc...very good.
Sorrento's: pizza selections galore
Room Service: On the mornings we were in port, we elected to get room service delivered. The granola, yogurt, fruit, pastry, and coffee were perfect for an easy and quick start to our day. If you want a warm breakfast (e.g., eggs) I recommend dining outside your room instead.
I recommend booking with your travel agent or making reservations before you even board the ship. You need to show up 15 mins before the show to have them scan your SeaPass. Otherwise, your seat will be given away.
I really enjoyed the shows on this ship. Entertainment has come a long way since I first started cruising in 1987. These are full-scale, Broadway/Vegas style productions with entertainers who spend an incredible amount of time honing their craft. That being said, I was disgusted at the amount of people who decided it was okay to get up and leave in the middle of an act or performance. Or take flash photography when they specifically ask you not to. Or bring disruptive children to a 10:00pm showing of an 18+ performance of Chicago. Rude.
- Comedy: two comedians, the headliner was pretty funny, whereas the intro guy complained about his wife the entire time.
- Chicago: I really enjoyed it, but it was 90 minutes long and honestly, I think it would have been better received if the show didn't start so late, particularly on a day before a port arrival.
- Oceanaria: WOW!! This show, in the Aqua Theatre, combined acrobatics, dancing, trampolines, high diving and water. It was fast-paced and incredible. Great for the entire family.
- Blue Planet - a combination of the crew from Chicago and Oceanaria that portrayed Mother Nature and different seasons and locations on our Earth. It was visually stunning and I loved the part where the entertainers appeared to be underwater. Just wow.
I admit that I was skeptical of the Allure. As the world's biggest cruise ship, I wasn't sure how crowded it would be or if we would have attentive service. As it turned out, this traditional cruiser really enjoyed the ship and while there were aspects I felt were not my style, I can enthusiastically recommend this ship for cruisers who are perhaps traveling with a group or diverse families who want to have plenty of options for things to do. Our 5-day cruise (due to the previous holiday week) was a bit short to be able to truly explore and settle into the ship. However, we had a relaxing and enjoyable time.