After more than a year of planning our cruise vacation my husband and I were finally able to sail on Royal Caribbean's newest ship, the Allure of the Seas! Here's what we thought about the different aspects of the ship, and our vacation in general.
We arrived at the cruise terminal at about 11am, and were checked in and onboard the ship by 11:40. To me this is very impressive for two reasons; first of all they weren't actually boarding at the time we had arrived (we had to wait about 20 minutes before they started) and secondly, when they were able to start boarding they were only able to use one of their two entrances due to high winds. I felt that the Allure's boarding process was the most efficient process that I had ever experienced.
The Allure's public areas were very impressive. All were beautifully designed and themed to the individual neighborhoods. We had noticed that, with very few exceptions, the ship never felt crowded.
We had an interior stateroom on deck 9. The room itself was about on par with the size of other interior staterooms we had stayed in. We loved that our TV had enhanced features. We loved that our TV had so many features! We were able to use our TV to order room service, check our statement, see which restauraunts were currently the slowest, book specialty dining and shore excursions, see messages that the ships crew had sent us regarding our vacation, and so much more. The only thing that I can say about the cabin is that the storage space was limited. I had to get a little bit creative when it came to unpacking my things.
Fitness and Recreation:
We did not spend any time in the gym but we did walk around the jogging track. I personally love the views that the jogging track allowed and the funny motivational messages that were spread around the track itself. As far as recreation goes, there were so many activities available to us that we never felt that we had to go far to find something to do. We did the zipline, the carousel, trivia contests, and so much more!
The pool areas themselves were just fantastic! We only spentn time in the Solarium pools becasue we wanted to spend time in the pool yet have a quiet experience.
I have to say that one of my favorite things about the Allure was that there was always something going on but I never had a problem finding a quiet spot to just relax or read a book.
The dining on the ship was fantastic! I have never seen a ship with so many options regarding what to eat and where to eat! The food in the main dining room was delicious! I rarely found something that I did not care for and when I did, the staff insisted on getting me something else.
We took advantage of every single one of the free locations on the ship for one meal or another. Some unique things to the Oasis Class that I loved were the ability to personalize a couple of my meals. Sorrentos Pizza had a "build your own Pizza" option and the Park Cafe had an option to build your own bagel for breakfast and build your own salad for lunch.
We ordered room service one night. The food was really good (particularly the spinach artichoke dip) and the service was relatively fast. On previous sailings, room service would take an hour or more to get to me. On this sailing the food was in the room within 30 minutes.
The only two specialty restauraunts we ate at during our trip were Chops Grille and (on many occassions) the Cupcake Cupboard. We thouroughly enjoyed the food at Chops, the steak was cooked perfectly and my creme brulee was to die for!
I loved the cupcakes at the Cupcake Cupboard! There was always a variety of flavors available and I never found one I didn't like.
We took full advantage of the entertainment on the ship. We had many of our shows booked at the earliest possible moment since most of the shows require an advance reservation to gurantee a spot. With the reservation system, we simply had to be to the venue at least 15 minutes early, they scanned our seapass cards, and we were able to find an excellent seat for the show! If you do not have a reservation you can always try to get in on standby (which opens up 10 minutes before showtime). We did standby on two shows-one of which we wanted to see a day earlier than our reservation date, the other we simply wanted to see again-and did not have a problem getting in for either.
The quality of the shows was incredible! Chicago was simply a shortened version of the broadway production. They had full sets, costumes, and an extremely talented cast! OceanAria was phenominal, I was in awe of the high divers, arialists, and acrobats being able to do everything with such grace and precision. Blue Planet is nearly impossible to describe but I would absolutely list it as something not to miss. The show has some incredible performances and special effects. Ice Games was a celebration of the Allure (in monopoly form). The storyline was a bit random but the technical skills of the ice skaters was impressive enough on its own! The entertainment on this ship is world-class. If you are planning a trip on the Allure, try and see as many shows as possible. You will not regret it!
The service on this ship was incredible! Every staff member we met was friendly, enthusiastic, and helpful. Our stateroom attendant knew our names before he had met us for the first time, always made an effort to duck out of whatever stateroom he was working in to say hello when we passed by, and even made me a towel animal in the form of my favorite animal! Our waiter and assistant waiter knew our favorite drinks after thier first night serving us and, by the end of the cruise, our waiter could accurately guess what my husband and I were going to order.
We had an excursion booked in ever port but, due to the weather, we were only able to do one of them (which we did in Nassau). We were disapointed to only do one but we did learn of the biggest advantage of booking through Royal Caribbean directly. All three excursions were booked directly through Royal Caribbean, something that came in handy when we were able to get an instant refund for the one we chose to cancel (we were NOT going to do a skyride on a day that is so windy we almost couldn't dock in port) and the one that was canceled for us. Both refunds were credited to our seapass accounts instantly.
I loved our excursion in Nassau, which took us to some forts aroudn the island, to the queens staircase, and Atlantis. I found the history to be fascinating!
Other (additional fee) activities:
The Cupcake Decorating Class (for adults): We learned how to make a dog out of two cupcakes (of course we got to take our cupcakes with us... they were delicious). The class was very informative and so much fun! We are planning on doing it again on our next Allure vacation!
The Prohibition Party: This was the highlight of our cruise! Since we had the party booked months in advance, the fun began once we got on the ship! We received two voicemails from "Mr. Gold's secretary" in the days leading up to the event saying that we are pretty special to be invited guests of Mr. Gold and giving us the password for the speak easy, reminding us of the party, and so on. We also recieved our official invitation and our members-only pin (hidden in a match box of course) a couple of days before the party. The party itslef was awesome, unlimited alcohol (from a limited bar), snacks, jazz music, and some surprises. I cannot recommend this higly enough!
We absolutely loved this ship! I felt that the size of the ship only added to the experience. We are already planning our next Allure of the Seas vacation.