Check in was no problem. We arrived at our designated time slot of 1.30 p.m. and as Platinum went to the que and were at the counter within 5 minutes. Word of warning – don’t waste your time taking and uploading photos for the check ... Read More
Check in was no problem. We arrived at our designated time slot of 1.30 p.m. and as Platinum went to the que and were at the counter within 5 minutes. Word of warning – don’t waste your time taking and uploading photos for the check in. Not one of our party of 8 adults 1 child was accepted including one professionally done for a passport and US Visa with the strictest of guidelines. There was also some confusion with the credit cards and linking payments done before hand but it was sorted in good time. On board by 2 p.m., straight to the cabins (we had 3 on deck 7 aft and 1 on deck 3 aft).
Cabin location ideal for all of us on Dec 7. One deck up and in Central Park, one deck down and at the Boardwalk and Aqua Theatre, two decks down and in Royal Promenade. No need to take elevators at all. Used the stairs to get to the various pool decks and Solarium (good exercise every day!).
Shows were excellent – we saw Mamma Mia, Oceania, Ice Games, Blue Planet, How to Train your Dragon, Let Me Entertain You. Well worth going.
We had MTD at 5.30/6 every evening in American Icon – table 114 with Virender and Aires led by Tony. Excellent service every evening. Food was good, some excellent plates and can’t say that anything was not good. If you see the Pork Shank on the menu be warned, it is HUGE! The lamb shank was divine! It was my birthday on the Monday and I was presented with a cake and the staff singing along! By day 2, they knew our drinks order and we didn’t even have to ask, by the time we were sat down our drinks order was on the way. With our little grandson they took his order first and the food was quickly brought to the table.
Not a big breakfast person – did not go to Windjammer. Instead try the Solarium with healthy options including smoked salmon and the fixings or Park Cafe which does some great egg and ham english muffins. Plenty of fresh fruit served in to go containers, muffins, bagels, fresh OJ and specialty coffees (all part of deluxe drinks package). Tried Main Dining Room once but only if you have time to spare – no need as you can get the same items elsewhere and be outside enjoying the fresh air.
Lunch – Solarium is open some days and we did use Windjammer a couple of times. Avoid the rush at between 12 noon and 1.30 p.m. as seating can be limited. Thought the selection of food was OK, nothing outstanding but good salad station and daily carvery offerings. Compared to the Navigator I though the Allure Windjammer seemed to offer less variety and not as good (we did the transatlantic on Navigator last April and ate at Windjammer most evenings and loved the selection and it was very good). Did not get a chance to try the Hot Dog or Wipe Out Café.
The pizza at the Café Promenade is good, there is a basic salad bar selection but found the sandwiches sub-par as breads very dry and the filling very sparse. Overall the regular coffee at all the locations was good and this is a surprise as I am yet to sail on any ship that has robust free coffee!
Our cabin steward Lobo was great – friendly and helpful. It was my birthday and he arranged for a birthday door notice for our cabin and a great towel cake on the bed! Nice surprise!
Didn’t use the gym although it was my intention to work out daily. Used the jogging track – enjoyed the length of the track and it was outdoors so very enjoyable way to exercise. My adult children used the gym and enjoyed that.
A few disappointments/surprises:
1. Crown & Anchor – we became Platinum on the transatlantic cruise last year but there was no acknowledgement of this for this cruise except an invitation for the Tiered Welcome Show.
2. Went to the Welcome Show to find that there was no-one checking the seapass cards so anyone could come through, fine by us and as we were on the drinks package so the free ‘champagne’ wasn’t a big deal. Don’t peg it as an exclusive event when it isn’t.
3. The deluxe drinks package on the Allure is $13 limit
4. The bars are not consistent with their pricing. The champagne bar served an awful ‘sparkling’ wine that was part of the drinks package yet Vintages served Vilarnau Brut Cava at $12 which was far superior – I only discovered this on the second before last evening! Schooner Bar has Champagne Cocktail for $13 which listed champagne, angostura sugar cube and twist of orange so I asked for the cocktail and asked them not to add the sugar/angostura cube and orange – hey presto, a glass of Domaine Chandon at $13 instead of the listed $15. They wanted to argue that they couldn’t do that but after I explained I was ordering a drink and asking them not to put in the extra ingredients they realized they had no argument. The same Champagne Cocktail is listed in the Champagne Bar for $11 however they have it as ‘sparkling wine’. Vintages did not have the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc (which is $13 in Schooner Bar and at American Icon) listed however if you ask for it they have it in stock. In the On Air bar the Kim Crawford is $17.00. So, the moral of the story – if you don’t see something on the drinks list ask for it and ask for the price!
5. Really miss the days of sitting at a bar like the Champagne Bar or Vintages for a pre-dinner drink and getting some nibbles like pretzels, goldfish or olives. Had to walk with my own! In the good old days they would serve canapes like smoked salmon and caviar before dinner and petit fours after dinner with chocolate dipped strawberries in the Champagne Bar. Sneaky move at Vintages, we stopped in for a night cap and they offered some chocolate pops – yes, that’s right $4.50 put on our account. The buffets are full of cheese and a cheese plate is offered in the main dining room – why would they find the need to charge for this at Vintages?
Ports of Call
Nassau – did not disembark – we have been here way too many times and prefer to stay on board and revel in the empty spaces
Cozumel – been here several times but always enjoy the port. Beaches had sargassum weed so didn’t bother heading to a beach. Shame as the water is so inviting even right at the port. Miss the man-made beach where you could jump in the sea right at the entrance of the port into clear sparkling water.
Roatan – went to West Bay with independent tour just outside the port USD20.00 per person return trip. Guide came along, got us bands to use the Paradise hotel facilities including loungers and looked after us for the time we were there. Good swimming. Beer bucket 6 for USD16.00 delivered right to the loungers, friendly and attentive waiter, got the platter for 6 at USD96.00 which included lobster tails, shrimp, calamari, fish, chicken and loads of fries – we couldn’t eat it all. Guide was very knowledgeable and informative both going and coming.
Costa Maya – the port has everything, shops, restaurants, bars, salt water swimming pool with ‘beach’ laid out with loungers, swimming with dolphins (water very murky and think this is cruel for the dolphins), stingrays (water here was fresh pumped in from the sea), a walk along an elevated aviary (my daughter and husband and grandson did this and said it was well worth the cover charge), flamingoes, free wifi in most areas.
We did the self disembarkation which worked out just fine – left the ship at 7.30 a.m. and through customs and outside within 20 minutes. Next time would book private transfer from port to airport as lots of waiting around for people to fill up the bus.
Overall, the family had a great time. They zip-lined (don’t bother if you have done this on land as this is a really short zip-line), used the gym, rock-climbed, played mini-golf, used the Flow Rider etc. Ship is large but at no point did it feel crowded barring the shows along the RP – the Schooner Bar and the Pixels on level 6 is a good vantage point and away from the crowds.
Personally, I prefer the likes of Liberty and Freedom and even the Navigator however for a family cruise Allure can tick all the boxes. Read Less