Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I cruised on the Allure of the Seas in mid-September 2015 from Barcelona Spain. We are in our late 50’s and have cruised 20 times, 9 times on Royal Carib, and 3 times on the Oasis class. We traveled with 3 other adults our ... Read More
My wife and I cruised on the Allure of the Seas in mid-September 2015 from Barcelona Spain. We are in our late 50’s and have cruised 20 times, 9 times on Royal Carib, and 3 times on the Oasis class. We traveled with 3 other adults our age. My reviews are detailed so folks can get info they may not already have. I also like to break it up into sections rather than give a day-by-day bio. Here goes: OVERALL – We loved this cruise! Mostly due to the location as the Mediterranean Sea is a great place to cruise with many cool places to visit. We much preferred the large ship here rather than in the Carib as it didn’t seem as crowded since we stopped 5 of the 6 days with full days in each port. Basically we slept, ate, and went to shows on the Allure, rest of the time was touring on shore. We had 1 sea day at the end. BARCELONA – We flew US Air from Charlotte direct to Barcelona which worked great as they run direct flights until Sept 30. We arrived tired in the morning 2 days before the cruise to give us time to see Barcelona and recover from jet lag. Arriving at 8 AM, we pre-booked a tour service to meet us at the airport and take us around the city for 4 hours – it’s called Barcelona Day Tours (google them) and they are great to work with. Large van which held all 5 plus our many large bags. It’s a great way to start as you don’t mess with taxis. Plus it killed time since we couldn’t get our rooms until 3 PM. The guide took us around the city highlights, mostly cathedrals and the many Gaudi-designed houses. We stayed in the Hotel Jazz near downtown which made easy walking around the old town. It was a nice hotel, handled US tourists well, had wifi, also a great pool on the roof with a bar where we spent the afternoons worn out after touring. Unf one drawback – very hard, firm king beds. The next day we had pre-booked Barcelona Day Tours (all bookings were done online 2 months before, paid in advance) to take us to the monastery at Montserrat, a large rock mountain about an hour outside the city. Worth the trip! Very fascinating as it’s actually a large cathedral with a lot of buildings around it, plus the original monastery you can walk to, all with a great view. Worth the 5 hours. We elected not to do a full day tour so we had time to walk around town that afternoon and evening. EMBARK – We had the hotel call a taxi for the 5 of us. The first taxi was a small SUV which was too small so they called a mini-van which just barely fit us in, otherwise we were looking at 2 taxis. Still cheap as it was only 20 Euros plus tip to go the 2 miles to the Allure. It’s important to know which terminal you board through as Term B was at front of ship and Term C the back and the taxis take different routes to get to each one. We arrived about 1115 and boarding was probably the fastest we have ever done, we were Emerald so went to the shorter line and were through in 5 minutes. Yes, there is a duty free shop after check-in if you want to purchase drinks to take onboard as you are done processing at this point. Once on the ship we went to our favorite lunch place, Central Park Café, for salads, roast beef sandwiches, and paninis. Practically empty so we ate and hung out in the park until 1 PM when rooms were ready. I don’t think the Windjammer was packed although we didn’t go there. About 2,000 passengers boarded in Rome and were off the ship touring in Barcelona so it wasn’t as crowded as the boarding days we experience in the Caribbean. Lifeboat drill was at 5 PM and ship sailed at 7 PM. DINING – We decided to do My Time Dining since our tours ended at all hours during the week and we did not want fixed late dining. Once we booked the entertainment online 2 months prior, we then booked our MTD times to fit after the tours and at least 2 hrs before the shows. This was good as the “with reservation” line was always short whereas the “without reservation” line was out the door each night. Food and service in the dining room were both good. Formal nights were days 2 and 6 (Palma & Naples) although most folks wore long shirts, some coats, few ties, due to long, tiring tours in the day. We had room service each morning as our tours started early and the Windjammer was crowded. Basically good with eggs, fruit, pastry, etc. They always delivered on time so we were not late for the tours. We went to the Windjammer twice for dinner due to late returning and the food choices were far better than the dining room. It was never crowded in the evening. We went to Sabors once and enjoyed the Mexican food - it was order off the menu and pay ala carte, no fixed fee. SHOWS – The entertainment was great, as usual on the Oasis class. Mama Mia was extremely good, also we liked Blue Planet. The rest of the shows were very good although we had seen some of them before. It is important to make show reservations online 2 months prior to get the best show times, esp for the Comedy Club which is a small venue. ROOM – We had a standard balcony room on deck 7 forward. Location was great as we didn’t have to walk a lot to get to needed places, inc tour mtg points which were normally forward. Oasis class balcony rooms are slightly smaller than those on other Royal ships so it was cozy for 2 but OK. Our cabin steward was great, very friendly and capable. VAT – Unf since the cruise was round trip back to Spain, we had to pay Spanish VAT onboard for everything the whole week. Food and drinks were 10% and other items, inc wifi, were 21% VAT. So bar drinks had a 28% added fee, 18% tip and 10% VAT. When you shop on shore, you pay each country’s VAT rate. For any total purchases over approx 90 Euros or more (varies by country), you need to ask the store for a special VAT refund form in addition to the regular receipt. This way, non-EU citizens can get a partial refund on the VAT for these large purchases. IMPORTANT – when you depart thru Barcelona airport, you take your purchase, receipt, and VAT refund form to the VAT customs desk. For our terminal, it was at far left end by the American Airlines counters. Then you stand patiently in line for an hour to get to the customs official who will stamp the refund form. The refunds are done thru commercial companies that are listed on the VAT refund form – ours was “Tax Free” which did not have a counter at the airport so we had to mail in the form after the customs stamp - we should get the refund direct to our credit card. There is a Global Blue desk after security where you can get your refund if the form uses them. WIFI – The Allure had very good wifi due to their recent upgrade. We purchased a package for 1 device the whole week which was $15 per day, or $105 total. We were able to use any device we had, you just had to logoff a device before logging in with the other one. IMPORTANT – I recommend waiting to purchase wifi rather than doing it online. Once onboard, you can use your Crown & Anchor 15% discount (we are Emerald, I believe Gold and above have this?). We found that VAT was charged both online pre-ordering or onboard so that was a wash. But the only way to get the 15% off was to purchase it onboard. To get it, we just selected “Royal Wifi” with our device and created an account. The discount came up automatically. PALMA, MAJORCA – We were fortunate and had sunny weather at all stops except one (Florence). At Palma, we pre-booked the Bike Tour of Palma which was good. We expected a small seacoast village with beaches – wrong! Palma was a large, modern city, more like a small Barcelona. Rocky coastline, never saw beaches. In fact, all of the Med coast on our cruise was limestone cliffs which were very picturesque with a rocky shoreline. So the biking was on the city streets, many of them narrow with traffic. In hindsight, we probably would have picked a tour out of the town or just gone on our own. There is a shuttle bus to and from the town center, which is by their large cathedral, for 5 Euros (I can’t remember if that is round trip or one way) – they sell tickets off the ship. Taxi to town center was 15 Euros for 4. MARSEILLES – Once again, great weather! We pre-booked the extended tour to Cassis, a small seacoast village about 40 minutes drive from the ship. The bus drove right thru the center of Marseilles so we saw the sites there and took pictures. Cassis was wonderful so I highly recommend this tour. The “extended visit” allowed us 2 hours to walk around the town, shop, take pictures, and enjoy their outdoor cafes. LA SPEZIA/FLORENCE – Rain finally caught us this day, heavy at times. The port is LaSpezia and covers tours to Piza or Florence. We pre-booked the Taste of Florence as my wife wanted to go back to Florence rather than see the smaller town of Piza. The port was pretty far from La Spezia center so we did not see it. The drive to Florence was 2 hours so this was a long day. Florence is real nice although we spent most of the time avoiding the rain. IMPORTANT – When you go to Europe make sure you take raincoats, ponchos, and/or umbrellas. Florence is a great place to purchase leather good, from wallets, belts, purses, to coats. Don’t buy in the first place you see but walk around and find the best prices. Remember the VAT refund paperwork when you purchase. ROME – The port is Civitavecchia and is an hour outside Rome. We pre-booked the Lake Bracciano Wine Tour but it was cancelled a day before without any reason. We weren’t really interested in Rome as we had been there before but decided to go anyway. So we booked the Rome Shuttle & Express Train which included a bus to the train station and a 40 min train ride to St Peters Train Station right next to the Vatican, and return. I highly recommend this if you want to go into Rome on your own as we had a guide to get us to Rome and back, plus the train ride was very scenic, fast, and no traffic. Once at the station in Rome we were free for 5 hours on our own to sightsee. We used a Hop On-Hop Off bus by St Peters to go to the Forum & Coliseum. Some long lines but we were able to get into the Coliseum. We bused back to St Peters and took pictures there and had lunch. Probably not enough time to do both the Coliseum and the Vatican due to the lines for tickets and entry, so pick one. Or just take the HO-HO bus around everywhere and take pictures. They are guided rides with headsets in selectable languages. If you have not been to Rome before, I recommend you take a fully guided tour. NAPLES – We pre-booked a great excursion this day, the Pompeii-Sorrento-Capri tour – highly recommended. Drove thru not-so-scenic Naples (it’s a shipping port) to Pompeii, had a great tour there. Then had a real exciting drive to Sorrento further down the coast – Italian drivers are pretty aggressive, inc our bus driver! Very scenic drive as we were going up the bluffs and the coastline south of Naples is beautiful. Sorrento is a small town, very scenic on the coast, where we had lunch provided. Not a great meal but it was OK. Then we took a ferry to Capri, about 40 mins. Capri was the highlight, a mountainous island off the coast. After we docked, we took the tram (called a funicular) up the mountain and spent 2 hours at the top. The guide took us to an overlook with a very scenic rock formation, then we wandered around the shops and cafes, then returned to the harbor. After that, we had a 1 hr ferry ride direct to the Allure so avoided the rush hour traffic – very cool! OVERALL TOURS – At the end of the 5 days in port, we were tired from all the touring but also very glad we went. All the excursions we took were thru Royal Carib and were good. The buses were clean and comfortable, the guides spoke very good English and were outstanding! We had plenty of restroom breaks and opportunities to eat & drink. We took 500 Euros for the week and used them all inc the 2 days in Barcelona. The Allure also has an ATM that dispenses Euros, it’s by Customer Service on the Promenade separate from the US dollars ATM. We used cell phones to keep in touch with our group thru text messages (dial +1-area code-phone num to reach a US cell phone) which are only 50 cents each. For each tour we were provided emergency phone numbers in case we got separated from the group. Several times folks did not show up on time but the guides could only wait a little bit due to needing to make connections with boats, trains, etc – so don’t be “the one” who is always late. Final tour note – as the Allure is huge and has to dock, we were always in the cargo ship areas and had a long way to go to the scenic areas. If you want to just get off the ship and walk around, you will have to walk a ways or take a shuttle or taxi. In all honesty, booking tours is the way to go as the real cool places are often an hour or more from the ship. DISEMBARK – Easiest ever! We had a 2:50pm flight home so waited until the last minute, 9:30am, to leave the ship. We walked right to our luggage and out the door, probably 10 minutes max. We had pre-booked Barcelona Day Tours to shuttle us to the airport – slightly more than a taxi but we had 5 people and lots of luggage so it was better than getting 2 taxis. We also noticed a long line at 9:30 to get a taxi. Drive to the airport was only 20 mins. If you have a flight at 9am or later, you should be able to make it as they started disembark at 6:30am (although I wouldn’t risk it due to ship delays, etc). We got to the airport at 10am and the US Air/American Air counter didn’t start our flight’s check-in until 3 hrs prior to boarding so we did the VAT refund stuff and sat around. After that, we did the usual “wait in line” shuffle to get home. Very tiring experience flying back to US but it was worth it due to the great cruise in Europe! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Embarkation Barcelona: The quickest easiest I have ever had. They grab your luggage as you exit the taxi and don't have to haul it through any lines. Had a Jr suite so had priority check in and nobody was in line so we went straight ... Read More
Embarkation Barcelona: The quickest easiest I have ever had. They grab your luggage as you exit the taxi and don't have to haul it through any lines. Had a Jr suite so had priority check in and nobody was in line so we went straight through but even the regular line looked very reasonable. We were on the ship in 30 minutes! Contrast that to Navigator in January 15 in Galveston were we waited for over two hours in various lines. Food: This was probably the lowlight of the trip. We all felt in our party that the main dining rooms was just OK. We did like My Time Dining as having excursions allows you to be flexible but we only ate main dining three times the whole week. The wait staff was mediocre. We had better staff the one day we changed our reservation time. The tables are so close together you can reach out and touch your neighbor and staff are trying to edge between chairs to serve. We actually found the Windjammer dinner to be a better selection and more our speed. We did eat at Izumi one night and it was fantastic. Also tried Vintages. Its a nice low cost option but was pretty mediocre. Johnny Rockets was OK. Hot Dog bar was kind of fun as was Doughnut place. We had most of our breakfasts at the much quieter Solarium. The fare was exactly the same every day and not quite as good as Windjammer but its quiet and you can easily find a seat. We also tried the Wipeout for b'fast and it was not very good. Omelets were way overcooked. The Windjammer is the one place that gets very packed. We tried several times to go but line was out the door so we opted out. The one time we did go for lunch was pretty good. Ship: Overall you would not imagine that there are 6,000 plus people on the ship. They hide them very well with exception of the Windjammer. There are so many neighborhoods to explore depending on what you are looking for. Central Park was a huge hit! Boardwalk area was really nice as well. Definitely lots of places to escape. The one beef we had was several times the majority of hot tubs were shut down for "maintenance" . This happened more than they seemed to be open. Having only three hot tubs open at a time for a ship this big doesn't work. Since our itinerary was very port intensive we probably didn't have as much time to explore as we would have liked. Entertainment: Mama Mia was excellent ! True to real broadway production and not cheesy. We also saw the Oceanaria diving show which was pretty neat as well as the other show later in the week , Blue Planetwhich was just OK. Overall it was all pretty solid. Also enjoyed several of the bands and soloists that played in Central park from time to time. Service: Never really had any issues with the service on this cruise. Overall the staff was friendly and kind. Our room attendant was nice but honestly looked a little worn out. The only real rude people we found on the ship were some of the cruisers that would but in line, push you out of the way, take your elevator, and some that were just rude to staff. I always thought that Americans got a bad rap but these rude folks were all European. I think some of them could use some better manners. Wifi: Love the wifi and it always worked and was fast so we were able to keeping touch back home with the kids. We bought the two device package for the week and used our Gold 10% discount and I think it was like $140 and was well spent. Drink Package: We just bought the Ultimate (no alcohol) and we determined that it was not worth it as bottled water was not as readily available nor were the good coffee stations where you could get a latte. They should have more coffee machines for the good coffees. The one main on in the promenade actually made pretty good drinks. They could also use more Soda machines. The only ones we found were in Windjammer (closed at times), Wipeout (closed at times) and the Pizza place which was usually open. Ports of Call: Barcelona rocks! Lots to do and see. Go a day early or stay a day late as we did and are so glad that we did. We stayed at the Pullman Barcelona near the beach on the way in and Hotel 1898 on Las Ramblas on the way back and both were excellent. Marseille was difficult. Not much to see from where you dock and you have to take a paid bus ride if you want to go into town. We had a private car arranged to take us to Aix En Provence (really not much to see there) and Cassis. We wish we would have just gone to Cassis and spent the day there. One of the best meals we had was at a cafe there. La Spezia is not the nicest place. I think I would prefer Livorno. We had booked Cinque Terre but boats were not running that day so we had to take trains and that was a veritable nightmare! I would not suggest that during tourist season! We were glad that we had a guide to ourselves and were not in a large group as that would have been worse. Cinque Terre was amazing but we only had time for 3 of 5 villages as we were afraid we would get stuck on the train and not be able to get back. Would lover to spend more leisure time there. Rome, the port again is a ways out from actual Rome but was not too much of an issue. We arranged Rome in Limo for our tour with 8 people and it was fantastic although everything was still very crowded. I'll review full excursions separately. Palma De Mallorca was a favorite for all of us but I suggest taking the tour of Valdemossa and Soller and getting out of the main port. Naples was the top ranked port of call. The scenery is amazing and so many options for tours. We hired Simply Amalfi for our tour of Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast and it was amazing with singing opera guide as well. We loved all our excursions and booked them all independently and I felt sorry for the masses following around the RC guides with their placards. Spa: Last day of cruising I hoofed it to the spa for a massage. The massage was great but I always hate the up sell on the extra stuff. Its always something different and always more expensive than the massage. I have bought some of the stuff they have recommended and some has actually worked but would appreciate just being told about the products and not having the masseuse always trying to push it. I also tried the Go Smile whitening treatment and I actually had pretty good success with the single treatment but as anything else they will try and up sell two more months of home treatment and I had not done enough research to tell if it was worth it. Disembarkation was also a breeze. They were actually running ahead of schedule. We chose the last time and they were running about thirty minutes early. It wasn't easy to hear the announcements. The only problem getting off so early was our car was arranged for an hour later so we had to sit and wait. Tips: Book a room on the side of the ship that will cruise the coastline so you can see more Book your own excursions. Just do some research here on CC and you will be rewarded Get the Wifi package as it was worth it Avoid the Windjammer at peak times Take taxis to/from the port of Barcelona as there is no need for private transportation and it will be cheaper. Go early to Barcelona and take the Montserrat tour Bring an Umbrella just in case of bad weather Bring a small power strip as there are minimal plugs in the cabins We had a wonderful time overall so much so that my Dad who traveled with us with my step mom is already booked on the Allure again for the Caribbean in January! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I recently decided to take a Mediterranean Cruise. He had heard many wonderful things about Royal Caribbean and decided to give it a try. We were very excited to step onto the “Biggest ship in the ocean”, the Allure of ... Read More
My wife and I recently decided to take a Mediterranean Cruise. He had heard many wonderful things about Royal Caribbean and decided to give it a try. We were very excited to step onto the “Biggest ship in the ocean”, the Allure of the Seas. It wasn’t our first cruise but it was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean. It, unfortunately, didn’t go well. During our cruise experience we had a number of issues and were disappointed often. Right away, upon stepping onto the ship, we were met with staffers trying to give us flyers and coupons for deals (Spa treatments, Beverage packages, Internet packages, Photo opportunities, etc) that are aboard the ship. This may sound like a good thing, as someone might think that they are making sure we get the biggest bang for our buck. However, it was a nightmare. The hallway we entered when getting on the ship is first off very narrow for the hundreds of people trying to board and it was very cramped. As we walked forward staff member after staff member were trying to hand us flyers, which at the time we had no idea what they were. We thought maybe some vital piece of information for the ship. If it wasn’t a sheet of paper it was another staff member trying to talk to us about services offered. Well when a hallway is that small with that many people, you end up not being able to hear very well. We were finally able to fight through the commotion and find an elevator. That was our great “Welcome Aboard”. Perhaps a good thing to others, however, to my wife and I, having spent two previous days in Rome with all sorts of street vendors and people putting things in your face to purchase, it was truly just awful. We then proceeded up to our state room. It wasn’t clean. Hair on the vanity chair, water/cup rings on the table, and misc. stains on the dresser. Again this wasn’t our first cruise, so we understand wear and tear on a ship, but this was very sloppy and very disgusting. The food was a disappointment in general. Our first morning, we ordered room service and double checked our order before hanging the tag on the door. To our surprise, the order was incorrect. It wasn’t complex. We ordered granola. We instead received Special K cereal. Not to mention, the tray and food protection lids were dirty and not presentable. The second morning on board, the day after our room service issue, we went to American Icon Grille and did a la carte - ordering a simple breakfast of pancakes and sausage; however, once again the order was incorrect - receiving pancakes that tasted and felt like they had been cooked an hour prior and bacon (something we did not order). A few days later, we decided to have an easy night in and wanted to try the “make your own pizza” and take it back to our room. Surprisingly, this was not as available as advertised. We asked for a “make your own pizza” and the gentleman said, 'Sorry, we are all out of to go boxes'. Then, instead of offering to make us a pizza, fresh and hot out of the oven, he placed the pizza that was cooked what seemed a couple hours prior on a few plates for us to take back to our room. That same evening, we ordered room service again in which I received a salad with dressing three days passed its expiration date. Another issue we experienced was the lack of restaurant availability. We came back from a shore excursion an hour later than expected and the only restaurant open was Park Café (Which seats about 75-100) or Sabor and Johnny Rockets, two of which you have to pay for. We were shocked that out of all the restaurants on the ship, only one was available to service thousands and thousands of people and, of course, it was beyond full capacity. There was a huge lack of communication and details regarding the shore excursion descriptions. The shore excursions did not indicate if lunch was to be included or not; they did not indicate that, often times, more than half of your excursion would be spent in a bus driving to the location and an additional quarter would be spent walking; and the excursion descriptions did not match the actual activity. For example, the Gaudi's Architect tour was a very poorly produced excursion. The bus made three stops - the first was to see a view of the city (something we saw numerous times from the bus drive already), the second was to a church that we had to walk to, to only see the outside (never had the opportunity to go in), and the third was a house inspired by Gaudi's work, however, we didn't get the guided tour headset like other individuals – so basically we simply walked through the house, not knowing what we were looking at and it was so crowded getting through we felt like cattle being moved from one room to the other. The second excursion we were extremely, extremely disappointed with was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This excursion was four hours long and we only had 40 minutes to explore the area - the other 3 hours and 20 minutes were spent driving, walking from the bus to the location and waiting for everyone to come to the meeting location so we could leave. This needed to be communicated upfront in the description that more than half your excursion would be in the bus - we would have never purchased it. Not to mention, it rained that morning with the forecast showing clear skies mid-morning. It would have been nice to postpone the excursion by 1 hour so we could enjoy it - instead we were taken out in the rain where it was extremely windy and we couldn't hear our tour guide describe any of the structures around us. Near the end of our trip, we wanted to provide our feedback and issues to guest services. The gentleman we spoke to looked up our information and made a comment that he didn't have anything in the system and that we should've said something sooner, when the issues occurred. We felt the issues shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Instead of the gentleman offering to document our issues or offer to get a manager, he simply mentioned that we could add these things to a section of our survey. Overall, our experience on the boat and with the excursions was enough to deter us from ever sailing with Royal Caribbean again. My wife and I spent 4 years saving for this trip. This was not the experience that we were expecting to have and I can’t imagine this is the reputation that Royal Caribbean wanted to leave. But that’s what happened. Thank you for your time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
It is 5 AM, and I am in California, but still on Europe time. About 72 hours back, but still can't sleep much past 3:30 AM, so I decided to do this review. Keep that in mind. This was my third cruise; second on Royal ... Read More
It is 5 AM, and I am in California, but still on Europe time. About 72 hours back, but still can't sleep much past 3:30 AM, so I decided to do this review. Keep that in mind. This was my third cruise; second on Royal Caribbean, both to the Mediterranean. I will start by saying my first cruise was about fifty years ago, and such a disaster (think Titanic; I didn't drown, but that was sort of the down side) , I waited 40 years for the next. The second was so good I started planning the next one right away. This time I took my husband, and adult children ( 22 and 25) and it was even better, but it made me wonder about the possibility of better ports with a smaller ship. I believe ports were Barcelona, Mallorca, Marseille, La Spezia (I think it was Livorno last time), Civitavecchia, and Naples. We spent three days in Barcelona before the cruise, and stayed in the Majestic apartments. They ungraded us to a two story apartment on the top floor, and the rooms and the views were amazing. We were fortunate enough to be able to book the Royal Family Suite, although there were only four of us, and there was plenty of space, and sweet "suite" amenities (see what I did there?). We had pressing of several pieces of clothing the first formal night, breakfast in the cabin most mornings, and were able to use a menu with more options, the "concierge" helped with last minute dining and entertainment changes, and on the "sea day", when the ship seemed packed to the gills, it was nice to be able to use the "suite only" deck on 17. That was pretty much the only day that the ship felt like it was crowded. Keep in mind that I am very picky about where I eat, was not thrilled with the food in the main dining room on my previous RC cruise (Liberty), so my husband insisted on booking specialty restaurants most nights. I was very pleasantly surprised with the American Icon food the first night (I had shrimp cocktail, gazpacho, and a New York strip done medium rare (I asked for rare because I HATE it over, don't mind under), but we never ended up eating dinner there again. We had lunch there once, which was more like my experience on the Liberty, but not bad. I wanted a burger, but they would only do it well done! Blech. We also ate at Park something, a tasting menu, which was good, but those always seem like a marathon, Sabor, which was okay, but the a la cart prices gave me pause, Samba, which was my favorite as well as my sons, but "too much meat" according to my daughter, and again, a bit of a marathon, Giovanni's, albeit after eating in Sorrento, a tough act to follow, and Chops, where my New York Strip did not seem better than the one at American Icon. We saw the water show, which was nice, Mama Mia, which my daughter, a bit of a theater geek criticized a bit because "they were obviously singers and dancers; not actors", Blue Planet, which was nothing like what I expected, and I wasn't sure what it was about, but nice enough for an evenings entertainment, and we ended up skipping the comedy and ice show because we were exhausted from shore excursions. Son really wanted to do flo- rider, but it just didn't happen. Son and the hubs did an "all access" tour which was expensive, and while they didn't get to see some things they wanted to they enjoyed. We did not do any RC excursions, but did a lot of on our own stuff with the help of cruise Rick Steves and cruise critic, which also led us to Joe Banana. Embarkation was a breeze about three hours into the four hour window, and while we had a few "priority" options, didn't need them. Disembarkation was easy as well, although there was a long wait on the line at check in with Air France. I don't know if that has anything to do with RC, but there was an RC person there overseeing it, and she said if you were on the RC cruise, you had to check in in that area, and there were only two Air France staff for a great deal of people. In summary, I am ready to go again, and so is my husband, who was initially a tough sell. We are looking into smaller, more "all inclusive" options, since we ended up spending for what we wanted anyway, and would like to explore other ports. We would love to port at Sorrento, even if it meant a "tender". Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife, myself and our two teenage daughters (13 and 17) embarked on our first ever cruise on Allure of the Seas, The boat is amazing and as first time cruisers a little daunting at first. It probably took us a couple of days to ... Read More
My wife, myself and our two teenage daughters (13 and 17) embarked on our first ever cruise on Allure of the Seas, The boat is amazing and as first time cruisers a little daunting at first. It probably took us a couple of days to "tune into" the cruise experience but once we did the amount of free you can find is amazing if you know where to look!! Best thing to do assume its free as someone will soon tell you if its not. I didn't find the upselling a problem at all as when you say no they just walk away with no more questions or arguing.(you just have to say no convincingly) The biggest issue for us where the ports, Florence is 3 hours + from the port and the paperwork guides on board don't make it obvious how far you are away from the places they advertise. As a first timers guide i would say Mallorca - an easy walk to cathedral and centre and there's enough to see in the limited time ashore to keep you happy really. Marseille - We got a taxi from the port to the beach (you have to get a taxi somewhere really as they are lined up at the port) we found a nice small beach (prado) and had a lovely relaxing day. (there are many other things to see but beaches are good) Pisa - Florence - There's a shuttle bus off the port but literally off the port no more than that. Florence is 3.5 hours away from the port so we didn't bother, even Pisa is an hour train ride but it was nice to see and quite laid back, good day out with nice restaurants and bars once you've done the obligatory pushing the tower up photos. Rome (Civitavecchia) - There's a shuttle bus into Civitavecchia but its another hour and a half train ride into Rome from Civitavecchia and some tips, firstly no shoulders or knees on show for the visit St. Peter's Basilica or you wont get in. As of August 2015 the trevi fountains are closed for work not sure for how long, Colosseum was very worthwhile and you can get the metro back to train station (roma centro) from right outside the Colosseum. Naples - Pompeii - As you walk off ship and to the end of the taxi ranks you will see a pompeii tour bus on your left 15 PP euros to pompeii round trip then 9 euros PP in and its really worth it. Really amazing place. Theres also a boat which takes you round capri for 15 euros just follow the signs off the port. Take passports / ID for under 18's if your looking at reduced / free admission into any attractions very worth while as you'll save a fortune. The day on the ship is fun as you can explore all those areas you haven't got to so far, We played crazy golf, did hotdogs, aqua theatre, climbing wall and alcohol free cocktails. Last tip!! don't buy anything till the last few days as EVERYTHING goes on sale and there are some good deals to be had. We did really enjoy the ship but the ports are a drag and you need to be confident at independent travelling or you will get ripped off!! having said that the holiday was varied, fun and a real adventure!! If that's what you're into you will love it. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Apart from the seated dining room service which I would rate among the best I have come across. Room was ample and maintained to standard. General dining (windjammer) I found wanting a few times no coffee too full just overloaded. ... Read More
Apart from the seated dining room service which I would rate among the best I have come across. Room was ample and maintained to standard. General dining (windjammer) I found wanting a few times no coffee too full just overloaded. Tried other food places in peak times the same. Most annoying was the blatant rip off with the taxes on drinks and the hidden Vat. Taxes on the internet. When booking we paid graditude in advance only to find on every purchase a graditude charge.etc. also on previuos sauna area were free,Not with Allure charge please. Deck 5 entertainment yes variety but location of all the bars ment cross noise not to mention alcohol being consumed in company of many children. Would not be revisiting this ship Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We have taken many cruises, most on RCL. We were excited to try out the Allure of the Seas. While we were very impressed by the size and quality of the ship itself, we were shockingly disappointed by the terrible attitudes of the staff. ... Read More
We have taken many cruises, most on RCL. We were excited to try out the Allure of the Seas. While we were very impressed by the size and quality of the ship itself, we were shockingly disappointed by the terrible attitudes of the staff. While there were some exceptions, the overall attitude of the staff was disappointing, aloof, and even downright rude. This was such a departure from previous experiences on RCL and NCL. Lines at the Windjammer cafeteria were 20-30 minutes long. On-deck bars closed too early. This ship is so big, it can't dock at more convenient ports, forcing it to dock at farther-out industrial ports where, in some cases, taxis are not allowed to serve them. We love RCL but, at least on this cruise, we were disappointed by the overall poor service. Otherwise, we had a blast! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
This year is the first year that the Allure of the Seas has sailed in the Mediterranean. I was a little worried as, although we have cruised before, we have never been on such a big ship. Transfers to and from the ship were easy and ... Read More
This year is the first year that the Allure of the Seas has sailed in the Mediterranean. I was a little worried as, although we have cruised before, we have never been on such a big ship. Transfers to and from the ship were easy and trouble free, made easier by having completing some paperwork on line before departure. It was a little intimidating at first but I soon got over that. The facilities on board were excellent. We took our 20 and 18 year old sons who had a ball and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves too. There were diving shows, ice skating shows, comedy shows, parades and even the Mamma Mia stage show. There were designer shops, fast food bars, a cup cake shop and even a Starbucks. Our maid and the waiters at our table couldn't do enough for us and helped to make it a wonderful experience. As did the waiters around the pool. The food at every restaurant was excellent and offered something for everyone. There were plenty of sunbeds for everyone (which was something I had worried about) not that you had much time for sunbathing! The places that we stopped at were beautiful - Naples, Barcelona, Palma, Marseilles, La Spezia. We only went on one organised trip but that was fantastic - Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri - and the guide was excellent. Can't fault anything at all, everything was excellent and worth every penny. A fantastic holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Prior to this cruise we spent a couple of days at Portaventura and then travelled to Barcelona to board the ship. Must say that it is an impressive looking ship but although we enjoyed the cruise, something was lacking from other RCCL ... Read More
Prior to this cruise we spent a couple of days at Portaventura and then travelled to Barcelona to board the ship. Must say that it is an impressive looking ship but although we enjoyed the cruise, something was lacking from other RCCL cruises we have done. Embarking was straight forward enough, we were entitled to priority boarding but didnt realise. Our staterooms were ready for us and our luggage was delivered within an hour. We then went to purchase soda passes for our family of 4 adults which came to over $230 with gratuities. We then went to Sorrentos to try the pizza which was OK and went back offboard into Barcelona for a few hours. On our return to the ship, we went to book the evening show (Mamma Mia) and were advised to book all the shows for the whole week as there would be no availability if we didnt. Then it was time to check the ship out. I found it all quite confusing tbh but the interactive info boards on each deck were helpful. The shows were excellent although I found Blue planet a bit boring. Mamma Mia and Tenors of Rock were fantastic, especially Tenors of Rock. Our stateroom was standard for RCCL ships but the little touches werent there. No towel animals etc. This is absolutely not a deal breaker but our stateroom attendant seemed flat. I didnt rate the food in the Windjammer very highly this cruise and often found it difficult to find much I liked which really surprised me. We didnt do any of the ships shore excursions as they were so expensive so cant comment there. La Spezia was a confusing port choice. People went to Pisa or Cinque Terra from here. We decided to try Cinque Terra as we had done Pisa on a previous cruise but couldnt understand the hype. We ended up on Monterosa beach which was really pebbly with a very small roped off area where you could swim as the rest of the sea was dangerous to swim in due to the currents and nothing doing on the beach at all. We stayed a couple of hours and then returned to the ship. Our fellow cruisers appeared to come mostly from the continent although there were quite a number from further afield. The cruise director was just OK. Think we have been spoilt in the past having Richard Spacey! I cannot really say why this ship seemed a bit flat atmosphere wise, it just did. There were no sail away bands/parties or a midnight deck party. There was very little going on deck wise tbh but this may have been because it was such a port intensive cruise.We all agreed that we preferred Independence of the Seas to Allure and are looking at Independence for our next cruise. Bigger is not always better! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
My husband has always wanted to go on a cruise but with myself, a non swimmer with a fear of deep water, have never fancied the idea. After years of thinking about it I reluctantly agreed and within eight weeks we where on are way. On ... Read More
My husband has always wanted to go on a cruise but with myself, a non swimmer with a fear of deep water, have never fancied the idea. After years of thinking about it I reluctantly agreed and within eight weeks we where on are way. On arrival at Barcelona port the ship was very impressive, gigantic! The embarkation ran very smooth with ice cold water and biscuits for refreshments. Our cabin was a balcony one on deck six. It wasn't the biggest space but more than adequate. Your only in the cabin to sleep, wash and dress not have a party so any bigger would be wasted space. The only downside was no UK electric sockets, I asked at guest services for an adaptor which they did not have, so on the first stop in Mallorca I nipped off the ship and bought a couple. This was a bit annoying as I had read on previous reviews that UK sockets where in the cabin, if knowing otherwise I would have packed some I already have from home. The restaurants on board where great with fab service, mainly ate at the American Icon, the beef rolls at The Park Cafe deck 8 where to die for! We also ate at the non inclusive Chops Grille, the food was wonderful. The only eatery we did not like and only went to once was the Windjammer, it was like a cattle market. The on board shows where very entertaining, Mamma Mia was fantastic as was the Aqua show (Oceanaria). My 11 year old son took full advantage of the flow rider, surf, pool and hot dogs! We went on a tour of Pisa and Rome. Pisa was arranged through RCC which was ok, Rome by ourselves which was better. I have travelled near and far in my life but this holiday was the most stress free, relaxing holiday I have been on. Royal Caribbean certainly know their stuff, staff are so warm and welcoming, service was second to none from beginning to end and the ship was fantastic. I loved this holiday so much and I cannot recommend it enough to anyone thinking of cruising. Within a week of being back off this cruise we booked another RCC 10 day Western Caribbean cruise for April 16, beginning with a 3 night stay in New York. I am counting the months, weeks, hours and seconds! cant wait!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
First time with RC, we set sail from Barcelona on a 7 night cruise. Boarding was perfect, smooth with no fuss albeit we booked a suite which has fast track boarding. The young lady at check in forgot to put our standard drinks package ... Read More
First time with RC, we set sail from Barcelona on a 7 night cruise. Boarding was perfect, smooth with no fuss albeit we booked a suite which has fast track boarding. The young lady at check in forgot to put our standard drinks package sticker on my sail pass so I had to beg the crew to check my details on the computer so I could upgrade from Standard to Ultimate..make sure if you have a package your sticker is placed on your sail card at check in ! We had room 7226 7th deck Junior Suite, it was perfect with a large walk in closet and decent size balcony. Josie looked after our room, she was a star ! We ate at Silk each night, Maurice and Lesley our waiters were fantastic. I have no complaints at all about the food it was very good and I found no need at all to go try other restaurants. Tried the Windjammer once which is fine although I prefer a formal dinner in the evening so other than the odd snack avoided the buffet. Did not bother with any excursions, they were very pricey, in fact you could fly to Rome from the UK and have an overnight stay cheaper than some of the tours from the port. We had not planned to do much off the boat anyway so it was not an issue. When docked the ship is great and does not feel crowded, the pools and hot tubs are quiet etc, that said I did not see many activities happening i.e Zip Wire, Flow rider etc, however when they were open it was packed with long queues. This is even worse when the ship is at sea these areas were very busy so I gave up waiting and played crazy golf until a group of kids came and threw balls and clubs all over the place, perhaps some supervision with younger children would be helpful. I could never get the hang of when the Dog house and donut place opened, I heard the donut shop is open for a just an hour or two early in the morning, each day I walked past it was empty in the afternoons and evenings. Bow and Stern English pub is great with a massive selection of Beers, if you like a drink I highly recommend the Ultimate package at $55 per day per person, its well worth the cost. Used the Gym once, its very good, not busy and lots of modern gadgets. My daughter used the Living Room each night which is reserved for teens and she loved it. Wifi is good and fast but its not cheap, I paid $157 for 7 days for 2 devices. I spent most evenings at some stage in the Casino, half of which is a smoking area. The barman Roland from Peru was excellent and the drinks service was very good and efficient. Plenty to do and loose in the Casino.... Did the comedy club 1 night, very good our host was Steve from Boston. Went to Dazzles a few times, very enjoyable, although Blazes felt a bit soulless at times, its very big with a small dancefloor, all the same it was fun. Mama Mia was first class, looked forward to the Queen tribute but this was cancelled the same day as the singer lost his voice, a reserve Beatles tribute band played instead, they were ok but not great. Never saw the Blue Planet and Aqua show but really enjoyed Ice games. I was looking forward to ice skating but its rarely open and when it is its for a few hours only. The floating bar is ok nothing exciting but a nice feature, don't pay any attention to the staff about when it goes up or down, each floor had different timing on the entry points and the bar staff said something completely different, we were told one day it would leave at 3pm and as we walked away no sooner than a few minutes later they set off..best just to jump on have a drink and wait and ignore what your told. Guests were all different nationalities, lots of Europeans and US, a lot of the cruise director speeches are in English/Spanish so be ready to hear everything repeated on stage. Guest services queues when at sea are very long expect 30+ minute wait, best to go when the ship is docked. Despite any negatives in my review we had a fantastic time, and we are going to book again on the Harmony for July 16, we can't wait the whole experience was top class and I thought it was good value for money. The only area that was disappointing was after disembarkation. The queue for a Taxi was horrendous and took not short of an hour or so in very hot weather. It may be something RC can fix or get the Port authority to be more efficient. Everyone in the queue complained, next time I will arrange a private pick up. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our fifth cruise and all the RCI. We have previously sailed on the sister ship in the Caribbean and new just what an awesome ship this was to be. Here is a summary of our experiences: - Cabin - internal cabin on the 10th ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise and all the RCI. We have previously sailed on the sister ship in the Caribbean and new just what an awesome ship this was to be. Here is a summary of our experiences: - Cabin - internal cabin on the 10th floor near the front. The ship had been recently refitted and all was as expected. Just about right for a seven night stay. Trips - We pre-booked trips prior to boarding and booked a last day in Barcelona trip whilst on board. We had trips cancelled for no good reason - including a sistine chapel trip. We had paid in sterling for these on our credit card whilst on-line at home. The cost was credited back to our on-board account in dollars - with a fair old discrepancy in their favour! This has still yet to be addressed! The trips were on the whole pretty dull affairs and I've now had enough of looking at ruins in 37 degrees C heat, only to be told what is on Wikipedia and then taken shamelessly around the tour operators' mates' businesses to pay for greatly inflated goods. One trip was out of the blue and superb and that was in the villages and towns around Rome, with an Italian living English guide. Dining - the main dining is,a s ever, decent pub food dressed up! Having waters constantly talking to you even when you are eating drove us up the wall - one guy was so obviously pitching for tips and so over the top that we ditched the main dining option and instead decided to bite the bullet and pay for the upgraded dining. Sabor (Mexican) was tremendous and as was Giovanni's Table (Italian) really were worth the extra spend. As much as we dislike the crush of the Windjammer - it's a brilliant option compared to the main dining. The drinks package - what a waste of time. Guinness disappeared on day two or three. The wine was bloody awful stuff and the Crown & Anchor (we are Platinum) discounts were free drinks that we got on the drinks package! In fact, what is the point of the Crown & Anchor Society. Other than a faster embarkation and a nice room to disembark, are there any other real and measurable benefits? Living in a pretty cool country - opportunities to dine outside, in a relaxed atmosphere are few. Being able to eat at Giovanni's on the amazing Park Deck and Sabor on the aqua-theatre deck was superb - however, being expected to pay extra is, when you think about it, crazy. We did the whole ship behind the scenes trip (amazing) on the Oasis, so we know where the food is made and it doesn't justify the difference. We also noticed that the waiters in the speciality restaurants seems to know when to leave you alone - much better. Shows - if you've ever cruise on RCI and had the director of entertainment - Joff - you will know just how good he is. The team on the Allure were massively over-shadowed by the captain, who appeared to be doing their job for them. Shows were constantly cancelled during the cruise and it wasn't until the last few days of the cruise that things started to get anywhere near what we had experienced on the Oasis. Very strange. You have to watch the internal channel where the captain has his teeth whitened - very funny. The gym - $25 per session to use the spin bikes! Crazy!! Flowrider - superb staff and great fun!! Ships' doctors - I boarded the ship with stitches and needed them removing whilst on-board. I had a letter from my doc and on day 5 saw the ships doctor who told me that they were infected and would not touch them. A nurse there intervened and gave me some anti-biotic cream to rub on them. When I arrived home I saw our GP and was told that they were perfect and appeared never to have been infected and showed every sign of being healed. The stitches came straight out and the cut was healed! Being told that you have an infected wound with a sea day in front of you was pretty stressful - I would sum up the ship's doc facility as a big fat ZERO! We stayed in the Hotel W in Barcelona before the cruise and on the whole, we wished that we had just stayed there. Amazing food, the world's comfiest bed, amazing views, awesome staff and a tremendous city. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
We arrived on july 12th at the airport at 8:45 AM, We stopped at Vodafone to get a sim card for our phones. This SIM card was 10 Euros and was the 'yusser' plan, instead of the Tourist SIM as we got free calls between our phones ... Read More
We arrived on july 12th at the airport at 8:45 AM, We stopped at Vodafone to get a sim card for our phones. This SIM card was 10 Euros and was the 'yusser' plan, instead of the Tourist SIM as we got free calls between our phones while in Spain. Then it was a 20 min taxi ride (25 EUROS) to the port. The porters met us and took our bags promptly. Check in was a breeze. We arrived at 11:15 AM. There were cookies and juice in the waiting area. We had to fill out the medical forms off to the side, then check in. We clarified who could charge on the room cards (definitely not our kids..LOL). Once we got our sea pass cards, we stopped at the obligatory photo ops and continued to the boat. We entered on the main level (5) and immediately felt we were on a fancy street in some major US city. Lots of little restaurants, the floating bar, kiosks selling things and fancy stores. It was very nice. We grabbed a quick slice of pizza at the Sorrento's and then wandered around the boat. The kids club check in was fine and they hole punch your kids sea passes and give them a free lanyard, fyi! We paid for 2 kids pop plans for 40 Euros. They do charge VAT so FYI, I had heard if you book it in advance, you don't pay the VAT. These come with a mug (which is chip enabled). Also your kids get a sticker on their Sea pass card so they can get pop. There are machines which you can fill your mugs SELF-SERVE right next to the pizza restaurant on level 5, as well as in the buffet (windjammer deck 16) and then wipeout bar (deck 15, just below the buffet). These had basically any pop, vitamin water, flavored juice, carbonated/flavored water you could want. So we initially thought we would drink pop, but ended up drinking the strawberry water all the time. Healthier!!. However, if you wanted pop at on of the bars, then you can only get coke/sprite. So it was a bit of a nuissance if you really were craving a Cherry Coke as you would have to go find a machine to get it. Furthermore, I have cruised other boats (disney, NCL, HAL) and found this cruise had the largest choice for flavored juices, carbonated water, etc. at the buffet so I barely used the pop plan. Lastly, just in case you think you can reuse this mug. IT comes chip enabled, so when you use the self-serve kiosk it says: 'you have free refills until july 19th'. I am assuming if you try to use it on another cruise, it will say you can't use it. Now, I'm sure a bar tended would fill it for free if you gave it to him. Also, the self-serve is a bit finicky and often can't sense your mug, then your kids fill it half way and it stops. The problem with this, is that once it thinks you have filled the mug, it won't let you refill it for 11 mins, so if you send your kids to do it, they often come back with a half filled mug and dissappointed faces. There are 4 pools, 3 of which kids were often in, but 1 which was only adults. This cruise had the most hot tubs I have ever seen and all of them were actually hot. It was excellent. Some were covered and some not. The kids splash area was great. It was about 1 metre deep in the pool area and the splash area was all around it. So our 9 year old liked it, other than the fact she wasn't allowed to dive in any of the pools. Sometimes she would want to go to the other pool, as it was a bit deeper. The self serve ice cream stations are right next to these kids pools, so the kids would often come back telling me they had just eaten 2 ice creams! what can you do! I did use the pop mugs to fill with ice cream and rootbeer to make a float a few times before dinner. The flow rider was excellent and I went on embarkation day. I got about 10 attempts in a row with no line. One side is reserved for surfers, the others for flow riding. The waivers, we had filled on line worked like a charm as we had to go to the zip line area and get a wrist band showing we had filled the waiver. But we found out we needed to be wearing runners and shorts in order to zip line. So we had only packed bathing suits and flip flops in our carry on, thus were unable to take advantage of the lack of line up on day 1. The mini golf was kind of lame and we enjoyed the disney mini golf much better. I liked the fact that there was seating around the flow rider, so my kids and wife got to hang out in the shade and watch me. There is also a nice bar right next to the flow riders. The basketball court is excellent and they have 3 ping pong tables (enclosed with glass walls). This is smart as the wind didn't affect the table tennis and you didn't lose the balls. There were 3 arcades on the boat (by the wipeout bar on the 15th floor, by the boardwalk and then by the kids club). Just FYI, most games were 1Euro to play. I didn't find that this boat had many drink specials. I remember the disney cruise had buckets of beer specials, etc. I almost never found a special on this boat, except VINTAGES having 2 for 1 sangria from 7pm til midnight. Their sangria was awesome, but for some reason this lounge was dead. We did the my time dining and the first night went to the restaurant on the 3rd floor (restricted for my time) and were shocked to see a line up. There was a queue for those with reservations and one for those without. IT was super annoying as we haven't experienced lines on any other cruise. The line moved quickly and we were given a nice window seat. The staff came by and were friendly at first but didn't have that "hey I can't wait to serve you for 1 week and get to know you vibe" like our experiences on previous cruises. I think this is because with my time, they aren't guaranteed as your server each day. That being said, once we finished our meal, we were told that we can request them and the same table/area each time we come if we liked our service. We didn't like our service on the first day, and I will get back to that experience later. We did realize that even though we had booked specific times prior to embarkation, we were able to go at different times, but found that sometimes the waits were over 40 minutes. So definitely go at the time you have booked (you have a 15 min grace period, fyi) and/or do the buffet. We tried my time again the last 2 days of the cruise and asked for another server and it was excellent. So, I think things depend on timing and circumstance. We were told we could book a specialty restaurant on day 2 for 50% off, right when we got on the boat. So we booked Giovannis. I have to say, the Central park and restaurants was AMAZING. IT felt like you weren't even on a boat. We arrived to this restaurant (it was formal night) and sat down to enjoy an excellent meal. I had verified with the manager earlier in the day that we would recieve our 50% off and he confirmed it. I didn't want to deal with it at dinner time. However, once the bill came, it of course was not included. I asked the manager and he was not happy. He eventually did it, but made me wait like 15 min while my family was waiting to go see a show. I felt embarassed and almost 'cheap', because it wasn't like I was begging for something, I was told that I would get it and thus booked. Either way, the meal was great, but be careful that you clarify your offered discounts prior to sitting, so you don't have to deal with a situation I had to. We also had planned many days around the shows. We had booked the aqua show on day 1, Mama Mia on day 3. However, to our disappointment, there were technical issues with the aqua show and all the first 3 days were cancelled. In addition, Mama Mia had a medical emergency and was also cancelled for day 3. The cruise director worked hard to have this issue rectified and on the last day they held 3 aqua shows and 1 mama mia for those who missed them. This was great. The only issue was that being a mediteranean cruise, we would get off the boat some days at 8AM. We would plan our return to have time to get ready, eat and then attend the show, to only find out it was cancelled. Thus we would have rushed back for no reason. I don't think there is any other option here, just was frustrating given how much you schedule each day. It all worked out for us, but just keep this in mind when planning your cruise. The boardwalk, had the new mexican restaurant which was great. 1 order of tacos 5 Euros is enough to make 4 tacos. So don't over order. The Sangria was very different at the MExican restaurant so don't expect it to taste the same as Vintages. The carousel is free and our kids road it over and over. Johnny Rockets is 5 Euros/pp for all you can eat. Given the desserts I saw kids eating, it may be worth the 5 Euros. They also offer free donuts in the boardwalk every morning with some coffee if you have a room that is close, it was good for our kids. We would eat our breakfast at the Park Cafe in the Central Park. It was AWESOME for adults, with nice sandwiches, yoghurt, bagels, juice. However, for our kids, they never had bacon, sausage, eggs and often ran out of kids cereals. So it was sometimes a decision as to whether we did the buffet or Park Cafe. The cruise is full of port holes, binoculars and telescopes which i'd encourage you stop and have your kids look through. It would show various art work or scenes from different places, so our kids were kept occupied on long walks. The kids club, looked great. We put our 9 year old in the 6-8 group with her brother and it worked out fine. The kids club coordinator seemed to be a bit tempramental and a few parents complained that he was dishing out time outs left and right. He must've been having a bad week. Our kids found some activities fun, but honestly, we didn't have to force the kids club as our kids had tons of fun with the shows and ice skating and pool. The bookable ice games is AWESOME. Please go, it is great and was much better than stars on ice. The second ice show was in either Rome or La Spezia and was 'how to train a dragon'. IT was not as good as the Ice Games. We also took the kids skating and that was a blast. Blue Planet was a nice show, but Mama MIA was the best cruise show I've ever seen and on par with broadway shows. Definitely go. IT is over 2 hours and has a 15 min intermission, so just beware with kids. The 6th floor has a running track around the boat which has 1 mile measurements, it was quite nice. The solarium at the front of the boat on the 15th deck looked nice for breakfast and hot tubs, but we assumed it was adult only so didn't spend much time there. There were ample of opportunities to take photos with characters from Nickelodeon. They were everywhere and typically in the early evenings on the 5th deck. As for the ports/excursions: Palma De Majorca. We simply got off and took a taxi to palma de nova. We paid 25 euros for 2 chairs and an umbrella and there is a grocery store across the street with beer/snacks. We also did the water obstacle course for 9 euros each. IT was a great excursion. Obviously we did it on our own. The kids loved it. We asked the taxi to take us to the old port first and then drop us to the beach, it was about 15 euros extra but worth touring palma a bit before hitting the beach. Remember, bring your own towels from the pool, they don't have any Marseille. We took the FREE shuttle to Marseille, instead of the 23 Euro shuttle. Just get out of the terminal, ask the information lady for directions to the free shuttle. IT was easy, just follow the green line on the ground. It is about a 600m walk and the kids were fine. The shuttle gets you out of the port and it is another 600m walk to the old port. So just beware if you are trying to time things right. Overall it took about 45 min from the boat to the old port. I'm not sure if it is quicker with the paid shuttle. We did the calanaques excursion for 75 euros for our family. This was just booked at the old port and it was 2 hours. It was nice. Otherwise, we just wandered Marseille and made our way back to the boat. La Spezia, We docked and they require you to take a 5 min shuttle from the boat to the edge of the port. This is mandatory as it is an industrial port. So get off right away and take the first bus out of the port. Then there was a queue of taxis waiting when we got off. We paid 15 euros to take us to the train station and we took the FAST train to Pisa. There are several trains leaving for Pisa, but some are quicker than others so check the times prior to arriving in Pisa, so you don't rush for no reason. Ex: for us to take the 9:10AM train got us to Pisa by 10:05AM, but the 9AM train got us there at 10:25AM. So knowing that, means you can plan efficiently. The fast train doesn't stop at PISA ROSORRE station which is very close to the leaning tower, so we took the slower train back from this station as it is much closer to the tower. But the walk from Pisa centrale is quite nice and the kids enjoyed it. You basically cannot climb up the tower if you do pisa on your own. When I arrived at 10:15AM they were booking for 3pm. So if you plan on doing this excursion on your own, forget about going up. We did what others said was impossible. We then left pisa at around 1pm and took the train back to La Spezia Centrale and switched trains and went to Monterosso. We arrived at 2:30pm and let the kids play at the beach for 3 hours. They had a blast. This is the northern most city in Cinque Terra. We then took the train to Vernazza and had an early dinner and drink/Gelato and then took the train back to La Spezia Centrale and cabbed it back to the port. IT worked out perfect. We were able to incorporate Pisa and Cinque terra on our own. The only thing I would make sure, is that the local train back from Cinque Terra was 30 min delayed, so make sure you give yourself enough time to ensure you are back on time. Rome/Citavecchia. We ended up booking the cruise excursion which took the FAST train from Citavechia and then included the hop on hop off bus ticket to explore. It doesn't say anywhere that it includes the hop on hop off bus ticket, but it does. It was fine, just that I could've done this on my own and saved a ton of cash. I found out after that the shuttle from the port to the train station is FREE. So have a look. The fast train is 50 minutes and gets you to St Peter's Station in Rome. It is 20 euros each. Then you can book your own hop on hop off bus while in Rome. so if you would like to re-create this excursion, just do that. They do offer you the option to join the group at St. Peter's basilica for no line, for 30 euros each person, if this is important to you. We took a cab straight to the colleseum and paid 12 euros each for a tour and guaranteed admission which was well worth it. Naples. We took a cab to the main train station and trained it to Pompeii. It was quick and effortless. Just be aware, the trains from pisa are air conditioned and very nice, but these local trains in Naples are hot and full of locals. The train stops literally in front of pompeii (make sure you get off at Pompeii Scavi villa de miestri). Walk past all the offices and restaurants and get in line at the main entrance. Get your tickets and audio guide if you wish and you are good to go. Then we got back on the train and went to Sorrento to have lunch and hang out at the beach. We took the speed ferry back from Sorrento to the port and hopped back on the cruise for formal night. Hope this helps anyone else going on the Allure of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We sailed July 9-16 on Royal Caribbean's(RCCL) Allure of the Seas. Having read other reviews, I know that low ratings are often due to individual circumstances, so my "Poor" rating might not be considered poor by others. ... Read More
We sailed July 9-16 on Royal Caribbean's(RCCL) Allure of the Seas. Having read other reviews, I know that low ratings are often due to individual circumstances, so my "Poor" rating might not be considered poor by others. My primary complaints are based on two issues: reduced options for travelers embarking in Rome and what I consider unfair treatment by the excursions staff. Several other reviewers have mentioned that Rome, being a "secondary" embarkation point, had fewer options than were available to passengers who begin the cruise in Barcelona. Of course, they don't mention this when selling the cruise. After purchasing the cruise, I found that RCCL does not help with pre or post hotel arrangements if you start in Rome. Additionally, there are fewer excursions offered on the Barcelona day (in fact, for a long time, they had none listed- the phone support person told me we could always do a Hop-on, Hop-off) because only about 25% of passengers start in Rome. Our final day was hard to plan because they didn't support post-cruise arrangements (other than airport shuttle). We did, however, find an excursion with a City Center transfer. Great! More than acceptable! Canceled several months before the cruise. Bad luck, but OK. Then we signed up for a different excursion with a City Center transfer. Great! Canceled TWO DAYS prior, WHILE WE ARE AT SEA!!!!!! I take a cruise to avoid stress, and RCCL proved a stressor for me. We finally took a shuttle they offered to continuing passengers and then a taxi to the hotel. I know excursions have to make money, but I find it disturbing they would cancel someone's plans while at sea. So, those are my two primary reasons for a low rating. The ship itself is amazing offering plentiful pools and activities for 6000 people. You never feel crowded. Individual items: Boarding/Leaving: EXTREMELY easy. RCCL does a great job here. Wifi: I can't live without it and they excel. Cost, tax included, was about $200 for two devices. Speed was over 20mbs all over the ship. Fitness: Very nice .4 mile track on deck 5. More than adequate fitness center with many weight and aerobic machines. Alas, no free sauna/steam. Food: a junk food addict like me will love the donuts, hot dogs, and ice cream. I found the pizza, however, no better than average store brand frozen. We enjoyed the main dining room and had excellent service from Caesar and Marylene. We did the Windjammer for breakfast and the choices were quite good. The Park Cafe is an excellent lunch spot. We did not eat at any of the extra charge restaurants. Entertainment: Two of the best shows, Mamma Mia and OceanAria were canceled the days we had tickets. OceanAria had multiple performances canceled due to the ever popular "technical difficulties." I would normally say this is completely unacceptable, but maybe we just had bad luck. The Comedy Show was worthwhile. Ice Games was excellent. Blue Planet very missable. Outdoor movie night was fun. Excursions: Aside from the last day debacle mentioned above, the excursions varied - as I would expect. Our trip to Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii was one of the most amazing experiences ever! Florence and Pisa were very good, but there was no time to go up the tower. In Barcelona, our 4 hour tour was good, but, again, needed time to go inside La Sagrada Familia. My wife and daughter LOVED biking on Palma de Mallorca. Marseille?? There is not much to do. Stateroom: We liked our room and the service. No complaints there. Children's groups: Our daughter spent hours with the teen group and thoroughly enjoyed herself. Overall: As I mentioned above, the stress and inconvenience RCCL caused lowered my rating. Otherwise, the cruise was probably 3.9 stars instead of 2. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Only our second cruise but first with RC on a big ship. Traveled with other family members on this first time Mediterranean adventure who have more cruises under their belts. These veterans also enjoyed this ship and itinerary but still ... Read More
Only our second cruise but first with RC on a big ship. Traveled with other family members on this first time Mediterranean adventure who have more cruises under their belts. These veterans also enjoyed this ship and itinerary but still rated Princess one step higher than RC for various touches. For example, Princess will do free laundry for you when you get on the boat-- nice if you have been traveling before cruise. Youngest traveler in this group of 8 was a senior in high school. Oldest 63. Did some excursions, shows, and dining together yet had time apart for individual indulgences-- fitness center, spa etc. Agree with other reviews that for such a large ship we never felt crowded with so many activities going on in different areas of the ship. Check in and embarkation as well as disembarkation was efficient and easy. Service was impressively friendly and attentive throughout the ship. All of our “subgroups" had balcony rooms which were adequate and well appointed. Free Room service coffee/breakfast in morning a nice touch occasionally instead of the breakfast buffet although many times the morning view at the dock was quite “industrial”. Ship Information and location maps easy to use thought the ship. Even Magellan would not get lost easily. Comments/Complaints/FYI -We got to Rome 2 days early for city sightseeing etc. If you aren’t a history buff you will have had your fill of ruins tours by the time you finish Rome! Enchanting city but hot and crowded in summer as one might expect. -Caution! Rome airport (FCO) is a busy place with many terminals. Know where you are going, especially on the return home leg. For example, United is terminal 5 for processing and check in but then you are shuttled to gates at a different terminal. If you are jetting off to a European city know where you need to go before you get there. It can be a madhouse. Don’t expect your shuttle driver to have all the right info. -We used Bob’s Limo Service for all group transport from airport to Rome and Rome to port and port to airport. Dependable and on time. They do tours too so check out their website. -Recommend Hilton Garden Inn at Rome airport (FCO) for staging needs. There is a regular airport shuttle bus to get you to hotel and to terminals from hotel. -We selected the 06:30pm dinner seating time for our group. Worked great even with day trips. The 08:30pm seating would be a bit late for diabetics etc who are ready to eat an earlier meal. -Do not neglect a very nice quiet breakfast buffet or lunch buffet at the Solarium on the front of the ship when the Windjammer buffet gets too crowded. Breezy and nice setting! -Took advantage of the formal nights to try and get some good pictures of the group and couples. The photographers were young and anxious to get good shots but many did not take that extra second to ensure a jacket was straight or someones pose was just right so some pics were unfortunately not what they could have been. Take your time and police your own details before the flash. -Balcony cabins great. Only complaints no outlets by the bed. Bring an extension cord if needed for things like running a CPAP (Breathing machine for Apnea) etc. -Ship’s shows were enjoyable but may fall short of expectations for some. We made our reservations online ahead of time as we were told some fill up fast. The Broadway show “Mamma Mia” was top notch entertainment and a highlight. -For those with wheat sensitivities! You will be surprised with may gluten free options in all venues and countries! Know the translation for “gluten free” in italian, spanish, and french. We even found gluten free bread in a bakery in Aix-en-Provence. -Biggest complaints were with the ship sponsored shore excursions of which we took 2. Suggest wrangle your own private tour ahead of time for some places or just use public transportation when that works to get you where you need to go at great savings over the ship tours. For planning tours, you need to know when the ship will leave the port each day. It changes and is earlier on some stops than others. You should also account for the fact that Barcelona is a Sunday stop and the city has different offerings than you might find during the week. Naples If you take the time and trouble to go to Pompeii (see more ruins in the hot sun) you are truly a history buff. You might be disappointed that many of the finer displays (human forms in lava etc) have been moved to the Pompeii Museum in Naples. Consider that for an alternative. The public train to Pompeii was crowded and teeming with pick pockets. Consider a boat ride from port to Capri or Sorrento if you want to avoid another history lesson. Barcelona We took the double decker red bus tour for a look see of the major town sites. A little sleepier on Sundays. Las Ramblas walk for lunch and marketplace shopping was the main event. Have to be back on the boat fairly early so have a few objectives and enjoy them. Its all about Gaudi and his architecture in Barcelona! Yes there is a beach too. Palma Majorca Took the 6 euro round trip shuttle bus to town for a walk around the old neighborhood behind the Basilica and of course majorca pearl shopping. Then we took a taxi to the beach for an enjoyable afternoon of sun and surf (about 1.5 miles east of the shuttle drop off point). We ended up taking taxis back to the ship. Several great beaches are at your disposal. Marseilles Ship Excursion #1 (55 euros each) Bus tour to Aix-en-Provence. A truly enjoyable city-- a mini-Paris. Now the not so great part. The bus left for the city late from the port waiting for stragglers (after 9am). Then in town,we were told by our guide to be back on the bus by 12:30pm. The walking tour ended at 11:30 so there was scant little time to enjoy the city, eat, and meander around. We were back at port by 2 but the ship did not leave port until 5:30pm so we could have had a much better experience with another 1 to 2 hours in town. We heard a similar complaint from the group that went to Caisis. Whats the rush to get back? Arrange your own tour on your timetable! LaSpezia We decided our group did not need a grueling 9 hour excursion to Florence on the last day of the cruise. Yes, LaSpezia is farther away from Florence than Livorno so take that into account. We chose to sign up for the ships excursion to Cinque Terre. Ship Excursion #2 (155 Euros each) A bus, boat, train trip to the small sea cliff villages west of LaSpezia with a stop on the way back on the bus at an new outlet mall. The short story is that the ship excursion is not worth the money. We bailed off the tour at Monterosso (a quaint little beach resort village) to enjoy lunch and an afternoon at the beach. We took the train back to LaSpezia around 4pm (8 euros each) and had to taxi from the train station to the port for about 15 Euros. We made it back by 5:30 pm while the tour made it back by 7pm. If you are going to do Cinque Terre, arrange a private tour or take the train and go do the villages yourself or just go to Monterosso on the train for a complete experience including eating, shopping, and beach time. Much cheaper and more enjoyable! There are supposed to be walking trails between some of the villages. Be advised some are closed from landslides. Get updates on this from the local tourist offices before trying to do any hiking. All in all this was a very enjoyable cruise with lifetime memories. This RC ship is well run and 6000 guests were for the most part well taken care of from our perspective. The extra charges can add up so be careful on the boat and enjoy what you already paid for in your fare! Spending some time planning your port visits ahead of time pays big dividends especially if you are traveling in a larger group. We did not kill ourselves trying to do too much. With the time allotted in port you can only scratch the surface enjoying a few priorities. We would try RC again in another part of the world on another adventure but plan on sampling Princess as well. Italy is a challenge for newcomers on the front and back end of the cruise. Don’t be in a hurry and try and learn a few conversational words. It will go a long way. Ciao! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
12 family members, ranging in age from 16 - 80 met in Barcelona to cruise the Mediteranean and enjoy time together. The Allure of the Seas provided a perfect venue. Something for everyone to do each day and ample time to meet on board ... Read More
12 family members, ranging in age from 16 - 80 met in Barcelona to cruise the Mediteranean and enjoy time together. The Allure of the Seas provided a perfect venue. Something for everyone to do each day and ample time to meet on board for dinner and review the day. The food is delicious, varied and plentiful. I enjoyed the Karaoke Bar, Piano Bar, and the track immensely. Other family members enjoyed the Casino, Surf Pool, Teen Club and Bingo. Each day, after breakfast, we went our separate ways on excursions into the Ports. My husband took fabulous pictures at the Lavendar Fields. Grandma, 2 of my daughters and I went to Ax de Provence and spent the day with Gilles Conchy of Provence Gourmet. Our's was an unforgettable experience. We met in downtown Provence. We walked around and felt like locals. We purchased food in the market, wine at a Chateau, and proceeded to Gilles Conchy's home to cook and enjoy our meal for the day! We met and got to know other people from Ireland and the US also in our cooking group. Gilles made sure everyone felt comfortable and participated in the meal. He made sure we had proper location information and arranged taxi for our safe return! The food was delicious and i feel confident we can repeat the recipes at home. A lovely way to see Provence and enjoy time together as a family. We also traveled to Florence and Pisa, Rome and Capri. All our transportation worked well and we enjoyed exploring all the venues on the Allure of the Seas! Our cabin attendant treated us like honored guests. The Men who waited on us in the dining room each night were charming, knowledgable and efficient. I recommend this cruise for families of any ages. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
Just returned from the 7-day June 14, 2015 sailing of Allure of the Seas, departing and returning to Barcelona. This was our 5th cruise, 3rd on Royal. We also cruised Disney previously. Boarding and Disembarking - we arrived about ... Read More
Just returned from the 7-day June 14, 2015 sailing of Allure of the Seas, departing and returning to Barcelona. This was our 5th cruise, 3rd on Royal. We also cruised Disney previously. Boarding and Disembarking - we arrived about 9:30am on boarding day, checked in at the port within a few minutes and waited until boarding started at 11:00am. When our group was called, we boarded quickly, went right to the Solarium Bistro for lunch. Easily one of the quickest and smoothest boarding processes we've experienced. Our rooms were ready at 1:00 as promised and our luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Five stars for boarding! Disembarking at each port was also a breeze. At the final port, we opted for the express checkout and carried out our own bags. There was some confusion with baggage as we boarded the busses, but it all worked out. Would have been nice to know in advance how the baggage transfer process to the airport worked. The airport in Barcelona was a mess, as we stood in line for over and hour to check in, but that's not Royal's fault. 4.5 stars for disembarking. Cleanliness - the ship was super clean across the board. Even when a passenger got sick in the Amber theater during a show, the crew was on it immediately like a hazardous materials operations, complete with a special vacuum and "gas mask". Passenger load - despite having over 6,300 passengers and crew aboard, there were rarely any crowded areas. Very surprised, as smaller ships we've sailed on were much more crowded than the Allure. It must have been designed and operated such that crowd control is designed-in. The only area we observed crowded areas were at Guest Services and the aft elevators. Surprisingly, the pools and deck area always had open chairs even during at day at sea. Impressed again. However, there was not enough staff at guest services or excursions. I stopped by both when the lines were short and the staff was courteous and helpful. I also called guest services several times from the room. Hold time was only a few minutes, but I was always able to get through. Four and half stars for its ability to handle a loaded ship. Food - Royal did offer My Time Dining on this cruise, but we did not use it. We also skipped the specialty restaurants altogether. We already paid for our cruise and felt that we did not need to spend more $$ to enjoy it. We ate in the main dining room on most nights for dinner, and went to Windjammer, solarium bistro, Park Cafe, Sorrento's, and Boardwalk dog house at other times. The food in every area was delicious. I don't know why other reviewers are criticizing the "included" food options. We highly recommend the solarium bistro for breakfast and lunch, as it's significantly less crowded than all other places. My only complaint is that the service in the main dining room was not as personal or engaging as we had previously experienced. Our waiter was polite, but not necessarily warm or outgoing. It took him several days to warm up to us even a little bit. He also did not "present" the specials, but merely read or pointed out the descriptions from the menu. Again, we expected a more dynamic waiter experience. The waiter "entertainment" (singing, etc.) was stiff and not genuine. Many waiters did not even participate. Royal could learn some things from Disney in this respect. The bar waiter appeared on the first night and never appeared again. I had to order drinks from our waiter; not a big deal, but he was visibly put off. I also received a smart alec response from a waiter one night when I asked how I could find out when the arts and crafts area opened. Four stars for food. Three stars for service. Excursions - we went on several excursions. In Marseilles, we took the Cassis trip. The town was very picturesque, but we were left with about only an hour of time to explore. That's not enough time. In La Spezia, we went on the trip to Pisa that included the river cruise. The river cruise was very nice, our guide was good, and the short trip to the tower was nice. Again, time to explore the tower was limited to about 45 minutes, which is not enough to do much of anything. Very disappointing because we arrived back at the ship with several hours to spare. We took that opportunity to explore the area of La Spezia immediately surrounding the port. A quick check on Yelp showed many shopping stores. We walked a few blocks into "town" and were disappointed. Many stores were closed and the few open were fashion outlets. Nothing to do for a dad and a couple of teenage kids. Reluctantly, we returned to the ship. In Civitavecchia, we took the Imperial Rome all-day trip. This excursion is not advised unless you are extremely physically fit. The description mentioned 3 miles of walking, but we did much more than that. Several of us were wearing pedometers and clocked in well over 5 miles. In the scorching heat, it was unbearable for some and our group split up as some could not go on. Making matters worse, our guide had little concern and no plan for finding toilets for the group. Very uncomfortable considering were were drinking lots of water in the scorching sun. He eventually led us to a public toilette. In Naples, we went on the Vesuvius hike and Pompeii exploration. We were troubled with a poor tour guide, whose thick accent and poor equipment resulted in many in the group not understanding a majority of the talking. Several people raised the issue with the guide, but there was no improvement. Many stopped listening to the headsets altogether and just walked. Our guide also kept a pace so quick that we were left to find a place for lunch, order food, and eat ALL IN 20 MINUTES. Very frustrating and pointless, as we returned to the ship with three hours to spare. The same guide also discouraged stops at any toilet, asking people to "hold it until we return to the ship". And yes, she actually said that despite a public toilet available at Pompeii near the entrance. It would also have been nice to know in advance that most public toilets require Euro COINS so passengers could always have a few on hand. On the Mount Vesuvius hike, there was only one toilette available, and the shop owner was crabby about passengers using it, demanding that it's only for paying customers. Making matters worse, it offered no running water an no toilet paper. Ugh. I would have accepted a simple outhouse or "port-a-potty", but none was available. The destinations deserve 5 stars, but Royal's execution of the excursions warrants a disappointing TWO stars. Not well planned or executed. Entertainment - we saw several shows on the ship, including the brand new Mamma Mia. First, the Blue Planet show in the Amber theater was just ok; some really good singing and dancing, but frankly we kind of started dozing off at times. The Oceanaria show in the Aqua Theater was also just ok, in my opinion. In Civitavecchia, the Beatle Mania band had joined the ship and played that evening. Being a big fan of the Beatles, I was excited about the show. The band had the benefit of great material, but the show itself was a bit of a let down. The Paul character was overly corny with over exaggerated mannerisms that came off as a parody. At one point, I thought they were making fun of the Beatles. The group pandered to the audience wanting audience participation on too many songs rather than celebrating the music of the Beatles. They should have just played the music. However, they didn't even do that in some cases, and played along to prerecorded tracks at times despite being sold as "a live musical event" by the cruise director Jerome. When Paul sang "Yesterday" to a prerecorded acoustic guitar, I almost walked out. Sad, because these guys were clearly accomplished musicians. A performance of Imagine by the John Lennon character was moving, but that's not by the Beatles. Would have preferred the band staying away from solo material, it's not like the Beatles didn't have enough material. Paul was clearly suffering from a strained vocal as well; odd that his voice was not ready for a performance this big. The entertainment saved itself on the last two days, with Hector is Magic and Mamma Mia. Hector was fabulous and highly entertaining (not a kids magic show, but more Vegas class like Chris Angel). VERY impressive. Mamma Mia was absolutely awesome and a great close to our 7 day cruise. Do not miss it! Be sure to cheer through the various encores, it's worth it. Four stars for entertainment, primarily due to Hector and Mamma Mia saving the day! Activities - we rode the Wave Rider, gambled in the casino, worked out in the gym, attended a clinic at the spa, attended the belly flop competition and played bingo. All activities were good fun, but bingo was way overpriced. Paid $120 for a family of 4 to play bingo for 30 minutes and felt we could have spent that money in a better way on the ship. Don't bother with it. We regretted it, but overall the activities were still worthy of 3.5 stars. Summary Boarding and disembarking: 5 stars Passenger load: 4.5 stars Food: 4 stars Service: 3 stars Excursions: 2 stars (these destinations deserve better planning and execution) Entertainment: 4 stars Activities: 3.5 stars OVERALL: 3.7 stars (rounded up to 4) Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Some background: My husband and I and our 3 kids, ages 9, 10, and 12 were on this cruise. We stayed in one of the Royal Family Suites on deck 9. This was our 4th cruise, but our first on Royal Caribbean. Previously we had sailed on ... Read More
Some background: My husband and I and our 3 kids, ages 9, 10, and 12 were on this cruise. We stayed in one of the Royal Family Suites on deck 9. This was our 4th cruise, but our first on Royal Caribbean. Previously we had sailed on Disney and Celebrity. We travel fairly often in addition to cruising. We go out of our way to not just have well-traveled, but well-mannered children who immerse themselves in local cultures, and who are respectful and polite to anyone they interact with. I will break this down into categories: Service, Activities, Excursions, Cabin, Dining, Kids Clubs, Entertainment, Embarkation/Disembarkation, and Summary. Service: Most employees we encountered were genuinely friendly, helpful and enthusiastic about their duties. The one that holds me back from complete satisfaction was a manager from Bulgaria in the suite-only restaurant (Coastal Kitchen) who clearly did not care for Americans. Activities: We only participated in one activity as a family, which was Bingo. Crazily overpriced, and was a total rip-off, but fun for the kids to pass some time. Excursions/Ports: We did not use RCI for any excursions. In Rome and Naples we used RomeInLimo and were extremely happy with that decision, and in La Spezia we got the train to Pisa for the day on our own, which was fairly easy. In the other ports (Marseille, Palma) we just got off the ship and wondered around to explore. We enjoyed all the ports except Marseille, which seemed dirty and hard to manage for transportation. Cabin: This was the shining light of the cruise. Being a family of 5, you either book adjoining standard cabins or you get a suite. We went the suite route and it cost us less money and was a fabulous decision. The best part was getting the suite perks that came along with it, which I will mention in upcoming sections. Dining: The food in most areas of the ship was disappointing. Disney and Celebrity have spoiled us for what to expect when cruising. One of the suite perks was the ability to order food from the MDR for room service, which we did on 2 occasions. Both times, none of the meals were good. We also tried the Windjammer Buffet for lunch. Trying to find a table for 5 people is nearly impossible, and then once you do the food is just not good. Imagine a low-cost buffet restaurant, packed to capacity, where you look to your left and there is a woman in a "I don't get drunk, I get awesome" t-shirt, and you look to your right and there is a man who you assume is drunk and homeless, until you realize you are on a cruise... nope, just another passenger. We also tried Johnny Rockets for lunch once and dinner once. It's an abbreviated menu from their normal restaurants, and again - the food was just not that good. On our 2nd day on the cruise we discovered the suite lounge happy hour. Every day at 5pm there is a lovely buffet set out of delicious appetizers, and the drinks are free. At night, the attached restaurant, Coastal Kitchen serves a very nice menu for dinner, where we ate most of the dinners on the cruise. We also had breakfast there on several mornings. Room service breakfast was good too - in the suites you are able to order from an expanded menu, which is very nice. Kids Clubs: Our kids only went to their clubs once, due to the port intensive itinerary. For the girls (9, 10) the club was fantastic. They had a blast and didn't want us to pick them up. For our son (12) he was the youngest in a room full of teenagers, and it was a little awkward. I think he would have fared better with the girls. There were never many kids in the club when we went by. Entertainment: We saw two shows on the ship, (3 if you count the belly flop contest). We saw Oceanaria, and How To Train Your Dragon on Ice. Wow - two different ends of the spectrum here. I'll start with Oceanaria. Another suite perk is reserved, prime seating for shows. You don't have to make a reservation, you just show up 15-20 minutes before the show starts and show your seapass card. That was fantastic. We had great seats. The show was amazing, and that's not hyperbole. Truly talented athletes, very well choreographed, nice music. Excellent! Then there was HTTYD on Ice. Ugh. No reserved seats, they were completely unorganized. It was ok though, we still got decent seats. The show itself was good for the preschool or very early elementary set. The ice rink is tiny, so not much room for great skating to occur, although you could tell they were good at what they did. The "dragon" was a blow-up creature on sticks that actually made us laugh. The best part of the show was when one of the characters snuck into the audience to wake up a woman who had fallen asleep, and scared the heck out of her. Embarkaction/Disembarkation: This was a breeze - both counts. We were on the ship within minutes of arriving at the terminal (suite perk?), and because we only had carry-on luggage we were off the ship just as fast. Summary: The Allure is a huge ship that carries an astonishing number of passengers. I was worried before we sailed that it would feel like a giant, crowded shopping mall. It only felt crowded to me a couple of times - in the buffet, and near the pool. I think it lacks some charm that Disney and Celebrity have in the interior spaces. I did love Central Park, but it's such a small part of the ship. The promenade felt like an indoor casino-type mall to me. The kids liked the boardwalk area. Would we sail RCI, and the Allure, again? I think only if we had the benefits that came along with the suite. Read Less
Allure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 4.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.3
Family 5.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 4.0
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 5.0 3.9

Find an Allure of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise