This was our 20th cruise, 3rd on the Allure, and 9th on Royal Caribbean. We had done this exact same cruise for our 50th anniversary, 4 years prior with our adult children and grandchildren. Our adult daughter had told 2 of her ... Read More
This was our 20th cruise, 3rd on the Allure, and 9th on Royal Caribbean. We had done this exact same cruise for our 50th anniversary, 4 years prior with our adult children and grandchildren. Our adult daughter had told 2 of her girlfriends (one a coworker, another a mutual friend) about the great cruise experience on the Allure. They had never been on a cruise, and wanted us to plan this one and go with them.
The Allure was put in service in 2010, rehabbed in 2017, and is still in excellent condition considering the thousands of people who have traveled on that ship. There have been some changes in the configuration that I didn't care for, i.e., deck 17 forward is now reserved for sky, pinnacle, and another class of guests. I used to like going to the lounge up there for the outstanding views outside and of the ship.
Embarkation procedures are excellent. It cannot be easy to board 6000+ guests in just a few hours, but RC really does it nicely. We flew nonstop from our home city to Ft. Lauderdale the morning of sailing. We purchased transfers from the airport to the ship from our travel agent, and was greeted at baggage claim by a Royal Caribbean agent and loaded on a bus to the ship. Traffic was very congested and the normally 5-10 minute trip from the airport took more than 25 minutes to the terminal. We boarded the ship about 2:30 p.m., dropped our carry-on baggage in the staterooms and headed for some lunch. The Windjammer buffet was a madhouse, as it always is on sail day, so we went down to the Park Cafe on deck 8 for a salad and sandwich, and even a pastry for dessert. The girls loved exploring the ship and were wowed by its size and all the venues on board.
We had dinners in the main dining room on deck 5, a very convenient to walk down one deck from our staterooms. We rarely used the elevators for dinner or the entertainment events in the Amber theater, or anything within 1 or 2 decks of the staterooms. But, after the sail day, the elevators were rarely crowded any time, and many times they would be empty when we got in.
Food in the main dining room was excellent. The menus appear to have "shrunk" from our previous sailing however. The cold fruit soups that we loved were only on the menu 1 night, and other selections were not as varied as previously either. The wait service was outstanding, and the waiters were very accomodating.
We had one problem dining though. We had reservations for Mama Mia for 5 p.m. Tuesday, which conflicted with our early dining time. We figured "no problem," just go to the anytime dining on deck 3 after the show. Nope... Maitre-D told us we did not have reservations for the dining, and should go back to our assigned dining room and we would be seated there. We did that, and were told we would have to wait to be seated, to see which tables would be empty. Was told it could be a 30-minute wait. We were not happy with that, but the wait was only 5-10 minutes, and we were seated and served.
We don't drink, or gamble, or visit the Spa, so our onboard credit accounts stay within reason. We don't purchase the photos either, having many from previous cruises. The photographers were not as persistent as they used to be, and that was nice. We rarely book ship tours, preferring to arrange our own once we get to a port, or make reservations via the internet before sailing. The girls wanted to ride horses in the ocean in Jamaica, and we booked that thru Yardie Tours and the Hooves stable. The ship tour costs about 15 dollars more, and non-riders have to pay full price to go along. Yardie only charged 35 dollars for an "observer" (wife, who does not ride horses) to go along, and take pictures. By arranging our own tours we avoid the crowded buses and waiting for loading and tardy passengers. We did the same thing on Cozemel, taking a taxi to Chankanaab Park for the day. The girls wanted to snorkel there, and saw lots of fish.
Royal Caribbean had nothing to do with the weather, but it was outstanding for the whole cruise. Sunny skies, no rain, and mostly calm seas. The boat movement was the least I've ever encountered on a cruise. There was a light shower right after we boarded the ship in Port Everglades, and rain that had stopped when we debarked back in Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday. We could not have asked for better weather, and I told the girls it would not always be that way when sailing, so enjoy...! Read Less