March 4, 2012: Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by Canusa02

Allure of the Seas 4
Member Since 2009
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March 4, 2012

Sail Date: March 2012
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
The Allure is one beautiful masterpiece of engineering & design. I'm sure some people could find something wrong with the layout or some other trivial matter, but why bother? We were on vacation, and thoroughly excited to be there. By far, my favorite public area of the ship was Central Park. I made every effort to spend time there, even if it were to walk through the park listening to the piped in sounds of crickets chirping. Of course, it didn't hurt that Vintages wine & tapas bar were located there. On other ships, I have either enjoyed my morning IV drip of coffee sitting on my stateroom balcony or on the top deck looking out at the Caribbean sea. While that did not change much, I did find myself sitting in Central Park in the early morning hours just relaxing and sipping away.
I was excited to be back on a Royal Caribbean ship, after having sailed twice before with RCCL and once with another line. There were pros and cons to both lines, but the scales balanced a More little more in favor of Royal, so that is why we chose the Allure. Sadly, the MDR meals that I fondly recall from 2005 & 2006 are no where near as tasty as they used to be. We generally don't splurge on the specialty restaurants, and it seems that RCCL has started lowering the quality of food in the free venues in order to draw people in to the pay venues. Honestly, I don't think I would want to pay for the options that are available for a fee. If I want Mexican food, I don't want Tex-Mex style. If I order a steak, I don't want someone ruining it by pouring a sauce over it. I could go on, but with the price of flying out of Canada being almost quadruple that of flying from the U.S., a lot of my extra spending money was spent before I even landed in Ft. Lauderdale.
I found the staff onboard were not quite as friendly as I remembered. True, our stateroom attendant and MDR serving staff did a great job. What stood out to me the most were the people that obviously were being "nice" because they had to be. Some invisible person over my shoulder was greeted quite a bit wherever I went. Even when I tried to make small talk or joking about wanting to hide onboard the last day, I had three instances where the people stated that I would then find out how hard there job is. I realize their job is difficult, and their hours are sucky, but I shouldn't have to hear them complain about that. What really got me was the time that I was obviously cussed out by a guy because I used four cups to fill up two water bottles. I stacked all four cups together, set them at the table closest to the kitchen, and turned to walk away. It was then that I heard him. No, I couldn't understand the words he said, but it was clear what the words meant. I didn't dare tell the guy he was out of regular coffee a little later on, so I had to suffer through one cup of decaf.
I really dislike having to reserve shows in advance. If they supplied the week's worth of cruise compasses in advance, then I would know what nights I have free. I factor in one show a night as part of the cruise cost, and it was disappointing to not have a welcome aboard show or a farewell show. The C&A booklet was very disappointing. I think we used some of the wine coupons at Vintages, and we made our one trip to the casino for the free spin (and won a whopping 15 cents each).
I loved all the things to do on the ship. While there is way too much to do in one week, I tried to do as much as I could. Somehow I seemed to always find myself with a Coney in hand whenever I ventured out onto the Boardwalk. Late nights found me with pizza and cookies, just to hold me over in case. The zip line was fun, and I was able to wear my prescription sunglasses because I had brought a strap to keep them from falling. The gym was great. While I didn't fall for the trick of paying to use the sauna, I immensely enjoyed the opportunities afforded with the various gym equipment.
I'm sure I'm missing something, but all in all, it was a great trip. I'm glad that I tried the Allure, but I probably would not go on a mega-ship again. I probably will sail with Royal in the future, but I think our next one (tentatively planned in two years) will be on another line that offers a little more benefit for the money. Less

Published 03/31/12

Cabin review: D17170 Superior Outside View Stateroom with Large Balcony

Great balcony, and quiet neighbors the whole week. The nightstands (if you can call them nightstands) were inefficient offering no drawers or cubby-hole. Bed was located by the balcony, which made it convenient to get out of bed and watch the sunrise in less than five steps.

Read All Superior Outside View Stateroom with Large Balcony (D1) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Beach Break

Blue Lagoon beach break was a great getaway for the first full day of the trip. The water was a little cool, but bearable. Snacks and drinks were overpriced, but I guess that is what happens when you have a captive audience. Next time, we would take some snacks with us. At least we brought our own water. The lunch provided was not like at Labadee, where you get to actually fill up. We had a choice of one hotdog, one hamburger, or one chicken burger, as well as some fries on the side (and an apple if you so chose). It was a very relaxing time, but we did not have time to see any of Nassau when we got back to the port.

We never ventured over to the French side of the island, but we experienced enough to be thoroughly happy with our time in St. Maarten. We wanted to see some of the planes land at Maho in the afternoon, so we basically did a reverse of what we would do next time. We started out exploring downtown Phillipsburg for an hour or so. We then traveled by bus ($2 a person as opposed to a taxi $18 for three per trip)everywhere we wanted to go. I asked to be taken to Simpson's Bay to Pineapple Pete's restaurant. I experienced an awesome Jamaican jerk chicken wrap, and there was so much food that I could not finish what was on my plate. From there, we went over to Mullet Bay to swim. It was a beautiful beach, and great swimming. After that, we walked to Maho and watched a couple of planes land. We then took the bus back to Phillipsburg, where we hung out until it was time to get back on the ship. I know it sounds kind of ho-hum, but it was very relaxing. As I said earlier, we would do basically the same thing again, except for we would skip Maho altogether, and we would start out at Mullet Bay. Of course, we could always venture over to Marigot next time too. Alas, it cannot be for some time yet. :(

Island Tour

The actual tour part was awesome. We had booked with a group of friends, so the tour operator was flexible to the desires of the majority. We didn't get to spend any time downtown, which was unfortunate, but that was the group decision, not the tour guide. We took a great ride up to mountaintop, where I saw a bartender with the poorest people skills ever. To make a long story short, an elderly lady fell down and he yelled at her instead of trying to help. The world famous banana daquiri didn't touch my lips that day, neither did my money touch his cash register. We ventured on to Coki beach to satisfy the snorkelers in our group, which were the only part of the group satisfied at that nasty beach. I'm not sure if it was the overpriced city-dump beach chairs we rented, the empty drug baggie laying on the beach beside us, or the lack of food on our very expensive plates that turned me off. Whatever it was, I will not ever venture to Coki willingly for quite a while, if ever. I would book with Sunny Liston again, but will likely try an excursion to St. John next time.

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Member Since 2009
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