Even Better Than I Expected : Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by HCE
Overall Member Rating
Even Better Than I Expected
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
There's not much I can say about this ship that hasn't already been said by many people. It is absolutely amazing in so many ways. As you approach it before boarding, the first thought that comes to your head is "man, that is one huge ship!" Once you are inside, though, the size of the ship isn't that apparent anymore. The only time you are made aware of the size is when you are walking from one part of the ship to another. The rest of the time it feels like a much smaller ship - and I mean that in a good way. The public areas of the ship rarely feel crowded, lines are never too long and tables in the buffet are always easy to find. The last two ships we had been on (both of which are less than half the size of this one) felt a lot more crowded.
Service was nothing More short of superb. All the people we dealt with - our cabin steward, the hotel staff, housekeeping - were extremely friendly and helpful.
I'll say a little more here than in other sections since I have not seen any reviews from people with our dietary limitations. We are all from India and all vegetarian. Being vegetarians limits the number of things we can eat. What makes things worse is that my mother and my older daughter have food allergies. Even worse, there are some very fussy eaters in our group. Given all those constraints, satisfying the lot of us is no easy feat.
Somehow, Royal Caribbean managed to do just that. We had all our dinners in the main dining room and the staff there were wonderful. The only problem we had was on the first night when we found that in spite of having communicated our allergies to Royal Caribbean well in advance, the staff were unable to answer our questions regarding the ingredients in several dishes. After that one hiccup, they got their act together. On every subsequent night, we were informed which dishes were safe for us to eat without our having to go through a list of our allergies and wait for 15 minutes while the waiters consulted the chefs. They also brought us several Indian vegetarian dishes during every meal. Indian food on cruise ships is often rather mediocre but that wasn't the case here. Pretty much every dish was extremely well made. The vegetarian dishes on the restaurant menu were also mostly quite good. The only thing I did not like was the ton of cheese that they insisted on adding to every dish.
We ate most of the rest of our meals at either Windjammer or Park Cafe - and the staff in both places were extremely helpful in letting us know which dishes were safe for us to eat, I do have one complaint about Windjammer. The signposting was pretty bad. Vegetarian dishes were often not marked vegetarian and other than gluten content, there was no allergy information on any of the signs. Of course, you cannot list every single allergen but there are several common categories of food that people tend to be allergic to (such as nuts, eggs, soy etc). Just giving us that much information would have obviated the need to ask one of the staff and wait several minutes while he went in to consult with the chef.
Allure of the Seas has the best entertainment I have seen on a cruise ship. Ocean Aria and Blue Planet are close to Cirque du Soleil quality and their version of Chicago is about as good as anything you can get off Broadway. Interestingly, the Studio B skating show Ice Games turned out to be the favorite of most of the people in my group. The least interesting show on our cruise was the Headliners showcase which featured Las Vegas entertainer Clint Holmes. Nothing against him - he's a good singer - but his performance, while pleasant enough, was one of the more forgettable ones on the cruise.
Both my kids had a blast trying out the rock climbing wall and the flowrider - though frankly, they were pretty mediocre at both. My wife and I stayed away from those two but we both tried the zipline out. My older one did the zipline as well. My younger one wanted to but she was a little under the minimum weight required. Given that none of us had ever ziplined before, it was quite a thrill. Of course, we later went on a much longer set of ziplines in Jamaica which was a lot more fun.
My younger one tried out the Adventure Ocean youth program and found it so much fun that she asked to be sent back there several more times during the cruise.
A few minor nitpicks aside, this was the best cruise we have had so far (and we enjoyed our previous two immensely). We have been tremendously impressed with both the ship and the cruise line and we will probably go with Royal Caribbean for our next cruise - assuming the itineraries and prices work out. Less
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