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Pre-Cruise I traveled on this cruise with my wife and my parents. We are thirty-somethings and we were celebrating my Dad's birthday. My Mom was in on it, but my Dad had no idea until we surprised him on the ship - it was priceless!! I'm not a proponent for travel insurance, but if ever there was a time I should have gotten it, it would have been for this cruise. Due to an engagement the night before, we could not fly in until the day of sailing - something I don't normally like to do. Complicating things further, we were traveling from Albuquerque which required a connection and a loss of two hours on the clock. Our flight was supposed to get us in at 1:30pm, which would have been perfectly fine. However, we were alerted via email just before our first flight of a delay in departure for our second flight. We learned just before we took off that our second flight would not arrive until 3:50pm, which would have resulted in us missing our 4:30 departure. I was under the impression that we had to board by 3pm, but later learned that 4pm is the cut off - something you may need to know if you end up in our shoes. So the whole first flight had me thinking of ways I could possibly board the ship and also brainstorming how I might get us to Labadee two days later. I was pretty sure we would be screwed. As soon as we landed in Houston, we checked the status of the next flight, and were pleasantly surprised that it now showed 2:20pm as the arrival time. I still wasn't totally comfortable, but it was much better than 3:50. We were also a little concerned that my wife's bags did not make it since we checked in a few minutes after the 45 minute cut-off. Fortunately, we spotted them going onto the plane, and at that point we were able to relax a little. We made it to the port at around 3:15. Thank God everything worked out. If you ever have the option, always fly in a day earlier. It is cheap insurance and allows you to relax for a night before cruising. It also allows the opportunity to be amongst the first to board the ship. If you cannot arrive a day early, I highly advise travel insurance. Embarkation As you can probably imagine, embarkation was pretty easy at 3:15pm. The port was pretty much a ghost town. There was actually another family from our flight that was checking in next to us - I'm sure they were stressed out as well. This was the amongst the latest I've ever boarded a cruise ship, and this was number 21 for me. I can still picture barely making the ship as a kid when we had flight issues - they pretty much pulled the gangway after we stepped on. Those were the days where you could get on at 4:29 for a 4:30 sailing. Anyway, we were so late that they had stopped doing embarkation photos. For those that aren't aware, Allure uses facial recognition from your embarkation photo to help sort your photos so you can find them easier. Each cabin will have a binder where you can look at your printed photos as well as being able to pull them up digitally by swiping your cruise card. That is the idea anyway. We did not have any photos in our binder and swiping the card showed no photos either. I can't be sure that missing the embarkation photo caused this, but that is the leading theory. The photo people onboard could not fix the situation. I'd suggest you don't skip the embarkation photo (assuming you make it on time). It is always fun to look at your photos, and you may actually want to buy one that you didn't plan to purchase. One other tip - don't be afraid to carry your own bags onto the ship, even if they are big. We do this every time and always get them through the scanner, even when the porters and others try to convince you to check them. So nice to be able to unpack on your terms and not have to wait until as late as 7 or 8pm. Once onboard, we quickly set our stuff inside the cabin and then we surprised my Dad at the Windjammer and greeted Mom. It was so great to be onboard this incredible ship - I was still shaking my head saying we shouldn't have been there. I was able to find a few scraps of food since they had already started to shut things down (by this time it was around 4pm). We made our way back to the cabin for a few minutes before the muster drill. Cabin We had a Central Park Balcony - 11187. It is a great room! We usually don't spring for a balcony since we are value cruisers, but in this case the price difference was very minimal. Plus, it was a unique room since we have never been on Oasis class. It was nice to be able to go out to the balcony on occasion and get air in the room, but I still don't think I spent more than 1 hour out there in total all week. If the price is minimally more, we'd book this cabin again, but we also have no problem being in an inside cabin. The cabin itself was not much different than other ones we've been in with the exception of the balcony. This room has the couch closest to the balcony and the bed closer to the bathroom. Some people have complained about the access to the closet with the bed right there. I agree with the setup causing some issues, but overall it wasn't a big deal. My parents had an oceanview balcony, and they had the bed closer to the balcony door. That is probably a slightly better setup, but I wouldn't fret too much if your cabin is like ours. The only other minor difference from our past cabins seemed to be a lack of a regular nightstand - only 3 or 4 shelves. This worked out fine for us. The bathroom was your normal setup and worked fine as well. Nice to have a shower door and not a curtain. Dining The food itself was overall pretty darned good - especially when they are cooking for 6,000 guests (not to mention crew). We ate in the MDR each night, and I thought the food there was very good. There were a few dishes where the quality wasn't wonderful, but overall it was pretty good for a mainstream cruise line. I enjoyed the dining options on this ship. I think I only ate at the Windjammer twice all week. Look at your Cruise Compass (the daily schedule) to see where you can eat for free (or not, if you want to pay). I ate breakfast in the MDR, Windjammer, Wipe-Out Cafe, Park Cafe, and Johnny Rockets (all free). It was nice to have a change of scenery and slightly different options. The French toast in the MDR is awesome - had to be two inches thick. Good omelets in the Wipe-Out Cafe. Loved "The Works" potatoes at Johnny Rockets. I was definitely not bored with the breakfast options. Lunch had almost the same number of options, although Johnny Rockets charges a fee. I ate at all the other establishments just mentioned for lunch, and was pretty pleased. I think the MDR lunch menu could use some work, but that is probably just personal taste. It would be nice if it changed each day like the dinner menus. We also enjoyed the Boardwalk Dog House and the Park Cafe, Cafe Promenade, and Sorrento's for snacks. Service Our stateroom stewardess, Nataliya, was exceptional. She was so nice and pleasant and did an excellent job - thank you!! We did have a few issues in the MDR at dinner. Our waiter was slow and not at all personable. We would watch surrounding tables where other waiters would discuss the menu for the next night or just interact with the table in some other way. Our waiter just brought the food, didn't acknowledge most thank yous, and didn't interact with us. Also, we played third fiddle to his two other larger tables. If we didn't get our order in before his 12 person table, forget it. We had a couple of two hour dinners, and this was after we stated we wanted expedited service. The head waiter tried to help, but he came across as cocky and he still didn't make our experience feel special. One night, my wife's entree was forgotten, even after the waiter and head waiter both said it was coming out. This is unacceptable. Also, this was the first cruise I can remember where the wait staff did not remember your preferences. For example, my wife had to order orange tea each night - normally after the second night, they just bring it. This isn't a big deal, but it shows they weren't really dedicated to us. I don't think this is a shipwide issue, since as I said, other tables near us seemed to have fine service. But we just ended up getting unlucky. I should point out that our table was very close to the galley as well, which should have made for quicker service. I will say that service throughout the ship was generally very good. Most staff was very pleasant and acknowledged when I thanked them. Most crew in the hallways would say hello. I usually make a point to say hello to the staff wherever I see them, and I think on each occasion I was greeted and sometimes even asked how I was doing. This is really all I want - just good, basic service and a friendly crew. Public Rooms I could go into great detail here, but I'll just say that this ship was very well designed and there are vast areas of the ship to explore. Everywhere I went was very nice and enjoyable. The ship is so big that I never even got to the Viking Crown Lounge or the Rising Tide Bar (although I did see it). So much to do and because of all of these different areas, the ship never really felt crowded. Two quick complaints: first, I thought smoking was too prevalent on the pool deck (15). Smoking is allowed on the entire port side, which emcompasses the main pool and the sports pool. This leaves the beach pool as the only non-smoking adult pool available (besides the Solarium). Why are two of the pools smoking and only one non-smoking? Royal Caribbean should eliminate or at least reduce the smoking on this deck. The second complaint is also regarding smoking. The entire aft section of Deck 4 (outside of the casino) smells of smoke. It penetrates into the dining room and the stairwells. I would have thought this newer ship would have better filtration systems in place. Hopefully they can rectify this situation in dry dock. Fitness and Recreation Wow - tough to complain about much here. The FlowRiders are awesome. I really enjoyed myself there and met some great people while in line. They have a huge sports court, and several opportunities for games. I spoke to one of the sports staff, and he said that the ship was sailing with four less sports staff than they needed due to various issues. Unfortunately, this resulted in one of the rock walls being closed most of the time. It also resulted in one of the volleyball sessions being unhosted by staff. We still had a good time, but it would have been better if staff were running things. It seemed like they could have had a few other events in the sports court - I played dodgeball and volleyball twice, and soccer once. I think they had a couple basketball tournaments. Over seven days though, it seems like they could have had a few more hosted competitions. Mini golf was fun, but one of the few areas of the ship that needs some attention. It looks good from afar, but when you start playing on it, you will see what I mean. The fitness facility was tremendous. It had a plethora of machines, and never seemed crowded. It was also very nice to jog on Deck 5 where you could run around the entire ship as opposed to the tiny tracks usually high up on the ship where you are dodging lounge chairs and oblivious passengers who like to stop or socialize on the track. It is only 2.4 laps per mile, and there are great views and chairs on the aft section - great for runners, walkers, or just observers. I highly recommend checking out the aft of Deck 5 even if you aren't exercising on the track. Also, don't miss the chance to ride the zip line or the carousel - where else could you do either of those easily, especially on a moving ship? Likewise for the ice skating sessions. Entertainment Again, wow! You won't find better entertainment on any other ship (except maybe Oasis or Quantum, which are probably comparable). The Aqua show was my favorite. It has more diving than O at Bellagio or Le Reve at Wynn, and is a more fun show. Really really incredible when you remember that you are on a moving cruise ship. Blue Planet was very good, as was Chicago. We also really enjoyed the ice shows. The headliner was a Journey tribute band, and they were excellent - it felt like a real rock show. The comedians were both really good. I enjoyed Dan Naturman, who some will remember from last season on America's Got Talent. I feel that Carnival does a much better job with comedy on their ships since they have two comedians in the beginning of the week and two at the end who each do multiple different shows. This ship only allows you to make reservations for one comedy show. Also, many of the jokes were recycled and used again during the family comedy show in the main theater on the last night. You'd think they would use different material for that show, but much was the same. Overall though, the entertainment was exceptional. Oh - I'll also mention that the staff FlowRider show on the last day was awesome! Ports/Excursions This cruise did the Western Caribbean, so we visited Labadee, Falmouth, and Cozumel. Labadee is just a great beach day. I was however disappointed to see that they have removed the volleyball court from the island. I remember playing some great games there in the past, so I don't understand why they would take this down. The bbq they provide is good - they have burgers, dogs, jerk chicken, ribs, and sides. The desserts weren't too inspired, but I ate my share on the ship, so that was fine. The beach to the right was very peaceful, while fairly strong waves were hitting the other side. I always enjoy going to Labadee. We didn't do too much in Falmouth. We had planned to go to the Blue Hole and Dunn's River Falls, but after our initial travel snafu, we didn't feel like poking the tiger again. We left the ship late and just strolled the shops inside the pier as well as those just outside. We bought a unique, hand carved, wooden tree with removable leaves and birds from a nice guy we met outside the gates. The folks outside are a bit more aggressive, but we never felt in danger or threatened by them. In Cozumel we swam with dolphins, an excursion we booked through the ship. The price was very reasonable - just over $100 each. I've seen these excursions in other ports for almost $300. It took place in Chankanaab National Park, which was an awesome place. Admission there is $20 each on its own, and when you figure in the included transportation, the dolphin part of the trip really only cost about $70 each. We really enjoyed the time we spent with the dolphins. I highly recommend this excursion and spending time in Chankanaab. The reef there where you can snorkel is great as well - lots of fish to see and a quick dropoff to a water depth of about 20 feet. The water was crystal clear. The only negative with this excursion is that they really try to rip you off with the photos. They initially said the CD of all photos was $140, and then came down to $100. One printed photo is $40! If they sold printed photos for $10-15 and the CD for $50, I think most people would buy them. As it is, I'm not sure, but I can say they lost $50 on me. The CD costs pennies and the photographer has already done the work, why not just make a reasonable profit? Value For Money There is still a price premium to be paid when sailing Oasis class ships. I think they will continue to drop more as the next couple of new Royal ships come out. Just remember that you are getting a much different product than most other ships. If you are just going to sit by the pool, you may be better off with a lesser ship. But if you like doing different things, then this ship is for you! This was probably the first cruise where I really felt like I needed another week to check everything out. I wanted to spend some more time in the Jazz Club, eat more times at the different food establishments, and I never feel like I've spent too much time on the FlowRider! I will definitely sail this class of ships again, especially since the upcoming dry dock will result in different shows. From a value standpoint, I'd still say Carnival does a better job. I sailed the Breeze in December (admittedly a time of lesser demand, and in an inside cabin), but an 8 night sailing on the Breeze was slightly less than half the cost of this one. But if you have the money to spend, this ship is great. Summary All in all we had a great time, and I still feel super blessed that we even made it onboard. That first meal in the Windjammer (although scraps of things I probably wouldn't have even tried) was one of my best on a cruise ship - just knowing that we made it, we had successfully surprised my Dad without blowing it, and we were about to spend a week on one of the best ships afloat. I'd highly recommend this ship to anyone but the least mobile people.

Adventure cruisers should not miss this ship!!

Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by VegasMark

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Trip Details
Pre-Cruise

I traveled on this cruise with my wife and my parents. We are thirty-somethings and we were celebrating my Dad's birthday. My Mom was in on it, but my Dad had no idea until we surprised him on the ship - it was priceless!!

I'm not a proponent for travel insurance, but if ever there was a time I should have gotten it, it would have been for this cruise. Due to an engagement the night before, we could not fly in until the day of sailing - something I don't normally like to do. Complicating things further, we were traveling from Albuquerque which required a connection and a loss of two hours on the clock. Our flight was supposed to get us in at 1:30pm, which would have been perfectly fine. However, we were alerted via email just before our first flight of a delay in departure for our second flight. We learned just before we took off that our second flight would not arrive until 3:50pm, which would have resulted in us missing our 4:30 departure. I was under the impression that we had to board by 3pm, but later learned that 4pm is the cut off - something you may need to know if you end up in our shoes. So the whole first flight had me thinking of ways I could possibly board the ship and also brainstorming how I might get us to Labadee two days later. I was pretty sure we would be screwed. As soon as we landed in Houston, we checked the status of the next flight, and were pleasantly surprised that it now showed 2:20pm as the arrival time. I still wasn't totally comfortable, but it was much better than 3:50. We were also a little concerned that my wife's bags did not make it since we checked in a few minutes after the 45 minute cut-off. Fortunately, we spotted them going onto the plane, and at that point we were able to relax a little. We made it to the port at around 3:15. Thank God everything worked out. If you ever have the option, always fly in a day earlier. It is cheap insurance and allows you to relax for a night before cruising. It also allows the opportunity to be amongst the first to board the ship. If you cannot arrive a day early, I highly advise travel insurance.


Embarkation

As you can probably imagine, embarkation was pretty easy at 3:15pm. The port was pretty much a ghost town. There was actually another family from our flight that was checking in next to us - I'm sure they were stressed out as well. This was the amongst the latest I've ever boarded a cruise ship, and this was number 21 for me. I can still picture barely making the ship as a kid when we had flight issues - they pretty much pulled the gangway after we stepped on. Those were the days where you could get on at 4:29 for a 4:30 sailing. Anyway, we were so late that they had stopped doing embarkation photos. For those that aren't aware, Allure uses facial recognition from your embarkation photo to help sort your photos so you can find them easier. Each cabin will have a binder where you can look at your printed photos as well as being able to pull them up digitally by swiping your cruise card. That is the idea anyway. We did not have any photos in our binder and swiping the card showed no photos either. I can't be sure that missing the embarkation photo caused this, but that is the leading theory. The photo people onboard could not fix the situation. I'd suggest you don't skip the embarkation photo (assuming you make it on time). It is always fun to look at your photos, and you may actually want to buy one that you didn't plan to purchase. One other tip - don't be afraid to carry your own bags onto the ship, even if they are big. We do this every time and always get them through the scanner, even when the porters and others try to convince you to check them. So nice to be able to unpack on your terms and not have to wait until as late as 7 or 8pm. Once onboard, we quickly set our stuff inside the cabin and then we surprised my Dad at the Windjammer and greeted Mom. It was so great to be onboard this incredible ship - I was still shaking my head saying we shouldn't have been there. I was able to find a few scraps of food since they had already started to shut things down (by this time it was around 4pm). We made our way back to the cabin for a few minutes before the muster drill.


Cabin

We had a Central Park Balcony - 11187. It is a great room! We usually don't spring for a balcony since we are value cruisers, but in this case the price difference was very minimal. Plus, it was a unique room since we have never been on Oasis class. It was nice to be able to go out to the balcony on occasion and get air in the room, but I still don't think I spent more than 1 hour out there in total all week. If the price is minimally more, we'd book this cabin again, but we also have no problem being in an inside cabin. The cabin itself was not much different than other ones we've been in with the exception of the balcony. This room has the couch closest to the balcony and the bed closer to the bathroom. Some people have complained about the access to the closet with the bed right there. I agree with the setup causing some issues, but overall it wasn't a big deal. My parents had an oceanview balcony, and they had the bed closer to the balcony door. That is probably a slightly better setup, but I wouldn't fret too much if your cabin is like ours. The only other minor difference from our past cabins seemed to be a lack of a regular nightstand - only 3 or 4 shelves. This worked out fine for us. The bathroom was your normal setup and worked fine as well. Nice to have a shower door and not a curtain.


Dining

The food itself was overall pretty darned good - especially when they are cooking for 6,000 guests (not to mention crew). We ate in the MDR each night, and I thought the food there was very good. There were a few dishes where the quality wasn't wonderful, but overall it was pretty good for a mainstream cruise line. I enjoyed the dining options on this ship. I think I only ate at the Windjammer twice all week. Look at your Cruise Compass (the daily schedule) to see where you can eat for free (or not, if you want to pay). I ate breakfast in the MDR, Windjammer, Wipe-Out Cafe, Park Cafe, and Johnny Rockets (all free). It was nice to have a change of scenery and slightly different options. The French toast in the MDR is awesome - had to be two inches thick. Good omelets in the Wipe-Out Cafe. Loved "The Works" potatoes at Johnny Rockets. I was definitely not bored with the breakfast options. Lunch had almost the same number of options, although Johnny Rockets charges a fee. I ate at all the other establishments just mentioned for lunch, and was pretty pleased. I think the MDR lunch menu could use some work, but that is probably just personal taste. It would be nice if it changed each day like the dinner menus. We also enjoyed the Boardwalk Dog House and the Park Cafe, Cafe Promenade, and Sorrento's for snacks.


Service

Our stateroom stewardess, Nataliya, was exceptional. She was so nice and pleasant and did an excellent job - thank you!! We did have a few issues in the MDR at dinner. Our waiter was slow and not at all personable. We would watch surrounding tables where other waiters would discuss the menu for the next night or just interact with the table in some other way. Our waiter just brought the food, didn't acknowledge most thank yous, and didn't interact with us. Also, we played third fiddle to his two other larger tables. If we didn't get our order in before his 12 person table, forget it. We had a couple of two hour dinners, and this was after we stated we wanted expedited service. The head waiter tried to help, but he came across as cocky and he still didn't make our experience feel special. One night, my wife's entree was forgotten, even after the waiter and head waiter both said it was coming out. This is unacceptable. Also, this was the first cruise I can remember where the wait staff did not remember your preferences. For example, my wife had to order orange tea each night - normally after the second night, they just bring it. This isn't a big deal, but it shows they weren't really dedicated to us. I don't think this is a shipwide issue, since as I said, other tables near us seemed to have fine service. But we just ended up getting unlucky. I should point out that our table was very close to the galley as well, which should have made for quicker service. I will say that service throughout the ship was generally very good. Most staff was very pleasant and acknowledged when I thanked them. Most crew in the hallways would say hello. I usually make a point to say hello to the staff wherever I see them, and I think on each occasion I was greeted and sometimes even asked how I was doing. This is really all I want - just good, basic service and a friendly crew.


Public Rooms

I could go into great detail here, but I'll just say that this ship was very well designed and there are vast areas of the ship to explore. Everywhere I went was very nice and enjoyable. The ship is so big that I never even got to the Viking Crown Lounge or the Rising Tide Bar (although I did see it). So much to do and because of all of these different areas, the ship never really felt crowded. Two quick complaints: first, I thought smoking was too prevalent on the pool deck (15). Smoking is allowed on the entire port side, which emcompasses the main pool and the sports pool. This leaves the beach pool as the only non-smoking adult pool available (besides the Solarium). Why are two of the pools smoking and only one non-smoking? Royal Caribbean should eliminate or at least reduce the smoking on this deck. The second complaint is also regarding smoking. The entire aft section of Deck 4 (outside of the casino) smells of smoke. It penetrates into the dining room and the stairwells. I would have thought this newer ship would have better filtration systems in place. Hopefully they can rectify this situation in dry dock.


Fitness and Recreation

Wow - tough to complain about much here. The FlowRiders are awesome. I really enjoyed myself there and met some great people while in line. They have a huge sports court, and several opportunities for games. I spoke to one of the sports staff, and he said that the ship was sailing with four less sports staff than they needed due to various issues. Unfortunately, this resulted in one of the rock walls being closed most of the time. It also resulted in one of the volleyball sessions being unhosted by staff. We still had a good time, but it would have been better if staff were running things. It seemed like they could have had a few other events in the sports court - I played dodgeball and volleyball twice, and soccer once. I think they had a couple basketball tournaments. Over seven days though, it seems like they could have had a few more hosted competitions. Mini golf was fun, but one of the few areas of the ship that needs some attention. It looks good from afar, but when you start playing on it, you will see what I mean. The fitness facility was tremendous. It had a plethora of machines, and never seemed crowded. It was also very nice to jog on Deck 5 where you could run around the entire ship as opposed to the tiny tracks usually high up on the ship where you are dodging lounge chairs and oblivious passengers who like to stop or socialize on the track. It is only 2.4 laps per mile, and there are great views and chairs on the aft section - great for runners, walkers, or just observers. I highly recommend checking out the aft of Deck 5 even if you aren't exercising on the track. Also, don't miss the chance to ride the zip line or the carousel - where else could you do either of those easily, especially on a moving ship? Likewise for the ice skating sessions.


Entertainment

Again, wow! You won't find better entertainment on any other ship (except maybe Oasis or Quantum, which are probably comparable). The Aqua show was my favorite. It has more diving than O at Bellagio or Le Reve at Wynn, and is a more fun show. Really really incredible when you remember that you are on a moving cruise ship. Blue Planet was very good, as was Chicago. We also really enjoyed the ice shows. The headliner was a Journey tribute band, and they were excellent - it felt like a real rock show. The comedians were both really good. I enjoyed Dan Naturman, who some will remember from last season on America's Got Talent. I feel that Carnival does a much better job with comedy on their ships since they have two comedians in the beginning of the week and two at the end who each do multiple different shows. This ship only allows you to make reservations for one comedy show. Also, many of the jokes were recycled and used again during the family comedy show in the main theater on the last night. You'd think they would use different material for that show, but much was the same. Overall though, the entertainment was exceptional. Oh - I'll also mention that the staff FlowRider show on the last day was awesome!


Ports/Excursions

This cruise did the Western Caribbean, so we visited Labadee, Falmouth, and Cozumel. Labadee is just a great beach day. I was however disappointed to see that they have removed the volleyball court from the island. I remember playing some great games there in the past, so I don't understand why they would take this down. The bbq they provide is good - they have burgers, dogs, jerk chicken, ribs, and sides. The desserts weren't too inspired, but I ate my share on the ship, so that was fine. The beach to the right was very peaceful, while fairly strong waves were hitting the other side. I always enjoy going to Labadee. We didn't do too much in Falmouth. We had planned to go to the Blue Hole and Dunn's River Falls, but after our initial travel snafu, we didn't feel like poking the tiger again. We left the ship late and just strolled the shops inside the pier as well as those just outside. We bought a unique, hand carved, wooden tree with removable leaves and birds from a nice guy we met outside the gates. The folks outside are a bit more aggressive, but we never felt in danger or threatened by them. In Cozumel we swam with dolphins, an excursion we booked through the ship. The price was very reasonable - just over $100 each. I've seen these excursions in other ports for almost $300. It took place in Chankanaab National Park, which was an awesome place. Admission there is $20 each on its own, and when you figure in the included transportation, the dolphin part of the trip really only cost about $70 each. We really enjoyed the time we spent with the dolphins. I highly recommend this excursion and spending time in Chankanaab. The reef there where you can snorkel is great as well - lots of fish to see and a quick dropoff to a water depth of about 20 feet. The water was crystal clear. The only negative with this excursion is that they really try to rip you off with the photos. They initially said the CD of all photos was $140, and then came down to $100. One printed photo is $40! If they sold printed photos for $10-15 and the CD for $50, I think most people would buy them. As it is, I'm not sure, but I can say they lost $50 on me. The CD costs pennies and the photographer has already done the work, why not just make a reasonable profit?


Value For Money

There is still a price premium to be paid when sailing Oasis class ships. I think they will continue to drop more as the next couple of new Royal ships come out. Just remember that you are getting a much different product than most other ships. If you are just going to sit by the pool, you may be better off with a lesser ship. But if you like doing different things, then this ship is for you! This was probably the first cruise where I really felt like I needed another week to check everything out. I wanted to spend some more time in the Jazz Club, eat more times at the different food establishments, and I never feel like I've spent too much time on the FlowRider! I will definitely sail this class of ships again, especially since the upcoming dry dock will result in different shows. From a value standpoint, I'd still say Carnival does a better job. I sailed the Breeze in December (admittedly a time of lesser demand, and in an inside cabin), but an 8 night sailing on the Breeze was slightly less than half the cost of this one. But if you have the money to spend, this ship is great.


Summary

All in all we had a great time, and I still feel super blessed that we even made it onboard. That first meal in the Windjammer (although scraps of things I probably wouldn't have even tried) was one of my best on a cruise ship - just knowing that we made it, we had successfully surprised my Dad without blowing it, and we were about to spend a week on one of the best ships afloat. I'd highly recommend this ship to anyone but the least mobile people.
VegasMark’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin 11187
We had a Central Park Balcony - 11187. It is a great room! We usually don't spring for a balcony since we are value cruisers, but in this case the price difference was very minimal. Plus, it was a unique room since we have never been on Oasis class. It was nice to be able to go out to the balcony on occasion and get air in the room, but I still don't think I spent more than 1 hour out there in total all week. If the price is minimally more, we'd book this cabin again, but we also have no problem being in an inside cabin. The cabin itself was not much different than other ones we've been in with the exception of the balcony. This room has the couch closest to the balcony and the bed closer to the bathroom. Some people have complained about the access to the closet with the bed right there. I agree with the setup causing some issues, but overall it wasn't a big deal. My parents had an oceanview balcony, and they had the bed closer to the balcony door. That is probably a slightly better setup, but I wouldn't fret too much if your cabin is like ours. The only other minor difference from our past cabins seemed to be a lack of a regular nightstand - only 3 or 4 shelves. This worked out fine for us. The bathroom was your normal setup and worked fine as well. Nice to have a shower door and not a curtain.
  Allure of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Dolphin Swim & Encounter
    In Cozumel we swam with dolphins, an excursion we booked through the ship. The price was very reasonable - just over $100 each. I've seen these excursions in other ports for almost $300. It took place in Chankanaab National Park, which was an awesome place. Admission there is $20 each on its own, and when you figure in the included transportation, the dolphin part of the trip really only cost about $70 each. We really enjoyed the time we spent with the dolphins. I highly recommend this excursion and spending time in Chankanaab. The reef there where you can snorkel is great as well - lots of fish to see and a quick dropoff to a water depth of about 20 feet. The water was crystal clear. The only negative with this excursion is that they really try to rip you off with the photos. They initially said the CD of all photos was $140, and then came down to $100. One printed photo is $40! If they sold printed photos for $10-15 and the CD for $50, I think most people would buy them. As it is, I'm not sure, but I can say they lost $50 on me. The CD costs pennies and the photographer has already done the work, why not just make a reasonable profit?
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  • Falmouth
    We didn't do too much in Falmouth. We had planned to go to the Blue Hole and Dunn's River Falls, but after our initial travel snafu, we didn't feel like poking the tiger again. We left the ship late and just strolled the shops inside the pier as well as those just outside. We bought a unique, hand carved, wooden tree with removable leaves and birds from a nice guy we met outside the gates. The folks outside are a bit more aggressive, but we never felt in danger or threatened by them.
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  • Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
    Great place to depart from given close proximity to airport. Cab fare runs about $15 and should take less than ten minutes. Fun to see all the different ships lined up and ready to take off!
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  • Labadee
    Labadee is just a great beach day. I was however disappointed to see that they have removed the volleyball court from the island. I remember playing some great games there in the past, so I don't understand why they would take this down. The bbq they provide is good - they have burgers, dogs, jerk chicken, ribs, and sides. The desserts weren't too inspired, but I ate my share on the ship, so that was fine. The beach to the right was very peaceful, while fairly strong waves were hitting the other side. I always enjoy going to Labadee.
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