1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Allure of the Seas
We just got off the Allure of the Seas 7 day Med. tour starting in Barcelona. My husband and I have cruised a fair amount... 6 on Carnival, 1 on Princess, 1 on Celebrity, 3 on Silver Seas and 2 on Cunard ( Sea Goddess when they were still part of that line). Carnival Liberty was the largest ship prior to this one, and also a European cruise. There were 8 in our group, our 3 adult children and their significant others. Here are some notes from the cruise. 1: As others have said, embarkation was very smooth. From cab to cabin in perhaps 20 minutes? Some of the rooms were ready at 12:30, others not til 1:00pm. We checked in at noon, and went to the Windjammer for lunch. 2: Cabin: We had 12624... ocean balcony. The room was quite comfortable for 2. Bed very comfortable, sofa, coffee table. Bathroom has a good amount of storage. Lots of closet and adequate drawers. NOTE: only shampoo and bar soap provided. No conditioner or shower gel as some ships have. The balcony was quiet, but often too hot. Also in port, our views (starboard side) were mostly of industrial ports. We could use the balcony in the evening but really too hot on this summer cruise during the day. Our kids had adjoining cabins on deck 11 overlooking Central park. I loved these cabins. It is definitely quieter there thank Broadway, but often music playing from below, and they still get the sky and a fair amount of breezes. And the sun did not heat up their room/ balcony like ours. Their steward opened the dividers between their balconies for them for the whole cruise. 3: The ship is amazingly impressive. Overwhelming...but they seem to have thought of every activity, etc. The art work is truly impressive... in every stairwell and around the ship. Central park is really lovely and peaceful, Boardwalk fun like a carnival,... truly amazing. The only day it felt crowded was the sea day, and still there are quieter areas around. Never had any issue with getting off in ports, sometimes a bit of a line waiting for shuttles to get back on. Certainly were some lines at times for eating but not bad. And sometimes a little wait for an elevator, but again, we did not find this that much of an issue. 4: Very hot here in July. 5: No public laundry on ship. You have to pay to have them do it. ( rather costly) One day they offer "wash and fold" only, ( no iron)... for $30 for a bag ( perhaps 15 inches by 24).. and our steward told us it was a "Buy one get one half off" day... 2 bags for $45. However our kids steward did not tell them this, and they had to ask. For this cruise it was on Wednesday, the La Spezia Day. 6: Internet was much better than we thought. First day special: 2 devices unlimited for 22/day ( 11 each). Plus tax etc. So for the whole cruise $157 for 2 devices, PLUS $33 for VAT Tax. ( see note below). Those of us with I-phones were able to use internet I-chat online to find each other, etc. 7: Dining: We chose my time, and found out just before we sailed that we could reserve our times on the phone with RC... they basically still only offer early and late, one cannot reserve 7:30, for example. So we had 8:00-8:15 most nights. The dining room is lovely... and we had great staff. We were able to request the same table and staff for the whole cruise. The food was about a B-. Some dishes very good, some average... but all edible. And if you want 2 appetizers, no problem... a second helping of something...sure. Note: someone made a comment that they were escorted to their table by someone holding a map who "did not know what was going on". Well, there are new crew members with each sailing, and some ARE very new to the whole experience, so try to be understanding, folks. We also had that happen only the first night, and then we found our way every night there after. Also we found the waitstaff very eager and friendly, and they seemed to enjoy the dances and songs... We also ate in the Windjammer for breakfast or lunch a few times and the food there was quite good. Passed through there once or twice at dinner time and it looked terrific. We chose not to do any of the extra $ restaurants but to use that money to eat well in port. Note: the Solarium offers a nice breakfast ( 16 yrs old and up area)... and was much quieter. The main dining room offers menu breakfast, but we never tried that. Also, the Central Park Cafe has a great little lunch...salad, ( they make to your request), fresh cut roasted beef sandwiches and paninis.. Also, if you do have a late dinner... we would sometimes go to the Windjammer at 6 and make a plate of cheeses, olives, etc to snack and have with wine in the room. 8: Activities/ Entertainment: Wow.. so many. But there is an issue with a huge ship. They cannot fit everyone in every show. You can get tickets ( free) ahead of time online or on your TV in your room. If you don't have tickets you have to wait in line and see if there is room. Also, if you are eating later it is difficult to get many of the night time activities. We ate together every night and it took about 2 hours. But that was what we wanted. If you wish to go to the shows and such, you could eat in the Windjammer, or try a "my time" earlier time. We had no young children with us... so cannot personally comment on that part other than to say it looked like there were many, many things for them. Also, the aqua show...no tickets needed but get there about half an hour early if you want a seat. Nice little show. Two of our group did ice skating. Also said to get there early, as the 30 minutes it is open includes the time to check in and get on your skates. Some people only got about 10 minutes on the ice. Never was able to get to the comedian... wish they had a later show in English. The late show was always in Spanish. Other two times were during our dinner. Note: This ship was much more active at night than we expected. We were on Carnival Liberty a few years ago, and by 11 pm it was relatively quiet. This one was jammin' til at least midnight each night... There were many more European families and perhaps they were not touring from early to late as we were... I think many used the ship as a resort rather than to tour ports. Fun little thing: there are 20 art installations around the ship, called “Small Wonders”, that look like either binoculars or a ship's sextant... but look inside... not what you think. 2 of our group had a great time looking for them all and finally found the last one at 2 am on the last night. To give you a start... there is one of each kind near the Schooner bar...( on either side) 9: Disembarkation: Our flight home to the US on departure day was 2:40 pm. We have to be off the ship by 9:30. They offer excursions which then take you to the airport if you have a later flight, but they did not recommend it unless your flight was after 4, because the airport is doing random searches. We ended up just being the last off the ship. We were able to eat a leisurely breakfast, and left the ship at 9:30... We had a shared transfer, and got to the airport by 10:30. The airports was quite busy, so getting there early was good. They would not let us check our bags until 11:20, but we were first in line, so were able to relax and eat and shop... ( don't go thru the second security to the gate until closer to boarding. Very little near the gates) We used World airport Transfers to get from airport to hotel ( very good) and ship to airport ( average). They use different local companies to fill the requests. Ports: Barcelona: We arrived a day early and stayed in a great hotel: H10 Raco del Pi, a short walk to La Rambla and in the gothic area... We always try to stay awake til 10pm to get on local time, so booked a walking tour "Forever Barcelona" with Javier. It was wonderful. I added an extra hour as I knew we would need some time to sit and rest, so he led us to a wonderful restaurant for Tapas before we went into La Sagrada Familia... we were tired, but so, so worth it. Palma de Mallorca: We were all tired, so just slept in, and took the shuttle ( 20 minutes...I forget the fee..$5?round trip) into town, walked around a bit, some got gelato, others sat and had wine and tapas... and most of our group were back on board by 1 to relax and enjoy the ship. Marseille: 4 of our group did a private electric bike tour, which they liked very much. The other 4 did two ship tours. One couple did the Luberon Villages and Lavender, which they liked ( not sure if this is offered all the time as the lavender is harvested in July)... and my husband and I did the Villages of Provence, which we liked very much. There was only one tour bus going here on our trip so nothing was overcrowded. The little towns, especially Baux-de-Provence were lovely and had lots of great shops with many local items. This was the only day we did ship excursions and it was well run and easy to get off and on the ship. Italy Ports: Since there were 8 of us... we found using Italy Shore Drivers fantastic. They are private cars that hold 8... and all 3 were great.. Will review in more detail under shore excursion reviews... but they also have a web site where you can try to find people to join you and make up the 8. For us, even including tips and the extra skip the line tickets and some private guides it was always less money that the ship excursions. La Spezia: no private tours or cabs to the ship side. They provide a free shuttle to the front of the port. About 5 minutes. With our private tour we went to Portovenere and Cinque Terre. The latter, unfortunately, has become very popular, so quite crowded, and since the last time we were here, has changed to be mostly tourist items, ( vs local craft items)... and the food was just so-so and over priced compared to 5 years ago. But the villages themselves are just amazing. Civitavecchia (Rome)... 1.5 hours from port ( Our driver said they are building a new port about 1/2 hour away but says it will be many years). We had the "Rome my way" trip from Italy Shore drivers. 2 were dropped off to tour on their own in Trastevere, and two took a private culinary walking tour in the same area ( Fantastic if you have already seen the Rome sites...it is www.eatingitalyfoodtours.com) So much food ... and wine. The other 4 had never been here before, two from our group went to the Colloseum with skip the line tickets ( which the company obtained) and the other two went to the Varican, also skip the line tickets and a private guide)... And the rest of the time they were shown around the sites and also had a lovely non-tourist lunch. Naples: We went to Pompeii, and they arranged a private guide there as well... then we chose to skip Sorrento and spend more time in Positano. They recommended a wonderful restaurant above the town, great views, amazing food... Constantino. ( I believe)... then we were driven down into town and we had about 90 minutes to explore.. just fantastic. General comments: What a great trip. We wanted to introduce our "kids" to Europe and thought a cruise the best way, and this itinerary fit the bill. About 3/4 of the passengers get on/off in Barcelona, and it is much more convenient to the port than Rome. There are two ATMs on board on either end of deck 5. One ( a BB&T bank) dispenses US dollars, the other Euro. And if you get the wrong one, and need to change for Euros at the service desk, they do not give the best exchange rates. VAT TAX: we were told that because the ship sets out from Barcelona and returns there they need to comply with the Spanish VAT tax, and it was on everything. Added up for drink packages, internet and pictures. We were also told that one can only apply for refunds for items, not services or food. So keep in mind that 21% tax adds up. We were a little concerned about such a large ship, but overall it was fine. Personally, we have decided we like a ship a bit smaller. Thought the Carnival Liberty, about 3000 passengers, more to our liking. Felt more personal. But certainly if you have kids, and especially cruises with lots of ship time, this might be what you want. RC did many things well... but as mentioned by many, lots of selling and added fees. However, I am sure Carnival and some of the others are doing the same. Princess did last year, although not quite as much as this time. There is still plenty to do, plenty of options that will not add to the total cost.

Notes as we cruise

Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by AmyNC

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We just got off the Allure of the Seas 7 day Med. tour starting in Barcelona. My husband and I have cruised a fair amount... 6 on Carnival, 1 on Princess, 1 on Celebrity, 3 on Silver Seas and 2 on Cunard ( Sea Goddess when they were still part of that line). Carnival Liberty was the largest ship prior to this one, and also a European cruise. There were 8 in our group, our 3 adult children and their significant others.

Here are some notes from the cruise.

1: As others have said, embarkation was very smooth. From cab to cabin in perhaps 20 minutes? Some of the rooms were ready at 12:30, others not til 1:00pm. We checked in at noon, and went to the Windjammer for lunch.

2: Cabin: We had 12624... ocean balcony. The room was quite comfortable for 2. Bed very comfortable, sofa, coffee table. Bathroom has a good amount of storage. Lots of closet and adequate drawers. NOTE: only shampoo and bar soap provided. No conditioner or shower gel as some ships have. The balcony was quiet, but often too hot. Also in port, our views (starboard side) were mostly of industrial ports. We could use the balcony in the evening but really too hot on this summer cruise during the day.

Our kids had adjoining cabins on deck 11 overlooking Central park. I loved these cabins. It is definitely quieter there thank Broadway, but often music playing from below, and they still get the sky and a fair amount of breezes. And the sun did not heat up their room/ balcony like ours. Their steward opened the dividers between their balconies for them for the whole cruise.

3: The ship is amazingly impressive. Overwhelming...but they seem to have thought of every activity, etc. The art work is truly impressive... in every stairwell and around the ship. Central park is really lovely and peaceful, Boardwalk fun like a carnival,... truly amazing.

The only day it felt crowded was the sea day, and still there are quieter areas around. Never had any issue with getting off in ports, sometimes a bit of a line waiting for shuttles to get back on. Certainly were some lines at times for eating but not bad. And sometimes a little wait for an elevator, but again, we did not find this that much of an issue.

4: Very hot here in July.

5: No public laundry on ship. You have to pay to have them do it. ( rather costly) One day they offer "wash and fold" only, ( no iron)... for $30 for a bag ( perhaps 15 inches by 24).. and our steward told us it was a "Buy one get one half off" day... 2 bags for $45. However our kids steward did not tell them this, and they had to ask. For this cruise it was on Wednesday, the La Spezia Day.

6: Internet was much better than we thought. First day special: 2 devices unlimited for 22/day ( 11 each). Plus tax etc. So for the whole cruise $157 for 2 devices, PLUS $33 for VAT Tax. ( see note below). Those of us with I-phones were able to use internet I-chat online to find each other, etc.

7: Dining: We chose my time, and found out just before we sailed that we could reserve our times on the phone with RC... they basically still only offer early and late, one cannot reserve 7:30, for example. So we had 8:00-8:15 most nights. The dining room is lovely... and we had great staff. We were able to request the same table and staff for the whole cruise. The food was about a B-. Some dishes very good, some average... but all edible. And if you want 2 appetizers, no problem... a second helping of something...sure.

Note: someone made a comment that they were escorted to their table by someone holding a map who "did not know what was going on". Well, there are new crew members with each sailing, and some ARE very new to the whole experience, so try to be understanding, folks. We also had that happen only the first night, and then we found our way every night there after. Also we found the waitstaff very eager and friendly, and they seemed to enjoy the dances and songs...

We also ate in the Windjammer for breakfast or lunch a few times and the food there was quite good. Passed through there once or twice at dinner time and it looked terrific.

We chose not to do any of the extra $ restaurants but to use that money to eat well in port.

Note: the Solarium offers a nice breakfast ( 16 yrs old and up area)... and was much quieter. The main dining room offers menu breakfast, but we never tried that. Also, the Central Park Cafe has a great little lunch...salad, ( they make to your request), fresh cut roasted beef sandwiches and paninis..

Also, if you do have a late dinner... we would sometimes go to the Windjammer at 6 and make a plate of cheeses, olives, etc to snack and have with wine in the room.

8: Activities/ Entertainment: Wow.. so many. But there is an issue with a huge ship. They cannot fit everyone in every show. You can get tickets ( free) ahead of time online or on your TV in your room. If you don't have tickets you have to wait in line and see if there is room. Also, if you are eating later it is difficult to get many of the night time activities.

We ate together every night and it took about 2 hours. But that was what we wanted. If you wish to go to the shows and such, you could eat in the Windjammer, or try a "my time" earlier time.

We had no young children with us... so cannot personally comment on that part other than to say it looked like there were many, many things for them.

Also, the aqua show...no tickets needed but get there about half an hour early if you want a seat. Nice little show.

Two of our group did ice skating. Also said to get there early, as the 30 minutes it is open includes the time to check in and get on your skates. Some people only got about 10 minutes on the ice.

Never was able to get to the comedian... wish they had a later show in English. The late show was always in Spanish. Other two times were during our dinner.

Note: This ship was much more active at night than we expected. We were on Carnival Liberty a few years ago, and by 11 pm it was relatively quiet. This one was jammin' til at least midnight each night... There were many more European families and perhaps they were not touring from early to late as we were... I think many used the ship as a resort rather than to tour ports.

Fun little thing: there are 20 art installations around the ship, called “Small Wonders”, that look like either binoculars or a ship's sextant... but look inside... not what you think. 2 of our group had a great time looking for them all and finally found the last one at 2 am on the last night. To give you a start... there is one of each kind near the Schooner bar...( on either side)

9: Disembarkation: Our flight home to the US on departure day was 2:40 pm. We have to be off the ship by 9:30. They offer excursions which then take you to the airport if you have a later flight, but they did not recommend it unless your flight was after 4, because the airport is doing random searches. We ended up just being the last off the ship. We were able to eat a leisurely breakfast, and left the ship at 9:30... We had a shared transfer, and got to the airport by 10:30. The airports was quite busy, so getting there early was good. They would not let us check our bags until 11:20, but we were first in line, so were able to relax and eat and shop... ( don't go thru the second security to the gate until closer to boarding. Very little near the gates)

We used World airport Transfers to get from airport to hotel ( very good) and ship to airport ( average). They use different local companies to fill the requests.

Ports:

Barcelona: We arrived a day early and stayed in a great hotel: H10 Raco del Pi, a short walk to La Rambla and in the gothic area... We always try to stay awake til 10pm to get on local time, so booked a walking tour "Forever Barcelona" with Javier. It was wonderful. I added an extra hour as I knew we would need some time to sit and rest, so he led us to a wonderful restaurant for Tapas before we went into La Sagrada Familia... we were tired, but so, so worth it.

Palma de Mallorca: We were all tired, so just slept in, and took the shuttle ( 20 minutes...I forget the fee..$5?round trip) into town, walked around a bit, some got gelato, others sat and had wine and tapas... and most of our group were back on board by 1 to relax and enjoy the ship.

Marseille: 4 of our group did a private electric bike tour, which they liked very much. The other 4 did two ship tours. One couple did the Luberon Villages and Lavender, which they liked ( not sure if this is offered all the time as the lavender is harvested in July)... and my husband and I did the Villages of Provence, which we liked very much. There was only one tour bus going here on our trip so nothing was overcrowded. The little towns, especially Baux-de-Provence were lovely and had lots of great shops with many local items. This was the only day we did ship excursions and it was well run and easy to get off and on the ship.

Italy Ports: Since there were 8 of us... we found using Italy Shore Drivers fantastic. They are private cars that hold 8... and all 3 were great.. Will review in more detail under shore excursion reviews... but they also have a web site where you can try to find people to join you and make up the 8. For us, even including tips and the extra skip the line tickets and some private guides it was always less money that the ship excursions.

La Spezia: no private tours or cabs to the ship side. They provide a free shuttle to the front of the port. About 5 minutes.

With our private tour we went to Portovenere and Cinque Terre. The latter, unfortunately, has become very popular, so quite crowded, and since the last time we were here, has changed to be mostly tourist items, ( vs local craft items)... and the food was just so-so and over priced compared to 5 years ago. But the villages themselves are just amazing.

Civitavecchia (Rome)... 1.5 hours from port ( Our driver said they are building a new port about 1/2 hour away but says it will be many years). We had the "Rome my way" trip from Italy Shore drivers. 2 were dropped off to tour on their own in Trastevere, and two took a private culinary walking tour in the same area ( Fantastic if you have already seen the Rome sites...it is www.eatingitalyfoodtours.com) So much food ... and wine.

The other 4 had never been here before, two from our group went to the Colloseum with skip the line tickets ( which the company obtained) and the other two went to the Varican, also skip the line tickets and a private guide)... And the rest of the time they were shown around the sites and also had a lovely non-tourist lunch.

Naples: We went to Pompeii, and they arranged a private guide there as well... then we chose to skip Sorrento and spend more time in Positano. They recommended a wonderful restaurant above the town, great views, amazing food... Constantino. ( I believe)... then we were driven down into town and we had about 90 minutes to explore.. just fantastic.

General comments: What a great trip. We wanted to introduce our "kids" to Europe and thought a cruise the best way, and this itinerary fit the bill. About 3/4 of the passengers get on/off in Barcelona, and it is much more convenient to the port than Rome.

There are two ATMs on board on either end of deck 5. One ( a BB&T bank) dispenses US dollars, the other Euro. And if you get the wrong one, and need to change for Euros at the service desk, they do not give the best exchange rates.

VAT TAX: we were told that because the ship sets out from Barcelona and returns there they need to comply with the Spanish VAT tax, and it was on everything. Added up for drink packages, internet and pictures. We were also told that one can only apply for refunds for items, not services or food. So keep in mind that 21% tax adds up.

We were a little concerned about such a large ship, but overall it was fine. Personally, we have decided we like a ship a bit smaller. Thought the Carnival Liberty, about 3000 passengers, more to our liking. Felt more personal. But certainly if you have kids, and especially cruises with lots of ship time, this might be what you want. RC did many things well... but as mentioned by many, lots of selling and added fees. However, I am sure Carnival and some of the others are doing the same. Princess did last year, although not quite as much as this time. There is still plenty to do, plenty of options that will not add to the total cost.
AmyNC’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Cabin 12624
Cabin: We had 12624... ocean balcony. The room was quite comfortable for 2. Bed very comfortable, sofa, coffee table. Bathroom has a good amount of storage. Lots of closet and adequate drawers. NOTE: only shampoo and bar soap provided. No conditioner or shower gel as some ships have. The balcony was quiet, but often too hot. Also in port, our views were mostly of industrial ports. We could use it in the evening but really too hot on this summer cruise during the day.

Our kids ( 22-34 years old) had adjoining cabins on deck 11 overlooking Central park. I loved these cabins. It is definitely quieter there, and they still get the sky and a fair amount of breezes. And the sun did not heat up their room/ balcony like ours. Their steward opened the dividers between their balconies for them.

I liked our location as we were midway between the 2 elevator/ stair banks.
  Allure of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • city center private Barcelona walking tour.
    Our guide met us at our hotel, and since we already had walked through the market and La Rambla, we spent more time in Gothic area, and La Sagrada Familia. We also added an extra hour to stop and refresh at a cafe. Our guide, Javier, had worked in La Segrada, and was so knowledgeable. Great way to learn a lot in a small time. Note: it involves either taxis or other public transport to get to the two areas, not included. Also our tour was supposed to end in Parc Guell, but we were too tired ( having flown in on the red-eye)... so we spents the extra time in Sagrada.
    View All 13,227 city center private Barcelona walking tour. Reviews
  • Cinque Terre
    This tour for 8 picks you up at the port, and you start in Portovenere, ( not on the ship's itinerary so quieter)... the guide walks us through some of the highlights. We then went to 3 of the Cinque terre towns, dropped off by the driver in Manarola at the top. We walked down to the beach, and took the ferry to Vernazza, and then the train to Monterroso. We had decided to spend most of our time here, and rather wish we had spent more time in Portovenere, as it was much less crowded and seemed a bit less touristy. A lot will depend on timing, as the trains and ferries have inconsistent schedules. Also, while we think the whole area is amazing if one has never been here, it has become much more touristy than when we were here in 2007. Food also more money and not as good. But the villages still amazing to see. Note: lots of hills and steps.
    View All 91 Cinque Terre Reviews
  • Luberon Villages and lavender.
    Two of us went on the Luberon Villages and Lavender tour.... and enjoyed. the lavender are in full bloom in July and harvested about this time.

    ( The others in our group did an electric assisted bicycle tour along the sea... thru Viator, and also had a great time).
    View All 13,227 Luberon Villages and lavender. Reviews
  • Les Baux de Provence
    Two of us took the Villages of Provence tour, which we thought wonderful. Only one busload went so we did not overpower the small towns. And it included an amazing art/light show in a converted limestone quarry... truly amazing. Two lovely small towns, St. Remy and Beaux-de-Provence.
    View All 14 Les Baux de Provence Reviews
  • Palma de Mallorca (Majorca)
    We chose to let this be a relaxing day, so just took the Royal Caribbean shuttle, either 5 dollars or 5 euro round trip, and walk about the lovely town for a while, back on the ship early to relax. If you go behind the cathedral and to the right, it is the older town with small windy streets and more local shops.
    View All 842 Palma de Mallorca (Majorca) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Palma de Mallorca (Majorca) Cruise Port Review