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Only our second cruise but first with RC on a big ship. Traveled with other family members on this first time Mediterranean adventure who have more cruises under their belts. These veterans also enjoyed this ship and itinerary but still rated Princess one step higher than RC for various touches. For example, Princess will do free laundry for you when you get on the boat-- nice if you have been traveling before cruise. Youngest traveler in this group of 8 was a senior in high school. Oldest 63. Did some excursions, shows, and dining together yet had time apart for individual indulgences-- fitness center, spa etc. Agree with other reviews that for such a large ship we never felt crowded with so many activities going on in different areas of the ship. Check in and embarkation as well as disembarkation was efficient and easy. Service was impressively friendly and attentive throughout the ship. All of our “subgroups" had balcony rooms which were adequate and well appointed. Free Room service coffee/breakfast in morning a nice touch occasionally instead of the breakfast buffet although many times the morning view at the dock was quite “industrial”. Ship Information and location maps easy to use thought the ship. Even Magellan would not get lost easily. Comments/Complaints/FYI -We got to Rome 2 days early for city sightseeing etc. If you aren’t a history buff you will have had your fill of ruins tours by the time you finish Rome! Enchanting city but hot and crowded in summer as one might expect. -Caution! Rome airport (FCO) is a busy place with many terminals. Know where you are going, especially on the return home leg. For example, United is terminal 5 for processing and check in but then you are shuttled to gates at a different terminal. If you are jetting off to a European city know where you need to go before you get there. It can be a madhouse. Don’t expect your shuttle driver to have all the right info. -We used Bob’s Limo Service for all group transport from airport to Rome and Rome to port and port to airport. Dependable and on time. They do tours too so check out their website. -Recommend Hilton Garden Inn at Rome airport (FCO) for staging needs. There is a regular airport shuttle bus to get you to hotel and to terminals from hotel. -We selected the 06:30pm dinner seating time for our group. Worked great even with day trips. The 08:30pm seating would be a bit late for diabetics etc who are ready to eat an earlier meal. -Do not neglect a very nice quiet breakfast buffet or lunch buffet at the Solarium on the front of the ship when the Windjammer buffet gets too crowded. Breezy and nice setting! -Took advantage of the formal nights to try and get some good pictures of the group and couples. The photographers were young and anxious to get good shots but many did not take that extra second to ensure a jacket was straight or someones pose was just right so some pics were unfortunately not what they could have been. Take your time and police your own details before the flash. -Balcony cabins great. Only complaints no outlets by the bed. Bring an extension cord if needed for things like running a CPAP (Breathing machine for Apnea) etc. -Ship’s shows were enjoyable but may fall short of expectations for some. We made our reservations online ahead of time as we were told some fill up fast. The Broadway show “Mamma Mia” was top notch entertainment and a highlight. -For those with wheat sensitivities! You will be surprised with may gluten free options in all venues and countries! Know the translation for “gluten free” in italian, spanish, and french. We even found gluten free bread in a bakery in Aix-en-Provence. -Biggest complaints were with the ship sponsored shore excursions of which we took 2. Suggest wrangle your own private tour ahead of time for some places or just use public transportation when that works to get you where you need to go at great savings over the ship tours. For planning tours, you need to know when the ship will leave the port each day. It changes and is earlier on some stops than others. You should also account for the fact that Barcelona is a Sunday stop and the city has different offerings than you might find during the week. Naples If you take the time and trouble to go to Pompeii (see more ruins in the hot sun) you are truly a history buff. You might be disappointed that many of the finer displays (human forms in lava etc) have been moved to the Pompeii Museum in Naples. Consider that for an alternative. The public train to Pompeii was crowded and teeming with pick pockets. Consider a boat ride from port to Capri or Sorrento if you want to avoid another history lesson. Barcelona We took the double decker red bus tour for a look see of the major town sites. A little sleepier on Sundays. Las Ramblas walk for lunch and marketplace shopping was the main event. Have to be back on the boat fairly early so have a few objectives and enjoy them. Its all about Gaudi and his architecture in Barcelona! Yes there is a beach too. Palma Majorca Took the 6 euro round trip shuttle bus to town for a walk around the old neighborhood behind the Basilica and of course majorca pearl shopping. Then we took a taxi to the beach for an enjoyable afternoon of sun and surf (about 1.5 miles east of the shuttle drop off point). We ended up taking taxis back to the ship. Several great beaches are at your disposal. Marseilles Ship Excursion #1 (55 euros each) Bus tour to Aix-en-Provence. A truly enjoyable city-- a mini-Paris. Now the not so great part. The bus left for the city late from the port waiting for stragglers (after 9am). Then in town,we were told by our guide to be back on the bus by 12:30pm. The walking tour ended at 11:30 so there was scant little time to enjoy the city, eat, and meander around. We were back at port by 2 but the ship did not leave port until 5:30pm so we could have had a much better experience with another 1 to 2 hours in town. We heard a similar complaint from the group that went to Caisis. Whats the rush to get back? Arrange your own tour on your timetable! LaSpezia We decided our group did not need a grueling 9 hour excursion to Florence on the last day of the cruise. Yes, LaSpezia is farther away from Florence than Livorno so take that into account. We chose to sign up for the ships excursion to Cinque Terre. Ship Excursion #2 (155 Euros each) A bus, boat, train trip to the small sea cliff villages west of LaSpezia with a stop on the way back on the bus at an new outlet mall. The short story is that the ship excursion is not worth the money. We bailed off the tour at Monterosso (a quaint little beach resort village) to enjoy lunch and an afternoon at the beach. We took the train back to LaSpezia around 4pm (8 euros each) and had to taxi from the train station to the port for about 15 Euros. We made it back by 5:30 pm while the tour made it back by 7pm. If you are going to do Cinque Terre, arrange a private tour or take the train and go do the villages yourself or just go to Monterosso on the train for a complete experience including eating, shopping, and beach time. Much cheaper and more enjoyable! There are supposed to be walking trails between some of the villages. Be advised some are closed from landslides. Get updates on this from the local tourist offices before trying to do any hiking. All in all this was a very enjoyable cruise with lifetime memories. This RC ship is well run and 6000 guests were for the most part well taken care of from our perspective. The extra charges can add up so be careful on the boat and enjoy what you already paid for in your fare! Spending some time planning your port visits ahead of time pays big dividends especially if you are traveling in a larger group. We did not kill ourselves trying to do too much. With the time allotted in port you can only scratch the surface enjoying a few priorities. We would try RC again in another part of the world on another adventure but plan on sampling Princess as well. Italy is a challenge for newcomers on the front and back end of the cruise. Don’t be in a hurry and try and learn a few conversational words. It will go a long way. Ciao!

Nice Ship, Great Itinerary, Plan Your Own Excursions!

Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by Seniorflyer

Trip Details
Only our second cruise but first with RC on a big ship. Traveled with other family members on this first time Mediterranean adventure who have more cruises under their belts. These veterans also enjoyed this ship and itinerary but still rated Princess one step higher than RC for various touches. For example, Princess will do free laundry for you when you get on the boat-- nice if you have been traveling before cruise. Youngest traveler in this group of 8 was a senior in high school. Oldest 63. Did some excursions, shows, and dining together yet had time apart for individual indulgences-- fitness center, spa etc.

Agree with other reviews that for such a large ship we never felt crowded with so many activities going on in different areas of the ship. Check in and embarkation as well as disembarkation was efficient and easy. Service was impressively friendly and attentive throughout the ship. All of our “subgroups" had balcony rooms which were adequate and well appointed. Free Room service coffee/breakfast in morning a nice touch occasionally instead of the breakfast buffet although many times the morning view at the dock was quite “industrial”. Ship Information and location maps easy to use thought the ship. Even Magellan would not get lost easily.

Comments/Complaints/FYI

-We got to Rome 2 days early for city sightseeing etc. If you aren’t a history buff you will have had your fill of ruins tours by the time you finish Rome! Enchanting city but hot and crowded in summer as one might expect.

-Caution! Rome airport (FCO) is a busy place with many terminals. Know where you are going, especially on the return home leg. For example, United is terminal 5 for processing and check in but then you are shuttled to gates at a different terminal. If you are jetting off to a European city know where you need to go before you get there. It can be a madhouse. Don’t expect your shuttle driver to have all the right info.

-We used Bob’s Limo Service for all group transport from airport to Rome and Rome to port and port to airport. Dependable and on time. They do tours too so check out their website.

-Recommend Hilton Garden Inn at Rome airport (FCO) for staging needs. There is a regular airport shuttle bus to get you to hotel and to terminals from hotel.

-We selected the 06:30pm dinner seating time for our group. Worked great even with day trips. The 08:30pm seating would be a bit late for diabetics etc who are ready to eat an earlier meal.

-Do not neglect a very nice quiet breakfast buffet or lunch buffet at the Solarium on the front of the ship when the Windjammer buffet gets too crowded. Breezy and nice setting!

-Took advantage of the formal nights to try and get some good pictures of the group and couples. The photographers were young and anxious to get good shots but many did not take that extra second to ensure a jacket was straight or someones pose was just right so some pics were unfortunately not what they could have been. Take your time and police your own details before the flash.

-Balcony cabins great. Only complaints no outlets by the bed. Bring an extension cord if needed for things like running a CPAP (Breathing machine for Apnea) etc.

-Ship’s shows were enjoyable but may fall short of expectations for some. We made our reservations online ahead of time as we were told some fill up fast. The Broadway show “Mamma Mia” was top notch entertainment and a highlight.

-For those with wheat sensitivities! You will be surprised with may gluten free options in all venues and countries! Know the translation for “gluten free” in italian, spanish, and french. We even found gluten free bread in a bakery in Aix-en-Provence.

-Biggest complaints were with the ship sponsored shore excursions of which we took 2. Suggest wrangle your own private tour ahead of time for some places or just use public transportation when that works to get you where you need to go at great savings over the ship tours. For planning tours, you need to know when the ship will leave the port each day. It changes and is earlier on some stops than others. You should also account for the fact that Barcelona is a Sunday stop and the city has different offerings than you might find during the week.

Naples If you take the time and trouble to go to Pompeii (see more ruins in the hot sun) you are truly a history buff. You might be disappointed that many of the finer displays (human forms in lava etc) have been moved to the Pompeii Museum in Naples. Consider that for an alternative. The public train to Pompeii was crowded and teeming with pick pockets. Consider a boat ride from port to Capri or Sorrento if you want to avoid another history lesson.

Barcelona We took the double decker red bus tour for a look see of the major town sites. A little sleepier on Sundays. Las Ramblas walk for lunch and marketplace shopping was the main event. Have to be back on the boat fairly early so have a few objectives and enjoy them. Its all about Gaudi and his architecture in Barcelona! Yes there is a beach too.

Palma Majorca Took the 6 euro round trip shuttle bus to town for a walk around the old neighborhood behind the Basilica and of course majorca pearl shopping. Then we took a taxi to the beach for an enjoyable afternoon of sun and surf (about 1.5 miles east of the shuttle drop off point). We ended up taking taxis back to the ship. Several great beaches are at your disposal.

Marseilles Ship Excursion #1 (55 euros each) Bus tour to Aix-en-Provence. A truly enjoyable city-- a mini-Paris. Now the not so great part. The bus left for the city late from the port waiting for stragglers (after 9am). Then in town,we were told by our guide to be back on the bus by 12:30pm. The walking tour ended at 11:30 so there was scant little time to enjoy the city, eat, and meander around. We were back at port by 2 but the ship did not leave port until 5:30pm so we could have had a much better experience with another 1 to 2 hours in town. We heard a similar complaint from the group that went to Caisis. Whats the rush to get back? Arrange your own tour on your timetable!

LaSpezia We decided our group did not need a grueling 9 hour excursion to Florence on the last day of the cruise. Yes, LaSpezia is farther away from Florence than Livorno so take that into account. We chose to sign up for the ships excursion to Cinque Terre. Ship Excursion #2 (155 Euros each) A bus, boat, train trip to the small sea cliff villages west of LaSpezia with a stop on the way back on the bus at an new outlet mall. The short story is that the ship excursion is not worth the money. We bailed off the tour at Monterosso (a quaint little beach resort village) to enjoy lunch and an afternoon at the beach. We took the train back to LaSpezia around 4pm (8 euros each) and had to taxi from the train station to the port for about 15 Euros. We made it back by 5:30 pm while the tour made it back by 7pm. If you are going to do Cinque Terre, arrange a private tour or take the train and go do the villages yourself or just go to Monterosso on the train for a complete experience including eating, shopping, and beach time. Much cheaper and more enjoyable! There are supposed to be walking trails between some of the villages. Be advised some are closed from landslides. Get updates on this from the local tourist offices before trying to do any hiking.

All in all this was a very enjoyable cruise with lifetime memories. This RC ship is well run and 6000 guests were for the most part well taken care of from our perspective. The extra charges can add up so be careful on the boat and enjoy what you already paid for in your fare! Spending some time planning your port visits ahead of time pays big dividends especially if you are traveling in a larger group. We did not kill ourselves trying to do too much. With the time allotted in port you can only scratch the surface enjoying a few priorities. We would try RC again in another part of the world on another adventure but plan on sampling Princess as well.

Italy is a challenge for newcomers on the front and back end of the cruise. Don’t be in a hurry and try and learn a few conversational words. It will go a long way. Ciao!
Seniorflyer’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8298
Well appointed balcony stateroom. Air conditioning could stand to be a little cooler on hot days.
The soda and snack stock for sale in the refrigerator was in the way and put in a drawer for the cruise. Housekeeper barged into room on checkout day while we were packing to inventory the stock. A bit tacky.

Nice balcony and fairly roomy bathroom. Overall adequate storage. Electric plugs in short supply bedside.
  Allure of the Seas Deck Plans