I consider myself a fairly seasoned traveller who is not "high maintenance", but this experience prompted me to alert others to proceed with caution when booking on Allure of the Seas. Before you book, especially if the cruise seems quite full even though you are booking far in advance, INSIST on knowing if there is a big group on the cruise because it can ruin your experience.
In our case, there was a group of 3000 people affiliated with Omnilife (all wearing purple shirts so easy to identify). This group overran the ship everywhere you turned and tended to travel in packs so that when they descended on a venue it created havoc (e.g. long lines, running out of food, lots of pushing and shoving). Many of the RC staff indicated they knew this was going to be a bad week after the first evening. RC seemed oblivious to the impact a group of this size would have on the other half of the paying passengers.
- The ship itself was well maintained and the cabins were well appointed.
- Food was average. MyTime dining was well organized (and this was the one refuge we found on the ship as this must not have been in included in the Omnilife reward trip package).
- Mamma Mia was quite a good production vs. the typical cruise ship quality.
- RC staff generally very friendly when not frustrated by the large group.
- Guest services - Phone help was fairly good for the few questions I had. Would have liked to ask in person, but lineups at guest services were always long. The last day, the lineups (I assume to settle accounts in cash) had to be 500 people long so a good reason to pay with a credit card to avoid the lineups.
-Disembarkation was a problem at ports of call with a shuttle bus where it was mandatory to get you to the port gate. Rome in particular was terrible with waits of 1-2 hours well into midmorning. This delay caused more than one passenger to miss tours they had arranged in Rome.
-Spa staff were very visible the first few days with constant attempts to upsell.
-High speed internet was spotty at times which was frustrating given the additional cost associated with this service.
RC replied to our travel agent when they raised a concern with a "please accept our apologies and hope your client will grant Royal Caribbean International another opportunity to welcome them onboard one of our ships in the future" response. There was no acknowledgement of the issues on this cruise.
Cabin was spacious and well maintained.