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My 5th cruise (twice with Carnival, once with Celebrity) and 2nd RCL cruise in 2018 (1st was Anthem in April), here are the good and bad of Allure and compared to Anthem (my Anthem review is at https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=615390) Prior to cruise I like it that you can book all important shows online using RCL's Cruise Planner at least a couple months out. Anthem there were some shows booked out really early. We didn't book any excursions however. I also did checkin and waivers etc online well ahead of the time. Embarkation We arrived around 12:15 pm. A lot of people already but since we have Expedited Arrival (I believe if you filled out info as much as possible online - like upload your security photo etc - you probably qualify for this), checkin was really fast. However, once inside, it was a little messy. Some people just kept walking and got to board right away, others - like us - got stopped by some guy and instructed to sit on some row of seats, yet no instruction/effort spent on which row you should sit. Then they call row by row, again messing up by calling some people who arrived way later earlier than those who arrived first. It didn't take too long to embark though, so it's not too bad. Food The lines at Windjammer are LONG!! Very long at times, like right after embarkation. We chose to eat at Wipeout Cafe instead, very limited choice but at least little wait. We did MDR all nights except for one, and most of the lunches too. The food is decent but not as good as Anthem. Lobster is again a bit pathetic (same as Anthem, worse than other lines like Celebrity or even Carnival). The worst part of the cuisine was that it was frequently too salty, particularly in the specialty restaurant Chops Grille. Everything was salty! Perhaps we got unlucky that night but definitely won't try again. Anthem's Wonderland was way way better than this. Its cuisine was overall at least one star better than Allure. Allure's Windjammer was slightly better than Anthem. Shows This is where Allure truly shines! Mamma Mia and OceanAria were both fantastic, the former having great music and a very good story, the latter being truly amazing at times. We were all turned off by OceanAria's clown at the beginning, clearly a Cirque du Soleil imitation - but it's just silly and gross, just like Cirque du Soleil's version. What the skaters were able to do with that tiny rink in The Ice Games was amazing too, so this show ranked 1st by one of my kids. The comedy shows were good too. Blue Planet was OK, interesting sets, use of light and effects, but not that interesting. Headliner with Lou Gazzara was pretty good. IMO order of shows are: Mamma Mia = OceanAria > The Ice Games > Lou Gazzara = Comedy Shows > Blue Planet. Overall the shows on Allure are fantastic, best of all 5 cruises we've been too, and a step above Anthem's for sure. Ship Overall well kept, carpets, chairs showing some age of course. Lots of activities, too many people - feels significantly more crowded than Anthem, or any other cruise we've been to, definitely a negative. Service Fantastic - they try really hard to make sure you're happy with what you got. Perhaps the only thing to pick on was that there seems to be a shortage of staff in MDR, so sometimes it could be a little slow, but nothing out of the ordinary. Best service we've had overall. Cabin Sadly they're oddly planned - the oceanview balcony felt really crammed and couldn't even fit one 28" suitcase without hindering walking/sitting etc. Anthem was much better. Also showing the age was the AC system, where one of our two cabins had a horrible smell that the staff just couldn't get rid of - more in my cabin review. Very disappointing. Worst experience of all cruises. Excursions In St. Martin, we walked off ship and called a taxi ($64 roundtrip for 4) to Maho beach. Way cheaper than ship's Maho beach excursion. The beach is small but famous. Very crowded. We went further away from where the jets land, and there're less people there, and you can in fact snorkel and see some fish there. In San Juan, we walked off and got offered a tour off pier, visiting new and old San Juan on bus for $25pp (they claim equivalent tour on ship costs $60pp, but I think the real equivalent one was $40pp on ship). Our driver Sammy in SJ Happy Tours was fantastic, knows a lot and liked to talk about the history. The tour itself had few good stops (didn't give us enough time at the fort to visit but left us near a shop and a tiny park for longer time) but the knowledge and sightseeing while on the bus made up for it. My suggestion is that if you're into guided tour, this is a reasonable option. Otherwise just use Google Trip, mark out the interesting places in Old San Juan and walk there, it's not too far and there's enough time. In Labadee, we rented kayak and paddle boat (30 mins for $15) from Nellie beach and it was great. The calm water there makes it very easy to learn and control. Columbus Cove has a bigger beach and also very calm water. But they're both sandy and with that many people from the ship, the water was quite murky. No fish except a tiny bit near rock, so no snorkeling. You can snorkel and see some fish at Dragon's Tail Beach (more windy, waves and has reef balls) but nothing to write home about. I don't know if snorkeling excursions would be better. We didn't try the zip line (looks good), aquapark or waterslide (all gimmicky looking). Very eager local sellers in Artisan's Village. Overall a bit too many people on Columbus Cover/Nellie's Beach side. Dragon's Tail Beach side better. You can also rent a safety box for $8 at Nellie Beach, which is convenient. Overall we were happy with our self-chosen/created excursions at these places and didn't feel we missed much compared to ship-listed excursions. Disembarkation SLOW but orderly. Nothing remarkable, just the result of too many people. Overall this ship has too many people, crowding the beaches, buffet, and pools. Anthem was clearly better, other smaller ships even more so. Fitness The room's a bit crammed (many machines but small area). Some machines not working right (the bikes have significantly different resistance at the same level 1). The classes got cancelled a lot (the instructors were more interested in selling the detox thing and would not teach a class when few people were there). Jogging track also quite crammed. Anthem was clearly better - bigger space, working machines, more motivated instructors.

Allure has great shows & service but is crowded with disappointing food & cabin

Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by will88

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
My 5th cruise (twice with Carnival, once with Celebrity) and 2nd RCL cruise in 2018 (1st was Anthem in April), here are the good and bad of Allure and compared to Anthem (my Anthem review is at https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=615390)

Prior to cruise

I like it that you can book all important shows online using RCL's Cruise Planner at least a couple months out. Anthem there were some shows booked out really early. We didn't book any excursions however. I also did checkin and waivers etc online well ahead of the time.

Embarkation

We arrived around 12:15 pm. A lot of people already but since we have Expedited Arrival (I believe if you filled out info as much as possible online - like upload your security photo etc - you probably qualify for this), checkin was really fast. However, once inside, it was a little messy. Some people just kept walking and got to board right away, others - like us - got stopped by some guy and instructed to sit on some row of seats, yet no instruction/effort spent on which row you should sit. Then they call row by row, again messing up by calling some people who arrived way later earlier than those who arrived first. It didn't take too long to embark though, so it's not too bad.

Food

The lines at Windjammer are LONG!! Very long at times, like right after embarkation. We chose to eat at Wipeout Cafe instead, very limited choice but at least little wait. We did MDR all nights except for one, and most of the lunches too. The food is decent but not as good as Anthem. Lobster is again a bit pathetic (same as Anthem, worse than other lines like Celebrity or even Carnival). The worst part of the cuisine was that it was frequently too salty, particularly in the specialty restaurant Chops Grille. Everything was salty! Perhaps we got unlucky that night but definitely won't try again. Anthem's Wonderland was way way better than this. Its cuisine was overall at least one star better than Allure. Allure's Windjammer was slightly better than Anthem.

Shows

This is where Allure truly shines! Mamma Mia and OceanAria were both fantastic, the former having great music and a very good story, the latter being truly amazing at times. We were all turned off by OceanAria's clown at the beginning, clearly a Cirque du Soleil imitation - but it's just silly and gross, just like Cirque du Soleil's version. What the skaters were able to do with that tiny rink in The Ice Games was amazing too, so this show ranked 1st by one of my kids. The comedy shows were good too. Blue Planet was OK, interesting sets, use of light and effects, but not that interesting. Headliner with Lou Gazzara was pretty good. IMO order of shows are: Mamma Mia = OceanAria > The Ice Games > Lou Gazzara = Comedy Shows > Blue Planet. Overall the shows on Allure are fantastic, best of all 5 cruises we've been too, and a step above Anthem's for sure.

Ship

Overall well kept, carpets, chairs showing some age of course. Lots of activities, too many people - feels significantly more crowded than Anthem, or any other cruise we've been to, definitely a negative.

Service

Fantastic - they try really hard to make sure you're happy with what you got. Perhaps the only thing to pick on was that there seems to be a shortage of staff in MDR, so sometimes it could be a little slow, but nothing out of the ordinary. Best service we've had overall.

Cabin

Sadly they're oddly planned - the oceanview balcony felt really crammed and couldn't even fit one 28" suitcase without hindering walking/sitting etc. Anthem was much better. Also showing the age was the AC system, where one of our two cabins had a horrible smell that the staff just couldn't get rid of - more in my cabin review. Very disappointing. Worst experience of all cruises.

Excursions

In St. Martin, we walked off ship and called a taxi ($64 roundtrip for 4) to Maho beach. Way cheaper than ship's Maho beach excursion. The beach is small but famous. Very crowded. We went further away from where the jets land, and there're less people there, and you can in fact snorkel and see some fish there.

In San Juan, we walked off and got offered a tour off pier, visiting new and old San Juan on bus for $25pp (they claim equivalent tour on ship costs $60pp, but I think the real equivalent one was $40pp on ship). Our driver Sammy in SJ Happy Tours was fantastic, knows a lot and liked to talk about the history. The tour itself had few good stops (didn't give us enough time at the fort to visit but left us near a shop and a tiny park for longer time) but the knowledge and sightseeing while on the bus made up for it. My suggestion is that if you're into guided tour, this is a reasonable option. Otherwise just use Google Trip, mark out the interesting places in Old San Juan and walk there, it's not too far and there's enough time.

In Labadee, we rented kayak and paddle boat (30 mins for $15) from Nellie beach and it was great. The calm water there makes it very easy to learn and control. Columbus Cove has a bigger beach and also very calm water. But they're both sandy and with that many people from the ship, the water was quite murky. No fish except a tiny bit near rock, so no snorkeling. You can snorkel and see some fish at Dragon's Tail Beach (more windy, waves and has reef balls) but nothing to write home about. I don't know if snorkeling excursions would be better. We didn't try the zip line (looks good), aquapark or waterslide (all gimmicky looking). Very eager local sellers in Artisan's Village. Overall a bit too many people on Columbus Cover/Nellie's Beach side. Dragon's Tail Beach side better. You can also rent a safety box for $8 at Nellie Beach, which is convenient.

Overall we were happy with our self-chosen/created excursions at these places and didn't feel we missed much compared to ship-listed excursions.

Disembarkation

SLOW but orderly. Nothing remarkable, just the result of too many people. Overall this ship has too many people, crowding the beaches, buffet, and pools. Anthem was clearly better, other smaller ships even more so.

Fitness

The room's a bit crammed (many machines but small area). Some machines not working right (the bikes have significantly different resistance at the same level 1). The classes got cancelled a lot (the instructors were more interested in selling the detox thing and would not teach a class when few people were there). Jogging track also quite crammed. Anthem was clearly better - bigger space, working machines, more motivated instructors.
will88’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 6D 10692
This oceanview balcony cabin is clean and well kept, although showing some age like its carpet. But two things really turned us off:
1. The room felt really crammed and couldn't even fit one 28" suitcase without hindering walking/sitting etc. Anthem's same class of cabin was much better.
2. This cabin of ours has a horrible smell that the staff just couldn't get rid of - it comes back quickly after you air the smell out. Not everyone can smell it (the cabin crew and her supervisor couldn't, but his boss could, and I could, also my younger kid couldn't stand the room at all due to the smell, luckily they're in the other cabin). The staff did try, asking us to see if temperature setting helps (didn't seem to help, we didn't try the coldest setting as that'd be too cold for us but other settings all failed to get rid of the smell). They tried cleaning twice, no help. They even tried using vinegar after we agreed, and that was a mistake as that vinegar smell lingered long and pungent. In the end they offered a discount for the next cruise, and frankly I don't feel it's enough but they did try their best to clean, and it's a reasonable gesture so we accepted it. Also since we have two cabins, they sounded like they might be able to switch us to another cabin but we wanted to stay together, so ...

Anyhow if you're sensitive to smell, DON'T book this cabin!!! We had two cabins, the other one nearby had no such issue.
Deck 14 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins