Allure of the Seas Review
Who: Me, my husband and our 10 year old son
This was our first Royal Caribbean cruise, though we’ve been on 3 Disney cruises, a Carnival cruise and a Princess cruise.
Originally we had booked a balcony room for $4,300 including free gratuities (for first two guests) and $300 onboard credit. About 6 weeks before the cruise we got a call offering the aqua-theater suite for a flat $900 more so we jumped on that. Suite 11330, which was amazing by the way. I spent so much time on the balcony watching the ocean. Our first cruise was an inside stateroom, then upgraded to balconies, then mini suites, and now that we’ve experienced a suite it’d be hard to downgrade from that!
While it’s impossible to have a bad cruise, I will say that this was our least favorite ship.
Food: Pretty good, I especially loved Park Cafe, Boardwalk Dog and Costal Kitchen. Not the best cruise food (that actually goes to Carnival and Disney!) but it was pretty good. You’ll never go hungry on a cruise, that’s for sure. The windjammer is the worst cruise buffet! The set up was horrible and seating impossible to find. They usually only had one side open. It was completely chaotic. We only tried it a few times and then gave up on it. Never had that issue with any other cruise buffet, site they get crowded but not like windjammer! It really is designed poorly with different stations and no rhyme or reason to the flow. People just pushing through each other trying to get what they want. Then heaven forbid you need ketchup or mustard cause that area is right by some stations which are always backed up so you have to fight through people there to get what you need. It’s just very poorly designed.
Activities: There’s definitely a lot to do, unfortunately the hours for rock climbing and the flow rider were so incredibly limited, even some of the posted times they’d close down even thought the weather was fine. It was frustrating, boasting all these activities yet making them almost impossible to do by only offering extremely limited hours which meant huge long lines and waits each time they actually did open.
Kids club: Major letdown! The only kids club our son hasn’t just loved (surprisingly his favorite so far has been on our Princess cruise, not the Disney ones!) This one he went to once and didn’t want to go back. Ever other cruise the counselors were amazing, this one was just a dud all around. Which made for no kid free time for us. The kids club area for each age group is TINY! It was off season when we went and not a lot of kids on board yet the tiny rooms were stuffed full of kids. I can’t imagine during summer vacation when there’s tons more kids on board. A ship that size could really have done more with the kids area! It was smaller than the kids area on the small tiny Carnival ship we went on (sorry can’t remember the name of that ship right now as it was 8 years ago). It was one of Carnivals smaller ones, yet the kids club was much larger than the one on Allure. Plus, this was the only cruise where there’s no way of contacting parents when kids want picked up. Every other one they’d call when the kids wanted to leave, on Allure they told us that there’s no way of doing that and that they don’t provide the cruise phones for communication with parents that every other line has. Total letdown!!
Suite Lounge: Very nice! Water is hard to come by on the ship so that was a nice place to go to refill and hang out. Lots of drink options and snacks after 4:30. If we ever go on another RC cruise it will definitely be suite level for the lounge, priority boarding and free internet.
Entertainment: Another let down. Every other cruise had tons of activities going on at any given time, this one there was literally nothing to do a majority of the time. We spent a lot of the time just hanging in the suite lounge. My husband was really disappointed in the lack of night life compared to other cruises. This part didn’t bother me so much as I’m more the relax and watch the ocean type, but the lack of entertainment really disappointed him. He loves live music and said that was limited on Allure as well compared to other shops.
Boarding: We were one of the first ones onboard which was nice as we had flight issues (bad weather caused a flight delay to Chicago so we missed our flight to Ft. Lauderdale and ended up getting rerouted to Newark where we had to wait overnight for a morning flight. We always fly in a day ahead and planned on getting to Florida the night before but we ended up landing around 9:30 am and headed straight to the port. It was a long night so early boarding to get on and relax a bit was awesome.
Ship size and layout: It is a really big ship. Which has its good points and bad. It’s gorgeous! Especially Central Park. But it’s big! I’ve found that I prefer a smaller ship. The Disney Fantasy is about perfect both size wise and layout. The Allure needs front, aft and mid elevators. There’s really not enough elevators for the amount of people. Once again, and issue we’ve never had on any other cruise yet this one was a 3-10 min wait each time you needed to use an elevator whereas other cruise lines we just walked right on. It takes a lot more to get around which isn’t so bad while we’re young and healthy, but I can’t imagine getting around a ship like that with health issues. It’d be a complete challenge. So while the size can be a good thing, it can also be overwhelming.
Service: Outstanding! Every crew member we came in contact with was friendly and helpful. Probably the best crew I’ve come in contact with on any cruise ship.
Excursions: We did the Underground Mayan River Cenote which was amazing! We had the best tour guide ever, Ruben. Our son absolutely loved the excursion!
We also did the glass bottom boat tour to see mesoamerican barrier reef. That was pretty amazing to see as well!
Summary: Don’t get me wrong, we had a wonderful cruise. We are not negative people who looks for reasons to complain. We roll with the punches and still enjoyed ourselves. But this is a review so it’s only fair to write our truthful opinion. It would take a LOT for me to not enjoy a vacation, so the negatives didn’t ruin our trip or anything. It’s just that I’d likely not sail Royal Caribbean again unless there was a killer deal. Nothing against RCL, just that our experiences on Carnival, Disney and Princess were far superior so we’d sail them again before RCL (unless there’s a really good deal, in which cause we’d gladly sail again and give it a second chance). I wouldn’t go out my way for RCL though. Our next cruise is a Baltic cruise on NCL in June 2020. I would have searched RCL for Baltic cruises, but didn’t have to as I found us a really good deal on one from NCL in a spa mini-suite. Long point is, I wouldn’t completely rule out RCL but it’d be the last option I’d look at in the future.