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Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas is a magnificent ship. It also can be quite intimidating for a novice cruiser. Embarkation is a breeze at the new cruise terminal in Miami. We never waited in any line, thanks to our diamond star status. But to the cruise line's credit, all cruisers seemed to be moving at 6 knots through this breathtaking terminal, elite level or not. We learned a few things on this mega ship that could also be of use on all sizes of ships. One- To make check-in even quicker, make sure you do your check-in via RCCL's mobile app. The RCCL app allows your picture to be taken via your cell phone. It will then upload the picture to the app's SetSail Pass (boarding pass). This is important because picture-taking used to be the reason for long embarkation lines. Once, while embarking in Galveston, Texas on Liberty of the Seas, the camera software went down and we all waited several hours just to get our cranky faced pictures taken. To use the app's photo process, you must follow some rules. Do not wear any glasses, hats, masks etc, for your picture. Also, make sure you are the lone subject in the photo (honeymoon photos of you and your new spouse against a waterfall are cute, but verboten). Do not use pictures that have been cut out from another picture—that extra arm around your shoulder is frowned upon, unless of course you really have a spare arm. The background should be completely neutral. Make sure there is no crazy wallpaper, paintings, statutes, graffiti, puppies or amusement park figures like Mickey and Minnie lurking behind you. While the app will not tell you if the picture meets all the requirements, the RCCL staffer at check-in will. There goes all that time you wanted to save! Remember, this picture is the same picture RCCL will see on its monitors when you use your SeaPass (on-board charge account). Do you really want the bartender to not recognize you when he swipes your card for a Bahama Mama that is calling your name? Your RCCL cruise app is a great tool to guide you around the ship, remind you of reservations and notify you of ongoing activities. Its real value is...brace yourselves...FREE chatting with family members or other cruise mates. No VOOM package purchase required to chat. According to RCCL's 10/22/2018 blog, "Once onboard the ship and logged onto Royal Caribbean's Wi-Fi network (no internet package required to use the app), other guests will show up as offline or online but are only online if they have the app opened and to the “chat” window. If your travel agent linked your reservation before sailing with a friend or family the[y] will automatically show up." So now that you've made it on the ship, what's the deal with the elevators? The elevators... well... do not seem to be elevating any guests on embarkation day. They are, however, elevating massive amounts of luggage from 6000-plus passengers to multiple decks on the ships. Two- When you want to go up to your deck on embarkation day, use the "down" button to call the elevator. Remember, an elevator is usually empty when returning to load up more luggage so it will stop on your floor. Hop in, hit your deck number button and after going down a few floors, eventually it will go back up. You may be sharing space with a bellhop and a lot of luggage but it beats walking up 10 flights of stairs. This trick also works well after the Main Dining Room (MDR) dinner exodus, headliner shows and Mamma Mia! To recap: if you want to go down more than a few floors during peak hours, use the up button to call for a car. Conversely, if you want to go up more than a few floors, use the down button. Think of yourself as a salmon swimming upstream and you'll be fine. Three- On embarkation day, avoid Windjammer Marketplace, aka the buffet, before sail away. Getting on a cruise ship just automatically induces hunger, doesn't it? The problem is, 6,000 other tummies are also growling as loud as yours. And since most cruisers do not know the layout of the ship yet—some never learn—they head up to the pool decks and the buffet. Check out the Park Cafe, on deck 8, instead. This little gem gets very popular by day 4 when guests start actively seeking different venues at which to eat. The Park Cafe makes great breakfast sandwiches/burritos, and offer yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, bagels toasted to order (lox, veggies, cream cheeses etc..), parfaits and coffee. The best part is sitting outside in Central Park, listening to birds chirp and not stressing out trying to find your family in the Windjammer Marketplace. Four- Purchase a lanyard. Once you board the ship, go to deck 5 and look for a table in front of the Promenade shops that sells lanyards for around 12 dollars. Ask Guest Services to punch a hole in your card and hook it to your lanyard. (They also sell lanyards with plastic sleeves but the SeaPass can be difficult to remove if the plastic gets wet). Note- at the time of our sailing Allure of the Seas did not have RFID SeaPass cards. If they do use those, you will not be able to get the card punched. Five- Allure of the Sea's bridge wing on deck 14 (forward, port side) is the best way to watch pier runners, a sunset or sail away. Nothing is more fun than watching pier runners around 5 p.m., especially if you are in a port that features a lot of "unusual' drinking spots. Translation: if there is a Senor Frogs, Margaritaville, Carlos and Charlies, Cabo Wabo or Papas and Beers at or near your port, the sport of pier running will become a spectacle. So grab a cocktail, head up to deck 14, turn left until you hit the hallway going forward and after room 14138, look for the secret door. It leads you out to the scenic over-water lookout. Six- There are terrific no-charge alternatives for dining during peak times. Johnny Rockets (Boardwalk, deck 6) has free breakfast everyday. Get there early because the word gets out quickly! Lunch and dinner are nominal charges. The solarium's bistro (deck 15) is also a winner that is very serene and for the most part, adults only (no kids under 16 allowed). The offerings are healthy (compared to most cruise fare) and very tasty. Surprisingly, Sorrentos (deck 5) is a great place to get pizza or salad. Meat eaters, Vegans and Gluten-free eaters can exist and eat harmoniously here. The lines look long but we never waited longer than five minutes. Seven- If you need to walk from one side of deck 5 to the other, take a shortcut. Walk through Central Park on deck 8 and then go up/downstairs to deck 5. Yes, this sounds confusing but because of the Promenade shops, there are no staterooms on deck 5. Hence, you cannot take a shortcut through a non-existent hallway to avoid the crowded Promenade. So, walk through Central Park and then call the elevator down to deck 5. It's a faster and honestly, prettier way to navigate through deck 5. Eight- Make your reservations for "Mamma Mia!" yesterday This Broadway production is incredible and very popular. Yes, the production will blow your mind. Yes, it will also be sold out by the time you embark. If you did not make reservations, you can take your chances and get in line 30 minutes before the show starts. The staff will release the first two rows normally reserved for suite guests about 10 minutes before the show starts if there are no-shows. There is no guarantee of seats, unfortunately. Nine- Consider hitting a headliner show before dinner Most comedian acts and headliner shows have two show times to accommodate the early seating and the late seating dinner guests. They assume guests will follow the "dinner first, entertainment after" gold standard. They usually do. But not all the early seaters will go directly to the early headliner acts. They may have some cocktails in a lounge or listen to some jazz before heading to a later show. Almost all late seaters will attend the late headliner acts. Therein lies the problem. The late show is always full due to a more popular time slot. Be a trendsetter. Go to the early headliner acts first and then have dinner. It's a win-win. Ten- Your room steward has more power than you know. True story: After seeing "Mamma Mia!" once, we had to go again. Of course, it was sold out. We asked our room steward how we could get seats at another show. She whipped out her cell phone and voila! we were in. That $20 we gave her on day 1 (in addition to prepaying gratuities) was a good investment. She informed us that if we needed anything, to let her know. She could probably take care of it. And she did. We spoiled her rotten (and vice-versa) the rest of the cruise. And that's the way it should be.

Some tips to make your trip more enjoyable on an RCCL mega ship

Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by Lisa Horne

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Ultra Spacious Ocean View with Large Balcony
Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas is a magnificent ship. It also can be quite intimidating for a novice cruiser.

Embarkation is a breeze at the new cruise terminal in Miami. We never waited in any line, thanks to our diamond star status. But to the cruise line's credit, all cruisers seemed to be moving at 6 knots through this breathtaking terminal, elite level or not. We learned a few things on this mega ship that could also be of use on all sizes of ships.

One- To make check-in even quicker, make sure you do your check-in via RCCL's mobile app.

The RCCL app allows your picture to be taken via your cell phone. It will then upload the picture to the app's SetSail Pass (boarding pass). This is important because picture-taking used to be the reason for long embarkation lines. Once, while embarking in Galveston, Texas on Liberty of the Seas, the camera software went down and we all waited several hours just to get our cranky faced pictures taken.

To use the app's photo process, you must follow some rules.

Do not wear any glasses, hats, masks etc, for your picture. Also, make sure you are the lone subject in the photo (honeymoon photos of you and your new spouse against a waterfall are cute, but verboten). Do not use pictures that have been cut out from another picture—that extra arm around your shoulder is frowned upon, unless of course you really have a spare arm.

The background should be completely neutral. Make sure there is no crazy wallpaper, paintings, statutes, graffiti, puppies or amusement park figures like Mickey and Minnie lurking behind you. While the app will not tell you if the picture meets all the requirements, the RCCL staffer at check-in will. There goes all that time you wanted to save!

Remember, this picture is the same picture RCCL will see on its monitors when you use your SeaPass (on-board charge account). Do you really want the bartender to not recognize you when he swipes your card for a Bahama Mama that is calling your name?

Your RCCL cruise app is a great tool to guide you around the ship, remind you of reservations and notify you of ongoing activities. Its real value is...brace yourselves...FREE chatting with family members or other cruise mates. No VOOM package purchase required to chat.

According to RCCL's 10/22/2018 blog, "Once onboard the ship and logged onto Royal Caribbean's Wi-Fi network (no internet package required to use the app), other guests will show up as offline or online but are only online if they have the app opened and to the “chat” window. If your travel agent linked your reservation before sailing with a friend or family the[y] will automatically show up."

So now that you've made it on the ship, what's the deal with the elevators? The elevators... well... do not seem to be elevating any guests on embarkation day. They are, however, elevating massive amounts of luggage from 6000-plus passengers to multiple decks on the ships.

Two- When you want to go up to your deck on embarkation day, use the "down" button to call the elevator.

Remember, an elevator is usually empty when returning to load up more luggage so it will stop on your floor. Hop in, hit your deck number button and after going down a few floors, eventually it will go back up. You may be sharing space with a bellhop and a lot of luggage but it beats walking up 10 flights of stairs.

This trick also works well after the Main Dining Room (MDR) dinner exodus, headliner shows and Mamma Mia!

To recap: if you want to go down more than a few floors during peak hours, use the up button to call for a car. Conversely, if you want to go up more than a few floors, use the down button. Think of yourself as a salmon swimming upstream and you'll be fine.

Three- On embarkation day, avoid Windjammer Marketplace, aka the buffet, before sail away.

Getting on a cruise ship just automatically induces hunger, doesn't it? The problem is, 6,000 other tummies are also growling as loud as yours. And since most cruisers do not know the layout of the ship yet—some never learn—they head up to the pool decks and the buffet.

Check out the Park Cafe, on deck 8, instead. This little gem gets very popular by day 4 when guests start actively seeking different venues at which to eat. The Park Cafe makes great breakfast sandwiches/burritos, and offer yogurt, fresh fruit, cereals, bagels toasted to order (lox, veggies, cream cheeses etc..), parfaits and coffee. The best part is sitting outside in Central Park, listening to birds chirp and not stressing out trying to find your family in the Windjammer Marketplace.


Four- Purchase a lanyard.

Once you board the ship, go to deck 5 and look for a table in front of the Promenade shops that sells lanyards for around 12 dollars. Ask Guest Services to punch a hole in your card and hook it to your lanyard. (They also sell lanyards with plastic sleeves but the SeaPass can be difficult to remove if the plastic gets wet).

Note- at the time of our sailing Allure of the Seas did not have RFID SeaPass cards. If they do use those, you will not be able to get the card punched.

Five- Allure of the Sea's bridge wing on deck 14 (forward, port side) is the best way to watch pier runners, a sunset or sail away.

Nothing is more fun than watching pier runners around 5 p.m., especially if you are in a port that features a lot of "unusual' drinking spots. Translation: if there is a Senor Frogs, Margaritaville, Carlos and Charlies, Cabo Wabo or Papas and Beers at or near your port, the sport of pier running will become a spectacle.

So grab a cocktail, head up to deck 14, turn left until you hit the hallway going forward and after room 14138, look for the secret door. It leads you out to the scenic over-water lookout.

Six- There are terrific no-charge alternatives for dining during peak times.

Johnny Rockets (Boardwalk, deck 6) has free breakfast everyday. Get there early because the word gets out quickly! Lunch and dinner are nominal charges.

The solarium's bistro (deck 15) is also a winner that is very serene and for the most part, adults only (no kids under 16 allowed). The offerings are healthy (compared to most cruise fare) and very tasty.

Surprisingly, Sorrentos (deck 5) is a great place to get pizza or salad. Meat eaters, Vegans and Gluten-free eaters can exist and eat harmoniously here. The lines look long but we never waited longer than five minutes.

Seven- If you need to walk from one side of deck 5 to the other, take a shortcut. Walk through Central Park on deck 8 and then go up/downstairs to deck 5.

Yes, this sounds confusing but because of the Promenade shops, there are no staterooms on deck 5. Hence, you cannot take a shortcut through a non-existent hallway to avoid the crowded Promenade. So, walk through Central Park and then call the elevator down to deck 5. It's a faster and honestly, prettier way to navigate through deck 5.

Eight- Make your reservations for "Mamma Mia!" yesterday

This Broadway production is incredible and very popular. Yes, the production will blow your mind. Yes, it will also be sold out by the time you embark. If you did not make reservations, you can take your chances and get in line 30 minutes before the show starts. The staff will release the first two rows normally reserved for suite guests about 10 minutes before the show starts if there are no-shows. There is no guarantee of seats, unfortunately.

Nine- Consider hitting a headliner show before dinner

Most comedian acts and headliner shows have two show times to accommodate the early seating and the late seating dinner guests. They assume guests will follow the "dinner first, entertainment after" gold standard. They usually do. But not all the early seaters will go directly to the early headliner acts. They may have some cocktails in a lounge or listen to some jazz before heading to a later show. Almost all late seaters will attend the late headliner acts. Therein lies the problem. The late show is always full due to a more popular time slot.

Be a trendsetter. Go to the early headliner acts first and then have dinner. It's a win-win.

Ten- Your room steward has more power than you know.

True story: After seeing "Mamma Mia!" once, we had to go again. Of course, it was sold out. We asked our room steward how we could get seats at another show. She whipped out her cell phone and voila! we were in. That $20 we gave her on day 1 (in addition to prepaying gratuities) was a good investment.

She informed us that if we needed anything, to let her know. She could probably take care of it. And she did. We spoiled her rotten (and vice-versa) the rest of the cruise.

And that's the way it should be.
Lisa Horne’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Ultra Spacious Ocean View with Large Balcony
Cabin 1A 11th floor
The cabin was a little bigger than normal. A big bonus was a curtain that could be drawn to separate the living area from the sleeping areas. Since we were traveling with one non-family member, getting dressed could have been a challenge with four people in one room. It was not. When one person finished showering for dinner she went behind the drawn curtain and got dressed while another showered and two others watched TV.

There were two large closets and the shower seemed bigger due to a round door. No plastic curtains meant no puddles of water on the floor!
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews