Let met start with my belief that any day spent on a cruise ship is generally a great day. That said, our experience on the Allure was not what we have come to expect from Royal Caribbean. We like the mega ships and after 21 cruises, we know there are always glitches but clearly the Allure has staffing issues.
Embarkment was the fastest and most organized we ever experienced. We had high hopes for a great cruise as we boarded the ship. Sadly, it went down hill from there.
Service in the main dining room was unbelievably slow. Wait staff were hustling, but it appeared they were grossly understaffed. Bars often had only one or two bartenders and wait staff in the bars were almost non-existent. Other than our room steward, you didn't see staff smiling and they lacked the friendliness you expect. Most staff just seemed overwhelmed, stressed and generally unhappy.
We are not food snobs or picky eaters but the food in the main dining room was usually cold when it arrived and the food in the windjammer was so overcooked it often was mushy. Chops was great and we ate there twice but the food in Giovanni's was about on the level of an Olive Garden. Not terrible, but certainly not worth the price we paid. A brat from the Dog house was flavorful but dried out from over cooking and it too was cold. Tapas at Vintages were tasty but pricey. The Park Cafe had good salads and sandwiches so we ate most of our lunches there.
Our room steward was the was great. Friendly, efficient and greeted us by name each day. The ship’s staff was also very responsive when our neighbors kept smoking on their balcony. By the 4th day our neighbors finally got the message and quit smoking on there balcony.
We like the shows on these big ships and they did not disappoint. We especially enjoyed Momma Mia. Live music during the day was limited to the pool area. We wish they had music in the bars in the evenings. Instead, most live music didn't start until 11 pm.
Daytime entertainment was extremely limited. Other cruise directors manage to schedule a variety of events that offers a little bit of something for everyone. This cruise seemed to focus on kid activities and trivia and not much else throughout the day. Of course there were plenty of options if you wanted to pay to attend an event, but I don't care to spend money to decorate a cupcake or make my own guacamole.
TV channel selection on cruise ships always sucks but this ship had the fewest of any ship we have been on. Again, I wonder if they limit what they offer so you buy their VOOM streaming package.
We didn't choose this cruise for the ports and so we didn't expect much from ST Thomas, San Juan or Coco Cay. St. Thomas downtown area is pretty dumpy and not worth getting off the ship to see. Same with San Juan. We had booked an excursion but it was cancelled so again, we walked around old San Juan which was quite disappointing. One has to wonder why they even bother stopping when they only stay a few hours in this port. Coco Cay was cancelled due to high winds so I can offer no thoughts about this stop.
Overall, it was an okay cruise. Not horrible, but certainly a disappointment. If this had been our first cruise on Royal Caribbean, I probably wouldn't cruise with them again. But because this experience was very different than our other experiences on Royal, we will cruise again with them, but I don't think it will be on the Allure.
Downtown area is very dumpy and not worth getting off the ship
Port cancelled due to high winds