First I must give this ship, the Allure, high marks on the Entertainment provided, the quality and excellence of the Specialty restaurants and the fact during the two weeks we were aboard this ship we had an excellent room steward, but as you will read there were many negatives that had we not already reached DIAMOND status of Royal Caribbean we might not have taken as many cruises aboard this line to do so. We have had some small inconveniences of their smaller ships but the ones we had here were numerous.
We had the following issues:
-The Sea Pass they provided us had wrong status on it and to obtain the benefits of that status we needed to have it corrected immediately. To do so we were told we needed to speak to the Loyalty Officer. When we arrived there was a rather long line of guests and therefore, it took well over an hour standing on line just to speak to the sole officer assigned this task despite the fact that this ship had over 6000 guests with nearly a third being Diamond status or higher!
– the DINE, DRINK & DISCOVER PROGRAM which was part of our initial cruise package was canceled. Hence we were told we would receive a $50 credit. It wasn't included in the credits when we boarded. We needed to see guest services to request that credit and it took over a day before it was finally applied.
– Our Diamond status allowed for one specialty coffee per day per person at the main coffee shop (not the StarBucks) at no extra charge. Several times they refused to give us the coffee for free and each time we had to go to guest services to find out why and to get this corrected.
– The floor in the common area Men's room all over the ship were filthy, especially under the urinals. I needed to stand with legs spread wide apart to try to avoid the puddles of urine on the floor. Rarely during my two weeks on board did I see an attendant cleaning these restrooms and where the floor was actually clean. Twice I found stalls without toilet paper and/or in bad need of cleaning. I know someone from the crew visited these rooms as the trash bins were being emptied but that was it!
– This is a very large ship, and I knew that when we booked it. However, trying to find a waiter to serve drinks while lounging by the pools or in the Solarium was very difficult. Often we'd finally have one come by but rather than the waiter stopping to ask if we wanted something we had to go out of our way to flag them to us. We even had waiters take our orders never to see them or the drinks we ordered,
– When in port only one towel station was manned on the pool deck. Rather than maintaining at least one at each end of the ship near the two elevator areas we needed to hike to the middle of the ship and hope we guessed right as to which side of the ship they were situated on. If you have mobitlity issues this is not an easy task as this is a very long ship!
– Overall the common area and hallways were not being cleaned regularly. I would see the same articles of debris on the carpets and floor hours and even days after I initially noticed it.
- This, the lack of waiters, the too few manned towel stations and the conditions I found in the common area restrooms lead me to the conclusion that the crew size for this large passenger capacity ship was totally inadequate. Several times I tried to locate an officer in the area to report a problem but I could find none. It required a trip down to guest services to report these issues but often even that did not result in an adequate resolution.
– The first week we ate our dinners in the main dining room. Although our waiters were very good I can't say the same for the food. Most of it was either over or under cooked. And it appears the chef believed in the heavy use of salt to make up for the otherwise poorly cooked food! The second week we had the Specialty Restaurant package for the entire week, and there the food was excellent! He food in the buffet areas, however, were as bad, if not worse, than the food served at dinner. Only the Park Cafe served a satisfactory salad for lunch.
– Breakfast was one disaster one after the other. First time our order took 45 minutes to be served and they got my omelet order wrong. This was a continuing problem until eventually I gave up and went over to the Breakfast buffet Omelet line in order to assure that my order was carried out.
– I understand that there was a large contingent of Orthodox Jews on board. I am not an anti-Semite for I too am Jewish. But to accommodate them RC had them take over the Brazilian Steak house for their meals? This created two problems. I purchased their Specialty Dining Package several weeks in advance of the cruise partially because I really like these Brazilian Steak restaurants and thus not to have access to it was a major disappointment. But, as this restaurant was in the Solarium area, whose access is supposed to be restricted for children over the age of 16 and adults only, resulted in the many under 16 year old children they brought with to run havoc throughout this area and even when sitting inside of the restaurant, as there are few walls partitioning off the restaurant from the Solarium itself, the noise and ruckus these children created totally disrupted any peace and quiet I though this Solarium would provide for us during this cruise. Overall between these guests and many other guests there were over 1500 children aboard this ship and I really would have liked to find someplace other than my cabin to find some peace and quiet!
– During Mama Mia and other productions in the main theater these children, often including their parents and even Royal Caribbean personnel were talking in the back rows and just beyond it so loudly as to make it difficult to enjoy the shows. Its these shows that really distinguish this class of ship from others and should have been one of the greatest attributes of this class of ships. Yet they had no officers to ensure that quiet and decorum was maintained and in at least one case they actually contributed to the annoying distractions during the shows!
– RC was charging money for small bags of popcorn offered at many of the entertainment venues. Really?! How cheap can you get?
There were other minor issues that I won't bother to go into here. Early on our second week we spoke to their Manager of Guest Services and laid out many of the above issues to him. He listened sympathetically to us but offered only that he would send our issues up line to be be heard. We heard back from very late in that second week asking us if everything was alright and/or if we had any other issues that he should hear about. Quite frankly, by that time I had was too fed up to bother.
One more caveat, if you have mobility issues and you are scheduled to visit Costa Maya in Mexico, be aware that the ship ties up to a dock which is attached to a very long pier. Its quite a hike just to get to the land itself and there is no shuttle. You have to walk it. I saw many individuals with mobility issues stop dead at the end of the ship, peer down this long pier and just give up and get back onto the ship! One of those individuals was my wife who has knee issues!!
I will add that my wife and I did what we could to have as good a time as possible aboard the Allure.
Please note, again, I must add that had this been my first voyage on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, I really don't know if I would have ever taken enough Royal Caribbean cruises to reach Diamond status and I will probably need to think hard about taking another.
Cabin is your standard balcony cabin, not palatial but adequate for sleeping, showering, etc.