My wife and I chose this cruise to surprise my folks and relatives, and it was an amazing success!!!
My wife and I flew into Fort Lauderdale from Chicago the day of the cruise. This makes my wife a nervous wreck, but seeing as how we booked last minute it saved us almost $1000 dollars on airfare, hotel, and food. Amazingly, from the time we landed to embarkation was less than an hour. We were shocked how smooth the transfer went.
Having traveled with my folks before we knew they were creatures of habit, and we knew exactly where they would be first - The Cafe' Promenade. My ma was shocked and started crying.
The general appearance of the ship was usual Royal Caribbean very nice, but the Old Girl is worn and showing many of her blemishes. It is very noticeable that the ship is ready for a makeover.
We stayed in 11607 Central Park Balcony. We had three rooms all in a line, and we had the room attendant open up partitions so it was like we had one GIGANTIC balcony. It was great for morning breakfast. We love the Central Park Balcony rooms! Our room attendant was less than attentive which is the first time this has ever happened on any of our cruises, but she did her job I guess.
Dining we ate at two specialty restaurants, Izumi and Chops. Izumi was great! We had an amazing chef (Gerry from the Phillipines), and our waiter Kirk kept the Saki flowing.
The company around the grill was outrageous. Seeing as we were all family how could I say otherwise. We love our Hibachi! Chops on the other hand was OK. While the steaks served in the restaurant may be great for some, they just don't compare to what we get back home in Chicago. We have decided unless we get a free upgrade we probably won't be eating at Chops anymore. The other 5 dinners we utilized MDR on Deck 3, and had MTD. Seating 8 people every night at 7:30 was a challenge, but the staff did a great job accommodating our needs. Our servers Davis and Petrus were outstanding.
The entertainment was great! Per usual. I think it was the 10th time we have seen Mama Mia. It did not disappoint. Thank god we saw the the aqua show the first night as I think the rest of the shows were cancelled due to rough seas. The comedians were very funny. We enjoyed the piano bar, Rising Tide (during the Beatles tribute), and Dazzles. We went to country night at Dazzles. The band was OUT OF THIS WORLD! It is something everyone has to experience. Your eyes won't believe what your ears are hearing. I will just leave it at that. lol On a funny note my wife and I participated in one of the trivia contests. It was hard for us to find partners, but the two ladies who asked us to join them would not be let down. My wife Barbara and I cleaned up. We won that night's trivia contest.
Activities were great. I did my first day flow rider, but mostly hung out at the pool. For the life of me, I can not comprehend how Royal has not figured out how to heat the pools. It is MADDENING!!!! I am not asking it to be hot tub hot, but it would be nice to enter the pool and not suffer a slight heart attack every day. Does anyone know why this is? The service around the pool was great. We had the ultimate drink package. For the first time in 11 cruises I believe Royal won the Battle of the Booze. I also believe Royal is very close to out pricing themselves with the UDP (72 bucks w/ tip is at the limit as far as I'm concerned). I have heard rumblings that Royal screwed up in 2019 offering $18 UDP's and now they are trying to recoup those losses. Which makes sense seeing as how we paid 55 bucks p/d just 5 months earlier on Anthem.
Now on to the bad. The ports. Coco Cay was cancelled due to weather. Disappointing, but understandable. Switching out St. Thomas for San Juan was terrible. I have had it with Royal continually bait and switching itineraries. Sure they always say you can get your money back, but by that time most people have set vacation days and air fare.
They know they have you. Always sending the ships to San Juan is just another example of Royal nickel and diming the guests. And the thruster excuse has been used to death.
I will definitely go on Allure again once she has been beautified. We are traveling on Symphony 25 July 2020 (fingers crossed) and Odyssey 26 March 2021.