The 225,282-ton Allure of the Seas was the world's largest cruise ship -- for six years -- before other sister ships kept stealing the title; the latest being Wonder of the Seas debuting in 2022. It can carry 5,492 passengers at double occupancy or 6,452 when every berth is full.
It shares roughly 95 percent of its DNA with other Oasis-class ships -- including a novel neighborhood concept that divides the ship into seven distinct spaces. It also shares inward-facing balcony cabins, arguably the biggest (and best) kids program at sea, an ice rink, a bar that rises between three decks, simulated surfing, rock climbing walls and an outdoor high-diving AquaTheater.
The ship is breathtaking, both in scale and ambition. Although it's vast, it never feels overwhelming because its public spaces are broken up into seven neighborhoods. On Deck 4, you'll find Entertainment Place, complete with an indoor ice skating rink and various clubs and lounges. The Royal Promenade is the signature shopping area, the length of a football field, with a pair of enormous tented skylights to let the sunshine pour in.
The outdoor Boardwalk neighborhood was inspired by Coney Island, with family-friendly restaurants, shops, a carousel and the AquaTheater. The foliage-filled Central Park -- covered in some 12,000 plants, 60 of which are trees -- is a more upscale restaurant and retail hub. The fronts of decks 6 and 7 are given over to fitness and well-being in the Vitality at Sea Spa. Deck 14 is all about the kids in Adventure Ocean, and, at the back of the ship, right up on Deck 15, you have the Sports Area, complete with FlowRider surf simulators, a zipline, mini-golf, Ping-Pong and basketball courts.
The ambience and atmosphere in each area are so distinct, it's as if there are seven different ships on one.
Astonishingly, Allure of the Seas also rarely feels crowded. The only places where you get a sense of the sheer number of people onboard are in the Royal Promenade during parade times, on sea days round the pool deck, and prime food times in the Windjammer Cafe buffet restaurant. You can sit in Central Park under a tree, drink in hand, stars above you, (piped) birdsong all around, and feel almost alone -- despite being overlooked by hundreds of cabins.
The ship is ideal for first timers, whether they're a family dipping their toes in the water for the first time, a group of friends looking for a fun-filled break or a couple celebrating a significant wedding anniversary.
A word of warning: Allure of the Seas is so flooded with bill-busting offerings -- ice cream, extra-charge Mexican food, build-your-own stuffed animals, Coach bags -- that it's easy to forget about the included offerings, many of which are exclusive to the Oasis Class. You can surf or zip-line, ride a carousel or tap along to some Broadway showtunes. The Lady Gaga dance class had to be more fun than filling up on Skittles and gummy worms from the for-fee candy store. In other words, Allure can be enjoyed for the price of the cruise fare alone. But with so many temptations, it sure isn't easy.
Cruisers 12 and over must be fully vaccinated to sail on Allure of the Seas, in accordance with CDC guidelines. All passengers, except those under two, are also required to take their own COVID-19 test, no more than two days before departure for passengers 12 and over, and no more than three days for children 2 to 11.
Children 2 to 11 do not need to be vaccinated. However, they will be required to take one to two COVID-19 tests (depending on the itinerary length) in addition to a pre-cruise test required for all passengers.
Upon arrival at the terminal, kids 2 to 11 must undergo a PCR test administered by Royal Caribbean at no charge. (Note: The pre-cruise test for unvaccinated kids cannot be taken on embarkation day, as it can affect the test required at check-in.) For cruises of more than five nights, kids also will receive a complimentary antigen test at the end of the sailing.
Little ones under two are not required to be tested.
• Proof of full vaccination, with vaccines authorized by the FDA and World Health Organization (i.e. Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson)
• Negative COVID-19 test result
• Embarkation day arrival time must be selected 30 days in advance, on the Royal App
• Check-in to be completed via Royal App
• Health questionnaire (available on Royal App)
• Masks required at all indoor public spaces and while visiting ports where they are required
• Allure of the Seas sailing at limited capacity
• Physical distancing enforced throughout ship, with signage
• Spaced out seating in dining, entertainment and activity venues
• Designated areas of main dining room for families with children
Off the Ship
• Fully vaccinated groups may book a shore excursion through the cruise line or independently, or choose to explore off ship freely.
• Families with unvaccinated children must book a Royal Caribbean shore tour to explore off the ship, except at the line’s private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay.
• For Allure of the Seas’ calls at St. Kitts, all passengers – regardless of their vaccination status – must book a tour through Royal Caribbean in order to visit the country.
Families flock to Allure of the Seas, a ship that celebrates youthful exuberance in the form of surf simulators, rock climbing walls and some of the best children's facilities at sea. But the ship also clearly appeals to active couples, mainly in their 30s to 50s. Numerous spaces, especially the foliage-filled Central Park, provide a relatively kid-free ambience. In the Caribbean, passengers are predominantly American. However, when the ship sails in Europe, the passenger mix could not be more eclectic, drawing travelers from Europe, the U.S., the Middle East, Japan, China, India and Israel.
Daytime: Allure of the Seas maintains a casual onboard vibe and dress code during the day, with people dressing for the weather or for laying by the pool.
Evening: Weeklong cruises consist of two formal nights and five casual nights. On casual nights, expect a mix of jeans and slacks in the main dining rooms and nicer restaurants; elsewhere T-shirts and shorts are fine for both men and women. Many men choose to wear tuxedos for formal dining, though dark suits are much more common. Women are typically found in cocktail dresses or gowns.
Not permitted: Bare feet are not permitted at any time in any venue, and tank tops are not allowed in any of the restaurants, except the buffet, for dinner. Shorts are discouraged in the main dining room for dinner, but you'll see people in them anyway.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.
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