3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Background: I have traditionally been a luxury or upper mainstream cruiser, and cruise for relaxation and for destination. Since retiring I have branched out and Royal Caribbean has filled primarily a niche role for me as the line of ... Read More
Background: I have traditionally been a luxury or upper mainstream cruiser, and cruise for relaxation and for destination. Since retiring I have branched out and Royal Caribbean has filled primarily a niche role for me as the line of choice when I want to cruise out of my home port of Baltimore. I am more of a small ship person but was curious about the Oasis class ships. The primary obstacle for me booking them has been the limited itineraries they offer. The transatlantic seemed to me to be the right opportunity to make a first hand impression. While I am reviewing this is a single cruise, it was technically a B2B consisting of a 3-day minicruise from Rome to Barcelona and a 12-day transatlantic to Ft. Lauderdale. I had a cabin change in Barcelona. Summary: I think I have high standards and don’t give out stars easily. I have had cruises where I thought there were things that were just plain wrong; this was NOT one of those. I had a wonderful time and felt that this could be the right ship for many reasonable people but not for me, and I feel much richer for having done this once but think there are better options for me for the next time. Ship info: The word for this ship is BIG. It’s perhaps a bit deceiving though because the greatest difference in dimensions is width. My largest prior ship was Queen Mary 2. The 2 ships are fairly comparable in length, QM2 is only 55 feet shorter than the Allure’s 1187 feet. Allure is one or 2 decks higher but the big difference is in width, a whopping 213 feet vs QM2's 131. Even that’s not quite as simple as it seems; in effect, for most of it’s length the top 10 decks are almost like 2 70-foot wide ships separated by a 70-foot skylight. The central space is divided between Central Park midship, a quiet oasis lined on the sides by shops and restaurants, and in the aft Boardwalk, a Coney Island atmosphere complete with a carousel and fast food type restaurants. Below Central Park is the Royal Promenade, a fairly large space dotted with shops and restaurants as well as guest services. Dining: Choices abound here. The dining room is on 3 levels with the lower level devoted to “mytime” dining; that is also the option for breakfast and lunch. The upper 2 levels offer early and late fixed seating. The menus are pretty much standard RCI fare. One of my disappointments with the Allure came with dinner as the table where I was assigned had no room for me, and the replacement table had no English speakers. It took a second visit to the Maitre’d to get the matter straightened out. That does not seem to be a recurring problem either on Royal Caribbean or on the Allure. Once I finally got an appropriate table MDR service was good. I thought the quality of the food in the Windjammer café was below par with rubbery pancakes and french toast and runny eggs. The good news was that there were appropriate alternatives. Johnny Rockets on Boardwalk is an extra cost venue for lunch but included for breakfast and very good. The pool grill, Wipeout Café, had excellent omelets for breakfast and good hot dogs, fries, hamburgers, and pizza for lunch. Sorrentos Pizza on the Royal Promenade had pizza from noon until late night but Wipeout was just as good and I preferred the setting there. While I am accustomed to early morning coffee next to the Windjammer, I learned to adjust and look for it at Café Promenade on the Royal Promenade. That worked out well as it was next to the jogging track. There are a number of specialty restaurants, although I only was at 2. I enjoyed the steak at Chops Grill although I preferred Chops ocean view setting on the Enchantment. Samba Grill takes over the Solarium Bistro space in the evening and is an experience in itself. A selection of about 10 different meats come around until you tell them to stop. I enjoyed the experience but left feeling really stuffed. Public Rooms: The ship is organized by “neighborhoods” and rooms are not so much of a concept. I missed having a room where large groups could socialize like Crystal’s Palm Court and Stardust club, HAL’s Crows Nest, Cunard’s Queens Rooms or even Grandeur’s South Pacific Lounge. There were a number of public rooms but they seemed small, and felt even smaller because most were spread over 2 decks. I also greatly preferred the Centrum on the Vision and Radiance Class ships to the Royal Promenade, which to me felt like a glorified shopping area. Activities and entertainment: Somewhat unusual for Royal Caribbean there was an enrichment lecturer on the cruise who spoke about the movie industry. While it was nice, it was still much less than I had on my 7-day Cunard crossing. We also had a priest onboard who did a daily Mass and also an interdenominational service on Sunday. He proved to be a good fit for an ecumenical service. There are 3 or 4 major entertainment venues. A small comedy club has 2 sessions most nights. Studio B is an ice rink where a skating production, Ice Games based around the game of Monopoly is presented. The outdoor Aqua Theater at the stern presented a show of acrobatics, diving, and gymnastics weather and sea conditions permitting. The Amber Theater is the major showplace and holds events most evenings and also a few matinees. There is one full length musical presented, Mama Mia on the Allure. Most of the shows were based on a reservation system but I could find no reliable confirmation of what was reserved. There was allegedly a “calendar” on the interactive TV but it was often just plain wrong showing reservations when there were no shows booked. For one show I was turned away because they claimed I had no reservation and I had no backup documentation to prove I did. Lesson learned, take a photograph of anything you give the entertainment team to back up reservations. Fitness: The fitness center appeared to be well equipped although I did not use it. Children: I was surprised that on a 12 day voyage there were over 150 children on board. I was not involved with the youth program but it appeared to be well run and the children seemed to be enjoying pleasant activities. Service and Crew: Service was generally efficient, friendly, and courteous. Disembarkation: Disembarkation from the 2014 Oasis Transatlantic was generally a disaster. It looks like Royal Caribbean and/or CPB have learned from that experience as this year’s experience was MUCH better. The ship arrived early with crew immigration processed in the 4-6AM time frame. Many cruisers opted for self disembarkation and that appears to have gone very well. I opted to take a tour of Ft. Lauderdale which ended at the airport, and was assigned luggage tag number 1. We left pretty promptly at 8AM. I think the one remaining complication of TA disembarkation is that people carry much more baggage than on a normal 7 day cruise and the space for claiming bags was very crowded. I had some difficulty locating my bags but was on the coach at 8:40 and driving away at 9. Despite heavy traffic from the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show the tour stayed on time and we were at FLL by 1PM and MIA by 2 as promised. Recap: While I had a wonderful time on this cruise it felt for me more like a unique experience than something on my must repeat list. The chief things that I found less than stellar were the lack of large rooms for socializing, the entertainment and activities geared towards cruisers much younger than me, and the limited ports capable of supporting this ship. Still, the only opinion that matters is yours. Unlike some cruises I entered with higher expectations there was little or nothing here that I thought no reasonable person would like. It was definitely worth finding out for myself. I expect most of my future RCI cruises will be on Vision and Radiance class ships but I also booked a cruise on the Anthem. I suspect that will be a one-time-only thing, but if it turns out like this did I will have no regrets. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The difference between RCI and others: Great ships - and you need to take what they offer. So out of 80 cruises only 4 were with RCI: Sorry - but their service level is just not ours. Once in a lifetime I wanted to the the largest ... Read More
The difference between RCI and others: Great ships - and you need to take what they offer. So out of 80 cruises only 4 were with RCI: Sorry - but their service level is just not ours. Once in a lifetime I wanted to the the largest ship in the world. But honestly spoken I do not need it. The shows are the best (after Disney) which I saw but that is not enough to keep me loyal with Royal. I want good food. I do not want to hear the word "no". And even if you pay extra like with us in 150 Central Service I want an outstanding food and service experience which I can compare with NORWEGIAN or CARNIVAL. Even simple things like Egg Benedicts: Standard with other cruise lines even in the self-service-restaurant. But not available in the Windjammer: only fried eggs, boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, omelette (not prepared as you want). If you want your omelette made to your desire you need to move down to an OUTDOOR-Café and sit outside. With reaching a certain age I do not mind to have public rooms which are more calm. A European Café where you get service at the table and not along the Royal Promenade with Starbucks is something I want and what I missed on the ship. We had a great cabin since we had an aft cabin at the boardwalk facing directly to the Aqua-Show. But after seeing the show I must not have it again: Balcony to the Boardwalk / Central Park and I need a cabin closer to the elevators. Such a large ship and only two stairways. I appreciated very much the service of our cabin attendant Nina who treated us like we were Suite-guests. I appreciated the full baggage-service on embarkation and debarkation which other lines do not provide if you are going on a short cruise. Beside that baggage delivery did not work as they do not see the difference between 10329 and 10293 where I found our bags. After that cruise we went on NORWEGIAN ESCAPE. I did not like the ship either. But service, crew and food were a difference between night and day compared to RCI. If somebody came by with a pot of coffee and asked if you want coffee and you said no: the next question came: can we get you something else, tea or hot chocolate. Here on RCI they just accept your no and ran away. Same with juice etc.. O.K. ALLURE OF THE SEAS was supposed to have Dynamic Dining. I was on the first TA of QUANTUM OF THE SEAS. I never booked a fixed table - I hate it. When I learned on QUANTUM OF THE SEAS that they put me fixed dining in The Grande with every night formal and the same menu every day I was more than shocked to learn again: they put me again in fixed dining in The Grande although I never wanted it. All my booked tickets did not fit anymore because they did not put in flexbile dining although 1 1/2 years earlier booked. 150 Central Park was a Speed Dining or Fast Food Restaurant: 4 courses in 50 minutes and even on request they did not slow down the service. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
BACKGROUND We recently completed an amazing Mediterranean journey that included a voyage on Allure Seas. This trip was a long time coming and a long time planning. It was very special in many ways; it was a voyage I had longed to make ... Read More
BACKGROUND We recently completed an amazing Mediterranean journey that included a voyage on Allure Seas. This trip was a long time coming and a long time planning. It was very special in many ways; it was a voyage I had longed to make with my mom. My dad did not fly and she always wanted to go to Italy, but did not want to leave him. Her adoptive family was from Italy and she so wanted to see the country they loved. But alas after he passed away she herself got very sick with COPD and we never made it. I love to travel but my husband never wanted to leave the US, but he finally agreed to a Mediterranean cruise after my mom passed away. I think he knew how important this was to me. I was so excited, but nervous. I wanted it to be perfect. PLANNING So the planning began. I tend to over research everything, and so this was no different. I am loyal to Royal. We have taken many Caribbean cruises and have gone to Alaska. But this was different. I thought about smaller, luxury lines. They looked fabulous. But when I saw Allure would be Europe I was intrigued. Oasis was the last cruise my mom took with us and on which my only child got engaged. We loved it. So I thought long and hard. I loved the itinerary. It was a perfect sampling. I loved the idea of embarking in Rome because I wanted to spend time there. Since it was port intense, I worried the huge ship was not the thing. But I love Royal cabins and the Oasis class entertainment and design. I liked having options for my one sea day. And it was a tried and true product. So as much as I was tempted to jump ship, I decided on Allure. I wanted it to be amazing for my non-travel-loving husband. So I picked the owners suite. I booked over a year out. I went on cruise critic and travel sites and began my intense research. I reluctantly decided private tours were best for this trip although I was scared about missing the ship. But all my fears were unfounded and I could not have been happier with my choice of private operators. In order to see a lot in the short time we had in port and on our Rome pre-stay this choice was vital. I also decided I wanted to fly first class, but the fares were high. I did a lot of research and it turned out choice air had the best first class fares. They offered a lot of options. I was able to fly the amazing Virgin Atlantic Dreamliner First class. We connected to Rome through Heathrow. I liked being able to get out and stretch. This turned out to be another great choice. I was very happy with Choice Air. I also collected as many cruise compasses as I could get my hands on and looked at all the menus I could find. PRE-CRUISE We stayed three nights in Rome at the Marriott Grand Flora on points and I could not have been happier. We took a two day, private guided tour and it was amazing beyond my wildest dreams. I won't belabor this here since it is slightly off topic, but the source of other reviews. EMBARKATION Now I will go on to the heart of this review. We embarked in Civitavecchia. It is about an hour from Rome but our drive was pleasant. We hired the same tour company for our transfers as the private tour and that worked well. This was my first experience with inter-porting. I was apprehensive. Not sure how it was going to work. But pretty much all my fears were unfounded. Embarkation in the minor port had one great advantage, absolutely no crowds and no lines. About 15 minutes from drop off to ding of sea pass card. It was nice getting on with ship in full swing and not everyone crowded into promenade. Most people were on tours so much less crowded. The only very minor down side was that it was a bit of a mess on the ship in the morning in Barcelona, the major embarkation point. Just kind of disruptive, but I'm just nit picking here. I would do inter-porting again, but would not want more than two embarkation points. One other slight negative of embarking in the minor port is that these passengers do get “lost” a bit in the Royal system and registering for things can get confusing and sometimes non-existent. But I would still embark in Rome again in a heartbeat. PUBLIC AREAS Allure was exactly what I expected. She is as beautiful as her sister. Very interestingly our favorite public area on this cruise was the Boardwalk. On Oasis we hardly used it. Too much pool time and fun in the sun on Caribbean voyages to utilize it fully I guess. But on this fall cruise we were there a lot. I rode the carousel, we also ate at the restaurants, saw shows in Aquatheater, took a cup cake decorating class and just strolled. It really is an amazing and underutilized space. We of course loved Central Park. Yes, the bird noises are a bit loud in my opinion, lol. But still a fabulous place to sit and stroll in all the greenery. Another favorite spot was the solarium. I went every morning to sit in the quiet and we loved the cantilevered hot tubs. Allure was in good shape since she was just out of dry dock, but I was a bit surprised to see some major rust around hot tubs and some old and worn furniture. Not much of a complaint, and again I'm being very picky. Overall she is extremely well maintained and very clean. The pools are great, but it was cool so not that well used. But there were brave souls in them every day. CABIN As I said I chose the Owner's suite. It seemed over the top for two people but again wanted this trip to be amazing for my husband...and me. I could not have been happier with my choice. The cabin is large and beautifully furnished. There are tons of drawers and lots of closet space. I loved the dressing table with makeup mirror. The bathroom is magnificent. Having a real shower was so worth it. It looked small in pictures, but they are deceiving. It is not small. And the best thing for us was the deck with the comfy lounge chairs. I thought it might be a waste on a fall cruise to have such a big deck, but we spent so much time out here relaxing on the lounge chairs. And we got treats every single day. We received so many we could not eat them all. I would book this cabin again in heartbeat. STAFF The staff was great. I did not encounter one surely or unpleasant staff member. Our cabin attendant Karen was one of the best ever. She quickly introduced herself the first day and asked what would make our voyage special. I told her towel animals. She laughed and said do you want me to leave them till the end. I said yes please. And she got special permission to do so. And I had an amazing zoo on the couch at the end. She kept our room meticulous and always had a cheerful pleasant word for us. The concierge Ana was very nice. She contacted me beforehand. We had a little problem with spa reservations, but not a big deal. It was just a miscommunication that worked out fine. CONCIERGE AND DIAMOND LOUNGE We absolutely loved the concierge lounge. It is where the crown loft used to be and the view is breathtaking. I realize that many people are not happy with the removal of the crown loft, but it was in my opinion completely underutilized. I went up there many times on Oasis and it was a ghost town. I rarely saw a soul. At least as the concierge lounge it is well used. I always saw people in there. We loved having breakfast and snacks. I must say on this cruise we really felt special. The food in the concierge lounge seemed a better quality and variety than in the past. The only thing I did not like was the coffee. I felt the coffee from the machine was horrible. I could barely drink it and I love coffee. Not a big deal. I had the royal replenish so I got cafe mocha in the Cafe Promenade. We loved the Concierge lounge do much we did not go to the Diamond lounge except to take pictures. The diamond lounge is where the concierge lounge was. It is a lovely space overlooking the boardwalk. RESTAURANTS AND FOOD This cruise was not really about the food for us. We were here to see Europe and had such amazing food on land that I think it jaded us. I felt the food in the main dining room was just ok. To be fair we only ate there twice since we were too busy running around. The menus seem the same fleet wide and to us that is a bit boring having seen the selections over and over. Not bad at all especially for for newbies, but just an observation. We ate in Chops and Giovanni's and both were excellent. Chops was my favorite meal on this cruise. We ate lunch in Sabor and loved it. The Coastal Kitchen was very good and the view outstanding. We ate in the Dog House a few times. The buns were consistently very dry and fell apart. I found the bread not that great on this cruise and the cookies inedible. The cookies were actually a big disappointment since I normally love Royal cookies and were a standout on Quantum. On Allure they were hard and stale every time and I tried a lot. Again, just a little thing. No lobster on Mediterranean sailings. I did not miss it. I don't sail for the lobster, lol. ENTERTAINMENT In my opinion Royal has the best entertainment hands down of anywhere, land or sea. It is one thing that keeps me loyal. We saw Blue Planet, Monopoly Ice Show, Oceanaria, and Mamma Mia. All outstanding. Blue Planet was a first time and I was blown away with the special affects and acrobatics. We saw Mamma Mia for the second time. First was on Quantum last year. I thought I would be less impressed since we had seen it. Not so. It was even better the second time. I also went to sail away with Dreamwork's characters in the aquatheater. It was well done and a lot of fun. I think Royal does a great job with the Dreamwork's characters. They are there but not intrusive, or in your face all the time. Bravo! PORTS OF CALL The itinerary was great for those looking for nice Mediterranean sampling. It was perfect for us. I adored every single port of call and Rome embarkation worked perfectly for us. I used private tour companies in Naples, Florence (La Spezia) and Barcelona. It was critical in La Spezia since we wanted to see Florence and Pisa and Florence is 2 hours from the port. It was also important in Naples since I wanted to see Pompeii and climb Vesuvius. Private tours allowed us to see more and make the most of our time in each port. One other note, in Mallorca we visited Drach Caves. I absolutely loved the caves. Not your normal caves. RANDOM THOUGHTS This cruise was better than my wildest dreams. I adored every minute of the trip. Was it perfect, no, but there were no major dislikes or show stoppers. We are planning on going back in a couple of years. I love the Royal Caribbean product. Cabins, shows, public areas can't be beat in my opinion. While I loved Allure and want to go on Harmony we may choose a smaller ship next time. Only because I don't want to be tempted by too many activities since Europe is so port intense. But I have not a single regret we went on Allure. She is a gorgeous ship. It was such a great trip, my husband who never wanted to travel outside the US, now wants to take a cruise to Japan and Australia! I think I created a monster! I got the Royal Replenish package and it was perfect for a person that loves specialty coffee and non-alcoholic “foo foo” drinks. Having a suite my husband did not need a drink package. There were plenty of options available to someone who drink moderately as part of our suite perks. We felt that the suite perks seemed better on this cruise. I can’t say there was much difference, but I felt the food in concierge lounge was better and more plentiful. I also felt that there were many more clearly accessible areas in shows for gold card members. We did not have to make reservations, just flashed our card and were shown to a nice area. On our past cruises it did not seem clear where gold card members sat and honestly some of the reserved areas were not that good. On this cruise not needing show reservations was a big plus. With all the ports we never knew what we were going to feel like after a day of touring. Also, we did not need my time dining reservations we got priority in the main dining room by just flashing the card. Thanks for reading my review. Hope it helped and you enjoyed it. Here are links to my shutterfly and Flikr sites. Shutterfly https://allureoftheseasmediterranean2015.shutterfly.com/ Flckr https://www.flickr.com/photos/135507416@N02/albums Link to Forum thread with pictures http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275615 Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Embarkation was the fastest and easiest ever! The logistic of this ship is amazing. The shows are very high quality. Don't miss Mamma Mia's show. This Cruise has 5 ports of call. Naples, Italy: close to the Amalfi coast, we ... Read More
Embarkation was the fastest and easiest ever! The logistic of this ship is amazing. The shows are very high quality. Don't miss Mamma Mia's show. This Cruise has 5 ports of call. Naples, Italy: close to the Amalfi coast, we visited Sorrento, Pompéi and Positano (on the Amalfi coast) with Fabrizio (Leasure Italy) and I would recommend him to anyone who wants to have a perfect day in this port. He modified our itinerary to avoid the heavy traffic, added a stop in Sorrento to an olive local factory after I mentioned my interest about it and brought us to a little restaurant for lunch where we were treated like family. Barcelona: A guide brought us to the cathedral designed by Gaudi, design and Colors are remarkable. We also visited one of the house he designed and we could recognize his style. The Guell park also designed by Gaudi was the best part of this day. Palma de mallorca: a good way to visit this port is to get on the public bus (Line 1) and go into Town for 1.5 euro per person. You can go up to the cathedral by bus if this is what you wish to visit. Nice Island with alot of flowers and old mills. Marseille: we had booked a tour with Viator to visit a vinery but our tour guide notified us of the obligation to cancel our tour because his vehicle was controlled by a police roadblock and they confiscated the vehicle because of the yearly vehicle Check was pass due. Since we only found out about this cancellation on the morning of the tour we were kind of forced to use the shuttle offered by RCCL at 23$/pers to go into Marseille center (8kms). In this port we took a mini train which brought us to the cathedral up in the mountain for 8euros/pers. Nice little which permited us to not have lost our whole day with this last minute cancellation. La Spezia: we went to Florence (2hrs drive) to see the David of Michael Ange and then we drove (1hr) to Pisa to climb the tour for which we had a reservation made about 1 month priori to our visit our driver was very informative but the guide in Florence was ordinary. The best part of this tour was the stop we did at Michaelangelo plans to see the city and the bridge from this point. With these ports, there isn't enough time explore the ship and do everything this ship has to offer. We did do the zip Line which was alot of fun, we did not have Time to try the flowrider but it seemed like people on it were having a great time. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The Allure of the Seas is a beautiful ship, but on our cruise, we found it far to crowded. We had to queque up all the time and it became quite frustrating. When we booked our cruise 10 months beforehand, I booked into 'My Time ... Read More
The Allure of the Seas is a beautiful ship, but on our cruise, we found it far to crowded. We had to queque up all the time and it became quite frustrating. When we booked our cruise 10 months beforehand, I booked into 'My Time Dining' what we got was an appointed dining time of 8.45pm every night, which was to late for us. On the 3rd day we got it changed to 6.30pm but we mostly had to eat in the Windjammers Restaurant. Also, when I booked I made a note that we were on the ship for a milestone birthday for my husband, and was disappointed that it wasnt acknowledged. We also had trouble with our first day of drill exercise, we turned up and had our name marked off, next morning got a letter to say we missed it and had to do it again. So we went to main desk and explained that we did show and did have our name marked off, they apologised and said that it was all fixed up. Again, we got another letter to say we missed the drill, so once again off to front desk. As regards to the TV, there was nothing to watch..... with regards to our dining, all our waiter was worried about was what we would rate him, he wanted a 10, and told us each night.Our cabin steward was very good, friendly and always asked if we needed anything. There was also a corporates group on this cruise, who were extremely rude and pushing in everywhere, at Windjammers as well as in the lifts, it got better when they all got off at Barcelona. We had only just done a 9 day cruise on the Rhapsody and had no trouble on that, also had a wonderful pair as our waiters who served us well. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
The following document is a short outline of our experiences on our European Cruise and what we learned. Date: 05 and 06 October (Monday and Tuesday) We flew direct from Detroit to Rome. Flying direct is more convenient than ... Read More
The following document is a short outline of our experiences on our European Cruise and what we learned. Date: 05 and 06 October (Monday and Tuesday) We flew direct from Detroit to Rome. Flying direct is more convenient than changing planes. However, if you have the option, it is easier if you land in Europe later in the day. We landed in Rome at about 9:00 AM. We got to our hotel in Rome around noon. Our rooms were not ready, so we did not have the opportunity to freshen up. We have learned that the best way to defeat jet lag is to have a small meal and go for a walk. You do not want to sleep until later in the day. We had contacted the hotel and asked them to arrange for a van to take us from the airport to the hotel. Using a taxi will save time and minimize moving luggage. If you are traveling with another couple, you will also save a little money. The hotel told us that the taxi driver would meet us at the "Meeting Point" in the airport. I Googled "Meeting Point" and pictures and descriptions of a building column popped up. When we got off the airplane and got our luggage, we walked into the main airport and there was the "Meeting Point" building column with taxi drivers standing around it, all holding signs with customers names on them. We met our taxi driver and he drove us to our hotel in Rome. We stayed at the Hotel Modigliani in Rome. It is located on a quiet street and is close to a subway station and restaurants. The hotel is clean and we would highly recommend it. They have a restaurant that serves good meals in the daytime. The restaurant menu does not have many selections. The cook makes what is available. However, if you want a meal at night, we think the night clerk reheats the daily special in a microwave. The hotel also had a very nice breakfast buffet with pastries that were very tasty. Date: 07 October (Wednesday) We went on a guided tour of the Vatican Museum and St. Peters Basilica. We arranged for a guided tour with Carla Zaia. She told us before we left for Italy that we should purchase our tickets for the Vatican Museum on the web site. We purchased the tickets from the Vatican web site without any problems. We also confirmed our reservation with her the day we left for Italy. Carla told us that we should meet her at a cafe that was across the street from the Vatican Museum entrance. Because our tour was scheduled to start at 1:00 PM, we decided that we should eat a light lunch before meeting Carla. I did some investigation of the cafe, and discovered that the only good thing that visitors said was that the air conditioning worked good. Food, service and prices were very bad. We decided that we would find a restaurant a few blocks away from the Vatican, hoping that we would not get gouged too badly. We found a restaurant that was OK (we just ordered Panini's) and somewhat reasonably priced considering the location. (I think it was Giuly's Café) When we left the restaurant, it started raining hard. We did not have umbrellas and purchased plastic rain suits from a vendor. Carla sent us an E Mail and asked if we would meet her inside the Vatican Museum. When we got to the museum, the lines to purchase tickets were very long. I was glad that we had tickets and would not have to wait in the long lines. Inside the museum, the crowd was huge. We played phone tag with Carla, she found us and we proceeded on our tour. We went on our tour of the Vatican Museum and St Peters with Carla. She is an excellent guide and we would recommend her to anyone who wants a guide. I don't know how we would have learned about the history of the Vatican and St. Peters without her. Her tour was from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM. When we left the Vatican, the women wanted to sit down and have a cold drink. This is when we really screwed up and did not take our time investigating a restaurant. We went into a restaurant, sat down and told the waiter that we just wanted a few drinks and snacks. After getting two smoothies, two wine aperitifs, a bottle of water and a few trays of chips and pretzels, we almost had a heart attack when we got the bill. It came to almost 80 Euros! Again, the customer should beware. We should have done some homework. And unfortunately, I don't remember the name of this restaurant. Date: 08 October (Thursday) We traveled to our cruise ship, the RCL ship "Allure of the Seas". We had arranged for a taxi van to take us to our cruise ship that was going to be docked in Civitavecchia. We left Rome around 1:00 PM and got to the cruise ship around 3:00 PM. I was glad that we had arranged for a taxi. The driver knew where the ship was docked. RCL did not provide any information about where their facilities are located in Civitavecchia, Italy. There are port authority buses, but I did not see any bus stops. Checking into the cruise ship was very easy. There were not many people checking in, It was not crowded and everything went smoothly. Date: 09 October (Friday) We arrived in Naples and went on an excursion to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. We had decided to use an independent local company to show us the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. We looked at the various RCL excursions, but decided they did not offer us enough information about what was included. I wanted to see the Amalfi Coast, and had read that tour buses are not allowed on many of the roads because the roads are very narrow. And there were negative reviews on "Cruise Critic" about the RCL shore excursions. We contacted "Monetti Taxi 17" to take us on an excursion. Their prices were slightly cheaper than RCL excursions because we had four people going. They told us that their driver would meet us at the passenger pier and that he would have a sign with our names on it. I was worried because I could not find any information about the passenger pier in Naples from RCL. Their driver met us at the pier. He had a sign with our names on it. We had no problem finding him. The driver had a newer Mercedes van that was in good shape and had a good a/c system. The driver took us to the Amalfi Coast. The scenery along the roads on the Amalfi coast is spectacular. The driver took us to Positano for a bathroom and shopping break. After the shopping break, our driver made a reservation for us at a restaurant in Ravello. The view from this restaurant was fantastic. It was overlooking the Mediterranean and the town of Minori. And the meal was excellent. We had mozzarella cheese from Paestum, which, according to our driver, is supposed to make the best mozzarella in Italy. A warning to travelers. If you are in Italy and having a meal in a restaurant that is located next to an ocean, expect fish on the menu. There are generally not many other meal options. After lunch, we went to Pompeii and spent a few hours walking thru the ruins. Date: 10 October (Saturday) We had a day at sea while we traveled from Naples to Barcelona. The weather started out being overcast and cold. Later in the day, the wind picked up to over 50 MPH. The captain told guests that he would not allow anyone to be outside. The ship has excellent stabilizers. You did not know that the seas were rough. Date: 11 October (Sunday) We arrived in Barcelona and went on a Gaudi tour. We had decided to use a independent local company to show us the Famalia Segrada and an example of the architect, Antoni Gaudís work. We looked at the various RCL excursions, but decided they did not offer us enough information about what was included. I wanted to see the inside of the Famalia Segrada and the RCL excursions did not offer that. We made a reservation with "Barcelona Guide Bureau" to take us on their "Gaudi Tour". We had to meet the tour bus at the Plaça Catalunya, in front of Deutsche Bank & Hotel Olivia Plaza, at 9:00 AM. I was not comfortable with making this reservation, because I could not figure out the timing and how to get to the Plaça Catalunya. I knew that the cruise ship was supposed to dock at 5:00 AM, and that generally it takes about 30 minutes to get the passenger gangways set up. I looked on the map, and figured out that it would take about 20 minutes to get from the cruise ship to the Plaça Catalunya. So, in theory, if we could get a cab, we would have no problem. We arranged for a wakeup call and room service for breakfast. We got off the ship at 7:00 AM, walked thru the excellent port facilities and quickly found a cab. Since it was Sunday, there was no traffic and our cab dropped us off at Plaça Catalunya at around 8:00 AM. At about 8:45 AM, the Barcelona Guide Bureau bus pulled up. We gave Laura, the tour guide, our tickets. She gave us headsets and we got on the bus. The bus took us down the Passeig de Gràcia where we looked at some examples of Gaudís architecture. We then stopped at Passeig de Gràcia, were we went on a guided tour of this house. Our tour guide showed us many of the features and details of the house. After the tour, we got back on the bus and went for a short ride to the Famalia Segrada. We got off the bus and our tour guide gave us our entrance tickets. As we walked to the church, our guide explained to us many of the architectural details in the exterior of the church. Once we got inside, we were almost speechless. The inside of the Famalia Segrada has to be seen in person. After we left the Famalia Segrada, we took the tour bus back to the Plaça Catalunya. The Plaça Catalunya is at the end of the Ramblas, the main tourist and shopping street in Barcelona. Before we got off the bus, our tour guide told us that half of the people on the Ramblas are tourists and that the other half are pickpockets! We decided to stop and get some lunch. We decided to stop at the Restaurante Nuria. We made a mistake when we ordered food. This was a typical problem we have in Europe, because we don't know if you are going to get a small portion or a large portion of food. At Restaurante Nuria, we received large portions of food. And the quality was good. After we left the restaurant, we walked down the Ramblas. Our wives bought souvenirs from street vendors. When we got about halfway down the Ramblas, we found a cab and had it take us back to our cruise ship. Date: 12 October (Monday) We arrived in La Palma, Majorca and took a port bus to downtown La Palma. Today we decided to sleep in and just take it easy. We took the port authority bus from our cruise ship to La Palma. I think the cost was 3.50 Euros. We walked around La Palma for a few hours and my wife did some souvenir shopping. We then took a Port Authority bus back to the ship. La Palma is a resort town and I wish we had taken the opportunity to look around more. Date: 13 October (Tuesday) We arrived in Marseille, France and went on a shore excursion to Cassis, France. We had decided to take the RCL excursion to Cassis. I had read that Cassis was a small resort and fishing village a few mile from Marseille. The RCL excursion information sounded like your basic excursion. The description was meet your group and tour director, take a tour bus to the destination, walk around on your own for a few hours and take the bus back to the ship. We got on the bus that took us through the old harbor part of Marseille and then on to Cap Canaille. Our RCL tour director gave us an interesting narrative about Marseille and southern France. When we got to Cap Canaille, we got off the bus and walked to the edge of a very high cliff that overlooked the harbor outside of Cassis. The seeing it was fantastic. I read that the vertical drop is around 1200 feet. I would recommend it to anyone that is going to Cassis. After we left Cap Canaille, we took the bus to Cassis. Because of the narrow roads, the bus had to drop us off a few blocks from the center of town. The RCL tour guide was very helpful. She told us about where to shop and eat. She also told us not to use the town's public restroom. Using the recommendation from our guide book, we walked down to the Hotel Le Golfe, a local hotel and restaurant, had a couple of cups of coffee and used their restroom. We then walked down some side streets and along the town marina. We then decided that we should stop and eat some lunch. We decided to stop at Café de France where we had a light lunch. I had the "Blue Plate Special" and was happy with the meal. I don't remember any negative comments from my traveling companions, so the restaurant must have been ok. We left the restaurant and our wives bought souvenirs. I walked into a wine and cheese shop, and could not figure out what to buy. I bought a bottle of wine and did not purchase any cheese. I was told later that RCL probably would not let me take any cheese back onto the ship. We returned to our tour bus and were taken back to our cruise ship. During the trip back to our cruise ship, we talked to other people that went on the excursion. These people had taken a short boat ride to the calanques. Calanques resemble a fjord. These people really liked the boat ride and scenery. They said the boat ride took about an hour and cost 50 euro each. We all thought that RCL had provided a great shore excursion. If I had any criticism, they just did not tell customers what to expect. With some additional pictures, RCL could sell this excursion. Date: 14 October (Wednesday) We arrived in La Spezia and went on a shore excursion to Florence and Pisa or visited the Cinque Terre. We decide to take an independent tour of the Cinque Terre and our friends decided to take a RCL tour of Naples and Pisa. We had decided to use an independent local company to show us the towns of the Cinque Terre. We looked at the various RCL excursions, but decided they did not offer us enough information about what was included. I wanted to see the Cinque Terre, and had read that tour buses are not allowed on many of the roads because the roads are very narrow. And there were negative reviews on "Cruise Critic" about the RCL shore excursions. We contacted "Cinque Terre Tours" to take us on an excursion. Their prices were more expensive than RCL excursions because we only had two people going. They told us that their driver would meet us at the passenger pier and that he would have a sign with our names on it. I was worried because I could not find any information about the passenger pier in La Spezia from RCL. When we got to La Spezia, we were told that we had to ride a port authority bus to get to the passenger pier. Cristian, out driver met us at the pier. He had a sign with our names on it. Because of the large crowds of people, we did have a problem finding him. Cristian had a older Mercedes van (2006) that was in good shape and had a good a/c system. Cristian took us to Portoverne, Vernazza and Corniglia. The scenery along the roads of the Cinque Terre is spectacular. Cristian stopped at several places so that we could look at various sites and take pictures. He made a reservation for us at the Gambero Rosso, a restaurant in Vernazza. The view from the restaurant was overlooking the harbor and was the best seat in the facility And the meal was excellent. We had the local pasta and prawns. Our friends wanted to see Florence and Pisa. They went on a RCL excursion that stopped in Florence for sightseeing, lunch and then stopped in Pisa. They enjoyed the excursion and would recommend it. Lunch was in a very ornate dining room and the food was good. Date: 15 October (Thursday) We arrived in Rome and took the train to Venice or visited Rome. We had purchased train tickets before we left on our trip. The train was scheduled to leave Rome at 1:00 PM. We wanted to leave our ship and meet a taxi at 9:00 AM. We arranged with RCL to leave the ship and get our luggage at 8:30 AM. We left the ship, got our luggage and immediately walked into a huge crowd. The crowd was looking for shore excursion buses, port transport buses or independent transportation vendors. There was absolutely no organization to it. I don't know who was in charge. RCL just kept dumping passengers off into the mess. We had a real difficult time trying to find our taxi driver because to the confusion. Fortunately, we met our taxi driver and he drove us to Rome. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2015
Since the Allure of the Seas will not be cruising the Mediterranean next year, I will focus my review on the ship. If you want to know more about the ports in the Mediterranean, I will try to review these ports later. So a little ... Read More
Since the Allure of the Seas will not be cruising the Mediterranean next year, I will focus my review on the ship. If you want to know more about the ports in the Mediterranean, I will try to review these ports later. So a little background, this was my 15th cruise, 5th cruise on Royal Caribbean, 2nd time on Allure, 1st time Mediteranean Cruise. We are from the United States, we are not drinkers and we are in our late 40's. We did not travel with kids, although we do have young kids. Embarkment: Royal Caribbean corners the market on getting you on the ship. They really push you through the terminal. Some pointers, make sure you register online before you arrive. I laminated my luggage tags to make sure the tags would not tear off the luggage. Either wear your swimsuit or bring your swimsuit with you, most likely you will not get your luggage until 5PM or later. You generally can get on the ship as early as 11AM, so get on as early as you can, since you are paying for that day. Be prepared that when you enter the ship you will be "offered" multiple "opportunities" for things, so not get too overwhelmed. Another tip, do NOT reserve your speciality dining or spa services until you get on the ship, they have deals that you will not receive if you book online and these generally do not book up. Rooms: If you never have been on a cruise, be prepared the rooms are small, but no smaller than most cruise lines. Generally the room will consist of 2 twin beds that they will move together to make a king size bed, a sofa and a desk. The bed was very comfortable (and I am picky about my beds), you can ask for more pillows. The desk will have drawers to put some items in, but they are not very deep, so do not plan to bring a lot of clothes. The closet is a nice size closet, but again if you get bogged down with a lot of clothes you will run out of space quickly. You will be able to store a roll on suitcase under the bed, but the larger suitcases may not fit. The room has a nice flat panel TV that has several channels on it, especially great for kids (if traveling with them), you can also purchase movies to watch in your room. The bathrooms are SUPER small...the joke is that you can lather up the shower and spin around it is that small. Also they only have 1 plug in at the desk in the room, so be prepared for that. They do have a clock, which is a added benefit. We originally stayed in room 7100, which is oceanview, but in the front of the ship, I do not recommend this ship, it is very loud and the room shakes when you are docking. We ended up moving, which was very generous of the ship to do this for us. Dining: The first time we cruised on the Allure we did all of the Specialty Dining and they are all good. This time we only did Central Park 150. If you are going to dine here, again wait until you get on the ship and look at the menu before you decide on what day you want to dine here. It is a set menu and they switch it mid week. We love Central Park 150, the food is amazing and the service excellent. We loved the other Specialty restaurants too, but you have to pay for the service in the dining room whether you use it or not, so basically you are paying twice tip wise and the food in the dining room is just as good. Royal Caribbean allows you to have a set time dining which is great if you want to dine with other passengers. If you want to be more spontaneous with your dining you can also do My Time Dining, where they have reserved one floor (American Icon) for this type of dining. You can reserve a time for this, which if you are going to eat at a later time, I would recommend you do this. When you do My Time dining you can get the same server every night, so they know what kind of drink you like and will most likely have it quickly ready for you. The food is fairly good for cruise food. Remember they are feeding 6000 people, so you are not going to get top quality food. If you want that then go to the Specialty dining and pay the extra. Entertainment: You must go to Mama Mia, it was excellent, even my husband who does not like Broadway shows enjoyed it. Also Ocean Aria was excellent. You do need to book these 2 shows as early as possible before the cruise otherwise you will not get your first choice. Also book Ocean Aria as early in the cruise as you can because the show could be cancelled due to weather. The other shows were okay but if you do not see them, you will not be missing much. If you are bringing kids then Ocean Aria is a great show for kids, plus the Ice Skating shows, but the other shows are not kid friendly and I would not take them. They have other shows, such as "minute to win it" shows, which are hilarious and fun to either participate or observe, but again not kid friendly. Allure has beefed up the movies they are showing, so they seemed to have a movie every day showing in the theater of first run movies. To say the least they seemed to have plenty to do. I have not even mentioned the casino and all of the places where they are just playing music to can go listen to. Cruise Layout: Allure is an AMAZING ship, they really figured out how to lay this ship out so you do not feel that 6000 people are on this ship. The main area's where people "hang out" are: The Promenade: Most likely this will be the first place you will see when you board the ship. This area has several places you can eat (for free), shops and a couple "bars". This is where they do the big parties and parades. The theater and the dining rooms are located off of the Promenade. The Boardwalk: This is a great outdoor area, where the Aqua theater is located, plus 2 of the $ restaurants. They do have a couple shops located in this area, plus the carousel which is free to ride. The rock climbing wall is also located in this area. Central Park: I love this area. This area is in the middle of the ship, but open air. You truly feel like you are strolling through a park. In this area they do have one of the free cafe's which I love, plus several of the $ dining area's. Pool Deck: Okay no other way to put this, but it is an AWESOME layout. In the front of the ship is the Solarium, which is Adult only area. This is a great place to hang out, but on days at sea it will get crowded so arrive early. Then you have the family area with 2 pools in the middle of the ship, then not much further is the kids area, with a pool and a splash zone. Then you have the Windjammer cafe next to this area. On the backside of the ship is where they have 2 flowriders, the zipline (remember closed toe shoes for this), sports court and minature golf area. You really start to understand how big this ship is in this area...you will walk and walk to get to the other end. The pools do not have any slides, which is a disappointment for thrill seekers, but then you could just go do the flowrider or the zipline to get the thrill. Other Area's: On the 3rd deck they have the Casino, several "studio's" for entertainment and the Ice Skating rink, you do need long pants to do the ice skating. The Spa is located on the 5th & 6th deck, along with the walking track and exercise room. They seem to have alcove's of some "bar" or library on every floor. With all of these area's it is hard to feel that you have 6000 passengers. Disembarkation: The night before you arrive back at the terminal, you will be given luggage tags to put on your luggage that needs to be outside your door by 11PM. If you do not get your luggage out by 11PM then you have to carry it off yourself. The easiest & best way to get off the ship is for you to carry your luggage off yourself, then basically you can leave anytime after they give the "all clear" and it is seemless and very fast. If you have them take your luggage then you meet at a certain time and disembark with that group & locate your luggage with that group #. If you have to make connections and your time is tight you could get a little frustrated. Again I think Royal Caribbean does a great job trying to make this as simple and easy as possible for the passengers. Summary: The Allure is a great ship, is it perfect...only if you choose to make it that way...people can always find fault in something. Royal Caribbean is doing this to make money, so they do things to get as much money from you as possible. If you realize this and do not let it bother you, you will be fine. I would like to give a few shout outs just in case Royal Caribbean reads this. We were very pleased with the service that we got with Guest Services, I did not yell, so I am sure that helped, they were great to work with and they switched our room. Nina our room attendant was so friendly and helpful. The dining room staff were wonderful, we had a glitch the first night and I brought that up with the head waiter and after that we were treated with the best treatment. Again I did not yell, which I think helped a lot. I would stay away from the Spa, they will try to sell you every product under the sun. The treatments are great, but the upsell gets very tiring, just wait until you get home and do the treatment for less. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We started out in Rome for 4 days and travelled to the cruise ship via RomeCabs doing a 4 hour tour through the Italian countryside and touring Castle Odeschali in Bracciano, eating lunch at a nice Italian restaurant afterwards. If you ... Read More
We started out in Rome for 4 days and travelled to the cruise ship via RomeCabs doing a 4 hour tour through the Italian countryside and touring Castle Odeschali in Bracciano, eating lunch at a nice Italian restaurant afterwards. If you get a chance, take that tour with RomeCabs...awesome! Arrived and boarded Royal Caribbean's Allure Of The Seas to celebrate our 37th anniversary. Yes, the ship is a Mega Ship, but there is so much room on this ship that we rarely felt crowded. There were plenty of places to eat...the dining room with exceptional waitstaff had set dining times or "my time" dining, the Buffett style dining on the upper decks had 2 large areas and we always found nice seating even during the most crowded eating times. The food was prepared well and there was a huge assortment to choose from. There were smaller "restaurant" style eateries that were included in your paid price which you could eat at, too. There were plenty of extra dining places at which you would pay to eat at, although we felt we had such great experiences in the other places, we never used those. Bars and gathering places were everywhere. The Amber theater was clean and the Mama Mia show was very good and the comedy shows were fun. There is a huge Aqua Theater on the ship, but the two different nights we had reservations for, were cancelled due to technical difficulties and then bad weather, so we were not able to see it, but heard it was great....so, try to see it early in your cruise if you can. This was a split boarding cruise, passengers got on/off in Barcelona and in Rome, but it was handled so smoothly we couldn't even tell it was going on...we actually think it made boarding and disembarking less crowded this way. We did not book tours through RCI, but booked private tours. There was only 1 day at sea and the rest of the days we were in great ports....Naples, Barcelona, Palma De Mallorca, Marseilles, La Spezia...so much to see and do! On ship, you could stay busy "surfing" the waves , rock climbing, playing putt putt, swimming, hot tubbing, zip lining or working out. There is an adults only nice, quiet area called The Solarium which also serves healthy type foods/drinks...great place to read and relax. We opted to purchase the "Zoom" wifi service and it worked well with our IPhones and IPad and there was a business center with computers and printers, if needed. When disembarking, we chose to self disembark and walk off with our luggage. It was handled smoothly, certain elevators were set up to drop directly to the floor we disembarked from and went pretty quickly. We hired RomeCabs , for the third time, and they were waiting for us at 8 am to drive us to the Rome FCO Airport, which took no more than an hour...can't say enough good things about the service provided by RomeCabs on this trip. We would definitely book a cruise on this ship again! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
My wife and I recently decided to take a Mediterranean Cruise. He had heard many wonderful things about Royal Caribbean and decided to give it a try. We were very excited to step onto the “Biggest ship in the ocean”, the Allure of ... Read More
My wife and I recently decided to take a Mediterranean Cruise. He had heard many wonderful things about Royal Caribbean and decided to give it a try. We were very excited to step onto the “Biggest ship in the ocean”, the Allure of the Seas. It wasn’t our first cruise but it was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean. It, unfortunately, didn’t go well. During our cruise experience we had a number of issues and were disappointed often. Right away, upon stepping onto the ship, we were met with staffers trying to give us flyers and coupons for deals (Spa treatments, Beverage packages, Internet packages, Photo opportunities, etc) that are aboard the ship. This may sound like a good thing, as someone might think that they are making sure we get the biggest bang for our buck. However, it was a nightmare. The hallway we entered when getting on the ship is first off very narrow for the hundreds of people trying to board and it was very cramped. As we walked forward staff member after staff member were trying to hand us flyers, which at the time we had no idea what they were. We thought maybe some vital piece of information for the ship. If it wasn’t a sheet of paper it was another staff member trying to talk to us about services offered. Well when a hallway is that small with that many people, you end up not being able to hear very well. We were finally able to fight through the commotion and find an elevator. That was our great “Welcome Aboard”. Perhaps a good thing to others, however, to my wife and I, having spent two previous days in Rome with all sorts of street vendors and people putting things in your face to purchase, it was truly just awful. We then proceeded up to our state room. It wasn’t clean. Hair on the vanity chair, water/cup rings on the table, and misc. stains on the dresser. Again this wasn’t our first cruise, so we understand wear and tear on a ship, but this was very sloppy and very disgusting. The food was a disappointment in general. Our first morning, we ordered room service and double checked our order before hanging the tag on the door. To our surprise, the order was incorrect. It wasn’t complex. We ordered granola. We instead received Special K cereal. Not to mention, the tray and food protection lids were dirty and not presentable. The second morning on board, the day after our room service issue, we went to American Icon Grille and did a la carte - ordering a simple breakfast of pancakes and sausage; however, once again the order was incorrect - receiving pancakes that tasted and felt like they had been cooked an hour prior and bacon (something we did not order). A few days later, we decided to have an easy night in and wanted to try the “make your own pizza” and take it back to our room. Surprisingly, this was not as available as advertised. We asked for a “make your own pizza” and the gentleman said, 'Sorry, we are all out of to go boxes'. Then, instead of offering to make us a pizza, fresh and hot out of the oven, he placed the pizza that was cooked what seemed a couple hours prior on a few plates for us to take back to our room. That same evening, we ordered room service again in which I received a salad with dressing three days passed its expiration date. Another issue we experienced was the lack of restaurant availability. We came back from a shore excursion an hour later than expected and the only restaurant open was Park Café (Which seats about 75-100) or Sabor and Johnny Rockets, two of which you have to pay for. We were shocked that out of all the restaurants on the ship, only one was available to service thousands and thousands of people and, of course, it was beyond full capacity. There was a huge lack of communication and details regarding the shore excursion descriptions. The shore excursions did not indicate if lunch was to be included or not; they did not indicate that, often times, more than half of your excursion would be spent in a bus driving to the location and an additional quarter would be spent walking; and the excursion descriptions did not match the actual activity. For example, the Gaudi's Architect tour was a very poorly produced excursion. The bus made three stops - the first was to see a view of the city (something we saw numerous times from the bus drive already), the second was to a church that we had to walk to, to only see the outside (never had the opportunity to go in), and the third was a house inspired by Gaudi's work, however, we didn't get the guided tour headset like other individuals – so basically we simply walked through the house, not knowing what we were looking at and it was so crowded getting through we felt like cattle being moved from one room to the other. The second excursion we were extremely, extremely disappointed with was the Leaning Tower of Pisa. This excursion was four hours long and we only had 40 minutes to explore the area - the other 3 hours and 20 minutes were spent driving, walking from the bus to the location and waiting for everyone to come to the meeting location so we could leave. This needed to be communicated upfront in the description that more than half your excursion would be in the bus - we would have never purchased it. Not to mention, it rained that morning with the forecast showing clear skies mid-morning. It would have been nice to postpone the excursion by 1 hour so we could enjoy it - instead we were taken out in the rain where it was extremely windy and we couldn't hear our tour guide describe any of the structures around us. Near the end of our trip, we wanted to provide our feedback and issues to guest services. The gentleman we spoke to looked up our information and made a comment that he didn't have anything in the system and that we should've said something sooner, when the issues occurred. We felt the issues shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Instead of the gentleman offering to document our issues or offer to get a manager, he simply mentioned that we could add these things to a section of our survey. Overall, our experience on the boat and with the excursions was enough to deter us from ever sailing with Royal Caribbean again. My wife and I spent 4 years saving for this trip. This was not the experience that we were expecting to have and I can’t imagine this is the reputation that Royal Caribbean wanted to leave. But that’s what happened. Thank you for your time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
We just got back from a western Mediterranean cruise on beautiful Allure of the Seas and it was the best trip we ever took. We flew to Rome five days early so we could do some serious touring before departing on the ship. We stayed at a ... Read More
We just got back from a western Mediterranean cruise on beautiful Allure of the Seas and it was the best trip we ever took. We flew to Rome five days early so we could do some serious touring before departing on the ship. We stayed at a small Roman hotel called the Diocleziano which was wonderful. Elegant, friendly, and gorgeous bathrooms. I would have liked to stay for several months. On Thursday Sept 10th we took,a shuttle for the Port of Rome and boarded in record time. Half the ship got on the previous Sunday in Barcelona so instead of 5000 passengers trying to board it was only half of that. We had long shore excursions planned for every day except the one sea day and we were generally off the ship by 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning and sometimes did not get back until 7:30 in the evening. All of the shore excursions were RC sponsored because we didn't want the ship sailing without us! No matter how late we got back the dining staff always found a table for the six of us so I am so grateful to them for that. After a long day of touring it was so nice to relax in the dining room and not have to put up with the mayhem in the Windjammer. The shows were wonderful, especially Mama Mia and the Aqua theater show. I was very impressed with how Allure handled the shore excursions. The night before the shore excursion our tickets would be on the door and the time and the meeting place. After everyone assembled in the morning we left the ship in our groups and board the buses for our destinations. Very organized, especially when compared to being dumped in some of the Caribbean ports a few years ago on a different ship. Leaving the ship was so sad but again it was very organized and we were off and on our bus to the Rome airport in record time. I just wish the cruise could have been longer and we could have had a few more sea days to really enjoy the ship. Oh well, maybe next time. My only complaint about the whole trip has nothing to do with Allure but concerns British Airways. It was suggested to us by family members to fly premium economy and while it was very nice I just don't think it was worth the extra expense. Next time I'm flying direct to Rome and saving the money for more leather purses and gold jewelry! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
I so enjoyed my recent cruise on The Allure of the Seas, what a lovely ship. I was looking forward to sailing on the Aluure as i had enjoyed the Oasis last year. The ship did not disappoint nor did the staff they cared so much. Louise ... Read More
I so enjoyed my recent cruise on The Allure of the Seas, what a lovely ship. I was looking forward to sailing on the Aluure as i had enjoyed the Oasis last year. The ship did not disappoint nor did the staff they cared so much. Louise from the Crown and Anchor, JJ from the pool bar and Carlos from the Grand were amazing. There so many members of staff that were just as great thank you to all of you. I enjoyed the food in the American Icon for breakfast and the Grand for the Evening dining. Park cafe for lunch if i had room were also really good. I never tried the Windjammer, speciality dinning or Johnny Rockets this time. I did have a made up pizza in Sorrentos one night it was good. I watched the Aqua show it was fantastic. I know things can sometimes go wrong and on the one occasion i saw this Royal Caribbean staff did there best to help those involved and did a great job. I cannot comment on any shore excursions as i enjoyed being on the ship. I had an inside cabin 3826 it was kept so clean and tidy by the cabin stewardess she again worked so hard. I am so looking forward to sailing on Slendour soon and meeting up with people from this cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We enjoyed our trip on the Allure of the Seas. Overall we had a great time, but there are some things we wish we knew before we went on our trip. We did not know about many services, options, and hidden away places until we had been on the ... Read More
We enjoyed our trip on the Allure of the Seas. Overall we had a great time, but there are some things we wish we knew before we went on our trip. We did not know about many services, options, and hidden away places until we had been on the ship for 2 or 3 days. Hopefully, these tips will help you on your next cruise... 1. My Time Dining. If you sign up for My Time Dining, you may get the time you want for dinner, but you will be limited to one dining room. Apparently, some dining rooms, including the Grande, are reserved for first and second seating dining. Not the end of the world, but good to know so you don't wait 20 minutes on line at the wrong dining location. Look at the third line on your SeaPass, it will list your assigned dining room. 2.The Right Currency. I knew the Europeans did not like to accept US Dollars on the port visits, but I didn't know the preferred currency on the Allure was the US Dollar. I tipped a casino employee with some Euros, and it was obvious he wasn't thrilled. By the way, you can't make a purchase in any of the stores with either cash or credit card. You can only use your SeaPass to buy any items in the Boutiques. 3. Bring Plenty of Singles. You will want to give someone a gratuity at some point because they went the extra mile. Have plenty of $US One dollar bills. Otherwise, you will be giving out Five Dollar tips all the time, sure to make them happy, but break your wallet quickly. TIP: When you order room service, a tip is not necessary. The room service steward will be in and out of your stateroom like a shot. They won't stick around while you fumble for a gratuity (They get their tips from the pool of gratuities that are charged to you each day, currently $12.95 per Diem). 4. Take a Walk on the Quiet Side. When in port, I noticed that the side away from the dock (almost always the port side) has less crowds and smaller lines. On the pool deck, the restaurants (like the Windjammer, for instance) and the bars, those that were opposite from the docking side of the Allure, had fewer crowds and speedier service. 5. Ice, Ice, Baby. You have to order ice for your stateroom (no ice machines like in most hotels) through room service. However, tell your cabin steward you want ice on day one, and to please keep it filled. That way, you'll be able to have cold drinks any time of the day or night (like maybe that nightcap before bedtime?). 6. TV on the Allure Sucks. I realize they want you out of your state room and spending money on the ship. Therefore, there are very few English channels on the television. Mostly European language channels. Not cool, considering most of the passengers were American. Lots of cartoon channels and a few business channels. Both CNBC and Bloomburg are all about Europe and Asian markets. Keep in mind that the US markets don't open until 3:30PM Rome time. Even then coverage of the Dow and S&P 500 is pretty skimpy. Internet is a better choice if you are checking up on your portfolio. And forget about the NFL and MLB for the week. Hope you like soccer! 7. Speaking of the Internet. There are internet stations scattered around the ship. We found one on Deck 9, and one in the card room on Deck 14. They want you to spend more money and connect with your own tablet or IPad. However, there are also computers provided on the ship, but they almost always require you to pay a connect fee. But we found some free connections. It appears someone had figured out a workaround so you don't have to pay. Look for the Google logo on the computer screen. I think someone would get their free session, then leave it open for the next person. We never paid once. Thank you, whoever you are. 8. Central Park: A Hidden Gem. I couldn't believe how beautiful this park is! Manicured landscape, tall trees, and well maintained flower beds (no dogs or Frisbees like the one in New York City} make it a pleasant walk. Add the sound of birds, and you instantly relax and feel the stress draining from your body (although I'm pretty certain the bird calls are recorded). Most of the specialty dining venues are in the park. Even if you don't chose to eat in any of these restaurants, Central Park is a must see. Bring your camera and take some pix! 9. Two Hidden Gems in the Hidden Gem. It was unfortunate that we didn't discover these two until day three. Hidden among the trees in Central Park, there is a small bistro called the Park Cafe. The food there is terrific-tasty and fresh. Their menu tends to lean toward healthy foods, which we found to be a great break from the big steaks and heavy desserts in our dining room. The other jewel is the Vintages Wine Bar. They have a fabulous collection of wines at affordable prices. But the real winner here is the tapas menu. You can create a complete meal for two at a bargain price. We had the 8 tapas menu for $13- and we took a doggie bag back to our stateroom (lunch for the next day in port)! Also try the terrific sangrias. They serve both red and white, and they are perfectly fruity and tangy. Try one and you will be hooked. 10. Stay Active. There are many activities on the ship. But not all activities are available every day. For instance, my wife wanted to go ice skating. By the time she made the decision to go (day 4), there were no more skating sessions for the remainder of the trip. Moral of the story: schedule your favorite fun time as soon as possible in your activities lineup. 11. Elevating Your Expectations. There are plenty of elevators on the Allure. There is a cluster toward the bow (front) and another group near the aft (back of ship). Get to know the one nearest your stateroom as soon as possible. Several times, I got to my Deck, but ended up walking the length of the ship. TIP: Best way to get from one end of the ship to the other? Use Deck 8, through Central Park (You can also go to Deck 4, where you will walk through the Casino. Warning: the Casino is the only place on the Allure where smoking is allowed. Needless to say, it smells of old, burning tobacco. If you use the Casino to get from one end of the ship to another, you will incur an expensive dry cleaning bill!). 12. Gangway! At our first port, Naples, we went onto the dock from Deck 3. When we got to our next port, Barcelona, I instinctively went to Deck 3 to get off( right?). But the gangway was on Deck 2. How would I know? RCL has a gangway button in each elevator (very bottom of the elevator panel). Punch it and it automatically takes you to the right deck to disembark. 13. Is This A Booze Cruise? This is a sticky one. Bringing booze on board the Allure is, for the most part, prohibited. But there is an exception. When you "embark" on your cruise, you are allowed to bring two (2) liters per cabin on board. Anything more than that will be confiscated, but returned to you on the last day. We choose not to bring anything on the ship. When we got to Naples, my wife found some cute souvenir bottles of lemoncello . They were only seven ounces and the bottles were in shape of the Italian "boot". When we came back on board the Allure, the ship security wanted to confiscate them as liquor. My wife argued that we had not brought any liquor on the ship when we came aboard the first time, and that she was in fact "embarking" onto the ship. Therefore, she was entitled to bring the liquor on board. Fortunately, a supervisor broke up the discussion, and allowed her to bring the lemoncello on board. TIP: There was no ship security on the gangway when we returned from shore on the next to last day. I guess they decided it wasn't worth holding liquor for 24 hours, then returning it to the passenger. 14. You Bet Its a Booze Cruise!! After careful consideration and calculation, we bought the Ultra Premium Beverage Package. It sounds like a lot of money at first. It's about $75 per DAY, per PERSON, so it would run almost $1100 for the two of us for the trip. We figured we would use about 3 sodas or waters a day, each at about $4.00 each , which comes to approximately $170 for the trip. That would leave about $930 for wine, beer, Fu-Fu drinks, and other assorted booze. At an average of $10 per drink, that would mean about 93 alcoholic drinks for the week, or about 7 drinks per day per person. For us, this translated to something like a Bloody Mary for breakfast, a beer at lunch, a Margarita at the pool, a cocktail before diner, wine with dinner (2 glasses), and a nightcap in our stateroom. So we bought the "UP" package, as is referred to by the Allure staff. Unfortunately for Royal Caribbean, they didn't make a dime on us. Once you are on vacation, and you stress down, have fun, sit by the pool, meet new people, and acquire a favorite bartender or two, the averages go out the window. I wouldn't say we were over served, but I kept waiting for them to rescind our beverage package and cut us off. Let's just say we found the package to be very worthwhile. 15. A Bonus, Too! With the "UP" package, you get a superbly designed and well built Coca Cola travel tumbler, with a screw-on top to prevent spills. Big Deal, is what I said. But then I found out there were soda machines in front of Sorrento's Pizza (Deck 5) where you can get over 100 different kinds of soda and flavored waters for FREE. The machine only accepts and fills these particular tumblers. I must have filled it 3-4 times a day (This also reduced the amount of sodas I had to buy, which increased my alcohol budget, etc.). I discovered Desani sparkling water---I love it! We enjoyed our trip. If I had to do it all over again, I would do it all over again. I might consider a smaller ship, but I believe Royal Caribbean has the right idea- service the customer at every turn, and they will come back for more. I know I plan to return. Hope your trip is a winner, too! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
I've been on several RCI ships, including Freedom, Majesty, and Brilliance. My wife before joined me on Freedom of the Seas, and that turned out to be our favorite ship. We had high hopes for Allure, so maybe that's why our ... Read More
I've been on several RCI ships, including Freedom, Majesty, and Brilliance. My wife before joined me on Freedom of the Seas, and that turned out to be our favorite ship. We had high hopes for Allure, so maybe that's why our rating isn't that great here. Don't get me wrong, this ship is very good, with many high points. But some things disappointed us that we felt are important on any cruise. 1) Embarking and debarking = EXCELLENT. - Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Never felt like we were in line for anything. 2) Shows/Entertainment = GOOD - We were very impressed with the shows, especially Mama Mia, the Aquashow, and even the ice show. These were the best I've seen on a cruise ship and can stand up as equals to theater productions on land. The ONLY disappointment we had was the entertainment at the Schooner Bar. Normally, the piano players in the past have been a blast, light hearted, and just full of energy. This one seemed to be more background music, and monotonous. It sounded fine, but was just boring. Luckily, we found a guitar player at the pub that could get the crowd going with some raunchy adult songs, but also classic favorites to sing along to. 3) Ports - AVERAGE We started in Rome, went to Naples, Barcelona, Marseilles, Palma de Mallorca, and La Spezia. Hard to rate this too bad because you know ahead of time where you are going when you buy the cruise. Nice thing was nothing was tendered, but all docked. My wife and I loved Rome even though the drive was an hour to port. Barcelona and Palma were off the charts great. Florence, though a VERY long drive from port, was worth seeing. But we could have stayed on the ship in France. 4) Food - BELOW AVERAGE - This was probably our biggest disappointment. We had MyTime Dining and didn't try any specialty restaurants. (we figure cruises should always have good food, and it should be included in the price). Breakfast was bland, both in the dining room and windjammer. We expected better food in the main dining area, but even though the menu was the same as past cruises, it just wasn't that good. I often ate a little and was done, never interested in seconds. Dinner also was disappointing. The food was OK, but not as good as other cruises we've been on. Steaks often overdone, ravioli cold, etc. Nothing was disgusting, but it wasn't amazing. 5) Food Service - Breakfast=POOR , Dinner=EXCELLENT For Breakfast at the main dining room, service was slow, non-attentive. For dinner though, we had great waiters and assistant waiters. They made our trip very pleasant, and just fun. 6) Bar Service - AVERAGE - Most bar servers were OK. We did opt for the Premium beverage package after the 2nd day, so maybe that's why service seemed to be lacking a little at times. We did find bartenders here and there that were great, but typically, drinks took a while. 7) Cabin - GOOD We the last cabin on the 12'th floor, with a balcony overlooking the boardwalk, the aqua theater, and a little bit of the ocean. The view was great. The cabin was a bit larger than we're used to (interior rooms). We were unfortunate that the ship did go through a renovation 3 months prior that eliminated the free overlook areas on those decks that allowed people on those levels to hang out on nice chairs. They instead put in more suites. too bad for us. Overall, I will cruise Royal Caribbean again, and possibly even on a large ship, but only if the price is right and the itinerary is excellent. I no longer have that need or want to sail on a large ship. I'd rather now go on a medium sized ship (relatively speaking), like Freedom. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
I felt that this cruise was very impersonal and that the objective appeared to be to get me to constantly spend more money, despite having an inferior service and facilities than previously. I was also very disappointed with the meals in ... Read More
I felt that this cruise was very impersonal and that the objective appeared to be to get me to constantly spend more money, despite having an inferior service and facilities than previously. I was also very disappointed with the meals in the my time dining room in comparison to those I have received in the past. There were a number of occasions I had to send some meals back. Steak incorrectly cooked and still incorrect after three attempts. Also the Caesar salad looked like it had been made for some time so quite unappetising. Also every night, I had to ask for another fork as they were all bent!! I also felt that we were rushed through. I understand the ship was busy but the tables and chairs were so close together it was difficult to get through. On a positive note on one night in the main dining room we were served by Julio, Jonathan and wine waiter Jackson. This was the only time, apart from the suite lounge, that I felt we were treated as individuals. These gentlemen are a definite asset to the ship. The restaurants that had a supplement that we attended were, however, far superior. I feel I should not have to pay a premium after already spending a substantial amount on the cruise itself. On the marseille day we decided to stay on board and avail ourselves of the ships many facilities. I was very disappointed to see that the majority were closed - even the club suite sun deck which was opened up after I complained. I decided on this cruise ship because of the very good advertising of entertainment and facilities and feel quite cheated that when I wanted to use them they were unavailable. I felt that I had a wasted day. My boys were unable to use the boogie board after being told 'it's shut' 15 mins before closing (was only open for 1 hour anyway. The first hour was for advanced surfing) After I queued for some time at the desk to enquire further as to why they had shut earlier I was told very cheekily 'yes 60 seconds earlier'! I was quite upset but not as upset when I took my boys to the teen club to see all they could do between 11-7pm was use the lounge to get out of the sun! Wow, what entertainment. Gaming machines there but things locked away and no one in sight to ask! Unable to look round any shops as all shut until late pm. Even one that had provisions such as sun cream etc was open once a week! If I needed/wanted anything I would've had to have got a taxi into town first. I really just wanted a look round but EVERYTHING was shut incl casino. If I decided to spend a week on board without getting off the ship at all I expect to be able to use the facilities that sold the cruise to me. The other issue with the suite sun deck was no telephone for me to be able to ring our room which I needed to do and no power supply that I could use. I found this amazing - what if there had been an emergency on deck 17? I was directed to deck 16, went into the solarium but the phone there was dead. I was then directed to a phone by the lift- I could hear my husband but he couldn't hear me. I eventually got through to him on my fourth phone! My next 'wasted day' was on the trip to Florence and Pisa. I can't even begin to describe what a terrible day it was, mainly due to the tour guide. She spent the majority of her time on her phone, gazing at photos of I can only assume a boyfriend she'd had an argument with, sleeping or shouting at the guests that they were not listening to her! I kid you not - was like a very bad school trip and when one guest fell all she was bothered about was signing a form and then held her board up to continue walk back to the ship, whilst he was still sat shaking. In all, a disappointing week away, albeit very expensive. Would I travel again on the Allure? Probably not. Would I travel with Royal Caribbean? Well I was planning a cruise in the future around the emirates but I suppose that depends on the answer to the numerous complaints I made onboard which actually spoilt my holiday. I have spent quite a lot of money in the past and don't want to be throwing more money-and more importantly, time - away that could be used elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
My wife and I just completed our European cruise on August 20th, 2015. We had a great time! The Allure of the Seas is a huge ship with over 5,000 guests but it never seemed crowded. The food was the best that we have ever experienced on ... Read More
My wife and I just completed our European cruise on August 20th, 2015. We had a great time! The Allure of the Seas is a huge ship with over 5,000 guests but it never seemed crowded. The food was the best that we have ever experienced on a cruise. Now, we did eat in the dining room only 1 time and it was good, but the other nights we ate at the specialty restaurants - Giovanni's, Sabor, Chops Grill, and 150 Central Park - and they were outstanding! The ports of call were very fun as well. We did tours for Naples, Mallorca, and Marseille and were very pleased with them. We did a Royal Caribbean excursion to Florence and that was wonderful as well. This is a great way to get a taste of Europe and we will likely go and do it again. Very highly recommend. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Apart from the seated dining room service which I would rate among the best I have come across. Room was ample and maintained to standard. General dining (windjammer) I found wanting a few times no coffee too full just overloaded. ... Read More
Apart from the seated dining room service which I would rate among the best I have come across. Room was ample and maintained to standard. General dining (windjammer) I found wanting a few times no coffee too full just overloaded. Tried other food places in peak times the same. Most annoying was the blatant rip off with the taxes on drinks and the hidden Vat. Taxes on the internet. When booking we paid graditude in advance only to find on every purchase a graditude charge.etc. also on previuos sauna area were free,Not with Allure charge please. Deck 5 entertainment yes variety but location of all the bars ment cross noise not to mention alcohol being consumed in company of many children. Would not be revisiting this ship Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
First some NICE things to be said: We were in 8668 which is a balcony on the eight floor starbord side A- embarkation-flawless, quick, efficient, superb. No other word. b- SHIP-oversized but efficient C- room- very small. It seems ... Read More
First some NICE things to be said: We were in 8668 which is a balcony on the eight floor starbord side A- embarkation-flawless, quick, efficient, superb. No other word. b- SHIP-oversized but efficient C- room- very small. It seems that the bigger the ship the smaller the average room. This is the first bathroom that i ever felt claustrophobic in. Balcony was beautiful and the Western Med in August is fabulous D- cabin service- superior, place was immaculate after every day. However the toiletries are garbage, as if they were bought at the 99 cent store. I have been spoiled by Holland and EVEN Carnival had better quality toiletries E- food- i resent the constant non stop upselling to the specialty restaurants. Number one, i was not interested. Number two, we are vegetarians and a steakhouse does not help me. That been said, the food in the american grill [basic] dining room was mediocre at best. Did the chef ever hear of spices???? Presentation was ok but the fishes and the pastas were absolutely devoid of taste. I love fish, and when served it should have some flavor. F-photos- stop already, i understand you are a business and the photos and the booze, and the wifi are profit centers. But enough is enough. G- i enjoyed the shows immensely. The water show was ok and entertaining, the faux aerosmith tribute show was good, the ice show was good, and mama mia was fabulous. I saw the broadway production and this was competitive on every level. Note:families the unlimited soda at 20/day per person is really not worth it. You cannot drink that much soda and stay alive. I enjoyed the fresh orange juice, and a specialty coffee every day, and even with two sodas it would be only about 14 a day per person. ITINERARY: I never use the cruise ship tours so I have two things to say: A- i resent royal carib only allowing its tours to pick up next to the ship while the other passengers had to either walk or take shuttles for their tour pick ups. B- i used cruise excursions.com and bought the five day package. Waste of time and money: in naples, barcelona and marseille you do not need a prepackaged tour. Take the hop on hop off bus and save 50 dollars/day per person. It is the same thing as the garbage tour we were provided with. You do need a tour in maijorca and florence since the ports are so so far away from cities. C-personal gripe- i would not stay at a hotel without wifi. The 20/day is a rip off but they are the only game in town. I appreciate that it is a profit center but i resent it. D- spa, typical overpriced with amazing upsells. Msc had the same cruise going in opposite direction for about 200 less per person. Although i have done royal carib before i would not have done them on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
This year is the first year that the Allure of the Seas has sailed in the Mediterranean. I was a little worried as, although we have cruised before, we have never been on such a big ship. Transfers to and from the ship were easy and ... Read More
This year is the first year that the Allure of the Seas has sailed in the Mediterranean. I was a little worried as, although we have cruised before, we have never been on such a big ship. Transfers to and from the ship were easy and trouble free, made easier by having completing some paperwork on line before departure. It was a little intimidating at first but I soon got over that. The facilities on board were excellent. We took our 20 and 18 year old sons who had a ball and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves too. There were diving shows, ice skating shows, comedy shows, parades and even the Mamma Mia stage show. There were designer shops, fast food bars, a cup cake shop and even a Starbucks. Our maid and the waiters at our table couldn't do enough for us and helped to make it a wonderful experience. As did the waiters around the pool. The food at every restaurant was excellent and offered something for everyone. There were plenty of sunbeds for everyone (which was something I had worried about) not that you had much time for sunbathing! The places that we stopped at were beautiful - Naples, Barcelona, Palma, Marseilles, La Spezia. We only went on one organised trip but that was fantastic - Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri - and the guide was excellent. Can't fault anything at all, everything was excellent and worth every penny. A fantastic holiday. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We have taken many cruises, most on RCL. We were excited to try out the Allure of the Seas. While we were very impressed by the size and quality of the ship itself, we were shockingly disappointed by the terrible attitudes of the staff. ... Read More
We have taken many cruises, most on RCL. We were excited to try out the Allure of the Seas. While we were very impressed by the size and quality of the ship itself, we were shockingly disappointed by the terrible attitudes of the staff. While there were some exceptions, the overall attitude of the staff was disappointing, aloof, and even downright rude. This was such a departure from previous experiences on RCL and NCL. Lines at the Windjammer cafeteria were 20-30 minutes long. On-deck bars closed too early. This ship is so big, it can't dock at more convenient ports, forcing it to dock at farther-out industrial ports where, in some cases, taxis are not allowed to serve them. We love RCL but, at least on this cruise, we were disappointed by the overall poor service. Otherwise, we had a blast! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We are a traveling family and were quite reluctant to go on this cruise because I'm a vegan, but when the person booking this cruise told me he went through a lot of trouble getting me a vegan chef (or so we thought) we were reassured ... Read More
We are a traveling family and were quite reluctant to go on this cruise because I'm a vegan, but when the person booking this cruise told me he went through a lot of trouble getting me a vegan chef (or so we thought) we were reassured and we spent the large sum of money to go through with the cruise. The first night of the cruise we got to our dinner place, they handed me a traditional menu and I happily took it thinking they just made a mistake and I would just correct them. Then when they came by again, they seemed unorganized- three different people taking our drink orders and dinner orders when we'd prefer to order once. When I stated I was a vegan and was told I would be accommodated, they appeared very confused. They said "well look on the menu" and I responded that the things on the menu did not accommodate me. After a lot of time passed, they came back and said that they would make me a vegetable stir fry. It certainly was not the selection I was expecting. The buffet selection was not any better. Everything was quite old looking as well as covered in salt (one of our travelers can't digest large masses of salt) and also that most of their stuff was made with butter and eggs. In the end, the food selection was only half the problem. The staff was quite rude to us and as we observed, others as well. If we weren't in the correct place many got very frustrated with us. A positive thing about the cruise was the massive selection of activities, however with those we found many more oppurtunies they would take to leech our money. A photo album of our family (with 5 photos) cost us almost 1000 dollars! None of the other meal selections were complementary and the arcade was 1.50 per game- just to give an idea. Overall, this cruise had a very nice selection of places to go which I would only recommend to people who have money to burn. I would recommend this cruise to people who don't need much accommodation in their family, and don't mind rude service. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We sailed July 9-16 on Royal Caribbean's(RCCL) Allure of the Seas. Having read other reviews, I know that low ratings are often due to individual circumstances, so my "Poor" rating might not be considered poor by others. ... Read More
We sailed July 9-16 on Royal Caribbean's(RCCL) Allure of the Seas. Having read other reviews, I know that low ratings are often due to individual circumstances, so my "Poor" rating might not be considered poor by others. My primary complaints are based on two issues: reduced options for travelers embarking in Rome and what I consider unfair treatment by the excursions staff. Several other reviewers have mentioned that Rome, being a "secondary" embarkation point, had fewer options than were available to passengers who begin the cruise in Barcelona. Of course, they don't mention this when selling the cruise. After purchasing the cruise, I found that RCCL does not help with pre or post hotel arrangements if you start in Rome. Additionally, there are fewer excursions offered on the Barcelona day (in fact, for a long time, they had none listed- the phone support person told me we could always do a Hop-on, Hop-off) because only about 25% of passengers start in Rome. Our final day was hard to plan because they didn't support post-cruise arrangements (other than airport shuttle). We did, however, find an excursion with a City Center transfer. Great! More than acceptable! Canceled several months before the cruise. Bad luck, but OK. Then we signed up for a different excursion with a City Center transfer. Great! Canceled TWO DAYS prior, WHILE WE ARE AT SEA!!!!!! I take a cruise to avoid stress, and RCCL proved a stressor for me. We finally took a shuttle they offered to continuing passengers and then a taxi to the hotel. I know excursions have to make money, but I find it disturbing they would cancel someone's plans while at sea. So, those are my two primary reasons for a low rating. The ship itself is amazing offering plentiful pools and activities for 6000 people. You never feel crowded. Individual items: Boarding/Leaving: EXTREMELY easy. RCCL does a great job here. Wifi: I can't live without it and they excel. Cost, tax included, was about $200 for two devices. Speed was over 20mbs all over the ship. Fitness: Very nice .4 mile track on deck 5. More than adequate fitness center with many weight and aerobic machines. Alas, no free sauna/steam. Food: a junk food addict like me will love the donuts, hot dogs, and ice cream. I found the pizza, however, no better than average store brand frozen. We enjoyed the main dining room and had excellent service from Caesar and Marylene. We did the Windjammer for breakfast and the choices were quite good. The Park Cafe is an excellent lunch spot. We did not eat at any of the extra charge restaurants. Entertainment: Two of the best shows, Mamma Mia and OceanAria were canceled the days we had tickets. OceanAria had multiple performances canceled due to the ever popular "technical difficulties." I would normally say this is completely unacceptable, but maybe we just had bad luck. The Comedy Show was worthwhile. Ice Games was excellent. Blue Planet very missable. Outdoor movie night was fun. Excursions: Aside from the last day debacle mentioned above, the excursions varied - as I would expect. Our trip to Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii was one of the most amazing experiences ever! Florence and Pisa were very good, but there was no time to go up the tower. In Barcelona, our 4 hour tour was good, but, again, needed time to go inside La Sagrada Familia. My wife and daughter LOVED biking on Palma de Mallorca. Marseille?? There is not much to do. Stateroom: We liked our room and the service. No complaints there. Children's groups: Our daughter spent hours with the teen group and thoroughly enjoyed herself. Overall: As I mentioned above, the stress and inconvenience RCCL caused lowered my rating. Otherwise, the cruise was probably 3.9 stars instead of 2. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
My wife and I just returned from the Western Mediterranean route starting and ending in Rome. We were very much looking forward to being on the Allure since we had heard so much about it. We came away very disappointed in the ship. The ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from the Western Mediterranean route starting and ending in Rome. We were very much looking forward to being on the Allure since we had heard so much about it. We came away very disappointed in the ship. The food in the dining room was horrible. One of our waiters actually suggested that RCCL may be doing it intentionally to force people to book the special dining rooms at an additional price. The entertainment was just as bad. We never got to see the headliner show, Mamma Mia, as the show was cancelled at the last minute for the night that we booked it. The Aqua show was also cancelled twice during the week we cruised so we never saw that either. RCCL offered no alternatives to those shows, nor did they compensate us at all. Their attitude was "oh well, those things happen". The one show we did see, Blue Planet, put us to sleep. the choice of songs was questionable and the performance was boring Our cabin steward had to be asked for new bars of soap. The cruise director was basically invisible On one occasion, we asked the shore excursion desk for a suggestion and were totally mislead. We wanted to see Barcelona and instead, spent 3 hours looking at a soccer stadium. We plan on doing another Mediterranean cruise, but will look to another cruise line. The Allure of the Seas was a major disappointment Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Only our second cruise but first with RC on a big ship. Traveled with other family members on this first time Mediterranean adventure who have more cruises under their belts. These veterans also enjoyed this ship and itinerary but still ... Read More
Only our second cruise but first with RC on a big ship. Traveled with other family members on this first time Mediterranean adventure who have more cruises under their belts. These veterans also enjoyed this ship and itinerary but still rated Princess one step higher than RC for various touches. For example, Princess will do free laundry for you when you get on the boat-- nice if you have been traveling before cruise. Youngest traveler in this group of 8 was a senior in high school. Oldest 63. Did some excursions, shows, and dining together yet had time apart for individual indulgences-- fitness center, spa etc. Agree with other reviews that for such a large ship we never felt crowded with so many activities going on in different areas of the ship. Check in and embarkation as well as disembarkation was efficient and easy. Service was impressively friendly and attentive throughout the ship. All of our “subgroups" had balcony rooms which were adequate and well appointed. Free Room service coffee/breakfast in morning a nice touch occasionally instead of the breakfast buffet although many times the morning view at the dock was quite “industrial”. Ship Information and location maps easy to use thought the ship. Even Magellan would not get lost easily. Comments/Complaints/FYI -We got to Rome 2 days early for city sightseeing etc. If you aren’t a history buff you will have had your fill of ruins tours by the time you finish Rome! Enchanting city but hot and crowded in summer as one might expect. -Caution! Rome airport (FCO) is a busy place with many terminals. Know where you are going, especially on the return home leg. For example, United is terminal 5 for processing and check in but then you are shuttled to gates at a different terminal. If you are jetting off to a European city know where you need to go before you get there. It can be a madhouse. Don’t expect your shuttle driver to have all the right info. -We used Bob’s Limo Service for all group transport from airport to Rome and Rome to port and port to airport. Dependable and on time. They do tours too so check out their website. -Recommend Hilton Garden Inn at Rome airport (FCO) for staging needs. There is a regular airport shuttle bus to get you to hotel and to terminals from hotel. -We selected the 06:30pm dinner seating time for our group. Worked great even with day trips. The 08:30pm seating would be a bit late for diabetics etc who are ready to eat an earlier meal. -Do not neglect a very nice quiet breakfast buffet or lunch buffet at the Solarium on the front of the ship when the Windjammer buffet gets too crowded. Breezy and nice setting! -Took advantage of the formal nights to try and get some good pictures of the group and couples. The photographers were young and anxious to get good shots but many did not take that extra second to ensure a jacket was straight or someones pose was just right so some pics were unfortunately not what they could have been. Take your time and police your own details before the flash. -Balcony cabins great. Only complaints no outlets by the bed. Bring an extension cord if needed for things like running a CPAP (Breathing machine for Apnea) etc. -Ship’s shows were enjoyable but may fall short of expectations for some. We made our reservations online ahead of time as we were told some fill up fast. The Broadway show “Mamma Mia” was top notch entertainment and a highlight. -For those with wheat sensitivities! You will be surprised with may gluten free options in all venues and countries! Know the translation for “gluten free” in italian, spanish, and french. We even found gluten free bread in a bakery in Aix-en-Provence. -Biggest complaints were with the ship sponsored shore excursions of which we took 2. Suggest wrangle your own private tour ahead of time for some places or just use public transportation when that works to get you where you need to go at great savings over the ship tours. For planning tours, you need to know when the ship will leave the port each day. It changes and is earlier on some stops than others. You should also account for the fact that Barcelona is a Sunday stop and the city has different offerings than you might find during the week. Naples If you take the time and trouble to go to Pompeii (see more ruins in the hot sun) you are truly a history buff. You might be disappointed that many of the finer displays (human forms in lava etc) have been moved to the Pompeii Museum in Naples. Consider that for an alternative. The public train to Pompeii was crowded and teeming with pick pockets. Consider a boat ride from port to Capri or Sorrento if you want to avoid another history lesson. Barcelona We took the double decker red bus tour for a look see of the major town sites. A little sleepier on Sundays. Las Ramblas walk for lunch and marketplace shopping was the main event. Have to be back on the boat fairly early so have a few objectives and enjoy them. Its all about Gaudi and his architecture in Barcelona! Yes there is a beach too. Palma Majorca Took the 6 euro round trip shuttle bus to town for a walk around the old neighborhood behind the Basilica and of course majorca pearl shopping. Then we took a taxi to the beach for an enjoyable afternoon of sun and surf (about 1.5 miles east of the shuttle drop off point). We ended up taking taxis back to the ship. Several great beaches are at your disposal. Marseilles Ship Excursion #1 (55 euros each) Bus tour to Aix-en-Provence. A truly enjoyable city-- a mini-Paris. Now the not so great part. The bus left for the city late from the port waiting for stragglers (after 9am). Then in town,we were told by our guide to be back on the bus by 12:30pm. The walking tour ended at 11:30 so there was scant little time to enjoy the city, eat, and meander around. We were back at port by 2 but the ship did not leave port until 5:30pm so we could have had a much better experience with another 1 to 2 hours in town. We heard a similar complaint from the group that went to Caisis. Whats the rush to get back? Arrange your own tour on your timetable! LaSpezia We decided our group did not need a grueling 9 hour excursion to Florence on the last day of the cruise. Yes, LaSpezia is farther away from Florence than Livorno so take that into account. We chose to sign up for the ships excursion to Cinque Terre. Ship Excursion #2 (155 Euros each) A bus, boat, train trip to the small sea cliff villages west of LaSpezia with a stop on the way back on the bus at an new outlet mall. The short story is that the ship excursion is not worth the money. We bailed off the tour at Monterosso (a quaint little beach resort village) to enjoy lunch and an afternoon at the beach. We took the train back to LaSpezia around 4pm (8 euros each) and had to taxi from the train station to the port for about 15 Euros. We made it back by 5:30 pm while the tour made it back by 7pm. If you are going to do Cinque Terre, arrange a private tour or take the train and go do the villages yourself or just go to Monterosso on the train for a complete experience including eating, shopping, and beach time. Much cheaper and more enjoyable! There are supposed to be walking trails between some of the villages. Be advised some are closed from landslides. Get updates on this from the local tourist offices before trying to do any hiking. All in all this was a very enjoyable cruise with lifetime memories. This RC ship is well run and 6000 guests were for the most part well taken care of from our perspective. The extra charges can add up so be careful on the boat and enjoy what you already paid for in your fare! Spending some time planning your port visits ahead of time pays big dividends especially if you are traveling in a larger group. We did not kill ourselves trying to do too much. With the time allotted in port you can only scratch the surface enjoying a few priorities. We would try RC again in another part of the world on another adventure but plan on sampling Princess as well. Italy is a challenge for newcomers on the front and back end of the cruise. Don’t be in a hurry and try and learn a few conversational words. It will go a long way. Ciao! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
This was my first time on this ship. Our previous cruising experience has been on midsize ships with our last cruise on the Oceania ship Riviera. I was skeptical of this line/ship. I was worried about it's size. Boy was I wrong. We ... Read More
This was my first time on this ship. Our previous cruising experience has been on midsize ships with our last cruise on the Oceania ship Riviera. I was skeptical of this line/ship. I was worried about it's size. Boy was I wrong. We really loved it and did find the size except in the main dining room to be a factor. We were cruising with our three children in their mid 20s for our 40th wedding anniversary. Did not feel any motion - it was such smooth sailing and quiet. Dress was very casual except formal night. You saw everything. it was said to me on this forum when I asked about clothes it was my vacation and i should wear what I want. I could not agree more. There did not seem to be many musts in terms of dress. We stayed at the Hotel Jazz in Barcelona and loved the vibe and location. The breakfast was excellent and we liked having a pool. It was the right size hotel for us. Took two private tours of Barcelona. Our tour guides stressed to not put purses down and be very careful so I think the warnings are justified. We had no issues at any port but were careful. We had a Junior suite and loved the space and the kids had a balcony. We were very happy. Let me say this ship was extremely quite. We did not hear any hall noises nor our neighbors. We were very impressed. Bath products could be improved and I think the ship had very hard water, We are used to staying in 4 star hotels ( the Jazz was not 4 star but nice) Furthermore, the ship was in excellent shape - looked brand new. For the most part loved the entertainment. All but the Blue Planet show which has lots of talent but is just odd. There was jazz in Central Park in the evening which we loved. So many choices and certainly with this sailing not enough time to enjoy all that it had to offer. We found most waiters, cabin stewards etc, very nice. Our big complaint is the bartenders. All except the female at the Solarium bar were surly and just not helpful. They really need some training or an attitude adjustment. Embarkation and Disembarkation was the best we have ever had. I think timing helped. We did not board the ship until 2 and it was wonderful. We did the express take your own luggage for disembarkation and it was also wonderful. We did all private excursions except in Parma we went to the beach on our own. So easy and boy was the water clear. Again really exceeded my expectation. Looked like Grand Caymen - perfectly clear but much colder. We loved every Port and there was way too much to do in our short time. We chose Provence out of marsaille and saw the lavender in bloom, Rome main sites, Pompei, the Amalfi coast, Florence the David and some shopping. All fabulous. We have been to Italy before, what can be bad! Ok so the food. We did my time dining and I am not sure I would do it again. It at times had too many people coming and going. The dining room food was hit or miss. BUT we loved 150 Central Park, Park Cafe, Vintages, Rita's ( and we are Texas and LA people) and for the most part Chops. Vintages, Ritas and Johnny Rockets were really reasonable. Oh room service has a fabulous cheese plate if you like wine/cheese on the balcony. For Breakfast had lox/bagel (not the best bagel) in Solarium, Omelettes in the Wipeout grill, Over easy eggs at Johnny Rockets, Park Cafe great food and room service. So try the variety they offer. Never went to the main buffet. We were not on board for lunch except sea day. When we had time we went to the Solarium a quiet place to cool off and unwind. We did not have young kids with us and I believe we all enjoyed it after the busy port trips. We enjoyed it and I can tell you I am a picky person. Everyone has an opinion so you will have to form your own. Read Less
Allure of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 5.0 4.1
Entertainment 5.0 4.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.3
Family 5.0 4.3
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 4.0
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 4.0 4.0
Rates 5.0 3.9

Find an Allure of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise