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Allure of the Seas

Discussion in 'Royal Caribbean International' started by BruinSteve, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. BruinSteve

    BruinSteve Well-Known Member

    I just returned home Sunday night from my 7-night Western Caribbean cruise on the brand new Allure of the Seas.

    All I can say is WOW!!!

    Okay, I guess I can say more...

    The ship is absolutely incredible...
    First off, let me address the size. A lot of folks think that at 225,000 gross tons and over 6,000 passengers, she is just too big...This is absolutely not true. It is incredible that for a ship this size, it never felt too big and never felt crowded...
    Amazingly, it felt far more open and uncrowded than, say the Carnival Liberty or Sapphire Princess--ships half this size. It is very well laid out and the open spaces are so vast that there was never a feeling of crowding...

    Aside from the open pool and activity decks up top, there are three other incredible open areas on the ship:

    On Deck 5, between the elevators, is the Royal Promenade...a space so grand that it looks like an upscale shopping mall on land...wide and walkable and extending three decks in height with shops, restaurants and bars on decks 5 and 6...

    On Deck 6, extending from the aft elevators to the back of the ship is the Boardwalk...dominated by a full sized Carousel in one end, Johnny Rocket's and a Mexican restaurant, a hot dog and sausage place, candy store and other shops and ending up at the water amphitheater...

    On Deck 8 between the elevators is Central Park...landscaped area with winding walkways, restaurants, some with outdoor seating and designer shops...and open to the sky some seven decks above...

    Each of these areas is like nothing else at sea...

    The entertainment and amenities onboard are also unmatched...

    As to amenities, picture a mini golf course, two rock climbing walls, the Carousel, an ice skating rink, two surfing pools and a zip line! If I were only several years younger or if I were bringing kids or teenagers, I don't think I could justify booking any other ship...

    As to entertainment, the variety and quality is outstanding...
    The first night, we attended the musical "Chicago"...Yeah...a Broadway musical onboard a cruise ship...and the quality of the cast was as good as you'll find on land...in fact, many of them came from Broadway or from national touring companies of the show...
    Second night it was the water show...with high divers, acrobats and more... a truly incredible show...
    Third night, the figure skating show down in the ice arena...
    Fourth night, back to the main showroom for the featured headliners (In this case it was the comedy act of Mario and Daniel--surprisingly enjoyable...so good, in fact, that we returned for a second helping another night)...
    Fifth night, the smaller intimate 120 seat comedy club for an evening of stand-up with stand-ups Robbie Printz and Basile...both very funny...
    Sixth night it was the production show "Blue Planet"--singing, dancing, aerial acts...a really top-notch show, one of the best we've seen on a cruise ship...
    Last night we had nothing planned...but went to see a repeat of the Stand-up Comedy show...

    All around, the entertainment blows away any other ship we've been on...

    Food in the main dining room was pretty good, but we also ate a couple of meals at Chops (great Fillet Mignon) and at Giovanni's Table (excellent Italian) to break things up a little...lots of other specialty restaurant choices on board as well...but a 7 night cruise is too short to hit them all....

    A note: They had two giant screen TVs in the Water Amphitheater and used them, when available, to broadcast college Bowl games, NFL playoffs, and NBA games...great for the sports fan...

    Our cabin was #8676...a very well located ocean view balcony (the ship also has balconies that face INWARD onto the Boardwalk or Central Park)...We were right near the Aft Elevators--almost a perfect location on this ship...room was nicely appointed though closet and drawer space just enough for a 7 night cruise...I'd hate to have that storage on a longer cruise...

    Note for CPAP users and others: For the first time ever, we were pleasantly surprised to find that there is an electrical outlet BEHIND the bed...so no need to stretch an electric extension cord across the floor!

    The trip:

    We flew out on the red-eye out of LA on Friday (New Years' Eve) night, arriving in Miami EARLY in the morning (5:00 am local time)...We picked up a rental car from National and drove right to the SpringHill Suites, Dania Beach...surprisingly, they had a room available and let us check in even though it was still only 6:45 am!!! We had the free breakfast at the hotel (not bad for one of these--eggs, sausage, waffles, hot oatmeal, etc.), took a nap and then headed out to our (family) plans for the day...Returned the rental car at FLL Airport after dinner and took the free hotel shuttle back to the hotel...

    Note: If you stay here, register for the hotel pier shuttle when you check in.

    We took the hotel's free shuttle to the pier in the morning and were on the ship around noon. Did lunch at the Park Cafe on Central Park, Deck 8...beats the hassle of the Windjammer...easy to get lunch, nice outside table on the park...

    Day 2 was at sea...and Formal night...
    Day 3, Labadee, Haiti...Basically, it's a beach day...and we've been a few times before...we took the Discover Haiti boat tour just to have something to do, then a little shopping and swimming and back to the ship for some lunch at Windjammer (unfortunately, little else was open and we didn't want to settle for the hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken on the island...)
    Day 4, at sea...
    Day 5, Costa Maya, Mexico...Ship arrived at noon and we did the shorex to the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben...some interesting pyramids and other sites...worth seeing...then back to the ship and Formal night...but, because of the late day in Costa Maya and late return of our excursion...and since we had early seating (6:00 pm) traditional dinner, we booked a 7:00 dinner at Chops instead...
    Day 6, Cozumel...We did the Segway and Snorkel tour...I still find the Segways a lot of fun...the snorkeling was decent...and, for me, exhausting...but fun nonetheless...after the tour, we took a taxi into town and had lunch in a local restaurant, then walked around town a bit, then back to the ship...
    Day 7, at sea...

    The itinerary is really not that exciting for us...we've done all of these ports before...but we really did this one for the ship...and the ship did not disappoint...

    Oh...and one of my favorite parts of the ship: Since we are Diamond Crown & Anchor members, we got to enjoy the Diamond Lounge...On this ship it's on Deck 6, just above the forward end of the Royal Promenade...with both indoor seating and seating on a balcony overlooking the Royal Promenade...Yes, I prefer those ships where it has an ocean view, but I'll take this location as well...It's a great experience...free drinks and great service, limited crowds and you get to hang with your "friends" among the other Diamond cruisers...The wait staff, Archie and Roberto, were great...We never missed a night...actually even went back for an after dinner drink, schedules permitting as the hours are 5:00 to 8:30 pm...

    And, as it seems with most cruises, we were really sad to leave at the end...
     
  2. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    Great review Steve, but you didn't say if you liked the cruise or not. :biggrin:
     
  3. Goguinness

    Goguinness Well-Known Member

    I think he liked it.
     
  4. dereckbc

    dereckbc Member

    Tell me more as I am a first time cruiser leaving out of FLL on AOS 2-20
     
  5. BruinSteve

    BruinSteve Well-Known Member

    What more would you like to know?

    (BTW, I replied to your Tipping question on the main board...but, now that I know which ship you are on, just note that if you have "My Time" Dining, they will, I believe, automatically add it to your account...If you have "traditional" dining--a set seating assignment early or late--you can turn on your cabin TV, scroll through the menu items and find a place where you confirm your tips be added to your account...IIRC, it comes out to $9.75 per person per night--unless you are in a suite--where it's about $2 higher)...

    A few other hints...If you have not done so already, go to the RCCL website and log in and access your booking--you'll need your reservation number--and try to figure out your dining times and show reservations...When we tried to figure it out for our sailing, with our traditional early dining time of 6:00 pm, there was really only one set of times that worked well--so that all of our shows started at either 8:30, 9:00 or 9:30...Remember that you need to figure about a 2 hour window for dinner--so, if you have a 6:eek:o seating, for example, you do not want to reserve a 7:30 show...You wouldn't have time to eat, walk to the show venue and be seated before they start giving up on the reservations (You need to be at each show by about 15 minutes before show time)...service in the main dining room or the specialty restaurants is fairly elegant and unrushed...you need to give them time...and there are several courses...If you have the My Time option, you can also reserve your dining times ahead of time, make sure they fit in with your show choices...

    Shore excursions, if you choose to participate in those, can also be booked ahead of time on the website...

    I think yours is an "Eastern" sailing--Nassau, St. Thomas, St. Martin...correct? Research each port and try to figure out what you might want to do in each one...Many will take shore excursions through the ship--they are easy and organized and may fit your desires...Others just get off the ship on their own and either wander through town and go shopping or sightseeing or grab a taxi and head to a beach...in some ports, there are private tour companies that some folks will arrange n their own...

    Any specific questions, just ask...
     
  6. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    Steve - I've got a question for you. I'm not trying to get technical, but one line in your review got me to thinking ...

    Day three was Labadee and day four was a day at sea. Why did the ship arrive so late in Costa Maya???

    I know the ship should easily make it from Labadee to Costa Maya in 34 hours. If you left Labadee at 4:00pm and arrived in Costa Maya at 8:00am after a full day at sea, that would be a total of forty hours.

    So, why did the ship arrive so late in Costa Maya???
     
  7. dereckbc

    dereckbc Member

    Steve thank you. OK I have a couple of questions with regards to dinning. My In Laws booked this trip through a travel agent, I just wrote the check :biggrin: I do have an account with RCCL and can see my entertainment schedule, buy excursions, and have already bought wine and beverage packages.

    So what is MY TIME DINNING? And what options do I have for eating?

    When I go to the RCCL site and pull up MY TIME, I cannot see much of anything. I suspect I do not have it or paid for it. So what are the options?

    I do already have a couple of shows scheduled for around 9:00, but there are some around 7:30 I would like to go to, but no way am I going to wait until 9 or 10:00 to eat dinner.

    Help Please.
     
  8. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    There is set seating and flexible seating. Set seating occurs in two shifts. Either you are in the first seating (usually around 6:00pm) or you are in the second seating (usually around 8:30pm). This is a fixing dining time with at an assigned table.

    The flexible seating is called My Time Dining. It is like going to a restaurant at home. You arrive when you want (between 6:00pm and 9:30pm) and get seated at the next available table. If you take the My Time Dining option Royal Caribbean will ask you to pay the tips in advance.

    Other dining options include the Winjammer Cafe (the buffet), Portofino (an extra cost restaurant serving Italian food, room service and Cafe Promenade (snacks).
     
  9. Jeanie

    Jeanie Well-Known Member

    A wonderful review, hopefully, we will sail her some day
     
  10. earl_m

    earl_m Social Host

    Maybe some time in the future!!!!
     
  11. Cruizer

    Cruizer Well-Known Member

    Well you better do it soon. The world is going to end late next year.
     
  12. cruisindiva

    cruisindiva Active Member

    Enjoyed reading your review! i am sailing her in December and cannot wait!
     
  13. dereckbc

    dereckbc Member

    Well I just returned from a cruise on AOS last week and all I can say is WOW WHAT A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT it was. Yeah it is a big ship with just about everything is set up for children, coupled with 4 boring days at sea on a 7 day cruise is painful. We spent most of our time sitting in the room watching the same cartoons over and over again on TV in the room.

    It is a great ship if you are a young family with children looking to dump your kids to keep them busy while you sit around the pool getting drunk then going back to the room for whoopee, but there is not much else for adults to do unless you call Bingo, jewelry and scrapbook workshops, and water aerobics exciting entertainment.

    The food in the main dining room is horrible, and unfortunately the food in the main dining room is better then any of the other complimentary venues on the ship.

    If you want to see a show or book a special restaurant, you had better book 3 months before you sail otherwise you will not be able to get reservations.
     

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