Length: 1,187 ft
The largest cruise ship in the world at 220,000-tons. A techno-wonder, Great for family activities and entertainmentBest For People Who Want
Bragging rights to a ticket upon the world's largest cruise ship. The feeling of a city-at-sea; Mass appeal to children of all ages; non-stop nightlife, extensive sports equipment, wide variety of onboard entertainment optionsShould Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
A small ship with lots of quiet spaces; single, open seating or intimate dining; a close-to-the-sea cruise experience.Onboard Experience
Despite the massive size of the ship, the one thing you will notice is that Royal Caribbean spared no expense in designing the ship. It is a strikingly beautiful ship, not just in size but also in detail. The design of the ship is the best "work of art" on the ship. There are cantilevered hot tubs, arching balcony balustrades, crisscross beams, tons of glass and beautiful plants, woodwork finishings and tasteful finishings everywhere. The atriums boast tall modern sculptures rising several decks. Glass elevators in the vertical atriums at each end of the promenade make for breathtaking views of the interior of the ship. The size alone here is not the attraction of the ship, it is that they managed to finish every single detail in an eye-pleasing manner that is most impressive.Public Rooms
We found the food and service in the Opal dining room to be surprisingly faster and better than we expected. The key is that so many people choose to eat in many alternative dining spots. Our food arrived hot and in a timely manner.Restaurants
Allure does not skimp on balcony cabins. The ship has 37 cabin categories to choose from, many with views unique to Allure of the Seas. These include the Royal Promenade cabins with picture windows, balcony cabins facing inwards (not to the sea) over the Boardwalk and Central Park, and of course several balcony cabins facing the sea.
Most impressive, and expensive, are the Loft Suites with two decks of floor space, a living room downstairs with a staircase leading to the bedroom above. The best thing about these suites is two decks of floor-to-ceiling, double-height windows; solid glass for spectacular sea views no matter where in the suite you are. You don't have to worry about who is seeing you when out to sea, but be sure to close those curtains at night!
There's lots of storage. Standard amenities include flat panel color TV with CNN and movies; a safe; controllable air conditioning and hair dryers. There are tubs only in the highest category staterooms; most have only showers.
Some of the more interesting cabins are the inside promenade cabins with (non-opening) windows looking down upon the interior promenade. During the day these add plenty of space to the room, although you have to sit on the couch to look out at the action. The probems occur at night when the light in your stateroom become brighter than what;s outside, essentially making your cabin a fishbowl for the world to watch.Fitness/Spa
The most noticeable thing is that the fitness area no longer dominates the top forward deck areas. On Allure the bulk of the Vitality at Sea Spa is on deck five. The ship's well-equipped gym still draws serious fitness buffs with its full range of state-of-the-art machines. The two-level Steiner Spa, with its winding staircase, looks more like the lobby of a boutique hotel, albeit with a Greek motif.
There is a jogging track that completely circumnavigates the ship on deck 5. At the stern are a number of deck chairs if you are looking for a really private hideaway. You can reach the jogging track from the fitness center, or through the glass doors in the Royal Promenade.Children's Facilities
We cruised the Allure the first week in December because of a previous great experience on the sister ship Oasis. This time we went prepared in knowing that you needed to book all of the shows and dining times well in advance or suffer the lack of availability of desired venues if you procrastinate or wait until you get on the ship......so that was a great plan so far.
The Good: The Allure is equally spectacular as the Oasis and the cruise to the East or West Caribbean is worth a one-off experience but the East is preferable (IMHO). The Blue Planet show I thought was spectacular, comedians good and Headliner Tony Tillman extremely entertaining.........shows in general are what RCI excels at and no difference here IF you can get in and get in early to get a reasonable seat. Room steward and bar service was fine even though these people are incredibly overworked.
The Bad: major problems on this ship were mainly due to huge, unruly and rude crowds of people. Despite "reservations" at the MDR, there was always a long wait for a table.........OK, maybe no more than 15 minutesbut what the heck is a "reservation" when a second line for people WITHOUT reservations was usually much shorter and moved significantly faster. RCI DOES NOT have "My Time Dining" worked out correctly because it seems more like "Their Time Dining" and when they will let you in.............our one experience on NCL was Much, much better.......what's up with this "reservation" system and when they make you feel guilty when you show up "late" but it's fine if you show up on time and they make you wait???
If you go on one of these largest of ships you need to expect huge crowds of people who are on VACATION and they could care less about you and whether you are in their way or if you would rather not here them laughing (hyena-like) at their highest volume every night in the dining room..........Or if you also would like to see anything in the Promenade and THEY cut in front of you to see it first...........Be ready to meet your fellow humans at their worst. Then there are the people who thing THEIR hands are sterile and no problem to hold down that cheese with one finger to get only one slice.......and then toss the tongs on top of the entire pile of lettuce, meat, etc. etc.
Suggestion: If you eat in the buffet get there early before the mobs on the Allure and then maybe lessen your chance of being exposed to these inconsiderate, unbelievable unsanitary procedures that can be witnessed by the minute in the buffet.
RCI really needs to enforce its own rules for the good of all. No babies in the pool and certainly not babies in "disposable" diapers. No young children in specialty restaurants in compliance with their own stated times for children to be admitted ($$$ should not come in front of expectations by other diners). Specialty restaurants should be "special" and not have waiters committed to too many diners at too many tables that prevents them from providing any value for the money. ENFORCE those rules about no chair saving and Confiscate towels left unattended for more than 10 minutes or so............That alone would solve the problem since those towels have that $20 deposit charge on room accounts.........New source of income............fine the chair hogs that don't watch their towels! ................There probably is nothing that can be done with rude people since they think they are fine but at least enforce rules that are written down and ignored routinely even when pointed out to ship personnel.
My family (wife and two kids) wanted to try a cruise. Naturally, I resisted being a "landlubber". Between the air fare to Florida from NY and the cruise - it is in excess of $12,000. We could go to Europe for a week for the same money. So I gave in. I was very very disappointed.
The positives first. The staff was very helpful and professional. You don't know there are 6,000 people on the boat it is so big. The ship swallows up everyone and you still feel relatively alone. They make great mixed drinks and they are reasonably priced. The Mojitos are great. The pool staff is great. If you want to sit on a lounge chair for the week, you can do it here. The pools got crowded at times.
The negatives last. First the food is not edible. we all lost weight!!!! The only hope of eating anything resembling other than dog food is in the specialty restaurants but you must reserve 30 days in advance so do your research where you want to eat. The specialty restaurants don't rise to TGIF quality but have expensive price tags.The dining room food is disgusting, to be kind. They will keep letting you try dishes, but you are wasting your time.
You may decide to rent the iPhone walkie talkies to stay in touch with and track the rest of your party. The network works 1/2 the time and are basically unreliable. Beware the penalties in the rental agreement. You may think that $500 for a damaged or lost 1st generation iPhone that sells on ebay for $50 is not something they enforce. They do. We returned our 4 iPhones and they claimed one of them was not working. You return the iPhones the day before the cruise is over. They told us they would let us know later if they got the one to work, but they charged $500 to the credit card right away. Weeks of attempting to get answers were frustrating and fruitless. They refused to send me the iPhone they claimed was broken so I could independently verify their claims. They first claimed that none of the iPhones were returned. Then they claimed that they were returned but all were broken. Only after I asked for a copy of the agreement with the notations did they admit that each of the four iPhones were returned but one was broken. I offered to replace the iPhone with one I purchased on ebay but they refused. Challenging the credit card does not work since they refuse to negotiate and the credit card sides with the cruise. I would have had to sue them and would have won since they admitted that they could not locate the iPhone that was allegedly broken.
Next time I cruise, I will try a different cruise line.
Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas may be described in a single word, "Awesome". The incredible size of the ship, with its sixteen decks and extra width allowed designers and innovators to incorporate features and amenities that have to be seen and experienced to be believed! The ship features major new areas that include "Central park", "Boardwalk" and a water theater along with familiar areas like the "Royal Promenade", ice rink, theater and pool deck areas, except they are all bigger. Our adult family occupied three adjoining oceanview cabins with balconies for the October 23, 2011 cruise to the western Caribbean with planned stops at Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. A hurricane prevented the Cozumel stop so we doubled back for a Nassau stop. No review can really describe the ship fully. It must be experienced to be believed. It may take more than a single cruise. EMBARKATION: 6000 people boarded the Allure on October 23rd. We arrived a little before noon and were eating at the buffet within 30 minutes of parking our van across the street from the terminal 18 at Port Everglades. Parking is outside and justa two minute walk to the terminal. The cost is $15 per day. Check-in lines for each deck were formed inside. Our line for deck 8 had no other people in it. Have your set sail pass, personal ID and credit card ready. Pictures were taken by the check-in agent for security purposes and we ascended the escalators for get-on-board photos. HINT: Have photos taken as couples because they use facial recognition technology to group subsequent photos taken during the cruise. From there we entered the ship on deck 5, the Royal Promenade and went straight to deck 16 for the buffet in the Windjammer. It was crowded, but we found a table for 6. LUGGAGE: It was delivered to our cabins at just about the same time as we reached our cabins at 1:30 pm after lunch. CABINS: We had oceanview, balcony cabins on deck 8. The cabins are about 10% smaller than similar cabins on the Freedom class ships and the balconies are about 20% smaller. We did open the dividers between our three cabin balconies which made a very nice family meeting area. The cabins are furnished very similarly to those on other Royal Caribbean ships with two notable features, excellent bedding and upgraded electronics including an interactive television that worked well. We were pleased with the cabin location on the "Central Park" deck. SHIP: The Allure of the Seas is obviously unique and sets a high benchmark for guest options at sea. It is beautiful and especially so at night with all the special lighting. A walk through Central Park after dark is a real treat. It has electronic signage to assist in finding shortest routes around the ship. There are three places for computers with internet access. The crew kept the ship clean and beautiful. The elevators are plentiful enough so that wait times are reasonable, except for peak hours. ACTION CENTERS: We enjoyed 4 of the many action centers; Royal Promenade, Broadway, Central Park and the casino/ice rink deck. The Royal Promenade, wider than on the Freedom class ships, features the 24-hour cafÃ©, a pub, Sorrento's pizza, shops, guest services, and Boleros. The Diamond Club has a balcony on top of Boleros which overlooks the Royal Promenade. Broadway has Johnny Rockets, Rita's Cantina, a carousel and the water theater at the end of the ship. HINT: Johnny Rockets has a complimentary breakfast that is very good. Central Park has some of the alternative restaurants (read pay extra) as well as a cafÃ© that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a nice walk, especially in the evening but not in the rain although the ship does provide umbrellas. Deck 4 features the best casino on any ship we have sailed on along with the ice show theater. There are lots of other action centers including the pool deck, spa and exercise areas but we are neither pool nor spa users. There is simply too much to do for a single 7 day cruise. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment options are many. Featured shows include Chicago and Blue Planet in the theater, the AquaAria in the pool theater and the ice show. HINT: Do not miss either the water/diving show or Blue Planet. They were excellent. We also enjoyed brief stops in Dazzles, a club on deck 8 that featured very good music. There were music, dancing, parades, special shows, pool games, multiple bars, bingo and a lot more. We were tired at the end of every day. FOOD: The food was very good in every place we experienced. We tried breakfast in the Windjammer buffet and Johnny Rockets, lunch in Rita's Cantina, Johnny Rockets and the buffet, and dinners in the Adagio dining room. Dinners featured a large menu with entrees like corbina fish, chicken marsala, basa fish filet, lobster, salmon and nice desserts like cherries jubilee. We didn't try any of the alternative restaurants but they all had excellent menu choices. We also stopped by the cafÃ© on the Royal Promenade daily for an early morning coffee. SERVICE: The service was excellent! The restaurant staff, while serving its large crowd, was efficient, friendly and responsive. They made sure that timely service would meet the schedule of the people served. We do not like to spend a long time at dinner and our waiter was very accommodating. Staff, in every venue we used were excellent. CROWDS: We had read about the crowds in a few reviews and were alert to the possibilities of frequent long waits. Royal Caribbean has more experience with handling large numbers of people on its ships than any other cruise line and that experience shows. We did not experience lines during either embarkation or disembarkation. There were lines, similar to most ships we have been on, at peak hours such as the buffet on embarkation day, the first to disembark on port days, and the Royal Promenade during parades and feature events. HINT: Make reservations for shows before you board. The venues offer first access to those people with reservations and allows others to enter after 15 minutes before show time. We had consistently better seats for shows than we have ever had. DISEMBARKATION: The process was based on numbered bag tags for those who did not drag their own bags off the ship. Numbers were called from 7:15 AM onward. We had number 11 and got off about 7:45 AM. Bags were arranged by number in the terminal and easily retrieved. NOTE: There were a smaller number of bags for each number which was a significant innovation for expediting bag retrieval. We were called at 7:45 AM and were at the Ft. Lauderdale airport at 8:30 AM. Remember, there were 6000 people on board. SUMMARY: Great ship! You have to experience it to understand just how great it really is.