By Paul Motter
The new largest cruise ship in the world is about to hit our shores, Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Why do I say "the largest?" Because engineers calculated the ship is approximately two inches longer than its sister ship Oasis of the Seas introduced last year. This was supposedly an unintentional finding - but it certainly doesn't hurt to say they have a new record breaking "largest cruise ship in the world."
The ship is currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean, having left its shipyard in Turku, Finland, last October 29. It is reportedly having a much smoother time than sister ship Oasis had crossing from Finland about a year ago. Allure should be visible off the coast of Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, this week, about 8:00 AM.
Chances are the ship will do the same as Oasis, spend a day installing the real plants in Central Park and running the AquaTheater through its paces - now that the ship will be stable in a temperate climate for the first time. The one disadvantage to building a ship in Finland in November is that you can't fill the pools with water unless your only goal is to make the world's largest ice cube.
Like Oasis, but unlike NCL Norwegian Epic, Allure is making this transatlantic voyage without paying passengers or other guests onboard - no travel agents or media either. The only inhabitants are the new crewmembers getting familiar with the ships facilities and the last of the contracted shipbuilders who needed extra time to finish their jobs and had no choice but to join the ship for the 12-day non-stop ocean crossing.
Allure may be bigger, but that is not the most important point - Allure is better than Oasis in many ways, at least for a little while. Allure will already have many improvements over Oasis of the Seas that Oasis will not have installed until next March, earliest.
These improvements include the first 3-D movie theater for a Royal Caribbean ship. I am a big fan of movies on cruise ships, and would much rather see a film for the first time during a cruise than on land solely because it is so much more convenient. There is no parking, worrying about eating before or after, or usurious ticket prices to contend with. The last time I took my small family to see a 3-D film - Avatar, it cost me nearly $50. Allure will have the same quality 3-D process as that film uses, but there won't be any charging for tickets.
To date, the only other ships to show 3-D feature films onboard are the Disney Magic and Wonder, and there you are limited to only Disney films. Not that there is anything wrong with that, they make great movies. Similar to Disney, Royal Caribbean has something special in store for the kids; the line just made an agreement to show DreamWorks movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters Vs. Aliens and How to Train Your Dragon onboard.
Other DreamWorks activities onboard include meeting the characters from these movies; Po (the Kung Fu Panda), Princess Fiona and Shrek who will make regular appearances in the Adventure Ocean kid's facility. Allure will also feature an original ice show in the Studio B Ice Rink based on the movie "How to Train Your Dragon," while the AquaTheater will have a special show featuring characters from the DreamWorks movie "Madagascar."
Allure will join sister ship Oasis of the Seas in Port Everglades, the cruise ship port for Fort Lauderdale, however Oasis will sail on seven-day cruises departing on Saturdays while Allure will leave on Sundays. The ships will pass in the night, so to speak, when Oasis leaves on Saturday nights while Allure is heading back to the homeport for a Sunday morning arrival. The ships will not see each other at sea, however, as one ship will go east while the other goes west. Both ships alternate cruises between the same Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itineraries - making it possible to do back to back cruises on either ship and not repeat a port.
The official naming ceremony for Allure of the Seas will take place on November 28 during a one-night celebration to benefit the United Way chapters of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, among other charities. A special four-night sailing on December 1 will call at the cruise line's private beach destination of Labadee, along the north coast of Haiti, and Allure of the Seas' inaugural seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary will depart on December 5.
Discuss the New Allure of the Seas here: Oasis or Allure?