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Royal Caribbean International: Allure of the Seas

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By Mark_CR

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May 28, 2016

Western Carrib

We traveled from the UK. And purchased alcohol from duty free in the UK airport to take home with us. When we got On to the ship our luggage was with security. We did not find out until 6 hours after we boarded. Then were told to go down to the second floor where were treated like criminals my bottle of alcohol was taken away which I had no problem with, but was then told to take my luggage upstairs because the porters were not bothered. We paid over

5,000 GBP for this trip I have a slipped disc and they told me to take my heavy luggage off the table and to my room which is miles away. So far I am not very pleased about the services and they treat guests like cash cows 150 Central Park Amazing. Very nice cabin We're not to book early so could not see any shows Read up before you go as they don't tell you anything

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Aug 30, 2014

Eastern Caribbean

Allure is very impressive in size and layout. There is lots to do at all hours of the day. The different neighborhoods, bars pools and restaurant offer variety. Even though there were lots of passengers on board the ship did not feel crowded. We had a good time. Food was fine. My wife and I love home cooked food and we know there is nothing better than what you cook at home so we understand that food on the go is a hit and miss. We enjoyed

our meals wherever we chose to eat on the ship. Our stateroom was great. We had a Boardwalk balcony with a great view. Our steward was excellent. There is lots to do at all hours of the day. We went on two beach excursions, one at St. Thomas and the other at St. Maarten. Both beaches were very nice but unfortunately mother nature had swept lots of seaweed ashore and the waves were a bit rough. We had a little rain in St. Maarten. We still enjoyed ourselves very much and recommend the excursions. Hopefully the seaweed will be gone. Both excursion reps/host at both locations were great. We had a great time. The ships was great. It included lots of activities. We enjoyed our excursions. the food was fine. The only glitch we experienced were staff service related issues here and there. SOme staff members need retraining on how to provide good customer service. Overall we enjoyed our cruise and would mos likely sail again with RCCL. This class ship is a must see, at least once.

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By gina_CR

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May 28, 2013

Western

The ship was beautiful. I would not recommend the alcohol package. Drinks were watered down., and wine package limited to two wines which were not very good. I not recommend my time dining, and tipping in advance. Average food, nothing stood out. Very nice cabin. Large with a balcony. very good shows and entertainment Stay away from the beach party in Jamaica. Too expensive not worth it. The push and pull in Cozumel

with the dolphins and manatees was very good.

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By Kim_CR

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Apr 3, 2013

Western Caribbean

Over all the ship is beautiful and very clean. The room attendant was wonderful as well as the dining staff. A few things that really made this trip my last cruise. I have a 9 year old. There are plenty of things for children to do. However at 10pm there are still small children in the disco and on the dance floor. There are no areas that are off limits to children after a certain time. I understand family cruise but little children should

not be allowed to monopolize the dance floor in an adult disco. The food is cafeteria/diner quality at best. There are extra charges for everything from ice cream to popcorn to cover charges in the "specialty dining" areas to ala carte pricing. And the food is just not the quality I expected from RCCL. I have been on 11 cruises and I have to say this left such a bad taste for me I don't think I will choose this form of travel again. Our stateroom was an Oceanview Balcony and was great. Our room attendant Louis made sure of that. He was 1 of the best parts of this trip. Standard cruise activities. No problems with these. Stay away from Chukka Beach with lunch in Jamaica. Found marajuana on the beach plus my son got very sick from the lunch. Beach was dirty and there were very friendly but flea infested dogs strolling around. Reported this to RCCL. Glad to be home and making my own meals.

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Mar 10, 2013

Eastern Caribbean

Too crowded, to many children. Nickel and dimed for everything, popcorn, ice cream cones, snacks. We tried to sign up for shows before the sailing but, everything was full. Waited in line after line to get into any show - never saw a one. No current movies onboard, just cartoons for children. No consistency on restaurants - sometimes the serving was free, other times a fee was charged at the same restaurant, ie - Johnny Rockets. 2 Formal nights

on a 7 day cruise was to much. The food in the buffet was the same thing day after day. The best thing I can say about the cruise was the service was outstanding. It left a lot to be desired. If you want to pay more to eat even lunch you could get a change in your menu, otherwise it was the same old thing. No menu was provided for room service. We went to the Brazilian Grill specialty restaurant, it was the only one with any openings. Nothing to write home about. The balcony was nice. The room was a little cramped but nice. There were very few activities for adults. We never got to see a show, they were all full. We waited in line after line to try and get in with no luck. The movies offered were cartoons for children. 7 day cruise with 3 days at sea, not good. St. Maarten segways were fun. This was the 2nd time we have cruised with Royal Caribbean out of 10 cruises. We will not be back. Constant nickle & dime for small items.

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Feb 24, 2013

Eastern Caribbean

The first hour aboard is spent uttering the same words, WOW and WHOA. This is an incredible engineering feat. The front of the ship includes the dining room (decks 3, 4, 5), casino (deck 4), and on deck 6 the Aqua theatre and boardwalk. Above the completely open air boardwalk are the balcony cabins starting at deck 7, up to deck 14). If you are travelling with kids you may prefer this side of the ship. It includes the donut shop and seven

types of hot dogs stand (both free). Paid shops include a candy shop, ice cream shop, and a build a pet experience for young children ($32.99), which was a very good value. Deck 17 has access to the flowrider, zip line, sports court, and mini golf. The rear of the ship is the open air Central Park on deck 8, which includes a Britto art gallery and most of the (paid) restaurants. The rooms on deck 9 overlook and have large windows and are a great value. Decks 10 thru 14 are the inside balcony rooms. SHOWS. If you have not booked online your first stop should be Deck 4 (take the circular stairs to your right when you first come aboard). Go to either side of the Amber theatre to sign up. DO NOT MISS Ocean Aria or Blue Planet. Both Vegas style productions and well worth the time. Chicago was also excellent. Never saw the comedy or headliner shows but heard both were great. GYM. This cruise we were determined to leave the ship in a first name basis with the gym & spa staff and not the dining room staff. The Gym has the most modern equipment you would need and a staff that really made the classes worthwhile. Dalma, Kegan, and Boyim (funny guy) alternate the classes so you will get to work with everyone. We signed up for 8am Yoga ($12 x 4 classes) and I signed up for the four session boot camp ($120). There are also spinning classes and one on one personal training ($85). The boot camp was where my WOW and WHOA turned into OWW and OHH. I'm not in terrible shape for the age but these classes kicked my butt. The staff was very encouraging and gently corrected my positions and technique. There is also a jogging/walking track on deck 5. The back of the ship is a great place to grab a chair or take a photo to get a feel for the speed of the ship. Also, the characters for the character water show come upstairs about 30 minutes before from this track to the stairway (you will see it) if you want to get a photo. SPA. Fortunately the spa is just next door and down one floor. The wife had 4 treatments and I had two massages. If you book one for the day you board they will offer additional services or time for that session. Also, ask about the discounts of 20% and 30% off the 2nd and 3rd sessions. Truth is the girls were not as experienced as my regular therapist but they still did a super job. Also, consider the THERMAL SUITE. $30 a day or $180 per couple for the week. Limited number of sign ups allowed. Access to the saunas, rain forest shower, and the Hard Ceramic loungers. There are 4 so sometimes you need to wait but these are heated and provide a great hot relief for your muscles. We both used it every day. My wife suggests ask for Dodna (?) from the philippines. She seemed to be the most knowledgeable. Even if you choose not to buy the products they sell they will write down the names if you want to find them online DINING. Lots of options here. Avoid the Sushi, surprisingly bad. I was warned but tried it anyway. The Windjammer is very crowded. It offers the most variety with upwards of 40 dishes every meal. We found it lacking, not bad, but not great. The better buffet is at the rear of the ship. The Solarium bistro was excellent for breakfast or lunch. Maybe 20 offerings but excellent quality and much healthier. At night they transform the place into Samba, the Brazilian Steakhouse ($30). We were unprepared. Arrive hungry. After a decent salad bar the meat begins. First we were served Sausage, bacon wrapped chicken, and brisket. Then they asked if we were ready for the next of 6 MORE COURSES?!! You got to be kidding me. We had a sampling of each but could but could never have finished them all. And remember you can have as much of all of these as you would like. This was the only paid restaurant we did because... The DINING ROOM was fantastic. They make a great chopped salad for lunch (as well as plenty of other choices), try it early in the cruise. For dinner we would usually split 3-4 appetizers and 2 entrees. The 6th night they serve Caribbean lobster tail but I've never found that very good. You can have filet or Maine lobster every night if you like ($30 up charge). The cold soups could be a smoothie, We tried those every night. DINING. Lots of options here. Avoid the Sushi, surprisingly bad. I was warned but tried it anyway. The Windjammer is very crowded. It offers the most variety with upwards of 40 dishes every meal. We found it lacking, not bad, but not great. The better buffet is at the rear of the ship. The Solarium bistro was excellent for breakfast or lunch. Maybe 20 offerings but excellent quality and much healthier. At night they transform the place into Samba, the Brazilian Steakhouse ($30). We were unprepared. Arrive hungry. After a decent salad bar the meat begins. First we were served Sausage, bacon wrapped chicken, and brisket. Then they asked if we were ready for the next of 6 MORE COURSES?!! You got to be kidding me. We had a sampling of each but could but could never have finished them all. And remember you can have as much of all of these as you would like. This was the only paid restaurant we did because... The DINING ROOM was fantastic. They make a great chopped salad for lunch (as well as plenty of other choices), try it early in the cruise. For dinner we would usually split 3-4 appetizers and 2 entrees. The 6th night they serve Caribbean lobster tail but I've never found that very good. You can have filet or Maine lobster every night if you like ($30 up charge). The cold soups could be a smoothie, We tried those every night. Desserts were great as well. The service was as good as it gets. If you chose ANYTIME DINING you are on deck 5. You can just walk up but best to make reservations for 90 minutes before your shows. You can get a table for 2 and we liked the seats near the rail, gave you a better feel for the entire room. We also were impressed with the waiter, John, and made it to his section for the last 4 nights of the cruise. On dining room 5 they know you have already paid the pre paid gratuity but Feel free to discretely offer a $10 early in the cruise. Seems very much appreciated. The Allure is a huge ship, need more room to tell the story. STAIRS AND ART. Our goal was to be calorie neutral on this trip. Mission Fail. I gained 6 pounds, which I assume is all muscle from the gym work. If I stayed on the ship another month I would look like Michael Phelps. The wife and I skipped almost all bread, no Pizza, No candy or ice cream. AND we usually took the stairs. It is important you use all 4 stairwells from deck 3 to deck 15. RCL invested over $1 million in original art and photography in their CULTURES OF THE WORLD collection on each landing. Beautiful and fascinating. Okay, so maybe we were drunk at 2 AM and took the elevator. But we powered through the stairs all week. CLUBS AND BARS. Dazzles on decks 8 & 9 was the most happening dance club we found. The Viking Club Lounge was more mellow and offered great views of the ship. One night the cast of Chicago came to the lounge to play show tunes but not any you have heard before. You can skip that. A COMPLAINT, there are NO indoor CIGAR SMOKING venues. The upstairs of Dazzles is already smoking, cigars would not make that great of a difference. Ship is very biased against CIGAR Smokers. A few night they offered to allow up to smoke in the Solarium Bar and then said no, we have a private party. INSIDE TIP 7pm-1am you can smoke in the Gold card bar upstairs in the Private suite level. You will see 4 wooden doors and the restricted sign. It is a nice outdoor bar. Look for Wayan from Bali. Great bartender and great to talk with. DECK CHAIRS. 8am grandma comes out with seven towels to lock up 8 prime deck chairs. By 9am all the chairs are taken. RCL has a no holding policy but they do not even try to enforce it. A better idea might be to allow one adult guest to hold one chair to give everyone a fair chance for their "place in the sun" If you get shut out deck 14, follow the signs for the sundeck. Usually still chairs available there but is in direct sun. STAFF. How they keep those cheerful attitudes I can not imagine. Every crew member acknowledged or said hello to every guest they came upon. The service could not have been any more attentive.

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Feb 7, 2013

Bahamas

WIndJammer cafe buffet was great for lunch . The staff were so accommodating ! We were surprised but we actually enjoyed the food on our Carnival cruises better. We enjoyed the Windjammer cafe food over the formal dining room. Fabulous! Very nice room and our room attendant was fabulous! We had a bay window view overlooking Central park. Enjoyed the shows - especially the aqua show! Need more family oriented activities/dancing/bands/

immediately following the first dinner seating. There was not much for our family to do after 7:30 pm. All dressed up and no place to go until the shows start at 9:00 pm or 9:30 pm. Snorkeling in Trunk Bay, St Thomas was Fantastic! We had a great time! Loved the flow rider and rock climbing wall. The ship is gorgeous. Exceeded our expectations.

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Feb 7, 2013

Bahamas

WIndJammer cafe buffet was great for lunch . The staff were so accommodating ! We were surprised but we actually enjoyed the food on our Carnival cruises better. We enjoyed the Windjammer cafe food over the formal dining room. Fabulous! Very nice room and our room attendant was fabulous! We had a bay window view overlooking Central park. Enjoyed the shows - especially the aqua show! Need more family oriented activities/dancing/bands/

immediately following the first dinner seating. There was not much for our family to do after 7:30 pm. All dressed up and no place to go until the shows start at 9:00 pm or 9:30 pm. Snorkeling in Trunk Bay, St Thomas was Fantastic! We had a great time! Loved the flow rider and rock climbing wall. The ship is gorgeous. Exceeded our expectations.

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May 27, 2012

Western Carribean

This cruise was amazing! We had a group of 20 and everyone absolutely loved it. There were 6,240 guest on board. The ship only felt crowded at the buffet and elevators which was the same I had experience on all other cruises. The longest wait for an elevator was 5 minutes. There were so many other free dining options that we barely ate at the buffet anyway. There were always plenty of chairs available by the pool. The shows were all excellent.

You must reserve the shows before you leave. There was so much to do and we enjoyed all of it. The cruise Director Alan Brooks was wonderul. His shows were great and he just brought so much fun to all the guests. Captain Johnny even rode his Harley around the ship. The food was excellent. There was not one dish that I did not enjoy the entire cruise. I had read reviews with complaints about the food. Maybe those Cruisers were just picky because no one in my group experienced anything but the best. There were a lot of low calorie selections all throughout the ship including the main dining room. Tons of different specialty resturants. We ate at Chops and Rita's Cantina. Both worth every penny. Room service was great. We had a balcony located on deck 12. Tons of storage space. More then I had experience on other cruises. Room size seemed comparable to all of ther cruise ship balconies. The bed was the most comfortable I had experience and basically a king size bed. The bathroom was your typical cruise ship bathroom but the shower had glass doors that closed together. I liked that better then just the shower curtain. Tons of storage in the bathroom as well. So many onboard activities to do. There was zip lining, miniture golf, ping pong tables, H2O zone for the kids with a whirl pool, ice skating, rock climbing and even a carousel onboard. There were different events going on all day. Different dance classes, tons of fitness classes, jewelry making, cupcake decorating, bingo, parades, parties, etc... There had ladies night out 2 for 1 specials. There were so many, I can't remember them all. Haiti was so beautiful. I wished I would have zip lined. All the guests I spoke to really enjoyed the zip line. The beaches were nice. Water was beautiful and the lunch was good. We went to an all inclusive resort booked through Jamaicaforaday.com in Jamaica. It was really nice. We just hung by the beach and pool with our tropical drinks. Lunch was included as well. My family did the zip lining in Jamaica and really loved it. Cozumel was our favorite. We snorkeled at Chankanubb park. There were so many colorful fish of all sizes. We even saw a star fish and a sting ray. They also have the swim with the dolphins there that everyone said they really enjoyed.

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By Tina_CR

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Jan 24, 2012

Western Caribbean

My husband and I have been on three Royal Caribbean cruises and this time we took my parents for their 50th Anniversary and our three grown kids who were cruising for the first time. Each cruise has gotten better and better. The food in the dining room was outstanding! Our Head Waiter and Waiter were so attentive and accommodating. They each one knew us all by name after the first night. Hated to say "good bye" but hope to request them

on our next cruise. Johnny Rockets hamburgers were some of the best I've ever had. Rita's was good. The Cupcake Shop's cupcakes were so fresh and moist. Loved the hot dogs and pizza and couldn't resist the free ice cream at the pool decks. We booked a Jr. Suite and two balcony rooms. The Jr. Suite was so very spacious. The bed was too comfortable, despite having so much to do, almost didn't want to get out of bed. Our Stateroom Attendant was the best we have every had! He greeted us every morning and wanted to know our plans for the day and was there at the end of the day wanting to know if we enjoyed our day and then told us to "rest well". He was so friendly and attentive and we will definitely be requesting him on our next cruise. There was so much to do it was really impossible to take part in everything. We prebooked all the shows and I would highly recommend doing that. My daughter was a judge on the World's Sexiest Man Competition (a LOT of fun). We went to the Belly Flop contest, danced the night away at the 70's Street Party on the Royal Promenade, laughed ourselves silly at The Quest. Our favorite shows had to be in order - The Ice Games Show, The Comedians, The Blue Planet, The Oceanaria Show, Abbracadabra and Chicago. Don't miss the Parades, they are so much fun. There's also a PhotoBooth tucked away inside the Sports Bar on the Royal Promenade. You can go in and make pictures/videos that you can immediately email or post to Facebook for your family and friends. Our family had a lot of fun doing that several times. Trivia is a lot of fun in the Schooner Bar too. Two of my kids snorkled on Labadee but it was very windy and a storm blew up so the water was very murky and they couldn't see much. The family went on the Chukka ATV ride in Jamaica and this was probably the highlight of our trip. Our guide separated our group into two - the slow/cautious drivers and the "crazies". We were in the "crazies" and he really wore us out...flying through orange groves, manuvering through high grass, up and down hills...it was so much fun!!! My daughter and I rode horses in Cozumel and my other two kids went on the Snuba excursion. My son is a certified scuba diver and he really enjoyed this. Yous air tank is in the boat so your air hose is tethered to the boat and you wear a weight belt. They got some great pictures and saw some amazing sea life. No one wanted the cruise to end...so much so that as soon as we got on home we got on line and put a deposit down on the same boat the same time next year but this time we are going to take the Eastern Caribbean route. I can't stress enough how GREAT this boat and everything about it was. I can promise that you won't be disappointed.

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Sep 19, 2011

Western Carribean

This was our third cruise and after the second we swore that we would never cruise again. My wife posted that experience and alot of the senior cruisers where compelled to call her a liar and stated we where looking for a free cruise after my son was attacked by a 19 y/o female drunk cruise staff member (Celebrity)! Well I have to report we did receieve a credit and used it on the Allure. I have to admit it lived up to all expectations we could ask

for. The ship is magnificiant, the staff incredible, the food excellent and the staterooms comfy! I read a few of the earlier reviews and will comment on them, busy is an understatement my family never had any down time and this was our choice every show was Broadway caliber, The cruise director was very entertaining and had everyone laughing all week long. The Captain was very pleasant and took time out of his dinner to meet my family and sign my daughters stuffed animal. The technology on this ship is second to none the interactive marquis on every floor made navigating the ship a breeze. My only complaint and I caution anyone planning to do the Glass Bottom Boat in Falmouth Jamaica as the boat really is a dingy with plexiglass glued down and they pack 16 adults with 2 crew on this boat, very unsafe. Overall our cruise experience was incredible and highly recommend this ship to anyone with a sense of adventure!

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Jun 29, 2011

eastern carribean

Fantastic cruise. Our 4th cruise with RC. Food and service superb as usual. Lots of activities for all ages. Great clean and safe ports of call. Best stateroom we have had for the money-small, but roomy by cruise standards and space is well used. 4 star. It always amazes me at how good the food is considering the number of people served. There are several gourmet alternative restaraunts on board for an extra fee. We had a 6 yr. old so

stuck to the main dining area. Neat and clean. Roomy by cruise standards but be realistic. Space well used. Abundance of activities for all ages. Our 6 year old WANTED to go to the activities. Our 18 year old,however, felt stuck between older college age and younger 12-17 year olds. She would have prefferred the younger group but wasn't given that option. We enjoyed the pub and bar entertainment and the ice shoes. Just a personal thing, but we enjoyed the variety shows on previous cruises including amateur night. The shows now are more like Vegas acta and I can go to Vegas to see these. I guess there is a price you pay for being on a huge ship with lots of people and the cruise line trying to cater to a variety of different tastes. I liked the acrobats, jugglers, magic shows, and headliner acts of the past. Nothing extraordinary or bad. Nassau beach at Atlantis resort was pricey but we had a great time-wiah we had a full day to see the whole resort. Snorkled at Buck Island at St. Thomas. We enjoyed it but the catamaran sail was totally motor powered-disappointing when you want to sail. Stayed on the ship in St maarten as a storm had murkied the waters. Had the ship to ourselves-only ones in the pool. My wife previously went on the America's Cup sail and it was a blast. Flew to Ft Lauderdale on Southwest. Very streamlined embarkation-best ever due to pre-boarding paperwork which was lengthy but a time saver. Sailed to Nassau overnight. Stayed on the beach til noon. Set sail overnight to St. Thomas and had all day there. Very smooth sailing ship. Enjoyed the fitness center on board, free hot dogs on the boardwalk, salads at the park ave. cafe, and pizza at sorrentos. Did some line dancing with my daughter, watched the Mavs win the NBA on big screen, sang karaoke at on air, and joined in the live music at the pub and schooner bar, played at the arcade with the kids, swam in the 6 pools, played bingo and trivia, played mini golf, and enjoyed many fine dinners together.

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Apr 12, 2011

Western Caribbean

The ship and the cruise itself were very good. My issue was with the accommodations. Since I am a light sleeper, I got a cabin by myself across the hall from my husband and daughter. Every night/early morning, I was rudely awakened by loud noises. They were very loud and somewhat disconcerting as I thought something had happened to the ship. I asked my room attendant what the noises were coming from and he feigned ignorance. This lasted all week.

Finally towards the end of the cruise, I found that there was a closet/room next door that contained what appeared to be an industrial type of ice machine. Needless to say, I was exhausted for the whole cruise. When I returned home from the cruise, I notified Royal Carribean. I was told that they checked with the ship and that there was no such room. They offered a $50 on-board credit on my next cruise. I told them I felt their offer was not commensurate with a weeks' worth of lost sleep.

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Apr 5, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

A very large and stunning ship. The only problem is that there is just too many people on this ship. It always felt crowded and noisy. Also, way too many kids for my taste. If you are looking for a romantic and peaceful getaway; this is NOT your ship. Food and shows were OK. Will not sail on this ship again. Food was OK. Stateroom was clean and nice. Shore excursions were not worth the money.

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Mar 16, 2011

WESTERN CARRIBEAN

MY OVERALL CRUISE EXPERIENCE WAS A GREAT ONE I'VE DONE 4 CARNIVAL AND HAD SO MUCH FUN BUT THIS WAS MY BEST CRUISE YET IT HAS SOME QUIRKS BUT NOTHING YOU CANT GET PAST JUST REMEMBER TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND YOU TO WILL HAVE A GREAT CRUISE ! I LOVE THE SHORT RIDE FROM THE AIRPORT 10 MINUTES AND TAXI WAS 15 DOLLARS FOR 2 PEOPLE NOT BAD THOUGH I THINK THE CAB DRIVER WAS A REPRESENTATIVE FOR NASCAR LOL! HAVE I.D. READY ALSO AS YOU HAVE TO PASS THROUGH

A SECURE CHECKPOINT BEING NEAR A REFINERY ALSO CHECK IN WAS FLAWLESS 10 MINUTES ALSO DUE TO THE 24 GATES WHICH ARE SETUP BY THE FLOORS OF THE SHIP WHICH HELPS TRAFFIC FLOW THE SHIP ITSELF IS A BEAST BUT IT IS REAL GRACEFUL DIDNT NOTICE ANY MOVEMENT IN CHOPPY WATERS JUST REAL SMOOTH AND POWERFUL NOTICE THE WAKE THAT IT LEAVES BEHIND ON THE WAY OUT OF FT LAUDERDALE AND WATCH THE PEOPLE CLEAR THE BEACHES THE FOOD WAS GOOD BUT THIS IS ALSO WHERE THE QUIRKS BEGIN SORRENTOS WHICH YOU'LL SEE WHEN YOU FIRST BOARD AND YOU THINK PIZZA BUT BEING FROM CHICAGO WHERE PIZZA IS KING IS MORE COMPARED TO DOMINOS OR PIZZA HUT THERE ISNT MUCH THOUGHT PUT INTO JUST SOMETHING TO FEED YOU.THE WIND JAMMER (FREE BUFFET STYLE) IS OVERWHELMING TO SAY THE LEAST IT IS FOREVER CROWDED SO YOU HAVE TO USE A LITTLE STRATEGY HERE THE ROOM IS ON A CURVE OR JUST THINK OF THE LETTER C SO YOU CAN NEVER SEE HOW FULL THE PLACE IS UNTIL YOU VENTURE ALL THE WAY THROUGH SO YOU HAVE TO TO SEND ONE PERSON TO FIND AND HOLD SEATS AND THE OTHER TO START THE FOOD LINE PROCESS (NOTE*WATCH THE YOUNGER CROWDS THEY TEND TO EAT AND RUN WHERE AS THE OLDER CROWDS TEND TO STAY AND CHAT ALOT) ANOTHER TIP IS TO LOOK AT THE BIG TOUCHSCREENS WHEN YOU GET AROUND THE ELEVATOR YOU CAN CHECK THE CAPACITY OF THE FOOD VENUES AND YOU WILL WILL SEE WINDJAMMER IS ALMOST MAXED OUT AT ALL TIMES AND THATS BECAUSE IT HAS THE MOST VARIETY THE OTHER PLACES LIKE WIPEOUT (FREE) OFFERS BURGERS DAWG HOUSE (FREE) BRATS AND SAUSAGE GOOD BY THE WAY SO USE THE BOARD TO THE ADVANTAGE JOHNNY ROCKETS WHICH DOES FREE BREAKFAST BUT FOR A FEE LUNCH (5) IS A GOOD ALTERNATIVE ALBEIT LONGER THAN USUAL WAIT TIMES FOR FOOD BUT IF YOU DO LUNCH HERE KEEP A CAMERA HANDY THE CREW COMES OUT TO THE HUSTLE ON A DONNA SUMMER SONG WHICH IS PRETTY COOL DIDNT TRY RITAS (8 DOLLARS) JUST COULDN'T SEE ALWAYS PAYING ALL THE TIME LIKE CUPCAKES (2.50) BUT DONUTS ARE FREE THE DINNER SEGMENT LEFT A LITTLE TO BE DESIRED AS WELL, THE SERVICE WAS EXCELLENT BUT THE SELECTION WAS MEDIOCRE AT BEST,THE STARTERS ALWAYS SEEMED TO HAVE SOME KIND OF PUREE OR SOMETHING ALWAYS LIGHT & ON SURF NIGHT IT HAD SOME OF THE TOUGHEST LOBSTER I HAD SEEN AND THE DESERT DIDNT HAVE ANY SLICES OF CAKE OR PIES SUCH MORE OF CREME BRULEE CUSTARDS MOOSES NOTHING REALLY SOLID THOUGH CHOPS GRILL IS GREAT PLACE TO DINE (25 DOLLARS PP) ABOUT 2 HOURS IN TIME TAKES A WHILE TO COOK STEAKS ALMOST SAME CHOICES AS MAIN DINING BUT BETTER QUALITY FOR EX SOUR DOUGH IS TOUGH AS BULL HIDE ON MAIN DINING BUT TENDER,WARM AND SLICED AT CHOPS GRILLED THOUGH THEY TOLD ME I COULDN'T HAVE 2 OF THE SAME APPETIZERS BUT I COULD HAVE 2 DIFFERENT ONES WEIRD AND I WAS ASKED IF I WANTED EVIAN WATER OR FOUNTAIN (AVOIDING THE USELES CHARGE I THOUGHT)SO I SAID FOUNTAIN HE THEN BRINGS PERRIER 9.00 WHICH I DISCOVER WHEN HE HANDS ME THE BILL GO FIGURE TRIED A FORWARD INSIDE STATEROOM GOOD LOCATION DUE TO THE LEAST AMOUNT OF TRAFFIC BUT YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THE PATH YOU TOOK BECAUSE THESE ARE NOT STRAIGHT FORWARD HALLWAYS THINK LIKE A LABYRINTH IF YOU HAVE ONE OF THE INNER CABINS BECAUSE THEY ARE PATHS WITHIN PATHS SO ITS EASY TO GET CONFUSED THE ROOM ITSELF IS SMALL SO TRY TO BRING 1 SUITCASE PP IF YOU HAVE 3 OR MORE YOU WILL NOT HAVE THE SPACE CLOSET IS BASICALLY USELESS GOT DRESSED FROM SUITCASE THEN THERE IS THE TV WHICH IS OFFSET FROM THE BED AND NOT CENTERED I THINK THIS IS DO TO HOW NARROW THE ROOM IS SO WHILE IN BED HAD TO LOOK TO THE LEFT WHICH GETS AWKWARD IF YOUR MATE SLEEPS ON THEIR SIDE AND YOU DONT THEN THERE'S THE BED WHICH IS NOT A BED ITS MORE OF A SLEEP CUSHION (I CHECKED) ON A SPRING AGAIN THIS IS BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE ROOM IS SHAPED (ODD AND NOT BOXED) SO THEY WOULD HAVE TO HAVE A CUSTOM BED MADE SO THEY WENT WITH A CUSHION CANT SAY THIS FOR ALL THE ROOMS BUT MINE WAS. THE BATHROOM IS SMALL BUT MODERN LOOKING THE SHOWER LOOKS LIKE A TUBE FROM STAR TREK BUT I DID LIKE IT THERE IS A SHALLOW FACE BOWL ON THE WALL BUT IF YOU TURN ON THE WATER FULL THROTTLE THEN THE FLOOR GETS WET QUICK THE STEWARD ALONG WITH THE WHOLE CREW ON THIS SHIP IS EXTREMELY YOUNG THEY WORK WELL BUT DONT EXPECT THE LITTLE THINGS LIKE REMEMBERING YOUR NAME (BUT THE DO RECOGNIZE YOU) OR TOWEL ANIMALS 2 ON 7 NIGHT BUT ITS SMALL SO NO BIG DEAL THE IPOD DOC COMES IN HANDY ALSO TO GIVE THE ROOM A YOUR KIND OF TOUCH GOOD SOUNDPROOFING AS WELL NEVER HEARD ANY OF THE SHOW S IN THE ROOM THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO THAT YOU WILL BE OVERWHELMED AS TO WHAT TO PARTAKE IN YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND ALL SO THIS IS WHERE STRATEGY COMES IN FIRST PRE-BOOK ALL THE MAIN ACTIVITIES SHOWS COMEDY IF EVEN IF THEY CHANGE THE SHOW YOU ARE STILL BOOKED AS YOU CANT CALL GUEST SERVICES YOU HAVE TO GO STAND IN LINE (NO NOT WHILE ON VACATION WITH AS MANY AS 6000 PEOPLE ABOARD) OR TRY TO BOOK FROM TV (WHICH IS KIND OF QUIRKY ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NOT TECH SAVY AND IF THE SYSTEM IS UP AND RUNNING) SO LOOK AT THE TOUCH SCREEN AT THE ELEVATOR AS YOUR NEWSLETTER MAY BE LATE (A FEW TIMES I RECEIVED THE LETTER AT THE END OF DAY WHEN DAY WAS OVER) TO SEE WHEN TIMES ARE THEY CHANGE ALOT ESPECIALLY WITH 3-D MOVIES AND I THINK THEY DO THIS TO DUE TO CROWD MOVEMENT TO KEEP TRAFFIC FLOWING WHICH IS DONE REAL WELL ANOTHER TIP IS MAKE SURE YOU SHOW UP FOR RESERVED SHOWS 20 MINUTES EARLY AS THEY WILL ASSUME YOU ARE A NO SHOW AND WILL GIVE UP YOUR SEAT TO PEOPLE ON STANDBY WHICH THE LINE IS LONG THE SHOWS WERE EXCELLENT CHICAGO IS GREAT BUT LONG 90 MIN SO BE PREPARED MISSED THE AQUA SHOW BECAUSE THE DONT GIVE YOU ANY REMINDERS OF ALL THE SHOWS YOU PREBOOK YOU HAVE TO USE THE SYSTEM ON TV FIND OUT (IT TAKES SOME FIGURING OUT) DIDNT USE ON THE FIRST DAY TOO BUSY TRYING TO LOOK ALL OVER SO ALLOW A DAY TO GET A FEEL FOR THE SHIP THEN BOOK SHOWS DIDNT DO ANY PAID EXCURSIONS JUST KIND OF WINGED IT ON MY OWN LABADEE WAS TRANQUIL AND RELAXING WATCHING THE ZIP LINE FROM OVER A MILE AWAY AND THE BEACHES WERE GREAT COSTA MAYA WAS OK BORING MAYBE MAYBE HAVE TO GO FURTHER IN AND COZUMEL IS A GREAT PLACE BUT THE POWER WENT OUT IN THE ARE SO THE PLACES ONLY TOOK CASH SO DIDNT DO MUCH SHOPPING ONLY LITTLE TRINKETS BUT IT WAS ALSO CROWDED AS PEOPLE WERE TRYING TO HUNT FOR BARGAINS OVERALL LOVED THE SHIP AND ALL THAT IT REPRESENTS IT WILL TAKE SOME GETTING USE TO SO WILL BE BACK IN DEC TO SEE IT AGAIN TRAFFIC FLOWS SMOOTHLY ACROSS THE SHIP (THERE ARE 12 ELEVATORS AT THE FRONT AND 12 AT THE MIDDLE REAR) THE VENUES WERE NEVER OVERCROWDED FULL AT TIMES BUT THATS IT IT DOES TAKE SOME GETTING USE TO AS ALL THE FLOORS DONT PASS FROM FRONT TO BACK SO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO GO TO THE 5 FLOOR (IF YOU ARE AT THE FRONT) TO ACCESS THE MAIN FLOORS LIKE CENTRAL PARK THE PROMENADE AND THE BOARD WALK SO ONCE YOU GET THE LITTLE NUANCES OUT OF THE WAY ITS A GREAT SHIP JUST REMEMBER TO USE THE TECHNOLOGY ALL AROUND YOU AND YOU CAN HAVE AS MUCH FUN AS I DID (TRY TO PREBOOK AND PREPAY FOR AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE OTHERWISE THEY WILL NICKEL AND DIME YOU TO DEATH LOL)

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Mar 2, 2011

bahamas st thomas st marteen

I would not recommend..smoking is not contained to adult only areas..too much of having to keep on a schedule with shows and dinner..three of my familyy members got sick on the ice cream.excursion time changed we were not notiified.and we missed our excursion.state room no drawers to store cloths just cubes Portions were small Very small no drawers for cloths just cubes..we had five people.. very crowded had to keep to your reserved

time or they gave away your spot Swim w the turtles in st thomas was great our excursion in st marteen time was changed we were not notified and we missed it My husband got an abscess in st amrteen.being our excursion was canceled and all others were already booked we just went to the beach were we approached for drugs by the natives in front of my kids..my husband needed crutches it two days for them to sell them to him..my family got sick on the ice cream..smoking is not contained to one area can not walk in pool area without encounter a smoker..had a child w asthma who is still having trouble

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Mar 1, 2011

Western Caribbean

I liked the Princess cruise, I liked the Dream, but my all time favorite cruise to have ever gone on is the Allure of the seas. To begin with, I liked the activities on the ship. One activity was the flow riders. I straddled the boogie board, lay down on the board, and pushed myself off into the gushing water. Once I was in the water I did tricks. One trick I did was Superman. I pushed my board to my left and was bogie boarding on my stomach.

I soon reached for my board and I was back on it. Another activity I liked was the zip line. The workers put me in a harness, gave me a helmet, and off I went. I screamed, “WAHOO!” while zipping. When I got to the stop I fearfully let go and thought I would fall, but to my joy I fell on a soft mat. I loved all the activities on the ship. I also enjoyed the entertainment. My favorite was Chicago. Although I am only 10 years old, not only was I able to see the musical, but I understood the whole plot while loving the great acting and singing. The best part was the act with the jailhouse tango in which the wives describe how they killed their husbands. My second favorite was Ocean Aria with the exciting dives from above. The chief of the ocean tribe amazed me by doing gymnastics and flip after flip after flip. All other shows were good too, but couldn’t compare to my favorites. In conclusion, there are so many things I could write about, for example the spa, the pools, the food, the ports of call, the parades, and so much more. They were all great, but they can’t compare to the entertainment and the activities I described above.

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Mar 1, 2011

Western Caribbean

I liked the Princess cruise, I liked the Dream, but my all time favorite cruise to have ever gone on is the Allure of the seas. To begin with, I liked the activities on the ship. One activity was the flow riders. I straddled the boogie board, lay down on the board, and pushed myself off into the gushing water. Once I was in the water I did tricks. One trick I did was Superman. I pushed my board to my left and was bogie boarding on my stomach.

I soon reached for my board and I was back on it. Another activity I liked was the zip line. The workers put me in a harness, gave me a helmet, and off I went. I screamed, “WAHOO!” while zipping. When I got to the stop I fearfully let go and thought I would fall, but to my joy I fell on a soft mat. I loved all the activities on the ship. I also enjoyed the entertainment. My favorite was Chicago. Although I am only 10 years old, not only was I able to see the musical, but I understood the whole plot while loving the great acting and singing. The best part was the act with the jailhouse tango in which the wives describe how they killed their husbands. My second favorite was Ocean Aria with the exciting dives from above. The chief of the ocean tribe amazed me by doing gymnastics and flip after flip after flip. All other shows were good too, but couldn’t compare to my favorites. In conclusion, there are so many things I could write about, for example the spa, the pools, the food, the ports of call, the parades, and so much more. They were all great, but they can’t compare to the entertainment and the activities I described above.

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Feb 8, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

This was my first cruise on Royal Caribbean and it lived up to my expectations. Of course, if you don't expect too much, you will have a better time. However, for some people, complaining is a good time. We went with three other couples. The ship was clean and unscathed. Everything was in pristine condition. The crew kept it that way. It was decorated nicely, nothing opulent. The ship rocked very little, one of the most stable ships you will find.

Central Park was a good place to get away from the crowds and the kids. The Solarium was a good place to get away from the kids. The Boardwalk was a good place to find the kids. The food - always the centerpiece of any cruise, was okay. Not gourmet, but adequate. The main dining room: The bread was good. The desserts were not worth the calories. Personally, I like simple desserts but I could not find any layer cake, non-diet chocolate chip cookies, or apple pie anywhere on the ship (except at dinner one night and at Johnny Rockets). And those apples pies were not even as good as Mrs. Smith's. The closest you will get to layer cake is the cupcake shop, for a price. Breakfast in the main dining room was not that thrilling. The OJ was good, the cinnamon danish was good, but the pancakes were tasteless, the eggs were always over-salted, and the toast was a joke. How can you ruin white bread toast! The toast was always cold to lukewarm and the crust was like concrete. The Buffet was okay. If you wonder around long enough, you can find something you like to eat. The burgers there and at the other venues were fine as a fall back. The pizza at Sorrento's was okay if you are hungry but not something to seek out. The Park Cafe in Central Park was good for breakfast and lunch, and quiet. Johnny Rockets: It was nice to have unlimited fries and onion rings. Their tuna sandwich is good. You have a choice of breads and condiments. The milkshakes were not good at all. They tasted like fast food milkshakes, not the real thing. But for $5 a meal, it was still a good deal. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants we went to, Chops Grill and Giovanni's Table. They are a good deal compared to what it would cost on land. The standard rooms have barely enough storage for a one-week cruise. The closet doors are too large for the closet because they also cover the one set of usable shelves next to it. You have to constantly slide the doors from one side to the other to get at your clothes. There is a double bar for two thirds of the closet and a single bar for one-third. Big mistake. The double bars are too close together so that any men's clothes will either drape along the closet floor or drape along the bottom bar. Women's clothes are not that long and seem to hang okay. Therefore the men have to use the smaller single bar and share that with any dresses your wife brings and the bathrobes that come with the room. It really gets cramped in there. There are also two drawers in the desk that can be used for clothes storage. That's it. There are some really small shelves with doors on one side of the desk but they can only hold cans or shoehorns or razors or other small articles. The 32 inch LCD TV is nice. The lighting in the room is bright. The air conditioning worked great. The rooms were quiet, free from squeaks like on a lot of other ships. But if your room does have a squeak, the maintenance people will jump to fix it. The mini suites, that are really one and a half rooms, come with walk in closets that are sweet. You can actually exhale and not hit the walls with your belly. The bathrooms aren't bad. The circular clamshell shower doors works well and provide plenty of room to maneuver. The hot water was hot. The cold water was hot too, actually just tepid, which makes sense because the water pipes travel through the ship at ambient temperature. They keep the bathroom stocked with toilet paper but not tissues. So we always had to get more off the cart in the hallway or from the cabin steward. On the last day on the ship, they don't restock your bathroom. I guess they are afraid you will take your unused toilet paper home. Believe me; I've seen better toilet paper in airport bathrooms. You do not want to take their toilet paper home. The towels are large and fluffy and very nice. THESE are worth... never mind! For on-board activities, my wife and a couple of our friends did the Zip Line. It's like a 7 second trip from the stern of the ship, where the Flow-Rider is, across the boardwalk below, to the end. It's scary to take that last step off the launching platform, but everyone enjoyed the trip. Speaking of the Flow-Rider, we watched others do it. You go 2 at a time, with instructors off to the sides to help you before they let go. Most people could actually surf for a while. We also did the trivia contests. The prizes for the winning team were not that great. No t-shirts or mugs. But if you must have them, as the week went on shirts and caps in the gift shop got cheaper. We actually came home with very few items to junk up our house with. Just as well. The production shows were excellent and innovative. Just hope your headliner doesn't miss the boat like ours did because the replacement could be the worst act you have ever seen on a ship. So if El Gaucho is ever your headliner, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. The aqua show, OceanAria, featured pantomime comedy, diving and trampoline acrobatics. Great for kids, not quite Cirque du Soleil for adults. The Broadway show, Chicago, was great so I hear, I slept through it. That's what happens when the shows start at 10:00 or 11:00 at night. The Blue Planet acrobatic and video show was so innovative and fun, it was worth seeing twice. Very much Cirque du Soleil quality. The Ice Show was colorful if not technically great. A lot of falls by the performers, but it is a small rink and the ice got chopped up fast. I think the ice was not cold enough as you could see puddles of water. If you want to see these shows on YOUR schedule, you better sign up from home, early. If you wait till just before the ship leaves, you will find that available times are limited. Once on the ship, count on waiting on line outside the theater to see if any seats are available. The internet speed was the fastest I've seen on a cruise ship. It was very usable for browsing the internet, not frustrating at all. Wireless access points are all over the ship. You can buy the largest Internet package (500 minutes) and split it between two users and still have plenty of time for all your emails and surfing. If you're a Gold or higher Crown & Anchor member, you get discount coupons for this too so the price ($150) will be even lower. In St. Maarten, we did the 12-meter America's Cup Sailing Regatta. Fantastically fun. One of the best ship excursions offered anywhere. Everyone worked on the sailboat. All who signed up for this excursion from our ship were divided into 2 groups. We crewed Canada II and raced against Stars and Stripes. We were grinders. That is, we cranked the winches to wind or unwind the rope/line controlling the primary sail. It took four of us at a time to do this. You had to be in shape. Remember, these are racing sailboats. There were also 2 more people on the mainsail winch. There were non-physical jobs available for those who couldn't handle the winches. We won. We also visited Magens Bay Beach in St. Thomas. It was a nice beach, but just a beach. Boring. No fish in the water either. You could see your feet though. You could always wiggle your toes for entertainment. The check-in was painless and fast. It was helped by the fact I immediately became a Platinum Level member of the RCI Crown & Anchor Society Loyalty Program from my previous cruises on Celebrity, without having to take one RCI cruise. Actually, the worst and longest part of check in was going through the security checkpoint to get into the cruise terminal facilities. Disembarking using the $20 per person valet service was priceless. We left our bags outside the room as usual the night before. You don't see them again till the baggage carousel at the destination airport. It worked. No lugging baggage off the ship, or trying to find your bags again in the cruise terminal or carrying them through customs. And ours were the first bags off the airplane too. However, everyone in our party was double billed for this service. We caught it just before exiting the ship and one of the ship's disembarkation guides personally went and had the adjustment done to our account ahead of all the other people waiting at the customer service desk so our account was squared away upon exiting the ship. None of our friends noticed the double billing till we were all standing and waiting for cabs outside the terminal. They notified RCI when they got home and an adjustment was made without problem. I guess you should check your bill upon waking instead of waiting till you exit the room where the bill is waiting on the other side of the door. A lot of the food workers on the ship don't seem too happy to be there, especially when you order a soda from them and have prepaid for it with the unlimited soda card. Now remember, you also included a tip when you paid for this soda card. But that doesn't translate to the person giving you the soda. They act like you stiffed them. You would think that taking a cruise during the second week of January would exempt you from school-aged kids. Nope. It's summer vacation time in South America. But let's face it, RCI is a family oriented ship. Want mainly adults, take Celebrity. One pleasant surprise was that our 5-watt GMRS walkie-talkies that we brought on board worked beautifully. We had intended to rent the heavily advertised Ipod option to keep in touch with each other on board but that offering was abruptly canceled by RCI at the last minute. During use of our walkie-talkies, we encountered no interference from anyone else and they always seemed to work well wherever we were on the ship. This was probably due to the open-air design of the ship's middle. We were always able to contact our friends on-board and make last-minute arrangements. This also helped finding each other in the theaters. The cost for our one-week cruise was higher than you would think is normal for this cruise line, but the ship was brand new and the Allure is billed as a destination in itself with all the features it encompasses. And you could always say that you were on the largest passenger vessel ever made. For some of our friends, this was enough of an enticement to pay the freight. For us, it was the friends that made the cruise. So if you're alone, make friends with your dinner mates. As much as this ship offers in entertainment, it's no substitute for being with friends.

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Feb 2, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

This was my first cruise on Royal Caribbean and it lived up to my expectations. Of course, if you don’t expect too much, you will have a better time. However, for some people, complaining is a good time. We went with three other couples. The ship was clean and unscathed. Everything was in pristine condition. The crew kept it that way. It was decorated nicely, nothing opulent. The ship rocked very little, one of the most stable ships you will

find. Central Park was a good place to get away from the crowds and the kids. The Solarium was a good place to get away from the kids. The Boardwalk was a good place to find the kids. The food - always the centerpiece of any cruise, was okay. Not gourmet, but adequate. The main dining room: The bread was good. The desserts were not worth the calories. Personally, I like simple desserts but I could not find any layer cake, non-diet chocolate chip cookies, or apple pie anywhere on the ship (except at dinner one night and at Johnny Rockets). And those apples pies were not even as good as Mrs. Smith’s. The closest you will get to layer cake is the cupcake shop, for a price. Breakfast in the main dining room was not that thrilling. The OJ was good, the cinnamon danish was good, but the pancakes were tasteless, the eggs were always over-salted, and the toast was a joke. How can you ruin white bread toast! The toast was always cold to lukewarm and the crust was like concrete. The Buffet was okay. If you wonder around long enough, you can find something you like to eat. The burgers there and at the other venues were fine as a fall back. The pizza at Sorrento’s was okay if you are hungry but not something to seek out. The Park Café in Central Park was good for breakfast and lunch, and quiet. Johnny Rockets: It was nice to have unlimited fries and onion rings. Their tuna sandwich is good. You have a choice of breads and condiments. The milkshakes were not good at all. They tasted like fast food milkshakes, not the real thing. But for $5 a meal, it was still a good deal. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants we went to, Chops Grill and Giovanni’s Table. They are a good deal compared to what it would cost on land. The standard rooms have barely enough storage for a one-week cruise. The closet doors are too large for the closet because they also cover the one set of usable shelves next to it. You have to constantly slide the doors from one side to the other to get at your clothes. There is a double bar for two thirds of the closet and a single bar for one-third. Big mistake. The double bars are too close together so that any men’s clothes will either drape along the closet floor or drape along the bottom bar. Women’s clothes are not that long and seem to hang okay. Therefore the men have to use the smaller single bar and share that with any dresses your wife brings and the bathrobes that come with the room. It really gets cramped in there. There are also two drawers in the desk that can be used for clothes storage. That’s it. There are some really small shelves with doors on one side of the desk but they can only hold cans or shoehorns or razors or other small articles. The 32” LCD TV is nice. The lighting in the room is bright. The air conditioning worked great. The rooms were quiet, free from squeaks like on a lot of other ships. But if your room does have a squeak, the maintenance people will jump to fix it. The mini suites, that are really one and a half rooms, come with walk in closets that are sweet. You can actually exhale and not hit the walls with your belly. The bathrooms aren’t bad. The circular clamshell shower doors works well and provide plenty of room to maneuver. The hot water was hot. The cold water was hot too, actually just tepid, which makes sense because the water pipes travel through the ship at ambient temperature. They keep the bathroom stocked with toilet paper but not tissues. So we always had to get more off the cart in the hallway or from the cabin steward. On the last day on the ship, they don’t restock your bathroom. I guess they are afraid you will take your unused toilet paper home. Believe me; I’ve seen better toilet paper in airport bathrooms. You do not want to take their toilet paper home. The towels are large and fluffy – very nice – THESE are worth … never mind. For on-board activities, my wife and a couple of our friends did the Zip Line. It’s like a 7 second trip from the stern of the ship, where the Flow-Rider is, across the boardwalk below, to the end. It’s scary to take that last step off the launching platform, but everyone enjoyed the trip. Speaking of the Flow-Rider, we watched others do it. You go 2 at a time, with instructors off to the sides to help you before they let go. Most people could actually surf for a while. We also did the trivia contests. The prizes for the winning team were not that great. No t-shirts or mugs. But if you must have them, as the week went on shirts and caps in the gift shop got cheaper. We actually came home with very few items to junk up our house with. Just as well. The production shows were excellent and innovative. Just hope your headliner doesn’t miss the boat like ours did because the replacement could be the worst act you have ever seen on a ship. So if El Gaucho is ever your headliner, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. The aqua show, OceanAria, featured pantomime comedy, diving and trampoline acrobatics. Great for kids, not quite Cirque du Soleil for adults. The Broadway show, Chicago, was great – I hear, I slept through it. That’s what happens when the shows start at 10:00 – 11:00 at night. The Blue Planet acrobatic and video show was so innovative and fun, it was worth seeing twice. Very much Cirque du Soleil quality. The Ice Show was colorful if not technically great. A lot of falls by the performers, but it is a small rink and the ice got chopped up fast. I think the ice was not cold enough as you could see puddles of water. If you want to see these shows on YOUR schedule, you better sign up from home, early. If you wait till just before the ship leaves, you will find that available times are limited. Once on the ship, count on waiting on line outside the theater to see if any seats are available. The internet speed was the fastest I’ve seen on a cruise ship. It was very usable for browsing the internet, not frustrating at all. Wireless access points are all over the ship. You can buy the largest Internet package (500 minutes) and split it between two users and still have plenty of time for all your emails and surfing. If you’re a Gold or higher Crown & Anchor member, you get discount coupons for this too so the price ($150) will be even lower. In St. Maarten, we did the 12-meter America’s Cup Sailing Regatta. Fantastically fun. One of the best ship excursions offered anywhere. Everyone worked on the sailboat. All who signed up for this excursion from our ship were divided into 2 groups. We crewed Canada II and raced against Stars and Stripes. We were “grinders.” That is, we cranked the winches to wind or unwind the rope/line controlling the primary sail. It took four of us at a time to do this. You had to be in shape. Remember, these are racing sailboats. There were also 2 more people on the mainsail winch. There were non-physical jobs available for those who couldn’t handle the winches. We won. We also visited Magens Bay Beach in St. Thomas. It was a nice beach, but just a beach. Boring. No fish in the water either. You could see your feet though. You could always wiggle your toes for entertainment. The check-in was painless and fast. It was helped by the fact I immediately became a Platinum Level member of the RCI Crown & Anchor Society Loyalty Program from my previous cruises on Celebrity, without having to take one RCI cruise. Actually, the worst and longest part of check in was going through the security checkpoint to get into the cruise terminal facilities. Disembarking using the $20 per person valet service was priceless. We left our bags outside the room as usual the night before. You don’t see them again till the baggage carousel at the destination airport. It worked. No lugging baggage off the ship, or trying to find your bags again in the cruise terminal or carrying them through customs. And ours were the first bags off the airplane too. However, everyone in our party was double billed for this service. We caught it just before exiting the ship and one of the ship’s disembarkation guides personally went and had the adjustment done to our account ahead of all the other people waiting at the customer service desk so our account was squared away upon exiting the ship. None of our friends noticed the double billing till we were all standing and waiting for cabs outside the terminal. They notified RCI when they got home and an adjustment was made without problem. I guess you should check your bill upon waking instead of waiting till you exit the room where the bill is waiting on the other side of the door. A lot of the food workers on the ship don’t seem too happy to be there, especially when you order a soda from them and have prepaid for it with the unlimited soda card. Now remember, you also included a tip when you paid for this soda card. But that doesn’t translate to the person giving you the soda. They act like you stiffed them. You would think that taking a cruise during the second week of January would exempt you from school-aged kids. Nope. It’s summer vacation time in South America. But let’s face it, RCI is a family oriented ship. Want mainly adults, take Celebrity. One pleasant surprise was that our 5-watt GMRS walkie-talkies that we brought on board worked beautifully. We had intended to rent the heavily advertised Ipod option to keep in touch with each other on board but that offering was abruptly canceled by RCI at the last minute. During use of our walkie-talkies, we encountered no interference from anyone else and they always seemed to work well wherever we were on the ship. This was probably due to the open-air design of the ship’s middle. We were always able to contact our friends on-board and make last-minute arrangements. This also helped finding each other in the theaters. The cost for our one-week cruise was higher than you would think is normal for this cruise line, but the ship was brand new and the Allure is billed as a destination in itself with all the features it encompasses. And you could always say that you were on the largest passenger vessel ever made. For some of our friends, this was enough of an enticement to pay the freight. For us, it was the friends that made the cruise. So if you’re alone, make friends with your dinner mates. As much as this ship offers in entertainment, it’s no substitute for being with friends.

Read More
  • New

Jan 31, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

This was my first cruise on Royal Caribbean and it lived up to my expectations. Of course, if you don't expect too much, you will have a better time. However, for some people, complaining is a good time. We went with three other couples. The ship was clean and unscathed. Everything was in pristine condition. The crew kept it that way. It was decorated nicely, nothing opulent. The ship rocked very little, one of the most stable ships you will find.

Central Park was a good place to get away from the crowds and the kids. The Solarium was a good place to get away from the kids. The Boardwalk was a good place to find the kids. The food - always the centerpiece of any cruise, was okay. Not gourmet, but adequate. The main dining room: The bread was good. The desserts were not worth the calories. Personally, I like simple desserts but I could not find any layer cake, non-diet chocolate chip cookies, or apple pie anywhere on the ship (except at dinner one night and at Johnny Rockets). And those apples pies were not even as good as Mrs. Smith's. The closest you will get to layer cake is the cupcake shop, for a price. Breakfast in the main dining room was not that thrilling. The OJ was good, the cinnamon danish was good, but the pancakes were tasteless, the eggs were always over-salted, and the toast was a joke. How can you ruin white bread toast! The toast was always cold to lukewarm and the crust was like concrete. The Buffet was okay. If you wonder around long enough, you can find something you like to eat. The burgers there and at the other venues were fine as a fall back. The pizza at Sorrento's was okay if you are hungry but not something to seek out. The Park Cafe in Central Park was good for breakfast and lunch, and quiet. Johnny Rockets: It was nice to have unlimited fries and onion rings. Their tuna sandwich is good. You have a choice of breads and condiments. The milkshakes were not good at all. They tasted like fast food milkshakes, not the real thing. But for $5 a meal, it was still a good deal. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants we went to, Chops Grill and Giovanni's Table. They are a good deal compared to what it would cost on land. The standard rooms have barely enough storage for a one-week cruise. The closet doors are too large for the closet because they also cover the one set of usable shelves next to it. You have to constantly slide the doors from one side to the other to get at your clothes. There is a double bar for two thirds of the closet and a single bar for one-third. Big mistake. The double bars are too close together so that any men's clothes will either drape along the closet floor or drape along the bottom bar. Women's clothes are not that long and seem to hang okay. Therefore the men have to use the smaller single bar and share that with any dresses your wife brings and the bathrobes that come with the room. It really gets cramped in there. There are also two drawers in the desk that can be used for clothes storage. That's it. There are some really small shelves with doors on one side of the desk but they can only hold cans or shoehorns or razors or other small articles. The 32 in LCD TV is nice. The lighting in the room is bright. The air conditioning worked great. The rooms were quiet, free from squeaks like on a lot of other ships. But if your room does have a squeak, the maintenance people will jump to fix it. The mini suites, that are really one and a half rooms, come with walk in closets that are sweet. You can actually exhale and not hit the walls with your belly. The bathrooms aren't bad. The circular clamshell shower doors works well and provide plenty of room to maneuver. The hot water was hot. The cold water was hot too, actually just tepid, which makes sense because the water pipes travel through the ship at ambient temperature. They keep the bathroom stocked with toilet paper but not tissues. So we always had to get more off the cart in the hallway or from the cabin steward. On the last day on the ship, they don't restock your bathroom. I guess they are afraid you will take your unused toilet paper home. Believe me; I've seen better toilet paper in airport bathrooms. You do not want to take their toilet paper home. The towels are large and fluffy. For on-board activities, my wife and a couple of our friends did the Zip Line. It's like a 7 second trip from the stern of the ship, where the Flow-Rider is, across the boardwalk below, to the end. It's scary to take that last step off the launching platform, but everyone enjoyed the trip. Speaking of the Flow-Rider, we watched others do it. You go 2 at a time, with instructors off to the sides to help you before they let go. Most people could actually surf for a while. We also did the trivia contests. The prizes for the winning team were not that great. No t-shirts or mugs. But if you must have them, as the week went on shirts and caps in the gift shop got cheaper. We actually came home with very few items to junk up our house with. Just as well. The production shows were excellent and innovative. Just hope your headliner doesn't miss the boat like ours did because the replacement could be the worst act you have ever seen on a ship. So if El Gaucho is ever your headliner, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. The aqua show, OceanAria, featured pantomime comedy, diving and trampoline acrobatics. Great for kids, not quite Cirque du Soleil for adults. The Broadway show, Chicago, was great I hear, I slept through it. That's what happens when the shows start at 10:00 to 11:00 at night. The Blue Planet acrobatic and video show was so innovative and fun, it was worth seeing twice. Very much Cirque du Soleil quality. The Ice Show was colorful if not technically great. A lot of falls by the performers, but it is a small rink and the ice got chopped up fast. I think the ice was not cold enough as you could see puddles of water. If you want to see these shows on YOUR schedule, you better sign up from home, early. If you wait till just before the ship leaves, you will find that available times are limited. Once on the ship, count on waiting on line outside the theater to see if any seats are available. The internet speed was the fastest I've seen on a cruise ship. It was very usable for browsing the internet, not frustrating at all. Wireless access points are all over the ship. You can buy the largest Internet package (500 minutes) and split it between two users and still have plenty of time for all your emails and surfing. If you're a Gold or higher Crown & Anchor member, you get discount coupons for this too so the price ($150) will be even lower. The check-in was painless and fast. It was helped by the fact I immediately became a Platinum Level member of the RCI Crown & Anchor Society Loyalty Program from my previous cruises on Celebrity, without having to take one RCI cruise. Actually, the worst and longest part of check in was going through the security checkpoint to get into the cruise terminal facilities. Disembarking using the $20 per person valet service was priceless. We left our bags outside the room as usual the night before. You don't see them again till the baggage carousel at the destination airport. It worked. No lugging baggage off the ship, or trying to find your bags again in the cruise terminal or carrying them through customs. And ours were the first bags off the airplane too. However, everyone in our party was double billed for this service. We caught it just before exiting the ship and one of the ship's disembarkation guides personally went and had the adjustment done to our account ahead of all the other people waiting at the customer service desk so our account was squared away upon exiting the ship. None of our friends noticed the double billing till we were all standing and waiting for cabs outside the terminal. They notified RCI when they got home and an adjustment was made without problem. I guess you should check your bill upon waking instead of waiting till you exit the room where the bill is waiting on the other side of the door. A lot of the food workers on the ship don't seem too happy to be there, especially when you order a soda from them and have prepaid for it with the unlimited soda card. Now remember, you also included a tip when you paid for this soda card. But that doesn't translate to the person giving you the soda. They act like you stiffed them. You would think that taking a cruise during the second week of January would exempt you from school-aged kids. Nope. It's summer vacation time in South America. But let's face it, RCI is a family oriented ship. Want mainly adults, take Celebrity. One pleasant surprise was that our 5-watt GMRS walkie-talkies that we brought on board worked beautifully. We had intended to rent the heavily advertised Ipod option to keep in touch with each other on board but that offering was abruptly canceled by RCI at the last minute. During use of our walkie-talkies, we encountered no interference from anyone else and they always seemed to work well wherever we were on the ship. This was probably due to the open-air design of the ship's middle. We were always able to contact our friends on-board and make last-minute arrangements. This also helped finding each other in the theaters. The cost for our one-week cruise was higher than you would think is normal for this cruise line, but the ship was brand new and the Allure is billed as a destination in itself with all the features it encompasses. And you could always say that you were on the largest passenger vessel ever made. For some of our friends, this was enough of an enticement to pay the freight. For us, it was the friends that made the cruise. So if you're alone, make friends with your dinner mates. As much as this ship offers in entertainment, it's no substitute for being with friends.

Read More
  • New

Jan 31, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

This was my first cruise on Royal Caribbean and it lived up to my expectations. Of course, if you don’t expect too much, you will have a better time. However, for some people, complaining is a good time. We went with three other couples. The ship was clean and unscathed. Everything was in pristine condition. The crew kept it that way. It was decorated nicely, nothing opulent. The ship rocked very little, one of the most stable ships you will

find. Central Park was a good place to get away from the crowds and the kids. The Solarium was a good place to get away from the kids. The Boardwalk was a good place to find the kids. The food - always the centerpiece of any cruise, was okay. Not gourmet, but adequate. The main dining room: The bread was good. The desserts were not worth the calories. Personally, I like simple desserts but I could not find any layer cake, non-diet chocolate chip cookies, or apple pie anywhere on the ship (except at dinner one night and at Johnny Rockets). And those apples pies were not even as good as Mrs. Smith’s. The closest you will get to layer cake is the cupcake shop, for a price. Breakfast in the main dining room was not that thrilling. The OJ was good, the cinnamon danish was good, but the pancakes were tasteless, the eggs were always over-salted, and the toast was a joke. How can you ruin white bread toast! The toast was always cold to lukewarm and the crust was like concrete. The Buffet was okay. If you wonder around long enough, you can find something you like to eat. The burgers there and at the other venues were fine as a fall back. The pizza at Sorrento’s was okay if you are hungry but not something to seek out. The Park Café in Central Park was good for breakfast and lunch, and quiet. Johnny Rockets: It was nice to have unlimited fries and onion rings. Their tuna sandwich is good. You have a choice of breads and condiments. The milkshakes were not good at all. They tasted like fast food milkshakes, not the real thing. But for $5 a meal, it was still a good deal. We enjoyed the specialty restaurants we went to, Chops Grill and Giovanni’s Table. They are a good deal compared to what it would cost on land. The standard rooms have barely enough storage for a one-week cruise. The closet doors are too large for the closet because they also cover the one set of usable shelves next to it. You have to constantly slide the doors from one side to the other to get at your clothes. There is a double bar for two thirds of the closet and a single bar for one-third. Big mistake. The double bars are too close together so that any men’s clothes will either drape along the closet floor or drape along the bottom bar. Women’s clothes are not that long and seem to hang okay. Therefore the men have to use the smaller single bar and share that with any dresses your wife brings and the bathrobes that come with the room. It really gets cramped in there. There are also two drawers in the desk that can be used for clothes storage. That’s it. There are some really small shelves with doors on one side of the desk but they can only hold cans or shoehorns or razors or other small articles. The 32” LCD TV is nice. The lighting in the room is bright. The air conditioning worked great. The rooms were quiet, free from squeaks like on a lot of other ships. But if your room does have a squeak, the maintenance people will jump to fix it. The mini suites, that are really one and a half rooms, come with walk in closets that are sweet. You can actually exhale and not hit the walls with your belly. The bathrooms aren’t bad. The circular clamshell shower doors works well and provide plenty of room to maneuver. The hot water was hot. The cold water was hot too, actually just tepid, which makes sense because the water pipes travel through the ship at ambient temperature. They keep the bathroom stocked with toilet paper but not tissues. So we always had to get more off the cart in the hallway or from the cabin steward. On the last day on the ship, they don’t restock your bathroom. I guess they are afraid you will take your unused toilet paper home. Believe me; I’ve seen better toilet paper in airport bathrooms. You do not want to take their toilet paper home. The towels are large and fluffy – very nice – THESE are worth … never mind. For on-board activities, my wife and a couple of our friends did the Zip Line. It’s like a 7 second trip from the stern of the ship, where the Flow-Rider is, across the boardwalk below, to the end. It’s scary to take that last step off the launching platform, but everyone enjoyed the trip. Speaking of the Flow-Rider, we watched others do it. You go 2 at a time, with instructors off to the sides to help you before they let go. Most people could actually surf for a while. We also did the trivia contests. The prizes for the winning team were not that great. No t-shirts or mugs. But if you must have them, as the week went on shirts and caps in the gift shop got cheaper. We actually came home with very few items to junk up our house with. Just as well. The production shows were excellent and innovative. Just hope your headliner doesn’t miss the boat like ours did because the replacement could be the worst act you have ever seen on a ship. So if El Gaucho is ever your headliner, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. The aqua show, OceanAria, featured pantomime comedy, diving and trampoline acrobatics. Great for kids, not quite Cirque du Soleil for adults. The Broadway show, Chicago, was great – I hear, I slept through it. That’s what happens when the shows start at 10:00 – 11:00 at night. The Blue Planet acrobatic and video show was so innovative and fun, it was worth seeing twice. Very much Cirque du Soleil quality. The Ice Show was colorful if not technically great. A lot of falls by the performers, but it is a small rink and the ice got chopped up fast. I think the ice was not cold enough as you could see puddles of water. If you want to see these shows on YOUR schedule, you better sign up from home, early. If you wait till just before the ship leaves, you will find that available times are limited. Once on the ship, count on waiting on line outside the theater to see if any seats are available. The internet speed was the fastest I’ve seen on a cruise ship. It was very usable for browsing the internet, not frustrating at all. Wireless access points are all over the ship. You can buy the largest Internet package (500 minutes) and split it between two users and still have plenty of time for all your emails and surfing. If you’re a Gold or higher Crown & Anchor member, you get discount coupons for this too so the price ($150) will be even lower. In St. Maarten, we did the 12-meter America’s Cup Sailing Regatta. Fantastically fun. One of the best ship excursions offered anywhere. Everyone worked on the sailboat. All who signed up for this excursion from our ship were divided into 2 groups. We crewed Canada II and raced against Stars and Stripes. We were “grinders.” That is, we cranked the winches to wind or unwind the rope/line controlling the primary sail. It took four of us at a time to do this. You had to be in shape. Remember, these are racing sailboats. There were also 2 more people on the mainsail winch. There were non-physical jobs available for those who couldn’t handle the winches. We won. We also visited Magens Bay Beach in St. Thomas. It was a nice beach, but just a beach. Boring. No fish in the water either. You could see your feet though. You could always wiggle your toes for entertainment. The check-in was painless and fast. It was helped by the fact I immediately became a Platinum Level member of the RCI Crown & Anchor Society Loyalty Program from my previous cruises on Celebrity, without having to take one RCI cruise. Actually, the worst and longest part of check in was going through the security checkpoint to get into the cruise terminal facilities. Disembarking using the $20 per person valet service was priceless. We left our bags outside the room as usual the night before. You don’t see them again till the baggage carousel at the destination airport. It worked. No lugging baggage off the ship, or trying to find your bags again in the cruise terminal or carrying them through customs. And ours were the first bags off the airplane too. However, everyone in our party was double billed for this service. We caught it just before exiting the ship and one of the ship’s disembarkation guides personally went and had the adjustment done to our account ahead of all the other people waiting at the customer service desk so our account was squared away upon exiting the ship. None of our friends noticed the double billing till we were all standing and waiting for cabs outside the terminal. They notified RCI when they got home and an adjustment was made without problem. I guess you should check your bill upon waking instead of waiting till you exit the room where the bill is waiting on the other side of the door. A lot of the food workers on the ship don’t seem too happy to be there, especially when you order a soda from them and have prepaid for it with the unlimited soda card. Now remember, you also included a tip when you paid for this soda card. But that doesn’t translate to the person giving you the soda. They act like you stiffed them. You would think that taking a cruise during the second week of January would exempt you from school-aged kids. Nope. It’s summer vacation time in South America. But let’s face it, RCI is a family oriented ship. Want mainly adults, take Celebrity. One pleasant surprise was that our 5-watt GMRS walkie-talkies that we brought on board worked beautifully. We had intended to rent the heavily advertised Ipod option to keep in touch with each other on board but that offering was abruptly canceled by RCI at the last minute. During use of our walkie-talkies, we encountered no interference from anyone else and they always seemed to work well wherever we were on the ship. This was probably due to the open-air design of the ship’s middle. We were always able to contact our friends on-board and make last-minute arrangements. This also helped finding each other in the theaters. The cost for our one-week cruise was higher than you would think is normal for this cruise line, but the ship was brand new and the Allure is billed as a destination in itself with all the features it encompasses. And you could always say that you were on the largest passenger vessel ever made. For some of our friends, this was enough of an enticement to pay the freight. For us, it was the friends that made the cruise. So if you’re alone, make friends with your dinner mates. As much as this ship offers in entertainment, it’s no substitute for being with friends.

Read More

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