Friday, November 4, 2011

Royal Caribbean ~ Allure of the Seas ~ October 2011

First let us say, “YES, the ship is huge!”…but it never really felt that way.  Royal Caribbean has done an excellent job with the design of this ship utilizing their neighborhood concept to break up the massive size of the ship.  We spent one week sailing on this beautiful ship from October 9-16, 2011 for our Cruises Inc. National Conference.  While much of our time was spent in seminars and workshops learning more about new products and meeting with our preferred suppliers, we did find time to experience most of what the ship had to offer.
Overall Ship’s Appearance:  Very modern and clean designs throughout.  We were impressed with the choices of colors and finishes used in the public areas and within the staterooms.  The ship had a very classy feel overall.  The thematic elements in the Boardwalk were well done to provide a whimsical area.  Central Park is a calming stretch of greenery with chirping birds and crickets.  The various lounges and venues all had appropriate furnishings for their themes, and the dining rooms were spacious and elegant with comfortable seats. 
Cabin:  We took an inside cabin for this cruise and found it very spacious.  We had a full size couch seating area, a large flat screen TV that was adjustable for viewing from anywhere in the cabin, lots of storage, and a roomy bathroom with a nice shower (including a foot rail for ladies to shave their legs and a wonderful showerhead with good pressure!).  Beds were comfortable with the white on white linens and duvet.  They set the bed with four pillows which is awesome!!  Towels were all 100% Egyptian cotton and very fluffy.  The only issue was that the bed was placed within 12” of the closet making it difficult to get in and out of there.  We learned that our cabin had a different layout than most of the inside cabins that eliminated this issue for others.  However it may be a concern in alternating balcony cabins were the bed is closer to the closet vs. the ones that have the bed closer to the balcony.   It didn’t ruin our week by any means…just one minor inconvenience.
Entertainment:  So many choices including Chicago: The Musical, the main show Blue Planet, AquaTheatre performances, two different ice shows, parades in the promenade, piano man in the Schooner Bar,  the jazz club, comedy club, live music in Viking Crown and even the Blaze Disco to get your cardio workout!  We found it interesting that the singers were in multiple productions – such different styles of shows, but they performed wonderfully.   Wow, you need to stay on two weeks in a row to really take advantage of all of these options.
Activities: Zip-lining, ice-skating, rock-climbing, surfing, swimming, dancing, running, working out, or just lounging…anything you could really want…it’s here on this ship.  If you are bored…well, I don’t know what to say.
Dining:  We dined in the main dining room most evenings and found the food to be very good to excellent.  Especially delicious were some of the vegetarian and curry dishes.  The buffet always seemed too crowded.  The food was good, but lots of fried foods and foods with gravies and sauces.  Six months ago we would have been in heaven, but we recently started making healthier dining choices so many of these items didn’t appeal to us.  Thankfully we discovered the Solarium for dining and had breakfast and lunch here most days.  They offered healthier options here including a nice salad bar with low-fat and fat-free dressings to choose from and my favorite was the Gazpacho soup with condiments that you add yourself!!  They offered fish, shrimp, tofu, and daily miso soup.  Fresh fruits and lighter salads as well.   We were very impressed with the overall food quality on this ship.
Alternative Dining:  Sorrento’s offered hot, freshly made to order pizzas or a slice on the go.  The Hot Dog place on the boardwalk was a fun treat with international sausages and hot dogs.  We dined in Central Park Café a few times for the yummy roast beef sandwiches.  One evening we shared dinner with friends at Giovanni’s, the Italian Specialty Restaurant.  The food was excellent – the highlights were the mushroom risotto and the Limoncello after dinner shot “to aid digestion” as the server said.  Other choices that we didn’t partake in due to our time constraints were the Cupcake Cupboard, Rita’s Cantina, 150 Central Park, Chops, and more!
Service:  Overall very friendly and attentive.  We encountered probably the BEST cabin steward we ever had on 43 cruises!  The only area we saw service issues was in the Central Park café – crew was reading magazines, setting silverware on tables that still had dirty dishes, walking over a spill instead of cleaning it up.  It was interesting to observe how different the team was in this particular area vs. the rest of the ship. 
Itinerary:  Does it really matter? This ship is a destination in itself!  We barely got off the ship in Cozumel (it was raining) and in Falmouth we just walked around the port and surrounding area for a bit.  However, a local resident told us that maybe we shouldn’t have been walking where we were…so it’s probably best to take a tour in Falmouth in the future.  We really enjoyed Labadee!  This was our first visit to this port; what a beautiful slice of paradise with so much to offer!!  It’s definitely more than just a beach day.  They have a breathtaking zipline and a gravity-driven roller coaster down the mountainside.  The Artisan’s Village offered many beautiful choices for art and souvenirs.  Plenty of beach chairs in both the sun and shade.  The BBQ was very good as well.  We definitely recommend having Labadee on your next Royal Caribbean itinerary!
Summary:  While this may not be the ship for everyone, it definitely is a ship for anyone who wants to experience lots of great entertainment, activities and dining. This is a perfect ship for family reunions, multi-generational groups, couples/friends and active people.  Also, it really is a fantastic option for first-timers because being on the Allure of the Seas is much like being at a resort on land.  The ship movement is rarely felt and for those leery of seeing the ocean, they can have a balcony overlooking Central Park.   Plus, to anyone of those, ”I’ll be bored at sea so many days” people…We say, “Not on this ship!”  So who wants to sail on the Allure of the Seas (or her sister ship the Oasis of the Seas)???

No comments:

Post a Comment