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terpfan101
June 13th, 2012, 02:27 PM
Hello everyone! I just got back from the Allure on Sunday and had an amazing time. Having spent so many hours researching the ship before hand on cruise critic, I became inspired (primarily by this review (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1544356) by LittleMissMagic) to write my own review from the perspective of a 26 year old. I also utilized reviews such as the following extensively in my planning: BrianAlt (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1616438), DarthGrady (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1513962), obsessedsc (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1620504), PhoenixDawgCruising (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1606980), BillOh (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1411575), two by QTMichele (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1578035), and Radio (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1416763).

I have decided to write this review in a slightly different manner though as I'm not one to want to spend too much time during the trip recording everything I did that day. As such I'll break my review up into separate sections focusing on different aspects of the cruise, for example: planning, arrival, ports, food/restaurants (tons of food porn pics to follow), activities, entertainment, departure, etc.

So bear with me as I attempt to complete this review, which is my first one to be posted in the forums. Hope you all enjoy!

Up next: Cruise planning

Familygoboston
June 13th, 2012, 02:48 PM
Yeah! Pictures...cant wait!

chipq
June 13th, 2012, 02:52 PM
Looking forward to your cruise perspectives.


http://luv2cruise.blogspot.com

terpfan101
June 13th, 2012, 03:00 PM
Since I forgot to add a little background about myself above, I am 26 years old from the DC area and am an accountant. So by nature I am very detail oriented and most definitely a planner. Continuing on with the review...My apologies for the lack of pictures and TONS of words in this post...I promise more of the former and less of the latter (I'll try on that one) in subsequent posts. Also ask any questions along the way and I'll be sure to answer them.

I don't know why but I've always been fascinated by cruises, well at least for the last 5-10 years. My first cruise ever was after graduating high school in 2004 and was on the Navigator of the Seas with my family, my first cousin's family, and grandmother. I had a great time on that cruise (we all did) but surprisingly that was the only cruise I would take until deciding to go on one with my girlfriend just this past August which was on the Enchantment of the Seas. Ever since I heard about the Oasis class of ships being built back when I was a college student, I've been amazed at the design and feature and knew that I wanted to cruise on one at some point in my life.

Anyway, my girlfriend Lindsay (see picture of us below from our Enchantment cruise last year) and I began to discuss vacation options for 2012 back in the fall of 2011. A cruise was definitely a consideration but I hadn't thought too much about the Oasis/Allure. I can't remember when it first occurred for me to consider those ships, but it probably had something to do with reading the above mentioned reviews. We eventually settled on the Allure of the Seas on June 3rd as it would be a few weeks after she graduated from grad school with a masters degree in speech language pathology. A sort of celebratory graduation cruise if you will.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/292418_724748306669_612118_n.jpg

I booked the cruise in the final days of December 2011 after getting a deal from an online travel agent for the particular sailing of $275 in OBC. Having experienced a balcony on my first cruise and an interior cabin on the Enchantment, I knew that I'd be perfectly content with an interior, especially on the Oasis class which had so much to do that I couldn't foresee spending too much time in my cabin. A few months after booking the cruise however I started getting the urge to upgrade if the prices dropped and started to see that the cruise wasn't selling too well. I began to religiously track the number of available cabins once a day which took about 5 minutes each day and monitoring the prices around final payment time.

Keep in mind throughout this time I was planning excursions, show reservations, and specialty dining...I will touch on that during my review for those areas of the cruise

Sometime in February I had a slight hiccup with the whole process. I had booked our flights on JetBlue through Chase Ultimate Rewards program using credit card points in early January. I had thought that the time of the flight said it departed from Washington Dulles at 7:55AM and arrived at about 10:30AM in FLL. I also must have ignored that on my confirmation email. In February I received a phone call from JetBlue advising me to call about a change in my flight's schedule. Upon logging into the website I saw that the flight time was now leaving at 1PM or so and arriving at 4PM in FLL. I freaked out and then was even more perplexed upon seeing that the flight was initially supposed to be after I needed to arrive in FLL!! Well I called JetBlue and the wonderful customer service agent was able to change my flight to whenever I wanted at no charge (the fare had risen slightly since I booked for the 8AM flight) since the flight changed by several hours. Phewwww thankfully crisis #1 averted. More on crisis #2 in a future post!

In late March after final payment prices dropped new guarantees opened. An oceanview guarantee (category Y) was the same cost that I paid, but I hesitated due to not wanting to receive a category I which is exclusively on deck 3. Then a few weeks later category XN and X opened up at $100 more total and $225 more total than I paid for my interior. Additionally category Y dropped in price so that it was actually $200 cheaper total than I paid. I knew I wouldn't get a refund or OBC but at that point decided to roll the dice with the oceanview guarantee and hope prices dropped a bit more on the category X and XN.

Anyway I called my TA to upgrade to the category Y and was astonished when she came back and said that I'd be receiving $200 back as a refund since the price was less (but that I'd get $100 less in OBC). I later learned from my actual TA rep that I got a refund because the TA had booked through a group rate. Never heard of getting money back after final payment but I was happy. (Has anyone else heard of this??) Well this caused the dilemma of now having to upgrade to a balcony and paying significantly more so I kept watching for the price drops. I was assigned a category I oceanview on deck 3 which I wasn't too excited by but figured I'd hardly be in the stateroom anyway.

I later learned upon seeing my credit card statement that I actually received closer to $400 as a refund (don't know why but guessing again due to the group rate). So at that point I pretty much gave up hope of upgrading as it'd easily cost close to $600+. Well sure enough prices on those two balcony guarantees never dropped below what they were at first and so I couldn't justify upgrading from my reduced fare. About five days before my sail date I logged in and noticed that I was upgraded to an oceanview balcony (category D5). I was very excited. An oceanview balcony in June on the Allure for a hair under $2,000?!? It was certainly my lucky cruise (unfortunately this didn't carry over to the casino)! I began to pack and get last minute things in the final few days and we were all set to go.

Up next: Flight to FLL, embarkation, and first impressions of the ship.

tropiclvrs
June 13th, 2012, 04:57 PM
Thanks for taking the time to post your review. Looking forward to reading and seeing more.

terpfan101
June 13th, 2012, 05:18 PM
It was Saturday night before the cruise when I was at my girlfriend's place for dinner and going to take her back to my parents house which is closer to the airport than my house. So we were going to stay the night there. Prior to leaving her house she grabbed her passport when it dawned on me that I had forgotten mine at my house. By that point it was 11:30PM so I had to drive to my house and then to my parents. We didn't get to sleep until about 2AM and had to be up at 5:45AM for the taxi which was to arrive at 6:15 for our 8:15AM flight. Needless to say we were exhausted when we took this picture on the plane.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/165396_10101129631546178_1691817855_n.jpg

The flight was uneventful and unfortunately we couldn't really get any sleep. We arrived in FLL at about 11:00 and could see the massive Allure docked as we prepared for landing.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/248058_10101129631845578_1734046231_n.jpg

We got our bags fairly quickly and were at the taxi stand when we saw another couple who asked if we were going to the Allure and if we wanted to share a cab. It was about a $15 fare that we split $20 with tip. We were at the pier in less than 15 minutes by about noon and I certainly couldn't contain my excitement!

I was really impressed by the terminal and at how efficient everything was, from the porters taking luggage to the checkin area. I loved the fact that each floor had its own checkin line and that there was even a gold C&A line. We waited in line for only a few minutes and were on the ship with no line at all by 12:15.

We did the usual quick walk around the main parts of the ship, the Royal Promenade, Boardwalk, and Central Park where we went to get the highly regarded lunch of roast beef sandwiches. It was moderately crowded by the time we got there and at that point it was almost 1PM so we waited around for the rooms to be open and dropped our carry on stuff in the room and then went to get lunch.
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/421532_10101129633073118_394600475_n.jpg

I got a salad and the famous roast beef sandwich which as everyone says is fantastic. I'm not a huge roast beef fan either! My girlfriend doesn't like to eat much beef so she stuck with a salad and some panini.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/550926_10101129632204858_1368088371_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/599036_10101129632404458_1242000043_n.jpg

I also made the two specialty restaurant reservations during this time as we did the Dining Package which consisted of Chops, 150 Central Park, and Giovanni's. I'll cover this more in the post(s) about the food.

I love that all of the ships have the day in the elevator...just wish it wasn't a constant reminder of one day closer to leaving!
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/428409_10101129632584098_1816759990_n.jpg

terpfan101
June 13th, 2012, 05:25 PM
I decided that I wanted to not live out of a suitcase this cruise and actually use all of the shelves. This was a great decision as I put our suitcases out of sight and it made it much easier. So that took up a good bit of time during the afternoon. I'll discuss our stateroom in the next post.

The pool deck that first day was pretty much empty, which was surprising considering it was nearly 90 degrees.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/575191_10101129632883498_1117894204_n.jpg

I was impressed by this man cleaning the windows from the outside. I give him credit as I'd be too chicken to be that high up in such a little box:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/421559_10101129633567128_1353726295_n.jpg

There were already some people doing the FlowRider...it was my first time seeing them in action and I will say they are pretty neat.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/181162_10101129634430398_1732540122_n.jpg

I loved that they had so many telescopes throughout the decks of the ship...here's Lindsay checking out the huge houses near the port:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/543595_10101129635248758_913895639_n.jpg

After the muster drill we made our way to one of the secret decks on deck 11 aft. They were empty and were pretty much always that way. The Dreamworks sailaway party was not too exciting so we went to the sundeck on 14 for sailaway with our drinks in hand.
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/600877_892299158419_416788842_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/575308_10101129636980288_382296118_n.jpg

All in all my first impressions certainly lived up to my expectations of this huge ship. It was amazing to finally see all of the neighborhoods in person and I finally realized "there really is going to be too much to do everything on this cruise." The embarkation process was amazing, the best of my three cruises so far. We received our luggage fairly quickly too. Contrary to others, I didn't find the ship to be too crowded that first day.

Dinner that night was at Giovanni's which I'll cover when discussing the specialty restaurants.

Up next: Our stateroom and attendant followed by meet and mingle/cabin crawl and making new friends!

wannab4Ecruiser
June 13th, 2012, 06:01 PM
Off to a great start Jeremy! I'm interested in what you have to say in your upcoming posts! ;) I had thought about writing a review, but I'm way too lazy so I will relive our fun through you! :D Keep it coming!

Familygoboston
June 13th, 2012, 06:24 PM
Great start!! Can't wait to see more of Allure! Love the difference between your tired Jet Blue photo and your happy relaxed ( Witt drinks in hand) sail away photo!;):D Amazing what stepping on board can do, those two pics sum it all up!

CruiseLover15
June 13th, 2012, 07:24 PM
Loving your review!!!

newcrew42
June 13th, 2012, 07:52 PM
Love it!

LBumb
June 13th, 2012, 08:02 PM
great start

pasodancer
June 13th, 2012, 08:39 PM
FABULOUS review!!!!

mj
June 13th, 2012, 08:49 PM
Enjoying the review so far.

Virtopia
June 13th, 2012, 08:55 PM
Nice review and you and your girlfriend look great together!

I'm counting down my own Allure cruise so this will definitely help. Please keep the pictures coming!

M&JfromSDL
June 13th, 2012, 11:00 PM
We're looking forward to your review. We are from Alexandria and sailed on Allure in November of 2011. Contemplating another Allure cruise this November but on an Eastern itinerary.

CruisinDawn
June 13th, 2012, 11:25 PM
Gotta say that every time I saw you two you both always had a smile on your face. :D BTW the picture I took of ya all in the water at Barefoot didn't come out because I had it on Panoramic taking pictures of Nellie's :mad: Sorry about that.

BonVoyage
Dawna

jarz85
June 14th, 2012, 12:37 AM
PICTURE REVIEWS ARE BETTER THAN PORN! :D

And this one is amazing, MOOOOOORE please

PathfinderEss
June 14th, 2012, 12:57 AM
Great review and wonderful pictures so far. Glad you had a good cruise. Can't wait for more of your review and pictures.

ALSEAU
June 14th, 2012, 01:30 AM
Keep it coming. Can't get enough pictures of this ship.

JamesEM
June 14th, 2012, 02:34 AM
Thanks for sharing, looking forward to more reports and pics.

Just The 3 Of Us
June 14th, 2012, 06:38 AM
More please!!! Fantastic review so far - you guys are adorable - reminds me of my daughter and her boyfriend... ;)

terpfan101
June 14th, 2012, 11:34 AM
PICTURE REVIEWS ARE BETTER THAN PORN! :D

And this one is amazing, MOOOOOORE please

LOL! I'm sitting at my desk eating a yogurt and nearly spit it out from laughing at your comment.

And thanks to everyone for the feedback so far. I'm going to post a bit more tonight once I have access to all of my pictures on my computer at home.

To M&JfromSDL, I definitely would like to try the Eastern route too though am not too excited about Nassau having been there on the Navigator cruise. I'd love to see these big ships do an itinerary of St Martin, Labadee, and Grand Cayman (if they ever build a dock there).

birdylady
June 14th, 2012, 01:38 PM
We just booked the Allure western sailing for May. Loving your review. Keep it coming.

Erika

sunnydaygirl
June 14th, 2012, 04:18 PM
LOL! I'm sitting at my desk eating a yogurt and nearly spit it out from laughing at your comment.

And thanks to everyone for the feedback so far. I'm going to post a bit more tonight once I have access to all of my pictures on my computer at home.

To M&JfromSDL, I definitely would like to try the Eastern route too though am not too excited about Nassau having been there on the Navigator cruise. I'd love to see these big ships do an itinerary of St Martin, Labadee, and Grand Cayman (if they ever build a dock there).

I've reading your review because I was looking for reviews on Oasis and I know the two are very similar. Was on Freedom in August and you're helping me make it to Feb. But wanted you to know our sailing does stop at Labadee!! The new Jamacian port(was there in Jan) and back to good ole Cozumel. I too stay far away from the Bahamas. Although did go there on the August sailing, got off just long enough to buy Cuban Rum for $7 a big bottle to take to my new son-in-law(Cute Cuban) We were suppose to stop at Coco Cay but a Hurricane spoiled those plans!
Keep writing and love the pictures!

MoyCoy
June 14th, 2012, 07:56 PM
I wonder, did you found it taxing to book the 2 remaining resturants on the dining package? Were you able to secure your desired dining time and date? Would you book the Central Park plan again? Do you feel the 25% savings was worth the hassle of waiting to book your specialty dining once on board?

Thank You for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. I am on pins and needles for the food review!:D

terpfan101
June 14th, 2012, 08:10 PM
I wonder, did you found it taxing to book the 2 remaining resturants on the dining package? Were you able to secure your desired dining time and date? Would you book the Central Park plan again? Do you feel the 25% savings was worth the hassle of waiting to book your specialty dining once on board?

Thank You for taking the time to write such a wonderful review. I am on pins and needles for the food review!:D

I'll definitely be covering that when I talk about the food and specialties but in short, no real issues and I do think it was worth it. :)

Coolcruise02
June 14th, 2012, 08:22 PM
Great review and pictures! Can't wait for more. :)

M&JfromSDL
June 14th, 2012, 08:46 PM
To M&JfromSDL, I definitely would like to try the Eastern route too though am not too excited about Nassau having been there on the Navigator cruise. I'd love to see these big ships do an itinerary of St Martin, Labadee, and Grand Cayman (if they ever build a dock there).

Agreed. I've heard enough about Nassau to want to skip it. We're debating on Freedom because it stops in CoCoCay but there's just something about Allure. Thankfully Nassau is the first day on the Eastern route and we could easily just skip the port and stay onboard which is what we did in Falmouth save for a few Red Stripes in the newly-built "historic" town square.

Eng23
June 14th, 2012, 09:20 PM
Thanks for taking the time to post your review. I'll be heading out on the Allure this September, looking forward to the rest of your review. :)

terpfan101
June 14th, 2012, 09:24 PM
Hello everyone! Onto the next part:

As mentioned earlier, I was upgraded to an oceanview balcony cabin on deck eight (#8178) just a few days before sailing and was super excited, both because it was a balcony and because it was on deck eight and not deck three like my oceanview cabin was supposed to be. Upon getting up to that deck, I realized why most people said it was a great deck to be on. I had thought that before the cruise decks 6-9 were probably the best location wise and the cruise definitely confirmed that. The reasons are that so much of the main hubs of the ship are decks 5, 6, and 8. It was also great for being so close to Central Park where we ate a majority of our breakfasts and lunches at Park Cafe. Additionally by being on say 7 or 8 you are only seven decks from deck 15 and only five decks from deck 3 (dining room). As such we only used the elevator a handful of times during the week which definitely is good exercise! So my recommendation would be to go with decks 6-9. :)

So we dropped our stuff in our room as soon it was ready at 1PM before going to grab lunch at the Park Cafe. I snapped a few pictures of the cabin:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/179124_10101129631945378_1029542579_n.jpg
Our bed looked a bit messy when we walked in...but I just chalked it up to them being so rushed on turnaround day.

Our balcony:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/577594_10101132764817078_1736433317_n.jpg

Since both of us are somewhat clean freaks and based on the suggestion of others I brought some disinfectant wipes with me which I used on nearly every surface of the room prior to us unpacking. I was shocked at just how spotless the room was. Areas such as on top of picture frames, on the top shelf above the hanging closet space, and the top ledge of the headboard had no dust or dirt whatsoever! Kudos to our stateroom attendant Vic for keeping the place spotless both prior to our arrival and throughout the week.

Vic was from the Philippines and was great at keeping our room clean and providing us with information as needed. He was also very friendly and would always ask us how our day was. He also provided us with three towel animals during the week. I only have pictures of two of them, but the third was a monkey:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/285629_10101132788888838_1085345760_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/538171_892297756229_345072599_n.jpg

I've seen some complaints about this but I wanted to point out that there were no issues with the temperature in the room. If the A/C was set to the lowest setting, the room got plenty cold. Every night upon returning, Lindsay made me turn it up as it was too cold.

In my review of the Enchantment I complained about having a shower curtain instead of the doors that were found on the Navigator. Well I was glad and had no issues with the shower on this ship. The water pressure was great. Sorry I spoke too soon, I was reminded by a part of one of the comedian's routine (AJ Jamal) about the shower. He made a joke about how you couldn't fall down because it's too small, and while I'd agree, I had no problem with the size of the shower. However, he also complained about the soap dish letting things fall through and that definitely was annoying! Other than that though the bathroom was good.

Regarding the bed, I thought it was one of the most comfortable beds I've slept on. I love the linens and if they weren't so expensive would probably buy the set that they sell online. I can't recall if I mentioned earlier, but the amount of storage space in the cabin was great and was good enough for two people to not live out of a suitcase. Finally, I'll say that I think the staterooms on the Oasis class are the nicest of anyone I've been on or seen pictures of RCCL wise. They are just very attractive and stylish with the color scheme and wood.

Now onto the topic of whether a balcony is worth it, after this cruise I would honestly say it depends, but most likely no. While it was great to have one and we did use it, there is simply so much to do on the ship that you really aren't in the cabin all that much. I'm sure others out there take more advantage of it, but for the active folks it's probably overkill. On a different/smaller ship the value of a balcony probably increases as does it in months that are not as hot and humid.

Now having said that I would probably get an OCEANVIEW balcony cabin if it cost less than $200-$250 more total than a non balcony cabin. I don't think a boardwalk or central park balcony is worth more than $100-$150 over a windowed cabin. In fact I hardly ever saw people sitting on those types of balconies, especially on the Central Park variety. I don't know if I'd get an interior cabin again though as it is really nice to have natural light in the room. I always just thought with that money I could spend it on board or on excursions. But hey that's just me!

Up next: Meet and mingle and meeting new friends!

nfmst2
June 14th, 2012, 10:24 PM
I have really been enjoying your review, we sail next year and your info has been great!!!!:)

Mamacane71
June 14th, 2012, 11:27 PM
Thanks for the review!

PIGSKIN
June 15th, 2012, 12:49 AM
I'm doing the same dinning packages you did. Please tell me how each one was.

jarz85
June 15th, 2012, 07:33 AM
Please sir, can I have some more?

Is there a link where I can see all of your pictures they are really nice!

swwake
June 16th, 2012, 12:20 PM
Hi Jeremy, another accountant here. I have been on Oasis but we're looking forward to Allure in September (same cruise with Eng23). Thanks for writing your picture review! I'm enjoying it.

Eng23
June 16th, 2012, 01:56 PM
Hi Jeremy, another accountant here. I have been on Oasis but we're looking forward to Allure in September (same cruise with Eng23). Thanks for writing your picture review! I'm enjoying it.
Well Susan? I see we stalk the same reviews.....:rolleyes: Looking forward to more of this one..:D

swwake
June 16th, 2012, 02:56 PM
Well Susan? I see we stalk the same reviews.....:rolleyes: Looking forward to more of this one..:DIndeed! How many hours away are we now? I can't believe it's getting so close.

beckeck1
June 16th, 2012, 03:04 PM
Loving this review! I especially appreciate your perspective since we are the same age - although I'm in young family mode now with a toddler and you and your lovely girlfriend are still in that "easy breezy" stage where it's just the two of you doing whatever you like.
Can't wait to read more!

TriciaEMTB
June 16th, 2012, 03:15 PM
I'm considering a megaship cruise. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your review!

marci22
June 16th, 2012, 03:25 PM
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/179124_10101129631945378_1029542579_n.jpg
Our bed looked a bit messy when we walked in...but I just chalked it up to them being so rushed on turnaround day.


Is this what your bed looked like when you first went in? I do not think it was made up from the last guest :eek:

terpfan101
June 16th, 2012, 04:02 PM
Is this what your bed looked like when you first went in? I do not think it was made up from the last guest :eek:

haha yes that is! I may have touched it prior to taking the picture. Definitely was made up just looked hastily done. No worries or as our tour guide in Jamaica said "no problem mon" :)

TriciaEMTB
June 16th, 2012, 04:13 PM
haha yes that is! I may have touched it prior to taking the picture. Definitely was made up just looked hastily done. No worries or as our tour guide in Jamaica said "no problem mon" :)

I love your attitude.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

terpfan101
June 16th, 2012, 04:46 PM
Good afternoon everyone! I figured I'd try and get a quick part in before my girlfriend and I head into DC for the afternoon. So here it goes:

In this post I'll be discussing our meet and mingle and cabin crawl. I remember joining our roll call here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1388833 back in January when it was only about a page in. At first it was so dead that I didn't even think we'd get enough people for a meet and mingle but alas that wasn't the case!

Throughout the six months leading up to the cruise more people kept joining the roll call and I was particularly excited that there were several other couples who were a similar age to us. Our resident cruise expert was CruisinDawn whom many people are probably familiar with as she posts a lot throughout the forums with good advice. It was quite funny as when Dawna introduced herself a lot of people (myself included) were like "ooooh there she is!" and we explained to our host that we were happy to finally see her in person as she was so so helpful with all of her posts!

Anyway our Meet and Mingle was supposed to be in Dazzles but the invite in our rooms said it was in the Comedy Club. It was at 10:30 on day 2. We went down there and got our giveaway (a notepad with pen) and raffle tickets and waited for it to start. I was looking around the room trying to envision who everyone might be. Our host was Jacinta who was the activities manager onboard and is from New Zealand. She was very nice and funny and did a quick little thing and gave away some prizes. I received a set of two nice Royal Caribbean leather luggage tags which was sweet to win something. They gave away a few of those, a goodie basket of a bunch of stuff, a Royal Caribbean photo album to put cruise pics in, and a few other items that I cannot remember.

Jacinta said that one of the members named Todd had arranged a cabin crawl and that afterwards anyone who wanted to participate should do so. So after the meet and mingle Todd (who is also 26) got up and organized everyone to go in order to the different rooms. We would see a central park balcony, my oceanview balcony, a superior oceanview balcony (D1), a junior suite, a grand suite, an aquatheater suite, and a crown loft suite. Here are a few pictures of the different cabins:

Aquatheater suite balcony:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/537657_10101132785345938_1536434113_n.jpg

Crown loft suite:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/545109_10101132785291048_905700484_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/181828_10101132784487658_1865102933_n.jpg

I took a few others but they aren't anything special and there are certainly better pictures out there of the different cabins. Anyway it was very fun to see the different cabins. Walking around in a line of about 40 people was also very funny as everyone from cabin attendants to people sitting outside on the pool deck would stop and look at us and think we were important people or something.:D

I was very impressed by all of the suites and could certainly see how if you had a larger group or family that they would be nice to have especially with some of the benefits that are included. I do think that they probably should receive some additional benefits though whether its some free internet say 20 minutes a day, a few free bottles of water, etc.

The Aquatheater and Crown Loft suites were definitely the most impressive. I'd love to be able to have one of those one day if I could throw caution to the wind and just book it, but unfortunately the accountant in me probably wouldn't allow that to happen as I'd be saying "with that money I could have 10 massages" or something like that!

Here is a picture of me excited for meeting my fellow cruise critics:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/600414_892299407919_1858150947_n.jpg

So we ended the cabin crawl at the Crown Loft Suite which belonged to a couple named Aaron and Amy. They were similar in age to us (we'd later learn 32 and 26 respectively). Well before we were about to leave it was just us and Todd and his wife Stacy. Amy seemed sad that it was over and wanted to socialize and mentioned how they were going to the shopping talk so we all tagged along which was the start of a beautiful friendship for the six of us. More on this throughout the rest of the review, but for those who can't wait, I'll sum it up and say we hung out a lot! Here is a picture of us on the final night after eating dinner together:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/282213_10101290852907272_685562804_n.jpg
From left to right (username): Todd (HoneymoonerTodd), Stacy (wannab4ecruiser), Aaron (Stroh33), Amy (N/A), Me, and Lindsay (N/A)

I'll conclude this section with saying that whether or not you've ever been to a meet and mingle or participated in a roll call before, DO IT! Our cruise was fantastic and a lot of that had to do with the fact that we met those two wonderful couples on the second day. I'm glad we got to know each other that week and am sure our friendships will continue in the future...we were even discussing doing another cruise together next year!

There were people of all ages at the meet and mingle and thus it shouldn't be too hard for anyone to find people they'd get along with. I can understand if you're with a large group that you may not really need that, but nevertheless I recommend everyone go to theirs.

Up next: The casino and bars

marci22
June 16th, 2012, 05:41 PM
Our host was Jacinta who was the activities manager onboard and is from New Zealand.


She is really nice.

The Aquatheater and Crown Loft suites were definitely the most impressive. I'd love to be able to have one of those one day if I could throw caution to the wind and just book it, but unfortunately the accountant in me probably wouldn't allow that to happen as I'd be saying "with that money I could have 10 massages" or something like that!

I'm not an accountant, but same here!

dreamer976
June 16th, 2012, 05:52 PM
Loving your review. Thanks so much!

terpfan101
June 16th, 2012, 11:58 PM
So this section will be brief but I wanted to touch on the casinos and bars onboard. I'm not a huge gambler but probably spent about 5-10 hours in the casino during the week, mostly playing roulette. I ended up down a bit ~$50 after being up a little. The casino had a good number of table games. I still can't understand how slots are as popular as they are. I didn't see anyone win big but was talking to one man in the On Air Bar who said he won $1200 on a slot machine. He must have played a lot.

The coupons in the Crown and Anchor booklet and travel agent coupon booklet are useful for roulette. We also used the free spin to win coupons which get you a free spin. You can see in the picture below what you get. Here Lindsay shows her sadness over just winning a free lotto ticket:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/252358_10101129640687858_264150336_n.jpg

Oh one final thing about the casino, it was great to have a separate smoking side. Occasionally I'd walk in on the wrong side...especially if you take the neat staircase directly from the Promenade to the casino which puts you on the smoking side. However if you are on the nonsmoking side, you really don't smell the smoke at all which was a breath of fresh air...pun intended! This was superior to the other two ships I've been on!

Next onto the bars and beverage service throughout the ship:

On the whole I found the bartenders to be pretty good. I also thought the wine selection was pretty good, but I'm not a huge wine connoisseur. Here is a link that describes the various bars on the ship: http://www.beyondships.com/RCI-ALOS-Tour-5.html

Looking at that website I'm kind of disappointed that I never made it to Vintages, either for the wine or the tapas. However I remember seeing in the Cruise Compass that they often had wine tastings for a fee. I also heard that the tapas are good. I'd like to try it next time onboard.

We went on the Rising Tide Bar one day just for the ride. It was really silly. I guess it is kind of neat but it is essentially a large open elevator. Still worth taking for the ride from the Royal Promenade to Central Park and not a bad idea to get a drink on it. Here is a picture of it at night which was cool as it was all lit up:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182353_10101132782920798_479078915_n.jpg

Looking at the list is kind of sad as I hardly went to any of those bars. I guess that is a good thing as our bar bills weren't too much. We aren't huge drinkers. Probably each had a glass of wine at dinner and probably one (or two for me) other drinks per day. These were either at the pool or during a show. Next time I'm onboard I definitely want to check out the other venues, but for the ones we did check out:

The Schooner Bar we only went to the final night, but I wish I had checked it out earlier. That final night (and for most nights during the cruise) a man named Paul O'Shea was playing the piano and singing songs. He was quite good and had a huge song list for guests to make requests from. Here's a video of Paul that I took singing "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aywIG9qeOqw

One evening as Lindsay got ready for dinner I went to get a drink at On Air and had a good talk with one of the bartenders about life as a crewmember which was nice. We came back to check out On Air that night for the karaoke which looked like fun. People were really enjoying it and their song list was massive!

We never went into the British themed pub "Bow and Stern" as it was a smoking venue. Also the same goes for Dazzles and Blaze which we just peaked into both. It's a shame they allow smoking in so many small venues such as those. When we did peak into those two clubs they usually weren't too crowded. Not sure if it was the time but they just weren't crowded which was a surprise. Boleros was usually fairly lively with an older crowd but it wasn't our thing.

The few pool bars we used were very good as were the bartenders walking around with various fufu drinks or the drinks of the day. We each got a mango lava flow one day...delicious and you got to keep the glass which was a sort of low martini type glass which was nicely colored blue and green with a Royal Caribbean logo on it. I wish they gave a wrapped up glass though like you get if you have an after dinner shot and they let you keep the shot glass. In that case they give you a clean one that is wrapped in bubble wrap to take.

We didn't go to the Champagne Bar but one cool thing was that they gave out free champagne on the first formal night (the Captains Reception) in the Royal Promenade around dinner time.

Finally, I got to peak into the Concierge Lounge late one night with Aaron and Amy and it looked pretty nice. I believe wine and beer and complimentary during happy hour from 5-8PM. Not a bad deal.

Up next: I was going to do food but will save that for a later date as that will take a while! So onto the pool, sports, and miscellaneous activities.

Sunebeach
June 17th, 2012, 10:49 AM
Trying to be patient while waiting to hear MORE!!! I agree with a PP, this is better than porn...though porn is definitely not my thing anyway:rolleyes:. LOVE photo reviews!!! 118 days Til DH and I set sail...

BonTexasNY
June 17th, 2012, 11:15 AM
Now this would gross me and my husband out thinking the sheets weren't changed from the previous passengers :eek: Hopefully, what happened was that the linens were fresh but wrinkled and were put on in haste.:rolleyes:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/179124_10101129631945378_1029542579_n.jpg

mikeblum
June 17th, 2012, 11:31 AM
wonderful review so far...looks like you and your girlfreind had a super time...looking forward to your review of the food and the specialty restaurants...enjoy DC...

star453
June 17th, 2012, 11:50 AM
Fantastic review!

swim13
June 17th, 2012, 12:09 PM
Wow this may have been mentioned before but, how does this cabin crawl work? I would love to see a Loft or Aqua Theatre Suite!!

LittleMissMagic
June 17th, 2012, 12:23 PM
Finally caught up with your review! Great job, and I'm so honored to be mentioned as inspiration! :)

First, the telescopes are really cool - that's something I didn't know about this ship. Learn something new with every review!

That bed... is a mess! Now, I've noticed that all of the beds tend to look a lot worse when you get in the room than in the pictures online, which is to be expected. I don't think I could ever be a stateroom attendant because the bed would have to be PERFECT before I could leave the room! I'm such a bed-making perfectionist (and after I make a bed, it kills me to see anyone plop down on it!).

The cabin crawl looks like fun! I've never been on a roll call where someone arranged a cabin crawl (hmm... maybe I should suggest one... :D). But, I've also never shown up to a meet and greet of any sort. The first roll call I joined was from my Carnival Dream cruise, and the people on it didn't seem like anyone I would want to meet and socialize with (that was a very one-up-another group).

I'm interested to hear about the many entertainment options onboard, especially the shows. And please, tell me you rode the carousel! :D (Kidding, but now that I've made that joke, I am curious if adults are allowed to ride... that is something I would probably do.)

Again, great review! Can't wait for more!

terpfan101
June 17th, 2012, 02:48 PM
Finally caught up with your review! Great job, and I'm so honored to be mentioned as inspiration! :)

First, the telescopes are really cool - that's something I didn't know about this ship. Learn something new with every review!

That bed... is a mess! Now, I've noticed that all of the beds tend to look a lot worse when you get in the room than in the pictures online, which is to be expected. I don't think I could ever be a stateroom attendant because the bed would have to be PERFECT before I could leave the room! I'm such a bed-making perfectionist (and after I make a bed, it kills me to see anyone plop down on it!).

The cabin crawl looks like fun! I've never been on a roll call where someone arranged a cabin crawl (hmm... maybe I should suggest one... :D). But, I've also never shown up to a meet and greet of any sort. The first roll call I joined was from my Carnival Dream cruise, and the people on it didn't seem like anyone I would want to meet and socialize with (that was a very one-up-another group).

I'm interested to hear about the many entertainment options onboard, especially the shows. And please, tell me you rode the carousel! :D (Kidding, but now that I've made that joke, I am curious if adults are allowed to ride... that is something I would probably do.)

Again, great review! Can't wait for more!

Thanks!!! Coming from you this is an honor :) I did ride the carousel...twice infact haha. It wasn't ever crowded at all. Definitely try a meet and mingle next 7 day cruise you go on. You never know and its only a 30 minute commitment if it doesn't work out.

I'm finding it funny how everyone seems to comment on the bed being messy. Lindsay also was a bit annoyed by it but it really wasn't a big deal to me. Just a bit wrinkled. I guess Vic wasn't the best bed maker ever because it was never perfect looking but that was the worst it was during the cruise. He made up for it with his friendliness and cleaning the room very well otherwise! Getting ready for the next part.

terpfan101
June 17th, 2012, 03:27 PM
Greetings everyone! I'm really enjoying writing this review and doing so not too fast as it's allowing me to recollect the fun times on the ship. I definitely want to go back on the Allure but alas there are so many other places I'd like to go to (Southern Caribbean, Med, South Pacific, Alaska) that the eastern route will probably have to wait. Anyway on to the next section where I'm going to talk about the pool and sports decks as well as miscellaneous things to do on the ship...here we go!

Starting with the pool deck which is located on deck 15, as anyone familiar with the Oasis class knows there are four pools and numerous whirlpools in the heart of the 15th deck. There are also numerous bars as I described above. You've got the main pool, beach pool, sports pool, and kids pool. I walked on by the beach pool which seemed kind of cool as the water comes out of the pool and up to the chairs right next to the pool sort of creating an effect like waves running up the sand would do at a beach. It is also the only saltwater pool of the bunch.

The main pool is simply a pool with nothing really special about it. There are tons of lounge chairs on a tiered three levels that lead up to deck 16 right next to this pool. We spent a few hours on the first sea day relaxing by this pool and I went in for a bit. No issues whatsoever getting a lounge chair.

The sports pool is where the three of us couples spent an hour or two on the final sea day. It was pretty much like the main pool except during certain hours they put up a net for volleyball. There was a game going on that Aaron and Todd participated in. Finally for young kids the kiddie pool looked like they'd enjoy it. There were tons of plain jane whirlpools near each of those pools as well. The coolest whirlpools however are the two cantilevered ones which are near the Solarium at the front of the ship. We spent a few minutes in one of them on that first sea day and it was cool to be able to look out into the ocean. However I guess I was anticipating it to be more exciting.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/270991_10101129633317628_1643202071_n.jpg

At the forward of the ship is the Solarium which is simply gorgeous. There were lots of trees and plants in it, certainly the nicest Solarium that I've been in. We didn't spend too much time in there but I'd like to if I ever go on Oasis class again. I was surprised at how small the pool in there was though. It didn't seem to be an issue as it wasn't crowded the few times I went in, but I was just surprised at its size, especially considering the Enchantment's was 1.5x larger. There were also a couple of whirlpools. It was a nice retreat if you wanted to read. I also think the roof was retractable in bad weather, but it was open during the entire cruise.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/197730_10101129632075118_1606437370_n.jpg

One thing about the solarium that I was disappointed by was that the famous couples chair from the marketing pictures of the solarium were nowhere to be found. See the picture below for what I'm talking about. I learned from Aaron that these chairs were found up on the suite sun deck which is accessible via stairs from the pool deck and requires a gold card to access. I never did take a peak at them.
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6117/6377128855_db5e54ee63_z.jpg

Now onto the sports related activities on decks 15 and 16. At the aft of deck 15 past the teen areas are a few ping pong tables which always seemed to be occupied, so we didn't use them. It was nice to see that they were in a glass enclosed area which meant no wind and no problems having to retrieve the balls. The nine hole mini golf course and basketball court were also at the back of the ship. I saw tons of people playing basketball, so I guess it was a good use of space, but I am still surprised at the fact that such a large court exists onboard.

The golfcourse was nice but very quick to complete. It also wasn't very exciting or unique as there weren't any cool features. I guess I'm just comparing it to the Putt Putt that I used to go to as a kid. Nevertheless it was still fun to do and is an easy activity to do as you could be done in under 15 minutes. Here are a few pictures of us playing mini golf:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/577708_10101129633826608_1386514447_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/282211_10101129643856508_62434183_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/576624_10101129644165888_1044324850_n.jpg

Continued in the next post...

ilikepups
June 17th, 2012, 03:53 PM
We were on the same cruise as you in cabin 8172. I would also say that it was a great area on the ship to be in. We were regulars at Park Cafe for the roast beef sandwiches as well. Although a couple times there were no tables available we simply took the food back and ate on our balcony! Was easy to get a nice breakfast panini there also. Would definitly book a room in the same area again as most things were just an elevator ride away and a short walk. Love your reviews keep them coming. We ate at the Samba room for one of out dinner nights out. Was VERY good. We have cruised on Allure previously and ate at Chops, must say were were not impressed with the steak, the side dishes and all were very good but the steaks were up to what we thought they should be for the upcharge. We never ate at the buffet as we were told to stay as far away from there as possible!!! Guess it can get pretty crowded and there are so many other options for eating. Like the hot dog place on the boardwalk. Yes we did our share of dogs too.

terpfan101
June 17th, 2012, 04:00 PM
At the back of deck 15 are also some stairs up to the two flow riders and the zip line. I was intrigued by the flow riders and had a try on the afternoon of Cozumel as we came back a bit early. It was much less crowded that day then it appeared to be on sea days. I tried the surfing one first and it was definitely difficult to get the hang of. Once the attendant let go of my hand I fell pretty quickly, so he let me try again. I managed to last about 10 seconds before falling and had enough. I also tried the boogie boarding side which was easier but still was challenging to keep from getting pushed off the course to where waterflow did not go. It was ok but not something I'd be in a rush to do again. I know Aaron and Amy really enjoyed it though and took a group lesson which would probably be good to get the hang of it better. Here's a picture of me on it:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/525871_10101132787257108_937273221_n.jpg

We also tried the zip line one day. I had to convince Lindsay to do it as she doesn't like heights but she managed to go. It was fun and definitely cool to do even though the ride lasted literally under 15 seconds.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/576742_10101129648891418_1683318007_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/554833_10101129649001198_1195521206_n.jpg

Here is a video of me on the zip line: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucTVVnVIgVw&feature=youtu.be

On deck 7 are the rock climbing walls at the back of the ship. We didn't do them due to a lack of time and the fact that it was pretty much the same as the one on Enchantment and I've done rock climbing walls plenty of times at the summer camp I went to and worked at for many years. Here's a picture anyway.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/543374_10101129636256738_304323618_n.jpg

Finally, I'll touch upon all of the various activities onboard. There are tons of things to do whether they are various daily activities mentioned in the cruise compass or things such as the carousel. I'll post the scanned cruise compasses at the end of my review so you can see what was available to do. Due to lack of time, we didn't do too many other things but we did try the carousel. It was never crowded at all and ran many hours of the day. Definitely do it as it takes no time and not many people will ever be able to say the rode one at sea!
Here's a bad picture from it:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/181178_10101132787466688_435712881_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/179981_892299268199_1972065463_n.jpg

Up next: Spa and fitness center

terpfan101
June 17th, 2012, 04:01 PM
We were on the same cruise as you in cabin 8172. I would also say that it was a great area on the ship to be in. We were regulars at Park Cafe for the roast beef sandwiches as well. Although a couple times there were no tables available we simply took the food back and ate on our balcony! Was easy to get a nice breakfast panini there also. Would definitly book a room in the same area again as most things were just an elevator ride away and a short walk. Love your reviews keep them coming. We ate at the Samba room for one of out dinner nights out. Was VERY good. We have cruised on Allure previously and ate at Chops, must say were were not impressed with the steak, the side dishes and all were very good but the steaks were up to what we thought they should be for the upcharge. We never ate at the buffet as we were told to stay as far away from there as possible!!! Guess it can get pretty crowded and there are so many other options for eating. Like the hot dog place on the boardwalk. Yes we did our share of dogs too.

How about that! You were just a few rooms down!! Crazy. Thanks for stopping by and glad you had a fun time on the cruise too!

ilikepups
June 17th, 2012, 04:09 PM
Although the "pub" was a smoking venue there is only smoking aloud at the actual bar. We were there almost every night as we really enjoyed Charlie Jourdan, the entertainer there. Smoking was not an issue at all. Just don't sit in the back by the actual bar.

ncb106
June 17th, 2012, 05:31 PM
How about that! You were just a few rooms down!! Crazy. Thanks for stopping by and glad you had a fun time on the cruise too!
Hi love your review I will like to know from your room to the MDR did you went threw central park to the aft elev or down to deci 3

vettecruiser1
June 17th, 2012, 06:26 PM
How do you post your photos. I'm trying to use the manage attachments but the photos are coming out small.

I would like to do a photo review of my oasis trip but with the bigger photos.

relaxatsea
June 17th, 2012, 08:21 PM
Thanks for your wonderful review and great pictures! We were on the Allure last November and absolutely loved it!

surfvb
June 17th, 2012, 09:24 PM
we are booked to sail on the Allure of the Seas next year. We have sailed on the Freedom twice and the Liberty once. We can't wait until our next cruise.

Canadian Tyler
June 17th, 2012, 10:39 PM
Enjoying the review, thanks for taking the time to post it.

terpfan101
June 17th, 2012, 11:38 PM
Hi love your review I will like to know from your room to the MDR did you went threw central park to the aft elev or down to deci 3

Hi there. We ate on deck 3 in the MDR but actually only ate there two nights out of seven. However when we did go to deck 3 our route varied, but we rarely took the elevator unless it was a formal night and my girlfriend was in high heels.

Options to get from my room to MDR on deck 3 are either:

1) Go down the forward elevator/stairs and walk the length of the ship to the aft.

2) Go through Central Park to the aft and walk down or take elevator down to 3, or

3) Walk down the corridor on deck 8 and then go down stairs or elevator to deck 3.

I would say that we did #3 the most followed by #2 for going to either dining room or boardwalk. Hope that helps.

terpfan101
June 17th, 2012, 11:40 PM
How do you post your photos. I'm trying to use the manage attachments but the photos are coming out small.

I would like to do a photo review of my oasis trip but with the bigger photos.

I'm linking from the photos that I uploaded to Facebook. If you use Facebook and have a photo uploaded, just right click on it and choose "copy image location" or something like that. Then paste that link in the post by clicking on the image button above the box where you type. It is next to the "quote" button. Hope that helps!

terpfan101
June 17th, 2012, 11:42 PM
we are booked to sail on the Allure of the Seas next year. We have sailed on the Freedom twice and the Liberty once. We can't wait until our next cruise.

Oh man I can't imagine waiting as long as you have to...426 days as of now! I booked our cruise in late December 2011, so if I recall it was only about 155 or so days and it seemed like a while. I just remember the milestones of 100 days and then 75, 50, 25, and 10 days.

Thanks for reading and I'll try to post my next part or two tomorrow. Hope everyone had a great weekend!

QTMichele
June 18th, 2012, 12:03 AM
You've been inspired by some great reviews! ;)

Seriously, thank you for mentioning me in your opening comments - I really glad you found something good about my review, and that you put me in such great company. Thank you.

YOUR review is turning out great, and I can't wait to read more! It's especially fun to see how many similarities we share. Keep up the great work!

Pancake16
June 18th, 2012, 02:28 PM
[quote=terpfan101;34198972]Oh man I can't imagine waiting as long as you have to...426 days as of now! I booked our cruise in late December 2011, so if I recall it was only about 155 or so days and it seemed like a while. I just remember the milestones of 100 days and then 75, 50, 25, and 10 days.

I know! We booked in late December for September. I'm at the 75 day mark and CAN. NOT. WAIT!

darceyg
June 18th, 2012, 07:11 PM
Thank you....brilliant review.
We were originally offered deck 8 and I thought it would be noisy/busy etc. We are on deck 11 and now wishing we were on deck 8 but I'm sure we'll have a fab time.
Can't wait 08/05/12 whoohoo.

topanga49er
June 18th, 2012, 08:48 PM
Thank you for doing this great review! We just got off Oasis on Spring break week and I've not yet even started a review! But i sure got us booked on Allure for same date next year! (funny but b/c Easter is a week earlier, cruise is over $1500 cheaper!) Can't wait to try out Allure (we've booked a CL this time; did GS on Oasis and loved it!

BTW, only thing I can add as far as dining is that the MDR was really great for Breakfast and lunch! We try to eat healthy, and aside from the buffet, the bfast in MDR had great sliced fruit and omelets to order. And at lunch it had the same amazing "point and have someone make your salad buffet" as in Park cafe... maybe even better b/c they chopped and tossed salad for you! Allure seems to have better pay food venues than Oasis though.

Did they have the royal connect iphones on Allure? We loved them on Oasis; they worked about 90% of the time and were great for finding wandering children, husbands and elderly parents!!:D

terpfan101
June 18th, 2012, 09:19 PM
Good evening! Let's get on with the next section where I'll discuss the Vitality Spa and Fitness Center. First the fitness center was the nicest I've seen on my three cruises. It is massive and has amazing new equipment. There were tons of cardio machines each with a TV built into the screen which shows your progress. The channel selection was more limited on the machines, but it was still pretty good to have. As far as free weights and machines go, there were so many available. Just about every single machine possible was there along with tons of free weights. I simply was amazed at how nice the fitness center was and the fact that it was far superior to any gym I've ever paid to belong to (five different ones)! We didn't take any classes but they certainly offered a good amount of them if you were interested. We also walked a lap around the jogging track. While it's not as nice as say the one on the Enchantment which goes around the deck above the pool, it is much more practical to have a dedicated track without interference from other passengers walking in the way of runners. Also there were still plenty of chances to see out to see between the lifeboats. You realize just how large the ship is on the track as 2.4 laps is equal to a mile (vs the standard 4 laps)!

Here's a picture of the view from the treadmill:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/398823_10101129641386458_1353147257_n.jpg

Also a picture of the fitness center from Beyond Ships:
http://www.beyondships.com/sitebuilder/images/2s_fitness7-462x342.jpg

A common complaint I've seen is that the gym has limited views of the water. I agree that this is true as there are only a few windows scattered around the gym whereas on most other Royal ships the gym is on a top deck with far more glass looking out to sea. However this wasn't a huge issue.

Another complaint that I have seen is that the gym smells of cigarette smoke. We didn't experience this at all except on the very first day when we were still docked in Fort Lauderdale and were exploring the ship. There was just a slight smell of smoke, but I'm guessing it was due to the fact that so many doors and windows were open. Never experienced an issue later though.

Now onto the spa. On the first day during our exploring of the ship we went into the spa and were given a tour by a nice lady from South Africa. She took us to all the different rooms and discussed services that were offered. We also got to see the thermal suite and sit in these really cool chairs that are heated. You pay $30 a day or $99 for the cruise to access it. It also includes access to some saunas and steamrooms. While the chair was nice, $30 seems a bit steep for the use of which would probably last only 30 minutes. I can't imagine how anyone could sit in that chair for any longer period of time. Nor can I imagine how anyone would want to spend so much time of the cruise when there is so much else to do onboard. Here's a picture from another website of this room:
http://www.beyondships.com/sitebuilder/images/2s_thermal3-600x450.jpg

I went on the cruise expecting to not get any spa treatments, however I did know that they offer a lot of specials typically on sea days, and that I might be tempted by one. At the regular prices I just couldn't justify the spa services when there are plenty of highly rated spas in the DC area for no more than maybe 70% of the price on board.

However when I saw the special for day 3, the day we were in Labadee, I was sold. Here is the description of the Relaxation Package that both Lindsay and I got:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/599167_10101139311322828_1330421266_n.jpg

I've actually had a facial before in the British Airways lounge at London Heathrow but it was short and only lasted 10-15 minutes. This would be my first real massage and I didn't really know what to do. The masseuse had stepped out and she told me to take off my robe and lie on the bed and just cover myself but I didn't know how much to cover with the sheet. Then when she returned, I at first was talking a little bit and then realized I probably should just shut up and enjoy the massage!! Well it was fantastic and well worth the price. The scalp massage felt a bit strange and is probably not something I'd really care for in the future. The whole thing probably lasted close to 50-60 minutes. I highly recommend getting a package treatment like this. Oh and the masseuse didn't do such a hard sell of the products which I had expected to receive. That was appreciated for sure.

I kept checking the specials for the rest of the week and they ran a similar special on day seven. Day six (Cozumel) had just 15% off signature treatments. Day four however had probably the best package which can be seen below:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/599167_10101139311332808_1899921302_n.jpg

Basically the only difference between the package I got and the one above is that the one above was $10 more but included use of the thermal suite and a glass of champagne. The facial I received included some eye treatment. I am not sure though whether I got a Swedish or deep tissue massage. One last note on this, I called the night before to book the massage package for the both of us which was probably a good idea to do as it was very crowded and I'm guessing they were filled up pretty quickly. We had a time of I believe 3:30 or 4:00PM. So we still had pretty much the entire day in Labadee.

We never used the Vitality Cafe, but all of the foods (wraps, fruit, and other healthy snacks) were free. It was just smoothies that cost extra. It was never very crowded so I wonder how well it does.

So the spa and fitness center on the Allure are definitely top notch and I highly recommend getting a treatment, especially the package deals. I'd have loved to have had a couples massage, but at close to $300 with the gratuity added, it was hard to justify as local top spas offer a couples massage for just a little over half that price.

Up next: The fantastic entertainment and shows aboard the Allure of the Seas!

terpfan101
June 18th, 2012, 09:27 PM
Thank you....brilliant review.
We were originally offered deck 8 and I thought it would be noisy/busy etc. We are on deck 11 and now wishing we were on deck 8 but I'm sure we'll have a fab time.
Can't wait 08/05/12 whoohoo.

Awesome that you'll be on in a few months (I'm kind of jealous ;)). Deck 8 was great as I mentioned, but you'll be fine in deck 11 and it is close to the upper decks and only three stories from deck 8 and five from deck 6. Just not as central IMO. But yes you'll have a great time!

terpfan101
June 18th, 2012, 09:30 PM
Thank you for doing this great review! We just got off Oasis on Spring break week and I've not yet even started a review! But i sure got us booked on Allure for same date next year! (funny but b/c Easter is a week earlier, cruise is over $1500 cheaper!) Can't wait to try out Allure (we've booked a CL this time; did GS on Oasis and loved it!

BTW, only thing I can add as far as dining is that the MDR was really great for Breakfast and lunch! We try to eat healthy, and aside from the buffet, the bfast in MDR had great sliced fruit and omelets to order. And at lunch it had the same amazing "point and have someone make your salad buffet" as in Park cafe... maybe even better b/c they chopped and tossed salad for you! Allure seems to have better pay food venues than Oasis though.

Did they have the royal connect iphones on Allure? We loved them on Oasis; they worked about 90% of the time and were great for finding wandering children, husbands and elderly parents!!:D

To answer your last question I'm pretty sure they did as I saw some ads for it. Never saw anyone with it that I could tell though. As far as the food I'll be getting to that in a little while. I'm a foodie so want to have ample time for that section! You're going to have a blast. I guess I wouldn't mind trying the Oasis but feel as if I'd like to do the Allure again only the eastern route since Allure is newer. So many cruises to do though! Oh and you're going to love the CL suite. It was amazing to see.

BettyPC
June 18th, 2012, 09:33 PM
Great review - I am enjoying it & looking forward to more!

Thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

Familygoboston
June 18th, 2012, 10:53 PM
The vitality cafe was one of a few things that after I left Oasis I said "I never even SAW that"! I'm constructing a list, so when I go on Allure, I can at least do the things I missed completely! So far- Vitality Cafe, Vintages for tapas, do the post card, or at least walk into On Air and Boleros;), eat something at the Promenade Cafe and Wipe Out.

Isn't it ridiculous?- you'd think I hid in my room all week, but if you read my review you would learn we did not, there is just so darn much to do!;)

Looking forward to your take on the dining.

terpfan101
June 19th, 2012, 03:01 PM
Good afternoon everyone!
The next several parts that I write are going to be focusing on the Allure's entertainment and shows. Since I have a good amount of pictures and some videos, this will be broken out into several parts. Let's get started.

I knew that I wanted to see every single show so when the reservation system opened a little over two months out I quickly booked all the shows as I had set out to do. At that point in time I had booked the Dining Package which includes the first night in Giovanni's and the other two to be reserved once on board. However I figured that as long as I stuck with the late shows, then I wouldn't run into any time conflicts. One thing I did know though is that the Love and Marriage game show would be on night three and Adult Quest on night four (based on information available on Cruise Critic). As such I knew I wanted to avoid seeing any shows on those nights.

With that in mind I booked the shows according to this schedule: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1DTE7aP-gNPdEZ3MmlHQktsVlk

Our show schedule was as follows:
Day 1: OceanAria at 10:45PM
Day 2: Ice Games at 5:00PM and Chicago at 10:30PM
Day 3: Love and Marriage Game Show
Day 4: Adult Quest
Day 5: Headliner Show at 10:30PM
Day 6: Blue Planet at 10:30 (the schedule is not correct)
Day 7: Comedy Show at 10:30PM

As you can see from the schedule above, the entertainment schedule was pretty packed. I was most looking forward to OceanAria based on the reviews I heard of it and knew I'd love the comedy show.

Oceanaria: All I knew about this show was that it was sort of like Cirque de Soleil but on water and featured divers. I have never seen Cirque de Soleil but was excited to see this show to kick off the cruise. This show certainly did not disappoint. It featured amazing gymnasts, diving, and acrobats doing aerial stunts. I did find myself wishing that there was more of a plot to the show, but that didn't really detract too much. As I sat and watched the show I just was amazed at the caliber of shows on the Allure and how most other cruise ships pale in comparison. Overall I'd say that OceanAria gets an A- and was my third favorite show if you include the comedy show. I could easily see tickets to a show like this costing a good amount of money (think Cirque de Soleil). Here are some pictures from the show:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/303310_10101132790505598_2080358308_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/603007_10101132783983668_251988960_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/224848_10101129638422398_973609861_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/541976_10101129639525188_2044473551_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/534275_10101129639809618_403739292_n.jpg

Next up: Backstage tour of the Aquatheater

terpfan101
June 19th, 2012, 03:15 PM
On either the second or third sea day, there was an AquaTheater tour in the afternoon. So the three of us couples decided to check it out. It was pretty cool to see the backstage area where the cast gets ready and changes.

Here is a shower that the male cast use:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/282638_10101132783589458_1524217980_n.jpg

Male dressing room:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/318221_10101132784043548_583607026_n.jpg

Female dressing room:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/542290_10101132785595438_442784798_n.jpg

Sound equipment:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/556680_10101132785974678_942829253_n.jpg

Ladder that takes you to the highest platforms.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/185043_10101132789777058_1080855126_n.jpg

So prior to the actual show starting, Lindsay noticed on the screen that it was listing a brief background about the cast members and for one of the gymnasts it said "Attended the University of Maryland where she was a member of the group Gymkana which competed on America's Got Talent." Well I went to the University of Maryland and had a friend who was in Gymkana, so I was curious to meet her. So after the tour was complete, I asked one of the cast members whether he knew the girl that went to Maryland. He pointed her out and we spoke for a few minutes and the other couples and I asked her about life on board and the show. She even knew my friend. It was pretty cool to see a fellow Terp on the Allure of the Seas. Here's a picture of us:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/522548_10101129648322558_1549911805_n.jpg

I'd definitely recommend taking the backstage tour as it was pretty quick and you learned a bit more about how the do the show. For example on the Allure they only use the highest platform jump that is on the left when you face the stage because a large cable runs across the path for the right high jump. This differs from the Oasis. Another thing we learned is that there is a traffic light on both climbing walls and at the very back of the Boardwalk beneath the Concierge Lounge. When it is red that means "DON'T JUMP" while green means "It's ok to jump". The divers look to these to know when it is safe to jump based on whether the floor of the pool is lowered or raised. The tour also made you realize just how hard the performers have to train to be able to do the show.

Up next: Ice Games and Chicago

MoyCoy
June 19th, 2012, 09:25 PM
Would you mind writing a few sentences on what your classmates response was to your inquiry about 'life on board the Allure'.



Great Review!!!:D
I am really excited about your take on Chicago. I can't wait:p

terpfan101
June 19th, 2012, 10:02 PM
Good evening! Let's continue where I left off. On the first sea day we saw Ice Games in the afternoon. It was a much better show than I had expected. Basically it's an ice skating show with the setting being different places on the ship and has a Monopoly theme. Meaning they "roll the dice" and land on a property for example "Giovanni's Table" or "The Casino" and then transform the set to look like that venue while playing appropriate music and doing ice skating routines. There was a special guest couple that was incredible. The whole show was top notch and I'd give it an A-. Here are some pictures from the show:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/301856_10101132783290058_959876195_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/581225_10101129641955318_281482697_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/575092_10101129642124978_2112883998_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/306948_10101129642269688_2025672034_n.jpg

Here is a short video clip: http://youtu.be/JJR051vgYUg

I was very excited to see Chicago that night as where else can you say you saw a Broadway show at sea (other than Oasis). It was a good show until we started falling asleep at about 11:30PM and about half way through. So we left as we were too tired and knew we had to be up for Labadee early the next morning. I was kind of disappointed, but I guess the show just wasn't exciting enough to keep us awake especially after waking up so early the day before. However from what I do remember from the first half, it was just a good show and nothing too special. I think that is mainly to do with the show itself. I was kind of confused at the fact that there was really no set. Instead the orchestra played from risers and the actors would sometimes go up those stairs. Other than that though there was no set. To anyone who has seen Chicago on Broadway, was this the case there? The acting was pretty good. I think the show is just okay and they could certainly pick some better musicals when Chicago's run ends. I think one of either Beauty & The Beast, Lion King, Rent, Mamma Mia, Grease, or Wicked would be more exciting. However it's doubtful they'd do the two Disney ones. Anyway I'd give the show a B- due to what I saw not being particularly exceptional and it not being exciting enough to keep me awake. In fact I saw numerous other people in the audience drifting to sleep and heard the same from others. So I definitely recommend that you see this at an earlier time if at all possible!

Up next: Adult Quest & Love & Marriage
Followed by: Headliner Show, Blue Planet, and Comedy Show
Followed by: The section on food (I'm sure everyone is waiting for this!)

terpfan101
June 19th, 2012, 10:05 PM
Would you mind writing a few sentences on what your classmates response was to your inquiry about 'life on board the Allure'.



Great Review!!!:D
I am really excited about your take on Chicago. I can't wait:p

Thanks! You beat me to it..I just put my take on Chicago. Maybe you can answer my question?

The girl from my university said that she loves it on board the Allure and has made a lot of good friends. She is on for I believe a total of eight months and that it's hard work. She mentioned how they are allowed to use some guest facilities such as the whirlpools but can't go in if over a certain number of guests are in it. They train a lot and have to work out a good amount. That's about all I can remember but she enjoyed it a lot so far!

tropiclvrs
June 20th, 2012, 01:13 PM
Great review... and looking forward to more. Just curious, but will you also be posting experiences in the ports?

gowensricks
June 20th, 2012, 03:10 PM
Wow, I love your review! We were getting on the ship when you were getting off, so I certainly am reliving our vacation through you!

beachbuddy
June 20th, 2012, 03:44 PM
I think having the show start so darn late might of had something to do with your falling asleep. I find when I have an active day I'm really tired at night! and my head keeps bobbing and there has been a few times my DH had to wake me because I was starting to snore.....and it had nothing to do with the show because I was really fighting to keep my eyes open to watch the show.....LOL I'll try to schedule this one for an earlier time slot. I love the music and Fosse style dancing in "Chicago". I think I would add "Rent" to your Disney List of plays that most likely would not be shown on any RCCL ship.

Loving your review........can't wait till you get to the food part. Looking forward to seeing what you guys did while in port.

CruisinDawn
June 20th, 2012, 04:25 PM
Throughout the six months leading up to the cruise more people kept joining the roll call and I was particularly excited that there were several other couples who were a similar age to us. Our resident cruise expert was CruisinDawn whom many people are probably familiar with as she posts a lot throughout the forums with good advice. It was quite funny as when Dawna introduced herself a lot of people (myself included) were like "ooooh there she is!" and we explained to our host that we were happy to finally see her in person as she was so so helpful with all of her posts!

Crown loft suite:
So we ended the cabin crawl at the Crown Loft Suite which belonged to a couple named Aaron and Amy. They were similar in age to us (we'd later learn 32 and 26 respectively). Well before we were about to leave it was just us and Todd and his wife Stacy. Amy seemed sad that it was over and wanted to socialize and mentioned how they were going to the shopping talk so we all tagged along which was the start of a beautiful friendship for the six of us. More on this throughout the rest of the review, but for those who can't wait, I'll sum it up and say we hung out a lot! Here is a picture of us on the final night after eating dinner together:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/282213_10101290852907272_685562804_n.jpg
From left to right (username): Todd (HoneymoonerTodd), Stacy (wannab4ecruiser), Aaron (Stroh33), Amy (N/A), Me, and Lindsay (N/A)

I'll conclude this section with saying that whether or not you've ever been to a meet and mingle or participated in a roll call before, DO IT! Our cruise was fantastic and a lot of that had to do with the fact that we met those two wonderful couples on the second day. I'm glad we got to know each other that week and am sure our friendships will continue in the future...we were even discussing doing another cruise together next year!

There were people of all ages at the meet and mingle and thus it shouldn't be too hard for anyone to find people they'd get along with. I can understand if you're with a large group that you may not really need that, but nevertheless I recommend everyone go to theirs.

Gotta say you guys made me feel like a rock star, I just felt like I talked a lot since we did have a pretty slow thread. :) I am just Payin it Forward, I remember my first cruise and how lost I was. Cruise Critic has been invaluable. Now even at Diamond Plus I continue to learn new things all the time and without this board we would miss all kinds of experiences due to the "I just didn't know" factor. Like you said 30 minutes of your time might spur lifelong friendships. I am cruising in September for the 3rd time with a lady I met on our M&M thread a few years ago. My Feb cruise we already have a group of 12 doing an excursion together in Cozumel. I encourage everyone to at least lurk their M&M page but then speak up. We are all people just like you, trying to get the best bang for your buck while on a cruise. I had a large group so didn't get to socialize with others as much as I would have liked but I loved seeing everyone around the ship with smiles on their faces.

When you 6 were doing your backstage tour we were watching ya from the Concierge Lounge having lunch. :D Wondered what you guys were all doing on the stage.

BonVoyage
Dawna

terpfan101
June 20th, 2012, 05:21 PM
Gotta say you guys made me feel like a rock star, I just felt like I talked a lot since we did have a pretty slow thread. :) I am just Payin it Forward, I remember my first cruise and how lost I was. Cruise Critic has been invaluable. Now even at Diamond Plus I continue to learn new things all the time and without this board we would miss all kinds of experiences due to the "I just didn't know" factor. Like you said 30 minutes of your time might spur lifelong friendships. I am cruising in September for the 3rd time with a lady I met on our M&M thread a few years ago. My Feb cruise we already have a group of 12 doing an excursion together in Cozumel. I encourage everyone to at least lurk their M&M page but then speak up. We are all people just like you, trying to get the best bang for your buck while on a cruise. I had a large group so didn't get to socialize with others as much as I would have liked but I loved seeing everyone around the ship with smiles on their faces.

When you 6 were doing your backstage tour we were watching ya from the Concierge Lounge having lunch. :D Wondered what you guys were all doing on the stage.

BonVoyage
Dawna

Haha how about that...now we've got our own paparazzi! ;)

terpfan101
June 20th, 2012, 05:24 PM
Great review... and looking forward to more. Just curious, but will you also be posting experiences in the ports?

Absolutely! I'm going to touch on the ports and what we did at each after the food section.

Remaining sections:
1) Entertainment (rest of the shows)
2) Food - Complimentary and Specialty
3) Ports of call and excursions
4) Other venues on the ship not yet covered and things we did that I may have missed
6) Photo gallery, art work on board, shops
7) Lots of other random photos
8) Debarkation
9) Overall ratings with letter grades by area and conclusions
10) Cruise compass scans

Anything else I might be missing?

Stich17
June 20th, 2012, 06:02 PM
Does anyone know if the heated beds in the spa are actaully available during the cruise. Been on some cruises booked the spa for the week but never managed to find a free bed. Always full

cherylroslyn
June 20th, 2012, 06:21 PM
I'm loving your review........


Your girlfriend is very pretty......... you two are a cute couple..........

letscruiseasap
June 20th, 2012, 10:33 PM
Loving your review! We don't get to sail until Dec 30th, so living the dream via your experience is helping me get through the days...plz keep it comin!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

SailingSiren
June 21st, 2012, 10:06 AM
Absolutely! I'm going to touch on the ports and what we did at each after the food section.

Remaining sections:
1) Entertainment (rest of the shows)
2) Food - Complimentary and Specialty
3) Ports of call and excursions
4) Other venues on the ship not yet covered and things we did that I may have missed
6) Photo gallery, art work on board, shops
7) Lots of other random photos
8) Debarkation
9) Overall ratings with letter grades by area and conclusions
10) Cruise compass scans

Anything else I might be missing?

I hate to be a bother, but I was wondering if you could post the Cruise Compasses (or e-mail them to me) before the end of the review?:D I am planning my honeymoon and am anxious to take a peek at them!

Thank you for your review. October can't come soon enough!

StaBla
June 21st, 2012, 02:13 PM
Good evening! To anyone who has seen Chicago on Broadway, was this the case there?

Yes, this is how the Broadway production is done, as well. It's not how the original production was seen (which had sets and costumes and such), but this is they way this production is. I agree that it's not what most consider a "Broadway musical," as they expect to see big sets and colorful costumes. But, other than trimming the show a bit, RCCL's version of Chicago is exactly what you would see if you came to NY.

By the way, the review is excellent! I will be on Allure in November and am hoping to do a cabin crawl, as well.

Stacy

terpfan101
June 21st, 2012, 08:05 PM
Yes, this is how the Broadway production is done, as well. It's not how the original production was seen (which had sets and costumes and such), but this is they way this production is. I agree that it's not what most consider a "Broadway musical," as they expect to see big sets and colorful costumes. But, other than trimming the show a bit, RCCL's version of Chicago is exactly what you would see if you came to NY.

By the way, the review is excellent! I will be on Allure in November and am hoping to do a cabin crawl, as well.

Stacy

Thank you Stacy! I'm glad you had the answer to this question. I figured it was probably the same on Broadway. Oh well. Regarding the cabin crawl, if your meet and mingle hasn't set one up you should take the initiative to plan one.

terpfan101
June 21st, 2012, 08:06 PM
I hate to be a bother, but I was wondering if you could post the Cruise Compasses (or e-mail them to me) before the end of the review?:D I am planning my honeymoon and am anxious to take a peek at them!

Thank you for your review. October can't come soon enough!

Hi there. I have not yet had a chance to scan them but I'll try to do so sooner than later and put them up. However I will be finished the review within the next few weeks so you'll still have plenty of time! :)

terpfan101
June 21st, 2012, 08:52 PM
Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay, I've been pretty busy these last few days. Anyway in this post I'll discuss the Adult Quest and Love & Marriage game shows in this post.

First the Quest. Having been to just one Adult Quest show before which was last year and finding it hilarious, I was very excited for this show and even made sure not to book any shows which might conflict with it. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with this Quest. The previous one was on the Enchantment in the Spotlight Lounge which is much more intimate than Studio B. John Blair was the cruise director on that one and he was much better/funnier than Anna Bass. However the biggest difference was that on the Enchantment there were probably close to 20+ teams of approximately 5-8 people each. As such there were far more people running up providing John with more material to work with. Additionally having the teams all spread out through the lounge allowed more people to run up whereas on the Allure it was pretty much always the team captains running up. Also on the Enchantment there were more "bring me a _____" as opposed to "I need to see a human pyramid" or "I need to see the man with the hairiest back". Enchantment still had those type of quests but also included simple ones such as bring me a _____.

Unfortunately with such a large ship, I can't see how Quest could be structured like it was on Enchantment with so many teams. Additionally, there is no venue really on board large enough to accommodate everyone wishing to attend and still allow for the more intimate experience where everyone can more easily participate. Here is a picture of the "men dressed as a woman."

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/401816_10101132782865908_1872761076_n.jpg

Here is a one minute video of the introduction of the Quest to get a feel of Anna: http://youtu.be/SGxnFlhazVo

Does the Quest work like that on Freedom & Voyager classes as well? I'd imagine its just the Radiance and smaller classes where it works like it did on Enchantment.

As far as the Love & Marriage Show went, I found it to be pretty funny although not as funny as the one on the Enchantment. Part of that had to do with the contestants themselves as the young couple was a dud. However a majority was that Anna Bass the cruise director just isn't as funny as John Blair. Additionally, I don't get why they can't have a bank of questions that they choose from rather than using the same exact questions. Well a few were slightly different, for example the answer choices might have been themed a bit differently. I still wish that they had a choice of like 25 questions to use and could rotate between them. I was impressed though with the prizes that the contestants won. The third place finisher got a gift basket of Royal Caribbean stuff along with I believe a couples massage certificate. The first place couple got something small like that and a diamond necklace. Not bad!

Which brings me to our cruise director, Anna Bass. When I first found out on the ship that our cruise director was not Ken Rush as I had expected, I was kind of glad yet kind of disappointed at the same time. Glad because I've read so many people on here say they don't like him or think he's very funny. Also glad because he was the cruise director on my first cruise on the Navigator of the Seas, and while I thought he was good in the shows I did see (not too many), I figured that it'd be nice to try somebody new. I was disappointed though because I was hoping to see what he was like in these two shows since I didn't attend them when I was 18. Anyway when I saw that Anna Bass was the name of our cruise director, my first thought was "who?"

I'd never heard of her on these boards. However at least she was British, so I liked that for a start. She seemed sweet and was somewhat funny, I just think she could have been funnier and a bit more into things. One thing that was a bummer is that she left a day and a half early to go to the Tony Awards as a representative for the company since they were a big sponsor. So she was not there for the 70's themed party. I must say the 70's themed party was pretty pathetic. I really liked the activities director Jacinta (who hosted this party) but she was just not that great at leading the party. Additionally, on the Enchantment John Blair and his wife (activities director) Katrina were really into the 70s party. It was a highlight of the Enchantment cruise to have a majority of the guests in the Centrum and everyone was super into it. I remember the two of them dancing in those elevators in the Centrum and just really having a ball. So Anna was a let down compared to them.

However I did read somewhere that she isn't a full time cruise director and only fills in. Not sure what she does the rest of the time, but that would make sense. She was just average overall. Regarding the cruise director on the Oasis class though, it is totally different than the other two cruises I've been on. I guess they are so spread thin with all of the different shows going on but I felt as if we didn't see her nearly as much as we saw John Blair. Anyway this certainly didn't make or break the cruise, but I just thought I'd comment on the cruise director. I would love to see Richard Spacey or Allen Brooks sometime.

Up next: Headliner Show, Blue Planet, and the Comedy Show

smeck
June 21st, 2012, 09:02 PM
Good evening! Let's continue where I left off. On the first sea day we saw Ice Games in the afternoon. It was a much better show than I had expected. Basically it's an ice skating show with the setting being different places on the ship and has a Monopoly theme. Meaning they "roll the dice" and land on a property for example "Giovanni's Table" or "The Casino" and then transform the set to look like that venue while playing appropriate music and doing ice skating routines. There was a special guest couple that was incredible. The whole show was top notch and I'd give it an A-. Here are some pictures from the show:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/301856_10101132783290058_959876195_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/581225_10101129641955318_281482697_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/575092_10101129642124978_2112883998_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/306948_10101129642269688_2025672034_n.jpg

Here is a short video clip: http://youtu.be/JJR051vgYUg

I was very excited to see Chicago that night as where else can you say you saw a Broadway show at sea (other than Oasis). It was a good show until we started falling asleep at about 11:30PM and about half way through. So we left as we were too tired and knew we had to be up for Labadee early the next morning. I was kind of disappointed, but I guess the show just wasn't exciting enough to keep us awake especially after waking up so early the day before. However from what I do remember from the first half, it was just a good show and nothing too special. I think that is mainly to do with the show itself. I was kind of confused at the fact that there was really no set. Instead the orchestra played from risers and the actors would sometimes go up those stairs. Other than that though there was no set. To anyone who has seen Chicago on Broadway, was this the case there? The acting was pretty good. I think the show is just okay and they could certainly pick some better musicals when Chicago's run ends. I think one of either Beauty & The Beast, Lion King, Rent, Mamma Mia, Grease, or Wicked would be more exciting. However it's doubtful they'd do the two Disney ones. Anyway I'd give the show a B- due to what I saw not being particularly exceptional and it not being exciting enough to keep me awake. In fact I saw numerous other people in the audience drifting to sleep and heard the same from others. So I definitely recommend that you see this at an earlier time if at all possible!

Up next: Adult Quest & Love & Marriage
Followed by: Headliner Show, Blue Planet, and Comedy Show
Followed by: The section on food (I'm sure everyone is waiting for this!)
From what I remember the set wasn't all that grand on Broadway.

smeck
June 21st, 2012, 09:07 PM
I hate to be a bother, but I was wondering if you could post the Cruise Compasses (or e-mail them to me) before the end of the review?:D I am planning my honeymoon and am anxious to take a peek at them!

Thank you for your review. October can't come soon enough!

Check the following site out it includes the finest quality scans of cruise Compasses and menus to date.

http://www.thepreismans.com/

smeck
June 21st, 2012, 09:15 PM
Hi everyone. Sorry for the delay, I've been pretty busy these last few days. Anyway in this post I'll discuss the Adult Quest and Love & Marriage game shows in this post.

First the Quest. Having been to just one Adult Quest show before which was last year and finding it hilarious, I was very excited for this show and even made sure not to book any shows which might conflict with it. Needless to say, I was very disappointed with this Quest. The previous one was on the Enchantment in the Spotlight Lounge which is much more intimate than Studio B. John Blair was the cruise director on that one and he was much better/funnier than Anna Bass. However the biggest difference was that on the Enchantment there were probably close to 20+ teams of approximately 5-8 people each. As such there were far more people running up providing John with more material to work with. Additionally having the teams all spread out through the lounge allowed more people to run up whereas on the Allure it was pretty much always the team captains running up. Also on the Enchantment there were more "bring me a _____" as opposed to "I need to see a human pyramid" or "I need to see the man with the hairiest back". Enchantment still had those type of quests but also included simple ones such as bring me a _____.

Unfortunately with such a large ship, I can't see how Quest could be structured like it was on Enchantment with so many teams. Additionally, there is no venue really on board large enough to accommodate everyone wishing to attend and still allow for the more intimate experience where everyone can more easily participate. Here is a picture of the "men dressed as a woman."

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/401816_10101132782865908_1872761076_n.jpg

Here is a one minute video of the introduction of the Quest to get a feel of Anna: http://youtu.be/SGxnFlhazVo

Does the Quest work like that on Freedom & Voyager classes as well? I'd imagine its just the Radiance and smaller classes where it works like it did on Enchantment.

As far as the Love & Marriage Show went, I found it to be pretty funny although not as funny as the one on the Enchantment. Part of that had to do with the contestants themselves as the young couple was a dud. However a majority was that Anna Bass the cruise director just isn't as funny as John Blair. Additionally, I don't get why they can't have a bank of questions that they choose from rather than using the same exact questions. Well a few were slightly different, for example the answer choices might have been themed a bit differently. I still wish that they had a choice of like 25 questions to use and could rotate between them. I was impressed though with the prizes that the contestants won. The third place finisher got a gift basket of Royal Caribbean stuff along with I believe a couples massage certificate. The first place couple got something small like that and a diamond necklace. Not bad!

Which brings me to our cruise director, Anna Bass. When I first found out on the ship that our cruise director was not Ken Rush as I had expected, I was kind of glad yet kind of disappointed at the same time. Glad because I've read so many people on here say they don't like him or think he's very funny. Also glad because he was the cruise director on my first cruise on the Navigator of the Seas, and while I thought he was good in the shows I did see (not too many), I figured that it'd be nice to try somebody new. I was disappointed though because I was hoping to see what he was like in these two shows since I didn't attend them when I was 18. Anyway when I saw that Anna Bass was the name of our cruise director, my first thought was "who?"

I'd never heard of her on these boards. However at least she was British, so I liked that for a start. She seemed sweet and was somewhat funny, I just think she could have been funnier and a bit more into things. One thing that was a bummer is that she left a day and a half early to go to the Tony Awards as a representative for the company since they were a big sponsor. So she was not there for the 70's themed party. I must say the 70's themed party was pretty pathetic. I really liked the activities director Jacinta (who hosted this party) but she was just not that great at leading the party. Additionally, on the Enchantment John Blair and his wife (activities director) Katrina were really into the 70s party. It was a highlight of the Enchantment cruise to have a majority of the guests in the Centrum and everyone was super into it. I remember the two of them dancing in those elevators in the Centrum and just really having a ball. So Anna was a let down compared to them.

However I did read somewhere that she isn't a full time cruise director and only fills in. Not sure what she does the rest of the time, but that would make sense. She was just average overall. Regarding the cruise director on the Oasis class though, it is totally different than the other two cruises I've been on. I guess they are so spread thin with all of the different shows going on but I felt as if we didn't see her nearly as much as we saw John Blair. Anyway this certainly didn't make or break the cruise, but I just thought I'd comment on the cruise director. I would love to see Richard Spacey or Allen Brooks sometime.

Up next: Headliner Show, Blue Planet, and the Comedy Show

I was on the Explorer recently and Richard Spacey was the cruise director. One word fantastic. Quest and the 70's party was fantastic no small part due to Richard Spacey. His energy level was unequalled. Please do yourself a favor try book a cruise with Spacey as a cruise director you won't be disappointed!

PIGSKIN
June 22nd, 2012, 12:40 AM
Can't wait for the food report. I'm going on the allure December 9th and I booked the central park dinning pk. I also made chararter breakfast reservations for the last 2 mornings. Did you do any of those?
Where is the best place to watch the parade?
What deck do you enter the spa on?-----I have to plan my route out after I board.
This will be my first cruise as a diamond member----can't wait to see the difference.
Anyway---thanks for all your time in writing these posts and I've loved all of them!

SailingSiren
June 22nd, 2012, 09:54 AM
Check the following site out it includes the finest quality scans of cruise Compasses and menus to date.

http://www.thepreismans.com/

Thanks very much. I am already using some Compasses from the Western Caribbean Feb 2012 voyage on Allure (posted by another user), so I'll stick with those until the OP can get around to putting his up!

Thanks again!

BillOh
June 22nd, 2012, 10:07 AM
Hello everyone! I just got back from the Allure on Sunday and had an amazing time. Having spent so many hours researching the ship before hand on cruise critic, I became inspired (primarily by this review (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1544356) by LittleMissMagic) to write my own review from the perspective of a 26 year old. I also utilized reviews such as the following extensively in my planning: BrianAlt (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1616438), DarthGrady (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1513962), obsessedsc (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1620504), PhoenixDawgCruising (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1606980), BillOh (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1411575), two by QTMichele (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1578035), and Radio (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1416763).

I have decided to write this review in a slightly different manner though as I'm not one to want to spend too much time during the trip recording everything I did that day. As such I'll break my review up into separate sections focusing on different aspects of the cruise, for example: planning, arrival, ports, food/restaurants (tons of food porn pics to follow), activities, entertainment, departure, etc.

So bear with me as I attempt to complete this review, which is my first one to be posted in the forums. Hope you all enjoy!

Up next: Cruise planning

Who hoo! my first shout out!, your welcome. With my return to Allure in the works, I still read every review and quite frankly I still find something new or interesting in almost every one.

BillOh
June 22nd, 2012, 10:21 AM
More please!!! Fantastic review so far - you guys are adorable - reminds me of my daughter and her boyfriend... ;)

And they say accountants can't get hot women! (Somebody said it, I don't remember who ;) )

BillOh
June 22nd, 2012, 10:39 AM
While the chair was nice, $30 seems a bit steep for the use of which would probably last only 30 minutes. I can't imagine how anyone could sit in that chair for any longer period of time. Nor can I imagine how anyone would want to spend so much time of the cruise when there is so much else to do onboard. Here's a picture from another website of this room:
http://www.beyondships.com/sitebuilder/images/2s_thermal3-600x450.jpg



Being past 50 with arthritis in your back can change your perpective ;) We absolutely loved this on Jewel, but during the sales speech they told us they only sold this package to 20 couples and for us it was never crowded. I've heard reports they over sell it on Allure and it was crowded. I'll definitely ask about this next year.

BillOh
June 22nd, 2012, 10:49 AM
Does the Quest work like that on Freedom & Voyager classes as well? I'd imagine its just the Radiance and smaller classes where it works like it did on Enchantment.

As far as the Love & Marriage Show went,................

Quest is definitely best on the smaller ships in the smaller venues. We loved Quest on Majesty and Jewel the most. BTW, here is me and Mrs BillOh as contestants on Love and Marriage on Jewel

http://mccallw.tripod.com/jewel/gameshow.jpg

terpfan101
June 22nd, 2012, 12:19 PM
Can't wait for the food report. I'm going on the allure December 9th and I booked the central park dinning pk. I also made chararter breakfast reservations for the last 2 mornings. Did you do any of those?
Where is the best place to watch the parade?
What deck do you enter the spa on?-----I have to plan my route out after I board.
This will be my first cruise as a diamond member----can't wait to see the difference.
Anyway---thanks for all your time in writing these posts and I've loved all of them!

Hi there PIGSKIN! I will talk about that package but well worth it. We had booked a character breakfast for the second sea day but were just too tired to get up for it at 8AM and ended up sleeping in the latest that day of the whole cruise. I somewhat regret not going to it as Todd & Stacy did and it looked great (chocolate breakfast that is). I wasn't too concerned with the characters. We didn't do the dreamworks parade so can't help you with that. The spa is on deck 6 at the front of the ship.

I'm going to try and finish up with the entertainment section today. :)

zanydoc
June 22nd, 2012, 02:21 PM
Did your friends Amy and Aaron enjoy their crown loft suite? We are staying in one in October and it looks pretty cool--thank you for the picks! And thank you for your great review...

terpfan101
June 22nd, 2012, 02:38 PM
Did your friends Amy and Aaron enjoy their crown loft suite? We are staying in one in October and it looks pretty cool--thank you for the picks! And thank you for your great review...

I'm fairly certain that they did. Would they get it again? I'm not exactly sure...but maybe Aaron will chime in on here. I guess the question you have to ask yourself is whether it is worth the premium over another suite such as a grand suite. Since once you get to grand suite level, you get all of the gold card benefits of a true suite. So any premium is just for additional space and for the loft suites, the uniqueness of the loft factor. I guess the only real negative to those suites are that they are at the top of the ship which is a pain to get to since you can only use the aft elevators to reach deck 17. Additionally, it's not as central as decks 6-9 which I mentioned earlier are IMO the best decks to be on for each access to the entire ship.

kac31
June 22nd, 2012, 05:47 PM
We had Richard Spacey on the Oasis in 2010. He was AMAZING! Hoping the CD on the Allure in October is better than you have mentioned! Enjoying your review!

terpfan101
June 22nd, 2012, 08:45 PM
I hope everyone's had a good week and thanks for continuing to read my review. I should be finished with the entertainment with this post and then it's on to the food sections.

Our headliner show featured a singer named Tony Tillman who was also somewhat of a comedian. He was very good. Here you can see a brief biography of him: http://www.specialvarietyacts.com/Tony-Tillman and a video of him in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIrE1SqzlA0. He sang a good variety of songs, primarily those from the 50's to 70's and primarily of the Motown, R&B, Rock & Roll genres. He has a great voice and a great deal of energy. His band was also very talented. As a fan of music from all years, I really enjoyed hearing some of the older classics. I can imagine some younger people may not have enjoyed him as much but I think most people over the age of 30 would definitely enjoy him. Finally he added some comedy into his show by interacting with the audience. All in all the comedy show was great and I enjoyed myself much better than expected. To anyone who has been on the Allure or Oasis comment as to whether the headliner is typically a singer and if not what other sort of headliners do they have?

Next up was Blue Planet which we saw on the second to last night. I didn't have too many expectations about this show going into it however after seeing it I decided that this was definitely the best show that I saw on the Allure. It combines singing, dancing, acrobatics, and gymnastics in a show that is basically themed about the Earth. Some of the songs that they used were: Around the World by ATC, Kiss the Rain by Billie Myers, Higher Ground by the Red Hot Chili Peppers/Stevie Wonder, Pride (In the Name of Love) by U2, and several songs by The Beatles. Here's a couple of pictures I took:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/525857_10101129652569048_734182611_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/582295_10101129652394398_882985888_n.jpg

Check out this thread for some great pictures: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?p=33376923. Also see this video from Royal Caribbean about the show which includes a few highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRiKl-QXOng.

Another thing that was great about Blue Planet was the sets were excellent and very lively. From a large tree in which cast members were mixed in with the branches to a giant screen that recreated the ocean, the set was very well done. I would say I enjoyed this show mainly due to the set, singing and music, and acrobatics. Definitely don't miss it. I have seen a few people who weren't too crazy about the show, but the general consensus was that it was a fantastic show. Here's a brief clip I took: http://youtu.be/sUJ5rV_75q8

Finally, there was the comedy show. I just love seeing good comedians live, so I was extremely excited for this show. Our week on the Allure featured two comedians, the first named Jeff Wayne (http://jeffwayne.com/) and the second named AJ Jamal (great video of him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoKKSOTooYg). Both were excellent but I guess I would say AJ was slightly funnier. They both incorporated a bit of humor relating to the cruise ship as well as other humor. I along with the entire crowd were laughing quite a lot during the entire show. When AJ started talking about the ship I started to take a quick audio recording (http://soundcloud.com/terpfan101/aj-jamal-on-allure-of-the-seas/s-V3Pl2) and got the two minutes about the bathroom that I alluded to earlier. Don't mind the laughing in the video which may or may not be mine. :o

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/307095_10101132789547518_1975995038_n.jpg

I really loved the venue of the Comedy Club as having such a small space really made the show a whole lot more intimate and it felt like you went to a great local comedy club. Both comedians interacted a good amount with audience members. Note that the front row is more likely to get involved, however it wasn't anything bad...just interactions. Also people not in the front row were also roped into the show, just a whole lot less than those up front.

While the venue itself was excellent, its small size did have some drawbacks. Mainly was the fact that there was only one comedy show during the entire week. Since the venue can only hold at most I believe 120 people, there were 12 identical shows during the week. This would allow only a little under 1500 people to attend a comedy show, which is a little under 25% of the passengers on board. I guess after removing children under 18 from the population, closer to 40% of the adults were able to see the show. However, I'm sure there were plenty of people who wanted to see the show but were unable to. Each night there was a line of people waiting to get in as we would pass by the club, so if you don't have reservations, do be sure to get there early to wait in line. For our show, which was on the final night at 10:30PM, there were actually probably 5-10 open seats even after people were let in from the wait list. I'd imagine this occurs due to people packing and wanting to get to bed early on the final night or people taking in other things that they missed. So if you can't get a reservation and have difficulty getting in earlier in the week, the final night would be the best chance at getting in.

Going back to only having one comedy show, while I think they should keep doing the comedy show the same way in the Comedy Club, I would have liked to have seen a headliner type comedy show in the Amber Theater. This is what most other ships have as their comedy shows, so I would think that the Allure could do the same. I guess the only limitation would be the other shows that occur in the Theater (Chicago, Blue Planet, Headliner) that might make it hard to do another show. Other alternatives would be to have late night (after midnight) adult comedy shows in the theater or to have some additional shows in the Comedy Club during the day time. I don't think that venue had much use during the day. Nevertheless the comedy shows were excellent! Well that's all I have time for tonight. I'll try to get a good amount written this weekend. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Up next: What I'm sure a lot of readers have been anxiously waiting for...the sections on food.

stroh33
June 23rd, 2012, 09:53 AM
Did your friends Amy and Aaron enjoy their crown loft suite? We are staying in one in October and it looks pretty cool--thank you for the picks! And thank you for your great review...

Hello All! Amy and I loved the crown loft, but like Jeremy said I am not 100% sure we would book it again. Amy and I find ourselves cruising every few years and when we saw the loft it was something we wanted to experience. It was the best room we have ever been in but now that we tried it next time we will settle into something less extravagant! The best things about the room for us were...
1) The View (ours was 1748 and overlooked the ocean which was a must for us)
2) The rain shower in the upstairs bathroom (Amy already had remodel plans for our master bath at home lol)

The worst part of the room was the elevators and while we never had to wait more than a few minutes the windjammer and pools created a lot of traffic so you just had to be a little patient. Amy and I have always been "stair" people but 17 floors is a lot of stairs :) We always had to keep in our mind what part of the ship we were on, it was really easy to hop on an elevator in central park or the boardwalk and then realize you were on the wrong side of the ship so you had to get off on 15, walk across the pool deck, and then go up to 17. This cruise was absolutely amazing!

Jeremy I am loving your review, I hop on here all the time just reminiscing. We miss you guys and hope everything is well! Let me know if you have any other questions and I can't wait to read more.

RazorbackIslandGirl
June 24th, 2012, 08:51 AM
Terpfan- I am LOVE LOVE LOVING this review!!:D I was on the Allure in Oct & will be back on the Oasis for the second time in Sept. You should try the Oasis! You would never know she is older than the Allure as they are both taken care of so well! I really think you would enjoy the entertainment on the Oasis. I chose her to double back on because of it. You two are a darling couple! It looks like y'all had a GREAT time! I appreciate all the time & effort you are putting in to this! It helps those of us out here waiting for our next adventure to make it, yet another day, of our countdown! We're all like junkies waiting for our next fix!;):D So, Keep it coming!! As are many, I'm salivating just thinking about your food review!:rolleyes:

Familygoboston
June 24th, 2012, 09:29 PM
Loved the comedy snippet- Jamal was very funny! After extensive research into shows on Oasis and Allure, it seems the headliners are either very high energy, top of their game ( meaning Vegas or national tv ) one man shows. We had Earl Turner, who did a mix of comedy, 60,70 and 80 s soul music and some musician impersonation. I was prepared to be bored, and even though the content wasn't my favorite stuff, he was very entertaining!

OR they often have some kind of tribute band, like Abba or the Beatles. We were really keeping our fingers crossed for one of those, but no luck:(

I wonder if they choose based on demographics? On our cruise we were certainly among the youngest. It was Diamonds in December, and without the kids cruising, the whole demographic of our cruise skewed much older.

sauvichick
June 25th, 2012, 12:19 AM
Check the following site out it includes the finest quality scans of cruise Compasses and menus to date.

http://www.thepreismans.com/

Thank you so much for posting the link! It is extremely helpful for a Royal newbie like me!

terpfan101
June 25th, 2012, 10:25 AM
Aaron & RazorbackIslandGirl, thanks for the kind words. Onto the next part!

On the Oasis class there are tons of places to eat, both free and for a fee. I think we tried a good majority of the places onboard. I'm going to start by touching upon the complimentary venues other than the MDR which I'll cover in a subsequent post:

Park Cafe:
http://0.tqn.com/d/cruises/1/0/F/l/5/Allure-of-the-Seas-9830.JPG

I think this was probably my favorite food places (excluding the specialty restaurants) on the entire ship. If I recall correctly, we had three breakfasts here and three lunches here during the week and they were all excellent. Below are a couple of pictures of the food at Park Cafe. The salads were great here as were the other sandwiches we tried. I recall Lindsay once got a vegetable quesadilla and it was pretty good. I also tried the tuna melt which was very good. Of course the roast beef sandwich was great. We probably frequented Park Cafe more often due to being so close by. You could also eat pretty healthily here. I'm definitely glad that Park Cafe will be making its way to other ships in the fleet. As far as breakfast options go, they had several breakfast sandwiches along with a make your own bagel station which I used each time. It included several bagel choices along with several cream cheese choices, tomatoes, cucumbers, and smoked salmon (my favorite!). We never really had a problem finding a seat either inside or outside, but if you do there are tons of seats in Central Park.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/550926_10101129632204858_1368088371_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/599036_10101129632404458_1242000043_n.jpg

Sorrentos Pizza: We tried this pizza a couple of times just to have a slice as a snack. The pizza was good...better than frozen pizza but not as good as any pizza place (probably better than the big pizza chains though). However on the final day they started to use little tiny pizzas which appeared and tasted like they were frozen. Not sure why they switched but it was for the worst.

Promenade Cafe: I think we only once got something to eat here and it was just a cookie which was fine. The options didn't seem too appealing, they just had a few wraps in the case along with several dessert options. I believe this was the only food place open 24 hours a day (other than room service which has a service charge between 12AM and 5AM). http://images17.fotki.com/v10/photos/6/1228846/9797741/M11-vi.jpg

Boardwalk Dog House: To those unfamiliar with this venue, it's a hot dog stand on the Boardwalk where you can get one of seven hot dogs made of either pork, chicken, beef, or veal. They are supposed to be different styles to represent the countries of Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland and the United States. Here is the menu (http://c3270052.r52.cf0.rackcdn.com/lido/Allure-of-the-Seas-Boardwalk-Dog-House-Menu.jpg). If I recall correctly, I tried both the Warsaw and the Sicilian, each with peppers and onions. They were both pretty tasty and it was a good snack place to hold me over until dinner after our day in Jamaica in which we didn't really have a lunch. More on that later.

Also on the Boardwalk on the Allure is a doughnut stand where they put out doughnuts for you to take. We never tried one but it's located across from the Boardwalk Dog House. On the Oasis, there is no dog house and it is instead a full blown doughnut shop. To me that makes little sense as the Dog House is far more substantial and there's no need for a full doughnut place IMO.

Solarium Bistro: This place is only open for breakfast and lunch as it turns into Samba Grill for dinner. I can't remember for sure but I believe we only ate here for one breakfast. It was pretty good for breakfast as they had some healthier items to choose from such as turkey bacon (which I'm used to and thought was good). They had lots of grilled vegetables as well. It was a good breakfast option. I think I walked in to check out the lunch options one day and it didn't seem too spectacular. I'm also not a huge fan of buffets so wasn't so keen on eating there.

Windjammer Marketplace: Prior to going on this cruise, I set out to avoid the Windjammer at all costs. The reasons for this were as I said above I'm not a huge fan of buffets (due to the ability to overeat and for hygiene reasons). Additionally on the Enchantment we hate more often at the Windjammer due to having really only two options, and it was pretty poor in my opinion. Finally, on the Allure there are so many dining venues that I figured there'd really be n need to eat in Windjammer. Well up until about day 4 I was successful at avoiding Windjammer, but alas we slept too late (until about 10:45) on the second sea day that the only place to eat breakfast was the Windjammer past 11AM. It was perfectly fine and not very crowded (though much more crowded than I expected it to be at 11AM). They stopped serving breakfast at 11:30AM for a quick turnaround to lunch. They had your usual buffet breakfast foods. I had fruit, bacon, eggs, potatoes, and a muffin. Lindsay probably had eggs fruit and oatmeal. I also stepped into the Windjammer one evening at about 6:30PM to check it out and see what they had for dinner. I was a bit hungry so got a tiny plate to try just a few things (a spoonful of Pad Thai and some mozzarella and tomatoes). It was actually pretty decent and would probably be pretty decent if you had to dine with young children.

Vitality Cafe: We never tried this venue but it was very small. Everything food wise was free while beverages (mainly smoothies) cost extra. The food looked fine and healthy.

Wipeout Cafe: Another place we never ate, mainly because it serves essentially only junk food. Burgers, fries, nachos, etc were all being served here.

Up next: Main Dining Room

lala364
June 25th, 2012, 11:41 AM
Loving your review! The pictures are wonderful. Thanks for sharing and keep it coming.

FloridaGram
June 25th, 2012, 01:24 PM
Since I forgot to add a little background about myself above, I am 26 years old from the DC area and am an accountant. So by nature I am very detail oriented and most definitely a planner. Continuing on with the review...My apologies for the lack of pictures and TONS of words in this post...I promise more of the former and less of the latter (I'll try on that one) in subsequent posts. Also ask any questions along the way and I'll be sure to answer them.

I don't know why but I've always been fascinated by cruises, well at least for the last 5-10 years. My first cruise ever was after graduating high school in 2004 and was on the Navigator of the Seas with my family, my first cousin's family, and grandmother. I had a great time on that cruise (we all did) but surprisingly that was the only cruise I would take until deciding to go on one with my girlfriend just this past August which was on the Enchantment of the Seas. Ever since I heard about the Oasis class of ships being built back when I was a college student, I've been amazed at the design and feature and knew that I wanted to cruise on one at some point in my life.

Anyway, my girlfriend Lindsay (see picture of us below from our Enchantment cruise last year) and I began to discuss vacation options for 2012 back in the fall of 2011. A cruise was definitely a consideration but I hadn't thought too much about the Oasis/Allure. I can't remember when it first occurred for me to consider those ships, but it probably had something to do with reading the above mentioned reviews. We eventually settled on the Allure of the Seas on June 3rd as it would be a few weeks after she graduated from grad school with a masters degree in speech language pathology. A sort of celebratory graduation cruise if you will.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/292418_724748306669_612118_n.jpg

I booked the cruise in the final days of December 2011 after getting a deal from an online travel agent for the particular sailing of $275 in OBC. Having experienced a balcony on my first cruise and an interior cabin on the Enchantment, I knew that I'd be perfectly content with an interior, especially on the Oasis class which had so much to do that I couldn't foresee spending too much time in my cabin. A few months after booking the cruise however I started getting the urge to upgrade if the prices dropped and started to see that the cruise wasn't selling too well. I began to religiously track the number of available cabins once a day which took about 5 minutes each day and monitoring the prices around final payment time.

Keep in mind throughout this time I was planning excursions, show reservations, and specialty dining...I will touch on that during my review for those areas of the cruise

Sometime in February I had a slight hiccup with the whole process. I had booked our flights on JetBlue through Chase Ultimate Rewards program using credit card points in early January. I had thought that the time of the flight said it departed from Washington Dulles at 7:55AM and arrived at about 10:30AM in FLL. I also must have ignored that on my confirmation email. In February I received a phone call from JetBlue advising me to call about a change in my flight's schedule. Upon logging into the website I saw that the flight time was now leaving at 1PM or so and arriving at 4PM in FLL. I freaked out and then was even more perplexed upon seeing that the flight was initially supposed to be after I needed to arrive in FLL!! Well I called JetBlue and the wonderful customer service agent was able to change my flight to whenever I wanted at no charge (the fare had risen slightly since I booked for the 8AM flight) since the flight changed by several hours. Phewwww thankfully crisis #1 averted. More on crisis #2 in a future post!

In late March after final payment prices dropped new guarantees opened. An oceanview guarantee (category Y) was the same cost that I paid, but I hesitated due to not wanting to receive a category I which is exclusively on deck 3. Then a few weeks later category XN and X opened up at $100 more total and $225 more total than I paid for my interior. Additionally category Y dropped in price so that it was actually $200 cheaper total than I paid. I knew I wouldn't get a refund or OBC but at that point decided to roll the dice with the oceanview guarantee and hope prices dropped a bit more on the category X and XN.

Anyway I called my TA to upgrade to the category Y and was astonished when she came back and said that I'd be receiving $200 back as a refund since the price was less (but that I'd get $100 less in OBC). I later learned from my actual TA rep that I got a refund because the TA had booked through a group rate. Never heard of getting money back after final payment but I was happy. (Has anyone else heard of this??) Well this caused the dilemma of now having to upgrade to a balcony and paying significantly more so I kept watching for the price drops. I was assigned a category I oceanview on deck 3 which I wasn't too excited by but figured I'd hardly be in the stateroom anyway.

I later learned upon seeing my credit card statement that I actually received closer to $400 as a refund (don't know why but guessing again due to the group rate). So at that point I pretty much gave up hope of upgrading as it'd easily cost close to $600+. Well sure enough prices on those two balcony guarantees never dropped below what they were at first and so I couldn't justify upgrading from my reduced fare. About five days before my sail date I logged in and noticed that I was upgraded to an oceanview balcony (category D5). I was very excited. An oceanview balcony in June on the Allure for a hair under $2,000?!? It was certainly my lucky cruise (unfortunately this didn't carry over to the casino)! I began to pack and get last minute things in the final few days and we were all set to go.

Up next: Flight to FLL, embarkation, and first impressions of the ship.

Why that is quite a deal! Congrats. Wat did you do just keep going online and acting like you were going to book a new cruise and see what the price is? On the cruise I am watching I noticed that that OV and Int were actually more than balconies. I thought that was weird.

I must get back to your review now, thanks!

FloridaGram
June 25th, 2012, 01:43 PM
I was thinking the same thing...ugh... was it made up right by the time you went to bed? or should I say turned down appropriately?

ilikepups
June 25th, 2012, 02:23 PM
Did i miss it? When are you going to write a review on the restaurants? Not sure how this "thread" thing works maybe i missed it.

terpfan101
June 25th, 2012, 10:40 PM
Did i miss it? When are you going to write a review on the restaurants? Not sure how this "thread" thing works maybe i missed it.

I'm getting to the specialty restaurants...Going to try to do that tomorrow or Wednesday :)

terpfan101
June 25th, 2012, 10:42 PM
Why that is quite a deal! Congrats. Wat did you do just keep going online and acting like you were going to book a new cruise and see what the price is? On the cruise I am watching I noticed that that OV and Int were actually more than balconies. I thought that was weird.

I must get back to your review now, thanks!

Hi there. Well I monitored the price via a website that lets you "monitor" prices. If you google that you'll find the good website. ;)

terpfan101
June 25th, 2012, 10:42 PM
I was thinking the same thing...ugh... was it made up right by the time you went to bed? or should I say turned down appropriately?

Not sure who/what you were replying to, but think you're talking about the bed. It was fine when we went to sleep that night and on all subsequent nights.

TheDMan62
June 26th, 2012, 11:28 AM
Love the review!!! It has to be in the top 10 of all-time.

My wife and I will be on Allure next March (this will be the longest time between booking and cruise, we booked last July). Ive held off on looking at reviews or comments of Allure, because it makes the wait that much worse. This is the first review that Ive read and i was right, it made it worse LOL.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write the review and including the pictures!!!

terpfan101
June 26th, 2012, 12:00 PM
Love the review!!! It has to be in the top 10 of all-time.

My wife and I will be on Allure next March (this will be the longest time between booking and cruise, we booked last July). Ive held off on looking at reviews or comments of Allure, because it makes the wait that much worse. This is the first review that Ive read and i was right, it made it worse LOL.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write the review and including the pictures!!!

Wow thanks for that compliment...though I'm sure if you read some of those others I mentioned that you'd think those are better! But yes reading reviews kind of do make the wait more difficult, but at the same time it was fun for me and helped me know more about the ship to maximize my experience. Your cruise will be here before you know it. Maybe you can book a short one sometime in between to hold you over? :)

terpfan101
June 26th, 2012, 02:14 PM
Hello everyone...I've been excited to write these food parts being a foodie, so hopefully you enjoy. In this post I will discuss the main dining room, which for the first time on any of my three cruises, I ate very few meals in. As a result of booking the Central Park Dining Package, we only ate four meals (all dinners) in the main dining room. I had wanted to try lunch and breakfast in the main dining room but we never made it to them due to having so many other choices on the Allure. I regret not having done so but I'm sure I'll be back on Allure or Oasis and will try them at that point. Also unfortunately I didn't take as many pictures of dinners in the main dining room as I did in the specialty restaurants. So I apologize in advance for having so few pictures for this section.

For reference purposes, we ate dinners according to this schedule (nightly theme in MDR):
Day 1: Giovanni's Table (Sail Away Menu)
Day 2: Main Dining Room (Captain's Gala Formal Night)
Day 3: Main Dining Room (Venetian Feast)
Day 4: 150 Central Park (Surf Menu)
Day 5: Main Dining Room (Chef's Dinner)
Day 6: Chops (Anchored in Excellence Formal Night)
Day 7: Main Dining Room (Feast of Nations)

Since I'll be covering the dinners in the specialty restaurants in a subsequent post, I'll skip right to the first formal night and our first dinner in the main dining room. I requested to have late seating (8:30PM) when I booked the cruise and to be placed at a large (8 or 10 person) table. We were both curious to see the other people we would be dining with, especially after our experience on the Enchantment.

When we were on the Enchantment last year for a five day cruise, we were at a table of eight for second seating dinner. We were the only people seated at the table for the first three nights. I didn't think anything of it after one night, but after another began to think we'd be all alone. It certainly looked ridiculous with just the two of us sitting at a table for eight. I would have requested to move except our wait staff were terrific and I didn't want to leave them. Well during the third night's dinner, the father of one of the two families at the eight person table next to us (served by the same waiter) asked our waiter to ask if we'd like to join them for the final two nights. They would combine our tables by putting the leaves down on ours. I was very thankful for that as we met some nice people. Both families of four had two kids, one had two girls (24 and 21 if I recall), the other had a daughter and son (20 and 18). Anyway I was hoping that we wouldn't have a similar situation occur this year!

As we made our way to dinner via the Royal Promenade, we bumped into Amy whom we had just met that morning at the Meet & Mingle. She asked if we wanted to join them in My Time Dining, perplexed I wondered if we'd need to wait for a while but she informed me that "we have some gold card that the maitre' d saw and said it's a magic card...I'm sure it'll be fine." At this point I'm not going to lie, I was torn. On one hand I wanted to go and meet our tablemates and wait staff at our table in the main dining room since we'd only be sitting with them a total of four nights anyway. On the other hand, we had just met Amy and Aaron that morning and I wanted to hopefully hang out more with them. I also knew that at least we got along well whereas we could have people at our table that would not be the case for. Well we decided to go eat with them...in all honesty I don't think I could have said no to Amy anyway!

As we were standing by the elevator bank weighing our option, a scary scene occurred. A middle aged woman fell to the ground and began to have what appeared to be a seizure. Her family began shouting in Spanish for help. I was standing by a phone and dialed the operator where the message said "if this is a medical emergency dial 911." Who knew they use 911 on the ship?! Anyway no sooner than I could do that, the loudspeaker came on and somebody said something like "Blue (or Alpha?) team to Adagio deck 5" which was followed by several blasts. Medical personal were quickly on the scene while unfortunately a crowd began to form around the poor lady and employees made everyone get away. It was only a matter of minutes before the lady was taken away or perhaps stopped convulsing. I didn't see what happened but I believe she must have been okay. Needless to say it was a scary thing to see and my heart was racing as we went to eat dinner.

Sure enough Amy was correct, as Aaron showed his gold (Suite) Seapass card to the maitre' d who quickly got us a table for four. That's a definite nice benefit to those in suites above a junior suite! We were quickly seated at our table for four. I began to look over the menu for that night's dinner. Here are some pictures of the menu as taken from the TV screen (more on that later):

Starters:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/179591_10101132784921788_1231895009_n.jpg

Chef's Signature Menu:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/182561_10101132784357918_779793665_n.jpg

Desserts:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/269307_10101132789432748_1429831025_n.jpg

I was really looking forward to the escargot as I tried them for the first time ever on the Enchantment and actually loved it. Well sure enough as many people were stating on these boards, they didn't have escargot due to the worldwide shortage. So I went with the scallop substitute which was perfectly fine as a substitute and was actually really good. Heck, I just think anything in that garlic butter sauce would be delicious! I also got a shrimp cocktail as I just love shrimp. Lindsay had a Caesar salad to start. For our main courses I had the filet of beef while Lindsay got the shrimp ravioli, which I recalled she had last year and liked a lot. Both were very good, but you should know that the filet of beef is really just two slices of a tender cut of beef. For dessert I had the double strawberry cheesecake and Lindsay had the bittersweet chocolate soufflé. You will soon begin to see that Lindsay loves chocolate and it will be apparent in her dessert choices each night!

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/317990_10101132788669278_1571342411_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/178995_10101132784767098_1803286481_n.jpg

Here we all are together at the table during dessert:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/269368_892297731279_1612788099_n.jpg

Overall the food was great on this night. I will say that service for My Time Dining is very different than what I experience on my prior two cruises at a set time. While the service was very good, and they were attentive to our needs, nothing really stood out as exceptional. I would imagine that is fairly typical with My Time Dining and is just the nature of not necessarily having the same wait staff each night. Also I'll conclude with the fact that I was glad we ate with Amy and Aaron as had we not done so, I'm not sure if we would have become so close during the rest of the cruise.

Up next: Day Three dinner in the Main Dining Room

Sinppu
June 26th, 2012, 03:50 PM
Oh this will make my four months go a lot faster! Thanks for taking the time to write such a hearty review!

TheDMan
June 26th, 2012, 03:56 PM
Love the review!!! It has to be in the top 10 of all-time.

My wife and I will be on Allure next March (this will be the longest time between booking and cruise, we booked last July). Ive held off on looking at reviews or comments of Allure, because it makes the wait that much worse. This is the first review that Ive read and i was right, it made it worse LOL.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write the review and including the pictures!!!

After posting this, I realized somehow Ive got 2 seperate accounts. lol

TheDMan
June 26th, 2012, 03:57 PM
. Maybe you can book a short one sometime in between to hold you over? :)

This is an awesome idea. I just have to convince my wife how great of an idea it is :)

terpfan101
June 26th, 2012, 09:27 PM
After not eating at our assigned table the first two nights, I wondered what the rest of our table mates would think when we showed up for dinner on night three. Upon getting to our table there was just one other couple there. We began to talk to them a bit before the others came. I was pretty surprised when everyone got there that we were seated with one couple that had been married for 10 years and were in their mid thirties, two newlywed couples on the honeymoon, and one pair of two guys (not sure if they were friends or a couple). The other six people were all in there twenties. It was certainly nice to be seated with others of the same age, but I think given the fact that we only ate together for two nights, we didn't really get to know them too well and it was pretty much just small talk about our backgrounds, what we were doing on the cruise, prior cruises, etc. They were all really nice though, just didn't really hit it off as well. Oh well, it was only two dinners. I will say that I was surprised that our conversations with the two families on the Enchantment were much better and I enjoyed those two nights more so than the two we shared with these couples on board Allure. Oh well!

Anyway our wait staff consisted of two gentleman, the waiter from the Philippines named Russell (?) and the other who's name and country I can't remember. I will say that they paled in comparison to the wait staff we had on Enchantment or even the waitstaff that I had on the Navigator when I was with my family and cousin's family. Part of me wondered if the wait staff didn't pay as much attention to us or spend as much time getting to know us because we were all younger. There was just something missing. I mean they got our food and served it to us, but it was more as if they were going through the motions. So I was glad that we'd only be there for two nights total (note the third night left we ate with Aaron, Amy, Todd, and Stacy at MTD).

Here are the menus for Night 3:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/182172_10101132788998618_802666928_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/550615_10101132788060498_402176563_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/600389_10101132785740148_751524396_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/538217_10101132788449718_2067830939_n.jpg

For starters I had the scallop risotto to start which was delicious, the risotto was perfectly cooked and was creamy from the mascarpone but had a hint of sweetness from the corn. I can't recall what Lindsay had but I'm thinking that it was a salad. For the main course I decided to try the rosemary lamb shank which was great. Last year I had the tiger shrimp after debating between that and the lamb. So I figured I'd go for the lamb this year and it did not disappoint. It was so tender it fell off the bone very easily. If you like lamb I highly recommend this dish. It was a bit fatty though so you are forewarned.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/576854_10101132790545518_864139000_n.jpg

Lindsay had the tomato and eggplant bake which was good. Neither of us thought it was spectacular. Finally dessert...when we were at Giovanni's, I mentioned to the waiter there that I'd probably have the tiramisu at the dining room and how it compared. He said no comparison this is better at Giovanni's. Anyway I asked Russell how it was and he said very good, so I ordered it. It was not good at all, which surprised me because I thought it was good on Enchantment. It was very runny and just wasn't very flavorful. I hardly ate any of it and thus asked to have the chocolate cake instead. It was very good. Lindsay had as you may have guessed the chocolate cake too. I didn't take a picture but found this one online, which refreshed my memory as to what this cake looked like. It's a molten lava cake! Overall this night's meal was great and I'm glad I didn't skip it.

http://www.lifereboot.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/oasis_of_the_seas_pictures_32.jpg

Up next: Night 5 in the main dining room

biguntx
June 27th, 2012, 06:15 AM
Great review.

Thanks

texasgirl73
June 27th, 2012, 06:43 AM
Hi there. I am new to CC but have been reading up on the RCL Board here for the past week because I have booked a cruise on the Oasis next year. I am currently obsessed with all things Allure and Oasis even though I have a cruise on the Disney Fantasy in just 38 more days...haha..guess I've just read everything I can about the Fantasy and am ready to learn about RCL. I have been reading your report and am very excited that you have finally gotten to the food. I am a foodie as well and love to read dining reports. You have also inspired me to sign up for a Meet and Mingle. Thanks for sharing your thought on the trip and photos.:)

BillOh
June 27th, 2012, 07:22 AM
You liked the Turkey bacon huh? Maybe I'll give it another try.

terpfan101
June 28th, 2012, 02:25 PM
You liked the Turkey bacon huh? Maybe I'll give it another try.

I did, but that's probably because growing up we never had real bacon in the house but would occasionally have turkey bacon that my dad would make my brothers and I for breakfast with omelets on Sunday mornings. If you've never had it before, I can see how it wouldn't be good.

terpfan101
June 28th, 2012, 02:27 PM
Hi there. I am new to CC but have been reading up on the RCL Board here for the past week because I have booked a cruise on the Oasis next year. I am currently obsessed with all things Allure and Oasis even though I have a cruise on the Disney Fantasy in just 38 more days...haha..guess I've just read everything I can about the Fantasy and am ready to learn about RCL. I have been reading your report and am very excited that you have finally gotten to the food. I am a foodie as well and love to read dining reports. You have also inspired me to sign up for a Meet and Mingle. Thanks for sharing your thought on the trip and photos.:)

Hi there. I'm not too familiar with Disney but looked up that ship and see it's brand new. Should be a great cruise. You'll also love Oasis! Glad you're enjoying and I'll get to another post tonight!

terpfan101
June 28th, 2012, 10:22 PM
Good evening and let's get started with the next part, day five in the main dining room. By the time this day rolled around, we had already been planning to eat with our four new friends on the final night of the cruise. As such, this would be our second and last night at our assigned table in the main dining room. This also happened to be the second formal night which means LOBSTER! We arrived at dinner and this night one of the couples was at a specialty restaurant and one of the guys was not feeling well so didn't come to dinner, so it was just seven of us.

Here are the pictures of the menu for that night:

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/165940_10101132789063488_619123997_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/533892_10101132784143348_734635667_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/600128_10101132786049528_371825548_n.jpg

I got the seafood salad and duck consomme as a starter. I knew I liked the seafood salad from last year and also was curious to try the duck consomme. The seafood salad was very good as I remembered. I'm glad I tried the duck consomme as it was delicious. A very light soup with great flavor. I don't recall what Lindsay had as a starter. For my main course I had the fisherman's plate and Lindsay had the Thai Chicken. I must say I was sort of disappointed with the fisherman's plate. For starters the lobster tail is not from a cold water (ie. Maine) lobster, but most lobster tails are not. It was still somewhat tasty. My main disappointment stems from the fact that the shrimp are pretty mediocre and the sides aren't very good either. It was basically just some steamed veggies that looked as if it could have been on a school lunch. Lindsay's chicken was just good and I'm honestly surprised that it was the chef's signature dish. I say good because it didn't have tremendous amount of flavor to it. I think partly because it was a rather thick chicken breast. For dessert we both got the dessert sampler which is pretty good. The chocolate piece is the highlight followed by the cake thing on the right followed by what I believe was a profiterole with some sort of liqueur in it.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/428403_10101156023137218_805944443_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/553719_10101156032727998_1591491669_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/481120_10101156033007438_1047660475_n.jpg

To be honest I think the first formal night's menu is overall significantly better than this night. I guess if I have this menu again, I'd maybe try something else. However thinking about the other main course and dessert options, there was nothing really that stood out to me. So if you're contemplating skipping one formal night, my recommendation would be to skip this one. It kind of makes sense too since the first one is the night of the Captain's Reception. Oh and I forgot to mention that they gave out free pretty good champagne on the Royal Promenade during the reception!! One could easily have several glasses of champagne during that hour!

During this meal I was a bit taken back when near the end of the meal our waiter said something to our table about the fact that we will be receiving surveys in our staterooms today and basically said something along the lines of "it's very important to leave excellent for the dining room." Not only did I find this unprofessional, but it was very awkward! I didn't think the service was all that great and to be honest, I can't imagine why anyone who was confident in the job they were doing would have to say such a thing. Whether or not he had said that, I had planned on giving a mark of good (whichever the second highest of the four options was). However after that incident there was no way I was going to give a higher grade for the service. Oh and for those who may be wondering if I tipped our wait staff since this was our final night in the dining room, I'll get to that in my final post about the main dining room (the next one).

Up next: Final night (day 7) in the main dining room - My Time Dining

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 01:59 PM
I hope people are still reading this review! Anyway I'm going to get back to it now after a crazy weekend in the Mid Atlantic with the crazy thunderstorms on Friday night that left over a million people without power. Luckily we didn't lose power but my parents and numerous others I know did. So hopefully everyone out there is safe and not without power for much longer.

Without further ado onto the final night in the main dining room! About midweek on the cruise the three couples were discussing doing dinner at My Time Dining together on the final night. Both Aaron & Amy and Todd & Stacy had MTD while we had second seating. So we decided to eat at 7:30PM (which was a bit early for us but we made do). Upon arriving at dinner, we were first given some resistance by the hosts as they thought we should go to our assigned table since it was the final night. I had a feeling it was because they didn't want us to not tip the wait staff that we had, but I showed him the envelopes and said I was going to go give them our tips. So I took the opportunity while we waited to go find our waitstaff on deck 3.

Going into the cruise I didn't really know what to do about the tips since we'd only be eating 4/7 nights in the main dining room, but I figured that if we had such great waitstaff like we did on the Enchantment, I'd just give the full amount of recommended tips. Due to meeting our new friends I wasn't quite sure about what to do when it came to the tips since we ended up only eating two nights at our assigned table in the main dining room. I asked one of the guest relations staff during the week whether the tips were given solely to the individual member or split with all of the staff and he said to the individual. As a result, I figured that I'd give slightly less than the full amount, especially since the service wasn't too great. I ended up giving slightly more than half of the recommended amount to our waitstaff which I felt was more than appropriate. They were both appreciative as I think they probably thought that I wasn't giving anything since we hardly showed up. However when I gave the envelope to our waiter he said again "Don't forget to give excellent on the comment card." This only put a bad taste in my mouth and I realized that what I did was fine. Not only that but at each specialty restaurant I left a bit extra for each of our staff.

Onto the meal...we ate dinner with our friends and it was pretty good. Here are the menus:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/317945_10101132785121388_1059403604_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/556543_10101132786318988_1035311321_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/389600_10101132784841948_1591639150_n.jpg

Lindsay started with a salad while I started with the shrimp cocktail and also tried the Moroccan chicken salad. Not sure if I mentioned it before but Royal Caribbean changed the shrimp it used for its shrimp cocktail sometime between 2004 and 2011 as on the Navigator in 04 the shrimp were jumbo sized and they only gave you three whereas now they give you I think it was five more medium sized shrimp. I'd prefer the former as they are tastier and present a lot better. The chicken salad was very good and light. It had some good spices in it. Note it is an actual salad with chicken on it. Here's a pic from the web:
https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-6BDaMt8hyTk/TUukjbZgoNI/AAAAAAAAC-E/MhQ5CeGeRhM/s720/DSC_1311.JPG

For the main course I had the mahi mahi and shrimp tempura which is excellent. The sauce it is served with is a nice sweet and sour sauce which is really tasty. It is delicious and the tempura batter perfectly coats the pieces of seafood. I also must say I remember the bok choy being excellent.
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/553908_10101156033651148_715177658_n.jpg

Lindsay tried the turkey but I don't think she enjoyed it too much. I feel as if this night overall is just average as I honestly was only really excited by what I chose and mildly by the turkey. I feel like the strip steak wouldn't be too great in the MDR. Here's a picture of the turkey:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/541760_10101156033326798_379738351_n.jpg

Continued in the next post.

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 02:27 PM
Our dessert menu came and I was wavering between the key lime pie and banana parfait so I got both and had a bit of each. The banana parfait wasn't what I expected (a more mousse like parfait in a glass) but it was still tasty, though a bit cold. The key lime pie as usual is pretty good. Lindsay had the chocolate brownie sandwich which was very good. Here are pictures of the desserts.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/285671_10101132785805018_1413999979_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/285676_10101132785196238_744658293_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/255574_10101132789826958_1264896225_n.jpg

Now as our dinner began to finish I started to feel a bit sad as I knew our cruise was nearly over and we wouldn't be seeing each other again for a while. We've discussed perhaps making a trip to FL to visit at some point or possibly going on a cruise together sometime in the next few years. I can't remember if I posted this picture but we all took one final picture together:

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/282213_10101290852907272_685562804_n.jpg

Oh and a note regarding the service during this meal we had a very friendly waitress from Turkey. She was very nice, though I could tell very busy with tables. I felt bad since we weren't my time dining and tipped her at the end of the night to which she first refused and I insisted she take it.

My final conclusions on the main dining room. The service was good overall, I didn't find our assigned wait staff to be too good and their request for excellent in the comment cards was awkward. Our my time dining staff were efficient and our one on the final night was very friendly. The food overall was very good with some things being excellent and a few just being good. Nothing was truly bad. That being said I am glad we ate in the specialty restaurants (I'll cover in the next few posts), especially on the nights we did as I felt those menus were weakest in the main dining room.

Up next: A discussion of the specialty restaurant package and starting with Giovanni's Table.

AF-1
July 1st, 2012, 02:47 PM
TerpFan101. Thanks for posting your review. I loved all the pics and loved that you had a great time on Allure of the Seas. Guessing you graduated from Maryland; since u r a terp fan. that's my wife's alma mater; and we have a son living in Northern, VA. Anyway, we had a ball on Allure last year; and had a ball reading your review. Again, Thanks.

cheers,

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 03:08 PM
Prior to the cruise and after researching tons, I determined that I must try 150 Central Park. After seeing the Central Park dining package and realizing it would only be another $25 to do both Giovanni's and Chops ($65 for the package vs $40 for just 150 CP) and that I'd be saving $25 vs booking all three separately, I figured why not. I also did this because there were at least two nights in the main dining room where I wasn't particularly fond of the menu. I'm referring specifically nights one and four, but also night six (which is night five in the following link)...see this link (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=29670637&postcount=3) for the menus for all nights. So I figured why not get a package of three specialty restaurants!

Upon booking the package I had to reserve Giovanni's for the first night which I did for 8PM. I knew that as soon as we boarded I would head to Central Park to make our reservations and had planned to book for nights four and six for Chops and 150 CP. I knew that I'd need to see 150's menus to see which night I wanted to do it on and Chops would be the other. Well upon boarding I had forgotten which night I wanted to skip in the MDR and as such while still docked in Fort Lauderdale, I tried to access the menus on my iPhone. However this was proving to be difficult. I think I booked night four for 150 CP as I was quite confident that was a night I wanted to skip, however I couldn't remember if the other was night five or six. At around 6PM I went to the MDR to check see if they had the menus for the week but was told I could access them on my TV or any screen around the ship. Wish I knew that ahead of time as I'd have done it right at 1PM. Anyway by that point I went straight to Chops and booked for night six they still had times left but they were already getting quite limited. We were lucky to get a time of 8PM for Chops on night six. So all in all I highly recommend the dining packages, just book as soon as you're onboard. As the week went on the reservations dwindled quickly.

Up next: Giovanni's Table

CyberTag
July 1st, 2012, 03:34 PM
Hello everyone! Onto the next part:

As mentioned earlier, I was upgraded to an oceanview balcony cabin on deck eight (#8178) just a few days before sailing and was super excited, both because it was a balcony and because it was on deck eight and not deck three like my oceanview cabin was supposed to be. Upon getting up to that deck, I realized why most people said it was a great deck to be on. I had thought that before the cruise decks 6-9 were probably the best location wise and the cruise definitely confirmed that. The reasons are that so much of the main hubs of the ship are decks 5, 6, and 8. It was also great for being so close to Central Park where we ate a majority of our breakfasts and lunches at Park Cafe. Additionally by being on say 7 or 8 you are only seven decks from deck 15 and only five decks from deck 3 (dining room). As such we only used the elevator a handful of times during the week which definitely is good exercise! So my recommendation would be to go with decks 6-9. :)

So we dropped our stuff in our room as soon it was ready at 1PM before going to grab lunch at the Park Cafe. I snapped a few pictures of the cabin:

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/179124_10101129631945378_1029542579_n.jpg
Our bed looked a bit messy when we walked in...but I just chalked it up to them being so rushed on turnaround day.

Our balcony:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/577594_10101132764817078_1736433317_n.jpg

Since both of us are somewhat clean freaks and based on the suggestion of others I brought some disinfectant wipes with me which I used on nearly every surface of the room prior to us unpacking. I was shocked at just how spotless the room was. Areas such as on top of picture frames, on the top shelf above the hanging closet space, and the top ledge of the headboard had no dust or dirt whatsoever! Kudos to our stateroom attendant Vic for keeping the place spotless both prior to our arrival and throughout the week.

Vic was from the Philippines and was great at keeping our room clean and providing us with information as needed. He was also very friendly and would always ask us how our day was. He also provided us with three towel animals during the week. I only have pictures of two of them, but the third was a monkey:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/285629_10101132788888838_1085345760_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/538171_892297756229_345072599_n.jpg

I've seen some complaints about this but I wanted to point out that there were no issues with the temperature in the room. If the A/C was set to the lowest setting, the room got plenty cold. Every night upon returning, Lindsay made me turn it up as it was too cold.

In my review of the Enchantment I complained about having a shower curtain instead of the doors that were found on the Navigator. Well I was glad and had no issues with the shower on this ship. The water pressure was great. Sorry I spoke too soon, I was reminded by a part of one of the comedian's routine (AJ Jamal) about the shower. He made a joke about how you couldn't fall down because it's too small, and while I'd agree, I had no problem with the size of the shower. However, he also complained about the soap dish letting things fall through and that definitely was annoying! Other than that though the bathroom was good.

Regarding the bed, I thought it was one of the most comfortable beds I've slept on. I love the linens and if they weren't so expensive would probably buy the set that they sell online. I can't recall if I mentioned earlier, but the amount of storage space in the cabin was great and was good enough for two people to not live out of a suitcase. Finally, I'll say that I think the staterooms on the Oasis class are the nicest of anyone I've been on or seen pictures of RCCL wise. They are just very attractive and stylish with the color scheme and wood.

Now onto the topic of whether a balcony is worth it, after this cruise I would honestly say it depends, but most likely no. While it was great to have one and we did use it, there is simply so much to do on the ship that you really aren't in the cabin all that much. I'm sure others out there take more advantage of it, but for the active folks it's probably overkill. On a different/smaller ship the value of a balcony probably increases as does it in months that are not as hot and humid.

Now having said that I would probably get an OCEANVIEW balcony cabin if it cost less than $200-$250 more total than a non balcony cabin. I don't think a boardwalk or central park balcony is worth more than $100-$150 over a windowed cabin. In fact I hardly ever saw people sitting on those types of balconies, especially on the Central Park variety. I don't know if I'd get an interior cabin again though as it is really nice to have natural light in the room. I always just thought with that money I could spend it on board or on excursions. But hey that's just me!

Up next: Meet and mingle and meeting new friends!

I'm really enjoying reading your review... and especially the photos! We just got off the Serenade and didn't have chocolates in our stateroom, and towel animals were every other night (but it was a 12 day cruise). Did you get chocolates each night?

CyberTag
July 1st, 2012, 03:47 PM
[quote=terpfan101;34219098]On either the second or third sea day, there was an AquaTheater tour in the afternoon. So the three of us couples decided to check it out. It was pretty cool to see the backstage area where the cast gets ready and changes.

Here is a shower that the male cast use:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/282638_10101132783589458_1524217980_n.jpg

Male dressing room:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/318221_10101132784043548_583607026_n.jpg

Female dressing room:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/542290_10101132785595438_442784798_n.jpg

Sound equipment:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/556680_10101132785974678_942829253_n.jpg

Ladder that takes you to the highest platforms.
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/185043_10101132789777058_1080855126_n.jpg

So prior to the actual show starting, Lindsay noticed on the screen that it was listing a brief background about the cast members and for one of the gymnasts it said "Attended the University of Maryland where she was a member of the group Gymkana which competed on America's Got Talent." Well I went to the University of Maryland and had a friend who was in Gymkana, so I was curious to meet her. So after the tour was complete, I asked one of the cast members whether he knew the girl that went to Maryland. He pointed her out and we spoke for a few minutes and the other couples and I asked her about life on board and the show. She even knew my friend. It was pretty cool to see a fellow Terp on the Allure of the Seas. Here's a picture of us:
https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/522548_10101129648322558_1549911805_n.jpg

I'd definitely recommend taking the backstage tour as it was pretty quick and you learned a bit more about how the do the show. For example on the Allure they only use the highest platform jump that is on the left when you face the stage because a large cable runs across the path for the right high jump. This differs from the Oasis. Another thing we learned is that there is a traffic light on both climbing walls and at the very back of the Boardwalk beneath the Concierge Lounge. When it is red that means "DON'T JUMP" while green means "It's ok to jump". The divers look to these to know when it is safe to jump based on whether the floor of the pool is lowered or raised. The tour also made you realize just how hard the performers have to train to be able to do the show.

Up next: Ice Games and Chicago[/quote

Was there a fee for the back stage tour?

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 03:50 PM
I was very excited to eat at Giovanni's Table. At home, I'm typically not the biggest fan of Italian food because I feel most places in the US are not very authentic, and after having been to Italy, very few places in the US can compare. However I had read tons of positive reviews about the restaurant and thus had high expectations. I was not let down at all by the quality of the Giovanni's.

We entered the restaurant and were quite surprised that it was only about 30% full. However this wasn't too surprising as it was the first night and I figured most people ate in the main dining room. However in my mind this was the worst night in the main dining room (though I would miss the fabulous blueberry and peach cobbler!) We were met by our very friendly and attentive waiter named Guillermo who was from Peru. He was great and knew a lot about the food of the restaurant. He brought us the me which are posted here (http://media.royalcaribbean.com/content/shared_assets/pdf/menus/giovannis.pdf).

For an appetizer we shared a caprese salad which was very good. The mozzarella was excellent.
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/181231_10101132783344948_2130877447_n.jpg

For our main courses I got the lamb chop which was excellent and very different than the one served in the main dining room so if you like lamb feel free to get both. If I recall correctly it was fall off the bone soft. Lindsay had the baked jumbo shrimp which were very good although nothing special. I have the feeling it was a pretty healthy dish though. We also shared an order of the pappardelle which was fantastic but probably very fattening as it was quite heavy.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/206219_10101132789128358_781489683_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/554771_10101132787406808_2093996804_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/282665_10101132790395818_1684999489_n.jpg

continued in next post

poffles
July 1st, 2012, 04:28 PM
Really great review and your pictures are great. Looking to book the Allure for next March so this has m drooling.

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 04:34 PM
By the time dessert rolled around I was feeling super full probably due to that pasta dish. However I couldn't pass up dessert. Our waiter brought over the dessert cart which contained all of the following except the doughnuts but I think he said that they had that:
http://c3270052.r52.cf0.rackcdn.com/Oasis-of-the-seas-Giovannis-table-restaurant-menu-6.jpg

I wavered between the tiramisu and zuppa inglese (I think that's what I had but tell me if the picture is of something different). So Guillermo said why don't you try some tiramisu anyway. He said it was much better than the one from the dining room so I figured how could I refuse. As I mentioned in an earlier post about this difference, the tiramisu from Giovanni's is FAR better than the one in the dining room! The zuppa inglese (?) was excellent too as it had delicious custard and sponge cake in it. My favorite fruits are berries too so I was sold just based on that fact.

Zuppa inglese:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/538183_10101132785914798_38952816_n.jpg

Tiramisu:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/562266_10101132788165288_20404868_n.jpg

Can anyone guess what Lindsay had for dessert????












Yup you guessed it! The chocolate cake which I think I recall was very good. She had far too many chocolate desserts for me to remember how good each were but I'm pretty sure they were all excellent!

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/229945_10101132785535558_641927605_n.jpg

Here we are near the end of the meal:

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/545405_892299367999_996812495_n.jpg

At this point we spoke for quite a while with Guillermo about life on board and where the crew live. He gave us a lot of good information and mentioned how some crew live on decks -1 and -2 which means one and two decks below the water line! :eek: I don't know how anybody would feel comfortable below the water line but I know I wouldn't for longer than going to grab something.

He also discussed the Royal Caribbean cook book with us and I said I'd probably get it but didn't have my 25% off coupon from the Crown & Anchor book with me so that I'd maybe come back later in the week. Well I debated it during the week but decided to buy it, I think it was about $26 after the 25% discount and has a good number of recipes from the MDR and all of the specialty restaurants. I ended up coming back to buy it from him because I also figured they must get some sort of commission. Well sure enough on the receipt, the amount of the book was less than the price advertised and there was a 15% tip on that amount which brought the total to the advertised price. So I'm glad I bought it from him as he was great. I haven't made a recipe yet from the book but Lindsay and I plan to one weekend when we have a bit more time as they all require a lot more prep than what I'd typically make in an hour or less on a week night after work.

Overall impressions: Giovanni's Table certainly lived up to the hype and my expectations. It's definitely a more casual restaurant compared to the others on board (Chops & 150). I was told you could wear shorts which is certainly more casual than the MDR. Our service was fantastic though the restaurant was relatively empty so I'm not sure if it'd be that good on a typical night. The food was also fantastic. I think overall it was probably the second best restaurant on board that we tried though was pretty much neck and neck with Chops for that ranking. I highly recommend eating there and for lunch it is even less pricey. However I think it'd be an EXTREMELY heavy lunch.

Up next: 150 Central Park (the best meal I've had on any cruise ship) and one of the best ever!

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 04:36 PM
Was there a fee for the back stage tour?

Hi there. Nope no fee at all! I do believe some of the others (entertainment back stage and overall ship tour) are either reserved for Diamond Plus and above C&A members or require a fee to be paid.

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 04:43 PM
I'm really enjoying reading your review... and especially the photos! We just got off the Serenade and didn't have chocolates in our stateroom, and towel animals were every other night (but it was a 12 day cruise). Did you get chocolates each night?

Hi there CyberTag. Glad you are enjoying it! We did not get chocolates each night. Only twice if I recall, and I think both were on the formal nights. Not a huge disappointment as it was always late by the time we came back to the room and the last thing I really needed was more food. Royal Caribbean said they stopped doing the chocolates every night because a good majority of it went uneaten and it was wasted. However I'm sure part of it was due to cutting a cost.

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 04:48 PM
TerpFan101. Thanks for posting your review. I loved all the pics and loved that you had a great time on Allure of the Seas. Guessing you graduated from Maryland; since u r a terp fan. that's my wife's alma mater; and we have a son living in Northern, VA. Anyway, we had a ball on Allure last year; and had a ball reading your review. Again, Thanks.

cheers,

Hi there! Yes I did graduate from the University of Maryland and am from Maryland as well outside of DC. Both of my parents went there too as did one of my two younger brothers. The youngest who just graduated from high school is breaking the trend and going to the University of Rochester. I couldn't justify paying an arm and a leg for my college education when our state school is pretty darn good! I'm not sure if you or your wife have been back to College Park to visit lately but its sure changed a whole lot, even lots of changes since I graduated in 2008. And glad to hear you're enjoying my review!

terpfan101
July 1st, 2012, 04:49 PM
Really great review and your pictures are great. Looking to book the Allure for next March so this has m drooling.

Thank you! You've got a ways to go but hopefully it comes soon enough! I had a little over five full months and it still felt like an eternity!

cruiseatick
July 1st, 2012, 04:55 PM
great review, my wife and her parents and I are going on allure on halloween this year, we will all be staying in a grand suite I know you all looked at all the cabins so you can tell me if I am in trouble or not.hoping for a cl upgrade, your review has been awsome,as I am the travel planner for all the cruises we have taken .I love to do all the research so I knw what to do and what not to do,I also wanted to thank your terps for knocking out nc state two years ago and sending the seminoles to the acc championship game only to lose to VT at one of the coldest football games i have ever attended, GONOLES

Poorplaya
July 1st, 2012, 05:30 PM
Amazing review so far, I love the pictures and all the information you've put into it. Can't wait to read the rest

M&JfromSDL
July 1st, 2012, 05:36 PM
We purchased the cook book at 150 Central Park and our waitress, without saying it directly, let us know they got a bonus based on the number of cookbooks sold. I was a couple cucumber/basil martinis deep so of course I purchased one.

Looking forward to your 150 Central Park write up.

MrFunInTheSun
July 1st, 2012, 05:57 PM
Great review. Thanks for sharing.

ciship
July 2nd, 2012, 10:19 AM
Can't wait to hear about what you did in each port!

petesweet
July 2nd, 2012, 05:22 PM
Loving this detailed review. Thanks so much.

"i was very excited to see Chicago that night as where else can you say you saw a Broadway show at sea (other than Oasis). It was a good show until we started falling asleep at about 11:30PM and about half way through. So we left as we were too tired and knew we had to be up for Labadee early the next morning. I was kind of disappointed, but I guess the show just wasn't exciting enough to keep us awake especially after waking up so early the day before. However from what I do remember from the first half, it was just a good show and nothing too special. I think that is mainly to do with the show itself. I was kind of confused at the fact that there was really no set. Instead the orchestra played from risers and the actors would sometimes go up those stairs. Other than that though there was no set. To anyone who has seen Chicago on Broadway, was this the case there? The acting was pretty good. I think the show is just okay and they could certainly pick some better musicals when Chicago's run ends."

I can't quote this much text on my IPad,but I wanted to say that I am not looking forward to Chicago next year, but we LOVED Hairspray on the Oasis.

Kathy

petesweet
July 2nd, 2012, 05:50 PM
I was on the Explorer recently and Richard Spacey was the cruise director. One word fantastic. Quest and the 70's party was fantastic no small part due to Richard Spacey. His energy level was unequalled. Please do yourself a favor try book a cruise with Spacey as a cruise director you won't be disappointed!

We had Richard Spacey on the Oasis. Exceptional!

Kathy

cruisetrail
July 2nd, 2012, 06:36 PM
Nice review.
Thanks!

The Allure is a beautiful ship.

Allure of the Seas - The Ultimate View (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw_vcUFdYBY)

AF-1
July 3rd, 2012, 03:32 PM
Nice review.
Thanks!

The Allure is a beautiful ship.

Allure of the Seas - The Ultimate View (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qw_vcUFdYBY)
watched your Video on You Tube; well done.;)

terpfan101
July 4th, 2012, 12:40 PM
Happy Fourth of July! Let's get on to the next part...my review of 150 Central Park which as I mentioned earlier I was set on trying and my expectations were easily exceeded!

Upon getting on the ship, I debated between which of the two menus I preferred and decided to go with the first one but kept second guessing myself as there were a few things that sounded great on the second one and I was concerned that Lindsay might be a bit picky with some of the things on the menus. Well I'm glad I didn't switch to the second as our meal was great.

Here is the menu:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/306764_10101164939892968_1578419461_n.jpg

They give you a normal menu at first to order off of and then bring a copy with your name on it that you can reference during the meal and take with you. The menu card slides into the holder on the left with your name appearing through the cutout hole. It was great to be able to have the menu to take. Before I get to the food in this multi post entry, here are a couple of pictures of us before we ate: I look funny sitting in this large chair haha.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/197651_10101132790161288_954275755_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/525974_10101132787890838_1088093061_n.jpg

Our waitress was named Natalya and from I think the Ukraine. She was lovely and was a great server. With each course she would inform us as to what exactly everything was which was very useful. I had wanted to give her one of our Wow cards but forgot to come back to give it to her.

So at the beginning of the meal she came to take our orders. Since Lindsay isn't a big seafood eater (she'll eat crabcakes and shrimp but is not a big fan of fish or other seafood), I had called to make a special request for a substitute dish for the bouillabaisse. They said it wouldn't be a problem. So our only choice when it came to the food was which main course we wanted...the veal or beef. Lindsay's decision was easy as she doesn't eat veal. I've had veal once or twice before but am not a big fan. I debated but decided I'd rather just get the beef. Natalya suggested that couples usually get one of each to taste both but I just didn't think I'd enjoy the veal as much. She also took our drink orders. We each got a glass of wine. The wine pairing looked nice, but Lindsay isn't a big drinker and will usually only have one and maybe two glasses of wine with a dinner. Not wanting to be too drunk I decided to pass on the wine pairing. Natalya also suggested trying he famous cucumber martini. I had heard so much about it but it just didn't sound too appealing to me. Anyway onto the meal!

For those who don't know, 150 Central Park has a unique salt selection for use with the bread and unsalted butter. They bring out a dish with six different types of salts from around the world. Here is a picture and I will describe each below.
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/600705_10101129647314578_1153778714_n.jpg

From the top black salt going clockwise here are the names and descriptions provided on a paper from the restaurant:

- Salish (Smoked Alder salt from Washington state) - This had a nice smoked flavor to it, it was unique but probably my least favorite.
- Murray River (Pink flake salt from Australia) - I think I liked this but it was very salty.
- Kala Namak (black mineral salt from India) - This is the famous "rotten egg" salt and I actually enjoyed it. It tasted almost like eating a hard boiled egg. She explained that it gets that way from the high sulfur content and is a great thing in India as eggs can be expensive, this way people can get the taste of eggs. I convinced Lindsay to try it but she didn't like it.
- Sel de mar (Mediterranean sea salt from France) - This was your basic plain salt.
- Sel Gris (Mediterranean grey sea salt from France) - This one was pretty simple and not much different from the previous one, but I can't recall the slight difference.
- Alaea (Hawaiian sea salt) - This tasted interesting, Natalya explained it got its color from volcanoes.

I wish I hadn't filled up on the bread but it was so good especially because you wanted to try the different salts! Oh and I thought I'd mention this but I recently happened to be browsing Yelp reviews about some of the top restaurants in the US and was reading and looking at pictures for the restaurant Per Se in NYC on Yelp here (http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/1DfbZ0VsSCg9g1KILmnvzQ?select=5q_uaPPQKR0TW2V4KlVv kA#rIfBntd14p_YsdnIoavAGw). I saw the exact same salt dish with different salts at that restaurant. So I guess 150 Central Park wasn't the first place to do this salt concept. Oh well it's still amazing. It's interesting to note that Per Se didn't fill the salt container up as much as 150 Central Park does. I commented to Natalya that it seems like a waste of salt since they must change it after each table to which she confirmed they do and that the salts can be pretty expensive. While it looks much nicer in the picture from 150 CP, I bet they could save a decent amount of money by not filling it up as much.

Continued in next post

terpfan101
July 4th, 2012, 01:16 PM
So our first course was brought to the table which was the "150 Central Park Spring Salad". It was the most exquisite salad I've ever seen in my life.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/205376_10101129647379448_1575197100_n.jpg

You can see in the middle underneath everything was the Israeli cous cous which was delicious. Next to it is the lemon verbena yogurt which was also delicious. See those little green balls? They were avocado croutons and I was amazed at how they made them! They were incredible. They were sort of hard on the outside and filled with more avocado on the inside that was soft and almost liquid like. It was like biting into a hard gusher where the avocado inside awaited. It was sort of like guacamole inside. The salad was terrific and really unique. Oh and the dressing was excellent too. It was also very light yet amazingly flavorful!

The next course was the "White Asparagus Veloute". I didn't know what to expect with this but love asparagus. It was brought out to us looking like this:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/598694_10101132789273068_976862639_n.jpg

Then Natalya poured the veloute broth into the bowl which made it look like this:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/581241_10101132788215188_1609274023_n.jpg

Upon taking one taste I am sure I said "OMG this is incredible!" It really was delicious. It was perfectly creamy and light at the same time. The asparagus tasted great and it was just an amazing soup. The waffles and rhubarb chutney were also great. I'm not sure who thought of that combination with the asparagus soup but it was great.

The next course was the "Modern Bouillabaisse" which I had, but Lindsay had a substitute for. Her substitute was some sort of tomato soup with I believe mozzarella in it.

Here is the bouillabaisse prior to adding the soup:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/600034_10101132790251108_751790230_n.jpg

You can see the snapper and calamari at the front. There was also some clams and lobster in it as well. Then she added the broth which made it look like this:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/303488_10101132786493638_599995941_n.jpg

It was delicious as well. With a good amount of seafood and great flavors to the broth. I loved it. The pinkish sauce along the side of the bowl is the rouille which was delicious too and had a bit of spice to it. Halfway through this meal and I was super impressed and loving every minute of it!

Here is a picture of Lindsay's tomato soup alternative:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/382446_10101132787137348_1668673254_n.jpg

If I recall correctly, Natalya said it was a tomato water that she poured into the bowl. It was also delicious from my taste. Lindsay liked it a lot too. So definitely don't be afraid to ask them to make a substitution if you can't eat something like shellfish or don't really like fish. The substitute will be great as well.

Continued in next post.

beachbuddy
July 4th, 2012, 01:19 PM
Happy Fourth of July! Let's get on to the next part...my review of 150 Central Park which as I mentioned earlier I was set on trying and my expectations were easily exceeded!

Upon getting on the ship, I debated between which of the two menus I preferred and decided to go with the first one but kept second guessing myself as there were a few things that sounded great on the second one and I was concerned that Lindsay might be a bit picky with some of the things on the menus. Well I'm glad I didn't switch to the second as our meal was great.

Here is the menu:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/306764_10101164939892968_1578419461_n.jpg

They give you a normal menu at first to order off of and then bring a copy with your name on it that you can reference during the meal and take with you. The menu card slides into the holder on the left with your name appearing through the cutout hole. It was great to be able to have the menu to take. Before I get to the food in this multi post entry, here are a couple of pictures of us before we ate: I look funny sitting in this large chair haha.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/197651_10101132790161288_954275755_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/525974_10101132787890838_1088093061_n.jpg

Our waitress was named Natalya and from I think the Ukraine. She was lovely and was a great server. With each course she would inform us as to what exactly everything was which was very useful. I had wanted to give her one of our Wow cards but forgot to come back to give it to her.

So at the beginning of the meal she came to take our orders. Since Lindsay isn't a big seafood eater (she'll eat crabcakes and shrimp but is not a big fan of fish or other seafood), I had called to make a special request for a substitute dish for the bouillabaisse. They said it wouldn't be a problem. So our only choice when it came to the food was which main course we wanted...the veal or beef. Lindsay's decision was easy as she doesn't eat veal. I've had veal once or twice before but am not a big fan. I debated but decided I'd rather just get the beef. Natalya suggested that couples usually get one of each to taste both but I just didn't think I'd enjoy the veal as much. She also took our drink orders. We each got a glass of wine. The wine pairing looked nice, but Lindsay isn't a big drinker and will usually only have one and maybe two glasses of wine with a dinner. Not wanting to be too drunk I decided to pass on the wine pairing. Natalya also suggested trying he famous cucumber martini. I had heard so much about it but it just didn't sound too appealing to me. Anyway onto the meal!

For those who don't know, 150 Central Park has a unique salt selection for use with the bread and unsalted butter. They bring out a dish with six different types of salts from around the world. Here is a picture and I will describe each below.
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/600705_10101129647314578_1153778714_n.jpg

From the top black salt going clockwise here are the names and descriptions provided on a paper from the restaurant:

- Salish (Smoked Alder salt from Washington state) - This had a nice smoked flavor to it, it was unique but probably my least favorite.
- Murray River (Pink flake salt from Australia) - I think I liked this but it was very salty.
- Kala Namak (black mineral salt from India) - This is the famous "rotten egg" salt and I actually enjoyed it. It tasted almost like eating a hard boiled egg. She explained that it gets that way from the high sulfur content and is a great thing in India as eggs can be expensive, this way people can get the taste of eggs. I convinced Lindsay to try it but she didn't like it.
- Sel de mar (Mediterranean sea salt from France) - This was your basic plain salt.
- Sel Gris (Mediterranean grey sea salt from France) - This one was pretty simple and not much different from the previous one, but I can't recall the slight difference.
- Alaea (Hawaiian sea salt) - This tasted interesting, Natalya explained it got its color from volcanoes.

I wish I hadn't filled up on the bread but it was so good especially because you wanted to try the different salts! Oh and I thought I'd mention this but I recently happened to be browsing Yelp reviews about some of the top restaurants in the US and was reading and looking at pictures for the restaurant Per Se in NYC on Yelp here (http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/1DfbZ0VsSCg9g1KILmnvzQ?select=5q_uaPPQKR0TW2V4KlVv kA#rIfBntd14p_YsdnIoavAGw). I saw the exact same salt dish with different salts at that restaurant. So I guess 150 Central Park wasn't the first place to do this salt concept. Oh well it's still amazing. It's interesting to note that Per Se didn't fill the salt container up as much as 150 Central Park does. I commented to Natalya that it seems like a waste of salt since they must change it after each table to which she confirmed they do and that the salts can be pretty expensive. While it looks much nicer in the picture from 150 CP, I bet they could save a decent amount of money by not filling it up as much.

Continued in next post
I think I'd be like Lindsay and not care for the salts either. I agree with you that it's a waste to fill them up so much when some people may not even use them. Can't wait to read more.

terpfan101
July 4th, 2012, 01:52 PM
The fourth dish we had was the "Ricotta Gnocchi Puttanesca". This was my least favorite dish of the night and to me was just average. I still ate it all, but I think my issue with it stemmed from the fact that I don't like olives (love olive oil though). Here is a picture of it:

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/598820_10101129647833538_1493994302_n.jpg

I guess the gnocchi is underneath everything. I can't recall what those crispy looking things were. The black looking liquid was the "balsamic bubble". It was pretty cool it was like a bubble of balsamic vinegar. The inside was more of a liquid state while the outside was more gel like. I didn't like the consistency of the outer bit but the inside was good. Again this was my least favorite dish but it was still pretty decent.

Up next the main course! We both chose the "Seared Waygu Strip Loin Rossini". It was incredible! Here is a picture:

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/582377_10101129647903398_233458055_n.jpg

On the bottom is the watercress potato puree which was wonderful. Above it is the leek pain perdu which is almost like a bread. It was great. Then of course you have the strip with the Madeira jus, and on top is the duck pate. Lindsay didn't want to have duck pate on hers so they put it on a separate little plate since I said I might want it. It was delicious and went well as it melted onto the steak. Oh and the steak was perfectly cooked medium.

Natalya explained that Royal Caribbean has a policy (much like lots of other restaurants and companies) against foie gras due to it being inhumane. So instead they used just duck's liver (from any old duck). The difference is that foie gras are forcibly fed to fatten them up.

After this main course we had the dessert which was the "Arnold Palmer Gateau." I wasn't so sure about this when comparing it to the other menu's dessert which was something related to root beer if I recall correctly. Well it didn't disappoint and was incredible!

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/577050_10101129647988228_2127283339_n.jpg

You can see the green pieces are the cake, the white stuff with green powder sprinkled on top is the lemon mascarpone ice cream, the yellow stuff is the yuzu curd, the nuts are the almond tea crunch, and the little blackish things are the candied violets. THIS DESSERT WAS INCREDIBLE! Every component to it was delicious and it all went really well together lending to the Arnold Palmer drink (lemonade and iced tea) theme.

Last but not least was the cheese course to share between the two of us were these four pieces of cheese. I remember one was goat cheese and one was a brie, but I don't recall the other two. I think I just liked two of the four.
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/294934_10101129648112978_1607445887_n.jpg

I had asked Natalya if the chef Molly Brandt was there that day but she said that Molly is no longer the main chef on the Allure and that she's now the Chef d'cuisine for all of Royal Caribbean. It was interesting to hear more about Molly though especially how disappointed she was after losing on Top Chef. I would have liked to have met her but oh well!

So to conclude this post on 150 Central Park, it was without a doubt the best meal I had on the Allure or for that matter have had on any of my cruises (never went to specialty restaurants before though). It's also in the top five meals I've ever had and I've been to a lot of fantastic restaurants, including several top 10 restaurants in DC. For comparisons sake, two of the other top five meals I've ever had were at the restaurants Marcel's (http://www.marcelsdc.com/) and CityZen (http://www.mandarinoriental.com/washington/dining/cityzen/) in DC. At Marcel's a five six course meal costs $125 a person and at CityZen it's $120 a person. Thankfully I wasn't paying (my previous company and a recruiter covered the bills respectively), however those were certainly special occasion places. I'd easily say that the meal at 150 Central Park would cost somewhere in the range of $100+ per person in DC, so at $40 is a steal and well worth the price. Basically it's that inexpensive due to being on top of your cruise fare. I highly recommend eating at this restaurant, even if you think you are a picky eater or if things sound too fancy for you. I didn't know what several of the ingredients listed on the menu were yet everything tasted amazing. You just have to have an open mind and be willing to try new things.

Up next: Dinner at Chops Grill

Maimou
July 4th, 2012, 02:43 PM
"I look funny sitting in this large chair haha."


Regal!! You look regal!!

Enjoying your review so much!

vickie_bernie
July 4th, 2012, 11:57 PM
omg I am hungry.... I am loving your review and especially your 150 Central Park review.

I am going on my first RCL cruise on Oasis in December. I have sailed 30 times on Princess but am looking forward to trying Oasis and am quite impressed with the food options on board. I was also looking at the specialty package you booked but wasn't sure about 150 Central Park, well never mind that now, it is the one I am really looking forward to now.

SOLD

thanks again
Vickie

terpfan101
July 5th, 2012, 09:37 PM
omg I am hungry.... I am loving your review and especially your 150 Central Park review.

I am going on my first RCL cruise on Oasis in December. I have sailed 30 times on Princess but am looking forward to trying Oasis and am quite impressed with the food options on board. I was also looking at the specialty package you booked but wasn't sure about 150 Central Park, well never mind that now, it is the one I am really looking forward to now.

SOLD

thanks again
Vickie

Glad you enjoyed it and that I've sold you on 150 CP!!

terpfan101
July 5th, 2012, 10:34 PM
So our final specialty restaurant was on night six when we ate in Chops Grille. I'd yet to eat in this restaurant on either of my two prior cruises and having heard so much about it I was excited to try it, although I knew I'd prefer 150 Central Park going in as steak houses aren't what I normally go for. Additionally, Lindsay's uncle had told me that he found Chops on Oasis to be disappointing, so I didn't know what to think going in.

I will say that I was impressed by the atmosphere of the restaurant as it was certainly elegant. It'd have been very nice to eat outside but it was simply too hot and humid to do so. I'm not sure if it was like this every night of the cruise, but Chops was packed, which unfortunately seemed to cause some delays with our service. Our waiter was very nice, but he seemed a bit distracted and very busy. He was good but sometimes things took a while to come out. I even remember having to wait a good five minutes after being seated for him to even come to the table. It wasn't a huge detractor from the experience, but the service at 150 Central Park and even Giovanni's was much better. Okay enough about that...on to the food!

I was trying to find the menu online but was having difficulty as it must have changed. The menu we had was different from the one on Royal's website and from almost all I found. Thankfully Trainman posted pictures of the menu here (http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showpost.php?p=29075650&postcount=302).

I had a very difficult time trying to pick which starter I want. I was wavering between the Shrimp Cocktail (since they are jumbo sized shrimp), the Dungeness Crab & Shrimp Cake, and the Asian Inspired Spicy Tuna. I ended up asking to try both of the latter two as I figured shrimp cocktail is much easier to make on my own or have elsewhere. I was slightly disappointed with the appetizers. I should have known better about the crabcake being from Maryland. I know Dungeness crabs have a different taste, but it was just good. Nothing to special. The Spicy Tuna appetizer was pretty good but wasn't spicy at all. If I had a do over I'd probably go with the shrimp and a salad. Lindsay had the "Not so traditional caesar salad." I had suggested that she might not like it as it's two whole heads of lettuce, but she wanted it and enjoyed it.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/382449_10101132789477658_1813959017_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/249116_10101132786648328_751264537_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/314107_10101132788843928_928149324_n.jpg

For our main courses Lindsay had the petite filet and I had the filet. I love filet and don't eat it often so I figured it was a no brainer. I also really love a good NY Strip, but figure that I can make that on my own better than I could a filet and for less cost. The only other option I really considered was the Short Ribs. The filet was great, if I recall they said they can do it medium rare and medium well. I normally order my steaks medium but got it medium rare and asked for it on the side of medium. It was perfectly cooked. Lindsay had it medium well and it was cooked well I think (maybe on the side of well done. With so much food, in the future I'd try to have less starters to save more room for the filet. However I ate it all as I can't resist a good steak, I just felt pretty full after the meal. So a petite is plenty given all you get!

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/527631_10101132785086458_488038512_n.jpg

Our waiter came around with the different sauces. I asked to try them all so he poured a bit of each on my plate. The chimichurri (top of the plate) was my favorite. It's nice to get to taste all of them if you'd like. The bernaise was my least favorite.

For our side dishes we shared the roasted potatoes with prosciutto and parmesan, sauteed broccolini, and string beans with dijon mustard and feta. They were all very good sides. The potatoes were delicious. The broccolini, very light and healthy. The green beans a bit heavy on the sauce but good. I'd probably skip the beans in the future though as it was so much food.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/223838_10101132788110398_1424939848_n.jpg

Last but not least, the desserts. I unfortunately don't have the menu, but if I remember correctly, they had the chocolate mud cake, red velvet cake, creme brulee, and an apple crisp (I think??). Lindsay of course had the chocolate cake while I got the creme brulee. Big mistake! I love a good creme brulee but this one was terrible. Once I got passed the carmelized sugar on top it was a mess underneath, the consistency was far too liquid like and it just didn't taste very good. I asked for the chocolate cake instead as I had tried a bite of Lindsay's and it was delicious. I can't recall but our waiter may have said at that point that he's heard a lot of people not like the creme brulee. Wish he had told me that in the first place...or maybe not as I at least got to try and know I didn't like it. I also think that Aaron might have said he didn't find the creme brulee good either. Here's the chocolate cake.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/403458_10101132783200238_1677651240_n.jpg

So all in all Chops was good to very good. I'd give it a 4 out of 5 (just barely a 4). The service was professional though a bit slow, the steak was great, everything else with the exception of the excellent chocolate cake and the potatoes was just ok to good. Comparing the value proposition like I did for 150 Central Park, I feel as if you're still getting a great deal compared to a land based superb steakhouse. While the steak was great, the other issues I noted held the place back. I'd certainly give it another try as most people rave about it as a total package, so perhaps I had an off night for the service and creme brulee.

Before I forget I figure I'll just leave my overall conclusion on the three specialty restaurants that we ate dinner at. To those who might ask "If I can only do one specialty restaurant on Allure/Oasis, which would it be?" Without a doubt my answer would be 150 Central Park. And to those who say "But some of the ingredients sound funny/unfamiliar to me...I don't think I'll like it" My response is, go and give it a try as you WILL enjoy it. They aren't going to be serving any weird things like brain or sweetbreads, so there's no need to fear; and if you have any food preference such as no seafood, then communicate that to them. It's well worth the price.

After that I would say both Chops and Giovanni's are worthy of a meal at sea, with Giovanni's being slightly preferred due to having both overall better food (and service in my experience) as well as a lower price. The big deciding factor between the two other than the cuisine is the ambiance. Chops is a much more formal place (at least business casual attire but suits were seen as well), while Giovanni's is far more casual. Also if I didn't mention it before, the specialty restaurant package is well worth it if you are happy to eat at three specialty restaurants.

Up next: Izumi for lunch and other for fee dining venues, and then onto the ports of call.

JamesEM
July 6th, 2012, 02:59 AM
Thanks for sharing your review.

sauvichick
July 6th, 2012, 01:41 PM
I really appreciate your review. The best part was the specialty restaurants and the photos of the food. We are eating in all the same places and look more forward to it than ever.

smashof904
July 6th, 2012, 09:46 PM
this review is great! we go on allure in november on the eastern route. counting down the days and your pictures/reviews certainly help!

rhodester
July 7th, 2012, 10:18 PM
Thanks, great review.

terpfan101
July 8th, 2012, 04:55 PM
Hi everyone...sorry it's been a while since my last post. I had hoped to do more this weekend but lost power yesterday afternoon due to a blown transformer on my street. I thankfully had power during those terrible mid atlantic storms last week but I guess this was my payback. So let's continue with my review...

I'm a HUGE sushi lover. It's without a doubt my favorite food, so the idea of me not going to Izumi at least once on this cruise would be pretty crazy. I had thought I'd pass it up since there were so many other places to eat and didn't want to eat at another specialty restaurant for dinner. However once I found out that Izumi has lunch on sea days, I was sure I wanted to try it once. We ended up going on our last sea day at the last possible time (they are only open for lunch from 12-1:30PM).

The menu was pretty limited for lunch. There were only a handful of sushi rolls and appetizers. Maybe a couple of entrees. Everything is priced a la carte and there is a service charge of $3 per person at lunch. They give you complimentary edamame and miso soup. Both were excellent...the former is hard to screw up, but I've had miso soups ranging from poor to excellent.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/575781_10101129652773638_63056692_n.jpg

We just wanted a light lunch and figured with the soup and edamame we'd be good just getting one roll each. This was a fine decision though I probably could have eaten another roll. I think it held us over until dinner and we may have had a light mid afternoon snack that day. Lindsay doesn't really like the raw fish rolls so she just stuck to a basic California roll. I got the Salmon Lover's Roll which is described as "Salmon sashimi and asparagus on top of crab asparagus roll". It was delicious.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/185056_10101129652828528_626209461_n.jpg

I do think it's a bit odd that the prices for sushi don't vary by much. For example my much more complex roll was $5.50 vs $5.00 for Lindsay's basic roll. I think that the more basic rolls should be priced less. The restaurant itself was very nice and it was the only restaurant we ate in the entire cruise with a view of the sea. Well the MDR does too on a couple of decks but we didn't sit near a window. Our service was also friendly and attentive. Overall Izumi is a pretty good restaurant. I'd be curious to try the dinner entrees, however of all of the restaurants we ate at, it's the least unique and not one I'd say is a must visit since you can get comparable sushi on land for a similar price.

Up next: Other pay venues on board

terpfan101
July 8th, 2012, 05:13 PM
This post is going to be much more brief but I'm going to touch on the other pay venues on the Allure. I'll also note that we didn't eat at Samba Grill, Rita's Cantina, Vintages, or Chef's Table. Of those I think only Vintages & Chef's Table would be something I'd do in the future. I do wish I had tried some tapas in Vintages as the menu looked great.

Johnny Rocket's: I kind of wanted to eat here but at the same time it's basically junk food and for $4.95 is not much cheaper than back home. However we did each get a milkshake using our 2 for 1 C&A coupons. They were great.

Ice Cream Parlor: This little ice cream parlor has freshly made ice cream that looked amazing. I can't believe I never got my own, but Lindsay got one and it was very good.

Cupcake Cupboard: I love a good cupcake and living so close to Georgetown Cupcakes (made famous by the show DC Cupcakes) I have had plenty of good ones. These were very good with the right amount of frosting. We only got one the whole week which we shared. It was a mint chocolate chip one and was excellent. Mind the picture as we cut it in half before I realized I need to take a picture!

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/403428_10101129643776668_1317333787_n.jpg

Starbucks: We used our two 50% off coffee drink coupon and each got a frappuchino. They were just like at any Starbucks on land. It was pretty neat to be able to go to a Starbucks at sea! I asked the worker there who's nametag said that she was the head of the Starbucks about the relationship with Starbucks and whether it was a Starbucks company store or Royal Caribbean was the franchisee. I can't recall for certain but believe she said that Royal was a franchisee. Oh and Aaron one day bought all of us a cake pop from Starbucks and it was great...never had one before but loved it. It's great that the prices are the same as on land. Here I am with my drink in hand:

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/600787_10101129648547108_868455370_n.jpg

Candy Store: We stopped in to get a little bit of candy one day. It was like $0.75 an ounce. I thought it was funny but we got 1.4 ounces and they only charge you for one once. They round up from .5 though. Here's Lindsay admiring all the sweets as she has a sweet tooth!
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/303666_10101129645268678_751830775_n.jpg

That's about it for the dining part of my review.

Up next: Ports of call starting with Labadee!

wannab4Ecruiser
July 8th, 2012, 09:29 PM
Jeremy,

Normally when I read a review I get frustrated having to wait for updated posts. This go round I am enjoying it be drawn out because I feel like once you get to the end I can't relive our amazing cruise any longer. Ahhh...I want to be back on the ship with you all! :D

PathfinderEss
July 8th, 2012, 11:52 PM
Really enjoying your review. You just made me very hungry for cup cakes.

JamesEM
July 9th, 2012, 02:22 AM
Thanks for sharing your cruise experience. We were in Gerorgetown two weeks ago and the line out side the Cup Cake Shope was unbelievable long.

terpfan101
July 9th, 2012, 09:29 AM
Jeremy,

Normally when I read a review I get frustrated having to wait for updated posts. This go round I am enjoying it be drawn out because I feel like once you get to the end I can't relive our amazing cruise any longer. Ahhh...I want to be back on the ship with you all! :D

Haha Stacy. Yeah I'm the same way. I haven't had as much time to devote but I think it's probably a good thing because I can keep reliving it! Can't believe it's already been a month since we got off the ship!! We should all catch up soon. Hope you guys had fun on your second vacation!

terpfan101
July 9th, 2012, 09:32 AM
Thanks for sharing your cruise experience. We were in Gerorgetown two weeks ago and the line out side the Cup Cake Shope was unbelievable long.

Hi James. Yes it's unbelievable how long those lines can get. Especially on a weekend. The first time I ever bought them, my girlfriend and I got in the line about 100 people deep thinking it couldn't be longer than 15 minutes. Well I was wrong as it took an hour to get a damn cupcake. It was delicious but not worth that long of a wait! It was just infuriating because they could easily speed up the process if they just improved some things within the store and their process. Guess it helps with the mystique though. If you're ever in the DC area again, they have another location in Bethesda, MD that has lines but nothing like the one in Georgetown. You can also place an order online a day ahead of time and pick them up without waiting in the long line.

FutureMrsRe
July 9th, 2012, 12:55 PM
Thank you so much for your awesome review!!! We are getting married 12/2/12 on allure and we are booking our restaurants as we speak and you definitely helped us make a well informed decision! You said Izumi has a limited menu for lunch? Do they not offer their hot rocks during lunch? That is the main reason we wanted to go there! thank you again and I look forward to reading the rest of your review!

BillOh
July 9th, 2012, 02:15 PM
I hope people are still reading this review! Anyway I'm going to get back to it now after a crazy weekend in the Mid Atlantic with the crazy thunderstorms on Friday night that left over a million people without power.

We lost power for 5 days, my daughter for 8 days. At least we know own a generator. Glad your back.

jill5269
July 9th, 2012, 02:20 PM
I have thoroughly enjoyed your review! Such great photos too. You too are a lovely couple. I am going in September and have a few questions.

1. If you book a show and decide not to go, do you still get charged a fee?

2. Is the dinner with wine pairing at 150 CP $75.00?

Thanks so much!

nancydru
July 9th, 2012, 02:42 PM
Thank you so much for this! We will be on Allure over Thanksgiving week this year and are doing all three specialty restaurants you featured. We will be a family of 9 with a toddler, 11 year old and 16 year old. Should be interesting. Excited but a little nervous. My sister has been on the Oasis several times and she is planning the while trip so I feel in good hands. Again, I appreciate you!

terpfan101
July 9th, 2012, 03:10 PM
Thank you so much for your awesome review!!! We are getting married 12/2/12 on allure and we are booking our restaurants as we speak and you definitely helped us make a well informed decision! You said Izumi has a limited menu for lunch? Do they not offer their hot rocks during lunch? That is the main reason we wanted to go there! thank you again and I look forward to reading the rest of your review!

Hi there. Congrats on the upcoming wedding! That's pretty awesome that you'll be getting married on the ship!!! Are you getting married early during the cruise or towards the end? We peaked into the chapel, it's nice but really small. Do you have many guests coming?

Anyway to answer your question, Izumi does not have hot rocks during lunch. I wish I had taken a picture of the menu as I wasn't able to find any last night searching google or the boards. It was basically 6-10 different rolls and a few other sushi based dishes. I don't think anything from the kitchen but I could be wrong. Hope that helps.

terpfan101
July 9th, 2012, 03:11 PM
We lost power for 5 days, my daughter for 8 days. At least we know own a generator. Glad your back.

Geez that's terrible. I'm pretty sure most people had it back within 5 days. Still unbelievable. I'm going to encourage my parents to finally get a generator too.

terpfan101
July 9th, 2012, 03:28 PM
I have thoroughly enjoyed your review! Such great photos too. You too are a lovely couple. I am going in September and have a few questions.

1. If you book a show and decide not to go, do you still get charged a fee?

2. Is the dinner with wine pairing at 150 CP $75.00?

Thanks so much!

Thanks for the kind words Jill! To answer your questions, there is no fee for seeing shows, so if you book a reservation and don't show, you just lose your spot as they switch to open seating on a first come first serve basis something like 15 minutes prior to the show.

Your second question is actually a good one and I'm not quite sure of the answer. I was under the impression that the $75 was for ONLY wine. So it'd be $75 plus $40 for the meal. However your question made me think maybe it is for the entire meal and wine pairing. I did a quick google search and got conflicting information. This person in 2010 says it was $75 for just the wine on top of the food: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1216297. This person in 2011 says it was $75 for both food and wine: http://www.vacationcruisesinfo.com/content/Allure-of-the-Seas-Cruise-Review/150-Central-Park.htm.

So I'm very confused. The menu made it look like it was $75 for the wine itself. You can see an example menu here: http://www.beyondships.com/RCI-OOS-Menu-3.html. It must be old as there was only the one pairing for $75 and not a cheaper one for $55. The fact that there was a cheaper one for $55 makes me thing that it is in fact the price of just the wine as otherwise it'd be only $15 for six glasses of wine. Makes no sense!

Hope that helps and hope you're getting very excited for your cruise.

terpfan101
July 9th, 2012, 03:31 PM
Thank you so much for this! We will be on Allure over Thanksgiving week this year and are doing all three specialty restaurants you featured. We will be a family of 9 with a toddler, 11 year old and 16 year old. Should be interesting. Excited but a little nervous. My sister has been on the Oasis several times and she is planning the while trip so I feel in good hands. Again, I appreciate you!

You are very welcome. I'm guessing that you won't be going to all of those restaurants with the kids? I know they don't allow children under a certain age in the specialty restaurants, the 16 year old would be allowed though. The only one I'd think is good for kids is Giovanni's. I think Thanksgiving week would probably be a great time to go on a cruise so you should have a great time!

I'm going to try to post my next part later tonight. :)

jill5269
July 9th, 2012, 03:37 PM
I'm so sorry! I meant to say a fee for restaurant reservations not used.

FutureMrsRe
July 9th, 2012, 04:22 PM
Yes thank you that helps a lot! We are getting married on embarkation day before the ship leaves. We have around 35-50 people I'm not sure if we are using the chapel, they don't finalize all the details on the venue until mid October. That's a little disappointing about Izumi we were really looking forward to that! Did you get any pictures of the pinnacle lounge by chance since you were by the chapel? That is where our reception is supposed to be. Thanks so much for the help!

terpfan101
July 9th, 2012, 05:29 PM
I'm so sorry! I meant to say a fee for restaurant reservations not used.

Ah in that case if you've booked a reservation and don't cancel within 24 hours you'll be charged $10 per person.

terpfan101
July 9th, 2012, 05:31 PM
Yes thank you that helps a lot! We are getting married on embarkation day before the ship leaves. We have around 35-50 people I'm not sure if we are using the chapel, they don't finalize all the details on the venue until mid October. That's a little disappointing about Izumi we were really looking forward to that! Did you get any pictures of the pinnacle lounge by chance since you were by the chapel? That is where our reception is supposed to be. Thanks so much for the help!

http://www.beyondships.com/RCI-ALOS-Tour-3.html

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1364182

I went in there one night to have a peak and it was empty but looked like a decent size for that small of a reception.

nancydru
July 10th, 2012, 08:59 AM
You are very welcome. I'm guessing that you won't be going to all of those restaurants with the kids? I know they don't allow children under a certain age in the specialty restaurants, the 16 year old would be allowed though. The only one I'd think is good for kids is Giovanni's. I think Thanksgiving week would probably be a great time to go on a cruise so you should have a great time!

I'm going to try to post my next part later tonight. :)

Yes, only my 16 year old can go into 150. I think my 11 and 16 year old are both going to the other two. Actually my 11 year old will turn 12 the week before we leave so she will be a bit older. Can't wait for the port reviews! Thanks!

ksg
July 10th, 2012, 11:59 AM
Is it possible to get a veggie dog at the hot dog house?

beachbuddy
July 10th, 2012, 12:31 PM
Is it possible to get a veggie dog at the hot dog house?

Doesn't look like it..................try this link:

http://www.cruisereviews.com/forum/royal-caribbean-cruise-line/22458-allure-seas-doghouse-photos.html

snorkelman
July 10th, 2012, 01:06 PM
Any ETA for the compass?

ksg
July 10th, 2012, 09:40 PM
Doesn't look like it..................try this link:

http://www.cruisereviews.com/forum/royal-caribbean-cruise-line/22458-allure-seas-doghouse-photos.html

Thanks. Too bad. I guess there's not a lot of demand for "not" dogs.

terpfan101
July 10th, 2012, 11:18 PM
I was very excited to go to Labadee again as I had been there on my Navigator cruise back in 2004 but had heard a lot about how much it has changed in the last several years. Some people said for it changed for better others for worse. As I mentioned earlier, we ate dinner on the second night with our new friends Aaron and Amy. They invited us and Todd and Stacy to join them in their cabana on Barefoot Beach. How exciting! Since we decided to meet them at about 9:30AM that morning I decided that we should have room service for breakfast.

I just realized I forgot to touch on room service during my food review. Well room service was very good. We ordered it twice and each time used the menu on the TV to order. Both times the order came on time (at the start of the 30 minute window we specified) and they called about 10-15 minutes before hand to say they were on the way. The food was good and the portions just right. Here I am enjoying our balcony with breakfast as you can see the mountains in Labadee in the background.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/575211_10101129642529168_391820073_n.jpg

We met everyone in the Crown Loft suite and headed out to Labadee. The last time I was there we had to tender in. No more tendering which was great. It definitely took too much time the last time. We were on and off the ship in under just a few minutes...no lines to be found!

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/526815_10101129643696828_31045590_n.jpg

We took a few pictures and made our way to Barefoot Beach when Aaron saw a guy and said we were going to Barefoot Beach. The man took us on a golfcart to the beach. He gave us all a wristband. I believe Aaron told the concierge the day before that we'd be joining them and thus were on a list. We were shown to our over water cabana and I must say that I was very impressed. Prior to the cruise, I saw the cabanas and thought that they were a waste of money. After our day there, I take back any bad thing I may have said about them. They are wonderful! I'm not sure how the ones on Nellie's Beach compare though. Maybe it was just Barefoot Beach that was amazing. Here's the view from our cabana.

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/560596_10101129643028168_632253983_n.jpg

We had a cabana attendant who took our drink orders. He also brought us six floating beach mats. Sweet! I had recalled seeing that the cabana only comes with two, which I thought was a ripoff considering you can have up to six people in one. So it was really nice to have one each. Those alone are $12 to rent for the day, so having six covers about 35% of the cabana cost. We also had a cooler on our cabana that contained three large bottles of Evian which were included. The cabana had several sofa like seats and two lounge chairs. It was pretty cool inside too.

Anyway we spent much of the day just being in the water, chatting and getting to know one another. Lindsay and I kept saying to one another how nice it was and how appreciative we were of Aaron and Amy to invite us all to join them as it really made the day wonderful. It was easily my favorite stop during the cruise and I'm sure that was a result of spending the day with all of them on Barefoot Beach. So to Aaron when you read this...thank you again!!

Us in the water:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/398971_10101290837892362_1893223129_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/282858_10151187144253747_1103929210_n.jpg

For lunch we were able to go to the "upgraded" buffet which was exclusively for Barefoot Beach (suite guests). The food was good. They had burgers, dogs, chicken, all of which were available to everyone. The "upgrade" was that they had scallops, shrimp, and steak available for us. I must say that those three items were pretty disappointing. The steak was definitely a cheap cut and overcooked. The shrimp was lacking in flavor and the scallops were just okay. So if you think that getting access to the upgraded buffet is a huge selling point of booking a cabana, you're in for a real let down. Maybe it's better and we just had a bad day. They also had a bunch of different side items like salads and veggies. We also got some drinks from the bar, where service was friendly. The bar menu was pretty limited though. They had some beers and a few mixed drinks on it. I'm sure you could have requested some other things though, but no frozen drinks were to be had.

One important note! DO NOT FORGET TO KEEP APPLYING SUNSCREEN! Each and every one of us got somewhat sunburned in Labadee. Those beach mats are terrible for that reason! You should have seen Todd's back. Anyway take precautions as the sun is strong in the Caribbean and with Labadee being the first port, people are likely to be less intense with the sunscreen until they get that bad burn.

Overall the day was amazing. As I said already, the cabanas are highly recommended, especially if you have six people to go with...not sure if I could justify it for just two people. Barefoot Beach was wonderful and really had a quiet island feeling to it. We didn't try any of the new activities such as the zipline, aqua park, or roller coaster, and frankly I'm not too upset over not having done them. The zipline would have been fun but was outrageous in price for a short ride, but I'd have liked to do that. I've done the Aqua Park elements at my summer camp. All in all though Labadee is amazing and I'd love to go back again.

More pictures to follow!

terpfan101
July 10th, 2012, 11:21 PM
Couples pictures:

Lindsay and I:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/601192_10101129642763698_1797365697_n.jpg

Aaron & Amy (look at that water!!!):
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/252354_10151187143863747_1238965715_n.jpg

Todd & Stacy:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/224864_10101290837573002_234093609_n.jpg

My obligatory feet pics: :cool:
https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/197661_10101129643497228_1184153746_n.jpg

https://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/600169_10101129643602018_730063571_n.jpg

Up next: Falmouth, Jamaica

terpfan101
July 10th, 2012, 11:23 PM
Any ETA for the compass?

Hi snorkelman. Thanks for being patient. I'm going to bring them to work and scan them next week I hope.

kingsnake57
July 11th, 2012, 01:29 AM
very nice review!
From what I recall from last year on Oasis, it was $75 with wine pairing at 150.
I have a general question. I noticed you enjoying room service on your balcony. On Oasis, we tried a few times to order morning room service via the interactive TV. We were unsucessful each time. Did we do something wrong? Glitch in there system? Has anyone else had problems? On all the other ships we've been on, never had a problem.

FutureMrsRe
July 12th, 2012, 02:23 PM
Quick question, when you went to the windjammer did you happen to eat the seafood paella? My fiancé wants it for the wedding & RC said we can have it as long as it was available on allure :) thank you!

TNcruiser829
July 14th, 2012, 12:34 PM
Thank you for this review. The pics have been great. I hope you're not done yet.

BekkaW
July 15th, 2012, 01:54 AM
This is a fabulous review! We're honeymooning on Oasis western route this November and I am now resolved to book the central park dining package and a cabanna in Labadee.

Looking forward to the rest of your review :)

terpfan101
July 16th, 2012, 09:31 PM
Hi everyone. Sorry I've not posted in a while. I've been pretty busy and was away for the weekend. Anyway to answer a few questions above, I'm surprised if it was $75 including wine pairing.

As far as the seafood paella in windjammer I don't recall for sure whether they had it there. Don't think so though.

terpfan101
July 16th, 2012, 10:24 PM
After reading the posts about Falmouth, most of which were negative, I initially wasn't very excited about our day in Falmouth. However after finding a few ideas I started to warm up a bit more to it. Based on a lot of people's positive feedback on both Cruise Critic and TripAdvisor, I decided to book a tour with Phil Lafayette http://www.jamaicaphil.com/. His tour included transportation to Dunns River Falls and highlights of Ochos Rios. I had read online that he might also take you to a Jamaican restaurant or other sights if the group wanted to. Anyway arrived in Falmouth and made our walk to the end of the pier where we easily found Phil and he led us to our air conditioned van. There was a family of three already there waiting. Phil said he was going back to wait for others and left us waiting for him. It was a bit odd. I was getting a bit annoyed as we waited between 30-45 minutes for him to return with a family of 5 or 6. I later learned after asking the other family, that they just decided to join the tour after getting a decent offer from him at the pier. I guess he didn't have many people. I can understand needing to get other people to make money, but I'd have rather him say that to us up front so I wasn't left wondering.

He returned and we finally got on our way. Phil was a nice guy and full of information about the different sights we were driving by. He was funny too and you could tell he really loved his country. I appreciated hearing about the things we were seeing but at that point was not too keen on his frequent stops to point out a tree or what not as we were already late and I didn't want to get to Dunns River Falls and have to wait in long lines. Part of his selling point was that we'd get to the falls early. We made it there by around noon (an hour after I expected). Thankfully though I guess he has connections with people working there and we were brought right to the front of the line.

We proceeded to join a large group of about 20 total people and met our guide who led us up our climb of the Falls. It is definitely challenging as there are lots of slippery rocks and some giant "steps" to climb. It was very cool though as the falls were very big.

Here are a bunch of pictures taken on a cheapo disposable waterproof camera:
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/577106_10101129645927358_1013138832_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/251957_10101129646111988_406651872_n.jpg

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/556915_10101129646536138_553517994_n.jpg

Ugh to the man in the background of this picture!
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/179582_10101129646700808_2012289920_n.jpg

After we were done we had to proceed through the dreaded market where every single person selling the exact same things tried to convince you to come look at their stuff. We just kept walking and didn't respond. We bought a bottle of Coke which being made with real sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup is MUCH better than our Coke! The fact that Coca Cola doesn't use real sugar in the US ticks me off.

There were two little tables of stuff being sold near the end and I looked at some items. I decided to offer a lady $3 for a shot glass for my youngest brother (going to be a freshman in college) which she immediately said sure to my price, which made me realize I could have offered $2. Oh well, she probably needed the $1 a lot more than me.

We went back to the van at about 2:45. The family of three had purchased a different package where they would get to do a river rafting trip. As a result he dropped everyone else off at this market area where there was shopping and some restaurants and a beach. We would have about an hour there when he would return to meet us after the other family did their rafting. This was what really let me down about Phil. Most of the shops were closed, there was a Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville though. In addition, the beach was pretty disappointing. The water was really pretty, but the beach itself was disappointing. Not only that but we were hounded by Jamaican guys trying to sell us stuff like necklaces. This one guy wasn't too pushy though and actually was very nice and talked to me for a bit. He offered to take this picture and thus at the end I ended up just giving him a dollar. However quickly after that another guy came by to ask to sell us something I just told him no.
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/550641_10101129647080048_1557638378_n.jpg

By the time Phil returned to drive us back, it was about 4:15. The ship left at 7PM so we just wanted to get back to the ship. Phil asked if we wanted to go to get a meal but after starting nearly an hour later than planned, I think we all just wanted to return to the ship. We made our way back by about 5:00 and thanked him. He did mention something about tips which I thought was a bit tacky. I still gave him something anyway as he did a good job overall.

My overall conclusion though on our tour with Phil is a 4/5. He got us to DRF safely and informed us about avoiding the merchants and what not. He was very informative and a genuinely nice guy. However, starting off so late was disappointing as was being dropped off at the disappointing shops/beach. However since we wanted to see DRF, which he did take us to for a price that was less than the ship's excursion (Dunns River Falls Express - $67 for an adult) I can't really complain too much. I can sort of see why he has a high rating on TripAdvisor, however I think the negative ratings probably experienced some of the similar things we did. I do think that if you had a large group (5+ people), then perhaps Phil would be a good idea as you wouldn't need to wait most likely the way we did. I would also recommend to him that he offer only one tour or find a better drop off spot to take people to.

Also my final thoughts on Falmouth and Jamaica. Unfortunately I think this port is a dud. I would definitely not be too eager to go back to Jamaica again, although if I did, I'd stick to a beach. I have to wonder why the people think their pushiness with selling things works. Maybe it's just me, but that sort of behavior completely puts me off from wanting to buy something from you. Another thing is that while DRF was cool, it was a bit of a waste of time to have to spend about 90 minutes in a van to get there. I'd stick to a nearby beach if I ever went again or spend the day on the ship.

smeck
July 17th, 2012, 10:01 AM
After reading the posts about Falmouth, most of which were negative, I initially wasn't very excited about our day in Falmouth. However after finding a few ideas I started to warm up a bit more to it. Based on a lot of people's positive feedback on both Cruise Critic and TripAdvisor, I decided to book a tour with Phil Lafayette http://www.jamaicaphil.com/. His tour included transportation to Dunns River Falls and highlights of Ochos Rios. I had read online that he might also take you to a Jamaican restaurant or other sights if the group wanted to. Anyway arrived in Falmouth and made our walk to the end of the pier where we easily found Phil and he led us to our air conditioned van. There was a family of three already there waiting. Phil said he was going back to wait for others and left us waiting for him. It was a bit odd. I was getting a bit annoyed as we waited between 30-45 minutes for him to return with a family of 5 or 6. I later learned after asking the other family, that they just decided to join the tour after getting a decent offer from him at the pier. I guess he didn't have many people. I can understand needing to get other people to make money, but I'd have rather him say that to us up front so I wasn't left wondering.

He returned and we finally got on our way. Phil was a nice guy and full of information about the different sights we were driving by. He was funny too and you could tell he really loved his country. I appreciated hearing about the things we were seeing but at that point was not too keen on his frequent stops to point out a tree or what not as we were already late and I didn't want to get to Dunns River Falls and have to wait in long lines. Part of his selling point was that we'd get to the falls early. We made it there by around noon (an hour after I expected). Thankfully though I guess he has connections with people working there and we were brought right to the front of the line.

We proceeded to join a large group of about 20 total people and met our guide who led us up our climb of the Falls. It is definitely challenging as there are lots of slippery rocks and some giant "steps" to climb. It was very cool though as the falls were very big.

Here are a bunch of pictures taken on a cheapo disposable waterproof camera:
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/577106_10101129645927358_1013138832_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/251957_10101129646111988_406651872_n.jpg

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/556915_10101129646536138_553517994_n.jpg

Ugh to the man in the background of this picture!
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/179582_10101129646700808_2012289920_n.jpg

After we were done we had to proceed through the dreaded market where every single person selling the exact same things tried to convince you to come look at their stuff. We just kept walking and didn't respond. We bought a bottle of Coke which being made with real sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup is MUCH better than our Coke! The fact that Coca Cola doesn't use real sugar in the US ticks me off.

There were two little tables of stuff being sold near the end and I looked at some items. I decided to offer a lady $3 for a shot glass for my youngest brother (going to be a freshman in college) which she immediately said sure to my price, which made me realize I could have offered $2. Oh well, she probably needed the $1 a lot more than me.

We went back to the van at about 2:45. The family of three had purchased a different package where they would get to do a river rafting trip. As a result he dropped everyone else off at this market area where there was shopping and some restaurants and a beach. We would have about an hour there when he would return to meet us after the other family did their rafting. This was what really let me down about Phil. Most of the shops were closed, there was a Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville though. In addition, the beach was pretty disappointing. The water was really pretty, but the beach itself was disappointing. Not only that but we were hounded by Jamaican guys trying to sell us stuff like necklaces. This one guy wasn't too pushy though and actually was very nice and talked to me for a bit. He offered to take this picture and thus at the end I ended up just giving him a dollar. However quickly after that another guy came by to ask to sell us something I just told him no.
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/550641_10101129647080048_1557638378_n.jpg

By the time Phil returned to drive us back, it was about 4:15. The ship left at 7PM so we just wanted to get back to the ship. Phil asked if we wanted to go to get a meal but after starting nearly an hour later than planned, I think we all just wanted to return to the ship. We made our way back by about 5:00 and thanked him. He did mention something about tips which I thought was a bit tacky. I still gave him something anyway as he did a good job overall.

My overall conclusion though on our tour with Phil is a 4/5. He got us to DRF safely and informed us about avoiding the merchants and what not. He was very informative and a genuinely nice guy. However, starting off so late was disappointing as was being dropped off at the disappointing shops/beach. However since we wanted to see DRF, which he did take us to for a price that was less than the ship's excursion (Dunns River Falls Express - $67 for an adult) I can't really complain too much. I can sort of see why he has a high rating on TripAdvisor, however I think the negative ratings probably experienced some of the similar things we did. I do think that if you had a large group (5+ people), then perhaps Phil would be a good idea as you wouldn't need to wait most likely the way we did. I would also recommend to him that he offer only one tour or find a better drop off spot to take people to.

Also my final thoughts on Falmouth and Jamaica. Unfortunately I think this port is a dud. I would definitely not be too eager to go back to Jamaica again, although if I did, I'd stick to a beach. I have to wonder why the people think their pushiness with selling things works. Maybe it's just me, but that sort of behavior completely puts me off from wanting to buy something from you. Another thing is that while DRF was cool, it was a bit of a waste of time to have to spend about 90 minutes in a van to get there. I'd stick to a nearby beach if I ever went again or spend the day on the ship.

I think an all inclusive beach day would be the perfect excursion for Falmouth.

beachbuddy
July 17th, 2012, 10:09 AM
After reading the posts about Falmouth, most of which were negative, I initially wasn't very excited about our day in Falmouth. However after finding a few ideas I started to warm up a bit more to it. Based on a lot of people's positive feedback on both Cruise Critic and TripAdvisor, I decided to book a tour with Phil Lafayette http://www.jamaicaphil.com/. His tour included transportation to Dunns River Falls and highlights of Ochos Rios. I had read online that he might also take you to a Jamaican restaurant or other sights if the group wanted to. Anyway arrived in Falmouth and made our walk to the end of the pier where we easily found Phil and he led us to our air conditioned van. There was a family of three already there waiting. Phil said he was going back to wait for others and left us waiting for him. It was a bit odd. I was getting a bit annoyed as we waited between 30-45 minutes for him to return with a family of 5 or 6. I later learned after asking the other family, that they just decided to join the tour after getting a decent offer from him at the pier. I guess he didn't have many people. I can understand needing to get other people to make money, but I'd have rather him say that to us up front so I wasn't left wondering.

He returned and we finally got on our way. Phil was a nice guy and full of information about the different sights we were driving by. He was funny too and you could tell he really loved his country. I appreciated hearing about the things we were seeing but at that point was not too keen on his frequent stops to point out a tree or what not as we were already late and I didn't want to get to Dunns River Falls and have to wait in long lines. Part of his selling point was that we'd get to the falls early. We made it there by around noon (an hour after I expected). Thankfully though I guess he has connections with people working there and we were brought right to the front of the line.

We proceeded to join a large group of about 20 total people and met our guide who led us up our climb of the Falls. It is definitely challenging as there are lots of slippery rocks and some giant "steps" to climb. It was very cool though as the falls were very big.

Here are a bunch of pictures taken on a cheapo disposable waterproof camera:
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/577106_10101129645927358_1013138832_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/251957_10101129646111988_406651872_n.jpg

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/556915_10101129646536138_553517994_n.jpg

Ugh to the man in the background of this picture!
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/179582_10101129646700808_2012289920_n.jpg

After we were done we had to proceed through the dreaded market where every single person selling the exact same things tried to convince you to come look at their stuff. We just kept walking and didn't respond. We bought a bottle of Coke which being made with real sugar as opposed to high fructose corn syrup is MUCH better than our Coke! The fact that Coca Cola doesn't use real sugar in the US ticks me off.

There were two little tables of stuff being sold near the end and I looked at some items. I decided to offer a lady $3 for a shot glass for my youngest brother (going to be a freshman in college) which she immediately said sure to my price, which made me realize I could have offered $2. Oh well, she probably needed the $1 a lot more than me.

We went back to the van at about 2:45. The family of three had purchased a different package where they would get to do a river rafting trip. As a result he dropped everyone else off at this market area where there was shopping and some restaurants and a beach. We would have about an hour there when he would return to meet us after the other family did their rafting. This was what really let me down about Phil. Most of the shops were closed, there was a Jimmy Buffets Margaritaville though. In addition, the beach was pretty disappointing. The water was really pretty, but the beach itself was disappointing. Not only that but we were hounded by Jamaican guys trying to sell us stuff like necklaces. This one guy wasn't too pushy though and actually was very nice and talked to me for a bit. He offered to take this picture and thus at the end I ended up just giving him a dollar. However quickly after that another guy came by to ask to sell us something I just told him no.
https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/550641_10101129647080048_1557638378_n.jpg

By the time Phil returned to drive us back, it was about 4:15. The ship left at 7PM so we just wanted to get back to the ship. Phil asked if we wanted to go to get a meal but after starting nearly an hour later than planned, I think we all just wanted to return to the ship. We made our way back by about 5:00 and thanked him. He did mention something about tips which I thought was a bit tacky. I still gave him something anyway as he did a good job overall.

My overall conclusion though on our tour with Phil is a 4/5. He got us to DRF safely and informed us about avoiding the merchants and what not. He was very informative and a genuinely nice guy. However, starting off so late was disappointing as was being dropped off at the disappointing shops/beach. However since we wanted to see DRF, which he did take us to for a price that was less than the ship's excursion (Dunns River Falls Express - $67 for an adult) I can't really complain too much. I can sort of see why he has a high rating on TripAdvisor, however I think the negative ratings probably experienced some of the similar things we did. I do think that if you had a large group (5+ people), then perhaps Phil would be a good idea as you wouldn't need to wait most likely the way we did. I would also recommend to him that he offer only one tour or find a better drop off spot to take people to.

Also my final thoughts on Falmouth and Jamaica. Unfortunately I think this port is a dud. I would definitely not be too eager to go back to Jamaica again, although if I did, I'd stick to a beach. I have to wonder why the people think their pushiness with selling things works. Maybe it's just me, but that sort of behavior completely puts me off from wanting to buy something from you. Another thing is that while DRF was cool, it was a bit of a waste of time to have to spend about 90 minutes in a van to get there. I'd stick to a nearby beach if I ever went again or spend the day on the ship.

Thanks for the review of the Falmouth port. We're headed there in December and I'm not thrilled about it. We have been to Ochos Rios twice - first time did the tour and Dunns River with Pete Taylor which we really enjoyed and second time just got off the ship to buy blue mountain coffee and had lunch at Margaritaville as it's right next to the port. There is't anything else I want to do or see in Jamaica and as you said, everything is pretty far from the port of Falmouth.

We're thinking of booking a day pass at the Hilton Rose Hall for the day which includes transportation, use of their pools, slides, lazy river, beach, food, drinks. If we don't do that we'll probably just get off the ship, buy coffee at the port and spend the day on the ship. Wish we were going to Grand Cayman instead.

terpfan101
July 17th, 2012, 03:21 PM
Thanks for the review of the Falmouth port. We're headed there in December and I'm not thrilled about it. We have been to Ochos Rios twice - first time did the tour and Dunns River with Pete Taylor which we really enjoyed and second time just got off the ship to buy blue mountain coffee and had lunch at Margaritaville as it's right next to the port. There is't anything else I want to do or see in Jamaica and as you said, everything is pretty far from the port of Falmouth.

We're thinking of booking a day pass at the Hilton Rose Hall for the day which includes transportation, use of their pools, slides, lazy river, beach, food, drinks. If we don't do that we'll probably just get off the ship, buy coffee at the port and spend the day on the ship. Wish we were going to Grand Cayman instead.

I did read some good things about the Hilton Rose Hall and I believe another all inclusive type beach day. However after spending a day at the beach in Labadee and a day at Chankanaab Park in Cozumel (another beach day), I wasn't too keen on having a third beach day. There's lots of adventure type stuff in Jamaica such as zipline type things, however I was skeptical of the safety of such places.

beachbuddy
July 17th, 2012, 04:19 PM
I did read some good things about the Hilton Rose Hall and I believe another all inclusive type beach day. However after spending a day at the beach in Labadee and a day at Chankanaab Park in Cozumel (another beach day), I wasn't too keen on having a third beach day. There's lots of adventure type stuff in Jamaica such as zipline type things, however I was skeptical of the safety of such places.

LOL..........because we are much older and wiser, we won't be doing any zip lines............LOL We did Dunns River back in 2002 and I was surprised then that I even made it all the way to the top!!!! I was very proud of myself!!! LOL

Waiting to hear about Chankanaab Park.

Patty

manc4som
July 17th, 2012, 04:31 PM
I love reading your posts. It has helped me for make a list of what to look for and what not. I am traveling with about 9 people and you have covered so much that i know what will interest some and not others. Thanks again. Also just wanted to let you know that in 2010 I had traveled to Jamaica on a RC cruise and did the zip line with my daughter and it was most definitely enjoyed it was a great experience. They were very thorough with the equipment and directions. Next time give it a try you will love it..

I know this has nothing to do with your review but I had a question since you are so good at finding things on the web. How will i be able to find how many cruise points you would receive for the cruises you go on. I cant seem to locate it on the crown and anchore.
Thanks again for the review..

manc4som
July 17th, 2012, 04:58 PM
Ok if I look real hard then I will find what i am looking for. I finally found my answer to my question. Thanks again.

irismike
July 18th, 2012, 04:33 PM
Terpfan101: We are going on the Allure Eastern Carib October 28th and enjoyed you review. IT WAS GREAT!!.
Questions: Is there a charge for Cupcake, Boardwalk (Hot Dogs), Vitality, etc.?
Any input about Samba Restaurant?
Did you book your shows in advance (before you went on the cruise)?
We are doing 6:00 PM anytime dining. Will we miss the first formal night reception?
Any tips on which shows and times we should go to.
Any other info (I'm sure you covered everything)you can suggest would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this fabulous review.

bravostar
July 18th, 2012, 07:38 PM
We will be on the Allure in October. Great review!!!! Thank you very much.

sapphire2810
July 18th, 2012, 07:51 PM
How about that! You were just a few rooms down!! Crazy. Thanks for stopping by and glad you had a fun time on the cruise too!


Enjoying your review, great job, will be on Allure 8/2013.
Looking forward to hearing more and seeing more pics.

Ramblin' Ma'am
July 19th, 2012, 01:56 PM
This is a great review. Thanks for taking the time to post in so much detail!

tropiclvrs
July 19th, 2012, 02:34 PM
Thanks again for posting your very informative review! We did DRF about 10 years ago and had fun but aren't interested in doing it again (especially with 2 kids). Out of curiosity (and for ideas when we are there next month), what did your friends do while in Falmouth, and did they have fun?

ilikepups
July 19th, 2012, 03:09 PM
Terpfan101: We are going on the Allure Eastern Carib October 28th and enjoyed you review. IT WAS GREAT!!.
Questions: Is there a charge for Cupcake, Boardwalk (Hot Dogs), Vitality, etc.?
Any input about Samba Restaurant?
Did you book your shows in advance (before you went on the cruise)?
We are doing 6:00 PM anytime dining. Will we miss the first formal night reception?
Any tips on which shows and times we should go to.
Any other info (I'm sure you covered everything)you can suggest would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this fabulous review.
We were on the Allure first part of June also. There is a charge for the Cupcakes, no charge for the Boardwalk hot dogs, no charge for Vitality i don't think. The Samba was a good place for a light breakfast too, no charge, Im not sure if this was where Vitality was or not. I was confused on that. Park Cafe, no charge, be sure to get the great beef sandwich!! We ate at the Samba twice, we really enjoyed it. Lots of food. One tip do not load up on the salad bar and the great little bread balls they serve you in a bucket before the meal.. You want to have room to taste all the meats. We skipped the chicken also the second time. It was ok but chicken is chicken and can get it anywhere. I would suggest booking a specialty restaurant on the first night of the cruise. The main dinning room for anytime dining is very disorganized on the first night. The hostess even told us that the first night is always like that. Long lines even if you have a reservation. Not that you won't get in but it is just crazy. I think if you wait and book the Samba room till you are on board it is discounted the first night. All though we booked it before we got on they did give us the discount at the hostess desk at the Samba when we aked for it. The discount is only good on the first night though. It was not crowded at all the first night.

reallyhooked
July 19th, 2012, 09:35 PM
I'll definitely be covering that when I talk about the food and specialties but in short, no real issues and I do think it was worth it. :)
I like your review. We will be cruising on Allure in December.

terpfan101
July 20th, 2012, 09:59 PM
Terpfan101: We are going on the Allure Eastern Carib October 28th and enjoyed you review. IT WAS GREAT!!.
Questions: Is there a charge for Cupcake, Boardwalk (Hot Dogs), Vitality, etc.?
Any input about Samba Restaurant?
Did you book your shows in advance (before you went on the cruise)?
We are doing 6:00 PM anytime dining. Will we miss the first formal night reception?
Any tips on which shows and times we should go to.
Any other info (I'm sure you covered everything)you can suggest would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for taking the time to do this fabulous review.

Hi there irismike. Here are the answers to your questions:
Yes there is a charge for Cupcake Cupboard. Something like $2.XX a cupcake. No charge for Boardwalk Dog House. Vitality Cafe only has a charge for drinks (like smoothies) but food is free.

The captain's reception goes from 7:15-8:30, so you should be able to catch the end of it if you eat at 6PM.

I recommend seeing all of the shows and to not schedule a show late (after 10PM) on nights three and four as the Quest and Love & Marriage are then.

Stay tuned I have a few more parts of my review.

terpfan101
July 20th, 2012, 10:01 PM
Thanks again for posting your very informative review! We did DRF about 10 years ago and had fun but aren't interested in doing it again (especially with 2 kids). Out of curiosity (and for ideas when we are there next month), what did your friends do while in Falmouth, and did they have fun?

Aaron and Amy did Dunns River Falls too but with the ship I believe and it also had something else as part of the trip. Todd and Stacy did a Jamaican bobsled excursion and enjoyed it! Hope that helps.

terpfan101
July 20th, 2012, 10:47 PM
So this review is taking me a long time to finish! I don't mind though as it's letting me keep the memories going just a bit longer! Anyway I'm nearly through with the review after this post.

I was excited to visit Cozumel having read all about the numerous activities to do there. During the planning process, I was considering either a dolphin swim at Chankanaab National Park or going to the beach either there, Mr. Sancho's, Nachi Cocum, or a few others. In the end after some back and forth between the ideas, I decided to book the dolphin and manatee excursion through the ship. I had been set to book the Dolphin Swim Adventure directly through dolphin discovery. It would have been 25% off if booked in advance, so $75 a person. However since Lindsay really wanted to go to a nicer beach (she had been to Chankanaab years ago with her family and didn't like it much), I thought we could go early for the dolphins and then go to Mr. Sancho's Beach Club. The only issue was that booking directly meant a start time of 10AM local time (11AM ship time). This would be too late if we wanted to go to another beach. So I went with the ship's dolphin and manatee package which included just about everything in that package. It was $25 more per person but included round trip transportation and we met at 8:30AM ship time so I figured it'd start around 9AM ship time. This was correct as we were there before it really got crowded. I also thought it'd be cool to see manatees.

Anyway we made our way to our meeting point at the pier and after waiting about 15 minutes were met by our nice guide who arranged for taxis to take us to the park and explained everything to us there about the logistics. We were shown to the lockers which were free to use. We then divided into groups of about 10-12 people each and had one dolphin trainer start to talk to us about the dolphins before we would get in the water.

Everyone got in the water and sort of stood along the edge of the "pool" and the dolphins began to swim around. Our trainer had each person take turns doing the different activities. Everyone had a chance to do a dolphin kiss, "holding the dolphin like a baby", getting pulled by grabbing onto the dolphin's fins for a belly ride, and getting pushed the dolphin while laying on a boogie board. We also got to see the dolphins do some tricks and the dolphins would frequently swim by so we could touch them. I will also say that these occurred in no particular order. So for example, a few people might get to do the kiss and then he would have somebody go out to the middle and do the belly ride. However he made sure everyone did everything.

Here are quite a few pictures from the low quality cheapo disposable waterproof camera:

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/577086_10101129649500198_1368875449_n.jpg

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/536141_10101129649570058_209530917_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/600128_10101129649709778_131216953_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/179565_10101129649784628_1854463900_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/270839_10101129650074048_1034799152_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/403462_10101129650368458_1995217979_n.jpg

terpfan101
July 20th, 2012, 11:04 PM
I had read conflicting reports about the ability to bring a camera, but you were able to bring a waterproof camera if you were in fact participating. You could not have somebody else taking pictures from the dock. Unfortunately the disposable one didn't take great pictures, but I figured they'd suffice. After about an hour of everyone getting a turn to do everything, we were taken to another "pool" to meet the manatees. They were interesting looking creatures, very large and not too cute looking. They weren't as exciting as the dolphins as they just sort of swam around and we could pet them and give them lettuce to eat. Here is a bad picture:

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/525952_10101129650523148_494615215_n.jpg

After everything was over we had the opportunity to view all of the pictures that their professional photographer took of us. You view them on a computer and can pick which ones you want. The pictures were actually really good, but the prices were ridiculous. They wanted $29 for one photo printed, or for $79 for the first person and an additional amount for each additional person you could get every photo on a disk. It was going to be around $130 for the both of us and I couldn't justify spending that much when I really would have only wanted about half of the pictures they took (tons of duplicates). However as you had more people, the cost per person went down significantly. I saw a family of about 6+ buy the disk and it was something like $40 per person. I had read that you could negotiate with them, which I tried...however either my negotiating skills are terrible or the man was in fact telling me the truth that they can't discount it. So we bought none of them. That'd be my only real complaint about the park and the dolphin swim.

After we finished it was nearly noon and we debated whether we should go to Mr. Sancho's or stay put. We decided to stay at Chankanaab for a little while and then it started to rain for about 20 minutes. We just decided it'd be easier to stay there as it was still relaxing and we wouldn't have to take yet another taxi ride. If I ever go back, I'd definitely go to a nicer beach area. Here is a picture of the area that we spent a few hours at. I will say it was beautiful, just wish the beach itself was better.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/403467_10101129651206778_1823011517_n.jpg

So as Lindsay had told me ahead of time, the beach at the park is man made and doesn't have sand leading into the water. Instead there are lots of steps to walk down into the water but to do so you have to step onto rocks. There were tons of fish to see though right near the rocks. There were tons of snorkelers and it looked like they could see a good amount of fish.

We spent about 2.5 hours just laying in the chairs under an umbrella looking out to the beach. As it was about lunch time, we got some guacamole and chips. WOW! The guacamole was the best I've ever had! The chips were pretty amazing too. As that wasn't enough, we shared chicken quesadillas later on. They were okay nothing special. I think the food was probably just okay there (minus the excellent guac). I think some of the other beach places might have more authentic food.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/556902_892296428889_1116957635_n.jpg

Here are some more pictures from our afternoon there:

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/601259_892296393959_1298668055_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/599382_892296408929_123712518_n.jpg

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/600941_892296463819_1929786967_n.jpg

terpfan101
July 20th, 2012, 11:13 PM
I have a lot of pictures from Cozumel!

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/550532_892296493759_1300832962_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/421425_892296508729_971494123_n.jpg

We could get used to this view:

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/181158_892296523699_941826726_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/554715_892296543659_1622394827_n.jpg

How pretty are these trees?

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/578091_892296558629_1275361176_n.jpg

We ended up leaving the park at around 2:30PM ship time and made our way back to the port where we did some brief shopping. The shopping in port is pretty poor. You really need to go downtown to get to the good shopping. We didn't care much to do that though. Oh and I thought I'd note that at all of the ports, the price for bottles of liquor was far more expensive than the price on the ship!

As we made our way back to the ship, we saw the Carnival Magic docked near the Allure and wow what a difference in size there was! This picture isn't the best as I was probably too close to show the magnitude of the Allure compared to the Magic.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/285751_892296568609_1091492815_n.jpg

All in all, Cozumel was a pretty good port and I think there's probably enough to do there that you could come back and not be bored. If I ever went back, I'd try to go to a nicer beach for the day. Well thanks for reading and stay tuned as I'll just have a few more posts before I conclude this review. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Up next (in several future posts): Random photos and other miscellaneous things not covered, departure, overall conclusions, and cruise compass scans.

irismike
July 21st, 2012, 02:02 AM
Thanks for all your help. We were going to do the Samba on the 6th night to celebrate our Anniversary.

JamesEM
July 21st, 2012, 02:12 AM
terpfan101 - Where did you dock while you were in Cozumel?

terpfan101
July 22nd, 2012, 02:30 PM
terpfan101 - Where did you dock while you were in Cozumel?

I thought it was probably just the main dock? I just looked it up and it appears to be called "TMM International Pier". Hope that helps.

terpfan101
July 22nd, 2012, 02:38 PM
Thanks for all your help. We were going to do the Samba on the 6th night to celebrate our Anniversary.

I just saw you are from Middletown NY...I went to/worked at a summer camp in Milford, PA and when working there would usually go to the Middletown Mall and movies on days off!

Samba seems pretty good, but I'd say that the other restaurants I attended might make for a better anniversary dinner.

terpfan101
July 22nd, 2012, 09:03 PM
As promised here are some random pictures that I have yet to post:

They have lots of viewing lenses throughout the ship that zoom in an insane amount. Here's Lindsay spying on the big houses while still docked in Ft. Lauderdale.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/543595_10101129635248758_913895639_n.jpg

I don't think I touched on the On Air Club, but the karaoke they had every night seemed like a lot of fun. Don't forget to check out the photo booth inside On Air where you can send a free photo postcard or video card to family/friends back home. We sent this one to our parents early during the cruise and they got it that day:

https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/428798_10101194708531378_196303457_n.jpg

The email that was sent had this generic message:
"Hi, If you're reading this then you already know... I'm on a cruise! I'm on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas and I'm not going to lie, it's pretty awesome. They've got surfing and rock climbing and ice skating and a spa AND a recording booth where I made YOU a Photo postcard. Check it out"

You could choose from one of several backgrounds. Pretty cool!

Zoltar on the boardwalk...$1 to get your fortune which I didn't do (and didn't see anyone do it).

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc6/250847_10101129635573108_1172109855_n.jpg

With the Captain:

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/599850_10101129648212778_81325886_n.jpg

The artwork on the ship is amazing. Each of the staircases (four total) have different artwork at each deck. Here's one we took a picture of:

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/481162_10101132783794048_1459074818_n.jpg

Funhouse mirrors on the Boardwalk:
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/554619_10101129644634948_1022934520_n.jpg

Up next: Finding Cubans on a raft, departure, overall conclusions, cruise compasses. If I've missed anything please ask!

mchcruiser1000
July 23rd, 2012, 08:05 AM
Loved your picture of the Magic by the Allure :). I have the same picture from the opposite perspective as I was on the Magic about 2 weeks before your trip. Seeing the Allure at Cozumel made me decide it was my next ship:D.

tennisstar28
July 23rd, 2012, 12:03 PM
I booked this restaraunt but my husband does not eat seafood at all. How did you know what was going to be on the menu ahead of time and what was the process of calling ahead to substitue a meal out?

Thanks

mivama
July 23rd, 2012, 12:40 PM
Fantastic review!! Thanks for all your hard work putting it together--I've got less than 5 weeks to go before I'm onboard.
I had a quick question about Cozumel. How crowded was Chankanaab? From your pictures, it doesn't look very packed. Was it easy to get a chair/hammock? Do you think it would be a good choice for children (ages 6 and 8)?

rstout
July 23rd, 2012, 02:02 PM
Chankanaab is great for kids that age. Our kids were younger than yours when we took them and we all had a great time. Check out the Ports of Call Board for more info. We most recently went to Paradise Beach on our last cruise, which was also a really nice day.

terpfan101
July 23rd, 2012, 06:23 PM
Fantastic review!! Thanks for all your hard work putting it together--I've got less than 5 weeks to go before I'm onboard.
I had a quick question about Cozumel. How crowded was Chankanaab? From your pictures, it doesn't look very packed. Was it easy to get a chair/hammock? Do you think it would be a good choice for children (ages 6 and 8)?

Hi mivama. Thanks for the kind words! As far as Chankanaab goes, if you aren't doing a dolphin excursion or something of the sort, I'd recommend going to either Paradise Beach or Mr. Sancho's as they have better beaches and more things to do water wise. I didn't take advantage of the stuff Chank had to offer other than the dolphins but it was relaxing. You're right it wasn't very crowded when there. Partly due to the fact that only the Magic and Allure were docked that day. I don't think there were any other ships docked.

terpfan101
July 23rd, 2012, 06:25 PM
I booked this restaraunt but my husband does not eat seafood at all. How did you know what was going to be on the menu ahead of time and what was the process of calling ahead to substitue a meal out?

Thanks

Hi there tennisstar! What a coincidence as Lindsay played tennis in high school and college. Anyway, she doesn't really eat seafood and thus we requested to have a substitute for the seafood dish, they said not a problem. There will definitely be a seafood dish (probably just one). The menus are posted as soon as you are onboard, both outside the restaurant and on your stateroom tv. You can call and request a substitute for that dish. :) I'm sure you'll both enjoy it as it was my favorite.

Sunny AZ Girl
July 23rd, 2012, 10:57 PM
Thanks for all your help. We were going to do the Samba on the 6th night to celebrate our Anniversary.
Hi Iris! Nice to see you here. When will you be on the Allure?

This has been an awesome review. Thank you for taking the time to write it. In May it will be our turn.:D

irismike
July 24th, 2012, 08:53 AM
Hi Ginny: How are you feeling? All settled in the new house?
We are going 10-28. Have you ever been on the Allure? If so, any tips? Take care and keepin touch

tennisstar28
July 24th, 2012, 09:12 AM
Hi there tennisstar! What a coincidence as Lindsay played tennis in high school and college. Anyway, she doesn't really eat seafood and thus we requested to have a substitute for the seafood dish, they said not a problem. There will definitely be a seafood dish (probably just one). The menus are posted as soon as you are onboard, both outside the restaurant and on your stateroom tv. You can call and request a substitute for that dish. :) I'm sure you'll both enjoy it as it was my favorite.

Hey terpfan,

Thanks for the quick reply. I played tennis in high school but that was some odd 10 years ago, I just kept the using the screen name anyway, lol! Good information to know b/c I know I will have to call and substitue the seafood dish out as my husband cannot stand any seafood, I don't know how he made it this far w/o eating it b/c I LOVE it!

Thanks for the awesome review. I am not sure if I will do one when I get back or not since there are so many on here about the Allure.

irismike
July 24th, 2012, 09:19 AM
we are doing eastern caribbean with stops in Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Marteen. Anybody eat in Samba?

wannab4Ecruiser
July 24th, 2012, 11:26 AM
we are doing eastern caribbean with stops in Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Marteen. Anybody eat in Samba?

My husband and I (Stacy and Todd that Jeremy has been writing about) went to Samba the first night of the cruise as it is 1/2 off on nights one and two for those who are MTD. We really enjoyed it though it is so so so much food! I made sure to try at least a bite of each of the different types of meat but certainly could not eat all of each. It might also have been better if I hadn't taken anything from the salad/appetizer bar to start but it was really good too! They also serve vegetables, steak fries and sweet plantains with the meat. And don't forget to save room for dessert! They have 3 different desserts to choose from (a mango moose, chocolate cake, and flan). We shared one of each and finished all but the flan (we're not big fans of it though it was probably the best I've ever had). Overall, totally worth it - I would even have paid the full price for this as it is much cheaper than any similar steakhouse out there and probably just as good! Hope this helps!

we're sailing away....
July 24th, 2012, 11:28 AM
Great job..

irismike
July 24th, 2012, 11:28 AM
Yes, it does help. Thank you so much.

wannab4Ecruiser
July 24th, 2012, 11:33 AM
Thanks again for posting your very informative review! We did DRF about 10 years ago and had fun but aren't interested in doing it again (especially with 2 kids). Out of curiosity (and for ideas when we are there next month), what did your friends do while in Falmouth, and did they have fun?

Hey tropiclvrs! I am Stacy (Jeremy's friend that he has been writing about). We went on a ship excursion that included a Jamaican bobsled and the Dunn's River Falls. It was really fun and something different for my husband (who had been to DRF before). After an hour ish long ride to a place called Mystic Mountain we rode a sky lift up to the top of the mountain where the bobsled ride was. Next we rode the bobsled (Todd drove) - it is sort of like a roller coaster track but you control the speed and do not go upside down. We had about an hour and 1/2 on the top of the mountain to ride the bobsled and then you could check out the little museum, go in the infinity pool or grab a bite to eat. From there we went to DRF which for me was amazing having been my first time. Todd had been before but still enjoyed it. The port of Falmouth itself is very small and has a few shops but is nothing special. Unless you book an excursion of some sort its probably just better to stay on the ship!

MoyCoy
July 24th, 2012, 05:43 PM
My husband and I (Stacy and Todd that Jeremy has been writing about) went to Samba the first night of the cruise as it is 1/2 off on nights one and two for those who are MTD. We really enjoyed it though it is so so so much food! I made sure to try at least a bite of each of the different types of meat but certainly could not eat all of each. It might also have been better if I hadn't taken anything from the salad/appetizer bar to start but it was really good too! They also serve vegetables, steak fries and sweet plantains with the meat. And don't forget to save room for dessert! They have 3 different desserts to choose from (a mango moose, chocolate cake, and flan). We shared one of each and finished all but the flan (we're not big fans of it though it was probably the best I've ever had). Overall, totally worth it - I would even have paid the full price for this as it is much cheaper than any similar steakhouse out there and probably just as good! Hope this helps!

Did you find Samba Grill to be on par with Brazilian Steakhouses on land?

Sunny AZ Girl
July 25th, 2012, 12:12 AM
Hi Ginny: How are you feeling? All settled in the new house?
We are going 10-28. Have you ever been on the Allure? If so, any tips? Take care and keepin touch
You will beat us on the Allure as we are not going until May. I am looking forward to your review!;) Feeling good and settled in.

I am also interested in Samba. Our group of friends are thinking of the dining package that includes Samba Grill. I think it is the $55 one.

tennisstar28
July 25th, 2012, 06:11 AM
Terpfan,

I forgot to ask you one more question, how does the tipping work in the specialty restaurants? Do they just bill your card that you have on file with them and is it a certain percentage or do you just put whatever you feel the deserve.

Thanks!

wannab4Ecruiser
July 25th, 2012, 04:28 PM
Did you find Samba Grill to be on par with Brazilian Steakhouses on land?

I have never been to one on land so I can't compare. Sorry.

airbus_guy
July 25th, 2012, 09:53 PM
You are very detail oriented. I have cruised the Allure once before (in 2011) and am going back in October. I must say you are doing a great job. Thanks!

ilikepups
July 26th, 2012, 08:32 AM
Did you find Samba Grill to be on par with Brazilian Steakhouses on land?

Yes, Samba is really good. LOTS of food. Don't fill up on the side and salad bar!!

MoyCoy
July 26th, 2012, 10:57 PM
Are the daily compass posted under another link or are they not posted yet. I am attempting to catch up on your review. I have been out of town and wonder if I missed the orig. posting of the compass from your trip.:p

Radio
July 27th, 2012, 06:36 AM
So this review is taking me a long time to finish! I don't mind though as it's letting me keep the memories going just a bit longer! Anyway I'm nearly through with the review after this post. >SNIP<



Wow ! Great Pics Terpfan. . . I am loving your pics and trip report, and and it makes me want to sail Allure of the Seas once again !

Thanks for taking the time to post your pics. . . It seems you two really had a great time !

Radio
;);)

.

MoyCoy
July 29th, 2012, 01:43 AM
Thank you for the wonderful review! I do have one more question. I am in the process of reserving my entertainment for the Sept cruise. I wonder if the Love and Marriage show is taped and played on the tv. Do you remember around what time L and M began? Would one need to be there 15 before the show begins to secure a good seat?

irismike
July 29th, 2012, 03:32 AM
Terpfan 101: Where did you live when you went to Milford PA?

ilikepups
July 29th, 2012, 10:05 AM
Thank you for the wonderful review! I do have one more question. I am in the process of reserving my entertainment for the Sept cruise. I wonder if the Love and Marriage show is taped and played on the tv. Do you remember around what time L and M began? Would one need to be there 15 before the show begins to secure a good seat?

Yes the Love and Marriage show will show on the tv. Not sure about the rest of your questions though. I would think that getting a seat would not be a problem, but not sure. I was on the Allure the first part of June. Have fun. Great ship.

Ahoy maties
July 29th, 2012, 10:24 AM
Terrific review as others have said.

Do you happen to remember the second menu at 150 CP? We are cruising in September and are trying to find a current menus.

Thanks very much.