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Biased and inconsistent Allure review: read at your own risk
Here is a kind of lopsided and biased review of Allure that may contain some useful info and also address some things that people have posted about recently. I started out doing a mini-review (I like reading those) but I started thinking of things so it’s a bit wordier than planned. I may fade out as the days go on: I took less and less notes and it all started to blur together so no promises!
Our travelling party consisted of me, H40’s, S20, S18 & S15 (I’m tired of the ‘dears’). We live in central NJ and travelled the same day There was a major thunderstorm the day before and we lost power ~6pm It did not go back on until the next day ~3pm, so I was doing my final preparations in complete darkness at 3am on Sunday with the help of a flashlight. Oh well. I’m glad it happened when it did because I was able to set my mom up with ice and batteries before we left (she was watching my dogs ). It would have been very stressful if it had happened after we left for the ship, so it worked out. Our flight was delayed at EWR ~45 min due to traffic and we arrived just before 11am.
Arrived at FLL and got our luggage quickly; at this point I start relaxing because I know I’ve got clothes for the week! Followed Oceanboy’s tip and got a minivan cab for 5 at a metered rate (in the past we took 2 cabs because we were told the only other thing available was a car service at $15pp). We were told by the dispatcher that the cost was ~$12-15 plus tip and we got a cab with ~10 minutes wait.
Some of you know that I have bad luck with taxi drivers. Well, nothing has changed. The cab pulls up. Some guy, I think he was a dispatcher, jumped in and started loading luggage while the cab driver stood there. Then, my husband goes to tip him! I gave him the stare of death but it was only $2 so whatever but wth is my cab driver doing?
We got fully loaded into the cab, and this guy announces loudly, “The cost for this cab is $20 PLUS TIP!” Yeah, ok. I wasn’t going to argue at this point; he had our luggage hostage. So we make the quick trip to the port and as he gets out ($11.70 meter reading) he quickly zeroes out the meter.
So I go to pay him and I say, “The meter said $11.70”. He got all huffy and puffy and started saying “well, you are 5 people” and well, this and that and the other thing. I said anyway it’s a metered fare so it doesn’t matter and gave him $20. I’m sure he was po’d but I thought it was fair. This was cab driver 0645 in case anyone gets him later. He says “my people, my people” a lot. He’s big! My tip: make sure you are in a metered minivan, and check the meter when you get in and before you get out to avoid disagreements.
Anyway thanks, OB, you saved me an extra cab fare (big smile for the savings).
We got to the porter and she was busy making out luggage tags. Waiting and waiting, the rack is right there! So H says, “Can I just load these on?” and she makes a big stink, “no, no, that is my job!” She actually made this face, and it was all red and stuff Ok, whatever. So we give her $5 for 4 bags and she leaves them on the walkway and goes back to making out tags.
We get to the terminal and as everyone says, it was so easy to board. We got 4 WOW cards and went to wait for boarding. As we went up to the waiting area, boarding had just begun, and the woman said, “D+, right this way!” It was our first cruise as D+ (oh, the magic!) so it was fun to bypass all the people in the waiting area (on Allure you have to enjoy the times you get to pass people cause it doesn’t happen often). It was just about noon.
We got on and I sent my family right to Park Café while I went to make Giovanni’s reservations. As many have said, booking was easy, and I got the times I wanted for 2 nights (Night 1 7pm and Night 5 6:30pm, party of 5). Btw I asked about using the D+ BOGO on other nights and the answer was “no”.
Got to the Park Café and it was already crowded: H and S’s had grabbed the last table. They were all raving about the roast beef sandwiches, which is kind of funny because people are always raving about them here and I hadn’t told them anything in advance. An untold number of them were eaten during this cruise by H and Ss.
We checked out a few places on the ship and went to our rooms at 1pm. We were in 8672 and 8670, connecting D4s. Location was great: I love being by the elevators and it was easy access to CP. Park Café was rarely super-crowded so it was like we had our own private take-out venue for breakfast, lunch and snacks. It was fun being on a ship with so many new areas (we sail on the older Ex a lot so it really felt “new”). We the Cafe.
Three drawbacks to these cabins: 1- people always say you cannot hear the people in connecting cabins. On Allure, you hear everything. I heard my sons talking in normal voices during the whole trip. I would not book a connecting D on this ship unless I knew the people next door. 2-the cabin attendants’ service room was directly across from us, so I felt a little paranoid about them hearing anything since someone was always standing in the hall when we left our rooms. Also, sometimes towel carts blocked the hallway somewhat. For this reason, I suggest booking the next set of connecting Ds down the hall. 3-This was my first time on Oasis class and the cabins are –small-. It was a bit hard to adjust to at first, but we unpacked right away and didn’t leave too much lying around.
Our steward was great: he would clean the room so quickly; sometimes we would just go over to Park Café for breakfast and when we came back the room was done. But if I went on this class again, I would probably get a bigger cabin. We got shampoo, lotion, etc, in the bathroom (is this D+?) and btw I used the shampoo on the last day since I packed my other stuff and my hair came out fine! Alright!
Our C&A gifts were also in the room. We got 3 cokes, 2 Coronas, a wine and a water. Now that I think about it, I think we got some extras for some reason. The gift baskets were in each room also. We ended up taking the snacks and the wine on our beach day and I have to say, the key lime cookies were pretty good (mommabean’s fave). Next time, I would only order the bottles of wine and water as we didn’t drink all the cokes and beer (CL notes later).
Went to the muster drill: we were in the Aquatheater. Tip: go early to get a seat in the shade! It was unfortunate that no one seemed to listen to the safety drill. It may have been because the instructions were displayed on the big screens but maybe no one listens anyway? My sons did notice that the woman on stage put her life vest on wrong. I am reassured to know that they will be able to save me if the ship starts going down!
From here we went right to the Concierge Lounge. As everyone has said, it is really nice. Beautiful views and comfy seating. The only thing is, the seating is not really conducive to interaction; it’s in 3’s and 4’s. In other CLs, there are more group seating areas so people sit down and say ‘hi’. The larger seating areas were like big conference tables with chairs around it. I didn’t really like that.
I had stopped by earlier to ask Fernando about kids in the CL. He said fine, no problem. During the week, there were many, many children, of all ages, that came to the happy hour. They were all well-behaved, and usually very well-dressed. This lounge was very family-oriented. Many multi-generational families came in to enjoy the lounge and it was quite nice. The kids all seemed to appreciate the nice atmosphere, snacks and drinks; I know that mine did. They actually drank water most of the time. After years of buying those soda cards, I finally get free soda, and they only want water! My family especially loved the cappuccino machine for breakfast, afternoon, and after-dinner coffees.
The concierges were Fernando Ugalde and Rahim. Both very different personalities: Fernando was very friendly right away but Rahim needs time to warm up
There were shorts in the CL all week long. A lot of people would come in at ~5pm wearing whatever. I saw some beach cover-ups, too. No one was turned away. Some people snuck out drinks, but we saw Fernando watching everyone, lol. I once took out a glass of something or other; he said goodbye to me and then he looked down at my drink. I only did it once!
More on CL: this is really a nice feature. Breakfast was very good, lunch very good (onion rings like JR's, get them!), included beer or wine, and the cocktail hour, very nice of course. There were usually 2-3 bar servers and they made good cosmopolitans. Snacks were typical, but weirdly, the only dipping sauces they had were bbq or salsa. I don’t think anything really went with salsa. So that is my only complaint!
Btw I was a bit flummoxed about how to tip 2 concierges. What do other people do?
ps there is so much alcohol and soda available during lunch and cocktail hour we felt like we didn't need to purchase any extra (sorry Adam!). We got the C&A gifts, the D+ amenity (we chose 2 bottles of wine) there was the Captain's gala thing, the C&A event, the Top Tier event, and all had alcohol served (very nice drinks at the Top Tier event). We only used one wine BOGO :O (and I also won a champagne and a white wine at the M&M!) I think I still have a hangover.
Note to SilentBob: I asked Rahim about the VIP sticker thing and he said, "All of the shows are first come, first served". Shot down!
Last edited by marci22; July 17th, 2012 at 01:09 PM.
Wow, I can't wait to read more about your trip!!! Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Rhapsody of the Seas "Honeymoon"-January, 2000
Monarch of the Seas-August, 2002
Enchantment of the Seas-August, 2003
Explorer of the Seas-August, 2004
Explorer of the Seas "Revisited"-August, 2005
Freedom of the Seas-August 13, 2006
Mariner of the Seas-August 5, 2007
Monarch of the Seas-Superbowl Cruise 2008'
Freedom Revisited July 27, 2008
Oasis of the Seas August 14, 2010
Allure of the Seas June 10, 2012
Wow, I can't wait to read more about your trip!!! Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Ok thanks. My notes get sketchier as the days progress...
Originally Posted by Puffinater
Same situation on the Oasis. We received service from both so we just put our usual tip into an envelope with both their names on it. My guess is that they share the tips.
Good review so far.
I didn't think to put it in the same envelope. I gave them same amount, different envelopes. I wrote them the same messages on the notepaper, too, I didn't know what else to say! I am sure they laughed when they compared notes, but what if I had given them different amounts
Thanks for your review! Our cabins are located in the same muster ( buff colored) zone as yours so my girls are happy to hear they will be outside in the AT, where they hope to watch sail away anyway. April should be less steamy.
Looking forward to reading the rest!
So to take advantage of the BOGO we booked Giovanni’s for the first night. It seems to get the best overall reviews so I figured it was a safe choice and not too much $ for 5 people. I thought the restaurant would be packed since all time slots were not available, but there were only about 4 other tables there.
The bread served is not like Portofino has; it was just ok, but it saves room for other stuff. We took the waiter’s advice and got the Caesar salad, scallops, and potato flatbread for starters. It was all good. We deviated from his recommended pastas (I really think they don’t like it when you do this; they know what people like best because they are serving the same things day in and day out). So of course everyone loved his recommended pasta and mine was mostly left over. :sads: I will never not listen to you again, Giovanni. For dinner we all got different entrees and everyone liked what they got. I think we got tiramisu for dessert? Whatever it was, they liked it.
After BOGOing my way through dinner I topped it off with 3 complimentary cappuccinos and we were done. By this time, the restaurant was full. I thought our experience was very good, but one of our M&Mers went later in the week and she had an unfortunate experience. Maybe she could comment on that if she reads this!
Back to the room and what was waiting for us? D+ pins! Excitement all around, except for S20 who turned 18 while we were D so he is still D. No pin for you! Btw the loyalty ambassador on this cruise was Cindy Dangel who was very nice and really knows her stuff, very organized and effective. Tip: She had 2 helpers but if you have a problem, I would wait to speak to her; she knows all the rules and has worked at RC for like 20 years.
Ok I want to talk about Ken Rush because there is so much back and forth about him. I had him pictured completely differently in my mind. It’s weird how you make a mental image by peoples’ descriptions.
Overall, I thought he was a very good cruise director. On his morning show, he would give little mini-lectures; he sort of snuck them in there so you wouldn’t know you were being lectured. Early on there was a little talk on “elevator etiquette”, for example it is customary to wait for people to get –off- the elevator before others attempt to get –on-. And on each formal day, he gave a little speech about dressing up for dinner and how it is so easy to get changed into something more comfortable afterwards. I thought it was really good the way he did this.
He was very pleasant around the ship and he was funny at the shows. Sometimes he continued a joke for too long but people kept laughing…I’m sure that it takes a certain type of individual to run this department on these huge ships. I thought he did a good job of keeping order and explaining things each day. Since I like to be organized I liked that aspect of him.
Day 2 was Nassau. The day prior, we had received invites for a bridge tour, galley tour, and backstage tour. We chose the bridge and galley tour. These had to be returned by 5pm (I think. We were later scheduled for a Friday 9am bridge tour and Saturday 1pm galley tour)
I was conflicted about Nassau. My options, as I had researched them, were Sheraton day pass, lunch at Fish Fry, or walking tour (google 'walking tour nassau' and look for brent jes one word) I would have liked the walking tour best, but it was just too hot for me that day. It was blazing hot! Since we were only in port til 3pm, we decided to sleep in and just walk around the ship.
We had breakfast in Solarium Bistro. They had oatmeal, fruit, lighter things. There was papaya and mango here which I didn’t see in other places. Then we got the kids up and walked around.
One thing I wanted to see was the Deck 14 water wing area. We got up there and there was a telescope on each wing, but the Port side one was broken. The starboard side faced a little barrier island with small houses on it (you could also see Atlantis from here). My kids were looking through the telescope and my son was like omg, some guy is going to the bathroom (he used more common terms). Then my other son looked and said, “he’s (doing what you do when you’re done!)” by this time I thought they were kidding me, but then I looked and sure enough, he was zipping up. I guess he was working and didn’t want to stop but really, he could have been a bit more discrete. Anyway that is our fun memory of Nassau. (You had to be there!)
We did some other wandering I won’t bore you with but NOTE: Day 2 means shrimp salad sandwiches in the Promenade Café! ALERT! ALERT! This is our favorite sandwich and it is unfortunate that it happens on Formal night. I think we ate at least 3 each during the day. I wish they had them on Day 5 so I wouldn’t have to go to MDR on shrimp goyza night (the goyza are good, the rest, not so much). We ate these even though we had gone to the CL for lunch. Tip: in the concierge lounge, I would order the mini burgers and onion rings and skip JR’s.
I went over to the future booking desk and no one was busy so I sat down with Cindy who got everything taken care of quickly. We talked about the prices on Ex in summer and I mentioned about cc’ers seeing that great price on GS in May. It was $1349 for a GS guarantee. She told me that that was a mistake: the IT department was having trouble that day or something. I know we won’t see something like that again anytime soon! Hope you guys enjoyed your bargain-priced suites; me, I’m in a way more expensive D4!
Formal dinner was good. Most people were dressed up, several in tuxes. Photog missed us and I was disappointed because we were all dressed up. My waiter tried to get him back and he told him “Sorry, not my section!” I was pretty surprised. I complained to Johannes (great headwaiter) and my disappointed face earned me very nice cheese plates at dinner for the rest of the cruise (we all gained weight on this cruise, even my teens, and we are not typically huge eaters).
Saw Oceanaria that night (this was our favorite show) and stopped by casino to get my pirate coins, er, Spin to Win tokens. I asked a guy in the casino if he had ever seen anyone win the 5k and he said no, not in 6 years. So save your spinning!
More shrimp sandwiches (I am ashamed) and then back to the room.
Last edited by marci22; July 17th, 2012 at 02:53 PM.
Day 3 was a sea day. We took the 9:30am horticulture tour. It was a nice tour of the CP area and he talked about the challenges of gardening in stressful conditions (sun heat and wind). This was also the day of the exclusive C&A event in the Aqualounge. They offered bloody marys and mimosas. Get the mimosa.
11:15 parade, which we watched from the D lounge on 6. It is much smaller than the CL and no windows. I’m sure they rarely use it because of the size; we didn’t go during cocktail hour so not sure where they held the nightly cocktail hour, maybe someone else knows.
Then we had our M&M, I think in the comedy lounge. Only 15 people arrived and plenty of prizes to go around. They had 4 bottles of wine, several gift packs, a couple umbrellas. Some of the gift packs were split up so everyone got a prize.
That night we skipped dinner because Chicago was at 7pm. We got pizza at Sorrento’s afterwards. I think it was a bit too late to sit down in WJ. I should have got room service, not sure why I didn’t. We didn’t order room service at all, there was just so much food around the ship.
A really nice girl helped us in Sorrento’s, she was so friendly. A few days later, I saw her sweeping up some stuff and she was singing to herself. I gave her my WOW card that day and she was so happy and excited. She kept thanking me. About the WOW cards: I didn’t think they would be that big of a deal but everyone was so excited to get one. We gave the other ones to our excellent room steward, our waiter, and our asst. waiter. They were all really appreciative. Tip: You have to fill them out completely, with your name, room number, and C&A number, so do this ahead of time and carry them with you. You can give them out when you see the person, just write in their full name and position on the ship.
After traveling on the Allure last December (1st cruise as D+) and less than 14 weeks from the Oasis in October, I am enjoying this review, especially reading what specific things you did on the ship. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for days 4+ after my afternoon events at work. Do continue on ...
BTW - The evening Diamond Event was in Blaze (Deck 4 forward) on the Allure.
Nice review! DH and I said we wouldn't sail on Allure and Oasis again (bored with the ports), but I miss them so much with every review! It really is the journey and not the destination!!
Looking forward to more!
Independence of the Seas, April 2014; Explorer of the Seas, December 2012; Oasis of the Seas, Western and Eastern Caribbean, March 2012;Allure of the Seas, Eastern and Western Caribbean, March 2011; Ruby Princess, Eastern Caribbean, March 2010; Mariner of the Seas, Mexican Riviera, April 2009; Brilliance of the Seas, Panama Canal, March 2008; Crown Princess, Southern Caribbean, April 2007; Sapphire Princess, Alaska, May 2006; Mariner of the Seas, Western Caribbean, April 2005; Zuiderdam, Eastern Caribbean, April 2004