“I will NEVER sail on a ship as large as the Allure! Never! They’re just too darn BIG!!!!”
Famous last words.
This had been said…emphatically and repeatedly…by yours truly…over the last several years. And so, why, then, did I find myself doing just that – sailing on the Allure – the World’s Largest Cruise Ship??!! After booking with only four days before embarkation??!! And not only sailing, but sailing SOLO??!!! Was I crazy? Had I lost my mind??!!
Well. If you know me – or have followed along on my wild and crazy adventures on previous reviews – then you know that the answers to those questions are most likely, “Yes and yes.” As in, yes, I am crazy – and yes, I’ve pretty much lost my mind…however, my friends and family will tell you that it’s doubtful I ever had one to begin with. Ahem.
My arguments against sailing on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship were twofold:
1. I have the World’s Worst Sense of Direction…and therefore, I was positive I would never be able to navigate the World’s Largest Cruise Ship. I was hesitant about spending 99% of my valuable time onboard wandering around in a perpetual circle of doom…a continual loop of lostness…and I figured the cruise ship management would frown on leaving bread crumbs or Cupcake crumbs as a trail to help me find my way back to my cabin.
2. I hate people. Wait. That came out wrong. It’s not people I hate – but I do hate crowds. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you will know that I tend to refer to large crowds as hordes of “barbarians” – and plopping myself right down in the middle of a horde of barbarians on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship was a nightmare I didn’t want to experience.
So…secure in the knowledge that I would never embark on an adventure on either the Oasis or Allure…imagine my surprise and shock when I did just that. I sailed on the January 20th sailing of the Allure of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
I AM crazy – and I HAD lost my mind!!!
So…what follows will be a review…of the World’s Largest Cruise Ship.
With pictures. And Cruise Compasses. And misc stuff thrown, such as Spa menus, Cruise Specials, Teen Compass, etc. For the OCD planners, like me.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to sail – alone – on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – I’m here to tell you.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to book a cruise at the very last possible minute – on Wednesday – when sailing is Sunday – I’m here to tell you.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to cruise on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – and not EVER partake in one meal in the Main Dining room – I’m here to tell you.
If you’ve ever wondered what could go wrong – or right – on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – I’m here to tell you.
And if you’re wondering if I would ever sail AGAIN on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – or her sister, the Oasis – I’m here to tell you. But not until the end… ☺
First, though, a bit of background information.
I am the Middle Aged Drama Queen, aka Sherri.
I am a middle-aged suburban wife, mother, grandmother, and Disaster Services volunteer with the American Red Cross. I love my family, and I love traveling with them – but I’m not adverse to going alone. Don’t tell them I said that. Hee hee.
This summer, our family sailed through Europe (with our adventures chronicled below). While on the ship, we made numerous friends, including a couple from Pittsburg, Steve and Amy.
Steve and Amy had planned a cruise on the January 20thth sailing of the Allure of the Seas, along with Amy's parents, and for several months, we had scintillating and entertaining conversations on Facebook that looked like this:
Steve & Amy: “Sherri…you should go with us on the Allure!”
Me: “It’s too big. No.”
Steve & Amy: “We’d have so much fun! You should go!”
Me: “It’s too crowded. No.”
Steve & Amy: “You could write another one of your entertaining reviews!”
And so on…and so on. You get the point.
Pat & Jerry (the parents) with Amy & Steve....
So…time passes…months go by. Steve and Amy are happily planning their trip on the Allure, while I am volunteering with disasters such as Hurricane Isaac, followed by Hurricane Sandy, and catching up with the holidays. A much-needed vacation was needed, and I found myself resting up in our vacation home in Ft. Myers, Florida after the first of the year…and here’s where the trouble began. The following conversation took place on Tuesday, January 15th.
Steve & Amy: “Sherri – we’re getting together the night before the cruise in Ft. Lauderdale with Carol and Jeff…who cruised with us this summer, remember them? Anyway – we’d love to have you join us for dinner on the 19th.”
Me: Intrigued. “I could do that. Where & when?”
The time and place were established, and Steve and Amy valiantly tried one more time to get me onboard:
Steve & Amy: “You should go with us on the cruise.”
Me: “Hubby would never let me go by myself.”
Wait. What?! Did I just say that??!! What happened to my usual emphatic “No”???
I went to bed that night, and thought about this…and before I knew it, I was asking Hubby Mike if I could go on the cruise. By myself. Sorta – if you don’t count Steve and Amy and the other 6,000+ passengers.
And Hubby Mike’s response was, “Why not? Go – have fun! Enjoy yourself!”
Holy SHOCK, Batman! Did my Hubby just say that???!!!
Before Hubby Mike had a chance to realize what he’d just said, I quickly called Royal Caribbean on Wednesday morning and booked myself on Sunday’s cruise. I had basically no choice of cabin – so I was given the lovely accommodations of Cabin #10131 – an interior on Deck #10. At this point, I would have slept on a bench in Central Park onboard the ship, but that wasn’t necessary.
I was going on the cruise.
I then called Steve and Amy to share the exciting news:
“I’M GOING ON THE CRUISE!!!!”
To say that Steve and Amy were a bit shocked is an understatement. I can only hope to this day that they really did mean it when they had invited me before…and if they DIDN’T mean it, this will surely teach them a lesson to be careful what they ask for. Hee hee.
So…four days before sailing. I had to get my passport over-nighted from Kansas City to Ft. Myers; I had to do last-minute packing; and I had to frantically study reviews and threads on Cruise Critic so I would be somewhat prepared. As if you can be prepared for sailing on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – but thanks to all of you dear posters on Cruise Critic, I had ample information to peruse.
What I could NOT do was book anything online – show reservations, excursions, soda packages, etc – as the online window had closed. “Too close to sailing,” I was told. I would have to do all of this onboard…and how would THAT go? Would I have problems? Could it be done?? How does someone who prides themselves on planning vacations – and doing up Excel vacation spreadsheets – a year in advance – handle going at the last minute??!!
With no plans??!!
With no spreadsheets??!!
Let’s find out…
What follows will be a review of the Jan. 20 - 27th, 2013 Eastern Caribbean sailing on the World's Largest Cruise Ship, the beautiful & magnificent Allure of the Seas....
It will be long. It will be wordy.
But it will have pictures.