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Is it Live or is it Memorex?- Allure of the Seas Review September 18-25 with Pics!

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I think it's safe to say we are never going to see anymore of this cruise...

 

I'm thinking they enjoyed the cruise so much, they just stowed away on the ship!!!:D

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Just wanted to wish all of my faithful and amazingly patient readers here in the US a very Happy Thanksgiving! :)

 

Believe it or not, I am still working on this review I currently have the last part almost finished. It's a monster: 20 pages in word and 96 pictures. It WILL be posted here soon (eh- not today or tomorrow because I will be up for the next 26 hours straight) but I can promise you it will be worth the wait. It includes the only negative experience on our cruise and also one of the funniest Chair Hog stories ever- complete with chair hog pics! woo-hoo, who doesn't love an expose?

 

Thanks ever so much for your patience and I'm sorry to leave you hanging but there is more to look forward to, maybe to go with turkey sandwiches this weekend? Stay tuned!!!

 

Happy Thanksgiving! :cool: Jen

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It includes the only negative experience on our cruise and also one of the funniest Chair Hog stories ever- complete with chair hog pics! woo-hoo, who doesn't love an expose?

 

Happy Thanksgiving! :cool: Jen

 

Happy Thanksgiving to you too and thanks for the update and the TEASE!!! Will be checking back often - no pressure, now;)

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Just wanted to wish all of my faithful and amazingly patient readers here in the US a very Happy Thanksgiving! :)

 

Believe it or not, I am still working on this review I currently have the last part almost finished. It's a monster: 20 pages in word and 96 pictures. It WILL be posted here soon (eh- not today or tomorrow because I will be up for the next 26 hours straight) but I can promise you it will be worth the wait. It includes the only negative experience on our cruise and also one of the funniest Chair Hog stories ever- complete with chair hog pics! woo-hoo, who doesn't love an expose?

 

Thanks ever so much for your patience and I'm sorry to leave you hanging but there is more to look forward to, maybe to go with turkey sandwiches this weekend? Stay tuned!!!

 

Happy Thanksgiving! :cool: Jen

Such a tease...looking forward to the rest.:D

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After “Let You Entertain Me”, we just took a leisurely stroll around the ship.

 

Some of the sights:

 

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It wasn’t the prettiest of days: cloudy, sometimes drizzly and the seas were quite high. We were actually passing through the outskirts of TS Ophelia, but we didn’t know it at the time. In fact, the second showing of the DreamWorks Aquatheater show was actually canceled due to the high seas and weather. We were lucky to have gotten to see it when we did!

 

This is the perfect place to remark about the motion of the ocean. We had read that you feel virtually mo motion on Allure. I guess it really can vary from cruise to cruise, but we experienced noticeable rocking for sure. Yes, certainly more exaggerated on the more inclement weather days but even on the nice days we could feel the ship gently swaying. It was what I like to call the classic cruise feel- a one-two-three-four-five gentle tips to the left, then one-two-three-four-five to the right. But while motion was noticeable it was never so drastic that would cause difficulty walking. Even if you are in heels. Even if you walk like me in heels. LOL!!!

 

And if you haven’t heard about the Little Wonders art viewers (the brass thing here). When you see these or a similar looking thing with a viewfinder on it, take a peek inside!

 

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You may see something like this:

 

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Now we were about to encounter the most negative experience of our cruise. The Focus Photo Gallery on the last day. I know, I know. Any experienced cruiser knows one of the busiest places to be onboard is the photo gallery on the last day. It’s always a mess, but an unavoidable mess, since we had just taken the pictures we wanted to buy the night before.

If you aren’t familiar with the setup on Oasis and Allure, each stateroom/party has their own binder and all photos taken are sorted there, using facial recognition technology. No more standing by the wall searching thought 3,657,901 other photos. Everything you need is right in your binder*. Easy peasy!

 

*Some pics are still on the wall, like candid Flowrider and Zip Line/Poolside shots.

 

We found our binder easily enough- well actually that’s a lie we did have the wrong binder at first and wondered why there were no pictures in it! LOL! And since we didn’t have many photos taken this time it was relatively easy to pare down our selection. Within minutes we were in line- and that was a mess. People kept trying to cut, not realizing the long line stretched all the way across the gallery and curved around the binder racks and tables. Folks in the line (including me) were pretty vocal about it and quick to gently correct anyone trying to squeeze in (honestly it was a mad house and I don’t think people were cutting on purpose, they genuinely had no idea where the line ended.) I have to say again, people onboard were so very nice and we really had no trouble with rudeness or inconsiderate behavior. No elevator rushing, and only one chair hog incident, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Allure cruisers are having the time of their lives and on our cruise it certainly showed!!!

 

The craziness of Focus on the last day. If you think it doesn’t look so bad, well…you can’t even see the crazy checkout line in this shot!

 

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But back in Focus it was nuts to the nth degree. It was quite frustrating to be in that LONG line and some of the people had not finalized their decisions by the time they reached the front. FINALLY it was our turn. We had 4 photographs and had thought we were going to get the $79.99 for 4 package. But at the register I spotted a Crown & Anchor coupon and realized we had our coupons. I pulled out our coupon book and it was buy 1 at full price, get one for half off, so with our two coupons, we could get the same 4 pictures for about $20 less.

 

The gentlemen checking us out had already begun the transaction though so he had to cancel it out and charge us again at the coupon rate. No problem right? Wrong. I didn’t realize it until after we got back to our stateroom and we looked on the TV at our bill that we had been charged two transactions- the $79 one and a $59 one- so we had been more than double charged for our photos! Right away Ron called the photo gallery and they told us we had to call guest services. He called guest services and they said we had to go to the photo gallery. Ah, the run-around.

 

Ron was pretty mad since we had precious little time left on the boat and now we had to go deal with a mistake that should have been very easy to correct via phone (we had just been there 5 minutes ago for crying out loud). I told him to relax and that I would take care of it and took the photo folio and both receipts and headed back down to Focus. I of course, had to wait in the SUPER LONG LINE…AGAIN, to be told at the counter that I had to go DOWN TO GUEST SERVICES AND WAIT IN THAT (also long) LINE there. ***?!?! I told the lady Guest Services had just told us we had to deal with it at Focus. I wasn’t about to budge. The lady got quite huffy (OK- downright RUDE) as if to imply I was trying to get one over on them or something. I still had both receipts and the guy who served us was still right there- GMAB. So the lady, the manager presumably, nastily called another associate to come to the register SO SHE COULD GO TO GUEST SERVICES. About this time Ron came up and he was really mad now.

 

She stomped off and huffed away towards Guest Services. She came back about 10 minutes later with a printout of our guest folio. OK, really….with a ship this advanced and with both receipts in my hand there was no way they couldn’t look it up on the computers in Focus themselves? BS. She finally charged back the $79 purchase but she did so with quite an attitude. We made note of her name to mention the negative experience on our survey but frankly we had so many positive things to write about the good workers that made our cruise so wonderful we did not bother to write the bad stuff about her. I know everybody has bad days on the job, and dealing with the public in a retail/customer service position is not easy or always fun by any means, but it doesn’t excuse her behavior or the precious hour we lost the last day dealing with this when we could have been enjoying the ship.

 

/rant over.

 

After that fiasco we wandered over to the Loyalty desk to see about rebooking another cruise while onboard to get the OBC they offer if you do so. The office was empty except for a couple of cruisers browsing the itinerary books and a big notebook completely full. I guess we should have checked earlier in the cruise- we did not know this is how they handled rebookings:

 

 

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And even though the time slot indicated that someone should have been there booking a new cruise, and at the very least an agent should have been there, no one was. So…we moved along.

 

We realized we were pretty hungry and were delighted to find our favorite place, Park Café not too crowded!

 

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Sarah likes her fancy grilled cheese:

 

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Three Cheese Panini- I think I like it better than the Roast Beast Sammich!

 

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After lunch, we all split up. Savannah went to the club so she could prepare for the talent show, Brendan Ron and Sarah went up to the pools and I took a shower and relaxed a bit on the balcony, and did some of the dreaded packing. Before too long, it was time to go see the kids’ talent show, which is performed in the Adventure Ocean Theater!

 

 

The 3-5 year olds performed as a group to a cute song about animals where they portrayed the various creatures they were singing about. So cute- I wish I had realized the little ones would be doing this, I would have had Sarah in it too!

 

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As they moved in to the main portion of the talent show, surprise! Savannah was first!

 

She did an improv dance. She didn’t know what music they were going to choose but she was familiar with the song and she did well.

 

Video of the talent show performance: Click to Play

 

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The talent show took about an hour and before we knew it, it was time to head down to the promenade for the Flash Mob performance!

I was so surprised how PACKED the promenade and Deck 6 above throughout he Schooner Bar, Cupcake Cupboard and Focus areas were. It was really full! They came expecting a show and they were about to get one!

 

Move along, nothing to see here…we’re just hanging out.

 

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Now, this wasn’t totally spontaneous like a real flash mob. Of course it was listed in the Compass, and they also made an announcement in the Promenade telling everyone it would start soon. So nobody would be truly “surprised” by the breakout performance like a real flash mob. And some folks though they could just join in now. (Well of course, hey, it’s for fun, if they want to jump in not knowing the steps- hey more power to them! I couldn’t do it without the classes though! HA HA!)

 

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Yep, it’s a fun as it looks! DO IT!

 

Here is a link to the video of our flash mob performance on YouTube. Take a minute to give it a watch; I think you’ll enjoy it!!!

 

 

That was so fun and even though the classes were stressful since I felt like I wasn’t “getting it” in the end the performance was just let loose and have fun and that’s exactly what I did. And actually I only messed up once- in the Jackson 5 part I was waving my “cape” to the left when I should have been going right. But I’m sure nobody noticed that but me. (And now, ya’ll since I just pointed it out! LOL!)

 

After the Flash mob, we scurried towards the Boardwalk end of the Promenade to see the one character we had not seen yet- Mort from Madagascar!

 

There was hardly any line so mission accomplished! DreamWorks Character Meet & Greets successful on all counts!

 

 

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We then realized the kids hadn’t ridden the Rising Tide yet. After stopping in Café Promenade to get some hot chocolate, they got a seat onboard and enjoyed the slow ride up!

 

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Some random pics:

 

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Back in the staterooms, the boys showered and we did some more packing. You can see here the chaos of packing night!

 

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The older kids wanted to go to the club one more time to say goodbye to their friends:

 

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And then the girls took a trip down to Pets At Sea. Even though I don’t think our house can handle even one more plush animal, somehow the girls managed to talk him into it!

 

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If you have not been to Pets at Sea before, it’s just like Build A Bear, complete with the saying a wish as you put in the “heart” (actually a star in this case), and the little expensive coordinating outfits. I have to say some of the nautical themed outfits are super cute!!

 

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Sarah made Captain Kung Fu Panda!

 

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And Savannah made Olivia the cat, named after her new friend! (They still text each other like crazy too. It’s pretty awesome to make friends on a cruise!)

 

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After that we had to boogie to get down to the Promenade for the Move It- Move it Parade. While I believe Oasis has a couple of different parades, Allure only has the Move It, Move It, which is performed 2 or 3 times throughout the cruise. We decided to wait and see it on the last night because it fit our schedule better, plus we had read that they do a special character farewell after the parade when they do it on the last night. We found that we should have probably chosen to see it earlier in the cruise.

 

We arrived about 15-30 minutes before parade time which was apparently way too late. People were lined up by the masses down towards Café Promenade/Sorrento’s/Cupcake Cupboard. Down closer to The Shop and Bolero’s there was still plenty of space- even “front row”. Not knowing the route of the Parade, we decided to stay there where we could get a front spot for the kids. It was a mistake.

 

I’ll also say that we had read prior to the cruise that it is more fun to be down at floor level for the parade and that the characters will interact with the folks down there- especially kids. We’re no strangers to Disney so we know all there is to know about parade and then some, so I decided we would be best to stay at the lower level. Yes- I was wrong. Maybe it was just bad positioning, maybe it was just our luck, but we would have enjoyed the parade much more from higher up where we could see and more centered. Be warned if you are towards the end “outskirts” like we were- the characters just FLY by you down there- they were always just scurrying by to get “out” when they reached our area. Boo.

 

But again, I’m getting ahead of myself. The decorations are quite cute!

 

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Parade crowds:

 

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Again, I advise to be way past the middle “shopping kiosk” area of the Promenade. Where the path “splits” to go around this center area is the path in and out of the parade area and the procession moves very quickly through these areas. They don’t stop or linger much at all.

 

While we had arrived with plenty of front row real estate left, we staked ourselves out a chunk with the kids in front and us just behind them, But the crowds were pretty opportunistic- as anyone who has been to a Disney parade knows, if you move from your spot for a second, someone will slide right in. The kids kept being kids and moving around and people kept edging into their real estate until finally barely 2 of them could fit slightly staggered side by side. Then a lady moved a stroller in and turned it horizontally in front of the kids…really? (She did eventually move it but geesh!). So we weren’t enjoying the fight to keep the spot much.

 

And then…it got worse. Right as the parade began a security guard guy came and stood RIGHT IN FRONT of the kids. Okay dude- I know you have to stand somewhere but there were plenty of adults next to us that could have seen over him. And he was really bad about if we moved the kids around he ended up moving too- not on purpose of course, it just ended up that way. What bad luck!

 

And like I mentioned, the characters just FLEW by this area! I could hardly get a picture they moved by so fast! Ridiculous!

 

Whoop- there goes the How to Train Your Dragon guys….moving as if they were still on ice!

 

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You can see how far back I ended up, I let some kidlets in and the adults sandwich their way in too. Whatever.

 

Here come the Penguins, I mean..there went the Penguins….

 

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Pinocchio, Big Bad Wolf among others up on the Globe Walk.

 

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Here’s a good view of the crowd, looking longingly down at where all the action is!

 

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Gloria runs by!

 

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Puss in Boots, who did stop long enough for me to snap TWO pictures!

 

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Shrek! I missed Fiona. That girl can boogie!

 

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Here’s a good little video showing the characters walk in past you, the annoying security guy repositioning right in front of us then all the action down the way where nobody could see it:

 

Video: Click to Play

 

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And it was over very fast!

 

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Ok, so we could not have had worse spots and we had some pretty bad luck too but we still enjoyed the parade. I guess to give advice I personally would say arrive as early as you can stand and if you really want to see anything head on up to Deck 6. The characters rarely stopped to interact with the crowd and when they did, they tended to pick the same ones to interact with, For instance there was a handicapped girl nearby and almost each character stopped to acknowledge her- which is wonderful- but once they did they moved along without acknowledging anyone else. In my opinion, if you plan to have one-on-one interactions via the character breakfasts or meet & greets then forego the bottom floor viewing and head upstairs where you can actually see it and enjoy without having to strain over heads or security guards and fight to keep your spot.

 

Right after the parade, we headed to the Adagio dining room for MTD. It was very nice to just stroll up to the “reservations” podium with no wait at all and be seated immediately. And much to our delight, we were back at the same table as night 3- with Leslie from Jamaica (and from breakfast) and Jose from Mexico!

 

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Savory Bites in our bread basket tonight and on my plate!

 

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Sarah is having fun!

 

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And eating her veggies!

 

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I had the chilled Raspberry and Pineapple Soup! Delicious and light but tart!

 

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Ron had the Onion Soup- caramelized onions in rich beef broth covered in Gruyere toast. He thought it was rich and fantastic!

 

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We all also shared the Spinach Dip- warm and creamy cheesy spinach served with tortilla chips.

 

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Brendan my seafood lover chose the Shrimp Cocktail

 

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Something different for Sarah : Pizza! As much Sorrento’s as she had had this week, I was a little surprised.

 

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Savannah? Yep. More spaghetti.

 

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For entrée’s Brendan and Ron chose the Grilled NY Strip: served over mashed potatoes and green beans with Béarnaise sauce.

 

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Their opinion: it was “fine” and “typical dining room steak”. Sorry for the in depth description there. I guess it wasn’t worth writing home to mom about, but tasted good.

 

I had the Shrimp and Mahi Mahi Tempura-shrimp and mild fish lightly coated with tempura batter and fried golden brown served with stir fried vegetables and chili-lime plum sauce. I thought this was fantastic- it was fresh from the fryer, crispy. The shrimp was large and the fish was tender and flaky. The sauce was delicious. I didn’t eat my vegetables, cabbage and other soggy green stuff- ick!

 

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Dessert? Chocolate Brownie Sandwiches of course! Dark bittersweet chocolate mousse sandwiched between two layers of brownie- yum!

 

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Service was again wonderful. We loved talking to Leslie- he told us all about his family in Jamaica and how blessed he is to be able to see his kids every other week when the ship stops in Falmouth. He was truly a pleasure. Jose didn’t talk much but he kept my tea full!

 

No! No! Noooooooo!

 

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After dinner there are a bunch of character Meet & Greet opportunities in the Promenade. Lines were a little long, but the characters were out for longer than normal, so we were able to get them all in. Savannah went back to the club to be with her friends, but Brendan and Sarah enjoyed the character scramble!

 

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Back up in the hallway, we found this! Bah!

 

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We got the packing finished, Sarah went to bed, and Brendan and Savannah were in their room watching TV- when...just before midnight a light from the balcony caught my eye. I looked up and right in front of me was a HUGE ship!!! It was certainly a Royal Caribbean ship – and a big one- but it was too hard to tell which, until it was suddenly close enough to be recognizable- it was OASIS!

 

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We called the kids over from their room and soon even Sarah was up to see…two ships passing in the night.

 

Video: Click to Play

 

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By the time I got the picture and video, Oasis was quite far away. For those of you hoping to see this encounter it happened at 11:52 PM on Saturday for the Starboard side of both ships.

 

After that brief excitement, we headed off to bed for the last time.

 

Sunday September 25 – Debarkation Day

 

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After a good night’s rest we awoke sad to see this outside of our balcony:

 

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We had elected for traditional debarkation. We were given a choice earlier in the week of “Before 830 AM” or “After 8:30 AM”. We chose before 8:30. Come to find out our awesome stateroom host, Anthony gave us luggage tags with #1 on them! So basically we were free to leave the ship as soon as debarkation began. That was pretty awesome, because as much as I love being on the ship, we loathe having to get off of it and want to do so as soon as humanly possible.

 

Once we had all awaken and dressed, we gathered our carry-on luggage and prepared to evacuate our stateroom. Apparently we should have chosen an “After 8:30” debarkation, however because cleaning teams were knocking on our door to get us out, and when we left the room we were surprised to see we were pretty much the last ones left in the area. It was still early (around 8AM- which is early to me!)

 

We headed across the pool deck and up the stairs to Windjammer.

A sad and lonely Beach pool:

 

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We feared Park and Promenade café’s would be too busy, and although we knew to expect mayhem in the WJ- it was even busier than we thought it would be. We started at the Starboard entrance and began looking for a table, counter, corner- pretty much anywhere we could get our eat on. Nothing. And I mean not a single table to be found. It was PACKED. When we finally would spot one open up, others would run- literally bum rush the table and beat us to it. This happened 2 or 3 times through the restaurant.

Finally- way over on the far Port side we found an empty table. It was too good to be true though, because it turns out it was occupied- by a purse in one of the 6 chairs. Ron and I both looked around at nearby tables- up to the buffet- wondering who in the world was trying to hold a huge table with one little purse. We thought maybe it was a solo cruiser so we patiently waited a few minutes for the person or persons to come and claim their table- or at least the purse….and nobody did.

 

Eventually after waiting a few minutes I said “Well, we’ll just join this purse for breakfast then” I had a seat while the older kids and Ron hit the buffet then I took my turn. Still nobody had come by.

 

The bag was enjoying it’s time in the Windjammer….I guess….

 

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We ate- took our time- and finally- FINALLY as we finished up- I am talking 15-20 minutes after we arrived a lady walks up, exclaims loudly in heavily accented English “MY BAG!” , snatches it up and walks back to join her large party of 8 or so people . We didn’t say a word to her. Unbelievable that she would just leave a purse sitting at a table in a crowded restaurant while she obviously went elsewhere on the ship to retrieve the rest of her huge group.

 

After that rather amusing exchange, we headed down to the Promenade to exit the ship. There are two wide queues- one forward and one aft. As soon as we approached the front of the line though- it was closed off and we had to wait for the luggage and customs area in the terminal to clear out. That took about 10-15 minutes, and once the queues were re-opened, we were swiped “off” the ship and we headed down the gangway and into the terminal. Porters were waiting and we immediately grabbed one, who took us directly to the number “1” luggage area- which seemed to be about as far away as possible. Once we retrieved our luggage, our porter steered us into a very, very, VERY long line of cruisers moving towards customs. The line was huge- but it was moving steadily. Even so, many people were breaking out of it and sneaking over and under the queue “lines” trying to cut to the front, but as soon as a staff member saw them, they would get curtly directed to the back of the line.

 

Really the line only took about 5-10 minutes to move through- not bad at all. Another 5 minutes in the customs line itself- and a couple more with the customs agent- may I add- the NICEST customs agent we have ever encountered, and we were brought right out to the waiting Park N Go shuttle bus, a few feet from the terminal.

 

The luggage was loaded and in minutes we were speeding off to the Park N Go lot! What an easy debarkation!

 

Back at Park N Go, we were taken right to our van, our luggage was unloaded, and we headed to check out. At the gate, we presented our coupon, paid our bill and they even gave us each a small bottle of water as we left. We loved the Park N Go and would absolutely use it again.

And so, as we made our way across Alligator Alley and finally back up north towards home, it finally set in that it was over. But, what a lovely cruise it was….

 

Until next time, my friends…

 

The End! :)

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Great update! Your kids are cuties! :)

 

Thanks! So, how was Oasis?? :)

 

Glad I read this before i went on Allure.... otherwise I would not have known. Thanks again !

 

usually the inside door under the sink has a trash can....

 

 

I'm glad others can learn from my mistakes...er...ignorance! Haha! :cool:

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Thanks for explaining. Will put Quest on the things to do (means I need to take a nap to be able to stay up late!!!) I'm enjoying getting to know the Allure via CC and all the neat reviews. I think it is definitely a "different" experience just by the planning aspect. Thanks. JanO

 

It is different from the normal cruise experience but we are pretty used to Disney type planning and that is worse! Figuring out where you want to eat in a theme park months in advance is crazy! :D

 

 

Is this the taxi that is prearranged? Did you tip on top of the $12/pp fee?

 

Yes, we did. Unfortunately the driver that took us TO Oyster Pond was way better- and he was the guy we had last time we did the excursion. We didn;t tip on the way over- assuming we would have him picking us up on the way back- and then it was someone else! :eek: So we did tip that guy, but then we felt bad that we hadn't tipped the first guy.

 

Thank you so much for putting in the time and effort it took to share your great trip with us. Even if we didn't have a cruise on Allure coming up very shortly, we still would have enjoyed the review.

 

And we've gotten to where we feel as if we almost know your family. Your kids are our favorite cruising kids (next to ours of course).

 

You have a great family. :)

 

Aww, thanks so much! So glad you enjoyed the review and have an amazing time on Allure!!! :)

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I loved reading your review and loved looking at all the pics. I live in Australia so we don't get the huge ships down here so it was great to see what was on offer. You have a lovely family.

 

Cheers

Gail

 

Thank you so much Gail! Boy would I love to go to Australia someday! :D

 

I'm so glad you enjoyed reading the review!!!

 

I think it's safe to say we are never going to see anymore of this cruise...

 

Sorry it took so long! But I got it done! Woo hoo! :D

 

Thank you for your review and pics.

 

You're very welcome, I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)

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I'm thinking they enjoyed the cruise so much, they just stowed away on the ship!!!:D

 

Oh my gosh I WISH!!! :D

 

Such a tease...looking forward to the rest.:D

 

Ask and you shall receive! LOL! :p

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Happy Thanksgiving to you too and thanks for the update and the TEASE!!! Will be checking back often - no pressure, now;)

 

Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! :D

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

Thank you all so much, we had a wonderful day! Happy Thanksgiving to all of my wonderful readers as well! :cool:

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Fantastic end to your wonderful cruise - thanks for sharing with all of us. We'll be on Allure in February and we can't wait! :)

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