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QTMichele

Not So "LIVE" Allure of the Seas: TAKE 2

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I'm BAAAACKKKKK!

 

One word for the past week onboard the Allure? Superfantabulicious!

 

Before I start, I want to let you know that I wrote a review of the Allure of the Seas last March. You can find it here, if you haven't read it, or feel like killing some time by reading it again. :)

 

This review will be a little different. I have a lot of pictures to share, but this will be less of a photo tour (you can find that in my last review) and more of a travel "diary," if you will. If you stay with me, I'll tell you about a surprise, the "new" Labadee cabanas, a wedding, and more.

 

Let's begin...

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A little background before I begin...

 

Last year my parents had enough Royal Caribbean Visa points to cash in for a free cruise for 2. I talked them into the Allure of the Seas and booked them in cabin 8560, the same D8 balcony cabin that my DH and I had last March. (Oh the jokes that were made, but that's another story.)

 

Fortunately for the family, my parents decided that they love cruising more when the FAMILY is with them. SO, the next thing I know, I'm booked aboard the world's largest cruise ship along with my siblings and nephew. My parents cruise for 2 is now a cruise for 14. But it doesn't end there.

 

My sister and her fiancé decided they didn't want to wait until our Thanksgiving 2012 cruise to get married, so they changed their plans and asked for my help with the wedding planning on the Allure. I LOVE to plan, I LOVE weddings, and I LOVE to cruise, so this was right up my alley.

 

I went to work finding a wedding planner. I was able to find Tropical Weddings Jamaica through the Cruise Critic message boards. Before long, a Montego Bay beach wedding and reception was planned.

 

Not only was I looking forward to cruising the Allure again, but I was excited to celebrate my sister's upcoming wedding. However, my excitement was soon OVER THE TOP.

 

My mom gave me a call several months before our cruise and mentioned that she really wanted her siblings on the cruise to celebrate my sister's wedding. We decided to keep it a SECRET - and we DID!!! So, our group of 14 was increased by 5 (3 uncles and 2 aunts) plus the groom's 2 brothers making us 21 crazy cruisers! How we managed to keep this a secret is beyond me, but I'm so glad we did, as you will soon see.

 

After a ton of planning, making show and dinner reservations, a handful of room changes, airline flights, car rentals, hotel rooms, and all the other little things involved with cruising and traveling, we made it our way to Florida. Here's is the story of last week's journey. :)

 

***But you're going to have to wait until tomorrow... I want to do this right, and I'll be sloppy if I continue tonight.

Edited by QTMichele

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Welcome back, I'm kind of hoping that I will once again be following in your footsteps. As we have discussed previously, I read every review before going on Allure and remember yours very well. I will also say reading reviews of Allure helped make it a great cruise more than any other because Allure is so different. That said, got our taxes done last night and got more back than we expected. I'm hopeful that when I get back from Jewel I'll book my return to Allure for 2013.

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bookmarking this for later! I started reading the other review you did and those pictures were FANTASTIC! Looking forward to our cruise this summer. after seeing you all on the "secret" aqua theater balconies, I am dying to find them myself!

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Oh.....I'm going to have to wait until tomorrow now to read the rest of this! Time difference between the UK and the USA is a nightmare.

 

Looking forward to hearing how it all goes

 

CK x

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Michele, Hope I get to read some before we leave on Friday. What was your favorite show? I heard mixed reviews about the ice show. We were not able to book that and if it is not worth it we will not wait in line for it. Welcome back and what I do not get to read before I go I will look forward to reading when I get back. Can't wait to hear about the wedding, I am sure it was just beautiful. How nice for the family to be able to surprise them.

Cindy

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I've been SO looking forward to this review!!!! Michele, will you be posting the cruise compasses? I would love a more recent one :D

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Looking forward to reading your observations, since the last edition was so fun.

 

Thanks for taking the time to write and share with your CC "fans"!

 

We have 39 days to go and great people like you make the time go much more quickly!

Edited by mmcruise

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OH MY GOSH! You guys are such great guilt trippers! LOL Thank you for your kind words and following me along my newest journey. How fun it is to share this with you!!!

 

I don't have long to write - I have to pick-up my kids from school in 20 minutes, but I thought I'd get a quick start to help tame the masses! ;)

 

OH.... for the ice show question... I didn't go since I had been before and wasn't overly impressed. It was a "good" show, but it wasn't great and I didn't feel the need to see it again. On the other hand, I had a great time at the How To Train Your Dragon On Ice show! There isn't a lot of technical skating, but I loved the props, and my kids loved the show. If you've seen the movie, then it should be easy to follow. If you haven't seen the movie, then maybe it will be more challenging to follow along, but, IMHO, it should be entertaining.

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All the planning over the past year has finally come to pay off. Today is the day we make our way to the airport. Can you believe we contemplated driving? Fortunately, we found excellent prices on airfare - our family of 5 cost about $800 to fly direct, round-trip from WV to Ft. Lauderdale. Driving wouldn't have been much cheaper!

 

Packing for this trip was a hassle. Baggage limitations and excess cost stress me out, but I managed to pack 4 checked bags plus one small carry on for each of us. Plus a car seat. Imagine 2 adults and 3 kids meandering through the airport with all this junk.

 

I made sure our liquids were packed in the checked baggage. No problems there. Or so I thought. As the 5 of us went through security, I noticed something was holding us up. That something was MY bag. Uh oh. I was pulled aside and told that I had liquids in my bag and was reprimanded. Liquid? UM, NO MA'AM! The TSA officer searches my bag and pulls out a bottle - my son's POWDER medication. She then reprimands me that I should make TSA aware of anything that I think they may find suspicious. Okaaay. Sure. Will do that next time.

 

Minutes after we went through security our plane started boarding. There's nothing like cutting it close.

 

We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale without delay. After picking up our car at Alamo (got a great price via Priceline), we found we were upgraded from a full size to a mini-van. Perfect! (Remember all that luggage?!) Our rate was $26/day - no complaints there.

 

I booked our hotel room through Priceline as well - love Priceline for car rentals and 4 star hotels in Hollywood, Florida. We "won" the Westin Diplomat and Spa at $92/night. At the time I booked through Priceline the hotel's rack rates were $360 and up. Did I mention how much I love Priceline?

 

We checked in and received an inter coastal view. The view was beautiful at night.

 

It was late for us, but we were hungry. We tried dinner at a Westin restaurant on the inter coastal. Service was slow, the food was hotel-food (you know, not so great, but edible), and the prices were reasonable. I had the flatbread pizza at $14, my daughter had the hamburger ($12), the kids' meals were $6, and my husband had a huge salad for $18. After dinner, we hit the sack.

 

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I am sooo looking forward to reading your post regarding the new Labadee cabanas. There seems to be very little information about them because they are so new.

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I am sooo looking forward to reading your post regarding the new Labadee cabanas. There seems to be very little information about them because they are so new.

 

Me TOO!!!!

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thanks for the update so far. I know it's hard when you have a schedule and family to sit down and worry about your cruise critic family also, but you are killing me!

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Oh my your little one is a cutie!!!

 

Great pic of your son! :D

 

What a cute Baby!

 

Thanks! And he has a personality to match. ;)

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If this is half as good as your last review it will be awesome!

 

Well, I don't know that it will be anywhere near my last review, but I'll try!

 

Welcome back, and looking forward to the rest! :)

 

Thanks, Carol!

 

Support - right back atcha!

 

Appreciate it!!!

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Welcome back, I'm kind of hoping that I will once again be following in your footsteps. As we have discussed previously, I read every review before going on Allure and remember yours very well. I will also say reading reviews of Allure helped make it a great cruise more than any other because Allure is so different. That said, got our taxes done last night and got more back than we expected. I'm hopeful that when I get back from Jewel I'll book my return to Allure for 2013.

 

Thanks!

 

I agree about learning about the Allure/Oasis before you go... there's so much that should be done before boarding. My family kept thanking me for all the work I did putting everything together. They still have no idea what it's like to book for a group of 21 - all the reservations on an off the ship, excursion ideas, etc. It was a lot of time, but it was fun!

 

Congrats on the taxes! We did ours last night too. :D We'll be using part of ours to pay for our onboard expenses... I'm ashamed at how much we spent! LOL

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I am sooo looking forward to reading your post regarding the new Labadee cabanas. There seems to be very little information about them because they are so new.

 

I'll get there! LOTS of info to share with pictures!!

 

Patience! Patience!

 

LOL - I have no patience.. I'm trying to "get it all done," but find there's just not enough time in the day to do it.

 

I've been SO looking forward to this review!!!! Michele, will you be posting the cruise compasses? I would love a more recent one :D

 

THANKS! I've been excited to start it for you! Just need more time...

 

I don't normally post compasses. I love ya'll, but the time it takes to scan them, upload them, post them... well, something has to give, and it's usually the Compasses. I'm sorry, but I'd be more than happy to look up anything for you. :)

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Loving it so far Michele. You have a great writing style. I already have a big smile on my face just from the cruise originally being small to a group of 21!!! Then the surprises. Oh I can't wait to see how that turns out!!!

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