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Indescribable! (But I'll try): My Allure Photo Review

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Greetings everyone! My husband and I just returned from the October 7th sailing of the Allure of the Seas (Western Caribbean), and I'm very excited to be able to share our vacation with you. We had a wonderful time on the Allure, I miss the ship already. She's so large that it's kind of difficult to grasp the enormity of the ship until you sail her yourself. And even then, sometimes her size is hard to comprehend. It's a beautiful ship and very easy to navigate. We would love to sail the Allure again.

For those of you who are familiar with my reviews, you'll recall that this will be more of a trip report than an actual formal review. I hope this provides you with some helpful information as you prepare to sail the Allure, or even if you're considering sailing her. Even if the Allure is not on your radar, may this serve as a “virtual vacation,” as so many of the other fantastic reviews here on CC do for me. Feel free to comment, ask questions, etc. Everyone is always so helpful here that I enjoy being able to pay it forward.

It should take me a couple days to get through everything, and I have tons of photos, menus, and Cruise Compasses. As far as cameras go, I used a Canon Powershot ELPH 100 HS. So follow along with me, and enjoy!

About us: My name is Chrystal, and my husband's name is Wesley. We're a couple that loves to travel and share information from our experiences, so Cruise Critic is a great place to us! Here's a photo of us on the Serenade of the Seas in 2010:

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We live in South Jersey, and met in high school 13 years ago. We dated through college, and got married in 2006. We honeymooned on an NCL cruise to Bermuda. Impressed with Bermuda, but a little underwhelmed with the ship. I think the ship we sailed was very old and sold to another line sometime after we sailed her. We tried an all-inclusive a couple years later and enjoyed that, but we decided to give cruising a try one more time since we were interested in seeing the Southern Caribbean. Since we sailed the Adventure of the Seas in 2009, we've been hooked on Royal Caribbean. We sailed the Southern Caribbean two more times after that, and set our sights on the Allure after we sailed the Serenade last year. You can see my other reviews by clicking the links in my signature.

 

Cruising for our wedding anniversary has become a tradition. However, on this sailing, we had an even greater reason to celebrate....we're having a baby! :D We found out in May. So this cruise served as our 6th anniversary/baby-moon cruise. Here's a recent photo of us, with my Mom who is ecstatic about her first grandchild :):

 

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Oh my, Oh my, Oh my, the review I been waiting for!!!!!!!!! Give me, Give me, Give me!!!!!!!

Edited by gambee

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Great start! Can't wait to read your whole trip report.. We went on our 1st cruise on the Oasis this past June & had to try out Allure also.. We are on Allure May 2013 Western also. :)

Thx for taking the time to share!!

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Can't wait......Will be on Allure Dec 2nd.....Was on Oasis last year....

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Woooo! I cannot wait to see how you liked the Allure. I wonder if you felt like me.

 

Congrats on the baby!!!! Yay!!!! You guys look so happy and your little belly is so cute!

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First of all .... Congratulations on the pregnancy! When are you due and do you know what you're having? My sister has only a few weeks left to her due date. Like your Mum, my mum is also very excited about becoming a Gran!

 

And secondly, am looking forward to the rest of your review. One day, hopefully I'll get to book a cruise on Allure or Oasis! Or maybe I can just dream!

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I was on your cruise, too! Can't wait to read your review and see your pictures! It was an absolutely amazing ship!! :D

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So, where should I start? Even getting to the ship was quite an ordeal for us. I'll give details on that shortly. We were supposed to sail the Allure on September 23rd. I was 20 weeks pregnant at that time, and had my doctor's note ready to go. Our original plan was to stay in Miami precruise beginning on Friday, then take a shuttle from our hotel to the ship on Sunday morning. We flew Jetblue from JFK to Fort Lauderdale. Their terminal in JFK is fantastic! And I love their snacks. Just warning you that since I have a baby on the way, food is BIG part of my review, and you'll see lots of food pics, lol. Here's my customary Jetblue shot:

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Upon our arrival, we received a call from our shuttle company, (Quality Limo Service, or QLS) and they let us know they were tracking our flight and saw that we landed. Very impressive! We received instructions on where to wait after we retrieved our luggage. Sure enough, the shuttle arrived about 20 minutes after our luggage arrived. It was a shared shuttle, so there were already some passengers in the van, however there were two empty rows in back. Wes took one row and I took the other. Very comfortable. Our driver was pretty talkative. He let asked us where were from, and as soon as we said New Jersey, he got excited since he was from New York. He moved for the warmer weather and more laid-back vibe. We completely understand why he moved! We live at a breakneck speed here in the northeast and it can be a little taxing on you. We're considering moving to the South sometime in the future. But I digress...

It was a pleasant 45-minute ride from FLL to Miami. The other group was dropped off in downtown Miami, and then we were on our way to our hotel, the Z Ocean South Beach, right on Collins Avenue. Actually, the hotel has an entrance on Collins, as well as one on the famous Ocean Drive. I was looking for a boutique-type, adult experience in South Beach, something memorable for DH and myself. I wasn't disappointed! What a lovely place. From the moment we arrived, we were treated like royalty. Actually, before we arrived, we were treated so kindly. I emailed the concierge (I always do this before a hotel stay) to let her know why we were staying, and to ask some questions about the room. Specifically, our Spa Suite had a jacuzzi tub on the balcony. Since I was expecting, it's not advisable to use a jacuzzi, unless the water temp is set at 100 degrees or below. I asked if the temperature could be adjusted, and she said that was absolutely possible. So happy to hear that!

Anyway, when the shuttle pulled up to the hotel, a bellman immediately unloaded our luggage and whisked it away while we checked in. We entered a beautiful, intimate lobby.

 

 

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Stacie, our front desk assistant, was wonderful. She welcomed us to the hotel, helped us check in smoothly, and congratulated us on our anniversary and baby on the way. Another attendant approached us and offered us cool towels and small bottles of cold water. Nice touch!

 

 

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Since I wasn't expecting our rooms to be ready when we arrived (I think it was around noon), I had a nice lunch spot in mind. All the locals in Miami rave about this sandwich stand called La Sandwicherie, and since I Googled the spot, I noticed that it was within walking distance of our hotel. I asked Stacie for directions, and she quickly printed us a map of how to get there. It was literally 3 blocks away. The bellman gave us a ticket for our luggage, and told us we wouldn't see it again until we settled into our suite. Fine with us! So off we went to lunch while they prepared our room.

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Hi Chrystal! Hope you guys had a relaxing week! Thanks again for the champagne, it was a nice addition to the 2nd formal night! Back to reality here in the Philly area, rainy and yucky today! And I had a bout of land sickness today (still whirling here now). Will look forward to your expert review of the ship, it sure was amazing!

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HELLO Host Faith! So glad you two enjoyed your cruise (even if you were only able to drink your Miami Vice drinks virgin style). Couldn't remember when you had re-booked your cruise for, but knew it was some time in October and have been patiently waiting for your posting.

 

I'M EXCITED - just love your articulate and very detailed reviews.

 

Thanks so much.

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La Sandwicherie is a lot smaller than I had in mind, but the charm of the shop was evident as soon as we walked up to the window. There was a row of stools along the counter, as well as a separate window for takeout. The workers in the stand spoke French, and had heavy accents when taking our orders in English.

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Because of the crowd, we decided to order our food to-go and take it back to the hotel. I ordered a seafood salad, and Wes had his usual- turkey, provolone, lettuce with a little oil and vinegar. No matter where we go, that's what he orders, lol. I also ordered a strawberry smoothie. While we waited, we chatted with some of the locals. One kind lady asked us right away if we were from NY/NJ. She could tell from the way we spoke that we were from that area, since she was from New York. Again, she moved for the more laid-back vibe, and for the warmth. She was a nurse and licensed massage therapist and doing quite well for herself. She said lots of people, not just retired, were moving to Florida from the northeast.

Our food was ready within 5-10 minutes, and off we went back to the hotel. We found a nice seating area just off the lobby and settled in with our food.

I have to say, like everyone else says in their recommendations of La Sandwicherie- everything was so deliciously fresh! My seafood salad was sitting on a bed of crisp vegetables, and I was given a small loaf of fresh French bread to go with my salad. The little French pickles on top (cornichons) were delightful. Just wonderful. The Dijon dressing they serve on the side is yummy....though I actually make that same dressing at home so it wasn't anything all that special to me, lol. Though my husband's sandwich was simple, he raved about the freshness of every component of it.

 

 

Allure2012016.jpg

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Oh my, Oh my, Oh my, the review I been waiting for!!!!!!!!! Give me, Give me, Give me!!!!!!!

 

Haha! So happy you enjoy the reviews. I'm writing as fast as I can :)

 

Yeah! Faith is back...can't wait for your review!

 

Thank you! :D

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Great start! Can't wait to read your whole trip report.. We went on our 1st cruise on the Oasis this past June & had to try out Allure also.. We are on Allure May 2013 Western also. :)

Thx for taking the time to share!!

 

Thank you! My pleasure :)

 

Looking forward to your review and photos. By the way congratulations on the new baby.

 

Thank you so much!

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Congratulations on your baby. Can't wait for the rest of your review. My husband and I are doing a back to back next year on the Allure for our 25th anniversary. So please don't leave out any details.

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Can't wait......Will be on Allure Dec 2nd.....Was on Oasis last year....

 

You're in for a great time on the Allure! Happy cruising to you!

 

Yay can't wait! My post cruise depression is hitting hard and this should help even it out. Lol

 

LOL! I can totally relate. Even worse, we don't have another cruise booked right now. Sigh. :rolleyes::)

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Woooo! I cannot wait to see how you liked the Allure. I wonder if you felt like me.

 

Congrats on the baby!!!! Yay!!!! You guys look so happy and your little belly is so cute!

 

Hey there! Thank you so much, I loved your review! Still sorting out how I feel about the Allure. We had a fantastic time and the ship was beautiful. I think the review will help me determine how I really feel about a ship of that size. We'll see! :)

 

First of all .... Congratulations on the pregnancy! When are you due and do you know what you're having? My sister has only a few weeks left to her due date. Like your Mum, my mum is also very excited about becoming a Gran!

 

And secondly, am looking forward to the rest of your review. One day, hopefully I'll get to book a cruise on Allure or Oasis! Or maybe I can just dream!

 

Thank you! Due in early February, and we're having a boy. We can't wait to meet him! We couldn't bear the suspense of not knowing. How exciting about your sister! Does she know what she's having?

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I was on your cruise, too! Can't wait to read your review and see your pictures! It was an absolutely amazing ship!! :D

 

Wasn't the ship amazing?! So impressive. Did you have a favorite area of the ship, or a favorite feature? It's hard for me to pick just one, lol.

 

congratulations on the baby! I'm looking forward to your report.

 

Thank you so much! :)

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First off, congratulations on having your first child.

 

Secondly, cannot wait to read your review. Enjoyed reading about your experience on the Liberty of the Seas earlier. The Allure is a great ship.

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Hi Chrystal! Hope you guys had a relaxing week! Thanks again for the champagne, it was a nice addition to the 2nd formal night! Back to reality here in the Philly area, rainy and yucky today! And I had a bout of land sickness today (still whirling here now). Will look forward to your expert review of the ship, it sure was amazing!

 

Hi Beth! We're so happy you enjoyed the champagne. :) Yeah the weather here today was pretty dismal. I miss the beautiful sunshine we had all week! I felt like I was still on the ship today too!

 

Looking forward to another great review. welcome back and congratulations!

 

Thank you!

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HELLO Host Faith! So glad you two enjoyed your cruise (even if you were only able to drink your Miami Vice drinks virgin style). Couldn't remember when you had re-booked your cruise for, but knew it was some time in October and have been patiently waiting for your posting.

 

I'M EXCITED - just love your articulate and very detailed reviews.

 

Thanks so much.

 

Haha! Thank you! And I did have a Miami Vice, no alcohol. We had a great time :)

 

Congratulations on your baby. Can't wait for the rest of your review. My husband and I are doing a back to back next year on the Allure for our 25th anniversary. So please don't leave out any details.

 

Thank you! What a wonderful (and well-deserved) way to celebrate your 25th anniversary! I'll try to be as detailed as possible. Here's to a beautiful anniversary cruise for you two :)

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First off, congratulations on having your first child.

 

Secondly, cannot wait to read your review. Enjoyed reading about your experience on the Liberty of the Seas earlier. The Allure is a great ship.

 

Thanks mj! You're so lucky to be sailing the Oasis so soon. Have a great cruise!

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Congratulations on having your first baby! :cool: :)

I'm enjoying your review thus far. :D

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I was so tired from traveling that I was content to stay right there on the couches until our room was ready. I think we waited about 45 minutes before our room was ready.

 

Here are some shots of the lower level of the hotel, facing Ocean Drive. The skylights were actually the glass bottom to the pool. We could see people swimming above us from time to time.

 

 

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Wes checked at the desk one more time and they confirmed that it was fine for us to go up! We were excited to explore the room.

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Wasn't the ship amazing?! So impressive. Did you have a favorite area of the ship, or a favorite feature? It's hard for me to pick just one, lol.

 

Yes it was! It's so hard to adjust to real life again! I am still having major Allure withdrawal!! Picking a favorite area is tough! I loved the Boardwalk and Central Park, but the Royal Promenade was amazing, too! There were many times it was hard to believe it was a ship! And I know what you mean about forgetting just how big she really is!

 

P.S. Congratulations on your baby!

Edited by kfleck76

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Looking forward to you review. We are doing a B2B in July, 2013 on the Allure. We did the Oasis in July of 2011, and loved it. Can't wait for the Allure in July

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Our room was FABULOUS. Better than the photos I saw on the website. Beautiful decor, a comfy king-sized bed. I'll let the photos tell the story for a bit:

 

 

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Wes got comfortable right away while I kept snapping photos. There were two televisions in the room, one that Wes was facing in the photo below, and another that faced the bed (in the foreground of the photo):


 

Allure2012037.jpg

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There were two sinks in the bathroom, each one separated by the toilet area. One was closer to the suite's entrance (in case you wanted to entertain), and the other sink was next to the shower, across from the bed. Each section was separated by frosted glass sliding doors. We didn't even use the sink closest to the entrance.

 

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And the SHOWER! Oh, the shower! There were several jets in the walls, as well as one overhead, so you could have water coming from 6 different directions at any one time. Loved that shower!

 

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We took a look at the balcony. Plenty of room with a table and several chairs, and the jacuzzi. The hotel attendants come to your room to prepare the jacuzzi when you're ready to use it, which assures you're getting into a nice clean jacuzzi each time. Curtains were available for you to draw for privacy around the jacuzzi. Our view wasn't all that great, but who cares? We had a spa suite with a jacuzzi in the heart of South Beach! We would have a much better view from our balcony room on the Allure so it wasn't a big deal to us.

 

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So we ended up taking a nap for a while before dinner. We awoke to some terrible news. My sister-in-law called us to let us know we had a death in the family. Our grandmother passed away. We immediately decided to change all our plans. You can read what happened here: Huge 'Thank You' to Royal.

 

We stayed in the room for a while so we could come up with a plan. We decided to wait until morning (Saturday) to start making the arrangements to head home on Sunday instead of boarding the ship. I couldn't imagine us not being with our family at that time.

 

While we were still in Miami, we decided to try and make the best of our time there despite our heavy hearts. We got dressed around 9 PM and decided to walk down Ocean Drive and go to dinner.

 

I have lots more to write about Miami, BUT, it's time for me to rest a bit. I'm off work tomorrow so I'll be able to write more. Up next is dinner and our Saturday in Miami, then our time in Fort Lauderdale precruise, two weeks later. Thank you for following along so far! :)

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I'm not sure whether to congratulate you on your pregnancy or send my condolences for the loss of your grandmother, but my heart is with you on both. I hope you're doing well with your pregnancy and healing from your loss. <3

 

Looking forward to reading more about your Allure cruise - hoping to relive one of the best vacations I've ever had!

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Chrystal,

 

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Very sorry on the loss of your grandmother.

 

I'm enjoying your review and pictures.......we're doing a B2B on the Allure on 12/2 !

:)

Dee

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Welcome back Chrystal:

 

First, I would like to offer my condolences on the passing of your loved one.

 

Wow, you have only been home for one day and you are already posting your pictorial review. Thats organization!!!!! I wasn't expecting anything until, at least, Wednesday or Thursday. You are amazing.

 

I am really looking forward to the rest of your story and your insight about the Allure. I love love love your reviews. Its like taking another vacation. And seeing how much I enjoyed our time on the Allure, I am ready for this one.

 

Efe'

Edited by Mande30

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Allure2012040.jpg

 

 

Ah-ha!! Here is my first cruise fashion fix photo :D:D

You have no idea how eagerly many of us have been waiting for this review. We are leaving next week!!!

Thank you again so much for writing this. When you are done, I'll be starting my own :p

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Again - so sorry for your loss AND congratulations on your pregnancy. YOU LOOK ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE!!!

 

Love your reviews and can't wait to read and see more pictures!

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