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gambee

Nov 4, Allure of the Seas, Western Caribbean - A Review and Complete Pictorial Guide!

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Synopsis

 

I have all the Compasses, Menus, Wine lists, Drink lists, Activity planers, tips and much much more.

I took over 6000 pictures, more than 80 videos and pages of notes.

If we ate it I took a picture of it(with one exception in Cozumel :-( I forgot).

I guess you could say that my cruise was centered around this review.

It will take me some time working around the pictures and notes, please be patient.

I will try to make this review/guide as organized and easy to follow as possible.

I hope everyone enjoys.

 

 

 

Introduction,

 

 

For those of you thinking that I am a beautiful sexy lady just because of my CC screen name "Gambee", sorry to disappoint you, I am a guy :p. And if you're wondering where Gambee came from? Well I can't really remember, but I think it came from the cartoon character Gumby, I guess I just got a little creative with the name or maybe it was just bad spelling, who knows… Anyway who cares, it gets the job done ;)

home-large-gumby.png

Image courtesy of Gumbyworld

 

This will be my first attempt at a detailed review with lots of pictures, I reviewed the NCL Sky before, but that was a short and quick review(there is a link for it in my signature). I am sure this review is not for everyone because it will have some non-essential information, for those not interested in reading you are welcome to just scroll down and look at the pictures, there will be lots of them. But for those interested in tips and opinions I will include a lot of details in the text. I have read a lot of reviews preparing for this trip and I have a lot of useful information to share. I guess you could say that I am attempting to make an almost complete guide to the Allure of the Seas, will I accomplish it? who knows, but I will sure try.

 

In advance I like to apologize for some grammatical errors and exclusion of words, I tend to do that from time to time. English is my second language and sometimes I struggle with it. I will however proof read everything prior posting and try my best to do a good job so its easy to read and understand. I hope you all enjoy.

 

 

I will start from the beginning, four months ago I went on my first cruise it was on the Norwegian Sky for a short 3 day cruise to Bahamas with my mom. Don't ask me why this was my first cruise, I live in FT. Lauderdale and I travel extensively, but had yet to cruise ::dunno::, although now that I think about it, maybe it had to do with the fear of getting nauseous. Anyway, the cruise was absolutely fantastic, a new addiction was created that weekend. There was so much going on that we really did not know what to do, all in all we had a great time, with very little hiccups (Aside from Atlantis, but that was not the cruise fault).

 

Here are a couple of pictures from that cruise.

 

This was on the tender going towards Stirrup Cay. She is one beautiful ship and holds a special place in my heart. Nothing like the first time you experience something, right?

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A lot of our time was spend at that bar from where the picture was taken. It had a great view! You can see Miami all around us, ahhhhh the memories…..

DSC01867_zps71d29049.jpg

 

 

Next up; Planning….

Edited by gambee

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When we got home we were both static and slightly depressed to be home, so what do we do to remedy this? Well I started looking around for longer cruises and pricing a few of them. There were so many good options to choose from, but the problem was that after docking next to the Oasis in Nassau we both knew that was the class of ship that wanted our next cruise to be in. Although we were a little surprised at the price difference between the Oasis class ships and other cruises, we decided to go ahead and do it anyway. You only live once, right?

 

I took this picture when were going over the bridge towards Atlantis. From the left, Majesty of the seas, Disney Dream, Carnival Dream, NCL Sky and Oasis of the Seas. You can see that Oasis was doing a life boat drill, the funny thing is we did not see this at the time, the ship is so BIG that she blocked everything.

DSC02417_zps37c2775e.jpg

 

 

So on I went deciding on what room to book, we knew we wanted a balcony room and while we liked the boardwalk and central park ones, we both knew we belonged in a ocean-view balcony (go all out or go home, right?). Well at least for us that meant all out as there is no way in hell we could afford a suite. This was the first time with a balcony for us, we did an interior room on the NCL Sky to test things out. So we ended up picking a starboard aft room on deck 7 room 7704. This seemed like a good room to us, but then again what did we know, this was the fist time doing this. We liked the idea that we would have 5 sunsets and 1 sunrise (if my calculations were correct) and it seemed like it had the potential to be a quiet spot. We would also be docking from that side as long as they were not doing life boat drills and I thought that would give us nice views of the ports. I was also aware that being mid ship was better to avoid nausea, but unfortunately there were no cabins available at that price point. But overall we liked our cabin location.

 

Our cabin circled in red.

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So time went by and I found CC.com, omg the addiction to cruising was nothing compared to the addiction to cc, I became a CC junkie. Researching everything possible and writing all kind of notes for our upcoming cruise. A few weeks later I showed my mom CC and well lets just say that she started to drive me a little crazy with all the CC talk. We were both CC junkies and we were both crazily addicted.

 

Next up; Port Everglades Inlet….

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Looking forward with anticipation. We're cruising on the allure in May and any info will be soaked up like a sponge.

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YES!! I finished my cruise, I finished my report, now what do I do??

 

Read someone else'e report :D And there are two!!

 

Yahooooo!

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Nice start. I'm looking forward to the rest of your review/report. :D

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I am enjoying your review. However, it would be better if you could make your pictures a bit smaller so that we don't have to scroll back and forth to read the text? Thanks.:)

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Weeks went by and I found out that I could go and get really close to the Allure and the Oasis while they were leaving port. It became a hobby to go to the port and watch the ships sail away and wave goodbye. I went there in all kinds of weather it did not matter if it rained or shined, if I could be there I would. I recommend this to anyone sailing in the Allure, you should go on saturday and see Oasis sail way from the inlet. There is a neat feeling of adrenaline rush when you do this, its really cool and it also gets you all pumped up for your cruise.

 

Here are a few of the pictures I took over the Months.

 

DSC04134_zps96797cc7.jpg

 

The weather was nasty that day.

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You are so close to them that you would need a super wide angle lens to get them when they are crossing right in front of you.

DSC03651-Edit_zps48669df4.jpg

 

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It was a lot of fun and for the most part there is always a group of people there to talk if that is your thing. There is one piece of advice that I will give you, if you decided to go there remember to dress accordingly as the weather can change rapidly and always bring water (or booze, lol, jk no alcohol allowed in there). A lot of the times there will be delays on the departures and you will be there for a little longer than expected.

 

 

Next up; Port Everglades Inlet Directions, tips and Hotels!

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That's it?? What a tease...more...more

 

Sorry like I siad this is a long process, I think it will be my part time job for the next few weeks. I was scanning some 100 pages of compasses and other documents. I'll try to speed up as I go, but I also want to quality material.

 

I am enjoying your review. However, it would be better if you could make your pictures a bit smaller so that we don't have to scroll back and forth to read the text? Thanks.:)

 

This is something a little complicated, it seems like depending on the screen size of your comp people have different experiences. I ended up picking this one because most cc goers were ok with it in other reviews. And I also want to do the pictures justice. Let me see how it goes and I will adapt depending on requests. Deal?

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Nice start. I'm looking forward to the rest of your review/report. :D

 

I enjoyed yours a lot.

 

Thanks for the review.

 

Hope you enjoy.

 

Looking forward with anticipation. We're cruising on the allure in May and any info will be soaked up like a sponge.

 

You might need more than one sponge ;)

 

YES!! I finished my cruise, I finished my report, now what do I do??

 

Read someone else'e report :D And there are two!!

 

Yahooooo!

 

Hope you like it.

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For those of you interested in how to get to the inlet I will post a short guide here. The pictures taken from the north part of the inlet are in my opinion better due the lighting, the angle of the pictures and the distance from the ship. You can stand much higher off the ground since the rocks are much taller in this side and you are slightly further from the ship. However there are problems with this location, there is a limited amount of parking spaces and they can be hard to come by, the good thing is that they are free. The other problem is that people with mobility issues will have to stay off the rocks, it can a little tricky and dangerous climbing all the way to the top. This location is also ideal for people staying in the Hyatt or other hotels on 17st, its just a short walk there. I say Hyatt because I noticed that is a popular hotel to stay for CC goers and the closest one to the inlet. All the other hotels are across the bridge, they are just a slightly longer walk.

 

Directions by car.

Screenshot2012-10-29at110317PM_zpsd5335dec.png

 

Free parking.

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Walking directions, this path takes you through some very nice houses, enjoy the view

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The other location is the south side of the inlet located inside the state park John U. Lloyd, parking is abundant and I have never encountered an issue with it. The entrance to the park costs $4 for vehicles with the driver only and $6 for 2 or more people in the car. You could also go there for a day at the beach, their beaches are very clean and if its a clear day you can snorkel and see lots of colorful fish (I once say a manta ray, she scared the living **** out me, it was HUGE). Fishing is also allowed in the inlet and they also have restrooms and a concession store available. Walking to the inlet is painless as there is an assigned walkway and you never have to touch the sand if you don't want to, no hills either. I also believe that in this side you stand much closer to the ship, this can be good and bad. Good for feeling so close to it, bad for pictures.

 

Here are the directions from the Hyatt. This side should only be done by car, I could not imagine walking there. But maybe swimming there is a possibility, lol, just joking.

Screenshot2012-10-29at110411PM_zps283cfac1.png

 

 

Here you can see it is a safe place to be in, with both a walkway and railings. You can see Allure on the far left, Carnival Freedom is pulling out, and to the right is a princess ship, forgot which one. The last ones to leave port are usually the Oasis class ships, not sure if it stays that way in the winter months (a lot more ships in port).

DSC04056_zps5423926a.jpg

 

 

I also noticed lots of people asking for the best place to stay near Port Everglades. My suggestion is simple any hotel on 17st should do it. There are so many restaurants and stores in that area that just walking around will get you what you're looking for. This is a very safe area with lots of traffic, mainly from people heading to or from the beach. As you can see there are 6 hotels off the main street and a few others a short walk away. Most are within the $100-$200 range, some travel sites might offer some specials in some them and you might be able to get them under $100 in some cases, just look around.

 

Screenshot2012-10-31at73306AM_zpsc1b7f48e.png

 

 

Next up; Decisions, decisions, what to do?!?

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Thanks for doing this. I will be on the Allure in July, my first time on the ship (I have been on the Oasis), and my first B2B. So very excited. Love your pictures, and the size is just right for my computer.

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Great work. I am going on the Allure in December and I was about to do the same on google maps so I know my bearings when I arrive at the hilton.

 

Cant wait to see what you post next

 

 

 

Cheers

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Time moved slowly, so my CC addiction only grew deeper and deeper :D lol. I had all matters of my trip planned and each day I would go on my spreadsheet and change little details here and there.

 

Here is what my spreadsheet looked at the beginning of the cruise. Attached to this post is my calendar, feel free to grab and edit it to your own schedule. Another fellow CC member shared this one with me. By the way the final calendar looked nothing like this on, lol.

 

Screenshot2012-10-28at110400AM_zps8bd24464.png

 

 

Flash forward to 2 weeks prior boarding, I have a boyfriend we been together for over 3 years? I forget he is the one that keeps track, I am horrible at remembering dates.

 

So some of you may ask why was he not a of part of the trip. It is kind of complicated and a long story, but I will try to explain briefly. He has many cruises under his belt around 18 I think and this is before he was 17yo, his granny used to work for NCL, so they did lots of traveling around the Caribbean. He is not very found of the Caribbean, nor the heat either and in addition to that when I booked the trip we had no idea about his university schedule. Back then I asked him if he wanted to go and he replied "it's too much money" I really did not think much of it. I actually thought he did not wanted to go, just because it's the Caribbean and with all the heat and some other issues that I will get into later on. But in a way he was right, it was too much money. Right now he is in school and I take care of most of the expenses of the house hold (he helps as he can) and with mom leaving to take care of grandma, money was a little tight.

 

So anyway back again with the story, I was at work one day and I feeling a little gloomy, I am not really sure what it was, but I just did not feel right. So out of the blue I called my TA and requested a quote for the addition of one more passenger to our cabin. What she told me was good and bad news, I was told that I could add someone but we would need to upgrade to a more $$$ cabin, the good news was that since the price dropped a little the rates for my mom and I would stay the same. But adding my bf would cost quite a bit and a little more that I had anticipated. So I took notes, thanked the nice lady for her excellent service and told her goodbye and to have a nice weekend. I preceded to think on my next move, I could technically do it, since I had some money put away.

 

I spent much of the morning thinking (one more thing to take into account was that our relationship has been a roller coaster of adapting to each other, we are in total opposite sides of the spectrum on what we like to do and how we are). But so far we do good, the one thing that we have still a few issues to resolve is traveling. I spent all morning weighting my options and came out with a simple conclusion. He is a good bf, he rarely asks for anything and I think he deserves this trip as much as I do, if he wants to go he will go. So I preceded to send him a text message asking him if he wanted to go. His response once again was "it's too much money, we need to save" so then I asking him again "you did not answer my question, would you like to go? is there any part of you that thinks that you would have fun on that cruise?" and after a 30 minute wait he replied "yes, it would be nice". Well it was settled he was going, as I was calling my TA to change my reservation, I remembered his passport was expired. I had a moment of anxiety, so I told him and he said he would do some research. Remember this is two weeks prior sailing :eek:

 

Next up; Passport in a hurry, dinning package and Wine package tips.

Allure Schedule.xls

Edited by gambee

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After some research I found out that Miami had a same day passport service for of course a nominal fee, great more money… But what other option did we have? The problem with this service was that you needed a purchased itinerary to use it, it was a very risky move (you need to be 14 or less days away from your traveling date to use this service). So after some thinking the next day I called the TA made the change (by the way, between the day before and the day I booked him the price increased by 12%…) and printed his itinerary to take it to the passport agency. Something good came out of this, since we had to change room category they game us some options for our new room. One of them was on deck 11 about 6 rooms from the secret aft balcony room 11718. I loved the idea of being so close to such a large semiprivate balcony with aft view, it would give us the chance to spread out a little if we were feeling to cramped in the room, so I told my TA to book that one for us. Mom and I were happy about the change and he was happy because he was going, even though he would not show it :rolleyes: his personality I guess, got used to it already.

 

There is one thing that I thought I would miss from our prior cabin, I like being close to the water and this one was much higher up. Not to mention more movement of the ship could be felt. But that was also a good thing, this one could provide better views and a more elite status, lol, like anyone cares about that. But yeah I was very excited about that aft balcony!

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Then he proceeded to make an appointment, they gave him the appointment for Wednesday 12 days to cruising (funny side note our home AC broke that day and yes you guessed it after 27 years of loyal service he gave up on us, we needed a new AC unit :(, it happens what can you do. The average life of an AC unit is 15-20 years, the repair guy said we are very lucky). So I was a nervous wreck, no AC, no passport and bunch of money spent, lol. So he went on wednesday and did all the paperwork for the passport. Later he send me a text saying everything was fine, we just needed to wait until Friday and he could go pick up his passport. My thought was that it was not exactly same day, but close enough I guess, they apparently do it by the needs of each person. For the next two days I was again a nervous wreck waiting for the passport. By now I really wanted him to go, it had been a while since we traveled together and I was really looking forward for this trip together, not to mention all the money that would be lost.

 

Another thing we had to discuss was what to do with our specialty dinning reservations? I had another mouth to feed and buy drinks for. The good thing is that he does not drink anywhere near what I drink, but none the less I was sure that he would want a drink here and there. So I had to account that into the budget. We also needed to figure out parking, before he was going to drop us off at the port, but now we had no one to drive us there. We had to park there or around the area, no way out of that one. So yeah a lot of little expenses came up here and there. But in the end we decided to keep our Central park dinning package which included 150, giovanni's and chops for $65 each person, we thought it was a good deal and it would help us experience more of the ship.

 

We also got the a 7 bottle gold wine package, I figured between the 3 of us we could easily put down a bottle a night and help us save a few dollars per bottle. Here is a summary of the savings that can be done by using the wine package, but be careful you can also loose money, the text in red represents cash lost. NOTE this is not my work, another CC member did this wonderful job for us to use, wish I remembered his screen name. In any case, thanks again for your work in this charts, they came in very handy.

 

RCI-WineDine-v3_zps7105161c.jpg

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Attached is the PDF file containing the information on the wine packages

 

 

Ok folks I have to head to work, if you have any questions or comments feel free to post them and I will address them tonight when I get home. Hope everyone is enjoying it so far.

RCI-WineDine-v3.pdf

Edited by gambee

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LOVE your review!! Thank you, I know they are a lot of hard work! :)

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Wow I am so impressed with your detailed review.... I know how much work goes into a review and especially yours.

 

I blog and I am currently putting pics into my blog from my recent Hawaii cruise!

 

I am sailing on my first RCL cruise in four weeks, have sailed numerous times with Princess but love all the info you are giving me.

 

Thanks, can't wait to hear more about sailing with your Partner and Mom.

 

Vickie

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Thanks. Can you please post the Cruise Compass.

 

I will all of them. I will post them with the beginning of each day. Just trying to keep it organized.

 

Sounds like you have a lot of info, can't wait to see your pictures and videos and read more!!!:)

 

Thanks for the words of encouragement. Hope you like it

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Great start I cannot wait to read more.

 

Glad you like it. :)

 

LOVE your review!! Thank you, I know they are a lot of hard work! :)

 

Thank I am working pretty hard at it.

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