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Sunny AZ Girl

The Arizona Cruisers Invade the Allure of the Seas, April 28, 2013 ~ A Pictorial Revi

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We were waiting at the door to the port side of Deck 8 at 1 PM. The cabin areas were opened right on time and we proceeded to our port side D1 Balcony cabin, 8196. We chose this cabin based on previous reviews. This cabin is in the center of the forward hump with an extended balcony. We were next door to Laura and Gene and we had the balcony divider opened before Sailaway. That worked out well as all of the Arizona Cruisers were planning to meet on our balconies after the Muster Drill as we had big Webcam plans.

Here are a couple of pictures of Cabin 8196:

 

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Laura & Gene were in 8198. The only difference between the cabins was that their bed was closer to the window. They preferred their configuration and we preferred ours so everyone was happy. The closet was close to the bed in our cabin but it only caused a problem when we both tried to get into the closet at the same time. Otherwise, I really liked to sit on the sofa and see the ocean just outside our door.

 

Lisa & Steve and Sue & Audie were just down the hall from us in D8 Cabins. They were very close to the elevators and they were very happy with their cabin locations. Norine, Gene & Charlotte were in a JS a bit further aft of us on Deck 8 also.

 

Light Bulb Moment: There may be times during this review where I will step aside and discuss what I may do differently next time or give little hints on the art of cruising on a ship the size of the Allure. This is one of those times. I personally think Deck 8 is the ideal deck on this ship. We were close to Central Park, with it’s restaurants and relaxing atmosphere and basically convenient to almost everything we wanted. The next time we book on the Allure (and I really hope there is a next time) I would try to get a cabin closer to where Lisa & Sue were located and forego the larger balcony. The reason is that we really had no need for that size of a balcony. This is the first time I have ever cruised, even to Alaska where I did not utilize my balcony as much as I am accustomed. There was always somewhere else I wanted to be! Being closer to the elevators would have been a better choice for us. We were closer to the middle of the expanse between the two elevators and so we always had to walk down the Endless Hallway to go either forward or aft. If we were close to the center of the Promenade for example, we would walk all the way forward to the elevators then have to go towards the aft once again on Deck 8 to get to our cabin. Every time we passed Lisa & Sue’s cabins I would look down the Endless Hallway and think that I still have a long way to go! If you are toward the aft you can take the aft elevators to Deck 8, have a pleasant relaxing stroll through Central Park and then turn the corner and viola! You are at your cabin.

 

Would I always choose a balcony on this ship? Absolutely! Sometimes that is the only way you would know you are at sea with all the inside attractions. You will see how we continued to seek out sea views at various locations during the week.

 

Our Emerald gift was waiting for us when we arrived in our room. It was a nice touch.

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Since our luggage had already arrived I left Steve in the cabin to unpack while I went out with the girls to make the rest of our reservations for our Dining Choice packages. The three of us with the Choice package (Sue, Laura and myself) were obligated to eat at Chops on the first or second night. We were able to make that reservation online, but the other two restaurants (remember, we had gotten the package just before the price increase and the addition of Izumi) had to be booked onboard. Norine, Lisa and Sheila were going to add reservations to join us at select restaurants and we wanted to be sure we would all be seated at the same table. Before heading out we tried to call the number listed on the television to confirm all three reservations but it didn’t work – so off we went to each restaurant. We started at Samba Grill, and then went to Giovanni’s. At both restaurants there seemed to some confusion as to what we were doing, but it got quickly worked out. When we arrived at Chops we told the hostess that the three of us already had reservations for 6:30, we wanted to add a couple of more reservations and we wanted to be seated together. The hostess took one look at just one of Sea Pass cards and said, “Oh yes, I already had you seated together”. She said that she figured it out since we were the only ones on the whole ship to purchase the 3 restaurant Choice Package and our reservations were for the same time. She was the first of many crew members to really, really impress us!

 

So, with that job completed we went back to our cabins and went our separate ways until after the Muster Drill.

 

Our Muster Drill was held at 4:30 in Studio B. It was uneventful and we headed to the elevator. This is one of those few times when you really feel the number of passengers on the ship.

 

Here is another Light Bulb Moment to help you survive the crowded elevators:

 

At times like these when the majority of passengers are heading one direction on the elevators you are better off to start on the lowest deck when every one is heading up, or on the highest deck when everyone is heading down. If that is not possible head down to go up, or up to go down. Otherwise you will have one full elevator after another pass you by. If you are physically able, take the stairs.

 

 

After having successfully negotiated the elevator challenge we arrived back at our cabin, ready for our long anticipated Sail Away and the real beginning of our cruising adventure!

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I didn't spend all day Saturday and Sunday on the computer so I missed the biginning of your review.

 

I need to correct my friend's name to Georgia. I don't know where you got Charlotte. Georgia really enjoyed the cruise.

 

Thanks for doing this Ginny. It seems like I never get a review written.

 

Norine

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I didn't spend all day Saturday and Sunday on the computer so I missed the biginning of your review.

 

I need to correct my friend's name to Georgia. I don't know where you got Charlotte. Georgia really enjoyed the cruise.

 

Thanks for doing this Ginny. It seems like I never get a review written.

 

Norine

 

Now how did I mess that up? I am so sorry. I probably called her Charlotte a time or two on the cruise!

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Now how did I mess that up? I am so sorry. I probably called her Charlotte a time or two on the cruise!

 

Her name was Georgia, you called her Charlotte, How about a compromise and call her Carolina.

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Her name was Georgia, you called her Charlotte, How about a compromise and call her Carolina.

LOL! At least I kept it in the South.

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Our long anticipated Sail-Away had arrived! Everyone in our little group arrived at Laura’s and our cabins in their new blue shirts. Earlier, while unpacking, Laura’s Gene and my Steve had figured out how to attach Norine’s beautiful banner to our balcony. It was a bit of a challenge as we thought there would be openings at the bottom and top of the railing for the ties, but there weren’t any. Let’s just say duct tape (always on my packing list!) and luggage straps were involved. Good job, guys!

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And that is Georgia at the front of this picture!

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From our balcony we had a good view of the Carnival Freedom

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The city of Fort Lauderdale

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And Lisa’s Bridge

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As the ship pulled away from port we were watching for certain sights such as the “Flowrider House”

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And the famous Port Everglades Webcam

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I am happy to say the Webcam saw us, too. Do you see us?

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Here we are!

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Soon we passed by the rocks and the beach that are so popular for watching sailaways:

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And we sailed past Fort Lauderdale beach heading towards Nassau.

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Since most people don't like to see pictures of injuries, I thought I would post the option in case anyone wants to see what my wound looks like, click on this link. Picture taken May 15th (injury happened April 27th).

 

Oh Lisa, that is just awful! My heart goes out to you. What a horrible experience and I'm in shock about the way you were treated by both the paramedics and ER staff. My head seriously hurts now just thinking about what you went through. I'm so sorry.

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We had Early Dining at 6 PM on the 4 nights we ate in the MDR. All 13 of us were linked together by Sue’s TA. We were all able to be at one table, which was nice. Our servers were Nenita & Silvana.

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They were efficient, friendly and always smiling which made for a pleasant dining experience overall.

 

I know that both Steve & I had the Prime Rib which was excellent. I am not a foodie, but I do enjoy a good meal. I can honestly say that the food in the MDR did not disappoint. I am not afraid to try some new things because if I don’t like it I can always ask for something else. There was always something on the menu that caught my eye. I have learned that food is so subjective, that what may be good for me may not be for the next person and vice versa, so I really don’t plan to dedicate a lot of time in food reviews beyond my basic impressions.

 

I also did not take a lot of food pictures as there are so many food pictures already posted in the many excellent reviews already on this board, so you will have to look elsewhere if that is what you want to see, but you won’t have to look far!

 

Here is where I also have to confess this evening that I, the compulsive photographer on any trip, forgot to bring my camera. So, this post about this evening will be lacking a lot of photos. Trust me, I will make up for it later on.

 

After dinner we had reservations for the 9:30 show at the Aquatheater. We headed there and had our fist glimpse of the Boardwalk. While I was prepared to be impressed by Central Park from previous reviews I was really “Wowed” in true RCI fashion by the Boardwalk. Pictures did not do it justice for me. I loved the fun atmosphere that permeated this neighborhood. I will post pictures later on, but a picture does not relay the atmosphere sufficiently. You just have to go yourself!

 

We knew from all of those wonderful previous reviews that even if you have reservations you must go at least ½ hour early to get prime seats, which we did. The show was marvelous and I really missed my camera. Even though flash photography and videos were not allowed during the show I have gotten fairly good at non-flash photography, if I say so myself. If our cabin had not been forward and we had not been all the way aft I would have gone for the camera. On a smaller ship I would have gotten it. But then again, a smaller ship would not have had this kind of a show.

 

All I can say is to make sure to see this show! It was an early highlight of our trip. We took the advice of our Mighty Roll Call Leader (BillOh) and booked the first evening. What I learned from this is to always follow Bill’s advice! ;) The lighting effects in the dark really had a great impact on the show and the ship was sailing slowly as the distance to Nassau from FLL was short. I learned that the shows the following night when the ship was trying to make up time with rocky seas to St. Thomas were cancelled and rescheduled in the daytime. It was nice they were rescheduled, but the new times would have interfered with our other plans.

 

After the show we wandered the ship a bit to see some of her other attractions. Then it was off to bed as we had early plans for our next morning in Nassau.

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I missed getting to see this show even though I had reservations. I was disappointed but my head was just too sore to go. I never got an opportunity to make up for the missed show either. Another reason I have to cruise on the Allure again! :D

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The servers don't look so happy......you know, always having to clean up that desert sand everywhere your group went.:D Seriously thanks for the post and looking foward to the rest.:)

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The servers don't look so happy......you know, always having to clean up that desert sand everywhere your group went.:D Seriously thanks for the post and looking foward to the rest.:)

LOL! We do leave a trail.......:cool:

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Great thread! I'm definitely subscribing. We loved our Allure cruise and hope someday to sail on her again.

 

I'm so sorry, Lisa, about what you're going through. I remember reading about the accident on another thread. Continued best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery!

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There is nothing like the inviting linens and bedding on Royal Caribbean to induce a great night’s sleep. Combine that with the moderate seas we were experiencing and the rocking of the ship put me off into a perfect slumber. Never do I get as good sleep as when I am at sea.

 

When we did awake we were already in port in Nassau. We had ordered room service as per our habit on port days as we have always enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the balcony while preparing for the day. And this ship had the first actual eating sized table we experienced in a regular balcony room. Room service arrived on time as usual, so we began to prepare for our short day in port. As it turned out, this was the only day we actually ordered room service as we did enjoy the other breakfast options on the ship.

Looking out at the Carnival Ecstacy that was heading our way. The Disney Dream was due in a little later in the morning.

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We had booked the Seahorse Sail & Snorkel through the ship. While we usually prefer private excursions due to cost savings, flexibility and group size, but we will book a ship excursion when time constraints, distance or other circumstances warrant it. I have not been disappointed any more in any ship excursions than I have been in private excursions. Originally when we booked this cruise we were due to leave Nassau at 3 PM, but it was later changed to 2 PM, making our onboard time 1:30 PM. So, booking the tour through the ship made the most sense as the private tour time would have not worked out.

 

We met our excursion at 8:30 AM outside the ship at the dock. Sue & Audie were the only other ones in our group on this excursion with us and they were already there. The others in our group went on a private tour of Nassau arranged by Laura. It sounds as if they had a good time. If any of them want to add a review of their tour I would encourage it.

 

This is the only picture I could find of the pier where the Allure docks. You see only a portion of it. Coming back to the ship you enter at the yellow buildings in the center of the ship according to whether your room is forward or aft. The pier heads towards shore about three times the distance in the picture.

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Once we arrived at our tour meeting place we had a little while to wait until it was ready to go. While we waited the Disney ship arrived. Here I had wished that I had a video camera ready to go. It was a lot of fun to listen to the ship’s horn announce her arrival with a melody of Disney classics.

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We walked down to the end of the pier to board the Seahorse Catamaran. Nassau docks the ships with the largest ship the furthest out. It is a long walk down the pier from the Allure. Since Audie has a handicap that makes walking distances painful and difficult the tour coordinator allowed them to get started down that direction before the rest of us so he could take his time. That would be a consideration later.

 

Our catamaran finally arrived and we were ready to board.

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There was plenty of room for everyone.

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As dedicated Desert Rats we are not sun worshippers and seek out shade whenever possible. We get plenty of sun on our own, thank you. Avoiding skin cancer is almost a full time job in Arizona! The Seahorse Catamaran had plenty of shade available.

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We were soon underway and headed to a reef near an island about 45 minutes from port. It was a nice day, but the water was still a bit choppy. We had a pleasant ride past more multi-million dollar homes and the Atlantis Resort. Perhaps next week’s Lotto will be kinder to us.

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We arrived at our destination. The braver of our excursion companions jumped right in and shortly after another Seahorse Catamaran joined us.

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I was a bit concerned about the choppiness of the water and whether I would fatigue easily but I did take the plunge. The water quality was not as clear as previous snorkel experiences. I am not sure if it was the location or how choppy the water was, stirring up the silt and sand from the bottom of the sea bed. I suspect it was a bit of both. We did see fish, but in the end the snorkeling was a bit of a disappointment.

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Getting back into any boat has always been a bit of a challenge for me and I have found that catamarans are usually my best option. So, I wasn’t too concerned about this one. However, while this cat had a couple of steps that did extend in the water the lower part had more “rope handles” than solid ones that did not give me much stability for pulling myself up. Just when I was thinking I would have to water ski back to the ship a “friendly hand” gave me a boost from behind and a nice strong hand reached down from above. So despite the awkward nature of my getting back into the boat the assistance was very much appreciated.

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I did enjoy the sail back to Nassau:

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Here you can see the size difference of the three ships in port

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Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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Ginny your review so far is GREAT. I am reliving our cruise with added elements due to the things you did that we did not do.

 

Norine

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Now here is my biggest complaint about this excursion. As you can see from the picture of the front of the Allure they did not return us to the end of the dock where we had started, which by itself is a long walk. But instead they returned us to the dock area in front of Senor Frogs. As noted before, we had to be back onboard at 1:30 and we were dropped off around 1:00 PM – another 10 minute walk from the dock. Plus, you had to go through a long line of people passing through the “Welcome Building” in order to get to the ship, which probably took another 5 – 10 minutes. So, there was no time to stop and imbibe at Sr. Frogs, which I am sure was the intent. For Audie this was a bit too much and it caused him a lot of pain, especially since a leisurely walk back with a lot of rests was not a real option. Once we got back to the ship we noticed that there was a shuttle. But we did not see one until it was too late. I should have noted this on my comment sheet to the cruise line, but did not think about it at the time. I guess the take away on this if we were to go to Nassau again is to know that there is a shuttle up that long pier to the ship. It should have been better signed as an area to wait for the shuttle. We’ll know better next time!

 

Would I go snorkeling in Nassau again? Probably not. We have been on quite a few cat excursions in the Caribbean and Hawaii and I would probably rate this one at a 6 out of 10, not bad, but not really great either. Of course, the basis of comparison is a cat excursion to Molokini Crater in Maui that cost quite a bit more, so it is a high standard to compare. All in all, it was a pleasant morning and despite the problems with the walk back I don’t regret having taken it.

 

This is a picture of Senor Frogs on the other side of the Ecstasy from the aft of the Allure before the Dream arrived. It is zoomed quite a bit.

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Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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Ginny your review so far is GREAT. I am reliving our cruise with added elements due to the things you did that we did not do.

 

Norine

Thanks, Norine. Feel free to add your own experiences. After all, this is the ARIZONA CRUISER'S cruise.:D

 

Time to recharge my laptop battery and go pick up something for dinner. I work 12 hours tomorrow, so I hope to get one more segment done before I sign off tonight.

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I agree it is hard to compete with Hawaii for snorkling.:)

Yes, we've been spoiled for sure. Our other great snorkeling experience was in Aruba and Bonaire a few years ago. I hope to repeat those experiences next year in Aruba and Curacoa.

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Ginny we enjoyed our Aruba snorkeling but the best snorkeling we have enjoyed was in Tahiti and her islands. I would love to go back, but time and money will let us know if it is possible.

 

Norine

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I am really enjoying your review, and love your photos! What camera are you using?

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After we got back to the ship we decided to check out the Wipe Out Cafe for lunch. It was a nice selection of basic burgers, hot dogs and tacos along with chips and fruit. It became a Favorite Place for my DH Steve once he discovered the soft serve machine.

 

As a little aside here: Steve will tell anyone within earshot while on a cruise that there are not enough soft serve machines available. On our first RCI cruise on the Explorer there was a soft serve machine on either end of the Promenade and he could grab a cone on either end (which he would do religiously). Soon after that cruise the soft serve machines were removed from the Promenades and I have hearing about it ever since.

 

We will return to the Wipe Out Cafe in the morning so I will post some pictures of one our nearby Favorite Places later.

 

Lunch satisfactorily completed, we decide to go back to our cabin to shower before heading back out to further explore the ship. But our glorious exploration plan came to a grinding halt when we felt the gentle sway of the ship underway and gazed upon that inviting bed. So what did we do on our first full day on the largest, most marvelously engineered floating resort in human history? We took an absolutely delicious two hour nap!

 

We awoke in time to complete our before dinner prep. This was our first formal night and we had 6:30 PM reservations at Chops for the first of our three Specialty Restaurants. We were able to get a few pictures on our way in the daylight:

 

The Promenade from the elevator area:

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The "Dresses" in the elevator lobby:

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The Rising Tide Bar actually "Rising"

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The girls in our group had a little bit of rebellion with our guys led by (ahem) my Steve. One of his favorite parts of our last Hawaii cruise on NCL was the lack of formal nights. So, this time no suit or tux was packed. I did insist on a sport coat and tie, but I am afraid I may be fighting a losing battle on our next cruise. No male in our group was in a suit, but they still cleaned up nicely.

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Looking back, on this ship and on this sailing a sport coat and tie were pretty common on formal night. Even regular collared shirts were not uncommon. This was a much more casual crowd than any I have seen on any other cruises. I only saw a few dark suits and even fewer tuxes. Oh, I do make him wear "big boy pants" every evening, though. If it were up to him it would just be khaki shorts and a Hawaiian shirt at all times!

Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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