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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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The next stop was the top tier suite in our tour. Aqua Suite 9330:

 

Master Bedroom:

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Second Bedroom:

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I had trouble getting Steve past this cabin. Keep buying those lottery tickets, Dear!

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Royal Family Suite 10244

 

This suite also had two bedrooms. This is the master.

 

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Across the hall a man stepped out of his stateroom and asked what we were doing. We told them and they asked if we had seen a Central Park Balcony room. Since we were missing one of those he invited us in. From his balcony we could see a squirrel playing in the park! We invited the nice gentleman and his wife to join us on the rest of the Crawl and they did!

 

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Accessible Balcony Stateroom 10666 – nicely decorated!

 

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Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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That Aqua Suite was a sweet suite. Thanks to all tha openned their cabins and Ginny thanks for the pics... as coordinator I felt I had to keep the flow going for the vast territory we covered so I did not see it all. All of the participants made this a fabulous event.

 

Sue

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I must point out that Gene was already dressed in his formal attire for that evening festivities, even though dinner was still several hours away.

 

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Near the Loft Suites we found a door. Since we were in the exploring mode we opened it and found the lovely Wedding Chapel:

 

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It was adjacent to of my Favorite Places on any RCI ship for view and ambiance. The Allure is no exception. Plus, I cannot imagine a lovelier place for that wedding reception than the Viking Crown Lounge. I think everyone felt the same as we all lingered and enjoyed the views and each other’s company.

 

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We had a bird’s eye view of the Pool Deck:

 

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And we were able to clearly see the Children’s Splash Pool

 

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The Viking Crown Lounge is a romantic nighttime venue with beautiful lighting and live music, but the reason this is a Favorite Daytime Place for us is the view and quiet atmosphere. There is no better place to escape to read a book with an endless sea spreading out before you. The next time I'm on this ship I will have to make sure I take the time to do this.

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I apologize that this has gone on so long! I am sure I have lost any of you by now, so I will try to wrap it up quickly. I know I have to do other things - like clean the house! Thank you to any who may still be following along.

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After awhile many of us in the Roll Call decided to go to the MDR for lunch together.

 

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I loved the Tutti Salad

 

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And I also had the very best dessert crepe I think I have ever had

 

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After lunch the two Steves in our group decided to do the Zip Line. They had talked about it all week, and today was the day! We all had to be there to cheer them on

 

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Steve #1 (Lisa’s Steve)

 

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Steve #2 (My Steve)

 

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That mission accomplished we headed out to check more items off of our “must do” list. I had been wanting to try a cupcake from the Cupcake Cupboard since I first read about it. I do love cupcakes! We arrived and found a cupcake decorating class in full swing. There were Gina and Rick hard at work.

 

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I had a delicious Red Velvet cupcake. Yum. Steve isn’t a big cupcake fan, so he enjoyed a cookie from the Promenade Cafe.

 

The Promenade was a busy place. We watched a Line Dance Class while we enjoyed our snacks.

 

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We spent the remainder of the afternoon just relaxing and enjoying the ship. Since we had early dining and tonight was formal night we headed back to our cabin for some book and balcony time and took our time getting ready for dinner’

 

That night at dinner I had the popular “Fisherman’s Plate”. The size of the lobster tail had certainly grown since our last cruise:

 

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That evening’s entertainment on our schedule was Blue Planet. I was looking forward to this show and it did not disappoint!

 

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On our stroll back to our cabin through Central Park we came across this little stowaway. We asked him if he had escaped from the kitchen. With the escargot shortage we figured he would be in high demand. Run, Little Snail! Run!

 

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Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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The next morning, after consulting the handy TV guide we headed back to the Solarium Cafe for breakfast. We had liked the offerings there before and thought the beautiful sea view of the Solarium would be a perfect place to begin the day.

 

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That morning I wanted to watch another show at the Aqua Theater, the family friendly Madagascar Show, but from a different perspective than the regular theater seats. We headed up to Deck 12 and to the Secret Balcony. Oh my. We could see why this is such a popular place with Cruise Critic addicts. We truly did have it to ourselves. The view is fabulous. With shaded lounge chairs available and the great view of the Aqua Theater we soon wish we had booked a B2B as we had discovered so very late in the cruise another Favorite Place!

 

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The Madagascar Show was cute. I was actually surprised at how low the attendance was at this show. Perhaps it was because there were so few children aboard this sailing. We were able to see well from on high, but it was probably not the same as being at stage level for effects.

 

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For lunch that day I crossed another food “must do” off my list. I had a hot dog in the Boardwalk! We then headed back to the Promenade as I really needed to finish off lunch with another cupcake (chocolate/vanilla this time) and Steve wanted to go back to the Promenade cafe for another cookie.

 

We did enjoy just sitting in the cafe people watching. I happened to notice this cute scene that RCI had created with the car and a statue of a little boy. You had to be sitting behind the little boy to appreciate the full intent.

 

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I loved all the live entertainment that was ever present on the Allure. There was often a live ensemble above the Cupcake Cupboard.

 

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Our show reservations that day were for the Ice Show in Studio B at 3:30 PM. While I usually prefer evening shows this one worked out as it was (sadly) our last day onboard and we would be packing in the evening. We have attended Ice Shows on RCI Voyager Class ships in the past and have always enjoyed them, but I do believe this was the best ice show we have experienced on a ship. It was a cute theme with the skaters taking a “tour” of the ship within a game of Monopoly, but the skating itself was well done especially when you consider the relatively small size of the rink on a moving ship!

 

We were joined by several others in our group. I know Steve, Lisa, Norine and Georgia were seated with us.

 

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Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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Dinner that night was at Giovanni’s. There were 8 of us who chose this option. I do believe that we all enjoyed this dining experience more than any of our other specialty dining experiences. The waiter suggested with our size of group to eat family style, with a selection of each item brought to the table for our shared enjoyment. We opted to do the appetizers and pastas this way, but to have our own entrees. It was a good choice. I enjoyed sampling all the appetizers with the Eggplant Parmigiana being my favorite. With pastas the gnocci won my heart. For the main entree I went with the chicken dish. It was very good. By then I was a bit over done with red meat. However, the ones who had the filet swore it was better than the filet at Chops.

 

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After dinner we headed back to the cabin to complete our packing. We had already done a bit of it while getting ready for dinner. That is always the saddest night of the cruise for me. I was antsy to get it done, though. It was the last night of the cruise and I still had items to cross off my “to do” list!

 

One thing I really wanted to do was to ride on the Rising Tide Bar while sipping a cruisey foo-fo drink. We arrived at the bar just before departure at the Promenade. I had my Lava Flow in hand and we ascended up to Central Park and back down again.

 

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Then we headed to the Schooner Bar right above the Promenade. On a Radiance Class ship the Schooner Bar is my Favorite Place to meet friends and listen to great piano players in the evening. But this was our first and only visit on this ship.

 

That being checked off the list we headed up to the Viking Crown Lounge to see the nighttime ambiance. There was a good guitar player performing and we spent a little time there. I must not have gotten any pictures up there that evening, but it is really lovely. The blue bulbs and white waves near the window are lit up with a soft glow. It is a beautiful contrast to the dark skies outside. Here is another daytime shot of the lounge. Can you visualize the lighting?

 

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Then it was off to bed as morning was going to come early and we still had one more adventure ahead of us!

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Our last morning on the ship dawned and found us sadly back in Fort Lauderdale. Before leaving the cabin we had gone around the corner from our cabin to the Park Cafe for a quick breakfast. The we gathered up our carry-on luggage and headed to our designated meeting place.

 

Since our flight that day wasn’t until after 6 PM we had booked an Everglades Tour through the ship with Airport Drop Off. This is a great way to fill the time to a later flight and softens the blow of leaving the ship a bit. Our waiting area was in Studio B. Gene, Laura, Jerry and Sheila had an early flight so they had already said their good-byes to us. But the rest of us were going on the tour. Joining us were Bill & Gina from our Roll Call.

 

We went through immigration and customs without any real delays after picking up our luggage and were directed to the waiting tour buses outside. Our bags were stowed underneath in a secured storage area and we did not have to worry about them again until we reached the airport. Soon we were on the way to the Everglades a short drive away.

 

Once we arrived we were directed to a waiting airboat and had our group photo taken

 

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We began our tour. The boat was loud and fast when going from one spot to another, but the operator would slow down and explain what we were seeing from time to time. Plus, we were always on the look out for the resident alligators! They were not shy and we saw several close up.

 

You may not want to drag your hand in the water!

 

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The eco-system of the Everglades is beautiful with many varieties of plants and birds. We learned it is not a swamp, but a slow moving river. That was new information for me.

 

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Once back to the Alligator Rescue Center in the park we saw an alligator demonstration with a crazy person who explained the nature of alligators and how their mouths had very weak opening abilities despite bone crushing closing pressures. I would choose not to test this myself, thank you.

 

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We were eventually dropped off at the airport with time to spare. We were able to eat lunch together (from which we experienced a huge drop in quality and service from that which we had become accustomed, I might add) and still had a lot of time to sit around and wait. We could see the ship from the window of the airport and the sad reality that someone else was now settling into our cabins hit us. It was time to go home.

 

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Closing Thoughts:

 

In thinking back about this cruise I considered other cruises I had been on with RCI and other cruise lines and tried to compare them. The reality is that they cannot be compared. The Allure of the Seas and surely the Oasis are destinations in their own right. The ports are no longer the draw for us. We have been there and done that many times before. You cruise on these ships for the ships. And I can truly say that in these cases, that is enough. Did we enjoy the ports? Certainly we did. But if I were choosing a cruise vacation for the ports this would not be it.

 

Would I cruise this class of ship again? A resounding YES! But I would do a few things differently. First – I would do a B2B if at all possible. One week is not enough to see everything this ship has to offer. I found myself rushing from place to place, especially the last few days, to fit in all of my “Must Do’s”. I am actually eyeing the rumored TA cruise in 2016 similar to the one in 2014 for the Oasis (if I could do that one, I would). That would seem perfect to me.

 

Second of all, I would reconsider my cabin category and placement. I feel the best cabins on this ship, hands down, are the Aqua Suites. But unless that lottery win ever comes through it won’t be happening for me. So, I will look elsewhere. I agree with the others who say an OV balcony is important on this ship. I never get tired of the sea view and there is very little of it in many areas of the ship. However, we had chosen an extended balcony on Deck 8. While Deck 8 is an absolutely ideal location I would move my cabin forward or aft from the central location we had to be closer to the elevator lobbies. I think Sue and Lisa had perfect D8 balconies near the forward elevator lobby. We did not use our balcony enough to justify the extended balcony. JMHO.

 

Will I only cruise this class of ship or above from now on? A resounding NO! I still love other classes of ships, especially the Radiance Class. I love the way I can see the ocean from almost anywhere on the ship and the quiet places like the Solarium which are elegant, yet inviting. I cruise for itinerary most of the times and these ships can go to places ships like the Allure cannot even dream of going. Our next booked cruise is on the Jewel and I am eagerly anticipating the gliding into the beautiful Southern Caribbean ports on that Gem of the Seas.

 

Royal Caribbean has a nice variety of ships from small with interesting itineraries to huge with interesting ship features. I feel blessed to be able to enjoy both worlds at different times. But no matter what ship, what itinerary my biggest blessing is the friends and family with whom I have been privileged to share my adventures in the past and God willing, in the future.

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I hope so, too! I'll hold you to that.;)

 

There are many more wonderful Arizona Cruisers who stayed at home. If we could ever get everyone together on one cruise it would surely be a TRUE invasion!:cool: Watch out, everyone!

 

 

OK OK Hold me to it, i promise it will happened lol. Absolutely a great review though thank you, i am very happy i was able to come back and finish reading this and seeing all the great pictures you put up for us. Lots of time and effort sure do not go un appreciated, thank you again!!!

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Thank you Ginny for the wonderful review. I felt like I was there again, even if their heat has humidity. Nor to planning next years April cruise.

 

Norine

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Hi, I really enjoyed reading your review and seeing your pictures. Looks like you were a fun group and had a great time. Thanks again!

It was a fantastic group! Thank you so much for the nice comments. It was not only the Arizona Cruisers along with us who made it so special but the entire Roll Call was fantastic. That makes the best cruise in my experience.

 

OK OK Hold me to it, i promise it will happened lol. Absolutely a great review though thank you, i am very happy i was able to come back and finish reading this and seeing all the great pictures you put up for us. Lots of time and effort sure do not go un appreciated, thank you again!!!

OK, Donovan. You got it. How about joining us next year on the Jewel? I'd LOVE to have some of the Az Cruisers joining us.

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Thank you Ginny for the wonderful review. I felt like I was there again, even if their heat has humidity. Nor to planning next years April cruise.

 

Norine

Norine - I couldn't have done it without you and the rest. I wish we were together next year, but the Southern Caribbean is calling to us.

 

What a wonderful review. Thank you for sharing. :)

 

Thank you, Nancy. :)

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Thanks for your review Ginny. Steve & I are toying with 3 options for next year and 2 of them are with fellow AZ Cruisers. We like the idea of a Pacific Coast cruise and our options are the Celebrity Century that will undergo dry dock before we go. The Crown Princess which is a larger ship but less ports. And we are intrigued with the idea of cruising with you and Steve again along with our new friends Bill & Gina. We aren't sure yet but we may end up trying the Jewel with you.

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Thanks for your review Ginny. Steve & I are toying with 3 options for next year and 2 of them are with fellow AZ Cruisers. We like the idea of a Pacific Coast cruise and our options are the Celebrity Century that will undergo dry dock before we go. The Crown Princess which is a larger ship but less ports. And we are intrigued with the idea of cruising with you and Steve again along with our new friends Bill & Gina. We aren't sure yet but we may end up trying the Jewel with you.

 

I'm ignoring the first part of that last sentence and hanging my hope on the first!:D

 

I wish we could all go together again next year, but being able to go to where are different interests lie is one of the things that keeps this group special. We would have a blast with you, though.:D

 

At least we still get to see our special friends other times with the AZ Cruiser parties and lunches we have all year long. Not to mention our daily chat on our very own threads here on Cruise Critic. So our friendships continue. Maybe the other states will start their own groups now.:)

Edited by Sunny AZ Girl

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Thank you, Ginny, for the great review and photos. I told DH about your photo of the Lava Flow (he loves those) and he said, that's it -- we're going on Oasis again, then getting off and getting on Allure! We've done B2Bs on each, so I'm looking forward to booking Quantum tomorrow!! But I would sail Allure again in a heartbeat!

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It was a fantastic group! Thank you so much for the nice comments. It was not only the Arizona Cruisers along with us who made it so special but the entire Roll Call was fantastic. That makes the best cruise in my experience.

 

 

OK, Donovan. You got it. How about joining us next year on the Jewel? I'd LOVE to have some of the Az Cruisers joining us.

 

The picture of you and your husband in front of the Allure in St. Maarten is a great one...you both look happy and relaxed!

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I'm looking forward to cruising with you & Steve and Bill & Gina minus a head injury this time, if we book the Jewel with you. Gosh I had so much fun on this cruise and I can't imagine how much better it would have been if I had been my normal self. Instead of being skiddish every time someone came towards me, or losing my balance so easily on a ship that really didn't move very much in comparison to others cruises, or lack of alcohol :);)

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