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Propelled to Cruise: Our Photo Review of the Allure 2-16-14

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Propelled to Cruise: Allure of the Seas Review, Family-Style

 

It’s been almost one week (SOB!) since we returned from the last sailing of the Allure (2/16) before wet-dock in Freeport to address the propulsion problems caused by the one engine.

 

I have devoured and loved the fabulous, detailed, step-by-step, photo-beautiful reviews of the Oasis-class ships posted by CC members like Gambee and FamilygoBoston. Unfortunately, chasing three kids 8 and under around the ship all day means that I’m not nearly organized enough to take the comprehensive pictures, or keep the detailed Compasses, menus, etc., that appear in their reviews.

 

So I’m just going for as much as I can remember, and whatever stood out to us. I’m particularly aiming this review at those who may be traveling with kids in the under-10 age group. Also, please note that the pictures may be totally out of chronological order so that I can illustrate what I’m talking about—I got some of my more detailed pictures of ship features later on in the week as I remembered to take them.

 

Cast of Characters:

 

Superdad, 43

Travel-Mad Mom, 46

Older Daughter, the Diva, 8

Son, Techno Boy, almost 6

Younger Daughter, the Kraken (cute but rules all with a tiny iron fist), 3.5

 

We are frequent RCCL cruisers: Superdad and I sailed the Adventure during her inaugural season, then the Voyager a year or so later. We took the Diva on her first cruise, a 10-day New Year’s sailing on the Celebrity Constellation, when she was 11 months old in 2006-2007. We sailed with all three kids in fall of 2011, when they were 5, 3, and 1, on the Freedom (got an excellent deal on a Royal Family Suite, which I have yearned for ever since), and then on the Liberty in the Mediterranean in the fall of 2012.

 

Travel Details:

The five of us flew down to Fort Lauderdale a day early as we always do for winter cruises, not taking a chance on missing sailaway due to bad weather! We were escaping about two feet of snow back home in NJ and could not wait to get on the ship.

 

What we were escaping:

 

IMG_6015.jpg

 

I’d been searching for good airfares for many months, but because this was President’s Day Week, everything coming out of the New York City area to FLL was incredibly pricey. So we chose to fly Spirit from Atlantic City—something Superdad and I agree we will never do again. We did save a decent chunk of change given that we had five tickets, but the nickel-and-diming is just too obnoxious: fees to choose a seat instead of having one chosen for you (something I was tempted not to do and then just let the flight attendants handle it when the computer seated the Kraken by herself), fees to check in at the counter rather than by kiosk only, massively increased fees to pay to check your bags when at the airport instead of ahead of time, an overweight-bag limit that’s 10 pounds less than most other airlines…and of course, seat pitch that is the smallest of just about any airline out there. This is particularly unpleasant for Superdad, who is 6’4” and literally cannot put his legs directly in front of him in a Spirit seat. Oh well, lesson learned.

 

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Suites on 84—fine for our purposes, but probably not the best choice and more expensive than I think it was worth.

 

So let’s skip the rest of the boring part about getting there and get right to the good stuff—that amazing SHIP!!!

 

Getting Aboard

We took the 10 am shuttle from the Holiday Inn to the Allure. The boarding process at the Allure’s dock at Port Everglades was incredibly smooth.

 

First glimpse of the ship!

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/88281EA4-B10D-4416-9574-DB88347B1BDD.jpg

 

We arrived at 10:30 (had to drop off some Princess passengers first) and never waited in a single line. Entering passengers are divided and sent to different sections by deck; suite guests have a separate entry. The deck lines are also subdivided a bit by C&A status (I didn’t keep precise track of how this worked). So we went directly to the “line” that included our deck, Deck 12, and our C&A Status, platinum—and went straight to the counter. Check-in was very smooth, and then we went to get some fun embarkation photos taken before heading upstairs to the large waiting area, which is also separated by C&A status and suite status.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-02/RAL-140216-Boarding-20131304.jpg

 

(Note incorrect itinerary embedded in our background...oops.)

 

 

Before we sat down, we got our kids their “muster station wristbands” that would tell Adventure Ocean staff where to take them if there was an emergency while they were away from us in the kids’ club.

 

Conveniently near the Platinum waiting area was a large kids’ play structure, which kept our kids busy while we awaited boarding. Each waiting area had at least one Royal rep seating people and keeping us informed. By the time we sat down, it was probably about 10:45. The rep let us know that we would be boarding around 11:30. It ended up being a few minutes later than that because, she told us, three people hadn’t left the ship when they were supposed to. (I’d love to know that whole story.) I honestly didn’t notice whether they boarded Diamond Plus and Pinnacle first and then suites, or vice versa, but it all went very quickly and by 11:45 we were stepping onto the Allure!!!

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/06AA29F9-C063-4E06-B01B-3D3FC0B81179_1.jpg

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-02/8C770E2B-B9EF-428A-A726-2D69786E349C.jpg

 

 

More to come...

Edited by ginadc

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Our First Afternoon Aboard, in Which We Discuss Drink Packages and Room Selection

 

No, I'm not happy at all to be getting aboard this ship:

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6022.jpg

 

Our first stop was Central Park and the Park Café, already getting crowded with people in the know about the vastly preferred lunch option over the Windjammer. We got salads, paninis for the kids and a Kummelweck sandwich for me. (Yummy as advertised--I got a server who was slicing the beef nice and thin, and went with the full condiment option of jus, mustard and horseradish.) We’d also purchased the Premium alcohol package for us and Royal Replenish for the kids, so Superdad enjoyed his first Stella while the kids and I got some nonalcoholic refreshment.

 

A note about packing and organizing for the first day when you are without your luggage for awhile: in addition to our main large suitcases, we brought one smaller rollaboard as a carry-on. That contained our outfits for embarkation morning, plus swimsuits and coverups for each of us. So after we got dressed that morning, we put our “winter” clothes in the black rollaboard and stuffed the swimsuits and coverups into Superdad’s and my backpacks. Then when we got to the pier, we were able to pretty much check everything except the two adult backpacks to our room. The kids each had small backpacks of their own with toys and stuffed friends, and those too got checked to the room, so we weren’t lugging too much around from deck to deck with us.

 

After lunch at the Park Café, we did a quick exploration of Central Park and the Promenade. Then we went up onto deck 15, the Pool and Sports Deck, to enjoy the beautiful view and get our first frozen drinks at the Sky Bar.

 

View of the H2O Zone from the opposite pool deck--you can see some Central Park view balconies below.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6045.jpg

 

Sports pool, which is across from the H2O Zone, with the windows from Windjammer overlooking all:

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6046.jpg

 

The "main pool," with the beach pool opposite.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6034.jpg

 

Cheers!

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6035.jpg

 

 

This seems like a reasonably appropriate place to insert a comment about the Premium alcohol package. Superdad and I both got that package, and it absolutely was worth it. (We met very few people who hadn’t purchased it.) We probably had 3 glasses of wine with dinner most nights, and when you combine that with soda and water in the morning/early afternoon and frozen drinks on the pool deck most of the afternoon, I’d say we well more than broke even every day. It was definitely nice to be able to just order another drink and not nickel-and-dime ourselves about whether it was worth it, or feel obligated to finish a drink you really didn’t want to finish because you’d paid for it. We usually tipped a dollar extra per drink over the included 15% gratuity.

 

With the Royal Replenish package for the kids, we probably did not break even on every single day—especially with the Kraken. The Diva is old enough to go off a ways on her own and order her own frozen drinks, which she often did, so I think we did break even on her. But Techno Boy and the Kraken didn’t get as many drinks and may have been cheaper pay-as-you-go. That said, it was also nice not to feel like you’d spent money for nothing when they ordered a mango smoothie and drank ¼ of it before declaring themselves full.

 

Anyway—after our poolside drinks and gazing at other ships, including the Carnival Freedom and Celebrity Silhouette, it was about 1 pm and we were pretty sure we could get into our cabins—and the kids were dying to get into the pools. So we went to our cabins, connecting oceanview balconies on the forward port side of deck 12.

 

Sure enough, we were able to get right in, although it took until a bit later (after 3 pm) for our stateroom attendant to be available to unlock the connecting door for the rooms and the balcony divider.

 

More to come...

Edited by ginadc

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First Afternoon, Room Choice and the H2O Zone

 

A quick change, and we were up in the H2O Zone with the kids enjoying the pool. Well, the kids were enjoying the pool and we were enjoying the Sand Bar, conveniently located adjacent to the H2O Zone. We immediately began meeting other families with kids whose company we would enjoy for the rest of the week…and the kids got the first of many, many, many frozen yogurt cones from the free machines located in the two arched divider sections next to where the poolside band plays. A better location than the mid-deck area on the Freedom and Liberty, I thought. You can see one of the froyo areas on the right of the picture below, just under the "umbrella" that's over the hot tub. Someone's serving himself from that one in this shot; the other one is in the same location on the far left, but wasn't open at this time (you can see the closed doors).

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6053.jpg

 

The H2O Zone's "round pool" with a constant current is a blast for the kids, and offers some awesome photo ops with its clear plexi sides:

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6059.jpg

 

 

After some pool hangout time, I left Superdad in charge of all 3 kids at the pool area. (See where he gets his name?) Fortunately, all 3 can swim well, so it’s not as hard a job as it might otherwise be. I hurried back to our cabin—by now it was about 3:30 or so—and all the bags were there, so I was able to do a rapid unpack very smoothly with no kids present. There were plenty of hangers in the two connecting cabins for alllll our gear, which is saying something as Superdad and I like to have the opportunity to dress up, so we wear pretty nice outfits to the MDR even on non-formal nights. (Same goes for Diva and Kraken, who both prefer dresses to shorts whenever possible.)

 

A quick note about our room choice. As I said, we were forward port side, deck 12. The deck location was great, and we were conveniently close to the forward elevators—a huge plus, as I do not relish long treks down stateroom-lined corridors. But if (when) we do this again, we’ll specifically get aft cabins. At least on an Oasis-class ship, being aft is more convenient because you cannot access the Boardwalk from the forward part of the ship. If you like to hit the Boardwalk—and if you have kids, there’s almost no chance you won’t hit the Boardwalk frequently—it’s easier to be aft. Aft cabins are also more convenient to the sports deck. It was really handy to be just one deck below Adventure Ocean and on the same side of the ship, though!

 

After speed-unpacking and meeting our stateroom attendant, Faria, and getting the door/dividers set up appropriately, I returned to the pool deck to join the family for sailaway. It was a beautiful evening in Fort Lauderdale! The Diva had already made a new friend, a girl her age from the Boston area, and they had fun guzzling mango smoothies while watching the other ships. In a random coincidence, as we sailed away I spotted the luxury yacht the Plan B, owned by one of the founders of Gateway Computers. (Superdad wondered why it wasn’t painted to resemble a cow.) We had seen the same yacht in Villefranche two years ago when we did the Liberty’s Mediterranean sailing. It’s quite an amazing luxury yacht and does it ever get around!

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6097.jpg

 

Evening One: Thoughts on the Main Dining Room

After sailaway, we headed for the Main Dining Room, 4th floor, for dinner. (A quick note: the proximity to the Casino is unpleasant if you’re a nonsmoker seated on deck 4 in the Main Dining Room. It is very noticeably smoky as you come out of the elevator or down the stairs into that area, which is not a nice way to start your elegant evening meal. Better air filtering in this area would be wonderful.)

 

We always choose the 6 pm early seating—late seating is too late for our kids, and we prefer to be part of a main seating rather than My Time Dining. Thanks to the recommendation of a fellow CC member, I had emailed ahead of time to the dining manager and requested a larger table with another family who had at least one child, and we were accommodated beautifully—we sat with a family from Long Island whose 6-year-old daughter and my son hit it off famously.

 

Our waiter, Michael Miller, assistant waiter, Hardy Bailey, and bar waiter, Cory Sawyers, all epitomized the kind of service I hope for when on a cruise. My first cruise ever was on the original Crown Princess back in 1997, and the service in the dining room there was absolutely extraordinary—I still remember the amazing and charming maitre d’. Since then, main dining room service on the various cruises I have taken has varied…sometimes outstanding, sometimes just okay. This time around, we were in luck. These three gentlemen worked very well together, were infinitely patient with our kids and always charmed, entertained and complimented them. They quickly learned our preferences; my favorite glass of Malbec was always at the ready, and refilled without a word from me at precisely the right time. The kids soon got exactly the fruit they preferred in their fruit bowls.

 

On other sailings we have spent more time in the specialty restaurants, but this time, despite all the specialty offerings, we only did two nights out of the MDR—Chops and 150 Central Park. A lot of this was due to how great we found the service at our table. Here's the Diva with the charming Michael:

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Mobile%20Uploads/2014-02/769E7010-18A8-4667-BE1A-ED39140E2AD1.jpg

 

As far as the food in the MDR goes, for the most part I found it pretty good this time around. There were some definite misses, but a number of our choices turned out to be excellent. I was not organized to keep track of what menus were served which night and what we ate, much less take photographs, so I will just offer a few highlights/takeaways for the whole week.

 

My favorite appetizers were the arancini (rice and Portobello mushroom balls), the roasted garlic soup, and the roasted poblano and pepper corn soup. For the main courses, I particularly enjoyed the pan-fried filet of barramundi, the veal scalloppine Oscar, and the Thai chicken breast. I was not a fan of the bay scallop gratin (just tasted like slightly seafoody garlic butter, very drippy) and the seared beef carpaccio (not flavorful at all).

 

After dinner, I am embarrassed to say that I’m not 100% sure what we did, and my pictures don’t remind me…so I’m fairly sure that we all crashed relatively early!

 

Coming up next…Day 2, Nassau. (Also known as, Day 2: in which we stay on the ship!)

Edited by ginadc

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Thanks for the review, can't wait to read more about your cruise. Fifteen more days and a few hours and I'm on the Allure of the Seas. I can't wait to escape this winter we are having.

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Thank you for sharing.

 

We will be sailing on the Allure in June. Looking forward for more!

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Great review! Can't wait read more about your trip!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

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Sorry it took so long to get back to this...still dealing with the mountain of laundry left over from the cruise!

 

Day 2: Nassau (for some…)

 

As many Allure fans know, the propulsion problems meant that the ship could not sail as fast as usual, which affected port times in Nassau and St. Thomas. I honestly did not keep track of exactly when we arrived in Nassau and when we sailed, because we had no plans to go ashore anyway. It was only about a 3-4 hour stop in total, and we were more interested in exploring our beautiful ship!

 

We weren’t really interested in the Windjammer for breakfast, so we went up to the sports deck and had a quick breakfast at the Wipeout Café, where they had a decent selection of mini-waffles, pancakes, bacon, fruit, yogurt, etc.—and one of the four coveted Freestyle Coke machines.

 

Our plan was for the kids to spend the morning in Adventure Ocean (we’d signed up on embarkation afternoon) while Superdad and I had some couple time, then do family time in the afternoon. Before Adventure Ocean opened at 9, we took some time to explore the Boardwalk—fairly quiet at that early hour!

 

Under the Boardwalk…Or on It…

Even though main attractions like the Boardwalk Dog House and the carousel (to say nothing of the shops) weren’t open yet, we and the kids found plenty to do. There are a lot of classic simple boardwalk-style attractions, like the bean bag toss, the pretend drive-in movie theater car seats, trick mirrors, and the photo boards that let you pose as a mermaid, scuba diver, etc., all of which will entertain kids for a good long while. There’s also a cute little climbing/play structure right next to Rita’s Cantina, which is also very conveniently within view of the Boardwalk Bar.

 

As you walk onto the Boardwalk from Deck 6, you first encounter the series of funhouse-style mirrors and then the famous “Zoltar” machine that mimics the one in “Big.” (My kids observantly noted that this one was plugged in, so they weren’t likely to get turned into grown-ups.) At the center is a series of wooden carousel horses in various stages of being built and painted, leading up to the actual carousel.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6124.jpg

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6126.jpg

 

On your right is Boardwalk Donuts, open only from 7 or 7:30 to 11:30, all self-serve. (I highly recommend the Key lime donuts!), and on the left is Boardwalk Dog House, about which more later.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6125.jpg

 

Past the carousel is the zone I will refer to as the “kid vortex of death.” In other words, this is the place where your kids will try to keep you forever. In the center is a red carnival cart, where a balloon-animal maker and face painter hold court during large chunks of the day. These are different people most weeks, and they basically trade about 15 hours of work during the week for a free cruise. (If I had any artistic talent whatsoever I think I’d pursue a side career as a face painter! By the way, if you actually do have such talent and you’re interested, you can find out more here: http://www.sixthstar.com/cruise-openings/. )

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6128.jpg

 

On either side in this section are the Boardwalk shops—Pinwheels toy store and Candy Beach on the left and the ice cream shop, Pets at Sea, and Smile photo studio on the right. When the popcorn and cotton candy stations are set up on the Boardwalk (during the “family festivals” that are frequently held there), they are usually near the entrance to Pets at Sea. Here’s where your wallet can go to die…because with the exception of the face painting and balloon animals, everything here costs extra. I was pretty much ogre mom most of the time and told my kids that we had paid plenty of money for the cruise and there were free food and treats everywhere (well, not free but already paid for), so no, I was not buying extra cotton candy or popcorn, or ice cream when there were those siren-calling frozen yogurt machines on the pool deck. Your mileage may vary.

 

This morning, it was too early for any of the above to be on offer, so we spent a happy hour playing bean bag toss and watching the kids play on the climbing structure, taking pictures, oohing and aahing at the space, and so on.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6133.jpg

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6135.jpg

 

For Freedom and Liberty vets, it was interesting to see Johnny Rockets here on the Boardwalk—a much better location for the restaurant, we thought. On the other ships it’s kind of stuck out of the way by the sports court, and there’s not a lot to watch or do while there, except the waiter performances. On the Boardwalk, hanging out outside Johnny Rocket’s with a milkshake and a burger is a great way to while away an hour watching the people come and go.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6129.jpg

 

More Boardwalk photos to come in the next post!

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Loving the review!! We just booked Allure for our family over Thanksgiving. We have two boys, who will be 8 and 10 at sailing, so this kid friendly review is great!! Did you say in your post above that the face painting and balloon animals are free on the boardwalk? My boys will LOVE that!

 

One other note, when you post pictures, you can click the icon with the mountains on it, and put the link in the box that appears, that way the pics will show up in the review and we won't have to click on each one to see it in Photobucket. If you want to use a link code from Photobucket, use the IMG link and paste it into your post, that will work also :).

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I'll admit it, I haven't read your review, but instead just went to your photobucket site to view the pictures. I'm sorry that your kids are SOOOOOO camera shy! :D Love the photos from formal night on your balcony. You are all adorable!

 

Okay, I guess I'll go back to read your review now. :o Just couldn't resist commenting on your shy family. ;)

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Thank you very much for your photo review...you appear to have over 1,200 photos. Interesting that your son is not yet six and you are calling him Techno Boy. :):):):)

Edited by cruiseclues

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Loving the review!! We just booked Allure for our family over Thanksgiving. We have two boys, who will be 8 and 10 at sailing, so this kid friendly review is great!! Did you say in your post above that the face painting and balloon animals are free on the boardwalk? My boys will LOVE that!

 

One other note, when you post pictures, you can click the icon with the mountains on it, and put the link in the box that appears, that way the pics will show up in the review and we won't have to click on each one to see it in Photobucket. If you want to use a link code from Photobucket, use the IMG link and paste it into your post, that will work also :).

 

 

Where is that daggone mountain icon? I looked for it everywhere and tried both Firefox and Safari, and cannot find it anywhere on the edit screen. I see the "post icons" box below me, the "additional options" below that one, but no mountain anywhere. Even if someone could just clue me in as to the html code that can be used to embed rather than link, that'd be awesome. I did notice that the pics do embed in the app.

 

And yes, face painting and balloon animals are free on the Boardwalk, and they're there pretty often. The only thing is that lines do form. They are different people most sailings, but at least on our sailing, they were very good. The face painting lady took some time, though. Fortunately, with so much to do on the Boardwalk it's pretty easy to keep the kids entertained while you take turns standing in line. (And you can always grab a drink at the bar and then stand in line... ;-)

 

And yeah, the Photobucket is a little overloaded, mostly because I'm lazy. I just uploaded both my camera and iPhone's folders of images from the trip and didn't bother to purge first, so you'll find a bunch of blurry shots from when I was messing with the flash, and I think a few "Barbie fashion app" images that the Diva saved!

 

My son is definitely Techno Boy! He takes after his computer programmer Daddy. He's already trying to figure out how to design his own apps to address the deficiencies he sees in games he plays. Keep going, little dude, you'll pay for all our cruises one day!

 

More pics and tales to come once I get The Three off to school (and maybe do a little work...) Thanks, everyone, for the lovely comments!!

Edited by ginadc

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Enjoying your review and pictures!! Thanks for sharing your cruise with us!!:):)

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Sorry it took so long to get back to this...still dealing with the mountain of laundry left over from the cruise!

 

Day 2: Nassau (for some…)

 

As many Allure fans know, the propulsion problems meant that the ship could not sail as fast as usual, which affected port times in Nassau and St. Thomas. I honestly did not keep track of exactly when we arrived in Nassau and when we sailed, because we had no plans to go ashore anyway. It was only about a 3-4 hour stop in total, and we were more interested in exploring our beautiful ship!

 

We weren’t really interested in the Windjammer for breakfast, so we went up to the sports deck and had a quick breakfast at the Wipeout Café, where they had a decent selection of mini-waffles, pancakes, bacon, fruit, yogurt, etc.—and one of the four coveted Freestyle Coke machines.

 

Our plan was for the kids to spend the morning in Adventure Ocean (we’d signed up on embarkation afternoon) while Superdad and I had some couple time, then do family time in the afternoon. Before Adventure Ocean opened at 9, we took some time to explore the Boardwalk—fairly quiet at that early hour!

 

Under the Boardwalk…Or on It…

Even though main attractions like the Boardwalk Dog House and the carousel (to say nothing of the shops) weren’t open yet, we and the kids found plenty to do. There are a lot of classic simple boardwalk-style attractions, like the bean bag toss, the pretend drive-in movie theater car seats, trick mirrors, and the photo boards that let you pose as a mermaid, scuba diver, etc., all of which will entertain kids for a good long while. There’s also a cute little climbing/play structure right next to Rita’s Cantina, which is also very conveniently within view of the Boardwalk Bar.

 

As you walk onto the Boardwalk from Deck 6, you first encounter the series of funhouse-style mirrors and then the famous “Zoltar” machine that mimics the one in “Big.” (My kids observantly noted that this one was plugged in, so they weren’t likely to get turned into grown-ups.) At the center is a series of wooden carousel horses in various stages of being built and painted, leading up to the actual carousel.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6124.jpg

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6126.jpg

 

On your right is Boardwalk Donuts, open only from 7 or 7:30 to 11:30, all self-serve. (I highly recommend the Key lime donuts!), and on the left is Boardwalk Dog House, about which more later.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6125.jpg

 

Past the carousel is the zone I will refer to as the “kid vortex of death.” In other words, this is the place where your kids will try to keep you forever. In the center is a red carnival cart, where a balloon-animal maker and face painter hold court during large chunks of the day. These are different people most weeks, and they basically trade about 15 hours of work during the week for a free cruise. (If I had any artistic talent whatsoever I think I’d pursue a side career as a face painter! By the way, if you actually do have such talent and you’re interested, you can find out more here: http://www.sixthstar.com/cruise-openings/. )

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6128.jpg

 

On either side in this section are the Boardwalk shops—Pinwheels toy store and Candy Beach on the left and the ice cream shop, Pets at Sea, and Smile photo studio on the right. When the popcorn and cotton candy stations are set up on the Boardwalk (during the “family festivals” that are frequently held there), they are usually near the entrance to Pets at Sea. Here’s where your wallet can go to die…because with the exception of the face painting and balloon animals, everything here costs extra. I was pretty much ogre mom most of the time and told my kids that we had paid plenty of money for the cruise and there were free food and treats everywhere (well, not free but already paid for), so no, I was not buying extra cotton candy or popcorn, or ice cream when there were those siren-calling frozen yogurt machines on the pool deck. Your mileage may vary.

 

This morning, it was too early for any of the above to be on offer, so we spent a happy hour playing bean bag toss and watching the kids play on the climbing structure, taking pictures, oohing and aahing at the space, and so on.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6133.jpg

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6135.jpg

 

For Freedom and Liberty vets, it was interesting to see Johnny Rockets here on the Boardwalk—a much better location for the restaurant, we thought. On the other ships it’s kind of stuck out of the way by the sports court, and there’s not a lot to watch or do while there, except the waiter performances. On the Boardwalk, hanging out outside Johnny Rocket’s with a milkshake and a burger is a great way to while away an hour watching the people come and go.

 

http://i1190.photobucket.com/albums/z441/ginadcnj/Allure%20of%20the%20Seas%202013%20cruise/IMG_6129.jpg

 

More Boardwalk photos to come in the next post!

 

Great detailed Review!

 

On photobucket you will see a box on the bottom right when looking at a picture called: "Links to share this photo" If you use the last link called "IMG" and paste that link in the review the photos will appear here!

 

IMG_6124.jpg

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Great detailed Review!

 

On photobucket you will see a box on the bottom right when looking at a picture called: "Links to share this photo" If you use the last link called "IMG" and paste that link in the review the photos will appear here!

 

IMG_6124.jpg

 

Yes, just like this^^^^ :D. And your little one is TOO cute!!!

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Our First Afternoon Aboard, in Which We Discuss Drink Packages and Room Selection

 

This seems like a reasonably appropriate place to insert a comment about the Premium alcohol package. Superdad and I both got that package, and it absolutely was worth it. (We met very few people who hadn’t purchased it.) We probably had 3 glasses of wine with dinner most nights, and when you combine that with soda and water in the morning/early afternoon and frozen drinks on the pool deck most of the afternoon, I’d say we well more than broke even every day. It was definitely nice to be able to just order another drink and not nickel-and-dime ourselves about whether it was worth it, or feel obligated to finish a drink you really didn’t want to finish because you’d paid for it. We usually tipped a dollar extra per drink over the included 15% gratuity.

 

Did you have to pay taxes on your drink package because you bought it in Port Everglades? Thank you in advance!

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Did you have to pay taxes on your drink package because you bought it in Port Everglades? Thank you in advance!

 

 

We didn't buy the package in PE--bought online ahead of time. No additional taxes, just the 55/day per person.

 

And thanks all for the Photobucket tips! Will follow instructions next update--probably tonight.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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A few more Boardwalk images before the kids get home--hope to post more review tonight!

 

Zipliner from below!

b1f1bb48-8fa0-45eb-8d19-9d42680b60ee.jpg

 

Aquatheater and rock wall. You can see the little play structure just behind the Aquatheater seats.

IMG_6197.jpg

 

Looking forward from the aft end of the balcony (bar and Rita's Cantina to the left, Johnny Rockets to the right)

Feb22201301-32AMCanonCanonEOS60D5184x34565401.jpeg

 

Serious and fierce looking Techno Boy with the face painter/balloon twister cart. (Painter would be on one side and balloon guy the other.)

Feb22201301-33AMCanonCanonEOS60D5184x3456.jpg

 

Dog House menu:

Feb21201309-55PMCanonCanonEOS60D5184x3456.jpg

 

Key Lime donut. Seriously. Yum.

Feb21201309-49PMCanonCanonEOS60D5184x34565317.jpg

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