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LuCruise

Allure Report - 16 Months in the Making

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Introduction

 

Hello all. I love cruise critic…for being able to research and ask questions, to share opinions, and for reading reports of others experiences. So I will be doing the same and sharing our experience of our Allure of the Seas cruise April 10 – 17, 2016.

 

This isn’t a live report. We are so connected in the “real world” with everyone on email all the time, that I refused to get internet while on vacation (my one rule to DH :D ). So this will be an instant replay with our experience...and will provide my thought too. I’ll include lots of pictures of the ship and ports.

 

At the time of our sailing, I can say that we are going on the largest cruise ship in the world. How cool is that? But one month later, that won't be true as its new younger sister Harmony of the Seas will be even bigger (by a very small amount). Funny enough, when DH and I went on the Voyager of the Seas in 2001, it was the largest in the world. Look how many bigger ships have been built in the past 15 years!

 

Here's the beautiful Allure!

IMG_0225%20Medium_zps1uppwmb1.jpg

 

PS - This may take time as I am back at work and at the moment trying to catch up on 454 emails. Ugh...I need another cruise. ;)

Edited by LuCruise

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Booking

 

October of 2014 we returned from our first week long family trip, which was at Disney World. My son was 9 already and time was passing. I really wanted to have more of these special family experiences. Even though we had been on the Disney Magic a few years earlier with DH’s family, I was biased with Royal. My dad had taken me on the Grandeur when I graduated from university and DH and I went on the Voyager for our honeymoon. So I did some research and we decided on Allure of the Seas. It was so family friendly between the shows, activities and DreamWorks experience. It was perfect.

 

But the reality is, that our Disney World vacation was not cheap, and our Allure cruise would be about the same, so we needed to wait before spending that kind of money again. So in December of 2014, we booked for April 10, 2016. Thus, I would have to be patient as we had 16 months (or 476 days) until we left. That’s ok. I had cruise critic to keep me occupied and I’m an OCD planner so lots of time to do my research. But it was too early to tell our kids so it was a long kept secret.

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The Players

 

There is DH and me (both in our lower 40s), and by the time our cruise rolled around our son would be 10.5 (well a few weeks away from turning 11) and our daughter 6.5 years (2 months from turning 7).

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The Itinerary

 

Our cruise departed from Fort Lauderdale. It’s Eastern Caribbean and stopped at Nassau, St Thomas and St Maarten.

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Introduction

 

 

This isn’t a live report. We are so connected in the “real world” with everyone on email all the time, that I refused to get internet while on vacation (my one rule to DH :D ).

 

Glad to know we aren't the only ones. Though my wife will have 123,324 facebook notifications when we get back.

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Glad to know we aren't the only ones. Though my wife will have 123,324 facebook notifications when we get back.

 

He he...I was the same with facebook and personal emails (inbox and junk folder). :D

 

Good tip if flying home...when in the airport, turn on Wifi and download any new emails. Then on the airplane, change phone back to airplane mode but you can still clean out your email. This also helped pass 1.5 hrs on the plane.;)

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Can't wait to hear about your cruise! I'm interested to hear if you ran into any of the "special" guests that were on this cruise as I know some people that were part of this group. ;)

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Can't wait to hear about your cruise! I'm interested to hear if you ran into any of the "special" guests that were on this cruise as I know some people that were part of this group. ;)

 

Thanks for reading along.

 

And yes, although I was not part of the group, I did happen to keep bumping into him (which is funny considering how big the ship is). There was also an open event which he did the last night of the ship. Missed him singing but he did the intros of the other performers.

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Looking forward to the rest of your review... we are on the Allure in a few weeks.

 

You'll love it. The Allure is an awesome ship!

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The Stateroom - Promenade Room

 

We knew that cruising would cost a lot (cruise + flight) so we wanted to keep our base price on the lower side. I must admit that a Boardwalk Balcony room looks like a lot of fun, but it was more than $700 more than an interior. And we figured, that we won’t be in the room much outside of sleeping, changing and showering. As an alternative we looked at a Promenade room. The room has a bay window with seating, which we thought would be fun for our kids. The room itself was even a touch bigger (at a whopping 194 ft…he he) than the standard interior, ocean view and Boardwalk rooms with balcony (not counting the balcony space). At booking time, we got one with a pull out sofa for our kids to share. But then a month or so later, I was looking and saw that there is one that has a pull out sofa and a Pullman. When we stay in hotels, our kids usually share a bed and it’s a lot of kicking, pulling covers, and keeping each other up. So bonus, this would be even better so we switched to this configuration (Promenade 7191). We like the location too as its pretty centered both horizontally and vertically, and the Boardwalk is one deck below, Promenade is two decks below and Central Park is one deck above. We were ok being further away from the pool area. Besides, walking up a few extra flight of stairs on a ship with unlimited food and treats is not such a bad thing. I’m sure it will counteract all the food, right?

 

The room ended up being great. First, it seems deeper than I remember from the Voyager. The only time it felt tight was when we needed to walk by the bed or get to the closet and someone was standing in the spot. One thing that really impressed me was all the storage. The main room had a big vanity area with shelving/drawers plus 6 shelves in total across two other cupboards. Then there were 2 small night tables but with 3 shelves each so that worked for storage. The closet itself has built in shelving and two rods for hanging. Tip…the provided hangers with clips work great for drying wet bathing suits (as long as they are not dripping wet). Add to that, the bathroom has tons of built-ins.

 

With the Promenade rooms we were warned to close the curtains as you can see directly in the rooms across the way (and vice versa). But in our case, this wasn’t true as there was something blocking the room so this wasn’t an issue.

 

Here are some pictures of the room and our view. You can see the nice bay window.

IMG_0253%20Medium_zpsrjv8garn.jpg

 

The built in shelving in the closet

IMG_0254%20Medium_zpsv9zwem7r.jpg

 

And some shelving shown in the washroom (with more underneath)

IMG_0255%20Medium_zpspvjzz6af.jpg

Edited by LuCruise

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The Stateroom Continued

 

The Sofa bed and Pullman pulled out (our 10.5 year old took the Pullman as our younger one was a bit scared...she moves around at night so probably a good thing)

IMG_0307%20Medium_zpsto6slquk.jpg

 

This is our view out of the bay window (not obstructed at all...it was great...notice too, that you cannot see the promenade rooms directly across)

IMG_0252%20Medium_zps4lpt1w39.jpg

 

And this is the location of the room (first one on the left). We weren't 100% sure which one was our room so we did the exercise where our kids and I waited in the Promenade across from On Air while DH went back to the room and waved through the window.

IMG_0303%20Medium_zpszw6e7vrn.jpg

Edited by LuCruise

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Thanks for reading along.

 

And yes, although I was not part of the group, I did happen to keep bumping into him (which is funny considering how big the ship is). There was also an open event which he did the last night of the ship. Missed him singing but he did the intros of the other performers.

 

Yes, I saw they did an open event the last night. Was happy to see they did that! He did several periscopes during the week of all the events they did. The only time I saw him do any singing was during their karaoke night. He & Joey actually did a BSB song, which I found quite hilarious. And then they did one of their own songs at the end.

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Yes, I saw they did an open event the last night. Was happy to see they did that! He did several periscopes during the week of all the events they did. The only time I saw him do any singing was during their karaoke night. He & Joey actually did a BSB song, which I found quite hilarious. And then they did one of their own songs at the end.

 

Neat that he shared on periscope. That would have been really neat to have heard them sing, and funny that they did karaoke. I did check out their facebook page and they seem to have posted some videos. Heard they are doing another one next year...if only we could book again. ;)

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Looking forward to your review - while I have cruised many times this will be our first Oasis class ship - we are sailing on the Allure in early July. Can't wait!!

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My Time or Traditional Dining

 

We booked early enough that we did have a choice of Traditional (with early timeslot available) or My Time dining. I know that a lot prefer Traditional. Our past cruises were traditional. On Grandeur, my dad and I sat with a very lovely couple that I still remember. And on Voyager, DH and I sat with three other couples. It was great getting together each night with complete strangers and to talk about our day. And of course, you waiter gets to know you, which adds to the MDR experience.

 

However, the Oasis class ships are so large that there is not one set show time in the evening. Since we were coming with our kids, we weren’t as flexible in terms of show times (i.e. no 10pm shows for us). So for this reason, we opted for My Time. That way, we could book dinner each night around the show times.

 

So how was it?

 

Night one...Well I had heard on here that the first night has long waits…very true. Having said that, we were line (which moved ahead quickly enough) and when we got close to the check in spot, the host took upstairs to Silk. I guess they had room on level five so they were trying to even the load. Service that night wasn’t the best...probably because they knew we weren’t their normal table.

 

Night two...We had a bit of a scare with our dining times (which I’ll explain when I get to the day to day part), but we were seated back in American Icon, where My Time seating is allocated. Had no wait for a table, service was good and no issues.

 

Night three to seven...Then from night three onwards, we got seated in a lovely seat by the window (with zero waiting). What was great is that we ended up having the same waiter and table for the rest of the cruise, even though our dinner times varied a bit. Our servers were very attentive and always had a smile, and one even did little tricks with our kids. They got to know us and brought us what we liked without asking. Our main waiter was hilarious too since if we hinted that we liked something or were undecided on an item, he’d bring it. So often DH would have two meals, extra dessert, they'd bring him 2 cokes at once (hey why not? saves them a trip...ha ha), etc.

 

I was a little hesitant with My Time, but from our experience, it was no issue at all. Food was pretty good too...a few misses (DH tried the pork and said it was bad both times), but he loved the prime rib and steak. I don't eat meat myself, but seafood dishes were yummy (garlic shrimp the best and even the shrimp ravioli). And of course, who could dislike dessert. Our kids too were quite happy and we certainly walked away quite full each night.

Edited by LuCruise

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I appreciate the photo of the Pullman setup. Many ask about this, and I had not seen one for a PR stateroom.

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Thanks for the review! I was suppose to be on this cruise but cancelled last summer. I remember you from the roll call. :) I was looking forward to a review from this cruise!

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I appreciate the photo of the Pullman setup. Many ask about this, and I had not seen one for a PR stateroom.

 

My pleasure. Hope the photo along with the description helps others when trying to select a room.

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Thanks for the review! I was suppose to be on this cruise but cancelled last summer. I remember you from the roll call. :) I was looking forward to a review from this cruise!

 

Hi ryano, I remember you too on the roll call. If I remember correctly, you cancelled because of the Lance Bass group? Luckily it ended up not being an issue. Their group was on our Blue Lagoon excursion but they just had a small section of the beach blocked off (tons of other spots and chairs). On the ship, I think I noticed at one time On Air was "closed for private group", which I assume was them, but it was such a small time and venue, it was fine. And they even opened up an extra entertainment event to everyone the last night which was neat. BUT now that you cancelled, you still have your cruise to look forward too (whereas ours is over...boo hoo). Have a great cruise (or two as I see you have 2 in your signature) :)

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Pre-Cruise Reservations

 

For anyone who’s been on Oasis class, you know that you can pre-book your shows and dinner if on My Time. You’ll see the question posted over and over about 'When can I make reservations?' It seems like there is no set date and it varies not only from ship to ship, but from cruise to cruise.

 

During the pre-planning I had seen a show schedule for each night so I used this to plan our ideal selections. Yeah, I knew that ours could be different, but at least when things opened up, I wasn’t trying to figure out our preferred times without a plan. That just doesn’t work for an OCD planner like myself.

 

So how to figure out when things opened up? I basically checked the cruise planner every day and one day in early October, the shows popped up. So exciting! We were lucky as this was 6 months before our cruise. And yippee, the preferred times were available so I booked them. At this point, I started keeping an eye on roll calls ahead of us in order get an idea when dinner bookings would be available. And on November 18th, the February roll call had their dinner reservations open up. So I checked ours and lo and behold, ours were available for booking too. Not bad…it was 4 months and 3 weeks ahead. I guess that explains why some reservations open up at 3 months and some even earlier. They must open up a few months at a time. Booking right away, we pretty much got all our dinner time selections. The cruise was feeling more real now.

 

Ok…so roll on April. I was all ready for the cruise. Too bad it was still 144 days until our cruise. :rolleyes:

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Pre-Purchasing

 

We pre-purchased two items: (1) Blue Lagoon Excursion (2) Character Breakfast.

 

I had researched Blue Lagoon excursion for our Nassau day and the place looked so lovely. The water looked calm with mats and stuff which was good for my DD, and I knew my DS would love the Inflatable Aqua Park. So we went ahead and pre-booked this excursion. We took the hit on the (bad) Canadian dollar but we didn't want to lose a spot.

 

For the Character Breakfast, I was going to wait until we were onboard so we could use our OBC, but people had warned me that it sells out. (Thank you cruise critic as I would have never known). So we went ahead and booked. We also preferred the last morning of our cruise to have something special on that day. Sure enough, when I look a few days before our cruise, there is only one day left that was available (vs. three days that they held the breakfast). So it was good that we booked.

 

With respect to drink packages, we don’t drink enough to justify the alcoholic drink packages. DH and I both love coffee, but we would be fine with the standard coffee. For both of the above, we can always buy a-la-carte. Plus, Royal lets you bring 2 bottles of wine per stateroom so perfect (especially as DH prefers red and I prefer white). But DH loves his soda. So the soda package was worthwhile. Since we are Canadian, we bought some OBC which we were able to buy OBC at the 1.1 exchange (before they raised the rate in January of this year). Thus it made sense for us to wait until onboard to buy it….which he did right away to get full usage.

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