2018-01-07 Royal Caribbean Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas-final reflections

It’s early Sunday morning and we just disembarked the ship. Overall the process was smooth and efficient. Kudos to Royal Caribbean for mastering this process in a positive and expeditious manner.

Looking back at the week on board, I see many positives and a few drawbacks to consider when selecting Royal’s Oasis class of ships.

Positives:

World-class Entertainment – no one else has it. One of the benefits of the ship size is the space dedicated to entertainment. From the main theatre (Amber theatre on Allure) to the ice rink and the Aqua theatre out back, this vessel is tailor-made to impress.

(Blue Planet show in the Amber theatre)

Dining venues overall are amazing and we especially enjoyed and recommend the upgrade options at Chops Grill and Park 150 as well as the Chef’s Table (read my previous blog with menu details).

While we didn’t test the Japanese place Izumi, we heard lots of rave reviews from other guests and I will take their word for it

Our favorite spots were the Solarium Cafe On deck 15 which offered a peaceful atmosphere without kids for breakfast and lunch as well as the Park Cafe on deck 8 which has lovely salads and paninis all day long.

Staterooms – we had a balcony stateroom which was spacious and well thought out. It was always quiet amd the stateroom attendant was exceptional. There is no bad cabin on this ship – even the inside rooms were well designed and equipped.

Negatives:

Deckchairs – With big ship size come more guests – 6400 in this case which makes securing a deck chair on sea days impossible. Add to this the inconsistently enforced rules and it turns into a mess. We managed only once to get 2 chairs and that was due to a mid-day rain shower.  The crew states no saving of chairs but they don’t enforce it so tons of empty chairs are “held” for friends that never show up.

Children – Our sailing only had 800 children onboard which is low from what the crew told us, yet you run into kids everywhere all the way till 1AM curfew. Crying and screaming children in an 18 amd over Broadway show are not fun – RCCL could do a better job monitoring this. I am willing to risk being called a Scrooge as it is not the kids fault, rather today’s parenting that has gone crazy. I cannot recall ever having been allowed to stay up till 1AM except for New Years.

Windjammer buffet dining and American Icon main dining room are also affected by the passenger count. It is nearly impossible to get seats and there are always lines of 15 to 20 minutes average to get in.

Sabor – is the upgrade Mexican place on the Boardwalk where we had dinner one night. The place was almost always empty and while the surcharge of $20 was reasonable, the concept is not really working. Both Jerry and I have local Mexican places that serve better, more authentic food for less.

Our experience began with the guacamole which Jerry had to doctor up before it had any flavor. We noticed the guests next to us (note that only 6 out of the over 20 tables were occupied) did the same before digging in.

We continued with ceviche amd calamari which were great but the portions were so huge, we were full already before the main courses arrived. We would not return and definitely not recommend it.

Suggestion: Turn it into an a la Carte Taco Bar with chips and salsa and it would be more crowded.

On the positive side, the service was attentive and the drinks were stiff as we like them.

Conclusion

This cruise is perfect for families and group events like birthdays and anniversaries as every one finds something to do and there are plenty of large tables for communal dinning.

Travelers seeking peace and occasional rest in the sun on deck are better served on smaller Royal ships like the Radiance class or with a Celebrity or Azamara Club Cruise.

I hope you enjoyed my reporting along the way. Please share your thoughts and experiences with me on the blog or Facebook.

Till my next adventure in March to Hawaii, signing off. Cheers!

 

2018-01-07 Royal Caribbean Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas- last day

How fast a week goes by – when one is having fun!

Our voyage will come to an end in very short order but that does not stop us from enjoying all the ship has to offer.

All dressed up, Jerry and I joined 11 other guests for the very exclusive Chef’s Table on deck 11. It turned out that 6 guests were from California which made for great conversation. This optional 5 course meal comes with a sommeliers selection of paired wines. It was the highlight meal of the cruise – If your ship offers it, I highly recommend signing up for it in advance as it does sell out.

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From top to bottom, our meal began with a scallop carpaccio with Yuzu vinaigrette. The course was paired with a Sauvignon blanc from Northern California.

The second course consisted of a smoked tomato soup served with an unoaked Chardonnay from Silver winery on the Monterey peninsula.

The third course teased our taste buds with poached lobster bites on a sliver of heart of palm amd pineapple with arugula and a vanilla dressing – Delish – especially with the French Chablis from Burgundy it was paired with.

Main course for most was a beautiful Angus fillet of beef with truffles linguine as a side plate. This course came paired with a Honig 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. It was heaven!

In all the excitement, I forgot to take a picture of desert. Sorry.

To top off the evening we grabbed center front seats for the show Blue Planet which featured many of our stars from Mamma Mia – what a treat!

2018-01-07 Royal Caribbean Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas – day at sea

After two port filled days, we enjoyed the ship at sea. Getting up late after our AAA Member benefit dinner at Chops Grill, we relaxed and the made our way to the gym.

I had tuna tartare and a filet amd Jerry had colossal shrimp with a bone-in ribeye. Both were exceptional.

To round out the night we stood by for another water show. Sorry RCCL, I had to takes purple of shots of the Romanian balancers. They were outstanding.

Stay tuned for my last blog on board.

2018-01-07 Royal Caribbean Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas – San Juan Puerto Rico

After a leisurely morning with a 5 mile brisk walk behind us, the Allure approached San Juan Puerto Rico for our 2nd stop of the voyage. A first port of call for both Jerry and me.

Safely docked, we walked off around 1230 for a discovery walk of old town San Juan including a visit to the Castillo San Cristobal.

It is still apparent to gat the city got battered by the hurricane but 95% of businesses are open and the city is thriving.

Well, with Allure and Anthem of the Seas plus Holland’s Eurodam amd Carnival’s Glory in port, the population increased by 16000 people.

Our mission, after the tour of the flrtificationbut busy the Spaniards in 1798, was to support local business. We did that successfully at the lovely restaurant called Hecho en Casa (made at home) on the upper street corner of San Francisco and San justo. We ordered two different versions of Mofongo, a Puerto Ricand tradition.

Both were increadibly delicious. Mine was chicken in white sauce and Jerry’s was shrimp with garlic. Accompanied by world class mojito’s, we had a great time.

A short stroll and we were back by the pier.

This was the first time we were faced with a line to get back on board.

So far, our experiences have been great. That includes the rising Rose’s bar we floated on up and down between decks 8 amd 5 last night.

2018-01-07 Royal Caribbean Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas – St Thomas for the day

We thought we had seen the best show already #mammamia but then the twice postponed Oceanaria show took place. What a thrill!

This underwater world with acrobats, divers and comedians took our breath away.

I would love to share more images but I adhered to the crew request not to film or take pictures. Crowning glory among the many highlights was the 17 meter (51 foot dive) into a 5 meter wide pool. AMAZING!

The show was totally worth it even though, due to weather scheduling, it meant Jerry and I had to miss the 70s Disco Parade on promenade deck.

We woke up in the morning in St. Thomas USVI. Our ship docked next to an old clunker operated by Celestial Cruises.

We are sure glad not to be on that vessel!

Why would you want water in the pool?

After breakfast we made our way on foot to town. A brisk 2 miles awaited us with evidence of hurricanes never far away. Torn off roofs, flipped over boats and more are regular reminders of the destruction this past September by Irma and Maria.

As in Puerto Rico yesterday, we supported the local economy with retail shopping.

Back on board, we enjoyed lunch at our favorite place – the park cafe. Now we are lounging in the sun on deck 15 until our 230 appointments at the Spa.

Another lovely day aboard…

2018-01-07 Royal Caribbean Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas – day at sea

What a ship…!

So much to do and see. We walked 4 miles on deck 5, enjoyed light breakfast at the Solarium Cafe (deck 15 adults only) and then went zip lining.

Afte that adrenaline rush, we watched guest on the flowrider. To no one’s surprise, this is not an activity I will partake in as I don’t like to get wet. Then we had lunch and toured the ship some more. Everyone but us was shopping – it felt like people had been deprived of buying clothes for years.

Then at 5pm the ice show began. What an event! No other line has entertainment like this I can attest to it!

A formal dinner at American Icon consisting of escargots, shrimp cocktail, and fillet of beef was enjoyed with a lovely bottle of Wolf Blass Merlot. Thank you Rob!

To no one’s surprise we got in line for stand by seats at Mama Mia for the second night in a row. What a night, … (dot dot dot)!

2018-01-07 Royal Caribbean Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas – first night

Settled I. Our ocean view balcony, we explored this amazing ship from bow to stern.

Following instructions of the crew, we reported to muster station B3 and once the drill was successfully completed, we climbed to deck 16 for the very windy sail away party. As the biggest ship got to go last, we saw 5 other cruise ships take off ahead of us. Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam followed by her sister Eurodam. Then the Celebrity Silhouette ahead of the Crown amd Regal Princess.

Our entertainment for the first night was. A light dinner at Windjammer cafe followed by Mamma Mia for the first time. Great show and even better seats. As a good guest, I refrained from taking pictures.

2018-01-07 Royal Caribbean Cruise on Allure of the Seas

Allure of the Seas – Count-down to my cruise

It is time for me to start dreaming about the next big wish list item. Cruising on the world’s largest cruise ship. Join me as o journal my adventure. Boarding is on January 7th 18 in Fort Lauderdale.

The ship happens to feature my favorite musical Mamma Mia with music by ABBA. In addition to hosting 6000 guests on a ship with its own outdoor garden a Central Park Area (pictured above) the vessel features an ice rink, two surf simulators called flow rider and the rising tides bar that floated between decks 5 and 10.

More on the experience and the life onboard will follow after the holidays.

Stay tuned…