Karen's Blog

  • Allure of the Seas by Royal Caribbean

    2/17/2011 6:41:27 PM Link 0 comments | Add comment

    Cruise Reviews

    This ship definately has the "wow" factor. Upon entering the promenade area, I was immediately gazing upone a fountain and huge street-like area that beckoned me to explore. This is where the shops are located, plus several venues for quenching one's thirst, the Schooler Bar and Champagne bar, Globe and Atlas Pub, Boleros Latin Bar, and even Starbucks, for those caffeine "emergencies". You can get to the Casino from here and the comdey and other specialty clubs, the main showroom, and the ice rink.

    Shopping is plentiful with several kiosks and daily shopping specials, plus a variety of shops with the name brands one would expect to find in a trendy upscale street. And don’t forget to stop off at the cupcake shop before heading straight to the gym to work it off! The most popular daytime stop on the street had to be Sorrentos, where the Pizza was disappearing as fast as they could make it!

    My stateroom was an ocean view balcony with plenty of storage, a comfy bed, done in muted blues and white, with a flat screen TV, and my favorite feature, a USB charging station! The balcony was quite adequate in size and the clear glass sides provided an uninterrupted view of the sea!

    The stateroom was located about eight cabins from the aft elevators on Deck 9 and proved to be the most convenient place they could have chosen for me. At first I thought it might be too far aft in the ship, but it wasn’t at all! Dazzles Night Club was one floor down on deck s 8 and 7, the Boardwalk was another 2 floors on deck 6, Central Park was on deck 7, dining was on deck 5, the Marketplace buffet was on deck 16, and they were all straight down or up in “my” elevator! Nothing seemed far away except the showroom, internet café, gym and spa. Quite frankly, if you are on your way to the gym you should not mind the walk, and you need to walk off some of that dinner getting to the showroom anyway!

    Actually I thought that I loved my stateroom, until I ventured into the Crown Loft Suite, two stories, floor to ceiling uninterrupted view, a living and dining room and bath and shower on the main level, a balcony, bedroom and master bath with a shower for two in the loft; you need one of these!

    Food was typical Royal Caribbean fare, something that is personal to everyone, so you might think it to be absolutely wonderful. I find it to be good, but nothing to write home about. The dining room food though was generally delicious and beautifully presented, and I can’t think of one thing that I did not thoroughly enjoy.  The Marketplace buffet is well designed with round stations that allow one to graze without forming lines. I’ve been told by other passengers that there is not enough seating, but frankly, I never found that to be the case.

    I loved the myriad of whirlpools all over the solarium area and outdoors. I especially enjoyed the ones that jutted out over the sides of the ship. There was plenty of opportunity to relax without fighting for space. The same was true of the deck chairs, and plenty were located in shady areas for those so inclined to stay out of the sun.

    Both Ice Shows were must see events, but I confess that my favorite was “How to Train a Dragon”. There are no bad seats in the show except behind poles, but if you can get there early and get a seat on the end, I think you will find those slightly superior.

    There must be a venue for every taste in music, from Jazz to Piano favorites to red hot Latin dance music and disco fever. Don’t miss the Aqua theater shows, and for sports fans head out there for live games on the double jumbo screens.

    The Boardwalk is its own little world, with a Carousel, family circus games, sweets, hot dog stand, Johnny Rockets and Tex-Mex food.  Being from Texas, I won’t comment on the Tex-Mex except to say that it wasn’t terrible, but you probably will love it if you are from some other part of the country. I’m a bit of a snob about my salsa and stuff and they just don’t spice it up enough for my taste. Not even the  habanero salsa was hot, but the Margueritas were cold, if not a bit too sweet. The sopapillas were tasty, but not authentic.  On the other hand, be sure to try the hot dogs on baguettes and head out for hamburgers at Johnny Rockets I don’t think you’ll be in danger of running into healthy food on the Boardwalk, perfect for those days when bad is good!

    The gym has plenty of the latest and greatest machines. But I was surprised by the lack of showers, sauna, locker rooms that I was used to on the other ships. So just be forewarned, wear your workout gear, and go back to the room to shower and change (in my case to change into swimwear to head for the whirlpools).

    Got kids? The kid’s splash zone and pool was amazing. I was ready to “rent a kid” just to go there. It was colorful and close to the adult area. The kids will also love the Dreamworks characters aboard the ship and the 3D Dreamworks film. I saw Megamind in 3D the same time it was opening in theaters.  You might not see the kids all week, with the largest youth zone afloat and professional counselors that will keep them busy from morning to night! There are even activities for the whole family to enjoy. You could even find yourself being cast as an extra in a movie, if Dreamworks comes aboard to film.

    The sports zone was a hit, although I had no intention of ziplining over a multi story expanse at the top of the ship – I could barely look down from the side, but there were those brave souls who loved it! This was also the area you could find the mini golf, basketball, shuffleboard, table tennis, rock wall, and surfing.  Need I say more?

    You will have to explore the pools areas yourself since we only sailed a short distance from Ft Lauderdale, and being from Texas, it has to be about 85 degrees before I think it’s hot enough. But I saw the pool area with the water slides, H2O zone, sports pool, main pool, beach pool, kids pool. Get the idea?

    And then there is Central Park! This is my favorite place on the entire ship. What an incredible experience to sit in a sanctuary surrounded by trees and foliage, look up at the sky and the rows of balconies and sit and read or people watch. This is where the specialty restaurants are located. I was not able to experience them, but I’m told that they are well worth the slight up charge.  My favorite time in Central Park was early in the morning, I stopped by the café and grabbed some coffee and a bagel and sat in the quiet, waking up at a leisurely pace. This is also the place to board the Rising Tide Bar for a drink and a quick trip back to deck 5.

    So there you have it, the Allure of the Seas. Call me and set up a family reunion, or a corporate group, or meeting, or just take the two of you, or take the kids, and find out for yourself what the future of cruising looks like. I can’t wait to see what they think of next!

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