Allure of the Seas Cruise Review by kalaniiwow
- Sail Date: July 2017
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
We originally were in an ocean view 'family' room, but ended up having to switch our cruise dates and got adjoining interior rooms. This was a HUGE blessing! Having a separate room for the kids and two bathrooms was the best! I also was concerned about having a room on the 3rd deck, but it was surprisingly great. I would absolutely stay in a deck 3 interior room again. There was no noise from the busy entertainment deck above. The rooms we got (3844/3846) were right next to the elevators and dining room, but we experienced no noise at night and because of the location got to walk out of our room right on to elevators or to eat with no issues. Our room attendant was also amazing. A+++ for the room.
Embarkation was smooth and easy. We arrived around 10:30 and once the ship was cleared for passengers to go on board (around 11:30) we were on within minutes. Disembarkation was a little messier. We were #68. Apparently this was the absolute LAST number as I didn't see anything higher. We sat in the dining room waiting for several hours and finally around 10:30am employee walked in and told us we could all go, despite the announcements only calling for #40ish. If you can take the 'express' disembarking and carry your luggage, take this option. If you're a pleb like us, you will be waiting for many hours. The customs line was very long (again, we were near the tail end) but it moved fairly quickly and was painless. A for embarkation, C- for disembarkation.
We ate almost exclusively in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I enjoy the relative quiet compared to dining at the Windjammer. I also don't want to pay extra for other restaurants. The one exception to this was on embarkation. We didn't want to fight crowds at Windjammer so we went to Sabor. HUGE mistake. They charge $19/person (including for our littler kids). My smaller kids ate a quesadilla and some tortilla chips. Something I would expect to pay $5 for at a Mexican restaurant. The food was not terrible, but it wasn't great either. I would avoid this option. This is the only specialty restaurant we tried and I have no plans to try any others based on this experience. I pay too much for the cruise as is, I don't want to pay enormous additional fees for mediocre food. The employees were great though, for the records. F for Sabor, would NOT dine there again.
The dining room was a great experience, as I have experienced in the past. My waiters were excellent. The food was good, but not amazing. My oldest daughter and I are vegetarians and the options were limited. There was always a vegetarian option on the menu, but it was usually pasta and covered in cheese. I can't imagine what a vegan would eat other than salads. There are a lot of amazing vegetarian meals that don't need to be pasta and/or vegetables piled with cheese. I wish the chef would be a little more thoughtful and creative instead of taking the cop-out and offering vegetarians pasta every meal. The food itself was very good and always came out nice and hot. I'm surprised how these huge dining rooms are able to function like such well oiled machines. A+ for the waiters, B- for food selection.
Entertainment on the Allure was pretty good. I especially loved the aqua show and Mamma Mia. The ice skating show wasn't my thing, but my kids loved it. The Blue Planet show was a little bizarre (I'm not a fan of destroying famous songs with your own interpretations, but I'm glad they left 'She's Like the Wind' as it was sung originally). The costumes, singing, and dancing were all fantastic. Better than most cruise ships, that's for sure! The comedians were both pretty good, though I've seen better on cruise ships before. My only complaint was the Headliner act - Paul Boland the impressionist. While the guy is immensely talented, his act seemed geared towards a MUCH older crowd. Summertime is family cruise travel, so there are a LOT of younger people on board. His impressions were all of people my 70 year old aunt would know, but I've barely even heard of. B+ for entertainment.
My husband and I mostly did activities with our kids during the cruise, but one thing we did just the two of us was the Prohibition party. This cost us a little extra $$ but it was one of my favorite events during the cruise. Even though we were woefully underdressed, the staff didn't blink and eye. I had planned on staying for a short time, but we ended up being one of the last to leave! Excellent event, though I would plan on dressing in 20's garb or semi-formal wear (cocktail dresses and suits).
This itinerary was probably my least favorite that I've ever been on. I didn't enjoy St. Maarten at all (we didn't do an excursion, just took a cab to Orient Beach). Because there are 5 of us, we were charged $8/person each way for the cab to Orient Beach. Then on the beach we rented 2 chairs and an umbrella for $20. It was nearly impossible to relax because every few minutes someone is walking by trying to sell you something (bracelets, clothing, hats, CDs, you name it). The beach itself was covered in seaweed. Like you had to walk through a 10 foot wide, 1 foot tall, length of the beach long strip of seaweed to get in to the water. There was a man with a tractor moving the seaweed around so this just caused it to swarm all over the water. I barely swam because of this. If I visit this port again, I would try an excursion at a different beach and perhaps I would have a better experience. C- for St. Maarten.
We booked a horseback riding excursion through Island Marketing LTD on San Juan, Puerto Rico. While everything went without a hitch and the tour was excellent, I had a lot of anxiety about it and I think I would stick with booking tours through the ship for the peace of mind. San Juan is my least favorite island, and I've been there before. It feels like visiting Miami (we're from South Florida). I'm glad we went on the horseback riding tour (which was about a 1 hour drive from the dock) because we got to see gorgeous countryside. C for Puerto Rico.
Labadee, Haiti was my favorite stop. We went straight to Columbus Cove and spent the entire day swimming and relaxing. My only complaint would be the artisan area that you're forced to walk through. The vendors are VERY aggressive and targeted my kids (trying to offer them 'free' bracelets which they then tried to get me to pay for). 7 year olds don't understand that 'free' isn't really free. The beach itself was absolutely amazing. I would have loved to partake in some of the other activities, like the zip line or the aqua park, but this is all at a HUGE extra charge. The zip line is around $100/person and the aqua park is I believe $40/person for an hour. B+ for Labadee.
My biggest complaint about the ship was the kid's club for my younger two kids. My oldest was 12 and was able to do the teen activities. She had a BLAST and on sea days I barely saw her. There was teens only ice skating, flow rider, rock climbing. There were video game competitions. Teen versions of the some of the adults stuff (like teens only "The Quest" etc). She has so much fun with a variety of activities.
The variety for the younger kids was almost non existent. My 7 and 9 year olds were put in separate areas with kids their age. Nearly every time I was there picking up or dropping off the kids were playing dodge ball. There was always 1-2 aggressive kids slamming other kids with the dodge balls and my kids didn't even want to go to kids club. Once they colored and once I saw the kids watching a movie on the floor in the kid's room, despite there being a movie theater like 20 feet away from the kid area. When I sailed Carnival with my oldest she was around 7 and her kid's club did SO much. They built a volcano and had it explode, they had special times where they took them to the pool, they had nighttime themed parties for them.... On Allure the kids played dodge ball. Every day. A+ for the teen club, D- for the 6-8 and 9-11 kid clubs.
I only had two other minor complaints. The slot tournament at the casino was a blast. I had a really good time. On the next sea day I decided to enter again and I was in round 1. After I didn't win, I wanted to re-buy (because it's advertised that you can do 2 re-buys per day at $15/each). I immediately went to the cashier, who was nice but confused... he asked on the walkie talkie and was told the tournament was closed. This really disappointed me as how can you offer re-buys when people in ROUND 1 are told it's closed before ROUND 2 has even started????
My other minor complaint was the art auctions. While I enjoyed seeing beautiful art, it was advertised as having 'many' pieces starting at $100. This was simply not true. If there was 60 pieces of art auctioned in a particular auction, there was maybe 1 or 2 at $100. The vast majority was $1500-3000+. I also didn't like the auctioneer - he was polite to us, but kind of a jerk to his co-workers when his mic was down. They also had a raffle for a $500 bid credit that they didn't give away until 10 minutes before the FINAL auction ended. What a waste!!
Overall, the cruise was a good experience. While on board we booked another cruise for just my husband and I on Allure again (different ports though!!).
- Read more Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Reviews
- Read Cruise Critic's Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Review
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
LabadeeWe went to Columbus Cove, got some chairs in the shade, and LOVED swimming in the calm water. This was by far my favorite port and I had originally planned on only staying for 1-2 hours, but we stayed nearly all day! My only complaint is the overly aggressive vendors in the artisan area targeting my smaller kids (offering them 'free' stuff then asking me to pay for it)View All 1,795 Labadee Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Labadee Cruise Port Review
Horseback RidingThe excursion was fantastic. We were picked up on time, drove 1 hour away, rode lovely horses through beautiful landscape, and were returned to the ship on time. However, I had a lot of anxiety booking independently and I doubt I would do it again. I was scared we wouldn't make it back in time, they didn't answer the phone prior to picking us up so I was nervous they wouldn't show... everything went off perfectly, but I think I'd rather have the peace of mind booking through the ship.View All 24 Horseback Riding Reviews
San Juan itself reminds me of Miami, which is near where we live, and didn't feel at all exotic.
St. MaartenI explained this in detail in my review, but I'll do it again. We did not do an excursion and might have enjoyed the port more if we did. We took a cab to Orient Beach ($45 each way for our family of 5 with tip). We rented two chairs + one umbrella on the beach ($20). The beach itself was packed with chairs and covered in seaweed. There was a giant tractor trying to push the seaweed out of the way, but he didn't start until the crowds were there. He pushed a lot of it back in the water which created clouds of seaweed all over the place. You can't even relax on the beach because you've got a tractor pushing seaweed around in front of you and every 5 minutes there's someone walking by trying to sell you things (bracelets, clothes, hats, hair braiding, etc.). It was overall an unpleasant experience. I would NOT go back to Orient Beach.View All 4,728 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's St. Maarten Cruise Port Review