June 2014 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
This was our first cruise and we loved it! We have 2 children, ages 8 and 13, and they had a blast! To begin with, we were very impressed with the speed and efficiency of the checkin process. Our luggage arrived to our room quickly. The room, while small, was clean and the bed was extremely comfortable. Our stateroom attendant was friendly and knew our names and spoke with us every day in the hall. We went to all of the shows on the cruise and our favorite was the Ice Games. We also thoroughly enjoyed Chicago and the Headliner show (which was an acapella group the week that we were there). For the adults, we loved the comedy show and the Quest. It was a lot of fun! We went to the main dining room every night and the food was delicious. Our waiters were a little slow about refilling our drinks, but they were fast on our food delivery and were very eager to please us. During the day, we usually went to the Windjammer for lunch. At times, there was a line and it was hard to find a table, but even at its busiest, we never waited more than 5-10 minutes to get in and find a table. We enjoyed all of the activities onboard (rock wall climbing, zipline, shuffleboard, ping pong, game room for the kids).
For the countries that we visited, I think we all agreed that Haiti was the most beautiful. When visiting Haiti, one side of the beach had a rocky bottom and the other side of the beach had a much nicer, sandy bottom. The kids were happy that we found the sandy bottom side. The local vendors there were VERY persistent in trying to get you to buy stuff and I was approached by the same guy twice on the beach asking for money. Other than vendors, locals are kept out by a tall fence and walls.
In Jamaica, we did the dolphin and Dunns River Waterfall shore excursion. This was our favorite activity of all of the countries that we visited. We had to take an hour bus ride to the location and we had a tour guide who gave us lots of interesting facts about Jamaica along the way. The dolphin experience was amazing. We enjoyed swimming with the dolphins. The waterfall was nice as well, but a little chilly for our youngest one.
In Mexico, we did a catamaran boat ride and snorkeled and then went to a beach with inflatables. The snorkeling was nice, however after the initial food put out by the boaters that attracted the fish was gone, we didn't see a lot of fish after that. The beach we went to was very private, not very many people, and our kids really enjoyed playing on the inflatables. They also had kayaks and paddleboards.
Overall, this trip exceeded our expectations. We would definitely recommend Allure of the Seas.