October 2016 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
Our cruise on the Allure of the Seas was an okay cruise but I would not call it a great cruise.
The ship is MASSIVE and even with 1 week we did not get to see everything it had to offer. Make sure your shoes are comfortable because you will be walking a lot.
Embarkation was quick (less than 30 minutes) but it was hectic outside the terminal. Here is a tip. Do not expect to get in your cabin before 1pm. Once in our room (we had a Superior Ocean view with Balcony) we were surprised at how small it was. It has to be one of the smallest rooms we have stayed in. There was very little space to walk by at the foot of the bed and the placement of the bed (and nightstand) by the closet made it difficult to get to anything on one side of the closet. The balcony was spacious but they could have had the chairs which lay back on the balcony. We met our room attendant and said hello to her a few times in the hall but the service she provided was nothing special.
We had purchased the adult replenish drink package (the one including sodas, bottled water, specialty coffee, etc.) before the cruise and the SeaPass card was marked with "Coca Cola" in it. The first time we tried to get a bottle of water they were going to charge us for it. I went to guest services and found out I had to get another sticker for the card. So, if you did purchase a drink package make sure you get your card properly marked.
The food was, at best, mediocre. It was mostly bland and tasteless and I cannot remember anything that I ate in the main dining room other than Chicken Cordon Bleu and some kind of steak. The dining room staff was also not that special. The burgers at Johnny Rocket's were okay as were the hot dogs at the dog house on the boardwalk. Ate breakfast at the Windjammer one morning and it was horrible. The Solarium Bistro breakfast was better. We tried the roast beef sandwiches (which people seemed to rave about) but they were nothing special with little taste. We did go to Samba one night and it was different. If you go there go hungry and do not go overboard on the appetizers. You will be served NINE (that's correct, 9) different kinds of meat, some were okay, some were not. We gave up after 7 meats.
The entertainment, all of it, was outstanding. Make sure you make reservations in advance though. Also, the Amber Theater and Studio B get a little chilly (and the chairs in the Amber Theater are not that comfortable).
During sea days we spent most of our time on the pool deck (in the Solarium) or in the casino. The casino was not that bad, smokewise. I have been in worse. The problem with the Solarium (and the pool deck on Deck 15) is that they have the glass going from deck to ceiling so it almost completely blocks the sea breeze. You have to go to Deck 16 for that and it was cramped up there.
We booked shore excursions in Nassau (snorkeling at Rainbow Reef) and St. Thomas (St. Johns Honeymoon Beach). The description for the Honeymoon Beach excursion did not include the fact that not only do you take a ferry to St. Johns but once there you take a 15 minute bus ride to the park where the beach is at and then have to walk another 15 to 20 minutes on a rocky path to get to the beach (and repeat the process to return). Once there, they only had water and some sandwiches to purchase. So a 6 1/2 hour excursion only allowed about 3 hours on the beach.
Debarkation also went quickly. From the time our group was called to the time we got to our car was approximately 45 minutes, which is not too bad.
In summary, we enjoyed our cruise but feel that maybe this ship was just too big for us. We probably like the smaller ships better. Hopefully the cruise lines will continue building and maintaining the smaller ships (how you can you call a ship that can carry 2000 passengers small is unreal) instead of building bigger and bigger ships.