Bigger Really Is Better...
Allure of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean
Review SummaryBigger Really Is Better
Royal Caribbean's newest ship - ALLURE OF THE SEAS, A Passenger's Perspective
A Case of Bigger really was Better!!
I was recently invited to participate in RCCL's Inaugural Sailing of their newest (and biggest) ship, the Allure of the Seas. At a mere 2 inches bigger than her sister (and virtual twin) the Oasis of the SEAS (which I also sailed on in April of this year) that was put into service in December of 2009. ALLURE now gets to boast the title of largest passenger cruise ship in the world. While on this most recent sailing aboard the ALLURE we (wife, Angie and I) occupied one of the Balcony Staterooms on Deck 10, situated roughly at mid-ship.
SO WHATS THE BIG DIFFERENCE? It appears that RCCL has implemented some genuine improvements in their latest version of a city at sea. The first difference we noted was in the shipboard artwork. Very much a nautical, as well as a plethora of worldwide cultural themes (while both very imaginative yet tastefully done) BRAVO RCCL! The art was actually a variety of different styles and feelings, so great that I found myself having to stop (from where I was intending to go) in order to take a closure look at some of the exhibited works. The next thing we observed was the friendliness of the crew/staff in the Windjammer Dining Room. Definitely a better response with everyone (that we interacted or observed) being as helpful as they could, and they were very helpful and approachable with and towards the guests. It actually seemed as if management had hand selected the crew on this ship. Like the best for the best. It certainly showed!! A definite good foot forward.
We also found some neat improvements in the stateroom areas as well. From items like the carpet, to cabinetry, to the privacy dividers between balconies (all of) which featured a different but distinctive wave pattern. I would also say that the staterooms seemed more refined and tastefully appointed, where her sister ship had left me feeling like being at an IKEA sale. The outlets were more conveniently located near shelves and ledges, not to forget the really cool ipod docking/charger stations (complete with easy to read LED clock) which definitely make for a marketable improvement.
While I had heard of some complaints regarding the lack of adequate storage space, and problems with the closet slider doors, I have to say that neither my wife nor I felt short changed in the least. I would tell you the bathroom shelves were raised making them much more functional, as well as the shower doors, which were two bi-directional sliding type, which made it quite easy for me to get into and out of(as I am full sized). And dare I fail to mention the bedding. The mattresses were far better than most, while the duvets were just to die for, and I am really not the duvet dying type, but I know quality when I see and feel it. Nicely done RCCL!!
Ok, now that we have dropped our bags, and filled our belles we made our way through some other parts of the ship. The Boardwalk area was the same as Oasis with one change which was Rita's Cantina, and the only negative (if you could call it that) was that the food portions were larger than I really needed to eat. Now while there was a Sorrento's Pizzeria, (complimentary custom pizza by the slice) on the Oasis, I didn't remember a coke machine capable of dispensing over 160 different flavor combinations. There is also the Boulevard Cafeacute; (Cafeacute; Promenade on Oasis) both open 24hrs, with Seattle's Best Coffee and scrumptious treats (Also Complimentary). These are but the enhancements and improvements observed I observed, and doesn't even begin to describe the total experience of RCCL's Oasis Class of ships. You definitely need to experience either of them for yourself. I can certainly say I would gladly sail them both again.
NOW FOR SOME SIMILARITES
Not even having left port, was the Parade on the Promenade where we were met by not only the entire DreamWorks cast of characters, but with the very Godmother of the ship herself, Princess Fiona. While the entertainment for the kids was terrific, I am most happy to report that ALL of the adult entertainment especially the Blue Planet Presentation was absolutely awesome. These two amazing ships are a definite MUST SAIL, for anyone who fancies themselves as avid cruisers. All said, it has been a job Very Well Done Indeed by Royal Caribbean International!!!