I've had better
Allure of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
Sail Date: January 17, 2016
Cabin Type: Balcony
Cabin Number: 14144
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 1 year ago
- Made reservations online for five shows (Mama Mia, Ocean Aria, Blue Planet, Headliners Show & a Comedy Show) a month before we boarded. But when we boarded, none of the shows were logged in the ships computer. The girl at Guest Services was apologetic but completely unhelpful. I told her it was confirmed on my Crown & Anchor account but, she said she didn’t have access to it, even after I offered my logon ID and password. She said I would have to log on through a ship computer, which costs $15.00 per day internet fee, but that even then, the shows were fully booked and there was nothing she could do. This was extremely frustrating as some of these shows were missed altogether and others were attended only as late walk-ins which didn’t allow us choice seats or the ability to sit with our travelling companions.
- The day of departure, Jan. 17th, was my wife’s birthday. I made my reservations through Royal Caribbean, not through a travel agent, and was assured that special recognition would be given during the evening meal on the 18th. Throughout the entire cruise, no mention of my wife’s birthday ever came up either at dinner or from anyone on the ship. Other guests were seen to have ‘Happy Birthday’ signs on their stateroom doors or other signs of recognition for some special event but, for some reason, Royal Caribbean forgot to pass the information along to the ship. Just like the entertainment reservations mentioned above.
- We were booked on Deck 14 in Stateroom 14144 and our friends were in 14146 which are joining, port-side, balcony staterooms. There is no connecting door between the staterooms but the balcony divider does open (steward required) which makes for a ‘double balcony’ which was very nice and the rooms were quiet enough except for one morning when they decided to power wash the Solarium, one deck above, and were scraping the lounge chairs back and forth to power wash under them. Needless to say, we were all up early that day.
- Being on the 14th deck, near the front of the ship was great as my wife and one of friends are smokers and, were only one floor below the smoking deck. Royal Caribbean does not allow smoking in staterooms or on balconies ($250.00 fine). Smoking is only permitted in the casino and in certain areas on the port side of Deck 15.
- We elected the late (8:30PM) dinner option and were assigned the Silk Dining Room (Deck 5, table 821). Our waiter (Yuri) and assistant (Guessly) were both excellent (polite, efficient and attentive) but, on two occasions, one of the main courses arrived less than hot enough to eat and had to be returned to the kitchen. This meant that the affected guest had to watch the rest of us eat while she waited for her dinner to be replaced.
- Recommendations: All head waiters should be issued laser food thermometers for measuring food temperatures prior to delivering plates to guests. This would eliminate the embarrassment of servers having to remove a plate from the table and take it back to the kitchen with every surrounding table watching.
- Food quality, especially in the Windjammer Café, was marginal at best. I guess when you’re cooking for 6,000 people; you can’t expect food quality to be very high. I’ve been on much smaller ships, even with Royal Caribbean, where food quality was much better. Evening meals in the Silk Restaurant were better but still not as good as other cruises I’ve been on.
- Room service is only free between 6:30AM and midnight. After that, there’s a $4.00 charge. That means that, if you want a cup of coffee while you watch the sun come up on your balcony, it’ll cost you. This is the first ship I’ve been on that’s done that.
- Speaking of coffee, the Windjammer Café (top deck) doesn’t open until 7:00AM which means, all of the early risers, who like to go to the top/pool deck to watch the sunrise can’t get a cup of coffee. But, there is coffee available 24 hours a day on the Promenade (Deck 5) but, why should you have to go down into the bowels of the ship to get a lousy cup of coffee in the morning?
- There are too many cost-plus restaurants and not enough free restaurants on this ship. They have a candy store and an ice cream shop on the ship, both of which are cost-plus. Used to be that there were only a couple of ‘specialty restaurants’ on cruise ships and everything else was free. Not on this ship. Quite the opposite. You’ll find yourself stocking up food in your room for those times when all the free restaurants are closed.
- Speaking of stocking up on food, everything in your room and mini-fridge are cost-plus, even the water bottles. Again, nothing is free.
- Recommendation: Take everything out of the mini-fridge and fill it with whatever you can take from the Windjammer (milk, yogurt, fruit, cookies, dessert, etc.)
- Mandatory gratuities on this ship are ludicrous. I understand there are some really cheap people out there who don’t tip at all but, why penalize everyone else by imposing a mandatory $13.00 per day, per person gratuity on every passenger, regardless of whether they enjoy their cruise or not? If the ship employees are not being paid enough, and only make their living off of passenger tips, then Royal Caribbean should give them a raise and adjust the cruise prices accordingly. Why advertise a cruise for $700 per person only for the guest to find out that there’s an additional $26.00 per day (minimum) in gratuities added to their bill at the end of the cruise? Seems kind of ‘bait & switch’ to me.
- Also mandatory is an 18% gratuity on all purchases. Again, it doesn’t matter whether you get good service or bad service, you will pay an 18% tip. Then, to make matters worse, the receipt they give you has a line on it for an additional tip! The nerve. So, if you’re sitting up by the pool with 6,000 other people on an at-sea day, and it takes 20 minutes for the waiter to bring you a beer, you’re mandatorily obligated to give him an 18% tip and more, if you’re so inclined. Now I know why so many people try to bring their own booze.
- Speaking of booze, the per-day price for the booze card is outrageous. Unless you’re a really heavy drinker, in which case, you’re not going to be much fun for anyone else on the ship.
- The closer we got to the last day, the more the ship workers were concerned about whether or not we had a good time. It was almost as though they were worried that, if we didn’t leave them an additional tip or, write them a great review, that their jobs were at risk. I’ve never felt so pressured to leave a good tip or write a good review and wonder if the workers are being overly pressured by their supervisors to ‘make sure the customer is happy’?.
- Finally, I think this ship has become a giant, money making machine for Royal Caribbean. If they’re not trying to get you to buy your next cruise (at a discount), they’re trying to get you to try one of their specialty restaurants. It really does seem like everything costs extra on this ship. It’s just not the economical, laid-back type of family cruise the smaller ships offer.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Free pizza and hot dogs on the Promenade is nice. But there's little else that's free on this ship.