Great Ship, but Royal Caribbean is Not Family-Friendly

Allure of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 8

Overall rating:

4.6 out of 5
Allure of the Seas

7 Night Eastern Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip)

Sail date: May 26, 2019

Ship: Allure of the Seas

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 8423

Traveled as: Family (young children)

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

The ship was fun and cool, but I'm not sure I would do it again. I sailed with my 9YO daughter (it's just us in our household), and it was her first time cruising. I think the boat was too big for her first cruise, and I probably should have picked a smaller one. It was hard finding things to do together since just because of her age she wasn't allowed at a lot of events or at the solarium, which took up a significant amount of real estate on the ship. We both enjoyed attending the pool, but anytime the cruise director staff started screaming into a microphone it became difficult for me to relax. Kids under 12 cannot be left unattended per ship rules, so I had to get her out of the pool every time I needed to leave the area to get a drink of water or use the bathroom. I could have saved thousands of dollars just taking her to a local pool instead of on a cruise. There were a lot of shows that we were both interested in, but again my daughter was not allowed to participate based on her age. I paid for double occupancy for the two of us, and I'm annoyed that so many things were off-limits for us. It was as if Royal Caribbean expected me to WANT to dump my kid into child care for the duration of the cruise so that I could attend events all alone. I guess they don't have many single parent guests. If I wanted to dump her in child care and be alone I could do that at home for much cheaper than a cruise fare. I chose the Allure because cruise critic had named it a top ten ship for families. But I think the Allure caters mainly to adults. We are going to try Carnival with my parents next year, and I'm hoping that they are more kid-friendly than Royal Caribbean is.

Embarkation

3 out of 5
Quick and easy for adults without kids. Parents have to stand in an additional chaotic, disorganized, time-consuming line to get muster bands for their kids which are only used in case of emergency.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
Delicious! We couldn't get enough! I loved the chicken curry that was available almost every day at Windjammer. Chocolate night at the Windjammer was like heaven. PARENTS: my picky eater had no problems finding plenty of food that she liked.

Sorrento's Pizza

5 out of 5

Yum! Pizza and beer on demand with no waiting!

Windjammer Marketplace

5 out of 5

I wish I could give it 6 stars. The food was sooooo delicious!

Vintages

2 out of 5

Most wine bars are overpriced and the wine is bad, and this one is no different.

Starbucks

5 out of 5

Great service

Rising Tide Bar

2 out of 5

So overrated. The bar did not "depart" at the posted times. I felt completely trapped in there. My party was waiting for me to meet them, and the people I sat next to were late for a show.

Park Cafe

3 out of 5

Good sandwiches. The hours were good, too.

Johnny Rockets

2 out of 5

Super slow service, and a smaller selection than Windjammer. What was the point?

Ice Cream Parlor

5 out of 5

Great service and ice cream and cupcakes! We visited multiple times per day!

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
The activities crew were patient and friendly, which really helped us with the activities we never tried before. FLOW RIDER: You have to sign a waiver and pass instruction before you can use this activity. So don't get in line (like we did) until you have your Flow Rider wrist bands. Anyone shorter than 5'2 must ride boogie board style only. It's much harder than it looks! Ice skating also requires a signed waiver, but that one is easier to figure out because they make you sign when you enter the room with the rink in it. The activities staff is SO great. They were very patient with my daughter, who was super freaked out by the flow rider. Later the same staff woman was super patient with me trying the rock climbing. If there are activities that you or your kids are going to want to do often, consider paying extra for VIP access to those. We met a couple of families who paid extra for VIP rock climbing, and it seemed like they got a lot out of it. Activities staff was so good at crowd control and making sure everyone got an equal turn.

Whirlpools

5 out of 5

We did the spa pool and it was very relaxing. I'm glad and surprised that it wasn't 18+ like most of the ship was.

Swimming Pools

5 out of 5

So many pools! There was no shortage of pools or deck chairs. Plenty of pools were open until 11pm.

Rock Climbing Wall

5 out of 5

Great staff! I'm glad we tried it.

Jogging Track

5 out of 5

The track was great. I got three miles in. I wish people would follow the rules and stay to the right if they are walking.

H20 Zone

3 out of 5

My daughter didn't like it. I think it's for very small kids (she's nine).

Flowrider

4 out of 5

We didn't personally enjoy it, but they did a great job with it. Everyone got an equal turn and a chance to try it out.

Dunes Mini Golf

5 out of 5

Perfect size and they even had a cute, small area for very little kids to practice putting.

Center Ice Rink

5 out of 5

The Ice Show was fantastic! We also had fun skating ourselves. They do a great job of making sure everyone had an equal turn.

Carousel

5 out of 5

My daughter loved the carousel and rode it many times.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
We loved the shows! Mamma Mia was so much fun!! I feel so lucky to have been able to see it on the ship for no extra cost. The actors were great. The ice show and oceanaria were both incredible. Most game and comedy shows were 18+, and that was very disappointing for my daughter and I. She really wanted to participate in those.

Theater

5 out of 5

Huge! Good views from every seat. Tables were available up top. Waiters would bring you drinks. Free popcorn. And the shows were awesome!

Studio B

5 out of 5

This is the ice skating venue. We loved the show and the skating.

On Air Club

1 out of 5

Very crowded. We couldn't even get through the door.

Library

1 out of 5

None of the books were in English.

Central Park

5 out of 5

My favorite neighborhood. It is quiet and peaceful and relaxing.

Aqua Theater

5 out of 5

The performances were so incredible!

Children's Programs

4 out of 5
It really helped that they published their own Compass every day so she knew what to expect. If the program had been more structured she would have used it and enjoyed it more than she did. PARENTS: The kids club will take the kids to lunch and/or dinner at Windjammer provided that you drop them off by noon and 5pm, respectively. My daughter liked this option because she preferred Windjammer to Main Dining. I also really liked that they let kids sign themselves in and out (as long as the parents have provided written permission). It was easier to talk my daughter into trying the kids club once she knew she could leave anytime.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
The service and staff was so great. I wish my room had been a little cleaner, but it wasn't bad enough to outweigh the amazing service we enjoyed from all the crew members on board. I love that they always smiled and said hi when you passed by them out walking around the boat.

Ship Quality

5 out of 5
The ship was so cool! There were plenty of things to enjoy for people of all kinds of various interests and backgrounds. My favorite neighborhood was Central Park. I found it to be so peaceful and quiet for reading. My daughter loved Boardwalk because of the (free) carousel and ice cream shop (Cups and Scoops - not free) and the arcade (there are 3 or 4 arcades on board. None are free). There were PLENTY of pools and deck chairs for all 6,500 guests on board. Although the ship was full when we sailed, it never felt cramped - except for karaoke at the ON AIR venue. That was packed!

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Our cabin should have been cleaner. I kept finding hairballs on the carpet that hadn't been properly vacuumed. There was a sticky residue on one of the bathroom shelves that I finally cleaned myself 3 days in. The beds were made into a king even though I had confirmed twice that they should have been twins. I wish I had gotten a balcony stateroom since my daughter needs a little more sleep than I do. I would have liked having the balcony to go read my book in private as well as a prime spot for watching the boat arrive/depart ports. We had an inside cabin, and it was disorienting for me to have no natural light. Especially because of the two hour time difference. I tried to upgrade while on board but the ship was completely full! I personally thought the aft-facing suites were the best cabins because you could see the aqua theater and the flow rider shows from them. They had a great big balcony to enjoy all the sights and sounds from below.

Ship tip

Only one!? I guess I'd say make sure everyone in your party - kids especially - downloads the Royal Caribbean app. It is impossible to find each other without it, and it works on board even if you didn't pay for internet. It has a lot of really handy features like messaging and calendar and maps and forecasts.

Ports of call

Ft. Lauderdale (Port Everglades), Florida

5 out of 5
We did the Everglades air boat excursion, and it was thoroughly impressive. We had a great time!

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

5 out of 5
Sint Maarten was a bit of a mess from recent hurricanes and lack of rainfall, but we still had a great time at Loterie Farm and Reef-It Snorkel Park. I cannot recommend Reef-It Snorkel Park more highly. Don't miss it!

San Juan, Puerto Rico

5 out of 5
There is soooo much to see in San Juan. I think we only covered like 3 sites. We will have to make a longer trip to get everything out of this port! It's nice that there's a Walgreen's straight across from the port for restocking. I also enjoyed having domestic cell service at this American port.

Labadee (Cruise Line Private Island) Did not visit port

We opted to stay on the ship and heard from ship mates that Labadee was too hot and crowded. I would have signed us up for the wave runners, because they looked SO fun! But my daughter was too young for that excursion (10 and older to be a passenger). Next time!

Disembarkation

5 out of 5
Too easy! LOL We didn't want to get off.

Traveler Photos

From Deck 5 Labadee American Icon Grille Central Park
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