Last month top Travel Agents were invited to attend Royal Caribbean International’s special 2-day preview cruise aboard the all-new Allure of the Seas. The Allure of the Seas is a destination within itself – holding 5,400 guests with seven distinct neighborhoods; quite a different experience than I have become accustom when sailing.
We boarded the ship around 12 noon and was checked in and onboard very quickly. Navigating the ship itself proved to be very easy because of the wonderful touch screen displays located all over. From these touch screens you can find out what specialty dining rooms were available, the location of various venues with a map and directions, and a listing of all the shows and events for the day (think of it as your virtual daily program). We never felt lost or overwhelmed.
As previously mentioned there are seven “Neighborhoods” where we found endless activities. The neighborhoods are Central ParkSM, Royal Promenade, BoardwalkSM, Pool & Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa & Fitness, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.
The first day we took a tour of the very grand Vitality at Sea Spa & Fitness area of the ship. The area is two stories high and has a large fitness room boasting over 150 state-of-the art cardio and resistance machines and the largest jogging track at sea. We had a great tour and ended up booking a few treatments!
We decided to check out the Pool & Sports Zone to spend some time relaxing by the pool. Well there are several pools areas to choose from – H20 Zone Aqua Park for kids and families, Sports Pool for swimming laps and watersports, the Solarium a tranquil adults-only area, Beach Pool (where I ended up) with a sloped ocean-like entry into the pool and then the main pool. Additionally, we watched the surfers try their hand at the two FlowRider® machines and people getting thrills on the Zip Line.
In the Entertainment Place neighborhood one evening we saw a very good and funny Ventriloquist perform in the Main Theater. Another evening we went to Comedy Live, a late-night adult comedy show, which was very good. We browsed through Casino Royale; it is huge and very digital with all the high tech games you could imagine.
The one thing I was really excited to try was the Rising Tide Bar; the bar is literally an elevator that slowly goes up and down a few floors located in the Royal Promenade neighborhood. So we hopped on and found our seats and then realized that we were in the middle of a 70’s party! The entire Royal Promenade neighborhood was decked out with Disco Balls, lights and had all the great songs from the 70’s along with…yes the men form the YMCA!
I am a huge DreamWorks fan-for those that are not familiar with DreamWorks they are the animators for films like Madagascar, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon. This is the only ship that has DreamWorks featured onboard. We decide to watch the DreamWorks parade through the Royal Promenade, featuring all the characters and music from their popular films. Due to the size of the Royal Promenade there were things in front of you, in the center, and above you, it was very festive and a great time. While onboard we took advantage of the theater and saw the Dreamworks 3D movie, Megamind. This is currently in theaters and fun to see onboard. Also onboard Allure of the Seas (and soon to be added to the Oasis of the Seas) is a DreamWorks themed ice skating show, character meals and more.
I stayed in a spacious Bordwalk Balcony, overooking the Boardwalk neighborhood. Onboard Allure of the Seas they have typical oceanview balconies as well as balconies that overlook Central Park and the Royal Promenade. From our balcony you could see the all the happenings around the Boardwalk and if you looked out and over you can see the AquaTheater, this was a nice bonus.
I had the opportunity to tour a few cabins and one being the Royal Suite, which was spectacular. The cabin was two stories and had two full bedrooms, formal dining room and living room complete with a grand piano. The view for this suite was ocean on one side, and interior on the other side, with dramatic views from the main bedroom. The bedroom’s bathroom was very large with a separate shower and Jacuzzi tub, and a bidet.
We tried a few different dining venues. The main dining room is quite grand at three stories and was very beautiful. One evening we tried the Market Place Café, a buffet style restaurant, which had plenty of options and was good.
We had a fun lunch at Johnny Rockets®, a 1950’s diner complete with table top Juke Boxes. When you walk in the restaurant the staff and guests all welcome you with a big “Welcome”, then when you leave everyone says “Goodbye”. You are greeted at the table with a combination of French Fries and Onion Rings-even before you order. They have the gourmet burgers along with classic chili cheese fries and milkshakes. There is a surcharge for this dining experience.
The ship was really amazing. When you hear the ship is the destination, you understand once you are walking on the Royal Promenade, or listening to the birds chirp as you stroll through Central Park. I sometimes forgot I was even on a ship. This is a great ship for large family groups with a variety of ages – there is something for everyone. I highly recommend this ship – the possibilities are endless aboard Allure of the Seas!