Before Oprah picked the Allure of the Seas as one of her favorites, I already booked a week onboard. Nothing against Oprah (who doesn’t love O?), but I knew the Allure was going to be fabulous. I put my deposit down when it was still just a sketch of a ship! After waiting a year to set sail, my family & I boarded the ship last week for a week of sun, fun, and of course, memories (MOM – I do not want to take one more picture).
The week went like lightning, and we are back home to grey skies and rain. I shut my window blind so I do not have to see the weather, and I am so excited to share my experience with you! The week was extra memorable for me because I officially ditched my cel phone except for my once-a-day email check. This was an awesome way to enjoy spring break with my family (a separate blog post on the ups and downs of unplugging to follow). Although, I should note that if you need to be connected on the Allure – it is no problem, mon! There is wi-fi available to purchase and cel signal (check with your carrier for rates). Enough with that….Without waiting anymore, onto our week on the Allure of the Seas.
The four of us (the big guy, the 2 little guys, and me) along with my mom travelled to Florida the day before the ship sailed. This is always best practice because you never know the flight status, and if you miss the sailing, you miss it……So, we woke up on Sunday morning, and we were ready to board as soon as the Allure was ready for new passengers. It is absolutely incredible with 6000+ passengers, how the Allure turns the boat around and is ready to sail again within a few hours.
We checked our luggage at the dock, and had our swimsuits & sunscreen in our carry-ons. After a slice of pizza at Sorrento’s Pizza Shop onboard for the boys and a salad for the adults in the Windjammer Cafe, we spent the whole afternoon at the pool! I did swing by the fitness center, and put myself on the list for spinning. If you want to sign up for fitness classes, I recommend doing it upon getting onboard. The classes do fill pretty quickly, but no worries again – the Allure added extra classes during the week to accommodate more fitness fanatics.
After sailing away in a little rain, I am happy to report that our weather was awesome! We had no rain and smooth sailing for the rest of the week. The trip had so many highlights. First of all, the pool deck on the Allure is amazing. There are 5 swimming pools to choose from (one is exclusively for adults) and too many hot tubs to count. My favorite pool is the beach pool with salt water lapping over the edge at your feet. My boys give two-thumbs up to the H2O Zone! At the front of the pool deck, there is mini-golf, the zip line, 2 flow-riders (surfing simulators), basketball court, and ping-pong! We spent most of our day on this deck! The boys were in heaven with all there is to do!
Continuing with the onboard experience, there are a ton of dining options from casual to formal. You can grab breakfast at the buffet in the Windjammer, the Main Dining Room, and a million places in between like the donut shop! Lunch is also available at many locations, and there is something for everyone at Johnny Rockets, Hot Dog Shop, Wipe Out Cafe, or my fave, the big salad bowl at Park Cafe, to just name a few. There is also a beautiful breakfast and lunch buffet in the adults-only Solarium. We took My-Time Dining, which is a relatively new feature of cruising. Instead of being tied to a specific dining time, we went to the dining room at our convenience. We could either make a reservation each day or just show up. We never waited, and were always seated right away (and the boat was FULL)! There are many specialty restaurants, and we dined one night in the steakhouse, Chops. One little tidbit, the Allure urges you to book these in advance, and I guess if you have a really big party or a very specific time to eat, you should. We did not have an advance reservation, and we were able to walk right in! My mom and the boys opted for a casual dinner that night, so we were able to have a date night on the ship! A little added bonus…
I am not always a “show person,” but I loved the entertainment on the ship. We did reserve some of our shows in advance (you can do this online or when you get onboard). The Aqua Show is a must-see! The fact that these performers are HIGH DIVING on a moving ship, blows my mind. The Ice Show is another one that is incredible, and hard to believe that you are watching ice-skating on a ship. There are also Dreamworks Characters, like Shrek and the Madagascar cast, around the ship. This was a highlight for many of the young passengers, and even though our group is almost out of this stage, we still enjoyed seeing them…..As for the islands, we stopped in Nassau, St Thomas, and St Maarten.
We are not organized excursion people, but we did grab a taxi in St Thomas and St Maarten and head to the beach. The boys loved this….the water and sand was gorgeous, and we rented a paddle boat in St Thomas. The water was very calm and we were able to paddle out in the ocean. This was not only spectacular to see, but quite a workout!
I have to say that our favorite part of the ship were the neighborhoods, the Boardwalk and Central Park. There is a gorgeous carousel on the Boardwalk and the landscaping in Central Park makes it unbelievable that you are on a ship…..there is so much more to say, but I think that I will stop here for today! I need to get on with my list of things to do (which is frightening and also another blog post), but I will say that I am sun-kissed and smiling from the awesome time with my boys which is a great way to start the day! Thanks for letting me share – RB