Just back from Allure of the Seas, Eastern

Discussion in 'Royal Caribbean' started by tltay2005, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    We just got back from the Eastern Caribbean sailing on the Allure. We had only sailed with DCL on the Dream, so we went in with a very open mind and we were not disappointed. Was is Disney, no, but we knew that going in and had a great time.
    Yes, there are a lot of things that RCL could learn from DCL, but there were also a couple of things that we actually liked better and wished the Disney ships had.
    For one thing, loved the interactive information boards on each floor by the elevators. Also loved that room service called before delivery.
    Many more pools and hot tubs on the Allure and one pool stayed open till 11pm and two hot tubs were open 24 hours.
    There were many more venues for included food and beverages and they were located on different floors which made it nice on such a big ship.

    There were many things that were about the same as on the Dream, such as the rooms. We had a standard balcony room and it was about the same size as the standard balcony room on the Dream. There were not two bathrooms, and I think that is where the extra square footage on the Dream comes from. There was plenty of storage space, including under the bed. The balcony was much larger than those on the Dream, but the shower much smaller, that is one thing I did miss from the Dream's rooms.
    Another thing that was very similar was the staff. All that we met were very friendly and helpful. They always greeted us with a smile and never seemed put out if we asked for something.
    The ship itself was very clean and well maintained.
    Food, I personally never had anything I did not like, but some in our party (there were 6 adults) had a few items they didn't. We did not do any upcharge restaurants, only the MDR and ate at least once from all the other included food places.

    Now for the things that Disney does better and RCL needs some help with.
    Kids, they were everywhere, including where they shouldn't be. They only have one adult only area, the Solarium which included a pool, two hot tubs and a buffet, and that is 16 and up, not 18 like Disney. There were never kids in the pool or hot tubs, but they were in the buffet area and on the deck around the pool and spas. They were also in every bar/lounge area at all hours. I was shocked at how many parents brought their kids to adult themed shows and games. Some of the games were very adult themed and the staff warned the parents, but never asked them to take the kids out. Had issues with kids running up and down halls and even playing hide and seek in the public bathrooms.
    Shows, hands down Disney's are better. The only show we enjoyed better, and that is because DCL does not offer them, was the comedy shows. They were very good.
    This may sound petty, but I missed having towel animals every day, I just think it was nice to come back to your room to a little surprise. On Allure, we got them three nights out of seven.
    Personal touches, now this may be because the Allure was so large, but on the Dream you seemed to know who the Captain and Cruise Director were from the start. They always came out after the shows and interacted with the crowd. On the Allure, I don't think I ever saw the captain or even knew his name.
    Ice cream stations, yes I am a middle aged adult, but still love ice cream and on the Allure they never seemed open long enough.

    I think the biggest thing I missed, maybe because I love Disney, is the Disney magic that you feel on their ships. Seeing the characters walking around and just the small touches that make you feel special.

    Sorry so wordy, but I will post some pictures later in this post.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  2. Frozen2014

    Frozen2014 DIS Veteran

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    Great feedback and always good to hear experiences on both. We were on Allure and loved it...and have been on 2 other Royal ships and Disney Magic.
    You often hear that comment about the washroom. It is smart to have the sink outside as it makes things more efficient and not tying up the washroom to brush teeth for example.
    To me, the shows are apples and oranges and can't really compare. Disney are first class 'Broadway style' ...but they are Disney shows/stories. Royal, especially the Oasis class has amazing different kind of shows...a full Broadway show, Aqua show (which is totally different), ice show, variety show, cirque d'soliel type show. Totally different.
    Also , interesting about the characters. Didn't you see Dreamworks all around on Allure? There were 2 DreamWorks additional shows when we went (ice show, aqua show) plus they were always around for photo shoots, parade, and also a character breakfast. Obviously not Mickey Mouse or Princesses, but no shortage.

    We didn't notice the kids all over (we had our kids with us ourselves), but might have been the time of year you go. I agree..there are places that it's not appropriate to bring them.

    Love to see any pictures. Glad you had a great time.
     
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  4. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    We did enjoy the shows, don't get me wrong, just not the production quality you see on Disney. The aqua show was really neat. As for characters, yes Shrek and the gang was around, and the parade was cute. We really had a great time and booked another cruise on her for next summer.
     
  5. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    Good quick recap. Some thoughts:

    One of the issues with the Solarium is that, as much as the lounging areas are 16 and up, the buffet (and the Brazilian steakhouse it becomes at night) is not. It creates a bit of a conundrum that Royal should probably correct, but obviously have not.

    As for kids, I've experienced kids running amok on both DCL and RCI, so my conclusion there is "you won't know until you're on the ship," which I think we can agree, kind of sucks.

    Shows are a mixed bag for me. Disney's Broadway production is really good, but I'm not sure if that's due in part to the iconic nature of the films they base them on, and that they are decidedly more family friendly. Jukebox musicals in general are a tough sell for me, so the secondary/tertiary shows are usually not my thing. Love the ice and water shows on RCI, but of course there's no apples to apples comparison to make there. As for the headliner... well I haven't seen one I've enjoyed yet (I won't say they're bad, because they're all clearly talented folk) on any cruise.

    On Harmony last year and on previous trips on Allure I've gotten towel animals every day. So it's possible that it comes down to the attendant?

    Would agree with you on the soft serve. It may be because of its positioning on Allure (assuming that it hasn't changed). On Harmony it's right by Mini Bites (Wipeout Cafe on Allure) and was available for longer than it was on Allure.

    Shrek, Po and the Trolls really don't have that "iconic" feel to them. Part of that, of course, is because they're newer, and (imo) they've got that slightly more modern feel to them. And that translates well in movies, but not so much for meet and greets.
     
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  6. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    Here are some pictures of our room, 9190. A lot of people always ask about storage and electrical outlets. I tried to take pictures of all the storage areas with the doors open so you can see inside. We moved the small table that was in front of the sofa over to the side between the sofa and closet to give us more walking space. There is a small trash can under the table. There were also two small end tables on each side of the bed that had two shelves. There were three outlets on top of the desk and one or two below the desk. The shower was hard to photograph, but there is a bar about a foot off the floor to help with shaving and a corner basket to hold shampoo, conditioner, etc. There were also two hooks near the top of the shower and three or four hooks on the back of the door. Under the sink there was an additional trash can and two shelves. The bathroom also has an automatic night light which was really nice. Did not have to use the one we brought.

    You have to keep the balcony door closed and the handle in the locked/down position or the A/C will not work. It will still run, just not blow cold air.
    There is a small fridge in the cabinet next to the three drawers. It was cold enough to bring room temp bottle water to cool and keep it that way. There is a hair dryer in the top drawer, it worked but it's highest setting is what I would consider "warm/med" so if you have long thick hair, be prepared for it to take a while to get it dry.

    room couch.jpg room bed.jpg room closet and desk.jpg room skiiny closet.jpg room balcony.jpg room bathroom.jpg room shower.jpg
     
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  7. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    Thanks!

    This is my preferred configuration for the room as there's more space to maneuver around the closet area, and it feels like there's more space in the "living" area. Unfortunately our cabin is the opposite configuration.
     
  8. Macprincess

    Macprincess Mouseketeer

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    We also cruise Allure of the Seas May 27-June 3 Eastern. This was our families first RCCL after 8 DCL cruises. We booked to join my husband’s extended family who often cruises RCCL and Celebrity. I’m glad we tried a new experience. Since our kids are now (14, 18 & 20) we felt it was the perfect time to branch out and try a new line. We are a family that stays both on and offsite for our WDW trips. We have had positive experiences traveling to WDW both on and offsite and tried to embrace this new cruising experience in the same sort of attitude knowing it would be a unique experience.

    We booked two cabins one balcony and one inside across the hall for our kids. Originally my son’s girlfriend was also supposed to join us but a last minute amazing internship caused her to cancel and my Mom (70) was switched out to replace her in the inside cabin. Our intention was to keep all the kids and my Mom in the inside cabin which we have often done on DCL. After night one we moved our daughter to our cabin because we found it too tight for the four of them in an inside cabin. One difference in the two lines was the way the beds are set up in the inside cabin. On Disney the sofa flips over to a single bed with a birth above it dropping from the ceiling to form what is essentially a bunk bed. In our inside Royal Allure cabin the sofa flips outward into two twin beds that are hooked together with a sight divide in the middle. When opened up it basically took over all the floor space. Making it next to impossible to access the clothing draws or to sit at the desk area to apply makeup. On the upside each of my children who sleep on these beds did say that they were very comfortable. If we book RCCL again, for our party, we would need to rethink our cabin choices booking the cabins with 3 and 3. However, my husband prefers our own cabin so we would probably book 3 cabins. I have sailed on DCL on three separate occasions with my Mom and two teens in inside cabins and would do so again with no issues on DCL. This was a bit of a surprise to us as I never considered that we would not have enough space for our level of comfort with six people in two cabins.

    I will say our stateroom attendant was amazing! By far the best room attendant we have ever had. Our cabin were kept spotless and she was always friendly and warm. Our family adored her! I wasn’t wild about the décor in the cabins and I prefer Disney’s décor. However, the cabins were both well maintained and the beds were comfortable.

    My daughter, who is 14 and her 15 year old cousin, did go into the teen club for about two hours on night one and then never returned. This surprised me as through the years all three of my kids have enjoyed DCL clubs so much that we have to drag them out to take part in family activities. When I questioned my daughter about this she basically said she didn’t enjoy it and would prefer to spend time with the family. I didn’t push it and won’t place the blame on RCCL as I do know after raising three teenagers that it is possible that she may have come to the same conclusion on DCL.

    I thought with having teens that they would enjoy the rock walls, zip line and flow riders more. They all did them once and that was that. So this was not as huge of a perk as I thought it would be.

    I realize food is a subjective to one’s taste so take this for what it is, merely one families opinion. We found the food to be at a lesser quality and boring in the main dining rooms and free areas. In our opinion DCL included food is a step above. We were hit smack in the face with this day one at Windjammer. My husband and sons were excited to make a beeline for shrimp and lamb chops. Neither of which was ever offered during any buffet on RCCL. Over all I just noticed that the buffets had lesser cuts of meats and variety then DCL. While our server in the main dining room were wonderful. The food was just okay and some things like the mushy, previously frozen shrimp cocktail were plain bad.

    We did three specialty meals all dinners. The food and service were fabulous at Giovanni’s and Chops. We found the hibachi meal at Izumi to be very entertaining but in all honesty our local hibachi offers a better quality meal. I would probably do a different specialty restaurant instead of Izumi if done again. This is a personal thing but I wish that Chops did not allow children. Fortunately, it was as we were about ready to leave but we did witness a young child have a fit and the parents were not removing this child. Again, this is not RCCL fault and the parents should have, in my opinion, removed the child.

    I also didn’t enjoy the whole process of having to book shows in advance on this ship. It simply was a pain in the rear. We booked them in advance but by mid-way through the cruise most of our family began to not attend the shows. Honestly, they just were not the caliber of shows we are used to.

    I agree with the OP we often also saw young children in areas of the ship that I would consider adult areas. Yet, as reported they are not officially adult areas on Royal so it’s not fair to be upset over this but it does impact my opinion on if I would cruise with RCCL again.

    Labadee was beautiful and in my opinion a much nicer natural environment than Castaway Cay. Yet, I wish RCCL would take a lesson or two on taking care of their guest from DCL. There were no umbrellas unless you rented them and there were not enough to rent. The standard lounge chairs were very beaten up and often broken. I personally much prefer my days spent on Castaway to Labadee. This is sad because it really is a beautiful location.

    I’m glad we went outside the box and tried a new line. Would I cruise with RCCL again? I would if I was going with a large group of friends or family and our vacation was about being with the people I love and adore. We had a nice vacation. It just wasn’t a wow vacation.
     
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  9. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    You bring up an interesting point about Labadee and shade. That is, there isn’t a whole lot on the zip line side. There are more trees and more shade in Columbus Cove, so I’d recommend that people take the (free) water taxi over there. Less rocky over there as well, and less of a line at the food area.
     
  10. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    Since you mentioned Labadee I will add my opinion. Yes it was beautiful and we did find a shady spot in Columbus Cove. The only bad thing (and I am surprised RCL does not have more control) were the local vendors they allow on the property that you have to pass to get there. They were just a pushy as those on Nassau. We could of waited for the tram, which would of made it easier when passing them, but we decided to walk. Again, just a firm "no thank you" and keep walking. We did not take the water taxi because two in our party were doing the zip line first thing so we went to Adrenaline beach first. While they did that, I did swim a little and the water near the shore way at the end was sandy and nice. I noticed a lot more rocks and grass closer to front (nearest the ship) beach area. I asked about an umbrella, as there was hardly any shade and was told they didn't have any (?) not sure if that was the case or he just didn't want to get me one, I was willing to pay for one if they were available. The only disappointment for me, and again just a personal thing, is that I was hoping to be able to snorkel and see some fish. Honestly there is nothing to see in the waters, but they were nice for swimming. Also, the food was not that great, but that was ok, there was plenty on the ship when we returned.
    Here are some pictures, sorry they are fuzzy, but it was actual the haze in the air. The captain said it was actually sand blown from the coast of Africa!
    labadee beaches.jpg labadee 2.jpg labadee 3.jpg labadee 4.jpg labadee 5.jpg labadee 6.jpg labadee 7.jpg labadee 9.jpg labadee 10.jpg labadee 11.jpg
     
  11. starvenger

    starvenger DIS Veteran

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    It does feel like Royal tries to cater more to those looking for an, ahem, adrenaline rush (for mucho dinero), and the Coco Cay expansion does nothing to dissuade me from this notion.

    Castaway Cay was undoubtedly my favourite part of my Disney Cruise - it felt much more peaceful and chilled out versus Labadee. And granted, an Oasis class ship means up to 6500 people descending upon a small area, but still, I felt the vibe at Castaway Cay was much better.
     
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  12. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    Another area that I see that RCL needs some help with is excursion organization. We booked two through them and both times the meeting place was off ship. One (St Maarten) was on the dock, that wasn't too bad, but the second was off the dock and on the sidewalk (San Juan). This was quite chaotic as there were numerous excursion groups trying to find their guide along with the locals trying to sell their own tours. Disney idea of having a meeting place on ship and exiting together is much better. We did the bus tour in St Maarten that takes you to both sides of the Island and the ATV tour in San Juan. the port area of St Maarten has all been rebuild and was really nice. The bus tour would of been good except there was still so much hurricane damage in St Maarten and Saint Martin, that it was quite depressing. At San Juan we had about an hour to walk around the area before our excursion. The area around the port is very nice and it was a short walk to a Fort. On the bus ride to the ranch we got to travel through down town San Juan, there is still minor damage, but not much. And boy do they love their graffiti. There is also a Walgreens and CVS right at the port if you need to restock on any needed items. The ATV excursion was a lot of fun, it was on a working Paso Fino horse ranch, we really enjoyed that one. On Labadee husband and son did the zip line, and husband and myself did the jet skis. The jet skis were a lot of fun, but they do take you out into the open waters where it was a little rough at times. Here are some photos of the tours. Will do three separate post, the first is Labadee.
    jet skis.JPG labadee 10.jpg labadee 4.jpg labadee 6.jpg labadee 8.jpg labadee beach.JPG labadee 12.jpg labaldee hamock.JPG labadee swim.JPG
     
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  13. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    Excursion photos of San Juan.
    san juan fort.jpg san juan fort 2.jpg san juan atv.jpg San Juan 10.jpg san juan 2.jpg san juan horese.jpg san juan horese 2.jpg san juan street.jpg
     
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  14. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    Excursion photos of St Maarten. Like I said earlier, did not take too many as most of the landscape and buildings were still in a horrible state.
    st maarten port.jpg st maarten mtns.jpg st maarten from road.jpg st maarten overlook.jpg st Maarten sail.jpg st maarten bus tour.jpg
     
  15. DietCokeMommy

    DietCokeMommy Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the report! The biggest attraction for me of DCL vs. Royal is the cabin configuration. We have really little kids and I think the Disney setup with the bunk bed and the curtain divider is pretty optimal. But one day when they're older we'll book connecting cabins and check out Royal!
     
  16. mevelandry

    mevelandry DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the review.

    And awesome cabin by the way. Love the design.

    I'm the dissident voice regarding the Disney shows I think... I've seen many Broadway shows and I don't think DCL compares to Broadway shows... (Close, but not there yet...) I haven't seen RCCL shows yet so I can't say if they are better or worst but can't wait to find out. Glad to know there are different types of shows. :)

    I hope they have the trolls when we go there. Granted, I'm an adult... but I loved that movie.
     
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  17. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    We got the chance to look at one of the family cabins (sleeps 6) and it was really neat. Had a main room with the king bed and a sleeper sofa and a side room with bunk beds. To me that is the perfect set up vs. having to book two rooms. The one we looked at was a balcony room, so it had one large window and then the door to the balcony. It was on deck 7.
     
  18. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    Here are a few pictures from some of the food service areas around the ship. We tried to eat at every venue at least once. In my opinion, the only place that really didn't have anything satisfying to eat was the Promenade. The only thing there that was worth eating were the cookies, but it was a great place to grab a cup of coffee. They offered a variety of sandwiches, but they were 95% bread and 5% filling. Oh yeah, the donuts from the Boardwalk were horrible. Everywhere else we ate the food was decent to good. Only one thing stands out as being great and that was the chocolate souffle from the MDR, it was wonderful. We ate dinner 4 nights in the MDR (American Icon) and three nights in the WJ. I didn't take food pictures, sorry. The Solarium, Wipe Out Care and the Park Cafe had ice machines and the water, tea and lemonade available. At the other self service places they had water and tea but no ice. They usually had hard dipped ice cream and toppings each night in the WJ until 9pm. Soft serve yogurt was available on the pool deck (tucked away on the side of the bar) and in the Wipe Out. The WO was only open till 6pm and the stand by the bar was usually closed by 8pm.
    AI map.jpg cafe promenade.jpg central park cafe.JPG hot dogs.jpg MDR american icon.jpg Sorrentos.jpg wipeout 2.jpg wipeout.jpg donuts.jpg Windjammer2.jpg
     
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  19. DietCokeMommy

    DietCokeMommy Mouseketeer

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    I've seen those, you're right they look great. But they seem to book up quickly and they cost as much as a Disney cruise does. When I priced it out a while ago it was cheaper to get to two regular connecting rooms (on Royal).
     
  20. msjprincess

    msjprincess DIS Veteran

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    It depends on the cruise. I stayed in this room twice for about $1000 less than 2 rooms.https://www.cruisedeckplans.com/DP/...Independence of the Seas&cat=Family Oceanview It's a great room. On our next vruise it was $100 cheaper to book connecting rooms, so you never know.
     
  21. awilliams4

    awilliams4 DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for sharing. ST Maarten looks barren.
     

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