Ship Tour! Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas

I seem to be on some sort of a trend here with getting these blog posts out months after I've visited a ship or destination.  I'm going to attempt to break this habit moving forward by trying to write the blogs WHILE on the trip so I can get home and publish them right away. My blog list is getting ridiculously long so we'll see if it actually happens!  Don't be surprised if you are reading about Disney during Christmas time next Summer....

Anyway, I was able to get a peek on board Allure of the Seas, the newest ship in Royal Caribbean's Oasis® Class while it was docked in Florida this past Spring.  I had seen this ship in a Caribbean port a few years ago while I was on a cruise (with another cruise line).  I'll admit... I really, really, really wanted to be one of those people headed back on the Allure to set sail. Ever since then, it's been on my travel bucket list to get on board and WOW...it was all I thought it would be (and then some).

One of the seven distinct "neighborhoods" filled with shops, restaurants and even the first Starbucks® at Sea.

I was completely blown away by the sheer size of the ship.  It felt like I was walking through shops, restaurants & bars on land...it was very easy to forget that we were on a ship. I didn't have a ton of time to explore. However, I was able to get through the main parts. It was enough to convince me that I want to take a cruise on this one (or it's sister ship the Oasis of the Seas) as soon as I can fit it into my travel schedule!

Here are a few stats on the Allure (Voted Travel Weekly's 2013 Best Overall Cruise Ship):

Ship Facts:

  • Maiden Voyage:  12/5/10
  • 5,400 guests & 2,384 crew members (6,318 total for those mathematically challenged)
  • 2,706 staterooms

Activities & Entertainment:

  • 4 pools (including an adults only), 10 whirlpools
  • 2 climbing walls, a zip line, a carousel, 2 surf simulators, full basketball court, mini golf
  • Broadway musical Chicago in the main theater
  • AquaTheater w/ aerial acrobats
  • The DreamWorks® Experience featuring Shrek, Kung Fu Panda & more
  • Full service spa &  state-of-the-art fitness center
  • Ice skating rink (and it isn't a small one...unbelieveable)
  • Baby, kids and teen programs
  • 3D movie theater

Restaurants, Bars & More:

  • Main dining room with 13 more complimentary dining options available
  • Casual dining & multiple specialty dining options including Johnny Rockets®, sushi bar, steakhouse, tapas bar, Italian restaurant, Starbucks®  (you get the idea)
  • Bars located throughout (and of course a casino)

This is just the beginning. Honestly, I can't imagine anyone coming off this ship saying they were bored.  If anything, they will say they didn't have enough time to experience it all.  This ship may not be for everyone... if being on-board with 6,000+ people gives you anxiety just thinking about it, then forget it.  Frankly, this doesn't bother me in the slightest and the ship is so big, it didn't feel like I was on there with thousands of others.  The main dining room seats 3,000+ people. That's where I'd rather do something casual and avoid feeling like I was just a number. Specialty dining is key and worth booking at least one or two restaurants ahead of time.  I would highly recommend taking advantage of booking at least a few specialty restaurants.  

I didn't get a chance to see any staterooms.  Hopefully, next time I'm on here, it will be for a cruise and I can report back on what I thought of them.  There are many different room categories and suites to choose from so we can figure out which one is best for your family (lots of staterooms sleep 5 so that's a bonus).

That glass thing is actually a bar. The floor inside the bar raises/lowers from one deck to the other.  So you can either have an outside view (of this deck) or an inside view of deck below, all while sipping cocktails. Talk about a change of scenery...and you don't have to leave your bar stool!

I'll leave you with some parting info:  Summer 2015, the Allure will sail European waters, departing round trip from Barcelona and Civitavecchia near Rome.  So if you want to do Europe and take a cruise, this may be best of both worlds!  

Lastly, there are 2 NEW ships coming from Royal Caribbean and will be under a new Quantum® Class category. Quantum of the Seas will begin sailing Fall 2014 for a limited time out of New Jersey (exciting for us Mid-Atlantic folks).  It will feature 2,090 of Royal Caribbean's largest and most advanced staterooms. Anthem of the Seas (the sister ship to Quantum) will set sail Spring of 2015 and replace the Quantum in New Jersey.  As one Royal Caribbean exec said "These ships are the Oasis Class on steroids".  So get ready, these two ships are going to raise the bar even higher!  Click on the link below and take a look.  

Coming November 2014:  Royal Caribbean's newest ship!  Quantum of the Seas

I'll be visiting the Celebrity Reflection and MSC Divina in just a few weeks.  I'm excited to check out both of these ships and I am going to try very hard to write all about them while I'm there! Let's see how that goes.... 

Miami skyline from one of the ships I visited in the Spring.  Just seeing this reminds me why this city is still a favorite place for me.  Bon Voyage!