ALLURE OF THE SEAS – 2012

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We just got back from a special 2-night cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest addition to its fleet, the amazing “Allure of the Seas”.

As we were approaching the ship in Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale) our first thoughts were, “wow, what a monster”, as we saw it standing stories above everything else. We were a bit apprehensive about sailing on such a large ship, even though our agents who had already sailed its sister ship, the Oasis of the Seas gave us rave reports. But now we were about to see for ourselves.

Check in was much easier than I expected. The counters are organized by decks, each deck having several windows so there really aren’t long lines. It was very fast and efficient.

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Once on board, any fears of its size were immediately gone as we were totally impressed by the beautiful interior. We went first to our cabin and were delighted by its size, which was larger than on some of the other ships. We had an ocean-view veranda cabin. Our cabin had a very spacious sitting area, flat-screen TV and a veranda with a table and chairs similar to what you would have on your patio for outdoor meals. It seemed the perfect place for a nice room service breakfast or a sunset dinner. We want to go back and try that.

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The truly amazing thing about the ship is the neighborhood concept. Central Park was truly spectacular complete with trees and park benches for relaxing and people-watching.

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How can I sum up this ship in a few sentences? With words like “WOW!”, “Amazing”, “Incredible”. The neighborhood concept, unique to Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class of Ships, is great. You never feel that you are on the world’s biggest cruise ship because of them. The first neighborhood is Central Park, complete with grass, trees, flowers, park benches, outdoor cafes and the sky above. There are shops, eateries and pubs. Next is Boardwalk, which even has a full-size carrousel along with shops, eateries, pubs. Then there is the Royal Promenade, which is on the Voyager Class and Freedom Class as well. Here, besides the shops, eateries and pubs you will see a daily parade, which is a full-scale entertainment event in itself.

The restaurants are elegant, the spa is complete with just about anything you could ask for in a spa, including a relaxation room and thalassotherapy pool, the gym is state of the art, the casino is very grand in scale, the pool areas are spacious and inviting, there are sports areas for table tennis, rock climbing, basketball and volleyball and so much more. The theater is beautiful with great stage productions and entertainment. The “Flo-Rider”, another Royal Caribbean exclusive on both Oasis class and Freedom class ships is enjoyable whether you are brave enough to try it or just as a spectator. The onboard ice rink is great with both free skating time for passengers and a professional figure skating show. And exclusive to the Allure and its sister ship the Oasis, is the water theater and the zip line! Yes you can zip from one end of the ship to the other from up high! This ship is a destination itself and you get to visit great Caribbean ports as a bonus!

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A quick note about cabins: The usual categories of interior (no window), oceanview and oceanview veranda are available. (The oceanview veranda cabins have glass instead of metal walls overlooking the water for a maximum view, are larger than on other Royal Caribbean ships and have cafe style tables, which can come in handy for room service meals al fresco!) There are also veranda cabins overlooking the various neighborhoods, allowing you to watch the activity from your cabin. There are various suites including family style suites with livingrooms, large verandas with lounge chairs, several bedrooms and bathrooms. A nice set up for a large family cruising together.

OK, I can go on and on forever. These are just some of the highlights. But no matter what I tell you, the only way to believe it is to sail on the Allure or Oasis yourself. Even then you may not believe that you are on a ship! I will be posting photos, either here or on my facebook page in the near future so watch for them and get a glimpse of one of Oprah’s favorite things!

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