By Lori Derauf

Vacation Designers just returned from the largest cruise ship IN THE WORLD.   Carla, was not able to join me on this trip, I traveled with a fellow travel agent, not to mention one of my favorite travel companions, Paula.  Over-all we were very impressed by the ship.  I can’t help but feel that after years of building cruise ships, they’ve gotten it perfectly right for the market they are attracting.  I equate this ship to a floating resort, there really isn’t anything this ship doesn’t have that a resort would except a beach.  However, in a week’s time on the Allure, you will stop at 3 ports of call.   There is no way I could cover all we saw on the Allure,  but below I’ll do my best to sum up our adventure and how we felt about the Allure.

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Livin Large! Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas is a seriously big ship, carrying 5,400 passengers.  The ship has 16 decks, 7 “neighborhoods”, two rock climbing walls, two Flowriders,  zip line, ice skating rink,  AquaTheater, (hold on, I need to take a breath here),  4 pools and 10 whirlpools, mini golf, sports court, spa, fitness center, youth zone, and I haven’t even mentioned to bistros, bars, café’s, restaurants, and shopping.

Happily Familiar: Although the ship holds a population that outnumbers some of the towns I’ve lived in, Paula and I both felt it had a familiar feel.  Royal Caribbean portioned off the ship into “neighborhoods” that remind us of places at home.  Central Park, with its live trees, shops, and café’s is likened to a town square.  The Boardwalk is just that, an amusement area complete with a Carousel and games.  The Royal Promenade, down the center of the ship had enough shops and restaurants to make me feel like I could be at the local mall.

Favorite Places: Everyone has a different idea of bliss, but for me it is finding a relaxing space where I can rest, rejuvenate, and read.  I found such a place on Allure, the Solarium.  My zen spot for relaxation was a quiet, green space where I could relax on a wicker chaise and even take a nap.  The food offered at the Solarium Café tended to be on the healthier side and that suited me perfectly.  Although Carla wasn’t with me, she has chosen her favorite place should she ever get the opportunity to sail on Allure, the Rising Tide Bar.  This levitating bar ascends and descends (thankfully slowly) over three decks; very cool.

Teens and Tots: Both young children and teenagers have their own space on Allure.  The Youth Zone for children and two teen-designed facilities means that the whole family has a favorite place.   Royal Caribbean has recently partnered with Dreamworks pictures (character sightings are common).

Rooms and Entertainment: With 7 neighborhoods, 24 stateroom/suite options, and choice of 5 different views, there is no shortage of choices when it comes to accommodations.  The staterooms are range from typical cruise size (149 square feet) to amazing suites (1,524 square feet).  The beds were extremely comfortable and there are plenty of nooks to store things.  The one thing I would change would be the safe size.  It wasn’t large enough to hold a netbook.  I may have to invest in an iPad after all!   With well over a dozen dining options, several shows, and shore excursions it is definitely worth the work to plan your activities ahead of time.  Royal Caribbean allows you to book activities 90 days in advance, which I think is a great way to assure reservations.  Plus, with so many fun things to do onboard the last thing you want to is spend time doing this on vacation.

Both the Allure and her sister ship, the Oasis of the Seas, sail from Ft. Lauderdale on 7-night cruises alternating between an Eastern & Western Caribbean itinerary.  Occasionally, they offer a 5-night itinerary.  I recently had a small group return from the Oasis of the Seas and here are their comments:

We had a great time and check in was a breeze!  We didn’t stand in a single

line and check-in took about 15 minutes.  My dad made a comment on how

organized they were both with checking in and with checking out and

retrieving your luggage.

 

As first timers we were not sure what to expect. However we are sure we could have not picked a better ship to travel on.

 

We had such a great time on the Oasis! The Oasis was an amazing ship. Looking at the pictures I took, it is hard to tell that it is even on a ship, especially the central park. I loved the many restaurant options available onboard. I think this is a perfect cruise to go on during the winter months.

 

Trip was fabulous. We had such a great time. So many positive things to say about the cruise ship but at the top of that list was the employees. All so wonderful and friendly. The food was wonderful, the events that we scheduled were so good. This cruise ship is amazing and oh so Big.


 

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