A review from Celece Seegmiller of The Travel Connection
Jaw-Dropping! That is the only term I can use to describe my recent experience on Royal Caribbean’s new ship, the Allure of the Seas. I was fortunate enough to receive an invitation to her debut party in November and what a grand entrance she made! Royal Caribbean’s tag line is “The Nation of Why Not” and now I understand completely.
Why not build the biggest ship sailing on the seas? The Allure’s capacity is 5,400 passengers, plus 2,600 crew members. It is hard to believe that is larger than the town I grew up in – on one ship! The ship is 220,000 tons, 16 decks high, and 1,187 feet long. The Allure houses every kind of stateroom imaginable. From basic inside staterooms, to rooms with inside balconies that look over Central Park, to two-level suites with lofts, there is a room for every budget on this floating resort.
This architectural marvel features seven distinct neighborhoods that are divided into themed areas. Central Park is a tranquil outdoor sanctuary right in the middle of this massive ship. With the sky as its roof, the park starts on Deck 8 and is surrounded by restaurants, shops, and staterooms with balconies that overlook the beautiful grounds. Ficus, southern yews and lady palm trees are surrounded by seasonal flower gardens – it really feels like a park. Other neighbourhoods include the Boardwalk with the first-ever carousel at sea; the Royal Promenade which seems more like a large shopping mall complete with restaurants and boutiques including Guess and Coach; the Pool and Sports Zone; Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center; Entertainment Place and Youth Zone. At times, it is hard to imagine you are even on a ship! It is unlike anything I have experienced after twenty years of working in the travel industry.
Royal Caribbean is the leader of innovation when it comes to onboard activities. A few years ago, they started to add ice rinks, miniature golf, rock walls, basketball courts, and surf simulators called the Flowrider to their fleet. Can you imagine surfing and ice skating at sea? As if that was not enough, the Allure added not one, but two towering rock walls, two Flowriders, a working carousel and a zip line across the top of the ship. That’s right – a zip line. I was on a cable speeding across deck 15 with nothing but 7 open decks, Johnny Rockets and the Boardwalk Bar below me! I am not sure who to thank for that concept, but it was amazing! In addition, the ship features the H20 Zone and Waterpark for children, four swimming pools, and ten whirlpools throughout the ship. The Solarium is a peaceful, two-story spa-like retreat for adults only located on the front of the ship. It is the perfect place to unwind in an oversized lounge chair with your favorite book and Ipod after a full day of zip lining, surfing, and rock climbing.
Royal Caribbean applied the “Why Not” philosophy to the 25 restaurants and bars on located in various neighborhoods throughout the ship. Why not build a bar called The Rising Tides that actually rises up and down? Yes, a floating bar. It’s like being on an open elevator, while sipping your favorite beverage and people watching on three decks. While most cruise lines offer a buffet, a dining room and a few specialty restaurants, the Allure pleases every palate throughout their unique neighborhoods. The Boardwalk includes Rita’s Cantina serving traditional Mexican fare, comprehensive selection of margaritas and live guitar music and dancing for evening entertainment; Boardwalk Bar offering fruit, salads and sandwiches; The Boardwalk Dog House, an outdoor hot-dog specialty counter; The Ice Cream Parlor; and Johnny Rockets a ’50′s-style diner with entertainers that serve the food. Central Park includes 150 Central Park, a trendy, upscale and intimate restaurant ; Giovanni’s Table, an Italian trattoria featuring Italian classics served family-style; Park Café, an
indoor/outdoor gourmet market featuring salads, sandwiches, soups, and pastries; Vintages, A wine bar with a robust selection of fine wines; and Chops Grille, Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse with views of Central Park. Royal Caribbean did not forget the classics like Adagio Dining Room, the ship’s main dining room that features a three-tier venue with a 1920s Art Deco flavor; Windjammer Marketplace, a casual buffet, and of course for the times you don’t want to go out, room service. There is not enough
space to mention all of the dining options, but I can’t forget my guilty pleasure, The Cupcake Cupboard serving a wide variety of gourmet cupcakes. For those that can’t live without their morning latte or cappuccino, The Allure is the first ship on the ocean to feature a full-service Starbucks.
Although the Allure still offers traditional evening shows, this ship brought onboard entertainment to a new level. Why Not? Did you miss the Broadway show Chicago? Don’t worry, you can watch it on the Allure. Do you enjoy Shrek®, Madagascar®, and Kung Fu Panda®? Royal Caribbean decided to invite the characters from DreamWorks Animation® on
every cruise. Dine with them at various character meals or watch their appearances in shows and parades throughout the ship. Don’t miss Blue Planet and OceanAria, the Allure’s high diving and flying acrobatic shows at the new Aqua Theater. Visualize a small-scale Bellagio fountain with theater seating and amazing stage productions in the background. Last but not least, catch your favorite movie brought to life in the new 3D movie theatre. The entertainment options are endless and I am not sure if you can see it all in one week!
It is impossible to describe all of the amazing features on this ocean wonder in one article. Regardless if you’ve sailed through the Caribbean many times or if you’ve never cruised before, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas should not be missed. So, the next time you are ready for a unique vacation experience, ask yourself “Why Not?” and sail on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.