I just returned from Fort Lauderdale where I took a two-day, pre-inaugural sailing aboard the largest ship in the world the Royal Caribbean "Allure of the Seas." Invitees were mainly from the travel industry and press.
There was not a lot of time to see everything, but we certainly did our best to experience as much as we could of the 225,282-ton, 5,400-occupancy sister to the Oasis of the Seas.
There is so much to see on this ship that we literally ran from one thing to another. Of course, on its regular seven-night sailings you will have plenty of time to experience all she has to offer - ou move quickly.
There are so many onboard activity options - with some additions and changes from her sister Oasis
Once again Royal Caribbean hits one out of the park. You may not be one that would appreciate big ships, but this one really does not feel big. When you enter one of the "neighborhoods" you do not feel as though you are on a vast ship. Generally you will spend time in one area or the other for a time so you do not feel as though you are walking a mile to get from one end to the other. It is a brilliant design.
Embarkation was amazingly fast. There are over 90 check-in counters with agents ready to check all guests in. We were done within minutes, went upstairs and waited only about 10 minutes before the ship cleared and we were on board. The entire process was less than 30 minutes. Disembarkation was just as easy. Of course, because ours was just a two-day trip with no port of calls, not having to deal with customs and less luggage probably speeded things up.
When you first walk into the Royal Promenade you are wowed by the immense area with such clever designs everywhere. Along the Promenade are shops, bars and cafés where you can get anything from pizza to coffee, to a glass of dark ale in the Bow & Stern Pub. At the aft end of the promenade you will find the "Rising Tides Bar" that travels up and down from deck five to eight. Look aft and raise your head and you will see the opening to the Boardwalk neighborhood.
The entertainment is constant. A 10:30 a.m. DreamWorks Animation Parade through the promenade with characters from "Shrek" and "Kung Fu Panda" starts things off. There's an Aqua Show with awesome acrobatics and 3-D Movies. In the evening you can take in the Broadway Smash Hit "Chicago" or dance after dinner in the classic lounge, Dazzles.
Also new to the Allure (from Oasis) is Rita's Cantina, Boardwalk Dog House on the Boardwalk, Starbucks and a "studio" from which you can send live post card or video to your friends - this was great fun to do. Another interesting feature is the Guest Kiosks where you can look at on-board accounts, make reservations for one of the specialty restaurants, and even better, do your airline check-in. What a great feature.
There are so many different categories of staterooms. From the super-sized rooms such as the Presidential Suite that can sleep up to 14 in four bedrooms and has four bathrooms, to the lower inside staterooms and many in between, there is accommodations for every taste and pocketbook. Balcony staterooms are in abundance on these ships.
There are 46 handicap accessible staterooms for those who need them - and my experience has been these go quickly - so if you are in need of one of these staterooms you must reserve early.
This is an amazing ship and with so many varied offerings, will be great for multi-generational family groups!
The Allure and the Oasis book up quickly for summer sailings, so make a reservation soon and don't forget to pack comfortable shoes!
Patty Toppa is a travel consultant with Gadabout Travel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.cruisetraveltours.com.