Allure of the Seas is billed as the cruise ship for everyone, and that might be a fair claim. Once the largest ship in the world (5,479-passenger sister ship Harmony of the Seas recently took this title), Allure offers enough pastimes and diversions to keep both kids and adults happy. Spread over 18 decks, the ship is divided into seven unique “neighborhoods.” You’ll find Central Park, complete with winding paths, trees and flowers; Boardwalk with its old-timey carousel; the Royal Promenade for shopping; Pool and Sports Zone for active fun; Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center; Entertainment Place for after-dark fun; and the Youth Zone.
Throughout the ship you’ll find a diverse group of 26 restaurants, including the complimentary dining rooms and additional restaurants offering free dining — everything from slices of pizza to a full-blown buffet. However, Allure really shines when it comes to its specialty restaurants. Foodies will enjoy haute cuisine at 150 Central Park, excellent Italian at Giovanni’s Table, Chops Grille steakhouse and more. And don’t worry, there’s even a Starbucks on board for your daily caffeine fix.
Things to Do
Before boarding, study Allure’s long list of attractions and entertainment options and draw up your “must do” list. There’s a lot going on each day on this ship, and you want to make the most of it.
Adventure seekers should head to the ship’s 43-foot-high rock-climbing wall, the zip line that dangles you nine decks in the air for a 30-second thrill ride, and the two FlowRider surf simulators.
For more leisurely pursuits, spend time at the Vitality Spa or in one of four pools or six whirlpools, or take the kids to the H2O Zone for water-cannon and jet-splashing fun. Adults have access to the kid-free glass-canopied Solarium, the perfect place to mingle with adults or relax and read a book.
Shopping is always a lot of fun here, with the Royal Promenade featuring Coach, Kate Spade, Michael Kors and other high-end retailers. In the evening there are a variety of shows like Mamma Mia! in the theater or the spectacle that is the AquaTheater with high-flying diving stunts. Nightclubs and bars provide plenty of nighttime diversions, and the comedy shows are especially popular and funny.
Allure has four categories of accommodations: interior, ocean-view, balcony and suite/deluxe with a total of 30 different types of staterooms. More than half have a balcony.
There’s the traditional OceanView Stateroom with Balcony or an Interior Stateroom with Balcony that overlooks either Central Park or the Boardwalk. The advantage of the Boardwalk versus Central Park location is that you may be able to catch a peek at the death-defying high-diving show performed in the Aqua Theater.
Other highlights include Interior Family Staterooms, which measure 260 square feet and sleep six people; and Promenade Staterooms, with bay windows overlooking the Royal Promenade, the main indoor thoroughfare lined with cafés and shops. Keep your eyes peeled for street parades.
The most innovative accommodation is the ultra-modern two-story Loft Suite, located at the aft of the ship. At 1,599 square feet with a balcony close to 900 square feet, it’s as big as a small house. The Loft Suite has a dining-room area that seats six, plus two huge TVs and a grand piano. The view is splendid, thanks to floor-to-ceiling wraparound glass windows.
What’s Onboard for Kids?
Plenty! Babies from 6 to 36 months are taken to the Royal Tots nursery with day and evening sitting at $8 per hour. Older kids have their own play area, learning center and time at the H2O water park. Supervised meeting areas, a nightclub, water park games and the YSpa are just for teens.
In conjunction with DreamWorks, characters from the movie Madagascar roam the ship, sign autographs and appear in ice-skating and aqua shows. Don’t miss the 3-D movies.
Sign up for Family Dining, and youth staff will collect kids ages 3 to 11 as soon as they finish their dinner, giving parents time to linger over dessert.
Be forewarned, however: To fully experience everything this ship has to offer, you’ll need to shell out plenty of cash above and beyond your cruise fare. Everything from ice cream cones to specialty restaurants cost extra.