The Allure of the Seas: the floating city!
by Nicole Gauthier
What a stunning site to behold as you step into the grand hall of the Allure of the Seas!
So big, so beautiful! My first concern was how would I ever be able to find my way around here without getting lost, but soon realised that it was not going to be too hard as everything is well indicated with signs and the ever-present staff were always helpful to give us directions when needed.
A further wave of relief came over me when we were handed our sea pass and told to put away all other documents we had – passports, wallets, IDs – as they were not going to be needed for the rest of the week! One little plastic card, the Sea Pass, became our identification card with our room number, table number for dinners and, of course, our credit card for drinks and casino or boutique purchases.
Before roaming the `city`, we wanted to check out our room. We had a balcony room that looked onto the ocean, a treat as we could see all the action as we entered ports of call. It was also a wonderful place to sit quietly outside by ourselves and enjoy the atmosphere for a few minutes before dinner. The Allure of the Seas has rooms on the inside of the ship which have views overlooking either Central Park or the hand crafted Carousel. If I ever come back on the Allure I would try a room on Central Park, for its warm ambiance, with its trees, plants, bistros, cafes and walking trails all made more charming with music for us to enjoy whenever we wanted to. We enjoyed it all, regardless.
Walking around, it is easy to forget that you are on a ship. It is more like visiting a new city with theaters, pools, boutiques, restaurants, bars and so much more.
On each deck we discovered new treasures, including three theaters featuring comedy and Broadway shows, a mini golf course, sports facilities and much more.
The ship is packed with everything from ping-pong to a full size basketball court and even an ice rink. For the more daring, there is a Zip line, nine decks in the air and 82 feet long. If air isn`t your thing, enjoy the two surf simulators!
The gym was filled with modern equipment and trainers ready to help, and for a thrill there were two 43 foot high rock-climbing walls. After exercising or a good circuit training, jog or walk, there are tons of spas and saunas to loosen up tired muscles!
Talk about relaxation! It is an art form on the Allure of the Seas!
At one end is the full-service VitalitySM Spa with thermal suite and an extensive treatment menu, coupled with a state-of-the-art Fitness Center offering yoga and tai-chi. There are 4 pools spread throughout the ship, including the Solarium, an adults-only retreat as well as 10 hot tubs, two of which are then cantilevered whirlpools overlooking the ocean!
Other areas of hidden and not-so-hidden rest and leisure include the wonderfully decorated Diamond Lounge with ocean views that cannot be equalled. There is a finely furnished library with books for all tastes and a solarium where we could sit in the shade or the sun, on a beach bed or lawn chair or eat at the bistro.
And then there was the food.
Truly like a city, there were over 25 dining options, including the aforementioned bistro. From spicy Mexican favorites, to steakhouses to buffets and fine, classical dining rooms, it was impossible to get to everything available – though I tried hard!
Each meal offered an opportunity to meet fellow cruisers, and if for some reason it did not work out, we always had the option to change. The people we sat with were couples old and young, families and singles from around the country and the globe and we enjoyed their company throughout the week.
We kept in mind our budget limit for both shopping, of which there was abundance of choice, but also in choice of excursions. This cruise took us to 3 Islands destinations: Labadee in Haiti, Falmouth in Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.
On excursion, we particularly enjoyed Labadee for its beautiful sandy beaches, and as a treat, since Labedee is owned by Royal Caribbean, service and lunch is served in the same manner as if we were on the ship.
We loved Falmouth. The highlight for me was the local craft market with handmade wood carvings, for my husband it was the river raft trip! While drifting through beautiful forests, we had guides offering a detailed narrative and told us the history of the area. Before heading back to the ship, we enjoyed a traditional Jamaican jerk beef and chicken meal. Delicious!
The only tour excursion we did was a tour of Cozumel. All the Taxi drivers speak English and you can negotiate the fee to tour the island. A new friend from the ship was an old hat at these negotiations and he found one and off we went. We learned a lesson that day. We should have booked on board as it turned out that our taxi driver did not speak English or French!
The option is always available, you may always return on board, to sit by the pool, eat, relax or do anything you desire. My husband likes to have a little nap in the afternoon and I would go by myself to explore the floating city a little more. I felt like a bird exploring its new environment.
It was a beautiful week; where else can you during a whole week walk in a city have a coffee or lemonade, with a piece of pizza or pastry sitting in a bistro and not have to reach into your pockets to pay for it?
What more could you want out of a vacation away from home. We would recommend it to anyone of any age!
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