What’s the allure of the world’s largest ship? In a word,
entertainment. Of the four cruise lines I’ve sailed with, no one does it better
than Royal Caribbean.
The fare served up on the stages of Allure of the Seas is a refreshing departure from the usual shipboard shows and are worth the effort of scheduling your trip around them.
Allure’s full production of the musical “Chicago” was great fun, and the voices were strong and
Then there was “Ocean Aria,” a diving and acrobatic show that’s so compelling you won’t want to
take your eyes away for a second.
brothers wrap their bodies around each other in poses where you can’t tell
where one body ends and the other begins. Divers from 90 ft. high fly into the
air and amazingly, land gracefully and securely into the Allure’s tiny theater pool.
Inside the ship, on the ice rink, professional skaters—one a veteran of “Disney on Ice”—twirl, jump, spin and lift, while on a moving vessel, no less. The “Monopoly” theme lent itself well to playful and colorful sets and costumes.
Soaring from 90 ft. up.
This comes on top of onboard surfing, ice skating, zip-lining, rock climbing and miniature golf. And then there are the three “neighborhoods;” their personalities ebbing and flowing by the hour. There’s the Promenade, the hub of the ship and venue for parades, dance classes and the best people-watching; Boardwalk, where you can ride a full-size carousel over and over again for free or eat foot-high pink cotton candy for a cost; and Central Park, an oasis of real foliage (but fake bird sounds).
Exciting, yes. But it does steal the show from the real leading lady—the mysterious, fascinating and ever-changing sea.
Not as Alluring
The Allure’s weak spot is the food. Some dinner dishes in the Main Dining Room were good (memorable was the shrimp on Italian-theme night), others were disappointing (Chicken Marsala was rendered as fried chicken with a nearly invisible sauce).
But what we most noticed—and missed—was the absence of beef choices, particularly compared to competing cruise lines.
We found that among the free dining options, the Windjammer buffet was often the best choice. Not only did it have a wider variety (shrimp crackers, anyone?), but some standout spicy Asian choices. It was a nice break from the usually bland and unimaginative dining room dishes.
Aside from the food, the other area where the ship doesn’t compare well to, say, the Caribbean Princess, is the staterooms. While okay on size, the Allure’s cabins offered less in the way of storage space. The closets are tight and night tables have open slots, which make them minimally useful.
Another downside is that the balcony chairs don’t recline, which makes seaside napping a challenge (but nothing that a glass of wine can’t cure!).
The Bottom Line
But, hey, you can’t be good at everything.