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Information Echo » Allure of the seas cruise, 2011.

Dec 27 2011

Allure of the seas cruise, 2011.

Published by Mark at 11:20 am under Cruising, Travel

I realized that my “cribnote” entry from September was never followed up on. I’m not sure why blogging has taken a backseat in the last year, but I find myself unmotivated to write here anymore. It likely has a lot to do with the reality that I’m guessing nobody reads my blog any longer.

Regardless, I’ll follow up for the few family members and friends who may still be following.

In late November/early December we cruised on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, the largest cruise ship afloat. My friends on Facebook would have seen plenty of pictures of the trip during the last few weeks, or you can check out Royal Caribbean’s website for details.

It was our first cruise, and there was only one way to explain it - 7 days of an altered state of reality.

First off, Royal Caribbean has service down to a science - it was simply amazing to watch the ship and it’s staff run like clockwork all day, every day, ensuring that the guests are pampered, catered to, and made to feel like, well…Royalty. Even though we were in one of the lowest stateroom classifications we were treated no differently than guests in other staterooms short of those in the upper echelon suites, for whom the “royalty” status takes on a whole new level, one which I’ll surely never experience.

The ship is impossible to ever explain without physically sailing aboard her. Amazing doesn’t begin to explain it, and despite the fact that there were over 6000 guests on our particular cruise (significantly above the normal amount due to many staterooms having more than 2 occupants) it’s rare that you are ever aware of the fact - the ship is so massive that there was no issues finding a quiet place to sit quietly…or even alone if you wanted to. On the flipside, if you want activity and entertainment you need not look far - everything from 3D movies to zip lining, rock climbing, a real wooden carousel, countless pools and hot tubs (many in the adults-only solarium on the bow), 2 Flow-Rider artificial wave machines, thousands upon thousands of deck-chairs in the sun, bands, the royal promenade, shopping, restaurants, bistros and bars, and one of my favorite areas aboard the ship, the unique Central Park, which is (for lack of a better description) like a real park aboard the ship. Yes - real plants, real trees, and even real birds that live aboard the ship by choice, since the park is open to air. It was my “go-to” place where I would sit, listen to the birds (or the crickets at night) and unwind.

My only two “issues” with the cruise?

1/ Food is so plentiful (and of course, free) that unless you have an iron constitution and can either walk right on by and ignore the reality it’s tempting you every few minutes, you should plan on gaining weight during the cruise. I gained almost 8 pounds, which given how hard I worked last winter to get all the weight off, was a bit of a personal disappointment to me.

2/ Tours of the ships behind-the-scenes areas were hard to come by, expensive, and reserved to the more elite (aforementioned suite) guests. I was first put off when I was told that there was a $150 charge for the “All access pass” tour, which admittedly was 3.5 hours long, covered interesting areas such as the bridge, engine room, galleys, and many staff areas, but having it monetized to that extent was surprising. Secondly, as a non-suite guest I was told that I was effectively out of luck since it was limited to a small number of people, and only on one day. Despite my willingness to pay, and attempts to get on the tour, I was never successful.

In the grand scheme of things, my above issues were but mere annoyances - the whole experience was otherwise simply amazing.

Will we sail aboard Allure (or it’s sister, Oasis) again? Absolutely - we are already in the initial planning stages for the same cruise next November. It’s going to be a long year - perhaps we’ll have another cruise in the meantime. ;)

Yes, we are hooked.

9 Responses to “Allure of the seas cruise, 2011.”

  1. CeridianMNon 04 Jan 2012 at 3:57 pm

    How old are the kids? I’d love to take my wife & kids on a cruise, Alaska in the fall for Northern Lights especially, but with two toddlers I have no dea how long I should plan to wait.

    As an aside, I am an unknown stranger in Minnesota that reads when you post (magic of RSS readers). Started by the flying stories but still around…

  2. Markon 04 Jan 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Glad I still have a least one reader. ;)

    I’m not sure I would recommend an Alaska cruise if you have young children - after much investigating the Alaska cruises myself I quickly realized that many ships that do that itinerary are not necessarily oriented towards te younger crowd, since the cruise is focused on the scenery rather than the ship itself, so all of the traditional family/kids oriented activities and programs may not be available, or be as good.

    In other words, they’re more adult oriented. Yes, you can (and people do) bring kids, but the experience for them is apt to be less than other ships on more family oriented itineraries.

    A cruise like we did, however (Caribbean) was the complete opposite - the ships are designed around families, and young children are welcome. When you need time to yourself there are kids programs that are amazing and secure so you can drop them off to have a blast with their peers while you and mom go enjoy a few hours of solitude. Together time is also no issue as there is PLENTY to do since the ships are more or less floating resorts/waterparks/hotels/tours. It’s an amazing mix you can find nowhere else.

    We are actually saling again with Royal Caribbean in April on a Bermuda cruise. Just couldn’t wait until November again. ;)

  3. Markon 04 Jan 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Btw, forgot to mentio - our kids are 11/13 - old enough that we would consider the Alaska cruises now as they can either appreciate it, or go do their own thing, but much younger and I would be reluctant for the reasons I mentioned above.

    No matter what, try cruising - its a truly life altering experience that you’ll remember forever with your family - my kids still wax poetic about it and are extremely hyped for April. ;)

  4. Cameronon 11 Jan 2012 at 7:08 pm

    There are Disney cruises out of Seattle to Alaska.. Or there is going to be next year. I heard that on the news here in Vancouver within the last year..

    It sounds like you guys had an amazing time on your cruise. It was deserved and definitely needed by your family..

  5. Cameronon 11 Jan 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I just checked.. It looks like they still operate from Vancouver.

    http://disneycruise.disney.go.com/cruises-destinations/alaska-pacific-coast/itineraries/

  6. HGCon 07 Apr 2012 at 11:30 pm

    The ship tours sound fun, but certainly not worth the $150. I would guess that the prime target customer is someone who is bored on the ship and has the money to blow. I’m intending to go on a cruise to Alaska this fall and found your posts interesting, so you can rest assured you have more than just one reader :)

  7. Randyon 25 May 2012 at 5:15 am

    Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you about a broken link on your site. Please email me back and I would be happy to point them out to you.

    Thanks!

    Randy
    randydavis387@gmail.com

  8. Markon 26 May 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Hi Randy - oshawapilot at gmail dott com is where you can reach me.

    Thanks
    Mark

  9. mikeon 17 Jun 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Blogging comes and goes, funny enough I got tired of writing my usual stuff as I felt the same a while back and posted about celebrity gossip instead. Gained some income off Adsense but at the same time I have no interest in lady Gaga or others..lol

    So back to writing, best advice I can say though is take a time out if bored or feel that nobody is reading. Once a blog starts its there for years not weeks or months. Keep up the good work!

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