Thursday, 9 December 2010
The ACE Allure Adventure - November 2010
ALLURE OF THE SEAS
Having dreamt since last year of seeing the biggest ship in the world, can you imagine how thrilled we were getting our invitations to sail on Allure of the Seas?! Last year Flo, Penny and Bill were lucky enough to attend the festivities onboard Oasis of the Seas, this year it was the turn of myself, Natalie and Kat...............’here come the girls!’
After a couple of action filled and very entertaining days in Fort Lauderdale we boarded the ship on November 23rd. Check in was a dream, I was so impressed with the cruise terminal at Port Everglades and with so many check in desks we were through and onto the ship in no time.
See Picture 1 Allure of the Seas
We located our lovely stateroom with balcony on deck 12, with the help of one of my favourite features on the ship. It’s a very small (in comparison to the rest of the ship) but, fabulous idea. On each deck, outside each group of lifts was a large touch screen which enabled the customer to look for directions to a specific cabin, entertainment venue, restaurant or bar etc. These systems also gave information on what was going on around the ship at any given time and where it was being held, an amazing addition to the service on board.
When our unpacking was completed, it was time to explore. First stop was the Boardwalk with the only carousel at sea and beautiful it was too. The Boardwalk was also host to Jonny Rockets, Rita’s Cantina Mexican restaurant, Candy Store, Boardwalk Dog House, gift store, leisure wear shop, donut station and even an ice cream parlour. The most impressive part of the Boardwalk though was the awe-inspiring Oceanside seating of the AquaTheatre. Sitting eating an ice cream Sunday in the beautiful Miami sunshine looking out over the port and the divers practising for the Aqua Show later in the week...BLISS!#
After attending the Muster later that evening, we were invited to dine in the opulently designed main Adagio Dining Room along with our fellow British and Irish colleagues. Not before a pre dinner cocktail on the main promenade. The Schooner Bar, Boleros, the Champagne Bar or Bow and Stern Pub all provided ample pre dinner drinks opportunities. Dinner was delicious and the service, second to none, as is always the case with Royal Caribbean. As an super organised individual, along with my ACE and PSA pals, I pre booked the evening entertainment before boarding and was lucky enough to attend Headliner Showtime on the first night, starring Ronn Lucas. Ronn Lucas has been entertaining fans for more than a decade with his incredible and unique talent, he mixed stand up comedy, improvisation, audience interaction and astonishing voice gymnastics as a professional ventriloquist, such fun!
Day 2 was a welcome day at sea, a time for relaxing and taking advantage of all there is to do onboard the ship. Natalie and Kat were up with the larks, had seen the sunrise, conquered the rock climbing wall, had breakfast at Jonny Rockets and sampled the Flowrider* surf simulator. That was all before 10am! Next came the Move It Move It Parade in the Royal Parade, one of the most colourful and entertaining (daytime) activities. Everyone loves a parade, but a parade with all the characters from DreamWorks* movies was certainly like no other parade I had ever seen! I am delighted to have been in the audience of such an amazing spectacle. After the magical mayhem of the last hour I attended the UK and Ireland agent update, looking at the current market and getting some insight into the very exciting future of Royal Caribbean.
See Picture 2 Move It Move It Parade
The self service Windjammer Marketplace was an incredible place to have lunch, so much choice and delicious delights to tempt anyone. The area itself was large and spacious, but never impersonal as the service was as incredible as in any eating place on the ship. Now was the time I really wanted to explore this fabulous ship, Royal Caribbean had kindly opened around twenty staterooms for viewing, these ranges from Interior Staterooms to the Presidential and Royal Loft Suites. With such a range of staterooms there will definitely be something for everyone.
My next stop, was one of my favourite places on the ship and a place that is unique to the Oasis class of Royal Caribbean ship, Central Park. This tranquil area in the middle of the ship, open to the elements was breathtaking. Just sitting amidst the trees and plants, taking in the atmosphere with a cold glass of wine was heavenly. The perfect place to relax and get away from it all. Tucked into this oasis was the Park Cafe, Vintages alternative restaurant, Chops Grill, Photo Studio and The first Britto store at sea where guests enjoyed a new cultural onboard experience, filled with colour, innovation and spirit.
See Picture 3 Photo of Central Park
After tearing myself away from the delights of Central Park we hit the pool deck. Having been spoilt for choice as to where to soak up the sun, we went for sun beds at the back of the ship in the solarium. A lovely sedate area with plenty of sun beds, cabanas, whirl pools, bar and a small plunge pool for the comfort of guests in this area and here we stayed until it was time to change for dinner.
After a fabulous cocktail party thrown by Royal Caribbean for all our UK and Irish agents, dinner was again served in the main Adagio Dining Room, a delicious dinner was had by all and joyously concluded by the waiting staff singing Happy Birthday to our very own Natalie who was 29 today! After dinner we had booked to see the Ice Games Ice Show which was in the style of the classic board game Monopoly. A spin of the giant dice took us all on an ice adventure that was created exclusively for Allure of the Seas. The show included original costumes, scenery and lighting. The international cast of world class skaters totally amazed the audience with their artistry, phenomenal skill, athleticism and precision.
Happy Thanksgiving day three. Having started out with a leisurely breakfast on the balcony and as it was our last full day onboard this fabulous ship, we all decided to go out with a bang! Being in one of the most exciting places in the Caribbean (on board Allure of the Seas), inspired us to have a go. Looking to challenge ourselves at the Rock Climbing wall, take a leap of faith on the zip wire or surfing USA on the FlowRider, I am pleased to say Natalie and Kat did all three! Unfortunately my shoes were unsuitable therefore I had politely decline all physical activity. I did spectate though and was the official photographer that morning.
See Picture 4 FlowRider
See Picture 5 Rock Climbing
See Picture 6 Zip Line
Having watched all that excursion, exhausting it was too, I took the opportunity of lying down for the rest of the afternoon on the pool deck. Ordering daiquiris, being entertained by the resident Calypso Band and soaking up some rays by two of the pools on the ship, was blissful! The pools were spacious and occupied by adults only as the children were being wonderfully catered for in the H2O Zone, one of the ‘funest’ and most colourful places on the ship.
After a relaxing afternoon, we were invited to watch a fabulous taster show in the Aquatheatre, including acrobats, synchronised swimmers, divers and an amazing soundtrack. A wonderful introduction to how incredible the whole show will be in full. The spectacular AquaTheater in the Boardwalk on featured an awe inspiring athletic and artistic masterpiece. Where we witnessed the discovery of an ancient underwater civilisation that gracefully navigates the water, flies high above it and dives to its depths. This AquaTheater extravaganza included fountains and orchestral music that swell and dip with the song of the sea.
See Picture 7 Aqua Show
To celebrate Thanksgiving a dinner was held in the Adagio dining room. Turkey anyone? This evening’s entertainment took the shape of a west end show, not just parts of a show, but the whole shebang. Allure of the Seas delivered that whole stage production of Chicago, WOW indeed! This was one of the highlights of the cruise for me, being a huge stage musical buff, the acting, staging, musician and singers were absolutely top notch. I really did forget I was onboard a ship and was transported to the West End.
Being the last night on board, I thought it only polite to see as many of the night venues on the ship as possible therefore we had drinks in the Schooner Bar, Mojitos in Boleros, a martini in the fabulous Casino, 90s dancing in Dazzles and finished off the evening with DJ Drag@n in Blaze night club, at least that’s what I think he was called anyway! I stumbled off to bed at around 2.30am. Zzzzzzzz
Rudely awoken by my alarm on day 4, not long after getting into bed, we decided that a lazy breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe was just what the doctor ordered. After breakfast it was time to collect our belongings and disembark, one last walk through Central Park later, we had our luggage and were disembarking Allure of the Seas.
As a new citizen of Royal Caribbean’s floating nation, we embarked on a journey like no other, an unforgettable cruise to nowhere (the captains words not mine). As the ship is split into different neighbour hoods, not one individual place felt too big or over facing. Size does matter in a lot of respects but, this ship is not just about being the biggest in the world, but is all about the onboard experience and the unique products it has to offer.
Head of Membership Services, ACE