To preface this review, I have never sailed with Royal Caribbean or on a megaship before. The majority of my cruises were with Norwegian and 1 cruise with Carnival and Princess apiece. So why did we decide to go with Royal Caribbean for X’s first cruise ever? Well, a few reasons.
First, I’ve always wanted to try Royal Caribbean because it’s 1 of the biggest cruise lines in the world.
Second, we figured it would be awesome for X’s first cruise to be a megaship.
And third, the price was really, really right. We paid about $650 each for a 6 night cruise.
Our sailing was a bit special since it was the Allure’s first sailing out of the Port of Miami. As a result, our cruise was 6 nights instead of the standard 7 nights that she would be running for the rest of the season. This suited us just fine, as we got to spend 2 days in Miami before the cruise without having to take a lot of time off.
Now onto the ship!
The Allure is the 3rd largest ship in the world and at capacity can carry 6,296 passengers. It has 17 decks and 2 open-aired sections, 1 of which has real trees and flowers. It has a giant aqua theatre as well as an indoor theatre and an ice skating rink. To be frank, there’s a lot to do – and also a lot to cover. So I’m going to split this review into a few sections:
- The food
- The show
- The pools
I read a lot online about how the food in the Main Dining Room (MDR, from now on) lacked variety and was on the decline. I read a lot about how bad the pizza was. Well, this foodie does not agree.
We ate at Giovanni’s, the Allure’s Italian specialty restaurant, on our first night. It was through a First Night Done Right deal, which offers a first night dinner at a few of their specialty restaurants for $20 per person. We split 3 appetizers, split the mushroom risotto, and each had our own filet. The filet was cooked to perfection. For dessert, we had tiramisu and gelato. Everything was delicious. I hated nothing.
For the rest of our dinners, we ate in the MDR. Appetizers were good and entrees were always cooked to our desired temperature. Desserts, though, were the star of the show.
We had lunch in the MDR on both sea days and the food was great as well. They have chilled soups during lunch, which I definitely ordered. Besides a menu, they also have a buffet with cold cuts, antipasti, hot foods, and a made-to-order section (one day it was pasta, the other it was Mongolian grill). There is also a giant dessert buffet spread.
We had breakfast in a variety of places: Park Café, Solarium Buffet, Windjammer Buffet, and MDR. Each one has its benefits. Unlike lunch, breakfast is available in the MDR every day. Like lunch, the MDR offers a menu as well as a buffet section.
The pizza was actually quite good. And remember, I have high standards when it comes to pizza! The pizza was always super fresh and often times, just out of the oven. Our pizza was often too hot to eat.
We tried to see all of the shows that they had to offer, except for the headliners and comedians, as we’re not into cover performances or standup comedy.
The Aqua Show was spectacular. I have so much admiration for these acrobats and divers that can do the stunts on a moving cruise ship!
We went to both ice shows – Ice Games! and How to Train Your Dragon. Ice Games! was really good and we thoroughly enjoyed it. HTTYD was just A-OK, in our opinion. It’s only 25 minutes long, so it’s basically a super condensed version of the movie. It’s definitely a kid pleaser, but not great for adults.
Mama Mia! was phenomenal. I’m a huge Broadway nut, so I love how Royal Caribbean makes such a big deal out of their shows. They do full 2 hour and 45 minute shows with an intermission. The actors and actresses were all really, really good. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I love that the Allure has so many pools – and also so many whirlpools. We went to the pool every single day – I’m not joking! After our excursion for the day, we would go grab some food, change into our bathing suits, and soak in the whirlpool or cool off in the pools for a few hours before dinner. It was amazing.
The best part is that they have a Solarium area that’s only for 16+ and up. The Solarium features 4 whirlpools, 2 of which are infinity whirlpools!
- Make sure you book your entertainment as soon as it is available on your Cruise Planner. You don’t always have to go, but it’s always best to have a reservation.
- Try to go to the Aqua Show on the first day. If the seas are rough later on, there will be no more dates to reschedule to.
- We arrived to the shows about 30 minutes beforehand to grab good seats. We managed to sit front row for the Ice Games! show and was as close as 3rd row for the musicals.
- Check out the cookies at Café Promenade. The Coconut Ranger cookies are to die for! They also had Cranberry White Chocolate cookies one day for a very limited time window and they were absolutely delicious.
- There is a sun deck on Deck 14 all the way in the front of the ship. It’s amazing for watching the sun set or rise – and for watching sail away as well. Check out the views below!