written by Linda Johnson
The Allure of the Seas – Week 2: Western Caribbean
In the first part of my trip report, I reviewed the amenities, activities, and restaurants of the Allure of the Seas as well as the Eastern Caribbean ports. In part two, I will be going over some additional tips to make your cruise go better, some Allure of the Seas facts, and information about the Western Caribbean ports visited during the cruise.
The procedures for passengers taking back-to-back sailings (14 days) is easy as far as the paperwork goes. There is a meeting the day before the first cruise ends during which passengers are allowed to make show and restaurant reservations for the following week and book shore excursions. Depending on how tough the Customs agents want to be, you might have to get off the ship physically between cruises and then get back on. If this happens, you will be escorted into the cruise terminal and then brought right back on board without having to wait in any lines. There is a free lunch at Giovanni’s Table on turn-around day for all back-to-back cruisers. Jan and I found a nearby laundromat that offers wash and fold service, so we dropped our dirty clothes off, went to breakfast, then picked them up after breakfast and returned to the ship.
As I said in part one, I recommend getting to the port after 2pm so you don’t have to wait in long lines. Staterooms are usually not available until 1pm on embarkation day so if you board before that time, you can eat lunch in the Solarium Bistro on deck 15 beginning at 11:30am. You can also spend time exploring the ship or signing up for spa treatments, shore excursions, and restaurant reservations. FYI, all shows can be booked through your stateroom television if you don’t want to stand in line.
Prior to the cruise, you will receive a Deck Gazette with lots of info about the poker room and poker-related activities like seminars and tournaments. Please stop by the poker room, located in the conference room on deck three, between 1-4pm on the first day to pick up your gifts and your name tag.
At 4:30 on embarkation day, there will be a fire drill that is mandatory for all passengers. The good news is that you no longer are required to wear your life vest for the drill and it is over in about 15 minutes. Be aware that you can’t hide during the drill; you must have your SeaPass scanned at the drill and a crew member will look in your cabin if you aren’t at the drill.
There will be a welcome aboard party immediately after the fire drill for all Card Player Cruises guests (look for the location and time in the Deck Gazette). We urge you to come to the party and meet the staff, let us buy you a drink, and let us tell you what to expect during the week. We will be open for live play after first-sitting dinner on the first night of the cruise.
My mother and sister joined me for the second week on the Allure of the Seas. Mom was concerned that with more than 6,000 passengers, everything would be crowded and there would be long lines to do everything. Thankfully, she was wrong and can no longer say “I like the small ships.” Because there is so much to do, we never encountered a long wait for anything. We got right into every show and had no trouble finding seats for trivia, name that tune, etc. She even got to ride the carousel at least 10 times during the week and walked right on each time without a wait.
I found the second week of the cruise to have many of the same daily activities as the first week (see the activities section In part one), but there were different comedians and a new headliner show featuring the fantastic Earl Turner, a singer who is extremely charismatic and gets the entire audience involved. I tried two new restaurants this week: The Samba Grill and Rita’s Cantina. The Samba Grill is a meat lover’s paradise… customers get to sample nine different types of meat, as well as a terrific salad bar. You definitely won’t be hungry by the time they bring dessert! Rita’s Cantina is located on the Boardwalk. The Mexican food was great but the one big drawback to this restaurant is that it is not enclosed and has air conditioning in only a small part of the restaurant so it was very hot and humid.
Allure of the Seas Ship Facts
Max Speed: 24 Knots
Water Consumption: 1,700 tons a day
Fuel Consumption: 193 gallons per nautical mile (31 feet per gallon)
Maiden Voyage: December 5, 2010
225 gross tons, 1,187 feet long, 208 feet wide
Max capacity: 6,296 guests plus 2,165 crew
Central Park contains 12,165 plants and 56 trees
In addition to the 24 dining options, there are 37 bars and lounges on the Allure of the Seas.
Western Caribbean Ports
Labadee, Haiti: Labadee is a privately-owned island reserved exclusively for Royal Caribbean guests. There is a lot to do on the island including, parasailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and shopping. There also is a zipline (at 2,600 feet long, it is the longest zipline in the world over water) and an alpine coaster ride. I recommend going to the island long enough to take a tram ride and to eat lunch at one of the three barbeque areas. The white, sandy beaches are great for sunbathing, but I preferred going back to the ship to swim.
Falmouth, Jamaica: There is a new cruise terminal in Falmouth with lots of shops and a few eating venues. Some of the shore excursions available include climbing Dunns River Falls (my all-time favorite shore excursion), rafting, golfing, swimming with dolphins, catamaran sails, tubing, beach breaks, and local sightseeing. I recommend having lunch at a Jamaican jerk center. Be aware that most of the excursions involve a minimum of 45 minutes drive each way.
Cozumel, Mexico: Cozumel is a real party place and a shopper’s paradise. Some of the excursions offered include a Harley Davidson tour, ATVs, the Amazing Cozumel Race, dolphin adventure, scuba and discover scuba, extreme speed boating, snorkeling, beach breaks, tequila and wine tasting, and parasailing. NOTE: Jan went scuba diving and had two incredible dives. She is organizing a private scuba trip in Cozumel so please contact her at Jan@cardplayercruises.com if you are a certified diver and are interested in going on the trip.
Q: What types of beverage packages are available during the cruise?
A: On the first day, you can sign up for a water, wine, or soda package. Save up to 25% on 8,12,16, or 24 bottles of water that will be delivered to your stateroom within 24 hours by completing a water package form at Café Promenade on Deck 5. NOTE: The water in your cabins and in all public areas is very good so I don’t recommend spending extra for bottled water. Wine packages are available at different prices depending on your selection. Unlimited fountain soft drinks are available for $45.50 for adults for the week and $31.50 for guests 17 and younger. NOTE: Do not try to bring water, sodas, alcohol, etc. onto the ship. It will be found in your luggage during the x-ray process and confiscated. (Irons also are not allowed to be brought on the ship.)
Q: What is there for children to do on the ship?
A: Kids will never be bored and they have their own arcade, science lab, and other youth facilities. The award-winning Adventure Ocean Program offers activities for all age groups as follows: 6-18 months (Royal Babies), 18-36 months (Royal Tots), 3-5 years (Aquanauts), 6-8 years (Explorers), 9-11 years (Voyagers), 12-14 (Tweens), and 15-17 (Almost adults). Parents can use pagers to stay in contact with their children. Depending on the age, some of the available activities are pajama nights, story time, sports, talent shows, movies, pool parties, and seminars. There are also parades, face painting, games on the Boardwalk, and other activities to keep the kids busy.
Q: What is the Allure of the Seas’ smoking policy?
A: The Allure is primarily a non-smoking ship, however there are designated areas onboard for smokers. Smoking is not allowed in the poker room or inside the staterooms, however it is allowed on outside stateroom balconies.
Q: What restaurant(s) do you recommend?
A: Giovanni’s is my favorite restaurant on the Allure. I also recommend the Samba Grill, Chops, and Rita’s Cantina.
Q: What time can I leave the boat on debarkation day?
A: The Allure of the Seas starts debarkation earlier than other ships. There is an early departure option for passengers who are able to carry ALL of their luggage off the ship on the last morning that starts about 7am. All passengers are off the ship by approximately 10:30am.
I’ve totally enjoyed the last two weeks on the Allure of the Seas and can’t wait to return on the Card Player Cruises poker trip September 18 and 25. If you haven’t booked yet, please call my office today at 888-999-4880 since we only have a few cabins still available. If you have any questions about the Allure of the Seas or any of our other poker cruises, please write to me at Linda@cardplayercruises.com. Now, it’s time to pack!