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Allure of the Seas Cruise Review

The Allure of the Seas is, just by a few inches, the biggest ship sailing the seven seas (at least at the moment).

July 09, 2011

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Introduction

Launched in December 2010, Allure of the Seas is the second of Royal Caribbean's two groundbreaking Oasis Class ships — by far the largest cruise vessels ever built. Like the first in the series (Oasis of the Seas), it's designed as a megaship to top all megaships, with an unprecedented array of on-board amusements including four separate pool areas (each with a different theme), two FlowRider surfing pools, rock climbing walls, a miniature golf course, a zip line, a carousel, an indoor ice skating rink and (the piece de resistance) a restaurant-lined, open-air "Central Park" with live trees and plants that runs for hundreds of feet down its middle.

This is a vessel that is all about options, from its over 30 different categories of cabins (including a wide range of suites) to its more than two dozen eateries and bars. The idea is that you'll never be bored while at sea and, indeed, it's hard to imagine anyone running out of things to do. The ship is so big, in fact (more than 40% larger than any other ship other than Oasis), that the line has divided it into seven "neighborhoods," and at times it feels more like a small town than a ship (not much of a stretch, considering its massiveness). Like Oasis, it can hold 5,400 passengers at double occupancy and more than 6,300 when every extra pull-down bunk and pull-out sofa is filled. Add in more than 2,000 crew members, and at any given time there are around 8,000 people on board.

Gene Sloan's Opinion on the Allure of the Seas

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Big and bustling, Allure of the Seas is the ultimate ship if you’re looking for a mega-resort experience at sea — and you don’t mind sharing your vacation with thousands of strangers. Like the biggest land resorts of Las Vegas or Orlando, it offers an eye-popping array of activities that ensure you’ll never be bored. And we do mean eye-popping. There is stuff on this ship you won’t find anywhere else at sea, from the (fun, if brief) zip line careening across the ship’s top decks to the family-friendly outdoor amusement area called Boardwalk (we love the hand-carved wooden carousel, Boardwalk Dog House hotdog stand and other Jersey Shore touches). Indeed, Allure’s deck-top areas are more impressive than those on any other ship at sea, other than its sister vessel, Oasis of the Seas. And its on-board entertainment is on par with the biggest Las Vegas casino resorts (we would rank the outdoor Aqua Theater dive shows as among the coolest things on the ocean, and the licensed-from-Broadway production of the musical Chicago as admirably close to the original).

With some of the most extensive children’s areas and programs we’ve seen and infused with DreamWorks characters such as Shrek, Allure is a great choice for families. The ship’s unusually diverse range of cabin sizes, meanwhile, is a boon for large, multi-generational families and other groups looking for a single ship that will satisfy a wide range of budgets.

The ship also flows incredibly well, despite its size. With as many as 6,300 passengers on board at a time, there are many areas of the ship that don’t feel particularly crowded. Surprisingly, there even are some quiet nooks on Allure, including (at times) the vessel’s much-ballyhooed, tree-lined Central Park. Still, make no mistake: Intimate, Allure of the Seas is not. This is mass-market cruising taken to an extreme, and if you’re the kind of person who demands uncrowded spaces and personalized pampering, this ship isn’t for you.

Gene Sloan writes about cruising for USA TODAY, the nation’s top-selling newspaper, and oversees USA TODAY’s online cruise site, The Cruise Log. Sloan’s stories also are distributed by the Gannett News Service to more than 80 other U.S. newspapers with a combined circulation of more than five million, including the Cincinnati Enquirer, The Detroit Free Press, and The Arizona Republic.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Cabins
  3. Ocean View with Balcony
  4. Large Interior Stateroom
  5. Grand Suite
  6. Junior Suite
  7. Family Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
  8. Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Large Balcony
  9. Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
  10. Boardwalk View Stateroom
  11. Promenade Stateroom
  12. Interior Stateroom
  13. Boardwalk View Stateroom with Balcony
  14. Aqua Theater Suite
  15. Royal Family Suite
  16. Central Park View Stateroom
  17. Owner's Suite
  18. Family Ocean Stateroom with Balcony
  19. Family Interior Stateroom
  20. Royal Suite
  21. Presidential Family Suite
  22. Royal Loft Suite
  23. Cabin Amenities
  24. Dining
  25. Adagio Main Dining Room
  26. Giovanni's Table
  27. Chops Grille
  28. 150 Central Park
  29. Chef's Table
  30. Rita's Cantina
  31. Windjammer
  32. Izumi
  33. Solarium Bistro
  34. Samba Grill
  35. Johnny Rockets
  36. Park Café
  37. In-Room Dining
  38. Drinks
  39. Pools & Decks
  40. Pool Areas
  41. Sun Decks & Open Areas
  42. Deck Plans
  43. Recreation
  44. Lounges & Public Spaces
  45. Vitality Spa
  46. Fitness
  47. Retail
  48. Other Activities
  49. Nightlife & Shows
  50. Vintages
  51. Boleros
  52. Bow & Stern
  53. On Air
  54. Rising Tide
  55. Schooner Bar
  56. Champagne Bar
  57. Viking Crown Lounge
  58. Blaze
  59. Dazzles
  60. Solarium Bar
  61. Trellis
  62. Boardwalk Bar
  63. Wipe Out Bar
  64. Pool Bars
  65. Casino
  66. Shows & Other Entertainment
  67. Service & Staff
  68. Staff & Ship Policies
  69. Health & Safety
  70. vs Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas
  71. vs Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Magic
  72. vs Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Epic
  73. Conclusion

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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