Royal Caribbean International: Allure of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas is truly an amazing cruise ship that aims to captivate guests with first class services and establishments. This new cruise ship also features the first Starbucks at sea, the hit wonder Chicago Musical, and ever creative DreamWorks Experience in which your favorite animated characters are along board. If you are looking for a place to dine in, then it’s best to visit Rita’s Cantina and Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse. Also, if you want Quality time with your family, you can always visit the Boardwalk, Aqua Theater, and Central Park. Everything you need is right in this cruise ship.

Rest and Relaxation

There are plenty of stuffs to do while you are boarding The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas. In case you want to unwind and relax, one can visit the Spa and Fitness center.

· Visit the renowned Vitality Spa wherein one could choose unique treatment programs such as medi-spa treatments and acupuncture.

· If you are health conscious then the Fitness Center will accommodate your needs.

· Central Park – features an open-air garden with BRITTO Gallery, Coach Store, and bistros.

· New Library to educate feed your thoughts and a Card room to socialize.

· Go on a splash! There are 4 pools including the Solarium and 10 whirlpools wherein 2 are distinct because it’s overlooking the sea.

· Clubs and Lounges for you to chill out.

Action and Adventure

This impressive cruise ship offers every family distinctive action and adventure activities. If you want to get thrilled then you must not miss these highlights:

· 2 well-known Flow Rider surf simulator and Rock-climbing walls.

· Zip line – measures 9 decks in the air and 82 feet diagonally.

· A full-sized basketball field and boxing ring

· Ice-skating Arena

· Compact Golf Course

· Distinctive Handcrafted Carousel

Dining Information

The cruise ship is packed with exquisite cuisine in which families can truly enjoy. The ship offer multi-course dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are also other dining options that families could choose from.

· Main Dining Room which serves daily meals for every families and guests.

· 13 other dining options including Windjammer Café, Park Café, Boardwalk Dog House and it features room service.

· First ever Starbucks at sea

· New restaurants including The Cupcake Cupboard – classic connoisseur bakery and serve 30 unique cupcakes.

· Casual dining at Johnny Rockets, Cupcake Cupboard, and many more.

· Specialty cafeterias like Chops Grille steakhouse, 150 Central Park, Giovanni’s Table Italian Restaurant, and Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse offer menus at a low price fee.

· Izumi Asian Cuisine for sushi bar selection and a la carte style. Vintages Wine Bar that serves exquisite wines.

· NEW Central Park Dining Package at $70 per guest.

· NEW Chef’s Dining Package at $130 per guest.

· NEW Choice Dining Package at $80 per guest.

Kids and Families

A family getaway is not complete without overall enjoyment. Allure of the Seas presents the spectacular DreamWorks Experience that features cartoon characters, parades, story time and parties.

Here are other highlights:

· Award-winning Adventure Ocean Youth Program. This program is indeed very essential for your youngsters for educational and fun purposes.

· Royal Babies and Royal Tots especially prepared for your toddlers and it features Fisher Price activities.

· Royal Babies & Tots Nursery

· Family-friendly Activities – This includes instructional classes and lectures, challenges and competitions, and many more.

· H20 Zone – kiddies water park

· 3D Movie Theater

· Adventure Beach kiddy pool with water slide.

· Lounge Areas and Disco – Exclusive for your Teens.

Entertainment and Shopping

If you are looking for entertain then the Broadway hit musical Chicago, Aqua Theater shows, ice shows and other live entertainments will definitely suit your preferences. Furthermore, here are other important highlights of the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas:

· Broadway Hit Musical Chicago – If you like musical then this group will truly entertain you.

· Aqua Theater shows and other live entertainment

· Casino Royale – has an area of 18,000 sq. foot and it accommodates 456 slots and 27 tables.

· Entertainment clubs and lounges -this includes karaoke and comedy bar, jazz club, as well as live performances.

· Surf’s Up Party – A restaurant that offers guests beverages and serves popular dishes.

· Central Park and Royal Promenade-the shopping center; store includes Duty Free, Coach, BRITTO Gallery, etc.

· NEW Rita’s Fiesta – reservation-only themed party and it features exquisite dishes and non-alcoholic beverages.

· NEW Prohibition Party – reservation-only 1920’s themed celebration. It features jazz age outfits.

Set sail and enjoy life to the fullest. The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas first-class service will surely satisfy your needs.

Hooked On Sailing the High Seas

Once a non-cruiser now I’ve planned to cruise every year to relax, write, enjoy, see the world and connect with my husband and teens in a deeper way each year. It is like a reconnecting time where we unplug from everything and just enjoy the time together eating, being served by great servers from around the world, take short excursions to places we may never fly to and enjoy all the facilities that the floating resort offers.

Here are three reasons why we will be cruising with Norwegian Cruise and why Norwegian Breakaway is in our list:

One: Freestyle cruising

We like the flexibility and freedom of when, who, what, where we eat and schedule our activities. Norwegian Cruise Line Freestyle Cruising allows guests the freedom and flexibility to choose where to dine, when to dine and whom we dine with. Some days we dined without the teens and invited our new friends on board to dine with us.

If we feel like having sushi we could do it right away if there are seats available. Norwegian Cruise Line did not schedule our meals or shows everyday. We are in control and that’s how we like it when on vacation. We have been to another cruise where we had to sit near the same family and eat at the same time every night.

Imagine sitting in an airplane with the same passengers on the same row everyday for 5 or 7 days! That’s how it felt when we were in a cruise with assigned seats and time for dinner.

Most of the time you can dress up however you like for dinner. Most teens hate to dress up just for an hour’s meal. One way to stop argument and to avoid conflict with your teens is to find a cruise line that allows them to be who they are. Leave their suit and tie for weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals. You can travel light because there is no need to bring a whole array of shoes to match your outfits.

Two: Top notch itinerary and service at a “budget” price

I’ve done my research on itineraries and prices available in the cruising world. Norwegian stands out with their itineraries in the Caribbean. Two of my favorite itineraries are 7 days Western Caribbean and 11 days Southern Caribbean. If you were to purchase air tickets and book the accommodation as a package for a tour of the destinations listed, you will pay at least four times more per person.

The world has over 180 nations and there is really not enough time to visit them all. One of the best ways to quickly see the world on a budget and in comfort is through cruising. Not all cruise ships and services are created equal. From our own experience we love the Norwegian staff. They provide top-notch service.

Three: Boutique hotel at sea

Bermuda is in our list ‘must-see’ places and Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship debuting next year, 2013 would be the best way to sail over there.

The resort style boutique hotel at sea can accommodate 4,000 passengers cruising from our favorite city, New York City for a 7-day cruise to Bermuda starting May 12, 2013 through October 6, 2013. I love the itinerary where you depart on a Sunday and traffic is light in Manhattan. Sail three full days at sea and dock three full days in Bermuda, just enough time to enjoy all the facilities onboard and enough time to see Bermuda.

An average tour package including airfare and accommodation to Bermuda per person is about $1400. Remember this price do not include all meals, ocean view room or round trip transportation from airport to hotel. It does add up!

Norwegian Breakaway brings new innovation to the cruising world by combining the indoors with the outdoors. Guests have the options of indoor or outdoor shopping or dining at the oceanfront boardwalk.

Review: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas From Galveston

I had planned this cruise for seven months. A friend and I who had previously cruised with Carnival and Celebrity were eager to try Royal Caribbean after hearing so many positive things about the beauty of the ship, quality of food and service, etc. For the second time, I surprised my retired parents by taking them with us (the previous year I had surprised them with an Alaskan cruise which I will review later), and they were absolutely giddy with excitement when they found out that they would once again be traveling aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, which they claimed was their favorite ship of 13 other cruises they had taken. With the ship fresh out of dry dock for upgrades, were set to go to some brand-new destinations none of us had ever visited: Roatan Island, Honduras and Belize City. Expectations were high.

Then cruise time came. While I am not prepared to say that we had a BAD time on this cruise, I think it is fair to say that our expectations were a bit deflated, pretty much from the minute we arrived at the Port of Galveston. Allow me to take you through the high and low lights of life on the high seas aboard Navigator of the Seas.

The Highs

Our dining experience– Most definitely the best service we received on the ship was in the main Sapphire Dining Room, which is without a doubt the most gorgeous dining room I have seen on a cruise ship. Walking into the dining room is like entering a regal opera house complete with grand stair case and three levels of dining with windows on each side. Our two servers were extremely attentive, noting my step-mother’s preference of making her own ice tea with two glasses of ice, 2 tea bags and some hot water, which was waiting for her every night after night one. I could fault her for being a “tea snob,” but then I’d have to look at myself in the mirror with my Starbucks in hand turning my nose up at Folgers. All of us enjoyed the variety of meal choices and thought the food was of very high quality, with service running like clock work. It was truly a pleasure to dine each evening.

Here we are at dinner. I am the goof-ball in blue.

The Cabin– Inside cabin 7667 (Aft Port) was home sweet home for our week at sea. My parents were right next door in 7669. For an inside cabin, there was plenty of room to stow all of our stuff and have a completely clear space to move in. I would say the bed was a bit hard, but it’s all about your preference as my friend and traveling partner Jay (the guy in purple) said his was just right. Ample closet and drawer space allowed us to each have sufficient space to unpack. Our steward service was also top-notch, re-stocking and tidying up twice daily.

The ship– Navigator is definitely a beautiful ship. Of note is the Royal Promenade, a series of shops, restaurants and bars running aft to forward giving cruisers the feel of strolling down a cobblestone street while at sea. I recommend the Two Poets Pub for some nice ambiance and people-watching. The main atrium is gorgeous, and the various lounges and bars are designed with a very classy yet comfortable feel. The pool deck is also impressive, featuring two main pools flanked by several hot tubs, some of which are shaded. For the most part there are plenty of chairs both in and out of the shade, but if your cruise is full you had better get there early to snag one. We also thought the nightclub overlooking the pool deck with its floor-to-ceiling windows added a nice touch to the ship’s offerings. The ship’s casino is also pretty decent, but since smoking is allowed in there, you may come out smelling like an ash tray.

Overlooking the Royal Promenade

The Grand Atrium

Beverage Package–Three of us on this cruise had the premium package for $55 per day, but since my dad only drinks beer, we got him the basic package. At first glance, this package might seem a bit pricey (Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages are some of the most expensive at sea), but overall we got our money’s worth. What I especially liked was that basically nothing on the drink menu was off limits short of the super premium stuff. You could even opt for Grey Goose vodka at no extra charge. The flip side here is the bar service (see below).

Theatre Entertainment–If you ever find yourself on Navigator of the Seas, don’t miss the ice-skating show. It is fantastic and was much better than I thought it was going to be. We also enjoyed the Elton John impersonator, the bar flair show and the adult game show.

The Lows

Embarkation/Debarkation–The words fiasco, nightmare, eternity and disorganization come to mind for both. This was hands-down the WORST embarkation/debarkation process I have ever experienced, and my parents who had been on 13 previous cruises agreed. We should have expected this when Royal Caribbean sent us out an e-mail prior to the cruise instructing us to arrive at certain times based on the deck on which our cabin was located. As it happened, we had flown into Houston, and our transfer dropped us off right at the time we were supposed to be there, which was 12:30 p.m. We did not step foot on the ship until almost 2 p.m, as we were stuck two different lines, both of which were extremely slow-moving. This is definitely not the way you want to start your vacation, and very few smiles were to be found in the security and check-in lines. Mind you, I totally expect a bit of a wait checking in, but this was just ridiculous. I think the longest wait I have ever experienced prior to this was 30 minutes tops. I definitely expressed my dissatisfaction to the check-in lady.

Debarkation was practically just as bad. Since we had a driver waiting for us, we opted for the self check-out and were given a specific time and place to meet. We have done this on other cruises with minimal waiting, with customs officers boarding the ship to collect forms. In the past, we have basically just walked off the ship. Not this time. When we arrived at the appointed spot we then waited another good 45 minutes just to be allowed to disembark. Once off the ship, guess what? Another line, another 45 minutes to pass through customs. I ended up being a charged an additional wait fee by my driver, thanks to Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston.

Bottom line–I will never cruise from Galveston, Texas again as they clearly do not have the ability to handle the volume of people that cruise ships have. Basically, Royal Caribbean left a negative first impression and a negative last impression.

Service–Aside from our servers at dinner, service in the bars and lounges on this ship was average at best and certainly not what I am accustomed to on a cruise. While some bartenders were standouts, it generally took forever to get a drink and often you felt as if you were a bother to the bartender or server. The worst service was probably at the pool bar. Some might say that I am too demanding, but when I spend my hard-earned money on vacation I want decent service. Period. I didn’t really get it on this cruise. My parents also commented that “things just weren’t the same on this cruise” as their previous experience on Navigator of the Seas.

Kids, kids, kids– OK, I am probably going to get some eye-rolls for this, and maybe for some it wouldn’t be a negative, but there were just too many kids taking over the main pool area on this ship. As with anyplace else, parents are partially to blame here, allowing their little monsters to run amuck and splash others in the main pool, but I fault Royal Caribbean for not enforcing pool rules. On past cruises, kids weren’t even allowed in hot tubs, but they were in this one. Granted, there is an adults-only pool and hot tub, but the problem is that there isn’t any entertainment there (not that the entertainment at the main pool was anything to write home about).

We did not participate in any excursions on this cruise, so I can’t speak to their quality. We did hear various comments that the excursions were over-priced and not worth the money. One excursion was even over an hour late and had to be delivered to the ship by boat as it was departing Honduras.

The verdict–If I had to choose between Royal Caribbean and Carnival, I would probably go with Carnival based on past experiences. I am not totally closed to giving Royal Caribbean another chance, but they would have to completely WOW me to keep me coming back.

Royal Caribbean International: Allure of the Seas

The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas is truly an amazing cruise ship that aims to captivate guests with first class services and establishments. This new cruise ship also features the first Starbucks at sea, the hit wonder Chicago Musical, and ever creative DreamWorks Experience in which your favorite animated characters are along board. If you are looking for a place to dine in, then it's best to visit Rita's Cantina and Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse. Also, if you want Quality time with your family, you can always visit the Boardwalk, Aqua Theater, and Central Park. Everything you need is right in this cruise ship.

Rest and Relaxation

There are plenty of stuffs to do while you are boarding the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas. In case you want to unwind and relax, one can visit the Spa and Fitness center.

· Visit the renowned Vitality Spa wherein one could choose unique treatment programs such as medi-spa treatments and acupuncture.

· If you are health conscious then the Fitness Center will accommodate your needs.

Central Park – features an open-air garden with BRITTO Gallery, Coach Store, and bistros.

New Library to educate feed your thoughts and a Card room to socialize.

Go on a splash! There are 4 pools including the Solarium and 10 whirlpools wherein 2 are distinct because it's overlooking the sea.

Clubs and Lounges for you to chill out.

Action and Adventure

This impressive cruise ship offers every family distinctive action and adventure activities. If you want to get thrilled then you must not miss these highlights:

2-well-known Flow Rider surf simulator and Rock-climbing walls.

Zip line – measures 9 decks in the air and 82 feet diagonally.

A full-sized basketball field and boxing ring

Ice-skating Arena

Compact Golf Course

Distinctive Handcrafted Carousel

Dining Information

The cruise ship is packed with exquisite cuisine in which families can truly enjoy. The ship offer multi-course dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are also other dining options that families could choose from.

· Main Dining Room which serves daily meals for every families and guests.

· 13 other dining options including Windjammer Café, Park Café, Boardwalk Dog House and it features room service.

First ever Starbucks at sea

· New restaurants including The Cupcake Cupboard – classic connoisseur bakery and serve 30 unique cupcakes.

Casual dining at Johnny Rockets, Cupcake Cupboard, and many more.

· Specialty cafeterias like Chops Grille steakhouse, 150 Central Park, Giovanni's Table Italian Restaurant, and Samba Grill Brazilian Steakhouse offer menus at a low price fee.

Izumi Asian Cuisine for sushi bar selection and a la carte style. Vintages Wine Bar that serves exquisite wines.

· NEW Central Park Dining Package at $ 70 per guest.

· NEW Chef's Dining Package at $ 130 per guest.

· NEW Choice Dining Package at $ 80 per guest.

Kids and Families

A family getaway is not complete without overall enjoyment. Allure of the Seas presents the spectacular DreamWorks Experience that features cartoon characters, parades, story time and parties.

Here are other highlights:

· Award-winning Adventure Ocean Youth Program. This program is indeed very essential for your youngsters for educational and fun purposes.

· Royal Babies and Royal Tots especially prepared for your toddlers and it features Fisher Price activities.

Royal Babies & Tots Nursery

Family-friendly Activities – This includes instructional classes and lectures, challenges and competitions, and many more.

H20 Zone – kiddies water park

3D Movie Theater

Adventure Beach kiddy pool with water slide.

Lounge Areas and Disco – Exclusive for your Teens.

Entertainment and Shopping

If you are looking for entertain then the Broadway hit musical Chicago, Aqua Theater shows, ice shows and other live entertainments will definitely suit your preferences. Furthermore, here are other important highlights of the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas:

· Broadway Hit Musical Chicago – If you like musical then this group will truly entertain you.

Aqua Theater shows and other live entertainment

Casino Royale – has an area of ​​18,000 sq. foot and it accommodates 456 slots and 27 tables.

Entertainment clubs and lounges -this includes karaoke and comedy bar, jazz club, as well as live performances.

· Surf's Up Party – A restaurant that offers guests beverages and serves popular dishes.

Central Park and Royal Promenade-the shopping center; store includes Duty Free, Coach, BRITTO Gallery, etc.

· NEW Rita's Fiesta – reservation-only themed party and it features exquisite dishes and non-alcoholic beverages.

· New Prohibition Party – reservation-only 1920's themed celebration. It features jazz age outfits.

Set sail and enjoy life to the fullest. The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas first-class service will surely satisfy your needs.