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About 5thgirl

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, RC, Disney
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    St. Thomas, Roatan

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  1. Thanks for taking the time to answer my question (that was buried in my wordy review!). That is good to know and I am looking forward to trying Allure again or maybe Harmony
  2. Enjoy! Allure is a great ship. I'm not sure how I can go back to other ship classes now, lol, but even the Freedom Class and Voyagers Class ships are really nice and due to be amped soon.
  3. @Rogueperson enjoy your cruise in December. I was a bit nervous trying the larger class ships mainly due to crowd concerns but we hardly ever felt overcrowded and loved all that Allure had to offer. The only time I felt a slight difference was at dinner time. A bit of overflow each night
  4. Sept 4, Wednesday - Debarkation We had our last breakfast meal in the American Icon dining room. We chose to order from the menu instead of doing the buffet. The service was really slow for some reason, which made me anxious. Our debarkation time was 8:15. I must say that things have changed with both embarkation and debarkation in recent years. Both processes were super fast. Our debarkation time was 8:15. We were off the ship quickly. Although there were 2 lines for passports vs. birth certificates, we were not stopped at customs - no checking, no facial recognition, nothing. Everyone just walked through. Our flight from FLL was for 12:15. We had plenty of time to get to the airport. We had a pre-arranged shuttle through the Renaissance hotel we stayed at, again through Quick and Safe. They were very fast to get there and we actually had the same gentleman as when we arrived. All in all, I really liked the Allure. I understand it will be in dry dock next year and enhancements made. I’m looking forward to trying other ships in this class. Has anyone sailed Allure in both high and low season? I’m wondering how big a difference there is in crowds.
  5. Yes unfortunately we didn't think to explore other areas, thinking that all of Labadee would be similar. I hope I get to experience it again. It was my first time there
  6. Day 10 - Tuesday At Sea Today is our last day finally and we are READY to go home. I never thought I’d utter the phrase “I’m done with pools and beaches”, lol. But that is how I was feeling at this point, although we did spend today at the Solairum, LOL. This was because our last pool day was a bit cloudy. Kids decided they would sleep in. I had already started packing the night before. For lunch, I was craving pizza, so we ran down to Sorrentos, grabbed a bunch of slices and brought them back to the pool area. Would be nice for them to maybe have some small single serving pizzas and not just the mini slices on small plates, but hey, it’s still included. We lazed around past lunchtime. The ship was moving extremely slow, I assume to kill time to allow Dorian to clear past FLL before we returned. I had yet to fulfill my Allure bucket list of ziplining, so headed back to the stateroom first to change out of swimwear and put on the required closed toe shoes. Got there around 2pm with DD (so she could capture on video). It went off without a hitch except my landing wasn’t as eloquent as I would have liked! There was also a diving competition in the Aqua Theater, so we went to see that. The Aqua Theater divers perform various dives and the audience scores them (similar to the belly flop contest if you’re familiar with that). There are 4 men and 2 women divers. They did individual dives first, followed by synchronized dives. This would have been much more enjoyable except for the heat. It was shown as a 30 min event, but lasted an hour and many people started to leave because the heat out there was unbearable. If I would have known, I would have grabbed a spot in the upper shade section instead. Our last dinner in MDR was good. I noticed several times throughout the 10 days that we would be given the wrong menu, which was weird. I've seen some posts re: Harmony getting rid of formal night in favor of "Wear your Best". I have mixed feelings about that only from the viewpoint of nostalgia for the times when folks would actually dress up more, but it certainly fits the needs of my family and allows flexibility for sure. Our dock time the next day was stated as 6:15am, but we must have been there early. I tossed and turned a bit, as overnight was the first time the ship actually came in choppy. We rocked pretty significantly, and I heard the clanks in the wee hours of the ship settling back in to Port Everglades.
  7. @FirstAnthem, all the seafood was cooked. Shrimp, and crab meat mostly. I think they purposely ensure this for the very reason you mention.
  8. Day 9 - Monday At Sea Today’s agenda was just onboard activities. Taking a pool break. Sushi Rolling Class - for those who are interested, I recommend you save your appetite for this. The timing is tricky - 10am class that lasts about an hour, so 11am by the time you are done and can eat your creation.We tried to have a little breakfast beforehand to tie us over, but the key is “little” - keep it light. Cost was $35 pp and I felt it was more worth the cost than the cupcake class. All the ingredients are organized on the table for you, and an instructor guides you on how to make 4 different sushi types. It was fun and each person receives a certificate in the end! Finished Product - this is the portion per person DH and DS were going to the 1pm showing of AquaMan in 3D, so DD and I found a few things to do which included spectating at the Belly Flop contest (I always admire the sense of humor each of the contestants bring), Bean bag toss on the Boardwalk, and 2 rounds of Trivia at Schooner (Broadway Musicals and Male Singers). I never win the trivia (maybe one day), but usually come a good 2nd or 3rd place, I feel. We all met up afterward and redeemed our “free” ice cream scoops (comes with the cupcake decorating class) at the Cup and Scoops place at the Boardwalk. 4 scoops, one for each. Tasty. Tonight’s MDR dinner Here is the feedback I have, and plan to share with RC - most of the dining staff are great, attentive, personable, etc. They do a good job. I have no big complaints ever. However, I feel there is too much pressure on them to obtain a “10” survey rating. During dinner, I would like to relax with my family. Tonight, the dining manager came by and asked how our dinner was going - customary, no surprise, that was fine. BUT he proceeded to ask us what score we would give them on the survey and when we did not immediately say “10” he would not leave us alone to enjoy our dinner until he got down to the bottom of it! Honestly, this bothered me a lot for several reasons 1) Let me enjoy my vacation in peace 2) I’ll provide my feedback via survey when I am ready 3) bugging me about it while I am eating won’t change my opinion 4) RC places too much pressure on staff in this area. I’ll end by saying I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience and appreciate the hard working staff, but they really need to ease up on this whole perfect “10’ thing. It's good practice to motivate staff to do well and strive to exceed in customer satisfaction, but sometimes it comes off the wrong way.
  9. I am glad a few folks are enjoying my review/trip report.. I find these boards so informational for myself, so I am trying to return the favor! A few more random notes and we will wrap up Day 8! The Mamma Mia cast - saw about 5 of the main players at the ruins doing their own private tour. VIP benefits, I'm sure. Love and Marriage Game Show - can’t recall which night, but we attended. We’ve seen this before, as it’s a staple for every RC sailing. Is it me, or has this run its course and needs a refresh? Similar “audition”, similar questions. The cruise director, Mike, did not wow me. I think the CD, as host, can make or break this show. And in this case, he seemed to really just want get it over with. Artwork - One of the things I really liked about Allure and this class of ship was the artwork throughout. I thought they did a great job in this area and being so large, you can see plenty of great stuff at every corner and stairwell. Extension Waivers - Because we were forced to stay 3 more days, anyone who had purchased the beverage, dining or VOOM packages would get it extended for the additional days at no extra cost. So, I paid for 3 days of VOOM, and I got 6. They also did not auto charge the additional days of gratuities, but allowed guests to tip at our discretion. Drink Package - I noticed a sign on Day 7 of 10 at the bar, offering a 10 drink beverage package for $79pp. Some of the artwork and exhibits. So much more to see that is not captured here. They very quickly booked new entertainment for the extra days. The headliner for the next 2 days was Tony Tillman, described as an all around entertainer/singer/dancer/comedian extraordinaire. Not sure what to expect but again, I went in thinking sounds a bit cheesy….I was WRONG. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me and judging by the audience reaction, for them as well, he was fantastic! Now, in real life/on land I would normally not pay to see this man perform, but he knocked it out with his energy and attitude. I’d describe him as what a true entertainer is all about. He sang and danced to a little modern stuff, some classics, and did an interesting bit with country as well! I highly recommend. Plus you can't go wrong with a live onstage band/orchestra. I think tonight was also an additional Adult Comedy show (18+) with Louis Johnson - this time in Studio B, followed by an 80's dance party. Louis Johnson's adult set was so FUNNY, and I laughed so hard. It was raunchy, and I saw one or two maybe 18ish year olds and was wondering if they were still a bit young for his set. Louis Johnson's family comedy show the next night - not funny at all. What a big difference. I raved about his comedy to my kids, so they were looking forward to it, but it was a disappointment. It literally felt like he was winging it, and making up stories as he went, and inserting some old jokes into his set as he progressed. My DD and I realized half way through the show that we'd seen him before on another RC sailing a few years ago and he used some of the same jokes. We stayed a bit for the 80's dance party which was fun, then called it night.
  10. I think that is a Coati. I love snapping photos but get nervous around animals that aren't behind a wall - this one was just running up a tree as I walked the path towards the end of the cenote swim
  11. I just used this myself on my recent sailing, My experience is that the app has about 85-90% up to date info at any given time. I've tried logging out and then logging back in, which worked sometimes. I just found it to be hit or miss and sometimes I'd randomly see my calendar pop up suddenly. Good luck. I hope it wakes up for you soon, lol.
  12. Day 8 - Costa Maya We’ve never been to Costa Maya so decided to see what types of excursions we could sign up for. At this point we didn’t want to do another beach (got enough sun by now!), so was looking for a cultural or city tour. Since Costa Maya isn’t as developed as some of the other places in MX, there wasn’t much to choose from other than the Mayan Ruins tour. This would normally be right up our alley, but as I looked at our current tab$$ onboard, plus the thought of 3 more days spending more money drinking and what not (yes, I know, no one is forcing me to have that glass of wine…… ) I couldn’t wrap my head around the cost of this excursion. BUT…...YOLO! We went for it. We’ve been to many ruins before and were looking forward to comparing these to Chichen Itza, Tulum, Belize and Copan. These ruins were called Chocchaben. The drive to get there was about an hour. Because it is underdeveloped, the tour guide was really good about speaking the whole time giving us lots of information about Costa Maya (not its real name, btw, its “stage name” - locals know it as Mahahual), and its culture to keep us occupied. The ruins themselves were interesting and lots of photo ops around the various areas. Unlike some ruins, we were allowed to climb up to a certain extent. Not quite as interesting as others, but I did like these better than Belize. We were glad we did the tour. Allure as we got off Frida Kahlo mural Look for the sign with your tour name and stand in queue Our tour bus, very Jurassic Park-ish We were allowed to climb up about 6 steps Smaller ruins So, On our way back, I am used to seeing the usual vendor shops and such right by the cruise port. We did see these shops, many of them. What was so strange to me, was that right smack in the middle of these shops was this giant swimming pool with crowds of people hanging out like it was spring break. I can’t describe it really, I had not seen anything like that before. Does anyone know what this was? A connected hotel? A free pool and lounge area? It was right in the plaza
  13. What was supposed to be Day 7 - Sea Day, turned into a port day! After we heard of the extension to Wednesday, I was wondering what they were going to do with us for the next 4 days. Again, I didn't get any info yet from RC (if it was mentioned on the PA announcement, it escaped me) HOWEVER, with the newly added VOOM, I went on RC's facebook page and found a place where they announce changes due to weather. It was there that i saw that we would be going to 2 additional ports - Roatan and Costa Maya! So Day 7 - Roatan, Day 8 - Costa Maya, Days 9 and 10 would be sea days. This helped to ease our anxiety. We LOVE Roatan, been there twice before. Costa Maya would be new for us. Arrival time to Roatan was 11am. We had previosuly reserved the Sushi making class for today at 10am when it was originally supposed to be a sea day. We decided to keep the reservation given the port time. We all hustled and arrived at Izumi's only to find out that the class had been moved to Monday. This is where the RC App loses points as these types of changes do not relfecct on the App. 😞 We decided to just take a taxi on our own to a closeby beach in Roatan. Last time we were there on Princess a few years back,. we ported near Mahogany Bay. Since Allure is too large to dock there, we ended up in Coxen Hole. Closest beach would be Sol y Mar, seemed decent per website reveiws and such. A 10 min taxi ride and a daily resort fee. We really prefer West Bay beach - it's gorgeous out there, but a bit farther and we decided to stay closer for some reason. Anyway, long story short, we arrange a taxi to Sol y Mar for $40 round trip total for 4 people. We get there, the fee to enter the resort is $17pp and they do not take credit cards! Not enough cash , so we decided to go further to West Bay after all. I think it was all meant to be. It's one of the most beautiful stretches of beaches (IMO), water super blue and clear. We went to Henry Morgan resort for $20 pp, including WiFI. Had lunch at the beach restaurant - you cannot get seafood soup anywhere in the states for $10 bucks! Only bad things - lots of bees flying around as well as too many vendors. There are many nice hotels on West Bay - we stayed once at La Sirena - just lovely, but Henry Morgan seemed to have the best day packages for cruisers. I highly recommend Roatan. View from the ship as we docked at Coxen Hole. They seem to be developing something. West Bay - Henry Morgan Hotel 10 dollar seafood soup! So yummy. American Icon Dining Room - you can see the multi tier balcony up into the other levels.
  14. All the other announcements came through fine in our room PA, so I wouldn't have thought to search for other options like you mention on the tv, etc. Just odd that this one did not. I have never heard of XPlor - what is that?
  15. Day 6 - Today will be a long day. We are going to Xcaret, a Nature Adventure Park in Cozumel. We’ve been to Cozumel twice before and have visited Tulum. I’ve heard good things about Xcaret. It is an 8am start to an 8.5 hour excursion. Travel time is 1-1.5 hour each way, as you have to take the ferry to Playa del Carmen followed by a bus ride. DS and I were prepared with our Bonine just in case. We don’t get seasick on the cruise ship, just ferries or small boats in choppy waters. (BTW, I never once felt any rocking while onboard until the very last evening returning to FLL, Never felt like I was even on a large ship the entire time!), Once off the ferry there is a rather long walk to the bus. Xcaret was wonderful. First activity was to swim the cenote from one side of the park to the other. Highly recommend you bring your own water shoes. An experience to remember that everyone does when visiting Xcaret - except me. I do not swim, believe it or not, so DH, DD and DS suited up in their life jackets and away they went. They have these humongous duffle bags that you put all your things in (can fit 2 large backpacks plus more) and they transport it to the other side and it’s waiting for you when you get to the end. They give you a key you wear around your neck while swimming. There were paths I walked to meet them on the other side and could see the swimmers down belo In the meantime, I walked the long path to meet them on the other side and there was plenty to see and take in. The scenery and the way they built their park is beautiful. In about 4 hours we managed to do the cenote swim, lunch with awesome views of the water, swim in the natural pools, visit the cemetery, saw the jaguars and cheetahs, went through the aviary, saw many flamingo and birds. You get a wristband with a barcode that you can scan at various photo op points and they have cameras that will snap your photo automatically. I thought this was a great idea that many parks don’t have. Cost to purchase all photos was $49 and they send you a url link. You can also buy individual photos at a hefty price per. We got the package. They also have colored lines that you just follow to get from point A to B without getting lost - why doesn’t Disney have this? Ruins Animals everywhere, both behind walls and out in the open Natural Pools. This was the veiw from our lunch spot. Waterfalls everywhere I really enjoyed Xcaret and will definitely go back to experience what I missed. The excursion through RC was pricey at about $100pp, but when I look at the Xcaret website, their entrance fee is advertised at $99 pp, so not sure how that adds up! On our way back, my kids were amazed at how large Allure was compared to Empress. This is such an amusing photo! It was so HOT, we probably could have done more if cooler. Back at the stateroom getting ready for dinner is when the announcement came in the hallway that were going to be at sea until WEDNESDAY. Again, this did not come through into our room. I had to pop my head out of the room like most of the others (a bunch of heads hanging out the doors, lol) and when the work WEDNESDAY was announced, the neighbor to my right and I locked eyes and freaked out together for a split second. Last item I'll mention for Day 6 is the Blue Planet Show. For those who are wondering what this is: Main singers were all from Mamma Mia Cast, so, great vocals all around. Not sure the concept worked for me. Didn't quite get it. Random popular songs thrown together with some sort of eco nature theme. I did enjoy one part where they simulated an undersea experience. The production was well done, just not my thing. Goodnight
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