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Middle Aged Drama Queen Goes BIG: Solo & Last Minute on the ALLURE!!!

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“I will NEVER sail on a ship as large as the Allure! Never! They’re just too darn BIG!!!!”

 

Famous last words.

 

This had been said…emphatically and repeatedly…by yours truly…over the last several years. And so, why, then, did I find myself doing just that – sailing on the Allure – the World’s Largest Cruise Ship??!! After booking with only four days before embarkation??!! And not only sailing, but sailing SOLO??!!! Was I crazy? Had I lost my mind??!!

 

Well. If you know me – or have followed along on my wild and crazy adventures on previous reviews – then you know that the answers to those questions are most likely, “Yes and yes.” As in, yes, I am crazy – and yes, I’ve pretty much lost my mind…however, my friends and family will tell you that it’s doubtful I ever had one to begin with. Ahem.

 

My arguments against sailing on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship were twofold:

 

1. I have the World’s Worst Sense of Direction…and therefore, I was positive I would never be able to navigate the World’s Largest Cruise Ship. I was hesitant about spending 99% of my valuable time onboard wandering around in a perpetual circle of doom…a continual loop of lostness…and I figured the cruise ship management would frown on leaving bread crumbs or Cupcake crumbs as a trail to help me find my way back to my cabin.

 

2. I hate people. Wait. That came out wrong. It’s not people I hate – but I do hate crowds. If you’ve read any of my previous reviews, you will know that I tend to refer to large crowds as hordes of “barbarians” – and plopping myself right down in the middle of a horde of barbarians on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship was a nightmare I didn’t want to experience.

 

So…secure in the knowledge that I would never embark on an adventure on either the Oasis or Allure…imagine my surprise and shock when I did just that. I sailed on the January 20th sailing of the Allure of the Seas – Eastern Caribbean itinerary.

 

Alone.

 

I AM crazy – and I HAD lost my mind!!!

 

So…what follows will be a review…of the World’s Largest Cruise Ship.

 

With pictures. And Cruise Compasses. And misc stuff thrown, such as Spa menus, Cruise Specials, Teen Compass, etc. For the OCD planners, like me.

 

AllureOfTheSeas_zpsc6fed760.jpg

 

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to sail – alone – on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – I’m here to tell you.

 

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to book a cruise at the very last possible minute – on Wednesday – when sailing is Sunday – I’m here to tell you.

 

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to cruise on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – and not EVER partake in one meal in the Main Dining room – I’m here to tell you.

 

If you’ve ever wondered what could go wrong – or right – on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – I’m here to tell you.

 

And if you’re wondering if I would ever sail AGAIN on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – or her sister, the Oasis – I’m here to tell you. But not until the end… ☺

 

With pictures.

 

-------

 

First, though, a bit of background information.

 

I am the Middle Aged Drama Queen, aka Sherri.

 

 

DQSailaway_zpsebf16d06.jpg

That's me.

 

I am a middle-aged suburban wife, mother, grandmother, and Disaster Services volunteer with the American Red Cross. I love my family, and I love traveling with them – but I’m not adverse to going alone. Don’t tell them I said that. Hee hee.

 

This summer, our family sailed through Europe (with our adventures chronicled below). While on the ship, we made numerous friends, including a couple from Pittsburg, Steve and Amy.

 

Steve and Amy had planned a cruise on the January 20thth sailing of the Allure of the Seas, along with Amy's parents, and for several months, we had scintillating and entertaining conversations on Facebook that looked like this:

 

Steve & Amy: “Sherri…you should go with us on the Allure!”

 

Me: “It’s too big. No.”

 

Steve & Amy: “We’d have so much fun! You should go!”

 

Me: “It’s too crowded. No.”

 

Steve & Amy: “You could write another one of your entertaining reviews!”

 

Me: “No.”

 

And so on…and so on. You get the point.

 

SteveAndAmyParents_zps4b2aba0a.jpg

Pat & Jerry (the parents) with Amy & Steve....

 

 

So…time passes…months go by. Steve and Amy are happily planning their trip on the Allure, while I am volunteering with disasters such as Hurricane Isaac, followed by Hurricane Sandy, and catching up with the holidays. A much-needed vacation was needed, and I found myself resting up in our vacation home in Ft. Myers, Florida after the first of the year…and here’s where the trouble began. The following conversation took place on Tuesday, January 15th.

 

Steve & Amy: “Sherri – we’re getting together the night before the cruise in Ft. Lauderdale with Carol and Jeff…who cruised with us this summer, remember them? Anyway – we’d love to have you join us for dinner on the 19th.”

 

Me: Intrigued. “I could do that. Where & when?”

 

The time and place were established, and Steve and Amy valiantly tried one more time to get me onboard:

 

Steve & Amy: “You should go with us on the cruise.”

 

Me: “Hubby would never let me go by myself.”

 

Wait. What?! Did I just say that??!! What happened to my usual emphatic “No”???

 

I went to bed that night, and thought about this…and before I knew it, I was asking Hubby Mike if I could go on the cruise. By myself. Sorta – if you don’t count Steve and Amy and the other 6,000+ passengers.

 

And Hubby Mike’s response was, “Why not? Go – have fun! Enjoy yourself!”

 

Holy SHOCK, Batman! Did my Hubby just say that???!!!

 

Before Hubby Mike had a chance to realize what he’d just said, I quickly called Royal Caribbean on Wednesday morning and booked myself on Sunday’s cruise. I had basically no choice of cabin – so I was given the lovely accommodations of Cabin #10131 – an interior on Deck #10. At this point, I would have slept on a bench in Central Park onboard the ship, but that wasn’t necessary.

 

I was going on the cruise.

 

I then called Steve and Amy to share the exciting news:

 

“I’M GOING ON THE CRUISE!!!!”

 

To say that Steve and Amy were a bit shocked is an understatement. I can only hope to this day that they really did mean it when they had invited me before…and if they DIDN’T mean it, this will surely teach them a lesson to be careful what they ask for. Hee hee.

 

So…four days before sailing. I had to get my passport over-nighted from Kansas City to Ft. Myers; I had to do last-minute packing; and I had to frantically study reviews and threads on Cruise Critic so I would be somewhat prepared. As if you can be prepared for sailing on the World’s Largest Cruise Ship – but thanks to all of you dear posters on Cruise Critic, I had ample information to peruse.

 

What I could NOT do was book anything online – show reservations, excursions, soda packages, etc – as the online window had closed. “Too close to sailing,” I was told. I would have to do all of this onboard…and how would THAT go? Would I have problems? Could it be done?? How does someone who prides themselves on planning vacations – and doing up Excel vacation spreadsheets – a year in advance – handle going at the last minute??!!

 

With no plans??!!

 

With no spreadsheets??!!

 

Let’s find out…

 

What follows will be a review of the Jan. 20 - 27th, 2013 Eastern Caribbean sailing on the World's Largest Cruise Ship, the beautiful & magnificent Allure of the Seas....

 

It will be long. It will be wordy.

 

But it will have pictures.

 

WelcomeAboardSign_zpsf7107472.jpg

 

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Yeah!! keep 'er going... need something to do today between my trips outside to shovel :(

 

Ok... seriously... you go to the land of the cruise ships and this needs to be done...

 

 

So…four days before sailing. I had to get my passport over-nighted from Kansas City to Ft. Myers

 

 

Passport goes EVERYWHERE with you... never know when you'll need it ;)

Edited by Beth C

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What follows will be a review of the Jan. 20 - 27th, 2013 Eastern Caribbean sailing on the World's Largest Cruise Ship, the beautiful & magnificent Allure of the Seas....

 

 

 

 

Do we really need to wait for the end to know how you really feel? :D ;) I'm sure the wait will be great fun for us. I'm looking forward to it even though I have no desire to go on a monster ship. :eek:

 

Gina

Edited by mommabean

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Subscribing...I really enjoyed your last review and am anticipating another. Thanks in advance.:D

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OMG how could I have missed any of your other reviews when I love this one. Keep this one coming and in the meantime I am off to find another of your reviews.

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So…

 

As I said…I booked this cruise on Wednesday, January 16th…for the January 20th sailing. Yowza.

 

While talking with the RCI agent on the phone, I asked what form of ID would be needed at embarkation. I had my driver’s license with me, but no other form of ID. I was told that a driver’s license would only be accepted with another form of government-issued ID, such as a Social Security card or birth certificate. Having neither one of those with me in Ft. Myers, a quick call was made to home (in Kansas City), and my passport was overnighted.

 

Overnighted...as in – I received it on Friday afternoon. Talk about cutting it close. Sheesh.

 

After arranging for my passport to be sent, I then searched online for a pre-cruise hotel to stay at in Ft. Lauderdale. As you can imagine, trying to find a hotel with only four nights to spare was not easy – most were booked solid. However, I did find one that had guest rooms available – and so I quickly reserved a room at the Hampton Inn & Suites at 2500 Stirling Rd…it was a little further away from the port than I would have liked, but they had a King Non-Smoking room available, and I would be able to leave my car parked there for the duration of the cruise.

 

hamptonInn_zps3d39c6f2.jpg

 

 

It was a short two-hour drive across I-75 from Ft. Myers to Ft. Lauderdale, and I was able to check in quickly and with no problems. I did have a chuckle when I saw the note posted on the bed in the room:

 

HotelDuvetSign_zpse9e4f5dc.jpg

Um…aren’t clean sheets a given when checking into a motel??!! I guess I should be grateful for the reassurance, though.

 

The room was clean…basic…and perfect for my needs. After freshening up, I headed to the restaurant, Southport Raw Bar, at 1536 Cordova Rd, to meet up with Steve and Amy, their parents, and Carol and Jeff.

 

SouthportFront_zpsa616b1f1.jpg

 

Because the GPS in my car was programmed back in the dinosaur days, combined with my World’s Worst Sense of Direction, I, uh, did get a bit lost, but I eventually found it and was quickly seated with our group for a delicious dinner of seafood.

 

The restaurant doesn’t look like much from the front – but don’t let it’s bland appearance fool you. It has tables that are in the back, and you get an incredible view of the water:

 

SouthportRawView_zps5acffde5.jpg

 

 

The food was delicious, and before we knew it, it was time to head back to our respective hotels/homes – and get ready for tomorrow’s adventure – embarkation! Before we left, though, we took a group photo – and because of the darkness, it didn’t turn out all that well – but still captured the warm spirit of the group:

 

SouthportGroupPhoto_zpsc4ce762d.jpg

 

 

After getting lost only 2-3 more times on the short drive back to the motel, I was finally ensconced, safe and sound, in my room...dreaming of sailaway parties and buffets and drinks with paper umbrellas.

 

Life was good.

 

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I can't wait to read this.

I loved both of your reviews last year.

 

I have also said the Oasis and Allure are too big. so I can't wait to see how this turns out.

 

After all your hard work this late summer and fall you deserve a cruise.

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Ok... seriously... you go to the land of the cruise ships and this needs to be done...

Passport goes EVERYWHERE with you... never know when you'll need it ;)

 

Uh...I know that NOW! Lesson learned - I will always have it. I almost missed a cruise because of this little detail. :)

 

Do we really need to wait for the end to know how you really feel? :D ;) I'm sure the wait will be great fun for us. I'm looking forward to it even though I have no desire to go on a monster ship. :eek:

 

Gina

 

If you sneak a peek at my signature, you don't have to wait until the end. Hint, hint. ;)

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Subscribing...I really enjoyed your last review and am anticipating another. Thanks in advance.:D

 

I'm glad you're back! This one will be different - being a solo cruiser led to some different adventures...

 

Yay! I love your reviews! This will help pass the time until our cruise on Indy in March.

 

Thank you! Lucky you - one planned in March...can I go along?? As you can see, I'm not shy in inviting myself along....

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Hurray!!!! I was waiting for this!

 

Yay! I'm glad you're along for the ride. :)

 

OMG how could I have missed any of your other reviews when I love this one. Keep this one coming and in the meantime I am off to find another of your reviews.

 

Really!! How could you have missed my others??!! Where have you BEEN??!!

 

Seriously, though - have plenty of spare time...especially for the 12-night European cruise...I think my review is as long as an epic novel. Welcome, though!

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this sounds like an excellent review already! how do i subscribe... wait... just did it! :) x

 

Welcome! I hope you read my other reviews, as well, if you haven't already... The Serenade (to Europe) was a smaller ship, and then the Freedom (to the Caribbean) was bigger...and I "thought" it would be as big as I would ever go! Boy, was I wrong!

 

I can't wait to read this.

I loved both of your reviews last year.

 

I have also said the Oasis and Allure are too big. so I can't wait to see how this turns out.

 

After all your hard work this late summer and fall you deserve a cruise.

 

Aw, thank you! Hey - I was like you...so just wait. :)

 

And thank you - I did work hard with the Red Cross...man, 12-hour days, with no breaks, for weeks straight...I gave it my all, but it's what I love to do, so I'll do it again, I'm sure. :)

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If you sneak a peek at my signature, you don't have to wait until the end. Hint, hint. ;)

 

I guess you want to see if you can't stand Oasis just as much. :p

 

Gina

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Uh...I know that NOW! Lesson learned - I will always have it. I almost missed a cruise because of this little detail. :)

 

 

 

If you sneak a peek at my signature, you don't have to wait until the end. Hint, hint. ;)

:D Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm subscribing now as its only 97 days before we try this behemoth and I'd love to see the ship from your perspective. Edited by peteukmcr

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SO looking forward to this, Sherri!!

 

Yay, Stacie - one of my FB friends! It's been awhile to work on it - what with everything going on this week - but I'll get 'er done!

 

 

I can't wait to see how you liked the Allure. It is amazing! We love it.

 

OMG - it's Gambee's Mom!!!

 

You are a celebrity, as well as your son! You do not know how much Gambee's EPIC review helped me in the four days I had before the cruise! I LOVED his review - and I loved your relationship....thanks for following!

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Thanks for doing this review. The Southport Raw Bar is also a favorite of mine in Ft. Lauderdale!

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I spent the day yesterday reading your other two cruise reviews and was sad to see them end.. So excited to unexpectedly see another one when I logged on just now...my wish came true. LOL Hubby & I booked a cruise on the Allure just five days before sailing this past November and I thought that was a rush. I can't wait to read your review...please hurry. :D

Edited by sspidle

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Yippee! I was hoping you would post another wonderful review. I read your Med review and it inspired me to finally book my dream cruise to the Med for Sept 2013. I also thoroughly enjoy your "Adventures of a Middle Aged Drama Queen" blog. My condolences on the loss of your MIL.

Edited by celebrity

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Thank you posting this review, off to a great start and can't wait for more.

 

We sail on Apr 21, so I love reading all Allure reviews.

 

OWD

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