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

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I read your 2 other reviews awhile ago. Amazing! As another poster noted, I was sorry to see them end. Now I can't wait for this one to continue. I'm a fan!!

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Sherri,

I am so looking forward to this review. I got talked into Allure this coming May so I need all the good secrets to keeping sane on a floating theme park. :p :D

 

Bill

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Anyone else have trouble sleeping the night before a cruise???

 

I’m pretty sure I got perhaps 52 minutes of sleep – at MOST – the night before embarkation…and that may be stretching it. No matter how I tried, I could just NOT turn my brain off…thoughts of, “What if the hotel shuttle bus forgets me?” and “What if this is all a dream, and I’m really not going on a cruise tomorrow??!!” as well as, “What if the soda package isn’t available onboard and I have to go into Diet Coke withdrawal??!!” ran through my head…but the most prevalent thought was, undoubtedly,

 

“OH MY GOSH, I’M GOING ON A CRUISE!!!”

 

By 4:00 a.m., I was pretty much saying, “Oh, the heck with THIS!” and I got up and got ready. I figured I had seven days to relax and snooze and catch up on my rest while onboard the World’s Largest Cruise Ship (snort – yeah – like THAT would happen!), but it was a good thought, anyway.

 

By 9:00 am, I was in the lobby, eating a standard breakfast buffet and watching all of the other excited cruisers in the lobby…there is most definitely a buzz in the air as everyone is just…happy. Very, very happy. I think the key to world peace would be to have everyone in the world be embarking on a cruise – just build a few more Allure’s and Oasis’s, and RCI could handle the population.

 

Eventually, the shuttle bus arrived, and it was time to load up. Awkward solo moment #1: When everyone else on the shuttle bus realizes you are traveling alone…and they somewhat look at you like you’re either a social pariah or you have terrible halitosis. This will be something I have to get over – the fact I’m traveling alone – and this will require a bit of bravado and confidence.

 

As a solo cruiser, I basically have two choices on how I want to travel. I can travel the entire week in a vow of silence – never talking or conversing with anyone else – or, I can get to know my fellow cruisers…but I know that I will have to be the one to initiate the conversation. To show them I’m not a social pariah or have terrible halitosis. And so I do. Initiate the conversation, I mean.

 

I begin talking with the woman next to me in the shuttle bus – Marie, from Quebec. She is traveling with her husband, and they will be sailing on the Ruby Princess. We are talking about traveling, when she begins telling me a story of how she spent the night once with Hugh Jackman.

 

Did you catch that?

 

Hugh Jackman.

 

Yes. THAT Hugh Jackman. As in Wolverine, Les Miserables, and all things yummy Hugh Jackman.

 

Wait. What?! I SO wanted to hear the rest of this story, that I was (almost) willing to jump ship and sail on the Ruby Princess just to hear it – but luckily, our driver took his sweet time in getting us to the port, so I was able to hear how Marie spent the night with Hugh Jackman.

 

It turns out, she sat next to him on a red-eye flight, and they spent most of the night talking…she says he was very personable, even shaking her hand as they departed the plane…and she now gets to brag about spending the night with Hugh Jackman.

 

I touched her shoulder as she was getting out of the shuttle, so that I can now say that I TOUCHED someone who touched Hugh Jackman.

 

Little did I know that I would be able to do her one better after this Allure adventure…as I can now say that I sailed with Brad Pitt. I even have photographic proof…but you’ll have to wait for that.

 

Everyone on the shuttle was now intrigued that I was a solo cruiser – and even more intrigued that my Dear Hubby had blessed this trip…so I fudged a bit and said that I was an EPIC WRITER and I would be writing an EPIC REVIEW of this sailing, and therefore, it was strictly for research purposes that I was cruising. Certainly not for fun or anything like that…no. Research purposes only. Uh huh.

 

Anyway – we eventually arrived at the port at about 10:15 am and it was time to disembark the shuttle van and embark on the ship. I was able to quickly find a porter to take my bags, as well as get luggage tags…so, here’s a tip:

 

DON’T SWEAT THE LUGGAGE TAGS.

 

Seriously. I see so many threads on here where people freak out because they don’t have tags – or don’t know how to print them or attach them – and I just want to tell you: calm down. You can get luggage tags with NO PROBLEM at the port. Easy, peasy.

 

After handing over my luggage, I began making my way to inside the terminal….While on the way, I ran into a couple who had been on the shuttle bus with me, who were looking a bit sickened….I asked, “What’s wrong?” They replied, “The porter says we can’t go inside the terminal until 2:00 pm.” They were preparing themselves to sit outside - in the hot sun - until 2:00 pm.

 

“That’s crazy,” I replied. “Follow me.”

 

I’m not sure why they were told that…or perhaps they misunderstood the porter, who was probably trying to say that BOARDING wouldn’t happen until 2:00 pm, but whatever the case, we went in and quickly were ushered to our respective lanes to check in.

 

The Diamond lane was empty - SCORE! - so I hopped in and met up with RCI agent, Jack Doyle, who checked me in with no problems. When I asked his permission to take his photo, he looked a bit surprised – as I imagine he doesn’t get asked that very often. I told him I was en EPIC WRITER working on an EPIC REVIEW - and I needed his photo for research purposes. He looked at me like I was crazy - but gave his consent for his photo.

 

JackDoyle_zpsea60e66a.jpg

He's still looking at me like I'm crazy...go figure.

 

At 10:20 am, the lines are pretty non-existent for check-in, as you can see here:

 

NoLinesPreBoard_zps9e75f39a.jpg

Seriously...you would never DREAM that 6,000+ people will be checking in today...

 

After leaving Jack, I walked to where they take your photo in front of the big ship. Awkward solo moment #2: When the photographer asks how many people are in your party, and you answer “One. Just me.”

 

I promise him I'm not a social pariah, but I'm really an EPIC WRITER, and he looks at me like I'm crazy and sends me on my way.

 

 

Once the photograph is taken, you are then ushered upstairs to the waiting areas…where you are categorized and sorted based on your C&A level. I went over to the Diamond area, where I looked in awe at the Pinnacle area, knowing that THIS was as close as I would EVER be to Pinnacle. I'll find out later in the cruise just how many Pinnacle members we had on our sailing, and I was shocked.

 

The Diamond area had a few people already waiting:

 

DiamondWaiting_zpsfc060a4c.jpg

 

 

And there was plenty of room for more:

 

DiamondWaiting2_zps48277ffd.jpg

Where IS everyone??!!

 

 

It was a bit disconcerting to see, at 10:30 am, THIS sign:

 

BoardingTime_zps38ead2a5.jpg

 

 

But…I knew, from past experience, that we’d be onboard the ship by 11:30.

 

While waiting, I peeked over the edge and watched people check in. The photo below shows not only the check-in lines, but also the photo area:

 

Terminal1_zps6c78d7c2.jpg

 

 

Tips for embarkation:

 

1. If you arrive early, you will probably find little, to no, lines.

2. However, if you arrive early, you will probably have to wait in the seating area.

3. There ARE restroom facilities, vending machines, and a playground in the seating/waiting area.

 

 

As I was waiting, I got a text message from Steve & Amy, saying they had just checked in and were in the Gold waiting area, which was across the way. I had no sooner stood up to wave at her, when it was time for the Diamonds to board. I quickly called her and told her we’d meet up at the Park Café, and it was time to go.

 

I had only one thought on my mind:

 

OH MY GOSH, I’M GOING ON A CRUISE!!!

 

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

 

Gina

 

Hee hee. So true. It was just SO awful, I have to see if the Oasis is worse. And I'll be taking Hubby and one of the Klingons this time - I won't be a social pariah on this next cruise!

 

: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.

 

Glad you're along for the ride! I'm sure you're going to have an amazing time in 97 days...need an EPIC WRITER to tag along on your trip to document your adventures??!!

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

 

You're welcome! The Southport was great...! I'm just glad I finally found it.... :)

 

Off to a great start...I am having a couple good chuckles.....:D

 

looking forward to more!!!

 

Thanks, Meg! :)

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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

 

Wow - you just found the other ones yesterday??!! What fortuitous timing on your part that I would begin the Allure review today!! Thanks for reading. :)

 

I love your reviews! Looking forward to this.

 

Aw, thank you, WorkAtHome! :) I hope you enjoy it...it will be...different. :)

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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.

 

Aw, thank you...it was sad losing Joyce, but I know she's in a better place...it's what has kept me a bit busy this week, and so I didn't have time to focus on writing this review. But here I am...I'm back. :)

 

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

 

You're going to have a great time...and you'll appreciate the Cruise Compasses and other literature I'll be posting! :)

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I read your 2 other reviews awhile ago. Amazing! As another poster noted, I was sorry to see them end. Now I can't wait for this one to continue. I'm a fan!!

 

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed my other two...and as you see, I should have a few more up my sleeve in the coming year. I always appreciate my "fans"! :)

 

Woohoo! So excited to read another one of your fabulous reviews!!

 

Woot! I'm so glad! Thank you - I love your excitement! That's how I was when I was boarding - I was doing the Woohoo dance! :)

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Sherri,

I am so looking forward to this review. I got talked into Allure this coming May so I need all the good secrets to keeping sane on a floating theme park. :p :D

 

Bill

 

Hey, hello, good friend! I KNEW you were looking forward to this one! I will try/promise to give as much advice/secrets that I can...you are going to have an amazing time. :)

 

Fantastic review. I can't wait for more. :)

 

Thank you! Coming from someone with all of your cruise history, this means a lot to me. :)

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JackDoyle_zpsea60e66a.jpg

He's still looking at me like I'm crazy...go figure.

 

 

Poor Jack... The thought bubble above his head could read

 

"Do I alert the TSA about this one or not?"

 

 

Sent from my Speak & Spell using Tapatalk

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HAHA Sherri

I just "knew" from seeing your random pics on facebook a review would surely follow.......and it has, I'm here till the end

 

wendy

x

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As a solo cruiser, I basically have two choices on how I want to travel. I can travel the entire week in a vow of silence – never talking or conversing with anyone else – or, I can get to know my fellow cruisers…but I know that I will have to be the one to initiate the conversation. To show them I’m not a social pariah or have terrible halitosis. And so I do. Initiate the conversation, I mean.

 

 

I have actual envy here as sometimes i think there is nothing more that i'd love to do than travel alone at least once in my lifetime (sorry mr charleyroo!)... imagine the people you meet! i have a friend who travelled Europe on his own, and people would just come up to him and have a beer with him, or he'd approach a group and ask to join... amazing! no fear!

i did travel to austria alone once (meeting a friend the other side) and had a fantastic time with a bachelor party travelling on the same plane :) they all descended on the seats around me and we had many giggles!

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I have actual envy here as sometimes i think there is nothing more that i'd love to do than travel alone at least once in my lifetime (sorry mr charleyroo!)... imagine the people you meet! i have a friend who travelled Europe on his own, and people would just come up to him and have a beer with him, or he'd approach a group and ask to join... amazing! no fear!

i did travel to austria alone once (meeting a friend the other side) and had a fantastic time with a bachelor party travelling on the same plane :) they all descended on the seats around me and we had many giggles!

 

I feel the same way! Very happily married but would love to take off on my own on a cruise.

Back to Sherri's review..

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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.

 

 

 

Sherri, I am absolutely loving this review. I surprised friends on the Allure last summer. As someone who writes reviews, I will tell you: you have me entirely beat to heck! And I would gladly cruise with you any day. :)

 

Just had to chime in here that this paragraph shows how utterly and entirely clueless some of the "RC agents" are.

 

If you had brought a driver's license and your social security card, you would have been waving good bye to the Allure from the pier. :cool:

Edited by Merion_Mom

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Day 1: Embarkation

 

Is there anything more exciting than walking across the gangway onto a cruise ship for the first time???!!

 

Okay. Don’t answer that. I’m sure there are SOME things – like getting married, or having your first child or grandchild, that are pretty darn exciting…but all of you cruise junkies know what I mean.

 

Your heart is racing, your palms are sweating, and you’re fairly BOUNCING with excitement as you’re walking onboard. Just call me Tigger – I was hopping up and down so much! Giddy. Gleeful. Pumped.

 

OH MY GOSH, I’M GOING ON A CRUISE!!!!

 

We exited the terminal and began heading towards the gangway...but there was one last photo I had taken from the terminal…and as I LOVED this sentiment, I just had to share:

 

SeeTheWorld_zps2b317f47.jpg

 

Yes, please. Where do I sign up?

 

 

The Allure of the Seas has a series of gangways...all going up, up, up...that eventually get you on the ship:

 

Gangway_zps53a98489.jpg

Walking - actually, skipping - up the gangway....

 

 

When you first enter the ship, you enter from one of two entrances set up…they both “dump” you directly onto Deck 5, the Royal Promenade.

 

 

Now, normally, I try not to post the "awful" photos - you know the ones...the unfocused, the heads chopped off, the "WHAT was I thinking??!!" photos.... But THIS photo says it all:

 

Shaking_zps87c8f01f.jpg

 

It's what I took as I stepped onto the ship for the first time...shaky hands and all. Can you tell I was BOUNCING??!! I also like this photo as it somewhat - surreally, to be sure - captures what is going through our brains as we walk onboard...everything is a blur....

 

Having been on the Freedom of the Seas in July, I was experienced with the Royal Promenade – so I wasn’t TOTALLY overwhelmed and blown away by the sensations of lights, colors, noise, and smells that will hit you the minute you enter the Royal Promenade…but I was still pretty darn impressed. The Allure takes the Royal Promenade to new levels…by stretching it both lengthwise and widthwise…it was amazing.

 

RoyalPromenade_zpsae1b5fbe.jpg

 

And here…Dear Readers…is where I’m going to divert…for just a bit…from my day-to-day activities…as I first want to take you on a tour…a tour of the ship. If you don’t have your bearings of the ship, how will you ever follow along as I tell you I jogged on the track, or strolled in the park, or skipped along the Boardwalk…???

 

So…indulge me, if you will…as I give you a photographic tour of all things Allure of the Seas….the World’s Largest Cruise Ship.

 

We’re going to work our way down…from the top to the bottom…and I’ll throw in a bit about what I know – or learned – about the various decks and venues that we’ll visit along the way.

 

After embarking on our tour, I promise to get back to the day-to-day activities, as well as post the Cruise Compasses for each day.

 

So...up to Deck 17. Let the tour begin.

 

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Yea......Stephanie Plum, I mean Sherri, is back.:o

 

I will be following along just like hundreds or thousands of others will be. Was a great surprise finding this thread. I leave for a couple hours this afternoon and find your review when I came home. Now, I won't get anything done until this review is over. I do have a cruise on March 5th to get ready for, but I will find the time somewhere to do that. This is more important. :p

 

Can't wait to find out how you like the ship. I seriously doubt I will ever get to go on one of these mega ships. But, never say never. ;)

 

Loving the review so far. Keep it coming........

 

Gwen :)

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Sherri -I love this review. Can't wait for the rest. I cruise every summer solo--my husband likes to cruise but doesn't love it like I do. Best regards. Katherine

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Hee hee. So true. It was just SO awful, I have to see if the Oasis is worse. And I'll be taking Hubby and one of the Klingons this time - I won't be a social pariah on this next cruise!

 

 

 

Glad you're along for the ride! I'm sure you're going to have an amazing time in 97 days...need an EPIC WRITER to tag along on your trip to document your adventures??!!

Sherri, you've got me hooked. I think we need an EPIC WRITER!

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Mom told me about your review and I had to stop by and read it, I loved your past reviews and I can't to how this one develops.

 

Thanks for sharing :)

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Really loving this review so far! Great sense of humor and you are an EPIC writer! :)

 

Sherri, I am absolutely loving this review. I surprised friends on the Allure last summer. As someone who writes reviews, I will tell you: you have me entirely beat to heck! And I would gladly cruise with you any day. :)

 

Just had to chime in here that this paragraph shows how utterly and entirely clueless some of the "RC agents" are.

 

If you had brought a driver's license and your social security card, you would have been waving good bye to the Allure from the pier. :cool:

That's what I thought too when I read that! I went to the RCCL site to log on and double check just to be sure, and of course, the site's not working for me again.

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