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harryfat1

Cheapo dad’s trip report on Allure of the Seas sailing December 14, 2014

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Loving your report. Also enjoying the added humor. Nice to read a light hearted "report" instead the serious, stuffy official reviews. I'm still reading, so now you have 6 people following!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

 

Thank you for the encouragement. But I am all out of bad jokes and puns so sorry to disappoint you with just a boring report going forward.

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My wife has the better equipment as she is the family photographer in using the Canon T5i.

 

Your interior ship photos are excellent. They look much better than what I can get with my Canon point and shoot. You can't beat a DSLR for low light shots.

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Day 1 – For me the most exciting day of the cruise is day 1. You get to see the new ship & people, but it’s also the most hectic day in getting on board and muster drill along with the sail away. After day 1, you begin to relax and get into the vacation mode but day 1 is both hectic and exciting.

 

Given the hotel is pretty close to Port Everglades, you would think we would opt for a taxi ride instead of the shuttle as it would be cheaper to do the taxi and since it’s well established that I am cheap, that in theory would be my choice. But we didn't do that. We had have 2 occasions from previous cruises (once in FLL and another in Seattle) where we opted for 2 taxis instead of one shuttle for the whole family, invariably the second driver always thinks he knows a “better short cut” to get there and as a result, the family gets split up and we have to find each other at the busy port. Nah, no more. One family, one shuttle bus. Cost savings is not an issue.

 

I found the shuttle company, Quick and Safe, from another cruiser’s review awhile back and booked the 3 legs of the trip with them. They picked us up from hotel to port and then from port to GalleryOne post cruise stay and then from Galleryone to airport the following morning. The Holiday Inn Express offers a shuttle service to the port at the same price but they don’t take you there until 11:30AM. I prefer to get there early myself.

 

At any rate, here is the view from the hotel window and if I zoom in with the camera, I caught a glimpse of the Allure. That caused a little stirred excitement with the first sighting. Meantime my younger one was doing his camcorder thing.

 

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After which, we went downstairs for the usual Holiday Inn Express breakfast. Nothing fancy but feeds the family.

 

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At the front desk during check out, I asked for the stapler to put on the luggage tags that I printed out from home but you can also just have the porters do it for you at the pier. But as you have already guessed, I am anal and I prefer to have it done before we get there.

 

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Here is what we looked like with our Hawaiian shirts as we waited in the lobby for the driver. For those interested, I requested a 10:30 AM shuttle pickup time. The driver (Brian) called before coming and they are very professional and I highly recommend them if you have a big group. As it turned out, the same driver Brian picked us up from the pier post cruise to take us to the GalleryOne as well.

 

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Subscribed! Enjoying your review and pictures . Already many "Lol" moments from my wife who was reading this review as well. we will be on a BTB on Allure feb 8 with an extended family of 8. This is the perfect review at the right time for us! Keep it coming please!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Enjoying your trip report and photos, as a retired CPA I can relate to your posting.

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Pick a Little Talk a Little Pick a Little Talk a Little[ from the Music Man Musical]

-____________________________[fill in the blanks]

Talk a lot Pick a little more

I'm organized, but not that much. G.A.L.

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Ah, you had me at cruise spreadsheets. Last cruise my husband and I had one for daily activities and individual outfit spreadsheets color coded to the suitcase and planned for each day. Great review so far! Love the photos! Keep it coming!

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Great review. Loving the pictures. There will be 8 of us on the Allure in 2016 and will share this reivew with them. I am also a big planner (notebooks, spreadsheets, etc) and make them for the families that go with us. It makes life easier. Thanks for sharing.

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So in order to be save money (did I mention I am cheap?) but still sail during the December holiday month, I pulled the boys out of school one week early (with homework and make ups to be done after they get home post vacation). Yes, I am a cheapo dad and bad dad as well.

 

As an educator, let me say this: I DO THE SAME THING! (Or at least, I did, until the oldest hit high school). We love doing a cruise or a Disney trip in early December, or better yet, the week after New Years! No crowds, super low trip costs and the lowest airfare prices of the year...I'm a huge fan.

 

When I dared mention this on the Disney boards I got slammed for being a bad mom... :D

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Harry, very good review. I took my entire family (10), on Freedom of the Seas a few years ago at Christmas. Same as you; took kids out of school; as the price of our cruise was $500 cheaper per person to go the week prior to Christmas verses the week of Christmas. Again thanks for sharing.

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Looking forward to reading more.

 

Two questions - from where did you take the "top down" picture of the aqua area and wake? You're right - if it's a public area, I'm planning on "stealing" your location to get a photo!

 

Did you bring a laptop/tablet to keep the spreadsheet updated as you went through, or was all that information about event timings available before you went, and if it was, where did you find it?

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Why even write a cruise report? I debated whether to even start this post.

 

I'm glad you did. I greatly enjoy most of them and you can never please everyone, but you will always please someone. I generally do what you do, I don't scan compasses and I don't carry my camera into the MDR, but I'm glad those that do, do so. If nothing else, your pictures will refresh my memory of how much I enjoy this ship and even though I've been on her twice, I will still probably learn something.

 

To other readers, noticed how I quoted the one line and didn't include all 6 photos from that post?:p

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Taking pictures – Has anyone ever wondered the psychology of taking pictures of various things during vacations (especially on a cruise)? We are certainly guilty of that ourselves in taking thousands of pictures every vacation. Stuff you would NEVER take pictures back home all of sudden becomes a “WOW – I must take a picture of this” come cruise time. .

 

I think we would get along great! There was one review, and I'll bet he reads this post. The guy does great reviews, and everyone including myself loves them. I had to tease him though when he posted a pic of Mayonaise packets at the buffet on Labadee. (sorry Phil) :D

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I'm a retired accountant and I'm also on the cheap side--although I do splurge for a balcony cabin and a specialty restaurant. I love your style and humor--so who says that accountants are bland (blah & blah) and have no sense of humor. LOL

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I too was on this sailing. It's great to be reliving it all over again! Wish I could go back in time and do it again though. A great time was had by all!

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Thanks to everybody for the kind words. I will keep plugging away in my trip report. It may not be good or exciting but at least it’ll be detailed. Classic case of quantity over quality.

 

As for pre-planning, since I am the group scheduler for the entire clan, at any given time, someone will ask me, now what we are going to do? By pre planning it helps me organize things ahead of time and minimizes the pressure of making wrong decision without research. I am sure if I spend enough time in therapy, I might have less need to pre-plan vacations but then I am too cheap to go to therapy. I will just come to cruise critics and do my therapy here as it’s free…

 

As for taking the kids out of school early, by looking at the large number of kids on the cruise, I know we are not the only “bad” parents in doing so. Everyone can do the math – don’t need CPA or Excel spreadsheet to subtract 2 numbers and realizing the Christmas cruise can be double in price. I tried to justify it by saying he isn’t the only one in his class to get out – 6 other kids in his class room is out as well that week and he has all the make-up homework and notes from friends after we came back.

 

In theory if you have to take kids out of school in any given week, I think the week before Christmas is the best as they have holiday programs/parties at school at week so it’s not all academics. Then when he goes back to school in January, all the students/teachers are just coming back from holiday break as well so they are all slowly gearing up again versus taking him out of school in October and drop him back when school is in session. Well, at least that’s how I justify it – yeah, I know, cheap dad. My wife is purist and she doesn’t like the idea so we may not be doing any cruises in 2015. We will see.

 

Here are few sample pics from the cruise - having problems with Flickr this morning in it not keeping some of my uploads. First 2 are from the headliner show, Abbacadabra.

 

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Performers from captain’s welcome back party for repeat cruisers.

 

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View during the Cozumel tour. We had bad weather this cruise. Rained on us in 2 of the 3 ports we were in.

 

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Falmouth in the pouring rain with Independence of the Seas on the other side

 

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One last one from Cozumel

 

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Ah, you had me at cruise spreadsheets. Last cruise my husband and I had one for daily activities and individual outfit spreadsheets color coded to the suitcase and planned for each day. Great review so far! Love the photos! Keep it coming!

 

Some people might thing the spreadsheet is over the top, I don't, especially for this ship. Now I used it to plan, but didn't take it with me on the ship. It was a big help in just scheduling everything I wanted to do and making sure nothing overlapped. - Luckily for me the Oceanaria show went on as scheduled, so no money wrenches.

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Keep the report coming, sir! It's definitely scratching an itch I need scratched! I love the pictures and the writing style. Well done.

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In my rush to post pics last night, I forgot to talk about how I populated my spreadsheet with shows/events. The typical window to book shows I believe is 2 to 3 months out but for whatever reason, I was able to book our shows 7 months out in May 2014 for December. One explanation given by others on the boards is that Royal was updating their software for Quantum bookings and somehow that impacted our sailings as well. Not complaining at all, but just to let people know to check regularly for when shows open up if you are on a roll call, somebody there will likely alert you when they are opened.

 

Another pre planning thing I did (which didn’t turned out so well in the end but we’ll get to that later on) was to email RCI’s dining staff with a specific table request. For those interested, the email address is: RCLDining@rccl.com.

 

I gave them our sailing info and requested a table for family of 6 on deck 4 overlooking the center area so we can take pictures of the performances. The nice lady emailed back saying I had requested too early and their system only have sialings 50 days out. So on the 48th day (am I that anal? Don’t answer that), I emailed back again with the same request and the same nice lady emailed back couple days later with a screen shot of the excel spreadsheet (I love it that they use excel to organize seating passengers) with all our 6 names displayed and showing us on table 413 by the railings. So if table placement is important to you, try this route. I will explain later on day 1 events why this bombed on us.

 

Another pre planning thing to do is we requested a Port Everglades “wave cam” zoom in to us during the sail away. From other reviews, I know to the place to be is at deck 12 in the back where the not so secret balconies are and requested that zoom in on an Asian family of 6 wearing Hawaiian shirts (about as specific as I can get). Well, as I will explain later on, this pre planning idea went down the toilet also. But hopefully this info is useful to somebody going forward:

 

http://portevergladeswebcam.com/wave.html

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Some people might thing the spreadsheet is over the top, I don't, especially for this ship. Now I used it to plan, but didn't take it with me on the ship. It was a big help in just scheduling everything I wanted to do and making sure nothing overlapped. - Luckily for me the Oceanaria show went on as scheduled, so no money wrenches.

 

I also have done a spreadsheet for our upcoming Oasis cruise. I found it very helpful in scheduling shows, dinners, excursions. BTW..I'm also an accountant..lol. Great review so far!

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