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Allure 1/5-1/12 misc. tidbits

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Recently sailed Allure on 1/5 to ST. Thomas, San Juan, and Labadee.  Instead of a detailed review, I thought I would share a few comments/observations from the trip. 

 

We flew in the morning of the cruise and had a slight mishap with luggage.  When checking in at the airport one of our bags was 15lbs over the weight limit....we spent several minutes moving items around until all three checked bags were under 50lbs; 50lbs, 48lbs and 46lbs.  Two things here, first is why in the heck are we traveling with nearly 150lbs of checked luggage???? We are well seasoned travelers and on this trip we both over packed like never before.  In fact, we came home with far more clean cloths than dirty, clearly poor planning on our part.  Secondly, we no longer have FF status on American and the cost of one overweight bag would have been $100, so we quickly shuffled items around at the check in counter.  In our haste the sun screen products were moved and when we retrieved our luggage in FLL it was evident that one of the bottles discharged during flight.  Ended up with a $40 cleaning bill to have them laundered on the ship...oh well poor planning on our part.

 

We arrived at the cruise terminal around 11:30 and were immediately on board.  From the time we stepped out of the cab until we were on the ship we never stopped moving, guessing around 10 minutes!  We booked a JS cabin which helped sine there was a separate entrance and no waiting for security or the roving check in process. 

 

Pre-purchased both the unlimited drink and dinning packages.  We were assigned to Izumi for the first night and we really enjoyed this meal.  The first evening we went to make our reservations for dinner and could not find anything between 6:30 and 8:00pm for dinner on day 2, but we were able to book specialty restaurants for the balance of the week. 

 

On day two we ate in Coastal Kitchen.  Nice meal and we like the atmosphere especially the very high ceilings.  The food was very good as was the service.  During dinner we were seated next to a couple that had black sea pass cards, I believe that means they were staying in a top suite.  During the dinner a gentlemen (fellow passenger) came and sat next to them and was completely involving himself in their business....I could go on but it was clear that he was attempting to develop a relationship with them for his own advantage.  I felt sorry for the couple, not sure they fully comprehended what he was doing.  Oddly enough on three other nights at different specialty restaurants we were seated next to another couple who had a Genie and let's say had very high expectations from their Genie.....  They also felt compelled to share that they brought $30K in cash with them and were having a hard time spending it (casino, on shore and tips), but they were struggling with what to give to their Genie because he was not waiting for them after each meal....

 

We did eat in Chops, 150, Samba, Giovanni's, and a second time at 150.  Chops was good, the service was efficient but very impersonal.  The first meal at 150 was great while the second was just okay.  The second 150 meal I recall signing a ticket for $0 and we left $20 in cash for the tip (standard tip from us for specialty dinning), but somehow on the last morning when I reviewed our sea pass charges, they ended up charging us over $100...still trying to sort that one out.  We enjoyed Giovanni's.  Samba was a big disappointment....they serve you eight different meats, we only made it through the first four.  We actually split each of the first four portions and did not want anymore....most of the meat was flavorless.  I would not recommend eating at Samba.

 

more in a few minutes...

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Thanks so much! Leaving for Allure on Feb 2 and purchased unlimited drink and the unlimited dinning.  Did you take advantage of lunch with the dinning plan?

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55 minutes ago, p182cessna said:

Thanks so much! Leaving for Allure on Feb 2 and purchased unlimited drink and the unlimited dinning.  Did you take advantage of lunch with the dinning plan?

Most of the specialty restaurants were open for lunch on boarding day and sea days, not sure about port days.  We did use Johnny Rockets for lunch on the three sea days.  The first day we took a break from the pool and went for a sit down lunch and it was good for what you can order.  The other two sea days I did take out from JRs and we ate up on the pool deck where we sat all day.  The takeout is nice, they package everything up nicely just had to wait about 15 minutes after placing the order (in person).  I did hear from others that had lunch at Chops and Giovanni's that they really enjoyed it.  We typically will sit out on the pool deck from 8/9 in the morning until 4/5.  We generally don't like to leave the pool area and loose our seats.

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Drink package thoughts..... this was the first cruise after the NYE cruise and we felt that the bar staff was a little under par the first two days.  We chalked this up to they probably worked real hard with the NYE cruise where the crowds typically drank more and stayed out later than on typical cruises. We sailed the prior two years on a NYE cruise and that was our experience.

 

We enjoy martinis before dinner and generally will order something pretty simply...like vodka martini with a twist.  For whatever reason, the bartenders kept offering a "twist" on the martini, how about some sour apple or other flavor.  I would restate that I wanted a simple vodka martini up with a "lemon twist"....often they had no lemons or they would put a lime wedge on the rim of the glass.  It took me several orders over the first two days to get it correct, although I did drink whatever they gave me.  This whole lemon issue we have experienced multiple times on RCCL....not sure why???/

 

After the first two days things settle down and bar service was very good with the exception of the pool bars.  I miss the roaming bar waiters from the old days when they were what seemed to be constantly around.  Now it seems rare to find one wondering around the pool deck taking drink orders.  Generally we sit in the same location throughout the cruise and get 'adopted' by a bar waiter.....this cruise we did not.  We tip $5 per round for the two of us and could not find a server to take our order until the last sea day.  Perhaps it is just the size of the ship and fewer waiters per person.  The lines at the pool bars were often five or more deep....I hate to wait in lines like that for a drink and generally will not. 

 

Overall I am sure that my wife did not come close to breakeven on the package but it was worth it for me. 

 

more to come on ports and the ship....

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Ports... We enjoy sailing from PE which is very close to the FLL airport.  Not sure there is a port and airport that are closer than these two.  Our stops were St. Thomas, San Juan, and Labadee (substituted for Coco Cay). 

 

St. Thomas we debated to either take the ferry to St. John or go to Magens Bay.  It looked like it might rain on and off so we opted for Magens Bay.  We have been here many times over the years and it is simply one of the nice beaches period.  What we had not factored into our decision making was the number of other cruise ships in port that day.  We were off the ship within in 30 minutes of the ship clearance and headed to Magens Bay.  I think it was $8 per person each way plus a $5 fee to enter the national park.  We rented a couple of chairs and were ready to enjoy the day....or should I say the crowd!  by noon it became difficult to navigate from the beach chairs to the water......we have never seen it this crowded before.  There is only one restaurant and one bar on the beach, the line for drinks was at least twenty minutes and the take out at the restaurant lines were ten deep.  We were miserable, not sure if they cap the number allowed in the park, perhaps they should.  It was wall to wall people.  We did walk the entire length of the beach on both directions and it did thin out at the very ends of the beach.

 

A little after noon we left and took a taxi into town to grab a bite to eat at the Green House restaurant in Charlotte Amalie.  It is open air and we had a table with a direct view of the water.  Nice drinks and some fresh seafood, we highly recommend this place.

 

I have made this comment in the past, these ports are being smothered by too many cruise ship passengers and it simply is not sustainable.  After lunch we roamed around the downtown shopping area, not sure of it was because of the last hurricane but it actually seemed rundown not what we remembered.  Perhaps with all of the shopping at the cruise ship piers, the downtown is not the attraction it once was for shopping.  We were back on board around 4pm.

 

The San Juan stop was only fro 7:30 to 12:30.  We did not get off because of the short port time. I have worked in San Juan over the years on business and to me it is not a vacation destination, always reminds me of work.  Beautiful island and old town but just not enough time to head out to a beach to make it worth while.

 

Our last stop was Labadee.  We were scheduled for Coco Cay however due to weather they switched to Labadee.  We arrived around 10:00 and we were some of the first off the ship.  We headed to Nellie's Beach.  Quickly secured beach chairs close tot he water and rented and umbrella for the day ($10).  It was really windy and this beach protects you from the wind.  All activities in the water were cancelled as was the zip line due to the high winds.  

 

Funny little story... mid-afternoon a man came up to me in my chair and asked if he could put a chair between myself and the next group of people along side of me, I said sure no problem.  There was not enough room for two chairs but there was plenty of room for one.  To my surprise he put a chair immediately next to mine, like touching my chair.  He was apparently looking find some shade and wanted to get under the umbrella with me.  Now I consider myself a very friendly person but this was uncomfortable at best.  I shared with him that the umbrellas are for rent and where he could go to rent one.  His response was that he wasn't planning on stay too long so it would not be worth it for him to rent an umbrella.  My wife was sitting in the sun and wanted to get in the water to cool off, I joined her and we both did not know to be stunned or to laugh.  We ended up laughing about it and true to his word he was gone in about an hour. 

 

We really enjoyed the beach time at Labadee and the food at the buffet was good.  We ended up staying at the beach until the sun started to set.  Great day!

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The ship.  Hard to believe the Allure is headed for its amplification...the ship was in outstanding shape and actually seemed new to us.  There is so much to do on this class of ship and not enough days to see/do it all.  Out doors we only used the pool area and CP/BW area.  We did not even see the sports deck area (flow riders/basketball/rock wall/ min golf).  really enjoyed the CP area and grabbing a class of wine at vintages.  In the evenings always seemed to be some sort of live entertainment in CP. 

 

The two story lounge (Dazzles?) was nice in the evening that had a great cover band and dancing.  Attended most of the shows and they were all good to great.  Enjoyed Momma Mia, great performers, great music and singing.  Thought the lighting was a little off but that was a minor detail.  The aqua show was entertaining as were the production shows. 

 

We had a JS cabin on the hump, with an extra large balcony.  There was a small table and two chairs along with two lounge chairs.  We typically sat on the balcony late in the afternoon for sunset.  The room was plenty big and there was more than enough storage.  Only issue we had was it was on deck 14 under the pool area.  There was a strange clicking noise when the ship was moving that kept me up at night.  I for what ever reason can not tolerate ear plugs, makes me feel claustrophobic, yeah I know its weird.  But we are on a ship and when it moves there are generally sounds to be heard.

 

Overall this was a great trip.  Glad to answer any questions that have not been previously asked. 

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You should buy a luggage scale. Very quick and easy to weigh your suitcases. Small and lightweight so you can pack it and bring it along. You can weigh your bags on the ship to make sure you aren't overweight for your flight home. 

 

Just search for "luggage scale" on your favorite e-commerce site.

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Thanks for the great idea.  On our return flight one bag was over 6lbs , glad we checked in with outside skycap.  A quick twenty to him and problem solved.

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Would you happen to have paid attention to which side of the ship, not necessarily around the pool area, but on one of the lower outside promenade decks, that was the smoking side?  I want to book an ocean view balcony close to the water level and don't want to have to smell the smoke traveling up.  Last time we called RCCL Customer Service they gave us the wrong information for Liberty of the Seas, so don't trust their answers.  Thanks!  

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18 hours ago, Jannese said:

Would you happen to have paid attention to which side of the ship, not necessarily around the pool area, but on one of the lower outside promenade decks, that was the smoking side?  I want to book an ocean view balcony close to the water level and don't want to have to smell the smoke traveling up.  Last time we called RCCL Customer Service they gave us the wrong information for Liberty of the Seas, so don't trust their answers.  Thanks!  

Port side was smoking.

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