We just went on this cruise and had a lot of fun! It was our first time on a Royal Caribbean ship; we’d been looking forward to checking out Allure of the Seas for a while now.
Our cruise left from Galveston, TX for a 6 day, 5 night adventure. Here, we want to share our experience, tips and a general review of our vacation so you know what to expect.
We want to point out that our ideal cruise vacation is one where the ship has a more modern feel, dining options are abundant and there’s very little pre-planning required.
While we enjoy the entertainment, that’s not the most important thing for us as we like to chill out on the room balcony (facing the ocean), relax at the spa and catch some sun by the pool.
That said, it’s possible that we value things that aren’t important to you and vice versa.
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean Ship: Allure of the Seas Dates: December 18th - 23rd Ports: Galveston, TX - Costa Maya, Mexico - Cozumel, Mexico
+ You can board the ship earlier than planned if you arrive before your scheduled check-in time. We received a message saying to arrive one hour later than check-in but were not turned away at the security.
Room - Oceanview Balcony #12608
+ The bathroom was spacious and had a nice sized shower. + Balcony had chairs and table which allowed you to eat and have drinks privately with the best views of the water - Much like the rest of the ship, the decor is a little outdated.
+ The Solarium had our favorite breakfast on the ship. The food was hot and fresh, it was in a convenient (and quiet) location and had great ambience. It’s at the front of the ship with calming views of the ocean. + Main dining was really good and had a lot of different options for everyone. They offered dishes that changed daily and ones that were considered "classics" and were daily.
- Overall dining options were very limited. There weren’t many complimentary restaurants and they were closed at odd times for a ship with 6,000 passengers. Afternoon (1:30-5) options were hotdogs at the Boardwalk or pizza at Sorrento’s.
- The WipeOut Cafe was our least favorite. The food served here was Mexican cuisine–chips and tortillas to build your own nachos/tacos. Besides the low quality of the food, the line here was extremely long, it’s in a noisier part of the ship and had limited outdoor seating.
+ Mamma Mia (2.5 hours) was very entertaining; the singing, acting and overall production were great!
+ Lot's of entertainment on this ship! There was always something going on for kids and adults.
Artur says: "Mamma Mia was surprisingly good to the point that we went home and watched the movie on Hulu."
Tip: Reservations are required for most entertainment; if you miss the pre-reservation window before embarkation on Day 1 you can visit the Royal Caribbean app (connect to their wifi first), Guest Services or the Box Office to reserve your entertainment for the week.
+ The hot tubs by the Solarium had great views of the ocean with plenty of seating.
- Adult-only pools were limited; only one in the Solarium that didn’t feel as clean/comfortable to use.
Tip: Unreturned pool towels are $25 each.
Pro-tip: When in the hot tub, hover your hand over the black sensor to restart the jets. Surprisingly, instructions weren’t provided on how to operate the hot tub and many guests were confused on what to do when the jets turned off.
+ The changing room was underwhelming; sandals and toiletries are not provided and the shower area didn’t have a place to put belongings while showering.
- The Thermal Suite can be accessed by purchasing a day pass; it’s a small (sometimes noisy) area with a few steam rooms and showers. For us, it was too small for comfort/privacy and wasn’t worth the price ($30 per person).
Jayla says: "The key provided for the locker doesn’t come with a wristband for easy keeping and the robes don’t have pockets so that means you’re holding a key the entire time. Super small detail but noticeable if you’ve visited other spas."
+ At the Galveston, TX port, they used facial ID to allow passengers off instead of pulling out your passport. This made everything so much easier. If you used a birth certificate for ID during booking, there’s a separate line for those passengers.
Tip: You can leave the ship earlier than your scheduled time. You'll receive a group number and scheduled departure time; this is the latest you can get off the ship.
+ The crew members were some of the friendliest people we’ve met. They genuinely wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time and enjoying their vacation.
- Between the entertainment reservations and limited dining, this cruise felt more scheduled and itinerary-based than we preferred. Ideally for us, a cruise vacation is about being on “ship time” and going with the flow. This cruise is structured in such a way that the whole week needs to be decided on Day 1.
- Much of dining is offered at an additional fee; it doesn’t hurt to have one or two specialty restaurants but it felt like there were more of these than complimentary options on this ship.