For spring break this year we took a cruise on Royal Caribbeans Allure of the Seas. We chose the Western Caribbean itinerary and this ship for a few reasons. The ship is huge and we wanted a different experience than the other cruises we’ve been on. They also have a nursery on-board that you can bring your baby 6 months and up. Although we’ve been to Cozumel, the other stops were all new to us so that was a plus, too!
We compared it to another cruise out of New York on the same dates, which would have been easier to travel to since we could drive to the port. But we would have spent more time with “sea days” verses port days, so in the end this one was a better fit. The cruise we went on was the 7 nights Western Caribbean out of Miami. We stopped in Nassau, Bahamas; Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras and Puerto Maya, Mexico.
Allure of the Seas Balcony Cabin
We ended up getting two adjoining balcony rooms for us and our kids, which was the best idea ever! They had their own room, and we didn’t have to go to bed at 8:00 pm! The balconies were also connected, with the partition that’s normally between them folded away. Four people in one room would have been tight, and it really wouldn’t have worked with the pack and play set up since we wouldn’t have been able to fold out the second bed. For reference, the balcony rooms were smaller than the port hole room we had on our Disney cruise, or at least it felt like it (I didn’t look up the actual dimensions). The bathroom was definitely smaller, with just a shower stall and no bath tub. However, the bed was very comfortable and everything was super clean! The balcony space was nice and a good size, too.
For reference we had rooms 12312 and 12310, port side. The rooms were a little far from the elevator and very far from the kids club, which is all the way forward, and we were towards the back (aft) of the ship. On the other hand, there wasn’t any noise or rowdiness so we had peace and quiet!
One of the big questions people ask after they book a cruise is whether or not to get the drink package. We ended up not buying the drinks package, which was a good choice for us. Depending on how much you drink depends if you need to get it or not. Keep in mind you can also bring two bottles of wine or two six packs of beer on board so factor that in to your costs benefit analysis! We drank our wine in the room in the evenings and bought a few cocktails each on sea days. On port days we bought even less, maybe a drink at dinner or at the pool if we got back on the ship earlier. We got one special juice/smoothie drink and a few specialty coffees. Our total was still significantly less than what the drink package would have cost!
Ways to save money on drinks
- One of the ways to save money is to buy the daily drink special they offer. It’s a different fruity cocktail every day for $8. The drinks were good and pretty strong, too, so I felt like I got my money’s worth!
- Of course you can also save money by bringing your own wine or beer on board, as I said above.
- Additionally, on some sailings they offer a drink stamp card a few days into the cruise. On our cruise it was offered on the third day. We decided to go for this because it was about $90 including tips for 10 drinks. So, we could get more expensive drinks using our stamp card as well such as glasses of wine or more top shelf cocktails!
- Last, bring a travel cup to fill up with water and ice so you don’t get dehydrated at the pool! You can get free water from all the food spots and this will help you save money not buying a bunch of bottled water. I only bought one bottle of water the whole cruise, which was to take ashore with us the day I left my refillable bottle in the room accidentally!
The first night we really just wanted to chill out, so we skipped out on dinner in the restaurant and got room service instead! Most of the room service food is included, with a small fee for delivery. The food was really good and we had our own wine in the room so enjoy as well! It was super nice eating dinner out on the balcony. We pulled the table over from the kid’s side so we could all eat together and enjoyed the view.
We had the early dinner time, which was fine since we have two younger kids! On most nights we ate in the main dining room, and the food was great! Compared to the Norwegian cruise we went on last spring, the food was way better. They even had a lobster night with unlimited lobster tails. The server was great and got to know us really quick. He knew our son loved fruit and brought him cups of fruit salad with his meal every night. If we were between two apps he would bring us both!
Things to See & Do On Board
The Allure is a huge ship and there’s plenty to do on board! Because of it’s size there’s also some really cool and unique areas you wouldn’t find on a smaller ship. For example, in the middle of the ship there is a Central Park area which is an actual park you can walk through with live plants! There are also several restaurants and bars to check out in the park as well.
Central Park is a great place to take family photos! You could also grab a drink and sit and relax, listen to music and enjoy the open air without the wind of the other outside decks.
There are several pools and hot tubs on board, enough to go around. There’s a pretty decently sized kids pool area and splash pad area. They also have a special baby only splash pool, which is separate water from the other pool areas to keep everyone clean. One disappointment was that there aren’t any water slides, which my son had been really looking forward to doing on the cruise.
We also found the infinity hot tubs were often less crowded than the regular ones by the pools and had a great view. The infinity hot tubs were on both sides of the ship and stick out a little on the side for a really great view of the ocean. They are right by the entrance to the adults only pool area. The adults only pool area was also nice, but did get very crowded on sea days. It was also pretty hot under the glass since it blocked the wind but was in the direct sunlight.
Besides the pool areas there was plenty of other entertainment! We did some putt-putt golfing and tried the flow rider. They also had a zip line, carousel, arcade, fountain show and live music, all during the day! They also had activities for kids such as family friendly karaoke in the evening. Because of the kids we didn’t do much of the night activities, but there was plenty on the schedule!
Kids Clubs On Board the Allure
The kids areas were really great on the ship. For the “big kids” they had the areas divided by age groups such as 3-5, 6-8 etc. My son really enjoyed playing in the kids club and always wanted to go back! They had plenty of activities such as sports, arts & crafts and scavenger hunts. On sea days you have to pick them up for lunch, but you can leave them for dinner time and they get dinner there. On port days you can leave them all day and they are served lunch then. We gave our son the choice to do this but when he saw there weren’t any other kids staying on board he decided to come to the beach with us after all!
The ship also has a drop off nursery, Royal Babies and Tots, which was one of the reasons we picked this specific cruise! The nursery is for 6 months to 36 months. There is a fee of $6/hour during the day and $8/hour after 6:00 pm. You do have to reserve ahead of time but we never had an issue getting the times we needed! They also have a baby play area (shown above) where you can go with your baby/toddler and play together anytime.
How to sign up
I would recommend going straight to the kids area when you get on board. Then, you can fill out all paper work and schedule baby care for the first couple of days ahead of time. If you wait, then you’ll have to fill out the paper work as you’re trying to drop your kids off. I saw a few parents doing this and it seemed like quite a hassle! They also have an open house type of session at boarding so you and your kids can see what the kids club areas look like.
Overall the cruise was really fun! I would recommend this ship for anyone wanting to cruise, it’s great for new and experienced cruisers alike. It was also great for families and I think it would have been fun for couple or friend groups as well. I’ll share more cruise in another post such as info about The Key as well as info on the ports we stopped at!