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Cha Cha and I recently spent seven wonderful days aboard Allure of the Seas as guests of Cruise Holidays and Royal Caribbean. Having conventions and meetings aboard cruise ships is one of the wonderful perks of working with Cruise Holidays and being a travel writer. Allure of the Seas happens to be the the largest cruise ship sailing the high seas. To say that this ship is massive is an understatement: 17 decks, 2700 staterooms, 6200 guests, 2200 crew, 26 restaurants , three main theaters , and countless bars and entertainment venues. Allure and her sister ship, Oasis of the Seas, are veritable floating palace cities whose soul mission is to whisk their guests away on a exciting vacation complete with enough experiences, activities, and surprising moments to fill every minute of every hour of every day of your seven days as their guests.
I have to admit that it was with just a tiny bit of trepidation that we looked forward to this sailing. After all, 6200 people on one ship, that’s fully 3000 more then the largest ship we had sailed on previously so we had some concerns. Would it be crowded? (I don’t much like crowds). How long would lines be? Could the crew keep up with all these folks? Was embarkation and debarkation going to be a zoo? What about the dining – how would they feed so many folks in a timely fashion? And so much to do, so little time. Was this cruise going to become like an episode of Survivor ?
“ Please Captain vote me off this ship!”
I should not have worried, Royal Caribbean has the whole experience down to a science. Here were some of our highlights.
Embarkation was the most efficient in my twelve years of cruising. From the time we stepped off the shuttle, until the time we were in our stateroom, was less than 15 minutes including the obligatory pose for boarding photos. I happen to be to be a cruise keener (always want to be one of the first on the ship – it drives Cha Cha bats ) and as such, I normally show up at the pier early and wait in line. In the case of Allure of the Seas and the Oasis class of ships, there is no need to show up early as the embarkation process is so efficient.
I would expect most folk’s first impression of Allure of the Seas or Oasis of the Seas is pretty common. “Am I really on a cruise ship, I mean it looked like a ship when I walked on but… Here I am standing on what appears to be a city street complete with cars, bistros, and street vendors “ . And so it begins: a few steps off the boarding ramp and you find yourself standing in the Royal Promenade, the first of seven distinct neighborhoods. Breathtaking! and a Starbucks for good measure ! Stay tuned as Cha Cha and I try to find our room…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR : Ken Lawrence is a travel writer and owner in the Cruise Holidays system. A Travel Leaders Leisure Group company .