If big isn’t always better, it’s certainly impressive!
The Oasis class ships boast 4 ‘sisters’ with each new vessel a little bit different from the one before. The size and scale of the ships is awe-inspiring, even if large mass-market cruise ships are not your thing, you cannot fail to be impressed by the numbers:
With a maximum of 5400 guests, 2394 crew, 16 decks and weighing in at an average 225,282 gross tonnes, the statistics are impressive. I recently sailed on the Allure of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale on a 7-night Caribbean itinerary.
Royal Caribbean has very cleverly split the ship into ‘neighbourhoods’ with distinct differences to appeal to different groups of people at different times of the day. Despite cruising during high season and school holidays, the ship rarely felt over-crowded, except the pool decks on sea days, but that’s a common trait of modern-day cruising and depending on your tastes there is always somewhere to hide away if that’s more your thing.
The Boardwalk is their tribute to Coney Island and traditional family entertainment, dining and fun, with the world’s ﬁrst carousel at sea and the awe-inspiring high diving show which is one of the ship’s many evening highlights.
Central Park is another such ‘neighbourhood’ with 12,000 living trees and plants, meandering footpaths and quiet spots to sit and watch the people pass by. Central Park is also the location for many of the pay-to-dine speciality restaurants. It’s easily my favourite ‘neighbourhood’ on board with a popular café for casual breakfast and afternoon complimentary snacks.
The Royal Promenade is a staple and a highlight of many Royal Caribbean ships, but on the Allure and her sisters, the area is truly ‘amped up’ with bars, shops and attractions galore. Back ‘on top’ there is an extensive sports deck featuring two ‘ﬂow riders’, the company’s surf simulators AND a zip wire 9 stories high. There really are too many attractions to list!
If escaping the crowds is more your thing, then the impressive ‘adults-only’ solarium is at the forward end of the ship and a quiet alternative to the pool decks. If budget allows, the quietest place on board will always be the balcony of your stateroom for that essential quiet time and obligatory afternoon siestas!
Evenings on board are worth staying up for as the company has Broadway shows operating under licence from their West End & Broadway production companies. The Allure of the Seas currently has ‘Mamma Mia’, a full theatre production including interval which you would be hard pressed to identify any differences from their professional counter parts on land. It’s truly a cruise highlight.
My only criticism of these mega sized ships is that their size restricts them from visiting many smaller ports of call and often means using large industrial port areas where transfers or longer walks are required into the towns or cities. Saying that, our itinerary was just enough to include some culture (Puerto Rico), history (St Kitts) and some Caribbean beaches (Nassau, Bahamas).
Royal Caribbean manage to deliver excellent customer service, high standards of food and beverages together with world class entertainment, no mean feat with so many guests on board!
Allure of the Seas will be sailing 7 night Mediterranean itineraries from Barcelona next summer.