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Seven Days Abroad the Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship
Cruise Facts About the Allure of the Seas
Before cruise day arrived on July 1, 2012, my wife, daughter and I spent several months preparing for the biggest cruise of our life aboard the largest cruise ship in the world, Allure of the Seas. After all, we have already been on thirteen cruises from three other cruise lines; Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruise Line but we knew this one would be different on the Allure of the Seas. The Allure of the Seas is one of about dozen ships of the Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line cruising the seas now with its sister ship, Oasis of the Seas which is about two inches shorter.
The Allure of the Seas cruise currently has a seven day itinerary which makes three port of calls in the western Caribbean Sea at Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico after departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Three days at sea is also include in this itinerary. This ship is the length of three football fields put together and has 16 passenger decks with two-level suites on the upper deck. At full capacity it can carry 6,300 passengers plus a crew of 2,384. On this particular cruise the ship was filled to full capacity.
Day One - Embarkation at Fort Lauderdale, Florida
My family arrived at Port Everglades cruise terminal at about 11:30 AM Sunday morning on July 1st after spending a night before the big day at a local hotel in the Fort Lauderdale area about a mile from the cruise terminal. As we approached the terminal that morning we can clearly see how large this ship was with respect to the size of previous cruises that we have been on over the years. This ship was huge. Our level of excitement jumped to the next level.
When we arrived activity at the terminal was in full swing since the port workers were in the process of assisting passengers in debarkation, leaving the ship, and embarkation, boarding the ship. Cabs and buses were constantly dropping off and picking up passengers laden with there luggage . I immediately dropped off my luggage and family and parked my car in a nearby parking lot. The daily rate for parking is $15 per day. There were hundreds of passengers In the loading area. Despite the large number of people in the area the process was well organized and moved along smoothly.
As we entered the building we were directed by Royal Caribbean workers to a row of counters after our carry ons were cleared through security. There our identifications were verified by presenting our passports and what method of payment we were going to used to cover the onboard expenses during the cruise. I chose to use my debit card in my case. Paying in cash is the other option with a $500 initial limit. Later each member of my family were issued a card called a Sailpass Card which is a card with our account information, passport and photo electronically embedded in it. This an important card. You cannot leave the ship or get back on the ship without this card at ports of call until security clear you another way. Finally, after getting the traditional embarkation photo taken, first of many photos that will be taken during the long cruise, we proceeded to a large waiting area and waited for about an hour for our deck number, deck 12 for us, to be called to proceed up the gangway to board the ship. The decks were called starting from the topmost and proceeding down to the lower decks.
Once on board the largest ship in the world our eyes were greeted to a two-deck, colorful Royal Promenade deck. This is the deck where all the shops such as Guess and a few eateries such as the Sorrento’s Pizza, CupCake Cupboard, Starbuck’s Coffee and many more are located. The all important Guest Services and the famous Rising Tide Bar, the first levitating bar at seas, is also located on this deck. We would spend the next couple hours exploring this incredible ship before our “My Time Dining” 5:45 PM reservation. The my time dining is a dining option offered on the Royal Caribbean ships where you can chose your time to dine and who you will dine with at the table. After dining we enjoyed the broadway show “Chicago”. One thing that I did notice on the first day on the ship was that it never appear to be more than 6,000 passengers at the same time aboard the ship. The ship apparently had plenty of room to disperse the large number people to every cranny and nook on board because of it enormous size.
Day Two - First Day At Sea
The day at sea was the first of three days during the cruise where the ship is between port of calls. During these days people spend more time enjoying the amenities of the ship and exploring the ship. My wife and daughter spent time in one of the more than a dozen pools on the ship. I basically spent a lot time taking photos all over the place of some of the amenities and working out at the gym. Other activities aboard the ship were the Zipline ride over the boardwalk, two surf simulators called Flowrider for surfing, miniature golf course, sport court for playing basketball and volleyball. All these activities were on the fifteen deck of ship.
The famous boardwalk with a full size carousel on the ship gave me the impression I was walking on a boardwalk next to the beach and not on a ship. It would have been even more realistic had there been sand on the ship. While in the boardwalk area of the ship, the motion of the ship was imperceptible. This ship moved through the water with hardly no yawing and pitching. It was that smooth. The boardwalk also had an Aquatheater at the rear of the ship for passengers to enjoy a high platform diving show at sea aboard a ship. Performers in the show were world-class diving champions and acrobats from several countries, some with previous experience in the Olympic Games. By the end of the day everyone aboard enjoyed a captain’s night dinner and a chance to have a photo shoot with the captain. Suits, tuxedos, and dresses are required for this night.
Day Three - Port of Call at Labadee, Haiti
By 8:00 AM on the third day the huge Oasis class ship pulled along the pier for passengers to enjoy a full day at Labadee, Haiti. This port is Royal Caribbean’s private spot on this caribbean island where the passengers can enjoy an entire day of beach activities such as swimming, roller-coaster rides, sliding down the 1-mile long zipline called the Dragonline along the beach, a barbecue style lunch, shopping and just soaking in the sun on the beach. I did not do too much here other than taking a dozen or two of pictures despite the fact there were excursions available. My family did enjoyed the beach activities before the ship left the island at about 5:00 PM.
Day Four - Port of Call at Falmouth, Jamaica
On this day I was up and armed with my camera to take pictures as the ship made its approach to the pier at Falmouth, Jamaica. The ship was docking at about 10:00 AM. Again we spent the entire day at port mainly shopping because this is what it is here, a shopping area. There were merchandise available such as handcrafts made by the locals to expensive watches and jewelries. Excursions were also available such as the excursion to Ochos Rios, Dunns River and the famous Dunns River Falls.
Day Five - Second Day at Sea
My activities during the second day at sea were pretty much the same as the first day at sea. I continued to enjoy everything on the ship and did more exploring aboard the ship. I also did my second 5-mile walk on the ship. If you walk twelve laps on the jogging track on the ship you would have walked 5 miles. This track is larger than tracks you have seen on fields in some football stadiums. You will have to complete 20 laps for five miles on these tracks. This time we dine without the suit and fancy dresses. It was not captain’s night. Also on this day I purchased two bracelets for my wife and two watches for myself. It is during this time when the ship is at sea when bargains shopping, tax free and duty free, is the main activity on the ship since the ship is away from the ports.
Day Six - Port of Call at Cozumel, Mexico
By the sixth day the huge ship was pulling into Cozumel, Mexico for its last port of call at 8:00 AM. Even though my family have been here twice on two other cruises, seeing the crystal-clear, turquoise colored water again was a pleasant sight for my eyes once again. Immediately after docking, my wife and here sisters grabbed the first cab for a ride into the nearby town to spend several hours shopping. My daughter and I made a quick, short trek to the “Atlantis” submarine location to purchase a couple tickets for a ride on the submarine. It was my daughters first trip on the submarine. I was an experience submariner after going down to a depth of 150 feet in one in Aruba about 15 years ago.
After about a 20 minute ride to the location of the submarine aboard a small boat, we finally boarded the submarine and spent about an hour under the waters around Cozumel. My daughter enjoyed the experience but was a little disappointed that she did not see some of the larger marine life out there. We did however dived to a depth of 120 feet in the water and received certificates indicating that were 120 feet beneath the surface of the water. I now have two of these certificates. After the trip we made our way back to the ship and relaxed on board until dinner. As we sat there my family were beginning to realize that our cruise was quickly coming to an end. Only one more day left before it is all over.
Day Seven - Third Day at Sea and Final Day on the Ship
The third and final day at sea and on the ship is one of the busiest day. The level of activities aboard the ship goes up dramatically to celebrate the final day on the ship. The usual activities are going on plus the farewell parade with the Dreamworks characters parading on the promenade deck, a change to win big cash amounts as high as $500 or more by playing bingo. Also there is a chance to win a free cruise for two by playing the game. I tried my luck at this but did not win anything. The casino and the several bars aboard the ship are pretty busy at this time since there are people entering these places for the first time to make their last night exciting if they have not done it by now. The final night at sea is also the night to don your formal wear once again.
After dinner I headed straight to the photo store to take one final look at the dozen or so photos of my family to make sure that I did not missed any of the once in a lifetime photos. Tonight was my last chance to purchase them. I also made several rounds to the shops to make some last minute purchases of souvenirs. Finally, all passengers aboard the ship are required to perform one sad, final act if they are not taking their luggages off the ship themselves before they retire for the night. They must pack all their belongings and place their luggages out in the corridors for the crew to transfer them to a large holding area at the lower level of the ship for debarkation the next morning. You will not see your luggage again until you are off the ship after debarkation.
We spent the last hour on the ship the next morning enjoying a very good breakfast after the ship completed its docking maneuver in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. After breakfast we were told to wait in the dining area of the ship until our deck number was called before we could proceed to the gangway. As we proceeded to the gangway we scanned our Sailpass cards to leave the ship for the last time before continuing on to a large area to retrieve our luggage. Looking back at the huge ship for the last time brought back wonderful memories of all the fun we had on this ship for the last seven days. I can't wait to go again.
© 2012 Melvin Porter