A floating city at sea. Allure of the Seas. It weighs 220,000 lbs, is 1,181 feet long, and carries 5,400 passengers and 2,150 crew members. Due to the many things to do, it only occasionally feels crowded, but everyone heads to their favorite spots, and it all works out. There are 20 dining venues, and about half of those have a surcharge. We were actually on this ship’s fifth voyage, in January 2011. It is the second ship in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class, and it really is fun. The ship usually does 7-day trips in the Caribbean, but we are heading to Barcelona on a Transatlantic Cruise for 12 days. It is going into dry dock in Cadiz, Spain, for two months. The crew told us that they will stay on board and help with rejuvenating the ship. The first nine photos are of Deck 5, the Main Promenade. It is like walking through your city’s downtown, with cafes, a pizza joint with excellent pizza, bars, retail shops, places to sit and relax, and even a Starbucks! One of the bars is The Rising Tide, which slowly rises two decks and can be seen in Photos 3 and 4. In Photo 4, it looks like a spaceship! As you sit on the upper decks, it is fun to see the bar suddenly appear and continue on its way.
The next photos are of the Boardwalk, which is the open-air end of Deck 6. It starts with a hot dog stand, donut bar, ice cream store, and a candy shop. Then you encounter the carousel, several bars, an arcade, a Johnny Rocket’s restaurant (free for breakfast and a small charge for lunch or dinner), a climbing wall, and at the very end, an aqua theater. There are high diving shows from the very highest points there, and as you can see, one day there was a bellyflop competition…contestants mount the “Hurt Box”…and the biggest splash won! You can see in the photos with all of the balconies over the boardwalk that the designers were very clever: they created a place for more balconies (which cost more than regular rooms). Normally, cruise ships only have balconies that face the ocean, but this ship is so wide, so large, that there are also balcony rooms facing inward.
Following the Boardwalk photos, you can see what is called Central Park, making up the middle portion of Deck 8…and more balconies over the park! It is a beautiful place to walk, to sit, and to shop and eat. It is open to the air, so in crossing the Atlantic, sometimes it is fairly windy and cool, while on other days it is warm and calm. Because the trees and plants are open to the sky, the US Department of Agriculture inspects the ship regularly to ensure that no unwanted pests have flown in.
There is an ice skating rink on board, with time for personal skating as well as ice shows. One of the entertainment features is Broadway at Sea, with Mamma Mia! featured on this journey. For younger guests, there is a dance club as well as a Flowrider for simulated surfing. At the very end are four miscellaneous photos, including the “dresses” that decorate one of the elevator areas and the whimsical pool area. The next photo is Jan, riding on the zip line over the Boardwalk. We end with a photo of a small portion of last night’s Chocolate Fantasy. No, we did not partake, we just photographed! We had strawberries instead.