Boogie-boarding, Ice-skating and climbing waterfalls in Jamaica are part of the fun on the world’s biggest cruise ship in the Caribbean.
The world’s biggest cruise ship has not lost its allure. Every week, around 6,000 people from around the world fly into Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a seven-night Caribbean cruise – including 73 Australians on this week’s voyage – to find out what it’s really like.
Well, it sure is huge! Check out the size of the bridge – I’ll be visiting the Captain up there tomorrow…
A lot of people (who’ve never been on Allure of the Seas) declare it “too big”, but I disagree. This is my second time on Allure, and four years later, I still believe it’s the best big ship on the oceans today.
It’s not overcrowded – you never wait longer than 30 seconds for an elevator, or a drink at the bar, and you very rarely have to queue for anything. I’ve had much longer delays on much smaller ships.
Among the unique things on Allure are ice-skating, zip-lining, surfing in a wave pool, high-diving shows, three comedy shows per night, ‘Chicago’ as good as a Broadway production on land, a jazz club, a Latin salsa club, flash mob dance classes, soccer and volleyball tournaments, and photo opportunities with Dreamworks characters such as Shrek and Puss In Boots – all for free. With so much activity going on, there’s a livelier buzz throughout the ship than I’ve ever found anywhere else at sea.
For a sneak peek of the features coming soon to Australia’s Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas, here’s the Flowrider and the easier boogie board version.
Younger kids will love the aquatic playground. There are plenty of other pools and hot tubs scattered around for adults, including large spas that jut out over the ship’s edge.
There is not a minute of the day that you can’t eat. Food options include Park Café, Chops Grille steakhouse and Giovanni’s Table in the Central Park area with real plants and trees; Boardwalk Dog House (free hot dogs); Sorrentos pizza (free pizza); Johnny Rockets diner; Candy Store; Café Promenade; Cupcake Cupboard, Vitality Café in the day spa; and the Windjammer buffet. Room service is free ($3.95 between midnight and 5am).
Yesterday, we spent the day at Royal Caribbean’s private island, Labadee. You can pay extra to jet-ski, kayak or zipline over the water, but frolicking like a fool on the three white-sand beaches is open to all.
Today was even better – my friend and I went swimming with dolphins in Jamaica (about 40 minutes drive out of the port of Falmouth) and climbed Dunn River Falls, which was a hilarious experience, forming a human chain, holding hands with strangers as we walked through the cascades, with our funny local guides. Good balance and agility required!
This excursion costs US$158 including a buffet lunch on the beach at Dolphin Cove. I highly recommend it instead of doing your own thing. Instead of dolphins, you can also choose bobsledding Jamaican-style or floating down the river on an inner tube.
Next week: go behind-the-scenes of the ship’s gigantic galley and bridge.