Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas is currently a hot topic amongst the UK cruise community. Renowned for being the largest cruise ship in the world, holding almost 5,402 passengers on each voyage, Royal Caribbean recently announced that this magnificent ship would be leaving her home of Port Everglades, Florida to begin voyages throughout Europe during 2020. Offering 7 night itineraries around the Mediterranean, Allure of the Seas is set to reinvent European cruise travel, providing more choice, more luxury, and more on board amenities than ever before.
However, for UK passengers, the arrival of Allure of the Seas makes choosing a cruise somewhat more complex. For those who regularly sail from the UK on European ships such as those operated by P&O Cruises or Fred Olsen, for example, both of which focus at times on a more intimate atmosphere, it can be difficult to know whether ‘big ship’ cruising is for you. Looking at couples, families, and solo travellers, here’s what each demographic can expect from a sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas:
Adult Travellers & Couples
While many aspects of Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas are designed for families with new slides, rides and spaces decked out just for the kids there are many areas designed specifically for adult relaxation as well, with many activities appealing to those looking for a more ‘mature’ scene with more bars than any ship out there.
Along with the main dining rooms, buffet restaurants, and relaxed, down-to-earth cafes, Allure of the Seas offers a number of speciality dining restaurants that are perfectly suited to those enjoying a child-free getaway. Two restaurants that are designed specifically to offer an adults-only experience are 150 Central Park and the Chef’s Table. 150 Central Park seats up to 70 passengers at a time with handmade gourmet cuisine created from locally sourced ingredients with a carefully curated wine list to choose from. Dishes range from Shellfish Bloody Mary and Crispy Duck Cigar to Chocolate-Raspberry Crunch Cake and a mouthwatering cheese selection. There’s even a cucumber martini to wash it all down. The Chef’s Table is limited to just 14 guests, creating a very intimate dining experience. All courses are explained in detail before being served, and are complemented by the sommelier’s choice of wines – the perfect treat for foodies.
Carrying more than 5,000 passengers per cruise, there are plenty of stateroom options to choose from. Couples may find that they only require an inside cabin for a budget-friendly holiday, whilst others may wish to ‘push the boat out’ (excuse the pun) and opt for a luxurious suite. Couples looking for quiet accommodations away from large families and young children should consider staterooms located towards the front of Deck 6, near to the spa facilities, Decks 8 and 9 which consist of suite accommodations, or Deck 17 which boasts the two-tiered sky lofts and the Crown Loft Suite.
Those aged 21 and over can enjoy Allure of the Seas’ Casino Royale, located on Deck 4. As the largest casino at sea, passengers can enjoy playing one of more than 450 slot machines, and can try their luck at any of the 27 gaming tables on board. Themed walkways lead to the casino, displaying the history of the gambling industry and its success at sea. For relaxation, the spa boasts nearly 30 different treatment rooms offering massages, facials, and couples therapies, while the adults-only solarium provides a serene haven for passengers aged 16 years and over which is very popular on sea days. Of course, there are also numerous bars on board for unwinding and chilling out. The highlight of Allure of the Seas’ on board bars is, undoubtedly, the Rising Tide Bar, which travels up and down between the decks throughout the day and also happens to be the coolest way to get from Central Park to the Royal Promenade.
Allure of the Seas’ Amber Theatre spans three decks and offers West End style shows such as Chicago and acrobatics performances each night. Comedy and Jazz clubs are also available on Deck 4, in the area known as ‘Entertainment Place’. Additionally, the outdoor AquaTheatre with its Olympic-level high divers who perform mesmerising stunts and aerial acrobatics that have you on the edge of your seat and one of the most impressive entertainment venues at sea. Although children are welcome here, adults and couples will easily become mesmerised by the fascinating stories, dance, and water features of OceanAria, the signature show that calls the AquaTheater ‘home’.
Families with Young Children & Teens
While there are a number of adult-only facilities on board Allure of the Seas, the ship really is remarkably family-friendly, almost as if it has been designed specifically for passengers travelling with young children or teenagers.
For family dining options, Deck 6 is the place to be. For snacks during the day, Boardwalk Donuts and the Ice Cream Parlour offer a wide range of tasty treats to keep the kids happy, whilst there are also great selections of sit down restaurants that are particularly suited to families. Johnny Rockets is an informal, laid back American-style diner serving up all manner of classic kids’ favourites such as hot dogs, burgers, and fries. If it’s authentic New York pizza that you’re looking for, head to Sorrento’s for fully loaded pizzas straight from the oven that the whole family will love. Families travelling with teenagers may enjoy eating in the main dining rooms or buffet restaurants, or may even wish to sample the dishes at Giovanni’s Table, serving up an Italian fare including focaccia, gnocchi, and antipasti.
Families and groups have a huge choice of accommodations on Allure of the Seas. Standard staterooms can accommodate two adults and two children, whereas larger families can request connecting rooms that essentially double the available space, and double the capacity. Connecting rooms make it simple for families to maintain social enjoyment, whilst still having their own personal space. These rooms are very popular, so make sure you book early! Of course, an alternative option is to book one of the suite accommodations. Allure of the Seas actually boasts a number of suites that are specifically designed for family enjoyment. The Royal Family Suite, for example, offers a master bedroom and bathroom on one floor, perfect for Mum and Dad, while the second floor offers 4 twin beds, which can convert to two queen beds, and a bathroom with shower – ideal for the kids. If you’re travelling as a family of 6 or more, it may be more cost effective to opt for suite accommodation.
Activities are available on board to cater to children from the age of 6 months right through to their late teens. Allure of the Seas offers a Royal Babies and Tots nursery – a common feature aboard Royal Caribbean ships – where children from 6 to 36 months can play, learn, and explore. Parents can leave their babies in the hands of trained staff for a small hourly charge, giving mum and dad the opportunity to go for a swim, or enjoy a baby-free dinner during their getaway, go for a drink or perhaps hit the casino. Older children, aged between 3 and 17 years, can register with the Adventure Ocean programme, an interactive centre with games, crafts, social events, and ship-wide activities. During sunny days, the H20 Zone is a fun waterpark with splash pools for the little ones, and exhilarating slides and flumes. Teens will also love the rock climbing walls, giving amazing views across the sea.
Solo travellers will find plenty to keep them entertained, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere on board Allure of the Seas, although it must be said that, in terms of accommodations and finances, Allure of the Seas is certainly not the most single traveller-friendly of all ships sailing throughout Europe.
When it comes to dining as a solo cruiser on Allure of the Seas there are plenty of dining options available. The main dining room offers tables of up to 8, pairing solo travellers with other small parties where possible, encouraging travellers to meet like-minded companions. The buffet restaurant and cafes are also particularly welcoming of those dining alone and elsewhere there’s the Chef’s Table for those who want gourmet fare paired with the finest of wines. Seating between 10 and 14 passengers at a time, you may just find a another solo passenger or two at the Chef’s Table. Alternatively, if you simply fancy a quiet night in, 24 hour room service is there to meet all your culinary needs.
Accommodation is where Allure of the Seas lets itself down for solo travellers. Unlike other Royal Caribbean ships, there are no single cabins, meaning solo travellers will need to pay a double the fare. It’s certainly not the most cost effective option. Allure of the Seas was launched back in 2010 when solo cruising wasn’t quite as popular as it is today.
For solo travellers, the Central Park area is perfect for strolling along, but there are also some wonderful quiet spaces that are ideal for those travelling by themselves to simply get away from it all and enjoy some ‘me’ time. Many solo travellers find that while Central Park is a great place in the evening due to the liveliness, whereas the solarium is best for the morning, when it’s quiet, creating an almost secluded atmosphere. On Deck 5, towards the back of the ship, is a small seating area that many travellers never manage to find, while there are some ‘secret’ balconies located near to the Boardwalk which are generally very quiet and provide panoramic views across the sea. For those that enjoy exploration, Royal Caribbean has hidden a number of ‘small wonders’ throughout the ship that can really help you find your bearings.
Solo travellers will find plenty of live music in both the afternoon and evenings onboard Allure of the Seas, creating a pleasant environment in which to sit and enjoy the sounds of the highly talented musicians on the ship. The Amber Theater, AquaTheater, zip line, ice skating rink, jazz club, and comedy club all provide nightly entertainments which are suited to solo travellers.
Plan Your 2020 Cruise Now!
For anyone planning to sail the Mediterranean in 2020, its well worth considering Allure of the Seas. This is a unique opportunity to sail on what is currently the world’s biggest cruise ship, and certainly one of the most advanced, inside and out. Both couples and families alike will find plenty to keep them entertained. We can hardly contain our excitement about the Allure of the Seas coming to Europe – Can you?