If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, I’m pretty sure that you’ve noticed we’ve been cruising on the Allure of the Seas around the Caribbean.
Royal Caribbean challenged the boys to have a really active high-adrenaline cruise and I think we managed it, what with zip-lining, surfing on the Flow-Rider, snorkelling, power rafting and much more. And while the boys were doing all this, it left us lots of lovely free time for lazing, eating out, sunbathing and a few cocktails too! Here’s how we got on:
Allure of the Seas is the largest passenger ship ever built. Larger, in fact, than its sister ship Oasis of the Seas, by something like two inches (but hey, who’s counting?). It’s about 360 metres long with 18 decks and can take over 6000 guests, with around 2,300 staff from over 80 different countries.
Allure boasts a theatre, an aqua theatre, a casino, loads of swimming pools (including an amazing kids’ section called the H2O zone), an ice rink, a beautiful open air tree-lined area called Central Park, a lovely family holiday-themed open air section called The Boardwalk, a massive spa, a lovely central space with shops, cafés and bars called the Royal Promenade (wait, I’m still going), a gorgeous glass-roofed but still magically open air Solarium area with sunbeds, bar, restaurant and pools specifically for the over-16s, kids’ clubs, more restaurants, more cafés, more bars, the FlowRider surf simulator, a zip-line that whizzes people out over the top of the Boardwalk, a gym, a climbing wall… and I’ve probably missed a load of stuff out. It really is a huge, beautiful floating city.
With four of us (and they’re big lads, our two) in one stateroom, we did wonder whether it would be uncomfortably cramped, but luckily the rooms are cleverly designed and there is loads of storage. All our bags and cases fitted underneath our bed and we were able to hang everything up and store everything in the copious amount of drawers and shelves, as my lovely assistant here demonstrates:
With some negotiation (and a bit of good luck – we tended to be coming and going at different times) we managed to allocate bathroom times and didn’t get on each others’ nerves too much. The boys shared a pull out sofa bed so we had more room during the day, then our lovely stateroom housekeeper made it into a bed at night. They had plenty of room and separate bedlinen and actually it was quite a giggle. Our housekeeper got quite fond of the boys and left them towel art every night, including this awesome bat:
The Sporty Stuff
The first thing we did after boarding the ship at Miami was head straight to the rear of the ship to visit the FlowRiders (yes, you read that right – there are two!).
The boys adore the FlowRider and were lucky enough to get coaching by the incredible staff. I did have a go but it’s flipping tricky. For some reason it’s completely different to surfing, skiing or skateboarding – the boys assure me it gets easier the more you do it!
The rock climbing wall is another absolute must-do. It looks really high but safety is a top priority and apparently it’s quite addictive (the rooms with the balconies by the wall must have incredible views too):
The zip-line whizzes you right over the top of the Boardwalk, nine stories high – it’s not for the faint hearted (this photo actually makes me feel a bit weird):
If you’d rather swim than dangle nine stories above the Boardwalk, there are pools galore – a sports pool,where there are often team games and activities, a main pool, a beach pool with sloping entry (this was such a cool area – you could even have your sunbed in the shallow area of water) and a pool in the kids’ section, the wonderful H2O Zone – we loved the massive colourful octopus and couldn’t resist having a little play in the sprinklers when nobody was looking – it will keep them occupied for hours.
Around each of the pools there are lovely warm whirlpools. We found that when most people had gone in to get ready for dinner, maybe around 6pm, these areas were nearly empty and it was lovely to sit in a whirlpool and watch the sun set below the horizon, or have a gentle swim. The pools are open quite late and swimming alone in a pool by moonlight is absolutely not to be missed.
Coming next: everything you need to know about life aboard the Allure of the Seas: dining, the entertainment, the Vitality at Sea Spa, and those all-important shore days.