By Dan Askin, News Editor (5.0)
But "sister ship" doesn't mean "carbon copy," and there's little that's ho-hum about this second of two groundbreaking Oasis-class ships. Scattered throughout the mass of steel, glass, wood and trees are variations that inform Allure's unique personality, including new retail options (a Guess store), dining venues (a hot dog stand), shows ("Chicago") and a recognizable green ogre, donkey and penguins culled from the DreamWorks stable. The line has also added 3D viewing capabilities to its movie offerings, iPod docks in every cabin and guest kiosks from which you can print boarding passes and keep tabs on escalating onboard bills.
Here's a quick snapshot of what's unique to Allure:
New Eats, Part One. The Boardwalk Dog House, a fee-free dining venue not found on Oasis, serves up a variety of sausages, wieners and brats with your choice of toppings (but no spicy mustard -- tsk, tsk). The venue replaced what's now the donut shop on Oasis, which was moved next to Allure's ice cream parlor.
New Eats, Part Two. Allure introduced Rita's Cantina, an ersatz Mexi-Cali beach bar with menu options like taco salad, chile rellenos, shrimp ceviche tostadas, fajitas, chips and guacamole and a wide selection of tequilas and margaritas. There is a $3 up-front cost, which the line says covers the service. Then pricing for each item is a la carte. (Chips and salsa are free.)
New Shows. Allure debuted "Chicago," the second Broadway production offered by Royal Caribbean. (Oasis was the first with "Hairspray," and Liberty of the Seas has since added "Saturday Night Fever.") A big-budget Cirque du Soleil-style extravaganza called "Blue Planet" also made its stage debut. New to the outdoor AquaTheater is "OceanAria," a show about an ancient race of sea people who tell their story through high-diving, trampolining and sometimes painful-looking displays of strength -- think human pretzels.
New Shops. Following the success of Oasis' Coach store, Allure introduced the first Guess boutique at sea, which sells the company's designer handbags, watches, shoes, jewelry and sunglasses. Allure also debuted the first Romero Britto art store at sea, which, in addition to prints and paintings, sells luggage, key chains and umbrellas with the artist's colorful pop-art designs.
Starbucks. Allure's Royal Promenade features the first Starbucks on a cruise ship, featuring the standard coffee menu found onshore with a la carte pricing. Oasis has since added a Starbucks.
Guest Kiosks. Borrowing a concept introduced by Costa Cruises ("Totems") and Carnival Cruise Lines ("FunHubs"), Allure of the Seas debuted special guest kiosks in the Royal Promenade. Complimentary services include the ability to view, print or e-mail passenger folios (your bill) and guest calendars; review spa appointments, alternative dining reservations and entertainment schedules; and to print out airline boarding passes.
3D Movies. The main theater on Allure of the Seas is equipped to handle 3D movies, many of which are first-run DreamWorks films. (Oasis of the Seas has since been three-dimensionalized.)
In-Cabin iPod Docks. All cabins on Allure of the Seas feature iPod docking stations.
While Allure certainly has enough distinctions to differentiate it from Oasis, there's one point where the sisters couldn't be more alike: They could easily be the most expensive mainstream ships in the world -- if you let them. Allure and Oasis are so flooded with bill-busting offerings -- ice cream, extra-charge Mexican food, build-your-own pets, Coach bags, fortunes from Zoltar -- that it's easy to forget about the inclusions, many of which are exclusive to the Oasis class. You can surf or zip-line, ride a carousel or watch a first-run DreamWorks movie in 3D, and tap along to some Broadway showtunes. The Lady Gaga dance class had to be more fun than filling up on Skittles and gummy worms from the for-fee candy store. In other words, Allure can be enjoyed for the price of the cruise fare alone. But with so many temptations, it sure isn't easy.
|Diamond Member But Wouldn't Book Again|
December 2014 NewYorkJoy
Just got off the ship today and must say we would not book the Allure again. This ship has much to offer....two rock climbing walls, zip line, mini golf, several pools, infinity hot tops, beautiful solarium, parades, many dining and entertainment ...continue
|Cruising with Autism|
November 2014 jaspup
Our time on the Allure had definite great points and definite down points.
I have cruised before with the family but this cruise brought new entertainment and new problems.
At first I wasn't going to post because I didn't think I ...continue
|Still Just Eeehhhhh|
November 2014 all44cruising
First of all we are Diamomd Plus members. Fun outgoing and friendly. (ages 51 and 55). We love to cruise and and really enjoy RCCL ships. We wanted to give Oasis class a second chance as we weren't blown away the first time we sailed. The main ...continue
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