While the multitude of things to do aboard the Allure could fill any vacation, the ship does visit several ports of call along its Caribbean route where various shore excursions are offered. Here’s what my experience was:
Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale Cruise Port Restaurant
Best of Jamaica tour —We were picked up at the harbor for our drive to Dunn’s River Falls, the first stop on our tour. Jamaica is a beautiful, lush and green island. Climbing the falls is a great experience, but visitors should be prepared to get wet as they literally climb up the rocks in the falls. Though it’s not as dangerous as it sounds. Local guides help each group with the climb. After, we drove past Ocho Rios to Shaw Park Hotel designed and built in a historic plantation style. Our meal consisted of traditional Jamaican fare. Our next event was a boat ride along coast of Jamaica back to Ocho Rios for a ride back to Falmouth where the ship was docked. And, as with any cruise ship terminal, there are plenty of stores here that more or less offer the same touristy souvenirs passengers can expect at every stop along the way.
Swimming with the Rays – We were picked up from the pier and took a short, 5 minute ride to a resort on the beach where the stingrays are. The first ½ hour of the excursion was spent in the shallow portion of the ocean where we were able to feed, pet and learn about stingrays. The next ½ hour was the actual snorkeling in deeper water with stingrays and other fish.
Before concluding my reviews of the Alllure of the Seas and its offerings, I wanted to provide some fun facts and some useful information for anyone thinking about or planning on traveling aboard this ship.
Senor Frogs, Cozumel
Fun and useful facts:
•Princess Fiona (from Shrek) is the godmother of the ship.
•The main theater on Allure of the Seas is equipped to handle 3D movies, many of which are first-run DreamWorks films.
•All cabins feature iPod docking stations
•The Allure also has over 9800 pieces of art throughout the ship, with over 1,200 works of art in the public areas. As you explore the ship, you will find new hidden treasures everywhere. One of the best things I really liked was finding new surprises on every deck.
•TV’s in the staterooms allow you to access your personal shipboard account, see your daily calendar and make reservations if you wish.
•Though our own personal experience is perhaps not typical for all passengers, we were not forced to wait in any lines or delays in getting on and off the ship which I thought was amazing.
The Allure of the Seas is a wonderful ship with plenty of options for cruisers of all ages and families of all sizes. And while the size and the number of passengers may put off some travelers to the idea of sailing aboard it, the ship’s variety of venues afforded several opportunities to find my own little place onboard that wasn’t crowded. While the experience was enjoyable, one of the things I did note was that many times I did not feel like I was at sea but at a land based resort, and I could not feel any movement of the ship at all nor could I feel the wind. The entire crew the Allure was friendly, going out of their way to make sure every guest enjoyed their cruise; the number of dining options, both included and not, were exceptional and never once did I find myself unsatisfied with the selection or my meal; and all in all, I would do it again, just to get to everything I did not have time to experience the first time around.
Other useful information:
The only time the ship felt crowded was at meal times for breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer buffet and then waiting in line for the dining at 5:30pm and 8:30pm. The elevators took a while during meal times as many people were using them, and on the sea days, the pool areas were jammed packed.
Taxi from the FLL airport to the pier is about $20 and takes about 10 minutes. You can actually see the cruise port from the airport. For a really great hotel close to the pier, we stayed at the Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale Cruise Port which includes breakfast. There is a Walgreens Drug store across the street from the hotel and a lovely restaurant a very short walk from the hotel, right on the water. The hotel offers a shuttle to the pier for $6.00 per person which is about a 3 minute drive. It actually took longer to wait in line to get out of the taxi than driving from hotel. Check in was very easy and efficient, making for a quick ship boarding.