Almost-live blog on Allure of the Seas - Day 2

In:
23Apr2014

Our day started at 7am. My girls have always been early risers except lately if it's a Monday morning! I took them out to explore the tops decks and other areas.

After letting my wife get a little extra sleep, the girls and I met her in the windjammer for breakfast. We discovered that they don't have an omelet station in the windjammer though another day we discovered you can in the wipe out cafe, MDR, and Johnny rockets.

After breakfast, we went to drop off the girls at camp. Woohoo. We were free! We went down to meet Joan in the MDR for breakfast without the kids.

Then we were off to the solarium to enjoy the kid free time. At first we stayed down below relaxing in the lounge chairs, but then we realized that there were cushioned lounge chairs on the upper level of the solarium. These cushioned lounge chairs were also shaded too and right next to a bar! Yes please! Gentle ocean breezes provided a wonderful relaxing atmosphere and the ride on the ship was still so incredibly smooth! 

The solarium was pretty full but not packed like I expected it to be. After picking the kids up at 12, we took them for lunch at Johnny Rockets. Just outside JR, the girls saw a balloon artist and face painter on the boardwalk and just had to have a poodle on a leash balloon pet. Johnny Rockets wasn't too crowded at all. We sat inside so we could see the action.

I split a Route 66 with Michelle and the girls got cheeseburgers and vanilla milkshakes. The burgers were hot and fresh just like the onion rings. The fries were not so great. The girls enjoyed watching the crew members dance and Dava even joined in the dancing. It was fun to discover that the jukebox machine at our table actually worked. I had always assumed they were just for looks.

Then it was off to the nursery for Nora. They had a cot for her to sleep on which was just like she is used to at her daycare. Dava had a blast playing around the kids’ pool area and lazy river with some friends she made in the morning in camp.

Then Dava and I were off for some boogie board time on the Flowrider. We both enjoyed our first time. We both decided we would need to get the private lesson. Hopefully we can do that in July on Freedom.

Since it was formal night and I forgot my bow tie and vest, I tracked down the tailor and rented a bow tie and cumber bun. 

On my way to see the tailor, the head waiter saw me and stopped me to tell me he had made us a reservation in the MDR tonight at 6:15. Before dinner, we had some pictures taken with the girls in their fancy dresses.

At dinner, he mentioned chops reservation was made as well for us. We mentioned we were going to try the other restaurants this week to on some nights. He offered to make reservations again, but said we hadn't heard back yet. He called his contact again and found out all nights were confirmed except the very last night. He said he would make us our reservations for the specialty restaurants we wanted to do: 150 central, chops, and chef's table.

After dinner, we tucked the girls in when the sitters got to our room. We were off to play some 3 card poker, the Vintages for some more wine and tapas/desserts since we skipped dessert at the end of dinner.

Then we went to our first show of this cruise: Chicago. It was a great show. We really enjoyed it. We usually tend to skip the shows at sea, but the shows this past week on board Allure were anywhere from good to Wow!

Back to back cruises on Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

In:
23Apr2014

Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!

Episode 38 is available for downloading where we look at the "art" of booking back to back Royal Caribbean cruises.

What’s better than a Royal Caribbean cruise? How about two Royal Caribbean cruises? Or even three? Back-to-back cruises are popular among veteran Royal Caribbean cruisers and this week Matt discusses how it all works.

Here’s the podcast page for Episode 38. And don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast via RSSStitcher or on iTunes!

Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!

Almost-live blog on Allure of the Seas - Day 1

In:
22Apr2014

We welcome Royal Caribbean Blog reader Shawn Wallace, who recently sailed on Allure of the Seas and wrote up this "almost live" blog post series to share. Enjoy!

Hi everyone! This is a review of our cruise that started back on April 6th. 

We had booked this cruise last year in July while on board Enchantment. This cruise on Allure was a retirement gift for my wife's mother.

For this cruise, I was traveling with my wife Michelle, our two daughters Dava (6) & Nora (2), and wife's mother Joan. We had selected this particular cruise based on being Spring break week and also take her on an oasis class ship. Since Allure leaves on Sunday, we chose Allure so we could travel down on Saturday. After spending the night with local family, we got to the port around 11 am.

The terminal that Allure was docked at seemed to be small. I wondered how congestion was later in the day. We got through security and checked in within minutes! We had to wait to board until 12pm. At first I thought that might be due to cleaning on board due to norovirus cases from previous cruise which was mentioned in a letter they passed out with our first compass, but now I think it was just due to the time it took to get everyone off.

My first impression when we walked into the promenade was Wow! The promenade was so grand and gorgeous!

We made our way to guest relations to make our requests for sitters at sea which we had hoped for days 2-7 as well as get on the waiting list for a cabana. 

Then we made our way up to Adventure Ocean to register the girls in camp. The nursery lets you pre-scheduled up to 15 hours at first and let us know they can only take a set number of kids which I think was 10-12 but I never saw any more than 4 in there the entire week. From there we made our way to Park Cafe only to find a long line out the door.

We thought after all the comments about Windjammer being crowded and that Park Cafe might be the better idea for lunch. So we decided to go up and try the Windjammer! I loved that they found you a table first. I looked all over but missed the honey stung chicken! Oh well, it's something for me to look for on the next cruise! I did find some great beef curry! My daughter was even able to get the cheese melted on her burger.

After lunch, we made our way down to check out the sports deck. First up was playing a round of mini golf. Then we watched the people on the Flowriders and zip line. After, we wanted to drop off our carry-on baggage and made our way down to our rooms.

We had two rooms on this cruise. We had an ocean view balcony (8714) with our youngest daughter. This room also had a Pullman over the sleeper sofa. Joan and my older daughter had a room across from us in 8715 that had a balcony over the boardwalk neighborhood. When we got to our room, our bags were already waiting on us.

After getting unpacked, it was time for our muster station. Thankfully it was in the main dining room. This was a great change from being outside next to the lifeboats. I missed the sail away party as our youngest daughter passed out during the muster drill, but I thought sleep would be better for her and give me a chance to look over the compass before dinner.

We made our reservations for My Time for 6:30. After changing, we made our way down to deck 5.

Tonight is where we met the best dining room staff we have ever had wait on us. Our assistant waiter, Emrah, for this evening was normally a waiter in Chops. We mentioned that we would be making a reservation later this week when we knew what nights we had sitters at sea. Emrah was so lively and engaging with us and our kids.

While we were talking to Emrah, our head waiter happened to walk by while we were talking about chops. He spoke up and said he would make us a reservation, but we explained we didn't know our plans yet. He called guest services himself on the spot and found out that we were confirmed for the next night. He had us a reservation for chops that we would later have to change, but what wonderful service. He gave my wife his business card with his extension if we needed anything! I say this because of all the extra help and changes he made for us just like that the rest of week! We were his VIP even though I could tell he made everyone feel like that!

I had the great bay scallops dish that was a great replacement especially for when escargot was not available. My second appetizer was the watermelon raspberry soup followed by prime rib.

After dinner we checked out the arcade after hearing earlier in the day that the games would be free for an hour. Unfortunately we missed the free hour, but the girls got plenty of games in that night. Then we were off to the ice cream parlor for a little treat before turning in for the night to let them get some rest. I noticed this evening on our way out that this ship was going to be so smooth!

The first day, I never felt it rock or the vibration of the engine! After checking out the compass for the next day, we called it a night.

Video: Royal Caribbean Partners with University of Miami for Ocean Research

In:
22Apr2014

A look at Royal Caribbean's partnership with the University of Miami and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science to provide valuable statistics while studying the movements of the sea.

Royal Caribbean part of group opposing PortMiami stadium

In:
21Apr2014

Royal Caribbean is part of a coalition that is in opposition of plans to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium in PortMiami.

The coalition is called, "Miami Seaport Alliance" and is against the plans. Royal Caribbean's opposition stems from the fact the stadium would be located adjacent to its headquarters.

The coalition cites concerns congestion in the area that is already congested.  Miami Seaport Alliance president, John Fox, commented on the idea, "When there’s a Heat game, or things going on at the Arsht Performing Arts Center, we now have an art museum that’s fantastic, there’s a children’s museum there, there’s a science museum coming,” Fox said. “And so, even forgetting the cruise and cargo interests, there’s horrendous, horrendous traffic problems."

Fox is the former vice-president of government relations for Royal Caribbean.

The group includes seven or eight members, according to Fox, which includes Royal Caribbean, labor unions, freight forwarders and other companies.

The soccer stadium proposal is championed by soccer star David Beckham.  Beckham prefers the stadium in the port because of the downtown Miami skyline view.

Royal Caribbean Post Round-Up: April 20, 2014

In:
20Apr2014

Happy Easter to all of our readers.  Have a great day and by far the big news this week was Royal Caribbean's deployment news regarding its Quantum-class ships.

Royal Caribbean announced it will send its brand new Quantum of the Seas to China in 2015, less than a year after it debuts in New York. 

In turn, Anthem of the Seas will now head up to New York instead of Fort Lauderdale for the winter 2015.  Liberty of the Seas will cover the New York market in between both ships.

The news shows how much Royal Caribbean believes in the burgeoning Chinese cruise market, but it did leave many fans disappointed that there won't be much time in the United States to enjoy Quantum of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean News

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast

The thirty-seventh episode of the Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast is available that is all about booking shore excursions.

This week we will look at all the different booking incentives Royal Caribbean offers its guests and which ones tend to be a better deal than others. We also have lots of listener feedback to share!

Please feel free to subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and head over to rate and review the podcast on iTunes if you can! We’d appreciate it.

Royal Caribbean Around the Internet

BuzzFeed explains why Quantum of the Seas represents a critical tests for the cruise industry.

Mommy Musings has her top 10 experiences on Liberty of the Seas.

CruiseInd has analysis of Quantum of the Seas going to China.

Navigator of the Seas 7-night Western Caribbean Cruise Compass - March 30, 2014

In:
18Apr2014

Thanks to Cary Wiener for providing this Cruise Compass

Friday Photos

In:
18Apr2014

Friday is here and that means we're sharing our reader's favorite Royal Caribbean cruise photos to give the rest of us a little "cruise fix" until our next cruise.  Let's see what we have this week.

Jared sent us this photo from St. Maarten with a number of cruise ships in port, including Independence of the Seas, which is on the right. I love to compare ships when in port and this is a great view!

John McCormack sent us this photo of the cast of the Ice Games show on Allure of the Seas. Love the shows in the evening!

How about a black and white photo of Oasis of the Seas by Connor De La Pena? A black and white photo here and there is always a nice change.

How about another photo of Independence of the Seas? Here's one from Jeremy from the pool deck and boy, do I wish I was looking at this right now!

Frank Battiston sent in this great sunset photo from Allure of the Seas.  It was taken on his Aqua Theater Suite deck and it looks amazing!

Last, but not least, we have this photo by John Siegmund of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge sailing into Cape Liberty on morning of departure on Explorer of the Seas. Great view!

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos and don't forget that we want to see your photos too.  Use our form to send us your favorite Royal Caribbean photos and we will share them in an upcoming Friday Photos post!

Royal Caribbean announces New York and Galveston deployments for 2015-2016

In:
17Apr2014

Royal Caribbean announced today its plans for cruise ships sailing out of Galveston, Texas and the New York area.  

Royal Caribbean re-confirmed Liberty of the Seas will sail out of Cape Liberty in summer 2015 as well as confirming that Navigator of the Seas will remain in Galveston, Texas to offer seven-night cruises throughout summer 2015.

By winter 2015-2016, Anthem of the Seas will replace Liberty of the Seas in offering cruises out of Cape Liberty.  In turn, Liberty of the Seas will head to Galveston to offer weekly Caribbean cruises there.  Finally, Navigator of the Seas will sail six- and eight-night Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale.

Brilliance of the Seas and Vision of the Seas will return to Tampa in winter 2015-16.

Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, and Vision of the Seas’ 2015-16 cruise seasons are now open for booking.

Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members have the exclusive privilege to book Anthem of the Seas’ winter 2015-16 season starting April 25, 2014, in advance of the general opening to the public on April 29. 

Anthem of the Seas to be based in New York for winter 2015-2016

In:
16Apr2014

Following Royal Caribbean's big news that Quantum of the Seas will go to China in 2015, sister ship Anthem of the Seas is going to also be moving in 2015.  She will replace Liberty of the Seas in Bayonne, New Jersey for the winter 2015-2016 cruise season.

Anthem of the Seas is the second in the Quantum-class of cruise ships Royal Caribbean is building and will debut in Southampton, England in April 2015 first and then move to New York for the winter.

This is a change for Anthem of the Seas since she was previously planned to be sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida in winter 2015.

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