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spiralqueen

Allure of the Seas May 12-19 Eastern Caribbean - First attempt at Live Blog!

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Now that it is officially single digits until sail away, I figure it is not unreasonable for me to get this live blog started! (though I AM endlessly amused by the people who have recently started their posts far in advance of their sailings. *cough @StayFrosty @Lovetocruise2002 @Matt cough*)  I will be transparent in that, since this is my first live blog, I can't guarantee I will be able to stay on top of it the way I might like, but I will be doing my level best to share with all of you for multiple reasons. First and foremost, I have gotten so much out of other's live blogs and genuinely want to give back to this community in any way I might be able to. But it isn't ALL altruistic. I think, if I'm able to stay on top of a live blog, it will make a great memory in a bottle of my trip to allow me to revisit wistfully on extra stressful days. I think I will start with a bit of background organized in a format that I'm shamelessly stealing from one of  @Lovetocruise2002's blogs. 

Pre-cruise report:


Sailing:  May 12-19, 2019, Allure of the Seas, 7 Night Eastern Caribbean cruise

Sailing with:   Me (32), and my parents (not my age to tell)

Flying from: PHL to FLL on Southwest and returning on American (boo baggage fees, yay nonstop flights at reasonable times)

Pre-cruise hotel:  Ended up with   Holiday Inn Express Ft. Lauderdale Cruise-Airport (the one on 17th Street) 
We cycled through many different hotels before we ended up with this one. Like the sane person I am, I would check on hotel prices about once every 2 weeks starting 8 months in advance and if I saw a great price at a hotel that looked convenient or interesting I booked it just to guarantee the price. At one point I had 4 hotels booked at the same time. You may be starting to get the impression that I take as much enjoyment from planning my vacation as actually taking it. You would be correct. And thank you kindly for enabling that! Other hotels that were considered and discarded: 

  • Drift Hotel - liked that it was close to the beach, disliked that it didn't seem to have as many amenities as other hotels, such as having someone there to hold our luggage if we got there far before check-in. 
  • Holiday Inn Express & Suites Ft. Lauderdale Airport/Cruise - liked that it had 2 queen beds (not doubles) for a good price. Disliked that it didn't seem very walkable
  • Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport North Cruise Port - this was the #1 hotel until the price recently came down for the Holiday Inn on 17th Street. I liked that it had the normal things like a free airport shuttle, concierge, pool, but it also was across a smaller side street from a shopping center that has restaurants, a Big Lot & a liquor store where my dad could grab some wine. But you just can't beat the convenience (from what I hear) of hotels in that 17th Street strip so while this hotel was walkable...the Holiday Inn Express won out.  

 

The itinerary is as follows:
Day 1 – Fort Lauderdale
Day 2 and 3 – At Sea
Day 4 – Basseterre, St. Kitt's
Day 5 – Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas San Juan, PR
Day 6 – At Sea
Day 7 – Nassau, Bahamas
Day 8 – Fort Lauderdale


We have booked a third party excursion on St. Kitt's through Thenford Grey. I've heard good things about him on here and elsewhere so I'm excited for this tour. We were originally slated for St. Thomas as a stop, but as many of you have probably already seen, Allure is having some propulsion issues and we will now be stopping in San Juan. There are many people in my sailing's FB group who are devastated by this news. While I respect that reaction, I don't want to start letting negativity seep into my vacation before it has even started. So goodbye trip to Secret Sands beach we had through Royal and hello to last minute research into self guided walking tours through San Juan. I'm actually legit excited about this change as I would prefer getting to know the history and culture of a place than simply laying around on the beach all day. And that FOOD. So time to dust off my super rusty 14 year old spanish lessons and go with the flow. WEPA!  And for Nassau, we have been before and my parents have no desire to get off the off again. With a ship like Allure to explore and relax on instead, I will not be arguing with that. 

Cabin:  We have a hump balcony Junior Suite on the 8th floor. Very much looking forward to "having" to walk through Central Park to get back to the room. ~*~WOE~*~

Pre-purchases: Besides the excursions which I covered above, we will be trying out The Key (I see it as a great little upgrade to Sea Class) and my mother and I have the refreshment package. I’ve been sober coming up on 2 years now and I love that the refreshment package lets me get mocktails and interesting non-alcoholic drinks so I never feel like I’m missing out, feel out of place around a bar, or have the temptation to grab that tasty looking boozey beverage. Since my mom doesn’t drink either, my dad then gets the 2 bottle of wine allotment to himself and will supplement that with the occasional beer here and there. Nowhere enough to warrant a drink package for himself. The last time we were on a cruise, he would decant half of his bottle of wine into an empty (clear) water bottle from the room. The moment he proceeded to do this with his bottle of red as well was the moment I was mentally buying him a portable wine tumbler for this trip. None of the crew members said anything, but seeing him walk into the MDR with a clear water bottle full of dark red wine was not our proudest hour. Though if you asked him, he would quip that Jesus paid him a visit and turned that water into wine. *facepalm*

Random Pre-cruise thoughts:

  • I am going to take as many pictures as I can remember to, though it’s not ingrained.
  • Please let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to check out or take pictures of for you. I am open to requests.
  •  I will make sure to detail how easy or difficult it was for me to get reservations in Coastal Kitchen as a Junior Suite. That is something that seems to have very mixed results so I’m curious how it will work out. Ideally we would have reservations there every night except for the night we have Giovanni’s reserved.
  • If all goes according to plan, I shall be running a completely unofficial and entirely arbitrary “Allure’s Best Steak” competition since I plan to have steak in Chops (Key lunch), Coastal Kitchen, Giovanni’s, and the MDR (Key breakfast). I will be sure to let you know my thoughts.
  • I will also make sure to note how I am liking the Key since that’s such a new feature and it seems to vary wildly from ship to ship.
  • I have reached the point in trip antsyness where I’m overthinking my packing and buying unnecessary things from Amazon to help. Because buying a toiletry bag is the most important thing in the world right now!
  • I promise future posts will have more pictures! 

 

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29 minutes ago, spiralqueen said:

though I AM endlessly amused by the people who have recently started their posts far in advance of their sailings. *cough @StayFrosty @Lovetocruise2002 @Matt cough*

I admire your ability to hold in your excitement for your cruise for so long.  I do not have that skill.

Looking forward to following your blog.  I can't wait to book an Oasis class when my kid is older.

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10 hours ago, StayFrosty said:

I admire your ability to hold in your excitement for your cruise for so long.  I do not have that skill.

Lol that restraint brought to you by me annoying my friends and coworkers with how much I talk about this upcoming vacation and showing them pictures of various things.  

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8 hours ago, JohnK6404 said:

Following too! We’re getting on as you disembark on 5/19... Western Caribbean. 

I may also try my first live blog... we’ll see if my wife and friends tolerate it! 😎

Have an amazing time!

I really hope you do consider it! I’d love to be able to have another Allure blog to help me cope with the post-cruise depression. And in general I love to see how everyone sails differently. It’s fun to get a peak into people’s vacations. 

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1 minute ago, spiralqueen said:

Thank you! I hope to bring even a quarter of the humor and charm that you had for your recent liveblog 

Don't be silly. I border on ridiculous. I look forward to your Oasis class blog! I am dying to try that class! 

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45 minutes ago, Andrew72681 said:

Following along. Looking forward to opinions on how Allure is handling its age right before its Amplification next year. 

Thanks! I will try and make an effort to notice and comment on her state, but I’ll be honest. I’m not the best at noticing rust and chipped paint and ship scruffiness. I tend to be dazzled by big picture stuff instead lol 

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11 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

I'm able to stay on top of a live blog, it will make a great memory in a bottle of my trip to allow me to revisit wistfully on extra stressful days. 

^^^ This is one of my main reason for blogging!  D10 and Hubby both mentioned after my Anthem blog that it served as a great memory.  Looking forward to your blog!  And I am never going to live down that early start am I? 😆

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14 hours ago, JohnK6404 said:

Following too! We’re getting on as you disembark on 5/19... Western Caribbean. 

I may also try my first live blog... we’ll see if my wife and friends tolerate it! 😎

Have an amazing time!

I too hope that you give it a shot 🤞

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17 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Looking forward to your blog!  And I am never going to live down that early start am I? 😆

Thanks for following along! And no, never living that down, but in a good way! I loved how your excitement came through the screen and made me thrilled FOR you. 

 

17 hours ago, Cindy Leslie said:

Enjoyed your pre-cruise overview...will be following along! Looking forward to it!

Thank you so much! 

 

13 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

With my first Oasis Class and first Caribbean cruise coming up on Allure in December, I'm very excited to follow your cruise! 😆 

Have an awesome time!

Thanks! Please let me know if there is anything in particular you are curious about or would like a picture of. 

 

2 hours ago, Jaymac Radio said:

Following!!

 

Thanks! Glad to have you 😁

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14 minutes ago, spiralqueen said:

 

Thanks! Please let me know if there is anything in particular you are curious about or would like a picture of. 

I'm considering booking 150 Central Park so if you could get any photos of the venue or menu that would be great 👍

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1 hour ago, hayley_bopp said:

I'm considering booking 150 Central Park so if you could get any photos of the venue or menu that would be great 👍

I absolutely can take a picture of the menu and will try to take pictures of the venue if it’s possible! Since I’ve never been there before I don’t know if it’s possible to go in and take pictures when they are closed or while they are open without a reservation. But it can’t hurt to try 😊

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16 minutes ago, spiralqueen said:

I absolutely can take a picture of the menu and will try to take pictures of the venue if it’s possible! Since I’ve never been there before I don’t know if it’s possible to go in and take pictures when they are closed or while they are open without a reservation. But it can’t hurt to try 😊

 

1 hour ago, hayley_bopp said:

I'm considering booking 150 Central Park so if you could get any photos of the venue or menu that would be great 👍

We haven't made reservations yet because we won't know which restaurants they assigned for our BOGO. But we are definitely planning to go to 150 CP at some point on our May 18 Symphony cruise. Don't know if that will help @hayley_bopp but if nothing else, it will be interesting to compare the restaurant on the 2 ships.

@spiralqueen have a great cruise!!

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5 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

I'm considering booking 150 Central Park so if you could get any photos of the venue or menu that would be great 👍

If you go the lemongrass cucumber martini was amazing.  I will try and hunt down our pics...I didn’t take a picture of the menu I don’t think!  Jane

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18 minutes ago, mom2mybugs said:

If you go the lemongrass cucumber martini was amazing.  I will try and hunt down our pics...I didn’t take a picture of the menu I don’t think!  Jane

B93070B5-42EF-4B13-BC1E-BC509955E000.thumb.jpeg.c1630213f1586622332a1d91e8614e5e.jpeg

6 hours ago, hayley_bopp said:

I'm considering booking 150 Central Park so if you could get any photos of the venue or menu that would be great 👍

55CDA47A-8A25-4551-98D6-9060F7727FA7.thumb.jpeg.19f8c3386366f1591af7f4d7a1da7ac9.jpegECC5164E-19D1-4BAC-9332-DBA942DD6137.thumb.jpeg.dc9a33edc11bb3944f43e98cfd58cfa4.jpeg39DBEF14-3B38-4BB1-BA0E-CCEBEEF9B9A3.thumb.jpeg.95b82d10f720d842e287455a30d0e3dd.jpeg

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