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spiralqueen

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

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1 hour ago, Andrew72681 said:

I wonder how’d they’d feel if we walked in with all of our luggage Thursday night and sat down for Dinner. 

LOL!  Hubby wants to do this for our Symphony cruise this July.  We are flying to FLL but booked at the Intercontinental Miami.  Hubby said that we should swing by for a bite to eat at La Bamba before heading to Miami.  I asked him what we would do with our luggage??  I say that you try it and let us know how it goes! 😜

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1 minute ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

LOL!  Hubby wants to do this for our Symphony cruise this July.  We are flying to FLL but booked at the Intercontinental Miami.  Hubby said that we should swing by for a bite to eat at La Bamba before heading to Miami.  I asked him what we would do with our luggage??  I say that you try it and let us know how it goes! 😜

Maybe if I invite our Uber drive in for dinner he’ll let us keep the luggage in the car. 

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8 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

I think our plans for the rest of the day are to laze about and recuperate so that we will be well rested and raring to go tomm for our sailing. I’m also pushing for dinner at La Bamba since it’s basically a RCB tradition at this point. 

Wellllllll turns out we were a bit more “laze” than anticipated and we all sort of passed out sometime around 2:30 or 3 and suddenly it was 6:30 and no one was really in the mood for dinner dinner. Lunch was so filling that we were still working that off and since the only thing that happened between was a trip to Walgreens and sleeping....dinner seemed absurd. My dad went off to grab his wine at Total Wine and ended up grabbing some of those grab & go meals from Publix next door. Suddenly the tiny microwave in our room didn’t seem so useless. The chicken parm was fairly decent....at least for something that you nuke in the microwave. While I’m slightly bummed that we didn’t get to check out La Bamba, I can’t complain too much since we are about to face an onslaught of food in about T-minus 12 hours. Also, we all honestly needed that recovery time from traveling on such a lack of sleep. It was rough. 

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Today has been a bit of a (good) whirlwind so forgive me if this recap is a bit scattered. I guess like the Sound of Music says, let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. We checked out from our hotel around 9:45 because I assumed that it would take a bit to get an Uber and I wanted to be on our way to the port by 10. Turns out our hotel checkin wasn’t the only smooth thing. Lots of Uber drivers were hanging around the area and it 2 minutes for our XL to get there. It cost us $10 plus tip to get the 3 of us from our 17th Street hotel to the port drop off. If you have lots of luggage I HIGHLY recommend using the XL feature on Uber. There’s no way our stuff would have fit into a sedan. 131B56C5-3801-42EB-ACB0-53249E596EBC.thumb.jpeg.611d119ce8d5832c57e595e1720cb680.jpeg

We were at the port by 9:51 and sitting in the suites waiting area by 10:03. I’m pretty sure most of that time was spent walking from the drop off area, through the debarking stragglers, and to the check in area. Since people were wondering, at Port Everglades they have the Key grouped with suites for security as well as check in. I didn’t get a picture of the security set up, but basically it looked like there was one short line for suites/pinnacles & Key and a long winding line for everyone else. Once through security, we went over to the check in area. We told the employee directing people that we had both a suite and The Key so whichever line was shorter. It happened that the Key was shorter and we were literally checked in and through to the next step before my dad even realized what the guy with the iPad was for. I’d say a minute is being conservative. Very fast and streamlined. Next on to the waiting area! 

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We made our way over to the suite waiting area as it looked much nicer than the Key area. The Key area was the same seats most people had, just in an area fairly close to the doors to get on the ship. Suite waiting area. We will have to be careful not to get too used to this! 

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They said they hoped to start boarding around 10:30. It took a bit longer than that, but not overly so. I believe they started calling groupings at 10:45ish. The order that I was able to hear was Star Class (back to back didn’t get an announcement. They just got escorted off and then back on first), then Suites, then Key. I assume the order after that was by loyalty level. I was very happy that I knew from message boards to go to the Amber Theater for bag drop off bc there really wasn’t any signage until you got INTO the theater. Also I was happy that we were able to board with suites and juuuuust best the huge rush of Key people to drop off bags. We were the second ones at bag drop off and when we turned to leave the theater there was a rather long line forming. At this point it was around 11. I think we wandered up to Central Park to explore and be close to Chops for when it opened for lunch. This was meant to be 11:30. I went to order a virgin strawberry daiquiri from the Trellis bar and break in my refreshment package but I was told that they didn’t have any strawberry pure mix so my backup drink of strawberry lemonade was also out. Disappointed, I just grabbed a bottle of water and figured I’d grab one at another bar. This would turn out to be more difficult than anticipated. But let’s put a pin in that and get back to lunch! Over we all went to Chops around 11:20 since I had heard of people being let in as early as that for lunch. Well turns out there was an unannounced change in opening time. It went from 11:30 to noon and as we were just about to go off and do something else while waiting, I noticed a line building up behind us. I decided then that I was going to hang out in line because if we had left to return at noon there was no way we would have been able to get in before it was full. Also it was a gorgeous day and what difference does it make to kill time there versus elsewhere? They opened promptly at noon and we were quickly shown to a table after giving the host our room number so he could confirm we had the Key. That’s when we found out from our sever that the delay was due to a surprise health inspection. Understandable and unavoidable. 

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Menu is the same one that has been going around of the more limited options. I went with the shrimp cocktail, filet & chocolate cake. 

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The shrimp were very well cooked but rather small. I’m not sure if that’s how it is on Allure or if it was due to the health inspection. The filet was very tender and the peppercorn sauce had a nice kick and depth to it. My dad really enjoyed the red wine sauce he chose for his filet. I wasn’t as impressed, but I tend to prefer kick with my meat. The chocolate cake was passable but not great. Warning: I like to bake so I tend to be very critical of desserts. You will likely see me saying that many desserts are mediocre. Does this stop me from eating them? Of course not. 😂

Oh and since we were delayed in getting started at Chops, right after we ordered I excused myself to make a quick trip up to Coastal Kitchen to arrange for dinner reservations. At least on this sailing they are not allowing Junior Suites to make reservations for the week all at once. Though they aren’t making you wait until the day of. I was able to get a 6pm reservation for tonight and then was able to schedule dinner for the next day when we showed up for our existing reservation before we were seated. So not the end of the world. But back to lunch. Coastal Kitchen was quite quick to arrange and by the time I went back down to Chops the appetizers had not even arrived. I’d say overall lunch there took about an hour and a half. It was nice and relaxing but quite a lot of food for lunch. 

We knew the rooms were ready at this point and since we were very close to it, we headed over that way. Overall I’m very pleased with our room. It’s larger than the hotel room we had stayed in last night and there’s tons of storage. The balcony is also amazing since it’s one of the hump rooms so it’s rather deep. 

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the balcony has 2 full sized loungers as well as 2 normal chairs and a table. The loungers  have room to fully recline. 

The room had information about how to connect to the internet (no codes), and more information about Key benefits on Allure. 0CC9CC5A-ECFD-43D2-8B11-433EE0896553.thumb.jpeg.4f17335ee52b64ad12205919b172fd5d.jpeg

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We bummed around the room for a bit until it was muster time. We were muster station E1. Our door said we would be in the Royal Promenade somewhere. I was worried we wouldn’t be able to figure out where exactly. I was worried for naught. 

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I think we went up to the Solarium to watch sail away at this point but everything is blending together because sleepyyyy. I know at some point we also stopped by the Boardwalk because I saw these really cool art installations showing the different stages of making the horses for the merry go round. 

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At some point we also swung by guest services to get our sea pass cards punch for our lanyard and to see about either getting stickers or wristbands for The Key since they weren’t in our staterooms and I knew from past posts that we would run into issues using the reserved seats at shows perk if we didn’t have that. The guy trying to triage the guest services line to weed out the easy things for them was able to hole punch for us but was very confused by our Key question. I thanked him and said we would wait for someone at guest services to help. It was then that my mom saw someone give someone else Key wristbands so we were able to flag him down and tell him that’s what we were also looking for. He seemed surprised that they were not in our room but gave us 3 once he saw by looking up our room number that that’s the number we had purchased. 

Since we had an 8pm show, I went with 6pm dinner reservations to be on the safe side. At 6pm we went to Coastal Kitchen and the host saw us through the glass and immediately buzzed us in. We were quickly seated and our server was great. He checked in very often and had excellent recommendations before we even asked. The menu for Day 1 was very different from past Day 1 menus I had seen from other live blogs. 

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classics side. For future posts I’ll only post the rotating menu portion to avoid duplication. 

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I got the crab cake and roasted chicken and Andrew suggested an order of the cheese tortellini for the table to split  which sounded like a splendid idea. 

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The crab cake was pretty good. The aioli was great and had a nice kick to it. It didn’t have quite enough crab vs filler for it to be a truly great crab cake, but I’m also spoiled by the crab cakes I get whenever I visit my friend who lives in a town on the Maryland coast. The chicken was very moist but there was SO. MUCH. CHICKEN. The head waiter actually stopped by at some point to make sure everything was ok with my dinner because I barely made a dent in it. He looked much less worried once I explained that I had had lunch at Chops and there’s only so much food I can fit. The tortellini recommendation was great because I don’t think I could have a full serving of it as it was a bit heavy with the cheese but it was very tasty. 

I forgot to get a picture of the dessert menu, but here it is from the app. 

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I got the chocolate & olive oil cake. I somehow missed the & and was surprised when it was a layered bar. My mom got the panna cotta which I grabbed a picture of because it was so pretty. The chocolate portion was excellent but incredibly rich and I could only eat about a third of this because it was just SO MUCH chocolate. The olive oil cake under it was rather tough and coarse. Since I’ve never had olive oil cake I’m not sure if that is just what the crumb is like for that kind of cake or if it was over baked. 

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Our 8pm show was Mamma Mia and we used the reserved seating perk. The seats in the theater were the first 3 rows in the slightly elevated section behind the sound booth. These are my ideal seats as I am the kind of person who likes lower mezzanine seats for broadway shows so I was a happy camper. View:

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I had fun also watching the conductor on a little screen in the sound booth. I still have no idea where they tucked those musicians away at. Under the stage? If anyone has taken the behind the scenes tour who knows, I’d love to find out as it baffled me the whole show. The show was very good and well done. I’ve seen it on broadway many years ago (prob sometime in 2008 or 2009) and I would say it was similar to the talent level of a traveling broadway show. Which is to say very talented, but not winning a Tony. The time seemed to sail by and I’m very happy we got in to the time we did as the other times were 9:30 or something like 2 or 2:30. 

We turned in after the show as it’s been a long day of doing many things and nothing all at once. Here’s some miscellaneous pictures I also took but am too tired to seamlessly work into this entry: 

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Umbrellas near Central Park & boardwalk (& prob elsewhere) 

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Sad settled on mango and tropical virgin daiquiris. Still no strawberry though I asked at every turn, ever hopeful. There’s some sort of strawberry mix shortage which I hope is fixed by tomorrow. It became a running joke through the day. If I saw a strawberry on something like my mom’s panna cotta we’d make a comment like “do you think I could have a bar tender turn that into a daiquiri???” 

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The Royal app has awesome push notification reminders when things you have added to your calendar are 15 mins away. 

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confirmation that virgin frozen drinks are $7 each. 

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Fruit platter we got which I believe is from the Key. 

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I noticed the rainbow bubbles during the day in Central Park and thought they were cool then. But they are MUCH more impressive at night. 

Bonus video I captured of when my mom was trying to sneak the cash envelope out of my dad’s pocket while he was half napping. Then he woke. 

Ok it’s now 1:44a and that means BED! I think I’ll try to do more frequent but smaller updates as this was quite a lot to do all at once and it was hard to remember what happened when. Life is so hard!!!! 🤣

 

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I have no idea why those other 2 pictures are showing up at the bottom of the prior post even though I tried to delete them, but since it is 2am I will decree that they have won the battle and they deserve to stay there. 😴😴😴

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Wow! Thank you so much for covering all of the important details of embarkation day and for all of the great pics!

Silly question about the Key bracelet... is it removable, or are we stuck wearing it for the entire length of the cruise? 

Enjoy your first day at sea! :27_sunglasses:

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15 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

Wow! Thank you so much for covering all of the important details of embarkation day and for all of the great pics!

Silly question about the Key bracelet... is it removable, or are we stuck wearing it for the entire length of the cruise? 

Enjoy your first day at sea! :27_sunglasses:

The key bracelet is a paper, non-removable bracelet similar to what you would see at a concert or amusement park. I’ll be quite curious to see how faded and wrinkled it is by the end of the trip! Picture taken right now: 

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Also thank you! I swear I read the cruise compass last night, but maybe I should have done that when I was more awake since I barely remember anything in there and have no idea what the day will bring. And I’m looking forward to  it! 😄

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48 minutes ago, spiralqueen said:

The key bracelet is a paper, non-removable bracelet similar to what you would see at a concert or amusement park. I’ll be quite curious to see how faded and wrinkled it is by the end of the trip!

Thanks!

I can't believe they can't simply slap a small sticker on the sea pass card instead (or print a code on the card like the drink packages - it's been months since they rolled this program out)... I believe that's what they've done on some of the other ships/sailings.

I guess, it is what it is as the saying goes!

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11 minutes ago, JohnK6404 said:

Thanks!

I can't believe they can't simply slap a small sticker on the seapass card instead (or print a code on the card like the drink packages - it's been months since they rolled this program out)... I believe that's what they've done on some of the other ships/sailings.

I guess, it is what it is as the saying goes!

I think I saw either here or on CC that they ran out of Key stickers which seems rather easy to fix but what do I know lol 

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5 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

It didn’t have quite enough crab vs filler for it to be a truly great crab cake, but I’m also spoiled by the crab cakes I get whenever I visit my friend who lives in a town on the Maryland coast.

As a MD native, crab cakes just aren't the same outside the Delmarva area......

Thank you for all the details about the Key.

 

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The orchestra is actually located on both sides of the stage in elevated side rooms.  It’s very weird to watch them if you can.  They are truly blind to the director aside from a video feed. To me it looks like it would be very difficult to do but I guess they know the scores do well that they probably don’t even need a conductor.  Very interesting setup.

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27 minutes ago, spiralqueen said:

I think I saw either here or on CC that they ran out of Key stickers which seems rather easy to fix but what do I know lol 

... it's like what we say at my job at times... multi-billion dollar company... 😝

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6 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

The menu for Day 1 was very different from past Day 1 menus I had seen from other live blogs. 

Hmm..interesting.  Seems like from what you and @WAAAYTOOO have reported, Allure runs a different cycle for CK.  That menu that you just posted is the typical Day 4 one on other ships. 

6 hours ago, spiralqueen said:

Oh and since we were delayed in getting started at Chops, right after we ordered I excused myself to make a quick trip up to Coastal Kitchen to arrange for dinner reservations. At least on this sailing they are not allowing Junior Suites to make reservations for the week all at once. Though they aren’t making you wait until the day of. I was able to get a 6pm reservation for tonight and then was able to schedule dinner for the next day when we showed up for our existing reservation before we were seated.

Thank you for reporting this.  I've been keeping track (loosely) of blogs that I read where those in a JS have trouble getting reservations for the week.  Seems to be an issue on O class more than Q class.  Fingers crossed for the rest of the week, you need that Filet!

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1 hour ago, mbk999 said:

As a MD native, crab cakes just aren't the same outside the Delmarva area......

Thank you for all the details about the Key.

 

Was thinking the exact same thing. I won’t order a crab cake anywhere else but home. Everything has to live up to the standard of G&M in Linthicum and not much comes close. 

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On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 1:49 PM, spiralqueen said:

Yes there is! And it's actually rather active. They are planning a pub crawl but I likely will not be attending due to the not drinking thing. https://www.facebook.com/groups/365872913920663/ 

I put a request in to Join but I am not on this ship until August.  I am hoping to get accepted so I can see and experience the ship prior to my sailing.  If you can ask the administrator for my that would be great.  thanks.

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This morning consisted of eventually emerging from the room around 8:15ish to make our way down to the Promenade since I wanted an iced chai latte and to stop by guest services to deposit the money for my mom’s Mother’s Day gift I gave her (money for OBC for a massage that she had been talking about for weeks). Yesterday the line was absolutely mad so I just didn’t even bother and ended up giving her the card with cash in it and a verbal explanation that I would swing by guest services to deposit it for her. I wouldn’t have minded standing in line for it on Day 1, but I couldn’t come up with an excuse as to why I needed to stand in line THEN that didn’t arise suspicion. So today on Day 2 I stopped by at 8:30 and there was no one in line which is my favorite kind of wait. Even with no one in line they had a crew member there to triage which is great. They didn’t give me any trouble about wanting to deposit cash in someone else’s account. Just confirmed about 5 times that it is what I meant to do. With that done, I went next door for the latte.

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 It was a bit disappointing and it had far too much milk and not enough chai. Having the refreshment package meant that I didn’t have to finish it or feel guilty about not having done so. I was about to get ready to go to Starbucks and pay for one of theirs when I remembered that my mom had a 9:30 massage and that the Vitality Cafe has lots of interesting juices and smoothies. I ended up getting the apple mint juice which had fresh green apple, mint leaves, and I think ginger all puréed into a juice super quickly. It was DELICIOUS and super refreshing. I’m pretty sure I will be hitting up that cafe almost daily because it seems to have a lot of great options that are included in the refreshment package. I forgot to take a picture of my juice but it was green and gross looking but tasted amazing. 

On the way back to the room to grab my bag and devices, I noticed that Central Park has these hand washing stations scattered throughout. This particular one is outside of Park Cafe. 

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Having packed a backpack with all my various things that I wanted for hanging out in the Solarium, I went up towards there. I wanted to be on deck 16 so I could be closer to the bar and able to quickly grab more water as I needed it. 

View of the pool as of 10am. I’m sure it will get busier. 

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Which brings us to now. I’m camped out on the second floor of the solarium in these nice padded chairs underneath an overhang to protect me from the evil, burny sun. I get to enjoy the gorgeous weather without the inevitable sunburn that follows me spending any sizable amount of time in the sun. The seats I’m in reading on my kindle: 

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and their proximity to the bar (which is hopping!) 

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Omfg I just stumbled across this in the Royal app when I was going to see what was for dinner at Coastal Kitchen tonight. I didn’t realize it, but somehow reservations were made for us for the rest of the week at our ideal time of 6pm except for the night we have reservations at Giovanni’s. I have no idea how this happened but I am THRILLED about this as it takes away a stressor and guarantees excellent food for the trip. ( @Lovetocruise2002

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@JohnK6404 @SpeedNoodles Well I spoke too quickly about the lack of key stickers. They must have gotten a shipment in somehow because when we came back to our room after lunch and  there was a little envelope waiting for us on the bed. 

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and I was very puzzled at first because it seemed empty. But looking closer inside revealed.....

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KEY STICKERS! Very happy to not have to wear this wristband all week. 

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1 hour ago, spiralqueen said:

@JohnK6404 @SpeedNoodles Well I spoke too quickly about the lack of key stickers. They must have gotten a shipment in somehow because when we came back to our room after lunch and  there was a little envelope waiting for us on the bed.

Great!!! Must have been delivered by drone! LOL! ☺️

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On 5/8/2019 at 4:25 PM, Andrew72681 said:

I can’t go more than five minutes from when the luggage tags are available to having them folded and in the plastic luggage tag holders

Thanks to this comment I have 4 RCL-sized luggage tag holders on their way from Amazon! Never would've thought of that.  👜 Thank you! 

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9 hours ago, mbk999 said:

As a MD native, crab cakes just aren't the same outside the Delmarva area......

Thank you for all the details about the Key.

 

True statement! I was born in Baltimore and spent many summers on the shore crabbing with my Poppop! My Mommom made the best crab cakes! Can’t replicate them. I’ve given up ordering them anywhere else...not worth it.

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