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A Star Class Family Vacation - Allure of the Seas - July 31, 2022


AspiringCruisePlanner
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Hi everyone, thought I would share some details about our upcoming family vacation that we just booked.  I used several tips from posters on this board, so I thought I'd share my gratitude with you all.

WHO: We have a group of 13 from my immediate family.  5 Adult couples and 3 kids (1, 9, and 10).  The only people who've been on a cruise before are my parents and my wife and me, so it should be an exciting experience for everyone.

WHAT: We booked two staterooms to hold the 13 of us.  We booked one of the spacious Aquatheater suites (A1) category and the Royal Loft Suite!  Both staterooms give everyone Star class amenities.  The bedroom configuration between the two stateroom works out perfectly for us.  We have two private balconies that people can hang out at.  One at the back of the ship facing the Aquatheater and one at the top...with a hot tub.

WHEN: July 31, 2022.  Our most likely time of year that we could have booked this trip would be in the Summer.  We have two school age kids, a teacher, and a resident doctor.  Trying to plan around any other time would just not have worked for all of us.  And we did not want to leave anyone behind, because we've been planning on going on a cruise together for years.

WHERE: 6 Night Western Caribbean itinerary out of Fort Lauderdale.  We were originally looking at an Eastern or Southern Caribbean itinerary, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of excursion options with this itinerary that everyone can find something to do.

WHY: We've been looking at doing a family cruise vacation for years now, and just hadn't had a good opportunity to book one.  We had one booked this last December with another cruise line that got canceled due to COVID.

HOW: We booked with Grace from MEI Travel based on recommendations that I received from my first post on this board.  Super knowledgeable, friendly, and courteous booking experience with her.  Very different from the experiences I've had with my Cruises.com booking.  I feel like I have a cruise travel agent for life now!  

A couple of things worth mentioning.  We probably wouldn't have booked such lavish stateroom classes if the price weren't so low.  I didn't believe it when I did the math for our booking, but we secured these two rooms for the 13 of us for $2k/pp!  For my wife and my honeymoon, we paid that same price for a regular balcony stateroom in mid June.  Pretty nuts, but I think the fact that the Allure was rescheduled to the Caribbean for this next Summer forced Royal to offer lower prices to fill the ship in a shorter period of time than their normal deployment schedule.

For those people who pour over data and trends to find the best priced cruise you can, take a look at cruiseplum.com.  It has the most amount of data and tools than any other search tool I've seen on the internet.  It even shows historical prices per cabin category.  You can even filter your search to Star class only.  Definitely was useful when searching for the perfect cruise for the price.

Another pro tip that @Lovetocruise2002 mentioned in previous posts that was applicable to our cruise was to only include 3 people per stateroom on the original booking.  This locks in pricing for any additional guests at the 3rd guest's rate.  This also reduced the non-refundable deposit that we had to pay dramatically ($1500 vs $3250).  We will still have to pay the deposits and cruise fares for people later when we add people on, but doing this reduces the total amount of money we have tied up in non-refundable deposits in the event we have to cancel our booking.  The only risk with doing this strategy is that if the cruise is at max capacity, no more people can be added to staterooms.  We plan on adding the additional people 4 months in advance and checking with our TA occasionally.

One question that I have is whether anyone has had any experiences with people from the same group having two different genies?  Would the genies coordinate between each other if we wanted to reserve dinner or a show together?  Are we only able to be helped by our own genie?  Let me know if you've had any experience with this.

Also, we'll be bringing a 1 year old on the cruise.  Can anyone shed some light on what sort of sleeping arrangement works best for them on a cruise?  Bringing a pack & play?  Sleeping in bed with Mom and Dad?

Everyone's looking forward the trip as we'll have lifelong memories to make.

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Congratulations !  This sounds like it is going to be a blast.  Excellent job on getting such a great price.

I can answer the question re: having 2 different Genies.  We were on a cruise (Harmony, I believe) a number of years ago and we had a number of friends with us.  One of the groups were in 1 of the Star Loft Suites and we were in an ATS  A1.  Reyno was our Genie and I cannot recall the name of the lady Genie that they had.  She is no longer with Royal.  At any rate, they worked together as a GREAT team to plan parties, big dinner gatherings and everything we asked.  Besides those of us in SC suites there were a number of others who were in non-suites and the Genies always included everyone.  It was wonderful.

Keep in mind that you can also request that you have the SAME Genie.  I can't guarantee that they would do this but I believe that they would do it if they can.

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40 minutes ago, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

Also, we'll be bringing a 1 year old on the cruise.  Can anyone shed some light on what sort of sleeping arrangement works best for them on a cruise?  Bringing a pack & play?

Royal Caribbean can provide a pack and play, so no need to bring it. Just put request for a crib (that's what they call it) on your reservation.

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@AspiringCruisePlannerWe’ve had two genies.

One for our adult children; 2 single sons, 1 daughter, SIL, and their now 6yr. old son. One for hubs and me. 
We thought it would be more practical if we were assigned to the same genie, but we were anxious to experience everything and pleasantly surprised how nice it was to have two. It worked out better for us all.
The genies were happy to collaborate anything we asked. They shared tasks like escorting us places, on or off the ship.  We almost always do dinners and evening entertainment together except for the rare occasions things like an extra teppanyaki night or late night entertainment that hubs and I don’t do.  Of course room snacks, beverages, daily activities were handled by each genie separately. Genies have different styles and skill sets. We picked up cues and different suggestions from both genies, and also benefitted from learning what their other SC families were doing. . 

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@AspiringCruisePlannerFrom age 1-4 we tried different sleeping arrangements for the grandson. He’s now 6 yrs. The arrangement depends on the type of suite as well as the age.  Royal offered either a pack n play or a rollaway for him. But before age 2 he was too tall for a pack n play and too adventurous for a rollaway or the bunk.  

We used a toddler cot once, but each year after we brought a lightweight twin blow up mattress.  The twin blow up gives them comfort and space, yet it fits perfectly in the ATS master right in front of the (extra) sliding door to the deck. They(his parents) just didnt use that sliding door to go out. He loved it! 

When he slept overnight in our other ATS with Grand-dad and JiJi, we let him fall asleep on the lower converted bunks. Later in the night we’d bring him in to share our bed — just for peace of mind. The suites look incredibly dark when your littles are sleeping in a separate room😔. 

By age 4, he had the ultimate sleepover with Grand-dad and Jiji where the attendants put extra mattress pads and cushy duvets on the pullout in our Star Loft. Truly living his best life😇. There’s lots of options and creative ways to keep them close and safe.  I hope this helps.  In case you’re not already a member, I’m attaching  a link for Royal Moms at Sea.  My daughter enjoys it: https://www.facebook.com/groups/288815238297862/?re

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have another question regarding this sailing.  With 13 of us sailing together, how difficult would it be to reserve a table for all 13 of us at either CK or at the specialty dining restaurants?  I'm thinking that dinner would be the common time that all of us would get together each day to enjoy our time together.  Also, would it be possible for all of us to have a dinner together in our royal loft suite?  I'm thinking we could use the indoor and outdoor dining tables 🤔

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  • 2 weeks later...

More planning fun.

I recently listened to the episode 358 podcast "family olympics" with Donna and thought that would be perfect for our group! We're also a competitive bunch and it seems like a fun way to get everyone to try a bunch of activities on Allure.

I already started on the events rules document (my family is very anal about making sure the rules are understood and clear ahead of every game) and a spreadsheet that calculates the winners based off event times and results based on a points system. I'll be happy to share this with everyone after the cruise.

The events I have though of so far are:

-Flow Rider (longest surf time)

-Rock climbing (fastest time to top)

-Mini golf, of course *chuckles*

-A relay around the jogging track (maybe). This might actually be too disruptive 😂

-Flip cup

-Chug a beer (or soda) contest

-Hot dog eating contest

-Skeeball

What's nice is we should be able to get some help from our genies planning some of these events! Maybe plan an opening or closing ceremony 🤣 

We're definitely not going to be the typical group of people booking the star class suites. Or maybe we are?

Let me know if y'all have any other ideas for events we could do. Or ideas for prizes for the winners.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/14/2021 at 12:02 AM, AspiringCruisePlanner said:

More planning fun.

This sounds like so much fun!  We're doing Allure SC in September of next year so we'll be following your blog to see how things go.  Wishing it was the same date as you all seem like you would be fun to cruise with!  🙂   I'm sure your genie's will love you guys!

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  • 7 months later...

After a long journey of waiting and hoping and waiting and hoping again, we are not going to be going on this cruise for our family vacation 😢

At the start of all this planning, we thought our biggest hurdle was going to be figuring out how to plan around my older brother's first year of residency which starts July of this year.  After hearing in April that his department head made some adjustments so that he was able to take our week of the cruise off, we were so excited because we thought that was the biggest hurdle.  That wasn't the case.

When we booked the cruise back in November of last year, we were aware of the protocols that all passengers over 12 must be vaccinated.  I told this to my unvaccinated older sister when we booked this that the vax requirements may or may not be in place by the time we sail.  She was very adamant that she would not have my two nieces (under 12) get vaccinated, but she would consider getting vaccinated if it was a requirement.

Fast forward to about a month ago when the protocols for our cruise date were officially released, we decided that we would take a shot at the vaccine exemption for my sister.  Today we finally got an official response back saying they cannot accommodate the vaccine exemption due to unvaccinated capacity limits.

We're seeking a full refund for both of the reservations that we have and our wonderful TA, Grace, is helping out with that.  We just can't do the vacation without everyone being there.  It just wouldn't be right.  We do plan on doing a family cruise some other time when everyone can go.

It's really too bad because we got such a good deal on this cruise and have been planning and looking forward to it ever since we booked it.  It's unlikely that we'll find an opportunity like this one in the future at the same or somewhat close in price for the same rooms.

As an alternative for this year, we're probably going to do a short family vacation at the "Water Park Capital of the World", Wisconsin Dells.

Here's hoping that the general public will stop paying attention to the COVID headlines so we can move on with our normal lives.

P.S. if anyone is looking to book either a 2BR Aquatheater Suite or Royal Loft to sail on Allure on July 31, keep your eye out for these rooms to become available in the near future.  It'll be interesting to see what price they will have on these.

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OH NO !  So sorry to hear this.  I know you must be devastated.  So very sorry that the exemption was denied.  That is such a crap shoot.

I can give you a hint at what the suites are going for now.  I'm assuming A1 for the 2 BR ATS.

Royal Loft Suite - $11,880 PP.

A1 2 BR ATS - $6,662,00 PP

Now....realize that this is the absolute FULL PP price on these suites before ANY discounts.  That is the way they are displayed in CruisingPower when the category is completely sold out.

If you assume the standard 60% off the second passenger, assume no additional discounts (C&A, casino, etc.) and assume only 2 passengers per suite, the prices would be ballpark:

RLS - $16,632 cruise fare only.

A1 - $9,326.80 cruise fare only.

Taxes and port fees have to be added to the cruise fare.  Obviously, additional discounts will help and additional people per suite will add to the cost...but this gives you an idea of what they're retailing for now.  That's actually not a terrible price on the A1.  I've never priced a RLS so I have no idea what that generally goes for.

Hopefully the vax protocols will go away SOON and you can all go and have a GREAT time.

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  • 1 month later...

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