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Here We Go Again! - Allure of the Seas - Sept 25-Oct 1, 2022 - Star Class


CravingaCruise
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Day 6 (Final Day at Sea):

Today we decided to sleep in a bit and not be on such a tight schedule.  Don't get me wrong, I love schedules, but everyone needs a day off, right?  However, I did miss the coffee order!  After we got up and dressed, that was the first thing on the agenda.  Tim decided to do a pass through the people jammer (aka Windjammer) for breakfast because we hadn't been there yet, so Tim and I parted at the aft elevators and he went up while I made a detour to Starbucks (near the fwd elevators).  When I gave my cabin number, Charissa and Alyssa asked how we were liking our morning Starbucks orders.  It was perfect that I got to meet them because it gave me an opportunity to provide a tip for them specifically.  They are sooo nice!  ☕

I met Tim up in the Windjammer just as he was wrapping up his breakfast and about to get his second cup of coffee.  They have quite a variety up there - it really is a great option, even though it's a madhouse!  😳

We hadn't played Bingo all trip, so we decided to rally the troops and have a little fun.  We checked with Jay and he met us at Boleros.  Before he arrived, we got him his favorite coffee order (Venti Caramel Latte with Almond Milk for those of you who wish to bless him in the future).  We didn't win at bingo, but I did win the raffle, which was a cute plushy puffer fish and a bottle of champagne.  We ended up not having a chance to drink it, so we asked Jay to gift it to someone else for us.  🍾

We all went back to the room and got changed for our wine tasting lunch.  All the girls had shirts that read "Wine Drinking Team" and Tim's shirt read "Warning, the girls are drinking again".  I just love group t-shirts!  🤣 🤣

We went down to the Boardwalk to meet our friend Lusi (and share the tipping love with her as well) who had been making all of the fabulous cakes all week for us.  We found out that she does them in her spare time (technically on her breaks) as a favor to Jay.  She's so sweet!!  🎂  We took a great group photo with her big smile right in front.  ❤️

The plan was to head to Vintages for wine tasting and charcuterie as our lunch, but I had miscommunicated our intent and Jay had us signed up for the group event at 2pm.  We graciously bowed out of it and all did our own thing for lunch. Tim and I tried the hot dog place and didn't really like it (see in our later review for more on this).  So we moved on.  We wandered down to Johnny Rockets and they said it would be a 30 minutes wait, so we kept moving.  We ended up in the Promenade at Sorentos and got a slice of pizza each.  That hit the spot and we figured we'd be fine for a bit. 

Kenzie and Kayla decided to wait for Johnny Rockets and they enjoyed it.  I don't know where Mom and Cindy ended up, but we do know they got some shopping in that afternoon!  Cindy was waiting patiently for the last day for all the specials, and her patience was rewarded with a shopping spree!  💰

We miraculously all ended up back at the room at the same time mid-afternoon, so we decided to do a photo session in our wine drinking t-shirts.  Mom getting on our laps was a hoot and a half!!  🤣

Mom and Cindy got to sneak one more showing of Mamma Mia! into the trip and Jay surprised Mom with the most precious thing!  The entire cast signed a poster just for her!  He gave it to her and we captured her reaction in pics.  It's hard to believe her smile can get any bigger, but it keeps happening!  It warmed my heart!! ❤️❤️

For dinner on our final night, we planned for hibachi, and were seated with the couple up in the royal loft suite and one other couple.  We ordered a few drinks around the table, some of the kara-age chicken (because Tim missed out on that when we were at Izumi sushi earlier in the week), and a California roll. By the time dinner rolled around, we were already full.  😳

Dessert time came, and we knew better than to order dessert because every meal had included a cake so far.  Sure enough, a cake was delivered and it was beautiful!  She made a two tier cake for us tonight!  So nice!  Jay had arranged for a photographer to be there to capture the moment for us.  😍

After dinner, Cindy went down to the Promenade to pick up her anklet she had ordered earlier in the day, and the girls met with some friends they had acquired onboard.  Tim and I met Jay over at NextCruise, and booked our first back-to-back-to-back starting on January 30th on the Navigator!  We're super excited!!!  We aren't doing a suite or anything special - just a getaway for us for the entire time so we can enjoy some time away.  We were able to arrange the same cabin for all three cruises, so we won't have to get off the ship on debarkation/embarkation days at all.  A bonus for us is that after the first cruise, we will have reached Diamond status and will be able to go to guest services to get our new sea pass cards and access to the Diamond Lounge!!  🥳

We finally ended up back at the room and had to pack up our adventure. When we got there, Jay had left us a beautiful anniversary gift, and our cabin attendant had filled up our cabin with towel animals!  My heart was full!!  Jay really made this trip special for us in so many ways!

We worked on the packing and got about 2/3 done and called it a night.  I think when Jay popped in to leave our gift, he was a little worried about our lack of progress.  We're seasoned packers though, and knew we'd be fine.  

Perfect ending to a fantastic cruise!

The pics are finally done downloading, so those are coming next, followed by our final debarkation and additional thoughts.

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Debarkation Day (SADNESS!!):

Jay personally delivered our coffee order to us today, and I was eternally grateful!!  I'm sure part of the reason he offers to bring coffee to his guests on debarkation day is so he can see our packing progress, just in case he needs to call in the cavalry.  🤣

After the coffee and the rest of the crew getting their last items packed, they all went to the Windjammer for a quick bite to eat.  Amazingly, Kenzie found a big round table for them to all sit together.  Go Kenzie!  They were all back by 8:30ish and my packing was nearly complete; I just have the last of the peripherals that needed to be tucked away.  Tim came back with some nourishment for me, and I took a 10 minute break to eat, then I was back at it again.  In true Laws' fashion, packing was complete at 8:50am (10 mins ahead of schedule), and we let Jay know we were ready to walk out when he was.  

Jay arrived with two porters and we all said a final goodbye to our home for the week before following our trusty leader off the ship.  Bypassing the humungous line off the ship was worth every penny of star class!!!  Sadly, a couple followed us from the elevators to the front of the line where we scanned our sea pass cards to get off the ship, only to find out they couldn't come with us.  That happened last year too.  😳  

We made it all the way passed the line and then went to the elevators with the porters.  Normally, the porters would go down the elevators and we would go down the escalator, but they had it blocked off.  We waited for another group to go down with Alan and then a few individuals in wheelchairs, then it was our turn.  As we moved forward, some arrogant single guy tried getting in front of us to get on the elevator.  Tim gave a look to Jay, and Jay took care of it.  As we got on the elevator, he called out asking if there was room for a single and Jay blocked him from getting on.  His final comment was to yell at us saying "I guess you paid for it...".  What an entitled jerk!  Some people! 

We got to the bottom and the ship porters transferred all the luggage off the carts to the terminal porter.  It was so impressive that I took a pic.  We gave our final hugs to Jay, shed a few tears, and we were on our way - directly to the front of the line again.  Kayla got stopped at the end because they had to look at her birth certificate, which caused her a little anxiety, but it only took a second and then we were done.  Our porter took us to the location for the ride shares, dropped us off with our bags and there we waited and melted while our drivers went around in circles for a while.  We ordered two XL Lyfts and Kenzie's went around twice before declining the ride.  She was able to get another one right away, and they actually beat us to the airport.  

There was practically no line at United when we got there, so we dropped off our bags with ease, and headed to our gates.  Kayla was flying out of C1 and we were just across from her in C2.  We hung out at the Mexican place (Rocco's Tacos - terribly overpriced and not so great of food) until it was time to say goodbye to Kayla (our flights were only 30 mins apart), then we made our way to our gate.  Just like that, star class had come to an end.  😪😪

 

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Final Thoughts

Cabin 9730, 2 bedroom aqua theater suite

  • Balcony:  This cabin has an AMAZING balcony, which was the entire reason we wanted this room.  We watched the show the first night from our balcony and that was a lot of fun!  Cindy spent a lot of time outside, and we all had our moments enjoying the amazing aft view and the sea breeze.  We attempted to dine out there one evening, but the wind picked up just before dinner was to arrive and there would have been no way to comfortably dine out there.  Jay's quick-planning, saved our evening.
  • Sleeping:  This cabin sleeps 8 with the set up of 2 in the master, 4 in the 2nd bedroom and 2 in the living room.  I would not recommend 8 adults in this cabin because 2 of the 4 in the 2nd bedroom would be in bunks.  
  • Storage:  We thought going into this cruise that there would be enough storage for 6 adults.  There really wasn't enough.  The girls in the living room felt it the most and we lived with a pile of stuff on the corner floor for most of the week.  There was hanging storage for each room, and the living room had some drawers, but it just wasn't enough.
  • Master Bathroom:  The master bathroom seriously needs a redesign.  This was definitely my least favorite thing about this cabin.  The bathtub sits up higher than normal (I imagine for the plumbing), which causes the height to be drastically reduced.  I'm 5'6" and Tim is 5'8", and I can tell you when I was washing my hair, I got suds on the ceiling every time.  There is also a step up into the bathroom that is a major trip hazard, and the door swings outward from the closet toward the room (the opposite of what makes sense in my mind).  The door also doesn't open all the way, so if anything is on the floor across from the bathroom door, or if anyone is standing in front of the closet, you can't get in or out.  The sink water (for brushing your teeth), never seemed to get cold.  It was always quite warm or even hot, which was odd to me.  I tried every angle with the handle and nothing yielded cold water.
  • 2nd Bathroom:  This bathroom was shared by 4 women and while it worked, it really should have been bigger!!  The toilet is super cramped into the corner, and there isn't a lot of storage available.  There is also another step into this bathroom that is a huge tripping hazard. I worried every night about Mom being groggy and tripping as she stepped out of the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Amazingly, the four sharing the bathroom didn't complain once!  I'm not sure I could have risen to that level of contentment.  
  • Living Room & Dining Table:  Considering that this room sleeps up to 8, it could have been arranged differently to accommodate the occupants.  It is ideal for 4 people / two couples, but as soon as you add more guests, it starts to feel like it just can't handle it.  The dining table only sat 4, so on the days that we wanted breakfast in our suite, things were overflowing off of the table and not everyone could sit at the table to eat.  We made it work for us, but if you like sitting together, and it's too windy or hot outside, it may not work as well for you.
  • Location on the Ship:  It is a looooooong way to the end of the cabins.  We definitely all got our steps in each day.  The first day, Cindy and Mom went to the walking track...they never went back.  🤣  A couple of nights Kayla wore the cutest sparkly high heels to dinner, and I just know she was regretting it on her way back to the room.  While you only get the aft views from your cabin when you're actually at the aft of the ship, you have to weigh how important those views are to you in comparison to location.
  • Outlets, light switches, drapes, carpet:
    • We found (with bare feet) staples sticking out of the carpet in a few places in our room.  The housekeeping manager was made aware of it, and it's possible he was on his hands and knees looking for them in other areas because he was quite concerned over them.  We didn't find any again after he had been there.  However, be cautious about this with little feet.
    • The light switches don't all make sense, and it would be nice if Royal labeled them so we didn't always have to guess.  There is a master switch at the entrance that you don't ever want to turn off or you will turn off the AC!
    • There are hardly any outlets in this room.  In order for the girls to charge phones (because that is their lifeblood), they had to unplug things up by the coffee maker.  Thankfully, we had an extension cord with us that didn't get confiscated (it was in with Tim's CPap machine and I had forgotten about it).  I had also taken an outlet splitter with us which came in very handy.  
      • Outlets in master bedroom:  We were very surprised to find that there are outlets behind each nightstand in the master bedroom.  
    • We were expecting the drapes to be on an automatic switch but they weren't.  Maybe they will be after it finally gets amplified, but for now, they are manual, and they could use some WD-40.  Pulling the drapes made me feel like I was going to pull them off the tracks every time.  We like light and lots of it!  When the drapes aren't fully open, we feel like we're missing something.  It feels like this could be reconfigured a bit - and maybe that's part of the plan when it gets amplified.  it just wasn't a good original design.
  • Room service:  This room is a long way from the room service kitchen, and if you like your food hot, you're going to be disappointed.  We ate breakfast in the room several times, and everyone just dealt with the food temp.  
  • Laundry:  The free laundry is awesome!!!!!  Not having to pack as much knowing that we could do laundry mid-cruise is great!  It's got to be one of Tim's favorite things!

Restaurants:  

  • 150 Central Park:  This is a bit of an upscale restaurant.  We booked it on the first night, and wish we would have done it on a nicer night.  Our first night with the luggage snafu, caused me not to want to change for dinner, so we went in our casual attire.  I felt a little bad when we showed up.  The food and service here were excellent.  The garden martini has a bit of a cult following, so we tried it, and it is quite refreshing.  Not really my thing, but Cindy loved it!
  • Izumi Sushi:  Excellent food and service here as well!  As a matter of fact, Edgar took time to teach Cindy how to use chopsticks, which I wish I had on video because it was hilarious!  
  • Samba Grille:  This is Royal's take on a Brazilian Steakhouse.  Overall, this was disappointing for us.  The meats were dry and overcooked most of the time, and the side dishes were bland and tasteless.  I like that they were trying to bring this style to their ship, but it is a far cry from the original Brazilian Steakhouse concept and was not executed well.  We wouldn't recommend this restaurant.
  • Sabor:  Yuck!  We are Mexican Food fanatics and we had high hopes that were shattered here.  The guacamole was good, and the pico de gallo was great, but the chips were only so-so, so it was a flop.  The queso, wasn't true queso, but instead was a hot glob of cheese.  The main dishes were okay, but had funky flavors that didn't really give off the Mexican vibe.  The restaurant is also open-air, so when it's 80+ degrees and very muggy, it makes for a bit of a miserable dining experience.  Jay was sweet enough to lend me his personal hand-held fan/mister so I didn't melt away to nothing.  Overall, we would not recommend this restaurant.
  • Coastal Kitchen (suite restaurant):  This is by far our favorite venue overall.  The service is always outstanding, and the food has never disappointed yet.  You get some of the best views from the suite restaurant and lounge, and the attitude is to please their guests.  If you are in a suite or pinnacle member, we would highly recommend this restaurant!
  • Giovanni's:  Overall, this was okay.  The risotto wasn't cooked properly, so there was a bite/crunch to it.  True risotto is slow-cooked and super creamy.  We know this because Tim has perfected it over the years, and we're kind of risotto snobs.  The osso bucco was okay, but nothing to really write home about, and the other meals consumed by our group seemed to be just fine.  If we had a dining package and this was included, we would probably go back, but we probably wouldn't spend extra to go there.
  • Chops:  This is a hard one to give a true review of just because of our individual circumstances.  We attempted to dine on our balcony and had to cancel at the last minute so our food chased us around the ship, finally catching up to us in Coastal Kitchen.  The kitchen attempted to deliver our meal per course, which meant keeping our main courses warm, which then overcooked our steaks and lobster, BUT everything tasted so good that we ate it all.  Mom and Cindy both had the wedge salad for a first course and loved them.  For those of us with steaks, the seasoning was outstanding, and even though they weren't the doneness we prefer, we all ate them without a single complaint.
  • Izumi Hibachi:  This was a disappointment for us.  To start the night off, we were all visiting at the table quietly (as a group of 10) and when the chef walked up, he banged his tools down on the grill extremely loudly to get everyone's attention, which was rude and ridiculous - not what I would consider entertaining at all!! For someone with heart problems, this could be a potential health hazard if this is a regular thing.  The appetizer of kara age wasn't as crunchy as it was on Anthem, but the flavor was good.  The spicy crunchy rolls were excellent; Tim's water glass had a clump of dried-on lemon seeds in the bottom of the glass and didn't realize it until he had consumed most of the glass of water - eeewwww!!  They replaced his glass for him but there wasn't even an apology.  The chef clearly had an act that he followed, and performed for us all throughout the evening which was fine.  He wasn't very good at cooking though because the first thing he did was pile up a bunch of garlic onto the grill, douse it in oil, and burn it.  We sat there front and center and watched it burn and we cringed the whole time.  Burnt garlic is bitter to the taste, and not so pleasant to smell either.  The next thing he did was burn the scrambled eggs that was to be added to the fried rice. The fried rice had a few veggies in it, but it wasn't full of veggies like it should have been.  We were also served sauteed veggies early on in the meal that I think should have been served with our other food.  Had we waited for the other food, they would have been ice cold by the time the meal arrived. The final portion of our meal was chicken and shrimp which were both overcooked and under-seasoned.  When the meal was over, there was no clean up around us so when the cake arrived and we had pictures, there was still a mess.  This is meant to be an entertaining dining venue that they charge an arm and a leg for, and I'm not sure I would say you get the best return on your investment.  We may have just had a chef that wasn't very good, but if this is a tell tale sign of how they train them, I wouldn't recommend it for the cost.
  • Sorentos:  We went here one time and had a slice each.  It was fine, but comparing it to Anthem last year, it doesn't compare.  We found it on Anthem to be really good - but it was our cruise after the shutdown and we were deprived, so everything was amazing.  🙂 
  • Johnny Rockets:  
  • The Dog House:  We each had a dog from here.  I had a chicken apple sausage and Tim had braut.  We both had the everything bun and each got sauerkraut and onions.  Had I known the onions were caramelized, I would have passed on them, but he put them on and then it was too late.  The caramelized onions were way too sweet and neither of us liked them.  The mayo in the self-serve container came out like water, and was a bit of a turn off.  Both of us took a bite or two and gave up.  The dogs were fine - it was the accompaniments that were not appealing.
  • Bar Service:  We had great bar service all over the ship for the most part.  The one time it was challenging was in the Solarium on a port day.  The poor server was all by herself and trying to service all of the Solarium.  We were there for a couple of hours and had two drinks.  I tried ordering multiple at one time but she said I couldn't, so we waited...and waited.  She always had a smile though!  I have to give her credit.
  • Suite Snacks:  If you're not specific, expect everything you ever said you liked!!  Jay told us that if he has to guess, he over-orders, so we started getting specific.  We had wings delivered several times, and I never got to try them.  I heard they were great, but apparently, I'm too slow to get to them.  One day, we even had 6 orders of them, and I still didn't get any!  Our group wouldn't have eaten them if they weren't good, so there you go.  🙂 

Service on Ship:  Outstanding!  The entire cruise, we never met one person working who wasn't happy.  Cindy is the happiness police and she always asked.  🥰  

RC Excursions:  We ended up with three different excursions, and we were happy with them all (see the original post for a list of what we did).  The ones we missed were in Honduras because we weren't able to go to that port.  Our tour guide and driver for the ruins excursion were great!  We always hear of crazy drivers on excursions and Freddy (our driver) wasn't crazy at all!!  Very happy!

Overall:  We will be booking star class again - we have one more on the books already, along with others just to be on ships.  We can now say we've been in a 2 Bdrm ATS because it was a bucket list item.  Would we book the same room again?  If the circumstances called for it, and we couldn't get the Royal Loft, then yes. However, I think it's safe to say we would prefer deck 17 instead.  

Is star class worth the extra cash?  It depends on your preferences and how you like to travel, but for us, we love all the little extras that come with star class.

Favorite Star Class Perks:

  • The escort to the front of the line at the port
  • The escort with your luggage off of the ship
  • Free laundry
  • Reserved seats at shows/events
  • Not having to think about anything once I give our genie a list
  • The Dux mattress in the master bedroom!!!!!

If any of you have Jay as your royal genie in the future, you are in for a real treat.  He is an outstanding person, and you will easily miss him when you part ways.  We now have a Jay-sized whole in our hearts.  ❤️

Thanks to all of you who were following along!  We're all home safe now and we had no mishaps with Mom on the trip home!!  🥰  This vacation will go down in history as one of our all-time favorites.

 

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The look on your Mom's face is pure joy. We must honor our parents. My parents made 62 years of marriage today. We are taking them on three cruises next year. When my Dad retired with 60 years of working, when had shirts made up. The shirts read, "The Legend has retired." Our shirts read, "We are with the Legend." 

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@CravingaCruisethank you so much for your extremely helpful information and an awesome live blog !!!  I love me a Star Class blog and yours was truly exceptional.

I agree with EVERYthing you said about the pros and cons of the ATS.  The only thing that I do not have experience with is the potential crunch of several people in that suite.  It's always just been Dan and me so we always had more than enough room but I can totally see where 6 peeps in that space would be a challenge (can you even imagine having 8 people in there !!??).  ESPECIALLY the bathroom situation.  The horrible bathrooms in the 2BR ATS are its biggest disappointment (followed closely by the hike to and from).  Why they put all of that thought and space into these suites just to skimp on the bathrooms is totally beyond my understanding. 

We, too, thought of the ATS as a must-try and we gave it 3 tries !!!  We always had great cruises every single time but after 3 times, and after discovering the joys of Deck 17, we will not be back in an ATS unless there is a price point that we cannot pass up.

The Deck 8 ATS on Allure and Oasis are significantly larger, both the living space and the master BR, so for those who are considering the ATS, I would definitely choose Deck 8 if you have a choice.  For Harmony and after, I think they redesigned the ATS to some degree and I'm not sure that the extra space of Deck 8 is as pronounced.

I also agree with you on many of your restaurant reviews...particularly Samba.  In the beginning, they made a real effort to make Samba special.  They covered the tables and chairs every night for dinner and they had live entertainment.  The food was always a bit sketchy but at least they tried.  Now, it's just like dining in the WJ.  It seems that they have also done away with the little "stream" that used to run through the restaurant, which is a damn shame.  It used to be so cute with that water running throughout the restaurant.  Perhaps there was a weight distribution or fluid dynamics problem with the water running to and fro at that elevation...who knows.  It's just a dried up old stream bed now.  😔

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9 hours ago, Sweety said:

The look on your Mom's face is pure joy. We must honor our parents. My parents made 62 years of marriage today. We are taking them on three cruises next year. When my Dad retired with 60 years of working, when had shirts made up. The shirts read, "The Legend has retired." Our shirts read, "We are with the Legend." 

Wow!  62 years!  That is so awesome!  Happy anniversary to them!!  I LOVE the shirts!!  My hubby is such a good sport - he just goes along with it all the time - I think he really likes it deep down.  🙂 

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9 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

thank you so much for your extremely helpful information and an awesome live blog !!!  I love me a Star Class blog and yours was truly exceptional.

Thank you so much for your kind words!!  🙂  You know you're my original inspiration for blogging!

9 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Why they put all of that thought and space into these suites just to skimp on the bathrooms is totally beyond my understanding. 

Right??  I sat there in bed thinking of how to redesign the master bedroom and bathroom every night.  I've got some great ideas if they were to ever ask!  🤣

 

9 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

It seems that they have also done away with the little "stream" that used to run through the restaurant, which is a damn shame.

That's right!!  I forgot about that!  It was on Oasis when we were on years ago and I loved it!  

 

9 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

after discovering the joys of Deck 17, we will not be back in an ATS

#TeamDeck17 is a thing for sure!!  We tried our card to go walk around the gated community one night and it wouldn't let us in.  Sad!  😪

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On 10/2/2022 at 6:09 PM, CravingaCruise said:

it's safe to say we would prefer deck 17 instead.  

 

On 10/3/2022 at 9:20 AM, WAAAYTOOO said:

after discovering the joys of Deck 17,

Yay! #teamDeck17!

Although I will say, I would definitely consider the ATS on Symphony or Wonder. It's the most modern looking and it seems a bit more open in design.

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