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DunkelBierJay

Allure June 17, 2018 Sailing

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Intro
 
As my kids are getting older at age 23, 20 and 18, we are doing what may be the last vacation all together as a family. We’ve been looking forward to it for quite a while. 
We are sailing to Nassau, Cozumel, Roatan and Costa Maya on a Western Caribbean itinerary. I am using my phone for this live blog, so enjoy the inevitable typos. 
 
Getting to the Port
 
We flew in the day before our sailing and stayed at the Spring Hill Suites in Dania Beach, about 12 minutes to Terminal 18 where Allure docks. 
 
I tried an off site rental car company called Sixt for the first time. They advertise high end cars at lower prices than conventional companies,. As of the writing of this blog, it has been pretty good. The only caution is that getting to the company’s shuttle stop across from the terminal and from baggage claim on no sleep can be challenging. I went ahead of my family to get the car to avoid schlepping. I met them later with the car outside baggage claim. Prior to arrival, I received an email asking if I wanted to make a dollar bid online for additional money, sort of like a blind auction, to secure a Mercedes for the rental. I thought it was a little strange, but I didn’t end up using it. We rented a BMW X3 SUV which is brand new...nice. If you liked Sprockets on SNL, you might like this experience as you move like Dieter to the techno music being played in the rental office while waiting in line. 
 
We are glad for the car because we had to make an unscheduled prescription run the night before embarkation. 
 
I was also able to go to Dr von D Mizzell-Eula Johnson State Park to see Billy Hirsch’s @CruiseHabit scoping spot for myself. Seeing  those sail aways in person is incredible, It was great hanging with Billy despite what Matt may say. And I see you @BigDogRon...:p
 
We will get to the terminal a little before 11:00 am this morning and I can’t wait to share more. 
 
Photo 1 — Spring Hill Suites, Dania Beach
Photo 2 — Sixt Rental Office
Photo 3 — Billy Scoping
Photo 4 — Big Dog Ron — I’m crushed 😞

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Feel free to check out my IG @dunkelbier_jay for more pics and little videos. 

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4 hours ago, DunkelBierJay said:

Seeing  those sail aways

Jay,

Check this out on the Allure (thanks to tiny260): Deck 14, port side all the way forward, through the sliding glass door and you will be on the observation deck right above the bridge. The deck extends out over the bridge "wings" and is a great place when leaving or coming into a port. Word of caution.....very windy! :27_sunglasses:

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2 hours ago, rjac said:

Jay,

Check this out on the Allure (thanks to tiny260): Deck 14, port side all the way forward, through the sliding glass door and you will be on the observation deck right above the bridge. The deck extends out over the bridge "wings" and is a great place when leaving or coming into a port. Word of caution.....very windy! :27_sunglasses:

Thanks. We’ll probably be on the port bridge wing during sail away trying to get on ptztv or if Billy comes out for one ship, we may do that. 

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Today was all to prepare for Izumi....Wow, I thought. 
 
Embarkation Day
 
We woke up with a task before heading to the port. Unsuccessful in our attempt to fill a prescription the night before, we packed our bags, loaded our rental and headed to a location of the drug store chain we use. Since filling it would take 20-30 minutes, I decided the best way to get close to our  original schedule would be to take the bags to the port and return. It worked well, and within about 45 minutes we were dropping our rental at the off site location very close to the port. 
 
I called a ride share, and were entering Port Everglades. ..
 
Entering the Port and Check-In it’s necessary you have your passport and cruise docs ready to enter the port and terminals. This is where having a print out of your set sail pass is handy, even if you are using the Royal App. A short line of cars to enter the port gave us a chance to get everything ready for the officer at the gate. We entered the building with our passports and mobile phones in hand. We had our backup printed set sail pass at the ready just in case.
 
When the port staff saw that we had our apps ready for scanning, we were ushered to a central area where our Mobile SeaPasses were scanned and our passports checked. Those who did not have expedited check-in with the app we’re on either side of our area as best I could tell. We turned a corner to our right and went through security with the suite guests and Pinnacles. Wow, I thought.
After security. We entered a separate line adjacent to the suite guests, which was shorter. I gather a small percentage of overall guests are able to use or even know about expedited check-in. There were a few ahead of us, and when we went to the check-in desk, we provided our apps with SeaPass cued up along with our passports. The agent checked everything against the pics we uploaded at home during online check-in, handed us boarding vouchers and we were on board in as long as it took to walk there. Wow, I thought. 
 
We headed straight through the Royal Promenade and up to Central Park to Giovanni’s for lunch. They now only offer the Central Park balcony lunch perk on sea days on Allure. Still, it was a great, restful way to spend the first hour or two on board. We ate in anticipation of off-setting hunger waiting for our 9:00 pm Izumi Hibachi reservation. Wow, I thought. 
 
After lunch, we circled aft to the Boardwalk to check things out and then to the Royal Promenade to walk to the forward elevators. Up to deck 10, turn left and enter our adjoining staterooms at about 1:30 pm. This was pretty seamless...or frictionless... Wow, I thought. 
 
Most of our luggage (except mine —> more below) arrived within minutes. We explored a little and decided naps were needed. Naps didn’t last, so a few of us explored the ship. It is no lie that Oasis class ships are easy to navigate. Despite the monstrosity of Allure and the number of steps you take, you never feel lost or disoriented. Wow, I thought.
 
*Back in the cabin*
 
*Knock on the door*
 
*A man hands me a slip of paper*
 
I had a summons to the naughty room!!!!
*What???? Me??? I didn’t try to break the rules...this time....I put it in my pocket. Wow, I thought. 
 
Soon, our stateroom attendant introduced herself and we had lots of laughs as she talked about going to muster. We decided to go early which had its merits as it was in the Blaze nightclub. It went longer than hoped, but not too bad. They made us watch the “Wash Your Hands” video and the James Bond style safety video. No wow...An episode of Royal crush would have been better. 
 
After sail away, which was fun on the bridge wing while failing to get on PTZTV, I headed down to the naughty room on Deck 2 with a couple of my kids, and the staff there were very nice. They found my bag, scanned it and said I had power strips which are verbotten. 
 
*Scratches Head...*
 
*Really?*
 
Anyway, I opened my bag and they were there. In my packing rush, I threw in a couple of the surge protectors thinking they were power strips. Nope. Surge protectors. 
 
*My bad*
 
To be continued... I’m baking in the Solarium while docked in Nassau and need a beverage while writing this...

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8 minutes ago, DunkelBierJay said:

Entering the Port and Check-In it’s necessary you have your passport and cruise docs ready to enter the port and terminals. This is where having a print out of your set sail pass is handy, even if you are using the Royal App. A short line of cars to enter the port gave us a chance to get everything ready for the officer at the gate. We entered the building with our passports and mobile phones in hand. We had our backup printed set sail pass at the ready just in case.

 
When the port staff saw that we had our apps ready for scanning, we were ushered to a central area where our Mobile SeaPasses were scanned and our passports checked. Those who did not have expedited check-in with the app we’re on either side of our area as best I could tell. We turned a corner to our right and went through security with the suite guests and Pinnacles. Wow, I thought.
 
After security. We entered a separate line adjacent to the suite guests, which was shorter. I gather a small percentage of overall guests are able to use or even know about expedited check-in. There were a few ahead of us, and when we went to the check-in desk, we provided our apps with SeaPass cued up along with our passports. The agent checked everything against the pics we uploaded at home during online check-in, handed us boarding vouchers and we were on board in as long as it took to walk there. Wow, I thought.

I didn't realize Allure was using Mobile Check In already.  It sounds like it worked really well. 

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Embarkation Day continued

The naughty room was entertaining though. A man near us was arguing with security about his steamer that they were confiscating. 
*Dude*
He would not take no for an answer, and was taking names of the staff there, their supervisors and their family. Voice raised, eyes popping out of his head, the world is coming to an end because he was going to be without his steamer. My daughter wanted to tip the security guy he was yelling at for putting up with him. Wow, I thought. 
The long wait till Izumi involved grabbing our first lava flows in the Schooner bar and browsing the shops which just opened. 
9:00 pmcame before we knew it, and we had a fantastic time enjoying the experience at Izumi hibachi. The chefs are a couple notches above who you experience on shore, and we did lots of laughing as they enjoyed over feeding us. One feature of this restaurant is they allow you to mix the proteins that are listed on the menu. That was nice because I put the filet together with the shrimp. Fantastic. Wow, I thought. 

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Day 2 — Nassau

Mornings at sea are by far my favorite time aboard  I don’t need to sell that idea to most people on this blog. It is a restful, relaxing and exciting time

The kids had not been to Nassau, so what do you do? You walk around and go to the ship by lunch if you’re not doing the British Colonial Hilton, Baja Mar or Atlantis. 

We walked off the ship beyond the tour operators and cab driver and headed to the Queens Staircase. We were corned at the parking lot area behind Princess Margaret Hospital and the entrance to the staircase by a man who gave us the full history. Sometimes, you just stay and listen, and I’m glad we did. He gave a quick and through history of the staircase and Queen Victoria’s role in ending slavery. I’m glad my kids heard it from that man rather than a tour operator. I gladly tipped him and we walked into a sacred area. 

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27 minutes ago, DunkelBierJay said:

We walked off the ship beyond the tour operators and cab driver and headed to the Queens Staircase.

I have not been to the Queen's Staircase in years.  I assume you just walked there?

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3 hours ago, Matt said:

Izumi hibachi is fantastic.  I'm mad at myself for waiting until Harmony to try it.

After reading much about it for the last few months, I'm mad at myself for having to wait until March 2019 to try it, second time around on Harmony!

@DunkelBierJay, looked like a great day in Nassau!  I haven't had lunch yet and now I am all of the sudden starving after that Kummelweck pic!

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Day 3 — Allure at Sea
 
I woke up to watch a nice sunrise with a plan to lie around and eat all day while doing next to nothing with a couple exceptions...  
 
All Access Tour
 
Bring your long pants if you book a ship tour. I had the slip resistant shoe thing down, so it created the need to sprint from the Silk dining room which is aft all the forward to my stateroom and grab a pair. I made it back in time for the start which included chocolate dipped strawberries and champagne  we started in the galleys, moved to the storage areas around deck 2, the engine control room, I-95 hallway up to the entrance to the crew mess and then waaaaaayyyyy down into the bowels of the ship (I saw bilge signs —> that’s when you know you’re way down there) three decks below the water line...there’s deck 2, deck 1 (water line), deck 0, TW (tween deck), and HW (I think —> I can’t remember what it stands for) where we saw some incredible laundry facilities. The scale of it is staggering. 
 
Mid-Day
 
We spent some time on the pool deck before hunger set in and I tried a coney on the Boardwalk followed by a burger, fries, a cookie and some pudding in the Windjammer...then some ice cream on the pool deck. That held me over till dinner.
One nap later, I felt the need to burn some calories, so I headed to the gym for 45 minutes prior to the aqua show, Ocean Aria which was delightful.
 
Immediately following Ocean Aria, I went back to my room to grab one of the CP balcony perks of a bottle of wine, and we proceeded to 150 CentralPark. It was an excellent meal and experience, and AI really enjoyed salting the butter. I liked all of the flavors, Alaea (Hawaii), Sel Gris (Mediterranean gray sea salt), Murray River (Australian), Sel de Mar (French Med), Salish (Washington State —> love it or hate it, it’s like a campfire...really), and then Kala Namak (if you like sulphur, you’ll like this. Me? I’ll just say that I needed to cleanse my palate)
 
Following dinner, we headed to the Amber Theater and watched the Love and Marriage game show. It’s pretty much the same every time...lots of laughs and embarrassing moments...I was ready for bed afterwards, so I retired. 
 
(Photos are uploaded randomly...more on IG @dunkelbier_jay)

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