You might think Allure of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s second Oasis Class ship, is merely a carbon copy of Oasis of the Seas, but that’s no longer true.
The first-in-class Oasis of the Seas set a megaship precedent in 2009 with its seven-neighborhood concept, a dizzying number of bars and restaurants, and groundbreaking entertainment such as a high-diving acrobatics show. The cruise line had no need to make changes when it launched ship number two, so Allure originally was an identical twin.
But more than a decade later, Allure of the Seas is hardly a copy. While Oasis got upgraded in 2019, Allure has yet to receive a second major refurbishment. (It was postponed due to the pandemic and is now scheduled for 2025.)
In truth, it’s looking a bit shabby, but more importantly, it still has some holdovers from its earlier days — venues that I thought were gone forever but which I discovered passengers still have a bit more time to enjoy.
In this review, I’ll cover the good and not-so-good parts of cruising Allure of the Seas.
For more cruise guides, news and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.
Allure of the Seas overview
Allure of the Seas, the second of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships, debuted in 2010. Back then, at 225,282 gross registered tons, it was just a smidge larger than Oasis of the Seas, making it the biggest cruise ship in the world — a title it held briefly until it was outdone by subsequent vessels in its class.
There’s a lot to do on the 5,492-passenger ship, which offers a plethora of activities, multiple food and drink options and a stellar kids club. For those reasons, Allure of the Seas appeals to families — particularly those with young children. It also attracts multigenerational families, friend groups and couples.
Oasis-Class ships are divided into seven neighborhoods. Below is a brief overview of Allure of the Seas’ major sectors.
Reward your inbox with the TPG Daily newsletter
Join over 700,000 readers for breaking news, in-depth guides and exclusive deals from TPG’s experts
The Boardwalk on Deck 6 is themed around a day at the shore. Food options hit the mark with Johnny Rockets burgers, fries and milkshakes, as well as separate venues for hot dogs, candy, ice cream and doughnuts.
Anyone seeking a carnival-style experience can ride the free carousel, hit up the arcade or check out a high-diving acrobatics show at the wake-facing AquaTheater, flanked by two rock-climbing walls on Deck 10. Look up to glimpse passengers winging their way down the zipline above.
The only unfortunate aspect of this area is that there are few sea views. They’re blocked by inward-facing balconies, which the line pioneered in 2009.
Central Park feels like an actual park, just on a cruise ship. It’s home to more than 17,000 live plants, which are cared for by a team of resident gardeners.
The green space, which takes up a large chunk of Deck 8, is flanked by shops like a Coach store and the ship’s photography studio, as well as Chops Grille steakhouse, 150 Central Park restaurant, grab-and-go Park Cafe, Italian eatery Giovanni’s Table, Vintages wine bar and the Chandon bar, which serves delicious spritzers.
Central Park is a lovely space to stroll, grab a bite or sit and enjoy the greenery, but it’s often excessively hot with little shade, despite all the plants. Like the Boardwalk, it’s open to the sky, but the several decks of inward-facing balcony cabins that rise up around it don’t allow for any sea views.
If nightlife is what you seek, you’re sure to enjoy Entertainment Place on Deck 4. Clustered together are Comedy Live, a club offering live comedy shows; Studio B ice rink, where passengers can take in ice-skating performances or sign up to strap on a pair of skates themselves; and the Blaze nightclub, which has an inferno theme.
A former jazz club, Jazz on 4, is no longer there; it remains on the deck plans even though it has been converted into a small nonsmoking casino, making it one of several defunct onboard locations that an eagle-eyed cruiser might notice if they look closely. Heading aft, the Hall of Odds leads to the art gallery and Casino Royale, the ship’s main casino space.
Pool and Sports Zone
The ship has four pools — Main Pool, graded-entry Beach Pool, family-friendly H2O Zone Pool and Sports Pool, which hosts lap swimming, water polo and badminton — in its Pool and Sports Zone on Deck 15. The area also encompasses six hot tubs, two FlowRider surf simulators that also allow boogie boarding, a miniature golf course and a zipline, as well as a sports court and Ping-Pong tables.
This neighborhood also has several bars and the Wipe Out Cafe, which now houses El Loco Fresh, a complimentary Mexican restaurant. The Windjammer buffet is also located near the pools.
One of the ship’s major hubs, the Royal Promenade is reminiscent of a shopping mall and runs nearly the length of Deck 5. Here you’ll find the guest services desk, the Champagne Bar, the Globe and Atlas Pub, a stand-alone Starbucks, future cruise and shore excursion desks, several shops, a karaoke lounge and Latin music-themed Boleros nightclub.
One neat attraction is the Rising Tide Bar, which slowly rises and descends between the Royal Promenade and Central Park on Deck 8 at regular intervals while passengers sip cocktails.
Craving pizza? Some of the best at sea is in this neighborhood at Sorrento’s, and Cafe Promenade serves up free light bites along with both free and for-fee coffee drinks. (Note that if you have the basic beverage package, you can get free specialty Starbucks coffees there. If you go to Starbucks, your package won’t cover it.)
Hang around the Royal Promenade long enough, and you’ll likely catch a parade or a party, complete with a balloon drop.
Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center
Allure of the Seas’ spa and fitness area on Deck 6 is impressive. It offers a full battery of added-cost spa treatments (massages, facials, IV treatments, cellulite reduction, acupuncture), salon and barber services (haircuts, manicures and pedicures) and a thermal suite.
The space also includes a sizable fitness center with for-fee classes and personal training, along with equipment that’s free to use. These include LifeFitness cardio machines, weight machines, free weights, yoga mats, kettlebells and exercise balls. One deck below, a jogging track wraps around the entirety of Deck 5 (2.4 laps equal 1 mile).
Keep the healthy choices going with a visit to the Vitality Spa Cafe, which has a menu full of lighter fare, such as salads, sandwiches and smoothies.
Adventure Ocean, Royal Caribbean’s stellar kids club, has a vast space on Allure of the Seas. It offers separate areas for Royal Babies and Tots (6 months to 2 years), Aquanauts (3 to 5 years), Explorers (6 to 8 years) and Voyagers (9 to 11 years) on Deck 14 forward. There are also dedicated spaces for arts and crafts, science experiments and parent-child playtime (for the youngest cruisers).
On Deck 15 aft, tweens and teens have their own areas, separate from the younger kids. The Living Room offers a chill lounge space for ages 12 to 17. It’s supervised but less structured with a “come and go as you please” policy, whereas younger children must be signed in and out of Adventure Ocean by a parent or guardian.
Fuel nightclub hosts dance parties and other supervised nighttime events for tweens and teens. The ship also has two pay-to-play arcades — one near The Living Room and one on the Boardwalk.
What I loved about Allure of the Seas
Sabor Taqueria, which Royal Caribbean introduced on select ships in 2015 as Sabor Modern Mexican, is one of my favorite restaurants at sea. It was so popular that it eventually was added to Oasis Class vessels. It served excellent Mexican fare for an added cost, but despite its popularity, Royal Caribbean phased it out.
I thought it was gone forever but was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon it while checking out the Boardwalk.
I was so ecstatic that I ate there twice during my voyage. I thoroughly enjoyed the tortilla soup, quesadillas, burritos and fish tempura tacos. The house-made guacamole, which every table automatically receives, is also a huge winner. There is a cover charge, but if you have a dining package, it’s free. Drinks cost extra if you don’t have a beverage package.
I was super sad to learn that, when the ship undergoes its refurbishment in 2025, the saloon will be replaced with Playmakers sports bar, complete with the venue’s standard pub grub menu. Personally, the last thing I want is more fried food. That means the only remaining ship with Sabor will be Harmony of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean, consider this my official plea for Playmakers to serve food from the Sabor menu on Allure.
Sure, complimentary Mexican fare is available at the former Wipe Out Cafe on Deck 15 (now called El Loco Fresh). However, the rubbery meat and counter service-style atmosphere there are severely subpar next to Sabor.
New Schooner Bar menu
As part of Royal Caribbean’s never-ending quest to improve its products, the line has launched a brand-new drinks menu at the nautically themed Schooner Bar. Although the menu will roll out fleetwide, it debuted during my Allure of the Seas sailing.
Fans of the wildly popular Lavender Daquiri will be thrilled to know it’s the only cocktail that made the cut from the bar’s former menu. However, they might just discover another favorite after trying some of the new concoctions. These include a Toasted Marshmallow Old Fashioned (my personal favorite), garnished with torched mini-marshmallows; a Peanut Butter Tropic, made with peanut butter whiskey, pineapple juice, bitters and lemon juice; and a Desert Pear Margarita, which includes tequila, desert pear syrup and lime juice.
A nearly constant celebration
I have never experienced more theme parties on a ship than I have on Allure of the Seas. If you enjoy dressing up and participating in quirky themes, be sure to pack attire appropriate for the ’70s. On my voyage, we also had Caribbean and country nights, as well as a White Night and Royal Caribbean’s staple nightclub experience, Red. (Oddly, Red fell on the same night as the country theme.)
In addition to theme parties, the schedule was packed with Royal Promenade celebrations, silent disco parties and other shenanigans that involved dancing and socializing until late. For a street festival vibe, check out the Fiesta Balloon Drop, which covers passengers in colorful balloons and confetti.
What I didn’t love about Allure of the Seas
It’s a good thing Allure of the Seas is slated for a dry dock. At times, the nostalgic feel held over from original iterations of the Oasis class crosses the line into outdated or confusing.
My cabin had no USB ports or standard outlets anywhere near the beds. An ancient combo alarm clock and iPod/iPhone dock (complete with obsolete FireWire charging ports) adorned the vanity; while I appreciated having a clock in the room, it was useless for charging more modern devices. Additionally, several of my room’s metal fixtures — wall panels and bedside reading lamps — showed signs of rust.
In other areas of the ship, ghosts of amenities past haunt the deck plans. Looking for Jazz on 4, which is still found on paper maps and directional ship models? You won’t find it because it was converted to a nonsmoking casino years ago.
And, if you’re wondering why you don’t see complimentary Mexican restaurant El Loco Fresh listed or why you can’t seem to locate anything called the Trellis Bar in Central Park, it’s because the former took over the Wipe Out Cafe, and the latter was replaced with Chandon, a spritzer bar.
And, finally, I couldn’t help but notice an empty storefront along the Boardwalk, windows covered with paper. It lacked a sign, but upon closer inspection, a nearly translucent braille sign near the door indicated it used to be Pets at Sea, a Build-A-Bear-style build-your-own-stuffed-animal store that dates back to when the ship began sailing. The venue was tentatively scheduled to be removed during the next refurbishment, but it looks like it has already been shut down. Oddly, it doesn’t appear on the outdated deck plans.
Trouble with bookings via the app
I have mixed feelings about cruise mobile apps in general, often finding them glitchy at best and nonfunctional at worst. Historically, I’ve had little trouble with Royal Caribbean’s app, but I found it frustrating to make reservations for shows on Allure of the Seas.
When I tried to secure spots for me and a friend traveling in the same group, it said there was availability and took me through the reservation process. When I got to the end and submitted the request, it told me there was no room left. I shut down the app and tried again with the same results.
In the end, I had to call guest services, and they added the booking manually. It was an issue more than once during the voyage — so much so that I resorted to calling guest services first rather than fussing with the app.
Rising Tide Bar fountain
The Rising Tide Bar levitates between decks 5 and 8. When it leaves its base on the Royal Promenade, a fountain rains down from underneath it, complete with colored lights and dancing water jets. The effect makes it seem like the spray is pushing up the bar. It’s a neat idea, but the fountain is absurdly loud and only adds to the already deafening cacophony in the space.
It’s so loud that it often makes it difficult to hear the entertainment staff members who lead trivia at the nearby Schooner Bar. On my sailing, a drink tasting there had to be postponed for 20 minutes until the fountain could be shut off because nobody could hear the bartender talking. I would love to see the fountain permanently disabled during the upcoming renovation.
Allure of the Seas cabins and suites
In addition to standard inside (140 to 260 square feet each), ocean-view (179-271 square feet each) and balcony cabins (182-271 square feet each with 50-80-square-foot balconies), Allure of the Seas’ accommodations include some specialty options that are worth mentioning.
First is the virtual balcony cabin, which is an inside cabin with a floor-to-ceiling LED wall that features a digital balcony view via a live feed to make you feel like you’re sailing in the real thing.
Then, there are neighborhood insides and balconies. They have no sea views, instead looking out over whichever neighborhood they’re in. The insides, found in Central Park and along the Royal Promenade, do have windows gazing out on the public spaces below, while the balconies in Central Park and on the Boardwalk have actual verandas.
The ship’s 174 suites fall into several categories. These include Junior Suites (287 square feet with 80-square-foot balconies), which are glorified balcony cabins; and AquaTheater Suites (323-823 square feet with 140-772-square-foot balconies), which offer wake vistas and a bird’s-eye view of the AquaTheater and its astounding high-dive performances.
There are also Grand Suites (371-914 square feet with 105-238 square-foot balconies) and Owner’s Suites (556-1,076 square feet with 161-243-square-foot balconies). Loft Suites offer spacious two-story accommodations and come in Crown (545 square feet with 114-square-foot balconies), Star (722 square feet with 410-square-foot balconies) and Royal (1,524 square feet with 843-square-foot balconies) varieties.
My cabin, a standard balcony, offered two twin beds that were converted into a single queen, two bedside lamps, two nightstands with absurdly small shelves instead of drawers (useless for pajama storage), a sofa and a coffee table. The desk/vanity was outfitted with a series of North American 110-volt outlets, a chair, hair dryer, an obsolete alarm clock with an iPhone/iPod charging station and a minifridge.
The TV offers ship channels that include information on shopping and shore excursions, the ship’s position and more. You can also view your onboard bill, live TV and for-fee movies. Be warned: If you pay for a movie, you have only 24 hours to watch it. After that, you’ll have to purchase it again. You also need to save your progress using the remote if you want to pause it, turn the TV off and come back later to watch the rest.
The closet offered a high bar for hanging clothes, including long items like dresses and gowns. Cube shelves offered additional storage space for things like undergarments, pajamas and swimsuits, as well as a code-operated safe for valuables.
The bathroom had a glass-enclosed shower that was painfully small but functional, with decent storage space. Royal Caribbean offered its own brand of bar soap for handwashing and hair and body wash in a wall-mounted dispenser in the shower. Passengers booked in more expensive cabins receive individual mini-bottles of the line’s branded shower gel, lotion, shampoo and conditioner.
One odd complaint is that I could never get cold water in my sink; it was always lukewarm at its chilliest.
My balcony was tiny, but it offered two metal and mesh chairs and a full-height table, which was a nice touch. If it weren’t so incredibly hot outside, I would have spent more time out there.
Royal Caribbean has cut its daily cabin service back to once per day; you can choose from either morning or night. Since the Cruise Compass daily schedule is now available in the mobile app, the line has also stopped printing it for everyone. Ask your room steward if you’d like one left in your cabin each day.
Accessible accommodations consist of eight inside cabins, two ocean-view rooms, 33 balconies and three suites. These cabins offer wider doorways, bathroom grab bars, lowered sinks and cabin vanities, roll-in showers with fold-down benches and handheld shower heads, raised toilets, lowered closet rods, accessible balconies and lowered safes.
Allure of the Seas restaurants and bars
With 18 bars and 22 places to grab food and snacks, Allure of the Seas has an astounding number of venues to eat and drink. Options include specialty wine and Champagne bars, pool bars, bars with nautical and Latin themes, and even a bar that levitates.
Complimentary dining options include a three-deck main dining room, a massive buffet and El Loco Fresh Mexican cuisine. Or you can dine for an extra cost at one of several eateries that include steak, Italian, Japanese and American diner venues.
Allure of the Seas restaurants
If you’re on a strict vacation budget or don’t want to pay extra for dining, you can have a decent free meal in the main dining room. The space is divided into three sections — American Icon Grill, The Grande Restaurant and Silk — spread across decks 3, 4 and 5. They’re all set up around a central atrium that radiates elegance.
The menu changes daily — often to feature a set cuisine, such as Italian, Mexican or Caribbean. It’s the same across all three eateries.
American Icon Grill is open daily for breakfast and lunch on sea days only. See the Cruise Compass for exact times. For dinner, all three dining rooms are open. American Icon Grill handles early seating at 5:30 p.m., as well as My Time Dining, which allows passengers to eat whenever they want between 6:45 and 9:15 p.m. (I was assigned to My Time Dining, and I learned quickly that reservations are a must if you don’t want to wait in line for 40 minutes during peak times.)
The Grande Restaurant and Silk are open for both early (5:30 p.m.) and late (8 p.m.) seating.
Traditionally, I’ve found Royal Caribbean’s main dining room food unremarkable. It’s edible, but it has never stood out to me in any way — until Allure of the Seas. I thoroughly enjoyed the crispy Parmesan arancini (fried rice, cheese and mushroom balls), polenta fries, pork bao tacos and several spectacular Indian dishes that give Carnival Cruise Line ships — which are known for their fabulous Indian cuisine — a run for their money.
Windjammer Marketplace, the ship’s giant Deck 16 buffet, is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It features several stations serving nearly everything you could possibly desire, including made-to-order omelets, cereal, fruit, salads, sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers, drinks and desserts. It’s likely to be crowded during peak times, so plan accordingly.
Sorrento’s pizzeria on Deck 5’s Royal Promenade is a place I frequented almost daily. Slices are free, and you can order as many as you’d like. They include standard varieties like cheese, pepperoni and veggie, as well as a rotating list of specialty pies, such as a Caribbean pizza with cheese, bacon, pineapple and barbecue sauce. There’s also a gluten-free crust option available.
Cafe Promenade, along the Royal Promenade on Deck 5, provides free snacks that are perfect if you’re feeling peckish between meals. Choose from items like finger sandwiches, cookies, mini-cakes and brownies. It’s also the place to go for specialty coffees if you have a beverage package and don’t want to pay extra for Starbucks. You can order nearly the same drinks for less money (or for free with a package). Be prepared for it to be crowded in the mornings.
Park Cafe, in Central Park on Deck 8, is the place to go for quick fare without the chaos of the Windjammer. It’s generally open from 7:30-11 a.m. for breakfast and from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. for lunch and snacks, but hours can vary.
In the morning, expect a selection of pastries and doughnuts, fruit, bagels with a variety of cream cheeses, parfaits, breakfast burritos and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Later in the day, you’ll find sandwiches and wraps, salads, fruit and other light items.
In the mornings, Boardwalk Donuts (along the Boardwalk on Deck 6) is stocked with several varieties, including glazed, strawberry and chocolate frosted and cinnamon sugar. They’re free but don’t wait because it’s only open for a couple hours each day.
Mexican from El Loco Fresh (at the former Wipe Out Cafe) includes complimentary items like tacos, nachos and burritos. It’s just OK. You’d be better off shelling out extra to dine at Sabor if you’ve got a craving.
Other no-fee options include the Boardwalk Dog House, which has a menu of hot dog selections, such as a classic dog, chicken and pineapple sausage, smoked Bavarian bratwurst and Sicilian pork sausage. Top any of those with sauerkraut, onions and a slew of other toppings, and pair it with a side of coleslaw or potato salad.
For dessert or a snack, head to Sprinkles — soft-serve ice cream machines located on the pool deck.
Found on Deck 8 in Central Park, Giovanni’s Table is Allure of the Seas’ upscale Italian restaurant. Its menu consists of items like crispy calamari, minestrone soup, seafood linguine, branzino, garlic and herb shrimp and several desserts. You can choose one starter, one main and one dessert for a set fee. My favorites were the caprese salad and gnocchi gorgonzola.
If you’ve dined there in the past, you might notice that some fan favorites — including the delicious pizza, giant meatballs, pulled pork and pancetta — have disappeared from the menu. They are casualties of Royal Caribbean’s mission to come as close to zero waste as possible, which has seen the line tightening its menus.
Full disclosure: I wasn’t looking forward to eating at Chops Grille, Royal Caribbean’s steakhouse. I’ve eaten there multiple times on different ships with inconsistent results that ranged from mediocre to disappointing. But my experience on this cruise was much approved.
This upscale restaurant serves up items like shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare and jumbo lump crabcakes, plus soups, salads, lamb, roasted chicken and, of course, steak. I chose the 9-ounce filet mignon, and — success! — it was absolutely outstanding. It was cooked just right, the flavor was amazing, and it came with a selection of sauces: bearnaise, peppercorn and red wine. I added asparagus and gruyere tater tots as sides, and I was stuffed.
Chops has redeemed itself for me, but I’ll still warn you to stay away from the bacon appetizer. It sounds delicious in theory, but what I received was a seasoned slab of fat.
Combination sushi and teppanyaki restaurant Izumi offers dinner with a show for an extra fee. A trained chef will cook for your group while he cracks the same tired jokes you’ve heard before at teppanyaki locations on land or on other ships.
However, the food — I had the chicken breast — was fantastic, which more than made up for the cringe factor. Everyone receives a salad and vegetable fried rice, as well as edamame to share. Then they choose from several protein or vegetarian options, such as chicken breast, beef tenderloin, tiger shrimp and sea scallops with lobster. Dessert selections consist of crispy sesame balls, chocolate lava cake, mochi and green tea ice cream.
Royal Caribbean shook things up when it brought land-based American diner-style burger restaurant Johnny Rockets onto its ships at the dawn of added-fee dining. For a flat fee, passengers can choose from anything on the menu, except milkshakes and alcohol, which cost extra.
On Allure of the Seas, I opted for The Original burger (a quarter-pounder with lettuce, tomato, relish, pickles, mustard and mayonnaise) with onion rings and a cookies ‘n’ cream milkshake. It was absolutely delicious, and the crew even entertained us with a song-and-dance number while we ate.
You already know that Sabor is one of my absolute favorite restaurants on any cruise ship, and I was ecstatic to find that it still exists on a couple of Royal Caribbean’s ships, including Allure of the Seas. I ate there twice during my voyage and stuffed myself with some of the best guacamole I’ve ever tasted, along with chicken tinga burritos, tortilla soup, cheese quesadillas and fish tacos.
This is, hands down, my favorite restaurant on the ship. For a flat fee of $24.99 per person, you can choose one appetizer, one main, a side and one dessert. Each table also gets chips with salsa and guacamole to start.
Although other lines have Starbucks locations on some of their vessels, Royal Caribbean was the first to partner with the brand. Allure of the Seas has a standalone kiosk (like what you might find at a shopping mall) where you can purchase cold snacks (think cake pops, coffee cake and cookies), as well as the usual gamut of specialty coffee beverages.
A la carte prices are similar to Starbucks locations on land. (An automatic gratuity will be added.) The line’s drink packages don’t cover these drinks, but even the basic package will cover similar specialty coffees (made with Starbucks coffee) at nearby Cafe Promenade (see above).
The adults-only Solarium Bistro on Deck 15 forward has its own restaurant attached. On Allure of the Seas, it offers both solarium and air-conditioned dining.
For breakfast and lunch, it’s complimentary, but there’s a surcharge for dinner, when the venue turns into Samba Grill and offers a Brazilian steakhouse menu. On my voyage out of Galveston, it was temporarily converted to a posh barbecue restaurant in partnership with 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Not only was the food mouthwatering — the biggest surprise was the outstanding vegan burnt ends — but the atmosphere made me feel like I was dining in the Mediterranean.
Other restaurants at which you’ll shell out additional money include 150 Central Park, an upscale establishment focused heavily on seasonal menus that use locally sourced ingredients; Vitality Cafe, an eatery that’s located near the ship’s Vitality Spa and serves healthy fare and smoothies; Cups & Scoops, where you’ll find Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and delectable cupcakes in a dozen rotating flavors; and room service, which is available 24 hours a day but levies a per-delivery surcharge.
Allure of the Seas bars
Bow & Stern is Allure of the Seas’ English-style pub, found on Deck 5 in the Royal Promenade. Made to feel dark and wooden like a stereotypical local, it serves a decent selection of beers, cocktails (including ones made with beer), whiskey and scotch. Whether you’re there for a pint or a ground-level view of one of the promenade parties, you can’t go wrong with a table outside the pub.
Not too far from Bow & Stern is the ship’s Champagne Bar, which serves exactly what the name implies. Order by the glass or bottle in an intimate setting that feels decidedly French with plush carpeting, blue Chesterfield banquettes and an overhead glass installation that evokes bubbles.
Outside the Champagne Bar is the Rising Tide Bar, which slowly travels between decks 5 and 8 at regular intervals. As the bar rises upward, it appears to be pushed into the air by a giant waterfall cascading from underneath it. It’s a neat — albeit gimmicky — concept that debuted on Oasis of the Seas and carried through to other vessels in the class.
The Schooner Bar, a Royal Caribbean staple, is tucked into a sliver of space on Deck 6, overlooking the Royal Promenade. As is typical, it’s nautically themed, featuring dark woods, fishing nets and a sizable bar with a dedicated menu that was recently refreshed. It’s where trivia is often held, but be warned: Arrive early and sit near the host. Otherwise, you risk not finding a table or being able to hear the questions over the deafening white noise of the Rising Tide Bar’s fountain.
Other bars, which I didn’t try, include the Chandon Garden Spritz Bar, which serves light and refreshing Chandon cocktails in Central Park on Deck 8, and a Boardwalk bar that serves Sabor on Deck 6.
Allure of the Seas entertainment
Allure of the Seas’ entertainment is as varied as its neighborhoods and its passengers. The plethora of options is what makes the ship such a great fit for families and groups who are likely to have different interests. Whether you prefer a cocktail and some trivia, silly pool games, a jaw-dropping show or comedy act, or a spin class that will help you to burn off last night’s dessert, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy.
Allure of the Seas activities
Looking to shop or catch the latest street party or parade? Head to the Royal Promenade. For carousel rides, fortune telling and arcade games, the Boardwalk is your best bet. If you’re feeling like some physical fun or an adrenaline rush, make your way up to the Pool and Sports Zone, which houses surf simulators, a sports court, Ping-Pong tables, a zip line and miniature golf.
Or head down to Deck 4, where you’ll find the casino and an ice rink that offers open skating a few times per sailing. The ship also has free rock climbing and extra-fee cake decorating classes, a full salon and spa, and a fitness center.
For water babies, Allure of the Seas has four pools on Deck 15 midship, overlooking Central Park: the H2O Zone Pool on the starboard side near the kids splash area; Sports Pool, port side, used for events like water volleyball; Main Pool, port, a standard cruise ship pool; and Beach Pool, starboard, offering a wade-in gradual entry. There are also six hot tubs near the four pools.
The Solarium on Deck 15 forward also offers a pool for anyone 16 or older. It’s small and was so crowded on my sailing that you could hardly move. Two additional hot tubs are located just outside the Solarium.
Allure of the Seas has an accessible lift at its Main Pool, along with a lift at a nearby hot tub.
Five bars serve the general area: Mast Bar, Pool Bar, Sand Bar and Sky Bar. There’s also a Solarium Bar inside the Solarium. Additionally, the Wipeout Bar serves the Pool & Sports Zone neighborhood and sits all the way aft, between Allure of the Seas’ two FlowRiders.
If you’d rather stay inside and avoid the sun, several lounges offer fun activities and places to grab drinks. Blaze is the ship’s inferno-themed nightclub on Deck 4. It often hosts late-night dance parties and is a great spot to hit after a comedy show in nearby Comedy Live.
Feeling like some Latin tunes? Boleros on Deck 5 in the Royal Promenade is the place to be. Just across the way is the On Air Club, which hosts trivia throughout the day, though its intended purpose is karaoke. Choose a song, and belt it out as the lyrics scroll by on a digital screen, reminiscent of a stock ticker, outside the venue.
For jazz, drinks and trivia — or a quiet place to read a book or check emails when it’s not in use — Dazzles rises two stories on decks 8 and 9. It overlooks Central Park, making for pleasant views while you’re visiting.
Other daily activities include bingo, pickleball play, basketball shootout competitions, dance classes and themed parties.
Allure of the Seas shows
Nighttime is when Allure of the Seas’ entertainment truly shines — and I’m not talking about just one or two decent shows. Instead, several truly spectacular options appear once or twice throughout each sailing.
“OceanAria” is a combination of high diving and acrobatics that takes place at the Boardwalk’s aft-facing AquaTheater. Set to music and dancing fountains, the show features the ship’s wake as a backdrop. Although this particular show doesn’t include slacklining, tightrope walking or aerial acrobatics like the ones on some of the other Oasis Class ships, the feats performed will still make your breath catch in your throat. It’s free to attend, but reservations are a must; make them early.
It still astounds me that some of Royal Caribbean’s ships have ice skating rinks on board. Allure of the Seas is one of them with its Studio B. In addition to complimentary open skating for passengers, a team of resident professional skaters puts on “Blades” — an ice performance that includes solo, group and couples routines set to popular songs. Guest stars, such as a hula-hooping skater, add to the intrigue.
For years, Royal Caribbean has been known for its Broadway prowess, bringing titles like “Saturday Night Fever,” “Hairspray” and “Cats” to the high seas. In Allure’s main Amber Theater, you can watch a full 2.5-hour production of “Mamma Mia!” It’s just as great as the version I saw in New York several years ago, complete with a score of songs by universal favorite Abba.
Cruisers can also enjoy “Blue Planet” in the main theater. The storyline follows a young woman who travels to faraway places — including under the sea — searching for ways to protect the planet and its wonders. In this case, said wonders are dancers, singers and acrobats. They’re backed by fantastic scenery shrouded in a sheer curtain that serves as a projection screen.
Allure’s theater also hosts a rotating battery of limited-run talent. My favorite was MO5AIC, a Las Vegas-based five-man acapella group featuring some of the best vocal talent I’ve ever heard — including a beatboxer who serves as an entire percussion section using just his throat and mouth.
Comedy Club on Deck 4 also comes alive after dark, offering two shows almost nightly for adults only.
Allure of the Seas itineraries and pricing
At the end of October 2023, Allure of the Seas will reposition from Galveston to Orlando’s Port Canaveral. From there it will sail three- and four-night Bahamas voyages — including stops at the line’s private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay — from Orlando’s Port Canaveral through June 2024. At the time of publication, prices started from $322 per person ($81 per person, per night) for a four-night sailing in an inside cabin.
From early July 2024 to early February 2025, the ship will relocate to Miami to offer the same three- and four-night Bahamas sailings, including Perfect Day at CocoCay. At press time, prices started at $282 per person ($94 per person, per night) for an inside room on a three-night cruise.
What to know before you go
It’s a good idea to have a passport for all cruise travel, but if you’re a United States citizen sailing Allure of the Seas round-trip from a U.S. embarkation port, you can board with your original birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID instead. If you use a passport, it must be valid for at least six months after your voyage ends.
If you sail on Allure of the Seas, expect service charges of anywhere from $16 to $18.50 per person, per day charged to your onboard account, depending on your cabin type. Although we don’t encourage it, you can visit the guest services desk to have the amount adjusted down or removed. An additional 18% gratuity is attached to all bar, minibar, spa and salon purchases.
Allure of the Seas has some of the fastest Wi-Fi at sea, thanks to Royal Caribbean’s VOOM, which is powered by Starlink on all vessels in the fleet. On my sailing, I could text without a problem and stream Netflix shows. I also uploaded more than 200 photos to Dropbox in just a few minutes. Prices vary by sailing length and the number of devices you wish to connect.
Note that you don’t need to purchase Wi-Fi to use the line’s mobile app, which allows you to check in for your sailing, make reservations, monitor your onboard bill and stay in touch with travel companions via app messaging.
Carry-on drinks policy
If you’re sailing on Allure of the Seas, you can bring up to two bottles of wine or Champagne per cabin. The line will charge you $15 per bottle as a corkage fee if you consume it outside your stateroom. Passengers may also bring up to 12 cans, bottles or cartons of nonalcoholic beverages like juice or soda.
Smoking is not allowed in most public areas on Allure of the Seas. Passengers wishing to light up — including e-cigarettes — must head to designated outdoor areas or the casino. And don’t even think about smoking in your cabin or on your balcony. It’s not allowed, and you face a fine of $250 if you try it.
Self-service laundry isn’t available on Allure of the Seas. However, you can have clothing sent out for washing, pressing or dry-cleaning for fees that range from $1.99 to press a shirt to $14.99 to have a suit dry-cleaned and pressed.
All Royal Caribbean ships offer North American-style 110-volt outlets and European-style 220-volt outlets in rooms. In my cabin, a duo — one European-style and one North American-style — was hidden under the vanity. On top of the vanity, a multi-port set of three North American outlets was set into a round base. However, the cabin had neither a single USB port nor outlets near the beds.
The currency on Allure of the Seas is the U.S. dollar. The system on board is completely cashless, which means you’ll use your room key — called a SeaPass card — for charging purchases when you sail. You’ll have to tie either a credit card or a set amount of cash to it before your cruise.
Because the ship sails round-trip from a U.S. port, the drinking age on board is 21 years.
Royal Caribbean’s dress code is somewhat ambiguous. In general, casual clothing is fine during the day. Think jeans or shorts with T-shirts, athleisure wear or swimwear if you’re at the pool. (Please wear shoes and a coverup if you venture inside, especially for food.)
At night, resort casual is acceptable in most restaurants on most nights. That means Polo-style shirts with nice shorts, jeans or slacks for men and either a sundress or nice jeans or slacks with a blouse for women.
Weeklong voyages usually have one formal night, where passengers are encouraged to dress to the nines. Sailings of more than seven nights might have more than one of these. I also saw a “dress to impress” dress code listed one night during my cruise (unclear exactly what that meant).
For both types of dress-up nights, you’ll be fine with slacks and a blazer, a suit or a cocktail dress or ball gown if you want to be fancy. Note that, on most sailings, you’re likely to find as many people dressing down as you’ll see dressing up.
Some specialty restaurants claim to have a dress code, but it’s not enforced. For example, Chops, the onboard steakhouse, is supposed to be formal. However, I dined next to a table full of sports jersey-clad passengers who didn’t seem the least bit out of place.
If you like to participate in theme nights, prepare by packing items appropriately colored for the Red Party and white night. Other themes on my voyage included cowboy/country and ’70s.
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas isn’t a new ship, but it has stood the test of time. Because it’s still waiting for a second major overhaul, it looks worn around the edges. However, its throwback offerings — such as Sabor, which only appears on one other ship in the fleet — make the minor wear and tear easy to overlook.
The lineup of scheduled daytime activities is staggering, and it offers something for passengers of all ages, interests and activity levels, whether they prefer trivia, surfing or something in between. At night, instead of one or two standout performances, just about every single show will make your jaw drop.
Food is generally fantastic, and the fact that the line has found a way to get its fleet to a nearly zero-waste status makes me feel even better about having sailed.
Despite minor evidence of wear and tear, overall you can’t go wrong with a sailing on Allure of the Seas.
Planning a cruise? Start with these stories: