When we were planning our honeymoon initially, we hadn’t really any intention of doing a cruise. But after I got to sail on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas last year on its inaugural sailing, I knew that we just had to add a cruise to our itinerary.
Once we had decided to do a cruise, I also knew it had to be an Oasis Class ship and there are many reasons for this. In May 2017 when we cruised, Oasis of the Seas was out of Port Canaveral near Orlando and both Harmony of the Seas and Allure of the Seas out of Fort Lauderdale but how did I choose which one I wanted? Keep on reading to find out the 10 reasons why we chose Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas for our honeymoon.
When I book trips, I don’t book them by the half and so when it came to choosing our honeymoon cruise, I knew we had to sail on an Oasis Class Ship. I wasn’t interested in doing Orlando on our honeymoon so we had to choose between Allure of the Seas or Harmony of the Seas. And, at the time we were booking our cruise with Tour America, Allure of the Seas was that little bit cheaper and we were price conscious because we planned an expensive honeymoon. We were still so happy with our choice though because sailing on the 2nd largest ship in the world was pretty special!
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas has a really great selection of accommodations on board and I love to have choice. We decided that for our cruise we wanted to splash out on an Oceanview Balcony Cabin and we were so happy we did. Waking up at sea or in port and being able to sit outside in privacy to take the views in was just fabulous.
And, if ocean-view balconies aren’t within your budget, you can choose from lower cabin categories such as inside cabins, ocean view cabins, boardwalk view cabins and central park view cabins. Or, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum, why not take a suite! (I’d love an Aqua Theatre Suite myself on my next cruise! 😉 ).
3. Entertainment on Board
Royal Caribbean’s entertainment cannot be rivalled and the line up for Allure of the Seas did not disappoint. We enjoyed the hit musical Mamma Mia on our second night and we also enjoyed shows in the Aqua Theatre which is based at the back of the ship. We also really enjoyed the daytime entertainment and we had many a laugh by the pool watching people partaking in fun games in the sun.
Another show we loved was the Ice Games Show which took place in the on board ice rink, Studio B. And if musical shows aren’t your thing, why not catch a show at the Comedy Club, listen to some jazz, try your hand at Karaoke or even dance the night away salsa style! There was so much choice on Allure of the Seas and I loved that!
4. Food / Drinks Package
When you book a Royal Caribbean cruise, your meals are automatically included (outside of speciality restaurants but more about that later). And having your food covered in your fare is a massive help when planning a Cruise Holiday. What you get as part of your fare when cruising on Allure of the Seas is free dining in the Windjammer (on board buffet), the Main Dining Hall (ours was the American Icon Grill) and you can also enjoy complimentary food at the Dog House, Park Cafe, Sorrentos and more places throughout the ship.
We also booked our cruise during a promotion that Royal Caribbean had and we got a complimentary drinks package included for our sailing. I cannot stress the importance of a drinks package. Everyone has one when on board and if you don’t get one when booking your cruise, be sure to add one on – believe me, they’re great value!
I’d also like to mention before the next point how insanely good the food is on board. The quality is fantastic and we really did enjoyed 90% of our meals. I say 90% as we had no option other than to eat in the buffet on 2-3 occasions due to being in port etc and I’m not a buffet fan. The desserts in the Windjammer made it worth it though! 😉
5. Speciality Dining
I couldn’t do a cruise post on Allure of the Seas and not have two points about food because as much as the included food blew us away, we were even more impressed with the on board speciality dining choice and quality.
On Allure of the Seas you have many speciality restaurants to choose from and for those who haven’t cruised before, these are basically more intimate restaurants that come at an additional fee to your cruise fare. On Allure of the Seas, you had loads of choice including a Italian, a Sushi Restaurant, a Tapas Restaurant and our favourites the Mexican and the Steakhouse!
Sabor – Mexican Cuisine
During our 7 night cruise, we ate twice in Sabor. Located in the Boardwalk area of the ship, Sabor is a fantastic Mexican Al a Cart speciality restaurant that offers lots of colour, flavour and fun. We loved the atmosphere in this restaurant just as much as we loved the food and we also loved how affordable it was. If you choose to eat in Sabor, I highly recommend having the Calamari as its literally the nicest I’ve ever had. Their in-house made guacamole is also to die for! Sabor costs approximately $20 per person for a three course meal.
Chops Grille – Steakhouse
Chops Grille is one of Royal Caribbean’s most famous restaurants and after enjoying a meal there, I know why. One of their most expensive speciality restaurants, Chops Grille is your classic New York steakhouse and the atmosphere is sophisticated and understated all in one.
The staff were fantastic, the food out of this world and the champagne delicious. We were both so impressed with our delicious starters, our out of this world steaks and the incredible deserts. Chops Grille has a cover charge of approximately $50pp but if you’re on your honeymoon like we were, or you want to treat yourself to a really special meal on your cruise holiday, its an absolute must. The creamed spinach is to DIE for!
Itineraries are so important when choosing your cruise and we (or I lol) knew that we wanted to take in the Eastern Caribbean on our honeymoon. After reading up online before booking, I found most people seemed to favour the Eastern Caribbean ports of call. Our 7 night cruise included 3 sea days and 3 ports of call. If I’m honest, I would have preferred at least one more day in port but we worked with what we could for our dates.
Our itinerary was:
- Day 1: Depart Fort Lauderdale. At Sea
- Day 2: At Sea
- Day 3: At Sea
- Day 4: Philipsburg, St Maarten
- Day 5: San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Day 6: Labadee, Haiti
- Day 7: At Sea
Our itinerary had three ports I was dying to visit and all were so brilliant. I will do a separate post on each of these so stay tuned for those in the next few weeks!
7. Shore Excursions
Another thing I loved about Royal Caribbean was the quality of their shore excursions. We booked all of our excursions while on our cruise on Allure of the Seas but if I had any advice to anyone going in future, it would be to pre-book them online. We were left disappointed as the tour we had wanted to do in San Juan booked out really quickly and we couldn’t do it.
Many told me before I travelled that Royal Caribbean overcharge on shore excursions but I found quite the opposite. We did two excursions, one cost approx $39pp and the other was $49pp I think – not expensive at all! I really recommend doing excursions with them directly and if not for just the quality, but also for the security because if you’re on a Royal excursion and you’re delayed getting back to the ship, it will wait for you. But, if you’re on a tour with a non Royal Caribbean guide, and you’re late to the ship, it won’t wait! Scary!
Being one of the largest ships in the world, Allure of the Seas comes with extra amenities and areas on board, that other ships wouldn’t have and this was another big reasons we chose Allure of the Seas for our honeymoon. As they say, variety is the spice of life and I love to explore and wander while away. This was so easy to do on Allure of the Seas as the ship features 7 on-board neighbourhoods. These consist of Central Park, the Boardwalk (my fav!), the Royal Promenade (great for shopping!), the Pool and Sports Zone, Entertainment Place, the Youth Zone and the on-board Spa and Gym (which I didn’t use ahem!).
Each of these areas offers you places to unwind and relax. Whether it be with a drink, a hot dog or a coffee. I loved the mix of indoor and outdoor spaces and having so many areas to explore on board meant that we never felt claustrophobic – something my other half was worried about.
9. Boarding Port
Another thing that drew me to my cruise on Allure of the Seas was the departing port. I’d never been to Fort Lauderdale and had believed it to be Miami’s calmer sister and you know what, it was perfection! I adored our one night pre-stay in Fort Lauderdale and had only wished we’d stayed for longer! We stayed in the Sonesta Hotel Fort Lauderdale which was across the street from the beach and about a 10 minute drive to the ship. It was perfect!
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas had also come recommended to me by family and friends and while we initially thought about other ships and cruise lines, we were swayed by the opinions of loved ones who had cruised on her before us. After all, its hard to beat the power of word of mouth and recommendations!
Our cruise was truly spectacular and I have so many tips to share from it. I could go on and on about all of the elements we experienced even more but this post is already information overload so I’ll be back with more. With that in mind, I want to end on this note – if you’re planning a honeymoon or maybe your first cruise, I cannot recommend Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas enough.
Being a leading cruise line and ship, sailings will be more expensive but trust me when I say it will be worth it! We had the best time on board and everything from start to finish was just so lovely!
I will follow up with some more posts about the ports we visited, the excursions we done and also some tips for cruising but for now, if there is anything in the mean time I can help you with, please comment below!
I’d also like to thank Royal Caribbean for treating us to some goodies on board for our honeymoon, they were very much appreciated. 🙂
For more information on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, visit their website.