Sunday, June 11, 2023

Allure of the Seas - June 11, 2023


Allure of the Seas  -  June 11, 2023
Just the Facts
Ship:  Allure of the Seas,  A Royal Caribbean Oasis class ship launched in 2010 @ 225,200 tons. Largest at sea at that time.
Ports: Galveston, Texas - Isla Roatan, Honduras - Costa Maya, Mexico - Cozumel, Mexico

This is a make-up group cruise for my senior high school class at DCHS...a planned 52nd class reunion cruise cancelled due to Covid-19.  It will be great to see fellow high school classmates most from Oklahoma.  I am sailing as a solo.  This is my first cruise on the Allure, my 35th Royal Caribbean cruise, and my 201st total cruise overall.   

Day One--Sunday—Embarkation 

I woke very early (3:45 am) to finish packing and head to the Tampa Airport for my 6:30 am flight on Southwest Airlines. I have sailed from Galveston well over 100 times but this is my very first time to fly there so a completely new experience. The two-hour direct flight arrived at Houston Hobby at about 7:50 am. The port shuttle meeting area was in the baggage claim area so very easy. I was the third person to check in. The first bus wasn’t until 10:00ish so I had time to get a full breakfast in the terminal. Nice to have Salsa Verde with my eggs again. The bus left as scheduled and we arrived at the new Royal Caribbean cruise terminal at about 11:00 am. We were dropped right in front of the Terminal. The new terminal design allows for self-drop off of luggage as your first process on arrival…perfect for a primarily ‘drive-to’ port. Since I gave both of my bags to a porter in the bus area I proceeded directly into the huge arrival area. They have designed this for large crowds and use mobile check-in so no fixed counter area…they can use as many personnel as needed. So very different as you actually check in first…then you go through Security. Once through security one final ID check using facial recognition and you can board the ship. I was on board by 11:45 am entering the huge Promenade on deck five. Very pleased with the embarkation process. Cabins don’t open until 1:00 pm so I did a walk-about on the way to the Windjammer buffet. This is a huge ship, but having sailed the Harmony OTS I was prepared. My lunch was very good, I had two nice German pork schnitzels and mashed potatoes, two of my favorites on RCL buffets. The watermelon was very nice too. I ran into my first classmates in the Solarium area. BTW—a good alternative to the very crowded Windjammer for a nice meal option although limited serving times. I went to my cabin on deck 12 and dropped my backpack then went on a walkabout checking in at my Muster Station E-3 back on deck 5. I found a large group of classmates around the corner in Boleros…very nice. They were in various stages of arrival, planning, and exploring. It was great seeing them. I did another walkabout stopping at the Schooner Bar for a cocktail before returning to my cabin. I watched us sail away from my balcony, a little different from the new port terminal location. Although this was my home port for over twenty years it seems so different for me. I met my cabin steward I Wayan from Bali and set up a cleaning schedule for the week. At about 7:00 pm I went for an aperitif at Boleros and was joined by a few classmates. Most of our group is attending the production show Momma Mia this evening. As a group, we have 7:45 pm dining and three nice tables near the entry on deck four of the Main Dining Room (MDR). Tonight I ordered the Escargots a la Bourguignonne, Roasted Tomato Soup, the Spaghetti Bolognese entree, and Key Lime Pie for dessert. It was excellent and I enjoyed the Bread and the Tablecloth too. I then retired to the cabin…It was a great and long first day on the Allure of the Seas.

Day Two—Monday—at Sea 
Smooth seas overnight and a very restful night after such a busy day. I woke up early and updated this blog. Rest and relaxing are the order of the day so I didn’t leave the cabin until noon. When the DW and I sailed on the Harmony of the Seas we were never able to eat in the Bistro in the Solarium as they have very limited hours. Today I went straight away there for lunch. They offer a mini buffet and they had exactly what I wanted: Mashed Potatoes and Pork Cutlets. They offer roast beef, hamburger fixings, french fries, and fruit. A good option and no children. True to form they closed at about 1:10 pm while I was there. I went by the Schooner Bar for an Elderflower Martini at about 14:30 and saw some classmates so stayed for a visit. C&A had left a small fruit plate in the cabin when I returned. Balcony time the rest of the afternoon, The entire group was at Boleros at 19:00, which was nice. We also had a full house on all three of our tables in the MDR this evening. This is the first elegant night so a special menu as well. I ordered: the Escargots a la Bourguignonne, the Iceberg Wedge Salad, the Roasted Beef Tenderloin entree, and a Creme Brûlée for dessert. It was a very enjoyable meal. I retired to the cabin but then decided to go get some Coca-cola with my remaining drinks vouchers at the Schooner Bar. Some of my Snoozemates’ cruise friends were there so I stayed for some piano bar entertainment by Grace Rouch. It was fun and my Elderflower martinis were very good. Following two sets of music I finally retired to the cabin. It was a relaxing and fun sea day on the Allure.


Day Three—Tuesday—at Sea 

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. Another relaxing morning for me. I had a banana from my fruit bowl for breakfast so I was ready to go down to the Boardwalk and Johnny Rockets (photo left) when they opened at noon. I started with a large Diet Coke and a nice plate of Onion Rings as a starter. I had the Double meat burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo. It was served with both onion rings and french fries. Although they offered Sundaes or Pie for dessert I order a Vanilla Malt. Everything was great. I did a short walkabout on the Boardwalk and the Deck 5 Promenade. The Guacamole making class at Sabor looked interesting. The open skating time looked appealing, but I didn’t bring any extra long pants so can not do it. I-Wayan had my cabin cleaned upon return so it was Balcony-Business-and Nap time the rest of the day. At about 17:00 I went down to deck 5 with a friend and had a couple of Pilsner Urquells in the Bow & Stern Pub. Then over to Boleros for a martini. It was Italian night in the MDR. Tonight I ordered the Arancini, a Green Salad, the Chicken Parisian entree, and the Pot de Cream for dessert. After dinner, I went to the Schooner Bar for one set at the Piano Bar before retiring to the cabin. It was another very nice sea day sailing on the Allure of the Seas. 
Day Four—Wednesday—Isla Roatan, Honduras 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. At about 8:00 we docked at Coxen Hole the original port for the island. A lot of changes including adding a second pier. Very different than when I was here on the very first scheduled cruise ship to call at Roatan. I’m staying on board to take advantage of the ship amenities and walk about with fewer guests on board. I went to the Windjammer for breakfast, the ham from the Carving Station was excellent and a biscuit as good as I have had on a cruise ship. I went up to the Solarium and one of the large hot tubs, the water jets are great for my tendonitis. From the height of the Allure, you can see across the airport mountain and the ships at Amber Cove. I also visited with friends before returning to the cabin. At about 13:00 I went down to the Park Cafe for both a Salad and one of their great Roast Beef Sandwiches. It was not busy at all with few guests on board. Time for a walkabout before returning to the cabin for movie time. I enjoyed watching Cleopatra even more having recently been in Egypt. C&A delivered some very nice Petit-fours…thanks. It was a warm but tolerable day for guests doing the great excursions on the island today. My favorites here in the past have been: West Bay/Tabyana Beach, West End, Anthony’s Cay, French Cay, and several Zipline parks. I watched sail way from the balcony then went to the Diamond Lounge and met friends at about 1730. It was my first time there on this cruise. I visited and enjoyed cocktails. I went to dinner in the MDR and ordered a large order of Coconut Shrimp and Caribbean Jerk Pork Chop. It was good. No dessert as I excused myself a bit early to get to the Studio for the Ice Games! Ice Show (photo above). It was very clever themed as a Monopoly with squares being locations on the ship…Boardwalk was obvious. The large skate team was very entertaining and talented. I enjoyed the show. Afterward, I met my classmates in Boleros for late cocktails. It was fun but I soon retired. It was a fun and full ‘stay on the ship’ day for me.
Day Five—Thursday--Cozumel, Mexico 
Smooth seas overnight and I again slept well. We were docked at the International Pier by 8:00 with guests getting off early. I had a Banana for breakfast this morning and did some work that needed secondary verifications and my iPhone does have service in Mexico. A good thing. I went off at about 9:15 and got a taxi outside the gate fairly easily ($8) and was at Woody’s Bar & Grill by 9:45. They allowed me to set up as usual while they opened. At about 10:30 I went down to Antonio’s to get my haircut ($8), Martin is the best. Woodys was open by the time I got back and I had a Diet Coke and my usual order of guacamole earlier than usual, but I didn’t have breakfast. Super fast WiFi. I was later joined by a friend and we enjoyed a few Cervezas. It was a very hot day and we decided to head back early to the ship. A refreshing shower revived me and I went to the Park Cafe for a sandwich and salad.
We were docked next to the Voyager of the Seas and once they sailed it opened up the view and a nice breeze out on the balcony. A light shower began so the balcony time was very nice until sailing away at about 18:00. I had an aperitif at the Champagne Bar with friends before going to the MDR for our dinner. Tonight's theme was Taste of Mexico and I ordered: the Escargots, Shrimp Cocktail, Roasted Poblano Pepper Soup, the Carne Asada entree, and two desserts: Carmel Flan, & Tres Leches cake. It was a lot but portions are smaller and all was very good. I have reservations for the Aqua Show this evening, but they were canceled…something about the water, I could not hear the announcements as it was over the noise of dinner. I stopped by the Schooner Bar to get some Coca-Cola and Ginger Ale for the cabin. and retired early. It was a nice productive, but hot day in Cozumel. I’m really enjoying my classmates.
Day Six — Friday— Costa Maya, Mexico  
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I woke too early but updated this blog and reviewed the early news. We were soon docked at Costa Maya but with a 12:30 back-on-board time I’m staying on board the ship. I have a nice view from my balcony and the water is beautiful today but not enough port time for the effort to even get to nearby Mahahual. I had another Banana breakfast and did some work online this morning. At noon I went to the MDR for lunch, I had two entrees, a Spicy Chicken Sandwich and the Steak Frites. For dessert a Floating Island (good but not as good as MSC’s). I watched sail away from the balcony and had a lazy afternoon. I went by the Diamond Lounge at about 17:20 and enjoyed a few cocktails, then met all my classmates at the Schooner Bar at 18:20. They all are having a great cruise, a new experience for most of them. I had reservations at Chops Grille, the American steakhouse, for 19:45 with my Snoozemates (photo), It was very nice. I ordered the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, the Wedge Salad, and the 9 oz Filet Steak with butterflied cut with Baked Potato and Mushrooms. It was a very nice meal with good friends. I did a walkabout the ship and guests were out this evening…all the late-night venues were very busy. I did stop for a final nightcap at the Schooner before heading to the cabin. It was a relaxing and great visiting day on the Allure of the Seas.
Day Seven — Saturday—Sea Day   
Smooth seas overnight but I would have slept very well in any seas last night. I went to the Park Cafe for a Danish and Doughnut...a light breakfast, then went to Dazzles for a Q&A session. The Q&A had cast from Ice Skating, Theater, and the Aqua group and was open to Diamond and above guests. This replaces the ‘back-stage' tours that used to be offered and really is easier and better as it includes information from all the performance areas. I had lunch in the MDR again. I ordered the Iceberg Wedge, Spaghetti Bolognese, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich w/ Fries & Slaw, and Key Lime Pie for dessert. It was very good. I went to the theater at 13:50 and got great seats about 6 rows back in the center for Momma Mia. The two-and-a-half-hour production show was absolutely fantastic. The singers and dancers were amazing. Do not miss this if you sail on the Allure. After the show, I had cabin time and began packing until 17:00 when I went to the Diamond Lounge. My new D-lounge friends were there and I enjoyed a nice cocktail and visit. At about 18:40 I went to the Champagne & Martini bar for an Elderflower Martini. A last farewell and photo with the Snoozemates before my regular 19:45 dinner with my classmates' group. Tonight I ordered: the Chilled Shrimp Cocktail, Mediterranean Papas Medley (Pita bread, Hummus, Tzatziki, Greek Salad), The Braised Lamb entree, and the Cream Catalana dessert. The head waiter also surprised me with some Hearts of Palm…very nice. Lots of goodbyes after dinner with the group. The Aqua Show was canceled again tonight so I retired to the cabin to finish packing. It was an interesting and emotional final day on The Allure of the Seas.


Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I was up very early so time to finish packing and shower. We were docked before 7:00 am in Galveston and self-assist started rolling off by 7:20. I have Airport Shuttle so I’m tag #2 which was called at about 8:00. Debark was fair for this large of a ship. Facial Recognition at customs is fantastic. I was on the shuttle by 8:20 and at the airport at 9:00. Unfortunately I don’t board until 2:30 but Wifi is good at HOU.  Flight went very well, the girls picked me up at TPA and I was home at the Villa at about 19:15 local time.


I had cabin 12664 a balcony on the port side just off the aft atrium. Features: Two Wardrobes, Vanity with drawers, small Refrigerator, Keypad safe, Couch, Queen Bed, Nightstands, Chair at vanity, Chairs & small table on the balcony, Standard enclosed shower, and HD TV.

Highlights of the Cruise

Of course, sailing with my Classmates was one of the best Highlights I have ever had in 201 cruises. It’s been 54 years since graduation and it seemed like yesterday as far as friendship and camaraderie were concerned. Many were new to cruising and a few were old salts, but all seemed to have a wonderful time and experience. I hope we have time to do it again in the future. 

Personal Observations
The new Terminal is amazing.  Very fluid in guest control.
I thought the food overall was very good…much better than recently sailed MSC and Carnival.  
Royal continues to have the best Loyalty Program…by far.
Embarkation and Debarkation went very well for this large of a ship.



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