Allure of the Seas

ALLURE OF THE SEAS INAUGURAL

 

November 19-21, 2010

 

My husband and I had the opportunity to cruise on the new Allure of the Seas with Royal Caribbean. This was a two night cruise from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, out to sea and back to port. It was the inaugural sailing and offered to select agencies, Royal Caribbean staff and press. Filming of the motion picture “Jack and Jill” starring Adam Sandler, Katie Holmes and Al Pacino was taking place while we were onboard. It was a very exciting cruise!

 

The Allure of the Seas is the largest ship at sea. It is 225,282 tons, will carry up to 5400 passengers and 2384 staff. It is one huge ship! Looking at these facts prior to the trip we were a little overwhelmed by the size and number of people. Once onboard we realized how well Royal Caribbean has this figured out. They built a city at sea with a neighborhood concept which breaks the ship up into seven distinct neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are Central Park, Boardwalk, Pool & Sports Zone, Royal Promenade, Entertainment Place and Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center. The Allure also has information centers (similar to an Ipad with a touch screen) at each elevator giving you directions to different dining, entertainment and activity areas on the ship. The information centers also tell you how full each restaurant is. We found this very helpful and I am sure guests will as well.

 

There are 25 different dining choices onboard the Allure, 14 of which are complimentary. We really enjoyed the selection that the Allure offered. Some of the unique complimentary options are specialty hog dogs and brats at Boardwalk Dog House, My Family Time Dining allowing parents to stay behind and have dinner after their kids do – the kids are picked up by staff of Adventure Ocean about 1 hour into dinner and Boardwalk Donuts offering donuts, pastries and specialty coffees. Clients can easily cruise on this ship with out additional dining costs however if they are looking to try something new and different they can opt to pay a small surcharge for some of the other options. A few that we enjoyed were Starbucks, Mexican cuisine at Rita’s Catinas, cupcakes at the Cupcake Cupboard and tapas at Vintages Wine Bar. I think the Allure will surprise guests with the number of dining options, wide variety of options and how good the food is!

 

Just like with dining the Allure doesn’t disappoint when it comes to entertainment and activities. At the stern of this ship is the amazing AquaTheatre offering entertainment during the day and at night. Studio B offers ice shows at Sea! When we were onboard it was themed after the movie, How to Train your Dragon. We loved it and families will

 

too! At the Boardwalk you will find a full-sized Carousel and the Zip Line which is suspended 9 decks above you! At the Pool and Sports Zone the Allure offers Flow Rider which is a surf simulator, Allure Dunes Mini Golf, and H2O Zone for family fun, which also has an area for toddlers and infants. There are endless activities onboard; some others include a Sports Court, Table Tennis, Rock Climbing Walls, the Beach Pool, Card Room and Library. During the evening hours you will stay busy at the Casino Royale, Comedy Live, On Air Club, themed Street Parties on the Royal Promenade and the many different dining venues and bars. Another option for the evening is to head over to the Amber Theatre which offers three shows. Guests can choose from Chicago: The Musical, Blue Planet and Headliner Show. We went to Chicago: The Musical and I loved it! It was more amazing then the movie in my opinion and a great way to start the evening!

 

The Allure offers a lot of shopping options for those of us that love to shop. Some of the unique options are the Candy Shop offering more then 72 varieties of bulk candy. Pets at Sea which allows you to make your own stuffed animal pet and Pinwheels which offers childrens clothing and toys.

 

The Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center is on Deck 6. The Spa has 29 treatment rooms with a full list of options to choose from. The Fitness Center offers new classes to choose from, I think clients will enjoy the variety.

 

Royal Caribbean specializes in the family cruise experience. Onboard the Allure is the Adventure Ocean & Youth Zone. The youth program is for kids ages 3-11 and there is a separate teen program for kids ages 12-17. With in these two programs the kids are broken down into 5 different groups based on age. With in the area is an Ocean Theatre, Science Lab, Arcade and a nightclub called Fuel. The Allure also offers a Royal Babies and Royal Tots Nursery for children 6 to 36 months. Parents have day and night drop-off options and there is an extra charge for this. There are specific times during the day that are complimentary and offer free-time play for the kids.

 

There are 37 different categories of cabins on the Allure. They are broken down into Interior, Outside, Balcony, Balcony Suite and Loft Suite. This offers a wide variety of options depending on the type of cabin the clients are interested in, the number in their party and their budget. There are 17 decks on the Allure and we were on Deck 14. We had a Balcony Stateroom which was called a Central Park View Stateroom with Balcony. This actually faced the interior of the ship vs. out to Sea. It looked out over Central Park which is really beautiful; a street full of foliage, dining and shops. I wouldn’t suggest being on Deck 14 as we would hear the noise of the pool chairs one deck above us each morning. I would imagine this is pretty typical as they set up the pool area each morning.

 

We did tour a lot of the cabins and I liked how Royal Caribbean offers so many different family options with multiple baths, layout options and beds offering larger families to get just one cabin.

 

We had such a great time on the new Allure. I would highly suggest this to families as well as couples looking for a high energy experience with a lot of options. This is one ship we will go on again! I wouldn’t hesitate to say it is the best of its type at Sea!

 

Netherlands Waterway Cruise…tips and hints

Things I learned on the Netherlands Waterway Cruise:

  • Make sure you have extra battery packs and memory cards for your camera!
  • Don’t wait until you get to the airport to say goodbye to all the new friends you’ve made. With everyone busy finding their luggage and looking for the right gate, we were scattered to the four winds before we knew it. Make sure to get information to stay in touch while you’re still on the boat.
  • Take comfortable walking shoes. Also, take comfy “lounging” shoes for when you’re on the boat.
  • If you like ice cream, you’ll love ice cream in Holland.
  • Holland is full of friendly, helpful people who live in a clean, green world and are very proud of their land and their heritage.
  • Although our cruise ship is small compared to many of larger ships we saw in Amsterdam harbor, this boat can get into the smaller canals and go places the big guys can’t. That’s really what makes this waterway cruise so special. And I think it makes it a more comfy-cozy sort of trip.

It was a great time and a great trip, and if I have an opportunity to go again, I hope to meet you there!

Carnival Cruise Lines to Resume Port Calls in Mexico

Carnival Cruise Lines will resume visits to Mexican ports of call based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which is no longer recommending against non-essential travel to Mexico. Once all voyages with previously modified itineraries are completed, those vessels will revert to their original routes featuring stops in Mexico.

Most itineraries were modified through mid-June with the exception of the Holiday which was modified through late May.

Please rest assured that the health and well being of our guests and crew is our highest priority and we are returning to Mexico after careful evaluation and consultation with the CDC. It is important to note that the concentration of H1N1 flu cases in Mexico has been inland rather than in the coastal resort areas where our ships visit.

The cruise industry works closely with U.S. public health officials in the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program in developing and complying with extensive policies and procedures that are effective in mitigating illness aboard cruise ships. Carnival will continue to follow CDC guidelines for cruise ships which include pre-boarding health questionnaires for all guests and crew, along with secondary screening by shipboard medical professionals as necessary. Additionally, all Carnival ships stock influenza test kits and anti-viral medications for treating type A influenzas.

Mexico is one of our most popular destinations and we look forward to once again providing your clients the opportunity to enjoy its many wonderful sites and attractions. We are very pleased to be returning to Mexico and would also very much like to thank you for your understanding and patience during the past few weeks.

Article courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines

Princess Announces 2010 Alaska Cruise and Cruisetour Program

Season Features Widest Array of Cruise Itineraries, More Options to Visit Glacier Bay National Park, Simplified Cruisetour Choices, and Convenient New “Seattle Air Advantage” Package

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – Princess Cruises’ 2010 Alaska program will offer the most diverse array of opportunities to experience the “Great Land,” with a simplified lineup of cruisetour options, more sailings that include the “must see” destination – Glacier Bay National Park – and a new “Seattle Air Advantage” package that turns every cruisetour into a convenient roundtrip journey.

The lineup will continue to offer passengers the company’s hallmark Alaska experience, whether at sea on board amenity-filled ships or on land with Princess’ signature wilderness lodges and exclusive Direct to the Wilderness program, where guests step right from their ship onto luxury railcars that transport them directly to magnificent Denali National Park.

Next summer the Princess fleet will offer a total of 112 Alaska sailings aboard seven ships offering four itinerary options during the May to September season. The lineup includes Diamond Princess, Coral Princess, and Island Princess traveling on the line’s popular “Voyage of the Glaciers” route through the scenic Gulf of Alaska; Golden Princess, Sapphire Princess and Sea Princess sailing the Inside Passage from Seattle and San Francisco, and Royal Princess offering the line’s small ship experience on an extended 14-day Connoisseur voyage to some of the state’s less-visited ports.

Princess cruisetours will offer passengers the opportunity to enjoy an immersive Alaska experience, combining a seven-day “Voyage of the Glaciers” cruise with three to eight additional nights on land exploring Alaska’s interior. All Princess cruisetours include the company’s exclusive wilderness lodges, rail travel, plus the two top attractions in the state – Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park, where visitors spend at least two nights exploring the wonders of this area.

“Alaska is indeed ‘The Great Land’ with a myriad of ways to experience the state, so we wanted to simplify the choices, and make it easy for our passengers to find the perfect itinerary including the breathtaking scenery and wildlife they came to see,” said Charlie Ball, president of Princess Tours and senior vice president of Princess Cruises. “And we’re also making it easier than ever to travel to Alaska by introducing a new Seattle roundtrip package for cruisetours, eliminating the need for one-way airfare in or out of the state.”

Cruises – Princess offers four ways to experience the awe-inspiring glaciers, historic towns and scenic waters of Alaska, with sailings from seven to 14 days.

  • Voyage of the Glaciers – The line’s famed Gulf of Alaska route between Vancouver and Whittier features calls at Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway with daylight cruising in Glacier Bay and the 16 glaciers of College Fjord (or Hubbard Glacier on southbound sailings). Three ships, Diamond Princess, Coral Princess and Island Princess, will sail on 54 sailings throughout the season.
  • Inside Passage from Seattle – Golden Princess and Sapphire Princess offer convenient seven-day roundtrip itineraries from Seattle with calls at Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, B.C. In addition, passengers will enjoy dramatic glacier viewing in Tracy Arm or Glacier Bay National Park. The two ships will sail on 37 departures.
  • Inside Passage from San Francisco – Sea Princess returns to the City by the Bay to offer 13 voyages from San Francisco on 10-day roundtrip cruises to Victoria, Juneau, Ketchikan, and either Skagway, Haines or Icy Strait Point, plus Glacier Bay National Park or Tracy Arm.
  • Connoisseur Voyage – The intimate Royal Princess takes over this extended Alaska route featuring a small ship cruising experience on a 14-day voyage from Seattle, featuring the less visited ports of Kodiak, Icy Strait Point and Seward, plus Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, B.C., with daylight cruising of Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. Royal Princess will sail on eight Connoisseur voyages.

Cruisetours – Princess introduces a new simplified cruisetour lineup, making it easy for passengers tochoose the perfect land/sea Alaska experience with itineraries ranging from three to eight nights. All tour options feature at least two nights in the Denali National Park area, stays at Princess’ own riverside wilderness lodges, and a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers sailing including Glacier Bay National Park.

  • Direct to the Wilderness – Princess’ exclusive direct rail service between the Whittier cruise terminal and the dramatic Denali wilderness features seven itinerary options offering multiple nights at Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and/or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge.
  • Explorer – These itineraries enable travelers to explore both Denali and other scenic areas, including the Kenai Peninsula at Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park with stays at Copper River Princess Wilderness Lodge. Passengers can even choose to venture to the state’s far north into the Arctic Circle and Prudhoe Bay.
  • Deluxe Escorted – Three cruisetour options offer the services of a professional tour director and additional time for passengers to experience the Great Land. Most meals are also included in these extended vacations.

New Seattle Air Advantage– With this new package, any Princess cruisetour can become a convenient roundtrip vacation from Seattle. This package includesmotorcoach transportation between Seattle and Vancouver, airfare between Alaska and Seattle, and an overnight stay in a Seattle-area hotel. All passengers will need to do is make arrangements to get themselves to and from Seattle.
Gulf of Alaska cruises and cruisetours for 2010 are available for reservations on May 7, 2009. Launch Fares begin at $749 for seven-day voyages, and $1,649 for cruisetours.