Today, Bob Gurr shares images from his 2014 family reunion voyage on the massive Royal Caribbean Allure of the Sea. Set a course for adventure, this ship is amazing.

Disney Cruise Lines operates four beautiful cruise ships that are Disney fan favorites. Magic and Wonder are 84,000 ton size ships carrying 1754 passengers, while Dream and Fantasy are 130,000 tons with 2,500 passengers. This may seem large, but the latest super size ships are the Royal Caribbean International Oasis and Allure of the Seas. These floating resorts are a giant 225,282 tons handling 5,400 passengers, or 6,360 when fully loaded!. Now, thats really big. Having cruised on both size Disney ships, my absolute favorite is the stunning Allure of the seas, sister ship to the Oasis of the Seas.

Allure docked at the private Labadee Recreation Park in Haiti.
Allure docked at the private Labadee Recreation Park in Haiti.
Compare the size of her passengers to the size of Allure - now that's big.
Compare the size of her passengers to the size of Allure – now that’s big.
Suites guests gather on the bow heliport for a champagne spillway party.
Suites guests gather on the bow heliport for a champagne spillway party.
Bob enjoys the champagne party with some of the ships officers.
Bob enjoys the champagne party with some of the ships officers.
The hotel manager and Captain Johnny call themselves "The Dream Team".
The hotel manager and Captain Johnny call themselves “The Dream Team”.
All of the Allure officers are friendly and fun loving who enjoy their guests.
All of the Allure officers are friendly and fun loving who enjoy their guests.
An Allure owners suite makes a perfect family room for familiar reunions.
An Allure owners suite makes a perfect family room for familiar reunions.

 

Our family of ten gathered every day in the beautiful owners suite.
Our family of ten gathered every day in the beautiful owners suite.

To experience just what a cruise on a ship of this size is like, watch my video of another cruise on the Oasis here:

Oasis from Bob Gurr on Vimeo.

The ship has a novel neighborhood concept, which divides the ship into seven distinct spaces that range from the foliage-filled Central Park to the Boardwalk, with its handmade wooden carousel, burger joint and candy shop. Like its sister, Allure also boasts the best kids program in cruising. Scattered throughout the mass of steel, glass, wood and trees are variations that inform Allure’s unique personality, including retail options (a Guess store), dining venues (a hot dog stand), shows (“Chicago”) and a recognizable green ogre, donkey and penguins culled from the DreamWorks stable. The line has also added 3D viewing capabilities to its movie offerings, iPod docks in every cabin and guest kiosks from which you can print boarding passes and keep tabs on escalating onboard bills.

A view aft of the cabin balconies which overlook the Boardwalk Fun Zone.
A view aft of the cabin balconies which overlook the Boardwalk Fun Zone.
The Boardwalk has a number of entertainment, shops, and restaurants.
The Boardwalk has a number of entertainment, shops, and restaurants.
Two gigantic climbing walls allow guests to try their hand at rock climbing.
Two gigantic climbing walls allow guests to try their hand at rock climbing.
Guests can even get a taste of zip line high above the Boardwalk.
Guests can even experience the adventure of a zip line high above the Boardwalk.
One of several pool decks make for a variety of sun bathing and swimming.
One of several pool decks make for a variety of sun bathing and swimming.
A very colorful children's water park is a family favorite, especially for tots.
A very colorful children’s water park is a family favorite, especially for tots.

 

Boogie boards are fun for those who try, and for spectators watching falls.
Boogie boards are fun for those who try, and for spectators watching falls.
Another watermark zone features belly boards for all ages.
Another watermark zone features belly boards for all ages.
Instructors can teach anyone try their hand at belly board riding.
Instructors can teach anyone try their hand at belly board riding.

Numerous big Jacuzzis are found everywhere on the top decks.
Numerous big Jacuzzis are found everywhere on the top decks.

Sure, the ship is large, but it doesn’t feel as massive as you’d expect it to and that’s a credit to its design. The neighborhood concept really does work — Central Park was our favorite, and we found reasons to be there every day (Park Cafe for freshly made salads, sandwiches and breakfast fare; fun tours of art and foliage; and lots of comfortable chairs in which to read) and night (noshing at the outdoor tables at Vintages, the wine bar, and at Giovanni’s, the ship’s Italian restaurant). After dinner, the Entertainment Zone was a magnet. On sunny days, congregating on the pool deck was a natural activity — but while it was crowded, you could always find a lounge chair.

The forward top decks are like big quiet and peaceful palm covered gardens.
The forward top decks are like big quiet and peaceful palm covered gardens.
Central Park is surrounded by port and starboard pool and sports deck.
Central Park is surrounded by port and starboard pool and sports deck.
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Aft of the Boardwalk is located the fabulous Aqua Theater for water shows.
The night time water pageants with high dives and acrobats are stunning.
The night time water pageants with high dives and acrobats are stunning.
Aerialists perform with high wire acts on a moving ship at sea - amazing!
Aerialists perform with high wire acts on a moving ship at sea – amazing!
Aqua Theater performers love to entertain everyone with several shows.
Aqua Theater performers entertain with several shows.
An ice skating rink is available to guests who like to skate, and for ice shows.
An ice skating rink is available to guests who like to skate, and also for ice shows.
The ice shows are breathtaking close to the audience.
The ice shows are breathtakingly close to the audience.
Small children love the special Boardwalk activities such a merry-go-round.
Small children love the special Boardwalk activities such a merry-go-round.
In addition to basketball and soccer, everyone loves the easy mini-golf range.
In addition to basketball and soccer, everyone loves the easy mini-golf range.
Central Park at night is such a romantic place for an evening stroll.
Central Park at night is such a romantic place for an evening stroll.

 

The Boardwalk, one of the most hotly anticipated neighborhoods, was a surprisingly empty spot onboard. It’s charming — and a ride on the carousel was a real smile — but people didn’t really hang out there, unless they’re passing through on the way to the Aqua Theater. One parent told me that the problem with the Boardwalk area is that there are too many for-fee places — and that parents don’t want to walk that expensive gauntlet, with kids begging for ice cream, a fried food meal at the Seafood Shack (with its $8.95 for adults and $4.95 for kids cover charge) or Johnny Rockets (which also levies a fee). Other costly temptations on the Boardwalk include shops where you can buy a furry pet, trendy children’s clothing and accessories, and bags of candy. Not too much different than a day at a Disney Resort.

A variety of restaurants and shops line Central Park - live music is a delight.
A variety of restaurants and shops line Central Park – live music is a delight.
Allure has 34 bars and restaurants supported by a number of vast kitchens.
Allure has 34 bars and restaurants supported by a number of vast kitchens.
A kitchen pastry chef prepares the day's goodies.
A kitchen pastry chef prepares the day’s goodies.
The Promenade is a village of shops, foods, night clubs, and shopping.
The Promenade is a village of shops, foods, night clubs, and shopping.
Promenade by day is bright and airy lit by skylights above.
Promenade by day is bright and airy, lit by skylights above.

 

By night, the Promenade turns colorfully dramatic, ready for parade action.
By night, the Promenade turns colorfully dramatic, ready for parade action.

In port, Royal Caribbean has built facilities on each dock with numerous screening stations that enable passengers to re-embark much more smoothly than some of the smaller mega-ships we were berthed alongside! With the FlowRiders, H2O Zone, Boardwalk and incredible age-specific children’s facilities, Allure of the Seas is an obvious choice for families. However, the ship also appeals to active couples, mainly in their 30’s to 50’s (Central Park is a great place relatively kid-free spot to hang out). The majority of passengers hail from North America, though many passengers on our sailing came from the United Kingdom and Europe, as well, keen to experience the world’s largest cruise ship. Seven-night cruises have two formal nights and five casual nights. A decent number of men choose to wear tuxedos for formal dining, though dark suits were more common on our sailing. Women are typically found in cocktail dresses or gowns.

Evenings are the place to hang out in the dramatic Promenade club zone.
Evenings are the place to hang out in the dramatic Promenade club zone.
Allure features broadway shows in the large and very beautiful theater.
Allure features broadway shows in the large and very beautiful theater.
Party time as the nightly parades and musical shows entertain the guests.
Party time as the nightly parades and musical shows entertain the guests.
Captain Johnny rides one of his motorcycles to lead the parade - Captain Fun.
Captain Johnny rides one of his motorcycles to lead the parade – Captain Fun.

 

Every evening is so much fun to watch - Mardi Gras, Asian, or just music.
Every evening is so much fun to watch – Mardi Gras, Asian, or just music.

 

DreamWorks characters are a daily attraction on the Allure.
DreamWorks characters are a daily attraction on the Allure.
Hard to believe all the variety of entertainment aboard Allure - it's a resort!
Hard to believe all the variety of entertainment aboard Allure – it’s a resort!

Interestingly, Both Allure and Oasis have a higher rating with children and teens than Disney, probably due to there being so much more to do on this class of mega-ship. Also interesting, Disney fans who try Allure certainly do want to return again for the bigger variety of on-board experiences. I took delight in watching my 10 family members from age 11 to 83 experience a cruise ship that took their breath away. And that made my day too.

Have you traveled on the Allure or Oasis?

 

 

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Bob Gurr is a true Disney legend who was hired on to design the Autopia for Disneyland. Over nearly four decades, Bob would become famous for developing the Monorails, Submarines, Flying Saucers, antique cars and double-decker buses of Main Street, Ford Motor Company's Magic Skyway (at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair), Omnimover ride system, Matterhorn and lots more. It has been said that if it moves, Bob probably played a part. Upon leaving Imagineering in 1981, Bob worked on a number of "leisure-time spectaculars" and "fantastical beasts" for parks and developments all over the world. Most notably, he created King Kong and Conan's Serpent for Universal Studios Hollywood, A UFO for the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, and the memorable T-Rex figure featured in Steven Spielberg's motion picture "Jurassic Park." You can find Bob's column, Design: Those Were The Times, right here on MiceChat. Though don't pin Bob down to a schedule, he's busy being "retired."
  • BC_DisneyGeek

    Great article Bob.

    I really want to go on this ship one day. My Disney cruises were great, but I do want to try something bigger.

  • disneydempster

    Bob thanks for your amazing post. I have been on Disney cruise and loved it, this one looks intriguing to me guess I need to start saving for a cruise on Royal Caribbean.

  • bob1

    Bob, you do such good work, this should be on a travel website. I think you’re missing some great opportunities! Disney geeks are probably just looking for Disney stuff and aren’t that into cruises unless it’s on a Disney ship. I’m sure Royal Caribbean would also love your pictures and stories. As well as triple A.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Klutch

    That’s all pretty amazing. But I’m wondering about the point of putting all that on a ship. I have visited many Caribbean islands and I never saw anything as nice or interesting as what’s on the ship. Wherever it ties up is going to be a letdown compared to just staying onboard.

    • Bob Gurr

      The point is that it’s a RESORT that visits islands! I think that’s one of the keen Royal Caribbean features – stay aboard with a smaller crowd and enjoy so much more than shopping ashore. And it’s perfect on the port days where the weather is not so nice, you’ll have plenty to do if you have to stay on the ship.

  • jcruise86

    Bob, this has nothing to do with the suite your family had, but would you adopt me, my wife and daughter?

    Yes, it might seem strange having a new 50-year-old son, but this is done in Japan
    (especially to continue a “family” business–but you could do this just for the delightful company the three of us would add!) After our adoption your new larger family could all celebrate wiht a Disney cruise to Norway in the Walt and Roy Suites!

    • Bob Gurr

      Aw gorsh…does that mean you really like this boat?

      • jcruise86

        Yeah, but our Alaska Disney Cruise was on the Wonder, one of the two smaller Disney cruise ships, and that seemed about perfect. Some crew members had worked on one of the two newer Disney ships to help get it going and they said they preferred the more personal smaller boats. I was so happy with the Disney Cruise that as long as we have a kid I’ll stick with that. (Just as I got another Honda Civic because my other one was reliable for 16 years and over 210K miles.)

        Bob, I know it must have been awkward to decline my adoption offer, but my wife, daughter and I will get over it.

  • I sailed on the Allure earlier this year.

    Stunning ship. There’s a LOT to do. But, you have NEVER been nickled and dim,ed like you will be on a RCI Ship.

    Orange Juice at Breakfast? Included. Want it Fresh? Up-charge. Every soda, bottle of water and cup of coffee. Up-charge. The Main Dining Room? Included. Want the REALLY good entree? Up-charge.

    Even in the Specialty Restaurants. The Steak House: $40 per person. Want the PRIME Beef? Add a $21 up-charge.

    It will make you appreciate everything that’s included on a Disney Cruise. Fantastic ship, glad I went. Will I go again? I don’t think so. Bigger isn’t always BETTER.

    • Klutch

      This is disappointing. One the primary advantages of a cruise vacation was, other than gratuities, it was all-inclusive. Now, you get a very basic meal plan with no drinks and everything else is an up-charge? Major bummer.

      When the Disney Ships first sailed, they also charged for soft drinks. The complaints were so overwhelming, they finally relented and make soft drinks included.

  • Bob Gurr

    Interesting…I’ve enjoyed over 30 sea cruises on many lines and always found the “basic” amenities, food, beverages, and entertainment more than delightful. Sure RCI surely offers added items everywhere, but a polite no always works. Another interesting detail, Disney Cruises always have the highest martini prices, certainly in line with their overall stellar service.

    • wmatzner

      Bob,overall, taking service, price and amenities into consideration, would you prefer the Allure to the Disney Cruises or vice versa?

      • Bob Gurr

        All Disney cruises are a show – controlled in manner to deliver almost a choreographed experience, beautifully executed. Allure and Oasis is a totally unique adventure unlike any other ships at sea. So many things to do or not. Eat where you want, when you want, no dinner showbiz. A vast list of sports, big variety of pools, jacuzzis, etc. I am personally highly active at age 83, so these two ships are my favorite.

  • DisneylandManFan

    Great write up, Bob! And those pictures you posted are actually a bit different from most of the ones I find online about the Allure. In other words, they were stunning! It really gave a more complete view of the experience we can expect cruising on this vessel (and RCI, specifically). My wife and I are going to cruise on the Allure in January and I can’t wait! Thank you so much for the early preview and the review of so many things that I believe my wife and I will thoroughly enjoy on our upcoming cruise. You gave me a lot to look forward to (as if cruising on the largest ship wasn’t enough!) The only thing missing would be YOU to show us around. 😉