Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Allure of the Seas: Deck 5 Overview

One thing that Royal does well is "branding".  All the ships have a "Windjammer Cafe" at the top, the main drag is called "Royal Promenade", etc.  On both the "Freedom" class and the "Oasis" class, the Royal Promenade is on deck 5, and is very similar in feel. This is the deck you enter on, in the other class, but sadly, I don't recall which deck it is on this ship!

From the stern, we start with the top layer of the dining room.  Again, no pictures, but it looks like all the other dining rooms and I'm sure a quick Google search will show you how lovely it is.

One nifty thing on the Allure is the interactive touch screen displays.  You can have it tell you the closest washroom, what the menu is, how long the wait is at various restaurants, etc.  It was great for passing time while waiting to enter the dining room!

Up from the dining room is the Champagne Bar, and "Regalia" which I think is a store.  Next to that is Guest Services. Service is usually very good on Royal, but you do hear the odd story about poor service (like our room stewart).  They're there 24 hrs/day, so if your need isn't urgent, go at an off time.  This is also where you can get motion sickness meds, a hole punched in your SeaPass to put it on a lanyard, or a new SeaPass when yours has worn off due to the salt water pool.

In front of Guest Services is "Rising Tide Bar".  This spaceship like bar has scheduled trips from deck 5 up to deck 8.  Apparently I don't have a picture.  It's hard taking pictures inside, there's just so much visual clutter and people, and whatnot.  Plus, having been on two cruises before, I didn't want to look like a newbie :)  Google Rising Tide Bar and you'll find lots.

Going towards the bow is the Focus and Willow....stores...and on the other side, Cafe Promenade.  This is where you can get little sandwiches and treats, as well as gourmet coffee (fee).  I think there is also cold water and the regular (gross) coffee for free at the back.

The Cupcake Cupboard (the store on the left with the pink awning) is capitalizing on the current cupcake craze.  You can take cupcake decorating class (for fee) or buy a number of different flavoured cupcakes.  I don't recommend buying on the first day if you think you might like them, as they're not free, and it could get costly!
 Sorrento's is where to go for pizza.  This ship even allows you to have the counter staff make you a custom pizza.  However, their lack of English might cause some issues, LOL.  There's also a British pub,  and another Guest Services/Explorations counter, a few more shops...
 Close to the entrance to the theater is the "On Air Club" and "Boleros", another bar.  In between is "Mondo Coffee Bar" which is actually Starbucks.  I waited till late in the week to try it out, and I wish I had splurged right from the start (because of course, it's not free).  Getting a "real" coffee was wonderful finally.

Right at the bow is the Vitality at Sea spa.  On this deck, there is access from the jogging track.

Ah, yes.  The jogging track.  I had been jogging that fall, and wanted to continue on the ship.  On other ships, the jogging track is on the upper decks, totally open to the sun.  On this ship, it's on deck 5, and is the only outside access until deck 15.  So, a lot of people want to use it for strolling.  Sightseeing.  Working off breakfast.  There are plenty of signs that say to keep to the right if you're slow, but they're not always followed.  There is a seating area at the stern of the ship, and it's fun to see the AquaTheater's stage from behind.  This is a popular deck  when the ship is coming into port, so keep this in mind (I didn't realize this at first, and did not enjoy threading my way through staff and passengers).  It's also still quite hot down here and you only get breezes on one side usually. 
You can see the open jogging track at the back of the ship. 

I appreciated the jogging track being lower down--on other ships, the open deck is deck 4, and there is not supposed to be jogging, but sometimes people do use it for fitness since they'd rather not be up top.  However, having this deck serve both as the "free air access" for the bottom 14 decks, AND the fitness track meant that there was compromises for both types of people.  But I'm still glad I made the effort!

The Allure of the Seas: Ship Overview, Decks 2, 3 & 4

Since the ship is so huge, I figured I'll do the ship overview by deck.  Remember, always call them "Decks" and not "floors", and the rooms are "cabins" or "staterooms" LOL.  And, she's a "Ship" not a "boat"!

Deck 2 is not shown in the handout, or the Royal Caribbean book.  It houses the medical facility.  This might also be the deck you go ashore from.  On the Freedom class, there are cabins down here, but not on the Oasis class.  We didn't enjoy being on deck 2--too much engine noise and docking noise.

Deck 3 has the lower level of the dining room at the stern end (not quite at the stern actually, due to the Aquatheater).  Forward of that are some inside cabins, and ocean view cabins.  Studio B, the ice rink, is mid-ship, though I don't think you can access it on this level.  Forward of that is the conference center, which we did not check out.  At the bow is the lowest level of the Opal Theater, where they have the stage shows.  Again, you don't access it here, but that's just where it lines up.

Deck 4 is where the action starts to happen.  There's the middle level of the dining room, with some private dining areas.  We were on the left side, if you were looking towards the bow.  It was a weird area, somewhat closed in, without a view of the middle, open area, but with outside views, which would be nice if we had the earlier dining time or were cruising in the summer.  Couldn't see much at night.  I wonder if we got this small table because our cabin had been originally assigned to a couple who were higher up on the "rewards" list. 

We started with another couple at our table, but they lasted only one night, so we had a table for 4, to ourselves.  A bit lonely, LOL, but we got great attention from the staff and could get in and out in record time.  I didn't get any good shots of the dining room this time, but it's pretty much the same feel as the other cruises we were on, so you can check out those blog entries.

Mid-ship is the casino, with Studio B just forward of that.  On the Freedom Class ships, you could not walk from one end of the ship to the other end on deck 3 (the deck with Studio B), so we had to continuously go back up to Deck 4, and through the Casino to the other end of the ship, so we could get back to our cabin on deck 2.  Not a big problem--but the Casino is pretty much the only place inside where smoking is allowed.  Icky.  We were thrilled to find out that the wider Oasis ships allows for room around the ice rink, and we were able to avoid the Casino most of the time.
 The ice rink actually seemed a little smaller on this ship.  Interestingly, this is where our "muster station" was for the life boat drill (and if there were an actual emergency).  I know staff is highly trained, but if there's an issue with the boat, I don't want to be going down into the lower levels.  I want to be AT the lifeboat.  I also want the life jacket with me, not be handed out at the muster station.  Though it was nice not to be squished up with 100 other people on the jogging track, trying to listen to the instructions in 10 different languages.

Forward of Studio B was "Entertainment Place" (which technically includes the ice rink and casino, I think).  "Blaze", "Comedy Live" and "Jazz on 4" were down here.  We saw a comedy show, and I was surprised at how small the comedy club felt.  I don't recall checking out Blaze or Jazz on 4 (despite loving jazz!).  There is also the "Hall of Odds" leading into Studio B--just a little wall display on the history of gaming.  At the bow is the main entrance to the Opal Theater.  I don't have pictures of these places since we really weren't down there much.  I'm sure you can find pictures on Royal's website :)