I just realized something shocking to myself. I have been writing this blog for a long time. Almost a whole year! And I have managed to never write about one of my favorite travel experiences of all time. Cruising. This week is going to be all about the ships I have travelled on. Each is special and wonderful in its own way.I may as well start at the biggest and work my way down huh? Friday is going to be spectacular and wonderful, and small! Stay tuned. Today I’d like to talk to you about Royal Caribbean’s masterpieces. The Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas. These two ships are sisters so mostly everything is the same. A few of the dining venues vary and the shows are all different. We went on the Allure of the Seas in January 2011.
With this ship I was convinced that there would be major service issues. They have 5000-6000 people on board every week. How on earth can they do this efficiently? I thought for sure boarding would be a nightmare! And it wasn’t. With the building of the new terminal and having 90 check in counters…. it was the fastest I have ever gotten on a ship. My grandparents, Danny and I were all standing on the Promenade of the Ship in less than 15 minutes. I have stood in line for a normal sized Carnival ship and taken 2 hours to board before.
This ship is broken down in to neighborhoods. Entertainment Place (comedy club, jazz club, night club… lots of club?!), the Boardwalk (can you say working Carousel?!), Central Park (dining and shopping and peace… oh my!), the Royal Promenade (cupcake anyone? How about a Latin night club? or Starbucks), Pool and Sports Zone (anyone up for some zip-lining???), Vitality at Sea (think spa, fitness center, health food bar), and last but not least The Youth Zone (for kids from 6 months to 17.9 years! 29,000 feet of happiness and excitement).
One of our favorite experiences was the dining. We actually never made it to a specialty restaurant even though I fully intended to. I have tasted the food they create in those restaurants and was SO looking forward to it. However, it is my firm belief that the dining staff can make or break a vacation. This time, they made it. We still talk about the dining experience we had in the main restaurant… The food was great, but even better were the people who took care of us. Angelo, Jicento and Jitendra.
I’m pretty sure I’m not spelling those right, but can you believe I remember them even a year and a half later? They definitely made an impression. Each night Jitendra (he was our head waiter) would come to our table with tooth picks and give us another brain-teaser. Also in the category of dining was my favorite place for breakfast and lunch. The Park Cafe. I loved going in the morning for a parfait or a breakfast sandwich and sitting outside in Central Park to eat. Lunch was great because they do the chopped salads, unique sandwiches, and great desserts. I still regret not making it to the sushi bar.
The shows were outstanding. Dan still talks about Blue Planet as being his favorite show ever (and I took him to see Wicked!). We were awed by the water show OceanAria where divers and acrobats flew through the air. Chicago was energetic and exciting, Ice Games was exhilerating, and there were so many more show options to keep us entertained.
And what is life without a stroll down the Promenade! The indoor cobblestone street with shopping and dining and dancing. There is a place where you can buy and decorate gourmet cupcakes (I recommend the one that looks like Shrek), there is an English Pub where you can drink beer and have a sing a long with a guitarist, and so much more!
Of all of the cruises in my life, this is the ship that you can stick me on and I’ll never want to leave.
Have you been on the Oasis or Allure? What was your favorite part?