Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas

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Owned by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines,  Allure of the Seas is an Oasis-class cruise ship commissioned and built in Finland.After cruising her sister ship  Oasis of the Seas that offered family friendly amenities we decided to spend a Thanksgiving vacation onboard.


Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas glass

What Makes It Family Worthy?

Traveling on cruise ships is an affordable and stress-free way to plan a family vacation. With the vast selection of activities available onboard the ship’s various neighborhoods, travelers are sure to stay entertained throughout the entire voyage.
Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas park

Fellow Travelers

This ship mainly hosts families, but younger to middle-aged couples are also well represented.

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Amenities

From the Windjammer Buffet, Johnny Rockets and Sorrento to specialty restaurants Chops, Izumi, Samba and 150 Central Park the dining possibilities onboard are close to endless. So, we felt we just had to try all the different venues and compare them. By far, our favorites were 150 Central Park (our kids still remember the salts) and Rita’s Cantina for the ambiance.

 

Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas peep

The activities on this ship are a vacationer’s dream. Both our sons couldn’t get enough of the FlowRider, ziplining, rock climbing and yes, that wooden carousel.
A second best were the cupcake classes which were a bit pricey at 224 a person and a daily stroll through the Britto store.
Moreover, we found the afternoon and nightly shows fun; the highlight was attending a performance of the musical Chicago.

Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas cupcakes
And if all these activities were not enough, the Dreamworks character breakfast and parades totally charmed our son with autism.
In fact, he sought out all the Dreamworks activities on the daily planner and made sure he didn’t miss any of them!

Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas pool

Décor

Brightly hued, modern décor can be found throughout the Allure. The corridor we stayed on was decorated in yellow and had varicolored carpeting on the floors.

Our cabins were done up in shades of blue and turquoise.  The blue and yellow accents in our bathrooms did much to help enliven what typically are the blandest spaces in most cruise ship accommodations.

Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas carousel

Our adjoining cabins

We stayed in connecting cabins 151 and 153 on deck ten. As is the case with most cruise ships, the safety practices for the vessel were prominently displayed on the back of the doors. There was a master light switch near both entryways which made it easy to turn the lights on and off as we either came into the room or departed from it.
Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas golf

Our beds had plentiful pillows and the usual white bedding, but the included blue throws which added a note of color. There were two small wooden nightstands at either side of the beds and round mirrors above the sitting areas. Both closets included the usual amenities, such as built-in wooden hangers, and a cabinet that also housed the in-room safe.
Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas flowrider

The sitting areas had large couches, coffee tables, and waste baskets. Directly across from the spaces, there were work desks and chairs. On top of each desk were a small clock and a large flat screen television with a storage rack above.
Underneath each desk was a well-stocked mini fridge. Travelers who wanted to use the fridge for their purposes, like storing leftovers or medicines, needed to ask the staff to remove the mini bar contents first to avoid additional charges.
Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas cabin Furthermore, both cabins had some readily available outlets that made charging our electronics a breeze.
There was also a full-length mirror in each room just outside the bathroom so that we could check our outfits before leaving the cabin.

Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas cooler

The Bathroom

Our bathrooms contained a sizeable shower pod with a frosted enclosure door that slid closed. The shower area featured a shampoo dispenser, a shelf for the soap, and hooks to hang up towels or swimsuits.  There was a large drain in the shower as well as another underneath the toilet that served to remove excess water and keep the bathroom floor dry.

Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas hottub

For furniture, the bathroom  boasted  a large, open wooden cabinet capable of holding our personal supplies. Additional hooks for holding towels and wet clothes were present on both the bathroom wall and door. Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas diningOverall the bathroom layout was suitable though  I felt the bathroom could have used an additional lighting fixture in the shower area. Also, wider counters and extra shelving would have helped improve the bathrooms functionality.

Family Cruise aboard Allure of the Seas zipline

Autism Travel Tips

  • Travelers can use the showerhead as a handheld device if that proves necessary.
  • Those who require bath mats for additional traction will need to bring their own
  • Royal Caribbean is known for accommodating passengers with autism and other special needs. Therefore, we called ahead of time to let the cruise line know what our son needed and were not disappointed.
  • We found the ship’s staff accommodating and helpful at all the venues. So we take the opportunity to mention to the cupcake class instructor who sat with our son and helped him get that puppy look that he was trying hard to create with the cream.

Thanksgiving Extravaganza Dining at 150 Central Park

 

Thanksgiving Extravaganza Dining at 150 Central Park pin

One of the highlights of our Cruise aboard ‘Allure of the Seas‘ was attending the Thanksgiving dinner at the ship’s elegant  150 Central Park.This specialty restaurant is located mid-ship on Deck 8 and is the centerpiece of the Allure of the Seas Central Park neighborhood.

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The restaurant

150 Central Park is decorated in lovely muted neutral tones which create both an intimate and elegant dining experience for passengers. It is open daily for dinner and features two rotating, six courses, seasonal menus designed by Chef Molly Brandt. Chef Brandt is the esteemed winner of the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge.

Her specialty is blending textures and spices from around the world. Like other specialty dining venues on cruises ships, there is a surcharge to experience this high-end dining experience. Reservations are strongly recommended, particularly during holiday cruises or if you would prefer to dine at an earlier seating.

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Though a Prix-fix menu at $45 per person surcharge was a bit pricey, we decided to splurge since we were celebrating Thanksgiving. A lovely offering of favorite American staples with innovative twists provided us and fellow diners with a chance to sample new and exciting blends of textures and tastes .
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The decor

The venue’s décor was a modern spin on old-fashioned elegance. Velvet and plush carpeting in hues of green and gold provided a posh atmosphere for discerning diners.The oval tables with a light gold tablecloths were set in white bone china with a thick gold trim and topped off with the cruise line’s glass stemware.

 

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The menu was printed in gold lettering and was a great memento to take home.
From the minute we were seated for dinner, we were enchanted by the unique container of salts from around the world that accompanied the freshly baked rolls. There were six types of salts, and we loved them all except the red one from Hawaii that we thought smelled a bit like rotten eggs.

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Our server explained each dish to us at length and recommended a choice of several wines with dinner. The assortment of wines was not included in the price of dinner.

The food selection

Our dinner choices included the Chile-spiked crab salad, smoked mayonnaise, pickled chorizo, crispy capers, celery caviar, olive oil tuile as well as the Camembert and Lager Soup which we found to be a bit salty. The Camembert Soup garnished with spiced caramel popcorn with cayenne pepper, crisp bacon, and arugula might be a problem for vegetarians.

Thanksgiving Extravaganza Dining at 150 Central Park salts

 

The warm appetizers consisted of Cornbread gnocchi with brown butter, butternut scotch squash, wilted mustard greens, hazelnuts, and hen of the woods mushrooms. Olive oil poached sea bass with sumac-pistachio crust, cauliflower thyme couscous, and pomegranate molasses gastrique which was very subtle were also enjoyed specialties.

 

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As the main course, one could choose from either apple cider marinated veal tenderloin-buttermilk spaetzle, brussels sprout slaw, ginger beer glazed apple and root vegetables, violet mustard veal jus or roasted Harris Ranch beef tenderloin seared broccoli florets with steak sauce spiked cherry tomatoes, onion tempura, and Caesar sauce hollandaise sauce.

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Desserts

Dessert was a bit of a disappointment for all of us except our son who happens to love pudding of any sort.
There was a sticky toffee pudding with star anise creme fraiche ice cream, and cinnamon cotton candy. Completing the excellent meal was a plate of Cheeses along with specialty coffees.

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Our favorites

We had two dishes that we found outstanding. The veal was excellently prepared in its jus and the sumac poached sea pass with a very subtle hint of tartness was tasty.

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Overall, dining at 150 Central Park made for a memorable Thanksgiving experience involving all the senses. We enjoyed the attentive service, upscale atmosphere, and the innovative seasonal cuisine the restaurant is so famous for offering.

Autism Travel Tips

The restaurant is an elegant fine dining venue for teens and adults only. Parents should only bring kids that can sit quietly through a  long dining experienc .

The venue did require casual-formal dressing but accepted our son in a polo shirt and slacks.

 

Rita’s Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas statue
Location

Rita’s Cantina is a Mexican themed restaurant aboard Royal Caribbean‘s Allure of the Seas cruise ship. It is located on the ship’s BoardWalk.The deck which is on the ship’s sixth deck aims to replicate a Coney Island boardwalk and boasts a handcrafted carousel, several food venues including a hot dog stand, ice cream place, and the Aqua Theater. Though boardwalk tends to be more noisy and crowded at night, it still maintains its family friendly vibe the cruise line is so famous for.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas hat
When you should go

The restaurant is open for lunchtime and dinner when the ship is at sea.On most days one can just walk- in or wait for a little to get a table, however, Fiesta Nights are popular so make sure you book your desired date in advance if you want to participate.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas table
What you can expect

The restaurant painted in vibrant colors is on the small side with the majority of tables providing an open a view of the ship’s Boardwalk.Most tables are for 8-10 persons though there are a few smaller ones that accommodate parties of four persons.Although the main stage is in the front of the venue, the music and dancing encompass virtually the entire restaurant, spilling into the boardwalk at times.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas carusel

Should you go?

Although on the ‘kitschy’ side it is still fun to attend and the food is surprisingly good.In the $20 per person package fiesta you get several rounds of appetizers and main courses that are served on family style platters and replenished as needed.The package also includes three margaritas or any other alcoholic drink of choice for passengers 21 and up as well as unlimited sodas drink for patrons under 21.

Noteworthy
The fresh guacamole and salsa were a great starter and, unfortunately, we ended up eating too much, leaving less space for the variety of food items that followed.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas food
Autism travel tips

Since the restaurant is incredibly noisy, ask to be seated in a booth -away from the main dancing floor or loud speakers when you make your reservation.
If your child is noise sensitive, bring earplugs or noise canceling headphones.
The food menu is fixed with no real selection possibility so if your kid is on a restricted diet, ask the Maitre D’  to bring food from alternate ship food venues.
When you first arrive the servers hand out Mexican sombrero straw hats for the guys and light-up necklaces for the ladies but the staff is very accommodating and will let you chose whichever trinket your kid prefers. Our son found the sombrero hat itchy and opted to take the light-up necklace instead.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas entree
Our personal favorite

Like many other fellow diners, our kids found the fresh churros with the chocolate dip pretty irresistible and asked for seconds, and third helpings.

Rita's Cantina aboard Allure of the Seas nachos

 

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