Allure of the Seas

Mike and Sandy, plus some folks from Florida they've cruised with several times, recently spent two weeks on the world's largest cruise ship (6000 passengers), the Royal Caribbean "Allure of the Seas." Compared to a world cruise, the itinerary wasn't much -- a swing to the western Caribbean, calling at Jamaica, Cozumel, Mexico, and RCCL's private beach on Haiti, followed by a week in the eastern Caribbean (the Bahamas, St. Thomas, and San Maarteen). The cruise ended right back where it started, at Fort Lauderdale.

But this trip wasn't about the ports, but rather about the ship itself, which Mike had been curious about for some time. Of course we know it actually floats, but how is it built? Why isn't it really top-heavy? How do they manage everyone getting on and off, moving around, etc? How many restaurants are there? What's that huge attrium in the middle of the ship for? How does the entertainment accommodate so many people?

This ship has the only ice rink on a cruise ship, and an enormous main theater (where we saw the full production of the Broadway play "Chicago," among other shows. It's "production pool" (for the high divers, etc. just like the Cirque du Soleil "O" at the Bellagio in Las Vegas) is 18 feet deep, and there are seven (7 !) live music venues after dinner! Of course the ship has TWO rock-climbing walls, a Zip-line, etc. In practically any description, it's HUGE !

One interesting difference is the crew: 80% of Holland America's are from Indonesia, 20% (mainly the bar staff) from the Philippines, and a few from the UK. On the Allure, the crew is from everywhere, with their name badges telling you their home country (exactly like you see at Disneyworld).

Here's a few pictures, from above, and from around the ship (and Mike's "behind the scenes" tour).

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