Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise 2018

Cody and I had such a wonderful trip on our first Royal Caribbean cruise!  We have always wanted to try one of Royal Caribbean's Megaships!  We've always heard great things about them, and we were highly intrigued.  We almost did another Norwegian cruise this year, but then we decided that we jsut HAD to try one of these ships, and I do have to say that we were not disappointed.  We went over Memorial Day Weekend, which happens to fall on our anniversary, and we've had great luck with weather sailing during this time of the year for the past 3 years.  Here are some details about our trip.

 Pre-Cruise


This was one of our first Sunday to Sunday cruises, so we decided to fly down to the Florida the night before.  It was actually cheaper (and a direct flight) to fly into Miami even though our ship was leaving from Fort Lauderdale.  So after work we flew down, and rented a car and drove the 20-30 mins to Fort Lauderdale.  We were supposed to get a economy car, but they didn't have any left so they gave us a minivan!  Haha!  We were laughing that we were rocking out a minivan, but it was super nice!  We recently got a Hyatt credit card, so we had Hyatt points that we were able to use for our hotel room in Fort Lauderdale.



Of course we had to got to our favorite, Miller's Alehouse!  It was funny because while we were there, I noticed that a time hop from the year before came up from when we had been in Miller's Alehouse the previous day a year before as well.  Haha!  I guess we are pretty consistent.

Day 1 - Boarding the Cruise


We ate breakfast at our hotel, and meet another couple that was going to be on our cruise ship too.  And wouldn't you believe that even though there were 6,000 people on our cruise ship we ran into that couple almost every day! Cody was joking that on a cruise ship of 6,000 people that you run into the same 50 people all cruise long.





We were a little nervous on this trip, because there was a tropical storm, Alberto, heading to Florida.  Actually, I guess that it had been raining the entire 2 weeks before our trip in most of the Florida.  The week leading up to our cruise I was really trying not to stress out over what the weather was going to be like during our cruise.  When I woke up the day of our cruise, this is what the radar looked like!  And our ship was heading to the eastern Caribbean (storm was supposed to be moving to the west).  I really thought that it was going to be a bumpy/stormy first night on our cruise.


We were staying in a Junior Suite on Royal Caribbean so we were apart of their sea class, which allowed us priority boarding.  We got to sit in this waiting area before boarding.  We were supposed to get on the ship at 11am, but due to the weather it got delayed to 11:30.


Here we are ready to go!  It was very easy checking in and getting onto the ship.  I feel like Cody and I were one of the first people on the ship.




You enter onto the Allure on the 5th floor, aka Royal Promenade. This is the "main vein" of the ship.  From there you can basically get everywhere.  Right as we got on there were workers all around to help you buy their internet, drinking, and dining packages.  We had already bought the dining and drinking packages before we got onto the ship (way cheaper before getting onto the ship).  One thing that we were a little annoyed about was that we weren't able to make dinner reservations until we got onto the ship because we bought their dining package (Norwegian let us book ahead of time).  So getting our dining reservations was priority number one once we got onto the ship.  And since we were in the first boarding group we went to one of the people lined up in the Royal Promenade and got all of our reservations done.




Boleros (the Hispanic themed bar) was right in our sights as we got on the ship.  We loved our raspberry mojitos on our last Norwegian cruise, and this bar was supposed to be able to make mojitos.  Yeaaaah.... not quite as good as the mojitos we are used to haha.  I'm not sure if we ever did come back to Boleros during our cruise again.




After we got a drink and explored around a little bit... we headed to get a spa tour.  When we were there, one of the first "stations" that we stopped at was the facial woman.  She gave us her spiel and then told us that her model had worked late the night before and couldn't come in.  She asked me and another girl if we'd like to take her place and get a free facial.  Basically we had to sit on the table out front as people walked by so that they could see the woman in action.  And I was like....  Ummm... Is it really free?  For real?  SURE!  I'll do it!  So sure enough, they allowed me to set my carry on luggage to the side, and she proceeded to give me a free hour long facial!  I felt kind of bad to leave Cody and have him be on his own for an hour or so... but he said that he didn't really care... and it was too good of an opportunity to pass up on.  Lucky me!




We were in room 10636, which like I said was a Junior Suite.  We strategically picked our room, because it also looked the this partial room had an extended balcony too.


Holy biggest room we've ever had!  Royal's junior suites are definitely bigger than Norwegian's mini suites (but priced about $300 higher too though).


I couldn't believe that we had a walk in closet! 


Yay for an actual bathtub and not a TINY cruise ship shower.  I think I'm a bit spoiled now, we've been in mini/junior suites on our last two cruises... it's going to be hard going back to another room type now.


Our balcony was very nice.  We had a table with two chairs and then two lounge chairs.  We never spend a TON of time on our balcony, but whenever we do we absolutely love it.  Every night while getting ready for dinner we would be on our balcony, then usually again when we were leaving port, and other random times.




After checking out our room and doing a little unpacking, we decided to check out the Adults Only Solarium area.  This turned out to be our SPOT on the cruise.  We met a few couples that we became friends with and hung out with on a regular basis.




After the most bizarre and corniest safety drill that we've ever seen... we were ready to sail away!  By the time we got onto the ship the weather had completely cleared up and we had blue skies and perfect weather for our entire trip!  PHEW!  I guess the week before ours, it rained everyday on those people's cruises.  




We headed to the main pool for the sail away party.  We were a little disappointed by the sail away party, because the one that we went to on Norwegian was a blast!  This one was only ok...




Since we were booked in a Junior Suite we were able to eat dinner at the Coastal Kitchen, which we did check out our first night.  The crab cakes that they served us in there were UNBELIEVABLE.  Probably the best crab cakes I've had...  And the ones in the Coaster Kitchen were different than other ones that we had around the ship.  We were a little nervous going into the Coastal Kitchen because we had heard that the didn't treat junior suite guests the same as regular guests, but we did not find that to be the case at all.  They gave us a window seat and our server, Joe, was fantastic!  He gave Cody all kinds of good recommendations and they had a good banter together.

 

If you know us, then you know that we are planners.  We love having a plan when we go on vacation.  To me nothing is worse than getting to vacation and wasting our time figuring out what to do while we are there.  I actually feel like making plans in advance helps us build excitement, and extends our enjoyment of our vacations.  So you can believe my absolute joy to find out that you can log into Royal Caribbean's app and see your cruise compass (daily activity sheet) 2 weeks in advance of your cruise.  WOOHOO!  Cody and I literally went through day by day, activity by activity and made a spreadsheet of the things that were interested in (not exactly everything that we were going to do, but things we were a possibility)...  So we get onto the ship and make all of our dining reservations based on our prior research, including our reservation to the Coastal Kitchen (night one was supposed to be filet mignon night) and then... to my horror... we find out that the app wasn't accurate.  :(   I was not a happy camper to say the least.  




After dinner we went into On Air to watch game 7 of the Cavs vs Celtics.  Cody had been watching the entire playoffs, but I hadn't really been following it all that much.  When we were there the place was PACKED!  We were barely able to find two seats at the bar.  There was a guy next to us and we were talking to him.  He told us that he was from Vegas and that he "only cared about the spread of the game."  Well... towards the end of the third quarter, I told Cody it was time to go to our comedy show, and he goes... ummmm...  not gonna go.  And the guy we were talking to says that his wife was at the comedy show too and that he was going to stay to watch the game too.


So I walk over to the comedy show, and I see a woman in a good spot with one seat next to her and I asked her if the seats taken, and she goes... well... I was saving it from my husband but I don't think he's coming.  And I was like... hrmmmm...  you're not from Vegas are you?  And she goes yeah I am!  And I'm like... yeah... he's not coming.  I thought it was hilarious that I just so happened to sit next to her!  Its honestly very improbable that her husband would sit next to us and start talking to us in On Air, and then I'd go to the comedy show and randomly sit next to his wife.  




I thought that the comedians were hilarious!  But Cody made a good point that it can't be too hard being a cruise ship comedian, because it's pretty easy to walk around the ship and get your material.




After the comedy show, I went back to get Cody.  He had a good time drinking long island ice teas or strong islands as the bartender liked to call them.  We went back up to our room, and I thought he was going to be out for the count... but then I hear... PIZZA!  I want pizza.  I did not think he was going to be able to make his way back down to get pizza, but sure enough... he was getting his damn pizza that night haha.  So we ended up down at Sorrento's getting our late night, greasy pizza... which I have to say we got on more than one late night during our cruise.

Day 2 - Sea Day




We got up and went back to On Air for the cruise critic meet and mingle.  Boy... what a lousy meet and mingle.  They basically had two crew members pulling raffle tickets for small prizes.  We weren't really able to talk with anyone, and no officers came to visit us.  On Carnival the officers came to visit us and talk with us... and then on Norwegian the cruise director hosted an awesome party in the brewery with a dj, free beer samples, and all of the officers on the ship!  It was a blast on Norwegian, and then we all went for a bar hop throughout the ship.  Soooo... yeah... we were quite disappointed by Royal Caribbean's effort for their cruise critic meet and mingle. 




For breakfast we went to Windjammers.  We had to wait outside to be seated for a table.  I was honestly ok with waiting in this line to get a table.  I've found that it is usually stressful on cruise ships to find a table in the main buffet area once you get your plate full of food. So I actually liked that they had us wait 5-10 minutes for them to assign us a table.  It was nice to have a table to return back to once we got our food.  I felt like it was a good approach.  We also happened to be seated next to another couple around our age, Jess and Dan, and they ended up being our couple during the week.  We didn't make plans at breakfast with them, but we kept running into them throughout the cruise and ended up hanging out with them on most nights.  Wish I would have gotten a picture of them.  Also we didn't run into them on our last night, so we didn't get contact info.  :(




That afternoon we went to the Solarium for the day.  At first we had a hard time getting seats together, but a couple was getting up right as we were coming in.  As luck would have it, we happened to sit down next to a couple of great people that we had friends with throughout the cruise.   Donny and Melissa and then Lia and Dom (also wish I had gotten a picture with them).  We saw Lia and Dom every day during our cruise except the last day so we didn't get to say goodbye to them.  :(  However, on day 2 of the cruise is where we met, and we had a good day talking and hanging out with them.  We were also SUPER impressed by the service in the Solarium.  The drink servers were on point!  They were constantly coming around to take drinking orders, and they even had pre-made drinks made (and jello shots) that they brought around trying to sell. We also really liked that the pool in the Solarium was a fresh water pool.  We loved hanging out in there.




This is also a good time to mention how wonderful the hot tubs and pools were on the Allure.  They had SO many!  They had too many hot tubs for me to count, and a couple of them were really big!




The pool deck was so big that I couldn't even get all of the pools that they had in one picture.  I was super impressed that the Allure had 5 pools on it.  The one in the Solarium.  Two regular pools, one sports pool, and then a kids pool.  This was especially nice after having been on Norwegian, because they are notoriously bad for having enough pools on their ships.




The Solarium cafe was extremely convenient during our cruise.  If we were swimming or laying out in our lounge chairs, we could just pop right over... grab something and come back to our chair.  The Allure gets points for having such a convenient lunch spot right next to the adults only area.  I thought that the food in here was very tasty (and a bit on the healthier side too).




After a while, we decided to walk around a bit, and we ended up in the board walk.  We got milkshake from Johnny Rockets (which were included in our drinking package), and then we sat at the Aqua Theater and watched the Aqua Show performers practice.


Day 2 was the first formal night on the cruise.  Here we are enjoying our time in central park. 


Here's another one.


Love this picture of him!  It seems like every trip I get at least one picture that I absolutely love of him ( yaaay for having a handsome husband and the photography skills to showcase it). 


This night we ate at Chop Grille, and we had another great server.  I told him that I didn't want my steak too bloody, but I also didn't want it dried out.  He said that he'd tell the chef to make it medium plus, and I have to say that my steak was cooked perfectly!  He also ended up bringing me out two desserts because I was in between two that I wanted, and I guess he thought that I picked the wrong one...  and he was right!  I ate the one that he brought out instead of the one that I ordered haha.




When we first got to Chops, they tried to seat us outside.  It was super hot out, and they seat you in a glass area.  After two minutes of being out there, I could tell that Cody was on fire in his suit jacket... so we asked them to switch us to sitting inside.  I thought that the central park area was unique on Royal Caribbean, but I sure did miss the ocean front dining areas on the Norwegian ships that we're used to.  We are used to eating on the ocean, and watching the sun set during dinner.  I don't think that we saw a sunset once during this cruise, because that's the time that we normally eat, and most of their specialty dining places are on the interior of the ship and they don't even have an ocean view.


That night we went to see Mama Mia.  It was the first time that Cody and I had ever seen it, and I really thought that it was put together great!  It was so interesting and almost even in the theater stayed for the entire performance.  One thing that I didn't realize was that it was going to be freezing in there!  They had the air conditioning blasting to keep the performer cool (apparently there was a warning in our cruise compass that I missed saying it would be cold during the show).  Buuurrr!!!  And as fate would have it, we ended up sitting in front of Dom and Lia!  I think that this is where we cemented our friendship for the rest of the cruise.

Day 3 - Sea Day



We spent most of day 4 hanging out with our new friends and drinking in the Solarium.  We were in the pool most of the day, and might have done a few jello shots with the group.  We also had our lunch in the Solarium too.  It was so nice to relax and enjoy the wonderful weather.


We went to Izumi for dinner tonight, and I had probably the best concoction ever!  They did not have this on their menu, but they had something that had vegetables and the meat with noodles.  I asked if I could get rice instead of noodles, and I wasn't sure what I was going to get.  I thought maybe they'd bring me a side bowl of brown rice or something... I wasn't expecting the most delicious hibachi rice that I've ever tasted!  Cody also loved their sushi because they used real crab in their California roll.  We loved Izumi so much that it ended up being the restaurant that we came twice during our trip. 




After dinner we went walking around the ship, and ran into the Caribbean party on the Royal Promenade.  They had drink servers with light up cups walking around with drinks and it was a real fun atmosphere.




Afterwards we went to see Oceanaria, the diving and acrobatics show.  This show was one of the big excitement factors about this ship to me, because Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line with an aqua theater on board.  I was so excited to see this show.  The show on the first night got cancelled, so ours was SUPER booked.  We got there a half an hour early and were only barely able to find good seats (also quite a few of the seats seemed to be broken/unable to be sat in).  It also seems like this show could be prone to getting cancelled quite a bit just due to the nature of the show.  Our show was actually delayed for technical problems, but after 10 minutes the show got started!  (phew!)  It was an awesome show full of acrobats, strong men acts, trampoline jumpers, and then SO many divers... I swear one diver would go on one side, and then another would go on another... and they just kept that pace up with all kinds of tricks.  It was a very fast paced show, and it was a lot of fun to watch.




That night we went to the Love and Marriage show.  It amazed us how each cruise line had the exact same Love and Marriage show.  Each cruise line has a guy act like Tarzan to win his spot up on stage, and all of the questions are pretty predictable too.  Still, it's always good for a laugh, and we like to go see it.




That night we met up with Dan and Jess and went to the Solarium Night club (obviously this is a picture from earlier in the day). We hung out and got drinks and shots until pretty late into the night.  Now would be a good time to bring up that I'm not a shot taker... never have been a shot taker... and accordingly, I don't really know any shots that I like or ever have a suggestion when someone brings up what kind of shot to do...  So when Jess asked me if wanted to do a Washington Apple... I was internally thinking .. hrm... apple.. ok...  so of course out loud I'm like,  "SURE!  Sounds good!"  Oh my god it was a shot of whiskey!!!! And it almost killed me!!!  Ok....  Maybe that's a slight  exaggeration, but still there was a good minute where I wasn't sure if I was going to keep it down or not haha.  Note to self:  Next time ask what kind of liquor is in the shot, and not go by what I think the flavor is going to be. Anyways... after night of hanging out and drinking... we eventually made our way down to Sorrento's for some late night pizza.  Yum!



 Day 4 - St. Maarten?




We got some good use out of our bed the following morning.  We didn't wake up until the same crew drill whistle started going off.  You know... the one with 7 short whistles, and the one loooong whistle.  To say we were worse for the wear from the previous night was an understatement.  Our breakfast was tums, Tylenol, and powerade haha.  





I think that we walked out into St. Maarten for maaaaybe a half an hour.  We didn't have any excursions booked, and we didn't feel like doing anything else once we got off the ship.  It was a super sunny and hot day too so that didn't help.  I felt like were frying as we were walking around the port area.




We then headed to Park Cafe to get one of the Allure's famous roast beef sandwiches that people were raving about on cruise critic.  Yeahh...  I'm not sure why people were raving about this sandwich lol.  They give you one little slice of roast beef (which does taste good), but there really isn't much to the sandwich.  After lunch, Cody decided to go back to the room and take a nap... and I went off on my mission to take pictures of the ship.  I actually took most of the pictures that are showing up in my blog now.  :)


OK... here in my mini-rant on Expedia.  First, most travel sites that we've worked with price match your cruise if the price goes lower than what you paid.  Expedia did not do this for us.  Also, a week before our cruise I called to confirm that our on board credit from Expedia was going to be correct.  The girl that I talked to clearly didn't have a clue what she was talking about, but she said we were all set... still I was concerned.  Then, just as I feared, when we got onto the ship I realized that the on board credit that we were supposed to get was wrong.  So I ended up calling Expedia twice while on our cruise (once right when we noticed when we were still in port, and the girl told me she fixed our problem) then again on Day 4 when I realized that she really hadn't.  The only response I got (after waiting on hold for over 30 minutes) was "Oh sorry, since you're on your cruise there is nothing that we can do."  Obviously I was not happy, and the guy told me that if I had a credit card that he could refund us the $75 we were short.  I didn't have one on me so he said that I could call back at any time to get my refund (which reminds me that I have to do that!).  So not a good experience with Expedia.  I don't think that we'll be using them again.



After that, we were back to the Solarium for the day and we hung out with Dom and Lia.




That night we went to Giovanni's for dinner.  Cody was super excited to eat here.  I'm not a huge fan of Italian food, but he loved it.  However, one thing was odd.. their canolis were not up to snuff.  They had this weird orange filling in them.  Before we got the canolis we asked for mine to go ( I didn't want dessert but thought Cody might like a canoli on another night).  They ended up giving us a plate of 4 of them!  But like I said... they weren't that good, and when we left the cruise there were still 3 left in our room.




Another thing that I was very excited about on the Allure was there ice skating shows. They do two ice skating shows during the cruise, and I wanted to see them both.  The first show that we saw was How to Train your Dragon.  This was a short 25 min show that they play one time during the cruise.  I think Cody wouldn't have minded to pass on seeing this, but I really wanted to experience all of the original aspects of the ship... so I really wanted to go.  And after having watched both shows, I honestly thought that this show was probably better than the "real" show that they put on.  I liked the story line and I thought it was a cute show.


One thing that Cody and I cracked up about was that they were selling popcorn for $2.50 outside of the theater.  The one comedian even made a joke about it...  One formal night you can be in the main dining room and be like "can I get the crab cake, shrimp cocktail, and 2 lobster tails?"  And the server will be like "Yes very good, very good... we'll be right out with that."  But you want popcorn with your show motherfucker.... $2.50!  Haha!  But really though?  I guess they have to make money somehow...




That night we went to see the Headliner show which featured an acapella group.  There was a beat boxer in their group who was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and he was incredible!




This was the first time that we saw our cruise director.  I guess he had been sick for the couple days before, and this was the first night that he was feeling better.




Afterwards, we went to the Royal Promenade and participated in the 70's dance party.  I knew almost all of the songs and dances.  I was really into it, but I'm not sure if Cody was.  He kept accusing me of looking at the young shirtless crew guys... haha

Day 5 - San Juan




This morning we decided to use some of our on board credit and get a hot stone couple's massage.  It was a wonderful way to start our day.




Afterwards, we got off the dock at San Juan for a few minutes.  I was thrilled that we didn't have to walk through the huge gift shop at the other port (like we did on Carnival.  You got off at the top of the ship, and they made you walk all the way to the end of the store and then walk all the way through it to get to port).




With Royal we just walked right off the ship into the city.  Something crazy happened to us in San Juan on this trip though!  The infamous, San Juan scammer, came up to us!  Apparently this guy has been doing the same scam for the past 8 years.  He is a middle age white man that is dressed like a tourist.  He came up to us and said,  "Do you speak English?"  and when we said that we did, he said, "Thank god!  I've been trying to find someone that spoke English.  My elderly father and I were up exploring the areas around the forts and we happened up a drug area and got robbed.  I went back to the Sheraton and they didn't help me at all.  They sent me to the police and when I got there they weren't expecting me, and we couldn't communicate with them.  So now my dad and I are stranded and can't get back to our hotel.  I am short about $8 for the cab ride, can you please help me out?"  And I was like... oh my god!  That's the exact story that I heard on cruise critic!  This is the San Juan scammer!  So we just told him that we didn't have money, and he was off like a rocket.  Glad that I'm a researcher, because if not, this is exactly the type of scam that I'd normally fall for.  Looks like you can't trust anyone now a days.




After walking around a bit, we were back to the Solarium.  We had our pick of any place we wanted to sit on this day.  So I enjoyed a spot right next to the pool.  Might I add that the flooring in the Solarium is HOT!  It burns your feet to walk on it.  So I was happy to be close to the pool so that I could run right into it.




 After a few hours, I went to On Air for the Royal Mystery Puzzle Break.  Cody didn't want to go so I went on my own.  We had a bunch of clues that we had to solve to figure out "who did it."  They actually closed the doors for it, so we were locked in.  I guess about 10 minutes after I left Cody decided to come do the puzzle after all, but he was locked out and couldn't get in.  I had fun with my group solving the mystery though.  We had 45 minutes to solve the crime, so each person in my group solved different clues.  We ended up being 1 of 2 teams to get the answer right.




This night was the second formal night, and we ate in the main dining room.  I don't feel like I can give an accurate depiction of what the service is like in the MDR, because we came on lobster night and it was packed!  Our server in here was definitely not the best that we've had.  She got our order wrong a couple times, and didn't talk to us at all.  However, like I said... it was the busiest night in the MDR of the cruise because it was lobster night, so I'm giving her the benefit of a doubt.  This was the only night that we ate in the MDR, so I can't comment on whether or not the service was usually better in there or not. We thought that lobster night was on day 6 (due to the darn app being wrong) so we actually didn't have dining reservations for the MDR, but luckily because we were junior suite guests we got to skip the line and they sat us right away.  The lobster and food that we had were very yummy.  We were also there during their parade of chefs, where all the chefs walked around, and then the head chef started introducing all of the chefs right in the area where we were at.  I like it when the ships do things like that in the dining area.




We went to see Ice Games the Show tonight.  At first, I really didn't get the show.  I guess I was expecting it to be like a proper figuring skating show that I'm used to seeing when I watch the Olympics (which let's face it... that's about my only exposure to ice skating).  So when the show was this goofy Monopoly theme, I was really confused at first.  It look me a couple of acts to get what they were doing.  They were acting like they were playing a game of Monopoly and they were doing skits for different areas on the ship, Giovanni's, the arcade, the boardwalk, and etc...




We went straight to On Air after the Ice show to get seats for the game 1 of the Cavs vs. Golden State.  Oh man... we wanted good seats so badly... so we sat through family karokee and the world championship spelling bee until the Cavs game finally came on.  Talk about painful...  Then once the game started our friends Jess and Dan sat with us and we watched the game.   And we drank and drank and drank...  I tell you that server walking around had a "keep 'em full" mentality, because no sooner would I finish a drink then he'd be bringing me a new one.  I'm not even sure how many drinks I had night.  Of course, we were in a room full of haters and Golden State cheerers... so we were outnumbered.  But as everyone knows... this game was a heart breaker!




So what are a group of sad drunk people supposed to do?  Blaze nightclub of course...  We went there and kept drinking some more and hung out for a while longer, before ultimately getting some pizza and heading to bed.  *We will not be sharing the pictures Cody took of me that night.  Those are to be deleted for no ones eyes ever...*

Day 6 -  Labadee Haiti




This morning we went to the Wipeout Cafe for fresh made omelets before we headed out to Royal's private island, Labadee Haiti.



Here we are getting ready to start our day in Labadee.  We were surprised by how large this private island was.  I think that it had 5 different beach areas to it.  We found that there were tons of chairs around, they had 3 cookout stations and lots of different bars.  We liked the the food and drinks (if you had the drink package) were included on Labadee.  However, everything came off the ships so we found that the drink selection was pretty limited, but hey... it was still included.


We are definitely more of pool people than beach people, so we were a little disappointed that they didn't have a pool on the island.  (They totally have room to add one in the future though!)  But they did have a lot to offer on different things to do on the island. 


The BBQ picnic that they included was really good!  They had delicious chicken, ribs, burgers, and hot dogs along with some various side dishes.  We thought that the picnic was really good. 





Of course I was fascinated with the small little stray dog walking around.  The little doggie was making out big time, because everyone was feeding him.



However, they only served food for two hours so the line was pretty long to get food.  We heard that if you went to the third station all the way in the back that the line was shorter.  The only problem was that to get there you had to walk through the Artisan Market...  Dun... Dun... DUN!


This area was probably the down fall of Labadee for me.  I had heard that the locals were aggressive in Labadee, but wow I was still shocked!  While we were walking through the area, it felt like there were a hundred local men standing around and trying to get you to buy items from them.  At least every little hut had at least 5 guys standing in front of it trying to get people to look at their items.  We couldn't take 5 steps without someone approaching us.  Cody called it walking through the "gauntlet."  I honestly did want to browse and shop, but I didn't feel like I'd be allowed to leave a hut without buying something and it made me feel very uncomfortable so we just walked through the market as quick as we could, dodging people along the way.  And after we were done with lunch, we refused to walk back through that area. We waited over 20 minutes for the shuttle to arrive with TONS of other people.  The shuttle took so long to come (and then was small so there was a mad rush to get on), and a bunch of people were saying that they just wanted to walk back but didn't feel comfortable walking back through the market area again.  I'm sure that there must be a good reason why Royal allows so many sellers in that area, but I really think that the area would feel safer and more approachable if there were less sellers in the area.


We did enjoy laying in the numerous hammocks that they had in the island. 


We are explorers... so when we saw this little path... we had to see where it went.  It was up hill and it looked like there was a ledge up top, so we climbed up... but... there wasn't anything up there.  It was a path that led no where.  And the trees blocked any view that we could have seen of the ship.  So we were a little bummed.  And since it was SO hot out, and we're not really ocean people... we decided to head back to the Solarium to jump in the pool to cool down.



After a little while, I decided to go and check out the Flowriders.  Like I said, I like to do all the original aspects of a ship.. and the Flowriders were definitely on that list.  The Flowriders are surfers simulations.  So I was excited to try it.  Of course, I just laid on my belly (I didn't try to stand up), but I still did pretty good on it.  I was proud of myself.  After a couple minutes, I decided that it was mission accomplished.  I was lucky that I happened to walk over right as it was opening, so I only had 2 people in front of me, and their wasn't an audience watching me either...



Afterwards we went and got Ben and Jerry's ice cream.  As we were walking back to our room to eat it on our balcony, we were the envy of the ship.  EVERYONE wanted to know where we got the ice cream.  It was the perfect day for ice cream!



We went back to Izumi's tonight for their scrumptious dinner!  It's too bad that their hibachi area is not included in the dining plan, because I would have loved at ate over there.


We went to see Blue Planet tonight.  I heard someone say that it was like Cirque Du Soleil, and I normally get bored at Cirque Du Soleil shows so I was worried if we'd like this show.  But... no fear... IT. WAS. AMAZING!   I thought that this show was fantastic.  They combined the cast of Mama Mia's singers and dancers with the Aqua Show's acrobats and trampoline artists.  And really it was a good combination.  They also had a tree that came to life, and scene when it looked like everyone was under water.  It's hard to explain it if you've never seen it... but it was really neat.  I'd highly recommend seeing it.  I think it might have been my favorite show.



Afterwards we went to see the fountain show in the Aqua Theater.  It was a 15 minute fountain show with pretty colors.  You know us... we love the Bellagio and their fountains... so we can never pass up a fountain show.



Then we went to the Adults Only game show "The Quest."  Holy hilarious!  It was SO much fun.  Basically they broke the theater up into 11 different sections, and each section had a female and male captain.  The captains had to rush items to the host of the show to complete the quest.  And the teams that did it the fastest won points.  So it starts out pretty easy...  one quest is bring me a lipstick, then the next quest would be a guy doing the worm... so you see all the male team captains running the cruise director and trying to get his attention as they do the worm, then they wanted an empty purse (so you see everyone dumping the contents of a woman's purse out), and etc...




It eventually leads to guys in their boxers, wearing a woman's bra, purse, and lipstick... and then they go on a beauty pageant tour around the theater.  It was pretty hilarious.  We had a lot of fun at it.  The cruise director would also say "break out" and the loudest team got 10 points, so they'd blast music and everyone would jump around and go crazy.  It was a lot of fun.





After the Quest there wasn't a whole lot more to do for the night, so we decided to head to the casino.  Yeah... it took us about 10 minutes to lose all our money and decide to go to bed instead haha. 

Day 7




We finally made it to Boardwalk Hot Dog on our last day for lunch, and then we headed to the Solarium for the day to hang out with all the friends that we made during the cruise.  We had a nice day of drinking.  I ended up drinking Blue Hawaiians, which I found tasted really good, and Cody stuck with his Patron margaritas.




Afterwards we hung out on our balcony for a few hours.




On our last night, we ate at 150 Central Park.  Our food here was ok, but we weren't really interested in their desserts.  We ended up picking up some cupcakes and milkshakes later on.


One thing that was unique is that they give you a little bowl of different types of salts to use on your bread.  We had fun trying all the different types of salts and eating our bread.




That night we went to see the late night comedy show in the main theater.  The one comedian made a joke that I thought was hilarious.  He said did you ever notice that when you're on a plane everyone becomes a prairie dog, peaking their head up to see what type of snack they are going to get, now mind you... these people have enough money to buy a plane ticket, but they are still dead set on getting that snack.  Oh my gosh!  I was dying laughing!!  And the next day on the plane when they snack lady came around Cody and I were laughing again.  After that we went up to our room packed, and went to bed.  We were up early the next day and off the ship without any hassle.




I have to say that we had a great time on our Royal Caribbean cruise.  I wrote another blog that compares this cruise to our experiences on Norwegian and Carnival.  But I would say that Royal Caribbean stacked up pretty well.  I was very impressed by their range of shows, and loved the pools on the ship. For our next cruise, I would be open to either a Royal Caribbean or Norwegian cruise.  I think that both cruise lines are strong in different aspects.  I honestly do not think that you can go wrong on picking a cruise on a newer ship on any cruise line.  Thanks for reading my blog, and as always I hope that you enjoyed it!