Friday, October 23, 2015

Eurotrip 2015: Allure of the Seas Mediterranean Cruise Day 1

One of the highlights of this trip was taking the Mediterranean cruise. I have cruised before and each trip was fun and unique in their own ways. This is my first Med cruise and we took Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas. From what I have experienced before, you check-in just before lunch time and you'll be in the ship around lunch or a little bit after lunch. More of the process of checking-in in a bit.
Upon arriving at the cruise terminal, you'll have to get special luggage tags for your bags. A porter will then get it for you prior to entering the cruise terminal. The next time you'll see your luggage is inside your cabin so make sure all the details like cabin number etc are filled up correctly. The reason behind this is because they will have to scan each and every single piece of luggage entering the cruise before releasing it to you. Much like an airport security check. You cannot bring dangerous items and that includes clothes iron.

Going in the terminal, you'll find several lines where you will need to present your pre-boarding documents like booking papers, passport etc. We didn't have to surrender our passports even though we were going to multiple countries. This means that if you are going to do some shopping in countries with tax refund policies for foreign visitors, you'll be able to present your passport so the shop can issue proper documentation. Also, if you have cruised several times before, make sure that you sign up for their "rewards program" of sorts. For Royal Caribbean, they call this "Crown and Anchor Society". I'm a member already but only for the lowest tier and yet, we get to use the priority check-in lane as this is a part of the privilege! Not bad! We skipped the long lines!

After checking-in, there are some shops before you board the cruise. You can buy bottled water just in case you want water ready in your room as there will be no complimentary mineral water bottles provided. Only Evian bottles which costs a lot. If you go to the restaurants though, you can ask for free water. I'm just saying that you need to buy if you need water in your room that will cost you an arm and a leg.

No how prepared I was, how well researched and how OC you are in planning out everything that needs to be done, I was still a bit stunned and overwhelmed as I first entered the Allure. It was titanic, and by that, I mean HUGE! Unlike in port stop where you enter/exit via Deck 2 or 3, your first day of entry would be at Deck 5 and your first view would be the Royal Promenade area. It's like a mall but inside a ship.

Internet Subscription onboard Allure of the Seas (7-day Mediterranean Sailing)
What I first did was to sign-up for the unlimited internet for a week. Per day, it would cost you $30 USD. If you will get the 1 week package, it would cost you $15 USD x 7 days, which would equate to $105. If you will sign-up for 2 people, you'd get additional discount per person per day. If you are a member of Crown and Anchor Society with at least a "Gold" status, you'd get additional 10% discount.

Drinks Package
We weren't planning on getting a drink package until we saw the tumbler that came with it. Being Coca Cola collectors, we just had to get the package. It costed us around $70 and that package comes with a Coca Cola x Royal Caribbean tumbler plus a one-week unlimited soda all you can aboard the cruise. I'm sure not a lot of people will be enticed with an unlimited cola but we just got to have that tumbler. We got 3 in total -- one for my mom, brother and one for me.

Late Lunch
It was already around 130pm when we had lunch. We went up the Windjammer cafe, the buffet place inside the ship. It was jam packed as it usually is but we were fortunate enough to get a round table for the 5 of us. This is where you want to go if you want a quick lunch with lots of choices. Food served changes from time to time but you'll see some permanent ones like steak, rice, pasta etc. Since we are 20 in our group, other family members went to try out other restaurants. After our quick lunch, we headed back into our own rooms and began to unpack. This is one of the 7 advantages on taking a cruise versus doing a land tour.

The Room
We booked the room with balcony. It was not that spacious but it was good enough for 2 people to move around. Closet space was more than enough. The room has a sofa, an accent table, a desk with mirror in front, TV, iPod dock (30-pin), side tables, a double bad or 2 beds, a washroom with enclosed shower area, sink and space for your bathroom stuff.

Tip: I could give you is after you unpack, your luggage can fit under your bed. I also usually use it as my "locker" locking up important things inside the luggage then putting it under the bed rather than using the in-room safe.

Let me tour you around the room:

After unpacking and checking out the room, we headed out to join the mandatory muster drill. This usually happens on the first day of your cruise, prior to sailing.

First Impressions of the Ship
It was huge. There's no better way to describe it. It's literally like a floating city where you'll find almost everything you want to make your vacation a relaxing, but fun-filled one. I'll be making a cruise review very soon where I'll put everything there is in this ship. From kids to adults, you'll surely find something you want to do at any time. There's no time to get bored. Like in this trip, there is only 1 sea day (it means that there will be no port of call where you can go down and explore. You'll just be at sea sailing.). It was not enough to do all the activities! For me, 7-days wasn't enough but to tell you the truth, it was a bit tiring as well. The best part is having the problem of where to eat during meal times as there are a lot of restaurants to choose from!

Tip: A week before your cruise, make sure you have made reservations for the shows you want to watch. You can do that by going online and accessing your reservation. This is to prevent you from lining up on the shows you want to watch or worst, not being able to watch because it's already full.

Other than eating, what we did on the first day on board was to try the carousel, watch an outdoor acrobatic show, went around parts of the ships and check out the shops. By around 11pm, I retreated back to my room, went out the balcony and did some work. Yes, even in the middle of the ocean, the internet speeds were fast averaging 18Mbps. I was able to do work, Facetime with my wife and kid, and stream videos with no lag -- all this in the middle of the ocean. Not bad at all!

That's all for Day 3: Day 1 onboard Allure of the Seas. Make sure you subscribe if you want to join me exploring this ship and join me on the tours I took, virtually. It's like embarking on a virtual tour!

Here are the other articles related to this trip:

Long haitus up! Trip Summary.
Day 1/2: Manila -Doha -Barcelona and the best breakfast and dinner ever!
7 advantages of taking a cruise versus doing a land tour
Day 3: Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Day 1
Day 4: Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Day 2 (Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

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