Allure of the Seas is one of the throwback mega-ships that once held the catchy designation "Largest Cruise Ship in the World."
First, there was Oasis of the Seas, and then sister ship Allure. Royal Caribbean has been masterful in designing each new ship in the class that is a little bit bigger so that it grabs that Biggest Cruise Ship title and the accompanying article headlines that help in the cruise line's brand-awareness efforts. (The current largest is Wonder of the Seas, as of 2023.)
I have sailed on a couple of these world-class ships -- Symphony of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas -- but those represent newer iterations of the Oasis Class ships. Allure of the Seas had its first sailing in 2010. It carries up to 5,400 passengers and relocated to its new home port in Galveston, Texas. This is where I hopped onboard with my friend Kevin to check out the largest cruise ship ever to sail from Texas.
We discovered the best things that you can do for free on Allure of the Seas.
Allure of the Seas has a number of fun activities and attractions that cruisers can enjoy during their cruises. There is creative use of space on this massive ship. At the very top, cruisers can latch into a harness and take a zipline ride that crosses over the top of The Boardwalk neighborhood that is located on Deck 6 -- some 10 decks below.
The line is more than 80 feet long, and the ride is over quickly but it's a thrill to blast across a few times for a thrilling look at the ship from a bird's-eye view.
You can go surfing and boogie boarding on a cruise ship. Allure of the Seas features two Flowrider simulated surf areas at the back of the ship up on Deck 16. The ship's daily program offers times when cruisers can try the boogie board option or hop on for a little surfing. Members of the sports team help you get set up and give you tips so that you can be riding like an expert by the end of your cruise.
Cruisers will be happy to find plenty of options for pools on Allure of the Seas. While many big ships offer one main pool, Allure of the Seas has three large pools at the resort area on Deck 15. The Sports Pool, Beach Pool and Main Pool are complemented by a fun H2O Zone kids and family splash area.
There is also a serene adults-only Solarium pool area, which is connected to a bar above and a pair of hot tubs that flank the enclosed all-weather space. This is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy a refreshing dip.
The restaurants on Allure of the Seas include a number of eateries included in your cruise fare. My favorites are Wipeout Cafe, which was set up as a fantastic taco bar during lunchtime on my cruise, and Johnny Rockets. Note: Johnny Rockets is complimentary only at breakfast time (a flat-fee cover charge for lunches and dinners), but I loved having a hot made-to-order hearty breakfast that I could enjoy while seated outdoors on the Boardwalk.
Sorrento's is the delicious and convenient pizza place on the Royal Promenade, and it also features tasty antipasto items like meats, cheese, olives and marinated peppers. It's open all day until late, and offers a wide variety of pizzas. The Windjammer Marketplace is the buffet restaurant on Allure of the Seas, and you can also find a wide range of foods on the menu at the Main Dining Room on the ship. This is a multi-level grand space where you can get a more-formal dining experience for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Wait there's a lot more!
Included meals are available at the Solarium Bistro -- a scaled-down version of the Windjammer buffet that's open for breakfast and lunch and often features a few more healthy items.
Park Cafe (open for breakfast time and all afternoon) is located in the Central Park neighborhood and offers fast-casual food like hot and cold sandwiches, hearty salads, cookies, coffees and more. This is where you can find Royal Caribbean's legendary Kummelweck hot roast beef sandwich.
Vitality Spa Cafe located just outside the fitness center and spa offers a small selection of light bites like fruit, yogurt and sandwiches with an emphasis on healthy fare.
Cafe Promenade on the ship's Royal Promenade is the bustling coffee shop that also serves up sweet treats like cookies, cakes, and brownies and small specialty sammies.
For some snack food to feed your cravings, head to the Boardwalk for the Boardwalk Donut Shop and Boardwalk Dog House, where you can get a classic Coney Island-style hot dog or even a savory chicken sausage on a parmesan and cheddar baguette.
Entertainment is a centerpiece of a sailing on one of the biggest cruise ships in the world, of course. Allure of the Seas offers a nice range of high-quality shows. The Broadway smash hit "Mamma Mia" is the featured production in the ship's Amber Theater, with matinee and evening shows. You can also find live music and comedy performances here in the ship's main theater. The ship also features a Comedy Club where comics roam the stage late-night and have the audience cracking up.
The high-energy high-dive and aqua show "OceanAria" takes places at the Aqua Theater on Allure of the Seas. This is a spectacularly energetic performance with music, tumbling, comedy and jaw-dropping high dives incorporated into the action.
The ship has an ice-skating theater down in Studio B, and this is the venue for athletic ice shows. We saw a production called "Ice Games" during our sailing. These shows are performed by an international cast of world-class skaters.
You can also find a number of fun shows and live music performances at the bars and lounges on Allure of the Seas. During my cruise, the program offered an a cappella group MOSAIC, a Caribbean-themed band poolside daily, a country music trio, a group playing Latin hits, a guitarist, a piano player, a Michael Jackson tribute show and plenty of jazz music in the intimate venue Jazz on 4.
The fitness center and spa on Allure of the Seas is a huge facility that rivals any place you might find at a resort or health club on land. The ship's Vitality Fitness Center includes dozens of treadmills, bikes and elliptical machines.
Plus, you have all kinds of space for stretching and individual workouts, with weight machine stations and a large mat area and benches with dumbbells and other free weights. There also is a half-mile-long enclosed jogging and walking track on Alure of the Seas. This track is fantastic for avid runners and walkers. It gets you out into the fresh air but keeps you protected from harsh sun. Plus, it's located down on Deck 5 away from the busy lido deck areas and all the people hanging out by the pool and in sun loungers. (The pool deck is where you will typically find the jogging track on most cruise ships.)
7. Party on the Promenade
The Royal Promenade on Allure of the Seas is kind of like the town square on the ship. In addition to being a great place for people watching, the promenade, which runs through most of the length of the ship on Deck 5, puts you close to a variety of bars, lounges and eateries.
This is also where you can take part in sailaway parties and themed parades. These shows are fantastic spectacles.
8. Dive-In Movies and More
The ship shows recent releases and other popular movies outside on the pool deck. You can relax in a lounger, bask in the warm ocean breezes under the stars and watch a flick or live sporting event on a 220-foot hi-def screen.
9. Ride the Rising Tide
The Rising Tide bar is a cool attraction, though perhaps a bit gimmicky. You can settle in for a drink and some live music at the elliptical-shaped venue. Walk into the place on Deck 5 from the Royal Promenade and ride the bar up to Deck 8 to hang out at Central Park -- or vice-versa. Or just stay there for hours and ride it up and down a few times. The Rising Tide lists its schedule at the entrance, so you know when it will be on the move.
It's a fun perch from which to people watch during your ride.
10. Enjoy a Spin on the Carousel
The Boardwalk on Allure of the Seas is located at the back of the ship in an open-air space on Deck 6. Walk outside to go past an art installation showing the process of carving large wooden carousel horses. Then, pass by Boardwalk Donuts and Boardwalk Dogs before you reach the lovely vintage-looking carousel.
We always see adults hopping on the horses with or without kids in tow. And all have smiles on their faces because the ride brings back fun memories of younger days at carnivals and amusement parks.
We mentioned that Allure of the Seas has a skating rink. Not only can you watch spectacular professional skating shows here, but you also can strap on the blades yourself. The program offers plenty of open skate times for cruisers who want to take a few spins around the rink. The sessions run for about 45 minutes, and it's neat to be able to cool off with some ice skating when you're sailing in a hot spot like the Caribbean.
12. Take Your Best Shot
The sports courts on Allure of the Seas are huge. The daily program offers times to play sports like basketball (with open play or 3-point or free-throw shooting contests in the mix), pickleball and soccer.
Nearby, you'll also find a fun mini-golf course and ping-pong tables. So, you have plenty of ways to get in some exercise and enjoy a little friendly competition with fellow cruisers out in the fresh air.
Have fun on your next trip!
Thanks for reading,