If you haven't already done so, may I recommend this
link, which is on RCI's website. The Onboard Experience section gives you the upcharge venues as well as every other piece of information you could need. Once the page finishes loading, you can click on the buttons along the bottom and they will tell you many details about every aspect of the ship. I read every single thing under every single button and now feel like somewhat of an expert on Allure, and I've never even cruised yet!
Under Food & Drink there is a link to all the 'specialty dining experiences' (read: stuff they charge you extra for!). Read all that, and you'll know almost everything you need to know!
My suggestions for saving $$ with a big family:
1) Eat only in 'included' venues.
2) Don't consume alcohol.
3) Don't gamble.
4) Don't pay for ship's photos.
5) Don't pay for excursions.
6) Don't shop in the ship shops.
7) Don't shop in port.
8 ) Don't go in the spa.
9) Don't check your email or make any phone calls.
10) Don't buy souveniers.
Unfortunately, if you're going to do all that, you might as well add: 11) Don't cruise! to that list, because if you're going to not do all the rest, it doesn't sound like much fun. What I've done as a single mom planning on taking three kids on this floating fun-fest is to pick a few special things that we want to do and plan for them in my budget. You've got far less time than I do, because we're not going until May 2012, but you need to decide exactly what you want your experience to be on the ship. You've got three choices: bare bones, carefully cautious, or delightfully decadent.
You may not be the slightest bit interested, but here's my complete budget for the trip as I've figured it so far, including everything except the cost of our passports:
Fare- $3196 (4 ppl, Interior cabin)
Air- $1009 (estimated using comparable dates for 2011 on SpiritAir)
Pre-cruise hotel- no more than $125 (I hope)
Family meal, fast food or grocery store, one night pre-cruise- $30
Shuttle tips or cab- $20
Soda to attempt to carry on- $15
Ship's photos- one boarding, one character dining, one formal night (I don't know how much these are)$50-$75 total?
Samba Grill- 4 @ $25 = $100
Rita's Fiesta- 1 @ $20
Giovanni's (lunch)- 1 @ $10
Cupcake class- 1 @ $22, 1 @ $15=$37
Cupcakes- 1 @ $2.50 pp/per 5 days = $50
Starbucks- $20 (only one kid and I like Sb so we'll probably just go there once or twice)
Spa- Thermal suite, and Swedish massage or relaxation acupuncture, with tips - $200
Excursions - $250 total (haven't picked these yet, but if we do book any, they will be the cheapest ones)
"Umbrella drinks," AKA "Mama drinks" (2-3 most days, one person- app. $125)
Internet time- $25
Formal night hair styling services- $150
Gratuities- at least $280 ($10 pp/per day)
Entire Trip- GRAND TOTAL: $5987!!!
Lord have mercy, anyone know where I can sell a kidney or a pancreas?
Anyway, you will have a great time, because Allure is just awesome like that, and I'm pretty sure I could be stowed away in a rolled up carpet in the cargo hold and I'd still have a good time on that big ol' boat! Besides, you'll be with your beloved family and you'll be together, having a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, and it will be great!
Best of luck. Looking forward to your review!