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Old November 17th, 2010, 09:34 PM
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Default Aboard Allure of the Seas now!

I joined Allure this morning for the first preview cruise of the ship. I will be sending you updates and first hand accounts of the ship.

Here is my first photo album of what is new onboard:

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I am REALLY looking forward to this ship with its 3D movies, DreamWorks characters, new shows, etc.

This ship is going to be even better than Oasis, if you can believe that.

Come back here for daily updates starting tomorrow.

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Old November 17th, 2010, 10:01 PM
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I am looking forward to reading your up-dates.

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Old November 18th, 2010, 08:04 PM
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I am already in Fort Lauderdale a day early and will probably be one of the first onboard tomorrow, so I will try to send you an early update.

To see what is different about Allure read the feature article we just put up:...

Allure of the Seas Arrives with Surprises



The new largest cruise ship in the world is about to hit our shores, Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Why do I say "the largest?" Because engineers calculated the ship is approximately two inches longer than its sister ship Oasis of the Seas introduced last year. This was supposedly an unintentional finding - but it certainly doesn't hurt to say they have a new record breaking "largest cruise ship in the world."

The ship is currently crossing the Atlantic Ocean, having left its shipyard in Turku, Finland, last October 29. It is reportedly having a much smoother time than sister ship Oasis had crossing from Finland about a year ago. Allure should be visible off the coast of Fort Lauderdale on Thursday, this week, about 8:00 AM.

Chances are the ship will do the same as Oasis, spend a day installing the real plants in Central Park and running the AquaTheater through its paces - now that the ship will be stable in a temperate climate for the first time. The one disadvantage to building a ship in Finland in November is that you can't fill the pools with water unless your only goal is to make the world's largest ice cube.

Like Oasis, but unlike NCL Norwegian Epic, Allure is making this transatlantic voyage without paying passengers or other guests onboard - no travel agents or media either. The only inhabitants are the new crewmembers getting familiar with the ships facilities and the last of the contracted shipbuilders who needed extra time to finish their jobs and had no choice but to join the ship for the 12-day non-stop ocean crossing.
Allure may be bigger, but that is not the most important point - Allure is better than Oasis in many ways, at least for a little while. Allure will already have many improvements over Oasis of the Seas that Oasis will not have installed until next March, earliest.

These improvements include the first 3-D movie theater for a Royal Caribbean ship. I am a big fan of movies on cruise ships, and would much rather see a film for the first time during a cruise than on land solely because it is so much more convenient. There is no parking, worrying about eating before or after, or usurious ticket prices to contend with. The last time I took my small family to see a 3-D film - Avatar, it cost me nearly $50. Allure will have the same quality 3-D process as that film uses, but there won't be any charging for tickets.

To date, the only other ships to show 3-D feature films onboard are the Disney Magic and Wonder, and there you are limited to only Disney films. Not that there is anything wrong with that, they make great movies. Similar to Disney, Royal Caribbean has something special in store for the kids; the line just made an agreement to show DreamWorks movies like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Monsters Vs. Aliens and How to Train Your Dragon onboard.

Other DreamWorks activities onboard include meeting the characters from these movies; Po (the Kung Fu Panda), Princess Fiona and Shrek who will make regular appearances in the Adventure Ocean kid's facility. Allure will also feature an original ice show in the Studio B Ice Rink based on the movie "How to Train Your Dragon," while the AquaTheater will have a special show featuring characters from the DreamWorks movie "Madagascar."

Allure will join sister ship Oasis of the Seas in Port Everglades, the cruise ship port for Fort Lauderdale, however Oasis will sail on seven-day cruises departing on Saturdays while Allure will leave on Sundays. The ships will pass in the night, so to speak, when Oasis leaves on Saturday nights while Allure is heading back to the homeport for a Sunday morning arrival.

The ships will not see each other at sea, however, as one ship will go east while the other goes west. Both ships alternate cruises between the same Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itineraries - making it possible to do back to back cruises on either ship and not repeat a port.

The official naming ceremony for Allure of the Seas will take place on November 28 during a one-night celebration to benefit the United Way chapters of Miami-Dade and Broward counties, among other charities. A special four-night sailing on December 1 will call at the cruise line's private beach destination of Labadee, along the north coast of Haiti, and Allure of the Seas' inaugural seven-night Western Caribbean itinerary will depart on December 5.
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Old November 18th, 2010, 08:36 PM
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Yes indeed, perhaps better than the Oasis. I am really excited about the Dreamworks, the Mexican cantina, the Brazilian restaurant, the hot dog stand, and all the other differences Allure offers over the Oasis.

What a great choice!
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Old November 18th, 2010, 08:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Beers View Post
Yes indeed, perhaps better than the Oasis. I am really excited about the Dreamworks, the Mexican cantina, the Brazilian restaurant, the hot dog stand, and all the other differences Allure offers over the Oasis.

What a great choice!
I am soooo looking forward to trying all those new features!

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Old November 19th, 2010, 10:34 AM
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Personally I love Churasscaria too (Argentine or Brazilian meat cooking on a spit). It is the tastiest way to cook meat ever.

I am curious about 150 Central Park but they did not give the media a chance to try it on the last media cruise. I had to wait for the cruise I booked to get it - and then I was disappointed - seriously. I was hoping for a gourmet experience and I left feeling like the food was bland and the portions far too small.

They have a different chef there now, and I hope it is better.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 10:39 AM
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Hey Paul,
I bet you are shortly going to be boarding Allure, can't wait to hear your take on this brand new beauty....

Have fun!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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I was sitting across from Paul in 150 Central Park on the Oasis last December. The meal started out on a poor note when they said two of the courses wouldn't be served because they didn't have the necessary ingredients. First revenue cruise and we'd just left Fort Lauderdale where you can find anything you want. It didn't fly with either of us.

The portion sizes were small. I remember when we finished the last course Paul remarked that he was still hungry enough to eat a steak dinner.

I'd like to take my wife to 150 Central Park on our anniversary cruise next June. I'll be looking forward to reviews of the place.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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Paul

I have a friend on the Allure (bartender, of course) I'll send you his name. He came across with the ship so he may be able to help with some inside crew information. He says the ship is outstanding!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:17 AM
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Hi Paul...you must be on with Kathy Lee Gifford,and Hoda Kotb.,.they are on now, on the Today Show...They said Adam Sandler,and Katie Holmes are also on board filming a movie..Jack and Jill..maybe you can do a walk on! Have fun!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:20 AM
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I look forward to reading your reports on Allure. My wife has been bugging me about doing Oasis and/or Allure since her co-worker cruised Oasis in September. I see an Oasis cruise in our future. If the wife wants it then................

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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
Hi Paul...you must be on with Kathy Lee Gifford,and Hoda Kotb.,.they are on now, on the Today Show...They said Adam Sandler,and Katie Holmes are also on board filming a movie..Jack and Jill..maybe you can do a walk on! Have fun!
Thanks Trip--almost forgot. Watching it now.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:47 AM
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Just saw the food segment on Today. Anyone else suddenly hungry?
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Old November 19th, 2010, 01:52 PM
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I am onboard
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Old November 19th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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I am onboard...

Darn it, I just lost aa long post.

Gene Sloan is here as well as Teijo (married to CSB) and a few other media folks I know.

We just did the offficial opening of Starbucks, which was weird because they also still have the same oild Seattle's Best coffee place with free fod, etc. Thwe Starbucks station is smaller, on of those little kiosks in the middle of the halllway. Adam Goldstein, Vicki Freed and some Starbucks brass were there to celebrate the ifrst pour of coffee. But it seems a little redundant to me, I htought Syarbucks had rewplaced Seattle's best. And both companies are from Seattle, too.

I have taken pictures of all the new things - Britto art Gallery, The hot dog stand, Seattles Best, Rosie's Cantina, various works of art. I will post them soon.

So far I have a confession. RCL is not happy with me now. I have had two mishaps in a row that got me on their bad side. First I accidentally putout a press release about 45 minutes early they wanted held up (for the DreamWorkas aggreement) - it was barely even noticable (I did not link it in to our frint page) but Google picked it up and "another cruise site" called RC: and turned me in. They had to have been monitiring Google News for "royal Caribbean Dreamworks" on a minute by minute basis to even see it. but any chance for CC to get me in trouble will not be missed.

Next - on this trip they booked my flight a day early assuming I would get a hotel. we had the discussed the possibility of me getting a hotel but we never confirmed it. Anyway, I got in a day early, arriving by 2:00 pm, and thought they meant for me to goto the ship. I went and they said "what are you doing here?"

"umm, you sent me a ticket, remember?"

Anyway, they were REALLY NICE ABOUT IT and actually found me a nice hotel room, so all is well. It is baad to be the trouble maker of the bunch, though.

I have pictures of all the new stuff up next!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 04:00 PM
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Default The Horn is Blowing -

We are about to set sail on this new ship!!!

These really are amazing ships if you have not seen them yet.

Just FYI - I first went and took pictures of everything that is different about these ships - but now I am going to concentrate on the ship as a whole.

If you have any questions please let me know!!!!

WE ARE JUST ABOUT TO DO LIFEBOAT DRILL RIGHT NOW!!! BUH-BYE!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 04:31 PM
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We just had out lifreboat drill and our first taste of DreamWorks. One of the penguins from one of the movies said he was taking the ship to Antarctica.

I have a feeling this Dreamworks thing is going to go further than most of us imagined. We know the charatcters will be in some of the shows and visiting the kids faciklities, but I would not be surprised if it gets more Disney-like all the tiime, with Po the Kung Fu bear showing up on stage while the cruise director is talking for example.

Jeffrey Katzenburg is here onboard and he is here to "meet the press" - he was the one who created a lot of the Disney Animation movies and when he took over DreamWorks his goal was to do almost everything Disney has ever done with animation.

His latest thing is ti maake everything they release in 3-D movie format. The characters are pretty well-knwn and are popular with kids:

Shrek, Po, HOw to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar and the new "MegaMind: starring Brad Pitt.

It seems to me RCL is going to take this whole Dreamworks thing further than you probabluy ever guessed, but so far they are limited to the Oasis and Allure, and eventually the Freedom Class ships.

We are scheduled to meet the Dreamworks chaaracters (the media) during a sailaway party in 30 minutes.

More soon!!! with pictures.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 04:54 PM
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Default Oprah Gives away Allure of the Seas Cruise

They just told us us to watch Oprah here on the ship and we did - and she gace away a free cruise on Allure of the SeaS TO EVERY MEMBER OF THE AUDIENCE.

Pretty ironic to be here on the ship when Oprah is giving away cruises on it.

I have to say - the day when little old me (cruise reporter) was a bigwig media person to these cruise lines is getting lost. They now deal with The Today Show ans Oprah all the time.

To tell you the truth, I am surprised Adam Goldstein forgave Oprah for the way she treated him after the Honeymoon cruiser episode - she was a bee-atch to him on that show in my opinion.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 06:33 PM
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Paul, I enjoyed your pictures. I can't say that I really like the artwork, but that is a personal opinion.

Does the Allure of the Seas have the Rising Tide bar. In the picture, it looked like Starbucks was located where the bar is located on the Oasis.

Just comparing the two, does the promenade on the Allure have the same feel as on the Oasis? Other than the obvious changes, what subtle differences do you see?
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Old November 19th, 2010, 09:16 PM
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Yep,
I watched Oprah this morning and saw the entire audience get a free cruise on Allure of the Seas, with air provided by United Airlines. Wow, I was so amazed, plus they got a 52 inch Sony 3-D TV, with blue ray disk player among other goodies...

Now, I wonder when her group will be on Allure or can they go when they want?
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Old November 19th, 2010, 09:22 PM
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Donna, unlike the free trip to Australia, I can bet the cruise is a certificate to go when you can go...not counting the free air and cruise,they got about $8850.00 in free goodies!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:19 PM
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Good pictures Paul,

Will the Royal Caribbean brass stay onboard for the preview cruise? Does the ship feel like it will be crowded with a full passenger contingent? Are the pastries gratis at the Seattle's Best or is there a charge and are the donuts still gratis at the donut shop?

Oh yea: Can you check and see if they need a backup Shrek. A little yellow paint and I'd be perfect for the job.

I look forward to further reports.

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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:32 PM
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Paul: See if you can get some photos of the deck 11 aft boardwalk balconies. Just booked one!

Thanks!
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Old November 19th, 2010, 11:52 PM
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Default Dreamworks characters on Allure of the Seas

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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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I will try to answer your questions today - yesterday was more about seeing the differences.

Starbucks is not located where the other coffee shop (Seattle's Best) was. That is still there - a little odd.

The donouts are still here as far as I know - the sign is there and I was told they will still be there, but I did not see any actual donuts.

The Royal Promenande feels much the same and boy was it ever hopping last night with a disco party show. It really came to life.

But I think I like the decor of it on Oasis a tad better, although it is a minute difference. This one seems a little lighter and more garish colors. NOt a big deal, though, still plenty of fun.

Dinner was very good last night - roast duckling. Today we have interviews all dat, mostly about Dreamworks, etc.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:56 AM
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Dreamworks characters in the AquaTheater dance Party...

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Old November 20th, 2010, 11:12 AM
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I believe Starbucks is where the Mondo coffee bar is located on the Oasis. Outside of Bolero's.
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Old November 20th, 2010, 02:47 PM
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Paul, please let us know if they have the ( Rising Bar ). We enjoyed it when we cruised on the Oasis.

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Old November 20th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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Royal Caribbean Entertainment

Royal Caribbean Entertainment

Lisa Bauer, "Senior Vice President, Hotel Operations," says “we did a lot of market research with our customers and the one thing we heard they want is “branded entertainment.” In regular language that means people have told them they want recognizable brand names onboard, especially in entertainment. For example, Royal Caribbean just signed an alliance with DreamWorks, the movie production company responsible for such hits as “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda.”

But those are not the only recognizable brand names one will find on a Royal Caribbean, especially the newest one, Allure of the Seas. You will also find Starbucks Coffee, Coca Cola, Johnny Rockets, Guess and Coach.

Brand names are the new trend in cruising. A decade ago every cruise ship produced its own shows, created by small production companies that specialized in creating “cruise shows.” In truth, the shows were cliché almost from the minute they started; each one of them was a “Salute to Broadway” or Salute to Hollywood.”

But market research told Royal Caribbean, and other cruise lines, that they would much rather see shows they had heard of; Broadway hits for example.

When Oasis of the Seas debuted last year the main production show was a fully licensed version of Hairspray, the proven Broadway hit produced by John Waters. This year, as sister ship Allure of the Seas debuts; the main stage show is “Chicago – the Musical,” another proven Broadway hit.

But that is not all Royal Caribbean has added in terms of branded entertainment. Count in animated movie maker DreamWorks, responsible for such hits as Shrek, How to Tame your Dragon, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and the brand new movie just released in theaters last week, Megamind, starring the voices of Brad Pitt, Will Ferrel & more. Allure is showing that movie today in the brand new, specially built 3D-theater they built just for the showing of DreamWorks movies.

Going beyond movies, Royal Caribbean will soon be featuring DreamWorks characters showing up at kid’s breakfasts to take place in the Deck Four dining room, and as of now there is no charge to attend them. They happen at two different times; 7:30 am and 9:00 am, and they do feature themed meal items such as “ogre cakes.”

DreamWorks characters are now a part of the Royal Caribbean experience, on certain ships concentrated in the Caribbean, for now anyway. The agreement with DreamWorks Animation is already rolled out on Allure of the Seas and will be deployed on Liberty of the Seas in January, Oasis of the Seas in February and Liberty in March. Now, Oasis is the sister ship to Allure, and we originally heard it would come next, but the idea now is to roll out upgrades to all ships as they are scheduled to go into dry dock. The name of this upgrade project by Royal Caribbean is the “Royal Advantage.”

What other branded experiences are proving a success for Royal Caribbean? Allure has the very first Guess boutique on a cruise ship. In fact, it is the very first Guess “accessories boutique” in the world, with one in Miami coming soon. The store is doing surprisingly well, the top selling brand selling across all of Royal Caribbean. There is also a "Coach" boutique.

As mentioned, Allure also has a dedicated Starbucks coffee place. Personally, I don’t love Starbucks so much that it is the only place I will buy a caramel macchiato latte. But many of people do feel that way, so the Starbucks onboard is as authentic as the one on your hometown corner. Yes, you do have to pay for all of the coffees and the scones and biscotti, which are the same as the ones you see in all Starbucks stores. What makes it even stranger is that the same Seattle’s Best, a sister company to Starbucks which has been featured on Royal Caribbean for years, is still featured on the ship not more than 50 yards away and on the same floor. Here you can get coffee and pastry for free. So, why pay? We don’t know, except to say that some people just love Starbucks coffee.

Another Guest Service Upgrade is located near passenger services. These are called “Royal Express Kiosks” which are interactive video screen where one can pull up your current onboard account, see how much you have spent, make restaurant or tour reservations, pay your bill or even check in for you flight home and print out your boarding pass.

Of course, you can also access the Internet and update or see your reservations on your stateroom television, but the wireless keyboard with built-in mouse can be a bit tricky to handle.

Branded Art Galleries
Royal Caribbean I sending its art auction affiliations with Park West one by one as they expire due the challenges some customers have had with the gallery. Instead, Allure has a gallery dedicated to one of the line’s favorite artists; The Britto Gallery. This store is full of original pieces as well as limited edition prints for prices from under $100 to thousands of dollars for original works of art.

Britto creates colorful, playful designs of cats, dogs, people and more. He is said to be a very personable artist who even personally hand painted the day room for the crew onboard Allure.

But if you are looking for an even more recognizable name you may want to shop for your art on Explorer of the Seas. That is where Peter Max has created his personal at sea art gallery. I am told he has created as much as $1.25 million in original art, limited editions and enhanced limited editions – just for Explorer of the Seas.

Upgrading Royal Caribbean Ships
This “Royal Advantage” program (other cruise lines have had similar names for upgrades initiatives; “Signature of Excellence” for Holland America and “Degrees of Difference” for Windstar, for example,) will continue with almost all Royal Caribbean ships as they go into dry dock in the next few to five years.

Radiance of the Seas, one of the “right-sized ships from the early 2000s will get a major upgrade next summer with a Samba Grill (Charascurria), Rita’s Cantina (the same new Mexican food restaurant that replaces the Seafood Shack here on Allure, an Izumi Japanese restaurant, a Concierge Club and a nursery for kids six months to three years. While most of the upgraded ships will be in the Caribbean market, Radiance will be going to Australia followed by Alaska.

New Policies for All Ships
Keeping up with the upgrade cycle for the entire fleet, new policies are being made across the board. For example, all suite guests will not get priority seating in theaters and deck chair placement near the pools. They will also be offered first right of refusal on the exclusive “chef’s table” dining experience on all ships.

The Vintages Wine Bar on all ships is getting a new tapas menu that is presented on an iPad where each selection creates a virtual table setting on screen as it will appear before your eyes. Add red wine and the filled glass images are placed on your virtual tabletop. Each appetizer also has a picture to fill your screen. The price is automatically calculated as you go, building your meal to your desired proportions.

Finally – the last technical enhancement will come on the private islands of Labadee and CocoCay. Soon there will be extra-lux cabana rentals for suite denizens. A final improvement will be a super Internet package where you can get 500 minutes for under $200, enough time that you will never bother looking at the clock.

And so Royal Caribbean takes a leap forward. Formerly the cruise line that waited until the last minute to upgrade their ships, they have now become the line that upgrades ships constantly, always striving to find something new to make them more competitive. It’s an approach that is proving very successful.




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Old November 20th, 2010, 07:13 PM
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Thank you for all the info; pictures, and feedback about Allure.
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