Thursday, January 3, 2013

Allure Day 1

Close call with our flight this morning. It was a while ago when Mike made the reservations so we both assumed Dulles airport departure which is our usual airport.  I was writing down our flight info for parents to pick us up and noticed dca instead of our usual iad.  Freaked us out but since we had gotten up earlier than expected, we still had enough time to head to dca.  Plus traffic on 66 at 6:40am on Sunday isn't too bad.  Made it with lots of time to spare.

No problems with the flight and since the cruise terminal is so close to the airport, we got there with no issues.  We saw two Holland America ships, one Princess ship and our ship in port.

I have to hand it to RCL, the embarkation process was very very fast.  From the time we got to the terminal to the time we made it on board took no more than 30 minutes.

Made it onboard and decided to make our way out of the herd and veered to Central Park for lunch (instead of the buffet).  We did catch a view of the Royal Promenade on our way in.  WOW! Looks like a mall, not a ship.  Park Cafe line was pretty crowded (apparently not such a secret anymore) but we made it through and shared a table with another couple who cruised a lot.  They gave us some good advice about the ship and food.  After lunch, we did a fair bit of exploring.  I had to find the fitness center, it is huge! On a ship this size, I guess that's to be expected.  Definitely the largest we've seen on any cruise ship. Mike remarked it looked more like a Bally's than a ship's fitness center.
View of Central Park from Pool deck
Rooms were ready by 1 pm so we went to check them out.  We signed up for an interior stateroom. We actually prefer interior staterooms in general.  First, it's always dark, so it's easy to take naps in the middle of the day. Second, interior is usually away from most of the activity which keeps it pretty quiet. Third, we spend most of our time outside the cabin so we don't need a lot of extra amenities. 
There are very few interior staterooms available on this ship. Most are balconies (garden or ocean) or view (boardwalk or ocean).   Both of us were pleased with our cabin. While its only 150 sq ft, RCL did a nice job of layout. It's very open and feels like there is more space to walk around without feeling cramped. There are a fair number of storage cubbies and the closet has bi-level hanging poles. No life vests so theres a little extra shelf space too.  The bathroom and shower feel smaller than other cruises though.  The sink is definitely much smaller.  It's near impossible to wash your face without getting the floor completely soaked.


Interior cabin from door

View from couch

Watched the port departure from a very windy starboard side. Grabbed dinner at the dining room which was pretty good (Kat) and meh (Mike). Called it and early night after a tough game of trivia.  Joined a very extroverted group of cruisers in the game but it was fun.
Watching HAL ship leaving port

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