The magnificent twin ships from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, are about as similar as two ships can be! Same length, same breadth, same tonnage, amazing public spaces including seven distinct neighborhoods, heavenly staterooms and soothing spas. Yet there are certain areas in which these twins show their individuality, namely in some new shopping and dining venues.
One of the outstanding changes is the addition of a Brazilian-style steakhouse called Samba Grill on the Allure of the Seas. By day the area is a cafe in the adult only solarium. By night, the Solarium is transformed into a true churrascari with both indoor and outdoor seating, authentic Brazilian meats and seafood offerings carved table side, as well as lively music and specialty drinks. There is also a buffet with soups, appetizers and salad. The charge is $25 pp to eat at Samba Grill, and this does not include any beverages or alcoholic drinks.
Replacing the Seafood Shack from the Oasis, the Allure offers Rita’s Cantina, a vibrant new Mexican restaurant in the Boardwalk neighborhood. The offerings include ceviche, chips with salsa and guacamole, as well as fajitas, tacos and flautas, a veritable fiesta on the Allure of the Seas. Let’s not forget the margaritas. There’s a selection of more than 15 different flavors to choose from, of course these have to be purchased separately. The charge to dine is $7.95 per person, and you can order as much as you’d like. Rita’s also offers evenings of Latin delights with live guitar music, dancing and delightful libations. At least once per 7 day cruise, Rita’s will have a Fiesta package available. For $20 pp you get 3 margaritas, tastings of various foods, party gifts and live entertainment.
Not to be outdone by the south of the border crowd, the Boardwalk area will also sport a new snack bar called the Boardwalk Dog House. It’s pretty obvious what this venue will have to offer, but you get more than a variety of hot dogs including the ever popular Coney Island dog. Also available are brats, sausages and lots of toppings. This Dog House will occupy the space held by the Donut Shop on the Oasis of the Sea, but fear not, the Donut Shop has not been displaced, just relocated next to the Ice Cream Parlor right across the way.
Also unique to the Allure of the Seas are several venues that are a first on any cruise ship. Enjoy Starbucks at sea open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, shop at the new Guess store selling accessories including watches, belts and purses or shop for paintings and sculptures at the Romeo Britto store.
The Oasis of the Seas offers their rendition of the Broadway play, Hairspray. The Allure of the Seas cast performs the musical Chicago. The ice shows are different, with the Allure using the cast of the film How to Train Your Dragon. Comedy club, jazz and piano bars, a sports bar and various lounges can be found on both ships.
The Allure of the Seas was also the first RCI ship to feature a 3D movie screen at sea. The picture quality and sound are excellent. Various movies are shown during a 7 day cruise. Sorry folks, no popcorn but you can go grab a slice of pizza or cookies on Deck 5 before heading over to the movie. For the best view, enter through deck 4.
Last but not least, the Allure of the Seas was the first ship to feature characters from various DreamWorks movies including Shrek, KungFu Panda and Madagascar. Characters participate in a sail away party, parades and are available for pictures and a character breakfast as well. Dreamworks characters will also be featured on the Oasis of the Seas beginning in April 2011.
So much to do, so little time! You’ll never find so many outstanding dining, snacking, noshing, nibbling, grazing and feasting experiences as you will on the Allure of the Seas, unless you’re sailing with her twin, the Oasis of the Seas.