We know - Its Big!
Trip Start Feb 05, 2011
12Trip End Feb 13, 2011
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Where I stayed
Allure of the Seas
The entire drive all I could think was - it is REALLY about to start. Officially START!
En route - we decided to forgo the free shuttle ride. After all - we might get lost finding the place, we could be delayed waiting for the shuttle, and who knows who would be going with us. So we opted for the $20 cab ride instead.
Returned the car - no issue with charges THIS time - to the penny what I was quoted. Picked up the taxi and then it got weird. The driver went in the completely wrong direction and the car itself sputtered so many times I thought it was going to break down at any second
Boarding was amazing. We entered the terminal and were third in line. A couple minutes later - we had our keys. Walking through the terminal - we saw and welcomed Malcolm (oh wait - reverse that - he welcomed us). The gangway was the only bottleneck - they announced that some other ship had somehow crashed into the second gangway and broken it so they only had the one.
I couldn't have cared less. We could SEE it. We were about the walk on board. And at about 1pm - that was exactly what we did. The gangway enters directly onto the Promenade. No reception desk - no hallways. You step into the central space. It is familiar because of the Navigator and Liberty - but they are half the size. This thing is SO BIG!
We made it to the room - which was about as expected. The room itself seemed the same size as before - the balcony was indeed deeper than normal (the upgraded "bump-out" room) - but the bathroom was a MAJOR improvement. No longer the single standing spot with mirror/toilet/shower all 120 degrees apart in a circle around you
As we prepared to go explore - a knock at the door. Our BAGS were there already. It was 1:30pm and we had our BAGS! The checklist was completed - and we hadn't even had lunch yet.
Took the camera and made our way to the buffet. Had a quick lunch (who could focus on food) and started checking things out. Started up in the Viking Crown for the panoramic view and then
made our way across and down through the ship. The thing is just huge and it would have been overwhelming if we hadn't done all the advance studying on the layout.
We tried to see the Solarium, but they had closed it off so that they could install the sound and video systems. Parties ALWAYS take priority. So we made our way down to the spa and gym for a quick tour (I must now admit this was the only time I ever saw the gym all week). We made our first purchase for the weekly spa pass for only $172 each (this is usually the fee for the couple pass) - a sign of things to come about the cost of the week.
Muster was in 'Studio B' and one of the shortest ever. Then up to the top deck for the Sail Away party. Immediately caught sight of a plane flying overhead with banner "We Know - It's Big. Happy Anniversary Atlantis!". Made our way to the sundeck - a somewhat hidden area at the front of deck 14 - below and in front of the Solarium. A gorgeous sunset of Florida as we sailed away. And back in the room I got to christen my new camera with a few final pics as the sun and Florida disappeared.
The night's entertainment was Miss Richfield 1981 and her 30th anniversary show. It was a collage of previous shows - and she even wore the original gown from her crowning (or at least what is left of it after the fire and all). She brought Cheryl and Ben onstage for abuse (more about Cheryl later). The abuse was perfection - "let's just see if we can P-R-Y that drink out of your hand for a second".
Decided to skip the first big party - the block party in the Promenade. Later discovered the big surprise guest of the week - Deborah Cox who performed "No Ones Supposed to Be Here" from a hidden stage that opened.
But - you can't do it all on this one - so it was OK. And You-Tube eventually filled the gaps.