Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas breaks records in Texas

Royal Caribbean caused quite a stir this month with a double dose of cruise news, starting with the opening of its state-of-the-art, $125 million zero-energy terminal in the Port of Galveston, followed by the debut of its iconic Oasis in Texas class, a fleet of Ships that are among the largest in the world.

Allure of the Seas is one of the global cruise brand’s current 22 ships and the first Oasis-class ship to set sail from Texas. The ship departed on her maiden voyage from her new homeport on November 13, with seven-day Western Caribbean cruises to destinations such as Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico, and Roatan, Honduras scheduled for the 2022-2023 winter season.

A bird's-eye view of the Central Park neighborhood on Allure of the Seas.

A bird’s-eye view of the Central Park neighborhood on Allure of the Seas.

Simon Brooke-Webb / sbw-photo / sbw-photo

At 213 feet above the waterline and 1,187 feet in length, the luxury liner will accommodate over 6,000 passengers with 2,700 cabins, more than 30 food and beverage outposts and a whopping 16 decks from which to enjoy breathtaking ocean views . Allure gives new meaning to the term ‘floating city’ by dividing the ship into seven distinctive neighborhoods, each with a specific theme and purpose, such as the Royal Promenade, the Boardwalk and the Youth Zone, among others.

The Royal Promenade feels like the heart of the ship. It’s the neighborhood that guests first pass through when boarding from the terminal, and like a hotel lobby, it serves as a lively hub during the journey. On Allure, this area is home to Sorrento’s Pizzeria, which serves cold cuts and made-to-order whole pies until the wee hours; the Cupcake Cupboard, a destination for freshly baked cupcakes and design classes; and the first Starbucks at sea to offer the global cafe’s full beverage menu.

One of 30 restaurants and lounges aboard Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.

One of 30 restaurants and lounges aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas.

Megha McSwain

Although the Allure is one of the largest ships in the world, traveling between decks and bow to stern doesn’t feel like a chore. Efficient use of space results in a vibrant floating hotel with dramatic interiors and design features that inspire curiosity at every turn. Traveling to the different parts of the city fuels the excitement of what is to come.

A surge of nostalgia is felt upon experiencing Allure’s Boardwalk. The inspiration for this neighborhood comes from the combination of the best coastal piers that line the coast of England and popular American seafronts like Coney Island. In addition to kid-recommended restaurants like the Boardwalk Dog House, which slings hot dogs, sausages, bratwurst, and other meats on long buns, the space features a majestic working carousel, an ice cream parlor, and a 1950s-style Johnny Rockets restaurant, in which waiters are served twice as musical performers.

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas ship features a vibrant green space, Central Park.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas ship features a vibrant green space, Central Park.

Megha McSwain

Standing out among Allure’s seven neighborhoods is Central Park, a revolutionary midship design where an expansive airway opens to the sky and features lush greenery that stretches more than the length of a football field. The manicured park features trees that are up to two and a half decks tall, clusters of calla lilies and rabbit’s foot ferns, seasonal flowers and shrubs, and “green walls” of flowering vines that stretch over 25 feet tall. The plant collection is a combination of coastal and highland subtropical species from around the world, all well suited to thrive on the ship.

The tranquil space offers cozy nooks for reading and people-watching, but also houses the first-ever Britto Gallery at sea, featuring works by pop culture artist Romero Britto; Shops and boutiques, including Coach’s largest floating store; and restaurants galore, like Royal Caribbean’s signature steakhouse, Chops Grille, which serves park views alongside prime cuts of meat.

The attractive dining room at 150 Central Park aboard Allure of the Seas.

The attractive dining room at 150 Central Park aboard Allure of the Seas.

Megha McSwain

Among the park’s many places to eat and drink is 150 Central Park, an elegant yet intimate restaurant that offers a tasting menu and custom wine pairings created by Executive Chef Molly Brandt. Brandt snagged the vaunted title of chef after winning the eight-week Allure of the Seas culinary challenge co-hosted by the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Their contributions to the development of a unique menu combined with the restaurant’s deeply romantic interior make 150 Central Park one of the most exclusive places to dine on ships.

The Jacuzzi in the adult-only solarium on Allure of the Seas.

The Jacuzzi in the adult-only solarium on Allure of the Seas.

Simon Brooke-Webb / sbw-photo / sbw-photo

As part of Allure’s Texas debut, special attention was paid to curating concepts that would appeal to local travelers. Located in the Pool and Sports Zone, Wipeout Cafe used to be a casual grab-and-go option showcasing salads and sandwiches, but has since been transformed into Royal Caribbean’s original concept, El Loco Fresh, which offers classic Tex-Mex fare made-to-order quesadillas, tacos, and nachos. A new sit-down Mexican restaurant called Rita’s Cantina, inspired by Mexican beach bars and the famous taquerias of Southern California, has also been added to the Boardwalk District.

One of three floors that make up the tiered dining room on Allure of the Seas.

One of three floors that make up the tiered dining room on Allure of the Seas.

Megha McSwain

There are many restaurants on the ship, but the many bars and lounges are worth at least a visit, each offering a balanced menu of boozy and non-alcoholic cocktails. Allure is home to the Rising Tide Bar, the world’s first moving bar at sea, reminiscent of the hugely popular Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. Rather than moving in circles, the feat of engineering allows patrons to sip drinks while the entire bar slowly moves up and down between three decks.

A full-scale production of Broadway's Mamma Mia! takes center stage at the Royal Theater aboard Allure of the Seas.

A full-scale production of Broadway’s Mamma Mia! takes center stage at the Royal Theater aboard Allure of the Seas.

Megha McSwain

While eating and drinking might sound like an all-round satisfying vacation to some, Allure offers countless activities to keep you entertained, spread across the ship’s various districts. An aquatic theater at the stern provides space for aerialists, acrobats and high divers to perform challenging tricks in front of the seated audience on deck, all with the breathtaking backdrop of the ocean on the horizon. Olympic-level skaters hit the ice and perform at the Studio B skating rink while Broadway’s “Mamma Mia!” The musical takes center stage at the Royal Theater – currently the only venue in North America to host the award-winning show.

Thrill-seekers can opt for more stimulating activities such as climbing one of the two signature climbing walls flanking the Aqua Theater, ziplining the ship’s nine-story zipline, or participating in one of two FlowRider surfing simulators.

Allure of the Seas marks the Texas debut of Royal Caribbean's Oasis class.

Allure of the Seas marks the Texas debut of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class.

Royal Caribbean International

The appeal – pun intended – of the Oasis-class ship continues. From the hypnotic, dazzling lights of the ship’s casino to the sun-drenched lido deck overlooking the sea and everything in between, Allure of the Seas is quite literally a true sanctuary and a welcome addition to any state where truly everything is bigger.



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