Starting officially this week, one of the largest cruise ships in the world is sailing out of a brand-new terminal in Galveston, Texas. This past week, I had the opportunity to be one of the first to sail out of the terminal on the Allure of the Seas – the largest cruise ship to sail from Texas.
Plan to set sail on the Allure of the Seas? Here’s everything you need to know about the ship, including the fantastic family-friendly amenities, the delicious food, and the experience of sailing from the terminal.
Disclosure: Our 4-night sailing on the Allure of the Seas was complimentary. All opinions are my own.
Review of Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas – the Largest Ship Sailing out of Galveston
The Allure of the Seas is an Oasis class ship – one of the largest in the world (although sister ship Wonder of the Seas officially takes the title). It’s 1,187 feet long, and 215 feet wide, with 225,282 GRT. It accommodates up to 6,780 guests at full capacity, with 2,000 crew members in 2,742 staterooms. Despite a large number of guests, this ship has so much to do that it rarely feels crowded.
Sailings on Allure of the Seas
The Allure of the Seas is currently sailing out of Galveston, Texas on 4, 5, and 7-night Caribbean sailings. While itineraries do vary, they can include Cozumel, Puerto Costa Maya, and Roatan, Honduras.
While many guests who are sailing out of Galveston drive themselves to the port, there are two nearby airports. Houston’s Hobby Airport is the closest and is about 45-60 minutes away, while Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport is about an hour and a half away.
Neighborhoods on Allure of the Seas
The Allure of the Seas offers distinct neighborhoods, like the other Royal Caribbean ships. These are so fun to explore because they are so different and beautifully designed. These include the following:
The Boardwalk: Offering Boardwalk style entertainment and venues including a carousel, Johnny Rockets, Aqua Theater, Boardwalk Dog House, Sabor restaurant, Cups and Scoops Ice Cream parlor, and Sugar Beach. The Boardwalk is so well-themed and is whimsical and fun.
Central Park: A beautiful oasis in the center of the ship, with live plants and trees. Central Park is home to 150 Central Park, Park Cafe, Giovanni’s Table, Vintages Wine Bar, Chops, the Trellis Bar, and several retail shops. I love grabbing a cup of coffee and savoring the environment in Central Park. It’s such a relaxing and gorgeous spot.
Royal Promenade: The first area you see on the ship is the Royal Promenade, and it’s impressive. This is where you’ll find most of the retail shops (including Solera, Port Merchants, the Shop, and Kate Spade) as well as restaurants and bars (Sorrentos, the Promenade Cafe, Starbucks, On Air, Boleros, Bow and Stern, the Champagne Bar).
Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness: Looking to relax or enjoy a workout while on board? The Vitality at Sea spa and fitness center offers workout equipment, workout classes, a salon, IV therapy, a juice bar, and spa treatments. It’s the perfect place to visit for some “me” time. During my visit, I treated myself to a massage and it was such a great experience.
Entertainment Place: Royal Caribbean is known for its world-class entertainment, and the hub for it on the Allure of the Seas is in the Entertainment Place on Deck 4. This area of the ship offers Comedy Live, the Amber Theater, Blaze Nightclub, Studio B (ice rink), and the Casino Royale.
Youth Zone: the Allure of the Seas is incredibly family and kid-friendly, and the Youth Zone is where they can find their own spaces. These include the Living Room and Fuel (for teens), Adventure Ocean (with the Imagination Studio, Adventure Ocean Theater, Adventure Science Lab, the Workshop, and more). There’s also the Challenger’s Cafe. Kids will love the youth programming offered throughout your cruise.
Pool and Sports Zone: Of course, on any Caribbean cruise, you’ll want to spend some time on the pool deck getting some sun. Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas offers pools and much more, including a sports court (with dedicated times for basketball and pickleball), mini golf, a zip line, a jogging track, two rock climbing walls, two FlowRiders, a beach pool, a sports pool, and the H2O zone splash area. There’s also the adults-only Solarium, a gorgeous two-level area with pools, two cantilevered hot tubs, and more.
Activities on The Allure of the Seas
It should be no surprise that there are tons of things to do for the whole family on the Allure of the Seas, even on a sea day when you aren’t at a port. During my four-night stay, I tried to experience a little bit of everything and still didn’t manage to experience all of the activities. Even on a 7-day sailing, there are probably things you won’t have time to experience.
If you love shows, there’s no lack of fantastic entertainment. While the offerings do vary by sailing, you’ll find listings on the Royal Caribbean Navigator app. During my sailing, entertainment options include:
- Shows: Including Mamma Mia (the full-length Broadway-style show!), the Aqua Show, and an Ice Show – none of these are to be missed!
- Limited-time entertainment: From acapella groups to comedy acts and tribute bands, there are different acts on board for each sailing.
- Game shows: Including general trivia, music trivia, and other game shows
- Evening entertainment: nightclub, silent DJ, karaoke, and more.
- General ship entertainment: including DJs, singers, a brass band, and more.
I especially loved seeing the full show of Mamma Mia. The production is incredible, with really fantastic performers. It’s so hard to believe that it’s included in the cost of your sailing.
Looking for an adrenaline rush? The zipline on board travels right over the Boardwalk area. If you want to try it, be sure to bring a sleeved top and closed-toed shoes. There are also two FlowRiders.
The basketball court is transformed into a pickleball court at select times, and that seemed to be one of the most popular things to do. There is also a ping pong area, mini golf, and of course, the pools.
Restaurants on the Allure of the Seas
Royal Caribbean offers some fantastic restaurants, some included, and some for an additional cost. There are three main dining room options. Restaurants that are offered as part of your cruise fare include:
- The Grande
- The American Icon Grill
- The Windjammer Buffet
- The Solarium Bistro
- The Wipe Out Cafe (featuring El Loco Fresh)
- The Park Cafe
- The Boardwalk Dog House
- Cafe Promenade
- Sorrento’s Pizza
All of the included food is delicious, and you could easily just dine at those locations during your sailing. There are still loads of places where you can enjoy three meals a day and snacks. However, for an upgraded dining experience, there are some specialty restaurants on board for an additional fee. It’s recommended that you book these dining options in advance as many of them have limited capacity.
- Sabor (Mexican Food)
- 150 Central Park
- Chops Grille Steakhouse
- Coastal Kitchen (limited to suite guests)
- Johnny Rockets
- Cups and scoops (ice cream)
- Giovanni’s Table (delicious Italian food)
- Vintages (Wine Bar)
- Samba (Brazilian Steakhouse)
- Izumi Hibachi and Sushi
- Chef’s Table
- Room service is also offered for an additional fee
For guests looking to dine in mostly signature restaurants, an unlimited dining package is available. That way, you’ll be able to visit a different restaurant every night! Just be sure to book those reservations early.
During my sailing, I had the opportunity to try two of the signature restaurants. On the first night, I visited Giovanni’s Kitchen, a delicious Italian restaurant. The food is fantastic, and the experience is great.
Then, on the second night, I visited Samba, the Brazilian Steakhouse. It’s located in the Solarium Bistro, which is transformed in the evenings. After visiting the salad bar, you’ll be served various meat entrees right at your table. You can provide your preferences for meat temperature when you are seated.
I loved Samba – everything I had was delicious, and it was a fun, unique experience.
Amenities on the Allure of the Seas
While you are onboard the Allure of the Seas, you’ll have access to plenty of amenities. If you need or want to stay in touch with the outside world, Voom Internet is available. It’s free for suite guests and is available to other guests for an additional fee. Both standard internet and internet with streaming are offered.
Even if you don’t have internet access, you can connect to the Royal Caribbean app for no cost. The app provides information about the ship’s schedule, your account balance, deck plans, and more.
Love to shop? There are several shops onboard, including Coach and Kate Spade boutiques as well as a cosmetics store, a duty-free shop, a Royal Caribbean merchandise shop, and a shop offering luxurious pre-owned products.
There’s also a Focus Photo Gallery, where you’ll be able to see and purchase any of the photos taken of you throughout the sailing.
Staterooms on the Allure of the Seas
Although you won’t want to spend too much time in your stateroom, you’ll find the rooms on the Allure of the Seas to be comfortable. There are lots of different stateroom options, including interior, ocean view, and ocean-view balcony suites. There are also staterooms with balconies overlooking Central Park and the Boardwalk.
If you’d prefer a suite, there are lots of options, including the luxurious Royal Loft Suite. Other suites include:
- Owner’s Panoramic Suite
- Grand Panoramic Suite
- Star Loft Suite
- 2-bedroom Aquatheater Suite
- 1-bedroom Aquatheater Suite
- Crown Loft Suite with Balcony
- Owner’s Suite
- 2-bedroom Grand Suite
- 1-bedroom Grand Suite
- Junior suite
I had an ocean-view balcony suite, and I always loved spending time on the balcony enjoying the spectacular view of the ocean. The room itself had a television, a king bed, a hair dryer, a pull-out couch, a desk, a closet, a small table, and a bathroom (with shower). It could accommodate three guests, but other ocean-view staterooms have a bunk bed that pulls down to accommodate a fourth guest.
The Allure of the Seas is available for booking now, out of Galveston. Learn more on the Royal Caribbean website.