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Allure Of The Seas Cruise Guide

04/08/2014 16:55 | Updated 22 May 2015

It's had the celebrity seal of approval from Katie Holmes and Suri, and the brand new Allure of the Seas claims the title of world's largest cruise ship at a whopping 360m and 5cm – if that's not enough to make you change your mind about trying a Caribbean cruise, we don't know what is.

If you do need any more tempting, the ship's 16 decks mean there's space for 27 bars, a cupcake shop, an onboard zip wire, a theatre where you can see West End musical Chicago for free, a spa, two surf simulators, endless sun loungers, a 3D cinema, restaurants galore, several clubs, live comedy... we could go on! And while there's plenty for families and kids, the ship is so large you can easily find a chilled-out child-free corner to relax with a cocktail if that's what you'd prefer.

Armed with map, compass and suntan lotion, MyDaily was one of the first to explore this floating city.

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Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

There's a grand total of 2,706 staterooms, as the cabins are called – with enough room for 6,318 passengers. While Katie Holmes was on board with Suri, filming new movie Jack and Jill, she stayed in one of the Crown Lofts, one of the ship's most luxurious suites, while the swanky split level Royal Suite, with its grand piano and balcony hot tub will set you back at least £8,000 for seven nights.

Fortunately, if you haven't won the lottery, there's a string of much more affordable choices with balcony rooms overlooking either the ocean, leafy Central Park or the Boardwalk, although these can be noisy with the balcony doors open. Or, to cut the price further, swap the balcony for a window or for an inside cabin.

And forget any thoughts of poky fold-away bunks – the huge double beds are ultra-comfy, there's a proper shower cubicle in the bathroom, a sofa if you want to put your feet up, and everything's decorated in subtle chocolate brown and turquoise shades. There's even an iPod dock so you can bring your own background music.

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

It might be traditional on a cruise to lounge around all day, going from giant meal to giant meal with a cocktail in your hand. But while there's no reason not to do that, there's a few fun ways to burn off a couple of calories without leaving the ship too.

Grab your bikini and head to one of the two FlowRiders – free surf simulators where you can try your hand at boogie boarding, or if you're brave enough to stand up, surf till you drop (literally) on one of the boards. Can't keep your balance for more than a second? You can book in for lessons and private sessions, costing from around £40.

Or whizz across a 10 deck gap on the ship's zip wire, where you're encouraged to scream as loud as you like. And there's two 43ft rock climbing walls, suitable for beginners to advanced level. All a bit energetic? Check out the yoga classes in the gym instead.

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

On dry land, a spa with 29 treatment rooms would be pretty impressive, so it's easy to forget you're on board a ship when you wander into the Vitality at Sea Spa. One word of warning – the cruise veterans know you need to get in quick, so if you don't snaffle one of the booking slots available online before you set sail, head straight down there after check in to avoid missing out.

The deep tissue Bamboo massage uses special bamboo sticks to get the knots out of your muscles, or you can try the Thai herb massage with scented massagers, as well as Bliss treatments, complete with a brownie and James Brown in the background rather than whale music. The thermal suite, including a Turkish-style hammam and aroma room, costs from around £20 for a day pass, and there's a private Rasul mud room for two, at around £60 per person.

Throw in a Japanese zen relaxation room, a three-month Brazilian blow-dry in the salon, teeth whitening, acupuncture and even Botox – and there's even something for the boys, with a special 'man cave' where they can book in for grooming treatments and enjoy the leather massage chairs.

Treatments are priced from around £50.

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

Cruise ships have a dodgy reputation for entertainment – all cheese and the kind of music to please a crowd of pensioners. Which is why you probably wouldn't expect a West End-quality musical for free in the 2,161-seat theatre. Or even that there would be a theatre... But you've got a choice of two shows on board, including hit musical Chicago and acrobatic dance show Blue Planet – featuring hidden trampolines and a 6,000lb mountain, which gets folded away overnight when the stage is transformed from one show to the other.

If you'd rather be performing yourself, there's karaoke in the On Air bar, live stand-up comedy, 3D movies, diving shows at the Aqua Theatre and ice shows on the ship's rink. And if you secretly love the DreamWorks films, there are characters from movies like Shrek and Madagascar parading around the ship. The Shrek ears are just for the kids though...

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

It takes around 10 minutes to walk from one end of the 360m 5cm ship to the other – and you'll be doing that several times a day as you explore and generally get lost (thankfully there's maps dotted all over the ship, including an interactive one to help guide you around).

Take a wander on the top deck as you look out across the sea, stopping for a break on a sun lounger along the way, or head to the Royal Promenade, with its string of shops, including bling at Guess Accessories and more subtle jewellery in Willow. If you don't have kids, you might want to give the busy Boardwalk a miss, but there's also quieter Central Park to explore.

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

With so many restaurants on board that you barely have to visit the same one twice, you could quite easily eat until you explode. And then go back for seconds. The menu changes every night in the main dining room, Adagio, which can seat around 3,000 over three floors – and the intricate planning behind the scenes in the galley means the chefs can cook 1,000 meals from scratch in 20 minutes! Best of all, unlike some ships where you're stuck with one dinner time all week, you can book in like a normal restaurant if you prefer – and there's no compulsory black tie, although feel free to pack a tiara if you want.

For a change of scene, you can also try one of the specialty restaurants on the ship, from super swanky 150 Central Park, with its six course gourmet tasting menu, where there's so much attention to detail you even get six different kinds of salt, to the Brazilian steakhouse Samba Grill and Izumi Asian Cuisine for a spot of sushi. Almost all food onboard is included, but there's an additional charge for these restaurants, and you'll need to book in advance.

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

Save a spare corner of your stomach for the Cupcake Cupboard shop on the Royal Promenade – each has a couple of inches of icing on top for near sugar overload. The cupcakes cost around £1 each.

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

Decisions decisions – there's a whopping 27 bars on board, from the chic champagne bar to a string of poolside options which mean you're never far from a cocktail. Don't miss a seat on Rising Tide, the world's first moving bar at sea, which travels up and down three decks, while you sit back with a drink and watch the world go by. Quite literally.

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

If you love your wine, there's a long list to choose from at Vintages bar – order from the menu on the iPads – while Rita's Cantina on the Boardwalk does fantastic margaritas, including a fruity Guavarita. Cruise measures are generous, so when you wander out swaying, it's probably not the ship that's to blame.

Drinks aren't included on board, but you can buy both soft drink and wine packages. Everything else is added to your bill by swiping your SeaPass card, which doubles as your room key. On the plus side, you don't need to worry about having enough dollars on you, on the downside, it's easy to keep swiping late into the night...

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

There are two clubs to throw a few moves in, depending what music you fancy – Blaze, with its flame doors, is first stop for R'n'B and some of the latest hits. But before long, you'll find yourself giving in to the nostalgia of Dazzles, where the themed 80s and 90s nights might seem cheesy at first, until you realise you can't quite seem to leave the dancefloor.

If salsa's more your style, Latin dance club Boleros is perfect for showing off some fancy footwork. Rose between your teeth optional.

Starter for 10: Allure of the Seas

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