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  20 May 2015 posted on 20/05/2015 09:09

Cruising Allure

One glimpse on board the US$1.5-billion Allure of the Seas – the world’s largest cruise ship – and it is easy to flip this well-known adage on its head.

With a neck-straining 16 decks, 20 restaurants and 21 swimming pools and Jacuzzis, the journey on the Royal Caribbean’s newly launched ship fast becomes the destination itself. Little wonder that the vessel is already a magnet for celebrities, from Katie Holmes and her daughter Suri Cruise to Adam Sandler and Taylor Swift. It is even the focal point of short films starring veteran actor James Brolin and Jenny McCarthy.

It is only 11.30 this morning, and I have already had a game of table tennis, survived a ride on the Zip Line – where you ‘fly’ along while attached to a cable high above the lively Boardwalk – and stood up on the FlowRider, an ingenious, never-ending wave that allows you carve a Malibu board while taking in the views at the back of this 360-meter-long behemoth currently a few miles from the Miami skyline.

Later this afternoon I will luxuriate over a (well-deserved) mango vitality drink paired with a cup of jasmine-infused tea after a facial at the spa, catch a 3-D movie (How to Train Your Dragon), dine on delicious jumbo shrimp and tiramisu at the elegant Italian restaurant, Giovanni’s Table, and take in the razzle dazzle of the Broadway and West End musical hit, Chicago, in the 1,380-seat Amber Theater.

From the high board of the 17-feet-deep AquaTheater where performers dive expertly from nosebleed-high 10-meter boards to the high kicks of these resident shows (another wow factor includes the acrobatic Blue Planet, and rink-side adventure Ice Games – yes, there’s an ice rink on board), Allure of the Seas is a veritable high-jinx-on-the-high-seas experience. The truth is your gaze is so fixed on what is happening inside, only the midday sea reports from the suave Captain Hernán Zini remind you that the ship is actually cruising across the ocean at 22 knots.

My cabin – a decent size complete with a television, shower and balcony (found in most state rooms; there are also impressive suites available) – overlooks the New York-inspired oasis that is Central Park. The kaleidoscopic mix of 12,000 highland and coastal sub-tropical plants along with sing-song birds is so impressive it warrants that rare staff requirement: the actual position of Cruise Ship Horticulturalist. From calla lilies and Cuban laurel to cherry of the Rio Grande to Clerodendron thompsoniae, who knew a vessel could be quite this verdant so many miles from shore? The fact that it is open to the sky – like many other parts of the ship – helps to make this journey so light and airy.

Flanking the greenery are various stores – one featuring the pictures of internationally hailed pop-culture artist Romero Britto, whose work includes an 18-feet-tall Merlion on Singapore’s Sentosa Island – as well as the high-octane restaurant, 150 Central Park, where Molly Brandt, winner of the Allure of the Seas Culinary Challenge co-hosted with The Culinary Institute of America, is at the helm.


by Lucy Hyslop (
Pictures courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Cruising Allure
Cruising Allure
Cruising Allure
Cruising Allure
Cruising Allure

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