Allure of the Seas Arrives

ALLURE OF THE SEAS has arrived. Lisa Bauer and Captain Hernan Zini have chronicled the crossing in their blog and webisodes respectively. It has been an unusually smooth crossing in many ways. The first is literal. The seas were very calm and — while they had to deviate twice to skirt around some Atlantic storms — the seas were smooth and easy. In addition, the calm waters made it easier for the crew to complete all their prep work. Operating equipment needed to be checked out, rehearsals organized, and generally the ship prepared for the public. The smooth crossing helped but so did the fact that the ship was so complete at delivery. One indicator of how smooth the crossing was is the fact that the ship used 700 tons (185,000 gal) less fuel than OASIS did on her crossing (and I don’t think that had anything to do with Hernan’s claim that ALLURE is lighter and longer than OASIS).
But safety first and the crossing was filled with safety drills, drills and more drills. In fact, they calculated that more than 20,000 man-hours was devoted to safety training and that it meant the crew had to walk 7,000 kilometers as part of the drills.

The smooth crossing also gave the ship time to stop in Freeport and undertake testing and calibration of the Dynamic Positioning System (“DPS”). The DPS allows the ship to navigate easily in areas where smaller but less maneuverable ships can’t go. It also allows the ship to remain in one place without an anchor. This capability is very powerful. It avoids the danger to coral reefs that anchoring can present and allows the ship to “station-keep” in one spot better and more accurately than normal anchoring. For thousands of years, ships have weather-vaned around a long anchor chain, moving with the wind. With DP, we can remain fixed within a few feet without any physical link to the ocean floor.

I strongly considered going to Freeport and joining the ship for the last night of it’s crossing but decided against it. Instead, I went up to John L. Lloyd State Park in Ft Lauderdale to greet her when she arrived. It was a beautiful morning. I arrived during darkness and watched a magnificent sunrise silhouette the ALLURE waiting on the horizon. Someone told me that it had been cold and damp last year for the OASIS arrival but I said that my only memory was how wonderful it had been.

Nova Southeastern University had graciously invited a number of our people and other interested parties to watch the arrival from their facility on the harbor. The location was also the site of Nova Southeastern’s new Oceanographic Lab which has been designed to especially study Coral Reefs. My only jealousy is the fact that their construction period is so much shorter than ours.

Finally, I got to board the ship. I went by the warehouse storing all the plants for Central Park. It was impressive to see just how many plants there were, how varied they were and how well organized they were. It was also impressive to see the veritable army of people in uniform waiting to board. Police, CBP, USCG, and an alphabet soup of other agencies making sure that everything was up to snuff. I also met Harri Kulovaara and together we went to the ship. After US Customs and Border Patrol cleared the ship, we went up the gangway where Raymond Gschaider, the Hotel Director, and Julie Sherrington, the Guest Relations Manager were there to greet us with warm and happy smiles. I went through security and then down I-95 (our name for the main “street” for the crew that runs the entire length of the ship and gives access to all points along the way). It was buzzing with the excitement of finally arriving in South Florida and preparations for the onslaught of interested parties. I was humbled by how excited they all were and how warmly they greeted me as I made my way down the long thoroughfare. Everyone seemed to be rushing somewhere, but I was slow because there were just too many people to greet and celebrate with.

Finally we made it to the conference room where we did the debriefing. This is usually a long process of reviewing the outstanding issues and review the plans for dealing with them. Here, it was a breeze. The whole meeting lasted only a short time and consisted mostly of positive reports from all.

The immediate priority was preparing for the US Coast Guard inspection and the US Public Health inspection. Both had had earlier inspections in Finland, but this was the ultimate test. And Hernan knew they were coming prepared to be especially thorough. The ship has attracted a great deal of attention and he knew that the authorities were not going to take any shortcuts. In the end, the training paid off. By Friday night, we knew that the Coast Guard not only passed the ship, but gave it not a single comment; remarkable for a space of over 1.25 million square feet and a crew of 2,200 people.

Then Friday night, we had the great honor of hosting the Chairman’s Gala celebrating the commissioning of the guided missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham on Saturday. Jason Dunham was a United States Marine who sacrificed his own life in Iraq by jumping onto a live grenade to save his comrades. His sacrifice was instantaneous (not a lot of decision time when a grenade is on the ground at your friends’ feet) and heroic. Very much in the finest traditions of the U.S. Marine Corps. And very much deserving of the Congressional Medal of Honor which his parents accepted posthumously on his behalf. The reception was a wonderful way to honor his valor and the commissioning of the vessel named in his honor. In attendance were his parents, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Commander of the Second Fleet and the Captain of the destroyer. I have never felt so protected.

That evening, I also had a chance to walk through Central Park. It was a pleasant evening and the bulk of the plantings were already installed. It went much smoother than last time because (a) it’s always easier the second time, (b) the boxes were better configured so they needed fewer adjustments and (c) the plants had been better organized and prepped so they were lusher and moister.

Finally, the ALLURE OF THE SEAS and the OASIS OF THE SEAS crossed paths as OASIS left port and ALLURE returned to her berth at the port. Since they are normally in on Saturday and Sunday respectively, this is the first and may be the last time they do so.  See photo attached.

13 Responses to “Allure of the Seas Arrives”

  1. Michael H says:

    Thank you for the update Richard. I was wondering if Allure will be getting the solar panels that Oasis has atop her viking crown? They seem to be missingin the aerial photos of Allure. Is it planned that Allure will receive them? Regardless, she looks beautiful and we can’t wait to board her on December 1st.

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  2. Beth says:

    My husband, daugther and I are greatly looking forward to Allure’s inaugural sailing in just a few short weeks. There are so many things to do and see onboard, we’re not sure we’ll be able to do everything. We may have to come back for a second round! We’re looking forward to trying out the new dining options, particularly Samba Grill. Although I do not eat meat, I have read that there are seafood offerings and a completely vegetarian option. Will similar options be made available at the Boardwalk Dog House? I’m hoping that veggie dogs will be offered there because I would hate be excluded from such a quick, appealing, no-charge dining option simply because I don’t eat meat!

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  3. dominiquelavigueur says:

    I can’t get enough of her.
    Can’t wait to go in January with friends from Europe.
    They saw all the news from their side of the pond as well.
    How exciting for everyone involved.
    I had tears in my eyes just watching pictures and videos. I can imagine how everyone on sight felt
    Dominique

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  4. Carol and Heather says:

    I was glued to the crossing and arrival of Oasis of the Seas last Oct/Nov and had the best time on her Innagural cruise last Dec that we decided
    that we needed to come back for Allures Extavaganza cruise this Dec. to finish seeing what we missed on the Oasis of the Seas. Again I followed the crossing of Allure of the Seas and especially liked the video of the 2 ships out at sea together and knowing that we can say the we have experienced the WOW on the 2 largest cruise ships. Originally we were only going to do the Dec.1st cruise only but have decided to stay on for another week. I think it was the addition of the Mexican Cantina restaurant and especially the appearance of Shrek that made us stay on.
    Congratulations and we will see on board Dec.1st. Happy to see that Ken Rush will be on Allure of the Seas.
    I was also wondering if it is possible to bring items for the people in Labadee who need clothing etc. and how they would receive it.

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  5. Neal says:

    We can’t wait and will be going without the kids for the initial 5 day then again with them in January. What a beautiful ship

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  6. It will be a great pleasure for me to get a job in this ship. Is it possible Chairmans?

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  7. Greg & Tina F says:

    The update is appreciated and we’re very excited to board and explore her on December 1st! We’ve been watching the progress with enthusiasm and were in awe of the video of the Storebaelt Bridge clearing. I’ve been asked many times where we are going on this inaugural cruise and I tell them…Haiti. Raises a lot of questions and eyebrows, but we’re excited. Seems to me there is a lot of ignorance out there surrounding what RCI does for Haiti. To help give back even more, we wondered if it wasn’t too late to organize a passenger volunteer effort to help with either the recently opened school or to assist the other parts of Haiti currently battling the cholera epidemic? Seems this would really add to the inaugural experience and make it count in even more ways.

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  8. Bob Green says:

    What an amazing vessel! Cruise ships such as this one has always fascinated me. I hope that one day I’ll be able to enjoy a cruise on such a grand ship!

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  9. Louise DeBrino says:

    Great ship – looking forward to going in January – been on the Oasis and loved it.

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  10. JACKIE says:

    We were two of the more than 6000 fortunate passengers to witness the passing of the Oasis and Allure. We were on the November 13th cruise of Oasis. What a wonderful site and feeling to see two such magnificent ships passing at sunset. Talk about “goosebumps”. It was really a “WOW” experience.

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  11. news33 says:

    i am going on the allure my family is very excited my son loves cruises he has a cruise review website he has been on six this will be his 7th he is only 11 its called kidcruiser.wordpress.com

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