I’ll be notching up a personal first this week during my visit to Allure of the Seas. Not if I end up clad in a pair of tights alongside the stars of Chicago, which is what a disturbing number of you want to see, because I was photographed wearing tights many years ago – in the line of duty, I hasten to add.
The personal landmark comes because it will be the first time I will have stayed in a cabin (sorry, stateroom) with a balcony which does NOT look out to sea.
During countless cruises I have been allocated suites with ocean-view verandahs facing to port and starboard. I’ve had balconies at the stern, facing aft, and there have been balconies with the view obstructed by lifeboats and other equipment. I have had cabins with only a window from which to watch the waves, and on one memorable occasion, I stayed in a palatial suite with views over the bow (but no balcony).
I have even heard tell of cabins with neither balconies nor windows. Apparently those on Disney Dream, which have a magic porthole showing a television image of the view from the ship, are so popular that guests have turned down offers of upgrades because they would rather live in a virtual world than the real one. But I digress.
As well as offering ever-changing views of the sea and the sky, most balconies provide a degree of privacy – although some can be overlooked from above. They are the perfect place to relax, wrapped in a soft white bathrobe after my pre-dinner shower, and sipping a tumbler of gin and tonic or a glass of brutally-chilled Chardonnay.
Cruise ship folklore has it that some couples enjoy intimate moments together on their balconies, but we’ll draw a veil over whether that is anything I have indulged in or witnessed.
On Allure, my balcony will overlook Central Park, an open-air atrium in the centre of the ship, filled with 12,000 plants and trees. I will be facing ranks of glass-walled balconies across the other side of the park, so I’d better remember to draw my curtains in the evening, and be careful to cover up before indulging in my early-morning exercises.
I was intrigued by the internal balconies on sister ship Oasis last year, but then I was looking up from the park’s pathways and the cafe terrace, or looking down from the pool deck above. Now I get the chance to partake of the full balcony experience.
I’ll miss my sea view, but at least I won’t have a Boardwalk balcony, with the sounds of the carousel and the aromas of the sausages cooking in the Dog House drifting up towards me.
I’ll let you know next week what I think of ship life among the leaves.
Read our review of the Disney Dream here
See how the Disney Dream compares with other ship in operation today here
Read more about John Honeywell’s experience of the Disney Dream conveyance here
Read further info and view the construction of the Disney Dream here