Tons Of Fun (225,282 tons, in fact) For Families: With My Kids On Allure Of The Seas, A Day At The Boardwalk

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A day at the Boardwalk on Allure of the Seas, Ralph Grizzle, editor of Avid Cruiser, with his Avid Cruisers in training, Alex and Britton

In a way, I wish I had waited to cruise with my kids on Allure of the Seas. Had I done so, I would have been tempted to bring along some of their friends, because today Royal Caribbean announced a special offer for families: Book up to three staterooms for summer sailings (June, July and August) and receive a $600 on-board spending credit. That credit could have gone a long way toward paying for shore excursions, spa treatments and the like.

But as it was, I cruised with Alex, 14, and Britton, 15 going on 25, during the Thanksgiving holidays. Rarely have we had such a peaceful and relaxed Thanksgiving. No stress to cook and clean up. And yes, of course, we dined on traditional turkey, stuffing and the trimmings.

Initially, the kids were disappointed when I told them that our stateroom did not face the sea. But when they walked out onto the balcony of our stateroom overlooking the Boardwalk, their disappointed dissipated.

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Britton loved the Carousel

Britton enjoyed Johnny Rockets, the Boardwalk Donut Shop, the Carousel and Smile, a novelty photograph shop where we spent at least an hour one evening dressing in outlandish costumes as the photographer snapped away. We laugh a lot as it is, but some of the costumers had us doubling over with laughter.

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Alex is the active type, with rock walls to climb, lines to zipped along and waves to be surfed.

Alex loved the Ice Cream Parlor and the Boardwalk Dog House, which specializes in wieners, bratwursts and sausages. But he spent most of his time burning calories boogie-boarding, surfing, ziplining and rock-climbing.

There are, of course, other companies that specialize in family cruising. Disney has its Dream, and Carnival has its Magic (soon), but for us Royal Caribbean had something that went just a little further: Allure. And to think, we had six more neighborhoods to explore.

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