A great escape from work, a wonderful ship, and a great port
I have been on many cruises before and this was my 3rd Royal Caribbean cruise. We have taken this itinerary before, but never on the Jewel of the Seas. We parked with Capital Parking on Harbor Island, $7/day vs. $15/day port parking. They provided a free short 5 minute shuttle ride to the ship. We arrived at the ship about 12:25 and boarded about 12:45 PM. Very quick lines! We has some cruise virgins with us, so it was enjoyable showing them around the ship and seeing that "WOW" in their eyes as they experienced this amazing ship. The ship was in excellent shape, and the activities were enjoyable. The Cruise Director, Dennis Charles,did an excellent job at all the various activities.
We chose the "My Time Dining" option and pre-reserved our times online a few weeks before the cruise. We booked a later dining time when leaving Tampa & Cozumel so we could watch the ship leave port and go under the Sunshine Skyway bridge. We reserved 5:45 dining time on our days at sea so we weren't rushed to see the shows and evening activities. Each evening, when leaving the dining room, we reserved the same table and same waiter for dinner the following night. This flexibility in times was wonderful and having the same staff every night was great.
The staff of the Jewel of the Seas were outstanding. There were no problems, and we were absolutely thrilled with this cruise. Don't miss the 1970's disco party in the lobby. Dennis and the dancers were absolutely fabulous in this "show".
Upon returning home, we called Capital Parking, and they were at the port in about 15 minutes to pick us up and take us back to the car. High marks for them as well!