The night before our cruise, we stayed at the Chase Suites in Tampa because they offer free cruise parking as well as a shuttle to and from port. Decent hotel, great shuttle driver, safe location to leave the car without paying $15 or more per day. Win/win situation. We had a choice of 10:30 am or 11:30 am shuttle. We chose the 10:30. We were able to get on the ship about 10:45. Yay! Time to explore without tripping over 2,000+ people. However, we wish we could have gotten into our room before 1 pm to change into our swim suit or put down our carry on bag. Nevertheless...
The Windjammer was better than I expected. The food was actually pretty good! In the evenings, they had many of the items from the main dining room menu, as well as freshly made sushi (not to order). For the most part, the Windjammer served the same items for breakfast each day, for lunch each day, & for dinner each day. As a minor annoyance, when you walked into the Windjammer, in addition to the hand sanitizer dispensers, there was an employee standing at the entrance with a bag of sanitizer to squirt you as soon as you approached.
MAIN DINING ROOM-
The food in the main dining room was OK. Nothing to write home about. They never served anything "special" (escargot, lobster, calamari, etc). The Prime Rib on the 1st night was HORRIBLE!! My husband ordered his RARE and it was cooked OVER WELL DONE. My fish was also overcooked. The New York Strip was actually cooked correctly, but was so fatty and had so much gristle you could barely eat it.
Only good thing I have to say about it is thank goodness it was free or I would have been ticked. Orders always took 45+ minutes to arrive. I attempted to order by their "preferred" method of the interactive TV one night. I received a confirmation on the screen, but after an hour and no food, I called and they said "we didn't get your order. If you don't get a confirmation call in 5 minutes call us." No offer to fix it, no apologies, nothing. Burgers were cooked to hockey pucks and were not delivered as ordered. I tried to get just pineapple, but was told I had to get the full fruit plate & throw away what I didn't want.
OMG. Best part of the cruise. MUST try!!! Food was heaven! Especially the Tiramisu and B52 shot for dessert! Yum! My mouth is watering thinking about it!!! Definitely worth the $20 upcharge!!!!
One evening, we went to one of the later activities and wanted a snack after. It was around 11 pm. Windjammer was closed. We finally found the Seaview Cafe. You have to go through a line (with ~50 people in front of you) with 1 person dishing up orders. The choices: dried out cheese or pepperoni pizza, hot dog, or pre-made sub. Cookie. That's it.
They had a poolside taco bar one afternoon that was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!! Yummy light, crispy homemade tortilla chips with all the fixings!! Yum!
Beautiful!! Loved the adults only pool & hot tub, though you had to fight for a lounge chair. Rooms were decent. WAY too many kids running around for my tastes. The movie theater was a nice addition, but popcorn would have been a welcome addition!
My biggest disappointment. None of the staff was rude, though very few were actually friendly or helpful. The mindset seemed to be "what do you want me to do about _____________ (fill in request, issue, problem, etc)." Not at all what I expected from RC!!! The staff just seemed to be there. They didn't try to learn your name, go above and beyond, etc... EXCEPTIONS- Our stateroom attendant, Marlon from Trinidad & Tobago was SUPERB!!! If you go on this ship, try to get him. He is PHENOMENAL!!! John, our assistant waiter was really good. Nicardo from Jamaica on the cruise director's staff was a joy! The cruse director was dull and lifeless...
Overall, this sailing was good, but by no means exceptional. I would probably choose the Monarch of the Seas before going on Jewel again. Yes, the Monarch is older and smaller, but the staff makes it!!!
I wish there had been more Easter events for adults. Church services were at 8:00, then nothing else for adults. No Easter egg hunt, no ham dinner, no Easter basket, no egg dying (even for the kids!).