We have just returned from a 12 night cruise on the Jewel of the Seas cruising the Baltic and St Petersburg. This was my birthday wish to see these exciting ports of call. We are Crown& Anchor Diamond Plus members and always look first to RCCL for excellent itineraries.
We arrived at Harwich and found the VIP area for check-in was closed. When ask why they would close this area 2 hours before ship departure, the manager said they wish to pack up their equipment early so they could leave early. This was not acceptable and several VIP members got very upset when told we would all have to get in the regular line behind the 30+ people who had just arrived by bus. Is this the way to treat a RCCL VIP?
The balcony cabin was a big disappointment. The cabin was very small and the closets so tiny the clothes hangers hit the closet door when closed. Worst balcony I've ever had. It was 41 sq. feet, shaped like a triangle, the 2 deck chairs took up all the room on the balcony. It protrude about 4 feet in front of the other balcony, which were aft of our balcony and we faced aft with a view of the entire side of the ship with no overhead covering and no privacy. We were told by guest services that there are 6 cabins like this on the Jewel of the Seas. Passengers should be alerted to the fact that it is a very strange design balcony and there is not enough room to eat outside. The cabin vanity chair material was very worn and dirty. It had actually come loose from the back of the chair. I ask the cabin attendant for a new chair, which she replaced the next day.
The food was excellent but not up the standards of a few years ago. RCCL has cut back on the quality of their menu. Our dining room waiter, Ray, was suburb! He was friendly, very professional, and very attentive. He is a true asset to RCCL.
Several disappointments regarding the Excursion! We took an excursion in each port. Always check your on board account to confirm the charges for each tour. We found several mistakes on our account. They were corrected promptly when we contacted guest services.
We really enjoyed St Petersburgh, thanks mainly to two full day at this port. We visited the Hermitage Museum, a Russian Ballet (Swan Lake), and the Peterhof Parks and Fountains. All of these were excellent. Another excellent tour was in Helsinki, Finland. The lunch at the horse farm was fantastic and the horses beautiful. The 100 year old house was beautiful and they made us feel at home.
The tour in Gothenburg, Sweden was a disappointment. The tour guide did not take us to the sites we paid for. We (15+ of us) showed the tour guide our RCCL excursion brochure and she said it was not the instructions she was given. After we return to the ship we all went to the excursion desk and she were rude and said she would call us each individually in our cabins lately. She would not talk to us as a group. Later they gave us a 50% refund. Many of us would not have taken this excursion at all if we had known what sites they plan to take us to. We should have received 100% refund. It would be wise to always take your excursion brochure with you to be sure you visit the sites you pay to visit. Several tour guides seem to make up their own itinerary. In Stockholm we were rushed through the VASA Museum and did not get to see much of this 17th century reconstructed ship that sank on her maiden voyage as she left the harbor. We had no time to shop for souvenir as the brochure stated there would be. We were rushed from site to site on each tour.
Thanks to the captain for remembering our American veterans on May 28, Memorial Day. His talks from the bridge and in from all areas of the ship was always friendly and informative. We hope to join him again on another cruise in the future. This ship is a smooth and quiet running machine. Almost no rocking motion on this voyage.
Thanks to the captain, James MacDonald and his staff for a wonderful birthday dream cruise.