This was our second time on the Jewel, and once again left the ship concluding that the Radiance class of ship, is by far the best class available on RCCL, and the Jewel's collection of staff, cast & crew are among it's finest.
Harwich works brilliantly as a Cruise Terminal, it's not an all-singing, all-dancing airport style facility, but it is staffed by friendly, well trained efficient staff, who had us boarding the ship within 10 minutes of arriving. The terminal is VERY easy to find, as it's the first thing you see on driving into the town.
Even though the ship was at full capacity, never were the public spaces over crowded, and all but one of the lounge/bars overlook the ocean. Now forgive me for being cynical, but surely being on a cruise ship is all about being able to see the sea? The Jewel's rooms do this beautifully, allowing for huge sea vistas at every available opportunity. The sunsets are just incredible, and this ship allows every draw dropping moment of a day at sea to be visible - whilst supping on a cocktail!
We had an Oceanview, which was more than adequate and quite lovely just to watch the sea rushing past the large window over the bed. The wardrobe space was great and the room attendant 'Robert" was very professional and thorough in his duties. The televisions ARE old and could do with a little attention, but I believe that this will happen sooner rather than later.
Fitness & Recreation:
A great, well equipped gym with excellent modern facilities. They all functioned well and I only saw 1 machine with an 'out of order' sign on it.
The gym is very busy at the usual times 0930-1100, Sea days and evenings around 5pm.
The Spin classes were signed up FULL very early on, which is a shame as I missed the sign up day. I think the company, staff and guests could benefit from more 'classes' such as Body Pump, Attack and/or Balance. They are recognisable around the world, would generate money and be a popular addition if a small charge was levied. Instead there are only expensive options available for an enchanted fitness experience.
SO many options. Room service was great this time around, I think the secret is keeping the breakfast order simple! We liked to tip a dollar or two when it came the first time round, maybe the word got round and that is why we had such an accurate service!
The Windjammer was super, offering lots of options and SPACIOUS beyond any of her larger ships equivalent. The back deck was LOVELY and the service here, again, was excellent. We tended to avoid breakfast at the Windjammer, but enjoyed a few casual evenings, I am OBSESSED with Herring, and it's down to the offerings on the Jewel!
Main Dining Room. Again, great service and plenty of variety. The staff were the most attentive of any cruise we've experienced. Lunch was always something to look forward to on the days at Sea. The styling of the dining room could do with a LITTLE refurb, just to keep up with her competition. The chairs are kinda ugly, and ALL dining rooms would benefit from a good chandelier, which sadly the Jewel lacks. Other than that, A+.
Portofino's & Chops. We are big fans of these restaurants and used them 3 times. Chops offers outstanding quality and value for money, with STUNNING ocean views, as does Portofinos. I LOVE these restaurants and suggest that EVERYONE try and book them at least once whilst on board.
Seriously, this was RCCL's finest offerings. I cannot fault one show, one moment, or one staff member. We were a LITTLE worried when the opening show included a world-record holding hula-hooper, but even this show turned into a belter, and they just got better and better.
The cast, RCCL's singers & dancer are excellent, and could take on any show in any location around the world. We come from a theatrical background and struggled to find ANYTHING to fault. the Dance Captain gave 120% which obviously inspired and influenced the rest of the cast to achieve perfection. The audience were on their feet after every show.
The Cruise Staff were VERY visible and seemed to work very well and charmed all the guests into loving them. Rarely have I seen a Cruise Director SO visible and SO attentive. Clodagh O'Connor worked tirelessly and appeared everywhere and appealing to everyone. Her Irish charm works a treat, we loved her, and so did her other guests, the atmosphere she creates is enviable. Her performance during the 70"s dance routine was a stand out moment of the cruise!
Becky - the Activities Manager was also one of the best we've seen, working seamlessly with "Hello Clo" and we really enjoyed their comedy and obvious friendship on the Morning Show played on the stateroom television channel.
Thankfully we had little reason to contact Guest Services, due to everything going to plan. We heard of very few complaints and very few reasons for guests to request any urgent assistance.
We did see the Hotel Director playing a very visible role onboard the Ship, and for this he should be commended, as he seemed well liked, popular and respected from all who met him.
The service atmosphere on the ship is relaxed, professional and attentive. This must start from the upper management and filter down, and for this I give them great credit. Thank you crew and staff for an incredible holiday experience!.
Lee Cowell, the English Barman in the PitStop was a REAL charmer and had guests eating out of his hands. He seemed to know everyones names, know what they drank and showed real care and interest in his drinking guests. Thank you Lee for making u feel welcome, special and 'part of the bar'. You deserve much praise and credit.
We THOROUGHLY recommend this ship, this class and the people who work on her. Stand out features are the public areas, the glass/windows, the Cruise Director and her staff, and of course the cast and entertainment. Please keep up the great work and leave other ships and companies following in your wake!