We just returned from our 7 night cruise on the Jewel. In general, we had a great time. I would recommend the ship and the itinerary. Some specifics:
1. First time on Royal Caribbean (RC). Overall, this was not too different from our prior cruise on the Carnival Legend.
2. We loved the nightly shows and also most of the bands that played in the smaller venues. The Suave band was very good. The disco celebration in the Centrum was outstanding. Don't miss the Quest...hilarious. Our venues filled up early....
3. We experienced several problems and, in most part, management quickly responded.
4. We loved dining in both Chops and Portofino. Highly recommended.
5. We were a bit disappointed with dinners in the main dining room. Frankly, we thought that Carnival did a better job. We also had early seating at 5:30 pm. This was too early. It interfered with participation in the Sail Away and made us rush our on-shore activities.
6. We had a junior suite on Deck 10 just under the towel stand at the pool. The room was very nice but the noise from set up on the pool deck began at 5:00 am every day. We complained but the noise went on. A balcony room on Deck 9 would have been a better choice!
7. Check out all of the bars and lounges. We tried the Chanpagne Bar late in the cruise and enjoyed the free caviar.
8. The Best of Portland and Kennebunkport (booked with RC) excursion was good. Kennebunkport has beautiful homes and nice shops. I recommend the lobster roll at the Clam Shack near the bridge.
9. The bike excursion in Acadia (booked with RC) was disappointing. There was a very steep hill at the start (and end); we only saw one bridge. After the trip, we ate lunch at Side Street Cafe. Another lobster roll. Highly recommended! Also, do not miss the Bar Harbor Brewing Company (microbrewery).
10. In Saint John, we did the Freedom Tours Fundy Coast to Fundy Shore trip. Saw the reversing falls flowing in both directions and saw the caves in Saint Martin. Do not miss the chowder at the restaurant at the caves. A good trip.
11. In Halifax, we went to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg with Les Daurie of Halifax Taxi Tours. An excellent trip. I wish that we had more time in Lunenburg (and I wish that it had been sunny and not raining).
12. The port in Boston was easy to use. We stayed at the Marriot Long Wharf before the cruise, enjoyed dinner at Trattoria di Monica in the North End and parked in the Black Falcon garage. If you have the time and interest, do not miss the New Balance Factory Store in Boston. It goes back 30+ years and has great deals.
13. This year, mid September was too early for fall foliage. If you are going in early October...it will be prime time.
14. Very disappointed with limited TV channels. No current US news, weather or sports. Three day old reruns of football games gets old fast.