We flew from Manchester (England) to Newark Liberty Airport then onto Boston Logan Airport where we stayed a night in the Westin Waterfront Hotel before embarking the ship the following day (All included in the cruise price).
We was originally booked to stay in the Hyatt harbourside hotel but 1 week before the cruise we received a call to say that our hotel had been changed to the 5* Westin Waterfront Hotel. Which it turns out was a better deal because the Westin hotel is on the same side as Boston where as the Hyatt Hotel was across the water! We arrived at about 6pm, checked into our room and decided to head into Boston, taxi's are available outside the hotel and only cos us $11 dollars to Beacon Hill (10-15 minute drive). I strongly recommend visiting the Cheer's bar on Beacon Street if you was ever a fan of the TV show Cheer's.
Breakfast at the hotel was quite pricey but unless you want to go hungry you have no choice but to pay. It was $23 per person for the gourmet buffet (includes hot food) or $14 for the cold buffet, or you could order from their a la carte menu.
We got a coach from the Westin hotel to the cruise port where we overheard the coach driver complaining that everybody had brought a suitcase to put on the coach, hmmm i wonder why everyone has brought a suitcase?
We got off the coach to be put in a ginormous queue for about 45 mins in order to give your luggage to the porters. I think it took so long because people who had come by car we allowed to jump the whole queue!!
After the long queue everything ran much smoother and we were embarked on the ship in no time.
The jewel of the seas is a fairly large vessel but not one of the biggest that we have sailed on. She is a nice size and easy to find your way around. Although i still don't think we saw all of the ship in the week that we were on board.
Jewel of the seas has 1 main restaurant, 1 buffet restaurant and 2 restaurants where you have to pay extra. It also has a theatre, cinema, casino, many many bars, pools, gym, spa, pretty much all of your standard cruise ship facilities and a rock climbing wall!
The staff on board were all very friendly, approachable and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they was all very professional. The staff at the guest relations desk was always able to answer your queries. The bar staff; especially in the Schooner Bar always remembered you and what drinks you wanted and as soon as they saw you with the drinks menu in hand they would be straight over. The waiters and cabin stewards we also all excellent.
We stayed in a 3 berth cabin with a pull down bed for the third person. I was hoping there was going to be a sofa bed as some cabins have sofa beds for the third person but it wasn't so bad. There was also a small sofa to sit on in the day time which was a bonus because you normally just have to sit on your bed. We had a balcony which is great if you fancy a bit of peace and quiet away from the busy public decks. We also had a tv, minibar and plenty of storage space within our cabin. However there was no tea and coffee making facilities.
The cabin steward took good care of us and made our room twice a day and even took the extra effort to fold our clothes up and tidy the cabin each day.
Breakfast; You could eat either in the restaurant or in the windjammer buffet restaurant. We always chose to eat in the windjammer which had a wide range of choice. They served things like; cereals, cooked breakfasts, omelettes, toast, pancakes, waffles, fruit and danish pastries.
we ate lunch on land every day apart from the 2 sea days.
On a sea day you can eat in both the restaurant and windjammer but only in the windjammer on port days. We ate in the windjammer on the first sea day and the food was excellent, they served a bit of everything, american, Italian, Indian etc.
On the 2nd sea day we tried the restaurant, big mistake, we got put on a table with 9 other people, you could go to the salad bar for your starter or main or choose from the very limited menu for your main. The service was extremely slow, i left the place still hungry as i think my food had already digested! it took us 2hrs 30mins to have lunch, absolutely ridiculous. My mum just had the salad bar for her main which she was allowed to get at the same time we had our starters which meant she had to wait over an hour for her dessert! i wouldn't bother with the restaurant, stick to the windjammer, you can take as little or as long as you like!
We ate in the Tides dining room every night and had an excellent waiter and waitress who had all the time in the world for you. As well as just taking your orders and delivering your food they interacted with you, told you stories and made jokes etc. We enjoyed this as it made it much more personal and memorable. I have been on some cruises were the waiters never really spoke to you and just slapped your food down on the table. There was also a good vegetarian choice on the menu with at least 2 vegetarian options each night.
We only went to see one show in the theatre as all of the other shows were before dinner and we didn't fancy that. The show we saw was called From West End to Broadway. As a musical theatre lover i was excited about the show and thought it would be enjoyable. Oh how wrong i was. Some songs were ok, but they completely ruined 'my favourite things' from the sound of music by doing a hip-hop version. absolutely atrocious. They also ruined 'Aquarius' from Hair by giving it a techno remix. Another thing, they poorly attempted 2 songs from Les Miserables. Well i say 2 songs, they disgustingly arranged 'On my own' and 'Bring him home' together. It was torture to my ears. I think Boublil and Schonberg would have been appalled as i certainly was! Eponine was singing parts from 'bring him home' as well, i honestly don't know what the director and M.D were thinking when they did this show. People should leave Les Miserables how it is. Even the costumes were so wrong! Eponine was wearing blue, what poor people in the 1800s in France can afford to wear the colour blue? also Jean Valjean's outfit; I've never seen anything like it. He looked more like Aladdin. Outrageous.
After much disappointment with the show i was pretty fed up trying to find an entertaining bar until i heard the beautiful piano melodies of Katie Guglielmo in the Schooner Bar. We enjoyed Katie that much we went to see her almost every night. Lots of other people loved her too as the same crowd came back each night. She was outstanding, she would play wonderful piano melodies and also some comedic songs, in fact she played anything and everything from broadway, the west end, elton john, frank sinatra, anything! you name it and she would play it for you. We got chance to talk to her after her set one evening and much to my surprise i learned that she isn't classically trained although her standard is that high she honestly sounds like she is! We got chatting about musical theatre and on the last night she played me 3 songs from Les Miserables which was fantastic! what a fabulous and talented woman! she sure knew how to work an audience and made it personal to everyone every night. Katie Guglielmo: look out for her if she is on your cruise you have to go and see her!
on other nights in the theatre they had comedians and guest singers, and in the safari club they had singers and various game shows which you could partake in.
Because we was from the u.k we had to go through u.s immigration on the ship and you had to be there for 6.45am way earlier than i can handle i tell you! luckily there was orange juice, coffee and pastries to see us through! it took just over an hour for us to get through as it didn't start when it should have.
Disembarkation was fairly simple. we had to put our cases out at 11pm the night before. We had booked an excursion for Boston on the last day so we disembarked with the tour group, picked out cases up from the dock side and put them on the excursion coach as it had airport drop off.