We flew to London on Monday and stayed at the Westminster Hilton Doubletree Hotel, which included a bus ride to the port in Harwich on Friday morning. The hotel was reasonably priced, and in an excellent location. The "hop on hop off" bus was only two blocks away, and Parliament, and Buckingham Palace within reasonable walking distance. We even found a launderette a few blocks away to do some laundry before our 16-day cruise.
The bus ride brought us to the dock around noon, and even with a large bus groups arriving at that time we were on the ship in 45 minutes. After lunch at the Windjammer our cabins were ready. This was our second trip on the Jewel of the Seas, and we were very happy to be back on this beautiful ship. We saw many familiar faces in the crew, including Murat who was our waiter again, along with Nazareth assistant waiter. My husband and I cannot say enough great things about them. Rosa, Guest Services Manager, is a warm presence all around the ship, always helpful and pleasant. The whole crew on this ship is outstanding, and unfailingly pleasant at all times.
Our cabin on deck nine was very clean, and comfortable, and every thing worked great. Cassandra our steward was excellent. It still has the older style televisions, which were fine. This was a transatlantic with 6 sea days, and the satellite could not always pick up a signal, so like others have said we saw the same things over and over again. Though the crew did make some requested changes and played the movies from the movie theatre on the television, which we enjoyed. With so many sea days we did spend time here reading, sitting on the balcony and watching movies.
The Food and Entertainment
My husband and I had MTD and enjoyed the food. The Windjammer has such variety at every meal, we ate breakfast and lunch there each day and never had the exact same meal twice. The main dining room did have a few more unusual choices, but we always found something we liked. We ate at Portafino one night, and enjoyed outstanding service. I tried the lobster, but it was both salty and tasteless. I understand it is frozen,
I would not have it again.
We went to the shows every night but one. We did not see the hypnotist, but the Tenors, Ryan Ahern the pianist, and the production shows were our favorites.
Through Cruise Critic we contacted others going on this same cruise and signed up for trips sponsored by other passengers. They were all excellent and we took three. The ports were outstanding, and some better than that. Portland England, we took the C.C. trip to Stonehenge and the Salisbury Cathedral. We did La Havre, and Cork on our own. The train into Cork ran right along the dock where the ship came in. Dublin we took the ship-sponsored shuttle into town, and then the "hop on hop off" bus around the city. The highlight was the tour of the Guinness factory. It ends at the top of the building in a glass-enclosed area with a panoramic view of the city and a pint of Guinness. We enjoyed the ship-sponsored trip in the Faroe Islands. We went to a home of a resident for cake and coffee and got to talk about their life on such remote islands. It is a real highlight of the trip. We also had time to go into town and walk around, residents were very welcoming. Local high school students were out of school for the day to act as guides around town and to practice their English, which was excellent. The last two days before our trip across the Atlantic were spent in Iceland. We took the two CC sponsored trips. The first day we toured around Reykjavik, including a museum of historic farm, and animals only found in Iceland. The Golden Circle tour was incredible, our local guide Bjorn took us to waterfalls, and moon like landscapes. I hope to go back some day soon.
In fact my husband and I would like to repeat this cruise, we didn't see it all, and it was wonderful from beginning to end. We even enjoyed the relaxing 6 days at sea. We missed St. John in Canada because of bad weather. Captain Stig kept us in sunny calm weather even though there were two hurricanes in the Atlantic. This was our second trip with the captain, and we found him a calm presence around the ship, and willing to stop and talk. We had an accident and hit an electric line in the Faroe Islands, with a crew member hurt, and another evacuated for illness in Canada, we were kept informed throughout.
We live just outside of Boston so we choose to get off later. We had a relaxing breakfast and left our cabin at 9:00am. Those that had to clear immigration took longer than they thought so we did not get off until 10:30, but we relaxed in the Schooner Bar and talked with other cruisers. We were home before noon.