Took Jewel of the Seas trip from Tampa to Grand Cayman and Cozumel in December 2012. This was my second trip on a Royal Caribbean Radiance class. Albeit, 10 years in between cruises. Let me break down my review:
Reservations/Website: The entire reservations process was a mess. We called to make the reservations. We booked a room with a balcony. We started doing internet research and realized that room had an obstructed view. We called back and they told us, that is was only 10% obstructed. They then emailed us a picture. Ugh, it was a construction crane. So, called back in the next day telling them that we no longer wanted to pay for the balcony and would like a room with a window. Well, got some big attitude "you can't do that!" She was not going to change our room until we threatened to cancel it. Until she finally looked at our booking date and realized we could cancel or go down a level. They also told us that she would take care of signing us up for the Crown & Anchor club and she never did.
The Ship: Overall, ship was in good shape. A little age was showing in some of the public areas (overused, aged furniture and only two billiard cues that actually had tips on them, etc.), but overall ship was clean. The pools tended to get crowded and tough to find a lounge chair. I ended up going down to Deck 5 to find a lounge chair out of the sun-- once the chair were so dirty I could not use it, and another time they were being washed, so again could not use them. So, never really got my quiet lounge chair time I was looking for.
Windjammer Cafe - this is the buffet style restaurant. Went there for breakfast/lunch most days. Had dinner there once. Food is ok. A little hit and miss. Long lines at the omelet station.
Chops Grille - this is a specialty restaurant where you pay extra. VERY disappointed. Ordered a medium sirloin steak that came out raw. Had to send it back and then it came out overdone. Really? All you do is cook steak, how hard can that be. I also did not like our waiter, it felt like he was rushing us through the meal so he could get the next guests in.
Portofino - Awesome! We ate here twice. We had a fantastic meal both nights with excellent service. Only downside was on the 2nd night the table next to us had a little girl playing a video game with the volume on high. We asked our waiter if he could ask them to turn it down. The manager went over, pointed at our table and then the father took away the game and made the little girl cry. Needless to say, that table was giving us dirty looks the rest of the evening. Did not manage that situation well.
Main Dining Room - We got all dressed up for formal night and guess what? Only about 1/3 of the other passengers bothered. I was very surprised to find my table mates in a bowling shirt. Somewhat annoying as I spend some $$'s for formal wear and really wasn't necessary. Will not be doing a formal night again. I found the waiters somewhat annoying as they were over ingratiating and were trying to be comics and musicians rather than waiters. I'm guessing to get better tips, but I did not find their antics fun.
The Service: Overall, was okay, but was expecting better. It was all the little things that added up that left a lukewarm taste in our mouths. The boarding process went smoothly, but they put one of our pieces of luggage down the hall in front of another cabin. They give you a little paper brochure for each day's activities on the boat, but our attendant forgot to put one in our cabin the first day. The spa desk was a disaster. 4 people standing behind the desk and you still need wait a few minutes for them to greet you with an attitude. However, I must say that I had two great spa treatments, but be aware of the big upsell for you to buy additional products at the end. Overall I would say people were polite, but not a big focus on customer service.
Based on our overall experience, we will never go with Royal Caribbean again. I don't like spending my money and not getting the value I was expecting.