We came down to Tampa 2 days early to allow for northern Indiana weather and stayed at the Marriott hotel right at Tampa International airport. Room was great and staff very friendly. Took a shuttle van to the ship.
At the Tampa Port boarding was quick and easy. Got our sea passes and were able to board right away and get to our room. We headed for the pool bar w/friends to get some lunch, check out the ship and wait for our luggage to arrive in our room. We only waited about 2 hrs for it to arrive.
Room was large, comfy and clean. Had a huge walk-in closet with safe. Unpacked our clothes, still had empty cabinets left, and went topside to watch the ship leave port.
Dining in the main dining room every night was tasty and good selection of a variety of dishes. Our head waitress was from South Africa. Kari gave us her recommendations every night. She didn't steer us wrong on the choices. They could have used more beverage waiters at dinner. Beverage waiters were the only ones who could serve you mixed/frozen cocktails. We waited half our meal on the first day for a cocktail. We decided to have wine with dinner the rest of the cruise so our waitress could serve us that.
We didn't attend any of the nightly entertainment, but our friends did and said they were very talented and good. We hit the casino and won a bit- not enough to pay for the cruise, but the machines and table were adequate.
We had 2 excursions planned- Taste of Cayman- at Georgetown, Cayman Islands. That was a joke. The brewery was closed the day we were in port, so we were taken to a tourist trap called HELL. After that we went to the rum cake factory- another tourist trap and then on to the rum distillery. That place gave free samples, but was extremely hot for the equipment. Save your money on that excursion. In Cozumel we did the "Everyone loves Rays" tour. That was very educational and fun. Snorkeling was hard for us, so we sat and had a beverage at the snack bar awaiting our return to the ship. We also went to Carlos and Charlie's while in Cozumel so we could say we did it.
Back on ship, can't say enough about the staff. Everyone was friendly, always had a smile and made you feel welcome. Our suite steward- Riza was from the Phillipines and made us some great towel animals every nite. We had a great time on Jewel of the Sea and have booked another cruise for the same ports next year to try different excursions. Jewel of the Sea is a very comfy ship with just the right amount of passengers- 2,100 and 834 crew. We would highly recommend this ship.