We traveled on the Jewel on the eastern Caribbean on 4/8/06. We had been on 3 other cruises, Navigator & Mariner of the Seas and once on Holland America's Westerdam. Having been on the Voyager class ships I thought I would really miss the Royal Promenade, I did, but not as much as I thought I would. This is a well laid out ship, a beautiful ship, with a very friendly staff. I would go on this ship again in a heartbeat.
I thought the food was very good on the other ships, I thought the food on the Jewel was GREAT, Especially in the Windjammer Cafe We noticed a big difference, A lot better quality than previous cruises. The Food in the dining room was a step above the other cruises as well. I'm not one to complain much about food or service, for god sakes, you are on a vacation on a lifetime, where you get pampered like you are kings and queens, We just noticed that the food was a notch about the other ones. I talked to a chef one night and was telling him that we thought the food was a notch above the Voyager class ships, he was telling me that on those ships that the food is a bit MORE mass produced with over 1000 more people on board.
If you are going on this ship, I would see if you can get Rossanna from Chile as your Waiter in the dining room, EXCELLENT !! Our Room Attendant was Patrick from India, He was great, he took very good care of us, Very Personable, Funny, Told us some great stories, Always had a smile on his face.
The entertainment was so-so, Karen the Cruise Director was ok, not the best we've seen before,not very visible unless you went to the shows. The two Stage shows with RCL Singers and Dancers were just ok, seen some of the same shows on other ships, like they just recycle the shows among ships. Had a magician, Comic (he was good), Former Olympic Gymnast, kinda odd for a show, and Marty Allen and his Wife Karen Kate Blackwell, wasn't going to go to this show, but glad we did, because it was funny, he did his drunk skit that he performed on the Ed Sullivan show the same night as the Beetles first appearance. And his Wife is a great singer.
The ports, San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Nassau, we had done before except for Antigua, Be prepared to be asked if you want any "Charley" Or "Goncha" by many of the locals, Don't do it, After getting back on the ship, we noticed a Dog and Security person right after we got off the elevator on our deck, The dog just sat there, didn't think much about it, but he was just feet away from us, I assume if we had anything on us the dog would have busted us. As we found out later, 4 Cabins on our deck were escorted off the ship and taken away, Cruise Over !! So, if you are thinking about taking anything onboard, Don't.
On St. Maarten, if you want a nice beach to go to, I would go to Orient Beach, about a 20 minute Cab ride there, just off the ship you will see a taxi/shuttle station that will take to to different places, People form a line to go to a beach, We took a van of about 7-10 people at $6 each, he asked what time we wanted to go back, he said he would be back at a certain time and he was, another $6. each back, at the beach it cost us, $6.00 each for a chair each, Umbrella and a rum drink, so for $18 each, we got cab round trip, chair/umbrella/drink and was on the beach for 5 hours.
Oh I almost forgot,the Best part of the cruise... I finally played Bingo on the 7th day, it was the "win a cruise bingo game" I Won !! Good for one year for two people, very few restrictions, going on the Freedom over Labor Day Week. If you have any questions and want to write me, feel free Travelken1@yahoo.com