We had a "looping" cruise, so a passport wasn't required. It was a pain to go from one check point to another check point to another check point, but such is life . . .You just have to know that this is routine and deal with it.
We went for the economical inside stateroom,because we spent little time in the room. It was as expected and acceptable. The room attendant created the little towel animals every day that we enjoy, and she made the bed twice daily. OCD is always appreciated, and we tipped her extra. My daughter wanted the swan towel animal but such is life . . .
If we ever cruise again, I would like to splurge and get a room with a balcony, so we could enjoy the view in private.
This is the primary eatery, the "buffet" area, where we enjoyed breakfast every day. I ate the scrambled eggs. The salmon is exceptional at the Windjammer Cafe, and I highly recommend it. We often ate lunch here as well, which was enjoyable. This isn't five-star restaurant quality food, but it's edible and above-average for a buffet. The sugar free desserts deserve mention and shouldn't be missed by those (like me) who love, Love, LOVE desserts.
The Windjammer Cafe is also the place where I started to become annoyed with my fellow passengers coughing all over the place.
I like to eat earlier than 6:30, which is when the Windjammer Cafe opens for dinner, and was jonesing for a little snack to tied me over, so we mosied up to the Skyview Cafe. The broccoli soup was tasty enough. However, the Skyview Cafe is the "greasy spoon" cafe with fried foods, french fries, and burgers. While my 11 year-old appreciated it, the burnt grease smell made my boyfriend's stomach queasy. This cafe isn't for those who consider eating at McDonald's disgusting.
I overdid it in Cozumel and couldn't bare the thought of eating with strangers, so I picked up a quick slice from here on the way back to my stateroom. It was tasty enough but don't expect this to be the best pizza you've ever eaten.
Tides Dining Room:
Because we were scheduled for a late night seating, we were unable to enjoy Tides the first evening on the boat. And, on the last night, I was having a bad reaction to the Cozumel sun and simply didn't feel like dressing up for dinner.
On the nights we did eat at Tides, everyone enjoyed themselves. We were at a table with two other couples. It was interesting to learn about other people, but the pretentiousness was not my style. I read a review on Cruise Critic about a person who sat with simple folks that were glutenous during dinner, and I thought, "Why couldn't I be sat with people like that? Sure, they are inappropriate and rude, but they sound like fun".
Tides is the "fancy" dining room. Our waiter was excellent, and it was a special occasion for us to enjoy a fine dining experience. We live in the hills of Pennsylvania where there simply are not fancy restaurants. The table had the complete set of spoons, forks, knives, glassware, etc. That's nice, and it was social etiquette education for my 11-year-old daughter.
I had a goal to eat something new every day on the cruise and tried Baked Alaska, crepes, and some pretentious mozzarella appetizer for the first time in the Tide's Dining Room. Okay, here's the thing. Have you ever noticed that things aren't popular because they don't taste good? Baked Alaska is meringue over ice cream. I hate meringue. And, the crepes had a gross texture in my mouth. But, now I know that I don't like crepes and Baked Alaska, so that was a good experience . . .
I don't know if you can get "rare" meat in the Tide's Dining Room. When I ordered rare, the steak arrived medium-well. And, when told the options available, "rare" was never spoken. That's fine. Whatever . . . In the overall scheme of things, it isn't very important, but it's noteworthy enough to let other people know about it.
I would like to stress that we really enjoyed having our dinner at Tide's. A person who is impossible to please may not have the capacity to understand and appreciate Tide's, but it was our favorite restaurant on the ship . . . for dinner. We enjoyed Tide's so much for dinner that we decided to give it a whirl for lunch. The menu was limited, so I recommend Windjammer Cafe for your 10,000 calorie lunch. It is also my understanding that the Tide's breakfast menu is overloaded with carbs and gluten (like pancakes, waffles, and cereal).
My 11 year old daughter discovered room service on the final full day, when I was laid up in bed. I'm glad she discovered it on the last day, because she would have preferred room service to any of the dining rooms, except Tide's.
First comment: This is a stupid name, Adventure Ocean. They should change it immediately.
My 11 year old daughter partook in Adventure Ocean, as well as the very loud arcade outside Adventure Ocean. She thought Alligator Alex was "Mr. ugly fat lizard guy", as did the other kids. I wasn't there; that is what she told me to write in my review. She didn't enjoy some of the arts and crafts, although she made fast friends with the other children. Overall, she spent much of her time at Adventure Ocean, swimming, or trying to order room service.
As a parent, I would appreciate receiving a device to alert me anywhere on the ship if my daughter wanted to leave Adventure Ocean. As it is, only the stateroom is called. Also, the hours are weird, broken up throughout the day at inconvenient increments. Finally, young children were allowed to sign themselves out of Adventure Ocean, if the parents gave their consent. It just seems dangerous to allow ten year olds to wander about the cruise ship. I also think children 12 and older can just come and go as they please . . . Dangerous, in my opinion.
This is my second cruise; and the other passengers start getting on my nerves after about three days. Is this just me?
At the risk of upsetting fellow passengers, I'm going to state what annoyed me. Coughing in the dining room. Not saying 'thank you' to staff for providing you service. And, the folks who walk (not jog) around the boat, requesting that you 'excuse them', like they are doing a marathon workout. You are only walking, like 95% of the other passengers on the boat. You are not Lance Armstrong training for the Tour de France.
If you were on this cruise, you may know about this incident. I was waiting for an elevator, and there was a lady in a wheelchair emerging from the elevator. We stepped away from the entrance, to provide her plenty of room to exit the elevator. However, she put the wheelchair in forward and rammed into someone in the elevator! Rammed right into him! So, be careful not to stand anywhere near a person in a wheelchair when riding the same elevator. Or, just take the stairs.
I enjoyed the comedian and the musical acts. One night we found a couple of ship employees performing Billy Joel and Motown music, and I really enjoyed the secluded little show. My boyfriend thought the double duty of ship employees was amusing.
There's a lot to do aboard a cruise ship, and most people don't have the energy required to enjoy everything. This is my second cruise, and I am still trying to get my butt to the seminar about creating the towel creatures. Also, there was not enough time for my 11-year-old to try the rock climbing. But, I overdid it in Cozumel and ended up too sick to do anything the final day on the boat.
The art on the Jewel of the Seas is tasteful, beautiful. I never got around to walking the ship and looking at all the art work, which was a goal for me. One particularly interesting piece was a painting of a Degas painting in a room. It might not be extraordinarily high artwork, but it was much better than anything I'd seen on Carnival.
The Vortex Nightclub looks like it's from Star Trek. The Casino is delightfully tacky gilded.
You must go into the Crown and Anchor Society Room and look into the coffee table. The glass coffee table peers all the way down to the floor of the Centrum. Wow. This is beautiful. If you look at pictures of the Centrum on line, rest assured that none of them do it justice. It's a visual orgasm. I spent a lot of time at the bottom of the Centrum, in the bar and enjoying the bands that performed.
We purchased the soda beverage package for my daughter. My boyfriend and I purchased the beer package. I can't recommend the beverage package to anyone who is not a falling down alcoholic.
To make it worth the expense, my daughter would had needed to run around the ship hopped up on soda for five days. I took the soda privilege away from her the second day, when she started acting like a Coke addict. (Coca-Cola, that is).
I drank one night, got a hang over, and only wanted water the rest of the cruise.
There were quite a few people who were blitzed out of their minds on the ship, and I think the beverage package might be the reason. On a whole, the people on the ship weren't falling down drunk. But, the people who were drunk were incredibly drunk.
The swimming pools were standard for a ship, although there was an adults-only Solarium.
The staff on the Jewel of the Seas was friendly. I didn't encounter any hostile attitudes; although the bartender at the Skyview Bar didn't seem overly thrilled to take my drink order and made me wait longer than the other customers. But his prejudices are his issues, not mine; and there were other bars. The bartender at the bottom of the Centrum was very friendly and knew my drink order by the second night. Unfortunately, I overdid it the first night and really didn't feel up to drinking. It was still classy that he remembered me.