My husband and I were looking for a quick vacation and a 4 day cruise was perfect, I was weary of spring breakers but that wasn't an issue on the cruise.
Tampa: getting a taxi from the airport to the port was super easy and cost $ 25 , its a 15 minute drive or so . We got out of the cab handed our bags to one of the bag guys, tipped him $2 and entered the terminal. We arrived around 11:30 so the port terminal was empty since most people had starting boarding, we walked up to the representative with our sea pass and passports and within 10 minutes we were on board .
On Board : The ship is a nice size, not too big and not too small, before embarking lunch was served at the Windjammer , it was obviously very crowded. Through out the whole trip we ate most of our meals at the Windjammer and I would rate the food a 5/10. There is a small dining place towards the back of the ship on deck 12 that is yummy and a good place to go for a mid day snack. We did not eat dinner at the main dining room at all, we wanted to but we were given 8:30 seating time and had to sit with a family of 5 ...the staff was rushing us to our seats before we could even ask if there was table for 2 available. We tried to switch to "My time Dining" but it was apparently "booked up" for the whole weekend within an hour of people getting on board. We chose to not sit with a family that probably wasn't interested in sharing a table with us anyway - there is also a dress code for the main dining hall and one formal night. The one day we had lunch in the main dining hall it was the same, group seating ..the staff puts you at a large table with other people, which is fine if you want to meet new people but there were a lot of people that looked uncomfortable, we were lucky enough to get a table for 2.
To our surprise, on day 1 a lot of people had bathing suits and were by the pool tanning by noon We were allowed in our rooms at 1pm, our suitcases were there waiting. Everyone seemed to walk around and explore the ship in the early afternoon , there is an an arcade/adventure room for kids , a ton of bars for adults , a movie theater (which is small ), a casino and lots of events planned by the activity team. The pool was pretty small but never seemed to get overcrowded. of course you have to get up early to get good seats by the pool and although we didn't feel right about reserving seats and leaving ,that is what many many people did . The pool side activities were lots of fun , the activities staff does a great job , there are also tons of great events around the ship in the evenings to keep everyone of all ages busy. The Solarium, is like an indoor pool area and it was beautiful! It is adults only and usually quiet .
Rooms: We had a balcony room, which i would highly recommend . The rooms were clean , the bathroom in the room as well as those in the ships public areas had a weird smell , it could have just been the cleaning products! The bed was comfortable and the room was prepped every night while we were at dinner. There is a blowdryer in the room , but I suggest bringing your own shampoo/conditioner - they have a shampoo/conditioner in one pump in the shower. There is hand sanitizer all around the ship, and the staff calls you out if you don't use it when you walk into the dining areas- which is a good thing!
Tips are charged automatically to your seapass account so you don't have to carry cash around while on the ship.
Entertainment: There was a show every night , all were really good and less than an hour so you have time to enjoy dinner and take part in the other ship activities. The RC dancers and singers were talented.
The theater can be a little cold so bring a sweater , it also gets breezy at night on deck so it's nice to have a sweater or shawl.
Cozumel: Getting off the ship at port was easy, staff members help every step of the way. Everyone we interacted with in Cozumel were nice and helpful so don't be scared to get off the ship and explore. If you want to party and drink the whole day on port then there is a Senor Frogs right when you get off the ship, we opted to take a taxi (safe, all are vouched for by the cruise lines, with prices listed ) and go to Chanakaab national park for snorkeling.
Packing up: The night before we got back to Tampa, we packed our suitcases and left them outside the room for pick up and transport off the ship the next morning. We got up , had breakfast and thought we were supposed to be in our designated area (you'll get this the night before) by 8:15am but most people seemed to just hang out until they wanted to leave even if their number was called to get off the ship! we had a later flight so we were not in any rush, if you have an early flight you can opt to take your own bags off around 7:50. We got off the ship and went through customs , grabbed our bags and took a taxi back to the airport. Take some fruit in your bag if you have a long wait at the airport! We had a 12pm flight and made it to the airport by 9:15am so an 11am flight is safe to book in my opinion.
Overall it was a good trip , the Jewel is a beautiful well kept ship; we were in Cozumel with the Liberty of the Seas which is larger and seemed to have more amenities like an outdoor theater screen .