A little about us we live in SW Fl and my husband is 69 and I am 56. We are Diamond Plus members. We are huge beach people and love heavy port itineraries, so dont do much for sight-seeing types of things. We did the B2B on Jewel which included the Repo cruise from Tampa to San Juan. Cruise dates were May 11-May 25th. It was our first time cruising out of Tampa.
Itinerary was: Week 1 Key West, Labadee, Samana, Tortola, and ST. Maarten. Week 2: St Croix, St Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados.
I booked the Hampton Inn Westshore through Stay123.com. Price was great and we could leave our SUV there for the entire 16 days we were gone. We drove up Friday and after spending time with our son/wife/grandson, we headed to the Hampton. Our friends that cruised with us arrived shortly thereafter. We walked to Hurricanes for dinner and had a great time.
Saturday morning we took the free shuttle from the hotel to the cruise port, arriving around 11:30 am or so. Although there was quite a line in priority, check in was a breeze, maybe 15 minutes tops. Got our embarkation photo taken, and boarded the ship
Headed straight to the pool deck to get our first cocktail. Put our towels and such on a chair in the beach pool area, and sat down to relax. We did run into Windjammer for a quick lunch. All the food areas looked great, and we though the food in WJ was very good the entire 2 weeks on the ship. Also, never felt like it was crowded in there, you could always find a place to sit.
Our luggage arrived fairly early, before muster. Our muster was at 4:00 and was in Schooners Bar. Our cabin was on Deck 8, Center Hump Balcony, Cabin 8596, so very easy access to the elevators on the other side of the ship.
After muster we went poolside to watch sailaway, then went down to get ready for the evening. We then went back up to Deck 12 in the front to go under the Sky Bridge. That was really cool. You felt like you could reach out and touch it.
There were a lot of D+ and Pinnacle on this cruise so Viking Crown was used for the us and Suite Guests each night. We never sat in the Concierge Lounge, always went up to VC instead. Second week, not as many so they used Hollywood Lounge next to VC for the nightly event. Again, we never went to the CL, always went up to Hollywood.
Shows some good, some not so good. I was very disappointed in the West End to Broadway show as I did not recognize one song they sang. I love Broadway so wished they would have sang well known songs. Other people commented on the same thing. Did not watch any of the comedians. Three other shows-Wildfire, Horizon (MoTown) and City of Dreams I enjoyed the first week. Actually went back the 2nd week to see Horizon and City of Dreams with our nephew and his partner that joined us for the 2nd week.
We did MyTime Dining and as usual, we loved the flexibility. Our wait staff was wonderful and took great care of us. I am pretty much a vegetarian, and they brought me a great veggie plate every night. We were totally happy with the food/service we received. Went to Chops the first night of the 2nd week and I can tell you I will probably never go again. It has been 15 years since we went to a specialty restaurant and it will be another 15 I think. My food in Chops was horrid. If they cannot even make a simple, good tasting chicken breast, there is a problem. My husband said his steak was tough and so did the others that were with us. Paying what Chops costs, the food should melt in your mouth. Understand-I am the last person to complain about food as it is pretty unimportant to me, but to pay for a specialty restaurant and then get food like that is unacceptable.
Ports We were in so many ports that I am not going to comment on all of them. Will just comment on a couple. Samana-totally unimpressed with this port. We love Punta Cana and go there every other year for a week. Samana had nothing to offer. Could care less if I ever go back there again. Barbados we found our new favorite place. We went to Accra Beach (had been there 2 years ago also). But now there is The Tiki Bar. What a great place. You pay $30 for 2 chairs and 1 big umbrella and then they give you 60 Barbados play $$ to use for food/drink at the bar. Great place. Owner and staff were extremely friendly. Loved it there. All the other ports we pretty much did as normal went to our favorite beaches and relaxed. I will answer any specific questions if you have them.
Cruise director was Carly Boileau. We normally are not impressed with female CDs, dont find them funny as a rule, but Carly was really good. Enjoyed seeing her around the ship the 2 weeks we were there. We actually got to know a number of the CD staff since we were on the ship for 2 weeks.
Ship was gorgeous. We had been on Radiance once and Serenade 4 times and love this class of ship and Jewel did not disappoint. Gorgeous decor, staff was great, stateroom attendant was wonderful. Seaview Cafe was great as always. Absolutely nothing to say but good things about the ship itself.
Formal nights were Day 2 and Day 5 both weeks.