My husband and I cruised with RCCL -Jewel of the Seas in September 2013 to the Southern Caribbean. This was our first cruise with RCCL. Our ports of call were San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba and Curacao. After reading the reviews about the Jewel, we questioned whether or not the Jewel was the ship for us. We were pleasantly surprised.
The ship is in really good condition,and is very clean. The room stewards do a great job cleaning the rooms and linens every day. We didn't have any special requests, so I can't comment on their responsiveness. We embarked shortly after 11am, and enjoyed lunch in the windjammer. Our room was available at 1pm, as was stated when we boarded.
We did not dine in the specialty restaurants, and enjoyed dinners in the Tides main dining room. There were 2 formal evenings. If you're looking for gourmet food, you won't find it here. Our dinners were very good, and had good flavor, with a decent variety to choose from, however, not of gourmet style. We ate breakfast and lunch each day in the Windjammer cafe. Again the food was good, not gourmet.
This cruise line takes cleanliness and hand sanitizing very seriously. At every entrance to the main dining facilities there are staff present to ensure that all travelers use the Purell hand sanitizer. There are also hand sanitizing stations all throughout the ship. I for one was glad to see this in place.
Regarding drink packages, my husband and I are not heavy drinkers but do like to enjoy a few each day. We did not purchase a beverage package, as it would have cost us $90 per day. We couldn't possibly drink that much. A beer was between $5-6, and the drink of the day between $8-10. RCCL also sells a water or juice beverage package, neither of which we purchased. There are beverage stations that provide, coffee, tea, water, lemonade and iced tea throughout the day.
The theatre shows were pretty good. We did not go to the dance club. There are plenty of activities throughout the day, outlined in the daily newspaper.
In summary, I would recommend the a jewel. It was a pleasant surprise, and while it might be one of RCCLs older ships, it was in very good condition.