While this is my first review I have taken about 15 cruises in the last 15 years. The Jewel was the newest and largest ship I've sailed on. I was a little worried about her size (large for me) but was excited about the all the dinning options. We had an amazing week and have only good things to say.
Embarkation was a breeze (11/26) and we were on the ship and in our room in no time. The room was great space, space, space. We booked a GTY mini-suite and were assigned a handicap penthouse cabin (9672). We were concerned after reading some of the post and pictures on this site about this room but found the cabin very comfortable with plenty of storage. We quickly learned that the penthouses and the cabins up from this level came with extra perks. Don't want to go into all the details but if you get offered one of these rooms I would grab it!
We quickly made our way around the ship in the first few hours. The ship is beautiful, very contemporary, and immaculately maintained. We loved everything about her. The Jewel does not have a multi level atrium/reception area like most ships her size. The two story reception area is beautiful and was usually alive with people enjoying the space. There was a live band playing during the early evening (they were wonderful, subtle, and never too loud) which added to the charm of this space. This area, like all of the public spaces on this ship, felt intimate and inviting. She never felt like a 92,000 ton ship.
The first night we decided to have dinner at Cagney's steakhouse. Everything was wonderful and the service was great. I won't bore you with the details about each restaurant. We ate at most of them at least once and found every meal to be great. The food was wonderful and the options were plentiful.
The stops were San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, and their private island in the Bahamas. We decided not to do any tours this trip so can't report on this. We got off the ship in each port and walked around each city for a little while and were back on the ship by lunch time most days. We took advantage of these days to enjoy the pool area on the ship. While the pool area would get crowded on sea days there were always plenty of places to sun just off the pool area. The loungers were great and comfortable. The heated showers near each pool were a great surprise. We also enjoyed the recorded music which played when the band was not playing.
We enjoyed all the shows especially Band on the Run and Cirque Bijou. Cirque Bijou was like men's gymnastic team meets River Dance meets Mission Impossible with a little Nut Cracker Ballet thrown in for good measure. There was ALOT going on with this show. But you know what? It was very entertaining and the performers did some amazing stunts all during 7 to 12 foot waves that rocked the ship. Kudos to them! My favorite was Second City very funny! The last night of the cruise one of the performers put on an impromptu show in the FYZZ lounge. I was laughing so hard I was crying.
But the very best thing about the Jewel is her crew. They really shined. The service was great morning, day, and night. It did not matter where we were on this ship every staff member provided excellent service. It did not matter where we were on this ship every staff member provided excellent service. Ok, that was not a typo, I had to say it twice they were that good. A big thank you to each and every employee who worked so hard to make our week so great!