My husband and I wanted to go on a relaxing cruise without our child for our 10 year anniversary. We also wanted to go to a top notch hotel before the cruise so we chose Ritz Carlton by the airport.We went on the Allure of Seas last year and knew this ship wasn't going to be as big and lively with activities and we were totally fine with that because it had an awesome itinerary which was a port a day! (so going into this cruise we didn't have that high of expectations plus I read some of the other reviews-- BUT I have to say-- we were both so very happy with the Jewel of the Seas.!)
Hotel: Ritz. Let's just say the RCCL staff should train the Ritz staff! We have been to other Ritz hotels so we were shocked this Ritz didn't meet our expectations. If this was a Sheraton -- then expectations would be different. You stay at a Ritz for the little things that make the hotel go above and beyond. For example- I called months before to say it was our 10 year anny and if any upgrades available, please let us know. The person said they put a note in the computer and the staff is fully aware. At other Ritz hotels, the staff would acknowledge the note in computer and given us something special in room. This Ritz, I had to tell them anny and they said nothing was in system. The room was just bleh. Nothing to write home about. The beach was a tiny strip that was so crowded and everyone smoked. The service was also very slow at the restaurant by pool. Speaking of pool- this is what set me over the edge and I will be writing to their general manager. No way am I paying the $54 resort fee. No one was working at the pool for towels. This also mean no one came over to open my umbrella or lay the towel on the chair. And then the pool bathroom was disgusting and no soap. So like I said.. any other hotel this wouldn't bother me at all but this is a Ritz.
Getting on and off the ship was a breeze. Flawless. Easy. Fast!
Our Cabin was 7082. The room definitely was on the small side but we had a balcony and flat screen tv which made it better. NOTE: many rooms on this floor do not have flat tvs- they are the old large ones. Dolores was our cleaning attendant and she was amazing.
This ship is very easy to get around and not get lost. Elevators are slow but that is every ship so get ready to walk some flights. But like I said.. this isn't a big ship compared to Allure, so the stairs aren't horrible at all.
We had very rough winds-- at one point, I think they were about 45 mph so the boat was swaying back and forth and the noise on the balcony was insane. Even the staff said they weren't used to this in southern caribbean.
The food: We had My Time dining and sat in Tides Dining Room three nights. The food was satisifactory and Jamar and Nepali were amazing waiters. Always so entertaining!! Another night or so it was very rocky so we just stuck to Windjammer. Another night we tried Chops. We had amazing filet mignon meals but had problems with our server. I spoke to the manager and he comped our meal , plus sent us a note to room, plus the server himself brought us champagne another night . RCCL might goof up here and there, but they go above and beyond to fix it! For lunch- we always did Windjammer or Seaview Cafe. One dumb complaint-- Windjammer for breakfast was the same things every single morning. Try switching up the muffins at least. I wanted different muffins besides blueberry and bran.
Wifi- UGH. I don't even want to remember how horrible and slow and expensive it was-- they really want you to stay off your phone and relax! LOL
Excursions- We did RCCL excursions for Scenic Views (or something similarly named) Antigua and La Soufriere Volcano for St. Lucia. TIP: If you book RCCL excursion, you will get a nice air conditioned van with a very good tour guide and good driver. We didn't book excursion with RCCL at St. Thomas and we were stuck in a crappy van and we had to keep waiting for people before the van would leave. The drivers wanted to get as much people as they could !
Entertainment: This ship had older people on it- so I think they enjoyed it more than us :-) However, the marriage game was two thumbs up!
Activities: The ship needs more activities during the day. Nighttime they always had something going on.
Staff: The staff... wow ! Just amazing. Carly and Elvis were hysterical as Cruise Director and Activity Manager. Everyone stops us to say" hi, what can they do, everything ok?".
Summary: Overall, we were so very happy with this ship. There is something about RCCL that just makes you go back time after time!