We have taken several cruises with Royal Caribbean. The staff has always gone out of their way to be of service to cruisers. I would describe service on ships (in particular Adventure of the Seas for Caribbean cruises) as excellent. I would rate service on the Jewel of the Seas as just okay. It was not just one department but the staff in general. The person who took care of our cabin was the one who gave consistently good service.
Dining room: Service was slow and at first the head waitress said no more than "How are you tonight?" Other ships' waiters give suggestions from the menu, place the napkin on your lap, and definitely learn everyone's first name. None of those things happened on Jewel of the Seas. We had to wait for an hour for our meal the first two nights. The other couple at the table mentioned this to the head waiter so after that the head waitress asked if things were all right at each meal (still no learning of names or any real enthusiasm - just a perfunctory asking if things were all right). After the other couple complained about the service in the dining room, the dining room head waiter asked if he could get the person another drink. He said "yes," thinking it was to make up for the poor service. Instead, the bar person said there was no way he would get a free drink and he needed to sign for the drink to pay for it. It wasn't that he just said this, but it was his rude tone of voice that was disappointing. When the head waiter heard of the problem, he was stunned that the person thought he was going to get a free drink. He kept defending himself. We think the head waiter did not understand the US culture of trying to make up for bad service by offering a free drink or a free dessert. Customs and culture should have been part of his training if he was in charge of the dining room. I should also add that our assistant waiter tried to make up for the failure of the head waitress.
Their roles should have been reversed.
Service desk: Mixed. One person was very helpful while the other person bordered on being rude. I have never experienced this on another cruise ship.
Entertainment: Disappointing: We really enjoy the shows at night when we cruise, but this cruise had one night with no show (I think this is now the policy with RC) and three comedians. One was excellent; one was okay; and one was terrible. But three of the same thing? There was a new set of RC dancers and singers boarding the ship so we had only one night with their entertainment instead of two. They were excellent.
Overall culture of the ship: Disappointing. Instead of feeling welcome as we have on other ships, we were often made to feel that we were inconveniencing the crew by being on board. That does NOT make for a great vacation. In one instance we asked the bar tender in one of the venues what the drink of the day was. He answered very abruptly/impatiently, "We are closed." Could he not have said something like, "Sorry; we aren't open yet. We will open at such and such a time?" Or maybe he could have said, "The drink of the day is ........... but we are closed now, but we will open at such and such a time." Another couple came after us and asked a question. He answered them in the same way. I would describe it as barking at them rather than being courteous. I cannot adequately describe in words how different the culture was on this ship from what it has been on other RC ships. Someone who heads the crew must be missing the boat when it comes to training the staff - missing it big-time.
I have to be honest and say that I will definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again but never on Jewel of the Seas.