This was a pretty good cruise for RCL. Normally I find many things that RCL could do to improve the quality of the cruise, but NOT this time.
The reason we chose the Jewel was the itinerary. We had never been to Tortola and also wanted to go back to Dominica. We had been on the Jewel in 2006 and saw no wear-n-tear problems. The ship was in good shape. The bathroom in our balcony cabin was one of the smallest ones we have ever had. In 2006, we had a Junior Suite.
We flew directly to San Juan and arrived about 1PM. Took a taxi from the airport to the ship ($19 + $2 +$1/bag and then Tip). Had no problem checking in and were onboard by 2:15. Since the cabins were ready (after 1PM) we dropped our carry on bags off and then went to the Windjammer Café to eat. On this ship, we never had trouble finding a seat. The food selection ok which I expected.
One of our bags arrived about 2 hours later, the other bag was detained by security because of a small iron (about the size of a large fist). There were many other passengers that had similar problems with the baggage scanner. This was the first time I ever had one and I have used the iron for the past 3 years (7 cruises).
On Tortola, we went on an island tour for about $20/person which is about the going rate. On St. Martin we took a cab to a beach for the afternoon. On Dominica we had a tour arranged thru a private company which left the pier at 11:30 and thus avoided some the cruise crowds and was cheaper than a similar RCL tour.
The evening entertainment was not much. We went to 5 shows and stayed for 3, but it was what I expected. The cruise director, Dennis, was one of the better ones we have come across in our 30 cruises. Many nights he held a “name that tune” type event in the centrum. For prizes he gave out RCL key tags, not much, but he gave out lots of them. The 50/60’s, 70’s and Country nights were heavily attended.
We chose not to bring our computer this time and tried to use the ship computer for internet. The connection was slow and none of their computers could access Yahoo Mail because of security certificate issues. I glad there was no urgent mail that week.
When we got back to San Juan, we had RCL transfer us to the airport. I WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. They separated you from your bags so that we arrived at the airport but no bags. No one could tell us where they were. Half an hour later the baggage arrives. We then had to go from the baggage drop off point to the airport entrance (about a 3-4 minute walk). In addition to this problem, it cost more than a cab would cost where you stay with your luggage and the cabs drop you at the entrance.
We flew how via United Air. The problem with UAL is that their San Juan counters do not open until after 10AM, so you are waiting in a long line that is not moving. Once they opened, it moved quickly.
I would give this a solid 3-½ stars. A typical RCL cruise would get 3 stars.