Overall we had a fabulous trip! We left Ottawa on February 8th in a light snowstorm. Arriving from the black and white of winter to glorious green in Miami was lovely. We stayed overnight in Miami and boarded the Jewel of the Seas on Feb 9th.
Early boarding was very quick but I wish the luggage arrived to our stateroom quicker than it did. I did have the foresight to pack a bathing suit in my carryon but wished I had brought toiletries and dinner clothes too because we had made an early reservation for dinner the first night. Fortunately our steward went and searched out our luggage in time for us to change for dinner at Portofino. I highly recommend special winetasting dinner that we had that night. Very few people had reserved a special dinner for the first night so we were only about a dozen people in the entire restaurant! We had excellent food, wine and superb service! I booked dinner for my birthday party at Portofino right after that dinner. On Feb 19th we had excellent steak dinner at Chops Grille.
The first two days from Miami to Aruba we had high seas on the Atlantic so the boat was a bit rocky. I managed a little nausea with the pills available in the shop on board. I only took Gravol at night to help me sleep for the first two nights. We were in a 3rd floor cabin near the bow of the ship so we really felt it when we hit the big waves and we could see the spray go by our porthole. If you are worried about seasickness they recommend that you book a cabin farther up and toward the rear of the ship.
I purchased a Ports and Shopping Club book this cruise. I didn't on our last cruise and regretted it because I saw how much fun my sister-in-law had with hers. I will probably not do it again unless I plan on adding to my jewellery collection. It was fun shopping with it, especially in Grand Cayman and collecting the items with the coupons. I used it to buy gifts for people at home and jewellery for me - it was my 55th birthday after all!
I really liked our cabin on this ship, it did not feel as small as the one on a Princess Cruise we went on before. The layout is excellent, with lots of storage for clothing, toiletries, shoes, etc. The circular shower is brillant and not as cramped as on other cruise ships we've been on. The service onboard was excellent. As usual the coffee in the main dining rooms was awful - you have to pay to get a good cup of coffee or espresso. However, I was very happy with unsweetened iced tea instead. Besides we were going to Colombia and Costa Rica - you can bet we bought good coffee there to bring home.
If you are thinking of taking this cruise, you won't regret it! See my port reviews below for specifics on what we did in each port. Cheers from Canada, eh?