As people who have been sceptical about the whole idea of cruising we have been completely won over. The parking and check in at Harwich were easy and with very little queueing we were soon onboard. The cabin was ready and the luggage quickly arrived.
Jewel is a beautiful ship and we found it to be very clean with staff frequently checking. Our cabin was great, super shower and large comfy bed. Wonderful view from such a high balcony.
We made good use of the indoor pool which was warm and often not very busy. The gym also came in very handy in trying to ward off the weight gain! There was a good choice of food in the buffet restaurant especially at breakfast with fresh omlettes cooked to order. The main restaurant had a good choice, and while we had read about small portions this was never an issue as we were offered extra portions of all courses if we wished! The staff were brilliant especially the waiters who really looked after our table. We had evolved from four groups of two on 'My time dining' into a table of eight which we thoroughly enjoyed. One of our group had a special birthday and we all ate in the speciality restaurant Chops Grill where I would highly recommend the fillet mignon. It was a good idea to buy a wine package as it works out much cheaper than buying individual bottles. Our ports of call were really the reason for this holiday and we were not disappointed. We easily walked into Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki and Tallin, only needing the shuttle bus into Gothenburg. We enjoyed all of these, make sure you do your research first so that you dont miss anything. In St Petersburg we took two half day excursions to the Hermitage, and then the canals and Yussopov palace. Both were very good and we had the added bonus of having a really quiet ship for the rest of each day. The best show we saw was the Frankie Valli tribute which was excellent and some of the others were enjoyed by our friends. We enjoyed the music in the various bars especially the 70s night.
Leaving the ship was very well organised, we were allocated times and meeting places so that small groups left at specific times. The luggage was taken to the car park and the only complaint is that there weren't eough trolleys available.
So amazingly this was one of the best holidays we have taken and we will certainly be doing it again having already booked for Alaska next year.