My wife and I are active retirement folks who like to be around fun active people. This cruise we have hit the jackpot with a great group of table mates who are planning to cruise together again if our schedules permit.
Ship: Jewel is a great ship but I prefer the larger ships like Mariner and Navigator. I do have a couple of comments on this cruise to share. I felt that the ships staff was smaller then normal in Windjammer and on pool decks. The nicety of waiters in Windjammer bringing you coffee, tea etc to your table was non existent. You needed to hunt them down vs. them coming by with a cart.
We sat with all other Diamond members at a table for 10 that was in front in hi traffic area and next to the room where all the waiters bring dishes, food etc. Not a nice area for anyone let alone diamond members. (none of us are snobbish DM's looking for special treatment but I think RCL should do a better job with DM seating) In all fairness RCL was willing to move us but we could not have our waiters so we declined so we would not screw them out of there gratuity and stayed put.
Ports: Aruba: Nice been there before great place to do jeep off-roading on your own and see the island. Since it is only 71 miles around not hard to do. Never have enough time there. My only complaint was that we came back to the ship an hour before sailing to find out that we were not sailing for an additional 3 hours. If we where told that B-4 we left the ship we would have been able to see the national park, that was very disappointing.
Columbia: Had a private tour that I would recommend. Only 6 of us from Cruise Critic but the guide spoke perfect English. Very knowledgeable and got us places B-4 others so things were good. There were a lot of concerns by people to get off at this port and I can see why if you roam around in the area by the port but if you get to the old city it is safe and very nice. I suggest that you find a tour company and go with them to be on the safe side. Street vendors were a pain very pushy.
Panama: You can do without Colon city touring. We went with the ferry down the canal. A bit pricey and was an excursion from RC. It was very informative and of course you now can say you went "through the canal".
Costa Rica: I personally like this country. People are very friendly. Again not a lot of access to shopping but there is a large shopping area right at the port for all kinds of things. We did the 6-1 tour with Greenway tours and had a great guide a nice small group of people. Town, rain forest, river ride, banana plantation, coast drive, and you can do a zip line. Great company.
Grand Cayman: Great Port been there a number of time and love it. Water is great weather is great shopping great. This time we did a RCL excursion at the turtle farm and city. Very good and if you are interested in Sea Turtles it is a great place to visit. I would still say that getting a car and driving around yourself is the best. That is, if you can drive on the wrong side of the road and don't get into an accident when you forget you need to. It is opposite of US driving!!
This was one of the most relaxing cruises with some of the nicest and fun people from Great Britain, Holland, Germany and Canada that we met. This cruise has a number of sea days but we really like that type of cruising.