We left Fort Lauderdale on an 11 day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Jewel of The Seas on 1-24-11. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the port at 10:30 and were on the ship by 11:30. The RCCL staff at the terminal were very friendly. What a great ship. It was spotless, and we explored it for 5 hours prior to sailing. We ate at he windjammer about an hour after we boarded and the way they have the food islands set up is terrific. It makes it less crowded and the selections were awesome. For those who haven't sailed on the Jewel one of the great things about the windjammer was the the aft seating, which is a covered outside area. They have the usual inside seating as well, but we enjoyed eating in the outside portion, which is covered, but you get a great view of the ocean as you eat and sail along. This is 5th cruise with RCCL and as usual the staff was extremely friendly and fun to engage in conversations. The windjammer was very clean, and we all thought the food selection was terrific. I sailed with my wife, brother in law and sister, and never had any issues with the food selection in the windjammer.
Our bags were at our door about 1:30 and there was plenty of room to put everything away and put our suitcases under the bed. We had a superior balcony room, a hump room, 9584, and for my wife an I it was plenty big. The bathroom was what we expected, small but very adequate, and the plastic wrap around shower doors were great.
The decor of the ship was impressive. It looked and felt like a new ship, and we all felt it was very easy to navigate around. We loved this size ship. We've sailed on the Mariner and Explorer with the promenade, but we liked the center, centrum lay out much better. We never felt crowded and the Centrum area was a great place to gather and listen to the music.
As usual, the pool got crowded on sea days, but we were always able to find a deck chairs. The solarium was incredible. The decor was sensational, the pool was good sized, and it was open late at night.
We got to know the head bartender at the champagne bar, Lorenzo from the Philippines, and we enjoyed talking to him. When we left the ship he was a friend and it was fun joking back and forth with him. We shared family stories and we felt we really got to know him. If you sail on the jewel stop by and tell him high from Jana, Dan, Tom and Sherry.
The main dining room food was good, a nice selection, and we had two table mates that were great people.
The entertainment on the ship was good to great-the group that impersonated the Beatles were incredible. Marty Allan did a routine one night and for 89 years old he still has it. Overall-the cruise director, Keith, was very, very good.
The ports-Cartagena was our favorite. We booked a tour through Claudia but she was sick so she had a man named Elkins take her place. He was sensational. We played at the beach in Aruba (day pass at the Radisance), and went to the Palms in Cayman. Panama Canal was good, as was Costa Rica.
Things to nag about-nothing really. I'm sure there were little things that one could find to be negative, but we four found the people, staff, and ship to be a great experience and we would do it again, and again. We are already planning our next cruise with RCCL and will try to book the Jewel again if it has the itinerary we want. Embarkation was quick and easy. When they called our group we were off the hsip within 10 minutes.