This spring transatlantic was on my favorite ship, Jewel of the Seas. I travel RCI as their prices are reasonable, ships are beautiful, and they have an excellent repeaters program with significant benefits at upper levels. We began with embarkation in Ft Lauderdale at RCI's new, and very large terminal built for their Oasis class ships. As Jewel carries 2000, not 6000, the boarding process was very fast and easy. Aboard we were allowed to go to staterooms immediately as the ship had come in from the shipyard that morning as thus rooms were made up far in advance. As usual luggage delivery was slow and special upper category repeaters bag tags made no difference at all. Restaurant reservations were all in order etc., and so after lunch in Windjammer it was clear sailing to Boat Drill and departure at 5 pm. for 6 days at sea, then into the Azores. As always crew morale seemed excellent, ship was sparkling, on board lecturers were good, and all was fine under excellent skies.
The problem with RCI is not crew morale, facilities etc. it is the FOOD. To keep prices low I presume, RCI seems to buy very poor quality food, especially meats, and although well prepared, their poor quality shows thru. Additionally there are 5 entrees in the evening - but 3 of them are vegetarian. Now we should take care of vegetarians, however they certainly don't make up 60 % (3 out of 5). But vegetarian, non meat entrees are most probably "cheaper" than using more expensive meats. And sometimes the 2 "meat entrees" are pathetic. One evening one was meat loaf, the other some sort of fish cake. Come On!! Now RCI will say that they also have an alternative menu available which is true - but its the same every night - salmon, grilled chicken, "top" steak. This gets old on a 12 night trip; however I hurry to say that no matter what, it is better than this bachelor makes at home for himself.
I love ships of the Radiance class of which Jewel was the last, built in 2006. They are open to the sea, full of glass vistas etc. and no matter where you are you can, within a few feet,you can always look out at the ocean. RCI's other, larger classes e.g. Freedom, Oasis, all look into themselves, especially Freedom class where everything looks into their interior Mall, which they call a Promenade.
Had lovely port calls in Porta Delgada, Azores, Portugal;then two more sea days and into Brest and Cherbourg France and trip ended in Harwich England, with a very easy departure and a seamless trip to London's airports for those who had transfers offered by RCI.
Missed having Hotel Director Robert Taggert aboard. He is everyone's friend, passenger and crew alike and is much responsible for the wonderful attitude you find aboard Jewel