As first time cruisers my husband and I boarded the Jewel of the Seas with an open mind. We had not visited any of the ports before and reasoned that if we did not enjoy the cruising bit then we had the shore visits to look forward to.
The check in and embarkation were a little slow - some problem with the gangway. Once on board we headed for Windjammer, for a buffet lunch. We usually avoid buffets but the food was good. Whenever we ate in Windjammer we enjoyed the food but not the ambiance.The dining experience in Tides was far better. We had breakfast and lunch there whenever we were able. The dinner each evening was good with lots of choice. The food did arrive lukewarm, but was still tasty. Service in both the Windjammer and Tides could not be faulted.
Our cabin was spacious and kept immaculately clean by the steward. As first timers we were not certain about dress codes so packed a lot of clothes but there was drawer and wardrobe space to spare.
We had pre-booked our tours, after carefully reading Royal Caribbean's website. The tickets were waiting for us when we got to our cabin. The destination talks for each port highlighted were useful - especially as we were not used to cruising. All the tours we booked were well organised, although they were expensive compared to similar tours I looked at on the web.
There were also lectures about the history of each port which were informative, if a little dry.
The highlight for us was the quality and variety of entertainment. Each evening was a combination of a drink in the Champagne Bar, followed by dinner and then a show. The shows ranged from a Tamla Motown group to a comedy/classical string act. The cruise director Clo was a star in her own right, very funny and warm.
Would we cruise again? Yes. Would we cruise with Royal Caribbean? Yes but maybe not next time but in the future.