Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by Tony Dutch: Great Ship - Poor Weather
Overall Member Rating
Great Ship - Poor Weather
Destination: Baltic Sea
Ship - The ship is first class, modern, clean and well run with good embarkation and dis-embarkation
Entertainment - This was excellent with some very good individual acts particularly John Taylor (illusionist), Ar gentian Dancers and Classical Graffiti. Main shows took place in a theatre which would shame a lot of onshore ones! The main band was very good but some of the other entertainment in the bars etc was average. The entertainment was biased towards English speakers and non-English speakers would have had trouble understanding the comedian for example. There were a number of events etc. to do in the day which we needed because of the weather. I did not envisage that I would end up playing Bingo!!
Food - The main restaurant was generally very good but we felt it was a little fish biased. The service was very good but sometimes a little slow. The Windjammer self-service restaurant food selection was very good BUT far too many dishes we ate were either likewarm More or even cold. If I had been eating in a shore restaurant I would have "kicked back" probably 30/40% of meals rather than just go and get something else. It could also be a little manic during "sea days" due to numbers of people walking round various food counters getting their meals and tables being full.
Drinks - Good selection but far too pricey with 15% service charge added to all bills regardless that you may have pre-paid your gratuities!! Our drinks bill for two, with no more than 4 of the cheaper drinks each per day was approximately £400. They are very strict on bringing alcohol on board and even if you buy bottles on board they are delivered to your cabin on the night before you leave the ship.
Staff - All first class and helpful
Weather - Unfortunately apart from two days we had either Cloud/rain /wind. We wre not really able to stay out on deck on any of the "at sea" days which was a shame.
Ports of Call - Copenhagen was good. We got shuttle bus and then visited most central sites and returned to ship on foot
Stockholm = Get of ship turn to left (150 meters) and take the "hop on/ hop off" boat which is a good way to get round and see all the main sites (approx £10)
Helsinki/Gothenburg - We did not rate either very highly. Use shuttle bus for both but dont expect much in the way of old/interesting buildings/sites. OK if you like shops and offices. Weather may not have helped.
Tallin - Wonderful. Easy to walk fromship with good range of stalls close to ship. Old Town is beautiful and full of character. All the main sites are relatively easy to walk to but there is a steep climb to one very scenic area. We were lucky the sun shone all day whilst we were here.
St Petersburg - Very interesting with some great buildings and loads of history. We did Panoramic half day tour, Hermitage half day tour and Ballet evening. All worthwhile but Hermitage is very crowded and guides tend to keep you on the move. Ballet was really excellent. Those who chose full (10 hour) excursions sais they were good but very tiring and the guides do not stop talking!!
Overall we enjoyed the ship and its amenities and entertinment but the food issue above was disappointing. Less
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