We did a back-to-back on the Allure of the Seas in the spring and we figured that we were surely spoiled. We enjoy newer, larger ships and since we had just come off the newest and the largest, we assumed that the Jewel of the Seas would be no more than a quick getaway on our favorite cruise line. It turned out to be much more. We are a married 50-something couple on our 23rd cruise, 6th with RCCL.
Embarkation was swift; we were on the ship within 30 mins of parking the car.
We found the dining room food to be remarkable. Everything that we ordered was perfect. Years ago, dining room seating had those fixed eating times, but you did have the same wait staff which made up for that because they made you feel very welcome. They usually knew your names and preferences after the first night. The "my time" dining is excellent but you give up the same wait staff.....or so we thought. Perhaps this is not as new as I think, because we usually go to the cover charge restaurants, but on the Jewel, we were on My Time dining, but were always seated at the same table for two with the same waiters! We loved this.
We ate at Chops twice on the Allure and once on this ship..., it simply isn't up to my standards. Presentation and selection is fine, I just don't find that it's the best steak. The service was marginal at the Chops on the Jewel. Portofino's was good, but Giovanni's on the Allure blows it away. But the key here is that the dining room was outstanding.
We are not chafing dish/buffet people but our experiences with such here were fine.
Entertainment has been better on some other ships, but none of the shows (we didn't see them all) were bad.
The ship itself is beautiful and well maintained especially for a 7 year old.
We found the staff to be excellent.
We have cruised all over the world so it's hard for us to find a ship that goes to places thai we haven't been to. But these were all ports that we've never visited: Portland and Bar Harbor ME, St John, NB and Halifax. We truly enjoyed each port. Outstanding was the Lobster Experience in Bar Harbor. Very highly recommended.
There were a couple of negatives on this cruise, but not one that keeps us from recommending this ship/cruise highly. It was excellent and even more so because we were expecting a ship that was too small and lacking amenities. This simply isn't true. We loved the bar with the pool tables!
We have become Royal Caribbean devotees and have already booked our next voyage on the Explorer of the Seas in February. We can hardly wait!