This was a somewhat impromptu cruise for us; I booked it in October (so thus had to pay for it right away) so that we could celebrate my b-day on board and also prepare DH (a CPA) for the upcoming Tax Season.
My only REAL beef is that I wish the cruise had been longer!
A snap. I booked on Royal Caribbeans web site and used Royal Points (from our Visa) to bring the fare down $250 pp and to receive a $250 OBC. That process worked just fine with the discounted price showing up almost right away on the payment section of the web site. I did, however, have to contact the Crown and Anchor Society to make sure the OBC had been posted to our account (it had). It'd be nice if they could have a place on the web site to check yourself.
I also ordered a bottle of Champagne for our room on embarkation day, the water package, and dinner at Portofino online and everything was were it was supposed ot be!
Transportation to Port
We live in nearby Lakewood Ranch FL; takes less than an hour to get to the port. DH dropped me off at the curb, I found a porter, off went our luggage (with the pre-ordered personalized luggage tags attached, also ordered from the web site)while I waited for DH to come back from across the street where he parked the car in the port garage (must prepay to park, $60 for the four day cruise). There is valet parking available for an additional $20.
A total snap. On the ship in less than 10 minutes.
Lovely, absolutely lovely. Sister ship to Radiance (which we'd been on in January) but Jewel seemed to be in better shape. Cleaner, more sparkly. Also she was decked out for Christmas, which just added a bit more "something" to the atmosphere. Fantastic and interesting art around the ship. All of the venues, rooms, clubs, bars, dining room, etc. we ventured into were clean. The pool area was also clean, as was The Solarium. Shops were fine; didn't buy much. Did not use the spa or the fitness center.
Aft Balcony 1102, Deck Ten (Category D2). Plenty large enough for two regular sized people. Balcony is fantastic; could have a small cocktail party out there! Bed real comfy and tons of storage space. Bathroom quite small with a shower stall only but at least the shower had a door instead of the invasive curtain that was on Radiance.
Ok. Not great, not bad. Champagne was in our room when we first arrived but no ice! It took forever to get said ice and then there wasn't much of it and it melted very quickly. Didn't see her (Jessica) until sometime the next morning. But, the room was kept clean and when we asked for something, it eventually showed up. Case in point, there were no Breakfast Menus (to order from Room Service) in our room that first night. I called Room Service twice to get some delivered so we could have breakfast out on our balcony the next morning. None ever showed up until the next day (when I asked our SRA for some). There should have been a supply of them in our room, so that was her mistake.
Sort of disappointed that there was only ONE towel creature on this cruise. Why? I can understand not being able to get one done the first night but it seems it could have been managed the other three nights. Sorta disappointing.
Pretty good. Selections in MDR were fine. Ate at Portofino one night and it was ok, not as good as I remembered on Radiance. Buffet in Windjammer seemed varied enough; hate eating buffets so we did not go there much (absolutely love RCI's french fries, though!)
Had breakfast in the MDR twice and both times it was fine. Lunch one and it was good.
What we remembered; nice selection of foo foo drinks plus wine, draft beer, sodas, etc. I had a special coffee at the coffee bar one day; extra charge but yum-0 (it was spiked). Two of the Frozen Mojitos I ordered were not right; no mint, way too much lime. All in all, though, fine. Oh, we did spend a bit of time in the Champagne Bar; Lorenzo was fantastic. Complimentary appetizers. Wine by the glass options in the MDR were limited and fairly expensive ($9); definitely better to order a bottle AND order the wine package. We usually do this but since this was such a short cruise, we didn't this time.
Our waiter (Joel) was efficient and friendly. Assistant Waiter pretty good. Can't remember his name. The Head Waiter was pretty much useless, as usual. Why do they even have this position? Bartenders/pool bartenders ok; other than Lorenzo, no one really stood out.
Carly the CD very funny to watch/listen to. Enjoyed a few of the pool side activities, including sail away party, World's Sexiest Man, and the belly flop contest. Participated in The Quest show the final night; totally hilarious. Listened to many of the various musicians around the ship; pleasant. DJ played sucky music (for the VERY young crowd) except for an hour or so one night when he played 70s).
DH imbibed, I didn't. He broke even.
Didn't use the fitness center or the spa. Checked out the library; so-so selection of books. Nice reading area, though. Enjoyed sitting in the Champagne Bar and reading and also in the Schooner Bar chatting.
We were told the ship was full but it seemed empty to us (except in The Solarium where it is always crowded and there are usually adults with their kids in there; a no no). Seemed like an older crowd (60+) to us. Met some great new friends via Cruise Critic; ended up hanging out with them/their party the entire time. Other than the usual rude jerks in the buffet, most PAX seemed relaxed and happy.
Port of Call
Cozumel. We were in Cozumel last January and did the cooking class. This time, we just wandered around the shop area there at port for all of 15 minutes. Eh. Went back onto the ship to hang out by the pool.
Again, a snap. Off the ship at 8:30, home by 10!
Loved the ship and everything else was either neutral or great. Would definitely sail on Jewel again; hopefully soon and hopefully at some point on one of her longer sailings.