We drove down on Sat the 17 to Tampa. We stayed at the Chase Suite hotel which is a nice place. Offers rooms with a nice view, full kitchen and transport to cruise dock and allows you to leave your car for up 14 days with their snooze and cruise package. I believe it was 109 a night for 3 adults regular room and 159 for the cruise package. Pretty reasonable. I had gone to the website for the hotel to see restaurants and what was close by. In Yarbar city about 10 miles away was Acropolis Greek Taverna which was Greek and Med food. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The prices were average and they had live entertainment. They played music and at one point the waitress' got in a line and danced and they threw some plates. Dad of course took some video. Sunday we got up ate breakfast at hotel provided which is things like muffins, bagels,fruit, waffles, yogurt, eggs and bacon. They did change it up for Monday they had sausage and biscuits. We then drove to More
Orlando to go to Universal Studios Islands of adventure. Our day started off bad as we got in line for Spider Man and it said 45 min wait, but we waited 2 hrs. The ride had some technical difficulties they did not bother to inform us of and there was no one to direct you if you wanted to get out of line. When we finally got on half the screens did not work and some crazy parents had taken their 2 to 3 yrs old on it who got completely hysterical. All we thought was poor kid and why the parents did that to that poor child. We got off and immediately went to guest services to complain. They refused to give any money back, they only gave us 6 express passes for our trouble. Which in my opinion did not cost them a thing. We probably wont go back because of the horrible guest services. We did make the best of the rest of day and did have some fun.
Jewel of the Seas-
12/19 Mon- Boarding day. We scheduled our transfer for 11am. We got up, ate breakfast, checked packing and sat around. At 11 we went to front and got in van. He has us there by 11:15. We dropped off our luggage and got in line through security. Up the stairs to fill out the health form and onto the line to check in. We were on ship b y 11:30. The fastest embark in my 14 cruises I have seen! We got on and went to guest services. I got my hole punched and put my card on my Cruise Critic lanyard. We then went to Portofino's to ask about the Vini wine and dine series. We were asked for our room # and told they would call to confirm. We then headed up to buffet. Dad had some Indian offerings, curry chicken and such which he loved and I tasted and liked as well. I had pizza, salad some rice and such, also good. I thought the desserts were not as tasty, so I stuck with the ice-cream this cruise when eating in lido. We went to deck 9 was told about 15 min before cabins were ready. We waited and the door was not opened on one said finally someone went in and said they were ready so we all filled in. Our stateroom was nice size. We had a message from Portofino's stating their was not enough people to do Vini and it was cancelled for the cruise. I was VERY disappointed having heard about it on cruise critic and really looking forward to it. I went exploring. I went up to pool bar and looked through menu and decided I wanted a Bacardi torch cherry rum and coke. I loved it and had another later in the cruise. We went to muster drill which was in the Schooner bar inside... yeah! Then I went off to spa where I had my facial and scalp massage all free from my TA. I did tip the girl as she gave NO sales pitch at all and was wonderful! By the time I was done the ship had been sailing a bit. I went back to cabin to get ready for dinner. The dinning room was Chaos. We booked in July and requested a table for 4 to 6, early. We had not be assigned a table. They just sat us somewhere. I am not sure what was going on, but they need to work that out before hand. We listened to some music and went to bed early, we were tired.
12/20 Sea day- I woke early and got on the balcony to watch. Dad went to get coffee and tea (I drink hot tea) for us to wake up. Mom was not feeling well. The seas were a bit rough, about 10 to 15 foot swells. We went to dinning room and ate breakfast. Mom made the mistake of getting an omelet, which eggs if bad if you feel seasick, makes it worse. She didn't eat much and went back to cabin, where our steward Mark introduced himself. Mom and dad went to solarium to swim (very beautiful) and I went to spa to use my day pass to the Thermal suite. It was just me. I sat in the heated chair for a bit, then went into the aromatherapy room. It was lighted scented and soft music. I stayed in a while then got out and went to the tropical shower. I then got in the steam room for bit, back to aromatherapy room and back to chairs, where a couple had showed up. It was just the three of us for while then another woman and her mom came in. We layed on the chairs and then had a conversion together they were nice. I left after while to find mom and dad. They were still in solarium. We say a bit and then went back to get ready to eat. We went to the sea-view cafe. We loved it! I order the onion ring basket and mom the corn chip basket (nachos) and dad the soup. I also had the cheeseburger, very good. Mom had the veggie wrap and dad had the fish and chips. All excellent. We went back to take a nap. Me and dad went to wine tasting in dinning room. It was just us for bit, then another couple showed up and one more and finally a man. It was 7 of us. They said 10 min, but decided to do it anyways. Again, lack of advertising events, RCCL needs to do better, if people don't know they won't show up for it. I did note this in my survey and e-mail to rccl about that fro the Vini. It was OK, all Bordeaux wines, one white, 3 red. I don't like reds so it was OK for me. The cheeses were good, but I think offering some dark chocolate along with cheese would make a difference. I went to a red wine and chocolate tasting once and it was great. I also suggested that on my survey. We then had to go and dress for dinner, formal night. Mom did not go as she was not feeling well. We ordered some room service for her and went on. We had a table finally. Dad had worked that out earlier in the day. We sat at table 113 with 3 others. A mom and her two sons. They were from GA too and we had a nice time. Food was good. We then went to Captain's welcome party. I had punch and dad champagne. We got our pic taken with the Captain and thanked him for his help earlier in the day in directing us in the right direction. We went back to room, got mom and went to show. The Broadway show was good. I loved the Les Meseriables song combination they did. I was tired so went to bed as I had a tour in Cozumel. We had booked it earlier in the day, using TV, but it didn't work too well. Dad was paying for it and so I went down to check on it and found we had two tickets. They were very good about refunding one back.
12/21- Cozumel- I got up and ate breakfast and got dressed. My tour said 9:15 at the end of the dock. I went down a little early and found the Salsa and Salsa people. I signed my name and got my sticker. We had group of 14 people from the Freedom and Jewel. We got on a taxi van and went to Cozumel hotel where we walked a bit was were showed the bathroom down stairs. We went up and got in pairs. Were handed a Margarita, tea or water and got ready. We were told to put on our aprons and hats and they explained we would make 2 Margaritas and 7 Salsa's. They then asked everyone to point to someone, whoever was pointed at my the most people at a table had to stand up. It was me, they declared us table captains and told us to make sure everyone was on task and not drinking too much. We then got started. We moved our cup into the juice and then salted it. We had a lime juicer. We juiced a lime into our cups and then we poured the shot of Tequila and shot of Controy into our cups. This is the natural Margarita without the mix, the original way to do it. Then we made Frozen Strawberry Margaritas. Then it was on to the Salsa. We made a roasted red salsa and a green (Verde) salsa. We were given quasadilla's and chips to try it on. Then we took two spoons of the Verde and added avocado to it to make Guacamole, my favorite. Ours was bland so we added a touch of the red salsa too. Our table experimented! We got flauntas to try it with. We took a break, got more Margaritas', went to bathroom and went to store. I bought the lime juicer/cook book package. Then we went on to the uncooked salsa's. Pico and a mango salsa, a tropical one and finally a dessert salsa! Mango, pineapple and vanilla liquor and we got ice cream to pour it over. Very good! then on to another break and Salsa dancing. We learned to do Salsa and then they partnered up for that one. I along with several others just watched as we were tired. Then our guides took us to Taxi (those who wanted to go back, the others stayed for an hour to swim and etc...) I went shopping by ship. Got Maracas for my kids, hot sauce for my work mates and then saw a 15 dollar hair braiding for half head. I did that and went back to ship. I went to lido to eat some pizza and salad to supplement my earlier food and we went out looking for a internet cafe. No luck! I was tired so went back to take nap. We then got ready for Portofino's. We used our buy one glass of wine, get one. We had a Riesling. Me and dad had the seafood screw er with lobster tail, scallops, shrimp and salmon. It was excellent and then the chocolate dessert was great! I was tried and skipped show.
12/22- Costa Maya- We had brought our own snorkel gear and had planned to go snorkeling, but the water/waves were high and rough. We did not even try to swim in ocean. We walked around and tried to get in pool- ice cold... we went outside the buildings and walked a block or two. There beside Hard rock was a Internet cafe! Yeah! 5 for hour. Air conditioned and quiet. I checked in and did my e-mail and Facebook. We then went back to pool- it was around 10am. It was still too cold! We went back to front where the Mexico wildlife preserve had a baby tiger. We got our pic taken for a donation of 25 dollars. They also took pic with my camera. We went back to ship and got in Solarium pool. Much warmer! Then we cleaned up. I ordered room service. Pizza, spinach dip, cheese plate, tea and chocolate pear tart. All excellent. The chocolate pear tart was to die for! Then me and dad went back out to Hard Rock, had a drink and he went to liquor store near by to get his Drambuie. I bought some chocolate with tequila in them and some Mayan drinking chocolate. We went back to ship and took a nap. We got up and went to sea-view for a snack. We shared the feather and fingers plate with onion rings. They kept announcing two people to contact guest services. We walked out of deck. A gold cart came screaming down and two people (very late) got on ship, then they released the ropes and we got underway. Mom said they told her they had gone into safe and gotten passports and wallets for those two people and were about to leave it with port agent. They almost got left. A lesson, make sure you know what time it is, the ship can and will leave you! I then wondered over to the Schooner bar for Martini hour. I asked for a Key Lime Martini and was it excellent! Then off to dinner, it was good as well. I skipped show again, but mom and dad said it was OK. They liked the night before, the Temptations tribute better.
12/23- Sea-day- We ate breakfast at Lido again. The breakfast food never seemed to change, the lunch did, but not breakfast. My only complaint. Mom was feeling bad again. We lounged around and they went to Solarium and I went to the Captain's Corner session. Lots of good questions asked. I joined mom and dad at Solarium. We sat a while then went to dinning room for lunch. I had the broccoli and blue cheese soup. Excellent, I even tried to make it at home. Then I had the avocado and salsa salad and the turkian chicken wrap. All excellent, and finished up by the chocolate and raspberry tart. Very good! Dad loved the salad bar. Then it was nap time again. We took nap then got up and walked around deck. I went to pool bar to get my new favorite drink- Cherry rum and coke! They asked for my ID... first time EVER on a cruise, and on the last day. I was shocked and I do not carry it around, it was in the room. I know they have to have a policy and all, but I think it should be consistent. Either ask all the time or don't. Most people don't carry around Id's if they don't know they are needed. It was crowded by pool so I went back, got my Id and decided to go down to centrium bar instead. Showed my ID, got my drink and walked around. Then got dad, asked mom if she was hungry. (No, she wasn't) went up to sea view and shared a chilli dog with onion rings. We had to ask for a slice of cheese to go on it! Took some pics of sea view and walked around. Then went back to get ready for dinner. We went and got pictures first. We got the one of me and dad and Captain and one of the 3 of us. We had a coupon for buy one get 50% off the second one, then it was off to dinner. I had onion soup (my favorite) ceasar salad and calzone. The calzone was the ONLY thing I had which was not up to standards. Then a chocolate mousse brownie and key lime pie. Excellent! The waiters danced, we took video thanked them, gave them their pre-paid tips and a little extra! We went back to room and got ready for show. The Argentinian cowboys were good! We liked them a lot! Different and funny! We got our luggage out, made sure we had what we needed and went to sleep. At 4am we woke up and dad walked out to see bridge, we were not moving and it was very foggy. A little while later we were moving again, but it was foggy and you couldn't see anything. We woke up later and me and dad headed to dinning room one last time! We ate, went up to get mom a couple of muffins and got ready to leave the beautiful Jewel. We went to theater and waited. They ran a few minutes late, I think due to fog. We were off and in line before 9:30 am though. (we were 8:45) All in all a great cruise and we decided the prettiest ship we've been on!
Franky Rodriguez was our waiter and was excellent. He even came by at breakfast and lunch to check on us when we ate in dinning room. Mark our steward was excellent as well. Great towel animals and very friendly. We would love to go back on the Jewel again. Less
Jewel of the Seas Cruises to the Western Caribbean
Very improved since we were there 8 years ago. They have internet cafe a couple blocks away and a Hard Rock Cafe. They also have a option to take pic with baby tiger for a donation to the wildlife reserve and it was so worth it!