My wife and I, although well traveled and in our mid 60's, only started cruising a fairly short time ago. This was our 5th cruise with a prior one being aboard Jewel's sister, Radiance of the Seas also out of Tampa.
As with Radiance, we were struck by the refined and upscale decor in all venues of the ship. The Centrum is nothing short of spectacular as are the seaward facing elevators offering panoramic ocean views from decks 4 thru 10. We also very much liked the wood and brass nautical theme carried through out the ship from the Schooner Lounge to Chops Restaurant to the public restrooms.Classy!
But let me start at the beginning..... Boarding in Tampa was flawless. From stepping out of our car to walking into our stateroom(8598) took less than 30 minutes.
Cabin: Our balcony stateroom was on the "kick-out" and therefore offered an added degree of privacy and quiet. We like quiet, and while on the topic...the cabin doors are wonderfully sound insulated. The doors to the balcony are sliders and offer a grand ocean view without the slamming of traditional type doors found on many other ships. The head (bathroom) is of a nice size with adequate storage areas for toiletries. We loved the fact that the shower had a sliding circular style door rather than the notorious curtains on her sister ship and so many others. The bathroom floor stayed dry.
We did, however, get the feeling that our room steward was new to the job. No major problems or issues, just nothing remarkable pro or con. We did miss the turn-down mints. Couldn't RC just add a buck to the posted cruise rate and continue this nice gesture?
Food: We had a table for two on the upper level of the main restaurant, Tides. We ate there two evenings, Chops Grill one night, and twice at Portofino. The quality and variety of food at Tides excellent as was our wait staff headed by Tamara,assisted by Gerardo. Chops Grill was our choice for Christmas Eve dinner. We loved the rich, dark wood atmosphere, view, table locations and spacing. Service was good and our steaks "Ok". We felt the extra charge of $30.00 pp was a bit extravagant all things considered. Portofino's, however, where we dined two other evenings, was superb. Lindie, our server, was excellent....attentive, informative, efficient, never overbearing, and with a lovely personality. The location of Portofino is next to Chops .... same deck, same view. The decor is more lite and airy. The menu is varied and food presentation and quality is 5 Star! WE had steak which was better than at Chops(go figure) and the Seafood Medley was out of this world. Portofino was the highlight of our cruise!
Spa: Rather than go ashore for T-shirts and trinkets at Costa Maya, we opted to spend much of the day at the Solarium, the adult only enclave forward on Deck 11. It was quiet and relaxing and virtually unpopulated. I later scheduled a massage in the Spa and was impressed with the entire experience. The massage was wonderful and I particularly liked the fact that spa related products were not "pushed" as had been the case on some other cruise lines.
Other Highs, Lows, and So-So's:
High Points: Lattetudes Cafe coffee shop on Deck 5 in the Centrum, the quality and variety of live entertainment (musical), Embarkation and Debarkation, Overall ship's decor and atmosphere, port of Cozumel
So-So:Cabin and cabin staff, Windjammer Buffet
Low: Port of Costa Maya.....There are much better ports of call in the Western Caribbean, like Roatan.