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Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by Familygoboston: Jewel: Late, but Great!


Familygoboston
3 Reviews
Member Since 2010
6,941 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 5.5
Dining 4.0
Embarkation 2.0
Enrichment Activities 3.0
Entertainment 4.0
Family & Children 3.5
Fitness & Recreation 5.0
Public Rooms 5.5
Rates 4.0
Service 5.5
Shore Excursions 5.0
Value for Money 4.0

Compare Prices on Jewel of the Seas Western Caribbean Cruises

Jewel: Late, but Great!

Sail Date: February 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Tampa

Embarkation: We had a delay due to fog in Tampa. This was mostly handled well; we were informed quickly, given options for activities while we waited, a $20 credit per person for the inconvenience, and there was a well organized paper system in place to begin late boarding. Unfortunately, the terminal building only holds a limited amount of people and many people were stuck outside in line without water, seating or shade. We didn't board till 5:30 PM with Priority Boarding. We finally sailed away at 10 PM.

Public Rooms: With the exception of the Pit Stop Bar which has an inelegant "race car" theme, all the spaces on Jewel are beautifully designed. Every room seems to have a panoramic view of the ocean, and is very elegant.

The Centrum is the hub of activity, and can be seen from nearly every level of the ship. The elevators are in a large hump, which is beautiful, but makes it difficult when one arrives. You hear the tone of the arriving elevator and if it is on the More other end of the hump, you have to hope you can run fast enough to catch it before the door closes. Stand near the middle of the elevator bank and watch if one is coming near your floor and stand near it to board near that elevator. The shops of the Centrum was a real bottle neck during the evening hours, with "sidewalk" sales causing people to stop and no way to get around without going through the shops (maybe by design).

Cabin: This cabin is in the middle of the aft on deck 8. There are other aft cabins directly above and below it on 7 an 9. It is at the end of the hallway, but the door cannot be seen in the hall, it is around the corner on a short aft hallway with only 3 cabins, so it gets very little foot traffic in the hall. We heard no hallway, or service noise in this location. The cabin did have a lot of vibration noise when backing into a dock due to the aft thrusters, and on our cruise we arrived at ports early and this did wake me, but did not last long.

It has a phenomenal view and huge over sized balcony. It had 2 lounge chairs and 2 chairs and a small, short table. The cabin is considered D2; The set up is exactly the same as 8170 inside,(our family members had this cabin) but the balcony of 8170 is ever so slightly tapered on port side and slightly smaller (not even noticeably so) than 8672.

Inside this cabin has loads of storage; its all bilateral (sets of drawers on either side of the vanity and two sides of the closet) which makes it easy to share and good for lengthier cruises. This cabin is in the middle of the aft on deck 8. There are other aft cabins directly above and below it on 7 an 9. It is at the end of the hallway, but the door cannot be seen in the hall, it is around the corner on a short aft hallway with only 3 cabins, so it gets very little foot traffic in the hall. We heard no hallway, or service noise in this location. The cabin did have a lot of vibration noise when backing into a dock due to the aft thrusters, and on our cruise we arrived at ports early and this did wake me, but did not last long.

It has a phenomenal view and huge over sized balcony. It had 2 lounge chairs and 2 chairs and a small, short table. The cabin is considered D2; The set up is exactly the same as 8170 inside,(our family members had this cabin) but the balcony of 8170 is ever so slightly tapered on port side and slightly smaller (not even noticeably so) than 8672.

Inside this cabin has loads of storage; its all bilateral (sets of drawers on either side of the vanity and two sides of the closet) which makes it easy to share.

Fitness and recreation: The Ship Shape Center has beautiful views and lots of machines and room to spread out in the mirrored area with the hand weights and balls.

The jogging track is on the upper pool deck, which is difficult, because you have to dodge he folks meandering with drinks and deck chairs that have been rearranged. The promenade deck on 5 goes completely around the ship and is great for walking. and is useful for avoiding crowds in the Centrum on 5 when moving from the dining room to the theater.

The mini putt was fun, and in excellent condition, but not quite enough putters and balls to go around on the sea day.

The rock wall was well staffed and organized.

We found the pools crowded, and had to look around on sea days to find even one lounge chair to leave out things before a swim. There was a children's pool, and adult pool in the solarium, but not enough pools for a sea day.

Rates: Prices dropped for this cruise after our final payment, we upgraded from an E1 to a D2. The initial price was at a premium, I believe, because it was the Washington's birthday weekend and many northern schools (and families) have the week off. I thought the eventual price was an excellent value, and I think the prices dropped because families in the north with vacation time, for whom this cruise had been priced, decided not to fly to Florida due to rapidly escalating air fare prices.

Dining: We felt the food on Jewel was some of the tastiest on RCL ships. The menus are exactly the same across the line, but this food was less bland than I usually experience on RCL ships. The food on RCL is not the draw, but in this case it was good and we enjoyed it.

The SeaView cafe is wonderful! Made to order, salads, fried fish and sandwiches, as well as chowder and onion rings. You can sit outside on deck 12 or inside.

Windjammer: We loved this Windjammer, our favorite of any ship! The food and service was very good, but the variety of seating venues and ease of getting a table was the highlight! There are inside, outdoor enclosed and outdoor open seating areas all around the aft of deck 11.

Entertainment: Having cruised on Oasis 2 months earlier, it's hard to compare! But I found the Jewel entertainment to have excellent talent, energy and production values (sets and costumes are colorful and change at a dizzying pace), but the productions were thin on plot and the headliner (Three Tenors) didn't hold my interest. I also don't enjoy shilling of other activities after the show by the CD, this CD had a pretty good balance, in my opinion.
The activities (belly flop contest, Quest, Love and Marriage; were all very well run by the CD, and there was lots of energy and fun in these events.

The 70's party is a fun party and the Centrum is unique venue; I enjoyed this one more than similar parties on the larger RCI ships, where it feels more like being the passive witness to a "show". This was more intimate, but felt more interactive/organic and less like a show. There was more passenger involvement which I enjoyed!

Service: Was excellent on Jewel! Some of the larger ships try hard to use your name when they see it on the computer, but don't recognize you. On this ship, not only did our cabin attendant do an excellent job (Olton)but the other cabin attendants knew us, and engaged us in passing conversation, following up on prior conversations. We were warmly greeted every day in the WJ by Alejandro, who clearly recognized us from the first day when he was helping fetch drinks for us there. The Guest Services group was by far the most pleasant to deal with on this ship. Our MDR waiter Joseph and his assistant Teoddy quickly learned our preferences (for seafood) and always brought along extras to share or tailored their recommendations, even though they were quite busy. The CD knew many of his passengers by the end of he week by name and by reputation! Jewel is not small at 2300 pax, but the service made you feel like it was a much smaller ship.

Shore Excursions:

In Cozumel we went to Paradise Beach on our own.

In Costa Maya, we did the 2 stop snorkel with RCL Explorations!
Met our guide, Mario, at the pier and he leads us to a minivan, which then takes us to the village of Malahual. This is delightful; Mario is a native, and his English is excellent and he is funny in a very organic way! " I say Playa, because the lady guests think I am insulting them when I say Beach" He gave us a historical perspective on the area, shared stories about living there (including waving to his sons at their school till he remembered, "no school...Carnivale today" (also know as Mardi Gras in New Orleans). He explained that Malahual is a traditional Mexican fishing village of about 800 souls positioned on the Meso American reef (remember its #2 after the Great Barrier reef). In 2007 Hurricane Dean nearly wiped it out, and it is obvious looking at the village. Still lots of destruction and construction, no palm trees and the mangroves are just starting to come back. But it is fascinating to see how these weather events so completely change a place.

We met our Captain and underwater guide at the fishing pier in Malahual. In no time we were headed out to the first reef, while Mario got us all geared up. The equipment was in excellent condition, much of it looked very new. It was in a sani bath when we arrived and went back in after we were done.

After reaching our first stop, we went in the water following our guide and Mario spotting from behind. The snorkeling was amazing. This is some of the most diverse and extensive coral I have seen on a cruise ship snorkel tour.

The water was pretty rough with some good size swells, but once we all relaxed prone in the water, the waves wash right over you, but not over our snorkels thank goodness! The guide was excellent about pointing out wildlife underwater and showing us the little hidey holes where the fish were.

There is always a fine line with wildlife guides; clearly they wish to provide a great experience for their clients, but they also have a responsibility to responsibly manage and respect the animals they are tracking. Often cruise line tour guides trip over this line for tips; harassing or feeding wildlife to guarantee sightings. I find this upsetting and always complain about it because I want to take responsible tours. This guide walked that line beautifully; he might coax an animal out, but not harass it. He would bring a broken piece of coral to us for closer examination, but never break or damage a live coral. I felt given how rough the weather was we saw a good variety of animals on the first stop.


We got back on the boat to make the second stop. It was getting rougher and it is really rolling. The second stop is a huge coral garden and the diversity is amazing, even though there are not as many fish here.

The snorkeling was great, but I also really enjoyed the Village of Malahual, about 5 miles and a $3 cab ride from the port.( if you are not on an excursion like we were) I enjoyed that it was an authentic place where people live and work. As we arrived on the docks we saw the fisherman working there and their catches; Caribbean lobsters stored in crates under water awaiting shipping to the US, enormous piles of Conch shells saved for decoration after the Conch meat is shipped. The fisherman were happy to show us huge lobster shells and pose for photos. I never got the sense they were looking for tips, just happy to show off their life's work. This place felt real and that delighted us!

After departing the boat we noticed that the driver of our van had the hood up...uh oh! We learn from Mario that it won't start...but not to worry, he's called for another van, it will be here in 10 minutes. Meanwhile we sit at a little beach club a few paces away and can use the restrooms, or order a drink. I have just enough time to take a few photos before the new van comes (not 10 minutes!) and we are leaving this adorable place to head back to the port. I would love to see a snorkel tour with a little tour of the village too ( maybe a little demonstration about the local fishing industry, then a cerveza at the local beach club with some time to sit and explore?)and spend a bit more time there!

If you do this tour, be aware to bring plenty of ones for tips, as the driver, Mario and the boat staff were all tipped at different times. I highly recommend this tour, and hope if you take it, you get better weather!

Debarking: In comparison to embarking this went very quickly. We went to our group number meeting venue about 1/2 hour before our debarkation time to learn that the group had just been released. We walked off the ship and easily found our luggage; there were no customs agents, so we just left the terminal to go to the parking garage.
We might have had a late start, but we had a wonderful 5 days on beautiful Jewel, were we enjoyed good food and entertainment, some fun excursions and excellent service. Less


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Cabin review: Jewel of the Seas Superior Oceanview Stateroom Deck 7 8672

This cabin is in the middle of the aft on deck 8. There are other aft cabins directly above and below it on 7 an 9. It is at the end of the hallway, but the door cannot be seen in the hall, it is around the corner on a short aft hallway with only 3 cabins, so it gets very little foot traffic in the hall. We heard no hallway, or service noise in this location. The cabin did have a lot of vibration noise when backing into a dock due to the aft thrusters, and on our cruise we arrived at ports early and this did wake me, but did not last long. It has a phenomenal view and huge over sized balcony. It had 2 lounge chairs and 2 chairs and a small, short table. The cabin is considered D2; The set up is exactly the same as 8170 inside,(our family members had this cabin) but the balcony of 8170 is ever so slightly tapered on port side and slightly smaller (not even noticeably so) than 8672. Inside this cabin has loads of storage; its all bilateral (sets of drawers on either side of the vanity and two sides of the closet) which makes it easy to share.

Port and Shore Excursions


Snorkeling

(5)
Met our guide, Mario, at the pier and he leads us to a minivan, which then takes us to the village of Malahual. This is delightful; Mario is a native, and his English is excellent and he is funny in a very organic way! " I say Playa, because the lady guests think I am insulting them when I say Beach" He gave us a historical perspective on the area, shared stories about living there (including waving to his sons at their school till he remembered, "no school...Carnivale today" (also know as Mardi Gras in New Orleans). He explained that Malahual is a traditional Mexican fishing village of about 800 souls positioned on the Meso American reef (remember its #2 after the Great Barrier reef). In 2007 Hurricane Dean nearly wiped it out, and it is obvious looking at the village. Still lots of destruction and construction, no palm trees and the mangroves are just starting to come back. But it is fascinating to see how these weather events so completely change a place. We met our Captain and underwater guide at the fishing pier in Malahual. In no time we were headed out to the first reef, while Mario got us all geared up. The equipment was in excellent condition, much of it looked very new. It was in a sani bath when we arrived and went back in after we were done. After reaching our first stop, we went in the water following our guide and Mario spotting from behind. The snorkeling was amazing. This is some of the most diverse and extensive coral I have seen on a cruise ship snorkel tour. The water was pretty rough with some good size swells, but once we all relaxed prone in the water, the waves wash right over you, but not over our snorkels thank goodness! The guide was excellent about pointing out wildlife underwater and showing us the little hidey holes where the fish were. There is always a fine line with wildlife guides; clearly they wish to provide a great experience for their clients, but they also have a responsibility to responsibly manage and respect the animals they are tracking. Often cruise line tour guides trip over this line for tips; harassing or feeding wildlife to guarantee sightings. I find this upsetting and always complain about it because I want to take responsible tours. This guide walked that line beautifully; he might coax an animal out, but not harass it. He would bring a broken piece of coral to us for closer examination, but never break or damage a live coral. I felt given how rough the weather was we saw a good variety of animals on the first stop. We got back on the boat to make the second stop. It was getting rougher and it is really rolling. The second stop is a huge coral garden and the diversity is amazing, even though there are not as many fish here. The snorkeling was great, but I also really enjoyed the Village of Malahual, about 5 miles and a $3 cab ride from the port.( if you are not on an excursion like we were) I enjoyed that it was an authentic place where people live and work. As we arrived on the docks we saw the fisherman working there and their catches; Caribbean lobsters stored in crates under water awaiting shipping to the US, enormous piles of Conch shells saved for decoration after the Conch meat is shipped. The fisherman were happy to show us huge lobster shells and pose for photos. I never got the sense they were looking for tips, just happy to show off their life's work. This place felt real and that delighted us! After departing the boat we noticed that the driver of our van had the hood up...uh oh! We learn from Mario that it won't start...but not to worry, he's called for another van, it will be here in 10 minutes. Meanwhile we sit at a little beach club a few paces away and can use the restrooms, or order a drink. I have just enough time to take a few photos before the new van comes (not 10 minutes!) and we are leaving this adorable place to head back to the port. I would love to see a snorkel tour with a little tour of the village too ( maybe a little demonstration about the local fishing industry, then a cerveza at the local beach club with some time to sit and explore?)and spend a bit more time there! If you do this tour, be aware to bring plenty of ones for tips, as the driver, Mario and the boat staff were all tipped at different times. I highly recommend this tour, and hope if you take it, you get better weather!

We enjoy Cozumel because its a very easy port to go off on your on and enjoy all the island has to offer. The taxis are regulated and plentiful, and most island attractions are within a 5 - 15 minute drive. This time we traveled to Paradise Beach independently. The cab stand is located outside the labyrinth of shops pier side. Like most ports, you have to wend your way through the entire shopping arcade to get to the taxi stand. Keep following the signs on the buildings with arrows that say "Taxi". You may hit a dead end, but the area is completely enclosed, so you won't get lost! There is a queue for taxis, and sign with prices per person for almost every location on the island. The cab to paradise Beach is $12 for 4. If they load you onto a larger van with others going to the same place, the price per person will go down. A bracelet including use of all of the "toys" was $12, and you can pay just $2 for the chair and umbrella. Upon alighting from the cab, we were directed to the bar and pool area and we passed through to the beach. There is a wonderful sitting area with loads of loungers under shady palm trees and more loungers on the beach under umbrellas. Bring cash, though the website says cards are accepted, this was not our experience as we heard excuses about the "machine being broken". There is a huge complex of water toys; slides, trampolines and climbers in the water. You can use a floating mat, snorkels, the kayaks and paddle boards for a short time (about 10 minutes for snorkel gear, kayaks and paddle boards, just to keep things moving, but there is no limit on the number of times you can use these things.) You return your floaty mat to the pile so generally there are always some available. Also included in the "toys" price was one of those trampolines where you are harnessed in and can bounce up and down. There is an attendant insuring the harness is on safely and that everyone moves along, but the line for this got very long very quickly! The entry to the water had quite a bit of coral on the bottom, and you could see that people without beach shoes, or with limited mobility were having some trouble navigating into the deeper waters. This whole area is the start of the Meso American Reef. So my advice for Paradise Beach... enjoy the natural experience and pack water shoes! We received poor service here at lunch time. It could have been that we were just ordering food and not drinks, or it could have been the waiter assigned to our area was not as attentive as the other guys. The other waiters seemed to be really hustling, actually running at times, but ours didn't even come by to take an order, which was finally handed to him by another waiter, then he never entered the order at the kitchen, so we waited and hour and 1/2 for nachos, which didn't arrive till we threatened to leave for the ship for lunch and the other waiter delivered them with free chips and salsa, as an apology. So other than the poor bar/restaurant service, we enjoyed the activities at PSB and their were plenty of chairs in both sun and shade even with 4 large cruise ships in Cozumel that day.
Read 3106 Cozumel Reviews

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