Construction has officially concluded on Jewel of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's fourth and final Radiance-class ship, and the cruise line has accepted delivery (and handed over a big check). The 90,090-ton, 2,112-passenger ship was built at Meyer Werft Yard in Papenburg, Germany. Jewel of the Seas won't offer too many surprises to those familiar with the Radiance-class design -- lots of exterior glass, long-favorite public areas such as the Viking Crown Lounge (with revolving bar), Schooner Bar and the Safari Club; the casual-Caribbean Sea View cafe and upscale Italian Portofino's; and a Balinese-themed spa. Eighty percent of cabins are outside and 90 percent of those are equipped with private verandahs.
Jewel of the Seas will spend the summer months sailing Northern Europe and Baltic itineraries but it may well have already completed its most interesting sailing. That occurred earlier this month -- pre-handover -- when Jewel of the Seas, en route to the North Sea for sea trials, was required to travel down the River Ems .. astern. That's backwards, for all you landlubbers. According to the folks at Meyer Werft, the ship's unique mechanical design, in which a pod mounted under the stern shovels the water under the vessel, actually made the transit much easier.
Suffice to say, the banks of the River Ems were chock-a-block with onlookers curious to watch a mega-cruise ship sail backwards.
Jewel of the Seas will undergo inaugural ceremonies on May 7 at the port of Harwich, outside of London.