Jewel of the Seas Entertainment
Royal Caribbean doesn't stint on onboard entertainment, whether by day or by night. Daytimes (particularly sea days), the options are pretty run-of-the-mill -- bingo, dance classes and trivia contests.
Evenings, though, are a veritable six-ring circus. After dinner, you can start off at the two-deck Coral Theater -- shows specializing in Broadway-style ensemble singing and dancing were big hits there. Then maybe catch a movie, join in the Battle of the Sexes competition, or hit one of the bars for a variety of musical performances. Check the daily schedule for karaoke, which takes place at night in the Safari Lounge.
The real action, though, can be found in the ship's numerous bars. On top of the ship is the Vortex Disco, a funky bar that revolves. It's primarily the ship's spot for late night revelry, but it's also a great spot for a pre-dinner cocktail at sunset. Also up top is the Hollywood Odyssey, a cozy spot that is a favorite for cigar-smokers.
In the evenings before and after dinner, the bars surrounding the atrium are vibrant and lively, particularly the Champagne Bar and the Lobby Bar. Off the main path a bit is Royal Caribbean's trademark Schooner Bar -- it's in the space between Chops Grille and Portofino. You can tuck into comfy booths or hang at the bar. Just past the Schooner Bar is the Safari Club, which hosts private events and serves as a secondary showroom.
To get a different perspective, head to the Crown and Anchor lounge on Deck 12, where you can peer straight down (through reinforced glass, of course) to Deck 4.
There's also a very smoky casino with the usual slots and gaming tables. Located right off the casino, the Pit Stop is ostensibly the ship's sports bar. It's hard to hear any of the coverage on the handful of televisions because of the ringing of the slot machines, and it's quite smoky, even on the nonsmoking side.
The ship also has a small cinema on Deck 6, which is nonsmoking but fills with smoke from the nearby Pit Stop.
On port days, Jewel of the Seas offers a variety of excursions. In Key West, excursions lean toward tours, while the Caribbean ports -- including Cozumel, St. Kitts and St. Maarten -- tend to be water-based and, therefore, more active.
Jewel of the Seas Public Rooms
First impressions count, and the initial reaction to Jewel's airy and light eight-deck high atrium (called the Centrum) is "wow!" It is definitely a passenger magnet; areas around the Centrum, whether on its ground-floor level or five decks above, are constantly in use. During the day, there are cooking demos and art auctions; at night, there's dancing to live music, with passengers hanging over banisters to watch the scene below.
Other features include a selection of shops selling logowear, a lot of jewelry and duty-free perfumes.
The ship has a small Internet Cafe, where you can use provided computers to check e-mail or surf the net. The cost per minute is 65 cents, or 44 cents if you log on between 7 and 9 a.m. Prepaid packages are available, from $35 for 60 minutes to $150 for 500 minutes. You can also connect wirelessly, though only in select few "hot spots" (including the Internet Cafe). You won't find Wi-Fi in your cabin.
There's a tiny library with a disappointing collection of books (bring your own). Game-players can venture over to the Serengeti Card Club on Deck 6, just off the Safari Club. The Card Club has a selection of board games and cards in addition to large tables for playing.
Jewel of the Seas Spa & Fitness
The main pool area is vibrant and well used. Because of shade issues, sun loungers on the deck overlooking the pool were in more demand than right by it. Two whirlpools flank the pool.
Jewel's fabulous glass-domed solarium -- decked out in a Thai theme, complete with a bronze tiger -- features an 18th-century Temple Bell from northern Thailand. Wooden deck chairs with rust-colored chaise pads surround the pool. There's a whirlpool here, too.
In keeping with Royal Caribbean's focus on activity, the two-level fitness center and spa offer comprehensive equipment and services. The spa, in particular, offers a full range of treatments, like teeth-whitening, Restylane and various massages. It's got a thermal suite that features steam, aromatherapy steam, a sauna and fog showers, plus heated tile loungers. It costs $20 a day to use it, even if you bought a body treatment. The spa is operated by Steiner Leisure, and staff therapists are guided, at the end of a treatment, to try to sell you their quite expensive beauty products. Not interested? Just say no before you even get started. There's also a beauty salon, offering haircuts, colors, manicures and such.
The fitness area is large, with the usual assortment of cardio equipment -- treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes. It also has a decent selection of dumbbells and strength equipment. Classes are a mix of free and for-fee, with a $12 charge for most spin, yoga and Pilates offerings. A jogging/walking track is located on Deck 12. Six laps around equal a mile. There's also the ubiquitous rock-climbing wall, sports court, mini-golf course and golf simulator.