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Jewel of the Seas
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Jewel of the Seas

Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International


Few gimmicks, great service, rarely raucous


Costly extras, unimaginative entertainment

Bottom line

Uncomplicated classic cruising with all the traditional trimmings

Cruise Reviews

We had not been with this company before, and we were expecting this cruise to be better than the cruise we did with another company the week before. Strangely enough, we enjoyed the other cruise, but not this one. Where do we start? In ... Read More
We had not been with this company before, and we were expecting this cruise to be better than the cruise we did with another company the week before. Strangely enough, we enjoyed the other cruise, but not this one. Where do we start? In our opinion we felt that Jewel of the Seas desperately needed a refurbishment, and until this is possible, we felt that a good clean and a lick of paint would have been welcome. We found that on two occasions dishes in the Windjammer buffet had dried food on them, we found food that was on a ledge where we had breakfast was still there the following morning, paper towels used to soak up a spill in the Schooner bar were just left all the time we were there, areas around the ship that didn’t look clean, were suddenly improved when we used just a tissue and plain cold water. We could go on! We found that the food in the main dining room was generally good, but we felt that the Windjammer buffet especially at lunchtime could have been better. Some staff were very friendly and helpful, but we found that there could have been more “service with a smile” in other areas. Embarkation and Dis-embarkation was well organised and ran smoothly. We felt that the entertainment on offer could have been better. Finally, we found that our cabin, which was of a reasonable size, and had adequate storage, had a rather unpleasant odour. Yes, I know that we should have mentioned this to guest services, but given the fact that it is very unlikely that we would cruise on this ship again, felt that we couldn’t be bothered. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our sixth cruise and the first on Royal Caribbean. We got a very good price and as we have visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi previously we knew what to expect in terms of weather, general safety and cleanliness. Also the flight from ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise and the first on Royal Caribbean. We got a very good price and as we have visited Dubai and Abu Dhabi previously we knew what to expect in terms of weather, general safety and cleanliness. Also the flight from Finland to Dubai is not too long. Oman was a new and exciting destination for us. We arrived in Dubai early on Sunday morning, the weather was not on our side, windy and cold, with the odd rain shower. After visiting the Dubai Mall we just spent the rest of the day relaxing at our hotel. On Monday we proceeded by taxi to Dubai Cruise Terminal, where check-in was extremely efficient and we were onboard by 12:30. As we waited for our luggage to arrive we lunched at the Windjammer and went to sort out our dining time. Originally we had requested late seating but for some reason this had been changed to early. We managed to get the late seating back, but were allocated a far end table next to the kitcken entrance, a more central location would have been nice. First impression of the ship was a disappointment. The Jewel is a retro ship, her decor dates back to 2004 when she was built and that style has not aged well. She is clean and well maintained but the interiors are dark, dull and completely lacking any sensation of luxury. I very much got the feeling that Royal does not want to invest any dollars on this ship as she might be sold off in the near future. Standard of food in general was good. The selection and layout of the Windjammer buffet was good and we didn't have any problem finding a table, but again the decor was very retro. Plastic plates and drinking glasses were a letdown and we were surprised that there was no late night snack available, other than the room service and Cafe Lattetudes sandwich sortiment. The buffet staff was very quick in clearing tables and in general the cleanliness of the serving stations was very good. Now the fun part, a few words about the main dining room service which was always very friendly and polite, but at times surprisingly unprofessional. Our first clash with the Royal Caribbean service concept was with the food ordering, as we were expected to order all three courses at the same time. Usually in a restaurant the dessert is chosen after you have finished the main course, but not here. Afterdinner coffee was never offered and when we asked for an espresso it was served in a normal coffee cup, without a spoon or a saucer! It seems that Royal hasn't invested in espresso cups at all. And it seems that neither have they invested in employing sommeliers, as the wine order was handled by the assistant waiter. His pairing of wine with food was a game of chance. If we chose to have white wine with starter and main course he without asking brought a second glass of the - hopefully - same wine as main course was served. And he also poured what was left of the first glass into the new one! I've never, ever seen that being done in any restaurant. One evening I asked for a port wine, this was served in a champagne flute. It would have been nice to know what brand I was drinking but dessert wines were not mentioned in the wine list. We ordered room service breakfast a couple of times but as the free continental selection was so limited we took the rest of our breakfasts in the MDR. Drinks selection at the bars was a bit of a dissapointment. Most were all too sweet to our taste as they were mixed with ready-made syrups. And for the first few days they were out of lemons so every drink was garnished with a lime wedge. The Vintages wine bar would benefit of a larger selection of wines and champagnes served by the glass, as other bars on the ship have a wider sortiment. Smoking was allowed in the Casino, which meant that cigarette smoke flowed also to the Vintages. As an ex-smoker I would happily see indoor smoking banned and wouldn't mind a non-smoking ship. Entertainment was generally good to great, highlight being the staff, lowpoint the ship's own singers. The '80's and '70's parties at the Centrum were great fun. The poolside music was very loud but we spent our time on deck mostly at the front part of the ship where it did not disturb us. We had the Deluxe Drinks Package, which was a good investment as bottled water was included, the tap water in the cabin being too warm to drink. Service in general was polight but the ratio of service staff to passengers was noticeably poor, with no chance to have a friendly talk with bar or dining room staff as they were so very busy. Which left us with a feeling of hurried, impersonal, revenue generating oriented atmosphere. The first port visit was a day at Sir Baniyas Island, off the coast of Abu Dhabi. We anchored offshore and were tendered to the island, where a cruise ship beach had been constructed with sun beds, covered bbq buffet, several bars and toilet facilities. This was quite a nice place to visit, we enjoyed the sun and had lunch before heading back to the ship. Tendering was very efficient, no queues and frequent departures. Second stop was Khasab in Oman. They said it was the first time the Jewel OTS stopped there, so great hopes were with the company and passengers. From the very modern pier we were given a free shuttle to the town centre, if you can call it that. This is a very small village with absolutely nothing to do, so after half an hour walking up and down the dusty main street we were on our way back to the ship. At least this gave us a windless day to enjoy the weather on deck. In Muscat we took a hop on-hop off bus from the pier. After a comical walk through the immigration building we were back on the bus, for the next two hours, during which we saw mainly rocky hills and car dealerships along the motorway. I think we would have been much better off just walking from the port gates to the center of the town and exploring it ourselves. Sea day was a bit windy. On Saturday we arrived at Abu Dhabi and took a taxi to see the Grand Mosque, which is a spectacular and very well organised place to visit. As we had been to Abu Dhabi before were not intrested in spending any extra time there. On the last day in Dubai we took a taxi to the QE2 which was moored opposite our berth. It was a great experience wandering around the old ship, a bit sad to see how much of the original interiors have been altered and removed. There we sat down at the Chart Room bar and had the most expensive g&t of our lives. Always check the price list first! Disembarkation was as effortles as embarkation. We carried our own bags and took a taxi to the airport. As they say, any cruise is better than no cruise. We won't be coming back to Jewel of the Seas and most probably won't sail Royal Caribbean again, their concept is just not for us. But now we are one experience wiser and know what to look for in our future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We are a retired couple who enjoy cruising to interesting places. We had never been on the Jewel, but have been on several ships within the fleet. On arriving in Dubai, we stayed for a few nights pre cruise. Our flight and transfers ... Read More
We are a retired couple who enjoy cruising to interesting places. We had never been on the Jewel, but have been on several ships within the fleet. On arriving in Dubai, we stayed for a few nights pre cruise. Our flight and transfers were very smooth, although we arranged this independently, not through the Company. Check in at the port was easy & quick. Passports are taken before embarkation, & returned during the cruise. Our cabin was extremely small, and unknown to us when booking, was an interconnecting room. We never take these rooms, but have to admit we didn’t hear anything from the next cabin on both sectors of the cruise...we did a b2b, and stayed in the same cabin. The balcony was a reasonable size & we sat there everyday, except when there was adverse weather ! It was most unusual for this part of the world, at the time we were cruising, to have so much mixed, unsettled weather, but it didn’t deter us from walking ashore. Some days it was cold in the morning, then later, it was too hot to sunbathe ! As we were coming to the end of the second cruise, the weather became more settled. We were looking forward to Bahrain, as we had never been there, but that was cancelled in the interest of security & safety, so not a problem. Doha, Qatar, was interesting. The free shuttle dropped us at the museum, in a car park, but after looking around, spotted a sign for the Corniche, which was within easy walking distance of being dropped off. It was a very pleasant walk, all on the flat, and we walked past the big oyster...a much visited monument ! There is also a lovely park at the museum, which we also walked around. Everything was clean & well maintained....throughout the majority of the ports where we stopped. The only port which was a bit disappointing was Khasab, but even there we found a good walk to the beach, which has potential, but has still to be developed ! We also walked to the fort, which is in the opposite direction from the beach. There really isn’t much in town, so taking the shuttle might not be worthwhile, but ..... Our favourite port is Muscat, Oman, which is kept beautifully clean & the palace is worth a visit. It is possible to walk there from the port, along the Corniche, but it is a fairly long walk, & in the heat, might prove too much for some. When we were there, the temperature was perfect for walking. Sir Bani Yas island is a tender port, and when we visited during the first cruise, the weather was very windy, but we managed to get ashore. We didn’t take any excursions ashore, instead walked about the area near the drop off point. To be honest, not much there in this area, except sun loungers, cabanas and food stops. The weather wasn’t warm enough to lie and sunbathe, so after walking around, stopped for a light lunch and walked back to the tender station to return to the ship. There is a section for suites & Pinnacles, and a golf cart type of vehicle transports those wishing to go to Al Reem beach, which is the private area for the aforementioned. The ship was well maintained, & all crew we encountered were delightful, pleasant & friendly. Our MDR servers for both cruises were lovely people. The food was hot, well presented, tasty and perfect portion size for us. We have absolutely no complaints about food, regardless where we ate. There was a good selection of food in the WJ and there is no excuse for people not to choose healthy options, of which there was plenty. The Diamond Lounge & the Concierge Lounges were well presented. It was good to see that the CL was for only Suites & Pinnacles, meaning that it was a pleasant place to sit in the evenings without being overcrowded. The D Lounge extended to part of the Vortex lounge, so there was plenty of space for all to sit. The crew in the lounges were lovely. Octavian in the CL was so professional & friendly. He was on his own, and remembered every drink passengers ordered, although always checked before serving, to make sure there was no change ! We didn’t know crew before we went on, but by the time we left, felt as if we had been in the company of dear friends ! Our SRA was good, & cleaned our room early. He knew we were early risers, so managed to clean our room before we returned from breakfast, which meant we didn’t have to rush to go off the ship. The crew in Chops were professional, helpful, kind and friendly. Breakfast was a pleasant experience, and our regular servers couldn’t have been nicer...Ana & Dickson. The HD, Tony, is a lovely person, as were all his team. Ganesh, F& B seemed to be omnipresent, & always greeted us with his enigmatic smile. There are too many people to mention individually, but all we encountered were a credit to the company. Only downside was that we had an issue with our internet for a few days, but it wasn’t to do with the ship, but the satellite signal where we were. Ariel, IT manager, tried to resolve the problem, but it was out-with his control. After a few days, the signal suddenly returned ! We liked the ship, & look forward to returning later, knowing we are going to meet pleasant crew. It is unlikely ships in this company will sail in the area after this year, for various reasons, so we are glad we managed to visit the ports again. Unfortunately there wasn’t a reserved sun lounging area for Gold card holders, but we always managed to find a spot to lie for an hour. We did notice some loungers were reserved for quite a while, but policing this is difficult, although on sea days, think the reserving of loungers could prove an issue. Some people put towels & items in their loungers, then went away, returning after a considerable period of time ! Our first experience on this ship proved to be very positive. This Captain always started his announcements by greeting passengers, & his fantastic crew, which was good. We are looking forward to our next cruise, especially when the itinerary is very port intensive, as we like to explore areas on foot. Finally....wish smoking was banned in the casino. It was really an awful place to be, so we avoided the area, but that meant we couldn’t go and enjoy a few moments on the slots. At least it saved us money !!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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