58 Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

My other cruises were on a more casual line and only had one port vs. having 4 ports in 7 days, so this was a change for me. I also wasn't sure what to expect as this cruise had formal assigned seating at dinner.... along with ... Read More
My other cruises were on a more casual line and only had one port vs. having 4 ports in 7 days, so this was a change for me. I also wasn't sure what to expect as this cruise had formal assigned seating at dinner.... along with formal dress dinners 2 nights. I wasn't sure that I would like having to dress for dinner or like sitting with the same people every night. OMG...what if we didn't like them? Or they us? Day one.. My cousin and I were at the pier at 12 and on the ship within 5 minutes. The check in was quick and easy. We arrived on board and were told to go to the Windjammer for lunch as our rooms were not ready yet. So off we went with our carry-on luggage. ( our other bags were not expected to be delivered until 8 pm!) We took turns holding our table and watching each other's luggage while the other got food and drinks at the buffet. I was glad not to be a single traveler or this would have been difficult with the luggage. The variety of food as well, the layout of the buffet tables was great. There were no bottlenecks, which was nice given most passengers were all trying to eat at the same time. We ate breakfast in the Windjammer each morning and our lunches there too. One morning we were greeted by a guitar playing singing dining room greeter. It was a very nice touch. There was a point when the buffet got a little tired toward the end of the cruise, and one day one of the heating tables was not working well so the food was a bit cold. However, overall we were not unhappy with the food. Dinner (or "Supper" as we say in N.E.) was wonderful. The menu was great. The food was good, there were many choices to chose from, the portions were good. I was never disappointed. The formal-ness of the dining was not as intimidating as I had expected. I actually enjoyed it. We noticed that RCL didn't enforce the dress code, which surprised me.Our table mates were great, no complaints. We had lobster tails and shrimp one evening,fillet Mignon another... Our waiters Percival and Carlos were wonderful. Our first Port was Halifax. It was a beautiful city with much history... and very cold ! Burrrr..... We took a carriage tour of the city for $41.00 thru the cruise line. The guide was great,finding out this was our first trip to Canada, he presented us each with a flag of Canada pin. He was very knowledgeable and if it had not been so cold I would have liked to have gone back to visit some of the sites he pointed out. The city has a great deal of history, much more than I expected. We visited the market near the port, making a few purchases, it was mostly craft vendors during the week. However after our ride and market visit,we returned to the ship to enjoy the outside hot tubs...! It a was wonderful way to warm up and we didn't have to share the tubs or the pool! Our second port was St John's Bay ,where we were greeted with a rose. We did not book a cruise tour here, but decided to walk around. We encountered the commissioner of St. John, who was very friendly and helpful, and discovered he had spent a great deal of time visiting my home town. We first visited the tent with the vendors, there was quite a variety of things to buy from "kitch" to higher end jewelry, handcrafted wood items and sweatshirts. After leaving the tent we proceeded into the town where we decided for $21.00 we would take a non ship exclusion. Yes, it was another carriage tour... the blankets on this one were warmer ! We had another wonderful guide and driver.We hoped off early and toured City Market..much like the Pennsylvania Dutch farmer's markets only smaller. We somehow missed the opportunity to move from building to building without going outside.There are about a block and 1/2 of buildings connected housing shops, a mall, a hotel and 2 sports complexes. Once we left the buildings we stopped in the park to check out some of the outside vendors, then back to the ship for afternoon snacks. As we headed to supper we heard a bagpiper....... piping us out of the harbor.... I wish we 'd had the time to grab our coats and go out on deck to listen... alas it was 5:30 and time for dinner. Maybe next time? The 3rd Port and my favorite was Bar Harbor. As one of our fellow passengers said... "this place has great energy"! We were tendered in... another new experience for me...! It was quick and easy... we decided not to do any excursions, as this port was not all that far from home so we could come back again on our own to explore. There was a beautiful, but simple park just above the harbor that offered a serene view of the harbor and surroundings. A great place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and the scenery...It was a wonderful warm sunny day and fun poking around the shops..which were for the most part having some good end of the season sales.:-) Our last port was Portland. We were greeted with wonderful live music as we left the ship, there were also local crafts people set up across from the port on the street,which was fun. I met family there and poked around the Old Port and had lunch at Bull Finney's an Irish Pub. My cousin met a former classmate and went to Soakology! (I was a bit envious!) The weather was great,as was the company. Let's see what can I tell you about the ship? I loved the ship -it was clean and well kept up. There were no signs of wear and tear. It was difficult, if not impossible to get a deck chair in the Solarium... in spite of the notices posted people held the chairs. Due to the brisk fall weather the deck chairs by the pool were completely empty ! Imagine that! The staff was overall great. They were friendly and very helpful. Our Room Steward was new and wasn't great about picking up dirty cups /glasses in our room,but he was very pleasant and the room was otherwise clean. We only ran into one crew member who was quite unpleasant. We were on the 2nd deck, and you could not get to our room from one of the stairwells/ elevators even though we were on the 2nd deck. (The New England saying of "You can't get there from here" came to mind.) The staff member yelled as us for being there and pointed it was a crew area and we were to leave.... interestingly it was also the Medical Center... so... Guess he was having a bad day...? My ship card became demagnetized causing me to go to customer relations to have it replaced. Rita, the desk clerk was very thorough making sure I was who I presented myself to be before replacing my card. I appreciated this thoroughness. The activities on the ship included the shows, as well as "Name that Tune", Bingo, lots and lots and lots of Spa Pushes, line dancing, a version of the Newly wed game, Wii and plus the napkin and towel folding.. and beading for a fee. After 9:30 there was a lot of night life on the ship. I was disappointed not to find any enrichment courses, as I had experienced on my prior sailings .. but it was OK as I had brought books to read as a back up! The Schooner bar was a great place to read during the day.... The late night buffet featured the most beautiful ice sculptures.. Cynthia in the Windjammer was very friendly and a fountain of information. I really enjoyed Becky, the activities director too, she was quite humorous and hosted our Mix and Mingle. We did not eat in any of the special restaurants, I did have acupuncture appt in the spa. The tech was pleasant, but $138.00 for 45 minutes was pricey, I think in the future I will have my spa services on shore where they are less expensive. I think she spent more time trying several techniques to try to book me for a 2nd appt and purchase their supplements than with me at the actual appt. Last, but not least disembarkment was a piece of cake. We were called 20 minutes early,( we were provided with coffee and pastries while we waited.... a nice touch) We were off the ship within 5-10 minutes and on our way home. Overall it was a good cruise that I wouldn't mind repeating this trip with RCL. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This is our 6th cruise, 5th with Royal Caribbean. Let's discuss the ship as well as the ports we stopped at. BOSTON: If you have a chance, we suggest that you come early to Boston and explored this great city before boarding the ... Read More
This is our 6th cruise, 5th with Royal Caribbean. Let's discuss the ship as well as the ports we stopped at. BOSTON: If you have a chance, we suggest that you come early to Boston and explored this great city before boarding the ship. Highlights that my husband and I experienced were The Freedom Trail, Harvard, seeing beautiful architecture, going to the "Cheers" bar and wonderful dining experiences. One place you need to get a scone is Mike's Pastry. Plan on waiting in line as both locals and tourists know to go here. OUR FAVORITE PORT: This is easy...Bar Harbor, Maine. It is such a quaint, beautiful town right on the coast. You can easily explore most of it on foot, which we prefer. There is shopping, many restaurants or if relaxing is more your speed, they have a coastline and a beautiful park where you may sit and relax. THE JEWEL OF THE SEAS: All of our cruises thus far have been on the smaller ships. Jewel of the Seas is a perfect size for us. It is large enough to offer many onboard activities yet small enough, you can find a quiet space to enjoy a cocktail and visit with your "new" friends you meet on the ship. My husband and I usually get balcony rooms. We choose this option because we like to sit on our balcony drinking coffee, reading a book, enjoying the view, etc. Actually, on this cruise, we often left our balcony door open while cruising at night to "hear" the ocean. We hope you enjoy your first or next cruise! We already have ours planned. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Arrived in Boston a few days early to see some sights. Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express-69 Boston St. This hotel offers a shuttle service both to/from the airport and to the cruise port for $5.00PP each leg. Used Bostontours.com to do a ... Read More
Arrived in Boston a few days early to see some sights. Stayed at the Holiday Inn Express-69 Boston St. This hotel offers a shuttle service both to/from the airport and to the cruise port for $5.00PP each leg. Used Bostontours.com to do a full day tour. They pick up at this hotel on the weekends. Took the shuttle to Black Falcon Sunday morning at 10:30 AM and is just a 10-15 minute ride. No waiting in line to check in that early and was seated in the early boarding area since we are Diamond members on RCCL. Boarding was a little delayed and no one was allowed on until about 12:30. Up to the Windjammer for lunch and then off to the cabin. The Jewel has switched to the new menu's and IMO they are much better. A few highlights include the steak on the "Classics" menu. The Classics menu replaces the Alternate Selections menu which had a steak offering that was many times tough. The new choice is an Aged Hand Cut Manhattan Strip. I had this twice and both times it was very flavorfull and much thicker than the old one. There is also Linguini Pomodoro. People at our table had it and said it tasted great. Escargot and shrimp cocktail are available every night as is a dinner salad offering. A highlight of this trip was the Cruise Director, Dennis Charles. He is a talented performer in his own right. He hosted the Meet & Mingle and really made it the best one I have ever been to. As is typical, he was all over the ship but his wonderful personality really shined through. The Jewel is still in great condition and I didn't notice any sign of wear and tear. She may be going in to dry dock in 2015 but doesn't need it now. The fall colors were great in Acadia Park but we were to early for Maine. This is a great cruise if you suffer from motion sickness. Because the distance covered is small the ship averages less than 10 knots travel time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Embarkation: Smooth as silk. We were on the ship by 12:30p. Not the most scenic port, but I'll take function over form any day. The ship: Having only been on one other cruise a year and a half ago (Allure of the Seas), we ... Read More
Embarkation: Smooth as silk. We were on the ship by 12:30p. Not the most scenic port, but I'll take function over form any day. The ship: Having only been on one other cruise a year and a half ago (Allure of the Seas), we thoroughly enjoyed the Jewel. I liked all the glass and wood, and I think, at least compared to the Allure, that I prefer a smaller ship. It was a bit more intimate, much easier to get a seat at your favorite bar, etc. There's plenty of places to be social or to get away from everyone, whatever you prefer. The area up by the Safari Room was nice because of its old school ship feel. The room: Clean, comfortable. No complaints at all. We had a balcony and were lucky enough to be able to use it fairly often. The food: Windjammer: Since there were a lot of ports on this one, we didn't eat in there too often. When we did, it was very sufficient for its purpose and number of people it had to feed. Plenty of variety to allow me to try a little bit of a lot. Seaview Cafe: Pseudo-table service that was very relaxing. Good quality fish and chips, freshly fried. Tides dining: We did Mytime and more or less went the same time every night (around 8:30). Most all we had was a hit, with only one real miss. Is it Michelin Star quality? No. But knowing how many they're feeding in such a quick succession is admirable. Of note, since it was the new menu, was the escargot, creamy garlic soup, curry (special request from our excellent wait staff), barramundi, the Grand Marnier souffle, and Royal seafood salad. We were often the last to leave because we were chatting with the crew, which are now some of our favorite memories. The crew: Everyone was wonderful. Dennis and Becky have the patience of saints and were always very sociable even when not "on". I'm not sure of RCCL reviews these pages, but here some of the members that were particularly wonderful: Giselle - cabin Veekash - Centrum bar Clifford - Centrum bar Wulder - Centrum bar Fernando - cigar bar Prinston - waiter Leonardo - assistant waiter Daniel - I think another assistant waiter we ended up chatting with And the photo crew: Anthony, Karlene, Richard, and Christian. Disembarkation: A bit challenging since everyone refused to listen to the crew trying to keep things organized (we did the express walkoff). If anything, maybe too many people chose to do that. Which, if going to the airport, isn't all that necessary since it's so close. We'd definitely cruise on the Jewel again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was the first cruise I had taken since I was a child so for all intents and purposes I did not know what to expect. Wow! I can't think of one negative thing about our 7 day cruise. The ship was extremely clean and beautiful. ... Read More
This was the first cruise I had taken since I was a child so for all intents and purposes I did not know what to expect. Wow! I can't think of one negative thing about our 7 day cruise. The ship was extremely clean and beautiful. Dennis the cruise director did a great job, as well as Becky senior, the activities director. Staff from the bartenders to the waiters to the room attendants was outstanding. Everyone smiled and went out of their way to make you feel special. We had dinner one evening in Portofinos - loved it! Dinner every evening in Tides was delicious with plenty of choices. We bought a wine package, which if you are a wine drinker, I would highly recommend. We only had breakfast once in the dining room. We chose to go to the Windjammer as it was quicker and had everything you could want on their buffets. Didn't see a bad show, but we did not see them all. The comedian was so funny, the Platters were entertaining. 70s night was alot of fun. We did go to several of the trivia games in the different bars and had a blast. The gym had great equipment. My husband tried the acupuncture (3 sessions) and was not impressed. Didn't help him in any way. Might help you though. We had a balcony room. It was spacious with plenty of storage space. We weren't sure we would use our balcony, but we did. We got lucky with the weather! We only did two excursions and enjoyed them both. I would recommend doing an excursion as oppose to renting a car. We did that in Halifax. We drove all over but didn't really know what we were seeing. Wish we had taken a tour instead. If all of Royal Carribean's ships and cruises are like this one, I can't imagine traveling on any other cruise line. It was the best and I am looking forward to trying another ship of theirs in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
This was my first time doing a Canada / New England cruise. I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before. Currently a Platinum member about to become an Emerald member. I've also sailed with Carnival, Celebrity and NCL but Royal ... Read More
This was my first time doing a Canada / New England cruise. I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before. Currently a Platinum member about to become an Emerald member. I've also sailed with Carnival, Celebrity and NCL but Royal Caribbean has always been my brand of choice. I'm a solo traveler and I like it that way. Form Miami, Florida. This time around my friend Rob (everyone at Royal Caribbean knows him as Scooter) and his mother coincidently were on the same sailing as me and doing the reposition cruise afterwards (I'm not jealous). So we hung out a few times throughout the cruise. We had a great time. Spent about 2 days in Boston before cruise. Stayed at the Courtyard Marriott on Treamont Street. I had stayed at this hotel in the past that's why I choose it. It's a nice hotel, close to the Common and Freedom Trail. The day before cruise I did a Fall Foliage tour of Mass and New Hampshire that I booked on my own. Embarkation Embarkation was the fastest I've ever experienced. Faster than Oasis and Allure. I was planning on getting on around 1pm but ended up checking in at 11:30am and on the ship literally in about 2 minutes. The Ship The ship is absolutely beautiful. One of my favorite ships. I love all the open spaces from the outdoor area of the windjammer to the open glass elevators that you can see ocean as you're going up or down. Lots of venue's to grab a drink. Stay away from Casino and the Sports Bar unless you're a smoker. We spent most evenings in the Champagne bar. Lorenzo is the best bartender on the ship. It was usually about 5 or 6 of us every night. Sometimes other people would come in and join are little group. We had a great time in the champagne bar every night. Two specialty restaurants, RC's signatures Chops and Portofino. Both fantastic restaurants. Worth the money. Seaview Cafe up on deck 12 was a great place for a little snack. They have soups, sandwiches and desserts. Dinning was beautiful. Only ate there once or twice. Everybody was raving about the new dining room menu's. I saw nothing extraordinary. Stateroom was a nice size. I had an E1 balcony cabin. I've been in larger staterooms on some of the newer ships but I loved my stateroom on this ship. One Complaint I do have one complaint, and that is my cabin steward was not very thorough. When I arrived in my room, there was a very strange smell coming out of my bathroom. After a while it went away. Also when I arrived there was an empty coffee cup left inside a drawer. I don't know who on earth would leave a coffee cup inside a drawer but they did. I left the drawer open so my CS would see it. Also there have been time where I've left empty used plates and cups and they would still be there after he'd finished cleaning. I would leave a towel on the floor to be replaced and he would re-hang it on my chair. Usually I would see my CS everyday they would catch me before dinner or after, I would have a nice conversation with them. I've pretty much had the opportunity to get to know all of the CS's I've had, this guy I only saw three or four times throughout the cruise. I definitely saw him at tip time though. So to conclude this guy was awful but I didn't let that ruin the cruise for me. Ports and Excursions We had 4 stops (Halifax, Nova Scotia; St. John, New Brunswick; Bar Harbor, Maine; and Portland, Maine.) All stops were wonderful. I will absolutely do this cruise again. Halifax I did the Peggy's Cove and Titanic (with Scooter and Momma) wonderful tour. Peggy's Cove is absolutely brilliant and beautiful. The Fairview Cemetery was very interesting for me. I've always been very fascinated by the tragedy of titanic. This excursion stated at 12:30pm so I did the Pink Bus Hop On and Off around the city. Stopped at the Citadel and Public Gardens. Citadel was interesting. Publix Gardens was beautiful. A must in Halifax. Saint John I did the Saint John and Bay of Fundy Top 10. Also a great tour. The reversing tides are pretty neat. This tour takes you out to the Saint Martin where we had a wonderful Seafood Chowder lunch. Then back to Saint Johns where we explored the Old Market and then the Carleton Martello Tower which had a great view of the city. And then finally we stopped at an Irish pub for moosehead beer. Bar Harbor Maine, (with Scooter and Momma) we did the Best of Bar Harbor, which takes you there Acadia National Park. I do have a few complaints here, there was no stopping along the park except on top of Cadillac Mountain. He would make quick photo stops but with the glare from the glass we couldn't get any decent pictures. If there going to go through Acadia like that then they should have an open top bus for people to take pictures. My advice if you want to do Acadia, rent a car and stop and go as you please. The tour also included a stop at a Lobster museum called Oceanarium Bar Harbor. which included a lecture. Which was great however, they also had a Lobster Hatchery which is open to the public but was not included in this tour. I think that would have been nice on this tour. Again, do this on your own. Then we made one last stop which was a complete waste of time. I can't even remember where it was, that's how irrelevant it was. After the tour we had lunch at the Fish House Grill which is right next to the tender pier. What an amazing lunch. We had Lobster, Blueberry Beer, Blueberry Pie. Price was very reasonable. If you love lobster defiantly give this place a try. After lunch we walked around the downtown area, did a little shopping. Lots of quaint little shops, restaurants and coffee shops. I think Bar Harbor was my favorite port. Last port was Portland. I did the Best of Portland and Kennebunkport. Great tour, except it was very foggy in Portland so it was very hard to site see. Once we got to Kennebunkport the weather was gorgeous. Like Bar Harbor, Kennebunkport has lots of quaint little shops, restaurants and coffee shops. We drove by the Bush Family Compound. In Kennebunkport I had lunch at Bartley's Dockside. Great little restaurant right on the main road. Had the Lobster Roll which was fantastic. Mrs. B, who is one of the owners, makes the blueberry pies herself which is delicious. Disembarking the ship was a breeze. We didn't even go through customs. An agent was at the gangway collecting our customs forms. Didn't ask any questions. Didn't even ask to see our passports. Cabs were plentiful in Boston. Was at the airport in 15 mins. Around $30. This was definitely a great cruise. I always say this but this truly was one of the best cruises I've done. I will defiantly be cruising on this ship again and this itinerary in the near future again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We flew from Manchester (England) to Newark Liberty Airport then onto Boston Logan Airport where we stayed a night in the Westin Waterfront Hotel before embarking the ship the following day (All included in the cruise price). Hotel ... Read More
We flew from Manchester (England) to Newark Liberty Airport then onto Boston Logan Airport where we stayed a night in the Westin Waterfront Hotel before embarking the ship the following day (All included in the cruise price). Hotel Info: We was originally booked to stay in the Hyatt harbourside hotel but 1 week before the cruise we received a call to say that our hotel had been changed to the 5* Westin Waterfront Hotel. Which it turns out was a better deal because the Westin hotel is on the same side as Boston where as the Hyatt Hotel was across the water! We arrived at about 6pm, checked into our room and decided to head into Boston, taxi's are available outside the hotel and only cos us $11 dollars to Beacon Hill (10-15 minute drive). I strongly recommend visiting the Cheer's bar on Beacon Street if you was ever a fan of the TV show Cheer's. Breakfast at the hotel was quite pricey but unless you want to go hungry you have no choice but to pay. It was $23 per person for the gourmet buffet (includes hot food) or $14 for the cold buffet, or you could order from their a la carte menu. Embarkation: We got a coach from the Westin hotel to the cruise port where we overheard the coach driver complaining that everybody had brought a suitcase to put on the coach, hmmm i wonder why everyone has brought a suitcase? We got off the coach to be put in a ginormous queue for about 45 mins in order to give your luggage to the porters. I think it took so long because people who had come by car we allowed to jump the whole queue!! After the long queue everything ran much smoother and we were embarked on the ship in no time. Ship Info: The jewel of the seas is a fairly large vessel but not one of the biggest that we have sailed on. She is a nice size and easy to find your way around. Although i still don't think we saw all of the ship in the week that we were on board. Jewel of the seas has 1 main restaurant, 1 buffet restaurant and 2 restaurants where you have to pay extra. It also has a theatre, cinema, casino, many many bars, pools, gym, spa, pretty much all of your standard cruise ship facilities and a rock climbing wall! Service/Staff: The staff on board were all very friendly, approachable and helpful. Nothing was too much trouble for them and they was all very professional. The staff at the guest relations desk was always able to answer your queries. The bar staff; especially in the Schooner Bar always remembered you and what drinks you wanted and as soon as they saw you with the drinks menu in hand they would be straight over. The waiters and cabin stewards we also all excellent. Stateroom: We stayed in a 3 berth cabin with a pull down bed for the third person. I was hoping there was going to be a sofa bed as some cabins have sofa beds for the third person but it wasn't so bad. There was also a small sofa to sit on in the day time which was a bonus because you normally just have to sit on your bed. We had a balcony which is great if you fancy a bit of peace and quiet away from the busy public decks. We also had a tv, minibar and plenty of storage space within our cabin. However there was no tea and coffee making facilities. The cabin steward took good care of us and made our room twice a day and even took the extra effort to fold our clothes up and tidy the cabin each day. Dining: Breakfast; You could eat either in the restaurant or in the windjammer buffet restaurant. We always chose to eat in the windjammer which had a wide range of choice. They served things like; cereals, cooked breakfasts, omelettes, toast, pancakes, waffles, fruit and danish pastries. Lunch: we ate lunch on land every day apart from the 2 sea days. On a sea day you can eat in both the restaurant and windjammer but only in the windjammer on port days. We ate in the windjammer on the first sea day and the food was excellent, they served a bit of everything, american, Italian, Indian etc. On the 2nd sea day we tried the restaurant, big mistake, we got put on a table with 9 other people, you could go to the salad bar for your starter or main or choose from the very limited menu for your main. The service was extremely slow, i left the place still hungry as i think my food had already digested! it took us 2hrs 30mins to have lunch, absolutely ridiculous. My mum just had the salad bar for her main which she was allowed to get at the same time we had our starters which meant she had to wait over an hour for her dessert! i wouldn't bother with the restaurant, stick to the windjammer, you can take as little or as long as you like! Dinner: We ate in the Tides dining room every night and had an excellent waiter and waitress who had all the time in the world for you. As well as just taking your orders and delivering your food they interacted with you, told you stories and made jokes etc. We enjoyed this as it made it much more personal and memorable. I have been on some cruises were the waiters never really spoke to you and just slapped your food down on the table. There was also a good vegetarian choice on the menu with at least 2 vegetarian options each night. Entertainment: We only went to see one show in the theatre as all of the other shows were before dinner and we didn't fancy that. The show we saw was called From West End to Broadway. As a musical theatre lover i was excited about the show and thought it would be enjoyable. Oh how wrong i was. Some songs were ok, but they completely ruined 'my favourite things' from the sound of music by doing a hip-hop version. absolutely atrocious. They also ruined 'Aquarius' from Hair by giving it a techno remix. Another thing, they poorly attempted 2 songs from Les Miserables. Well i say 2 songs, they disgustingly arranged 'On my own' and 'Bring him home' together. It was torture to my ears. I think Boublil and Schonberg would have been appalled as i certainly was! Eponine was singing parts from 'bring him home' as well, i honestly don't know what the director and M.D were thinking when they did this show. People should leave Les Miserables how it is. Even the costumes were so wrong! Eponine was wearing blue, what poor people in the 1800s in France can afford to wear the colour blue? also Jean Valjean's outfit; I've never seen anything like it. He looked more like Aladdin. Outrageous. After much disappointment with the show i was pretty fed up trying to find an entertaining bar until i heard the beautiful piano melodies of Katie Guglielmo in the Schooner Bar. We enjoyed Katie that much we went to see her almost every night. Lots of other people loved her too as the same crowd came back each night. She was outstanding, she would play wonderful piano melodies and also some comedic songs, in fact she played anything and everything from broadway, the west end, elton john, frank sinatra, anything! you name it and she would play it for you. We got chance to talk to her after her set one evening and much to my surprise i learned that she isn't classically trained although her standard is that high she honestly sounds like she is! We got chatting about musical theatre and on the last night she played me 3 songs from Les Miserables which was fantastic! what a fabulous and talented woman! she sure knew how to work an audience and made it personal to everyone every night. Katie Guglielmo: look out for her if she is on your cruise you have to go and see her! on other nights in the theatre they had comedians and guest singers, and in the safari club they had singers and various game shows which you could partake in. Disembarkation: Because we was from the u.k we had to go through u.s immigration on the ship and you had to be there for 6.45am way earlier than i can handle i tell you! luckily there was orange juice, coffee and pastries to see us through! it took just over an hour for us to get through as it didn't start when it should have. Disembarkation was fairly simple. we had to put our cases out at 11pm the night before. We had booked an excursion for Boston on the last day so we disembarked with the tour group, picked out cases up from the dock side and put them on the excursion coach as it had airport drop off. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We just returned from our 7 night cruise on the Jewel. In general, we had a great time. I would recommend the ship and the itinerary. Some specifics: 1. First time on Royal Caribbean (RC). Overall, this was not too different from our ... Read More
We just returned from our 7 night cruise on the Jewel. In general, we had a great time. I would recommend the ship and the itinerary. Some specifics: 1. First time on Royal Caribbean (RC). Overall, this was not too different from our prior cruise on the Carnival Legend. 2. We loved the nightly shows and also most of the bands that played in the smaller venues. The Suave band was very good. The disco celebration in the Centrum was outstanding. Don't miss the Quest...hilarious. Our venues filled up early.... 3. We experienced several problems and, in most part, management quickly responded. 4. We loved dining in both Chops and Portofino. Highly recommended. 5. We were a bit disappointed with dinners in the main dining room. Frankly, we thought that Carnival did a better job. We also had early seating at 5:30 pm. This was too early. It interfered with participation in the Sail Away and made us rush our on-shore activities. 6. We had a junior suite on Deck 10 just under the towel stand at the pool. The room was very nice but the noise from set up on the pool deck began at 5:00 am every day. We complained but the noise went on. A balcony room on Deck 9 would have been a better choice! 7. Check out all of the bars and lounges. We tried the Chanpagne Bar late in the cruise and enjoyed the free caviar. 8. The Best of Portland and Kennebunkport (booked with RC) excursion was good. Kennebunkport has beautiful homes and nice shops. I recommend the lobster roll at the Clam Shack near the bridge. 9. The bike excursion in Acadia (booked with RC) was disappointing. There was a very steep hill at the start (and end); we only saw one bridge. After the trip, we ate lunch at Side Street Cafe. Another lobster roll. Highly recommended! Also, do not miss the Bar Harbor Brewing Company (microbrewery). 10. In Saint John, we did the Freedom Tours Fundy Coast to Fundy Shore trip. Saw the reversing falls flowing in both directions and saw the caves in Saint Martin. Do not miss the chowder at the restaurant at the caves. A good trip. 11. In Halifax, we went to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg with Les Daurie of Halifax Taxi Tours. An excellent trip. I wish that we had more time in Lunenburg (and I wish that it had been sunny and not raining). 12. The port in Boston was easy to use. We stayed at the Marriot Long Wharf before the cruise, enjoyed dinner at Trattoria di Monica in the North End and parked in the Black Falcon garage. If you have the time and interest, do not miss the New Balance Factory Store in Boston. It goes back 30+ years and has great deals. 13. This year, mid September was too early for fall foliage. If you are going in early October...it will be prime time. 14. Very disappointed with limited TV channels. No current US news, weather or sports. Three day old reruns of football games gets old fast.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Embarkation was a breeze with wonderful people helping my friend in the wheel chair. I am guessing it took 45 minutes to an hour to get from the taxi to on board. Almost as good as our Disney experiances and way better than Princess. We ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze with wonderful people helping my friend in the wheel chair. I am guessing it took 45 minutes to an hour to get from the taxi to on board. Almost as good as our Disney experiances and way better than Princess. We went straight to Windjammer for lunch. The six of us had a time finding a table mainly because people were using the tables and chairs for a lounge area while waiting for their rooms to be made ready. There needs to be some rule where if you are not partaking of a meal you do not sit at a table. Staterooms - They were exactly as I expexted. We had Staterooms 7614, 7616, and 7618. All were balcony rooms. 7614 was a handicap accessable room and was unbelievable. My friend said he wished he had that nice of a bathroom at home. Royal Carribian deserves a big well done for having such nice facilites for those with disablilities and not charging extra for them. Some notes here on the rooms, There are only two recepticles in the room, both located at the vanity. I thought to bring an extension cord with multiple outlets and am glad I did. We had phones, camera batteries, and a computer to charge each evening. Also, there is storage on each side of the vanity mirror that we did not notice until the last day. Wish we had known sooner. Food - We had late seating for dinner. We were a party of six and really thought we would have our own table. We were put with 2 other couples who were from Scottland at a very large table. When you put that much space between older people you are going to get a lot of "Huh, what did you say?"I did enjoyed the other two couples company but feel it would have been better with a smaller table. All of the food was great. We were the first to get the new menus. I can not compare this menu to any other since I have never sailed with RC Int before. I can tell you that the crab cakes were fabulous and all other items we had were top notch. Our servers, Head Waiter on down, were great. They looked out after our every need. I found the buffet to be quite good as well. Breakfast was always good with a wide variety of different foods available. I was surprised to find oatmeal, grits and cream of wheat every morning. To me the oatmeal was overcooked to almost a slime but as long as I have my grits I am OK. We only had one lunch there and no dinners. Snacks each afternoon were above average and sometimes as good as a meal in themselves. Soft serve ice cream was available every time I wanted it. Vanilla and Strawberry on one side and Vanilla and Chocolate on the other side. On Sea Days the Tides dinning area was open. I found the food and service here less than spectacular. They have a salad bar that was wonderful but the entrees were like hotel food. The coffee was very good when you could get it hot. They brew Seattle's Best and it is probably some of the best coffee I have had on board any ship. By late evening the coffee at the beverage station was getting cool. I had the Coke plan and I found it worthwhile since I am not an alcohol drinker. JMHO.Ports Of Call - In Portland we rented a van from Enterprise on Marginal Way right in town. Heather and Eric took good care of us. We were picked up at the terminal and then returned there after we turned the van in. We drove van down to Kennebunkport so we could see Walker's Point, home to the Bush family. That area is beautiful. Some of the leaves were turning and the air had a slight nip to it. We had lunch, my firt ever lobster roll, at Allison's in the downtown area. We all thought Allison's was over rated and could not survive except in a tourist town. In Bar Harbor we tendered into town. A note here for anyone wondering about handicap accessablity of the tenders. If you are in a wheel chair they have a lift that carries the chair and occupent down eight steps. Our friend was able to step from the ship dock to the tender with little trouble. RC staff were very attentive and helpful. Same thing we got to the dock. They even had someone push him up the ramp. We were picked up by Woody with Bar Harbor Coastal Cab. He did a great job showing us the sights and driving us around Acadia National Park. Call Woody if you are heading that way. We had a lobster lunch and then headed back to the ship. In St John we contracted with Roy's Taxi Service to give us a tour of the Fundy Trail and other surrounding sites. Roy was already booked so the arranged for Dave to show us around. We rated this tour as Just OK. Dave was a great guy but had too quiet a voice to be heard in the back seat. Lunch at the caves was terrible. Everything was frozen and had no taste. None of us have a desire to go back to St. John. Halifax - We rented another van here and drove out to Peggy's Cove. It was an easy walk from the ship to the car rental place. All we can say is WOW! The people we met on bus tours were unhappy because of the short time they had to see things. We took our time, made hundreds of photos, ate chowda at the Sou westerner and then just took a leisurely drive back to the ship stopping at the cemetery to see the Titanic graves. We all want to go back to Halifax. Disembarkation was easy and almost timely. They had coffee and pastries available in the theater where you waited. Again we ran into people at breakfast that decided to hog the tables and use the Windjammer as a lounge and waiting area. Entertainment was hit and miss. A tribute to the Temptations was great, Tribute to Broadway was terrible, Bobby Arvon, singer of Happy Days, did a great show as well. We did not go see the juggler or the Brazilian dancers. Complaints - Lousy elevator service. With six people and a wheel chair it took forever to go up 4 decks. Terrible computers. They were slow. Take your own. There is no internet service for Droid phones or pads. Some newer Ipads were not connectible as well. Very little sports coverage. Sports Bar had about 20 TVs all on the same fishing show and it was smoky. Everyone wanted to know the college football scores and they were not to be had. Not all sports lovers are smokers. Even the non smoking section of the casino was smoky. After the cruise we spent two nights in Boston and did all of the history sight seeing including the Duck Boat Tour. Wonderful Experience. Will I book again with Royal Caribbean and Jewell Of The Seas? Durn Right. If there is anything I can answer for those making a similar journey please ask. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
First, a bit about us. We are from Topeka, Kansas. This was our ninth cruise, the fifth consecutive on Royal Caribbean. The earlier recent ones were to the Baltic in 2011 on the Jewel; the Mediterranean and then Panama both on the ... Read More
First, a bit about us. We are from Topeka, Kansas. This was our ninth cruise, the fifth consecutive on Royal Caribbean. The earlier recent ones were to the Baltic in 2011 on the Jewel; the Mediterranean and then Panama both on the Brilliance; and on the Oasis in 2010. This cruise seemed to us a bit off to start. Perhaps that is because our first stop, the day after departure, is a short hop. We go from departure to our first port the next day, and it is close. So close, in fact, that one of our table mates considered renting a car in Portland, driving home to get the formal wear they forgot, and then returning to the ship. They could have done so, or so they said, well within the time in port. But, they did not try. Embarkation. We drove to and then flew from Kansas City to Boston that day with no issues. The RCCL greeters met us at the baggage claim. The wait for the bus was a little long, but not inconvenient. There was some confusion at the pier when the RCCL agent asked why we were not getting our luggage off the bus. That was confusing since on every other cruise the driver transferred the luggage to the dockworker. Easily fixed, but others did just walk away with the assumption the driver would take care of it. I'm trying to not be cynical with the thought of ulterior motives by those involved. Dining We ate in the main dining room every night. We thought the food was very good but getting tiresome. This is the same menu and on the same days as our recent cruises. Our waiter did mention the menu will change in two cruises. Even so, there seemed to be a good variety and we thought it was well prepared. We must be getting jaded, because although good, the food did not seem as exotic with fancy sauces as it once was. I can understand because of the standardization, speed, and the supporting infrastructure that is required for so many people. Perhaps the new menu will add excitement. We ate in The Windjammer for breakfast and lunch, and were favorably impressed. There was a good variety and we thought it was prepared well. Although, the same breakfast every day stated to get tiresome, but indeed much better than that at home! Public Rooms Very clean and comfortable. They are ALWAYS cleaning and making sure we sanitize our hands. The ship still looks good. Also, the ride was very smooth. Cabins Comfortable although small, as expected. We were on Deck 3 in the forward part, near the elevators. You may wish to try to avoid the area where the stewards have their closets and organize their work. That can get noisy. We did not think a balcony would have been of value on this itinerary - that was a correct assessment. Entertainment The onboard entertainment was pretty good. The live stage band was very good. Other musicians across the ship were good, especially the classical guitarist. He was on our cruise last year and is still excellent. We thought the gal at the piano bar a bit to "brassy" for us. Nightly shows The comedian on the first night was OK then but better on the last night. The impressionist was pretty good and he performed elsewhere on the ship through the week. The magician was absolutely excellent. Very good magic and humor! I'd watch him again. Tango Buenos Aries performed ... again! They are very good but, counting this cruise, they have been on four of our last five cruises. (I've kept and reviewed the Compass from other cruises!) I know the act was the same as that last year. I'd like to know the size of their troupe and how they travel, because it seems that if we board a RCCL ship, we'll see Tango Buenos Aries. The RCCL singers and dancers show, West End to Broadway, It was good, but I agree with a previous reviewer. It was a bit weak. I think the producers took a few too many liberties with the production and the vocals could have been a bit stronger. The motown act...They were introduced as the Original Drifters, and without going into lots of detail, they appeared to be so. They also were on our cruise last year. They were OK, but many at our dining table agreed -- time to retire, guys. Excursions: Study the excursions on the Royal Caribbean web site and book them in advance. We did that and our tickets were waiting for us. All of our guides were quite knowledgeable. Portland: PW05-The Best of Portland and Kennebunkport. This was a nice little tour. The Portland Head lighthouse is crowded with people, naturally. You will need to buy your own lunch. Kennebunkport is nice but is touristy. Bar Harbor: BY04-The Best of Bar Harbor. This tour was generally pretty good, but in our opinion, did have some flaws. The trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain was good. Our guide gave us much information. We were disappointed by the Oceanarium. The "licensed Maine Lobsterman" is personable and does know his stuff and, from what we heard, is a fine, respected, and loved civic servant, but we did not see much of an Oceanarium. We were also disappointed in the "Mansion". It is indeed an interesting architectural work, but it has been converted into administrative offices for a local university. St. John: NB62- St John and Bay of Fundy Top 10. Very good excursion! Started in the morning and we DID see the rapids running in the reverse direction in the afternoon, albeit in pouring rain.. ...very good chowder at lunch... Interesting fishing village - saw the little harbor with no water and the boats on the mud and then with 3 feet of water, and climbing, 2 hours later. Well worth the time and money. Halifax: HX02-Historic Halifax City Tour. A good tour, but it seemed we were rushed. Halifax: HX01-Famous Peggy's Cove Fishing Village. Yes we were able to do back-to-back tours in Halifax. This is a good tour, but much of the tour is the drive to and from the village, and we had, what we thought was, an extended stay at the village. The rocks around the lighthouse are very dangerous. We were one of the last, if not the last, tours to return. There was some duplication from the morning, but not too much. Unfortunately, we were in quite a bit of fog at the village. Still, we'd recommend this. The guide was continually noting points of interest. Boston: BX01-Scenic Boston City Tour with airport drop. This was a very good tour. We were impressed with the knowledge of our guide. Navigating a long and wide bus through the narrow and curved streets of Boston was at times ...interesting. Doing this tour in a large bus on a weekday might have been more challenging! We saw only the steeple of the Old North Church and looked at the Constitution only through a fence. Don't expect many stops. Still, it was a good tour..very good overview of history and of Boston. Service The service was good and friendly. Our room steward kept forgetting to provide ice (you must ask for it now.), even though we asked four different days. He also kept forgetting to put up the rail on the pull down bed for our son, even though we asked three different days. Disembarking Easy, fast, and well organized. General observations We thought the food was pretty good in the dining room and Windjammer. Service was friendly and helpful. Excursions and tours were well organized, easy to find, and generally pretty good. The live music across the ship was good, but some of the headliner shows, e.g., the Motown act, were not so good. We always felt safe. We booked our next cruise onboard. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This is the second time we have been on Jewel of the Seas. We spent 26 days on her last year for a Baltic cruise and the Transatlantic to Boston. Our cabin steward Lloyd was excellent as well as our waiter Marsha and asst waiter Mario. ... Read More
This is the second time we have been on Jewel of the Seas. We spent 26 days on her last year for a Baltic cruise and the Transatlantic to Boston. Our cabin steward Lloyd was excellent as well as our waiter Marsha and asst waiter Mario. Boarding in Boston is very easy. Our room was ready when we boarded the ship. So we dropped off our carry-on and went to lunch. We were traveling with four other people and it was difficult at times to get a table for 6. We had brought our swimwear with us so after lunch we went in the whirlpool. Of course there was a young teenager in there pulling apart the plastic pieces of the pool and laying on the steps so others could not get in. Some people just have to push the envelope. The ship was neat, clean and beautiful. Everyone was very helpful and pleasant. The new menu in the dining room was wonderful. It was a pleasant surprise to see the change. The food seems to have improved from last year. Baked Alaska is back and it was delicious. It was quite nice to not have so many Crown & Anchor members on board. On the Transatlantic last year it was loaded with them. They were rude to the workers and acted like they were a cut above everyone. We all need to look at the big picture and see how hard these people work to please the passengers. It is very difficult to serve rock hard ice cream to 1000 who are dining at the same time. We all should consider ourselves lucky that we are able to take this type of trip. It's also sad that people are so self centered that they cannot see people in the Windjammer looking for a seat and continue to sit there and talk when they could move to another location. The ship has many many places to sit and converse. One day someone made an announcement asking people to leave if they were done eating so others could sit. Sad, Sad.... We had lunch twice in the Seaview cafe which is a well hidden spot. The food is excellent. Getting off the ship was quite easy as well as finding our luggage. Taxis are plentiful in Boston...unlike Galveston. We took a tour in each port and the only one that was a disappointment was in St John's. The morning part of the tour was great. The afternoon on the HOHO was horrible. We were told there were only 6 busses and there were three cruise ships in port. Once on the bus you didn't want to get off because you didn't know if you could get back on. This is certainly not up to RC standards. Did not see much fall foliage which was the reason for the trip. But that's the way it goes. A reason to come back. It's all what you make of it....... Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Embarkation: Perfect! We arrived at Black Falcon Terminal at 11:05am and eating lunch at the Windjammer by 11:45. Very well organized, kudos to RCI and the Black Falcon employees! Room: We had a balcony on the 8th floor, room 8110. ... Read More
Embarkation: Perfect! We arrived at Black Falcon Terminal at 11:05am and eating lunch at the Windjammer by 11:45. Very well organized, kudos to RCI and the Black Falcon employees! Room: We had a balcony on the 8th floor, room 8110. Very clean, and comfortable. The balcony was just the right size too. The bathroom, very tight, but clean. Our stateroom attendant was always available and accommodating. Food: 1st sitting: We were very happy with the new menu in both the main dining room and Windjammer cafe'. Lots of variety and never disappointed. The service in the main dining room was excellent too. Thank you all for making our dining experience so pleasant. Windjammer Cafe': We ate breakfast and lunch most of the time here. A nice variety and lots of friendly service as well. We also dined a few times in the Seaview Cafe' (above the Windjammer) Good fish and chips, Rueben sandwiches, and a nice view. The only complaint I have and this is with most cruise lines is the coffee. I've never had a good cup and always bring my own. (I bring my own melitta cone and filters) We shouldn't have to go to the "specialty" coffee station to get a decent cup IMHO. Entertainment: Very good! I loved the entertainment director (and I'm sorry I forgot his name) but he was very funny and entertaining. We enjoyed the Temptations impersonators! What awesome voices and a great show! We also enjoyed the other singer and impersonator Bobby??? (He sang the Happy Day's theme song) He's still has a great voice and enjoyed his show! Shore excursions: We did not use RCI's excursions and planned our own. Portland Maine: We are from NH so we just walked around town and did some shopping. They have lots of good shops and restaurants here. Bar Harbor: Our favorite stop. There's so many places to see and the whole area is so picturesque. We took the Ollie Trolley to the top of Cadillac mountain for $15 pp. It's an hour tour and well worth it if you just want to go to the top. As you drive by the beautiful estates, the driver gives you a history of the town and people who lived there. After the tour we walked around town, did some shopping and walked back to the ship. (downtown is only a 15 minute walk from the tender) Saint John, New Brunswick: We took a taxi to the Bay of Fundy to watch the reversing tides. It was not a pretty area, but there was so much talk about it, we just had to see! ( the cab fare was $25.00, ..a few people we knew walked to it, and suggested they wouldn't recommend walking. There's a nice shopping mall near the ship with reasonable prices. Halifax, Nova Scotia: We went to Peggy's Cove. (we took a cab: $135 for 3 hrs,(split 4 ways) it took 50 minutes to get there, we stayed for about 1/2 hour, and stopped a few places on the way back for photos) If you can get 6 people and hop in a van, they will take you anywhere...the price will vary depending on how many places, or how long you need the cab) The only thing I would change with this itinerary is our 1st sea day wasn't till Thursday. We had 4 busy days before that. I like to have the 2nd day as a sea day to unwind and enjoy the ship. Disembarkation: Perfect! We left our staterooms at 9:30am, picked up our luggage in the designated area and were out of the terminal by 9:45am. Fasted and most organized disembarkation ever! This was a nice vacation, the Jewel remains as beautiful as ever, with a dedicated crew and friendly staff. Thank you RCI and all the wonderful staff aboard the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
It would be incorrect to say that our recent voyage aboard Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas was the worst cruise experience we have endured. That honor still belongs to a Carnival cruise to Mexico that we took a few years ago. This ... Read More
It would be incorrect to say that our recent voyage aboard Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas was the worst cruise experience we have endured. That honor still belongs to a Carnival cruise to Mexico that we took a few years ago. This trip, however, was a far cry from the fabulous cruise experiences offered by some of the better cruise lines such as RCI's sister company, Azamara. To be fair, RCI does not pretend to be in the same class as Azamara , Oceana or some of the other premium cruise lines. On the other hand, RCI should recognize that many of its passengers are really turned off by their al-la-carte pricing approach, by which just about everything available on board, other than the cabin and basic meals, costs extra. I spoke to dozens of passengers who felt the same as I on this subject. Also missing on this ship are some of the little things, such as having hand cream, shampoo, etc. in the cabins. This is surprising because even the lowest priced budget motels commonly make these necessities available. The ladies in our group particularly missed not having a chocolate morsel on the pillow every night. Sadly, this customer comfort is not feature that is offered on the Jewel of the Seas. I can understand charging extra for a meal in the specialty restaurants, ($40 per person), or for a glass of beer or wine at the bar, ($7 plus 15% mandatory gratuity), but charging for a cup of espresso at dinner seems downright ridiculous. Even bottled water in the cabins was an extra charge item, ($3.95). The cruise line did come through with some free drinking water, however, when the folks in the cabin next to ours discovered that the water coming out of the faucet in their bathroom was black and foul smelling. Another nearly universal complaint from most of the passengers I spoke with has to do with the RCI policy of strictly enforcing their ban against passengers bringing their own liquor on board. The goal is obviously to make the guests spend money in the bar but frisking passengers who come on board after a day ashore is pretty low class and does not contribute positively to a guest's cruise experience. My wife and I like to have a glass of wine in our cabin from time to time. (On other cruise lines, we bring our favorite wines on board at the start of the cruise or pick up something interesting in the ports of call.) RCI offers some overpriced wine packages intended for guests who want wine at dinner. We purchased one of those packages but had the waiter bring us our daily bottle at the end of the meal so we could take it to our cabin. Our $135, 5 bottle package contained several wines that I have purchased previously at my local discount wine store for less than $4 a bottle. Quite a markup if you ask me. The last three or four cruises that my wife and I have been on all provided complimentary wine or beer with lunch and dinner. The wines were not expensive but they were quite good most of the time. I think that I speak for many who cruise regularly when I say that I would prefer to pay a few dollars more for the cruise if it meant including the features mentioned above and minimizing the number of times that I have to reach into my wallet while onboard. Our week on the Jewel of the seas was not all bad. I would like to make it very clear that while many of RCI's policies are objectionable, the staff on this ship was excellent. Almost without exception, every crew member I met was friendly and happy to do just about anything to help ensure their guest's comfort. The ship itself was spotless and well maintained. Our cabin was small and spartan, but comfortable. There were plenty of onboard activities designed to keep the campers busy. I have been told that the evening's entertainment was very good. Unfortunately, since we had the 8:30 seating for dinner, by the time we were finished eating, we were usually too tired to go see the shows. This ship offered two meal seatings, 5:30, which is too early and 8:30 which is too late. It was somewhat disappointing that this ship did not offer an "open seating" option in the dining room. I did get to enjoy some of the other shipboard entertainment, however. Several excellent musicians and bands played throughout the day in the small venues. Some of these entertainers were so good that I would have happily paid to see them perform on land. Our cruise traveled from Boston to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the last week of October. We had hoped that we would be treated to some spectacular fall foliage while visiting the ports of call. Apparently 2011 was a subpar year, foliage-wise. The locals said that the warm wet weather just prior to the foliage season caused many of the trees to go from green to brown without putting on much of a show. Every now and then we would run into a tree or two that did not get the memo about this being a muted color year. These trees were spectacular. I can only imagine what this region must look like during a good foliage season. We stayed in Boston for two days prior to boarding the ship. I had injured my leg a couple of days before this trip so waking around Boston and the other towns we were going to visit promised to be a bit of a challenge. While in Boston, we purchased a two day pass on the Old Town Trolley, which allowed us on and off privileges anywhere along the tour route. Given my gimpy status, this was a lifesaver. We were able to tour Boston at our leisure, getting off the trolley to check out individual sites whenever we wanted. This trolley even has a route that goes near the cruise terminal. The driver was kind enough to take us and our luggage all the way to the ship. Very impressive. I highly recommend that anyone visiting Boston consider including an Old Town Trolley tour as part of their visit. Even without the fall foliage, we enjoyed our visits ashore in most of the ports. Fortunately, just as in Boston, we discovered some excellent and reasonably priced "Trolley" tours in Portland and Bar Harbor. The drivers took us around the towns and to places far beyond walking distance for even the healthiest of tourists. Throughout the tours the drivers pointed out the interesting and historical places while providing an entertaining narration. As is the case with all vacations, this one eventually came to an end. The last night we went to the onboard shops looking for a suitable gift for the neighbor who had been watching our pets while we were away. We settled on a nice bottle of Scotch. Not being Scotch drinkers we asked the shop keeper for a recommendation. He was quite helpful and given that they had signs all over the place guarantying that their prices were guarantied to be the lowest anywhere, we felt good about our purchase. When we returned home we went shopping at our local Trader Joes and were surprised to find that this store sold the same bottle of Scotch for about 20% less. Costco was even lower, beating the Trader Joe's price by several dollars. So much for the "Lowest Prices Anywhere". It was only about ten dollars but I really hate getting ripped off. If you get nothing else of value out of this review, hopefully you will learn from our mistake and stear clear of the shipboard vendors on RCI cruises. So how would I rate this cruise? I would give the ports of call a solid 7, interesting but not anything that would blow you away. The exception is Boston, which deserves a 10+. We will certainly be returning to Boston again one of these days as landlubber tourists. The other ports are a bit touristy, especially if you limit your visit to the places close to the cruise terminal. The Jewel of the Seas is a decent ship. A little big for my taste, but other than no open seating at dinner, it was OK. I would give it a 7 as well. The staff and crew get solid 10s, as does the shipboard entertainment that we were able to see. The food was variable, sometimes excellent and sometimes barely edible. At one dinner the chef's recommendation was French onion soup. Most of the people at our table ordered it. No one ate more than a couple spoonfuls. If you like your beef medium rare, be sure to order medium, as the kitchen's idea of medium rare is basically slightly warmed up raw meat. Not once during the week did a baked potato arrive at our table fully cooked. On the positive side, most of the fish entries were quite good as was just about everything served in the Windjammer buffet. I particularly enjoyed the simple fish and chips served in the the snack bar on the top deck at the stern of the ship. I am not much of a desert fan but for those who are, this ship will be heaven. The reports I received from the desert eaters was that every offering was better than the next. I even tried a few and they were great. Assuming that all the ships in the RCI stable exercise the same passenger unfriendly policies that we experienced on this trip, I have to give the RCI line a 3 and that is probably a bit generous. With all the great cruising options out there, it is highly unlikely that we will find ourselves on another RCI ship anytime soon. This is by far the most negative cruise review that I have ever written. That is unfortunate, but I call 'em as I see 'em. Hopefully someone from RCI will read this and take note. Bob Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
First time on RCCL for us and it was terrific! Being budget minded these days it was also our first time booking an interior room. Pleasantly surprised by our "cave" as we affectionately called it, we had some great nights ... Read More
First time on RCCL for us and it was terrific! Being budget minded these days it was also our first time booking an interior room. Pleasantly surprised by our "cave" as we affectionately called it, we had some great nights sleeping in total dark. Plenty of room for me, my husband and our 5 year old daughter. The room was SO clean and had no smell except clean and neutral. We had room 8629 and Frankie was our attendant. The hallways smelled clean too. Ask me why I am mentioning this? Because on our last cruise on NCL Dream (supposedly refurbished) to Bermuda, the smoke smell in the hallway was a killer and the "old and stale and smokey" smell in our cabin was a huge turnoff. Anyway, we lucked out and had Indian summer during our whole trip. The days were warm and sunny for the most part and the ocean was like glass - so no drugs for motion sickness needed - yipee! Aza, our waiter and Janet Jackson our head waiter and Aza's helper...not sure how to pronounce his name, were WONDERFUL!!!! Everyone spoiled our daughter who turned five on the trip. The photographer Juanita and the man photographer were terrific too and fun to chat with. Carolina at the front desk was stellar in helping me with a promotion issue from my travel company. We gave them all gifts and/or extra tips. They so deserved it! We've been to Portland a million times as we live close by in Mass. so we just walked around town and then had a 3 1/2 hour liesurly lunch and plenty of cocktails at DeMilo's. Then we walked back past the ship on the paved walkway to the little beach. It was a bit further than we thought and the beach was very rocky/sharp shells but the weather was divine in the mid 80's. Lovely day for a walk and dip our toes in the ocean. Swam and did the water slide on board and off to a great dinner! Next day was Bar Harbour. Again - BEAUTIFUL weather - low 80's. I had hired Bill Williams for a private taxi tour (recommended here on CC). He was great! We learned a lot and spent all the time we liked up on Cadillac Mountain. Phenomenal day. We also went to Thunder Gulch but the sea was so calm and glassy that no waves came in. Bill dropped us off at the Jordan Pond house where we had a most luxuriant lunch - luxuriant in that we were hungrier than we thought and DEVOURED our popovers and bowls of lobster stew and then pigged out on brownie sundaes and blueberry coblers. What a feast! Such a treat and do note that the place is not a fancy place where you have to be all dressed up - it is more of a lovely almost modern place in architecture with a casual atmosphere. The day was gorgeous so my daughter and I ran and played on the back lawn (along with many other kids and dogs and fun folks) and went down to Jordan Pond itself where the water is supposedly the cleanest and clearest in all of Maine. I believe it! Good spot to take pics too. Dinner that night in Chops. Started out a bit awkwardly with the pacing and timing of the service. It seems as though the wait staff in these specialty restaurants is inexperienced at best. But...after two glasses of wine on our end, it was all good! Delicious meal and dessert. Next day was St. John. Excursion prices were steep so we did our own thing and walked the harbor walk and went into the indoor "mall" area and the market place and up to the little park and then down to O'Leary's pub. My husband had a few pops of Alpine Moosehead Beer and was happy for the day. No need to go on the "brewery" tour RCCL pushes. They don;t even go to the actual brewery but they just go to O'Leary's for a pint. Some law that prohibits Canadian breweries from having tours if they want to export to the US (ever since 9/11). We heard from more than not that that Bay of Fundy and the tide change was no big deal mostly because being there during the day did not allow for watching that actual phenomenon of the tide change. So we skipped that. I DID want to go swimming at the really cool aquatics center and if I had known that it was attached to the indoor mall area we would have brought our suits with us on the initial off ship exploration. But...after a GREAT and casual fish and chips lunch at Steamers, we lost our steam and headed back. The Carnival ship was docked right "in town" but alas our ship was a much further walk so we just headed back and swam on board. This was just an ok stop for us. Next was a sea day and time to finally explore the ship a bit more. Something I didn't realize with this trip is not having a sea day right off the bat didn't leave much time at the very beginning of the trip to explore. Next day was at Halifax. I had done all sorts of research. We hemmed an hawed still though as to whether to hire a taxi tour to go to Peggy's Cove or Lunenburg or around town. We decided to just stick around town and walk the boardwalk. It was just lovely and a fine cloudy but mild day. We shopped and ate our way along. The Maritime museum was fine - not something I personally would go to if I did the trip over again. The Titanic stuff was interesting but if you are not really into ship models then you may consider passing on this. We then hopped the $2.25 ferry over to Dartmouth. I takes 6 minutes and was a fun ride! Transfer back is included! I was surprised that Dartmouth is quite a big city too. I was thinking that it would be a quaint country setting from the limited info I found and that was not the case. Kind of industrial and not warm and fuzzy so we walked to the playground and then got back on the ferry and went back. Ate lunch at teh Salty Dog. Expensive - ish for lunch and just so-so. The most fun shopping was the farmer's market right at our terminal and then at Pier 22. Lot's of good X-mas gifts! Next time we WOULD go off and see the countryside but we loved our Halifax proper day just the same. Overall, the RCCL trip was really, really good. Our daughter did Kid's Club on the two sea days and was begging to go back. It was a quality program. I will sail them again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My husband and I took my mother on the Jewel on October 14th to celebrate her birthday. We had TS-8668, which is a two bedroom, two bath suite with balcony. We had plenty of space and the suite features are great. One bedroom has a TV ... Read More
My husband and I took my mother on the Jewel on October 14th to celebrate her birthday. We had TS-8668, which is a two bedroom, two bath suite with balcony. We had plenty of space and the suite features are great. One bedroom has a TV (flat screen) and ensuite bathroom with tub, no window or porthole. The other bedroom also has no window or porthole, but it has no TV or ensuite bathroom. The second bathroom has a shower and opens into the living area. The living area has a couch, dining table, chair, and flat screen TV. The balcony furniture is nice. We are not sure 8 people would be comfortable in this suite, but maybe if you had young children it would work. My mother and I had been on the Jewel for a similar itinerary in 2006, and we were amazed how beautiful the ship still is. The wood trim everywhere makes the ship look so unique. The staff is still very friendly and the food is great. Having been on a Princess cruise in September, we were amazed how much better the food was on the Jewel. We ate at Chops one night and it was wonderful. We also went to the Mystery Dinner Theater (Ba Da Bing, Ba Da Boom) and had a great time. You start out at the Safari Club with champagne and appetizers. They began the skit there and the actors were hilarious. After the murder (which we didn't see, just heard the guns), we were moved by table numbers to Portofino's and had a terrific meal with wine. The cast would continue with the play as the dinner progressed. They even came around to the tables and we could ask them questions. We voted for the most likely suspect and thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We will do this again. As a special suite perk, we attended a Cocktail Party in the Captain's and Hotel Director's Quarters. They have a stairway straight up to the Bridge. We were also able to eat breakfast every morning in Chops, where they had a cold buffet and a chef to prepare hot dishes. Concierge Club was great also. We loved playing pool on a table that kept the playing surface level, even when we were "at sea". It's just as you enter the Safari Club and the balls are available at the nearby bar - no charge, you just leave your cruise card with the bartender until you return the balls. What fun! The only shore excursion we booked was the L L Bean shopping trip. Freeport is a shopper's dream. We highly recommend lunch at the Jameson Tavern. The locals eat there and the food was awesome. The only (small) disappointment we encountered was our pre-cruise hotel. We had booked the Hyatt Harborside with RCCL and they changed us at the last minute to The Langham Boston, which is a beautiful hotel, but we wanted to see the harbor. This trip was lots of fun, and the Jewel still shines for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
OK, this was my first time on this cruise itinerary, boring! The ship could have left me in Bar Harbor for what is was worth. This was the most boring cruise that I have ever been on! The people, older crowd, were all in bed every night by ... Read More
OK, this was my first time on this cruise itinerary, boring! The ship could have left me in Bar Harbor for what is was worth. This was the most boring cruise that I have ever been on! The people, older crowd, were all in bed every night by 10:00pm. The crap table was hardly ever open on ship due to lack of activity. Ports: Portland a nice city port BarHarbor: One of the MOST beautiful places I have ever been too. St Johns: You have GOT to be kidding!! I LOVE Canada, but this is NO vacation spot. Why would any ship ever stop here?? It offered zero on the excursion we took.....boring, dirty, old, falling apart port city. They should spend two nights in BarHarbor. Halifax: Nice stop, of course great people. Did I say I love Canada?? This was my first time on an inside room on RCCL, second in my life. Room was acceptable, small but adequate. The beds?? HARD AS A ROCK!! And I mean HARD!! They did bring us an eggcrate topper which helped immensely. The Crew: This is where RCCL really shines! The best, plain and simple. Portifinos: We ate there on night 4, dinner was good, steak was fantastic, appetisers were tasteless. All in all, I still had a good time and a $400 bar bill;)The ship nickle and dimes us on every corner, perhaps they might consider cutting their 45% cut on excursions so that we may enjoy the cruise and attend more often... Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
So we decided to try cruising again and chose the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas because the dates, embarkation port and the ports of call matched what we wanted to do. But we had no idea we were sailing with the "No You ... Read More
So we decided to try cruising again and chose the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas because the dates, embarkation port and the ports of call matched what we wanted to do. But we had no idea we were sailing with the "No You Can't" cruise line.... Jewel of the Seas is a beautiful ship with lots of light, space and lovely areas to relax. The crew was uniformly wonderful - attentive, polite and professional. But the RCI rules were frustrating and insulting. First, my husband about blew a gasket when he found I had booked us on a ship that would not allow him to take his favorite single-malt scotch on board. He isn't much of a drinker, but relaxing at the end of the evening with a really good Islay scotch is his thing - and there was no such thing aboard this ship. Their best $15 a shot whisky is a very middle of the road drink that just annoyed him more than anything else. I had traipsed across Boston to buy a rare special whisky for him, just in case it would be let through by a sympathetic screener, but no such luck. We had to go to the "naughty room" to have it confiscated for the duration of the cruise. If they are going to be so stringent, they should at least offer something worthwhile to drink on board! Secondly, we purchased the top of the line wine package, but could only get a bottle of wine from room service or in a dining room. No relaxing with a bottle in a lounge chair unless you want to wait for room service, then carry a bottle and glasses through a pitching ship. Generally, we confined our wine consumption to dinner, but it still would have been nice to have the option. This same obsession with restricting alcohol seemed to cause lots of holdups and delays when re-boarding after a port stop, as well. Besides checking every bag for booze (I don't think they were worried about more serious items) they spent a ridiculous amount of time arguing with people who wanted to bring their partially consumed drinks back on board. What a waste of time and effort. Food: Food was mediocre in both the main dining room and the buffet. The only dishes with any flavor at all in the MDR were the soups - which were always good. The Seaview Cafe food was very "fast-foodish" and there was no tea or coffee available there(?!?) Portofino was TERRIBLE! Bad food and worse service. I ate two bites of my entree and was never even asked how it was nor was any comment made upon removal of the dishes. Chops, however, was very good. Again, the soups were outstanding and the steaks excellent. (Back on the wine rant...when in Portofino, I asked to buy a wine listed on the MDR menu every night. They couldn't figure how to do that!) Room service food was quite good, but menu choices were very limited. Cabin: Small, but adequate and very comfortable. Our excellent cabin steward kept it spotless but had to literally smuggle us robes under an extra blanket, because "they are kept only for Diamond and Platinum members". Entertainment: Did not attend any shows, but the musicians performing around the ship were always great. We especially enjoyed the classical guitarist and the Black Pearl Strings duo when they performed serious pieces, but it seems they were told to primarily concentrate on elevator music...Lots of fun and games throughout the ship that drew lots of participation. 70s night and Karaoke were a hoot! Spa: Bought a couple of day passes for the Thermal Suite, which is lovely, but who decided that each of the five thermal lounges should be at a different temperature? No one wanted the two coldest chairs, so people just perched and jumped like fleas on a dog whenever anyone on one of the three warmest chairs even twitched like they might move. And the warmest chair was so hot it burned any flesh not lying on a towel. Why not just permit users to select their own temperature so each chair can be used and enjoyed??? I indulged in a reflexology treatment that might have been very nice had the therapist's very long, hard thumbnails dug into my feet. Ports of Call: We caught the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia, so Portland was a deluge, and the weather was not much better at the other stops. But the excursions seemed to be very well planned and were as enjoyable as could be expected under such weather conditions. All in all, a so-so experience. If we ever cruise again, we will save up for Crystal or Seaborne! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Background we are married and in our mid 40s. We live in Southeast Michigan. We have been on 10 cruises on NCL, 2 on Celebrity and 2 on Carnival. We booked this cruise as a last minute getaway 14 days prior to departure. We used the ... Read More
Background we are married and in our mid 40s. We live in Southeast Michigan. We have been on 10 cruises on NCL, 2 on Celebrity and 2 on Carnival. We booked this cruise as a last minute getaway 14 days prior to departure. We used the cruise web site to book the trip. Getting to Boston due to a bad flight experience going into New Orleans in January my husband prefers not to fly. This means we have started to drive everywhere. Boston is exactly a 12 hour drive from Detroit so we left at 5:00 Am on Friday morning and were in Boston by 5:00 PM that night. We hit bad traffic on the Mass Pike into Boston at rush hour (of course) but we should have planned better. We stayed at the Westin in South Boston (Westin Waterfront) which is by the conference center but absolutely nothing else. I paid $150.00 on Price Line and the hotel web site listed rooms for $269 for that night on their web site. The Westin is very nice and the staff was very helpful. We ended up eating in the hotel pub that night which was fine but pricey. Saturday Morning we have departed from Boston on a Bermuda cruise so we knew where the pier was, etc. We parked in the temporary drop off location, dropped off our luggage and went to lunch at Yankee Lobster. After lunch we parked in the cruise terminal parking garage and walked over to the terminal. A pleasant surprise to find out it is $16.00/day to park in the cruise terminal (in Detroit you pay $25.00/day at the airport). Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the ship in less than 15 minutes and that was with a trainee doing our check in. I have to say it was the easiest embarkation ever. The rooms were not ready so we walked around the ship and became acquainted. The Jewel of the Seas is a beautiful ship. I saw no worn carpet, no areas that need an upgrade, nothing. Everything is beautiful and well maintained. Our Stateroom we were assigned cabin 3557 which is an inside. The cabin had a lot of storage. There is storage behind the mirrors at the vanity and in the bathroom. The cabin also has a small couch which is nice. Often interior cabins do not have couches or anywhere to sit. The bathroom is very small. Everything was clean! The only criticism about the room is that the bed is hard. Also, that crack in the middle of the bed be careful! It makes adult activities that much more interesting. Food food is subjective and I have read many reviews where people rave about the food on Royal Caribbean. The food was acceptable but I didn't find anything to rave about. It all seemed to be missing salt and pepper. We did eat one night in Chops and the food was good but the onion soup was completely tasteless. Dining Times being NCL cruisers we signed up for My Time dining thinking that it worked like Free Style. I just spent 7 days on My Time and I still don't understand it! You need a reservation to eat when you want to? I don't know when I am going to be hungry on Tuesday. The waiters were very friendly and service was excellent. I don't know if I would do My Time again. I really just don't see the difference from traditional dining. Staff Wow are they a friendly group! We never passed one person who didn't say hello. The bartenders seem to remember us and would have my husband's beer waiting. It is great in this service challenged world to spend a week with friendly people who really seem to care that you have a good time on your vacation. Entertainment Overall it was good. We are not variety show type people but every show seemed to be full. We found one set of comedians, Mario and Daniel, to be offensive. They were telling very racial jokes that we did not think were appropriate. We finally walked out when we couldn't take it anymore. Itinerary This was a New England/Canada cruise. Boston was 70s and we were worried we wouldn't have enough summer clothes. That changed very quickly. Unfortunately we hit bad weather. It still was a good time but we sure got wet in the ports. The solarium became our favorite spot to go to warm up and dry off. Day 1 Portland Maine In Portland we took a bus from the pier that went around the town. The town is very walkable and we did not want to walk around in the rain. We went to the Victoria House which is beautiful. We finished up our day in the Irish Bar on the waterfront. Day 2 Bar Harbor, Maine Bar Harbor is also small and walkable. We did take Oli's Trolley (I think $28.00 pp) and go to Acadia National Park. Although it was wet and on/off foggy we still saw some incredible sites. We ate lunch at the restaurant right on the pier and it was okay, not exceptional. Day 3 St. Johns, New Brunswick When you dock in St Johns it appears that you are very far from the town. We paid $10.00 to take the shuttle and we could have easily walked. I wish we had organized a tour for St. Johns. We didn't get to see too much. In the afternoon we went to the Reversing Falls and did the Jet Boat. That was FUN! The guy who runs the boat is crazy and hilarious. Of course we were wet but I would do this again in a minute. Day 4 Sea Day FINALLY. Just relaxed and had fun! Day 5 Halifax, Nova Scotia Wow, Halifax is beautiful. We did the Hop on Hop Off bus through the ship. Good thing because there were 5 ships in port and they were not selling tickets independently. We went to the Citadel and were there when they shot the large gun at noon. Unfortunately it was 42 degrees so looking around was not an option. In the afternoon we did a pub crawl tour through the ship. It was fun. It is expensive - $84.00 pp but very fun. They have a piper and a band that goes with you and we got to hear some great local music and get to see some fun local spots. Day 6 Sea Day just more relaxing Day 7 Time to go home (sad face). Again, being NCL people we signed up for Express Departure. But they still had you meet in the dining room. I didn't get it but it worked out. We were off the ship and in our car by 8:45 AM and on our way home to Detroit. 12 hours later home sweet home. Overall an excellent vacation and one I would not hesitate to recommend to everyone. We are booked in May on Explorer of the Seas and already looking forward to it. If I can answer any questions please let me know. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We flew from South Bend, IND to Boston, MA with a layover in Detroit. I have flown many times & have never had any issue with delays so we decided to fly in early that morning rather than the night before. While on the runway in South ... Read More
We flew from South Bend, IND to Boston, MA with a layover in Detroit. I have flown many times & have never had any issue with delays so we decided to fly in early that morning rather than the night before. While on the runway in South Bend we were advised there was ice on the planes wings so they were going to de-ice it. About ten minutes later the pilot apologized and said the de-icing vehicle did not have gas in it so they were fueling it before it would arrive. By the time we were on the way we were about 40 minutes behind schedule. We flew Delta and they only have about an hour layover in Detroit. By the time we landed in Detroit we literally ran from one end to the other to board the plane to Boston, and were the last to board, making our plane by about 3 minutes. After that experience I would hesitate to fly and board the same day in the future. In Boston it was sunny and we opted to take the Water Taxi from the airport. There is a free shuttle at the airport which takes you right to the pier. A CB handset with a direction sign allows you to call the water taxi. They were floating not far off the pier and we boarded easily. The taxi does make other stops on the water front but the ride was great and it only cost us about $12 each. It was definitely a scenic way to arrive in the city and afforded us wonderful photo shots of Boston and the ship when we came around a bend. We got off the water taxi right at the boat on a boardwalk. There were no lines and we were able to walk right up to check in. Our bags were taken quickly by porters and we only stood in line for about 5 minutes before being attended to by a very nice lady who checked us in. I had been slightly concerned because we do not have passports. We do have Enhanced Michigan Drivers License's which are issued by Homeland Security for the purpose of driving across the border. We also had our certified birth certificates as stated on the website requirements for closed entry loop cruises to Canada. I did not see anyone else around us using these type of documents to check in as most people had passports. While we had no problem with our check in process and were cleared quickly for boarding, I would consider a passport in future Canadian cruises as I think it might have been even quicker to get thru the check in. As we were approaching the gangplank to board the ship we were shuffled in for the first of many photographs by the ships photographer. I have no problem getting a few pics but there are literally photographers everywhere you turn throughout the week. It is beyond annoying. Eventually we started refusing pictures and going around the photographer stands. We finally boarded the ship around 2pm. The ship is a nice size but not so big that you can't quickly navigate yourself to the layout or get around in a reasonable amount of time. We went to the Windjammer Buffet to get a light lunch. The tables were all packed so we went to the outside pool area and sat down to eat. It was breezy and a bit chilly but it was nice to be in the sun. Our rooms were ready as soon as we boarded and our luggage was there by 6pm. We left the port at 5pm and stood towards the rear to watch our departure. Watching Boston slip away in a setting sun was magical. We spent the day walking the ship and were the only ones playing mini golf at 10pm. There were plenty of things to do on board but we preferred exploring on our own and enjoying our time walking the decks. We chose to utilize room service for all of our breakfast's. This allowed us to eat leisurely while getting ready to get off at the port of calls. I found on cruise critic an article about a lady who made little tip bags filled with hard candy's and thank you notes to give to the employees who brought room service food. As it was almost Halloween we did these tip bags and they were a hit with the employees. I'm glad we took the time to make that extra effort of appreciation to those who made our trip so enjoyable. We ate lunch in port. We did not go to the formal dining room for any meals. There were several reasons for this. We do not like to dress up on formal nights, we did not want to be seated at a large table with strangers (I know some people love this part of cruising, we prefer to enjoy the time to ourselves as our jobs at home have us on opposite hours), and we have plainer tastes in food preferring a good Italian pasta and marinara compared to some of the more "fancy" dishes being served. With that said, we found the other places to eat more than adequate in choices, flavors and quality. I believe we would continue to dine in this matter on future cruises. We did not eat at the reservation only establishments which required additional fees. Being our first cruise we felt we would have enough choices with out the additional cost. We enjoyed the movie cinema which showed fairly recent movies, most of which we had not seen. We also went to the magicians show. We thought it might be a little hokey but we really enjoyed it and were glad we went. We went to the tango show and it was wonderful. The other dancing/singing show performed by the ships performers we skipped. They seemed a little too silly, singing songs that would be more appropriate for a cruise commercial, and you could catch the show on your TV the following night. We had intended to use the rock wall but on the days we could have the weather was not cooperating. Mini Golf was fun, the hot tubs were open but packed so we did not go. The other amenities looked nice (gym, shuffleboard, ping pong, etc) looked fun but we had so much to absorb that we just never got around to it. Our days at sea were extremely wavy. My partner took Bodine religiously and had not problems with sea sickness. She did not enjoy the constant rocking motion of the ship and the feeling of compression (compared best to a non stop light headed feeling) that came with it. I don't get seasick and the motion did not bother me more than it was becoming annoying by nightfall. Luckily our 2 days at sea were spaced apart and knowing that we only had to endure a day of it before we'd be right back on land again made it easier to deal with. Our favorite spot was sitting on the interior balconies by the coffee shop, drinking coffee, playing cards and listening to the music coming from the bottom of the centrum. The band they had there were amazing and watching the "older couples" dance at random below was sweet. The ship never felt crowded although on sea days you did notice more people around however we were always able to find a place to be by ourselves. I loved the aspect of cruising and being able to wake up, be at port, enjoy a day in port and get back on the ship was fantastic. No driving, no traffic, literally 24hrs of doing whatever , whenever we wanted. All the employees went out of the way to be friendly. They remembered our names and our likes/dislikes. I purchased the Romance Package to be waiting in our room on arrival. I had non-alcoholic champagne, red velvet cupcakes, a gourmet breakfast in our room one day with mimosa's, silver picture frame with a picture from the cruise of us, appetizers delivered to our room before dinner one night. Cost wise I felt this was an excellent value. There were a few issues though. The order menu showed the cupcakes were vanilla, my significant others favorite, however red velvet were delivered, not so much a favorite. I think substitutes should be avoided especially when it comes to food/taste. Because we had avoided some of the photographers after a week of being hounded, we did not have a 8x10 photo to put with our frame. I explained to the clerk, this was fine, we would take the frame and if it was OK , a smaller 5x7 pic and I'd find a way to matte it at home. She continued to pressure us into taking another picture. After having just come from a port with rain we did not feel like having a picture taken looking like a drowned rat. I thanked her but assured her I would rather take the smaller picture. She continued to rant but after a few minutes she stopped and supplied the frame and smaller pic. The breakfast served in our room could only be ordered by physically going down to the main dining room and finding our assigned head waiter. Due to the fact we had not been dining in the formal dining room it became a big production and 3 employees to bring our waiter out to us. He then "scolded" us for not being in the main dining room and wanted to know why we had not been there all week, and how our table-mates were disappointed and on and on..I felt like my dad was there ready to ground me. I know they depend on tips but we tipped anyway and being an adult I did not appreciate being made to feel guilty about where I chose to eat on MY vacation. I feel RCI could handle this whole dining situation differently and as far as the breakfast, I should have been able to order it via the telephone like we did for room service, or thru my cabin steward to took our breakfast cards the rest of the week. Due to these two incidents, I most likely would not order this package in the future. I did all of the planning for the trip thru the Internet on my own. RCI's website is easy to navigate and between that and cruise critic I was able to get any questions answered. I enjoy the process of planning and researching our vacations so being able to have total control during the booking process is important to me. I also booked all our off shore excursions on my own utilizing the internet and Trip Adviser's ratings. This saved us easily 50% off the cost of excursions. If we were to go to a European Cruise, I would rely more heavily on the ships excursions due to language and geographical restraints, but for the Canadian area I felt comfortable navigating the towns on our own. I would jump at the chance to go on another cruise and would search RCI first for their options. My partner will go also although she is not as fond of sea days, she was relieved to know she wouldn't get sick and I think she will be more relaxed next time knowing what to expect. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We boarded the Jewel of the Seas in Boston on 10/8/11 for a 7 day cruise! We really lucked out with the weather because it was warm and sunny in most of our ports, although Halifax was a little on the chilly side. Our timing was perfect ... Read More
We boarded the Jewel of the Seas in Boston on 10/8/11 for a 7 day cruise! We really lucked out with the weather because it was warm and sunny in most of our ports, although Halifax was a little on the chilly side. Our timing was perfect too for the changing colors of the trees - breathtaking!!!! All in all it was a wonderful trip and we had a hard time complaining about anything!!! We even won money in the casino!!!! The ship was immaculate, the staff very friendly and the food very good! We did two tours through the ship in St. John and in Halifax which were interesting but a little on the pricey side for what you got! The only dissapointment we felt was the entertainment shows in the evenings. They had fantastic singers and dancers but only performed two shows, the other shows were a juggler, an Elvis impersonator and a comidian. I was expecting more of a Las Vegas style Broadway show every night as I have experienced on other cruises. I would recommend this trip and this cruise line to everyone Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Had hoped to be able to tour Boston before boarding but alas it did not work out, maybe another time. Anyway, the weather was great for boarding. Easy flight in, easy transfer via RC arranged shuttle. Able to board fairly quickly and ... Read More
Had hoped to be able to tour Boston before boarding but alas it did not work out, maybe another time. Anyway, the weather was great for boarding. Easy flight in, easy transfer via RC arranged shuttle. Able to board fairly quickly and cabin was ready as it was right after one when we made it. Had a nice lunch at Windjammer and went back to flop for a bit. Luggage showed up soon. Met our cabin attendant. Cryson was very attentive to our needs, always bringing us ice each day, making the bed and straightening up each day x 2. We enjoyed the shows and saw several of them. My favorite was the Tango Buenos Aires...the duo in the Centrum was great for dancing. Dinner in the Tides Dining Room was always a favorite. We met some great Texas friends and our waiter, Frederick, and asst. waiter, Violeta, were excellent. I formed a bond with her and exchanged emails and addresses when we left. She was so sweet to us and to everybody. She will likely rise high in the ranks as she is very eager and ambitious it seems. All in all a most enjoyable cruise. Our cabin was on port side and although we had one really bumpy night and my husband got sick, we soon adapted and he felt better the following day. I particularly liked the coffee bar and the hot chocolate I got there. The murder mystery dinner in Portofino's was good, not great, but the steak was very good. The actors really needed headsets/mikes as we had difficulty hearing the dialogue... Well, we made it back to Boston and just in time to avoid the big unusual snowstorm which quickly moved into New England. Flight home was bumpy but it was sunny and gorgeous in Kentucky when we arrived home. Thank you Royal for a good cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
My mother and I booked this cruise with hopes of seeing some beautiful New England scenery full of colorful fall foliage. Unfortunately, the foliage disappointed us, but the ship itself certainly did not. We are a 3.5 hour drive from ... Read More
My mother and I booked this cruise with hopes of seeing some beautiful New England scenery full of colorful fall foliage. Unfortunately, the foliage disappointed us, but the ship itself certainly did not. We are a 3.5 hour drive from Philadelphia, so we drove into Philly Friday evening and stayed at the Wyndham Garden hotel where we had a park/stay/fly package. For the very reasonable cost of the hotel room, we were permitted to park our car there for the entire week, and were provided with shuttle service to and from the airport. Everything went very smoothly, and we would definitely use this hotel package again in the future! Saturday morning, we woke up and had a light breakfast in the hotel's cafe, then gathered our luggage and caught the hotel shuttle to the airport. We did have to consult our airline tickets to tell the driver what terminal we needed, although he probably could have figured it out by the name of the airline if we didn't have that information. It was a quick trip to the Philadelphia airport, where we quickly discovered that our flight was delayed by almost an hour! This is when I decided that, in order to save myself a lot of stress, I definitely should have woke up IN Boston that morning--from now on I will always fly in to the actual debarkation port the day before! Fortunately, however, our new flight did leave the airport at the newly promised time, and the pilot must have made up some time in the air because we somehow arrived in Boston only about 30 minutes later than our original flight had been scheduled to arrive. We had reserved the transfers to and from the pier by Royal Caribbean, and this experience went quite smoothly. We had spent the morning wondering how we would know what to do once we got to Boston, but there were 2 nice ladies waiting at the entrance to the baggage claim area, holding signs that said "Jewel of the Seas." They kindly pointed out where our luggage would be, and where we could wait for the shuttle. Within probably 20 minutes, all passengers had gathered at the waiting area and the shuttle had arrived. The bus driver loaded all of our luggage under the bus and whisked us off to the Black Falcon cruise terminal in Boston. We arrived at the cruise terminal around 2:30 PM. There were lines, but it wasn't too horrible. We were in our stateroom checking for available excursions on our in-room TV by 3:00 PM. We loved our stateroom (3128), which was pretty far aft on deck 3. Tons of storage space in the room as far as the closet, shelves, drawers, as well as smaller "nooks and crannies" like behind the corner mirrors. As two women who did not travel all that lightly, we had plenty of storage space to completely unpack for the week. There is plenty of room under the beds to store your suitcases. We opted to place the small coffee table inside the closet, as we didn't foresee using it for anything and it made for much more usable walking space in the room. The room was a "large oceanview" and we loved having the window. I personally saw no need for a balcony, especially on such a chilly itinerary. But my mother would probably opt for one in the future, as she is a smoker, and designated smoking areas on the ship are few and far between (FYI, if you do happen to be a smoker, the best locations she found were a covered area behind the main pool on Deck 11, and the starboard side of Deck 5). Anyway, continuing with the stateroom review, it was very clean, beds were very comfortable, linens cozy, lighting nice. Things we wish it had are a dim nightlight setting in the bathroom and some sort of clock (maybe a digital clock/alarm on the nightstand would be good). Also note that there are no receptacles in the bathroom, so you'll need to use the hairdryer (which is provided) out at the vanity in the room. Bar soap was provided, and there was a dispenser mounted right on the shower wall which was labeled "CONDITIONER SHAMPOO" but I opted to use it as body wash, and thought it was quite nice as such. Water pressure was AWESOME (wish I had it at home), and the shower head easily adjusted up/down/side-to-side as needed. The shower had actual rounded doors, not a curtain. The service on the ship was beyond top-notch. Every RCCL employee was so polite. There was only 1 single exception to this, which was a girl who worked at the Latte-Tudes cafe. She seemed to be all business, and had no tolerance for special requests. I witnessed her being rude to a co-worker, and to a passenger who was in line in front of me. I started jokingly referring to it as "Cafe Attitude." They made awesome coffee though! My only "complaint" about this cafe is that the coffee of the day is typically "spirited" and as such, they are not allowed to sell it while in port (because it would then be technically selling alcohol). I found this very disappointing because I wanted to grab one in the morning, not at 7 PM after we sailed away. Anyway, other than that, we were highly impressed by the attentiveness and friendliness of all service people on the ship. In fact, later in the cruise, we dialed "0" from our stateroom to ask if the Guest Relations desk was the appropriate place to pay some cash on our seapass account (yes, it is). When I asked her to confirm that it was on deck 4, she was pleasantly surprised that I hadn't visited the Guest Relations desk yet. When I told her we simply haven't found reason to, she was so pleased that she told me she was sending us a bottle of wine. She asked my stateroom number and what kind we liked. The next day we found it chilling in a bucket of ice with 2 glasses and a corkscrew. As far as activities and entertainment aboard the ship, I personally found them to be geared more toward an older population. It was no matter to my mother because she was content in the casino, but I don't personally get much enjoyment out of it. I went to a few of the headliner shows and I did enjoy them (a comedian/juggler, and West End to Broadway most notably). I tried to attend an accupuncture seminar, but as it turned out, the accupuncturist wasn't actually on board for our cruise, and nobody cancelled the seminar. There were about 10 of us who sat there and waited almost 30 minutes before an RCCL employee who was just happening through the lounge agreed to call someone for us, and then told us the seminar was cancelled. So, I did find myself bored a few times during the cruise, but I suppose it was mostly my own fault. If I had just made myself go to something, I probably would have enjoyed it. But just scanning the Cruise Compass, not much stood out to me. We only ate in the Main Dining Room twice during the cruise. Our waitress was extremely nice and attentive, but the food was just a little too "fancy" for my liking. The food in Windjammer was much more our style, and they always had mostly the same choices as the specials in the MDR for the evening, plus many, many more. We also ate in the Seaview Cafe several times and found it to be quite good as well. One word of caution, however, is that the chili in the Seaview Cafe is extremely spicy! I loved it, but probably wouldn't order it again unless I was feeling pretty brave. It really had my mouth on fire! We also loved the convenience of being able to breeze through the Windjammer just about any time we felt like it. We were assigned the 8 PM seating in the MDR and that was just too late for us. Our first port was Portland, Maine. We took a lighthouse tour through RCCL and thought it was a good value for the money. We were most interested in going out to the Portland Head Light, and this was the primary stop on our tour, so we were very happy with it. Our tour guide was entertaining and provided us with lots of history on Portland as well. Our second port was Halifax, Nova Scotia. We explored this port on our own, walking to the Maritime Museum as well as the Citadel. Both are interesting. It was a level walk on the boardwalk to the Maritime Museum, but the Citadel was QUITE a hike up through town. Also, we had to dock at a secured pier in Halifax, but Royal Caribbean provided a free shuttle down to Pier 22 and back, and it worked quite smoothly and was nice. Lots of shopping at Pier 22. Third port was Saint John, New Brunswick, but we barely got off the ship here. It was cold, windy, dark, dreary, and raining very hard here all day. Luckily, we didn't have anything reserved here anyway. The city is undergoing a lot of construction, and we didn't find it to look very inviting (my apologies to anyone who lives in Saint John and loves it--it could very well have just been my perspective that day). There was a large tent at the end of the gangway with a small local flea market type thing set up inside, so we did walk down to that, but didn't stay long. We decided to get massages in the ship's spa this day instead. Our last stop was Bar Harbor, Maine, which we absolutely loved. Extremely beautiful town! We had pre-reserved a 2.5 hour tour with Oli's Trolley online a few weeks ahead of time--booked directly through their website. In Bar Harbor, we had to tender since they don't have a pier to accommodate large ships. I heard some "older" folks saying they weren't feeling brave enough to make their way down to deck 2 and get in the tenders, so unfortunately for them, they skipped the port. I personally found the tendering experiencing quite fun. We used 4 covered lifeboats as tenders. So anyway, we tendered to the pier, and the Oli's Trolley counter was inside of a small shop at the top of the pier. We checked in, got our official boarding passes, and then walked further down the pier to the actual trolley. Our tour took us through Acadia National Park, up to Cadillac Mountain, and down to Thunder Hole. Once again, our tour guide was knowledgeable and entertaining. We really had a good time and got a lot of beautiful pictures. I would return to Maine, specifically Bar Harbor, in a heartbeat! By this time, I was missing my husband terribly, and ready to go home. Since we had purchased the transfer from terminal to airport through RCCL, we were among the first group of people to be able to disembark the ship (after the self-disembarkers). The flier we had been given about disembarkation stated to be in the Coral Theatre at 8:40 AM. Luckily, we went early because we were walking down the gangway by 8:30 AM. Found our luggage with just a little bit of searching (one of Mom's bags was on the far outskirts of the area where our luggage was supposed to be and we were overlooking it), and then quickly found a nice lady holding a sign about transfers, and she told us which bus to head to. We made our way to the bus with no trouble, the driver loaded our luggage, and within about 5 minutes we were on our way to the Logan airport. The trip home was very smooth. We were not traveling with children, so have no experience with that sort of thing. However, one night as we were exploring the ship, we passed through the Adventure Ocean area and found the RCCL girl manning that desk looking quite bored (haha). We asked her how many kids were on board, and she said 8. I think that must be the number of kids actually enrolled in the kids' program there, however, because I saw several babies. There was only 1 time in the Windjammer that we were a bit annoyed by a screaming baby, however. All other times, you would never know there were any kids on board if you hadn't seen them with your own eyes. Overall, I loved the ship itself, and loved being on the ocean and being able to see the ocean so readily from our room. Unfortunately, the best foliage we saw was on Interstate 80 on our way home to Central PA! haha. But that's OK. It was a great experience, and I would sail Royal Caribbean again, no question--just probably not without my dear husband. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We did a back-to-back on the Allure of the Seas in the spring and we figured that we were surely spoiled. We enjoy newer, larger ships and since we had just come off the newest and the largest, we assumed that the Jewel of the Seas would ... Read More
We did a back-to-back on the Allure of the Seas in the spring and we figured that we were surely spoiled. We enjoy newer, larger ships and since we had just come off the newest and the largest, we assumed that the Jewel of the Seas would be no more than a quick getaway on our favorite cruise line. It turned out to be much more. We are a married 50-something couple on our 23rd cruise, 6th with RCCL. Embarkation was swift; we were on the ship within 30 mins of parking the car. We found the dining room food to be remarkable. Everything that we ordered was perfect. Years ago, dining room seating had those fixed eating times, but you did have the same wait staff which made up for that because they made you feel very welcome. They usually knew your names and preferences after the first night. The "my time" dining is excellent but you give up the same wait staff.....or so we thought. Perhaps this is not as new as I think, because we usually go to the cover charge restaurants, but on the Jewel, we were on My Time dining, but were always seated at the same table for two with the same waiters! We loved this. We ate at Chops twice on the Allure and once on this ship..., it simply isn't up to my standards. Presentation and selection is fine, I just don't find that it's the best steak. The service was marginal at the Chops on the Jewel. Portofino's was good, but Giovanni's on the Allure blows it away. But the key here is that the dining room was outstanding. We are not chafing dish/buffet people but our experiences with such here were fine. Entertainment has been better on some other ships, but none of the shows (we didn't see them all) were bad. The ship itself is beautiful and well maintained especially for a 7 year old. We found the staff to be excellent. We have cruised all over the world so it's hard for us to find a ship that goes to places thai we haven't been to. But these were all ports that we've never visited: Portland and Bar Harbor ME, St John, NB and Halifax. We truly enjoyed each port. Outstanding was the Lobster Experience in Bar Harbor. Very highly recommended. There were a couple of negatives on this cruise, but not one that keeps us from recommending this ship/cruise highly. It was excellent and even more so because we were expecting a ship that was too small and lacking amenities. This simply isn't true. We loved the bar with the pool tables! We have become Royal Caribbean devotees and have already booked our next voyage on the Explorer of the Seas in February. We can hardly wait! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Pros: Production Shows were excellent. The acts brought on board were all high caliber and entertaining and the ship's singers and dancers were talented. The ship was were maintained and actually had a Canadian born, ... Read More
Pros: Production Shows were excellent. The acts brought on board were all high caliber and entertaining and the ship's singers and dancers were talented. The ship was were maintained and actually had a Canadian born, English speaking Captain, which is a first for me after 20+ cruises. Waiter in the Dining Room was very good and attentive. Cabin Steward did a similar nice job of understanding our routine and attending to our needs. The Gym was well equipped and all the exercise machines were in good working order. The gym was lightly used throughout the cruise and there was no waiting required. As this was our first NE cruise all the ports were new to us. We enjoyed Bar Harbor, Maine the most and consider this a destination we would visit again. The Titanic Cemetery in Halifax was very interesting. Cons: Embarkation and debarkation in Boston was very unorganized and poorly planned. The food in the Windjammer cafe was mediocre and the selection was poor. The Seaview Cafe, which we enjoyed, was strangely not open for lunch when the ship is in port which did not make sense as it only had a small staff to run it-poor utilization. The smoking policy make it uncomfortable to occupy some of the public spaces: The small casino, sports bar, disco and other bars permitted smoking and the smoke permeated non-smoking venue such as the Movie Theater. The TV selection was terrible and though a portion of the cruise was in the USA no American stations were offered. Additionally usually the Sports Bar has a separate feed so sporting events like NFL football could be viewed but the Sports Bar received the same feed as the cabins, which was ESPN International and primarily Cricket matches-boring. Internet is offered only in hot spots and not in cabins. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
After taking our first cruise in January of 2010 on Serenade of the Seas I was hooked! Couldn't stop talking about the cruise, loved the ships, the whole concept, I found a new obsession. So, when I proposed to my partner of 5 years ... Read More
After taking our first cruise in January of 2010 on Serenade of the Seas I was hooked! Couldn't stop talking about the cruise, loved the ships, the whole concept, I found a new obsession. So, when I proposed to my partner of 5 years on that 1st cruise I was lucky enough to talk him into having our wedding on a cruise ship! We wanted to invite as many friends and family as possible, do it on a Royal Caribbean Ship, and cut out airfare for people, so a cruise from Boston worked well for our New England based life. It just happened that it was the Jewel of the Seas-the sister ship to the Serenade, which was very neat! Planning: We ended up having 50 people attend the wedding, and 30 sailed with us. Royal Romance is the company we used through RC for the planning. We had the wedding on-board followed by a buffet lunch and open bar. It certainly wasn't as expensive as a land based wedding, but there are MANY little costs that add up. Just be aware of things or it quickly becomes expensive. You also need to have a very open mind and let go of a lot of control. Royal Romance would get a 3/5 from me on the planning and communication levels through the whole process. We set this up 18 months before the wedding, and we still felt like it was a little rushed at the end. You can't pinpoint the venue, you can't guarantee the cake will look a certain way, or the flowers will be what you want. You kind of sign a check, make a handful of selections and hope for the best. This was actually a good thing for my partner and I as we are super controlling and we had no choice but to relax and let someone else deal with the planning. We stayed at the Westin Boston Waterfront the night before with many of our guests. It was a great hotel and is in a wonderful location for a cruise departing Boston. The cab ride is less than 5 minutes from hotel door to the cruise terminal. Embarkation/Officiant/Coordinators: We were met by our officiant and his two assistants at the terminal that morning. I was totally freaked out about 50 guests all asking me where to go and not knowing what to tell them. The officiant and the wedding coordinators (you pay for them, and are required to have extra coordinators depending on the number of guests) did a great job of organizing everyone so you can stop playing cruise director and focus on the face that you are getting married in a couple of hours. Customs delayed our priority boarding, so we only had 30 minutes to get ready for our wedding once we were on the ship-luckily it was just two men, I don't know how a traditional bride would handle that. Your guests must arrive at the pier dressed and ready for the wedding. The wedding was great, the officiant was really nice and personable, and the coordinators did a wonderful job of moving everything along. We had the wedding and following reception in the Vortex Lounge at 1PM. We requested another venue, but were told we had to use the Vortex, period. They did mess up our perfectly planned reception play-list by putting it on shuffle, just an example of having to go with the flow in this type of wedding. The reception, drinks and food were great, but it flew by. I do wish you weren't limited to a 2 hour reception so you could spend more time with non-sailing with guests before they have to leave. We did walk around with the photographer for about 20 minutes taking pictures before going back and enjoying the reception. Cruise: We had a great cruise with our 30 guests that sailed with us. It was a mix of seasoned and first time cruisers, everyone said it was a great trip. The ship is very nice, I love the layout and design of the Radiance Class. There is so much glass, and it feels like a quality ship. We had friends on this cruise that went on a NCL cruise the year before. This was their first RC ship and they said it was FAR nicer that their NCL experience. It was very fun cruising with a large group. Everyone commented on how nice it was to do your own thing during the day and meet up at dinner and spend the evening together. The ship is starting to show it's age. She's still beautiful and well kept, but it's time for some upgrading. I found the carpeting in some areas and the furniture showing the most signs of wear. Overall it was a wonderful way to celebrate our marriage and spend 7 nights having fun with our family and friends. It's not for the couple that wants a romantic private honeymoon and a traditional wedding, but if you are open to new things, want to have fun and build some great memories, a cruise wedding will do just that! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Jewel of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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