28 Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Fitness Cruise Reviews

We chose this Thanksgiving cruise because it was a renovated ship and had a port every day. There was a good mix of traditional beach & shopping ports (St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Barbados) and newer exotic ports (Grenada, Dominica). We ... Read More
We chose this Thanksgiving cruise because it was a renovated ship and had a port every day. There was a good mix of traditional beach & shopping ports (St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Barbados) and newer exotic ports (Grenada, Dominica). We were in port from 8:00-5:00 every day so we were able to sleep in on some days, get a full day in port on other days, and always make it back to the ship to sit down for a family dinner. I really like the predictability of the 8-5 port schedule. It's very easy to keep it straight in your head. We really wanted beaches and relaxation so we did not book any excursions. There were lots of teens & kids on the boat so our daughters made friends and were excited to meet up with them every evening when we returned from port. There was a rock climbing wall, golf course and kids' pool, but the ship was still a manageable size. We were not overwhelmed by people or lost trying to find each amenity. Disembarkation was not a total zoo like it can be with the mega-ships. This ship has an indoor cinema and outdoor movies by the pool, which we love, but they repeated several movies over the course of the week. No movies on the "network" TV in the room (we really like that about Norwegian & Princess). All-in-all, the amenities were pretty good and the cabin renovation was nice. One thing I HATE about the renovations is the lack of outlets in the cabin! We always bring an extension cord. I like to unplug (we don't buy internet on the cruise) but we still need to charge cameras, iPhones, Kindles, etc. Royal Caribbean does the best with service, embarkation, disembarkation and all the little details. The dining room food was a bit boring with the same menu almost every night, but I think they do that to push you toward the specialty paid restaurants. The buffet food was pretty good, but there were alot of "repeats" there too including Indian food all the time. I love Indian food but was a bit baffled to keep seeing it for lunch every day. Many of the buffet & dining room desserts were bland, but others were excellent. The buffet was not open all the time. For example, when you get back from port at 5:00 PM, it's not open. It did not re-open until 6:30 on port days. Also, there was not a continuously open burger/pizza place for the kids like most other cruises have near the pool. We had no issues with food availability, but when you have kids you expect to find that type of convenience food regularly available if they did not eat in port. We did LOVE that breakfast room service is still free on Royal Caribbean if you just do the continental breakfast. I love to relax in bed with my coffee and ease into my day. It's also nice to give the kids milk, fruit or a pastry while they watch cartoons in their pajamas. If you want hot breakfast (eggs, etc.) for room service, there is a charge. On Thanksgiving night, they did a HUGE dessert showcase in the buffet with chocolate covered strawberries and a chocolate fountain. We had our actual Thanksgiving dinner in the main dining room and it was underwhelming. We ended up going to the buffet afterwards. The gym was pretty good with sturdy treadmills and plenty of machines & free weights. There were a few free fitness classes and a few paid ones. Not as many classes as on other ships, but there was always 2-3 classes every morning-- usually spinning, abs and yoga. The fitness classes were in an open area in the middle of the fitness floor which was annoying because you had to hear the spinning instructor SCREAMING across the entire gym while you tried to listen to music on your treadmill. One downside of the gym was no TVs on each treadmill/elliptical. Not a huge issue, but a nice feature on other cruises. Given that this was an older ship, the gym was still pretty large. It was much larger than I expected. We did not do any posed family photos on this cruise, but it did look like they offered a variety of different backdrops. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our first cruise and we choose RC based on the reviews of suitability for young families. Overall we had a great time but felt that for the cost it wasn't worthwhile and probably won't do a cruise again. Preboarding ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we choose RC based on the reviews of suitability for young families. Overall we had a great time but felt that for the cost it wasn't worthwhile and probably won't do a cruise again. Preboarding the customer service with RC was terrible. The website for booking dining etc was all geared around people who knew how cruises work. As first timers it wasn't clear about the differernt options, and as the phone lines costs 7p per min it wasn't easy to resolve issues. Also, the website couldn;t cope with trying to link 3 bookings (we were a party of 7) together to main a dining reservation for all of us. Onboard staff were very friendly, particularly in the main dining room and kids club. We are English, and the rudeness of other nationalities (particularly American's) in the buffet restaurant was awful. My young children were pushed out of the way by people wanting to get to food with no apologisies. The queues for the outside bar were very long at times with only one person serving. I walked away after waiting too long. I was looking forward to going to the theatre a few times but the show times didn't work around young children (first show time was 9:15pm) and the quality of the shows wasn't what i expected (a poor ventriloquist, only one dance show). I was surprised by the number of smoking areas of the boat (pool bar, an area by the pool and another area I forget). It wasn't pleasant walking through these areas and it felt very odd to have smoking in such a communal area. Maybe American smoking laws are different to the UK? All the destinations on our cruise were easy to get from the port to the main town/beaches, with buses laid on by the port for a small fee (€5-€10). We didn't do any RC excursions as there were so many other options (tourist buses etc) which were alot cheaper. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
The ship: I think it's a middle big ship. It wasn't too big to have an overview of all the decks. But enough space for all the passengers. Food/dining: Tides diningroom: we got a personal table for all the 7 days, with ... Read More
The ship: I think it's a middle big ship. It wasn't too big to have an overview of all the decks. But enough space for all the passengers. Food/dining: Tides diningroom: we got a personal table for all the 7 days, with the same waitresses. I liked that, because then we got to know the waitresses. It was very good service and they tried to get to know us and chat. Windjammer: it was an almost all day buffet (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Very good food! They varied from day to day, like: american, greek etc. But it was also something that were the same every day. So it was always something to eat! I recommend breakfast and lunch in windjammer. And then dinner at the tides diningroom. Service: Every employee I met was nice. They did always greet you. Our head-waitress was very good. He did a recommendation on the menu everyday, and could always get what you wanted. Like 2 maincourse, or two dessert etc. The housekeeping was good. They clean the room twice a day, and makes towles-animals. Every evening you get a program on the bed for the next day. Shows: There were shows almost everyday. One day without show. And often the same show twice a day. The content varied: juggler/circusartist, sining (legends and divas), Tango bueno aires (dancing and singing), west end to broadway (singing and dancing), farwell show (illusionist, singing and dancing). Very great and fun shows at the evening. Good singers and dancers! Activities: A lot of different acitivities. Trivia, music, dancing, party, sport (climbing, volleyball, basketball), courses (example napkinfolding). Just remember to have a look at the program the evening before and plan your day. Or you can just have the program with you, and if you want to do something see if there is some acitivity ongoing. We visited many fine cities. We were in every shore/city in a great amount of time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
As a New Diamond Member with Royal Caribbean and have done more then 42 Cruises with various companies. We are proud and pleased with the Enterainment on the Jewel of the seas. The " Fly On" acts i think were a lot more ... Read More
As a New Diamond Member with Royal Caribbean and have done more then 42 Cruises with various companies. We are proud and pleased with the Enterainment on the Jewel of the seas. The " Fly On" acts i think were a lot more presentable and distinguished then the Ships production shows themselves. The Singers and dancers were probably the weakest then most ships. However the ship was BUSY! with tons of variety and lots of entertainment options around the Vessel. This 14 night repositioning cruise had continuously brought out great bands in all lounges and great parties. Andrea who is the current cruise Director from Italy ( coming from MSC and Norwegian Cruise line was out and about making sure all guests were having a great time. He was a very nice, organized Cruise Director. Disappointed to see the Cold Soups go.. from Royal. We did the Vision of the seas last year through Scotland, Ireland and they offered a different chilled soup each night. Banana, Strawberry, EXTC. Ports through the Canary Islands were extremely beautiful with fair port hours from the ship we are very pleased and grateful for this cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We were celebrating with our adult children and had limited travel flexibility. The kids wanted a cruise, so we reluctantly agreed. We were convinced, based on a past trip to Alaska on a different cruise line, that we were signing up for ... Read More
We were celebrating with our adult children and had limited travel flexibility. The kids wanted a cruise, so we reluctantly agreed. We were convinced, based on a past trip to Alaska on a different cruise line, that we were signing up for a giant boat with lots of lines and crowed excursions, and we had stereotyped our fellow travelers. Boy were we delightfully surprised! The Jewel of the Seas is a medium size ship with an top notch service oriented crew. Our balcony stateroom was spacious, the food and fitness facilities were excellent and we enjoyed the sunsets and entertainment. We stopped at a different port most days and did everything from hiking jungles to snorkeling and kayaking. We felt welcomed by at every port by the locals and good about helping the local economy with recovery from the 2017 hurricanes. It was a delightful experience and we shocked all by suggesting we plan another cruise with RC. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Cruise was chosen for the hot weather and the cool islands to check out. Definitely would go again. Lots to do and see, great food and events onboard and the excursions were expertly organized. The onboarding process was smooth and it ... Read More
Cruise was chosen for the hot weather and the cool islands to check out. Definitely would go again. Lots to do and see, great food and events onboard and the excursions were expertly organized. The onboarding process was smooth and it was quick and easy to book shore excursions. The shore excursions went off without a hitch and were awesome. Saw lots of sites, lots of variety in the tours and the areas that we visited. The cabin was clean, well-kept and room service was timely. The room service food quality varied, breakfast was great but dinner could have been better (but it does make sense because the best dining is in the dining room and even Windjammer was a great dining experience). The food in the dining areas was amazing. Top quality and the service was great too. The wine and bar service was also great and we got fast service and drink recommendations! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
This was our 2nd Royal Caribbean cruise and our 5th in total, the others being HAL en Celebrity. The 1st RC cruise we took was a Trans-Atlantic on the Brilliance OTS, a ship in the same class as the Jewel OTS. The reason we took this ... Read More
This was our 2nd Royal Caribbean cruise and our 5th in total, the others being HAL en Celebrity. The 1st RC cruise we took was a Trans-Atlantic on the Brilliance OTS, a ship in the same class as the Jewel OTS. The reason we took this cruise was to celebrate our parents 50th anniversary together with the whole family, 13 all together. We had a great and at the same time challenging time as a family. This was due to the fact that one of the grandchildren had to leave the ship in Ajaccio with a Crohn's disease infection, together with his mom. The rest stayed on board. First of all compliments to the medical department on the ship, the care team in Miami and the staff helping my sister and her son in Ajaccio, France. They couldn't have been better! Having experienced this from nearby, gives me assurance that whatever happens on the ship, they will take the best care of you. Now as to the cruise itself, I'm afraid I can't say the same about the staff on the ship, taking care of the passengers. The only 2 exceptions I like to make is for our roomsteward, Alex, who did a great job and the wait staff at our table at the MDR. They took good care of us, especially helping my niece who celebrated her birthday on the ship, without her mother and brother. The rest of the staff seemed lackluster, and showed hardly any passion in serving the people. This goes for Windjammer, the MDR for breakfast, the cafe in the solarium and the bars at the pool. Now I don't know if this was because the ship was so crowded or that this is the culture on the Jewel. It certainly was different than on the Brilliance and was dissapointing to us. The food served was good, but nothing special, at least to us. Again, the big crowds at Windjammer also didn't help us enjoying the food. Entertainment and activities were plenty, also for kids. Great band in the Centrum and also the piano singer did a good job. We only went to one show in the theater, which took a little time to get into, the show I mean, not the theatre ;-) We loved the lay-out of the ship, particularly the open-air dining area behind the Windjammer restaurant. There were certainly enough sun loungers, also on the one seaday, no worries about those. The gym was nice as were the free stretching and abs classes. However, we regret the absence of the Spa tiled loungers and other amenities that are still available on the Brilliance and other ships. For us this would mean a no go for a cruise with lots of seadays, like a Transatlantic. Our cabin, 9258, was an aft-balcony. This was probably the best we could have had. It came with a huge balcony with 2 chairs, 2 loungers and a table. It was great for getting together and I can certainly recommend it for groups traveling together if they want to meet in private. The cabin itself was fine, spacious, but did show it's age a little. Nice shower with doors, no curtains. Plenty of storage as well, better than on the Solstice class of Celebrity. We liked the ports we went to. Tendering at Cannes went fine, the other ports we docked. We didn't take any of the excursions offered by RC, as we find them way overpriced. Disembarkation went as smoothly as embarkation. Well done, RC. Strangely, although this certainly wasn't a bad cruise, apart from the fact that we couldn't finish it as a family, we still have reservations about cruising again with Royal Caribbean. The fact that we can't be sure that we will have a good time, will make us book on another cruise line for our next cruises. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Ship: The Jewel of the Seas Ship, met all of my needs. I found the ship to be very clean everywhere I went. I found the staff to be very friendly, professional, attentive and willing to meet your needs. I also, found the selection of ... Read More
Ship: The Jewel of the Seas Ship, met all of my needs. I found the ship to be very clean everywhere I went. I found the staff to be very friendly, professional, attentive and willing to meet your needs. I also, found the selection of food to very comprehensive in both the restaurants and buffet. The food was always plentiful, fresh and well presented. The dining room staff was very engaging and attentive. They also, remembered their passengers request and needs, and met them, without prompting. Safety: I found the ships security procedures to be very comprehensive and professional. I am speaking to this particular subject, because, I travelled alone. And I appreciated the attentiveness to security as well, and the procedure for tracking people from the airport, who got on and off the ship, and even tracking my return to the airport. Port & Excursions: The great things about taking a cruise, is that it can meet the various needs of different passengers on board. Saying that, from my experience: I had an amazing, insightful, reflective, calming, peaceful, appreciative, educational and beautiful experience throughout the cruise. But someone else, could have a wild and crazy time, if that is what they are looking for. I found the various port of calls to be well chosen, because they are all, very beautiful and distinctively different in every aspect. Santorini, was purely a beautiful port. Santorini's views were gorgeous and breath taking. I opted to take the Island of Santorini and Village of Oia tour. Which allowed me the opportunity see both the Village of Oia and the Old Port of Fira amd to stop at a winery, that provide free wine tasting and tapas. In Mykonos, I elected to just tour the town, which is very charming and it runs along the water. The view is amazing and there are a lot of shops and restaurants there, and you can pick up all the trinkets your heart desires. In Athens, I went on the Athens highlights, Acropolis and Attica Zoo for Families tour, which provided a comprehensive guide to the ruins of the Acropolis and ruins of Athens. Which gave me an educational experience regarding ancient Greek history. But, additionally, providing a visual piece as well. I also, had the opportunity to spend Attica Zoo two -three hours at their zoo, which provided a great and fun dolphin show. I have to admit that while I enjoyed the highlights and the tour, the zoo, left me wanting more, though they had a large bird collection. But, to be fair, the time I went was very hot, so the animals were laying down or hiding. Katakolon is a beautiful Island of about 600 people, by that time we arrived at Katakolon, I was over ruins, so, I walked around the town (which you can do in one-hour) They have a lot of restaurants and also various little shops. I, would definitely travel with Royal Caribbean again, and I recommend the Greek Isle Tour to everyone, who is interested in beauty and/or Greek History. Enjoy! My life is forever changed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise because of the diverse stops (Italy, Greece and Turkey) however I was not told of the itenerary change that there would be no Turkey stop, had to find out when I was sharing the itenerary with a family member, I had ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the diverse stops (Italy, Greece and Turkey) however I was not told of the itenerary change that there would be no Turkey stop, had to find out when I was sharing the itenerary with a family member, I had booked excursions already and had problems with the vendor refunding. Not happy about missing Turkey, but I understand. We had a little wait on Embarkation but smooth, disembarkation was very smooth with the exception of not being told that the waiting area for drivers was at the end of the terminal and we were at the exit across from the drivers and no one told us otherwise for over an hour. The ship, was wonderful. Small but never felt crowded, easy to get around elegant. The cabin was wonderful 1146. It is on deck 11 and close to everything, nice balcony room. I was told that we could adjoin our room on the deck with our inlaws in 1148 but was not allowed to after repeated request. They said it was for safety, but the door hooked well and we knew the people. I guess they thouht it was safer to lean over the railing to talk to our family. I was not happy about this!! Entertainment and activities were varied, fun and constant! Really always something to do. I wish they had Zumba more, only 2 days, which were days at sea and the area on deck was small and too crowded to enjoy. If they added more days in the evening @5 there would have been better. The food, was suprisingly good. I was not expecting the diversity and quality. It is amazing that they can offer so many people the selection with the execution they have. Bravo!! Our dining room waiters (Stefan and Taufik) were charming and I loved having them, we missed them the night we went to Chops. Our cabin steward was ok, nothing special. I have had some wonderful stewards in the past, so I guess I was due for an average one. He was kind and sweet, but average. Loved that there were not hords of children on this cruise ( the ones to the caribbean are filled with kids) but the ones on our cruise were well behaved and acted as you would hope. Good job Parents!! We did many excursions on our own. One with Royal. I wish we had more time in Port, some stops were way too short to enjoy anything but the "tourist areas" and you did not get a real flavor of the destination. Plus, all the junk shops started to look the same!! The weather was not always great, Mykonos was rained out which was disapointing since we had a Kayak tour scheduled that had to cancel. Our Tourmina trip on Messina was cancelled due to the G7 summit, that was bad....we had nothing to do but hop on and off bus around Messina. Not a nice town. Also, it never allowed to hop on or off....just drive around. We were confused!! We wanted to take one bus down to the beaches and have a lunch away from town, but had to buy both lines and no getting off. We rented a car in Santorini, great experience driving around the island. We wanted to rent 4 wheelers, but decided not to when I read so many reviews of accidents, It was really much safer and roads much better that reviewed. I would do the 4 wheeler next time. Athens was upsetting, We had a walking tour planned and the cab driver kept wanting to give us a tour, we told him specifically we had a time and place to meet and he drove us around and finally left us in the wrong destination too late to meet the tour. (Athens Free Walking tour). We went to the Parthenon and the Museum and toured on our own around there, we found some really nice sights and adventures. Made lemonade out of lemons, I guess! The economy in Greece is bad and you really felt like a big Euro that everyone wanted to grab....not as charming as I had hoped. The highlight was Naples, DO NOT MISS THE AMALFI COAST! It was stunning. We did the Royal Excursion, Amalfi and Pompii by land and sea. It was excellent and was the cherry on top of the trip! The Guest serivices guy (Gupta) was not helpful at all and made matters worse. We had a gift of $100 and free specialty dinner for 2 included in our ticket. We recieved a "Chit" that showed the $100 but not the dinner. I went to talk to Mr Gupta to check on the comped dinner and showed him my booking documents and he said it was all set. Went to the Dinner at Chops where they inform me that it is not in the "System"! Good job, Mr. Gupta!! I went back to him with all the documents I had and he said...Sorry I dont remember you!....Really?? Had to call my TA to clear it up. This was not necessary, but was quite frustrating!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This is a good cruise for first timers. It has much to offer without becoming overwhelming. The food presents well with a variety of choices, tastes fresh, is not geriatric in texture. The on board customer service staff don't ... Read More
This is a good cruise for first timers. It has much to offer without becoming overwhelming. The food presents well with a variety of choices, tastes fresh, is not geriatric in texture. The on board customer service staff don't always know what they are doing and do not rely on each other to resolve issues. There is not team work among the office personal. When an issue arises, they do not seek help from their peers creating a longer lasting issue. The entertainment was a mix of singing and dancing, comedy, adult humor and a variety show. The costumes and music choices were colorful and engaging. The performances were lovely even though they it ware a bit outdated at times. The room service staff were on it! The food delivered was hot and ready to eat when it arrived. Leaving the ship for excursions was always a smooth process. Returning was just a simple. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My first cruise with a group (~30 people) and it was a blast. Great to mix and match sharing activities with lots of different friends. Likewise it was nice to get stories and pictures from multiple excursions in each port. Similarly, from ... Read More
My first cruise with a group (~30 people) and it was a blast. Great to mix and match sharing activities with lots of different friends. Likewise it was nice to get stories and pictures from multiple excursions in each port. Similarly, from different ship activities. This ship is about 25% larger than previous voyages. Interactive locator screens located on all decks were quite helpful. With all the added people I was pleasantly surprised there were never lines or delays of an significance, Quite smooth operations. Deck 4, inside cabin was quite comfortable with lots of storage spaces. The shower was less cramped that I remember from previous experiences. Dining was excellent. Good food, great service. With the larger group we had 3 tables and were able to sort ourselves into groups of those getting there early to get the fastest service and those choosing a slower pace. Entertainment was generally good. There was one night in the Vortex we waited a long time for the disco music to start and finally left. I did not hear any bad reports from any in our group and the group did many different excursions in each port. Coming from the west coast I did wish the first day's port time could have been a bit later in the day. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
I chose this cruise because a friend highly recommended Royal Caribbean and this particular cruise fit our schedule and desired locations well. I went into this cruise with high expectations and was very impressed with our experience. It ... Read More
I chose this cruise because a friend highly recommended Royal Caribbean and this particular cruise fit our schedule and desired locations well. I went into this cruise with high expectations and was very impressed with our experience. It was a first cruise for my wife and I and it certainly won't be our last! The ship was very clean and modern looking. It was well maintained throughout the cruise and was very classy. The staff was so well trained and friendly from top to bottom. I wish I could have taken some of them home to work as my employees! The Windjammer restaurant had excellent food with a wide range of items to choose from throughout the day. The cabin was very nice and fulfilled all of our needs very well. I had some of the best night's sleep I've had in a long time and it's surprising to me that it happened on a cruise ship of all places! We ate at the Tides restaurant every night and we absolutely loved our server team lead by Ligeia Bailey and Francisco Correia. They are the best servers ever!! They quickly anticipated our preferences and provided us top notch service and food to our liking. I would go on this cruise line again just to have them serve me every day! They went above and beyond, take pride in their work and left us sad to have to go back home. The entertainment was great and surprisingly the boat did not feel crowded considering the number of people that were on it. Fantastic experience over all and we will definitely want to cruise again with Royal Caribbean!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I have cruised 13 times over various cruise lines. This is my second Royal Caribbean. This first time was pretty good with some issues but i thought we would try a different ship and destination. Maybe I would have a different experience ... Read More
I have cruised 13 times over various cruise lines. This is my second Royal Caribbean. This first time was pretty good with some issues but i thought we would try a different ship and destination. Maybe I would have a different experience with RCL. . . WRONG! Good Room was nice and roomy. Diner service and cleaning crew was excellent. Bad Food was terrible. Something that you would get a local buffett and not a very good variety. Entertainment was worse!! The shows and production numbers are something you would find on a junior high school talent show! I walked out of two production numbers. RCL nickels and dimes you at every turn. I tried to avoid this by purchasing the all inclusive drink package for $600. Turns out that they still charge gratuities and a lot of things added to my bill. (The fridge in my room had coke and diet coke, I specifically asked it that was covered in the "unlimited" drink package. They said it was. I checked off the ship with a bill showing what would be charged to my Visa. My visa bill came in and charged a lot more. I called RCL, they said after i checked off the bar manager reviewed the diet cokes that were drank in my room and added to my bill AFTER THE FACT! I called RCL to resolve. They stated it was a valid charge after i left the ship?!?! I will never cruise on Royal Caribbean again! I thought a different ship and different destination might cure, it wasn't. Disney Cruises Lines is really the best out there! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Intro: This was the Jewel's last cruise from Tampa, a one way trip to San Juan, P.R. We'd never done a repositioning cruise before. So the brief drive to Tampa with a short flight home was pretty appealing. We were originally ... Read More
Intro: This was the Jewel's last cruise from Tampa, a one way trip to San Juan, P.R. We'd never done a repositioning cruise before. So the brief drive to Tampa with a short flight home was pretty appealing. We were originally booked in an interior cabin, but got a very cheap upgrade to a balcony room due to a big price drop. We ended up with room 7164, port side aft. My wife's parents were kind enough to drop us off at the terminal, so parking fees weren't an issue. Embarkation: The Port of Tampa is one of the best when it comes to crowd handling, especially the terminal that the Jewel pulls up to (#3 I believe). We were out of the car, through security, checked in and walking onto the ship within twenty minutes. The only snag was with an overzealous security officer who seemed to think that I was going to commandeer the ship with a cigar cutter. I tried to tell her that I've carried it onto every other cruise without issue, but she would hear nothing of it. Thankfully another officer quietly told her that he thought cigar cutters were okay, and she relented. Our cabin: Thanks to Lord Timothy spotting a big price drop while we were on Monarch's final cruise, we got a nearly-free upgrade from an interior to an (extended) balcony cabin on deck seven. The room was pretty standard, with a small sofa, closet, vanity and an extended balcony. As I've noted in other reviews, I was very happy to see that our shower had the sliding doors instead of the attack-shower-curtain. The only drawback to this room was a ledge in front of the balcony that blocks the view directly down to the water. The ship: The Jewel is still in great shape for being nearly a decade old. Her crew keeps her well maintained and spotless. The Radiance Class ships are some of the brightest and best designed cruise ships ever built. Day 1: Tampa The first activity of the day was to stop by the Sky Bar for an unofficial Cruise Critic meeting. It was nice to finally meet all folks from the roll call in person. After the boat drill we made our way up to the Viking Crown Lounge for sail away. We had a great time, and eventually made our way outside to watch the ship sail under the Sunshine Skyway. We received a letter earlier in the day explaining that the nightly Diamond event would be held in multiple locations, instead of the usual single lounge (usually either the Hollywood Odyssey or the Viking Crown Lounge). We could go to either the lobby bar area, casino bar or the Schooner Bar for drinks from 5pm until 8pm. Later in the evening we stopped by the Sea View Cafe for food. It's such a nice place to eat, I'm really disappointed that they're getting rid of them in favor of pay-extra venues. The rest of the evening was spent occupying various bars and lounges around the ship. Karaoke in the Safari Club and a "Farewell Tampa" party in the Centrum were the highlights. We then headed back up to the Viking Crown Lounge, which doubles as the disco at night. This night was extra special, since I finally got to see the revolving bar in motion. Day 2: Key West We had our first visit to the Jewel's fitness center as the ship was making its way to the pier in Key West. After debarking the ship, we began making our way down Duval Street. Along the way we stopped into The Bull and Whistle pub for a few drinks, we even climbed up to the "clothing optional" patio on the roof. Our time up there was brief, feeling a little our of place since we weren't sharing in the nudity. Seeking lunch, we continued down Duval Street looking for a pizzeria that L.T. frequents. Unfortunately it had closed down. Still craving pizza, we located another little place nearby called Mr. Z's. (Duval and Southard). We all shared a Philly cheesesteak pie that was pretty good. The rest of the afternoon was spent moving from bar, to pub, to bar. We briefly debated hitting a strip club, but it didn't pan out. Our second to last stop was at the Two Friends pub on Front Street. They had a nice patio section, but the afternoon was getting warmer so we stayed inside. Of course I devoured my obligatory piece of key lime pie as we made our way back to the pier. We were among the last onboard, and immediately went to the promenade deck to watch for any entertaining pier runners. Unfortunately there were none, and the ship left as scheduled. We had a few pre-dinner drinks in the Diamond event and then went to the main dining room for the first formal dinner. This was a bad decision. The wait staff was friendly enough, but the service speed was unusually slow. The taste and quality of the meal wasn't quite up to par either. I was glad that we switched to "my time dining", since we feel less obliged to go to the dining room each night to see our wait staff. We intended to go out to the bars and clubs after dinner, but a full day of sun and booze had taken their toll. Bed time came early this night. Day 3: At Sea The first stop on our lone sea day was the official Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle. Royal did a nice job with it, supplying pastries, coffee, and some door prizes. I enjoyed meeting everyone, well attended Meet and Mingles are usually one of the highlights of a cruise. This cruise was the first time in quite awhile that the cooks got the Eggs Benedict right. I'm pretty particular about my favorite breakfast meal, and for some reason they tend to put to much lemon in the hollandaise sauce. Not on this cruise, as they were very nearly perfect. A trip to the gym followed breakfast. Early in the afternoon we stopped into the dining room for the awesome salad bar they put out on sea days. The rest of the afternoon was spent poolside. First watching the belly flop contest, and then hanging out at the pool bar. In the evening we attended the past guest party, it was very crowded. Apparently over half the ship were returning guests. Due to high attendance rate, it was fairly hard to get a drink. After the Diamond event we had a late dinner at the Sea View Cafe. The night was capped off with a (completely unauthorized) trip out to the heli-pad deck for some stargazing. Day 4: Labadee, Haiti I woke to find one of my favorite ships, Freedom of the Seas, parked next door. Luckily we were on the island side of the pier, so she wasn't blocking our view of the scenery. We again hit the gym after breakfast, followed by some relaxation in the room before going ashore. We only spent a few hours in Labadee, just long enough for lunch and a little hammock time. I watched the Freedom leave from the balcony before heading to the Diamond event. We ate dinner at the Sea View Cafe again since the dining room's offering wasn't very appealing. It was an early night due to an excursion planned for the next morning. Day 5: Samana, Dominican Republic We had to get an early start this day since we needed to be among the first off the ship. Breakfast in the Diamond area was very good and the service was fast. We then headed ashore for our excursion to El Limon falls which we booked through Terry's Tours. We were joined by several members from our Cruise Critic roll call. It started raining pretty heavily almost as soon as we boarded the tram. Luckily it was mostly over by the time we got to our first stop. The first area we came to was a small shopping area next to the highway. They had a cigar maker rolling fresh stogies, and a presentation area where they have local rums, cocoa and fruits to sample. The main attraction of the tour is the El Limon waterfall. The path to it has some steep and rocky hills, so the use of horses and donkeys is provided. There is still a small hike down to the base of the falls, but it takes only a few minutes. The waterfall itself is beautiful, although the area at the bottom gets fairly congested when multiple tour groups are present. My only big complaint about the excursion was how the animals were used to carry people over such rough terrain. The horses and donkeys seemed too thin, and had to really struggle up some of the ridges. If we ever return to the falls, I would opt to bring a pair of shoes/boots that I wouldn't mind getting muddy and hike up there. If the locals can do it in flip-flops, I can do it. Upon returning to the start point we had a lunch of local foods that was very good. After eating we started back toward the ship. Beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) were provided for us during the ride to and from the falls. Once back aboard the ship, we had an early dinner at the Sea View Cafe before hitting the gym. First stop during the evening was the Diamond Event, followed by the Top Tier Crown and Anchor party. We had a few more drinks in the casino bar and then watched the "City of Dreams" show in the main theater. The lead singers were very good. After the show we celebrated the birthday of one of our fellow cruisers at midnight in the Champagne Bar. We then finished out the night at the Vortex disco. Day 6: Tortola, BVI We didn't have anything planned in Tortola, so the day started later than usual. We did eventually go ashore after breakfast and a trip to the gym. There isn't a whole lot to do around the pier area in Tortola. We wound up just having a few drinks at a cafe with some folks that we'd met onboard. After a little shopping we went back to the ship. Another early dinner at the Sea View Cafe was followed by the nightly Diamond event and watching sail away. We stopped into the casino before watching the 70s Dance Party in the Centrum. After the party was over it was time for The Quest. They did a pretty good job with The Quest on this cruise, without much watering-down for the sake of decorum. I've noticed too many cruise directors trying to make it less racy, and I was glad to find that (cruise director) Carly wasn't. It would be another late night in the Vortex, ending somewhere around 3 am. Day 7: St. Maarten, NA Staying up late the night before seemed like less of a good idea at around 7 am as we were waking up to head out for a shore excursion. We booked through Bernard's Tours, independently of the cruise line. This can save you money. But you do run the risk of the ship not waiting for you if you're late, so schedule carefully. We met John, our tour guide, at the information desk just off the pier. He had a nice air conditioned van; but more importantly he had a cooler full of beer and rum. After a few photo stops, our first big attraction was Orient Beach. He first showed us that one side is clothing optional before dropping us off further down the beach. The beach is very nice, with several bars and restaurants along it. The second main stop was Marigot, the capital city of the French side of the island. This was a brief stop, so we didn't have a lot of time to see the city. We did walk through the marina area and stopped at a French bakery. The eclairs were delicious. After Marigot we traveled to Maho Beach, which is famous for its close proximity to the runway of St. Maarten's airport. The beach itself is fairly narrow and not particularly impressive. The main draw is watching the landing jets pass only a few feet overhead. The brave/stupid can stand behind the departing planes and get a face full of dirt from the jet wash or possibly get blown out into the water. Fun! After leaving Maho we began venturing back to Philipsburg, but stopped en route so that a certain someone could get a very specific chicken sandwich from KFC. We did a little shopping in Philipsburg before returning to the ship for well earned naps. All in all it was a nice "sampler" tour of the island. We saw many new places since we'd never bothered to leave Philipsburg before. I'd like to go back to Orient Beach, I might even get up the nerve to earn my beads someday. Later, we went to the Diamond event one last time and made sure to tip the awesome bar staff. We also had one last dinner at the Sea View Cafe. Since Royal Caribbean is unwisely removing the Sea View Cafes from the Radiance Class ships it may well have been THE LAST time we'll eat there. I made sure to put into my comment card how much that disappoints me. We begrudgingly packed our bags and set them outside before turning in for the night. This cruise was over much too quickly; but it was great to travel with a friend from previous cruises and to meet several new ones at the same time. The itinerary was fast paced with only one day at sea but going to new ports is always a plus. Jewel is still a great ship with a friendly crew, and I'm sorry that she won't be coming back to Tampa. Post Cruise: We debarked in San Juan around 8 am, it went very smoothly. We booked the "Old and New San Juan" tour through the cruise line. They had the shuttle waiting for us at the terminal and took care of transporting our luggage to the airport. Our guide took us on a narrated tour of the old and new sections of the city with a long stop at the San Cristobal fort. The stop allows enough time (about an hour and a half) to quickly see the fort and walk around down town. The driver then took us to the airport. L.T. booked the same flight as us, so we all had lunch at the airport. The security process at San Juan's airport was very unorganized. At one point there were three lines for three security officers. Sounds like a simple equation right? Unfortunately it wasn't as clear to the dim TSA staff. Since the lines weren't directly in front of each officer, one agent wound up checking two lines while two agents checked the other. Not a huge deal, but it displays the incompetence of the people we entrust with our security. After the security headache we thankfully had an uneventful flight home. This review, along with many pictures can be seen by following the link below: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1848042 Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I always liked the traditional aspects of cruising that Carnival tried to bring to the public many years ago when it started operations and as evident on my first cruise 30 years ago - fine dining, superior service, great entertainment and ... Read More
I always liked the traditional aspects of cruising that Carnival tried to bring to the public many years ago when it started operations and as evident on my first cruise 30 years ago - fine dining, superior service, great entertainment and large dance floors. Of my 14 cruises most have been in the last 10 years while cruising has been undergoing what I call a "dumbing down" that I blame NCL for starting with it's Freestyle cruising initiative. I see a 2 prong effect of this - more appeal to the sweat suit wearing crowd, discount low income crowdds and the mentality of who wants to dress up style of cruising for Joe Cruiser types and push your way through the crowds. On the other side of this reduction in the glamor and romance of cruising is the cruise lines acting like airlines by getting more and more fees and money from their cruisers for "better food", drinks and service. During the past decade, on some ships the main dining room experience is so degraded in both the quality and portions of food and service that it no longer is acceptable to me and cruising is losing it's romantic, quality vacation allure. Ship board personnel who were always some of the hardest worked in any modern industry are pushed to ridiculous limits when I talk to them about number of cabins stewarded or tables waited and on many ships and cruise lines it shows in their service to you - less personable, more formula and supervisors that only want perfection, not person-ability and connection with the customers. Sigh of relief - at least to this point Jewel Of The Seas has not been too modernized and dumbed down. EMBARKATION - We were visiting relatives in the Tampa area. I was looking for a good vacation deal in the Caribbean to fill in part of our 2 week Florida winter vacation. I probably would have preferred an air/land deal but RCL Jewel Of The Seas for 7 nights out of Tamps was at least $300 less than any deal I could find for 5-7 nights from Tampa during January and I and I rate cruises as a good vacation, so I booked this deal after not finding a better values elsewhere during searches over a few months. The Tampa embark and disembark was unexpectedly smooth for an experienced cruiser. The recommended boarding of 1:30 I always feel is towards mid-boarding rush - I prefer to arrive early to enjoy Lido buffet on board and an early preview of the ship even if it involves up to an hour or so wait to board. Most times early arrival and boarding has worked out very well for me. We planned to arrive at noon but I got us there around 11:30 to find boarding already going on and any waits were in the order of less than 5 minutes. Tampa port is surprisingly easy and efficient for both ON and OFF for a ship Jewel Of The Seas size. We were dropped off and picked up by vehicle by local family and it was very easy for everyone. DINING - one of the biggest hits to traditional dining on many cruise lines is the main dining room. Not on Jewel of the Seas. We could have shrimp cocktail every night. Every night had fine dining food of top quality - prime rib, lobster tail, Atlantic salmon as a standard option every night, My wife, who loves breads, was pleased to still see varieties of 4 or more breads offered for every meal with some variations in the offering during the cruise. Jewel dining was like a forgotten gem - I have seen much much worse food quality and selection in recent years on NCL and Carnival - main dining rooms choices such as no shrimp cocktails, the same 3 breads every meal, tiny prime rib and lobster tail and those presented together on the same night. Jewel was a sigh of relief that not all cruise lines have lowered their main dining room food quality and selections. The service was professional and excellent. STATEROOM - was a surprise - many cabins, at least towards the front of the ship on Deck 7 have some of the largest balconies I ever had on any ship and we were a low level balcony class. The balcony extended maybe 8-10 feet out and had room for not only 2 deck chairs and table but a lounger as well and the view was totally unobstructed. Deck 7 does have those balconies that extend out far enough that balconies above can look down on you - if you happen to not like that type of balcony, choose higher decks. The room was typically well furnished for a modern cruise ship. We noticed the somewhat medallion shaped bed seemed as wide as a queen or king bed and was very nice and comfortable - it was of course 2 beds pushed together, as is common on modern cruise ships, but seemed rather spacious compared to some others we have experienced. One of the minor disappointments of most modern cruise ships and another example of dumbing down was there were no bathroom amenities like travel size shampoos or body soap - we were only given bars of soap and a dispenser of some one kind of soap or body wash in the shower. All in all a typical but nicer than expected for bed and balcony size cruise cabin. Cabin steward Delano Charles was one of the most personable ever and has a very unique lounging passenger towel critter that is the best we ever saw - should make him famous!!!! SHIP INFO - LIKE that there is decent space for weight machines which we use both on board and in our daily lives - a good selection of full body work out machines that are hard to find at resorts and hotels. LOVE that Solarium, adults only, glass enclosed pool area. BEST arrangement of food lines on Lido deck - "food islands" than customers can bounces around to, without waiting in lines - seems the most efficient design I have ever seen to feed large numbers of people. LIKE that pretty atrium with a circular Crown and Anchor area suspended above it at the top level and those green lighted stairs on the bottom level. LIKE the non-symmetrical walk through ares of decks 4-6; LOVE my wife and tables for 2 in the main dining room that seem in good supply. RCL has a hit in this ship design. LIKE fast elevators - seemed like the smallest waits and fastest rides of many ships I have experienced. ACTIVITIES and ENTERTAINMENT - who cares. The cruise lines all want you to think there is tons of things to do. REAILTY - a sea day is made for those who want to relax, eat, work out and be entertained. The specialty events are sparsely attended and really not of that much quality or interest. It took me a lot of cruises to really get that sea days are not for the specialty events - they are for lounging in the sun, by the pool, maybe watching or involved in silly pool side games and sometimes decent music - for me sea days are a nice day to work out in a well equipped gym, walk the deck or stairs and then lounge to give my wife a great long back run - and of course - eat, eat eat. The ships shows always seem to be the same old song and dance to me - it amazes me that they get so much attendance. TV - you might catch up on the news or maybe find a movie or show of interest but the channels are limited and not usually very entertaining. The on board theater might have a fairly recent tv show worth catching. TOURS - I agree that Stingray City at Grand Cayman is one of the top tours in the Caribbean. It is also suitable for most ages and aquatic capability levels because it is only waist to chest deep and relatively calm. An excellent interaction with wild sea critters on a very close up, safe and entertaining level even in a large group - play with them, kiss them, half them, feed them, and watch their amazing grace under water if you want to put on a mask and maybe snorkel. We opted for the ship's tour - a combination tour and then Tiki Beach on the also I agree top rated 7 Mile Beach. The downside of many ship's tours, which I already know well as a diver is crowds - divers don't like crowded cattle boats - preferring small fast boats with maybe 6 divers - cruise ship tours tend towards big groups - like 12-20 divers. There were 7 ships porting in Grand Caymen Jan 16, when we arrived, and RCL was maxxing out profits sending us plus Navigator Of The Seas passengers on a totally full small bus then an over crowded boat to Sting Ray city. When we got on board the boat all spaces were full plus 4 customers up top with the captain and no spare space on the full front deck. At Stingray City it did not matter and turned into a fun time for everyone and everyone was given an opportunity for full interaction with the sting rays. Tkii Beach was built for cruisers and had customers from 4 or more ships. There were enough loungers and beach for everyone but it as crowded and the one small women's restroom which also doubled as a changing room had long lines that were disappointing to my wife. We enjoyed seeing and being on 7 Miles beach and felt the $20 we paid for 2 man kayak was a good deal - it was nice to paddle off shore with no crowds and the beautiful shallow water, but then again at the end of the tour were were packed onto a full size modern bus with some people having to stand to get back to the port. All in all I got what I wanted and paid for - to see two famous Caribbean items - Stingray City and 7 Mile Beach, but the crowds on the ship's tour lessened the experience. At Cozumel I arranged a 2 tank dive from an independent operator that was even better than expected - almost private - 3 divers and guide on the first dive, then just me and one other diver with the guide on the second dive PLUS Cozumel's, famous to me , valet service from the boat driver and DM - put all your equipment and weights together - assist you into your gear and help you back on the boat - perfect and NO CROWDS, and of course, less costly than the ship's tour. SUMMARY - very nice cruise, great food and service and not pushed to pay for alternative dining to get the good stuff. We also took advantage of RCL's new carry on non voyage wine to take one regular bottle size wined on board for each of us. Looking forward to a March 2014 cruise we have booked on Jewel for 7 days from San Juan. Hope the ship's refit with dining that sister ship Serenade Of The Seas just had doesn't dumb don the good traditional experience we just had. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Embarkation at Harwich, went smoothly until we were directed towards the gangway. There was a long queue with a delay of approximately 40 minutes. However, delighted with our cabin and have nothing but praise for cabin stewards Ajay and ... Read More
Embarkation at Harwich, went smoothly until we were directed towards the gangway. There was a long queue with a delay of approximately 40 minutes. However, delighted with our cabin and have nothing but praise for cabin stewards Ajay and Walter and all staff onboard. Jewel is a delightful ship although in need of some revitalisation which I understand is planned for 2013. Certain parts of the ship are showing their age. Our suite on Deck 10 had one drawback, the overhang. This extends at least 15/20 feet out from our cabin balcony. It was impossible to catch the sun, apart from early morning and late evening. It's surprising Suites are situated on Deck 10 with this overhang. The Concierge Service was excellent, a great way to meet fellow passengers and enjoy a courtesy drink. Jasmin, Nelson and all the staff are a credit to Royal Caribbean International. Food onboard was reasonable, although less quantity and more quality would be desirable. The portions could be reduced. I suspect this is due to American Company/American market. In our experience, other Cruise Lines provide smaller portions, which are more than adequate. Speciality Restaurants were of a high standard, having sampled both Chops and Portofinos. This was a most enjoyable cruise with a mix of British, American and other nationals. The Spanish and Italian were, as always, lively. The mix worked well, there was always fun to be had. Special mention should be made of Leigh, Cruise Director and his colleague, Zack. Both were highly entertaining and professional. They always went the extra mile. The Itinerary was first class, we enjoyed all the Ports of Call, although we found St Petersburg rather depressing. However many passengers enjoyed the Palaces and Museums. Disembarkation was well organised and operated smoothly. Overall, an enjoyable cruise on a fantastic ship with superb staff and service. Well done Royal Caribbean International. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Boarding the ship in Miami proved to be comparatively simple (other than the check-in agents unable to deal with an up-grade in Crown&Anchor Status). The Jewel is well appointed, the cabins comfortable with plenty of chances for ... Read More
Boarding the ship in Miami proved to be comparatively simple (other than the check-in agents unable to deal with an up-grade in Crown&Anchor Status). The Jewel is well appointed, the cabins comfortable with plenty of chances for exercise should you hike from the fore end of Deck 7 up and down the stairs to all meals, activities and music. Since there was no seating available in either early or MyTime, I elected to have all my evening meals in the buffet area. The staff was superb in service, the Indian and Japanese Cuisine Excellent and I really appreciated the variety of cold soups over the two weeks. As a vegetarian, having food labeled clearly and a variety available made my evening meals a pleasure. The Cruise Director's staff from Chloe on down were extremely supportive and found the 10-35 knitters/crocheters who met on sea days in the upper lounges quite fun and even supplied some needles and yarn for those who had failed to bring along enough to do. Scrapbooking and Jewelry making were oversubscribed which I think also startled the staff. Other than the Country and Western Group who seemed to have only one set (and I do know how started the howl due to the pain of being able to set your watch by their music) the musicians were fantastic, especially the string players. The Fitness Center is excellent and the staff knowledgeable. Fun, yes! Will I book with RCI for cruises? Of course, have a couple already booked for this coming fall. Great ship if you want to relax, talk with people, spend time on fitness, your own interests. The library was pitiful - bring your own Nook/Kindle/iPad.... Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Background: Along with myself (54 yrs) are my wife (52 yrs) and my in-laws (82 and 78 yrs). Minimal physical issues, no dietary issues, and preference for relaxing, reading, and good food and drink. Flew into Sarasota, and stayed with the ... Read More
Background: Along with myself (54 yrs) are my wife (52 yrs) and my in-laws (82 and 78 yrs). Minimal physical issues, no dietary issues, and preference for relaxing, reading, and good food and drink. Flew into Sarasota, and stayed with the in-laws prior to, and after the cruise. Hotel/Rental car Info: No hotel required, but I did rent a Hertz car in Sarasota. Dropped the car off at the Marriot Harborside, and caught the shuttle to the port. It was a 5 minute ride. Very easy. Did the reverse on the way back, and it worked out fine. I believe you can now drop off and pick up the car at either pier, as long as you have an existing reservation. Check with Hertz first, but the Harborside was a piece of cake. Check In: Incredibly easy! When we were dropped off at the pier curb by Hertz at 11:20 A.M., a porter took our bags at the curb (had our pre-printed bag tags on our bag), we went upstairs, filled out a health questionnaire, stood in a very short security line (where they confiscated our wine), checked in (did the electronic check-in 3 days in advance) showing our authorization form, got our ship pass cards, bypassed the souvineer photographer, got our hand sanitizer (get used to it!), boarded the ship and got our ID photos taken, and went to the buffet. Started eating at 11:40! Couldn't be any easier!!!!!!! Stateroom: Standard size Cruise stateroom and balcony, but for some reason, it felt bigger. Very well laid out. Bathroom and shower are tight, but not any worse than other ships. There was room under the bed to store bags, and all our clothes fit into the closet and drawers. Rooms are very well soundproofed. I am easily awakened and aggravated by noisy neighbors, and I never had a problem. Ship Info: This is a "smaller" ship, and it was easy to navigate. Public areas were very nice, clean, and well marked. Casino, Lounges, entrance to top tier of theater on deck 6, Restaurant on Deck 4 and 5, Buffet, pool, and spa on 11, gym and track on 12. Simple. The Centrum, which is the main lobby, goes up 9 decks, and there are balconies overlooking the centrum on each deck. There is entertainment in the centrum most of the day and at night. Most places, except the pool area, are never very crowded. The pools get a moderate amount of use, and the solarium pool tends to be less crowded than the outdoor pool. Whirlpools are always crowded, and some people don't abide by the 15 minute suggestion, so they tend to sit in the Whirlpool for a long time. The gym is well equipped, although the equipment is older and not up to par with the equipment I use at my home gym. But, it was more than adequate. There is a running track on deck 12 (6 laps per mile) which is not heavily used in the A.M.. Mini golf course wsa fun and well maintained, as is the rock climbing wall. Dining: The consensus of the four of us was that the dining was mediocre, and could have been the weak link. The buffet was average, with no standout items. Dinner was good, but there were only a few items that wowed us. The late night snacking options were, at best, poor. One night, they had a poolside buffet that was not worth waiting in line for, except there were no other options. You will be asked to use hand sanitizer every time you enter a place that has food! Alcohol: You cannot bring any alcohol on board. It will be confiscated, and returned to you the night before you leave. So, if you drink wine, here is my suggestion. Get a wine package, either ahead of time or on the ship. It will save you money. Order the package, and when you show up the first night for dinner and order your wine, ask for another bottle or two to take back to your room. You then have an extra bottle for the next day to drink in your room. The steward will get you wine glasses. We got the 12 bottle gold package and probably saved $100.00 or more over ordering individual bottles. Coffee: There is a coffee bar on Deck 6 (?) in the Centrum called Latti-tudes. Very Starbucks like (both taste and cost), plus you get a free cookie/pastry with your order. We would sit in the Champagne bar in the afternoon with our coffee, and a great view, with music in the background. Activities: This is one of the areas where we were not impressed. There didn't seem to be as many activities on this ship compared to the other cruises we were on. My wife and MIL like to play bridge, and the opportunities were very limited. I like lectures, and there was nothing that caught my interest. There were a lot of activities around the pool, such as line dancing lessons, belly flop contests, and similar activities, but we didn't partake. We spent most of the day reading and hanging out by the solarium pool, which is much quieter than the outside pool. Service: Outstanding!!!!!!! Our room steward, Mark, was very personable and attentive and got us what we needed (wine glasses, ice, etc). The room was always spotless and well kept! Our Waiter (Janelle) and Assistant Waiter (Norda) brought smiles to our faces every night. They got us what we wanted, were eager to please, and very professional. If any 3 star Michelin restaurants are looking for a good Waiter, hire Janelle! The staff around the ship were very friendly, and almost always offered a hello. Nice Job! Disembarkation: Pay attention here!!!!!! We put our bags out the night before departure. We told to report to the theater at 9:20 on the day of departure. We got there at 9:05, and our group had already been called. We left immediately, found our bags at the assigned location, and started to get in a very long line to go through customs. A porter came over and asked if we needed his help, and told us the wait would be shorter if we went through the "porter line". What started out as a 45 minute wait became 5 minutes! Get a porter, but you will (and should) tip him. We met the Hertz driver at the curb across the street, and we were on our way. Harassing Photographers and pesky Artwork Sellers: Not a problem!!!!! The photographers were around, but only at dinner did we feel pressured to take a picture (twice). There is art displayed for sale all over the ship, but we never were pressured to buy or attend auctions. Entertainment: For the most part, very good. We attended 4 shows; 2 stage shows by the ship singers and dancers, 1 by an accapella group "Home Free", and 1 by a pair of gentlemen called "Los Pampas Gauchos". The singers (4) and dancers (8) were very,very talented, but we thought the productions were weak. Lots of costumes and scenery, but a better story and songs are needed. The accapella group from Minesota was outstanding. Excellent voices, good variety of songs, and very witty. They performed in the theater one night, and gave an extra performance in the Centrum another night. The Gaucho's were very talented and funny. Excellent show. There were multiple performers around the ship to fit the musical tastes of a broad spectrum of people. Overall: We were pleased with the Cruise. As it was early February, the passengers tended to be on the older side. Lots of walkers, canes, and electric scooters, so some patience is needed. The dance of choice is the Cha-Cha......... But, there were a fair amount of younger people on the ship, and very few kids. The seas were not rough, although we did feel the ship rocking back and forth a little. No obvious seasickness, and no obvious outbreaks of stomach bugs, unlike the Princess ships..... Maybe the constant hand sanitizer squirts are worthwhile after all!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We were so pleased with our 5 nt Jewel of The Seas cruise Feb 27, 2012 to western Caribbean; Cozumel and Costa Maya. Although the destination was not a real goal or selling point for us, it was interesting and enjoyable. We just wanted to ... Read More
We were so pleased with our 5 nt Jewel of The Seas cruise Feb 27, 2012 to western Caribbean; Cozumel and Costa Maya. Although the destination was not a real goal or selling point for us, it was interesting and enjoyable. We just wanted to test out what it was like to cruise. The food was very good, ship decent size and the important thing: we did NOT get seasick. I was especially looking forward to all the activities, dancing, swimming, karaokeing and rock climbing (other exercise). My husband more into the relaxing, reading, and seeing how a ship this size was put together. We were impressed by several large areas, such as the Coral Theater, the large restaurants (Tides and Windjammer), and so many elegant touches here and there. Of course the glass, lit-up staircase going down to the Centrum was impressive, as their 5 glass elevators in there. What acoustics!! Very beautiful. Even a classical violinist and acoustic guitar accompaniment could be heard with perfect sustainment throughout that tubular-shaped relaxing space! We were able to play cards in several quaint and surprisingly quiet spots on the ship. We enjoyed the small, but tasteful Champagne Lounge. Only had hoped to meet up with a few more of our Cruise Critic Roll Call informal Meet and Mingle people who communicated on those threads. We met a couple, and several other nice cruisers. It was such a wonderful time. I just want to note, that apparently since the cruise lines "own" the dock / port area (I believe?), then neither Cozumel, nor Costa Maya were directly in their town / village. One needed to taxi or walk. Since we were just "testing out" cruising, we were reluctant to venture too far, and possibly not make it back to our boat before time to pull out. Seeing the "set up", I shall call it, market area / mall-festival-like area set up to get the tourists dollars first, on the negative side my take was that we were kind of TRAPPED in this area. Of course the vendors were all doing their best to be aggressive salespeople - - yet remaining as polite as they would need to be within the margins. I also had hoped for more nearby beaches to where we docked (without having to take transportation, as mentioned). Next time, we may have more courage and venture in to see "The Real Cozumel" and "The Real Costa Maya". My regret was regarding a generous invitation by LeStudio (Chris and Gail) to take up their offer to ride together to Paradise beach. I later saw the internet for that location - - and Oh MY, what a beautiful sandy beach, with all activities you may want. The cruise itself was excellent, and waters so Very VERY blue. The evening dinner staff was quite exceptional. I need to brag too, because I MADE IT TO THE TOP of the ROCK CLIMBING WALL ! ! ! Yeah! I rang that bell so proudly - sense of success for me. Who would have thought a floating hotel (this Jewel) would have such activities, a mini-golf, a casino, and self-leveling pool tables!?!! I so wish I would have done the Safari lounge more, and the card room, as online friends YukiPhnx (Andrew and Andrea) mentioned. The Scooners Bar was particularly decked out really CUTE! Sugoii :) If you have not cruised yet, you really should. Friends we met on shore told us their (other) cruise line didn't have great food and had other issues. I feel totally pleased with our experience. Jewel really did SPARKLE for us. We will cruise Royal Caribbean again! -Caroline & Al from Indiana "Native FortWaynian" Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was my partner and I's 2nd cruise, but we were both too young on our first to really enjoy it fully. It was his first time with RCCL and my 2nd time. They haven't given me a reason to not cruise with them yet. Stateroom: ... Read More
This was my partner and I's 2nd cruise, but we were both too young on our first to really enjoy it fully. It was his first time with RCCL and my 2nd time. They haven't given me a reason to not cruise with them yet. Stateroom: We loved our stateroom. It was one of the lowest category rooms but it was great. I don't mind small spaces so I was pretty content. The way the room was organized made it feel pretty spacious. We never felt cramped. The room was beautifully re-decorated and the bed was SO COMFORTABLE. We also loved the bathroom. Most people decide to go Interior because they don't spend much time in the room anyways, but we spent a fair amount of time there and still really liked it. The only downside was that the closet doors only opened halfway, so only 1 person could stand in front of the opened closet at a time. Overall, I would not hesitate to book an Interior on the Jewel again. Ship: The ship was GORGEOUS. It was a little confusing to get used to at first, but we were pros by the 2nd night. We loved riding the side elevators that faced out. It was great to start our day off with a beautiful view of the sea or port. The pool was a little small, but most people sunbathed anyway. There were so many places on the ship to just lounge and chat with my group. We especially loved the Cards room in the Safari Club. It was mostly deserted and we had the place to ourselves. It's located to the right of the dance floor in the Club. Entertainment: The shows in the Coral Theatre weren't that spectacular. We only watched 2 of 5 shows. We had some great cruise directors but the one that stood out is Becky aka Bingo Becks. She was the life of every room and OH SO CUTE! We especially enjoyed the activities she hosted. We spent a surprising amount of time in Casino Royale. The only downside to that was being constantly emerged in cigarette smoke. There was always something going on and when we weren't doing something, we were lounging on the pool deck with plenty of loungers to go around. The Solarium was great and especially nice around 10pm when it was practically empty. Shopping: It's best to do this on the last 2 nights of the cruise because that's when the deals come out. Not bad for a ship of this size. Dining: WE LOVED THIS. The Windjammer has so much variety and lots of good food. We didn't buy any of the drink packages but never felt thirsty, there were so many drinks to choose from. Our favourite was the Unsweetened Iced Tea. The curry dish was always good and there were always great options. Tides dining room was beautiful and we had a great seat close to the window. The food wasn't spectacular every night, but it would be very good on some nights. I think I only didn't fully enjoy on of my dinners there. The only thing different about breakfast here and the Windjammer was the awesome Granola Bar. Same thing for lunch, they had a GREAT Salad Bar. The Seaview Cafe is really a hidden gem. It was mostly empty the whole cruise but had some great eats. The fish and chips were so juicy and the sandwiches scrumptious. The Solarium was the best place for a late night snack. Not a whole lot of variety, but satisfying enough at 11pm. The pizza was pretty good. Crew: The service was incredible. We adored our waiter, Cornelius. Everybody was always so nice and accommodating. Our stateroom attendant always kept our room looking its best, despite our habit of tossing everything EVERYWHERE. I would return to this ship just for the crew. Em/Debarkation: We arrived around 1:30pm and despite a long line, everything went really smoothly. Our bags arrived in a room after we grabbed a lunch in the Windjammer As a Canadian citizen, we had to go through an Immigration Clearance on our debarkation day. Even though we had to do this really early in the morning, we didn't have to wait too long. It was handled very well and also went very smoothly. They even provided some drinks and morning pastries for us. We had plenty of time to get breakfast. We were one of the last groups to be called off the ship and it was a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
My boyfriend and I went on the Jewel of the Seas January 7, 2012 sailing to Cozumel and Costa Maya. This was the first cruise in several years for each of us, and we were looking forward to a great vacation. Overall, the ship was clean, ... Read More
My boyfriend and I went on the Jewel of the Seas January 7, 2012 sailing to Cozumel and Costa Maya. This was the first cruise in several years for each of us, and we were looking forward to a great vacation. Overall, the ship was clean, and staff were very friendly, with the exception of the Head Waiter in the Tides Dining room. He was a complete imbecile! Long story short, he blamed his own error on our waitress and yelled at her in the middle of the dining room. Completely unprofessional and uncalled for, especially since everyone at our table agreed that he was the reason there was a problem in the first place!! Somehow, my boyfriend and I got caught up in the middle, and we were moved from our table to a single table - you would think that would be great, right? A little privacy, some romantic dining. Wrong ... it was a punishment for calling out the head waiter on his BS! The table next to our new assignment was literally the loudest table in the dining room - chock full overly boisterous men would stand out in a sports bar, let alone in the main dining room of a cruise ship. The food anywhere on the ship was average and nothing to really write home about. We did not opt for the two specialty dining options, but I cannot imagine that the pasta would be less mushy than in the Windjammer, and that any of the steak in the steak house was edible - any of the beef options we had in the Tides or Windjammer was tough, full of gristle, and absolutely flavorless. Matter of fact, the food was either completely over spiced, or bland. Our room attendant was great, and he was so friendly, and did great towel animals, and kept our room very clean. Considering we took mid day naps every day, he always had our bed remade and turned down in the evening. The only problem with the room attendants in our hall though was they seemed to always have their carts in the halls. There is barely enough room when two people pass in the halls; having the bulky carts and vacuum cleaners in the halls all day and night was just very unorganized. We had the large ocean view cabin on deck three, all the way in the back. It was noisy during certain times overnight - some clanging and banging, and was near a crew entry way. Our door was bumped several times by carts, room service, luggage collection etc. However, we barely felt any movement at all, even when the ship sailed faster towards our home destination. Plenty of space in the closet for a 5 night cruise, but I wouldn't want to spend more time than that, or we'd have to use laundry service. They could stand to upgrade TV's to LCD's in the cabins to create more space on the counter, rather than the old tube style TV's. We do want to take another cruise, and hope that the experience will be better in the future. We decided on this cruise just days before it set sail, so we could have done more research. We will certainly make all attempts to plan better next time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
My mom and I went on Royal Carribbean for the first time. I had done a 12-day Carnival Magic cruise in Europe and my mom has cruised on Holland America twice and Carnival as well. Day 1- The ship itself is very nice. Everything is ... Read More
My mom and I went on Royal Carribbean for the first time. I had done a 12-day Carnival Magic cruise in Europe and my mom has cruised on Holland America twice and Carnival as well. Day 1- The ship itself is very nice. Everything is super clean! We even saw someone cleaning each individual leaf of the potted plants around the ship! Our stateroom was small. Smaller than any other cruise we have been on. The bathroom was even smaller. The shower doors were nice because they kept the water off of the floor, but there was hardly enough room to reach down to shave! We chose the 6pm dinner time- table for 2. We were seated right next to the kitchen and all of the waiters touched the back of my chair as they went into the kitchen. Our meal was horrible! It took and hour and a half to get through everything. Our appetizer took 20 minutes to come out, then it was another 20 minutes where our dirty dishes were just left in front of us. My mom ordered her steak medium-rare and it came back well-done and my steak was cooked properly but very fatty. My mom would have sent it back, but our waiter didnt check on us until she was full from eating the side dishes. Then we wanted cappuccino with dessert and their machine was down:( Veyr dissapointing experience :( We told the head waiter, he apologized and said tomorrow would be better. On a positive note, the comedian was excellent :) Day 2- At sea- It was a very nice and relaxing day, the fitness center is awesome! I went rock climbing and played games. My mom took advantage of the library on the ship and we had a great day... until dinner. We asked to change our seats but there weren't any 2 person tables left. We had terrible service again, but at least the food tasted good. Another hour and a half dinner. I dont mind taking my time, but I really dislike dirty dishes neglected. The show was amazing though! Broadway quality :) Day 3-Cozumel- This was my absolute favorite day! Great shopping, really nice locals, we went on a "Razor Extreme Off-Road Beach" excursion that was fabulous! Great all around! We had a late lunch, so we called the dining room and asked to move our time to 830 for the night. We had the best dinner ever. We were seating near the center of the dining room, at a 6-person table for just the two of us. The service was outstanding! Everything tasted amazing! We liked it so much, that we decided that our last day we would also eat at 830:) Again, the comedian was hilarious, as was the battle of the sexes game! Day 4-At sea- This day was BORING! There were no activites during the day that we wanted to do:( It was all actions, and jewelry and other activities that try to sell you something. I just went to the gym then swam in the pool. We went to the early show, Las Pampas, and they were great! Dinner again was spectacular, we sat in a different spot and the waiters were great:) We went back to the room to pack. My mom decided that she wanted room service for breakfast since it was probably going to be crowded for breakfast. She put the room service tag on the door. Day 5-The end! So, my mom put 8-830 for breakfast time, and around 815 she opened the door and noticed the tag still there. No one came to pick it up! We thought maybe there was no room service the last day, but then on our trek to the dining hall, we saw empty trays set out by other rooms. She was very disappointed:( Our time to disembark was 8:50. We went to breakfast around 820. We got back at 8:35 and our door was wide open, 2 workers had moved my stuff off of the bed and were changing the sheets! We just stood there while they finished saying "We only have 2 hours to get the ship ready". They just kept going while we stood there with our stuff piled on the couch! We even put the "do not disturb" Card in the door, but they disregarded that! I was very upset. We weren't supposed to be out of our room yet. They saw our stuff on the bed- moved it- and didnt care, they just went about their business. Its a good thing my mom put her wallet in the safe during breakfast. OVERALL: Entertainment- GREAT! Fitness Center- Top of the Line! Food- ok Dining Experience 6pm- HORRIBLE 8pm- EXCELLENT! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
We just returned from a wonderful and relaxing 5-night cruise on Jewel of the Seas. The Jewel is a beautiful and well maintained ship, the service was mostly excellent and the food was really good. We prefer to eat in the main dining ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful and relaxing 5-night cruise on Jewel of the Seas. The Jewel is a beautiful and well maintained ship, the service was mostly excellent and the food was really good. We prefer to eat in the main dining room for all of our meals as it's much more relaxing and quiet. They have introduced a new "salad bar". You select the items and the staff puts them in a bowl, tosses, chops and adds just the right amount of dressing before topping it with your choice of meat: chicken, shrimp, tuna, poscuitto, sliced beef. Dinners were good and we sometimes selected more than one entre just because they both sounded great. Our waiter was happy to oblige. On the night they served escargot, our table mate got 5 or 6 platefuls and that was his whole dinner. They also brought it again on another night, just for him. The one disappointing thing was that we had specifically requested a table for 8 so that we could meet some other people and we ended up with only one other couple for the entire cruise! Our waiter told us that there was supposed to be one other couple at our table but they must have decided to eat elsewhere. There were quite a few other tables that were mostly empty as well. I guess it's a bit of a crapshoot, but we have never had this happen before. The rest of the cruise was enjoyable, the weather really cooperated. The one disappointment was the number of smokers on board. There were actually quite a bit fewer than a previous cruise, but any time you were in the centrum you could still smell the smoke from the casino. Wish there was some way they could contain it a bit better.... Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We were on the repositioning cruise on the Jewel of the Seas, which took us from Boston to Tampa, with stops in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curacao and Aruba. While we had some nasty weather at the beginning, it calmed down ... Read More
We were on the repositioning cruise on the Jewel of the Seas, which took us from Boston to Tampa, with stops in St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curacao and Aruba. While we had some nasty weather at the beginning, it calmed down by the third day, and overall our cruise was lovely. This was our second Royal Caribbean cruise, and we really enjoyed the energy on board. The service was spectacular everywhere -â€" poolside, in the lounges, at dinner and in our stateroom. We loved our waiter and assistant waiter (Jerome and Jose), who took great care of us and made us feel like we were the most important people on board. We also spend a lot of time in the Schooner Bar, where waiter Roy became our new best friend. Cruise director Carly B was a riot, and her staff was funny, fun and always pleasant. Overall, the ship was beautiful. Lots of room for lounging, and some great spots for a little privacy as well. The rooms were small, but that's pretty standard for cruising. There was plenty of room for storage (we had an exterior room, no balcony, that was slightly oversized). The Schooner Bar was great for a predinner cocktail, as it was far away from the smoky Pit Stop and casino. While RCL limits the places where people can smoke, we found the ship still too smoky overall. Any time you got near the Centrum in the middle of the ship, you could smell smoke no matter which floor you were on. Also, the jogging track runs right through a smoking section, which made that section for a morning jog particularly unpleasant. The food was average, and occasionally poor (stay away from the calzone in the dining room!). The Windjammer was OK for breakfast, but lunch was awful -â€" limited, bland selection with a lot of redundancy from day to day. They also seemed to run out of a number of items as the cruise went on. We ended up in the Sea View Cafe most days for lunch, which was a decent alternative. We ate at both Chops and Portofino and found both to be just decent but not worth the upcharge. We preferred Chops, though both had amazing desserts. We visited Chops on a busy night and were "forgotten" for a while by our waiter, and our dinner ended up being almost three hours. The food on board was our biggest disappointment. Activities were wonderful. This was a Halloween cruise, and we were amazed by the number and intricacy of the costumes. RCL held a costume contest and decorated the ship. Myriad activities were scheduled for each day during the cruise, including several trivia contests throughout the day. Other activities included the Love and Marriage Show, Battle of the Sexes, table tennis tournament, bellyflop contest, Quest and World's Sexiest Man contest. We participated in a number of events and were spectators at others and really had fun. We also took advantage of the climbing wall and mini golf course. We went to several shows and were impressed with the variety. One other minor complaint: The stateroom amenities were terrible. Women, pack your own shampoo, conditioner and bath gel or soap. RCL provides only low-quality items, including a shampoo/conditioner combo that neither cleans the hair nor conditions it. The hair dryer is awful; it's old and the handle gets hot while using it, so drying the hair took a while. While Celebrity remains our favorite line, we really enjoyed our cruise on RCL. We absolutely adored the itinerary and crew and had an incredible vacation. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
i was not looking forward to travelling with children in summer but they were generally good and not a problem on this ship. the cabin was good, nice views and all the staff friendly and efficient. the food in the buffet restaurant was ... Read More
i was not looking forward to travelling with children in summer but they were generally good and not a problem on this ship. the cabin was good, nice views and all the staff friendly and efficient. the food in the buffet restaurant was very adequate but the meals in tides restaurant were very good and we enjoyed them; aided by the head waiter who set us on a lovely, happy table of 8, as requested ( cunard stuck us on a table for 2 on our first cruise last september and wouldnt change it although we had requested a table for 8!!!) fitness team gave some excellent workouts free every morning, well done guys. service was very good and we had 2 lovely waiters, quing and carol, thank you ) ports of call exceeded expectations especially stockholm, st petersburg and tallin. great cruise, great staff and very good cabin and steward called reagan. well done royal caribbean. only downside - drink very expensive and they should allow a small amount of drink bought by you on board. buy a wine package, pre-paid and save some money Read Less
Sail Date July 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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