549 Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Caribbean - Southern Cruise Reviews

Great deal on cruise and 4 new ports for us. Avoid this ship if you are a avid cruiser. Ship was NOT only rundown, but was VERY filthy, found a OLD plate of food under the bed, mattress was old, stateroom was dirty, no lotion in bathroom,, ... Read More
Great deal on cruise and 4 new ports for us. Avoid this ship if you are a avid cruiser. Ship was NOT only rundown, but was VERY filthy, found a OLD plate of food under the bed, mattress was old, stateroom was dirty, no lotion in bathroom,, ran out of TISSUE with two days left in cruise, NO limes for a gin/tonic, no p-nuts for bars snacks in bar, no fresh fruit last two days,, windows were all filthy, had to clean our stateroom sliding door myself, teak balcony molding had not been varnished in a long, long time. Smell of smoke evident, card room was a disaster and also worked a part of the dining room? All the windows in the commons areas were filthy and were NOT cleaned for 12 days. We have over 30 cruises, this ship was the WORST ever. Music was terrible unless you like head banging stuff, very noisy ship with few areas to sit, enjoy a drink and converse with friends. This was our 11th and final cruise on this line, as A Diamond club member we saw VERY little loyalty shown by the Cruise company for 11 cruises, torn towels, a disembarkation BREAKFAST that consisted of COLD food items, not exactly the way you want your loyal cruisers to remember you. If was evident that little attention has been given to this ship and its cleanliness. Food was average at best, very uninspiring, only ship we have EVER sailed that charged you IF you wanted LOBSTER in the dining room, what's that all about? Italian specialty restaurant was terrible, Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this cruise because of the ten day cruise to the ABC Islands. Always wanted to book this cruise since it was offered on the Sun Viking , many, may years ago. With kids and college expenses we finally got the chance this year. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ten day cruise to the ABC Islands. Always wanted to book this cruise since it was offered on the Sun Viking , many, may years ago. With kids and college expenses we finally got the chance this year. We boarded the ship and went to the Windjammer found a table immediately enjoyed a great lunch with lots of variety. Cabins were ready early and luggage was brought up at that time too. But we had to go searching for it in the hall. We had an aft cabin number 1104 this cabin has an extended balcony on deck eleven. Wake view and we love these cabins. They are spacious and have a great balcony with two loungers , two chairs and a table. CONS...These balconies are located below the windjammer outside deck. One night when we were enjoying start gazing, dirt water came splashing down on us. I yelled up to the staff, but they just kept sending the water down. After that evening we did not go out on the deck at night anymore. Book on deck 10 o 9 If you do not want this experience. PROS to this cabin ..Beautiful views of ports as you pull in and out. The service and food in the main dining room was good. Head waiter , Francisco, Waiter Sandip and Imade worked very hard to make sure we had the best dining experience. This is the first time I remember being able to find a clean table in the Windjammer during breakfast and Lunch. The staff worked very hard to clean tables and even walk around to ask if you needed a drink. Very nice touch! What we did not like , was the solicitation for the speciality restaurants during breakfast and lunch. Everyday we were approached before we entered the Windjammer and again during our meal. This is annoying and a turn off. Entertainment. We missed the first half of the comedian that was on board the first night. Sorry did not get his name. But he was very funny. Jimmy Hopper was great. Terrific voice and acknowledgement to veterans first responders and MOMs! Hope to see Him on my New England cruise this FALL. Getting off the ship was very smooth. Miami has modern facility with carousel for luggage. Big improvement , then trying to find you luggage from a sea of look a like bags. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Had a wonderful cruise with only a few quirks. Food was good but lacked choices, never a chair available by the pool as people saved them in spite of the rules, masking tape all over on the partition glass between our balcony and the one ... Read More
Had a wonderful cruise with only a few quirks. Food was good but lacked choices, never a chair available by the pool as people saved them in spite of the rules, masking tape all over on the partition glass between our balcony and the one next door as paint had been scraped off, (good thing our friends were in that stateroom as we could see into each others balconies), One evening we were sitting out on the deck enjoying a full moon rise when water started pouring down on us from the deck above (Windjammer outdoor) We hollered up to let staff know were were there and they said "sorry" but kept sweeping water on us, so we had to end the evening abruptly. Ports of call, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Grand Cayman and Labadee were excellent, evening shows were great, and as always, the staff on board were amazing!!. We were a bit disappointed in the "KEY" program as we feel it took away all the perks for being "loyal to Royal". Does anyone else feel this way about the program or is it just us? Sort of like buying the privilege instead of earning it. Our shore excursion on Curacao was not the greatest. We booked the island tour with beach. We felt very rushed to get through the Curacao Liquor Factory and barely had time to taste, with no time to buy anything. The beach they took us to was so crowded there wasn't a single chair available, standing room only, so we asked the tour guide to take us back to the ship, which he did. RCCL did give us a 15% refund on the tour. We still love RCCL in spite of the quirks and still love our wake view stateroom on deck 10 in spite of the noise, construction and dripping water. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
A great itinerary on a nice ship! This was our 14th cruise on the 5th different cruise line (Celebrity, Carnival, NCL and Holland America). We’ve always liked Royal and liked the southern itinerary of this cruise last year on ... Read More
A great itinerary on a nice ship! This was our 14th cruise on the 5th different cruise line (Celebrity, Carnival, NCL and Holland America). We’ve always liked Royal and liked the southern itinerary of this cruise last year on Celebrity so we decided to book a cruise with the same itinerary. We flew in from Ottawa, Canada the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Miami-Kendall, which is near the airport but is much cheaper than staying downtown as the prices are so expensive. Embarkation – I found the embarkation was very quick and smooth. Food – the food was good everywhere. We didn’t go to any specialty restaurants as I found the food in the buffet and the dining room was great and had lots of choice. Ship – the ship is really nice. I like the layout and the solarium pool was perfect. I got a coffee card and had a special coffee (latte, cappucino) almost every day. Ports - we had been to all of the islands before except for Labadee so we just walked around in Aruba, Curacao and shopped a bit. Bonaire was our favourite island again this year. We took a taxi to a public beach where we rented chairs, had some beer and went snorkeling. Entertainment – we don’t usually go to the shows but I found the one or two that I went to were as good as any other ship. Summary – Overall, I found the cruise to be very relaxing and the itinerary was great. We ended up booking the same ship for an Italy/Greece Mediterrean Cruise in September so we’ll be very familiar with the ship! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise to get points closer to being diamond. I prefer the southern Caribbean to any other area and we really like Grand Cayman. We had never been to Curacao before so the tour there was very neat. We like the tour in ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get points closer to being diamond. I prefer the southern Caribbean to any other area and we really like Grand Cayman. We had never been to Curacao before so the tour there was very neat. We like the tour in Bonaire and were excited to actually see them harvest the salt. Wish we could have gotten closer to the flamingos but understand that they are wild animals that are actually quite shy. Sounds like we were lucky to even be able to see them. We had a relaxing time in Aruba once we got past all of the people trying to get us to take a private tour. We had excellent service in Main Dining 2nd seating. None of their other tables showed up so they only had to take care of the 4 of us that showed up for the table. The servers were both relatively new but were excellent. The headliner comedians were very good but we were disappointed in some of the other shows. Just personal taste. We liked the ship - we have sailed Legend and Serenade in the past so Jewel was like sailing an old friend. We had no issues with any staff - they were all very friendly and seemed genuinely excited about moving over to Europe. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My wife and I mainly decided to cruise the Jewel because of the wonderful itinerary which included Aruba, Bonaire, nd Curacao or as many will say the ABC islands. This was a 9 day cruise. This was our 10th cruise and our 4th cruise with ... Read More
My wife and I mainly decided to cruise the Jewel because of the wonderful itinerary which included Aruba, Bonaire, nd Curacao or as many will say the ABC islands. This was a 9 day cruise. This was our 10th cruise and our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean. We have sailed on Carnival, Royal, Princess and our last two cruises with Celebrity. We had such a wonderful cruise on the Jewel that we booked another cruise with Royal while on the ship. As our kids are now grown , it was just my wife and I on this cruise. Embarkation was very easy in Miami and boarding went very smoothly. We were on the ship in less than 30 minutes after parking the car, it doesn't get better than that. We went up to the Windjammer for our first meal. My wife and I both thought that the Windjammer Buffet had improved over prior Royal cruises. The food selections were good and the Jewel has wonderful seating inside and out for the Windjammer Buffet. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9, We felt the cabin was a little small and dated but it worked out fine for us. The cabin had plenty of storage places. The seating area was very small and some of the hinges on the doors were damaged but the doors still worked. Overall it was a very clean room and we really enjoyed the location of the cabin. The first two nights we ate at the specialty dining restaurants taking advantage of a buy one get one free deal that Royal Caribbean offers. The first night we ate at Giovanni's and it was very average. The food and the service were both just okay. The second night we ate at Chops Grille and this was our best meal on the trip. The food was excellent and was outdone by the fantastic service we received. The third night was Super Bowl Sunday and they showed the game on the big screen on the pool deck. The drinks and fun were flowing and my wife took some food from the Windjammer which was very good. The next night we were in Aruba until 11pm so our first night in the Main Dining room was not before the 5th night. They sat us at a table where others were just finishing their meal. We enjoyed our time but with them finishing and us just starting, we wondered why they sat us at the table. The food was average and not much of a selection. Service was spotty, my wife would ask for a hot tea with her desert and sometimes it would come and sometimes it would not. On the second formal night, the waiter asked if we would like another lobster tail, we said yes but they never came. The poor waiters get caught up on dancing around, I wish they would just let them do their real job. The entertainment was very good, we enjoyed most of the shows. The comedy shows were excellent. The pool games were fun and we enjoyed playing billiards and ping pong with other couples. We took advantage of the gym and found the equipment to be good and everything in working order. The casino on the Jewel is made for a smoker. It is small so it is almost impossible to avoid the smoke. We still had fun and we honestly won money. We were also given a $500 cruise certificate for a future cruise and we booked another cruise that same day. The ports of call were the main attraction to us for this cruise. Labadee-spent the morning exploring and the afternoon in Amaiga Island, we really enjoyed the island Aruba-we did our own tours-we went 4 wheeling in the morning and a sunset cruise in the afternoon, what a wonderful day and evening we had Bonaire-we rented a golf cart in the morning and snorkeled in the afternoon. Bonaire is the best place I have ever snorkeled, I highly recommend snorkeling in Bonaire with Woodwind. Curacao-we did a day tour, we did snorkel with turtles but this day was very average at best. We did not use any of the children activities. Would we go again on the Jewel-in a split second! The Jewel is a smaller ship so please keep that in mind. It does not have as many toys as the larger ships but because the Jewel is smaller it goes to some really nice places that the bigger ships do not go. Overall we had a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
About 5 years since last RC cruise, been on Princess in the interim. Last RC cruise was also on Jewel (prior to latest refurb). Ship in nice condition, good itinerary, great weather, fun to watch Super Bowl. RC has changed and not ... Read More
About 5 years since last RC cruise, been on Princess in the interim. Last RC cruise was also on Jewel (prior to latest refurb). Ship in nice condition, good itinerary, great weather, fun to watch Super Bowl. RC has changed and not for the better. Staff numbers reduced, they work hard and have good attitudes but you can see they are stretched. Menus (buffet and dining room) are reduced and repetitive with mediocre food. In dining they are pushing you toward their upsell menu items (at 30 bucks it's like they are not giving you any credit for the base meal) or heading to a specialty restaurant. Daily activities are also cut back compared to the "good old days". Even the Filipino cover band had a head count reduction (no drummer). In summary, a good cruise experience but not up to what we've had with Princess recently, IMHO RC comes up short in the value department currently. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose this cruise because of the unique itinerary. Older ship showing her age in some areas, but still quite lovely overall. We were thrilled to have a Canadian captain:) We had a wonderful large balcony right near the atrium, ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the unique itinerary. Older ship showing her age in some areas, but still quite lovely overall. We were thrilled to have a Canadian captain:) We had a wonderful large balcony right near the atrium, however the noise from the band each night was terribly loud. They had to close the fire doors to try and drown out some of the noise. Seemed to be short staffed in the dining room. Food was pretty good though - and had some amazing meals and desserts. As mentioned, the balcony was a real treat with two loungers and lots of room. Our room steward was very good. Cabin had lots of storage and was a good size. Shows were pretty good, however a little disappointed that there wasn’t more activities or music during the day. We have taken 2 cruise on older Royal ships and we prefer the newer ships with more “bells & whistles”. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We choose to sail sail on the Jewel for the itinerary and the fact that we were on the ship in 2016 and enjoyed ourselves. Our last cruise was on the Freedom of the seas and the food was terrible. We then decided to switch our already ... Read More
We choose to sail sail on the Jewel for the itinerary and the fact that we were on the ship in 2016 and enjoyed ourselves. Our last cruise was on the Freedom of the seas and the food was terrible. We then decided to switch our already planned cruise from the Navigator to Jewel for the reliability. The food: Here is the trick to Royal Caribbean ships. The my time dining is on the same level as the room service level. The food is not going to be as good as the set time dining because they are overwhelmed and overworked. Unfortunately since it was planned last minute, we were stuck on the my time level. There was only one main dining dinner I thought was good. It was when they moved us to the main level because there was cancellations. Otherwise the food this time around was just for survival. The Service: “There is nothing we can do.” was the theme of this ship. There was never enough staff. We were always waiting in huge long lines. We talked with other couples that were on the Jewel before and they also noticed the change. Other Problems: We choose a 9 night sailing date, so the average age of the ship was 60. Normally we love the lack of children, but every one was coughing and sneezing by day five. We had to leave the movie theater twice because of this. Also, at buffets we had to redo our plates multiple times due to careless guests. I guess this really isn’t the ships fault, but it’s something to note. They also had a problem checking our luggage at the end of our trip. We missed our flight as well as most people who had early flights. They said it was because they didn’t have enough custom people checking luggage’s. Every one was delayed by three hours. Staff didn’t seem to care. What we liked: pool in the solarium was easy to get a chair nearby. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We have lots of happy memories of previous cruises with Royal Carribean from a few years ago, so we decided to treat ourselves and travel for New Years Eve to the islands. Well...we were so disappointed, RC are nothing like they used to ... Read More
We have lots of happy memories of previous cruises with Royal Carribean from a few years ago, so we decided to treat ourselves and travel for New Years Eve to the islands. Well...we were so disappointed, RC are nothing like they used to be! If you go on this ship, get ready to pay extra for EVERYTHING, use of the gym, room service, some yoga classes, movies on the TV, you even have to sign up for a 1 day internet package so you can print the boarding passes for your flight...yep, now that's unacceptable! The passengers who purchased wi-fi for the week only managed to use it 60% of the time, so don't waste your money. Food was great in the dining room, the windjammer could use a thorough cleaning though, tables were always sticky and the choice of food never varied very much each day, although there was plenty of it. Staff don't seem particularly happy, you get the occasional happy person, but not like they used to be. Overall the ship needs a makeover, damaged furniture needs attention, torn carpets in the hallway, etc....and the ever constant smell of sewage, the staff said "oh you won't notice it when we are sailing" not my idea of a vacation! The a la carte restuarants have waiters constantly harassing passengers around the ship to make reservations, another extra fee....we did sign up the murder mystery dinner in the Italian restuarant.. the plot was so cheesy & lame but more surprisingly, italian food was'nt served, steak was offered! Lastly...do not go on the St Martin Beach rendevous excursion, they take you to a small beach in the center of town, a packed, tiny area in the flight path of the airport so the noise is unbelievable, nothing relaxing about that! A couple of good things though...the evening game shows were hysterical and the weather was perfect...so that made up for it! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Just got back from the December 22 Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Jewel of the Seas. The cruise was awesome with a perfect itinerary. This was our second recent cruise on RCI. Our last one was on the Serenade of the Seas which ... Read More
Just got back from the December 22 Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Jewel of the Seas. The cruise was awesome with a perfect itinerary. This was our second recent cruise on RCI. Our last one was on the Serenade of the Seas which is the same class as the Jewel of the Seas. While basically the same ship, the Jewel lacked the Pub which we loved on the Serenade. Other than that the ships were identical. This cruise was over Christmas and the RCI did a great job decorating the ship for the holidays. They also had holiday themed events (singing Christmas carols in the Centrum). This trip we ended up in the specialty restaurants as we couldn’t get seating in the main dining room. That was annoying but we loved Chops and Giovanni’s. We had a terrible experience in Izumi with very poor service. The food was great though. It just took an hour to get it. I highly recommend doing room service for breakfast. It’s about $10 and is a good value for not having to rush to the buffet prior to your excursions. Also note that breakfasts seems to be very busy in the buffet. Beer selection was very lacking on the Jewel with no IPA type beer offered. While the drinks of the day were good, I like a good pale ale to drink. Cleanliness on the cruise was excellent and Dadi did a great job on helping in our cabin. We really liked a cabin on the “hump” and it’s hard to choose now between an aft cabin and a “hump” cabin. Aft gives you more privacy but I like watching docking, departures as well as the pilot boats. The pools were great and service in the pool area was superb. Solarium pool was our favorite. Overall the cruise was amazing. The issues mentioned were far outweighed by the positive experiences on our cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I chose this particular cruise for the itinerary and the great price. My first experience with RCCL was AWFUL and I vowed to never cruise with them again. However, I'm so glad that I gave it another try, I was pleasantly surprised. ... Read More
I chose this particular cruise for the itinerary and the great price. My first experience with RCCL was AWFUL and I vowed to never cruise with them again. However, I'm so glad that I gave it another try, I was pleasantly surprised. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. The ship is smaller and older but very well kept, I would even say exceptionally clean. Cabin was spacious, lots of storage, bathroom was small but I loved the shower stall with the circular design and doors. The shows were very entertaining, comedians were okay. Didn't find the activities interesting, luckily we were off the ship every day so we were too pooped to think about activities when we reboarded, just wanted to relax, get ready for dinner, take in a show and hit the casino!! Service overall and all around the ship was excellent! I enjoy every port we went to. I would definitely travel with RCCL again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Started in Puerto Rico for our Eastern Caribbean cruise. We were lucky to enjoy great weather. We enjoyed all ports with the exception of St. Thomas. Royal used to dock close to town but has elected to move to the commercial docks. The ... Read More
Started in Puerto Rico for our Eastern Caribbean cruise. We were lucky to enjoy great weather. We enjoyed all ports with the exception of St. Thomas. Royal used to dock close to town but has elected to move to the commercial docks. The walk from the ship to town is now 60 minutes or more (depending on your speed) on a very narrow sidewalk close to the edge of the road, so you are always wondering if you will be clipped by the drivers. Further, because they have not heard of road sweepers, the cars on this busy route pelt you with dirt, so you and your clothes are filthy when you get back to the ship! Royal should either provide funds to improve the walkway to town from the commercial dock, or better yet, tie up at the other dock. We've noticed there seem to be a lot fewer crew on board, which means those present are running full tilt all the time! Individual crew members are just outstanding ... great people who work hard to satisfy the passengers. The production show was awesome the first time we saw it; however, unless you cruise with Royal less than annually, it is a yet another repeat. We are lucky enough to cruise often ... so other than a few minutes of the first show to assess the calibre of the performers, it is just not good enough to see for the 6th time. Tango show ... did not enjoy it the first time over a year ago; definitely not interested now. Headliner shows good. Ship's orchestra, singers and dancers are just fantastic ... it's the production show itself that is lacking. Main dining room experience was great! Really good food. Service a bit slow, but that is solely due to fewer people doing more. Menu sometimes less than inspiring; however, being able to choose the Indian off-menu options saved the night on multiple occasions. Did the Mystery dinner. Good fun was had by all. Food was good, but not better than the main dining room. Company was great. Actors motivated but definitely not pros. Great job regardless. Royal needs to get on board with the rest of North America and not permit smoking inside. The smoke from the Casino area permeates the Centrum on decks 5, 6 and 7. Cannot further comment on the Casino experience ... must be horrendous for anyone with a penchant for gambling. Really feel sorry for staff forced to work in those health hazardous conditions. Ships are well-maintained and clean. Could not move about the ship without seeing someone cleaning, painting or vacuuming! Would rate the cruise a "5" except for the decline in service (because you can only do less with less) and the choice of dockage in St. Thomas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Granted, we really have enjoyed our past Carnival cruises. Our friends encouraged us to upgrade out lives going Royal our next time, Dec 18, out of San Juan A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT! Our room had worn furniture,,dust etc. We felt ... Read More
Granted, we really have enjoyed our past Carnival cruises. Our friends encouraged us to upgrade out lives going Royal our next time, Dec 18, out of San Juan A MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT! Our room had worn furniture,,dust etc. We felt like we were really on an outdated ship (maybe it is) While we earned credit for another cruise,,we are taking a short 4 day to maximize the credit, and minimize out cost. I would think more than twice about not only this ship, but maybe Royal in general. It sure wasn't a "fun" ship. The late leaving out of San Juan gave us the day to enjoy the old city. That was appreciated as well as a first relaxing, self guided tour of the old city. Next trip to San Juan, I"m going to add a day for some in island times, more sights etc Because of the staggered arrivals, boarding wasn't bad. Pretty fast in fact! That was a positive for us. As in the Bachelor series, that first impression rose does not go to this ship or even Royal out book. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
WE have been RC cruisers with over 220 nights and always enjoy our cruise. WE found this dining room staff exceptional and everyone always tried to please. We like the new menus and also enjoyed lunch in the Windjammer. The guest services ... Read More
WE have been RC cruisers with over 220 nights and always enjoy our cruise. WE found this dining room staff exceptional and everyone always tried to please. We like the new menus and also enjoyed lunch in the Windjammer. The guest services staff was very helpful and competent. My husband frequented the spa everyday and found it clean and the staff very friendly and helpful. We were disappointed with the entertainment. We returned to the ship by 4:30 on the 5 port days. Yet, one night only had an adult late night comedian. Other nights had shows at different times, 7:00, 7:45, 7:30 so it was difficult to plan evening activities or when to eat (MTD). Most ships had a set time of an early or late show and one time if it was just one show. The man in charge of entertainment said it was set in Miami and write to them if we didn't like what happened on the Jewel. We never encountered this kind of answer before-quite off-putting. We know the big production shows run for years but for many returning cruisers, we had seen tango and city of dreams half a dozen times. At least we hoped to forward to different comedians and other headliner acts. The entertainment on the Jewel was not entertaining for us. Disembarkation was difficult because of a taxi strike and strike of baggage handlers. As a result, many people missed flights and those traveling with children had great difficulty. We were lucky to get off only 2 hours late and get a van but others had a terrible time. I don't know how RC handled it on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had an outstanding cruise the first time we cruised on Jewel and I found a good deal so figured why not. This one was excellent. I'll hit the highs then the lows. The food overall was some of the best we've had on Royal ... Read More
We had an outstanding cruise the first time we cruised on Jewel and I found a good deal so figured why not. This one was excellent. I'll hit the highs then the lows. The food overall was some of the best we've had on Royal Caribbean. The chefs and staff got it right. The service in all the dining areas was absolutely top notch. Of note here; Stephan a maitre d is excellent. The cruise director is very good, the activities manager is outstanding. The entertainment was overall excellent. The production shows singers and dancers were about the best we've seen. Of special note: the cast members who participated in Bada Boom, the murder mystery in Giovanni's were outstanding. Headliner entertainment was good not great. The ship was in excellent shape and the Hotel Director can be commended for his excellent staff. The Diamond lounge concierge Sierghei is terrific. Over all Captain Tryn runs a very tight ship and it was a superb vacation. The Lows: Royal Caribbean is nickel and dimeing more and more. Room service costs $7.95, $49 for Chops grill, plus an extra $30 for lobster. Izumi prices went up. Drink prices are higher. It's just not the value it is on other lines. Travelling in and out of San Juan is a pain. Unfortunately for this cruise, the taxi drivers and porters decided to strike and caused a big jam up. It cost some folks a couple of extra hours, big lines at the airport and a few missed flights. Therefore my number one recommendation is travel to San Juan a day early, even though hotels have gone up in price significantly. And number two, take an afternoon flight home even though food prices in the airport have gone up significantly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Summary: A good cruise for a handicapped wife and her husband. The only "hard spots" were issues with the Royal Caribbean front office regarding accessible tours. My wife normally uses a scooter for mobility. We booked our ... Read More
Summary: A good cruise for a handicapped wife and her husband. The only "hard spots" were issues with the Royal Caribbean front office regarding accessible tours. My wife normally uses a scooter for mobility. We booked our shore excursions months in advance through Royal Caribbean, and were assured that all the tours we booked could accept my wife's scooter. Two days before the cruise, we got an email saying that some of the shore excursions we had booked could not accept my wife's scooter; this threw us into a panic (but successful) effort to rent a wheelchair for those excursions. Because the Royal Caribbean front office told us these excursions could accept the scooter when we bought the excursions, the overall cruise lost a rating star. At least Royal Caribbean told us about the problem while it could still be fixed. Had we found out about the problem on the ship, the rating star penalty would have been harsher. On to the cruise proper: The cruise started in San Juan, PR. We flew in on the day of the cruise, so we didn't get a chance to explore anything. Royal Caribbean handled the airport/dockside transfer. As things turned out, we were part of the last batch of people to arrive, so no embarkation crowds. We went though the embarkation process as fast as we could walk/scoot through the stations. Total embarkation time (leaving San Juan airport to our ship cabin) was about 1/2 hour. The ship: The Jewel of the Seas was in good condition and clean. Accessibility for my wife's scooter was good (including public restrooms marked handicapped accessible). We could take the scooter on deck without problems, and we did not have problems getting around the public spaces. Ship corridors were acceptably wide. Royal Caribbean ships do not have self-service laundromats; for us this limits the maximum length of a Royal Caribbean cruise to 7 days based on the amount of clothes we can feasibly pack. If there is anything I could change about the Jewel of the Seas, I would add self-service laundromats. We did not find travel sundries in the shops on the ship (e.g.; toothbrushes, razors, and feminine hygiene products). Cabin: We had cabin 7612, a handicapped accessible cabin with a balcony. The cabin was big enough to maneuver the scooter, and the bathroom had a walk-in shower. Our cabin steward (Bruno Martins) gets a shout for the good service he provided. Dining: We ate all our shipboard meals in the Windjammer buffet. We found the variety and quality of the food to be generally good. We did find the baked pastries (donuts in the morning and cakes in the evening) to be dry (stale?). Entertainment/Activities: Unfortunately, we developed colds early on in the trip, so we spent most of our shipboard time in our cabin. We didn't go to any shows. We did go to a few of the shipboard activities (belly flop contest and "Love and Marriage" game, and found them enjoyable. One note on the theater: The scooter accessible portion of the theater is limited to behind the last row of seats. However the view from there ins acceptable. Service: We have already mentioned the fine job done by our cabin steward, Bruno Martins. The rest of the the staff struck us as just as enthusiastic and service oriented. We got the impression that they genuinely liked their jobs. Ports and Excursions: A disabled cruiser will find shore excursion options extremely limited. We booked our excursions through Royal Caribbean to avoid surprises, but as noted above, we were not completely successful in that regard. First up was a "Behind the Scenes" tour that I took on our sea day. This tour took us through the ship's operational areas, and as a retired engineer with a marine background, I learned much. This tour is not available to mobility-impaired folks. Barbados, Grenada, and Dominica: We group these three islands together because they are similar. We took accessible general tours of the islands, and enjoyed the tours immensely. The islands are beautiful. The general impression we got of the populations was that the islands were poor, but one did not need much money live on them. St. Maartin/St. Martin: Again, we took an accessible general tour of the island, and came away thinking this island was basically a tourist economy. We were one of 4 cruise ships in St. Maartin that day; that should tell you something about what makes the island tick. St. Thomas: No accessible excursion of this island was available, so we just walked/scooted around the port. We were not impressed, as all we saw were assorted stores catering to the cruise ship passengers. Disembarkation: A taxi strike with associated blocked roads disrupted the disembarkation plan in San Juan, but the problem was solved and we easily made our flight. Would we recommend this cruise to others? Yes, with the caveat that no self-service laundry or travel sundries will be available on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We cruised out of San Juan December 1 2018. We are experienced cruisers and have cruised many different lines. The specialty restaurants are a huge disappointment. Our experience on the Jewel was by far the worse of any main line. We went ... Read More
We cruised out of San Juan December 1 2018. We are experienced cruisers and have cruised many different lines. The specialty restaurants are a huge disappointment. Our experience on the Jewel was by far the worse of any main line. We went to Chops three nights and they were out of a main appetizer each night. If you hate seafood and raw meat then you are out of luck. The service was pathetic with invasive waiters trying to impress you with how much “ extra “ they can do for you. My husband is a diabetic and a simple asking for a sugar free dessert was met with grumbles and an unacceptable request. A simple asking for horseradish was a disaster. We were told that was not available . The specialty restaurants also have insane up charges. $30.00 extra for a simple lobster that most can find at a local supermarket for more than half that price. The main stream restaurant says are nothing like they once were. The ships are trying to force everyone to pay for specialty restaurants and then up charge them. The quality of food in the buffet seems and main dining is not great. The service has dropped drastically since automatic tipping came into play. The wait staff are so pushy over tips. My teen daughter was mocked by a waiter in Chops for having motion sickness and asking to be able to look out a window at a back table. My kids at at the sushi bar and had to nickel and dime each item because of the insane up charges. The buffet was never open on time and the tables were seldom cleared. The staff was very pushy. Our room was never cleaned until late afternoon and we had to ask for soap to be put in the dispensers. Our room steward did the minimal amount of work. The trivia on board was horrible. The staff had horrible English skills and asked if they could read the questions in Spainish. People literally walked out because no one could understand the questions. They also repeated the same questions over and over so there was no challenge. One staff member gave so many hints that he gave away all the answers. Those that love Triva would do best to cruise with princess or one of the other lines that offer more challenges. The cruise director seemed to put so much focus on herself and less on her job. The female staff members were so over the top flirty with the young males and ignored the mid and older generations that make up the more frequent cruisers. The staff were seen arguing and two almost got into a fist fight. It was uncomfortable to watch. For those of us who are long time cruisers it is easy to see that Royal Caribbean is trying to force a choice between low quality buffets or over priced...low service specialty restaurant. They are about making the most money and catering to the elite. My advice is to skip the overpriced bad service and bad selection specialty restaurants. We did not eat at the Italian one but heard many many many comments of disappointment. Norwegian Cruise lines do a much better job at both customer service and specialty restaurants. We will not sail with RC again. This was the most disappointing ship we’ve been on and we’ve been on 25 plus. The entertainment was not great. Empty chairs everywhere. All in all a very low quality overall experience. Oh and the public restrooms were the dirtiest we’ve ever experienced. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
I just returned last night from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel out of San Juan. It was one of my best cruises of the 15+ I have taken. Although I read a few poor reviews of the Jewel, I did not experience what the writers described. The ... Read More
I just returned last night from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel out of San Juan. It was one of my best cruises of the 15+ I have taken. Although I read a few poor reviews of the Jewel, I did not experience what the writers described. The food in Windjammer was very good, the service in the dining room was great and our room service was just as good. I did not like two of the ports we visited, Grenada and Dominca, but the other ports were really nice - Barbados, St. Thomas and especially St. Maarten. There was a problem during disembarkation as the taxi and luggage port workers decided to strike that day so we were 2 hours longer getting off the ship. Many passengers were complaining about how RC staff handled that issue and delay but it was no different than I have experienced on Carnival during disembarkation. Entertainment was good and we were lucky to eat at the table with the Motown singers for a new nights before they performed and left the ship. I have another cruise scheduled on RC Liberty of the Seas in January and will see how they compare as my experience on the Jewel will be hard to beat. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Mood Icons, featuring Carissa & JoJo, Thomas & Carlo. They are a very talented band, they kept us entertained & extremely happy. They had us singing & dancing. They were a key highlight of our cruise. With an array of ... Read More
Mood Icons, featuring Carissa & JoJo, Thomas & Carlo. They are a very talented band, they kept us entertained & extremely happy. They had us singing & dancing. They were a key highlight of our cruise. With an array of ecclectic genres & song melodies to please everyone of all ages. Along with excellent comedy and music shows & entertainment crew. Would've liked to see better timing as some we were unable to see or participate in game shows because they coincided with our dining hours. Excellent food in main dining. They curbed to our palette and requests. The food was absolutely delicious & tasty. The quality was superb in the main dining area. They aimed to please & surpassed our expectations. There is room for improvement on several items: Would've like to see more entertainment & activities round the clock. Also the food (Windjammer) & pool areas should be 24hrs. There should also be more variety in menu options, especially for complementary beverages (they are too limited). Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this particular cruise because of the amazing ports. We only had 1 day at sea and then a new port each day. It was great! At Each port the staff was very helpful and it took no time to get off and on the ship. The ship was smaller ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the amazing ports. We only had 1 day at sea and then a new port each day. It was great! At Each port the staff was very helpful and it took no time to get off and on the ship. The ship was smaller than what we are used to, however, much calmer waters. Ship did not rock at all. At times, I almost forgot I was on the ship. The staff are extremely accommodating and lovely. The food and entertainment was good. We did not have to wait in the main dining room or in the specialty restaurants. We did not feel crowded at all. We always found chairs at the pool, tables in the buffet for breakfast. The entertainment staff worked really hard the entire cruise to make sure that everyone had a good experience from the kiddie activities to the adult entertainment. We would definitely take another cruise similar to the Jewel of the seas. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
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 time doing a Tgiving cruise and our first time on Jewel of the Seas. We traveled as a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids-age 9) and other prior RC sailing experiences were Freedom of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. ... Read More
This was our first time doing a Tgiving cruise and our first time on Jewel of the Seas. We traveled as a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids-age 9) and other prior RC sailing experiences were Freedom of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. Some of our favorite things about Jewel: --Staff is friendly and helpful. --Size of the ship made embarking/disembarking smoother than other ships. --It never felt overwhelming or took long to get to places. Easy to navigate. --Great itinerary with only one day at sea; nice to wake up in a new port every morning. --Chance to see some of the less familiar southern Caribbean islands (Grenada, Dominica). --Easy ports to make your own plans/arrangements and avoid marked up excursion prices. We were really impressed with Grenada and highly recommend Stan at JNJ Tours. --Variety of beach experiences (Maagens Bay in St Thomas, Grand Anse in Grenada, Carlisle in Barbados, St Maarten) All so unique, different. Kids loved all of them. --Fun experience learning to make our own dinner (sushi) for $20 at Izumi. --We splurged and did a suite for the first time ever. I always jealously peeked at them when housekeeping has the door opened cleaning them. But I've scoffed about spending that much money, was it really necessary, isn't it a bit over the top, etc. For whatever reason, pricing wasn't significantly more than an ocean view room this time and we took the plunge. If the math works for you to try it, do! Accommodations and amenities were fantastic--esp all the little perks like private breakfast dining room, cocktail reception each evening, expedited boarding/departure, concierge, etc. I was a complete skeptic on the price and value, but after I win the next lottery, you should expect to only find me in a suite for years to come! :) Until then.....back to reality. LOL Some things we were less impressed by: --Shows were limited and started at 9pm (late for families with young kids). --Even if they started earlier, some of the shows weren't appropriate for kids (comedian). --Pool movies were old and repeated. Entertainment videos (blooper videos shown during the day at the pool) had poor picture quality/interference and frequently repeated. --Main dining room was dull, mediocre service and almost the same menu every night (but it motivated us to try Chops-which was fantastic!) --We did MyTimeDining at the main dining room with a standing resv and had issues at every check-in. --Kids missed the Dreamsworks characters we've had on the other RC ships (Trolls, Shrek). But they were recently announced to be going away from all ships anyway. --Kids club was small and unimaginative. My kids loved the staff, just limited space. --In-cabin tv programming was minimal. It was Tgiving and we were struggling to get the NFL game. (I know, I know--we're too American!) --Windjammer/buffet was mwehh. Lots of Indian food and repeated food. --There is no pizza parlor, Johnny Rockets, Park Central Cafe, etc like the other RC ships that offers food service throughout the day. So when you reboard in the afternoons, finding food can be tough. Please don't misinterpret--we did not starve, go hungry, or lose weight on this cruise. We got by just fine (and according to my scale, I found plenty of food). :) Just sharing so you can plan ahead. Overall, we had a great time and it is a very nice ship. We simply concluded that this wasn't the right ship size for our family. Oasis of the Seas earlier this year was a little too big, this one was a tad too small, and Freedom of the Seas last year seemed to be just right for us and is still our favorite. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I had the opportunity to sail for three weeks onboard the Jewel Of The Seas (17 November to 8 December) and I honestly could have cheerfully departed the ship after the first week. The main reason I chose this ship was because of the ... Read More
I had the opportunity to sail for three weeks onboard the Jewel Of The Seas (17 November to 8 December) and I honestly could have cheerfully departed the ship after the first week. The main reason I chose this ship was because of the itinerary; these ports of call happen to be my favorites and so I stayed onboard. The cabin on my first week was #8590 (ocean view balcony) and this room was the worst stateroom I have ever been in. The ocean view balcony was exactly that; just a view of the ocean! You could not get two people on the balcony at the same time! The last 2 weeks were better in cabin #4014. Although this room did not have a balcony (it was an ocean view stateroom) there was so much more space in the room. The food in the main dining room was bland and unseasoned and three weeks on board saw the same menu each week. The Windjammer food was much better. It varied the whole time and was tasty, hot and nicely arranged. I did meet a problem with 'my time' dining inasmuchas this reserves only the time and not the table and I wanted to sit at the same table every evening; thus alleviating the necessity of having to join a very long queue to see which table was actually assigned to me for that night. Since I booked the same meal time every evening for 3 weeks, I did not appreciate the lack of planning. I enjoyed the theater shows, the orchestra and the bands on board but the only headliner act worth seeing were Spectrum. The comedians were awful and many people (including myself) walked out. On some trivia quizzes and baggo challenges, the activity woman arrived without pen, paper, microphone or prizes. This took away from the enjoyment of the games. However this should not reflect on Jerry, the Activities Manager. The guy himself did a great job. The Christmas tree is quite beautiful as well. The ship was always clean and the service mostly good. All in all, it was a pretty average cruise but I would not rush back to this particular ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
This was our first cruise and people recommended RCI. We chose the Jewel of the Seas because of the ports of call. The embarkation and and disembarkation went so smoothly! It was impressive. We landed in San Juan at 1:30 and were on board ... Read More
This was our first cruise and people recommended RCI. We chose the Jewel of the Seas because of the ports of call. The embarkation and and disembarkation went so smoothly! It was impressive. We landed in San Juan at 1:30 and were on board eating lunch at 3. On the way back our meeting time for disembarkation was 8:30 and we were at the airport at 9:10. There were so many activities on board and it really seemed like the crew and staff genuinely wanted everyone to have a good time. The food was outstanding and a lot of variety and options. The service was better than any other service I have ever received. Everyone made a point of knowing our names and calling us by name! There were a lot of upselling emails before we departed about beverage and food plans that had me concerned about what food and beverages would be free. We didn’t chose any food packages and we were very satisfied with the food and beverage choices. I wish I had spent more time researching things to do in each port; I had read that shore excursions were sometimes too expensive but I ran out of time to research them on my own so we just explored each port on our own - which was nice and relaxing not to be on a tight schedule. We are already planning our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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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