85 Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

We left Ft. Lauderdale on 28 April. At the port we checked in and as we had suites, we avoided the lines and were whisked right on. After unpacking, we went to the concierge lounge and made our dinner reservations for specialty ... Read More
We left Ft. Lauderdale on 28 April. At the port we checked in and as we had suites, we avoided the lines and were whisked right on. After unpacking, we went to the concierge lounge and made our dinner reservations for specialty restaurants. New rule on the Jewel – you can only use the BOGO on nights 1 and 2. This sucks because no one wants to eat big meals two nights in a row, especially at the start. It used to be as long as you booked and charged your card the first night you could book any night. Another benefit bites the dust. After the boat drill we beat feet to the Concierge Lounge. What chaos!! Although it was added with the refurbishment, there were 141 DP, Pinnacles, and Suites. Many guests ignored the boat drill and stayed hidden in the lounge to save their precious seats. We went to the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle and there were about 200 there. Prizes were really lame with a couple bottles of wine. On our last TA on the Brilliance, they gave out Chef’s table, Chops, Giovanni’s, and many neat items. Speaking of the Chef’s table, we booked it through the Concierge, Diego Tripaldi. The Chef’s Table is always fun but on the Jewel, they held it in Chops. Way too noisy and it was hard to foster relationships and converse above the din of all the others in Chops. The next 14 nights were crazy in the Concierge Lounge (CL). We had to get there at 3:30 for a 5:00 opening to get seats at the bar. Totally insane. One AH Pinnacle member always grabbed 8 chairs and there were others like that so no one could get seats. Need to have a policy like the deck chairs. Many guests went to the DL. Never did see the Loyalty Ambassador in the lounges for a meet and greet. We went to the suites party held on open deck on deck 5. Very nice! They had sushi from Izumi’s and hot hors d’oeuvres from Chops. There was a mixologist there who created unique cocktails. We had one that had ginger root, cucumber, Pama, Cointreau, Pear Vodka, and St. Germaine and was wonderful. We hired a personal trainer, Pilip from the gym, and he tortured us for 3 one hour long sessions. Seriously dripping sweat all over, we were sore each time and needed a recovery period. Felt awesome after and could breathe deeply. Las Palmas – Finally landfall. We like to sample the foods so we got off early for coffee and croissants – 4 euros total for two of each – nice! Later, shopped for trinkets and had beers and sandwiches. Quaint place. Tenerife – Free shuttle bus to the end of the pier. Nice touch. Went around the town and sampled the foods again. Lots of shops and souvenirs. Lots of tables with umbrellas. We love the cafes. For dinner on ship we had Saltimbocca – nothing like Portofino’s. More like sliced meat. Sad – the cooks (not Chef’s) as this was really meager, should revisit Portofino’s methodology in creating a nice dish. Gran Canaria – We went to the visitor’s center and found out about a bus to the olde town. There are two – an express bus and local commuter. 1.40 euros each way was a cheap way to visit the town. Had a great Tapas of Papas Brava and Sangrias. They really know how to make Sangrias here. Gibraltar – We had booked a tour of the Siege Tunnels and were awestruck by the amount of work done in the very early days. My wife’s GG Grandfather was a sapper (Engineer) there in the very early 1800’s and was married in King’s Chapel. We snuck away from the tour, found it and she visited memory lane in search of her family tree. He took part in creating the tunnels so it was very moving for her when we were navigating the tunnels. Our tour guide was Scottish (as is my wife) and they got on like two peas in a pod. Highly recommend the tour. Lots of steep climbing but fantastic scenery and history. Eat first as there is only one stop at the cable car, where the monkeys are, to grab a bite. Monkeys jump all over the tourists so keep shiny things bagged away. Word to the wise – Gibraltar takes Pounds both GB and UK. Euros as well. Buy your currency before the trip to avoid trying to find a place to exchange. BofA lets you order online and pickup at the bank. Easypeasy. Alicante, Spain – Free shuttle bus to end of pier. Just across the street is a marvelous walkway that is lined with palm trees and MANY cafes. Food is great and cheap. We had a superb Sangria and they had a Fixe Prix menu for 10 euros with antipasti (actually Tapas) and a pizza. We shared one as they are huge and left with a total bill and tip of 20 euros. My kind of place. Outside table with heater as the clouds came out and it got chilly. We shopped for goodies as we hosted a party in our suite that night. We also bought an alarm clock for the CL bartenders. The same AH Pinnacle member that was saving seats turned the bartenders in for allegedly serving drinks before 5pm. We setup the alarm clock to ring at 5pm and 8:30 so they wouldn’t get slammed again. All the regulars that sat around the bar loved the idea and the AH was made to feel about an inch tall. Nicely done. Note for CL members – in dry dock staff are “guaranteed” $700 a month and when cruising $1200 a month plus tips. That sucks for the service they provide. We made sure our bartenders were compensated. The regulars were leaving $5 a night on the bar and sometimes more. There were many I witnessed that didn’t give them a dime. Folks – if you’re doing well or comfortable and the crew is going above and beyond to make your cruise more enjoyable, take the time and share a little. After party and dinner we went to the only show of 34 days on 3 back-to-backs. East Side Boys – Frankie Valli impersonators – awesome. We've seen most of the others before. One thing the operations manager and Captain did was establish a “Bike across the Atlantic” venue. They set up two spinning bikes on deck 6 Centrum. They were manned 24/7 by crew and passengers could sign up for ½ hour slots and join in. At the end we had a pizza party attended by all senior officers and the Captain. This was surely another magic moment in time. Things we did not like: The new carpets shed ferociously and the fibers got on all clothes and in the ventilation system. We were on Allegra and Flonase for the whole cruise. The glue smell forced passengers to use inhalers more often than normal. There were contractors on that used the public spaces and public elevators who smelled, wore unacceptable clothing, and reeked of smoke causing many coughing fits by many passengers. Those passengers that did not cruise often mistook those for crew and this gave a bad name for the crew. RCCL should attire them in orange prison jumpsuits to differentiate them from crew. Chef’s table needs to be back in the card room. Whoever moved it should be sent to Carnival. Things we liked: Chef’s table food and pairing. Chops steaks. Concierge Lounge and Concierge Diego Tripaldi. Suites Party, Suite, room attendant Rahm. Waiters Adonis and Arnel in MyTime – we requested their table for 34 days. Danilo Hungria and Anzhela Gurgen Bek bartenders in CL. Awesome job despite the chaotic clientele. Snacks in the CL especially the small egg rolls. Bike across the Atlantic. Ports and excursion. We met two gents that were dressing in some unique costumes. They brought onboard 26 cases of clothing. We watched them disembark with 3 luggage valet trollies packed to the top. Dressed like Maharajas on formal night and the women marveled at their car purses. Made marvelous watching and conversation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our 3rd cruise (all with RCI) and first TA. We booked it 18 months in advance because of the great itinerary - so many ports, including the Faroe Islands! First, I want to mention how helpful our very active CC roll call ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise (all with RCI) and first TA. We booked it 18 months in advance because of the great itinerary - so many ports, including the Faroe Islands! First, I want to mention how helpful our very active CC roll call members were for planning private tours, sharing information, organizing activities, and such. I felt like I had 350 new friends before ever setting foot on-board! Flew non-stop from Boston to London, took the Heathrow Connect train to Paddington Station and spent 3 nights at the Hilton Metropole. Nice hotel and easy access via Tube to all of London's attractions. We took the train from Liverpool St. Station to the port of Harwich, booked our train tickets in advance at a discount. Trip took 1.25 hours with a 5-minute transfer of trains in Manningtree. Managed the few steps down and then up just fine with our carry-on luggage. Check-in was smooth and efficient, we were on-board by 11:45 and in our room by 1:00 after lunch in the Windjammer. Had a nice Sail-Away party up at the Sky Bar with our new CC friends. Absolutely loved all the ports (see reviews below), but all-in-all, I would not do another TA cruise. With the cancellation of St. John's, NF due to bad weather, we had 6 consecutive sea days, which were a few too many for our particular tastes. Not enough "active" activities on-board, except for the table-tennis tournament - that was good fun. It is interesting to read others' reviews and see how they differ from our perspectives. Different people notice different things. We thought the food was just fine. Did not see any need to eat at the specialty restaurants, so can't comment about them. Windjammer sufficed for breakfasts and the occassional lunch & dinner after a long day in port. Our waitstaff in the MDR was exceptional, making sure that we were completely satisfied with our meals. The menus were diverse enough for us, but there was an Indian entre' every evening, which didn't appeal to us. Desserts were very good. We had escargot and lobster, even though there were rumors beforehand that these items were not going to be offered. Lunched in the MDR a couple of days for the great Tutti Salad Bar. Yummy and fairly healthy. There was a pool-side barbeque lunch one day that we enjoyed. Staff: Cruise director, waitstaff, cabin attendant and Captain were all fabulous. The captain kept us well informed of several unplanned events, including an accident that damaged the ship and injured a crew member (no fault of the Captain's or RCI), 2 hurricanes in the Atlantic that caused us to miss Newfoundland's port, and a medical evacuation of another crew member, which resulted in a diversion to Halifax. We thought he handled all these things in a professional manner with safety being the main priority. Entertainment: We found the evening shows lacking, and skipped several of them. We enjoyed the Three Tenors and the Tango dancers. The Enrichment Lecturers were a varied assortment, with a professor specializing in astronomy, and another gentleman lecturing on the ports. The port lectures were a waste of our time. A fellow passenger volunteered to give a talk on his flying over the South Pole in a hot air balloon, and this was the best lecture we saw. Two sisters offered "Iris Folding" craft classes, and we attended these every sea day. It was a popular activity and we enjoyed this very much. As it was free, the classes were extremely well attended, and the sisters were a bit overwhelmed by the demand. Trivia games: fun and lively. We had 75 hearing-impaired passengers on-board, and 3 classes in American Sign Language were offered. We also enjoyed this, and picked up some signs to communicate with our fellow passengers. Ship: We liked the layout of the Jewel, and it was in good repair. Staff kept the ship's public areas sparkling clean. Plenty of places to curl up with a good book on sea days. Disembarkation: We had Express Check-out, as we just had carry-on luggage, and were told to line up our baggage in the Coral Theater. Our ship took longer than expected to clear customs, and several passengers were on the verge of becoming unruly. We were not in a rush to get to the airport, and if we had to do this over, we would have just waited for the initial rush off the ship to clear out and then walked off with little stress. Got a taxi with minimal wait-time and arrived at the Boston airport in plenty of time for our afternoon flight home. Other: We were very surprised to find a charge of $50 for 2 pool towels on our printed out statement the morning of disembarkation, as I had checked our account status the night before. We got to Guest Relations at 6:15 am and there was only 1 staff member behind the desk and a long line of others who had the same charges as we had. Finally a gal took charge, taking names and room numbers of those of us in line with towel charges, and promised to get them refunded. If this had happened BEFORE we completed our guest questionaire, we would not have had such nice things to say about our RCI experience. We do not plan to cruise again for a while, so did not purchase a future cruise voucher. Will stick to land-based trips, so we can do some in-depth exploring on our own. Ports: We did all private excursions on this trip, several shared with other CC members. Le Havre, France - rented a car at Le Havre Rent a Car right at the dock with another couple from CC and drove to Mont St. Michel. Loved it despite the 3-hour drive each way. Much cheaper than the ship's tour and we beat most of the crowds. Portland, Dorset (England) - this was an "added port" to our itinerary, and we were excited to visit the Jurassic Coast (World Heritage Site) to do some fossil-hunting. We hired a driver from Here to There Services and got a great tour of the area on our way to Charmouth. Despite pouring rain for a 1/2 hour, we did find some fossils and I would like to return to this area for a longer period. (BTW - I am a geologist, so I was looking forward to this port for a LONG time!) The resort town of Weymouth looked to be very quaint and a nice place to stroll around, although we didn't have time for this. Cobh, Ireland: We did a private bus tour with Butler Busses to Blarney and Cork. Did not go into Blarney Castle as the lines were extremely long. Spent our time in the Blarney Woolen Mills, and I bought a hand-knit sweater as my one souvenir. Drove through Cork and stopped at the Market, just OK. There was a Titanic Museum at the dock that looked interesting, but we did not check it out. Klaksvik, Faroe Islands: The highlight of our cruise! Loved the unspoiled feel of this relatively new cruise ship destination. Arranged a private all-day bus tour of the islands' highlights. It was difficult finding a tour operator to do a tour from Klaksvik vs. the capital of Torshavn, but discovered 62N Tours who put together an amazing itinerary for us, which included lunch and afternoon tea, for a very reasonable price. Cascading waterfalls, beautiful coastal scenery, quaint houses with grass-topped roofs (with skylights!), and lots of sheep. The visit to the Bishop's House (built in the 1100's) was a highlight. Excellent tour guide. Heard some folks complaining that there were no souvenir shops, but that is what we liked about it so much!!! Here is our tour itinerary: "Pick-up and a short city-sightseeing in Klaksvík - then to the island of Kunoy - via the sub-sea-tunnel to Eysturoy. The glass artist Tronur Patursson has decorated the tunnel with amazing colours. We will stop for lunch at Hotel Gjargarur in the fantastic village of Gjógv. After lunch to the village of Eii where we will pass the highest mountain in the Faroes - Slttaratindur 882m and short after a view to the twin sea starks, Risin (75 m) and Kellingin (73 m), remnants, it is told, of an unusual attempt to tow the Faroes to Iceland by an Icelandic giant and his troll wife. Struck by the beauty of the islands, they laid a rope around Eiiskollur, the north end of Eysturoy, but quarrelled for so long that they were caught by the rising sun and transformed into cliffs. Further to the smallest capital in the World Tórshavn - where we will visit the World oldest parliament Tinganes. Have a walk in the old part of town and feel the atmosphere as placed in the Middle Ages but still alive with hens and children and all the buzz of ordinary life. We will visit the old cultural centre of the North Atlantic "Kirkjubur", where we also will have coffee/the/cake at the oldest wooden house in Europe "Roykstovan" still in use for the 17th generation. See the imposing ruin of Saint Magnus Cathedral and the oldest church in the Faroes, St. Olavs church erected in the year 1111." Reykjavik, Iceland: As special as I anticipated, with wonderful photo opportunities. We booked the Golden Circle tour with Iceland Guided Tours and had a marvelous day. On our second day in port, we did the Blue Lagoon, and got there just as they were opening at 10:00 am. Pure heaven! Expensive, but worth it. (We are hot-spring nuts, though...) Our ship underwent repairs for an accident in the Faroe Islands, but they were able to fix our communications mast and damaged funnel while we were in port. St. John's, Newfoundland: didn't make it there, due to hurricanes in the Atlantic, and as we didn't have any tours pre-arranged, it was not a huge disappointment. We had heard that this port can be "hit or miss". All in all, we enjoyed our cruise very much. Our fellow cruisers made the trip most enjoyable, and we have some fantastic pictures and memories. 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Sail Date August 2012
Monday August 27, 2012 Departed from Boston on nonstop night flight to London (RCCL does not offer any airport transfer service even if you booked both air & hotel with them) so we used Simply Airports for airport/hotel transfer -- ... Read More
Monday August 27, 2012 Departed from Boston on nonstop night flight to London (RCCL does not offer any airport transfer service even if you booked both air & hotel with them) so we used Simply Airports for airport/hotel transfer -- no problems (friendly/helpful driver) RCCL Cruise hotel Park Plaza Westminster was very good. Great location and helpful staff with breakfast included every morning. We stayed several days prior to our cruise and did some of the London highlights: London Eye -- "Bird's Eye View" of the city (we paid extra for fast pass & felt it was worth it) Thames River Cruise -- Relaxful tour for the first day Royal Day Out Buckingham Palace -- Great tour British Museum -- Wonderful way to spend a rainy afternoon Evans Evans Tour for Stonehedge/Bath & Salisbury: Excellent tour -- picked us up at hotel -- got 10% for pre-booking from US Friday, August 31 Easy bus transfer to ship (although we all wondered why we had a ½ hour rest stop) Easy embarkation Guests: much older crowd than I expected. I did a TA last October on Carnival and the age range was more 40+. In my opinion this crowd was more 65+ Ship Review: (from a non-Diamond guest) Cabin: We were very happy that we upgraded our cabin to a D1 class (Deck 9) which gave us at least 185 sq feet. However even though I don't expect much from a cruise line bathroom this bathroom was tiny with very little storage space. We had five life jackets in our cabin & was told all needed to stay in the cabin (that took up lots of space) & why are spare towels keep under the beds? Again this is space we normally use for our luggage, etc. Pros: Pretty ship -- lots of glass & comfortable seating areas. Staff -- helpful/friendly Captain -- Informative, friendly, entertaining Fellow guests -- met lots of nice people Ports (see ports review below) Magic Show (KnightMagic) great husband/wife duo. Cruise Critic Meet & Greet party. RCCL was good with free h'or d'ouvres and some nice prizes. Chops Grille Cons: Port Fee: We missed Saint John's NF which I understand, but what I don't understand is why we were not credited for the Saint John's port fee? I have missed ports on both Princess & Carnival and was credited those port fees. Food: mediocre (there never was any item that I would have wanted a second helping & yes this is subjective but I have read on the CC thread that some guests lost weight! ) believe me it wasn't because of the "active" activities. We went more to the Seaview Cafe for lunch than any other venue. Iced Tea? When I asked for Iced Tea at breakfast a glass of water was taken out & then a jug of syrup? was poured into the glass -- I stopped getting "iced tea" Activities: Not enough daily active activities -- other than the rock climbing the most active activities were shuttleboard & Wii games. We did enjoy the Stars vs Stripes 60 seconds or less but as these events were short (3 60 sec segments for 3 events) Entertainment: Was not happy that 2nd seating needed to go to the 7:00 pm show each evening (why weren't some of the shows offered after dinner?) We did go to the few 10:30 staff events that were offered (Majority Rules/Battle of the Sexes, Quest, etc.) Another "misprint" in the Compass had the main show at the wrong time (it was correct in the "planning portion" but wrong in the large middle ad). It was for the hypnotist which after attending maybe it would have been better if I had missed him. Schooner Piano player was awful. Bought soda card after seeing ad in Compass with pricing the card @ $90 -- I was charged $120 & and I went to Guest Relations was told this was a misprint. I cancelled my soda card. If you were Diamond you got lots of perks, but please does RCCL need to flaunt it to the non-Diamond Guests? Each evening several lounges were off-limits (free cocktail parties) Special seating for shows, Special lunch with Captain and or Staff. Plus I found the drink prices to be more than either Princess or Carnival. The cheapest glass of wine or mixed drink was $8. There were some drink morning specials but you needed to go to certain bars for those specials. TV or lack of tv channels -- now I know this is a TA but again I was on a TA last year and we had more channels. TCM was the best channel but if I saw the Billy Wilder's The Apartment one more time I would have been a nominee for a role in Wilder's Lost Weekend. Movies: We were told that RCCL gave the ship four movies (4 movies for a 16 day cruise with 5 sea days scheduled?) One of the movies was Top Gun! Ports: First bring a tote bag for any purchases most little shops will charge you a small amount for a plastic bag. LeHavre - Saturday Bought $12 ship shuttle & went to town. Walked about the city & to me it seemed more city-like and not a tourist area. I went to the Musee Malraux to see the Impressionist paintings and in addition had a pleasant surprise to find a great exhibit on the old France cruise liners. Dorset/Weymouth -- Sunday Town offered free shuttle -- lovely area. This is the Jurassic Coast. We walked to the Weymouth boardwalk. Clean beach area with several monuments included one dedicated to American soldiers. We did the Sky Tower for a lovely view of the area. Cobh -- Monday I did the walking Titantic tour that started at the Commodore Hotel. Very informative & entertaining. Tour ends at Jack Doyle's pub for free beer or soda. Later I did the Titantic experience and the Heritage Museum. Nice shops. Dublin -- Tuesday Did ship shuttle $12 to town. We had pre-purchased tickets for Hop On/Hop Off bus which included a free walking tour. Guide was very good. Tour ended at Trinity College. Lots to see -- need more than one day just to see even just a few of the stops offered by the bus . The Kilmainham Gaol museum was very moving. Faroe Islands Thursday: Free town shuttle. We walked about to the local craft show and a very nice bakery that offered delicious pastries & free Wi-Fi. We did the ship hiking tour which was noted as strenuous but as a nature hike. The hike was strenuous & muddy but was a hike with no nature information. The guide keep saying that this was an "easy" hike for the locals so she went more quickly than I think our cruise group enjoyed. Iceland Friday: We had purchased ship tours for both days so the $12 daily town shuttle was included. Day 1: In the morning we did the horseback riding tour -- very good. The guides were informative & watchful. Afternoon -- husband went golfing & I went shopping. Lots of nice shops in the town. Most shops took US money. Day 2: Did ship Golden Circle tour -- Very good -- all day tour with a nice lunch at the Hotel Geyser In summary, this was a cruise in which I enjoyed the ports a lot more than then the cruise, so sorry, RCCL the next time the "sea is calling", I will let it go to voicemail. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
DINING ~was good. We had late seating, we could not get early, and I actually enjoyed seeing the shows before dinner. Food was good, always wish for better. We ate at Chops - Fantastic and Porotfino- very good. The food choices were ... Read More
DINING ~was good. We had late seating, we could not get early, and I actually enjoyed seeing the shows before dinner. Food was good, always wish for better. We ate at Chops - Fantastic and Porotfino- very good. The food choices were different than ships I have been on before, probably due to this being a transatlantic cruise. The Windjammer and Seaview Cafe were both very good. SERVICE on the ship was fabulous. They really went out of their ways, everyone. Our waiters (Sixto & Igor) & Cabin Steward (Ana) were fantastic. Leigh was a great Cruise Director, we stopped him with a question and he phoned our cabin with the answer. The Guest relations desk was helpful and fixed all problems I inquired about. The bartenders were all great. Lorenzo @ Champagne Bar earns a special shout out. ENTERTAINMENT was okay. We saw most shows and they were enjoyable. The couple who did the magic show were outstanding as was a pianist. FITNESS area is very good, gets a bit crowded but if you go early it is fine. Nice Staff. Bar Entertainment ~ Very enjoyable. A guitarist who was so enjoyable. The Trivia games were a hit. Since our last port was canceled due to weather conditions the trivia games were quite crowded as we had six straight days at sea. The Centrum (atrium) of the ship is really too small, as is the Solarium (Indoor Pool). I bet on warmer climate cruises where more people are outside, it is fine, but it was most difficult at times to find seating in both. We did have a few days on the Atlantic where the temperature was warm enough to find swimsuit clad cruisers enjoying the pool. Captain Stig ~ Second time sailing with him. He is awesome. With our ships accident he kept us informed of everything. We were never worried for long if we could continue to sail. The injured crew member was on all our minds and Captain Stig kept us up to date on his condition, which was good which created a cheer to be let out all around. Later a crew member was ill and needed to be hospitalized, the Captain kept us informed of his evacuation. The average age on this cruise did appear to be 65+. I also would note this cruise is a dressier one than our previous 7 cruises. They say the Transatlantic Cruises are like that, people tend to dress nicer even while at sea days. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Overnight flight from Boston to Harwich - stayed in the charming Tower Hotel in Harwich the night before the cruise. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. There were more people in the "priority boarding line" than in the ... Read More
Overnight flight from Boston to Harwich - stayed in the charming Tower Hotel in Harwich the night before the cruise. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. There were more people in the "priority boarding line" than in the regular line and I laughed as I breezed right through and waited for THEM! Once on-board,I had lunch and explored the ship a bit before the "drill". Then I had the pleasure of meeting some additional members of my Cruise Critic family at the Sky Bar. Mother Nature was kind to us - and all ports except St. John's NF greeted us with decent weather. Two days in Iceland was a dream come true for me. It was just as amazing as I had imagined. My favorite was the Blue Lagoon of course. Thanks to the generosity of several CC members, I was able to book excursions that others had set up. I took no RCCL excursions so I can't address the value of any of those. I liked that there were never any long lines getting back on the ship as I witnessed personnel quickly opening up another gangway when large numbers of people were waiting to re-board. The Jewel's staff as a whole were among the best I have ever experienced! My cabin attendant treated me like I was the most important person on the ship. The cruise directors staff had to be the hardest working bunch of people on the entire ship - they were a small but mighty band of energetic specimens who were truly committed to making sure we had a good - no great, time. The Customer Relations staff were always polite and very willing to answer questions and assist in any way. The bar staff were all very friendly. The genuineness of the staffs' interactions with passengers was the most positive I've ever seen on any cruise as well. All staff seemed very approachable. Okay - now for how RCCL disappointed. First the food - no way for me to put this except for how it came across to me. In my opinion, RCCL did food "on the cheap". A lot of the food was bland and one-note. Rarely were the portions hot(temperature-wise) enough. I did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. The good news is I lost 3 pounds on the cruise. Second disappointment was the entertainment. RCCL, what were you thinking? The Schooner Bar which should have been a favorite "hang out" place was a venue that was painful to even pass through. This was because the singing piano player should NEVER have been allowed to sing! And two violin acts within 3 days in the theatre? Really?? And, yeah - that so called hypnotist? That would be funny if it wasn't so pitiful. Third disappointment and, again, this is no reflection on the wonderful staff on-board the Jewel, is the "divisive atmosphere" created by RCCL among tiered members who often verbalized their snobbery with having to interact with others not of their status. I travel solo and always pay double - so being able to afford to cruise means I have to book the least expensive cabin I can. And I have done this willingly with no issues ever! Until this cruise. I was on Deck 2 - and I had pressed the button for the elevator. I got on from Deck 2 and there were 5 others on there. One woman said to the other "oh there are cabins on Deck 2?" The other woman said "yes, but they are sub-standard. They are "steerage" - and she started laughing. I bit my tongue for 10 seconds and said - "Ya know, those of us on Deck 2 are having a really wonderful time and are very happy to be on this cruise on any deck". A man not with them, patted me on the back and said "atta girl". Thank you RCCL. This cruise was a dream come true for me. These issues didn't spoil my cruise in any way. The staff and the passengers will always have special places in my heart. But what this experience did open my eyes to - is the fact that for me, RCCL doesn't really give me the "bang for my buck". I have already booked two future cruises with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We flew to London on Monday and stayed at the Westminster Hilton Doubletree Hotel, which included a bus ride to the port in Harwich on Friday morning. The hotel was reasonably priced, and in an excellent location. The "hop on hop ... Read More
We flew to London on Monday and stayed at the Westminster Hilton Doubletree Hotel, which included a bus ride to the port in Harwich on Friday morning. The hotel was reasonably priced, and in an excellent location. The "hop on hop off" bus was only two blocks away, and Parliament, and Buckingham Palace within reasonable walking distance. We even found a launderette a few blocks away to do some laundry before our 16-day cruise. The bus ride brought us to the dock around noon, and even with a large bus groups arriving at that time we were on the ship in 45 minutes. After lunch at the Windjammer our cabins were ready. This was our second trip on the Jewel of the Seas, and we were very happy to be back on this beautiful ship. We saw many familiar faces in the crew, including Murat who was our waiter again, along with Nazareth assistant waiter. My husband and I cannot say enough great things about them. Rosa, Guest Services Manager, is a warm presence all around the ship, always helpful and pleasant. The whole crew on this ship is outstanding, and unfailingly pleasant at all times. Our Cabin Our cabin on deck nine was very clean, and comfortable, and every thing worked great. Cassandra our steward was excellent. It still has the older style televisions, which were fine. This was a transatlantic with 6 sea days, and the satellite could not always pick up a signal, so like others have said we saw the same things over and over again. Though the crew did make some requested changes and played the movies from the movie theatre on the television, which we enjoyed. With so many sea days we did spend time here reading, sitting on the balcony and watching movies. The Food and Entertainment My husband and I had MTD and enjoyed the food. The Windjammer has such variety at every meal, we ate breakfast and lunch there each day and never had the exact same meal twice. The main dining room did have a few more unusual choices, but we always found something we liked. We ate at Portafino one night, and enjoyed outstanding service. I tried the lobster, but it was both salty and tasteless. I understand it is frozen, I would not have it again. We went to the shows every night but one. We did not see the hypnotist, but the Tenors, Ryan Ahern the pianist, and the production shows were our favorites. The Ports Through Cruise Critic we contacted others going on this same cruise and signed up for trips sponsored by other passengers. They were all excellent and we took three. The ports were outstanding, and some better than that. Portland England, we took the C.C. trip to Stonehenge and the Salisbury Cathedral. We did La Havre, and Cork on our own. The train into Cork ran right along the dock where the ship came in. Dublin we took the ship-sponsored shuttle into town, and then the "hop on hop off" bus around the city. The highlight was the tour of the Guinness factory. It ends at the top of the building in a glass-enclosed area with a panoramic view of the city and a pint of Guinness. We enjoyed the ship-sponsored trip in the Faroe Islands. We went to a home of a resident for cake and coffee and got to talk about their life on such remote islands. It is a real highlight of the trip. We also had time to go into town and walk around, residents were very welcoming. Local high school students were out of school for the day to act as guides around town and to practice their English, which was excellent. The last two days before our trip across the Atlantic were spent in Iceland. We took the two CC sponsored trips. The first day we toured around Reykjavik, including a museum of historic farm, and animals only found in Iceland. The Golden Circle tour was incredible, our local guide Bjorn took us to waterfalls, and moon like landscapes. I hope to go back some day soon. In fact my husband and I would like to repeat this cruise, we didn't see it all, and it was wonderful from beginning to end. We even enjoyed the relaxing 6 days at sea. We missed St. John in Canada because of bad weather. Captain Stig kept us in sunny calm weather even though there were two hurricanes in the Atlantic. This was our second trip with the captain, and we found him a calm presence around the ship, and willing to stop and talk. We had an accident and hit an electric line in the Faroe Islands, with a crew member hurt, and another evacuated for illness in Canada, we were kept informed throughout. Disembarkation We live just outside of Boston so we choose to get off later. We had a relaxing breakfast and left our cabin at 9:00am. Those that had to clear immigration took longer than they thought so we did not get off until 10:30, but we relaxed in the Schooner Bar and talked with other cruisers. We were home before noon. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
Twelve days to cross the Atlantic isn't too long when you can add new ports and experiences to a Life List. Captain McDonald and Cruise Director Clo are always entertaining and cordial, the Crown and Anchor Society events fun, giving ... Read More
Twelve days to cross the Atlantic isn't too long when you can add new ports and experiences to a Life List. Captain McDonald and Cruise Director Clo are always entertaining and cordial, the Crown and Anchor Society events fun, giving unexpected insights into "the group". The murder mystery in Portobello was good, slightly raucous fun. The cast had such a good time that it was contagious for the diners. If you have specific dining needs, be aware that you may be reduced to the evening buffet or another less-desired option, since Early Seating is far too limited to meet the demand for it. And many refused the default Late Seating which indeed ends very late in the evening. Also, forcing cruisers into prepaid gratuities for My Time Dining produced noticeable discontent. On this cruise the main dining room became more sparsely attended every night, which was not a reflection on the consistently high level of service. RCL has added some crafts activities on the morning of At Sea Days and accommodated others, but the offered crafts and materials are limited. The knitting group was first scheduled in an evening smoker's location, and the knitters politely informed staff that was Not Acceptable for fiber arts, suggesting better locations which happened with ease. How lovely- Democracy and Community at work! Dance classes were fun and successful, but Enrichment lecturer Richard had some glaring errors in an early presentation and we could not force ourselves to attend again. The musicians were varied and skillful, but hearing the same country western song every night as we headed to dinner became a source of great mirth when we overheard someone give an excellent impression of a howl in response. Thank you whoever you were! In the Schooner Bar, the piano stylings of Gustavo were such a hit that we were sad to see him leave before the end of our cruise. One tip to the line: It would be helpful to inform guests of scheduled closings of the venues, shops and restaurants in ports of call to avoid disappointment over such things as cultural Sunday, Monday and holiday hours differences. More information helps cruisers select the most appropriate excursion for them. Will we take a similar cruise in the future? Oh yes.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We chose the Jewel TA due to it being the one that met our needs of date and destination to the UK for our land tour that followed. This cruise met those needs very well. This was our first time sailing with RCCL. We were very pleased ... Read More
We chose the Jewel TA due to it being the one that met our needs of date and destination to the UK for our land tour that followed. This cruise met those needs very well. This was our first time sailing with RCCL. We were very pleased with some things and others not so much. Both embarkation and disembarkation worked very well. We had no wait in Miami and since we carried our own luggage off at Harwich, no wait there, either. The train station is in easy walking distance of the cruise port, so we were quickly off to London on our own after disembarkation. First the superlatives: Of all the ships we've cruised, I liked the pool area on the Jewel the best. There is both an outdoor family pool and an indoor adult pool. The indoor pool made it possible to enjoy the pool each day no matter the weather. On rough days, it was a wave pool. The pool area was well-maintained and staffed 24 hours a day! I'd never seen this on any other ship. We also found the stage shows to be the best we've experienced (not counting the Epic which is a different class entirely). The ship's troop of singers and dancers was exceptional and the other shows quite good. The cruise director, Clo, was great! She could have a career as a standup comedian if she chose with her jokes and expressions. Our room was good and well-maintained by the steward as is customary on all the cruises we've taken. Like the other lines we've cruised, service in general was very good. We had one problem which I sent in on their survey we got a couple of days into the cruise. Not only did I receive a prompt phone call from the director of housekeeping, but he made a personal visit to our cabin to be sure the problem was resolved to our satisfaction. Very impressive! Now for the worst: The main dining room was abominable from my perspective. It was very, very noisy to the point that one could not hear the conversation at the table. Large tables of ten are crammed together with not enough space for the servers to move freely between them. (Advice to anyone booking...request a table for just your own party.) The food was the worst of any cruise line we've ever sailed on. The buffet food was preferable as you could see what you were getting before you chose it. The beef was tough. Several at our table sent beef back which was not cooked to order. Tough beef I ate, which was preferable to the very rare I received when I ordered medium and the old shoe I received when I ordered medium well. Gave up on the beef after that. Other entrees sounded good but were not to my taste. When some at our table complained to the head waiter, his response was that the recipes were fleet wide and could not be changed by the ship's chef. The service took a very long time, some of which was due to being at a large table but most was due to the long length of time it took for the food to come out of the kitchen. Several nights this caused us to miss entertainment we wanted to see. We learned to not go to the dining room on nights we wanted to be sure to make a show. If I were to book again, I'd choose the As You Wish dining option. The drink prices were the highest of any ship we've ever sailed on. This resulted in the lowest bar bill we've ever had as we were just not willing to pay that much. No two for one happy hours like on our January cruise on the Rotterdam. The Drink of the Day seemed always to be a sugary fruity concoction that I tried a couple of times since it saved a couple of dollars. I quickly tired of this and just limited drinks to one or none, a good thing in the long run. The lounge entertainment was the least desirable to my tastes of any ship we've ever been on. Objectively I thought the country group was good but I don't choose that style. Others I just did not care for...also good for the bar bill as on NCL we always find one we love and hang out in that lounge most nights. Since we'd cruised with Holland America in January, we missed being treated as special guests even if you are in a low category cabin. RCCL does not give robes or nice toiletries to everyone and forget the free fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast. Perhaps if you are a suite passenger or a Diamond Club member, things are different. For a frequent cruiser who was a first timer on this line, the lack of amenities was noticeable. The library was pathetic. Perhaps the itineraries the ship is on do not require an extensive library but on TAs, the library is frequently used. The fiction shelves were always empty. Although they had a two book limit, this was not enforced and I saw people who had checked out up to ten books, leaving little for late comers. I was glad I'd brought my own supply of books. There were also less daytime activities to choose from than on other TAs/long cruises we've taken. Those we liked would always be scheduled at the same time so you would have to choose and then have nothing to do at other times. All in all, we had a good time on a clean ship with good service. RCCL will not be my line of choice, but will be considered again if the itinerary and price are favorable as they were this time. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My first cruise with RCC, Jewel of the Seas is a very nice ship, well maintained, with the Lobby, the Centrun as they call, always active, live music from noon to midnight, inmaculate restrooms, the only problem I saw was a couple of days ... Read More
My first cruise with RCC, Jewel of the Seas is a very nice ship, well maintained, with the Lobby, the Centrun as they call, always active, live music from noon to midnight, inmaculate restrooms, the only problem I saw was a couple of days water from the sink was yellow, that Chief Engineer said it was because of copper pipes and no problem for people...umm. This was a transatlantic cruise, 12 nights with calls at Azores islands, Brest and Cherbourg in France, and disembark at Harwich, UK a port about 3 hours from central London, so I and a hundred more people, preferred to leave the cruise in Cherbourg, rented a car to go to Mont St Michel, and then Paris before fly back to Miami. Ports were attractive, Ponta Delgada at Azores is a nice town with some good places to visit, same for Brest and Cherbourg is close to Normandy beaches where are many memorial sites for fallen soldiers on D-day. I had half day at this sites and afternoon at Mont Saint Michel, a *must see* in France. With me traveled my wife and daughter, they really enjoyed the cruise, waking up at 9 or...11 am on sea days, some gym, a lot of food, and going to bed late every night. Entertainment was better than I expected, an incredible magician and Clo a funny cruise director. Richard, a lecturer had the theater almost full at 2 pm sessions. Food was average, we had a lobster night, actually mi wife ate two, waiter Rolando and assistant Domingo very helpful and communicative. Our stewardess Marita the same. Maybe I take this cruise again on ten years on the opposite direction. I hope so.   Read Less
Sail Date May 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
What a fun trip! I've been taking cruises for years, but in the last 10 years had taken mostly road trips in the states. Last August, I found an interesting itinerary in the Baltic & sailed for the first time with Royal ... Read More
What a fun trip! I've been taking cruises for years, but in the last 10 years had taken mostly road trips in the states. Last August, I found an interesting itinerary in the Baltic & sailed for the first time with Royal Caribbean on the Jewel of the Seas. Earlier this summer, I began to get wanderlust and started looking for another cruise to take. I found that the Jewel was offering a Transatlantic cruise with another great itinerary so I booked the sailing for September 3. What a great experience—I think I had even more fun the second time on this ship. I'm a single woman who usually travels alone and find that cruising is great way to meet people and feel safe. The trip began with an overnight flight to Gatwick with transfer to Harwich. Everything went smoothly and we arrived at check-in even before they were ready for us. My check in for the Baltic was quick with no waiting, but unfortunately since I arrived before the embarkation desk was officially opened, there was quite a wait this time around, especially with the sheer number of priority check-in guests (at the time of sailing I was only a Gold level Crown & Anchor member so I was embarking with everyone else.) Once I checked in , even with a wait it was practically painless, I headed to my cabin but it was too early to go in and get a nap (I don't sleep well in the best of circumstances, but it's nearly impossible for me to sleep on a plane.) I headed to the Windjammer for some lunch and was pleasantly surprised that the food had improved since my last sailing on RCCL Mariner of the Seas. I went to my cabin when it was available and took a nap because our first port of call was the next day with 3 more ports in as many days after that and I was jet lagged. I called for a bucket of ice which took an hour & another call to receive, but I understood my room attendant, Wilson, was quite busy and he was very friendly. He gave me his card and I was quite pleased with his services and his friendly attitude, even the day he had a migraine. When I woke up it was time to get ready for late seating in the dining room. This was my first time in a long time where I had to take late seating because I booked so late and that was all that was available. I had asked to be seated at a large table because it provides an opportunity to meet more people. I was instead put at a table for 6 and there were only 2 other people at the table and one of them didn't speak English. The second night I was told they asked to be moved, so I ate alone. While I liked the waiter & assistant waiter, I asked to be moved as well because I didn't relish eating alone for 2 weeks. The next day I got a note in my cabin that I'd been moved and to my delight found I was at a large table with 6 people with 2 more added in the next few days. There were quite a few empty tables at late seating, so I guess those who were assigned to those tables chose the Windjammer rather than wait until 8:30 to eat. I liked my dinner companions, even the woman who complained about the food & talked about the superiority of another cruise line every night. We had excellent dining room attendants in Karen & Borko, and by the third night we met Janet, our head waitress, who was also quite personable. The food was pretty good for the most part, better than what I could cook and it was usually served promptly and with a great attitude by the wait staff. My only complaint was that there were very few desserts that I wanted to try so I ate ice cream most nights (and should have probably skipped it altogether, but who does that on a cruise?) The main complaint I had the last time I was on this ship were that the beef dishes weren't very good, but this time I was pleasantly surprised at the improvement. I ate in the dining room every night but one. Our first port of call was Le Havre, France. I took shore excursions in every port and on our first stop I took the opportunity to go to Paris since I'd never been there before. Even though it was Sunday, it still took a couple of hours to get there. We went by most of the famous sites one expects to see in Paris and while my excursion didn't include any stops at the sites, I could see there were large crowds everywhere. My group was delivered to a barge for a luncheon cruise along the Seine. The food was good with lots of wine flowing and the folks with whom I ate were lovely. After the cruise we were dropped off at the Eiffel Tower for a little while to wander around and buy a few trinkets. Besides being bothered by some women who I suspected had ulterior motives, all it took was a firm No to get them to leave me alone. After our visit, we headed back to Le Havre, and an auto accident resulted in a delay in returning to the ship and it was quite a wait to get back on the ship, though it was no fault of the ship that everyone who went to Paris got back at roughly the same time. The second day's stop was Cherbourg which I loved. It was a quiet little coastal town. I took an excursion which included visiting some of the countryside and a trip to Castle Ravenal. It was a beautiful place with gorgeous gardens and even a little rain didn't bother me. We were then taken downtown where our guide, a very handsome Frenchman named Dominick, showed us a few places including the location of the film Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a film I love. I think I was most excited to see the little shop which was the setting of the shop Catherine Deneuve's character & her mother owned in the film. We got a little bit of free time and I found a shop that sold locally made items and purchased a few things. Back to the ship where this time we got back on immediately. I wished I could have taken Dominick home with me, but whatever. Cherbourg was my favorite port on the entire cruise. The third day was the port of Cobh Ireland near Cork. I took a full day's excursion which included a trip through the beautiful countryside of that part of Ireland. Our first stop was Kinsale, a seaside village which our tour guide claimed was the culinary capital of Ireland. Since it was still early in the day, I just walked around this village, went to the drugstore to buy some toiletry items I needed and had a cup of coffee. We then drove back toward Cork for a lunch of fruit salad, Irish stew & dessert, which I enjoyed. Our next stop was Blarney Castle. While I did walked up to the castle, I didn't kiss the Blarney Stone—I just couldn't get past the sheer volume of people that do and not be a little fearful of sickness. It's a quirk I have. Anyway, it was cool to see it and afterwards we had quite a bit of time at Blarney Woolen Mills, where I have to say there were quite a few bargains in a huge store with something for everyone. I could have spent a lot of money there. Since I was traveling alone, I kept my buying to a minimum because I had no room in my bags and had enough stuff to schlep as it was. I drank my first ever pint of stout (Murphy's since it was the local brew) and I was ready for a nap. Back to the ship where a medical evacuation of one of our passengers caused another lengthy delay in reboarding the ship, but at least another gangway was opened and they tried to get us all back on the ship in a timely manner. Overall, it was another great port of call. By the fourth day and another port of call in Dublin, I was very tired because I think I was still jet lagged and we had been in 4 ports in 4 days without a day at sea to rest. My shore excursion this time included a trip to St. Patrick's Cathedral and Trinity College with a drive by of a few local sites. It was my least favorite port, maybe because I was so tired and it didn't seem that much different than any average American mid-sized city. Plus, we didn't really have any free time on this short tour, our guide was soft spoken and she took us on a long walk to find our bus because of a miscommunication with the driver. Finally a day and a half at sea and I needed it—I was exhausted! I finally got to participate in my favorite on board activity, the trivia games. I was quite successful on my last trip on the Jewel, winning 12 prizes. I met two couples who were my trivia team mates for the rest of the cruise and we won a few times. It was a quite popular activity during the at-sea days, where you had to be in the Schooner lounge early to get a seat. I had a lot of fun, especially during the afternoon sessions when Clo, the cruise director was the host of the game. I just want to add here that I've been on 8 cruises and she's just the best cruise director I've ever encountered. She & Frankie, the activities manager, were on the ship last year and they are both great at their jobs. In fact, we were basically on first name basis by the end of the cruise and she delighted in teasing me about my enthusiasm for trivia games. She's a great gal. Next stop, Reykjavik, Iceland. We arrived late in the afternoon and I took a trip to the Blue Lagoon, the well known geothermal pool about 30 minutes outside of town. It was windy & chilly but I thought why not go since I probably won't be back here again. It was great getting in the pool once you got past the fact you were outside in a bathing suit in such cool weather. I used the mud pack and my face broke out in whelps that took a few days to disappear, but I should have known better. My only complaint about the trip was that the tour guide had candy or cough drop in her mouth and had the microphone on the whole time where you could hear it clicking around against her teeth. After 40 minutes of that, it became quite annoying. The next day was another day in Reykjavik and I went on a museum tour, although the title of the excursion was a little misleading. It was called Discovering Reykjavik with mention of only a stop at an outdoor museum, similar to Williamsburg here in the states. However, it appeared we were the only people there that day. There was no chance to shop since the gift shop was closed—a first for me since most places like that thrive on tourist dollars. The main drawback to this tour was that I was sitting in the back of the bus and a couple sitting behind me complained the entire time. By the third stop, I'd had enough and told the husband of the couple he could probably get a cab and go back to the ship. I guess I should have minded my own business, because no one else spoke to me for the rest of the trip. Oops. It was interesting to see Iceland, but it was quite expensive. I'm glad I went but I'm not sure I'd go back. We spent the next three days at sea where we were able to see the Aurora Borealis on a couple of nights in the North Atlantic. I'd always wanted to see it and it was beautiful and the second night we had a gorgeous full moon in addition to the green hued skies. We arrived at our final port of call, St. John, Newfoundland. What a lovely place and lovely people. My shore excursion included a drive out to remote Cape Spear, where the lighthouses were located. It was a beautiful and dramatic landscape with waves and fog. Then we went to an old fort in town where we got another picturesque view of the coast below. After a drive through town, we were dropped at the ship and had some free time to explore downtown. It was my second favorite port on the cruise. I rarely attend shows on any ship, although I did attend the comedy show with Kelly Montieth, a guy who I remembered from television appearances in the 1980's. It was okay, but he wasn't as funny as I remembered. I was also surprised that Marty Allen, a comedian I remembered from my childhood, was performing on the ship. I had an encounter with him one evening a couple of days before his show. He is 89 and still performs with his wife. Wow. I didn't go to his show but heard from several people that it was very good. I did see a Q & A he did with Clo that was shown on the cabin television a few times before we got off the ship and he had a lot of great show biz stories to tell. I also did a little gambling this time and came in third in the blackjack tournament and won some money at video poker so I came away with more money than I started with. That rarely happens so I was excited. I didn't have any luck at Bingo but I still had fun playing. The music in the Centrum during the afternoon and before dinner was very good and had a lot of couples on their feet and dancing. We had two more days at sea before disembarking in Boston, where we were taken off the ship in a mostly organized way. There was some delay due to the fact that some of the non U. S. citizens didn't follow instructions to report early for clearing customs. However, I got off the ship at the appointed time and my cruise was over. I was heading home. The Jewel of the Seas may not be the top of the line for cruising, but I like the ship and have had two marvelous cruises on her. A couple of the employees remembered me from the previous year when I took the Baltic cruise. One of the bartenders even remembered my name and what I liked to drink. I was surprised since it had been a year and they see thousands of people. The other person was in the salon and while it took me a few minutes to recognize her, once I asked if she'd been there last summer, she remembered me by recognizing my hair! (I'm quite white haired so maybe it's a little distinctive.) The only employee I had any contact with that I didn't care for was one of the male entertainers and he was quite snooty. He rarely spoke to anyone even though he was an escort on two of my shore excursions. He was in charge of leading our groups to the buses and walked very fast, not keeping in mind that a majority of the passengers were over 50 and quite a few were elderly people. If I have any complaints about the ship, there are very few. My main pet peeve was having a hard time finding a table in the Windjammer at peak times, where I ended up eating outside more than a few times. That would have been alright if it hadn't been very cool & windy for most of the trip. My bed was quite hard which could be improved. While I realize most people try to keep busy with planned activities, I like to spend some down time in the cabin, and the television programming left a lot to be desired. I surmise that most of the stuff they showed was pretaped because we saw a lot of shows & films repeated constantly. The Jewel could also probably use a few months of dry dock for a refurbishing. It looked a little run down in some areas. Overall, it was an excellent cruise and good value for the money. I met a lot of very nice & friendly people. Even though I had a few complaints, it wasn't anything that I couldn't get past and understood some of the little inconveniences. If you have expectations that this cruise is similar to Celebrity or any other more expensive cruise line, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Fourth Tran cruise - previous 3 with Celebrity . Flew Glasgow- Newark - Fort Lauderdale and stayed at Sheraton airport Hotel. all fineTook hotel shuttle [$10] to port at 11am as RCI bus going to many hotels. Security that previously was ... Read More
Fourth Tran cruise - previous 3 with Celebrity . Flew Glasgow- Newark - Fort Lauderdale and stayed at Sheraton airport Hotel. all fineTook hotel shuttle [$10] to port at 11am as RCI bus going to many hotels. Security that previously was grim were very friendly, smiling and seemed happy at work. Credit to Agency....big change.On ship within 20mins and cabins all ready as ship had been in drydock. Dropped off hand luggage and then to Windjammer for food... one must. Luggage arrived about 3pm and then drill at 4.30 and sail away at 5. If not aware webcam at Everglades and my daughter in Scotland identified us from rear of ship on balcony.Food: Quality and amount has reduced over the years but waiters bring you anything extra you ask for. Went to Chops,,,fantastic as usual.Crown Anchor: 1082 members onboard. did not go to welcome back etc due to numbers. We are Diamond Level so could go to Vortex from 5.30pm - 8pm for free wines and 20% off spirits.Enrichment:CSI phenomenon; Very good, about TV programmes and DNA.Ports: None of them on list below. Really says it all.Ponta Delgada, Azores. I think we had to stop after 7 days at sea. Pleasant enough.Brest: Working docks.Why did we stop here?Cherbourg: Nice French port, nice shops and cafes etc. Escursions available. Overall a pleasant cruise but the cutbacks are becoming obvious. Things that used to be standard are now missing or have to be paid for.Did not go to shows as clashed with Diamond Lounge with free wine.. no choice. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
The boarding at Fort Lauderdale was very well organised and went well. Our luggage was safely delivered to a very spacious cabin where wardrobes, etc. were quickly filled and balcony and very comfortable bed and settee sat upon and ... Read More
The boarding at Fort Lauderdale was very well organised and went well. Our luggage was safely delivered to a very spacious cabin where wardrobes, etc. were quickly filled and balcony and very comfortable bed and settee sat upon and approved. We explored the self-service restaurant and sampled an excellent lunch and then roamed the ship. We noticed how clean and comfortable all the "public" areas were including the toilets and that these were well signed all over the ship. Lifts were always accessible and we loved the change of day on the threshold each morning. The staff everywhere were so cheerful and helpful throughout the ship and the waiters in the restaurant were both knowledgeable and courteous. The food was excellent and the menu choices were mouthwatering. We did not use the official tours, preferring to stay in Porto del Garda, and walk around the cobbled streets and visit the shops and enjoyed coffee in the square. In Breste, we did the same and did not go into Cherbourg as we drive in France, so did not feel it necessary. Instead we went to the Gym on the ship, which was very well equipped with a most competent instructor. The entertainment in the Theatre was first class and the Theatre itself was very comfortable and a good view of the stage was available from tiered seats wherever one was sitting. The music around the ship in the various bar areas was also varied, country & western, rock & roll, 60s, etc. and played extremely well by the musicians and enjoyed immensley by all, some dancing and some just listening. The talent shows also were very entertaining. We also had sight of whales "blowing" in the distance and then they came up to the ship, that was exciting to seem them in their natural habitat, also some dolphins swam along side for a while. To be honest we did not really know what to expect on our first cruise, but we were overwhelmed. Firstly by the size of the ship, only ever having been on a ferry, and the fact that there were so many people aboard and yet we did not feel crowded at any time. It was 5-star floating luxury and we both left the ship feeling that we had enjoyed a truly wonderful holiday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Route: 14 day cruise starting in Harwich, England - Le Havre, France - Cherbourg, France - Cork, Ireland - Akureyri, Iceland - Reykjavik, Iceland - Sydney, Nova Scotia - Boston. 1. General Comments: An interesting cruise through the ... Read More
Route: 14 day cruise starting in Harwich, England - Le Havre, France - Cherbourg, France - Cork, Ireland - Akureyri, Iceland - Reykjavik, Iceland - Sydney, Nova Scotia - Boston. 1. General Comments: An interesting cruise through the stormy north Atlantic. This was the ship's repositioning cruise from its Baltic runs to its New England trips. Our itinerary was to include St John's, Newfoundland, but a "regular Arctic low pressure storm" formed on the route we were to take from Iceland. This made for a 250 mile detour around the storm and an early arrival in Sydney. My wife and I are frequent floaters and were not bothered by the stormy waves and winds, but enough was enough. The Caribbean it wasn't. The ship was nearly full with 2,046 passengers and 850 crew. While the majority of passengers were American, there was a good representation of European countries. There appeared to be very few first time cruisers. As this was school time, few children were on board. We booked a junior suite on the tenth deck. Details below. We also used My Time dining, and it worked perfectly. The cruise wound up with seven, instead of six, sea days. The Captain announced when we could see whales; a few of us did (I saw two). Remember that this is an Atlantic crossing. We had to change clocks forward one hour for France and turn them back six times enroute to Boston. 2. Travel to England and Embarking: We made our own plane arrangements and arrived in London three days before the cruise. We did use an RCL hotel (Guoman Tower) and the RCL bus to the port in Harwich (a 2 hour trip). You must stay in an RCL hotel if you want to use their bus; otherwise, you are on your own to get to Harwich. The hotel was fine, close to subway and next to both the Tower Bridge and the Tower. An RCL representative was available for some hours starting two days before the cruise. Having done Sea Pass check-in on-line got us through the check-in procedures very quickly. We were on board by noon in time for the usual lunch in the Windjammer and in our cabin around 1PM. One suitcase was waiting for us in the cabin; the other did not arrive for a couple hours. 3. The Jewel of the Seas: An attractive ship. Our junior suite was perfect for the two weeks. Plenty of storage space and nooks, a walk in closet, and bathroom with a tub shower. The cabin has a small safe and a small refrigerator (mini-bar, which we did not touch). There is a TV that receives movies, CNN, FOX, ESPN, shipboard activities, and other channels. You get a daily planner in your cabin the night prior. You need to read it carefully as there are next to no announcements on the PA system. The Captain does his noontime report from the bridge, and there may be one announcement in the afternoon about the evening's show. There is no newspaper; you have to get your news off the TV. There are maps at each elevator bay. The elevators are quirky; often you push the button and watch the elevator go right past your floor. There is a huge children/teen area and programs for them. I defer to others with children to comment on this part of the ship. 4. Meals: Food in the Windjammer buffet - which almost everyone uses for breakfast and lunch - is good. There are plenty of choices at both meals, and you can eat as much or as little as you want. It is a bit hurried, though, and not a place for a slow meal. The dining room's food was very good, well-prepared, and well-served. We only used it for dinner, although it is available with open seating at breakfast and lunch. Again, you have to pay attention to the daily ship's program concerning where lunch is served. The Windjammer or the dining room may be closed, or they may both be open. You have to read. We used My Time dining - 7PM - and RCL got it right. The area for this dining was organized with plenty of tables for two, besides the usual tables for four and more. We would arrive pretty much on time and were always seated immediately. While we were shifted around a bit, we had only three sets of waiters for the 14 days, and this was all in the same area. Thus, the waiters did get to know their guests and their preferences. Our waiters would advise us when they thought dishes were not up to par. Food portions are of respectable size, and if you don't try to eat all the courses everyday, you should not do bad weight-wise. The wine list is respectable, and wine is available by the bottle or glass. We had made reservations on-line for the Portofino specialty restaurant. Excellent food, wine, and service. Well worth the extra charges. There are other food outlets around the ship as well as plenty of bars; you cannot go hungry or thirsty. Because of the mob scene in the Windjammer one noon, we lunched in the Seaview Cafe. Sandwiches and fries were not bad; no extra charge. At the session of "ask the Captain and his staff," we learned an interesting item. RCL ships usually only resupply at the beginning of their runs; in our case it meant that we loaded up in Harwich and had no resupply for 14 days which, according to the hotel director, is about the maximum number of days a ship can go. So, bananas ran out, pineapples became iffy, and margarine ran out. Even the Schooner Bar ran out of Drambuie. 5. Dressing for meals: For this 14 day trip it was three formal nights. A good number - perhaps half - of men at formal nights were in tuxedos or suits; some who did not want to dress up just did not appear for these meals. Considering how the ladies dress up for these meals, I suggest more men who served in the military obtain miniatures of the medals they were awarded and attach them to their tuxes. It's permissible to do so, and the medals do add some color to our basic black tuxedos. Scheduling of the formal nights was odd. We expected they would all be on sea days. Wrong! Two were on port/shore excursion days, and only the third one was on a sea day. 6. Shore Excursions: A word of advice: make your shore excursion reservations on-line! Otherwise you will either have to use the not-so-user-friendly on board TV system to make your reservations or stand in line on board at the excursion counter. The on-line billing goes direct on your credit card and not on your shipboard account. If you know the ports of call and want to travel by yourself, then, of course, you don't need the ship's tour office. RCL's tour prices are not cheap; you are paying for the convenience of having the ship organize the tour rather than you doing it after you get ashore. Also, if you obtain your tour through the ship's staff, you have support when there is a problem. When making my on-line reservations I ran into one tour that was marked "check on board." I went to the tour desk right after we boarded. Yes, the tour was running. I was able to change around a couple of tours with no problem. These charges and adjustments all appeared on our ship's account. The adjustments for all the cancelled shore excursions when we did not stop in St John's were quickly added to the ship's accounts. There was an Icelandic gentleman on board who lectured on all aspects of Iceland (history, geography, etc) before we arrived. His first session was so interesting that for his second session the theater was packed. Everyone commented on how pleased they were to have heard some, or all, of his lectures. 7. Shipboard entertainment: The ship has a daily schedule full of activities for all tastes: sports, lectures, bridge, bingo, etc, etc. Don't forget the rock climbing wall, though because of our weather, I don't know if it was ever open for use. Most days the poolside chairs were lashed down. Some hardy souls continued to use the hot tubs and the pools. On the other hand, the adult solarium pool was quite busy, possibly because it is enclosed. The bits of the evening shows we saw were fine; we heard good reports about them in the Windjammer. The down side appears to have been that the theater was packed every night, and seats were being taken up to 45 minutes before the show. Park West, the bane of many cruise ships, did not have its contract renewed by RCL. Thus, there were no art auctions. This was not a problem as the ship has plenty of art all around the public areas. Instead of art, though, there is plenty of advertising by the ship's spa, which appears to be a franchise. The casino was of good size and the payoffs did not seem to be much worse than Las Vegas. Duty-free liquor on board was reasonable; you order your liquor and it is delivered to your cabin the day before disembarking. If you are flying, though, how do you take it home? There will be plenty of opportunities for you to have your picture taken by the ship's photographers--pricey, but a good souvenir. There are various venues for night owls. 8. Tipping: Not a problem if you sign up for the recommended amounts (for cabin steward, waiter, asst waiter, and head waiter). The amounts are charged to your shipboard account; you receive vouchers and envelopes before the last night on board. Put the vouchers in the (pre-addressed) envelopes, and hand them out. You're done. You only need to tip separately (cash) the person who brings your room service. Your bar bill automatically adds 15 percent. My Time dining raised a question that the Guest Services desk did not really answer. I asked how we tipped the wait staff when we had different staffs. Their solution was for us to tip the staff that waited on us at the last night. "They will take care of it." I hope so, and it may be so. Our nightly table was recorded in the computer, so it would not have been difficult to determine how often which wait staff waited on which passengers. 9. Settling of Accounts: During your cruise, anything you purchase on board (drinks, souvenirs, tours, duty free items, photos, etc) is punched into a computer; you sign one copy of the ticket and you receive a copy. You can track your account on the ship's TV channel. On the last morning you receive a paper final statement of your account. 10. Disembarking in Boston: Your bags have to be out at 11PM, and breakfast is early. You can wait in your cabin until it is time to leave. We ran about an hour late because the customs/immigration officers were late. Added to that was that pier side safety regulations prevented passengers from moving in the baggage area while baggage was still being unloaded and stacked in the building. Immigration procedures were handled on board in the dining room, and customs was handled pier side. Once the officers were set up and the baggage handling was completed, disembarking went pretty quick and smooth. 12. Conclusion: This was an interesting trip. We had a great time in London adjusting to the time difference; the weather was sunny and pleasant. Stops in France and Ireland were equally pleasant. Iceland was fascinating, cold, and a bit wet. Yes, we have our certificates for having crossed the Arctic Circle. As I mentioned at the start, the trip from Iceland to Nova Scotia was long and windy, with high waves (and that was *not* going through the storm!). Nova Scotia was wet. From there to Boston we had to go through another storm. Sigh... Are we glad we made the trip? Definitely yes. Would we do it again? Probably not. Would we take the Jewel again to someplace calmer and warmer? Yes. If anyone has questions, send me an e-mail at LTC519@satx.rr.com. Fred Groth San Antonio, TX Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Stormy North Atlantic crossing on the Jewel Overview: We had cruised on the Jewel before - through the Baltic s in 2006, so we knew what to expect. However, our expectations were exceeded. If anything, RCCL have upped ... Read More
Stormy North Atlantic crossing on the Jewel Overview: We had cruised on the Jewel before - through the Baltic s in 2006, so we knew what to expect. However, our expectations were exceeded. If anything, RCCL have upped their game since our previous Jewel experience and our first trans Atlantic crossing was overall an exciting adventure. From the highly visible Master of the vessel Captain Stig Nilsen, through his Officers and crew, we enjoyed a quality cruise experience marred only by the disappointment in not being able to dock in Newfoundland. As the cruise was scheduled to sail around Iceland and through some notoriously unpredictable North Atlantic seas, we were comforted when we learned that the Captain had been born and raised in Nordic waters! His experience of North Atlantic waters proved to be particularly beneficial when in the interests of passenger safety and comfort, the Captain had to change course and skillfully navigate the ship around the fringes of a major storm that had developed off Greenland shortly after we left Reykjavik. Embarkation: We had pre-arranged an RCI transfer from Heathrow airport to Harwich. We were met by an RCI representative in the arrivals hall. Ours was a relatively early flight so we were asked to wait in a waiting area with our luggage until sufficient other passengers arrived to connect with the transfer bus. After about a ninety minute wait we were directed to a coach for the two hour journey to Harwich. On arrival at the pier we were ushered through to a priority embarkation area reserved for Platinum, Diamond and diamond Plus Crown and Anchor members. Embarkation formalities were speedily processed and we were on board within fifteen minutes of arriving in Harwich. The Ship: The Jewel is a beautiful ship. Now over six years since it's launch in 2004, she is still in remarkably good condition showing only few signs of wear and tear. She is spacious, clean, well appointed and well maintained. Although we had booked some ten months prior to the cruise, we had only managed to secure a balcony cabin virtually at the front of the ship starboard side. We were a little apprehensive having such a forward cabin especially as we had been warned of potentially high seas as we crossed the Atlantic. We normally prefer a much more centrally situated stateroom. We need not have worried as, even while sailing through the storm after leaving Reykjavik and the high seas that ensued for the following three days or so, the ship proved to be remarkably stable and we did not experience any more notable rocking and rolling in our forward situated cabin than anywhere else on the ship. Our balcony cabin was what one would expect on a ship of this nature. The bathroom is incredibly small but ingeniously designed and once one gets used to the cocoon like effect of shower, it is more than adequate. However, we are amazed that some of our overly obese fellow passengers who sailed on this specific cruise, could even fit in the shower which effectively is not much bigger than the capsule used to rescue the trapped miners in Chile. We did not get much use out of our balcony this cruise, partially because of the inclement weather during the latter half of the cruise but also because we were surrounded by chain smokers - above, below and to both the left and right of our stateroom! We really recommend that RCI reconsider its current smoking policy that prohibits permits smoking in a stateroom yet, inexplicably, permits the habit on balconies! For reformed non-smokers such as my wife and I, it effectively negates the benefit of a balcony stateroom when there is a constant stream of cigarette smoke wafting across the balcony as we experienced on this cruise. Dining: For a mass-market cruise line, we found the food on the Jewel to be generally good to very good. We understand dinner menus on RCI ships are pretty standard but apart from the typical fare that did not vary from day to day, we always found there to be sufficient alternatives to keep us interested. We had elected the "My Time" dining option in the Tides dining room for evening meals. The special area set aside for My Time diners was well managed and organized. We generally like to dine fairly late (after 08h00 p.m.) which means we usually miss the rush and we only had to wait more than a couple of minutes for a table on only one occasion of the twelve nights we dined there. Meals generally were well prepared, attractively presented by attentive waiting staff. The only downside of My Time dining is that one can never be guaranteed a seating in the same area each night which makes tipping a bit of a problem as one is often served by different teams of waiting staff. We had four different teams during our 14 night cruise. Still, we assume the waiting staff pool their gratuities. If not, we guess if all diners gave to their last set of waiting staff, tipping would even out in the longer run. In the Windjammer, the alternate buffet style restaurant, we found the food to be more than satisfactory in range, quality and presentation. It tends to be a bit of a scrum at breakfast and lunch times unless one is prepared to dine either very early or very late to avoid the crowds. Seating is always a premium at peak times. Even when we only went to lunch well after the peak dining period, we found seating to be very scarce - often exacerbated by somewhat selfish diners who continued to occupy tables to read or play cards after they had clearly finished their meals. We had dinner in the Windjammer on two nights and were surprised to find how many people seemed to prefer the very casual dining option. Meals were generally OK but when items run out a no replacement policy seems to prevail. On the one evening we noticed a lovely prime rib being carved medium rare just the way we liked it. However, by the time we had finished our starters, the prime rib had run out and no alternative was provided. There were three formal evenings on the cruise but we found that the majority of diners tended to ignore the recommended dress code often pitching in casual attire even on formal nights. We really believe all cruise lines should reconsider their formal dining policies and go the way many of the more up market cruise lines, such as Oceania and Azamara, have gone by adopting a smart casual dress code throughout their cruises. Passengers who like to dress up should be encouraged to do so whenever they like leaving the rest of to enjoy the casual ambience of a country club casual atmosphere. In particular, for those of us who have to travel long distances to link up with a cruise and therefore have restricted luggage capacity, the option of not having to pack formal wear would be very helpful! Entertainment: For the first time on a cruise (this was our seventh), we actually thought the entertainment on offer was pretty good! The hard working entertainment team under the able direction of an energetic and affable Cruise Director could not be faulted for effort and enthusiasm. Nightly shows were invariably better than we have come to expect on cruise lines and some shows, in particular the female impressionist and a musically versatile country and western singer, were especially good. The show orchestra was excellent and one could almost always find an entertainer, singer or ensemble performing at various places on the ship. Fitness and Recreation: We made good use of the fitness centre particularly on the additional unscheduled cruise days necessitated by the change in course to bypass Newfoundland. The centre was well equipped and maintained and one seldom had to wait for a treadmill or exercycle, even at peak times. However, we were disappointed there were no change room facilities at or near the fitness center. We found such to be welcome facility on other cruise lines as after an early morning workout, one could then proceed directly for a shower and clean up prior to breakfast without having to schlep back to one's stateroom - often at the other end of the ship. Destinations: The main purpose of our vacation was to visit relatives and friends in Canada. We had a choice of either flying direct to the States (very long and exhausting), or to break our journey by flying first to London. We were then faced with the no brainer dilemma of deciding whether to fly or cruise across the Atlantic. Needless to say, it did not take us too long to discern that a cruise would be the better, more relaxing and enjoyable option! We chose the Jewel primarily for it's itinerary and were not disappointed. We only took one ship excursion - in Reykjavik, and, as we enjoy touring new destinations on foot wherever possible, we did our own thing in the other ports of call. We find this generally to be a good way to get the "feel" of a place we have not visited before. In Le Havre and Cherbourg, we just walked the quaint city centres. We have been to France many times before so did not find any of the tours offered to be of much interest. Of course, we would have loved to revisit Paris (one of our favourite cities) had we docked for a longer time. However, the day excursion to Paris that was offered, half of which was to be spent on a tour bus, just did not seem to be attractive! Cove was delightful. We took a train to Cork but frankly found Cove to be of much more interest with, inter alia, its beautiful cathedral and famous Titanic walk. The obligatory black stout (in my case a Murphy's as we wandered into a typical Irish pub that served the local brew in direct opposition to the more famous Guinness) was especially enjoyable after a long walk through the town. In Akureyri, we were met by a niece who had emigrated to Iceland some twenty years ago. She gave us the grand Akureyri tour including visits to the beautiful, if small, Godafoss Falls - literally the Falls of the Gods and then the interesting Laufas turf covered settlement that has recently been restored that gives a good indication of how the settlers in the 18th/19th century lived. We thought Akureyri was a particularly beautiful part of the world, an area that reminded us a lot of Scotland. The ship's tour of Golden Circle outside Reykjavik was both good and not so good. The highlights were the Strokkur geysers that erupt on average every four to five minutes (very impressive), and a visit to the Gulfoss (Golden) Falls - apparently the highest Falls in Europe with a double cascade of 105 feet. It reminded us a little of a mini scaled version of the more famous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The negatives were a grossly overcrowded bus (55 passengers!) and sub standard refreshments that consisted of half a polony sandwich, a dried out pastry and a cup of undrinkable lukewarm coffee - this after the ship's tour brochure publicized that the tour included a lunch. We complained but got a distinctly hostile reaction from an unhelpful guest relations desk. We subsequently did get an apology about the misrepresentation of what the tour offered from the Guest Relations Manager, which was appreciated. Disappointingly, we missed docking at St John's in Newfoundland. As a result, our next port of call was Sydney, Nova Scotia. We had booked a ship's tour of the Cabot Trail but we cancelled this after our negative experience in Reykjavik. It rained quite heavily during the day we were in Sydney so we were not too unhappy that we had cancelled the short Cabot Trail trip. Sydney is a lovely little town that one can easily walk in a couple of hours. It has a strong Scottish heritage. One van see the Scottish influence everywhere but, somewhat incongruously, it has adopted the fiddle as it's musical instrument of choice. The bagpipe still abounds but definitely plays second fiddle to the fiddle!! Service: Service throughout the ship was friendly, courteous and efficient. Our cabin attendant, a delightful West Indian lady Michelle, kept our stateroom clean and well equipped at all times with unobtrusive attention to our needs. Disembarkation: Disembarkation was an absolute shambles, quite the worst we have ever experienced on any cruise anywhere. Despite the valiant efforts of the guest relations department to pre-plan and schedule what was always going to be a tricky process, many passengers completely disregarded the guidelines that had been fully communicated to them to facilitate a smooth disembarkation procedure. The chaos started with a requirement by the US immigration authorities to complete immigration procedures for all staff and passengers on board prior to authorizing the disembarkation process to commence. To ensure that the authorities saw those passengers who had early flights etc first, passengers were asked to present themselves in accordance with a pre-assigned numbered sequence. Needless to say this did not go according to plan with passengers generally pushing and shoving to get to the front of the queue regardless of the number they had been assigned. The result - inevitable congestion and frustration. The same problem reasserted itself when the go ahead to commence disembarkation was finally given. When we finally were allowed to disembark some ninety minutes behind schedule, we then experienced a further incomprehensible delay of almost an hour in the luggage collection area of what must be one of the worst cruise terminals anywhere. The nett effect was that, even though we had booked a ship transfer from pier to the airport, we only arrived at Logan International barely in time for check in for our midday flight to Canada. Concluding comments: Since our previous cruise on the Jewel in 2006 we have sailed on the other two brands in the RCI stable viz, Celebrity and the semi luxury Azamara, both of which are marketed at the more discerning traveler. We were thus expecting a cruise experience of somewhat lesser standard in terms of quality and service than that we had enjoyed on RCI's so called premium brands. However, even though it is clear the Royal Caribbean brand is pitched at a more mass market level, we were more then happy with our overall cruise experience on the Jewel, an experience that despite the stormy weather we encountered in the latter half of the cruise, in most respects exceeded our expectations. When we booked the cruise we had no appreciation that the crossing would be at the height of the North Atlantic hurricane season! We were somewhat astonished to see a chart on board that indicated we would be most likely to hit the back end of a hurricane off the cast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in September. Had we taken the trouble to research the historical weather patterns more closely it is highly probable we would have opted to cruise the North Atlantic a month or two later. It is sobering to reflect that our specific crossing fell directly between two major storms; one that hit Nova Scotia about ten days before we docked at Sydney and the other that devastated St John's in Newfoundland a week after we completed our crossing. We can thus be all the more thankful that due to the skill of the Captain and crew, we completed the crossing safely and in retrospect, with minimal discomfort. Overall a most enjoyable cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Background Having undertaken a couple of eastbound southerly route transatlantic crossings before, my wife and I decided to join this westbound northerly sailing from Harwich (UK) for a change. We were particularly attracted by the ... Read More
Background Having undertaken a couple of eastbound southerly route transatlantic crossings before, my wife and I decided to join this westbound northerly sailing from Harwich (UK) for a change. We were particularly attracted by the published itinerary which included stops in Le Havre and Cherbourg (France), Cobh (Ireland), Akureyri and Reykjavik (Iceland), St John's NF and Sydney NS (Canada) before disembarking in Boston (USA). It subsequently transpired however that the call into St John's was missed due to bad weather (see below). Travel to port In consideration of the variety of potential causes for flight disruptions which arose in the months leading up to the cruise (volcano eruptions, airline staff disputes and threatened airport closures etc) we thought it prudent to position ourselves in Harwich a day ahead of the cruise. Accordingly we flew to Stansted airport and completed the 46 mile road journey to Harwich by private transfer (I'm still trying to fathom out why that cost us more than our 314 mile flight from Edinburgh did). Pre-cruise Hotel We stayed overnight at the Premier Inn which was clean, comfortable and convenient for a supermarket to pick up those inevitable last minute provisions we somehow believe that we just could not do without on the ship. The adjacent Mayflower restaurant offered a good variety of reasonably priced pub style food for dinner and a choice of healthy, or not so healthy, breakfast options for those who could not wait for the Windjammer to open onboard at noon. Embarkation Embarkation at Harwich was extremely well handled. Having checked-in online and printed off our Set Sail passes beforehand, the check-in procedure took no longer than it takes to swipe a credit card. Issued with our Sea Pass cards, which serve as your stateroom door key, your identity card for getting on and off the ship and your charge card for onboard purchases, we were allowed onboard the ship by about 11:00am, our stateroom was available by 1:00pm and our luggage was delivered by 2:30pm. Ship info The ship itself is one of our favourites in the fleet and has been highly maintained throughout to preserve its appearance and charm. The Centrum area in particular is quite stunning from all angles (remember to look down on it through the glass observation window in the Crown & Anchor lounge on deck 12), the decor and furnishings in the Schooner bar and Safari Club on deck 6 are a delight to behold and the glass covered Solarium area on deck 11 offers the facility to read or relax on a lounger regardless of the weather. The Seaview Cafe on deck 12 offers a good choice of casual style made to order snacks and meals as an alternative venue for lunch or a late night supper. Stateroom Due to the popularity of this cruise, the best stateroom available when we booked in December 2009 was a solitary E2 balcony which we gladly accepted purely and simply to ensure a place for us onboard. However, after final payment date, a few more staterooms opened up and we were able to upgrade to a junior suite instead. The additional space and storage this afforded us was most welcome on a 14 night sailing. Our stateroom attendant team did a great job maintaining the place to our liking and constantly replenished the toiletries, tissues, tea & coffee tray and ice etc as required, without having to be asked. Dining Back home we would never think of going to the same restaurant for dinner 14 nights hard running and, as such, we adopt a regime onboard which we call 'My Time and Place' Dining - some nights Main Dining Room, some nights Windjammer, some nights Chops Grille and some nights Portofinos. We were assigned to a full table for 10 in Tides dining room deck 4 level and were fortunate insofar as everybody got on really well with each other and the service was good. The down side to the MDR nowadays is that the dinner menus are pretty much standard across the fleet and have not varied in recent years. As such, they tend to lose interest and appeal after a while. Serving food whilst it remains hot also seems to be difficult to achieve when serving so many meals at the same time. In contrast, the food in the Windjammer is usually warmer and includes choices over and above that on the MDR menu of the day. Pity they closed the doors at 9:00pm on this sailing (on some European itineraries it stays open longer to fit in with the lifestyle of those accustomed to having a siesta in the afternoon and eating later at night). We have found that 'Chops Grille' and 'Portofinos' food and service can vary from one ship to another but on this sailing they were both excellent. Activities Apart from the usual recreational activities as listed in the daily compass this particular cruise added a couple of unique events. Firstly, a fellow passenger had suggested to the Cruise Director that, since the ship would pass close by Plymouth UK on the 390th anniversary of the Mayflower having set sail from there laden with a group of disgruntled separatists intent on setting up camp in America, the cruise line should mark the occasion in the form of some onboard gatherings and talks on the subject for those interested in the alleged similarities between that sailing and ours. Personally I do wonder how one could compare the two. Mayflower took 66 days to get there - Jewel of the Seas did it in 14 days. Mayflower carried 102 passengers with a crew of 25-30 - Jewel of the Seas carried 2501 guests with a crew of 842. Mayflower colonists suffered greatly from diseases like scurvy due to lack of shelter and conditions onboard ship - Jewel of the Seas paying guests could expect nothing worse than acute indigestion and perhaps a bout or two of alcohol intoxication. The other event came as a surprise when Captain 'Stig' announced that on the night before arriving in Akureyri the ship would cross into the Arctic Circle and accordingly King Neptune would board the ship then to assist him perform the traditional ritual of initiating those onboard who wished to be inaugurated into the Ancient and Honourable Company of Blue Noses as is customary on such an occasion. The initiation ceremony required having ice and cold water dropped down your back, knocking back a shot of grog in one go and having your nose painted blue at the end. The Captain (who claimed to be born within the Arctic Circle to the North of Norway and was therefore exempt from initiation) had mischievously brought along two different sizes of ladle for dispensing the ice and water (a regular size for the passengers and a jumbo size for his executive officers). A formal certificate to commemorate the event was presented to everyone as a keepsake. For the benefit of those who have not set eyes on King Neptune before, he looks just like a crew member dressed in drag and threatened with termination of his contract if he refused to do as he was told. Itinerary change Due to the presence of an Arctic Low Pressure Storm in our intended path from Reykjavik to St John's, in the interest of passenger and crew safety and comfort, the Captain made the wise decision to alter the ships course and avoid the worst of the storm. In so doing however, the required diversion added 300 miles to our journey which, in turn, necessitated cancelling the visit to St John's. To his credit he hosted a special presentation the next day to fully inform the passengers of his reasoning in this regard and was commended by all present for doing so. It was suggested that if the original course had been maintained we could have encountered waves of 13-14 metres in height. By changing route we got off with seas in the region of 6 metres or so as we sailed through the night. A refund of the recoverable port fees was automatically credited to our onboard account in the circumstances. Ports of call Le Havre (weather good) - this is primarily the setting off point for visiting Paris and the majority of tours offered from here reflect this. It is quite far however and can be exhausting. If Paris sounds like a journey too far, closer by is the lovely port of Honfleur for those who prefer a more relaxing time. Having been to these places before we opted to stay onboard this time and made good use of the Solarium whilst the ship was quiet. Cherbourg (weather fair) - the landing beaches of Normandy are the most popular tour from here and never fail to tug at the emotions of all who visit to pay homage. However there are a few places of interest to be discovered within Cherbourg itself, the highlight for us on this visit being 'La CitE de la Mer' maritime museum which houses an aquarium, an exhibition of numerous deep sea diving vessels spanning many years and, last but not least, the French Navy's first nuclear missile-launching submarine 'Le Redoubtable' superbly preserved and open to internal inspection. It is situated directly adjacent to the main cruise terminal building which, itself, contains a number of interesting artefacts reflecting its connection with notable sailings from there in years gone by. Cobh (weather fair) - The fact that the ship berths directly alongside the town centre it encourages you to do nothing more than walk off the ship, find a good pub and eavesdrop on the inimitable Craic between locals whilst supping a pint or more of Murphy's draught ale. The Heritage Centre on the quayside gives a good insight to the history of Cobh and its links with the Great Famine, Ellis Island immigration processing centre and, of course, the Titanic. Also on the quayside is the train station from where they run a regular service into Cork. Coach tours can also be arranged to visit other nearby visitor attractions including Blarney Castle with its infamous stone which purports to give all who kiss it 'the gift of the gab'. Akureyri (weather good) - Upon first sight, I could have sworn that we had docked somewhere in the North of Scotland. The scenery and landscape is very similar. The town itself is quite small but we did come across a couple of places worthy of a visit. We climbed the 112 steps to the Akureyrarkirkja church on the hill for a look inside and to admire the view from its grounds over the town and the fjord it stands on. We also visited the botanical gardens which, surprisingly for its geographic location, included some lush vegetation and species of plants that would not survive in my own garden back home. For those wishing to see further afield, coach tours were available to take in the surrounding countryside and the waterfalls, craters and bubbling hot and smelly mud fields etc that it had to offer. However, judging by the people we spoke with who had gone on this tour, the majority of time was spent driving to and from these sites with nothing of great interest between stops. Reykjavik (weather heavy showers) - In contrast to the charm and homeliness of Akureyri, we actually found Reykjavik dull, dismal and depressing. We had taken the local tourist board shuttle bus from the pier into town hoping to find some impressive buildings, broad streets and upmarket shopping precincts etc that you associate with capital cities around the world. Nope! - We didn't find any I'm afraid. Mostly tacky souvenir shops all selling the same items. Things were not helped by the fact that the heavens opened the minute we stepped off the bus and it looked set to stay that way for some time. We persevered for about half an hour before deciding to catch the next shuttle bus back to the ship. Coach tours to some more waterfalls, hot springs and steam vents etc were available as was the option to visit the Blue Lagoon and wallow in geothermal water along with the bacteria of countless others who have been there before you. Sydney (weather fair with occasional showers) - As s result of the aforementioned itinerary change the ship arrived here half a day earlier than planned offering the opportunity for us to sample the local nightlife in town. However, since it started to rain heavily, we decided to stay onboard till the morning. Next day we picked up a map from the tourist information desk and set off on a suggested walking tour which took in many of the oldest houses, some of which are now preserved as museums. Disappointingly, many of the surrounding properties on the route are in a dilapidated state and project the image of a rundown area. The main street too lacked appeal and atmosphere with little in the way of decent shops. That said however, we did enjoy are time there and, being Scottish, are pleased to have set foot in Nova Scotia. We shall always remember the friendliness and politeness of the locals who go out of their way to assist you find your way around. The drivers too are the most courteous I have come across anywhere in the world. If they sense that you may wish to cross street they will stop and wave you over, regardless of whether or not you are near a crossing. Sea Days (weather typical for the region and time of year) - The majority of sea days were on the bleak side with high winds, mist and rain which somewhat curtailed outdoor activities. By night the mist turned to fog which thwarted any chance we may have had of seeing the Northern Lights in the skies around Iceland. Apparently the fog did eventually clear and they were visible at 3:00am on a couple of nights but, alas, we were in a deep slumber by then. Disembarkation Disembarkation was preceded by US Customs and Immigration inspection of all passengers. In this instance not being an American worked to our advantage as they had set up a separate stall for 'aliens' only, who were few and far between on this cruise. Was surprised at how the process on this occasion was less stringent than that we are usually subjected to when arriving by air - no finger prints taken, no questions asked and no having to show tickets to prove our intention to return home. Due to an apparent problem unloading luggage from the ship, disembarkation did not start at the predicted time and, when it did start, the so called express walk-off took an eternity because of the inability of the majority of people to manage their own luggage down the sloping gangway. Fortunately we were in no rush to get off since we had arranged for an overnight stay in Boston before returning home but the possibility of this happening again should be kept in mind when planning onward travel arrangements. Post cruise in Boston (weather glorious) - Thanks to some really good information posted on Cruise Critic North American Homeports board -East Coast Departures forum before leaving home we were able to decide where to stay and what to do in the time we had available. Because of its close proximity to Black Falcon cruise terminal and good transport links for getting around town and to the airport we chose the Westin Boston Waterfront hotel with late check-out facility allowing us use of the room right up until we needed to leave for our early evening flight home. The Old Town trolley tour was ideal for us since we were able to join it directly in front of the hotel and could get off and on as we wished at the various stops along the route. Our ticket also included a harbour sightseeing cruise which offered a different perspective of the city. Summary We thoroughly enjoyed this crossing particularly because it afforded us the opportunity to sail in new waters and see new places we would not have contemplated travelling to by any other means (Akureyri, Reykjavik, Sydney and Boston). The Jewel of the Seas is a fabulous ship and Captain Stig Nielsen, his officers and crew were fantastic. The crystal block presented to us for having attained our 30th Crown & Anchor cruise credit whilst onboard will serve as a great memento of the good times and experiences we had. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
A few hours after the ship left Miami one of the passengers had an emergency. It was announced that the ship was turning around to meet the vessel that was picking up the passenger. It was done promptly without incident (good to know) and ... Read More
A few hours after the ship left Miami one of the passengers had an emergency. It was announced that the ship was turning around to meet the vessel that was picking up the passenger. It was done promptly without incident (good to know) and we still arrived in Bermuda on time. We enjoyed Bermuda and the my only complaint was that it was Sunday and the shops in Hamilton were closed. Next we were at sea for about 7 days during which time we relaxed by the outdoor and indoor pools, ate our meals, saw the shows and went to the casino. The Jewel is a midsize ship and everything was very conveniently located. Our oceanview cabin was on a lower deck near the back. We only had to go one flight of stairs to the dining room which is also in the back. My husband and I had the 'anytime dining' and really enjoyed the flexibility. The food and service were excellent. Our next port was Lisbon, which we loved. We did some things on our own as the ship docks close to the city and RCI provides a shuttle from the cruise port. I think it was about $4 pp. I bought some very nice scarfs in Lisbon. There is lots of shopping and it is reasonable compared to countries like England and France. Our last port was Bruges, Belgium and it is a must see! Wonderful old town area with centuries old cathedrals and shops. Very clean and English spoken.The next day the Jewel arrived in Great Britain. We had a very nice crossing with good weather because the captain steered away from storms at sea. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We had booked this cruise while we travelling on the Grandeur last fall. We were subsequently caught in the new bookings only promotional trap and it ended up that the "best price guarantee" did not apply. There were passengers ... Read More
We had booked this cruise while we travelling on the Grandeur last fall. We were subsequently caught in the new bookings only promotional trap and it ended up that the "best price guarantee" did not apply. There were passengers on this cruise in identical staterooms who paid $400 less than we did. So much for the best price guarantee. We boarded the cruise in Miami after a short drive from Fort Lauderdale. We are Diamond members but somehow the preferred boarding did not materialize and we had to wait to check in with everybody else and then sit in line for a while until boarding was organized. Once we arrived in our cabin everything was great and we took a look around to see if some of our favorite bar staff were still on board. Sure enough we found Odell and Veronica but not in their usual places (Schooner and Champagne Bar), they were both in the Lobby Bar. It is our habit to have a drink before dinner in the Champagne bar and sample a little of the Caviar; unfortunately the Caviar ran out on the sixth day and was never around after that. The food was good and the service friendly and efficient, we ate in Chops on two of the nights and that was superb as usual. We had planned ahead to leave the ship in Zeebrugge and visit Brussels for few days and this was very well organised by the ship and our bags were brought down from the cabin and delivered to the shuttle bus to Blankenberg Railway Station. We gave the desk advanced notice of our departure and our accounts were available for settlement on the morning we left. The only additional charge we made was a $12.00 charge for the shuttle bus. When we checked in we gave them our Royal Caribbean charge card for the settlement of our account. That card was then put in my wallet and never used or taken out again as the wallet remained in our safe. In Belgium we used a European charge card for all subsequent purchases in Europe and beyond. After a few days in Brussels we then caught a ferry to England and visited friends in Whitby. When I checked my email at their house I found an urgent email from Bank of America asking me contact them immediately as they suspected fraudulent use of my card. I contacted them immediately and they told me of a series of 7 charges made to my credit card on May 19th, the day after we left the ship including three charges to Payless Rent a Car exceeding $800 and the 7 charges totalled almost $3000. I told them that none of these charges were mine and they asked me to confirm that my card was in my possession and to confirm that my wife had hers. We both had our cards. After I finished my call to Bank of America I immediately called Royal Caribbean in England to report the circumstances to them, feeling that they would like to know that my credit card information had been used from their ship. They told me that as I had booked through Miami I would have to contact them, they could not have been less interested. When I returned to the US I then called the Miami office and spoke with the Post cruise specialist. Her attitude was almost identical to the UK office. She said that it was impossible that the card number could have been taken from the ship, I asked her to explain how else it could have happened, which, of course, she could not. She said that she would make a note of it in the file and with that the call came to an end. I am absolutely appalled at the lack of interest taken by Royal in this matter. There is no other way that this card number could have been known by anyone unless it came from the ship. I am afraid that this put somewhat of a blanket on what was a very enjoyable cruise when compared with our return trip on the Queen Mary. You will have to see my feedback on that trip under the Queen Mary. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Our first time on Royal Caribbean,our 12th Cruise.On our way home after the QM2 to New York,and days in Florida. Embarkation was quick and painless with each deck having a dedicated desk.Cabin roomy,plenty of storage,well laid out with a ... Read More
Our first time on Royal Caribbean,our 12th Cruise.On our way home after the QM2 to New York,and days in Florida. Embarkation was quick and painless with each deck having a dedicated desk.Cabin roomy,plenty of storage,well laid out with a pleasant balcony. Dining was really excellent, in the Main Dining Room.Superb Service. Entertainment ,one excellent Argentinian show, which was repeated in the Concourse. Other general entertainment was very poor,very holiday camp style.The Golf competion on the Simulator - staff did not turn up and when they did, the next day, it did not work. Champagne Bar,for ordinary drinks, excellent service from the two girls. Downside, miserable joke of a library,"leave your paper backs please"-many Germans must have done so in the past! The main problem with this ship is the continual loud music all over the ship.Nowhere is allowed to be quiet.This can be very very annoying. And why no laundry? Would I return. NO. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My wife and I decided to take a vacation to celebrate our anniversary.  We looked around for ideas and then we found this transatlantic cruise on the Jewel of the Seas.  We had never cruised before and thought we would give it a try.  ... Read More
My wife and I decided to take a vacation to celebrate our anniversary.  We looked around for ideas and then we found this transatlantic cruise on the Jewel of the Seas.  We had never cruised before and thought we would give it a try.  We also found crossing the Atlantic by ship an intriguing adventure.  We arrived in Miami early in the morning the day the cruise embarked.  We live in Florida so we weren't very interested in hanging out in Miami.  We traveled to the dock and boarded the Jewel.  The crew processing the Set Sail Passes were pleasant, but not outwardly friendly.  I will say they moved the line along very well.  We boarded the Jewel and were greeted in a much more enthusiastic manner on board the ship.  We found our cabin and unpacked and then headed to the muster drill.  The drill was handled efficiently and we were soon enjoying the cruise.  It was a beautiful day as we pulled out of Miami.  The Sun was getting low in the sky and the Florida sunset was very pretty.  We had an interior cabin, but it was plenty roomy for the two of us.  We did not spend much time hanging out in the cabin.  We enjoyed the amenities of the ship.  Our stateroom attendant was wonderful.  She was very friendly and took care of every need.  On a cruise of 13 days we did spend some money on laundry.  We planned on it.  It was not cheap, but it was cleaned well and pressed well.The first evening we explored the ship.  We ate second seating dinner and met our table mates.  They were quite friendly and Royal Caribbean did a good job of sitting us with couples in our age range (20s and 30s).  The food most nights was quite good as was the service.  Our assistant waiter was especially good.  A couple of nights in a 13 night cruise the chef seemed to run out of new dishes, or the new ones he introduced were probably third string.  The last evening they served lobster in the dinning room and it was very good.  One evening they served a New York Strip, but it was average.  It wasn't bad, but it was not a great steak.  The desserts were very good.  One evening I ordered fish and did not feel well at all after eating it.  It was about 9 or 10 nights into the cruise and maybe it had been on board in the freezer too long.After a full sea day on our second day, we arrived in Bermuda.  We really enjoyed Bermuda.  It is a beautiful Island (Islands really).  The people were friendly and it had a wonderful atmosphere.  In Bermuda we took a ship excursion.  We booked a bicycle tour that went up to Fort Scaur.  Our guide was quite knowledgeable and helpful.  The drawback of the tour was the beginning.  We met our guide at the dock and then he departed without us.  We stood around for almost an hour where he told us to wait for him.  During that time we found the excursions director from the Jewel and they had to call him to come back to get us.  He was very apologetic, but it was an inconvenience.We spent the next five days at sea.  We enjoyed the sea days they were very relaxing.  The shows were hit and miss.  The quality overall was slightly above average.  However, we simply enjoyed relaxing and reading.  I also spent some time in athletic activities.  I played soccer and basketball.  The mini golf course was very enjoyable (and challenging).  We also used the fitness facility regularly.  It was clean and well kept.  It had a good selection of dumbbells and resistance machines.  There were not enough pieces of cardio equipment.  There was often a wait for a bike, treadmill, or eliptical.  During the cruise we ate in the dinning room, the Windjammer (buffet), and the Sea View Cafe.  The Sea View was OK.  It was typical fastfood quality.  The Windjammer was convenient, but nothing to brag on.  It was like Golden Corrall at sea.  The Dinning Room was usually very good.Our first port of call on the European side of the Atlantic was Lisbon, Portugal.  We decided to explore the city on our own.  We enjoyed the city and did not have much trouble communicating with taxi drivers.  It was significantly less expensive that other parts of Europe.  We especially enjoyed the shopping and the Alfama.The next day we visited Vigo, Spain.  We decided to take the ship excursion to Santiago de Compostela.  It was a very good excursion with a very knowledgable guide.  I don't think we could have pulled that excursion off on our own.  The city was beautiful and very interesting.  I am not Roman Catholic, but I found the Cathedral fascinating and beautiful.  It was also interesting to see the pilgrims making their way to the cathedral.  We were surprised to see bagpipes being played.  I guess the Galician region of Spain has a Celtic heritage like Scotland and Ireland.The following day was a sea day and by this point we were getting bored with the ship.  It is a huge ship, but 7 days at sea were quite a lot.The 12th day we visited Cherbourg, France.  It was very pretty and we enjoyed a ship excursion to the American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach.  We ate lunch in Bayeux at Lyon d'Or (sp?).  It is a famous restaurant in the Normandy region.  It was a great experience eating french food.  Our tour guide was very helpful and really emphasized how much the French appreciate what the Americans did at Normandy in liberating France.  The excursion was good, but I would have liked to have seen more of the beaches.  If I had it to do over, I would take a private tour of the Normandy beaches and spend less time in Bayeux.The 13th day we landed in Harwich and traveled to London from where we flew home.  We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and we would gladly sail Royal Caribbean again.  We would even go out of our way to sail on the Jewel again. 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Sail Date May 2009
Just returneed from the May 4 transatlantic cruise on the Jewel of The Seas. I was recovering from surgery and what a way to go. Best cruise yet! We booked an ocean view cabin on deck three  with an online agency at a great rate. We ... Read More
Just returneed from the May 4 transatlantic cruise on the Jewel of The Seas. I was recovering from surgery and what a way to go. Best cruise yet! We booked an ocean view cabin on deck three  with an online agency at a great rate. We decided on flying in the day before to Fort Lauderdale and stayed at the Comfort Inn  Cruise Port south, loved it especially the swim up bar and breakfast. Highly recommended.Next morning took the shuttle to Miami cruise port arrived at 11,30 and were on the ship within a half hour, small glitch as the computer did not recognize my name. The room was well appointed and clean, attendant was friendly and unobtrusive. We went to the Windjammer for lunch and it was  great and watched sailway as Carnival played loudly in the background. Who Let your dogs out.We had early dining and were seated at a large table. Service was better than the last cruise on Brilliance.The entertainment on this crusie was outstanding, They had a tribute to the Jersey Boys, Brenda Cochren from Britain's Got Talent and a Motown group that rocked the ship.There  was a sailawy party with a disco theme and I saw notices for Big Band dancing, country and tango. We attanded the wine tasting and the Emceee was priceless.Captains' party and welcome back for gold members.. lectures every afternoon on various countries we would visit  and daily mass for Catholics which I really liked.The mix was half British Isles and and half American. Nice  fun group of travellers.I thought the food on this cruise was better than my 4 previous ones. roast beef so tender you could cut it with a fork, lobster that kep coming, lamb and a glorious cheescake which they have improved upon. I gained loads of weight.We were concerned about the five sea days but we found there was always something going on and someone interesting to chat with and have lunch and events. They were very vigilant concerning transmission of swine flu, lots of santitizers and tongs constantly changed. The ship was spotless.There was a case of chicken pox early in the cruise and I heard they were quarentined for 4 days.Bermuda was lovely and we loved being there overnight although the Navel Dockyard was shut tight at 6 that evening.Went to Frog and Onion for Dark and Stormies.Went to Lisbon and Fatima ships' excursion, had very little time there, was disappointed in the tour commentator as she was very negative, kept talking about politics and pick pockets but the crowds were large, went to Santiago in ship excursion, this time tour commentator was excellent and it the was the highlight of our trip Don't miss it.World heritage Unesco site.Cherbourg was pretty and we went on market day, just lovely and had moules and frites with  cider. Diembarkation was quick in Harwich and we had early breakfast in the Windjammer. Went on to London for 3 days and stayed at the Hoxton for 20 pounds, great bargain  as it was a boutique hotel.Flew back to Toronto with Thomas Cook , again highly recommended.Highly recoommended to go transatlantic, will book again,great value for money, thanks RCI! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We had read great great things about the Jewel before arriving for our cruise and for the most part the ship and it's crew exceeded our expectations.  Physical layout and ship amenities are great.  Lots of activities ... Read More
We had read great great things about the Jewel before arriving for our cruise and for the most part the ship and it's crew exceeded our expectations.  Physical layout and ship amenities are great.  Lots of activities (although heavy on Bingo).  Great use of Centrum area for events and music.  Organized excercise opportuniites were limited.Casino was nice and offered inexpensive slots.  Very smoky in casino though and the smoke was not contained in this area - filling the nearby movie theatre to the point it was difficult to adjust to the smell inside). Smoky also in some bars.  And it seemed as if the smokers were given the best viewing areas to sit and relax in.Carpeting showing it's age and wear.  Musty smell in the bathroom that the steward could not do anything about.  I thought the ship was very stable even with 18 foot swells.  My wife who is very prone to motion sickness only had one bad day (however, the captain told us we were lucky - the Atlantic can offer up much rougher crossings than we had).  Great entertainment on this ship.  We looked forward to the show each night.  We would rate the ship highly on appearance, general cleanliness, staff performance and entertainment.  Food quality was good/very good.  But a big problem exists with the management of the kitchen, the dining room presentation of meals (as prepared in the kitchen) and the cooking of the food.  We returned several dishes at our table that were undercooked; overcooked or cold.  Even the head waiter was disgusted. The favorite food presentation was to place the entree on a bed of mashed potatoes and serve it.  Bakery was very good (especially the hard rolls).  The Windjammer cafe was often better that what we were getting in the dining room.  We did not try the specialty restaurants as we were trying to keep our expenses down.  All things considered a great cruise and if the food situation could get straightened out (in the dining room) this ship could remain one of the best we have experienced.  We will continue to sail with RCCL for the time being but will not become loyal to it unless the improve the food significantly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Embarkation Check-in at the ship was pleasant and efficient. We were provided our passkeys and other documents quickly and cheerfully. Our baggage arrived in our cabin within an hour or so of boarding which was very quick based on ... Read More
Embarkation Check-in at the ship was pleasant and efficient. We were provided our passkeys and other documents quickly and cheerfully. Our baggage arrived in our cabin within an hour or so of boarding which was very quick based on other cruises we have made. The only negative was that an elevator in the boarding area was not working so handicapped guests were made to wait until the problem was repaired. Ports of Call The Jewel of the Seas made port visits to Lehavre, France, Dublin, Ireland; Cork, Ireland; and St. John's, Newfoundland. Port visits to Holyhead, Wales and Plymouth, England were cancelled due to a sea state deemed too rough for tendering. In Dublin the gangway was located immediately outside our cabin. Crew members came and went all night long. The attendant noise made sleep nearly impossible. I brought it to the attention of Guest Services and their attitude was condescending and not at all helpful. I believe our cabin was the only one affected. Accommodations The cabin was quite large with adequate storage space. Our cabin was on the 3rd deck and convenient to most everything except buffet dining. The only problem arose when the gangway was located adjacent to our cabin in Dublin. This will be discussed further in a separate section. Ship Condition The Jewel of the Seas entered the HAL fleet in 2004. The crew has done well to maintain the vessel. The ship was in excellent condition. Crew members were observed painting, scraping and polishing each and every day. Food The Jewel of the Seas food was ordinary and average for a cruise ship. The dining room menu was varied but portions for many entries were very small. Many of the selections were over salted and required a substitute in some cases. Salads in the dining room were uninspiring to say the least. The Windjammer buffet was better than the dining room in many cases. The Windjammer layout facilitated diners and long lines were the exception. Desserts were varied and delicious A general complaint on all RCL ships is a lack of hand sanitizers in dining areas. I brought this to the attention of a food services officer and was told that RCL policy is not to use hand sanitizers except during a virus outbreak. Service The crewmembers were simply outstanding. Food service in all dining areas was prompt, cheerful and efficient. Our waiter and assistant waiter were the best we have ever experienced in twelve years of cruising. Not only were they attentive to our needs but also they went out of their way to know our names and recognized us when they were working the buffet as well as the dining room. Our room steward was rarely visible but the room was always clean. And any requests were promptly filled. One negative was the shipboard laundry service. Clothes were cleaned, pressed and returned to us within twenty-four hours; however, the service was very expensive. There were no coin-operated laundry facilities on board so guests were a captive audience. Activities The Cruise Director, Joff, was adequate. More activities could have been planned, especially for the at-sea days. There were the usual bingo and trivia contests but with the weather not conducive to outside activities, there was little to do during the at-sea days. Evening Entertainment RCL usually is known for outstanding entertainment. However, this cruise was an exception. The RCL singers and dancers were average for cruise ships. However, the featured entertainers were not up to RCL standards. More than once I observed guests walking out during performances. Fitness Center The Jewel of the Seas fitness center is outstanding for a ship of her size. There was ample cardiovascular equipment, excellent weight machines, and a full set of free weights. The staff was attentive and helpful. There were sanitizer wipes available to clean machines when finished. Debarkation Debarkation in Boston was slower than anticipated. We elected to carry our own bags so were able to debark ahead of most guests. Overall Assessment Overall the cruising experience on the Jewel of the Seas was positive. There were problems which I enumerated above. The gangway issue marred an otherwise enjoyable cruise. I am addressing the gangway problem directly to Royal Caribbean. Based on their response, I may or may not continue to sail on RCL ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
Neither my mom nor I thought we would be cruising until November 2009. We had plans to take the Independence of the Seas on its transatlantic next year, but we decided now was the better time to go. We only found out in mid-July that we ... Read More
Neither my mom nor I thought we would be cruising until November 2009. We had plans to take the Independence of the Seas on its transatlantic next year, but we decided now was the better time to go. We only found out in mid-July that we would be going in September! We flew out of Orlando on Virgin Atlantic. I would change this for next time: rather than leave at 8:00pm and arrive in Gatwick, England, at 8:30am, I would leave early in the morning. I was very jet-lagged the entire first week, which was when all the ports were, so I would recommend staying in a hotel the night before boarding. It was impossible to sleep, partly from anticipation, partly from being so uncomfortable in those seats. But over all it was a pleasant flight, with a dinner (very good vegetarian one, I might add, with pasta main dish, dinner roll, side salad and dressing, cheese and crackers, butter, bread pudding, and water), breakfast sandwich, and entertainment from the TV screen in front of each of us. One other comment: my "window" seat had no window. I did not mind so much since it was dark for most of the flight, but just a heads up to anyone who really wants a window: every few rows on each side of the plane has no window, just the wall, for whatever reason. Getting passports stamped in Gatwick was no fun. We wait at least an hour, and we were fortunate because after 20 minutes in line we saw the line was at least 4 times longer, and that is not an exaggeration. But once our passports were stamped, we found our luggage and had a fairly easy time spotting the Royal Caribbean sign. We waited about 5 min with the large group also headed to the ship. Once on the tour bus, our ride was a little less than 2 hours to the port at Harwich. This was my fifth cruise, with all others being in the caribbean; four on NCL's S.S. Norway and one on NCL Sun. When I saw the ship, I thought it looked very nice as compared to those other ships I had been on. Boarding was very easy. Less than 20 min off the bus and we were on board, searching for the dining room. I have heard other people complain there are not enough tables for 2, and this is true. With just my mom and I, we hoped to be seated at our own table. We ended up at a table for 6, and, in fact, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting our dinnermates as well as new people at breakfast and lunch. The lifeboat drill was held in the Coral Theater. Much more comfortable than the other ship drills that are held outside on the deck...but in an emergency I would not have known where exactly to go for our lifeboat. I'll break this review into sections rather than go along chronologically: PORTS! Paris was our first port, and it was unfortunate we lost an hour the night before. As we fell asleep that first night, it had been over 36 hours since we'd slept...We chose the Paris on Your Own excursion ($104 each for 2.5 hours in a tour bus each way). Having never been to Paris I did not know what to expect, but Paris turned out to be my favorite port. I was very disappointed at having only about 4 hours because the tour promised 5.5. The bus dropped us off next to the Eiffel at noon, and at 415 we were running back to it. My mom and I climbed the first 360 steps of the Eiffel: 7.10 Euro total. The time crunch made us decide not to go up to the 2nd level. But in my opinion the first level affords a very good view of Paris. The Arc de Triumph, Notre Dame, Pont Alexandre III were all visible (all places I'd wanted to see but had to cross off the list) as were Sacre Coeur, Trocadero gardens, and the Invalides. We bought souvenirs and post cards (sent two of them there). TIP: Take addresses to all the ports, so you can send postcards from Europe, or on the ship. The restrooms were odd, with an attendance inside directing us when to go in, and having both men and women in the same bathroom. We walked through the park from the Eiffel to the military school and it took about 20 min to reach the Invalides, which we visited for Napoleon's tomb and the Musee de l'Armee (me being the history buff, and my mom having just wanted Ken Burns' (?) WWII documentary, the museum was second on our list after Eiffel). Paris was BEAUTIFUL, very clean, most people spoke English on the street (tourists?) and at the Eiffel and Invalides. I did get to use my 4 years of French for about 60 seconds :o) We only had time for the WWI and WWII exhibits, which were excellent. Excellent gift shop. By the way: Paris maps make the city seem small, but it definitely is not. It almost seemed like the Taste of Paris people got a better deal: they got to see alot of the city (albeit from a tour bus) and still had 4 hours of free time? I don't know how that adds up timewise but that is what our dinnermates said. French motorists apparently won't really stop for you, so people just walk the crosswalks (even on small streets). And our tablemates also said some people nearly got pickpocketed, although I was careful to keep my purse zippered and in front of me, so no problems for us. Also, no Parisian food. No time, and a quick meal of fruit cocktail, a water, and muffin cost 18 Euro! Overall, a gorgeous day (75 and sunny) and definitely the 'taste of Paris' that I needed to make me want to go back and stay a week. Plymouth, England and Holyhead, Wales were cancelled due to rough seas. We'd planned on The Best of Devon in Eng. and to climb the South Stack and Lighthouse in Wales. The latter was actually cancelled two nights before because not enough people had signed up. To make up for those ports, the Captain did her best and got us to Dublin at 7pm Thurs, so we could get off 7am Fri instead of 9am. But after dinner there were only 3 or 4 coaches (complementary) on the dock, and we figured that we would have about one hour by the time we got to the city, so we retired early and planned to use the entire day tomorrow. Dublin, Ireland. I was prepared to enjoy Dublin more than Paris because I had my heart set on going to the beautiful Powerscourt estate and gardens. One excursion there was $99 each. But we read in the books that taking the bus from Dublin to Eniskerry (town nearby) was cheap, and we just thought we could do it on our own for maybe $30. Well, first of all, don't plan on walking from the port into Dublin, as the maps in books made it look like you could. Too far to walk, and not a nice looking part of town either. We paid $24 on board to take the shuttle ($6 per person each way). We were dropped at Kildare Street. The driver was very friendly, and explained to me that Eniskerry is a town an hour's walk away from Powerscourt. The books said nothing about this! (They all say take the 44C bus, which takes an hour to get to Eniskerry, even though it is only 12miles south of Dublin.) What we should have done was buy the Powerscourt tour (offered in Dublin) for 30 Euros each. But it was offered like 11-330pm and toured other areas we weren't very interested in, so we decided just to stay in Dublin. Not being beer drinkers, I have nothing to say on the pubs or Guinness Factory (sorry!). St. Stephen's Green was the highlight, as Dublin was very very crowded with pedestrians and buses. It is very walkable however. To loop around Grafton and Dawson Streets combined might take 8 min if you walk fairly quickly. Also, great amount of shopping and souvenir shops. The highlight for us was the National Museum. Free to get in, we spent almost 2 hours walking around. Clothing, weapons, jewelry, cooking utensils, and even two partly preserved ancient bodies from a bog (creepy but cool). Nice gift shop, cafeteria inside too. We ended up not eating in Dublin. Being vegetarian, we'd found the perfect restaurant (Cornucopia) but it was not at all how it appeared online: it was small and noisy and dark and the menu seemed very different. Cobh/Cork, Ireland. One of our favorite ports. Ship is literally next to the town of Cobh. We spent about 1.5 hours at the Cobh Heritage Center (aka the Queenstown Story), located right on the pier, can't miss it. Got both of us student's admission, 6 Euro each. Very very nice museum, focusing on immigration from Ireland to America, the Titanic and Lusitania, as well as shipping and cruising from the 20th century. Nice but very crowded giftshop. Also in the building is a cafe and another shop with clothing. We got back on the ship for lunch, then got off and walked around the town. We went to the little park by the water, and climbed many stairs to the St. Colman's cathedral. A friendly, well-fed black and white cat was greeting people outside, very cute. Very different from Dublin. No huge crowds or traffic, but also not alot of gift shops besides heritage center. Also, on the ship at 345 was the group Rhythmic Feet, composed of girls ages 10-19, from Ireland. They did an amazing job and I thought it was a very nice touch to the day to have them come on board and perform for us (Coral Theater). St. John's, Newfoundland. Another nice port, right by the ship. We even got back on for lunch again. When we got off the ship we were greeted by some of the people who lived there. Very friendly. There were two very large very friendly Labrador (?) dog on the pier for the passengers to take pictures with. When we went back at lunch, they had been replaced by a mounted policeman. The horse very graciously posed for pictures :o). Very walkable. Water Street had souvenir shops galore, very fun to walk to each one and browse. We visited The Rooms museum, which has an archives, art gallery, and (my personal favorite) a natural history section with wildlife. I think it was $3 admission for students, and $4 or $5 for adults. Duckworth St supposedly had plenty of very good shops, but we couldn't seem to find that section of it; the section of the street we walked was not much to look at. Like Paris, we were unprepared for the spread of the city. We had wanted to visit Pippy Park (we never did see a moose!) and Signal Hill, but both are quite far from the city center if you walk. Also, we were given maps at all of the ports except Cobh. Stateroom: 8th floor, port side, cabin 8018. We enjoyed the room. It was comfortable compact. We slept with the balcony door cracked every night. I guess once you travel with a balcony there's no going to an inside cabin! I really cannot think of any negatives about our room...We had an excellent room steward. She would leave a new towel animal every night, including a swan, pig, monkey, bat, elephant, and stingray. My favorite was the vanity with the large mirror. TV, safe. I'd recommend bringing your own shower things, like shampoo (offered but not very lathery; can be used in place of shave cream tho) and conditioner and soap. The service onboard was the same as if not superior to what I've experienced before. Besides our room steward, our waiter and assistant waiter were funny and very attentive. One gentleman at our table received a steak cooked the wrong way. When our waiter asked how everything was, the gentleman said that he did not need a replacement, but that the meat was not cooked the right way. So our waiter quickly disappears and 5 min later brings out a new plate, cooked correctly. Even the head waiter was pleasant. In past cruises, we didn't know who the head waiter was when it came time to tip. But he visited our table every single night. I also got the impression that the staff tried to really remember you and make you feel as comfortable as possible. One more comment: the dining staff (dining room, Windjammer, etc) deserve recognition for how hard they work, always running around clearing dishes, bringing something for you. Dining was one of the best experiences of the trip, of course! Being vegetarian, I can't report on the meat or seafood, but the vegetarian courses were maybe slightly not as good as I've had on NCL. But very nice flavor, variety, and presentation. Being very jetlagged through most of the cruise, I had no appetite for breakfast, and the Windjammer became a favorite place to eat outside dinner at the dining room. I felt the selection was very good. The French toast in the dining room is like a giant cinnamon roll. The fresh fruit was also a favorite, with the fresh pineapple being my favorite. Only complaint: the cookies were not among the best I've had. NCL has had giant, soft-baked cookies. In comparison, the Jewel's were smaller and hard most of the time. And the frozen yogurt was not really frozen yogurt...only vanilla (ran out most of the time), strawberry, and chocolate. But many different dessert choices in the Windjammer. Didn't eat at Portofino's or the Seafood Shack. The Solarium seemed only to have drinks, pizza, and 3 types of wraps. No chocoholic buffet, as on NCL, but there were buffets late at night on formal nights. Activities were good. Being 23 years old, I was among the (probably) less than 20 people under 30. So things like trivia (I have no where near the amount of wisdom as many of the older people on the cruise!), bridge play, and bingo did not appeal as much to me. But I enjoyed Origami, Quiet Zone in Hollywood Odyssey (being a bookworm, I found it was one of the few places besides the stateroom that was peaceful to read in). I would have loved to try some of the many dance lessons, but was a little intimidated by all the couples who seemed to already have a good grasp on it. One of the bright spots of the entire cruise was my time in the fitness center. With a view of the ocean out of the windows, workouts and classes were very nice. I only wish I'd started sooner. I participated in the Fab Abs and Aerobics classes. The instructors were very energetic and fun. My favorite time to go was after dinner at 8pm or 830, because the gym was empty for the most part. The pools were both heated, and at night or on port days were mostly empty. Stay away around lunchtime. The hot tubs could have been a little hotter. The theater was nice, but on sea days there are not enough seats (maybe 50??) but the stairs are not bad if you really enjoy the movie. Didn't play in the casino...Oh, the pool tables and lounges on Deck 6 aft were another favorite spot. Play pool late at night, like 10 or 11, and there is not a line (only two tables). They're $100,000 each, because they move to adjust to the rocking of the ship without letting the balls roll. The productions on formal night were a highlight. Tango Buenos Aires was simply amazing. Two of the best dancers I've ever seen. I didn't care as much for the other shows, which were mainly piano or comedians or magic shows. Mini golf was usually empty, so nice to play there. The wind and rocking of the ship made it hard to get to rock climbing. The one time I went, no staff showed up, but no sign saying that the hours were cancelled. Jogging track was nice, but felt slippery when wet. I chose not to visit the spa, but the Thermal Suite (Deck 11 Starboard) was very nice when it was open to all on the first day. I also enjoyed the library and card room games. One little complaint: the gift shops were not at all what I thought they would be. The perfume and jewelry and crystal figurines were pretty expensive. I was most disappointed in the clothing selection. They were obviously trying to get rid of the Baltic stuff, being vests, shirts, hats, etc. Royal Caribbean should really get some clothing that is to the tastes of teens and younger adults, and I think their sales would go way up. I really wanted a few shirts, but many were XXL and a little tacky in my opinion. A bigger magnet selection would have been nice, and some of the keychains, mugs, and other souvenirs were also a little tacky. Disembarkation was easy, and of course a little sad. We were ready to go home actually. Missing the two ports gave us too many sea days. I was expecting the crew to maybe act a little less friendly, since we were leaving that day. But they were just as cheerful and nice as during the rest of the cruise. Getting off was orderly. We were the second to be called, around 8:45. We didn't have trouble finding our luggage, but we waited some time on the bus and there was a little confusion with baggage being taken off. Boston port was not much to look at, and neither was the airport, nor the one in Philadelphia. Only one other kink in our trip: one of my suitcases was left on the bus in Harwich. My mom noticed the driver was arranging suitcases and he pushed my one very far under and around the back of the bus. If you don't have your luggage by the first night after dinner, it's probably not on the ship. It was suggested the tag had fallen off (I had put it on too well for that to happen), that it had gone to the wrong room (by that time of the evening, the person would have realized this and reported it). Guest relations was as helpful as they could be. They even found a formal dress for me to borrow. I was very very delighted it was my style AND it fit me almost perfectly. OF course, missing the two ports meant I got it in Dublin, four days late. So make sure to divide your clothes when you pack: one pair of jeans in each, etc. I was lucky to get the good suitcase, because the lost one had all my dresses and formals in it, and I would have looked ridiculous walking around Paris in a skirt and heels! All around, a wonderful and relaxing cruise, beautiful ship, lovely crew, plenty to do (and eat!). I will definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again, perhaps on the same ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
This was our seventh cruise, but this was our first with Royal Caribbean. All others were with Holland America Line (HAL). Due to problems with flights and lost luggage on previous cruises, we decided to try booking the airfare thru ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise, but this was our first with Royal Caribbean. All others were with Holland America Line (HAL). Due to problems with flights and lost luggage on previous cruises, we decided to try booking the airfare thru the cruise line. Between the airfare and our pre-cruise hotel stay, all transfers were included. Everything went very smoothly. We may do this again. It makes it all very easy. PreCruise Our trip started with a three night pre-cruise stay in London which was booked thru Royal Caribbean. We stayed at the City Inn Westminster which is a very nice hotel a two minute walk from the river Thames and five minutes to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. The staff at the hotel was extremely helpful in every respect from directions to area attractions or minor problems with the computer/TV in the room. A made to order English breakfast was included daily along with a comprehensive breakfast buffet. The rooms are equipped with coffee and tea service. Although not large, the rooms are comfortable and very, very quiet. Each has air conditioning and an iron and ironing board. Embarkation Our bus picked us up at the hotel Monday morning for our transfer to the ship in Harwich about two hours away. We arrived at the ship around noon and were checked in and onboard within about 10 minutes. The staterooms weren't quite ready so they directed us to the Windjammer cafeteria for some lunch. By the time lunch was over, the rooms were ready. Luggage was delivered to the room about 20 minutes later by the friendly stewards. Stateroom Our room was an inside stateroom. It was very comfortable with a double bed, couch, dressing table, TV, and large closets. We had plenty of storage space for our three suitcases plus carry-on bag. Bathroom amenities were non-existent other than for a bar of soap and a shampoo dispenser in the shower. Our stateroom attendant was very good. She was very efficient and friendly. The Ship The ship is four years old and still looks very nice. We didn't care for the atrium in the center of the ship that goes from deck 4 to deck 12 because it takes up too much valuable space that could be used for other things like a larger library and more general seating areas/lounges. The library is absolutely tiny by comparison to other ships we've been on. Plus the atrium's ground floor (deck 4) is used for all sorts of ship's activities from art auctions to musical entertainment. Whenever anything is going on there, you hear it throughout all those decks from 4 to 12 including the library which is open to the atrium. Not exactly conducive to a quiet reading environment or much of anything else. Other than that, we had no complaints with the layout of the ship. Entertainment and Onboard Activities Entertainment onboard was mixed. The ship's singers and dancers were very good, but the contract entertainment ranged from very good to so-so. We thought they could have done better. Activities on sea days was lacking. There was too much spa and uninteresting fitness things going on. Bingo was expensive compared to other ships we've been on - $31 compared to $20 on HAL. Movies in the theater were one to two years old. If you wanted to see a more recent movie, you had to rent a DVD. The casino was fairly large, but often times the smokers drove you out. The ship allows too much smoking onboard. The Trivia games they organized were fun though. They just need more of that kind of entertainment. Shore Excursions Shore excursions were very well organized and comparatively priced with other cruise lines plus there was a wide variety of tours to choose from. Food Food on the ship was mixed. The Windjammer cafeteria offered a wide variety of items, but often they were lacking in flavor. The dining room food was much better. The dining room staff was terrific. They were very pleasant and efficient and tried very hard to please. Negatives On the first morning of the cruise when shore excursions were planned the Windjammer cafeteria was advertised to be open at 6:00 a.m. It did not open until 6:30. By the time it did open, the line was so long that it took 10 minutes for everyone to get in. Finding a seat and getting something to eat was a nightmare. Two other times when they opened, nobody was manning the coffee stations which are not self-service and you can't get to yourself if you wanted to. I had to stop one of the chefs who then called on his cell phone to get someone out there. And then they didn't have any toast ready as they are supposed to have. I mean if you open for business, then be ready for customers. People should not have to stand around waiting for people to show up for work. The other big issue is not having any hand sanitizers on the ship. We're used to the HAL ships that have canisters of the stuff all around the ship to ward off germs and sickness. When asked, Royal Caribbean's response was to use sanitizers when there is an outbreak. It's a little late by then. I say this because by the end of this cruise, some people were getting sick. Since often times it's the little things that make a difference, we are not in a hurry to go on another Royal Caribbean cruise. That's not to say we won't ever do another cruise with Royal, but if HAL were offering the same cruise itinerary at roughly the same price, we would go with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
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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