16 Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

I have been on two other transatlantic crossings, both of them on the Brilliance. I expected a similar experience on the Jewel, as it is also a Radiance class ship, like the Brilliance. However there was no comparison. On the ... Read More
I have been on two other transatlantic crossings, both of them on the Brilliance. I expected a similar experience on the Jewel, as it is also a Radiance class ship, like the Brilliance. However there was no comparison. On the Brilliance you knew you were in for a special cruise right from the time you boarded and were greeted and served champagne. Not so on this ship. On the Brilliance each evening at the special reception for Diamond and up guests the crew dressed in themed costumes and the lounge was decorated in a similar theme. Not so on this ship. On the Brilliance the Centrum was decorated for departure and upon reaching the final destination it was re-decorated to reflect the place of arrival. Not so on this ship. Cabin service was exceptional. Food in the Windjammer buffet and the main dining room was good also, but the buffet deserts were only good sometimes, other times poor. Entertainment was generally good. The volume level for the pool deck movies was ear splitting and there were only a few people watching each night as a result. The rest of the deck was deserted. There was constant work going on with much noise and noxious odors. Sea conditions were mostly very smooth except around the Azores and the last sea day from Valencia to Rome. Temperatures were much warmer than expected and only in Valencia was there any appreciable rain, so the weather was far better than expected for a crossing this early in the spring. The airport transfer in Florida was terrible, but the one in Rome was very good, although very expensive at $75 if booked with your cruise. Inexplicably it was only $71.99 if booked on board! Never experienced that one before! Guest services staff were generally excellent. Overall the lack of the ship having that special atmosphere of an Atlantic crossing was a disappointment. The ship staff obviously approached this has just another cruise, ho-hum. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We liked the ports of call and finish in Rome. The food was not great. Windjammer had very small selection for lunch but dining room at lunch was the best better than dining room at night.Theater entertainment was great very good ... Read More
We liked the ports of call and finish in Rome. The food was not great. Windjammer had very small selection for lunch but dining room at lunch was the best better than dining room at night.Theater entertainment was great very good choices specialty the classic series and Forever group.Embarkation was slow and disorganized same at ports .One thing they did not pay much attention to washing hands at the venues sometimes machines was empty. Dining room waiter and assisted we had were excellent in general everyplace waiters were absolutely helpful. and good. We're nice set up for Crown Royalty members. We never met all the officer just few and on Capitan reception only cruise director and hotel manager excursion stuff. In many areas different than our other cruises on Royal. Food was good some days others not fish was or overcooked or not cooked enough. Desserts small choices specially at dinner time. Always pushing sales but merchandise is same all the time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our 5th repositioning cruise with RC and did not compare very well with the others.We have noticed a gradual decline in quality over the last decade. Embarkation was much slower than usual and seemed very disorganized.Signage ... Read More
This was our 5th repositioning cruise with RC and did not compare very well with the others.We have noticed a gradual decline in quality over the last decade. Embarkation was much slower than usual and seemed very disorganized.Signage at the terminal was poor and we had a hard time finding the right assembly point.The security man who checked our bags was rude. All the crew members were excellent as usual - helpful and friendly. Our cabin attendant, Mr. Igusti was great, as was Mr. Iputu, who looked after us very well at the Windjammer. The Windjammer greeters were always smiling and friendly and made us welcome. We had some breakfasts at Tides, which were pretty good, and the waiters there were courteous and helpful. But most of our meals were at the Windjammer. I am vegetarian and find the buffet has far more choices for me than the main dining room. Food quality at the Windjammer was variable. I found the salad bar quite good most of the time but sometimes items that ran out were not replaced very quickly. Blue cheese dressing, my favorite, often ran out. The vegetable curries were good. The veggies were OK, but variety was not great. Mashed potato was fine but baked or roasted were poor. The cold drinks were pathetic - flavored water instead of real juice. Coffee was usually appalling and we opted for tea most of the time. Cheese selection was poor, blue cheese was rarely available. Desserts were sometimes good, but some of the cakes looked nice but were extremely dry. I never saw the executive chef at the Windjammer, unlike on previous cruises. We enjoyed the evening entertainment, especially David Naster, who was hilarious. The orchestra was good but some of the female singers higher notes seemed rather distorted by the sound system.The four tenors group was great. We always go our own way at the ports as we find the organized tours grossly overpriced. Ponta Delgada was nice. Gibraltar was very enjoyable and we liked the gondola trip and the monkeys a lot. Alicante was pleasant. Valencia was a big disappointment, with a long and expensive bus ride and very little to see. On balance we found this ship lacking, and will probably try a different company for our next cruise, I'm sorry to say. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Great ship, Andrea, the cruise director is a gem. Afternoon concerts across the pond were great. Food ok but very boring; it is unfortunate that Adrea’s Enthusiasm does not rub off on balance of crew. Luggage handling, and shore ... Read More
Great ship, Andrea, the cruise director is a gem. Afternoon concerts across the pond were great. Food ok but very boring; it is unfortunate that Adrea’s Enthusiasm does not rub off on balance of crew. Luggage handling, and shore excursion desk beyond poor. Expansion of diamond lounge was a great move. Luggage confiscated without notification or cause. Incorrect and conflicting information on shore excursions. No one at desk would double check with vendor for correct information. I completed a cruise questioner on day 6, all above comments mentioned and ignored. Sometimes simple things can be best: egg drop, master chef contest, free speciality coffee, all great ideas. By what appeared to be a concerned crew, but lack of follow up in many other areas disappointing. Made my time dining reservations six months out, but had to change time due to another person. Entertainment was the cruise highlight, as was my mate Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Activities and Events were scheduled all over the place. The Atrium was consistently used where decks or clubs would have been better. Planning could have been much better. Needs maintenance throughout the ship. The food was OK but ... Read More
Activities and Events were scheduled all over the place. The Atrium was consistently used where decks or clubs would have been better. Planning could have been much better. Needs maintenance throughout the ship. The food was OK but nothing spectacular. The dinning staff we had were excellent. Deserved the WOW we gave them (extra gratuity). The day to day activities were not planned out the best as far as time. Many things were cut short as they over lapped each other. The entertainment was excellent but thr Cruise director was boring. Information daily was not the greatest and the weather was poor. The ship seemed just a ship! Nothing spectacular and as far as memories they will be negative. Unfortunately a poor cruise over all!! Our next RCL Cruise will be on the Anthem of the Seas and hopefully it will be a better experience. The JEWEL was no JEWEL!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
I chose this cruise because of its Port-au- Calls, which I had not visited before. It was somewhat inconvenient as it sailed from San Juan, PR and we live in Miami, thus had to fly in the day before (the same day flight was leaving at 7 ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of its Port-au- Calls, which I had not visited before. It was somewhat inconvenient as it sailed from San Juan, PR and we live in Miami, thus had to fly in the day before (the same day flight was leaving at 7 AM and had to be in the Miami airport at 4 AM.. Thus it cost me a one way ticket to SJ plus a night in a hotel plus meals (an extra $700). The cruise had 7 whole days at sea and I relied in the entertainment judging it fro previous experiences i Holland American that were excellent. It was not so in RCI, the movies on TV were terrible(, same movies over and over, very old ones, some did not even had an ending). The movies on the ship theater we extremely poor with only one exception in 13 days, (mostly Star Wars type and animated movies and very old). There were no photography, cooking or computer classes as in other ship lines we have been. The lecture, most of them, were not very good at all and although on TV they were repeated over and over again (for example 3 ports of call after Gibraltar, the same lecture was constantly on Channel 26. TV was terrible. Most of the time no image, occasionally no sound (especially BBC and CNN)- at times was like listening to the radio. others viewing a TV sign that said no reception.Poor choice of news channels. In short, the ship and service and the room was fine, the rest left a lot to be desired Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our second transatlantic on RCI. In comparing to our last RCI transatlantic on Mariner OTS in 2013, we noticed quite a few changes......some not for the better. OVERALL: Just average. No WOW factor that Royal uses in their ... Read More
This was our second transatlantic on RCI. In comparing to our last RCI transatlantic on Mariner OTS in 2013, we noticed quite a few changes......some not for the better. OVERALL: Just average. No WOW factor that Royal uses in their marketing. We traveled with another couple who had been on only one other cruise on Carnival. (They thought all cruises involved screaming children, belly flop contests at the pool, excessive drinking, etc.) We bragged how much better Royal was in areas such as food, ambiance, service, etc. After this cruise, we are not sure our neighbors will travel with us again. We came in to Rome 4 days early. Great idea to acclimate to the time zone and tour Rome. Highly recommended. We took the Leonardo Express train from the airport and walked to our hotel not far from Termini Station. We packed using a wheeled duffle and a backpack. Easy to get around. If you pack with less mobile luggage, you may want to rethink. Quite a bit of walking. EMBARKATION: From Rome, we walked back to Termini and took the express train to Civitavecchia. This is a regional train with just a few stops. Cost just 11.5 Euros per person and was clean, fast, and on-time. In just about an hour, we had arrived at the port. Another review had mentioned that arrival at the Civitavecchia station involved stairs. VERY TRUE! Arrival platform involves going down stairs crossing under the tracks and back up another flight of stairs. No escalators or elevators. Remember this if you have any difficulty carrying luggage. A very short walk to the port entry gate was easy to do, but not well marked with directional signs. The walkway is wide and level. Once at the port entry, there is a bus pickup area that will take you to your ship. We arrived about 11:00am and they only had one small bus running every 45 minutes or so. Disorganized, no staff from RCI at the bus stop, and over-crowded with many passengers pushing and shoving to try and get on the bus when it arrived. We thought it was bad, but tolerable, until the bus took us to a tent in the middle of the port to get off, pick up our luggage again and then wait for ANOTHER bus to finally take us to the ship. This 2-step transport process was painful, wasted time, and did not make a good impression. It took us longer to get from the port entry to the ship than it did for us to get from Rome to Civitavecchia. Once at the ship, embarkation agents were ready and everything moved fairly smooth for boarding. Cabin was not ready so we headed to the Windjammer buffet for lunch. Overcrowded and no seats available. I said this in my last review, do the math RCI! You are going to have problems if you try to fit 1,000 people into a 750 seat restaurant. After waiting 20 minutes, we finally found a table outside aft. Nothing better than eating in your jackets in cool and windy weather. I said WOW, but not in a good way. SHIP: Overall the ship looked pretty good after it's recent drydock. No major complaints on overall appearance and our cabin was neat and tidy as well. The bathroom did have some chipped mirrors and missing caulk in the shower. Not sure why you would spend millions in a renovation and overlook these details. They also supplied some towels that were actually torn and threadbare, well past their usable life. A hotel that rents by the hour would not even use these towels. Not sure why RCI would even consider this practice if they are remotely wanting to make a good impression on their customers. Our cabin steward was pleasant, quiet and did a good job. Even after several introductions, he could never remember our names. This was the first sign that something had really changed. Overworked? Too many cabins/customers? Bad memory? You would think after 12 nights he would remember us. Remembering customer's names is part of the charm. DINING: This is where a major change was noticed. The food in the Windjammer was institutional grade at best. Sure there is plenty of it, but not the best quality. Some days the lemonade was like water, the next day it was super tart. Same with the ice cream machine. Appears nobody quite got the mixing instructions correct. The bricks on my house are softer than the toast served for breakfast. The orange juice had a very strange flavor. Not sure it contained oranges! One morning they set up a waffle station with one staff member and two waffle machines. With a cycle time of 3 minutes, that meant they could serve a waffle every 1.5 minutes (if all goes smoothly). I counted 28 people in line. Not sure standing in line and waiting 42 minutes for a waffle is worth it. Why make a few people happy and piss off so many? Do it right or don't do it at all. In using the main dining room for breakfast, their eggs benedict had some sort of weird meat (not canadian bacon) and no hollandaise sauce. Think of it as an egg and mystery meat on an english muffin. While we in the middle of the Atlantic, our waiter said they were out of tomato juice (as in ALL OUT). The next day I see a glass of tomato juice and request some. This waiter says no problem. When I ask about the supposed outage, he tells me the other waiter lied and just didn't want to go to the storeroom to retrieve it. (Another WOW moment). I also like corned beef hash. Usually it was cooked and served fresh. One morning it was a mix of old grey meat and fresh pink meat. It was obvious that they had combined older leftovers and newer hash. (Another WOW moment). During dinner in the MDR, the food was just OK. Not impressive at all. I kept thinking that RCI did this on purpose to drive customers to the added-fee restaurants. Also noticed that during dinner, they had so many tables crowded together, I kept wondering if they had fire codes at sea. You literally had to turn sideways to get by some tables. Think tables built for 10 with 12 chairs. Tables built for 6 with 8 chairs. And then too many tables in too little space. You get the picture. Of course this overcrowding contributed to a much higher noise level. Instead of a nice dining room, it was more like eating in a busy fast-casual restaurant every night. In thinking about the overall food, it was a much lower standard in terms of quality than our previous transatlantic. When RCI added 40 extra cabins during drydock and at least 80 more passengers, they contributed to already overcrowded spaces. (Maybe the executives at RCI should go on Undercover Boss to experience what is really served to customers and the service levels to see how they like it. Bet they wouldn't want to eat there every day. Hope they remember that customers are spending their hard-earned money and using valuable vacation time. Not really the place to cut corners. We did eat three nights in the specialty restaurants. Excellent food and fantastic service! It seems RCI has managed to move the old main dining room experience to the specialty restaurants, the buffet experience to the MDR and institutional food service to the buffet. A sad downward trend. ENTERTAINMENT: Individual acts pretty good. House band fantastic! The new outdoor movie screen by the pool was way underutilized. They would show only one movie per night (and not every night) at around 6:30pm during early seating dinner and not early enough for late seating dinner. (one more WOW moment) The same few movies kept recycling over and over again for days on end both in the cabin, in the theater, and at the pool. POOL AREAS: another do the math RCI! On warm days, no pool chairs available. This lack of chairs is mentioned in many reviews. A few passengers tried to save chairs in the solarium. Thank goodness the staff would actually remove their towels and "book and sunglasses" savers if you pointed it out. We witnessed a lady who claimed she was just "working out" for 10 minutes after being gone for 3 hours. Trust me, this lady hasn't seen the inside of a gym in 40 years. She had the nerve to go and complain about her saved chairs being given to other passengers. SMOKING: Warning - way too much smoke! I do not know if this ship was more liberal than other RCI ships due to it being based in the mediterranean and a greater percentage of smokers. They allowed smoking on decks 12, 11, 6 and 4 and allowed smokers to "drift" even farther from their designated areas. It was very uncomfortable going anywhere near these areas. You may as well forget the casino. Unbearable smoke levels! Our group actually had to leave the casino due to the high smoke levels. (Unbreathable air causing all of us to cough and gasp for air). One dealer even commented that he doesn't smoke, but feels like he does after working in the casino. Good news is more money in my pocket and less in the casino's pocket. PORTS Valencia: The city centre is a few miles away from the port. RCI staff was very deceptive in stating that the only way out of the port area and to city centre was by their paid shuttle. I finally cornered a staff member who admitted, only after my direct repeated questions, that there was a free shuttle to the port entrance. Easy city bus service to the city centre for only 1.8 euros. Lisbon: a really great city. Our shortest time in port. Not nearly enough time to explore all of the sites. Ponta Delgada: Small, quite, and quaint. Not a tremendous amount of walkable tourist attractions from the port. Would have much preferred a stop at Madeira instead. DISEMBARKATION: Straightforward enough, but seemed a little disorganized and none of the scheduled departures groups left on time. Another note that RCI has eliminated the self-carry luggage option to disembark early and quickly. That means you were required to place luggage outside your door the night before and have to reclaim it dockside before customs. Unless RCI has a super deal, we may rethink our next cruise choice. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
After having a wonderful TA aboard the Vision of the Seas in April I was disappointed in the hotel management of this cruise. In my opinion they really missed on the guest experience. It just felt like the management was going through ... Read More
After having a wonderful TA aboard the Vision of the Seas in April I was disappointed in the hotel management of this cruise. In my opinion they really missed on the guest experience. It just felt like the management was going through their checklists. At an individual contributor level the team was pleasant and conversational as I've come to expect on RC sailings. It was so many little things that were missing or off it would sound like a petty list to write out. But when you have a disappointment everyday, however, small it colors your trip. From mislabeled items in the Windjammer, 30 minutes of banging on metal for repair on the deck by the lounge chairs (without posting maintenance signs to forewarn guests), 30 minutes of standing in line to exit the ship at Lisbon, a lackluster Crown and anchor event, touch screen that were hard to operate.... they just fell short everyday. It left me feeling meh, about the trip. If this was my first RC experience, I'd be trying another cruise line to see what else was out there. As it's not (and I am invested in the loyaty program) I'll be avoid this ship for future cruise and hope to have as good of experience I've had on other cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We wanted to do another TransAtlantic crossing and chose this one mainly for the price. We were in a balcony room on Deck 7 which w/this ship design, you have the lifeboats slightly blocking your view but the outward view is fine. If you ... Read More
We wanted to do another TransAtlantic crossing and chose this one mainly for the price. We were in a balcony room on Deck 7 which w/this ship design, you have the lifeboats slightly blocking your view but the outward view is fine. If you are sailing on this ship, you want to pick a room closest to the Main elevator. The forward elevator services those forward rooms and the theatre and not much else. Rooms are the typical balcony w/a small sofa The entire cruise was 15 nights, and probably had some of the best entertainment consistently that we've had on a cruise ship in a long time. The ports were not that exciting (probably the reason for the price). It isn't necessary to stop in 3 Canary Islands--Tenerife is the most interesting. Enjoyed Alicante as this was a new port for us. Because of the cruise length, at least 75% of the cruisers were over the age of 55+. We didn't think the food was as good as we remember from other RCCL cruises. The DR had the same menu every lunch w/the addition of a salad bar and a pasta bar (but to stand in line for this, you may as well go to the buffet. We want the DR to get away from the chaos of the buffet) Our dinner service was less than adequate the first few nights, but improved. They are definitely "short changing" the main DR to push people to their specialty DRs. We did our own excursions in all the ports. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We have been on MANY MANY RCL cruises in the past. If this was our first RCL cruise, it would have been our last. The food was just average. The coffee was awful. The worst I've EVER had on a ship. We thought the entertainment ... Read More
We have been on MANY MANY RCL cruises in the past. If this was our first RCL cruise, it would have been our last. The food was just average. The coffee was awful. The worst I've EVER had on a ship. We thought the entertainment was average. The elevators have a seperation beween them and it is hard to get to an elevator on the other side, unless you can really run. We thought the operation in general was cheap. Where they had the trivia and other activities was awful. The area on the 6th floor was an area that had the 2 specialty restaurants, a bar which rang a loud bell whenever they got a tip (I wanted to knock the bell out), and people were constantly waking by. Hence it was very loud, extremely noisy, and you could not hear the person speak. The actual movie theater was very small, so, if you didn't get there really early, you weren't going to get a seat. All and all, we would not recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Our first Atlantic crossing. The ship was still in repair as we left the port. Rumor had it that we had about 200 workers on board to complete the dry dock repairs to the ship. That meant that we had 200 less staff to take care of us in ... Read More
Our first Atlantic crossing. The ship was still in repair as we left the port. Rumor had it that we had about 200 workers on board to complete the dry dock repairs to the ship. That meant that we had 200 less staff to take care of us in the dining room and other services. We had great first sitting dinner guests and if it wasn't for that, the two and a half hour dinner would have been to long. That aside, our two servers at dinner were very attentive and did a great job. The Windjammer had some surprises for dinner we did not know about until one of our table mates told us. On lobster night in the dinning room the Windjammer had the same fare, only better, more selection, such as loose shrimp. Then the Windjammer decided to do it all again the next night. We did not know this because the dinning crew kept it a close secret. We live and learn. The cabin was fine, we had a large balcony (deck seven starboard forward) compared to other decks, which we liked. Entertainment was so-so. Rumor has it that the cruise line is going to go to taped music for the shows, so no more live musicians for the two seating's. Cost cutting again? The ports of call were great, La Palma, Tenerife and Gran Canaria were beautiful. Gibraltar, all six square kilometers, was historic and Alicante was great and very interesting to see. We plan to do the return crossing in November to San Juan and hope to see some of the interesting passengers we met on the trip over again. So all in all, not a great trip but a nice pleasant and relaxing one. Getting off the ship proved to be "adventurous", the cruise ship changed our meeting point and we had no announcements fed in to our area, so we all just departed when we felt like it, like a herd of turtles all in a line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
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
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
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
This was my 1st & last cruise with RCI. I'm a seasoned cruiser. This was my 3rd cruise this year. I've favored Princess, Celebrity, NCL and Cunard. First of all, the ship itself is beautiful. It's intimate and easy to ... Read More
This was my 1st & last cruise with RCI. I'm a seasoned cruiser. This was my 3rd cruise this year. I've favored Princess, Celebrity, NCL and Cunard. First of all, the ship itself is beautiful. It's intimate and easy to move around from deck to deck. The staff was friendly and aimed to please. I give them high grades for the Spa & Exercise facilities. They were top notch. But, anyone booking on this Brilliance class of ships should be aware that suite and balcony cabins on the aft starboard side Deck Six are in for a rude awakening. These cabins are directly over the lounges. There is no sound insulation. Our cabin floor vibrated from the music. It was impossible to get any sleep until 2am most nights. Then, the clean-up lounge crew would be playing loud music until 4-5am. I called guest relations on numerous occasions. They did nothing...Do NOT book these cabins!!! Food: After, just getting off QM2,( the food on QM2 was hands down the BEST at Sea ) the food on Jewel was little better than cafeteria offerings. The menu in the main dining room is very limited. The menus were odd. It often mixed regional cuisine on the same menu. Two nights in a row, pork of some type was the 'Chef's Special'. On the Pork Chop special night our waiter told us 'Not to order it because it was overcooked and tough'! The alternative steak was too tough to chew. The food was so bad we resorted to eating in the Windjammer cafe, where food was better than the main dining room. My wife is a much better chef than this crew. Their food was un-inspired, tasteless and they need to go back to school to learn to properly make sauces. Breakfast proved to be the best meal on the ship. Also, on numerous occasions, self serve coffee was un-available. This happened over and over again from 6am -9am. The waiters were slow to clear tables on deck. This is the 1st ship I've sailed where you couldn't get any food other than pizza past 9:30pm. We had early 6pm seating and would go to the evening show. By 10:30-11pm we were looking for a snack. Out of luck! Entertainment: This was the 1st 12 day cruise I've been on where there were just two full dance productions shows. The best show was a husband & wife from Cirque. They were one of the best acts I've ever seen at sea.The on-board band was very good They did have hit & misses other singers and entertainers. But, it was very average. I must give the Cruise Director, Bobby big credit. He was professional and really made an effort to inter-act with the passengers. The cabins were clean and the ship is well maintained. However, due to the above mentioned issues, I will Not be returning to RCI! Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
My wife and I took the April 2007 Trans-Atlantic crossing on the Jewel of the Seas, with stops in Cork, Ireland, Falmouth, England LeHarve, France and Belgium, ending in Amsterdam. The Jewel is an interesting ship. The Atrium was very ... Read More
My wife and I took the April 2007 Trans-Atlantic crossing on the Jewel of the Seas, with stops in Cork, Ireland, Falmouth, England LeHarve, France and Belgium, ending in Amsterdam. The Jewel is an interesting ship. The Atrium was very impressive. It was also a nice touch that passengers were not forced to travel through the Casinos and shops to get from one point to another. Our suite was of a nice size. The DVD player with the TV also played a single CD at a time throughout the suite. We did bring a dozen of our favorite CDs on the trip. However, when we arrived there were crumbs on the vanity chair that were never removed over the 12 days. We did have rough weather and high seas for the first four days of our trip. Wine glasses fell from a shelf and shattered on a granite counter top and tile floor. We were surprised that the room attendant did not remove these glasses until the seas calmed. We were fearful of stepping on glass for several days. The food was very inconsistent, both in the Tides dining room and the Windjammer buffet. Some days the food was excellent and other days it was below average or actually bad. The speciality dining venues, a steakhouse and an Italian theme spot were good at $20 a person. We were surprised there was no ice cream offered in the Windjammer, just frozen yogurt. We booked the steakhouse (Chops) after viewing an advanced menu for the Tides that looked pretty bad for the next night. The food was above average. Our only complaint was that the wait staff was apparently sick of listening to the music channel for the older trans-Atlantic clientele and switched it to a 90's rock channel that was very annoying. We mentioned it to the manager when she stopped at our table. She confessed some of the wait staff had changed the music and it was switched back to something more pleasant. The entertainment was typical of most cruise lines...some nights very entertaining and other nights not so entertaining. The guy at the piano bar was awful, singing loud rock stuff while an older crowd longed for some Rogers and Hart or Cole Porter tunes that he didn't know. The piano bar was literally an empty ghost town every night. However, the Trio Royale, a group from Bulgaria, that played every night in the lobby, had a female vocalist who was great. You could listen to her from chairs and sofas from Deck 4 to Deck 10 thanks to the open atrium. The ship had a fun miniature golf course that you could play 24 hours a day. The basketballs and basketball goals was the best I have seen on a cruise. On a trans-Atlantic cruise the Movie Theater was in demand. It was usually crowded and we were shocked to see that the crew was allowing passengers to sit on the stairs, making it dicey for someone to leave their seat and try to exit during the movie. The Concierge Lounge for passengers booking suites and for frequent customers was a nice touch, offering complimentary cappuccino throughout the day, snacks in the morning and beer and wine in the evening. There was also a second bar on Deck 13 for evening snacks and drinks all complimentary. The most disappointing aspect of this cruise were the actions of the captain and hotel director during two ports of call. In Falmouth, England they used tender service and local small boats from the ship to the dock. The city had volunteers at the dock who couldn't have been nicer. My wife enjoyed her tour booked on the ship and I had fun exploring the Falmouth business district. However when I returned to the ship there was a 1-hour 40-minute line to get on a tender. When my wife arrived the line was 2-hours and it was raining hard. The captain and hotel director did not send staff ashore to aid the 1,200 passengers standing in the rain waiting for a tender. Later that evening the captain at a reception blamed the problem on the port and refused to accept any responsibility. He stated he would recommend that the ship never stop at Falmouth again and he was actually booed. The volunteers from Falmouth stood in the rain with the ship's passengers all afternoon long, but no one from the ship did. Everybody seemed to be happy with tours to Paris or Normandy offered by the ship. We booked a private tour not offered by the ship of Normandy with Normandy Sightseeing Tours, which offered a van and a 30-year-old history major as a guide. It was pricey but worth the extra costs. However, in Belgium there were problems again. The ship's Concierge was selling shuttle tickets to Brugge. She claimed the the tickets were round trips to the historic city, but in fact they dropped you off near a train station where you had to buy train tickets to Brugge. I have seen some ships' travel desks say anything to sell a tour, but it was a first to have someone with the title of "Concierge" not know what she was selling. Once in port we were delayed even getting to the bus to take us near the train station as there was a 1-hour to get off the ship, as only one gangway was in place. Even regular Royal Caribbean passengers were voicing displeasure. But cruises are often what you make of them. Overall we had a good time, but it was overshadowed by the incidents at Falmouth and in Belgium. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
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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