190 Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Caribbean - Western Cruise Reviews

My wife and myself have just completed our second cruise with Royal Caribbean, This time on one of the smaller ships, it had good and bad points, The ship was very well run from the moment we arrived at Rome airport, RC staff took control ... Read More
My wife and myself have just completed our second cruise with Royal Caribbean, This time on one of the smaller ships, it had good and bad points, The ship was very well run from the moment we arrived at Rome airport, RC staff took control of everything , luggage was taken and delivered to our cabin, transfers were on time and embarkation was smooth. The ship has some lovely areas lots of dark wood and never felt crowded, however there were areas that were very tired looking ie the outside area of the windjammer, this did not stop us from enjoying the area and we would have breakfast every morning in the sun but it needs upgrading soon. We ate in the MDR each evening, the staff like all the staff on board were efficient and friendly remembered our names and found time to speak each evening but the food while plentiful was not of a high standard I got the impression RC do the bare minimum expected as they want you to pay for the premium restaurants. We took two RC excursions, the first was Panoramic Cartagena don't waste your money the only interesting part was the Roman theatre, and it turns out that was two minutes and in view of the ship. I would recommend the Flamenco show in Majorca we both enjoyed it very much. The other ports of call we did our own thing as they were very easy to get around. All in All I would recommend this cruise because of the great staff but again RC spend some more money on the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I was between 3 and 4 stars but went with 4 because of the value you get with this ship. It isn't as big or glitzy as the other boats in the fleet but it makes due. The service was great and the staff works very hard to make your ... Read More
I was between 3 and 4 stars but went with 4 because of the value you get with this ship. It isn't as big or glitzy as the other boats in the fleet but it makes due. The service was great and the staff works very hard to make your experience the best it can be. The access to the pool/bar was easy. We never had to wait or fight over pool chairs, seating at dinner/buffet. The entertainment was good but not great. We could have lived without the Nassau port being the public beach was just okay. We still had fun at Senior Frogs and a local brewery within walking distance of the ship. If we could do it over again we would have done an excursion that day though. The Labadee, Haiti port however was one of our favorites. There are plenty of spots on the multiple beaches and we liked how the all inclusive food and drink package (if you have it) transfers to the island. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The Jewel is definitely just that!!!! A JEWEL. We loved this ship and had a marvelous cruise. Met some terrific staff from bar service to My Time Dining service. The Diamond Lounge is a great place for spending a couple hours meeting ... Read More
The Jewel is definitely just that!!!! A JEWEL. We loved this ship and had a marvelous cruise. Met some terrific staff from bar service to My Time Dining service. The Diamond Lounge is a great place for spending a couple hours meeting new friends and relaxing. Aline, the liaison in the DL, is a tremendous asset to RCI and the Jewel, as is Mark who is a great server. We also fell in love with Prime in the Centrum Lounge...she is so charming and seems to love her job. The best entertainment we have seen in many years was Travis DeLoyt (Elvis Impersonator). What a fantastic show and Travis is one of the most warm and friendly people we have ever met. Royal needs him on their ships. TERRIFIC!!! We enjoyed our first try at My Time Dining and are so happy we finally did. Much more pleasant as everyone there seemed more satisfied than we have experienced in the main Dining Room on our past few cruises. We once again were wowed when we had dinner at one of the specialty restaurants...always a wonderful experience. Our stateroom, on deck 9, was a very nice spacious balcony room. Love the location of the upper decks!!! We didn't do shore excursions on this cruise, but nothing could have beat spending 2 hours in Senor Frogs; meeting so many awesome people and having a blast! We have visited Nassau many times in the past so have seen all they have to offer. Nothing better than Senor Frogs for great fun. All in all....this cruise, as usual, exceeded our expectations as has every Royal cruise we have taken over the past 6 years. Prior to that I cruised Royal for many years and will never change. We are definitely "Loyal to Royal"!!!! thank you Royal Caribbean, for another tremendous vacation. Next one up, Brilliance of the Seas in April. Can't wait!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Meeting with a group on this ship. Very ornate public spaces but not a very convenient layout. Elevators have some kind of foreign logic. We were passed by many times in the Atrium area by empty elevator cars going the way we wanted. ... Read More
Meeting with a group on this ship. Very ornate public spaces but not a very convenient layout. Elevators have some kind of foreign logic. We were passed by many times in the Atrium area by empty elevator cars going the way we wanted. After a few of these episodes I switched to stairs. The climb from my cabin on deck 4 to the gym made a good warm up for work outs. The people who served in the dining room for dinner we very competent. Breakfast in the same location was the opposite. Seemed very disorganized from the top down. Kitchen was slow, ended using the dining room buffet mostly. I found it amazing the ship ran out of bagels in two day. No bakers on board? Also why list V8 juice when only tomato juice was available. The ship is short on small quiet places where guests can just relax and hold a quiet conversation. The next refurbish should concentrate on the cabins and not the ornate lounges. Does Royal Caribbean really suffer a lot of theft of towels? First time on any cruise line I found a deposit was required. The causal music in the atrium was appreciated during the day. This was my first experience with this cruise line and I am not likely to use them again. I will probably use Celebrity in the future or other company's lines. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Wanted a short cruise to breakup winter in South Florida. Older ship , balcony room ok, but dated. Comfortable bed with good steward Iputu. Noisy neighbors. Staff was very friendly. Buffet was good, better than dining room. Food over ... Read More
Wanted a short cruise to breakup winter in South Florida. Older ship , balcony room ok, but dated. Comfortable bed with good steward Iputu. Noisy neighbors. Staff was very friendly. Buffet was good, better than dining room. Food over all was good. We had 3 specialty restaurants that we enjoyed. Steak, Italian and Japanese. Very good wait staff in all venues. Weather did not permit watching outdoor movies and sound system was poor. They also have good indoor Cinema which showed good movies. Alcohol was expensive and bartender gave poor pour. Plenty of space for sunning old multiple decks over ship. We enjoyed Labadee and thought it was the best private beach of any cruise line. It had multiple beaches and restaurants. Very Clean beaches and Water. The entertainment was very good including production shows. We are going on another RC cruise to Canada this summer. Hope Adventure of the Seas balcony rooms are renovated. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
PROS: -Our kids (4 and 6) loved the kids clubs as well as the kids pool area/waterslide -The staff throughout the ship were, as has come to be expected on RC, friendly and helpful -Overall the ship was very clean -Windjammer ... Read More
PROS: -Our kids (4 and 6) loved the kids clubs as well as the kids pool area/waterslide -The staff throughout the ship were, as has come to be expected on RC, friendly and helpful -Overall the ship was very clean -Windjammer was good and on point with other Windjammers -The (basic) Wifi was not overly fast, but I found the coverage throughout the ship to be good -Labadee Wavejet (Seadoo) tour was fun. Staff were great -Embarkation was surprisingly very fast and smooth CONS: -Casino cigarette smoke permeates all floors of the centrum -Painfully slow elevator wait times -This may sound silly, but the primary elevators are spaced just far enough apart that when one finally arrives, it can be tough to run to the door before it closes. Combine that with the fact it can be hard to hear the "ding" over the noise of the centrum, and it's really easy to miss elevators. It gets pretty annoying after a few days. -Music from centrum may make sleeping in certain staterooms difficult. I did NOT stay in any of these rooms (they may in fact be soundproofed) and the staff closes the big hallway doors at night to try to baffle some of the noise, but the sound still traveled quite far down the hall. I'd suggest checking other reviews before booking any of the rooms nearest to the centrum, on any floor. Unless you like to party late, in which case, I would recommend you DO book one of these rooms. -Abysmal late-evening and after hours food selection: As far as I could tell there's only one kiosk that's open after hours, and their selection is very limited. You'd better really like pizza. -Sub-par main dining room food. Not horrible, but not at the level we've come to expect with RC. I realize this is contrary to some other reviews, so maybe we just got a bad week -Friendly, but slow bartenders throughout ship. I'm not expecting Tom Cruise from Cocktail, but these guys had zero hustle. I now this isn't the end of the world (i'm on vacation and should relax, right?), but they were noticably slow in my opinion. -Aggressive Labadee vendors. I assumed since they were given ID's and let on RC property that they'd be a little less pushy. I assumed wrong. All in all, for the price, this really was a decent cruise. It's a well maintained ship with a good staff. There isn't a lot to do compared to some of the bigger ships, but just enough that I think it would keep most people content, while appeasing those who DON'T like the huge ships happy. While I don't think I would sail on it again, I would still probably recommend it to someone if they get a good deal. It's hard to beat the price. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this sailing as a short and inexpensive trip that my whole family would have time for. While there was little exceptional about this sailing, it was very nice that nothing went wrong. Twice on Carnival the ships had stabilizers ... Read More
We chose this sailing as a short and inexpensive trip that my whole family would have time for. While there was little exceptional about this sailing, it was very nice that nothing went wrong. Twice on Carnival the ships had stabilizers fail. Once on Holland America the ship lost an engine and we had terrible diesel fumes. So, no problems to report is noteworthy. The ship struck me as a good size - not monstrous and overcrowded nor small and claustrophobic. Elevators were slow and a couple may have been out of service. The ship's public areas were noisy, even the solarium. The deck chairs on deck 5 provided peace and quiet though. This particular sailing seemed like an excellent choice for new cruisers or cruisers worried about motion sickness. The ship never had to speed to get anywhere, and the Caribbean in January tends to be smooth to begin with Our ports were not special, or at least, Royal Caribbean did not help make them special. We couldn't find a shore excursion in Nassau from RCCL that was suitable for someone in less than great health, so we took one on our own. Then Labadee had nothing available either. Worse, Labadee is supposed to include a buffet lunch with basics like, you know, drinking water. They "ran out" and the only water available had to be bought. Hmm. Food on board was average but adequate. It's sad that Royal Caribbean charges for room service as that may be a deal breaker for my parents when it comes to booking future cruises when other lines don't charge. This is especially a problem at night when the only things available are the awful offerings at the Solarium - some of the worst pizza, cookies, and sandwiches I've had on a ship. The flip side of that was the Chef's Table. That was remarkable. The waiter, Kasim, and the chef, Calesia, served a six course meal with wine pairings that my family will talk about for years. Definitely a five-star experience. I also thought their photographer, Jarenne, was one of the most skilled I've met after almost fifteen cruises, our steward Krishna was friendly and efficient, and entertainment staffers like Felix and Silvia helped make the trip more fun. The internet on Royal Caribbean was an improvement over my experience with other lines. If staying connected is important, RCCL appears to have a leg up. Other good things: Embarkation went smoothly. Our cabin had enough storage space for two people. It was comfortable (beds were a little firm) and well-lit. Ship seemed clean and well-maintained. We liked the sailing enough to book a second cruise on Royal Caribbean, one that would also be on the Jewel. That may have been a mistake. First, the advertised itinerary did not match the actual itinerary. More of an issue, we were told that booking through Next Cruises would give credit back to our travel agency so we could get their advertised perks. Not necessarily so, as the agency is telling us that free gratuities aren't combinable which means we might come out behind, and booking with Next Cruises doesn't appear to be cancel-able. I feel misled, which is marring my feelings about a pretty good trip. Hopefully things will be resolved, but for now I'd hesitate to recommend using Next Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was by far one of our favorite cruises. We've only been cruising for 4 years but have done 7 to date on Princess, Celebrity and NCL...I guess making up for lost time! Many of our friends cruise RCI exclusively so we were so very ... Read More
This was by far one of our favorite cruises. We've only been cruising for 4 years but have done 7 to date on Princess, Celebrity and NCL...I guess making up for lost time! Many of our friends cruise RCI exclusively so we were so very excited to find this short trip with a fabulous itinerary. I don't know what the interior of the Jewel looked like before the recent renovation but I can tell you the ship is exquisite. All of the carpeting has been replaced which made the ship feel very clean and refreshed. The bar areas and seating are luxurious with plenty of seating and good service. They also added a giant outdoor movie screen and 1 or 2 new restaurants. One evening, we decided to go the to "movies" and saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens under the stars...nothing like it. There's also an indoor cinema and you can purchase a bag of popcorn before you go in. We noted in our survey that the popcorn should have been complimentary as on other ships but oh well! If you go to the center of each deck located by the glass encased elevators, you can look all the way down from Deck 10 to Deck 4 where a lot of the musical entertainment is going on. So even if you couldn't get a seat, you were able to see what was going on and at least hear the music. And by the way, the entertainment was great as was the 70's party that was so much fun...everyone got into the Saturday Night Fever theme. This ship's crew was by far the most courteous and professional we've very experienced. Our servers in the Tides dining room were absolutely fantastic and the crew member Roy at the front desk made sure we got the same table each evening even if we slightly changed the time. We were made to feel right at home each and every night. The food was good but not remarkable. We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants and had a nice breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11 each morning...quicker that way. One thing that we did notice was that there was always plenty of seating in that area. On the other ships we've traveled, there's always a lack of seating and you might walk around quite long before you find a table...not on the Jewel. We needed to take a tender to Coco Cay, our first stop, which was no problem. The boats held about 150 people, I believe, and they were coming and going constantly. The island was lovely and again there was no problem finding a chaise lounge. There's an area called South Beach all the way down on this island which looked peaceful and the water there was gorgeous...just a tip. There's also a small water park and other water activities offered. It was a great day. The next stop was Nassau which we've been to many times. We just walked around the main part of town on Bay Street where the Straw Market is also located, went to the McDonald's there to check our email with their free WIFI (there's also a Dunkin Donuts closeby) and went back to the ship for lunch. Our last stop and the reason for choosing this itinerary was Key West. It's a very pretty island but I must say very commercial. Shop after shop but still we had lots of fun. Went to the Hogs Breath Saloon for lunch, Hemingway's House and some other little shops along the way. It was a record breaking hot day at 88 degrees and we were walking the whole time. We were happy to be back on board to cool off in time for dinner. There's lots to see on Key West and it might require another visit. I really have not a thing negative to say about this cruise or cruise line and will booking with them in the near future. We were also told by one of the crew that the Jewel of the Seas was voted #1 ship to the Caribbean in 2015. I can see why and look forward to sailing again on her soon! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was about my 10th cruise, but over a 25+ year period. So, while I am not a novice, I'm also not a regular cruiser. This was also my 3rd or 4th cruise on Royal Caribbean. With me was my girlfriend, who was on her first cruise. ... Read More
This was about my 10th cruise, but over a 25+ year period. So, while I am not a novice, I'm also not a regular cruiser. This was also my 3rd or 4th cruise on Royal Caribbean. With me was my girlfriend, who was on her first cruise. I chose this cruise based on price, timeframe and I wanted a 4 night cruise on a medium-large ship. It wasn't until a few weeks before our cruise that I learned this ship was in Dry Dock the weeks prior to our cruise and this would be the first cruise after a number of changes. So what did I think: Crowds: Absolutely none. By far this was the best part of the cruise. Was the ship full? Yes it was. But somehow, I always felt relaxed and never felt like I was on a cattle drive. Food: Breakfast was always at windjammer. Breakfast is something that you can't ruin or make amazing. It was good and plentiful. However, the free OJ was the worst. I suggest you go for the fresh squeezed intended for the mimosas. Lunch we did windjammer on the day be got on. It was varied and interesting and exactly what I expected to start the cruise. Day two we were at CocoCay so lunch was on the island. The ribs were very tough. Probably the only bad meal of the trip. The remaining days we ate off the ship at local restaurants. Dinner we ate in the main dining hall only one night. My girlfriend didn't like the menu. I had the lamb chop which was good. We ate at windjammer one night and found the food to be varied as usual and more than plentiful. The third night we went to chops. This by far was the best meal and experience. Our waitress, from Jamaica, was the best person we saw on the ship. And we liked them all. Our last dinner was at Giovanni's. I was very disappointed with the pasta, mozzarella and overall service. While it wasn't bad, it was no way better than a meal at windjammer. Ship: The ship looked great. Flat screens now in the rooms and a large TV above the pool. Sure, it wasn't a new mega ship, but the staff had a bit of pep to their step and everything shined again. Stops/Shore Excursions: CocaCay was great. This was my first cruise with a private island stop. We snorkeled then moved over the 'south beach' area with the rented loungers. This was money well spent. My only gripe was that I didn't know the island had non RCCL shops. I kept hearing all I needed was my ship card. So, we couldn't buy anything on the island as we had no cash and I didn't have time to go back and forth. Nassau and Key West were your usual ports and we toured on our own. Room: We had a balcony. The guests next door were noisy and annoying, but you can't blame the cruise line for their guests. Entertainment: Varied and enjoyable. There was always something to do. However, we found the female piano player to be weak. The headliner, Phil Tilman or something like that, was amazing. While waiting for the show, i read a comment here about him on this site. The comment said his show was old and dated. Well he ended with 'uptown funk' and then 'purple rain' as a tribute to Prince who had just died that week. Clearly not a dated show. The silent dance party was funny and something I never saw before. The 70s show is a staple and always gets people moving. I was surprised we didn't get new entertainers when we arrived in Nassau. I wish the performers all switched ships at ports. Odds and ends: We purchased unlimited internet. It worked well and allowed us to keep in touch back home. Overall: Would I return. Yes I would. There was enough going on during our vacation, that I am sure we missed a few things. However, I still find it difficult to say any one cruise-line/ship is better then any other cruise-line/ship. So while I highly recommend this ship, I will still look at others in a year or two when we cruise again Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first cruise. The Jewel of the Seas was a smaller ship so not much to do on days at sea. The Cruise Director Dennis and Activities Director Enzo were hilarious and kept the crowd entertained. Our wait staff was one of the ... Read More
This was our first cruise. The Jewel of the Seas was a smaller ship so not much to do on days at sea. The Cruise Director Dennis and Activities Director Enzo were hilarious and kept the crowd entertained. Our wait staff was one of the best parts of the cruise. Doing magic tricks and making us laugh the whole time. Our room attendant was very friendly, i love the towel animals. The Windjammer wasnt that great, seemed like the same food day after day, alot of times the food was not hot. We chose the dining room more nights because of the wait staff and the variety of food. We booked another cruise on the Allure for 2018. We had a blast swimming with the dolphins in St. Kitts, enjoyed Trunk Beach in St Johns, the beach in Aruba was amazing. Curacao was a smaller town with a cool floating bridge. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our first RCI cruise and we went as part of a group. The Jewel is a great sized ship with nice layout but a little past the point it should have been upgraded. RCI seems to do a lot to get more out of less, squeezing margins ... Read More
This was our first RCI cruise and we went as part of a group. The Jewel is a great sized ship with nice layout but a little past the point it should have been upgraded. RCI seems to do a lot to get more out of less, squeezing margins tighter to increase the bottom line. The good thing is that service has not suffered as the service in dining room, Windjammer and in the bars was very good to exceptional. Our main disappointment was the food in the dining room. Our entire table of 8 was in total agreement that the selection and preparation was abysmal. Appetizers cold (when they shouldn't be) and laughably sized (scallops the size of your small fingernail-maybe). Two people tried the steak (hand cut strip) and it was thin enough to read your menu through. Good thing about the size is that it was horrible - devoid of flavor but with plenty of stringy sinew. Interesting that you could "upgrade" your meals from the premium menu at the bottom left corner of the menu. Again, cutting corners for margins and attempting to get passengers to spend more for what I believe should originally be the quality provided. Our Junior Suite was a great layout and the attendant exceptional but it was under the Windjammer and the sound of carts being rolled on the hard tile floors above was pretty much always there. The food in the Windjammer was good but traditional buffet fare. The Seaview Cafe on the 12th deck had the best food we experienced. Casual but freshly prepared and a good menu. The stops were nice but interesting in their selection - Sunday in St Thomas the shops closed early, Monday in St Kitts was election day and the ship advised no liquor sales on shore (many were open regardless). St Maarten was good but in Martinique it was Carnivale and the entire town was closed up the morning of arrival. Barbados was great on the final stop then a day at sea back to San Juan. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was my second cruise and I thought it was a great bargain and a wonderful ship. We booked last minute (3 days before departure) and received the Ultimate Beverage Package as an incentive. This was REALLY worth the money. The ship is ... Read More
This was my second cruise and I thought it was a great bargain and a wonderful ship. We booked last minute (3 days before departure) and received the Ultimate Beverage Package as an incentive. This was REALLY worth the money. The ship is a little worn, but VERY well maintained and clean. We stayed in an aft balcony and LOVED it. I thought that the crew was extremely helpful, goodnatured, and approachable. We ate in the Tsar's Palace one night and I thought the meal was only slightly better than the buffet, however the dining room was ornate and pleasant. Dinner was better at Azura and I liked the mood there too. I think I prefer the more formal dining options that do not exist with Freestyle dining, but the food was good and the service was great. The onboard activities were fun, and we enjoyed the white hot party! The nightlife was fun and there was plenty of dancing in the Spinnaker Lounge. There weren't any organized places for formal dancing (ballroom, salsa, etc.) and I missed this. My mother brought her walker along and the halls seemed a little narrow to easily accommodate her. Several other people brought their Go-Go's and did just fine. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Having never been on one before, we were very happy with how everything went. We were lucky enough to be cruising with 30+ year friends that are seasoned cruisers and they showed us the 'ropes' so that we felt comfortable ... Read More
Having never been on one before, we were very happy with how everything went. We were lucky enough to be cruising with 30+ year friends that are seasoned cruisers and they showed us the 'ropes' so that we felt comfortable quickly. And, we got to board with them early since our reservations were linked! Stayed at the San Juan Airport hotel since we only had about 10 hours before boarding. Basic room, clean, dated and cheaper than staying at one of the 'resort' type properties in 'town'. Took a cab to the Port/Pier and was on the ship within 10 minutes of arriving at 11:30am. Ship did not depart until 8pm that night, so we had plenty of time to look around. Luggage arrived around 1pm. At this Terminal, there is a duty free store located in the area of where you will go on to the ship. We were able to buy soda, water and single serve bottles of hard liquor. If we could get the liquor into purses or pants pockets, that was acceptable. So, since we did not find any reason to buy the drink package (lots of time spent off of the ship), this enabled us to mix a few drinks in our room for the entire cruise. We wanted to explore on our own at each stop, so opted to 'wade' through all of the high pressure sales people on the pier and walk a block or so away from the crowds until we came upon a privately owned taxi/van. We were able to negotiate where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. Average price for a 5-7 hour 'excursion' was around $30 each. And, you weren't stuck seeing things that you really didn't want to see, could travel at your own pace, stop and get a meal at a true local venue, ect. It worked out well for us! Do not go on the excursion in St. Johns' that takes you to Trunk Bay. We were told that was the place to go and try snorkeling for our first time. While the snorkeling went fine (they have rentals of equip. there), there was nothing to see on the so-called reef. Lots of folks from the ship paid $90 for this excursion and ended up only having 30 min, to actually snorkel due to the tour guide taking his time on getting them to the different sights. We spend $5 for a private taxi and had almost 3 hours to perfect our snorkeling skills. We had originally signed up for the 6pm dining in the D.R. We went 3 nights and then decided that the Buffet or Windjammers was even better when it came to food choices, relaxation and ability to talk to so many other people. While the D.R. food was great, we didn't want to spend the 90 min. each night sitting and not moving to other venues. It was also tough to get to the nightly show if you had the 6pm dining time. We just let our waiter know if we would be back the next night or not. Most of our table did the same thing. Ship was in great shape from what we could tell. The beds were not that comfortable, but it is also going into drydock later this year. So, I'm sure that they are not updating much until then. Food was, for the most part, good. Windjammer closes at the time it states on the front board by the entry, so don't be late! If you want coffee in the morning before they open, they set up a coffee station in the room to the side of the windjammer. They do not have flavored creamer, so I brought a box of my own. We also had our own coffee mugs and 32 oz. water bottles. Asked for a bucket of ice each evening from our fantastic room attendant, Cassandra, so that we would have ice for our water bottles the next morning when we left the ship in ports. We are pretty low maintenance, so, can't really tell you much about room service or special requests of room attendants. All of the onboard swimming pools and hot tubs are salt water. So, if that stings your eyes, you may want to bring some 'goggles' to wear while swimming. Mini golf at night in the winds was interesting! We were the only ones out there. Muster Station was a piece of cake and was done before we embarked out of San Juan. The faster you get there, the faster you are done and released! Late people are given a tough time by the other cruisers. :) Water to drink was fine out of the tap or you can get a glass of ice water, iced tea or some type of koolaid type drink at the windjammer. Lots of entertainment and friendly crew! We would go on this one again. :) Going on Cruise Critic a few weeks before we departed made all of this so much easier for us. We felt like we knew the ship and were 'cruisers' before we even left land! Awesome website with lots of info. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
My wife and I sailed on Jewel from 5/6-11 with our 1 year-old daughter. Ship & cabin were terrific; not too crowded at the pool on cruising days; nice mix of people - most were a bit older than us, but that's probably to be ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on Jewel from 5/6-11 with our 1 year-old daughter. Ship & cabin were terrific; not too crowded at the pool on cruising days; nice mix of people - most were a bit older than us, but that's probably to be expected given the time of year. Food was good all around. Windjammer cafe had a nice variety for breakfast & lunch, and unlike some other cruises we've been on there didn't seem to be throngs of gluttons pushing and shoving for food like they'd never eaten before. Main dining room for dinner was terrific; specific requests for kid-friendly meals were accommodated without a problem. Same was true of Portofino & Chops Grill. The only issue we had was with babysitting. RC's website says it's available on Jewel. Well, not really. It's available IF staff feel like working extra hours, but we only learned this after requesting babysitting and not getting a response. The first morning of the cruise we requested a babysitter for 2 hours for the last day so we could go to the spa for a couples massage. The customer relations rep at the desk assured us she'd put in the request and get back to us. Never happened. Eventually, after repeated calls and getting her manager involved we got the truth: the service only exists to the extent staff responds to the babysitting request and will work a couple of extra hours. Not a big deal, but it would've been nice if they'd told us that up front. They did give us 25% off a future cruise as an apology (and a "Pets at Sea" stuffed toy for our daughter). One other odd thing: only saw it once, but a security officer was asking kids wearing swim diapers to leave the kiddie pool. I don't get it. Why have a kiddie pool if you're not going to allow kids in it? All in all, a very enjoyable time and will definitely return to RC in the future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our first cruise aboard an RCCL ship yet is our ninth cruise overall. In the past, when planning our cruises, we always took cost as a major decision in planning our vacation. For instance, if another cruise line was offering a ... Read More
This was our first cruise aboard an RCCL ship yet is our ninth cruise overall. In the past, when planning our cruises, we always took cost as a major decision in planning our vacation. For instance, if another cruise line was offering a cruise from the same port with the same itenarery, yet the other line was $200 less than RCCL, we chose the lesser priced cruise line. Although, for many years we have wanted to cruise with RCCL because of the reviews we had read about the staff and amenities being premier to other lines. We booked a cruise aboard the Brilliance of the Seas for this upcoming November but on a last minute decision, I also booked a cruise on the Jewel of the Seas for May 2, 2013 sailing from Tampa to celebrate our 23rd anniversary. We were so excited about this cruise not only because it was going to be our 23rd anniversary but because we love to cruise and were looking forward to finally sailing with RCCL. Unfortunately, RCCL did not live up to our expectations. For example, our cruise agent arranged for an anniversary celebration or announcement during our Jewel cruise. We received nothing. It wasn't until another passenger that was sitting with us at our table in the MDR told the headwaiter about our anniversary on May 6th that they staff brought out a "slice" (yes, ONE slice) of chocolate cake with one candle in it and sang "Happy Anniversary" to us. It was more embarrassing than celebratory. Allow me to explain some of the other things we found to be lacking as well as exceptional on our recent sailing on the Jewel of the Seas. Embarkation in Tampa was flawless. We were onboard the Jewel in about 10 minutes which is the fastest we ever were able to board a ship. We had an extended Balcony cabin (7022) and found the cabin to be smaller as compared to other balcony cabins we have sailed in. This was not a major concern to us as we were aware of this prior to our sailing so we expected it. We noticed that there were multiple areas on the balcony that needed some touch up paint to hide the rust that we could see. We also later found that our cabin door needed to be pushed hard to have it close completely. If the cabin door was not closed all the way, and we opened the sliding glass door to the balcony, the door would blow open and it would create a type of wind tunnel that would blow all papers and light items in the cabin around like a hurricane. There was also a problem where one of the closet doors was falling off from the hinge. We reported it and a crew member came and removed the one door and explained a fabrication had to be done to repair it and the door would not be replaced during our sailing. REALLY? Now, the cabin was starting to look like a sailing on a barge between the rust and the closet door missing! The ship sails like a limousine!! No question about that. But again we noticed that there are areas of the ship that need attention. The banners that fly when the vessel is in homeport are either tattered or missing completely. I understand that the ship is nine years old but my thought was "This is RCCL, it should look better than this"! The Jewel of the Seas isn't dated to go to drydock for another three years (2016) and it should really be better maintained until then to live up to what passengers expect from RCCL. The staff we experienced, for the most part were no better than on other lines we have sailed. A few deserve mention though such as our cabin steward "Lenny". He was always available if we needed him and ALWAYS friendly. We wanted to fill out a "WOW" card for him but no one seemed to know where to get one. He told us to get one from the Pursers desk and they told us to get one from our cabin steward!! Also, "Sebastian" at the pool bar was exceptional. Always smiling and singing. Both crew members always greeted us with a "Fist Bump". We called room service one day and asked how we get a room service menu. They told us to tune to channel 39 on the cabin television. Channel 39 directed us to call the room service number for a menu. That's a bit disorganized! There was one formal night during this cruise. On previous cruises, we would dress up for formal night expecting a gala event but we felt this night was not even worth getting dressed up for! No Lobster (unless we paid extra). No Prime Rib. Just a basic menu. The passengers on formal night were even dressed better than the MDR staff!! I was later told that RCCL doesn't offer Lobster or Prime Rib on the formal nights on sailings of less than seven days. My question, is why bother having a "Formal" night at all. All it did was force me to dry clean my suit and drag it with me for what I now see was needless! And what's with the powdered eggs in the Windjammer? Yes, their powdered. Being a cook, I know the difference. The scrambled eggs consistancy in the Windjammer tasted more like grits than eggs. All in all, under the advice from our cruise agent, we will give RCCL one more try and will keep our planned booking on the Brilliance for this coming November. I was not truly impressed overall aboard the Jewel. I truly hope that the sailing on the Brilliance will live up to what we have expected from RCCL for all these years. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Let me start this off my saying this was my first ever cruise, and I'm really glad I didn't let it turn me off to cruising forever. My best friend invited me to go on a cruise with his family, and I said yes, considering I'd ... Read More
Let me start this off my saying this was my first ever cruise, and I'm really glad I didn't let it turn me off to cruising forever. My best friend invited me to go on a cruise with his family, and I said yes, considering I'd get to leave the country (it went to Cozumel) and go on a cruise for the first time! My best friend and I were both 18 at the time of sailing. Boarding at Tampa was fine. I'm a local of Tampa so it was neat to actually board one of the big cruise ships I've always seen at the port. Crew/Staff: Some were nice, some were bleh. Our servers in the MDR were kinda rude IMO. Most of the crew had an awkward vibe to them. Food: MDR food was pretty good, though I did have a tasteless prime rib. I wish I hadn't been too seasick to eat every night pretty much. Windjammer buffet was pretty good. Seaview Cafe was too greasy. Room service is AWFUL don't even bother. All the restaurants are boring and dated looking, decor wise. Ship Activities/Entertainment: HORRIBLE unless you enjoy throwing money away in a disgusting, smoke filled casino, drinking at the bars (which I was too young for anyway), lame jazz music, or shows catered specifically to those over 70... I literally felt trapped on a ship, bored to tears. The only upside is that I had so little to do I finished 2 books. Ship Decor: Awful and dated, I can't believe the ship was launched in 2004. It looks like they drew inspiration from the late 1970s. It's pretty heinous in all honesty. EXCEPTION: the indoor pool (Solarium) was very attractive. SHIP ROCKING/SEASICKNESS: The ship was so loud and creaky. It rolled around and was just absolutely sickening. No amount of seasickness medicine cured my intense nausea. I couldn't even enjoy the food on board. This is NOT a ship for those prone to seasickness.... not at all! Port of call: Cozumel was awesome, I was thrilled to get to leave the country for the first time! Room/Cabin: Small and cramped. We had a balcony room. Sharing it with 3 others was not pleasant, and the sofa bed is one of the most uncomfortable beds I've had the misfortune of having to sleep on. I did get to sleep on the regular bed one night, which was pretty comfy. I couldn't really enjoy the balcony considering there was always cigarette smoke coming from the sides of above/below me. Lots of smokers on this cruise. The bathroom was ridiculously small and the shower was so cramped it made me feel claustrophobic. The decor was really dated looking, I'm surprised this ship was launched in '04. Overall my trip was horrible. Avoid this ship and those in the same class as the Jewel of the Seas like the plague if you're under 50. I'm glad I didn't let this ship turn me off to cruising forever. I sailed on the Disney Dream in Feb 2014 and had a magnificent time, for a cheaper price at that... shop around!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I am a 50 year old female from TN, taking a first time cruise with my 71 year old mother. Below is my experience that I would like to share with others. Perhaps another first timer will glean something valuable from it. If you have ... Read More
I am a 50 year old female from TN, taking a first time cruise with my 71 year old mother. Below is my experience that I would like to share with others. Perhaps another first timer will glean something valuable from it. If you have questions or comments, feel free to write me at tpath@yahoo.com. Happy Cruising! __________________________________________________________________________________ I arrived at Tampa International Airport at 10:50 am. Baggage claim in in another building, so I had to take a tram to get there. Following the signs was pretty easy. I was being picked up by relatives, so it was an effortless transition to the car. The Port of Tampa is about 10 miles away from the airport. It's not the easiest route to get to, as there are a lot of different highways and streets to take to get there. Traffic runs pretty fast, so it's a good idea to either know where you are going, or have a GPS. We got there in plenty of time to wait to board the ship. On the day of our departure there was a bomb scare and we had to wait in line for about 2.5 hours in the hot sun waiting to board with all of our luggage in tow. Not a great start. Once we were finally allowed to get on board we left our luggage with the porters (although you did not have to do that) and continued through the check in process. You must have your passport, drivers license, seapass paperwork and the credit card that you reserved your cruise with (if applicable). We got checked in relatively fast. Our credit card was swiped and we had to sign some documents related to purchasing the cruise. We were given a plastic card (similar to a credit card) with our name on it. Also some other things of importance, which was not explained to us initially¦.. the card has your room # on it, but not the floor. That way if someone sees your pass, they do not know exactly what room you are in. Also there is a # on the card that tells you which area of the boat you need to go to for your lifesaver meeting, and also your dining table # and your eating time. (You can choose from early or late dining, or if you don't want to choose, you can pay extra for "my timemdining).We were not aware of the assigned table # until the 2nd night of the cruise. By the way, bring a lanyard with you to hold your pass with you you will need it at all times. You can get them to punch a hole in it at Guest Services on deck 5. Seapass is used as a door key and to purchase anything on the boat. As you enter the ship they try to get you to stand for a picture. If you are interested in paying 20/per photo, go ahead and pose. They will take more pictures of you all along the boat and post them on a wall. You are welcome to buy them or pkgs of them for big money. We opted out of every photo shoot. Even though we boarded late (2:30ish) our room was still not ready. We headed to the Windjammer Cafe (which is a very nice buffet style cafeteria) and had our first meal. Everything looked wonderful, the food was very good, and it was nice to sit. After our late lunch we did head to our room, and it was ready. We met our stateroom attendant (we had a stateroom with large window) named Sang. He was friendly enough. He explained the door "rules (inserting a card into the door to say if you wanted room service or if you did not want to be disturbed). Our luggage had not arrived yet, so we relaxed and checked out the room for a bit. Our luggage didn't arrive until very late in the day (around 7pm). I was getting pretty anxious about it, because I did not have a change of clothes with me, and my mom had left all of her money in her luggage. When we finally did get our stuff, we were relieved to find nothing missing. Muster: Right after our late lunch we were expected to go to a certain area of the boat and get a life saving drill, in the event that the boat sinks. They explain how to use a life jacket, and the life boats, and also the same place the drill is, is also our meeting place in the event of an emergency. The captain of the ship welcomes us from a speaker, and then one of the attendants explains the drill. Also there are some emergency sirens that you have to tolerate (extremely loud)This is called a muster. Our room: The first thing I noticed was how well every inch of space was utilized. There were shelves and hooks everywhere. We had enough room to empty our suitcases and put everything away, without the place looking overcrowded. I was impressed with that. Mirrors everywhere, to give the room a larger feel. The tv swings out on a stand so that you can watch it from the loveseat area or from the bed. There is a heavy curtain that slides across the room if you want to have privacy sleeping while someone else is up in the other half of the room. The bathroom is small, but still enough room for everything you need to do. The shower was small, but we are not big people so it wasn't an issue for us. The only thing I could see that needed improvement in the bathroom was that there was no outlet for a hairdryer. The only outlet was overhead and it was labeled for electric shaver only. They did provide a hairdryer, but it had an odd plug and could only be plugged in to the mirrored area over the desk/vanity area, which was out in the room. Plenty of closet space with a bar for hanging clothes, hangers provided, and shelves from floor to ceiling as well. Although you have to share your closet with 3 life vests… but we found a way to tuck them up overhead to get out of the way. We were also able to put 2 large suitcases on the closet floor. They provide soap, conditioner, bath& hand towels, wash cloths and bathmat. They also have a program called "Save the Waves” and ask that you re-use your towels to save the environment. If you don't care to do that, all you do is throw your towel on the floor, otherwise hang your towel on the rack and they will not provide you with a fresh one that day. Room Service: They leave a breakfast doortag on the wall behind your door. You simply check off the items you'd like for breakfast, and then check off the time range you'd like to have it, and then they call you just prior to getting it to your room in the morning. We had no problem getting our stuff when we ordered it, but our friends told us they had a lot of problems. I think the earlier you want it, the easier it is to get it. Otherwise they get really busy with all the other people wanting room service at the same time a little later on. We picked from 6:30 " 7:00 am. Also, if you order coffee, one coffee = 1 cup plus 1 medium sized carafe of coffee. The first morning we ordered 3 coffees because we wanted to make sure we'd have enough for 2 cups each. We had more than 2 cups each in 2 carafes, so the 3rd one was a waste for us. They also serve cream & sugar with the coffee, but I am used to the flavored cream, so it didn't taste that good to me. I did not see flavored cream on the boat in any of the dining areas. You can also get room service for you other meals, but you'll have to look on the tv program for the men items. There is also a catalog in the desk drawer… I didn't see that until day 3, so I may have missed out on some things. Room service is free, but if you order between 12:30 " 5:30am you have to pay extra. The first full day of our cruise we never got our room cleaned. By the time they were getting ready to clean it, it was quite late in the day and we just didn't want to wait for it to be done. We asked that they just take our breakfast dishes away. We never did get one of those towel animals in our room on any day. Next time I think I will go to the Pursers desk and ask that we pay our own gratuities. 12.00 per day per person is added to your final bill, but you do not have to do it that way. You can pay as you go and as you like. Our friends tipped by the day and always got the animal towel AND constantly had fresh ice in the room. They didn't end up tipping a whole lot more than anyone else, but got much better service. Drinks: They allow you to bring 1 normal sized bottle of wine or champagne per person per stateroom with you. Other than that they have drink pkgs you can purchase when first getting on the boat. The cocktail (premium) pkg is 55/day. You have to buy for all the days of your cruise, and your roommate also has to purchase the same pkg. Unless you want to be drunk your entire stay, it's not really much of a savings. Cocktails range from 6.50 (drink of the day that comes in a souivenier tumbler that you can keep) to 9.00 average per drink. You'd have to have about 8 drinks a day before you break even. If you are going to drink more than that you might as well stay home and drink because you aren't going to remember a whole lot about your fancy trip. Also, all of the outside bars at the pool area serve coctails in acrylic glasses and beer in plastic bottles so that there is no broken glass to deal with. Good idea. Coffee / iced tea / lemonade / regular orange juice / ice water are all free in the dining areas. Although it is difficult to find icewater when you are not in a dining room. I know some people brought bottled water with them, and I would do that next time as well. There are a couple of water fountains on the upper decks, but the water was warm and the stream didn't go up that high. It was hard to fill a bottle or tumbler from it. We did have our bottles filled at the bar a couple of times, but it was a pain. There is also a soda pkg. I do not know what the price is, but you buy a special insulated tumbler and then you pay a flat fee and drink all the carbonated beverage you can stand. I think it includes juice as well. There is a beer / wine pkg as well, and I do not have the details for that either. I think a lot of people bought the adult beverage pkgs though, because there were a lot of happy- happy people on the boat. Freshed sqeezed orange juice is not free. They will come around in the morning with a tray and ask you if you'd like some. Be prepared to give them your card if you take a glass. Meals: We ate most of our breakfasts and lunches at the windjammer café. It was the easiest to get to and the food was always good. Too many choices to pick from, so you never had to eat the same thing twice if you didn't want to. We saw no reason to go to the specialty restaurants, as the food was really good at the Windjammer. Our dinners were at the Tides restaurant. We did eat breakfast there on the first morning, but we thought it was really stuffy, and the food was cold and tasteless. You have to dress up a bit for dinner. We had the same table # each night, and got to get acquainted with the same 4 other couples each night. That part was actually kind of fun. The 2nd night of our cruise was the formal dinner. We had fun dressing up and the food was wonderful. You get a few choices of starters and main dishes. All were good. Each night the menu changed. The desert menu was awesome as well. You could order as many deserts as you liked. I ordered 2 deserts 3 nights in a row. They were wonderful. You can also order a cocktail or wine with dinner. You'll have to bring your seapass to pay for it though. We had the same servers each night. It was nice getting to know them. There are many servers from around the world that work on the ship. You get exposed to many dialects, and sometimes it is hard to understand what they are saying. On the last night the wait staff sang "I'm leaving on a jet plane to the entire dining room. Brought a tear to our eyes You can pretty much eat around the clock. There are buffets open at midnight and snack areas all over the boat. If you go hungry, it's your own fault. Events: Besides the excursions that you can do off the boat, there are many things to do while at sea. Everyday they give you an itinerary of the daily events. It's called The Compass. It has an hourly breakdown of special things going on. It also tells sunset/sunrise time, temp humidity of the day, etc. It also tells the daily movie that will be playing and what times, shows that are being performed, sales that they are promoting on the boat, talks, entertainment , classes in the spa & gym, events; such as make-a-wish walk, animal-towel demonstations, etc. Things to do on the boat: rock wall climbing, basketball, ping pong, shuffleboarding, cards, casino games, bingo, shopping, dancing, karoke, trivia contests, bellyflop contests, swimming, listening to reggae music near the pool, etc. They have activities for kids too, but we didn't have children with us. Clothing: We were going to Cozumel Mexico in April. The weather was warm. What you really need is one formal outfit, one nice outfit for every dinner, shorts & shirts for daywear on the boat, sneakers if you want to use the gym, 2 bathing suits (so you always have a dry one to put on), pjs, light robe, sandals, dress shoes, and a light jacket or sweatshirt for cooler nights. Other helpful things to pack: notepad, highlighter, pens, your own reading material…. The library had books, but not a whole lot of good stuff to read. Dramamine (if you don't get a patch ahead of time), bandaids, hat / hair ties (windy on deck at sea), bottled water, binoculars, sunglasses, sunscreen, small flashlight. If you have business or calling cards, bring them. You end up meeting a lot of people and you may want to stay in touch with them after the cruise. It's easier to just hand them a card. Fun stuff: you can decorate your door with a sign or anything you want to. Find out ahead of time if there are any themed contests. We had a 70's disco balls¦. So it would have been nice to have some 70's clothes for this! They also had a contest where men dressed as women. There was a huge lottery drawing they kept telling us about in the daily compass too. One lucky winner was going to walk away with 260,000.00. TV: There are a few stations¦ you can watch the current news, there is a RC station that tells you about other cruises. There is also a station that tells you about the excursions at the place you are headed to.(We bought our trip on day 2 of the boat So no need to decide before you leave) There is a ship info station that tells you a lot of things going on, on the boat. It also has ideas for shopping and tells you what you need to know when disembarking. Disembarking: If you do not want to carry your own luggage off the boat, you must pack any luggage and set it outside of your room by 11:00 pm the night before. There is also a special colored tag that you need to fill out and put on your tag. The tag has a # on it and that # is the room that you must go to in the morning to be dismissed from the boat. They dismiss by group #s so that everyone is not trying to leave at the same time and cause a traffic jam. You can take you own luggage off yourself. They call this "self-assist”. Self-assist people get to disembark first. If you have more than one large suitcase though, it is hard toting all of that around the boat to get off. The boat arrived at the port at 7am, as scheduled. You can go to the Windjammer and have your last breakfast while waiting for you group # to be called. The night before they drop off a form to your room that you need to fill out. One form for each family member with the same last name. There are extra forms at Guest Services if you need one. You have to bring the form with you through the customs line, along with your passport and drivers' license. You have to declare large ticket items you bought outside of the US. If you bought liquor on the island you will have to go to a special room between 5:00 " 6:00 am to claim it, and then pack it in your carry off bags. Once out of the terminal you are not far from the Aquarium and parking garages. There are people outside of the terminal holding signs for taxi rides to the airport. They only wanted $15 to get you to the airport. I almost did that. I think it would have been easier. I was at the airport by 9:15, and spent the most part of the day there because my flight didn't leave until 4pm. Next time I think I will book an earlier flight home, or extend my vacation a bit in Florida after the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
I went on the Jewel of the Seas in 2013 and it was my first cruise. It left a profound memory in my mind. So what did I think of the Jewel? The Good: -Embarkation: Quick and Simple. No hassles and boarded within 20 minutes of entering ... Read More
I went on the Jewel of the Seas in 2013 and it was my first cruise. It left a profound memory in my mind. So what did I think of the Jewel? The Good: -Embarkation: Quick and Simple. No hassles and boarded within 20 minutes of entering the main terminal. -Pool/General Area/Solarium: She's an older ship but well maintained. Beautiful glass enclosures with tan and blue undertones. Large atrium that stretched several floors. The main pool area was tight but I spent most of my time in the Solarium. They need to add more chairs because I was always searching for one. Days at sea made the challenge almost impossible. -Dining: The upper level of the main dining room was fabulous. Meals were served promptly and with class. If you have the pleasure of having James Bond and his partner in crime, you won't be disappointed. The Windjammer left somethings to be desired. Not much of a selection and there weren't very many places to sit. Its air conditioned, which was a plus. Didnt try any of the specialty dining because we didnt need to. -Service: Never had a bad encounter with anyone on the ship. They were generally friendly and courteous and learned all of names on the first day. Turndown service happened when we were at dinner. Very satisfied. -Debarkation: Fast and efficient. Had to make an 11AM flight back to NYC and was at the airport by 8:30. The Bad: -Cabin: Never really spent time in it BUT it was very small; almost claustrophobic. If you have more than 3 people, you definitely need two rooms. Bathrooms were very basic and tight. Could barely get dressed in there. Upper berths were uncomfortable. Older electronics (tv, lights...). There was a good amount of storage though. -Activities: Wasn't really much to do aboard the ship. Very leisurely--lots of elderly couples. Spent a lot of time in the pool and took a nap when at sea. Top deck great for tanning. I dont tan when on vacation but 5 minutes on each side twice a day made my skin look amazing. Wasn't really a negative for me because I love wading in the pool and I was there to relax. I also wasn't old enough to drink so I really couldn't have fun in that area. Ports: -Key West: I would actually consider living there full time or at least vacation there once a year if it wasn't so expensive. IT WAS AWESOME. We rented a motor scooter and travelled around the main drag. Went to the Ernest Hemingway House which I highly recommend (warning: did not do these activities via ship excursions). Jumped the line at the southernmost point of the US and took selfie with my family (SO MUCH FUN; made the people in line angry, left immediately). Awesome port! -Cozumel: Rented a car for the day. It cost $85 w/ insurance. Toured the whole island in jeep on the main highway (its literally a circle that shows you all of the south coast beaches and then returns back to the center). When we arrived at the center, we had lunch at this amazing Mexican restaurant recommended to us by a friend we made on the ship. I don't remember the name but it was off the main drag hidden in the back and had some of the freshest seafood I have ever had. Shopped around for some cuban cigars and tshirts (amazing deals!). Returned to the ship. Would only return by cruise ship. Decent Port The Verdict: Immaculate, Extraordinary, Awe-Inspiring If you ever get the chance to get on this ship, I highly recommend it. It was and still is the best experience I have ever had on a cruise ship. I don't have the proper vocabulary to explain how amazing this ship and experience was. Royal Caribbean is an always will be my favorite cruise line. As a side note, we paid $500 for there first two people and $250 for the third for an ocean view stateroom on deck 3. It was worth the investment and I would pay double to sail on this ship again.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was my first cruise and I can say I will certainly go again soon! I will try and be as detailed as I can and please keep in mind I'm new to cruising so some things may just be the norm on all cruises. My wife and I arrived at ... Read More
This was my first cruise and I can say I will certainly go again soon! I will try and be as detailed as I can and please keep in mind I'm new to cruising so some things may just be the norm on all cruises. My wife and I arrived at about noon in Tampa on our day of departure. We parked right across the street from the ship. Cost was $15/day which I'm sure there were cheaper places, but this was pretty conveinent and seemed secure. We walked our bags across to the terminal and at first I thought things were moving quickly. Then we turned the corner once inside and were met by a huge crowd. Not sure how others got on the ship so quick, but we were about 45min,plus it got pretty muggy inside the terminal with all the people. Once on the ship though we attempted to go to our room, but were told it would be a 20min wait. No big deal, we headed up to the Windjammer cafe for some lunch. This was where we would end up eating most of our meals. Buffet style with several stations and lots of variety. Food was decent for the most part. A few things that we would never try again, but that's what was good with a buffet. We just went on to something else. A note about the beverages. My wife and I bought the soda package, but come to find out at least in the Windjammer that tea, water and lemonade are all ready and waiting for you. You serve yourself and there is always someone filling up the glasses. To get a soda you need to ask a waiter or go to a bar and wait in line. Had I known this I probably wouldn't have purchased the package. We were done with lunch in about 30min and just prior to us leaving an announcement was made that the cabins were ready. We went to our cabin and I found it to be pretty small. We had a balcony (which I highly recommend), but still it was close living. They make real good use of the space though. The bed was also bigger than expected. I'm 6'4" and even a king size isn't quite big enough so I was worried about a queen. Nice touch though is that the bed has a curve out at the foot of the bed and it makes it a little bit longer. All in all the bed was decent. Not like our tempurpedic at home, but it worked. Now speaking of close living I checked out the bathroom. Really small. The shower even smaller. My wife is 5'3" and 130lbs and even she said it was tiny. Throughout the cruise we would see other "healthier" individuals and tell each other there was no way they could shower. So just be advised if you are bigger than most people. Next cruise I'm gonna try out one of the suites. They seem pretty nice and worth the extra money. Also you get other "suite only" perks. The only real issue we had with the cruise was the luggage being delivered. This is probably normal, but my wife got real worried. Both our bags were handed off at the same time to the gentleman at the front of the terminal yet it took her bag 4hrs longer to reach our cabin than mine. She was sure they had lost her bag. It arrived though and all was good. Moving on to the rest of the ship. I kept saying how I could not imagine that all of this was on a ship. It really is amazing all that they can pack inside this ship. From a full theater for broadway type shows and comeadians. We checked out three shows and I thought all were pretty good. A good size casino which was also quite nice. I would like to see more table games and less slot machines personally. To all the restuarants and bars and clubs and don't forget 3 pools. We ate at Tides restaurant and Chop's steakhouse one time each. There was good reason we didn't return. The food in both places was nothing to write home about and certainly not worth the $80 (gratuity included) for the Chops restaurant. I ordered the New York strip and it was pretty tough to cut through. Sorry, but I really can't recommend either of them. On top of that you have to wait for food and drinks and the servers get quite busy. Also the portions are pretty small. We opted to not try Portofino's as the pasta and sauce in the Windjammer was pretty awful and we figured more of the same would come out of the Portofino. We also ate at the Seaview cafe which is on deck 13 at the back of the ship. Nice little place for sandwhichs and pretty quiet as well. Ate there twice. As I mentioned before the ship has plenty to do. You get an iteinary each night for the next day and its packed with things going on. We bought a few things in the shops which were all pretty nice. We also played Bingo on our last night and I got into an adult dodgeball game on the last day. All in all a good time. My wife got a facial and some other things at the spa. She really liked it a lot, but got suckered into buying the extra product which was about the same cost as the treatment.... :) Anyhow she was happy so that's what matters. For the ports of call we went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Grand Cayman was kind of disappointing. Only a few shops open and the area was run down. We did do a submarine ride on our own that was pretty cool. The wife liked it a lot. Cozumel was better. Although due to high winds all of the water based excursions were cancelled, we still had a good time at the shops. The area was also a little better kept and organized. Getting off back at Tampa took us about 30min. We chose to take our own bags and while it did take a little time the lines moved along. I would also like to add that all of the staff we encountered were very friendly and eager to serve. The ship was also kept quite clean and very minor signs of wear or age. Our room attendant also was very quick to clean our room each time we left for dinner or whatever. We enjoyed our cruise very much. This is certainly a new vacation choice in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We live within an hour of the Port of Tampa so this was an easy getaway weekend for us. Embarkation in Tampa was a breeze. Well organized and efficient. Please note that you can not bring on board any opened beverage. I had to toss the ... Read More
We live within an hour of the Port of Tampa so this was an easy getaway weekend for us. Embarkation in Tampa was a breeze. Well organized and efficient. Please note that you can not bring on board any opened beverage. I had to toss the bottle of water I was drinking. You can bring a case of unopened water if you wish. They now allow you to bring two bottles of wine per cabin to be consumed in your cabin. If you bring them to dinner there will be a corkage fee. Seems fair. Cabin 9580 is a great cabin with a nice size balcony. The location on the ship was convenient as well. The only problem is that it is located right off the library and there is no hallway wall to deflect the music from the nightclub down below in the Centrum. We tried everything to drown it out. Finally opened the balcony doors but then the room got warm. We are early risers so tend to go to bed by 11 pm but if you like to party and stay up late then this is the room for you! The ship is beautiful. Very clean as well. Every night the stores put on a different sale. One night it was a liqueur sale and they had free tastings. It was fun. We ate in Chops two nights and the dining room another. We always love Chops, excellent food and service. Dining room had excellent service as well. We forgot to ask for a table for two when we booked so we were sat at a larger table at the early service. Food was just ok. Ordered room service one breakfast and one lunch, and it was mediocre. Windjammer was good for lunch. We did the wine tasting they offered on Friday at 3:00. They paired the the wines with cheese and it was very informative. Pool time....people were reserving chairs of course. If you don't get down there early you have to go up to the next deck. I really hate that. Disembarkation wasn't too bad. We rolled our own suitcase off. The line was long but it kept moving. We valet parked for an extra $20 and it was well worth it. We were in the car driving away by 8:00 a.m. All in all we had a great time just didn't get much sleep due to the noise from the nightclub so I would definitely go again but I would choose another cabin! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This was my 5th overall cruise, 2nd on Royal. Went with my wife, daughter and sister as all were on spring break. We're locals so there was no air travel or hotel stays involved. We continue to LOVE cruising out of Tampa. It's ... Read More
This was my 5th overall cruise, 2nd on Royal. Went with my wife, daughter and sister as all were on spring break. We're locals so there was no air travel or hotel stays involved. We continue to LOVE cruising out of Tampa. It's close, drop off is a breeze, and self-park is easy. Even the valet attendants weren't pushy! Security screening, check-in and boarding again took all of 15 minutes! Last year we sailed on the same cruise (although on a slightly different itinerary) with my parents and had a thoroughly enjoyable time. This time, while still enjoyable, we had a few disappointments. As mentioned in another review, the weather was not the best. The day before departure, a cold front went through and quite a bit of wind was left behind. Upon entering the Gulf, the seas picked up and we rocked and rolled for 2 and a half days! Heck, it even took the pilot about 30-45 minutes to get off the ship once we left the channel! Fortunately, none of us were affected but the staff strategically placed barf bags throughout the ship and they were steadily disappearing. The motion of the ship also made putt putt quite interesting! The second day was a little overcast and when the sun went completely away, it was a little cool on the pool deck. Even so, most lounge chairs around the pool were taken. In fact, the only areas with chairs readily available were in the wind 2 decks above the pool. And when I say wind, according to the ship's information channel, the apparent wind on days 2 and 3 were between 40-50MPH! WOW! The third day is when our first real disappointment happened: we missed our port of call in Grand Cayman. We woke up early to get ready and saw the island off in the distance. As we were getting dressed, though, we noticed the island shifting to south and when we turned to the info channel on TV, we could see we were turning away from the island. About that time the captain announced that due to those high winds, Grand Cayman closed the cruise ship anchoring and tendering area. Overall, this was probably a blessing in disguise since tendering would have been very difficult and our planned excursion to Stingray City would have been even more rough; nevertheless, my daughter was very sad. Oh well. An extra day on ship was not a bad alternative and we got to Cozumel a few hours early (although that means it was 6AM local time!) The ship itself was well maintained and beautiful. Some signs of wear and tear were noted but nothing to take away from the overall appearance. The decor is bright and everything was very clean. The room itself was great and our steward Simplicio was very quick to introduce himself and educate us about some of the amenities associated with our suite. He was quick to clean and replenish supplies and always seemed to be around to take care of anything we needed. The food in the main dining room in my opinion was very good. My wife thought otherwise but still seemed to finish everything she was served. The wait staff was above average (especially our assistant waiter who had our drinks ready nearly as we sat down!) Service was quick but a few orders got "forgotten." We did not eat dinner in either of the specialty restaurants but with our cabin, breakfast dining was in Chops Grill. As such, there were no crowds whatsoever and service was outstanding. Also, we thought the pancakes there were the best we've ever had - ANYWHERE! The buffet dining in Windjammer Cafe was hit and miss. Room service menu was VERY LIMITED and delivery was a little slow but the food was good. As for our second disappointment, it had to do with the menu selection in the MDR, more specifically, the choice of which foods were served on what nights. As I mentioned before, due to missing our port in Grand Cayman, we arrived in Cozumel early. However, our departure time remained the same and all excursion times went unchanged. Our excursion (Passion Island by Boat) was a relatively long one, leaving the pier at noon ship's time and coming back at 530. We had early dining (6PM seating) so we kind of already knew we would miss eating in the MDR that night and planned on trying Windjammer instead. Prior to leaving the ship, though, we still looked at the menu to see what we might be missing and really didn't see anything worth trying to rush back to get ready for just in case. Apparently, most everyone else had the same idea as us: spend as much time in Cozumel, get back to the ship late, clean up and eat in the buffet. It was packed! Even one of the staff commented that the MDR must be empty as busy as the buffet had been that night. And that is when she also dropped the, "And it was even lobster night!" My wife and I looked at each other and didn't believe her so we went and looked again at the MDR menu. Nope - no lobster listed as a main course entree. Starting to feel a little relieved that we hadn't missed "Lobster Night" my sister then pointed out an entree named "Fisherman's Catch." Sure enough, buried in the description (and not even as the first item,) there it was: "Fresh fish, lobster tail, and shrimp." Now, I understand the cruise industry is a business and their job is to make money. However, this just had all the appearances of pinching pennies by serving the most anticipated meal on a cruise on the night when most people would not be planning on eating in the MDR. Last year, lobster was served on the night of one of our port calls but we had left port by 330PM so there was no worry about missing it. This time, the ship was still tied up even as the LATE SEATING was beginning. Just an overall bad taste in our mouths that still has us shaking our heads. To top it off, as we are making our way back to our rooms our cabin steward noticed my daughter sulking and asked what was wrong. We told him what happened and he advised us that with our suite, we could actually order off the MDR menu and have it delivered as room service! Unfortunately, we had just gorged ourselves in the buffet so we weren't hungry. Additionally, if we were to order it, we would have had to do so in 5 minutes! Now THAT would have been some useful information to have BEFORE we went to the buffet! Oh well... live and learn. As for entertainment, we actually saw every production show and all but the last night's comedy act were quite good. One of the nights was evan a performance by the Texas Tenors from America's Got Talent! AWESOME! Even saw them in the Sports Bar watching the NCAA tournament the last night of the cruise! Disembarkment was the fastest I have ever experienced. Ship was supposed to arrive in port around 7 so we planned to wake around 730, go eat and plan for leaving around 830. Got to the specified meeting place for breakfast and as soon as we arrived, the host told everyone to grab their things and we were off the ship by 800! Overall, we had fun. Wish the weather would have been better and was disappointed we missed the best meal of the cruise. If you are planning on getting a Grand Suite like we had, make sure you get a good description from your cabin steward or the Concierge of all the benefits that come with your room! Will still plan on sailing with Royal Caribbean again. Only suggestion for them would be to combine formal night and lobster night - it only makes sense to me! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Jewel of the Seas. I would not consider myself a "cruise Person." So take this review with a grain of salt if you wish. 1.Embarkation and disembarkation- Relatively smooth and problem free for my family of 5, i would say ... Read More
Jewel of the Seas. I would not consider myself a "cruise Person." So take this review with a grain of salt if you wish. 1.Embarkation and disembarkation- Relatively smooth and problem free for my family of 5, i would say that was a general rule for most cruisers, as long as you have all of your paperwork in order.. No issues. 2. Food- I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of food, With the amount that has to be created each day. this really was a true benefit of this cruise and i would suspect many other cruises to be on Par with the Jewel of the seas.. The food was a above average and my palette was satisfied for each meal. 3. Bar Service: This is where they need some help. the bartenders were not friendly and generally very slow.. Seems like I spent half of my time on the cruise waiting for a drink. It must have something to do with the fact we were on the pre-paid program and they presumed that they were not going to tip, so the bartenders seem to be become slow robots. 4.Restaurant Service they did a very nice job, our kids looked forward to going to the sit down dinner, due to the quality of food and the relationships they created with wait staff. Made the sit down dinner quite enjoyable. 5.Decor and cleanness. The level that I was on, really had a horrible smell. It had the order of old ball room.. Too much partying and people.. They need to update the carpet and find ways to keep this place clean.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
This will be a fairly quick review. We arrived at the Port of Tampa at approximately 11:00am and were onboard eating lunch by noon. We checked out different areas of the ship to get acquainted before heading to our room at 1pm. It was ... Read More
This will be a fairly quick review. We arrived at the Port of Tampa at approximately 11:00am and were onboard eating lunch by noon. We checked out different areas of the ship to get acquainted before heading to our room at 1pm. It was ready for us. The aft junior suite (1602) did not disappoint. The cabin was huge, the bathroom was a nice size with a full tub, the walk in closet was smaller than most jr suites but was still a walk in and very adequate for all 3 of us overpackers. The balcony. Oh the balcony. It was massive (compared to the balcony cabins I'm used to). There were two chaise lounges, one small table and two chairs. You could easily fit another two lounges and two chairs on it if you had to. The view was perfect and sitting out on the balcony watching the water was amazing. If you take this cruise out of Tampa, be SURE you do not miss going under the Skyway Bridge. Being from the area, we have driven over the Skyway countless times. The experience of going under it with the ship's horn blowing was something I will never forget. It was absolutely breathtaking. One of the highlights of the trip and we weren't even in open water yet! Speaking of open water. The weather was not going to cooperate. It started getting very wavy about dinner time. I mean VERY wavy. My son and husband were fine but I was getting a little green so I went back to the cabin and called it an early night. Well, when we woke up the following mornings I was sure this was an impromptu audition for "The Deadliest Catch". I even said to myself "I'm sure I booked a Caribbean cruise, not a crabbing cruise". It was not good. We still managed to get around and do all the things we would have normally done - but for someone who gets a little seasick, let's just say it saved us plenty of money at the bar. It was ginger ale and club soda for me. On the morning we were supposed to tender off of Grand Cayman, the captain announced that we would skip the port entirely due to the weather and will stay in Cozumel a little longer than planned. No big deal for us. We had been to Grand Cayman many times before. The big deal was all I wanted to do was to get on some dry land that wasn't rocking! By the time we got to Cozumel I just wanted to get off the ship. Cozumel was absolutely beautiful. The water was royal blue, the skies were gorgeous and the temperature of the water was perfect. We did the Fantastic Paddle Board and Snorkeling excursion. Definitely fun. None of us had ever paddle boarded before. It's a great excursion for beginners. The tour guides were fantastic, helpful, patient and really fun. There was plenty of time to paddle board and snorkel. The restaurant on property had great food, but be warned, it takes FOREVER to get your food (45-50 minutes). Even chips and salsa took a half hour to get to the table! Nice little tequila tasting shop on property as well. We bought the aged sipping tequila and it is really nice and smooth. It is made by a local family and cannot be purchased online. After we left Cozumel, the weather calmed quite a bit and you couldn't feel a thing. It was great. Having only a day and a half of good weather wasn't the best, but hey, I was on vacation and things could be worse. The food was, in my opinion, not good. It was adequate, plentiful, and edible, but it was not great. Think upscale cafeteria. Let me say that I'm a foodie and enjoy cooking and eating food like it was a sport. I'm not saying that you couldn't eat it - I'm just saying the quality was not what I have always expected in cruise food. Maybe its just Royal Caribbean. I don't know but I was not impressed. Portofino was good. The food was very good restaurant quality. It was the only meal I truly enjoyed. Chops was awful. We had prepaid before the cruise and the manager removed the charge from our account for my meal. I couldn't eat two bites of the NY Strip. It was chewy, grisly and overcooked. My husband's filet was medium instead of medium rare but that was nothing we would send back. My son got the porterhouse. He said it was "ok" but not fantastic. The desserts were the highlight. The Mississippi mud pie was delicious. All in all it was a nice vacation. Great staff and the casino was TERRIFIC for me - although it was all luck as I play roulette and won quite a bit. That made the whole thing, weather, food and all, just fine! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We just returned from a 5-night cruise with two other couples; all of us have cruised before. We all agreed this might be the best cruise ever! Tampa is our home port, so we drove there in the morning. Embarkation was easy and quick; ... Read More
We just returned from a 5-night cruise with two other couples; all of us have cruised before. We all agreed this might be the best cruise ever! Tampa is our home port, so we drove there in the morning. Embarkation was easy and quick; we were aboard by 12:30 and enjoyed a quick lunch in the Windjammer; rooms were ready by 1 PM. Everyone had all luggage by 4 PM. Our room was not huge, but it was well laid out and had more than enough storage space. The bathroom was tiny (others have also commented on this), but we had no problems at all. Space costs money; to have a large bathroom, you need to choose a mini-suite or a regular sized suite. For this trip, we felt our accommodations were more than adequate. The food was quite good. No, it is not five-star dining, but it is amazing that they can feed so many at the same time and make it look easy and taste that good. The Windjammer has plenty of choices at all times. Meals in the Tides dining room were delicious. We did not opt for Chops or Portofino; we asked if the meat at Chops was prime and the response was that they did not know. For the upcharge we would have preferred a positive response, so we passed on the opportunity. The entertainment was amazing, possibly the best we have ever encountered. The dancers/singers were excellent, as were the live bands. In the Centrum there was live music every night and the dance floor was filled. In the Schooner Lounge, the piano player had the room going nightly with requests and sing-along tunes that drew people of all age groups. Dennis Charles, the cruise director, was energetic and quite an entertainer himself.We visited Cozumel and Key West. We took no tours as we have been to both places before and wanted to wander on our own. We would have preferred more time in Key West (we were able to get off the ship at around 8 AM and had to be back on board by 12:30 for a 1 PM sailing; shops and most restaurants did not open until 10 AM). We had terrific service in our room and in the restaurants and bars; Jewel has a great team. Debarkation was very quick; we were off the ship by 8:45 AM. This is a cruise I would take again, any time! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
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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