1,684 Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We just returned from a 7 night Alaskan cruise on Jewel of the Seas. We had a balcony room and noticed that there was an obstructed view due to the covering over the lifeboats. We didn't do our homework and weren't aware that ... Read More
We just returned from a 7 night Alaskan cruise on Jewel of the Seas. We had a balcony room and noticed that there was an obstructed view due to the covering over the lifeboats. We didn't do our homework and weren't aware that there was anything in the way, but the view was still nice. We asked to be relocated, but they said there were no balcony rooms open. The room hadn't been vacuumed and we asked the attendant if he could make sure it was taken care of the following day. He did vacuum it and it seemed much cleaner. When we went to dinner in the Tides dining room, we had requested a table for two when we made the reservations and we were offered a seat at a large table with other passengers. We asked for a table for two and the maître d found a table for us each evening, in different areas in Tides. It was nice, but we really wanted to have the same wait staff each evening, as that makes the experience much more special. On the last morning, prior to disembarking, we noticed the water in the bathroom was yellow. We contacted the desk and they said it was a problem in the pipes and to let the water run for 20 minutes prior to using it. We had already used it to shower with and brush our teeth! Other than those things, the trip itself was really nice and we had an enjoyable time. We had cruised with Royal Caribbean previously, but the quality seems to have changed. Last year we cruised with Princess and had a better experience. We have also cruised with Celebrity a few years ago. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Prior to this cruise, I would have given RCI 5 stars. So what's changed? First, the "disclaimer". Our first two cruises were on Voyager of the Seas, in the Caribbean. This cruise is for Jewel of the Seas to Alaska. We ... Read More
Prior to this cruise, I would have given RCI 5 stars. So what's changed? First, the "disclaimer". Our first two cruises were on Voyager of the Seas, in the Caribbean. This cruise is for Jewel of the Seas to Alaska. We have not sailed on other cruise lines but welcome suggestions! The Bad: The Jewel is in bad need of repair. I noted several overhead drips, one of which was in our hall and coming from a fire extinguisher. There is a huge carpet stain at the aft elevators. Don't recall the floor number but it's on the fore side of the outside bank of 4 elevators. So many thread bare spots in carpet I lost count. Coffee machines malfunctioned more than once. A cruise review for this ship just prior to our sailing stated they were delayed at a port due to a necessary repair. What is RCI thinking?! (Jewel is scheduled for dry dock in 2016 but should be there now!) While there, remove some little used areas and open the ship up more. Some places are downright cramped! Start with the seldom used Pit Stop bar, then the cinema...which was so small you couldn't get a seat 30min prior to a show. I think the movies were better attended than the "headliner" shows. Save some $$ and just show the movies in the Coral Theater. Most of the "big" entertainment isn't good. Honestly a TV show holds my attention better...and why do comedians think "dirty" is funny? Anyone can be crass. It takes talent to be funny. Exceptions were the very well attended "Love and Marriage" game...always a hit. (Why don't they do it more than once?) And the very talented regular performers in the Centrum and Schooner bar. Only problem there is that in 7 days, they all begin to sound the same. The ship seemed generally under-staffed. This was most noticeable to me in the windjammer but may have played a part in our one room service meal (breakfast) being nearly an hour late. Also, I was surprised that the windjammer wasn't opened more hours. If you didn't plan well, you could end up without supper, particularly on port days. (Unless you had success with room service meals) RCI seems to have decided squeeze every penny out of their guests. Tables were set up in the halls nearly every night promoting spa, drink and tour packages. Not to mention the "specialty" restaurants we didn't see the need to spend extra $ on. If the food's so bad we have to go there it's time to choose another cruise line! The Sea View café is listed as complementary on RCI's website but onboard it showed a $10 cover fee. Also, bottled water was no longer allowed to be brought on board (except for two bottles per state room as they do for wine.) The internet options onboard are despicable in this modern age of technology. On a previous cruise, we paid about $30 USD for a set number of internet minutes...maybe an hour or half hour? On Jewel, our only options were $60/day or about $180 for the week. I did not participate in this robbery. Coupled with the incredibly pushy (think car salesman) jewelry dealer at DI in Skagway, the entire cruise was overshadowed by a feeling of being hounded for more money, while the overall feeling of quality and rest/relaxation seemed more elusive. The mattress on one side of our king bed was so worn it had a permanent sag in the center. The pillows were great though! The RCI dock at Juneau is the worst I've seen. It's at the very end of all other ship docks and the way the road lays, one must walk around a small dirty bay area before heading towards town. This adds close to a mile to the trip by my estimation. If the scenery here were nice it would help. At least there is a sidewalk by the road. The Good: I thought the Tides (MDR) had great food each night. Though the menu wasn't extensive, the variety was adequate to satisfy most any taste each evening and our waiter pointed out to us the things that would change and those that would remain the same throughout the cruise so we could choose dishes accordingly. I will say the prime rib was divine and the crème brulee was so delicious this skinny girl didn't mind the extra calorie splurge. I also enjoyed several fish entrees which is saying a lot as I don't usually like fish. Portions were on the conservative side but they bring more if you request. (However you may be surprised how full you feel after eating a moderately sized but leisurely meal.) Windjammer was good for the most part. The variety impressed me but I was sad to see the coconut macaroons weren't served again after the first day. Grits were exceedingly lumpy one morning and chai tea was served from a soup pot which was quite difficult to dip into a coffee cup without making a mess trying to handle the "too long" spoon handle under the glass. Still, the overall offerings and service were above average. Staff everywhere seemed friendly and willing to help. Cruise director John Blair and his lovely wife (whose name escapes me) are a huge benefit to RCI an contributed greatly to our enjoyment of the cruise. Kudos to Captain and Crew for navigating the iceberg laced fjord to arrive at Sawyer Glacier. PORTS: Victoria BC: Is it just me or do the RCI port maps leave out all the local free fun stuff? We were fortunate to find some local maps that when combined with research prior to sailing resulted in enjoyable port days without spending a fortune on tours. We fed a seal, had tea and crumpets at the HIGHLY recommended James Bay Tea Room in Victoria BC, experienced a water taxi, ate in China Town and toured some lovely neighborhoods all in just one port! Now about China Town, the food was excellent but the attitude both in restaurant and in store left us feeling like intruders. The store didn't want credit or debit cards and INSISTED on giving Canadian change for US dollars. (NO allowance or conversion made for difference in value.) Skagway: The river walk from ship to town is lovely. A little walking in the shopping areas resulted in less expensive T-shirts and trinkets. A short walk to Yakutania Point was a welcome respite from town and provided great photo ops of the bay and our ship as well as local flora and fauna. I found the map on Skagway's website, courtesy of the White Pass RR office staff suggestion. We also enjoyed the train ride (3.5 to 4hr round trip) to the summit and were blessed with a crystal clear day to view the glacier and saw tooth mountains. Some of the original walking trail is still visible as well. The RR gives a complementary map that shows the many points of interest along the way. Juneau as a town has a ways to go to equal the pretty and welcoming aura of Skagway but the Mendenhall glacier and falls along with the wonderful native bus driver who gave us an informative tour on our way to the park made our day an experience we'll never forget. (NOTE: We took the lighter blue bus for $10 PP each way to the park. This bus runs every half hour or so leaving you to enjoy the park as little or as long as you like.) Don't forget to tip good drivers! Not all are as good as our first one. If a trip to Walmart is on your agenda, there's a free van from the main bus parking lot that will also stops at the Red Dog saloon in town on the way in and back. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The cruise started a little rough due to Seattle having a short cruise season and thus their check-in process was new to many of the workers. There were also some computer issues. Once on the ship the cruise was great. We were lucky ... Read More
The cruise started a little rough due to Seattle having a short cruise season and thus their check-in process was new to many of the workers. There were also some computer issues. Once on the ship the cruise was great. We were lucky enough to cruise three times this year (Princess and Norwegian were the other brands) and Jewel of the Seas definitely had the best food and the most to do on the ship. The average age on the ship was a little high (normal for Alaska) but it was great having no lines for the rock climbing wall and very few kids running around. Although the ship is a little old, it is in great shape. We saw more rust on the recently refurbished Norwegian Star then we did of the Jewel. Our 18 year old daughter enjoyed that Royal Caribbean had a scheduled event each night for the 18-20 crowd (too old for kids club, too young for the bars). During her cruises on Norwegian and Princess she there was nothing of her age group. At first we were a little unsure about the husband and wife Cruise Director team but by the end of the cruise we loved them. In our many cruises this was the first cruise we remember ever having the Cruise Director saying good-by to every guest as they disembarked the ship at the end of the cruise. Great personal touch. We never had a problem finding a table in the buffet (when in doubt check the area by the coffee station) and there was a nice selection of food. Tables were cleaned fast and the staff was happy to help you. Loved the sushi in the buffet each night (a little snack after dinner). Just wished that the buffet stayed open longer. The Seaview Cafe ($10 charge), or roomservice, were the only choice for a snack until the late night pizza opened a few hours after the buffet closed. Overall a outstanding cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was a special trip booked for 50th birthday, easy embarkation (only because we were early, later passengers queued for 4-6 hours) Ok cabin, nothing special, with balcony on deck 9. Lovely cabin attendant, very helpful. As our ... Read More
This was a special trip booked for 50th birthday, easy embarkation (only because we were early, later passengers queued for 4-6 hours) Ok cabin, nothing special, with balcony on deck 9. Lovely cabin attendant, very helpful. As our cabin was not ready (11 am) we went straight to Windjammer restaurant which was clean tidy and nice food. Unfortunately we never found it like this again! Once the hoards of ill-mannered, rude, noisy, passengers arrived it turned into a feeding frenzy by people who acted as if they had not seen food for a month, plates filled so high it was falling onto the floor, pushing and shoving , frightened they might miss something. Then shovelling into their mouths so quickly it fell out of the sides, disgusting!! it was thrown around the tables and floors while they dashed up for more, I have seen better meal times at the zoo. We ate in the main dining room for the rest of the cruise which was lovely, waiters polite and helpful, food ok most nights and on a couple of occasions very good. The cruise was excellent, scenery amazing, we did the whale watching out of Juneau and would recommend it, we saw humpbacks, sea lions, seals, bald eagles fantastic. Mendenhall Glacier beautiful. Skagway is a must and we did the train up to the mountains, loved it. Entertainment was ok, but catered for the American market which as most of the passengers were from US was understandable. We loved the Solarium and spent most of our time there when we were on the ship except for the last 2 days when the peace was shattered by a large group arrived with children in tow (solarium is supposed to be for over 16's) and proceeded to have a raucous party. Also a group of women thought it was acceptable to sit in the hot tub for hours fully clothed singing, when another couple who were also enjoying the solarium asked the attendant to ask them to be quiet he shrugged and did nothing. Would we cruise again with RCI again, NO! Having cruised a number of times with Princess, Celebrity and Carnival I know that RCI is not for us, However Alaska, Vancouver, Victoria, Skagway amazingly fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We were accustomed to Celebrity on several recent cruises but remembered nice ones that had been taken with other 4 RCCL ships. This time because of convenient dates we decided to take this cruise and were not happy we had done so.It ... Read More
We were accustomed to Celebrity on several recent cruises but remembered nice ones that had been taken with other 4 RCCL ships. This time because of convenient dates we decided to take this cruise and were not happy we had done so.It started at embarkation in San Diego when our passports were kept by the attendant at check-in with the information that they would be returned aboard. Little did we know at that time that they were being confiscated to be returned only at the very last night of our cruise.We did not receive any plausible justification for that action and were always greeted with certain discomfort at guest relation desk with "legal reasons" excuses. Being deprived of our documents ( the only legal documents to be used on international travelling) generated unnecessary stress during the entire journey as we felt insecure to disembark in foreign ports of call without the necessary identification. Food was very good at Windjammer Buffet, good entrees and desserts and poor main courses at dinner.Our table attendants Constantin and Elena were efficient and served us well. Cost of drinks of any kind, shore excursions, spa treatments , fotos and internet access all had outrageous prices for what was being offered. We found that visits to the bridge, galley and backstage that were free (we took then ,some years ago) became US$150.00 per person "events"!!! Shows were some good (outstanding comedians) some were just regular. The Cruise Director (John Blair) was probably the best one we have seen on our more than a dozen cruises. Last but not least, we understand that the Jewel is going for refurbishing next year and it probably gave everybody a warning sign, when one of the gas turbines was malfunctioning delaying our departure from San Francisco for almost 8 hours. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
It was an interesting trip. We flew into San Diego from Houston. We had booked our pre-cruise room at the Hilton San Diego Bay Hotel. We arrived a little bit after 12:00 pm. The Hotel looked nice from the outside. The lobby was ... Read More
It was an interesting trip. We flew into San Diego from Houston. We had booked our pre-cruise room at the Hilton San Diego Bay Hotel. We arrived a little bit after 12:00 pm. The Hotel looked nice from the outside. The lobby was spacious. The location was great. It was a short walk over the pedestrian bridge from PETCO Ball park. It was a short cab ride to the Cruise terminal. The Gas Light district is right across the street as well. There is a "metro rail line" close by as well. and on San Diego Bay. The down side of the hotel was having to pay extra [$25.00] for early check-in (we were there a little after noon). If you did not want to pay for early check-in, having to pay extra for a bay side view [$20.00], which then allowed you to check in early. It all boiled down to paying extra to get into the hotel or paying extra to leave your bags with the bellman. We ate lunch and breakfast at the hotel. It was a bit pricey [what hotel restaurant isn't], but the food was good and the value was reasonable. The ship departed for a 6 day repositioning from San Diego, California to Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Our stops included Santa Catalina Island, Ca., San Francisco, Ca., Victoria, B.C., Canada, and ended in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Boarding was quick and painless. It was funny that the Platinum line was checking in quicker than the Diamond and Diamond plus line. It did not take that long to get processed and join the ship. Our dining times were confirmed, our table position checked out, spa appointments made, and on to the Windjammer. At 1:00 p.m., they opened the rooms for passengers. We were in Room 8664. It is a starboard side balcony room with a partially obstructed view. The obstruction was the ships "washing" platform that was "parked on the forward part of our balcony and the aft portion of room 8662. It got in the way of a few pictures, but you soon learned to either wait or zoom. This was a standard room. We normally store our suitcases opened underneath the bed, but you had to fold it at a 90 degree angle to get them started under the bed. Then you could put the items you did not put in the closet and drawers back. This room was a long walk to the elevators [aft]. If you do not want to walk 100 yards to and from your room each way, then get something closer to midships or forward. Given that this ship runs on gas turbine - electric motors, it was pretty quite. Our room attendant was Debbie Roberts. She was good natured, friendly, and efficient. We would sing a duet or get a friendly greeting every time we saw her. Thanks Debbie. We ate in the main dining room at the first seating. Our dining table attendants were Sampong [Thailand] and Julian [Saint Lucia]. They did a great job. They helped us enjoy the cruise. They were both outgoing, friendly, and attentive. Julian was a bit of a character. Both were also funny and engaging. Thank you gentlemen. Our first stop was on Santa Catalina Island. The ship stopped and tendered into Avalon. It was just a get off for us and walk around the shops in town to see what was there. Since I was stationed on San Nicolas Island for about 20 months, I passed on the nature excursions. SNI was about fifty miles west of Santa Catalina Island. With the exception of the million dollar buildings on SCI, San Nicolas Island contained a lot of diverse wildlife, birds, and flora that we were able to get right next to or even in the middle of to enjoy. The cruise up to San Francisco had a few large whales and a lot of pilot whales. There were a few dolphins, seal lions, seals, and birds near San Francisco tearing up a bait ball [feeding]. The weather was cool [50s-60s]. It was interesting to come in under the Golden Gate Bridge. I believe the Captain said that we had about 15 meters from the top of the ship to the bottom of the road deck of the bridge when we went under it. Even staying overnight in S.F., we could not cover much of it. We went on the hop on - hop off double decker bus tour. Unlike Sydney Australia's version [travels in both directions], this one only went one way. So if you missed getting off at a stop, you had to either ride the 2 1/2 hours around to get there again or catch a cab from the next stop. This was a bit disappointing. The first day in we rode the bus around it's entire course and then got off at Fisherman's Wharf. While we were walking around Fisherman's Wharf, there was a power outage shutting down the shops, stores, and restaurants. So we walked the mile or so back to the ship and kicked back waiting for dinner. On the second day, we went to the Academy of Sciences in the Golden Gate Park. It was interesting, but plan on being there for several hours if you want to give it justice in looking at all of the exhibits. They have a nice aquarium, butterfly garden [rain forest], whale exhibit [on loan from New Zealand], planetarium, earth quake simulator, and other exhibits. We did not go through all of them. We then boarded the bus back to the ship. We were supposed to stay in S.F. until 5 p.m. and then depart for Canada. However, the ship had a problem starting one of its gas turbines. There are two on board and at the speeds we were traveling, they only needed one, but the USCG would not let them leave port until the problem with the second turbine was fixed [can't blame them, it is a safety item]. We did not leave until approximately 2:00 a.m. I know, I stayed up and videotaped the departure and travel under the Golden Gate Bridge. We were approximately 5 1/2 hours late getting into Victoria, B.C. This put us in too late to go on our tour to Butchart Gardens and also make dinner on board. Being that it was the last night on board, we always go to dinner to tip our wait staff and thank them for helping make our cruise enjoyable. Instead of taking the tour out to Butchart Gardens, we took a cab into Victoria and then walked from China Town down to the wharf near the Parliament Building. We had been here before, and we just wanted to roam around and see the town under the lights. The Parliament Building was brightly lit up. A little souvenir shopping later, we took a cab back to the ship. We enjoyed the on board entertainment. We had seen one of the entertainers on two prior cruises. He is a comedian and entertainer. He had updated a lot of his act, so it was good. We either participated in or watched a lot of the on board activities in the lounges or clubs. We were visiting with friends from Arizona on this cruise. We had fun. The only thing we were truly disappointed with on the cruise was the lack of any real late night snacks, "late night bites" [gone for years], cookies, and burgers/fries. The only place to go to was the Solarium [opens at 11:00 pm]. You could get pizza, hotdogs, sometimes wraps, and sometimes turkey sandwiches on "chibata" bread. Your drink choice was water or water. They could have had cookies, coffee, tea, lemonade, and water without much of a hassle. We always asked the "chef" if he had cookies. One night we brought some, asked him if he had any, and when he replied, "we don't have any", we offered him some. He got a good laugh out of that. The short jaunt to Vancouver was uneventful. We waited to get off until our scheduled time of near 9:30, and then discovered that my suit case had been seriously damaged. They tore three of the four wheels partially off of the suitcase. This was quickly reported and a report taken by one of RCI's personnel. We then went out to the taxi line to depart, and it took us over 90 minutes to get a cab. That was disappointing. If we had known that there would be this kind of delay, we would have arranged for a shuttle or a limousine to take us to our hotel in Richmond, B.C. We took a cab from the Cruise port to a nearby car rental agency, rented a car, and then arrived at the Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond, B.C. [next to Vancouver International Airport] at approximately noon. We were met outside by a bellman [which we did not need] who greeted us and directed us to the front desk. The lobby was spacious, but it lacked seating space if the desk was busy and you needed to sit down. When we arrived, there were only two people ahead of us, so it was no big deal. There was an $18.00 CAD per day parking fee. There is a small lobby shop, but it did not have much in the way of drinks. Check in went smoothly. We provided a credit card for incidentals, obtained magnetic keys, and we were off to our room. You need to have a room key to go up in the elevators. Our first room was 713. We got into the room and then moved the thermostat down to 68 F. The fan did not come on and the Air conditioner did not come on. We called the front Desk and they promptly supplied us with another room [836]. The A/C came on when we moved the thermostat down to 68 F. This was a King size no smoking room. While it faced the airport, it was not too noisy. My wife told me that she heard several sirens the first evening/night. It turned out there is a local fire hall [fire station to us] about a half mile up the road. The room was fine for the two of us. The side chair was a bit boxy and reminded me of an office chair for a lobby visitor. There was a desk with various connections and outlets. WiFi was free. The bathroom was clean and had a tub and shower [in one]. As we were packing to leave, my wife commented that the dust ruffles on the bed could stand to be cleaned. We did turn the thermostat down to 66 F as it was a bit warm to us at its 68 F setting for sleeping. There is a connected bar and grill [Pier 73]. There is a "tidal river" adjacent to the Hotel. It was spacious, had an outside deck, and the food was good. As with most hotels, it was a little on the high side of mid ranged fare. We did not eat in the breakfast restaurant inside. There are two direct contact flight "computers" for carry on fliers only. There were two computer terminals with a common printer for other uses including checking in for flights that did not require scanning your passport. Given that we were flying international, we called the 800 number to get a confirmation for our flight. The hotel had a 24/7 shuttle to the airport. It left the hotel on the hour, 20-minutes after the hour, and 40-minutes after the hour. It picked up passengers at the terminals at 10-minutes after the hour, 30-minutes after the hour, and 50-minutes after the hour. It was handy when we dropped our rental car, and then the next morning [5 am] when we went to the airport to catch our home flight. All in all, we enjoyed the trip. Six days was short for a cruise [even though most we have been on were 7 days]. Notes: The advantage that existed in on board pre-booking an open cruise ticket have essentially disappeared. The only real advantage is a $25.00 cabin credit. We still have an open ticket from last year that we will use in the future. We were told that the Jewel of the Seas will be undergoing its 30 day dry docking in 2016. That will freshen up the ship and give her that new feeling. It should be noted that the Diamond, Diamond Plus Lounge was created by using the Viking Crown Lounge and Vortex Nightclub as an exclusive venue from 5:00 pm until 8:30 pm each night [good idea when there is no dedicated lounge]. There were a lot of Diamond and Diamond Plus members there. The first night was not well prepared. Someone "forgot the canapes" and a "make do" set up was put together. After that, the canapes were done right. There was only one bar tender and one server for the area. That needs to be fixed for future cruises. The service was slow. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was my 6th cruise, and first on RCCL. I was traveling with my Mother. We have cruised together several times. This cruise went to Catalina Island, San Francisco (with overnight), Victoria, and ended in Vancouver. Embarkation: We ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise, and first on RCCL. I was traveling with my Mother. We have cruised together several times. This cruise went to Catalina Island, San Francisco (with overnight), Victoria, and ended in Vancouver. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier rather late, so there was zero wait for embarkation. Luggage was also delivered well before dinner on departure day. We did find the muster drill to be less serious than is typical. Disembarkation was also efficient, although we had been assigned a 9:30 time and were getting the final warning all call at 9:15 (but I assume this would be a plus for most people, so no harm). Getting on and off the ship in ports was easy. There was a bit of a back-up to board tenders at Catalina, but the water was choppy so very understandable. Also beware that the security folks (port not RCCL) in San Francisco were being exceptionally strict with respect to any food (they had to discuss weather I was permitted to bring on Pringles in a sealed pack). We saw lots and lots of sourdough in the trash. Public Spaces: We found the public spaces on the ship to be very nice, clean, and generally well apportioned. The Schooner Lounge was an especially nice spot. On the two sea days (one scheduled plus most of the next day - which I will explain below), we spent a significant amount of time in the solarium. We were shocked to be able to find deck chairs so easily, especially since weather precluded using any of the outdoor pool areas (save for a few brave polar bears!!). One drawback, the deck chairs (wooden slatted with cushions) were exceptionally uncomfortable. We brought out pillows to use. All-in-all, the public spaces certainly were the best part of the ship. Dining: The food on the ship was decent. It wasn't great, it wasn't poor, it was what you expect. BUT, the availability of food was absolutely ridiculous. Obviously the days of huge midnight buffets every night are over (probably just as well). And I am not one to pig out constantly during a cruise, but I do expect to be able to sit down and eat a meal anytime I want (excluding the middle of the night). We had a 6:30p tour to Alcatraz. We went to the Windjammer (the Lido/Pool deck cafe) at 5:30 - CLOSED. We returned from the excursion at 10 and went to the Windjammer - CLOSED. In fact, at 10pm there is no food available anywhere on the ship. At 11pm you can go to a little cafe that serves hamburgers for a $10 surcharge. A hot dog was available for free....just as long as you had paid 10$ for a hamburger first. The food in the main dining room was fine, the service good. I was surprised that the premium cuts of beef were extra, even on formal night. I have been served beef wellington on a Carnival ship on formal night - but not here. Even in the premium steakhouse ( $35 surcharge) you will only get a 6oz filet - a nicer cut of meat is another 20$. 10$ surcharge for a hamburger 55$ surcharge for the steakhouse with a ribeye. That tells you what is being spent on the food available elsewhere. Enrichment Activities: "Enrichment" was nonexistent (the only port talk took place prior to us even boarding the ship. There were typical pool activities, most of which were canceled due to inclement weather (news flash: overcast, 55, and windy while on the pacific in May is not inclement - it's normal). Entertainment: The music around the ship was good. Very basic, but the vocalists and musicians were high quality. We saw one show with the singers and dancers, it was nicely done. We heard the comedian during the welcome show, and that was all we needed to hear of him. Bowzer also did a performance, and that was entertaining to the older folks on board. Service: We found the service to be fine. There were very few, if any crew members who stood out as being either poor or spectacular. Dining room service was a little rushed the first night but was very solid after that. Requests were met, and dish temperatures, sides, dressings were all brought as ordered. The one thing that I did not like was the lack of bar service in the Windjammer, theater and pool deck. My guess is, now that RCCL is talking folks into the drink packages, they have lost the incentive to come around a sell drinks. This is not the case in the dining room, but is the case elsewhere. Mechanical Issue: We did have a mechanical problem on the ship. Obviously these things happen, and we ended up leaving San Francisco some 9 hours late. We were not notified of the new arrival time in Victoria until Noon the next day. We ended up having a few hours less in Victoria (6:30 - 10:30 instead of 12 - 7), which was unfortunate. The biggest problem here was that when everyone got back to the boat, again, all the restaurants were closed. People at the windjammer were very upset. We finally went back to our cabin and from our balcony we could see all the activity at the cafe on Solstice (which was docked adjacent to us); that was as close to a meal as we would get. All-in-all, the time we spent on the cruise was very enjoyable. We loved the ports, and the ship's public spaces; staff and our fellow cruisers were warm and friendly. That being said, RCCL is not for us. Too many corners cut, too little attention to detail, and too small a cabin. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first cruise on RC and only our second cruise overall. We cruised from San Diego to Vancouver, BC, though we disembarked in Victoria to visit family. When we entered the cruise embarkation area, we were whisked around the ... Read More
This was our first cruise on RC and only our second cruise overall. We cruised from San Diego to Vancouver, BC, though we disembarked in Victoria to visit family. When we entered the cruise embarkation area, we were whisked around the long line-up to a counter where our check-in occurred quickly and efficiently. I presume that was because we were booked in a junior suite, but, regardless, it was a nice perk. We checked out our room and had lunch in the Windjammer. One of our suitcases was delivered quickly and we waited hours for the other, which never came. After we left port, we went to Guest Services to see about the missing bag and were told to go to "Confiscated Luggage". We found this area and there was my bag. I travel with a small portable fan and apparently this is not allowed (Princess did not have a problem with it). So, though my fan was confiscated for the rest of the trip, I did have my luggage at long last. The communication process re: confiscated luggage could use improvement since ongoing concerns about missing luggage detract from one's ability to relax and enjoy their cruise. We had dinner that night in The Tides. The service was good, but my husband said his steak was lousy and tasted as if it had been "boiled". The portions were also quite small. I enjoyed my meal (though I can't remember what I had...). We went to the show that night and it was OK. The sets were very professional, but the theme seemed confused. As a result, we didn't go to any more shows. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment in the Centrum: various duets, trios, soloists. The flow of people on the ship was good. We enjoyed the casino and buffets. We particularly liked that our picture was not being taken every time we left the ship and there was no pressure to buy, buy, buy pictures. We had a $300 on-board credit that we didn't know about until 2 days before we got off the ship and checked our account on the TV. The price of the drink packages was exorbitant/ridiculous, so we didn't buy them (and we don't even drink alcohol). We wished there was at-your-table drink re-fill service in the Windjammer during meals. The shopping was fun. The art auction was a bit odd for us, but mildly entertaining. We enjoyed the trivia games. We were delayed leaving San Francisco by 9 hours due to engine trouble, so we arrived in Victoria 5 - 6 hours late. Our arrangements (lodging, car) in Victoria had to be re-arranged and RC was kind enough to place phone calls for me at no charge to make modifications. Many people were disappointed that their excursions in Victoria were cancelled. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise, but wished the weather had been warmer and sunnier. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
The following are some experiences and observations about our 5/16 California repositioning cruise on the Jewel of the Seas - sailing out of San Diego. We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary, but we are also big fans of the ... Read More
The following are some experiences and observations about our 5/16 California repositioning cruise on the Jewel of the Seas - sailing out of San Diego. We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary, but we are also big fans of the RCL Radiance class ship. San Diego is a great departure port; taxi fares to almost anywhere in San Diego proper are very reasonable and cabs are easy to find. We decided on the Marriot Courtyard in the “Gaslight District”. This historic property is a real gem with friendly, polite staff and a great, central location. There are many restaurants, nightlife venues, grocery and drug stores within a short walking distance; if you forget to pack something or want to pick up a few bottles of vino to bring onboard, it is all readily available. We visited the USS Midway. It is a short $10 cab ride from the Gaslight District and the ship is docked about a half mile or so from the cruise pier. This is a wonderful museum and it was an honor to tour the ship and talk to the many volunteers who serve as docents and guides. Many of these gentlemen served on the Midway; all were friendly, very knowledgeable and eager to share their experiences about life on board. This is remarkable and very memorable tribute to our naval history. We arrived at the cruise pier about 12:30 PM; we booked a GS category cabin and with priority embarkation we were walking onboard in under 10 minutes. Everything was very efficient. We stayed in GS suite #1554; the cabin was showing some wear and tear and in need of an update but overall, it was OK. The location was excellent since it is very close to both the elevators and the Concierge Lounge. Unfortunately the weather during almost the entire cruise was not cooperative so we got very little use of the balcony. I am not a big fan of the design of the balcony in these “hump cabins”; even though I believe that it is a bit larger, privacy is compromised. Overall the areas of the ship we visited were pretty nice; but like the room, some signs of wear and tear - but nothing too significant. Food – a very subjective topic but overall we were surprisingly pleased with the MDR food quality and presentation. Every night escargot was available and twice during the week they served the “fisherman’s platter” entre, which features twin lobster tails; certainly not as good as the “old days” but pretty decent nevertheless. We enjoyed the other nightly menu selections and thought dinners overall were fairly good; we typically share a dessert and we were very pleased with the selection and quality. Lunch in the MDR was also pretty good; and they offer an excellent, server prepared salad bar which I really enjoyed. Suite guests are served breakfast at Chops Grill; again, we enjoyed the food quality and especially the friendly service. It seems that on JOS, RCL is trying to keep the Sea view Café a secret. I knew it was there from previous sailings on this class ship but in the dailies, it is only offered as a cover charge ($10) venue. However, it is free during the late afternoon; either this was an oversight or it is being downplayed as a free restaurant for some reason. My favorite, grilled grouper and Cesar salad, is still available but it just didn’t seem as good as I remembered it on past sailings. Entertainment – with the exception of the (non-singing) piano player, we thought all of performers in the bar venues were mediocre. Mid-week we caught the show with Bowser of Sha Na Na fame and really enjoyed his performance. We didn’t attend any of the production shows until the final afternoon and after seeing that show, we thought we probably had missed some good productions. The Cruise Director was actually a very good performer; funny, personable and a very good singer. His wife works with him and she is also very talented and connects with the audience. Missing on the JOS was the big “cirque du soleil” style show in the Centrum. We saw this production on the Brilliance a few years back and thought it was spectacular. Whether the show is off the roster, or this ship is just not set up for it wasn’t clear but we really missed it. Casino – some good, well trained dealers and slots that at least produced some “seed money”. Unfortunately RCL still hasn’t gone totally non-smoking in their casino so for non-smokers like us, it is occasionally unpleasant. Service on the ship was spotty but overall good. It seemed clear to us that RCL has under-staffed the ship and it is reflected in both the level of service and the overall vibe of the staff. Our room attendant had a great attitude and worked very hard to please, but the poor man had so many rooms to service it seemed he was always rushed. Unlike sister company Celebrity, as well as HAL, there is no “butler” type specialized service that comes with a full suite cabin; the room attendant is expected to do it all. Fetch luggage, clean and attend to the perks you hope to receive with the cabin category. We tipped generously because he tried so hard and we truly felt for bad for him with so much on his plate. MDR servers also tried very hard to please; we chose MTD and thanks to a great maitre d’, sat in the same dining area every evening. We had the same servers each night and we could not have been more pleased. But again, it was obvious watching them they were stretched very thin and had a lot of tables and diners to manage. Bars, Café Latte-tudes, casino etc. all appeared to be short of servers. There never seemed to be enough staff to attend to customers and when things backed up a little, service slowed way down. A few times I wanted bottled water while playing in the casino; one of the casino staff actually called over the bartender to take my drink order. Beverage package – I purchased the “premium beverage package”. Depending on what and how much you drink, this could be a good option. I was not happy with it and cancelled after a few days; a pro-rated refund appeared on my sea pass account. I only drink wine, water, juice in the morning and an occasional beer. The wines on the wine list I would enjoy were never actually available in the bars. For water, only a small bottle of Crystal Geyser or club soda were available and in the MDR at breakfast, OJ was available but for a $2.50 fee. There seemed to be too many rules and not enough options to make this have value. And of course, there were never enough servers. One bright spot however was the “Champagne Bar”; good service along with some decent selections made this one of our favorite venues for relaxing with a glass of wine before dinner. Suite amenities – if you’re looking for something comparable to the higher end suite perks offered by Celebrity and HAL, you will no longer find them on RCL. Aside from a bigger room, priority embarkation/disembarkation/tendering and access to the Concierge Lounge, there isn’t a whole lot else offered for the considerable jump in price. However the concierge on this ship, Diego Tripaldi, is a first rate ambassador for RCL; always eager to please and help. This guy has a real future in the hospitality industry. Ports – some brief comments on the itinerary. Since this was a repositioning cruise, it is not regularly offered by RCL but it is an interesting alternative if you’re looking for something a little bit different. Although the weather wasn’t very cooperative, this was still an interesting experience. In my opinion, Catalina is all about Avalon. Although we did an RCL sponsored tour of the island, there really isn’t all that much to see after the first hour. Taking the tour didn’t give us as much time in Avalon but we still had time for a great lunch (Bluewater Avalon Seafood) and to stroll around this scenic little town. San Francisco – what can be said about this incredible city? The ship docked at pier 27, a beautiful, new facility minutes away from many “Fisherman’s Wharf” attractions and ferries. We decided on Alcatraz and a day in Sausalito, but I don’t think you can make a bad choice with 2 days in port and so many options. Victoria BC – our stop at this port was cut very short because of a mechanical delay departing SF. This is a regular stop on many Alaskan itineraries and it is a beautiful city with many fine dining options. Summary – as much as we enjoyed this cruise, it was probably our least favorite of all. Perhaps it is the cumulative effect of RCL cut-backs and under-staffing but the “wow factor” of an eager, friendly staff and the little things that made a cruise experience special were just off. And that is not to say that there weren’t some really engaged staff we crossed paths with throughout the week. There were some standouts but in general, we always felt like many of the service personnel were just going through the motions. A final word on the delay departing SF. We talked about this with a ship officer who happened by one day. Evidently (and in complete layman’s terminology on my part), a new part was installed on one of the turbines and there was a soft-ware issue that prevented it from starting. While it was a back-up turbine, the Captain wisely chose not to depart until it is was in working order. I applaud what I believe to be a wise decision; putting safety first is the most important consideration of all in my opinion. Thanks for reading. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
When a company tries to nickel and dime their customers, they are destroying customer relations. And that is what Royal Caribbean has done for me on this my last cruise, and very certainly my last cruise with RC for some time. Pros: ... Read More
When a company tries to nickel and dime their customers, they are destroying customer relations. And that is what Royal Caribbean has done for me on this my last cruise, and very certainly my last cruise with RC for some time. Pros: 1. Great itinerary. The overnight in San Francisco was great! 2. The people. Most of the staff were great people. Even if they weren't helpful, they still tried hard. No complaints there. Cons: 1. Tried to nickel and dime by insisting on doing the conversion (from US$ to CDN$) of charges on the credit card when I specifically asked them not to during check-in and at the guest relations desk. 2. Guest Relations Desk was very unwilling to help. 3. Make the check-in process more bearable. We had gold status but the ones in the regular lines must have been there for over an hour. 4. Couldn't get our dining request for table of 4, even though we'd booked 6 months in advance and our travel agent had asked ahead of time. In fact, 2 of us were on one table, and our moms were on a different table, even though we checked in together. In the end, they never did meet our request, and so we spent only half the time at the formal dining room. 5. Pay more attention to the quality of food. Some of the items in the formal dining room was terrible! 6. Make the food service more available. There's a big gap between 8:30 and 11:30pm where you cannot get food unless you're willing to pay for it. 7. Bear responsibility for the ship's mechanical problems instead of calling it a "safety issue" and making the passenger's suffer. Due to mechanical issues, we were late leaving SF for about 8 hours, which resulted in our arriving in Victoria at night, when everything was closed. All of our plans were wrecked. And, we asked for internet to compensate so that we could do some of the things we had planned to do online during business hours if we had been in port, but that simple request was denied. As you can see, there's something VERY LACKING in terms of customer relations on this ship. And fact is, some of these issues were experienced on other Royal Caribbean cruises. You can fill out their survey after the cruise, but nothing changes. In all fairness, not all was lost, and we still managed to have a good time. But when the industry is so competitive, and there are so many cruise lines to choose from, I would have to say, RC would be my least favorite. If their itinerary wasn't the one that met our needs the most, for a certainty we would not sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I recently returned from the Pacific Coastal cruise I went on with two family members, with only one who had been on a cruise before (he sailed on Celebrity). We were very disappointed with Royal Caribbean's customer service on this ... Read More
I recently returned from the Pacific Coastal cruise I went on with two family members, with only one who had been on a cruise before (he sailed on Celebrity). We were very disappointed with Royal Caribbean's customer service on this ship and off the ship. First of all, we waited in the check in line in San Diego for two and a half hours. It was a cattle line, and there were not any chairs to sit in once you were in line. I am in my twenties and it was hard enough to stand that long, but I can't even imagine how others must have felt. There were people with walkers who had to stand the whole time! The workers directing everyone to the lines were confused and downright rude. By the time we actually got on the ship it had been three hours. HORRIBLE. Only 1 out of 3 suitcases got to the room early. The other 2 were late. Positives: We loved the ports. San Diego, Catalina Island, and San Francisco were incredible. Canada was ok. We had so much fun. We did not buy any shore excursions, as we preferred to tour around and do our own thing. We found a good deal online for the hop on hop off bus tour in San Francisco. Warning: It can get extremely cold if you sit on the upper outside deck of the bus. We went over Golden Gate Bridge at 40 mph and it was 20 degrees cooler up there. I can't remember the last time I was that cold. There wasn't room on the bottom inside deck of the bus where everyone was warm, so plan accordingly. We enjoyed the food, especially in the dining room. A few desserts were questionable, but we had a great time. We requested a table to ourselves, but were put at a table with 12 people. However, we were lucky and loved the people at our table. The Windjammer buffet was good. The breakfasts were just ok, but lunch was great. The staff in the Windjammer was extremely friendly and entertaining! The Schooner bar was nice too- loved the staff there as well. I loved walking around- the interior is beautiful and clean. The glass theme is awesome. Disembarkation was very simple. We did not have any customs to go through in Canada, which was surprising. However, there needed to be better signs directing people how to get out of the terminal in Vancouver. Good thing we didn't have an early flight, or we would have been cutting it close. Negatives: Everyone was told to go to deck 2 to get off the ship in San Francisco. Well that changed two times, but they did not make an announcement. Everyone was crowded together outside of the lobby area on deck 4, and they were not letting people use the stairs to get to deck 5, which ended up being the departure floor. We waited about an hour... Insanity. We were also late getting into San Francisco (with no explanation), and we had a family member waiting for us at the port. She waited about two hours from the time she saw the ship arriving. Communication was the main problem overall, as you can tell. The ship had a mechanical issue and we were supposed to leave San Fran at 5 pm, but left at 2 am. The announcements were vague and we basically had a second sea day. We barely had any time in Victoria BC, as we got off the ship around 6:30 pm. We should have received ship credit or SOMETHING. We were there 4 hours instead of 7 hours and there was not much to do that late. The activities on the ship were boring. Not everyone likes trivia or bingo (which costs $). There should have been more activities on our sea days. The entertainment needed some work. We saw one production with the singers and dancers and it was cheesy and did not make sense. The best show was Bowzer from Sha na na. Very entertaining. It was nice when they showed a movie - American Sniper - in the Coral Theater on a sea day. They should have done that more. We tried seeing American Sniper the previous day in the movie theater, but since the movie theater was so small, it was full about 40 min prior to the movie starting. Overall, it was a nice cruise ship, the ports were fun, and the staff in the bars and restaurants were incredible, but the communication issues need work. The customers pay a lot for these cruises, and should be treated better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We recently returned from 14 great days on Jewel, cruising from San juan to San diego celebrating our wedding anniversary. First a little about ourselves - this was our 8th RCI cruise, 11th in total. We are both in our early ... Read More
We recently returned from 14 great days on Jewel, cruising from San juan to San diego celebrating our wedding anniversary. First a little about ourselves - this was our 8th RCI cruise, 11th in total. We are both in our early 40's. We stayed in the hilton caribe the night before the cruise which worked out fine - around $15 to the ship in a cab. Embarkation was very easy with no line at the platinum and above check in line. The ship This was our second time on jewel (following a Baltic cruise in 2006). Yes the ship is ready for its much needed refurb next year, but overall we love the design of the radiance class ships. So many places where you can sit and see the ocean - we also love the outside seating at the rear of the windjammer. The most obvious signs of age were some dated furniture and worn carpets but overall not in bad shape! We both thought the crew were excellent overall and particularly friendly - probably the best atmosphere we've known. Stateroom We had a balcony 8614. Corinna did a great job of keeping this clean and tidy. Yes it's on the small side but there was more than enough room for 2 weeks worth of clothes. Dining Most of our breakfasts and lunches were at the windjammer. We found the breakfast (including 2 egg stations) was excellent with everything you would need. Lunch options were fine although after 2 weeks some of the choices got a little repetitive. We thought the choices at the salad bar were excellent. Desserts as usual were mediocre. In terms of the MDR overall our experience was excellent. Agnelo and Valentin looked after us very well on MTD. Some of the steak and fish dishes were a little disappointing but the chicken was particularly good. Desserts were outstanding. It was a little disappointing that shrimp cocktail was not on the always available choices. However our waiter managed to find it for us on a regular basis. We also mentioned it on a mid cruise survey and the head waiter came over to apologise!!! On a couple of sea days there was a bbq by the pool which we really enjoyed. We went to portofino one night and thought it was just ok - we missed the dining room. One thing to mention as a Brit - the teabags were awful - a minimum of 2 per cup were required! We had the premium package for drinks and more than got our money's worth without going crazy. Entertainment We felt the shows were mixed and a lot were to american tastes (eg comedians) which we can understand. Some were good eg Las Vegas tenors and we enjoyed the production shows. We really appreciated the enrichment lectures which helped our knowledge of the canal and countries like Guatemala and Costa rica. Cruise director and his staff were very good and the fact that he said goodbye to all guests as they left the ship was a really nice touch. Ports Panama Canal was the reason for the trip and was amazing! A must if you haven't done it. Costa Rica - we went on the ships boat and train excursion which was excellent - particularly enjoyed seeing the crocodiles! Guatemala - had a great trip to Antigua. Found the country fascinating Puerto Vallarta was cancelled due to gang violence. Cabo San Lucas - ships tour to todos santos - not the best trip although lunch in the hotel California was great! The coastline was stunning and sail away was a real highlight. Ensenada - a dump, don't know why we went! In summary, a great trip helped the excellent staff, great weather and some interesting stops. We had a lovely couple of days in San diego at the end of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Mexico - Panama Canal - Central America Cruise - 14 Nights. Overall, this cruise was above average but less than very good. I am an RCCL Diamond level cruiser and this was my 15th cruise - 10th with RCCL - 1st on Jewel. PRE CRUISE: We ... Read More
Mexico - Panama Canal - Central America Cruise - 14 Nights. Overall, this cruise was above average but less than very good. I am an RCCL Diamond level cruiser and this was my 15th cruise - 10th with RCCL - 1st on Jewel. PRE CRUISE: We flew out the day before and stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino the night before. I thought by staying at this hotel we could just walk to the ship but the ship arrived at a different pier and we had to take a $10 cab ride - no big deal. I booked the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino through United Airlines website and thought I got a bay view room. Wrong - got a parking garage view room. Was too tired to argue. Room was fine, bed was comfy, breakfast buffet for $22/pp was overpriced and bad. Lesson learned: stay somewhere better because you have to take a cab anyway to get to the ship. EMBARKATION: Fine - no line, got on right away. Luggage showed up quickly. CABIN: 7504 - Family Ocean View - large with lots of extra room compared to regular ocean view rooms. 2 issues to consider: the 2 large windows face forward and if the ship is heading into the sun it gets hot in the room through the windows. Also, there is a crew access hall right next to the room, and there was a bothersome amount of noise coming from the crew activities. Also, whenever the crew has a cigarette in their area or nearby, the smell of cigarettes is evident in the cabin. Furniture is old, sometimes shabby, and carpet is average. Lots and lots of storage space. Normal bathroom - small but clean and functional. Our cabin attendant Israel introduced himself on day 1 and met all my special requests and did an excellent job and was always smiling and in a good mood. ACTIVITIES - shows were average - some good, some not so good. Regular activities were average - less than on previous cruises. We did quite a bit of trivia - fun. One wine tasting for $20 was above average. The cruise director and his wife were energetic and fun to be around as was their staff. BEVERAGE PACKAGE - ROYAL REPLENISH - Irritating numbers of rules and regulations to deal with in my opinion. Certain sodas here, not there, certain water here but not there, fresh squeezed OJ but only in Wind Jammer in the morning, etc. But, worked very well in Latte Tudes - had specialty coffees and teas all day long - enough to make it worth the $20/day. Still, somewhat of a pain to use otherwise. Should be: any soda, water, specialty tea or coffee anywhere anytime. Otherwise, if I would have limited myself to 1 coffee in the morning at Latte Tudes ($4) + one OJ in Wind Jammer ($3) + one special Iced Tea at Latte Tudes ($3) + two bottles of water ($6) = $16/day I probably would have done better and probably would have consumed less than even that. Randall & Bacchus at Latte Tudes were fun & cool & excellent. WIND JAMMER - Average. Above average salad bar & fresh salad items. Average mixed salads. Small buffet selection and somewhat repetitive. Breakfast selections are below average and just about as good as any decent hotel buffet breakfast these days - nothing special. Lunch is average with an average salad bar, average pasta selections, and average overall selections. Hot dogs and hamburgers every day - average. Nothing special. Pizza is available but is average. For dinner you can add some sushi rolls and a few other entrees, but again average. Staff are good - plates are picked up rapidly. Water and other low-quality drinks are still free. Desserts are average at best. Soft serve ice cream is nice but average. Overall average. MAIN DINING - we did "My Time" dining. Always seated promptly - almost no waiting. Head waiter very good. Main waiter 'Ray' very good. Assistant waiter 'Carlos' excellent. Overall excellent service. Food is above average. Selections are very repetitive. Most preparations are above average or better. The specialty items from 'Chops' for $16 - $29 are all excellent and are about what you would pay in a good restaurant. Most entrees were good and well prepared with good ingredients. Desserts were average. Wine list is disappointing but decent selection of wines by the glass are available. Overall good. DIAMOND LOUNGE - Deck 13 - Vortex/Hollywood - RCCL made these two clubs available every night at 530PM for their daily Diamond Event. Good event and service was good. Edibles were decent but repetitive. SHORE EXCURSIONS - Costa Rica panoramic excursion was boring. Guatemala excursion to Anguila was very good and interesting. Cabo was fun as always. Ensenada wine country excursion was fun and worth it. Puerta Vallarta stop was cancelled due to civil unrest. Overall above average as always. DISEMBARKATION - Fast & Easy & well done. TIPS - we did pre-paid tips which was fine with me. Tips also were supposedly pre-paid with the beverage package. However I still felt compelled to give a little extra on top. Maybe its just me, but if the tip is really included at 18% then there shouldn't be a tip line on a $0 ticket - seems tacky. OVERALL SUMMARY - mainstream cruising with average buffet, good main dining, average entertainment, average ship, good crew. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
I took my 15 year old son on this cruise to experience the beautiful islands of the Southern Caribbean. Overall we had a fabulous time and I would recommend it to others. We found the Jewel of the Seas to be in great shape and clean. ... Read More
I took my 15 year old son on this cruise to experience the beautiful islands of the Southern Caribbean. Overall we had a fabulous time and I would recommend it to others. We found the Jewel of the Seas to be in great shape and clean. The dining room staff was excellent as was the food quality and choices. Our stateroom attendant took good care of us and we rarely saw him. He was unobtrusive, which was nice. The ports we visited were my driving force in booking this itinerary. It was very port intensive with only one sea day. We flew into San Juan to board the ship and the ports we went to were: St Thomas, St Kitts, Dominica, Barbados, and St Maarten. In St Thomas we took an excursion to Tortola to swim with the dolphins. I booked this prior to sailing via Royal Caribbean. It was an enjoyable and educational time. I felt there was plenty of interaction with the dolphins and the dolphin trainer we worked with was very knowledgeable. The dolphin discovery place has photographers who take beautiful pictures for you to view and purchase afterward if you so choose-no pressure whatsoever. We did purchase the CD because we like to remember our vacation memories. The place also had clean facilities for showering/changing, a food service area, and a gift shop. It is set in a picturesque location and enjoyable to spend a day in such a park. The ferry ride over to Tortola from St Thomas is about an hour and you do have to pass through customs on each end. The tour guide gave us the appropriate paperwork to fill out in advance so everyone was well prepared, which sped up the process. There was a 15 minute ride from the ferry terminal to the dolphin discovery place each way. On St Kitts we had booked a city highlights tour with Beaulah Mills from Welcome Tours prior to sailing. We got to meet Beaulah as soon as we walked out of the cruise ship terminal building and she walked us to our driver and made introductions so we could start off. We saw some beautiful gardens at both Palm Court and Romney Manor with opportunities to get out and walk around. Our driver pointed out many monuments, schools, hospitals, and businesses along the tour. We stopped at Timothy Hill and got to take pictures of a beautiful overlook where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet separated by a mountain. At the end of the tour you are left at a beach with unlimited beach time and at the agreed time the driver comes back to drive you back to town. We had lunch at a beach shack called Jam Rock and walked around to see all the wild monkeys and a mongoose or two. It was a fun and educational way to see St Kitts. In Dominica we booked a tour through BJ's Travel. It took us to the Emarld Pool and Trafalgar Falls. Both places are uniquely beautiful. After visiting Trafalgar Falls (our last stop) we made a short stop to get our complimentary beverage. When we boarded the tour bus and took off all of a sudden the tour bus started making a terrible noise! A couple miles later when we started going up a steep hill the bus broke down. It was 3:50 and we were supposed to be back on Jewel by 4:30. Our tour guide called his company's office and they sent a replacement bus out to pick us up and also phoned Royal Caribbean to let them know our situation and RC held the ship for us. We wound up making it back to port to board at 4:28! That was wild! Memories... In Barbados we booked a tour of the Agapey Chocolate factory right in Bridgetown. We walked to the factory in about 5 minutes from the cruise ship terminal and enjoyed learning about how to make dark chocolate. There were plenty of samples along the way too. It was a fun and interesting place to see. We bought several candy bars to take home as souvenirs and we knew to return to the ship and place the candy in our mini fridge right away. We then caught a taxi to the Boatyard where we enjoyed the afternoon on Carlisle Bay swimming and taking advantage of their fun facilities. There are plenty of additional packages you can buy at the Boatyard such as jet skis and swimming with the turtles. The Boatyard provides a free shuttle back to the cruise ship terminal and these shuttles leave fairly often so you can choose how long you stay at their facility. They do have a restaurant, bar, and restroom/changing facilities. In St Maarten (my favorite day of the cruise) we did something very gutsy and left the island and took the public ferry to Anguilla. It was a self-guided tour. Although I had some anxiety I had done plenty of research online ahead of time on getting this whole thing to come together. We took a taxi from the ship terminal to Marigot, the French side capital, grabbed some food from Sarafina's (French boulangerie/patisserie) and then walked to the ferry terminal paid our fares and took the next ferry over to the beautiful Anguilla. Anguilla has breathtakingly beautiful beaches and is not accessible from large cruise ships such as the Jewel. We spent the day on Meads Bay (we got there by taxi from the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal). At 2:30 we reversed our route and took the ferry back to Marigot and picked up a taxi back to Phillipsburg where there were roads closed down for their Carnival parade. Turns out the day our ship stopped in St Maarten it was a holiday for the locals. Anyway our taxi driver had to let us out across town and give us walking directions the rest of the way. We walked about a mile but we made it in plenty of time thanks to good planning on my part. An Anguilla day trip is feasible if you do your research and keep an eye on time. We spent over 4 hours on Anguillan sand and enjoyed Blanchard's Beach Shack for lunch and drinks. Frozen rum drinks are about $7 each and they have a large selection of flavors. We did splurge and treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at Chops. Chops is the specialty restaurant on the Jewel that specializes in beef. We had delicious filet mignons with all the sides we could want for. The service was outstanding as was the ambiance. It was a very relaxing enjoyable dinner. I felt our stateroom was smaller than rooms we have had on other cruise lines yet there was plenty of storage space for everything we brought. We enjoyed having a balcony cabin on Deck 7. Several times a day I sit out on the balcony and just soak in the views. Does it get any better than that? I did find a couple hairs on the bathroom vanity on the day we boarded and I re-wiped the mirrors with some Windex wipes I had brought from home. To me no big deal because I don't go on vacation to find reasons to complain. I have nothing but good things to say about my vacation. I do my homework ahead of time and research the things I want to do so there are no disappointments. Jewel is a beautifully decorated vessel that is sure to please every step of the way. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise. It was to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary so we left the kids at home! We picked this for its itinerary to so many different islands: Tortola (which became St. Thomas since the Tortola dock was in ... Read More
This was our first cruise. It was to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary so we left the kids at home! We picked this for its itinerary to so many different islands: Tortola (which became St. Thomas since the Tortola dock was in repair), St. Kitts, Dominica, Barbados, and St. Marteen. I don't have anything to compare to, but I thought the ship was in great condition and clean. The glass elevators and walls make for a beautiful view at even the interior of the ship. I NEVER felt crowded on this ship and ALL the rooms were booked! The only 'busy' place was in the Windjammer buffet at breakfast and sometimes lunch, but we still found seats fairly easily. Room: We were in the cheapest room on the bottom floor! Yes the rooms are small, but for 2 people it was comfortable. I actually liked the lower floor because disembarkation at each port was on our floor and it made an easy on/off procedure. Our room steward, Roy, was sweet and helpful. Entertainment: First off, we were never bored. There were many scheduled activities, and we are active people in our 30s. We enjoyed the rock climbing, shuffleboard, mini golf, and even saw a movie in a stadium seating room. On the 1 Sea Day we played volleyball for 2 hours with other guests. (The basketball court is only 1/2 court.) My husband used the gym almost every day. I enjoyed running on the deck track. We LOVED the Quest game! We went to three shows in the theatre. The City of Dreams was an odd story line, but the singers and dancers are very good. The Broadway Review was similar. We saw a comedian who was funny. We even went dancing in the Vortex. The cruise director, John, was a great MC and kept everyone entertained. Service/Dining: Dining in the Main Dining Room (MDR) was a highlight of the day. We sometimes had breakfast in the Windjammer, but the granola bar in the MDR was so good, we tried to go there every day. Lunch was always in the Windjammer which has consistent quality buffet food. (I actually liked their deserts better than most of the MDR ones.) We ate at the SeaSide Cafe and Solarium Cafe once each. I am not a 'fast food' person, so I can't critique them well for this reason. The Solarium did have an amazing curry chicken wrap that I would have eaten every day if I had found it sooner. We had the 8:30pm traditional dining. (I suggest this for such a port intensive cruise. We usually eat at 5:00pm at home but by the time we were back to the ship and showered, that would have been a rush. We often got a snack then to tide us over.) We were seated in the center of the MDR with absolutely PERFECT table mates. This added to our positive experience. The food was always very good. I thought the portions were perfect (you can order more dishes if you want!). Our service was phenomenal. Wendell, our waiter, was funny and always happy! It is worth changing for dinner when the food is such good quality. Ports/Excursions: (Note: I noticed we saved about $10 each for each excursion, since we booked in advance instead of on the ship.) St. Thomas - Took the all day ship excursion to Christmas Cove, and Honeymoon Beach. The boat is rougher on the ocean than a catamaran (if you get sea sick). Only had 45 min. to snorkel. I could have done that much longer, but we did see sea turtles and a sting ray. Lunch at the beach was very good. The beach, on Water Island, is small and secluded, quiet and comfortable. It was a great value. St. Kitts - Just got a taxi at the pier and took a tour of the island for $20 each. Took 4 hours. I would have liked more time at the Fort and Romney Manor though. Dominica - YOU MUST GO HERE!!! This was our favorite island. (This is not a beach and shopping island, but there is nowhere else like it.) It is a true rainforest. We pre-booked an all day excursion with Levi from Bumpiing Tours. He was AMAZING!!! We hiked the rainforest, swam in waterfalls and Titou Gorge. He lets you jump in, which the ship excursions won't. At the end we snorkeled in Champagne Reef. (Tour was $70 and lasted over 7 hours!) Barbados - We took a taxi to the Boat Yard in Carlisle Bay. It is about a 30 min. walk through town. If you want to try that, the tourist station will give you a map. The Boat Yard was a good deal since for $15 each you get a drink, chair/umbrella, and use of the activities, and a free taxi ride back to the pier. We ended up walking down the whole beach. We used our own snorkeling gear to swim out 100 yds. to a sunken ship. St. Marteen - Took another ship excursion, Regatta Racing. St. Marteen is the only place you can do this. It was an expensive excursion for only 3 hours, but a great experience. We helped sail the boat as we raced another one. The crew tells you what to do. We ended up walking into town afterwards to buy spices and eat at an indian restaurant on Front Street. There is a beach there too. It is a very easy walk back to the ship, or you can take a water taxi. We pre-purchased the ship transfers. Embarkation from the airport was very easy. Disembarkation was not bad, but we had to wait for 1 hour for our luggage to get to the airport. It would have been a lot faster to take a taxi. (The luggage comes once the truck is full. You take a separate bus, so if you are first it is a long wait. If you are last, you will get it right away.) Summary: I would not hesitate to take this ship again... even with the same itinerary! (We saw only 1 other ship in port in St. Kitts. It was a Carnival and I could hear their music from across the bay. I liked how Royal Caribbean was fun and entertaining but also relaxed and "luxurious" feeling.) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Some thoughts about a recent cruise experience to the Southern Caribbean aboard RC’s Jewel of the Seas, departing San Jose Puerto Rico, on April 25, 2015. A quick summary would read: The excursions were amazing, interesting and fun and ... Read More
Some thoughts about a recent cruise experience to the Southern Caribbean aboard RC’s Jewel of the Seas, departing San Jose Puerto Rico, on April 25, 2015. A quick summary would read: The excursions were amazing, interesting and fun and life aboard the ship left us hungry – literally and figuratively – thirsty, and bored. We also had less than satisfying experiences with shipboard staff, and this, coupled with the reality that it was essentially, onboard anyway, a snooze cruise, has us pretty much forgoing any future cruises with Royal Caribbean. For this cruise we opted for “My Time Dining.” We prefer to be caught in and experience moments rather than adhere to a set schedule so that we might enjoy the special serendipities that usually accompany a cruise. So for the first night, we opted for the Windjammer vs. The Tides for dinner. The selections were good, with a variety of hot and cold foods to please anyone’s palate, and the café staff was friendly and helpful. Outlook for the week aboard looked promising; however, the reality fell short … far short, with the exception of café staff. To a person, staff in the Windjammer was polite, helpful and fun. Greeters, especially (and I am sorry, I have forgotten their names), the young man who sang along with a music track and the gentleman who balanced a tray of coffee cups as he danced and sang. They were fun, entertaining and a welcome greeting to breakfast every day. We took an excursion Day 2, in Amalie, St. Thomas, and returned to the ship famished. We hit the Windjammer and were surprised to see, essentially, the same menu we had seen the evening before. There were a couple additions, though we learned soon enough the editions were leftovers from the previous night’s service in The Tides. We wandered the ship and were surprised there really wasn’t much to do. There was some music in the Centrum, a movie in the theater, but beyond that there was little to do. No shows, no poolside contests or guest-engaging events – not even bingo! Even drinks were hard to come by outside the pool bar or sky bar. These were situations neither of us had encountered. We have cruised aboard RC before together; she has cruised with her mother; and I have cruised other times and never had trouble finding a drink of the day or other cooling concoction. Access to food was a challenge, too, as the Windjammer was pretty much the only place to get food, and as noted, there was little variety in food selections. That night, we reserved seats in The Tides. We enjoyed meeting and getting to know our tablemates, and the staff was “efficient,” though not very friendly (outside of the wine and water steward, who was delightful at Table 538). We were pleased with the selections on the menu and looked forward to the meal. I ordered an aged steak, rare, which tasted more like a flank steak that had not been tenderized. I thought it might be a fluke, so didn’t mention it to table staff; however, when we noted the same steaks in the Windjammer the next day, I made a mental note to see if this was a trend. The next day we left the ship on an excursion and as the day before, were famished upon return. Again, our only choice in the early afternoon was the Windjammer Café, though there clearly were other restaurants present aboard the ship. As mentioned, the previous night’s steak appeared on the buffet, as did a couple other prior night offerings, but the menu remained unchanged from previous days. On previous cruises, food on the buffet has been changed up with greater diversity, providing for greater selection and satisfaction, so we were surprised by the static menu. As we had done the prior night, we went to The Tides. My wife tried escargot, which she loved (kudos to the chef for that preparation), and I ordered fish as my entrée. It looked good when it came, but when I bit into it, it tasted as if it had never been cleaned or filtered. There was grit in the fish that felt like sand in my teeth. As happened with the steak, that same fish appeared on the Windjammer buffet the next day. I gave it wide berth – and suggested others do the same – based on the prior night’s experience. The next day, we wandered around Dominica and returned to the ship only to find the same situation. Only the Windjammer was open for food and the menu was essentially the same as previous days. Oh, there was sliced ham instead of turkey, but that was about the only real change. We wandered to the Solarium but the café there was closed. We wandered to deck 12 but the restaurant there was closed as well. In fact, it essentially was closed the entire trip except for a few hours one or two of the days and then at night for “Burgers and brew,” an extra cost option. We spent the afternoon in the Solarium by the pool, which is a nice feature for adults, but we could not find a waiter or get a drink. I went to the pool bar several times … not that far, but not as convenient as I had been used to in the past. Then at one point, as I went to get another round, I noted the Solarium bar was closed, but when I returned, it appeared to be open. As I passed, the bar attended yelled, “Hey Mister! Hey Mister!” I stopped and looked at him and said, “yes, can I help you?” He barked, “We’re open!” I must have looked surprised because he barked again, “I said, we’re open.” I looked at him, taken back by his rudeness (it’s hard to reflect how short and curt he was), and told him, “Yes, you are now, but you weren’t when I went to get these and haven’t been open all day.” I am still surprised by how rude he was. In all my cruises, with RC, the Delta Queen Steamboat Co., Carnival and others, I had never been barked at my staff – ever! And we never ordered from him or that bar – we opted to walk to another bar (pool bar, sky bar) where smiles came with the service. On the service note, I want to mention our lackluster cabin steward and hospitality staff. We never “met” our cabin steward, and the only time we saw him was when we bumped into him. We had to ask for soap and towels and when I asked if we could get the minibar restocked, he told me that it wasn’t his job, that it was the hospitality staff’s job. I was surprised by his reaction and comment as well, so asked if he could please ask the hospitality staff to restock the minibar and he said, “OK, I guess.” This is as good a time as any to share that if RC didn’t “require” and add tips to the cost of the cruise, only the water and wine steward in The Tides, a bartender in the Champagne bar and another server who went out of his way to be helpful would have been tipped. No one else provided or delivered service at a level that deserved a gratuity, the first of any cruise I have ever been on. Usually, we are happy to honor them for their outstanding work. Not so in this cruise. The rest of the week, situations and events mirrored those mentioned – difficulty finding food outside of breakfast, lunch and dinner hours; difficulty finding a variety/diversity of food beyond what was served every day (or carried over from the previous night’s Tides menu); difficulty getting drinks and difficulty finding things to do. Though there were a few events, such as one bellyflop contest (late in the week), a parade of flags and a newlywed game, outside of the nightly showcase in the theater, there was very little to do. We sat in on a couple of trivia events in the Schooner Lounge, but given the energy of the moderator and the participatory interest of the few who had gathered, we moved on pretty quickly. We’ve never experienced this dearth of things to do in previous cruises. In fact, on those, we had to choose what we wanted to do, often having to choose between one, two or even three gun and exciting options. We were surprised, too, by the talent featured in the showcases. We missed the Beatle night (which we regret having heard it the best show of the cruise), but we sat in on the trumpeter, the comedian, the cast “through the ages” show and Mark Preston. The comedian was very funny, but the others were lackluster. It was especially odd to see the line feature a trumpet player who is part of the ship’s orchestra. While he had a solid resume, he was not a headliner by any means, and he wasn’t even the bandleader, so it was odd to see him pulled out and put in the spotlight. The cast show was OK, but felt more than passing time than being entertained, and Mark Preston was, as a promised, a “two-time Grammy nominee.” No slam on him, but his was an efficient performance. Not much else. Not much energy, not much variety, not much entertainment. I want to say I am sorry for this appearing to be so negative, but we’ve never experienced a cruise such as this. The venue – the Southern Caribbean – is among the best offered by Royal Caribbean and the Jewel of the Seas remains that – a jewel – even with her years at sea. We came aboard expecting an exceptional time, with exceptional variety of foods, things to do, drinks, entertainment – options. And we found all of that – in the excursions, but not aboard ship. Life there was tedium, interrupted by off-ship opportunities. Food, which started off promising, ended up being the same thing, day after day. Access to food was restricted to limited hours and the most limited selections of venues we had ever seen – largely the Windjammer. Drinks were hard to come by unless we were willing to find an open bar and a willing server. Cabin service was spotty and largely by request or begging. We just thought you might like to hear about our experience and our concerns about future cruises with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I just read a very disturbing, negative review of Jewel of the Seas. Contrary t o that review, we had the most wonderful experience ON THE SAME CRUISE.. We were suite guests and our cabin steward was superior! Diego was one of the best ... Read More
I just read a very disturbing, negative review of Jewel of the Seas. Contrary t o that review, we had the most wonderful experience ON THE SAME CRUISE.. We were suite guests and our cabin steward was superior! Diego was one of the best concierge 's I've met. He was always helpful and accommodating, going above and beyond to take care of our needs! The Schooner Bar was, as always, the best bar on the ship! The bartenders became our friends. We go on cruises to relax. We met and conversed with many lovely people. And after excursions, yes, the Windjammer was the only place to get something to eat. But all we really needed was sandwiches or pizza, which we would take to our deck chairs (which were never difficult to find). Service at the Tides was exceptional, specialty restaurants had delicious entrees. We really don't do much nighttime activity because, as stated earlier, we came to relax! Granted, not many kids or 20-30 year Olds on this cruise, but we were fine with that! This was one of the most relaxing cruises I've been on. I love this class of ships and would love to take an Alaskan cruise this year to hang out with the same Royal Caribbean employees we met and loved! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our anniversary adventure and it truly was. Everything was spectacular from going through the boarding process (so easy and smooth) to waiting as long or as short a time as we wanted when leaving the ship. Of course we didn't ... Read More
This was our anniversary adventure and it truly was. Everything was spectacular from going through the boarding process (so easy and smooth) to waiting as long or as short a time as we wanted when leaving the ship. Of course we didn't really want to leave at all and had to be gently nudged along our way. We had a Jr. Suite this time because of the special occasion and really appreciated the extra room and amenities when we had our friends over. I really liked the crew atmosphere of the ship. The Captain said he likes to treat the ship as home with the crew as a big family and that concept really shines through. Everyone really cared that each and every passenger was treated courteously and with a big smile. There were a couple of stand outs, namely the signing greeter in the Windjammer and the twirling coffee tray handler extrodinaire, who we saw several places around the ship. I think this itinerary has more stops for a 7 night cruise than any other. Five ports of call in 7 nights and all very good. We didn't get to see as much of the entertainment as we usually do because we met the most wonderful couple on the first day and spent a lot of fabulous time with them. The food was first rate in the main dinning room. We chose My Time Dining so ate just as we pleased...with our new friends. The dining staff was unbelievable and the antics they got up to were just hilarious. One of the high points of our cruise was the tour behind the scenes of the ship, from the Captain's chair at the very top to the incinerator room in the very bottom. Well worth seeing. You can't help but have a wonderful time on the Jewel of the Sea. I guarantee it! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We had a Balcony and still had an older style TV which gave us problems, but other then that the room is what we have come to expect. Shows and Islands were good but when we have 5 ports in 7 days which means 2 tried cruisers. One of the ... Read More
We had a Balcony and still had an older style TV which gave us problems, but other then that the room is what we have come to expect. Shows and Islands were good but when we have 5 ports in 7 days which means 2 tried cruisers. One of the best things was the top tier event which was held on the heli-pad. The ship's staff was great as always but we had some problems with main dinning room asst. waiter as he looked after the other table better then our table. Getting on and off the ship was very smooth and had no problems. The food in the Windjammer was good every day. Chop's Grill was alright but now they charge even more for steaks that us to be included for the extra fee, and there was 3 of us eating and when we order the sides one was the Asparagus and they came to the table with 6 stalks. Drinks are also pricey mixed drinks $ 10. - mudslides, grasshoppers were $14. Also we got the pop package and there was only one refill machine and it was in the Windjammer and when it was closed I could not get Coke Zero and had to settle with other diet drinks. In summary RCCL has to get in the real world on drink prices but over all the cruise was good in other ways. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Our last few cruises have mostly been the megaships (Freedom, Oasis class, Quantum) and we were a bit worried that we’d feel claustrophobic or bored on one of the smallest and older ship of the Royal Caribbean fleet. Luckily the Jewel ... Read More
Our last few cruises have mostly been the megaships (Freedom, Oasis class, Quantum) and we were a bit worried that we’d feel claustrophobic or bored on one of the smallest and older ship of the Royal Caribbean fleet. Luckily the Jewel proved us wrong. The ship is still beautiful, the connection to the sea with the abundance of glass everywhere is perfect, and the staff was the happiest I've experienced in a long time. Both the crew member at the door of the Windjammer jamming to the fun music on his phone, and the coffee server balancing a tray of coffee cups on his head or a wine bottle in the evening put a smile on our faces and helped start our days off right! Sailing out of San Juan is a treat – there’s time to enjoy the town with the late sailaway, and seeing Old San Juan at night lit up is so pretty. Muster drill needs some work – the way the newer ships do it inside a cool lounge or theater is much easier than standing in the heat crowded in on deck. We don’t agree with having to be delayed for muster by the people who don’t show up – they should be tracked down and some fine or such imposed against them, rather than us having to stand for so long waiting. Not only were we crowded together in the heat for so long, but we ended up having to stand next to an obnoxious and drunk couple who loudly complained constantly about Muster cutting into their drinking and smoking time – they should have been removed. We had a quick Windjammer dinner so we wouldn't miss being on deck for sailaway. For Day 2 in St Thomas, we took the ship excursion ‘St John’s On Your Own’. It’s so much easier (and no more costly) to board the boat to St Johns right at the pier rather than worry about the timing of getting to Red Hook for the Cruz Bay ferry and back. Fair warning to anyone unable to take the motion on a smaller boat – it was a wet and rocky ride there and back. All of the passengers from the different St Johns tours sailed over together, wearing different color wristbands to differentiate which tour we were on. After disembarking at Cruz Bay we shared a safari taxi with several others and headed to Trunk Bay. Our Meet & Mingle for our Roll Call was originally scheduled during an inconvenient time on a port day later in the week, but gladly a couple of emails from our group got that changed to 5pm on our St Thomas day. We enjoyed the M&M, and the Cruise Director John Blair met with us. (By the way, he is a very visible and involved CD) We ended up chatting with another couple and being so relaxed we decided to not bother with dressing up for the 1st Formal night, so another Windjammer dinner for us! Day 3 was St Croix. We needed some serious R&R this vacation, so just walked left off the pier and headed to the Freedom City Surf Shop that had been recommended. It was certainly convenient, but just ‘OK’. Some of the chairs were held together by duct tape and the entry into the water was quite rocky (not pebbly, but some large rocks to climb over), but all in all it was a nice day. For Antigua on Day 4 we took a cab to Jolly Beach to meet some friends that got there earlier. A heads up – you will be accosted by the orange-shirted taxi drivers looking to give you a ride or a tour. We felt intimated and annoyed by them swarming around us, and walked away before going back and finding a quieter, more polite older gentleman, Little Joe. Beautiful beach, clean bathrooms, and the Castaways looked like a nice beach bar and grill, but we were holding out for Roti for a late lunch back in town. We had made arrangements with the driver to pick us up a few hours later, and he was there promptly, and dropped us off at Roti King. We enjoyed the Chicken Curry Roti with a local beer, and were the only gringos (non-locals) there. We only had a short walk back to the pier, but our gut reaction was that this port needs quite a bit of infrastructure work - the roads are in poor condition and we didn't feel 100% comfortable walking around. Day 5 was St Lucia; many of our Cruise Critic Roll Call had arranged to take Cosol Tours together. This tour operator has really grown, and there were quite a few vans running the excursion. Royal Caribbean’s Jewel, Adventure and a small HAL ship were in port, and we felt somewhat overcrowded at many of our tour stops. Our driver and tour guide was Ben, and was very good. Our day consisted of sampling a variety of local foods, several photo ops, a stop at a banana plantation, waterfalls, a visit to the Sulphur Springs, a boat ride to a beach between the Pitons (the only real negative point of the tour – the boat operators didn’t tie the boats down properly and it was amazing people weren’t injured more than they were getting out of or into the boats, and there weren’t nearly enough chairs available for the number of visitors to the beach to be comfortable). We had bottled water, beer and rum punch available during the trip, and ended with one last local treat – delicious bread and cheese. The next day was Grenada. Again we had a nice Roll Call group booked together for A&E tours ½ day Best of Nature Tour. We were split into 2 vans with 6 each so we had plenty of room to be comfortable–Eddie (the E of A&E) on one bus, and his son Elon the guide for our group. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Our stops included a spice manufacturing, waterfalls, a rain forest, volcanic lake, a rum distillery, and a stop at Grand Anse Beach. With a slightly late start waiting for a member of our group that didn’t show up, enjoying some of our stops longer than expected, and a bit of traffic, we just didn't have the time we had hoped to visit the beach – it was picture perfect though. Our last day was our only day at sea. During port days there were always plenty of seats by the pools, but as expected, it was a beautiful day and there was hardly a chair to be found. We found one seat in the Solarium and shared it until another opened up later. Unfortunately there were a lot of chogs (chair hogs), and we noticed chairs unoccupied for over 2 hrs with no 'chair police' in sight. We had a chance to explore whatever we hadn't seen of the ship before, shop, and relax. As far as food goes on the ship: The Windjammer was as expected – maybe slightly less variety than on the larger ships, but making up for that was the nice variety of outside or semi-outside seating available. We only had one meal in the MDR, and as with most other MTD spaces, our two top was so close to others that we may as well have been at a table for 6. We enjoyed a nice Portofinos dinner, and the next night booked a Portofinos wine pairing. This was an excellent experience – very much like the Chefs Table on the newer ships, and I can’t believe only 3 couples signed up for this. The next day Chops offered a California Wine Pairing dinner, and this was wonderful as well…again only 3 couples. Too bad the 2 wine pairings were back to back – after the amazing meal and wines we kind of conked out and missed a lot of the nightlife, so I can’t comment on The Quest, the disco, etc. We caught the Love & Marriage game – always fun – and one of the evening Pool Parties. We heard lots of complaints (both beforehand on CC and on the cruise) about drink prices being $12. Although the bar menus only listed Specialty drinks at those prices, the Drink of the Day was $7.75, many wines by the glass for under $12, beers certainly were, and I believe we had several well drinks (such as Rum & Coke, Tom Collins, etc) for maybe the $8 range (with the 18% gratuity included in that). After debarkation in San Juan, we had a late flight, so we took a taxi to Barrachina’s used their free luggage service (with a generous tip, eating brunch at their new upstairs café, and later enjoying a Pina Colada at the bar before leaving), and walked around Old San Juan. The Radiance class was our first cruise 10 years ago, and this class ship is still our favorite. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We have a family member who cruises this cruise line every year and we were invited to join them. We spent 2 nights in Puerto Rico prior to leaving so that we could explore that city - wonderful. The embarkation was without ... Read More
We have a family member who cruises this cruise line every year and we were invited to join them. We spent 2 nights in Puerto Rico prior to leaving so that we could explore that city - wonderful. The embarkation was without problems. There was a restaurant in the ship called "Portofino" Italian and excellent. We went there the first night of the cruise because they offered a discount that first night. I loved the Risotto ! Our room was in the middle of the ship so a little noisy as there was entertainment every night but it did stop at 10pm. I would make sure next time though not to be in a cabin so close to an area with constant activity due to the noise. The crew was wonderful, the entertainment was very good. It is humid in the spring in the Caribbean so we will go to Alaska next time! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We just returned from a wonderful week of cruising - 12 of us. It was an amazing week of beautiful ports. The crew on the Jewel went out of their way constantly to make sure we were having a wonderful trip. The ship is a little older ... Read More
We just returned from a wonderful week of cruising - 12 of us. It was an amazing week of beautiful ports. The crew on the Jewel went out of their way constantly to make sure we were having a wonderful trip. The ship is a little older but very very clean!! Food and Service was excellent - we ate in the buffet and Tides. We had our group divided the first night. Spoke to a Head Waiter and the next night we were altogether!! Also, another couple had an interior room which they thought didn't smell right. They were happily moved. There is lots of variety in entertainment. The one day at sea was busy - but that is to be expected. St Thomas - went to Megan Bay - beautiful (just grabbed a cab) St. Croix - beach is right there to the left - walked Antigua - Husband golfed - ok - very dry Horseback on beach - too many new riders - was boring for my friend and myself as we are very competent riders - was disappointed we were not allowed to ride on the beach when we returned like the owner said - maybe because a rider fell off during the ride - girth not tight enough... Beaches were beautiful at this port wished we had done that instead St. Lucia - RC tour to the pitons and snorkeling - we had a little rain but the snorkeling here is amazing - very worth it. Grenada - Took the Beach tour - which included the fort and lunch at the beach - goes to a more secluded beach - so you don't get bugged as much to buy things. Very beautiful San Juan - did a tour through Countryside - excellent tour of old San Juan and the forts - plenty of time on our own. Took us to the airport after. We all had an amazing time!!! Loved the Jewel and it's crew!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
The crew were all great, the ship was in good condition and clean. I felt like there just wasn't enough to do...that might be partly because it was such a port intensive cruise. only one sea day. The shops were only open in the ... Read More
The crew were all great, the ship was in good condition and clean. I felt like there just wasn't enough to do...that might be partly because it was such a port intensive cruise. only one sea day. The shops were only open in the evening, the water slide had very limited hours, it was hard to find a quiet lounge to sit and have a drink and visit. Even the piano player was amplified. There just didn't seem to be many activities that were of interest to us.. and yes that is entirely subjective. We also only had one show that involved the singers and dancers.. the premier of "City of Dreams"...the costumes were amazing, the sets were great, the talent was there..but the story line was abysmal. The other entertainers were solo types, a comedian/juggler, a comedian/trumpet player, a comedian/magician.. they were good, but not what we expected. We much preferred The Navigator of the Seas. And the food, well it was not terrible by any means, but especially breakfast and lunch was same old same old, no changes day to day and that got old, again to be fair that might just be because it is a smaller (although not small) ship. We did like that there was a lot of natural light and sea views throughout. so.. pros and cons as with any ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We were not pleased and did not have a enjoyable experience with RCCL. This was our thirty eight cruise and are forth on RCCL. Let me start by saying , I can over look the small things on board a ship, but it is the big picture that ... Read More
We were not pleased and did not have a enjoyable experience with RCCL. This was our thirty eight cruise and are forth on RCCL. Let me start by saying , I can over look the small things on board a ship, but it is the big picture that concerns me. We felt RCCLhas cut back, so much that it takes away from the cruise experience and the enjoyment of cruising on their ships. The cutbacks on board are very noticeable and in poor taste, charge more for the cruise and give less. The company has lost site of the cruise experience being offered to its guests and is more driven by the need to get more revenue by offering less in service, which takes presidence over everything else. Positive: Embarakation/Disembarkation was painless process and weent well. We were able to boaed easily and both were quite efficient. The staff were friendly, heipful, courteous and went out of their wat to try and help or resolve issues. The stateroom was spacious and in good shape for the age of the ship. The only issue we had was the bathroom, which was very ssmall in comparison to other cruise lines. Our cabin steward was friendly and did a good job keeping the room clean. Negatives: On our first day when we boarded the the Jewel of the Seas, I called room service to order a bottle of rum from the ship to have in our stateroom. In the past the ship would charge you a dee of $60.00 to $70.00 dollars to purchase a bottle. My wife and I like to have a rum and coke and relax in our stateroom prior to getting ready to go to dinner. RC said they would not and could not accommodate us with this request. Remember, we are two adults with no kids in our room. I went down to guest srrvices and talked with the manager , who said he to could not make this happen. Nothing but apologies were offered and he to agreed that this policy was stupid. You wonder why people try to bring alcohol on board the ship? Having served twenty eight years in the military and most of that in over seas this was most disturbing experience. When told to use room service it took over 45 min or more for then to bring a drink to our room and most of the ice had melted. Sad. Generally the food in the Windjammer was mediocre to low quality, lacked veriaty and very disappointing. RCCL seems to do alot to get more out of less, squeezing margins even more to increase the bottom line. They dont even cook fresh hamburgers or hotdogs for lunch. They are all pre-cooked, overcooked, dried out and lifelesss in pans on a heating pad. By the time you get it to the table it is cold and the cheese is not melted. Sad. Also, way to much pasta ( cold pasta,mac & cheese pasta, pasta in meat sauce, pasta with red sauce, pasta in gravy? and so on. Serve it and they will eat it! Why cant you have fresh grills and deli's that make the items fresh like the other cruise lines?? They have a much better set up. We only went to eat two times in the dinning room on the third night of the cruise. We did my time dinning and had to stand in very long lines, and wait even after having a reservation. We ended up leaving and went to eat in the Windjammer. When we did eat in the dinning room on our last night we thought the menue was very limited and the food selection was poor. I tried the NY strip steak, which was vry thin and tuff. I sent it back and waited for my wife to finnish her meal. She to was not impressed. Appetizers were cold when they should be hot. The other issue I had was the pizza bar would close down during certain hours (9:30-12:00) and you could not get anything to eat. Overall a bad experience, I dont think we will be doing RCCL again. I think management has lost site that its the guests that keep them afloat and keep them comin back because of their experience. They need to do a better job by looking at the reviews that their guests write and try and fix the problems. Now I understand why Carnival cruise lines has 50% of the cruise line business. Must be doing something right? Disappinted. Should have saved my $$. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
A tale of 2 cruises.....we kept the same room/attendant. First week: Embarcation was terrific.....off the plane, in a taxi, right on the ship....sticker on Sea Pass and all was good.....right to the Windjammer for lunch (all 2 weeks ... Read More
A tale of 2 cruises.....we kept the same room/attendant. First week: Embarcation was terrific.....off the plane, in a taxi, right on the ship....sticker on Sea Pass and all was good.....right to the Windjammer for lunch (all 2 weeks this was wonderful for breakfast and most lunches....never used for dinner). Room was ready at 1 with the Birthday gear......we do traditional dining and went at 6 to our table of 10....only 6 of us the first night but the rest of the week we were all there....but table was at end of DR so we broke up the table week 2 for various reasons (group of 4 had a wheelchair...terrible to be at the end....). Food was good, servers were good and no issues either week. We paid for the Thermal a Suite for mist of the first week.....loved it! Main issue......Entertainment was NOT cruise-worthy....only 1 production show and that wasn't until the sea day at 3 pm......as a passenger I do not want to know this is a transition week......note that I week 2 there were THREE production shows and the parade of flags (sea day)...all at night. Ports were GREAT during both weeks.....Excursion desk was very helpful in helping to decide. Bars were good.....loved the drink packages we bought. Both Mix and Mingles were well-attended and informative. Crown and Anchor soirées were nice both weeks. Loved the attention to timing of chair hogs....well-done RCCL! No issue with week 1 statement (or 2 for that matter!). A lot of effort to entice people to the casino but Craps was pretty much a non-starter. Slots were fun and we did win! Week 2: Continuous Cruisers have a meeting where the second week Pass is given as well as info on getting off and back on.....also got 1/2 hour each of Internet time to do the survey for week 1, which we did. We used the Solarium much more during the second week because there seemed to be a lot more kids......really liked it.....too bad Solarium Cafe was not open every day. We had a new table for dinner....enjoyed the new mates but still spent time with the old ones!! Best excursion through Ship was Antigua by Sea......wonderful day all of the way around! Worst excursion was last day Old/New San Juan and airport.......good info but speaker did not work....expected better from ship trip......luggage transfer was seamless. All in all a lovely 2 weeks....ship was perfectly sized.......services were terrific...... Entertainment first week is the main complaint..... Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Jewel of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 3.0 N/A
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 5.0 4.4
Value for Money 3.0 N/A

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