3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean What a wonderful ship she is. We had a great mid ship balcony cabin # 9616. A cabin steward that was perfect. Food was great entertainment was good. We went to 2 shows and they were better than expected. ... Read More
Jewel of the Seas - Royal Caribbean What a wonderful ship she is. We had a great mid ship balcony cabin # 9616. A cabin steward that was perfect. Food was great entertainment was good. We went to 2 shows and they were better than expected. They had music on the ship strings in the main area everyday so you could just listen and relax before and after dinner. We enjoyed this. There was also a band and singer some times. Piano bar and more. We did not go to any bars because we were too tired every night after the islands each day. She is a smaller ship with only a few shops. We only ate in the main dining room or Windjammer. We made an our time reservation for two 3 months ahead of time and when we got there we were at a table for 8 but they fixed it that day and everything was great. Our waiters were the best and we got to know each other quickly. - Wednesday April 24th – This was a day of rest on the ship. We ate and napped and ate again. There was a chocolate night in the windjammer one night so ask or you will miss it. They have wonderful tasty meals and great desserts. One night in the dining room they serve an individual size cake for the 50th anniversary of the cruise line so don’t miss that either. Very good. Public areas were full but not crazy busy ever. Elevators were prompt for the most part. Leaving the ship never seemed too crowded either. - Thursday April 25th- The Island of Crete was one of our favorites. We docked at Chania Souda. It was like old world with technology. Felt safe here. We hired a driver to take us out for the day about 5 hours. Lefteris Nikiforakis is the owner and was our Taxi driver and he was amazing. We went to see many things and experience things on this beautiful island. There were mountains here in which there was still snow visable on the top. Many flowers blooming here. Just beautiful. The things we went to see include Market Building at the Venetian Port, Lighthouse & Turkish Mask, Apera which is a 3500 Yr old Minoan town euro 2.5 to get in, drove through the Country side: Stilos, Neo, Choria Armeni, Kalives, Vamos. We tasted the local foods and drink like yogurt, honey olive oils and more. Crete was my favorite island. - Friday April 26th - Mykonos was our next stop and a nice port to walk around and see the sights, had lunch and people watch. Felt very safe here. We walked to find the windmills and chose to eat at a water front café. We did a tour from the ship for half the day to Delos which was incredible. The tour group was a large size as most of them are but if you stay close to the tour guide you will see and hear everything. We did have a head set which helped too. This is a 2500 BC Sanctuary with an Amphitheater, was the birth place of mythological Apollo and his sister and so much more. Take a guided tour here to learn all the stories. The spring time was beautiful weather a flowers blooming everywhere we went. Saturday April 27th – Rhodes was our next island. We hired a private tour for here and had a great experience. Nicholas was our driver/tour guide. Rhodesprivatetours.com He picked us up promptly from the pickup area dockside outside the ship in a Mercedes with our name on a card and drove us to many wonderful places. He explained everything and could answer any questions we had. You pay at the end of the tour. We started at 8:00 AM. We saw the most important monuments of the Medieval City (World Heritage Site) for pictures. He dropped us off here at the end of the tour for shopping and sightseeing of the village. Short walk to the ship from here. The drive continued out of the Medieval City to the “New Town” The Historical Buildings and the Old Harbor, where according to the tradition, the Colossus of Rhodes once stood - One of the seven wonders of the ancient world. (Stop Visit Pictures). The North point of the Island where the Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea meet (Stop Pictures) . Monte Smith - Acropolis of Rhodes, Panoramic view of the City, also the Temple of Apollo, the Greek Stadium, and the Ancient Theater - with the car, no climb (Stop Visit Pictures). The drive continues south-east 50 kilometers / 32 miles to Lindos . On the way you visit the Anthony Quinn Bay – Which takes its name from the famous Hollywood actor, who owns a large property in this area. Since filming the Guns of Navarone in Rhodes Island - scenic (Stop Visit Pictures) and walked down to the waters edge. On the way to Lindos, we stopped at a pottery workshop where the traditional pottery of Rhodes is made. You can see the wonderful pieces of art, and watch the potter working at his wheel. You can even learn the mystery of the Pythagorean cup. We bought two. One mile before Lindos our Tour/Driver parked the car at a vantage point for a panoramic picture of the Acropolis, the village, and the port of Lindos (Stop Pictures). Then he drives us down to the Saint Paul's bay, incredible wild beauty - "Guns of Navarone" Movie (Stop Visit Pictures) He drives you to the main square of Lindos village, so you can: walk the alleys of Lindos which cost 12 euros and climb up the Acropolis or ride the donkeys which we did not (Stop Visit Pictures) Tourist-buses don’t drive down to the main square. /Driver will meet you at the main square of Lindos for the return trip. On the way back the last 14km / 8 miles he drives through the coast road of Faliraki marvelous beach and Kallithea Spa. Back to Rhodes Old City for independent browsing, or to the ship. The Medieval City (Old City) is a 10 min walk from the cruise port. You could extend the day and go out to lunch. We should have done this and enjoyed a local lunch with our guide. This was an amazing tour and will go back to this beautiful island someday. Our tour guide was the best. Of course we had some gelato too. - Sunday April 28th – Santorini had the picture perfect views of white and blue buildings and a beautiful harbor. We did a ship tour from here because it was Greek Easter and many things were closed. The tour was called “Island of Santorini and Oil Village tour” It took us from Oia to a Local winery to taste wine with a beautiful view of the Sea, to Fira for free time where we had a quick lunch and bought some souvenirs & took pictures. Had some gelato. Have some change if you want to use a bathroom here , then back to Athinios port where there was nothing but the boats to take you back to the ship. There were other tenders that went to Fira where you can take the donkeys up or ride the cable car. This would have been fun but we didn’t know about it. Monday April 29th – Athens. We used Michael's Amazing Tours and had an amazing 8 hour tour. The history here is incredible and not to be missed. Our driver Sotos had all the tickets we needed ahead of time so we just entered each site without much of a wait. We went to the Acropolis museum, The Acropolis , Temple of Zeus, site of the Olympic stadium, changing of the guard , Ancient agora and many more places. We were at each place before the tour groups and had a day with not many lines. We had a traditional Greek meal at a local restaurant. Food was great and the gelato. Our driver Sotos even stopped so I could pick up a few souvenirs before we got back on the ship. Michael the owner met up with us twice that day which was a nice surprise. They took great care of us on this day. Sotos was knowledgeable and informed us about all the sights but he couldn’t accompany us through them. This was the best day. Tuesday April 30th – Was a cruising day and we just relaxed and ate. Wednesday May 1st - We spent the day in Naples and did a self-guided tour. We walked past the Castel Nuovo and Our first stop was for Pastry Sfogliatella at the grand Café Gambrinus is 20 minute walk from ship. We followed our phone GPS during this day and had a few problems but figured it out. We walked to the train station to go up the mountain to where we walked to our destinations. They were right next to each other. First we walked to Castel Sant’ Elmo which is a medieval Fortress. The entrance was not well marked. The ticket widow is on the right but the entrance is to the left. Beautiful views of Naples from here as you walk up into this old castle. Then we walked to the right leaving the Castle and went to see Museo e la Certosa di San Martino. This was formally a monastery and now a museum. Has a beautiful church and many rooms to walk through. Then we walked back down to town and found a Pizza place. We then had gelato. This was a holiday and many places were closed but many were open too. If this was our first time in Naples we would have gone to Pompeii but we have been there before. – Thursday May 2nd – We are back in Rome after our 9 day cruise and prearranged a driver through CivitavecchiaPort.org to drive us to the hotel with pick up at 8AM. We used the same service to take us from our hotel to the airport. He was cautious and profession Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked it for the Cruise Destinations, thru the Panama. Started in San Diego, loved SD, stay at the Sheraton (close to airport and cruise port) and walked around, to Little Italy, the docks, Dinner at the Fish Market. We love the ... Read More
We picked it for the Cruise Destinations, thru the Panama. Started in San Diego, loved SD, stay at the Sheraton (close to airport and cruise port) and walked around, to Little Italy, the docks, Dinner at the Fish Market. We love the Jewel, food and service, superb! Clean and not small not huge. Los Cabos - walked around, visiting shops, stopped at a cpl bars for Mexican home made salsa and guac, Margaritas, people watching around the Marina, whale watching the 1st afternoon - private excursion about 8 of us so went out to Lands End too. Puerto Vallarta - met great friends and went to Marriott Resort, day pass, had access to pool and Ocean, lounge chairs, bar and food, was beautiful, safe, fun! Peurto Quetzel, Guatamala- RC excursion - Coffee Plantation etc, very good narration out to the farm and sight seeing there and back. Great coffee too! Punterenas Cost Rica, did a private excursion with 6 new cruise buddies, comfy, AC van, with Dimas Saravua Azcarate Tours, met us at the dock, wild monkey stop - not a stop on the road but natural habitat private farm area, zipling - outstanding, and Wild Adventures Croc cruise in the river, then lunch on one of the nearby mtns overlooking the Ocean and countryside, Dimas was Great! the whole excursion was well done and appreciated by all of us! Panama Canal - one day thru the locks - narrated thru out the day on the ship, and views were cool! Colon Panama - we had nothing planned for this port but go to the Free Zone, somewhat disappointed, once outside of the Cruise/Port gates, it was messy and chaos, with construction, dirty, garbage, difficult to traverse to free zone shopping, stores were dirty and nothing really great for sales....back to the ship! Cartagena Columbia - Our best surprise, clean, fun, Port, went to Teirra Bomba island, private excursion to a private beach bar location the Beach Bomba, we got to arranged pick up area, there was 8 of us, quick boat ride and great beach, water, beer, food Pina's, etc We had a Balcony SR, on the 7th which gives you extended balcony room, so the xtra room was nice! Entertainment was good, we made our own gathering and fun. great at Chops, Chefs Dinner, Mystery Who Done it Dinner, Azumi and Giavonnis, all outstanding! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise to get points closer to being diamond. I prefer the southern Caribbean to any other area and we really like Grand Cayman. We had never been to Curacao before so the tour there was very neat. We like the tour in ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get points closer to being diamond. I prefer the southern Caribbean to any other area and we really like Grand Cayman. We had never been to Curacao before so the tour there was very neat. We like the tour in Bonaire and were excited to actually see them harvest the salt. Wish we could have gotten closer to the flamingos but understand that they are wild animals that are actually quite shy. Sounds like we were lucky to even be able to see them. We had a relaxing time in Aruba once we got past all of the people trying to get us to take a private tour. We had excellent service in Main Dining 2nd seating. None of their other tables showed up so they only had to take care of the 4 of us that showed up for the table. The servers were both relatively new but were excellent. The headliner comedians were very good but we were disappointed in some of the other shows. Just personal taste. We liked the ship - we have sailed Legend and Serenade in the past so Jewel was like sailing an old friend. We had no issues with any staff - they were all very friendly and seemed genuinely excited about moving over to Europe. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
The Jewel is definitely just that!!!! A JEWEL. We loved this ship and had a marvelous cruise. Met some terrific staff from bar service to My Time Dining service. The Diamond Lounge is a great place for spending a couple hours meeting ... Read More
The Jewel is definitely just that!!!! A JEWEL. We loved this ship and had a marvelous cruise. Met some terrific staff from bar service to My Time Dining service. The Diamond Lounge is a great place for spending a couple hours meeting new friends and relaxing. Aline, the liaison in the DL, is a tremendous asset to RCI and the Jewel, as is Mark who is a great server. We also fell in love with Prime in the Centrum Lounge...she is so charming and seems to love her job. The best entertainment we have seen in many years was Travis DeLoyt (Elvis Impersonator). What a fantastic show and Travis is one of the most warm and friendly people we have ever met. Royal needs him on their ships. TERRIFIC!!! We enjoyed our first try at My Time Dining and are so happy we finally did. Much more pleasant as everyone there seemed more satisfied than we have experienced in the main Dining Room on our past few cruises. We once again were wowed when we had dinner at one of the specialty restaurants...always a wonderful experience. Our stateroom, on deck 9, was a very nice spacious balcony room. Love the location of the upper decks!!! We didn't do shore excursions on this cruise, but nothing could have beat spending 2 hours in Senor Frogs; meeting so many awesome people and having a blast! We have visited Nassau many times in the past so have seen all they have to offer. Nothing better than Senor Frogs for great fun. All in all....this cruise, as usual, exceeded our expectations as has every Royal cruise we have taken over the past 6 years. Prior to that I cruised Royal for many years and will never change. We are definitely "Loyal to Royal"!!!! thank you Royal Caribbean, for another tremendous vacation. Next one up, Brilliance of the Seas in April. Can't wait!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Just got back from the December 22 Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Jewel of the Seas. The cruise was awesome with a perfect itinerary. This was our second recent cruise on RCI. Our last one was on the Serenade of the Seas which ... Read More
Just got back from the December 22 Southern Caribbean cruise aboard the Jewel of the Seas. The cruise was awesome with a perfect itinerary. This was our second recent cruise on RCI. Our last one was on the Serenade of the Seas which is the same class as the Jewel of the Seas. While basically the same ship, the Jewel lacked the Pub which we loved on the Serenade. Other than that the ships were identical. This cruise was over Christmas and the RCI did a great job decorating the ship for the holidays. They also had holiday themed events (singing Christmas carols in the Centrum). This trip we ended up in the specialty restaurants as we couldn’t get seating in the main dining room. That was annoying but we loved Chops and Giovanni’s. We had a terrible experience in Izumi with very poor service. The food was great though. It just took an hour to get it. I highly recommend doing room service for breakfast. It’s about $10 and is a good value for not having to rush to the buffet prior to your excursions. Also note that breakfasts seems to be very busy in the buffet. Beer selection was very lacking on the Jewel with no IPA type beer offered. While the drinks of the day were good, I like a good pale ale to drink. Cleanliness on the cruise was excellent and Dadi did a great job on helping in our cabin. We really liked a cabin on the “hump” and it’s hard to choose now between an aft cabin and a “hump” cabin. Aft gives you more privacy but I like watching docking, departures as well as the pilot boats. The pools were great and service in the pool area was superb. Solarium pool was our favorite. Overall the cruise was amazing. The issues mentioned were far outweighed by the positive experiences on our cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I just returned last night from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel out of San Juan. It was one of my best cruises of the 15+ I have taken. Although I read a few poor reviews of the Jewel, I did not experience what the writers described. The ... Read More
I just returned last night from a 7 day cruise on the Jewel out of San Juan. It was one of my best cruises of the 15+ I have taken. Although I read a few poor reviews of the Jewel, I did not experience what the writers described. The food in Windjammer was very good, the service in the dining room was great and our room service was just as good. I did not like two of the ports we visited, Grenada and Dominca, but the other ports were really nice - Barbados, St. Thomas and especially St. Maarten. There was a problem during disembarkation as the taxi and luggage port workers decided to strike that day so we were 2 hours longer getting off the ship. Many passengers were complaining about how RC staff handled that issue and delay but it was no different than I have experienced on Carnival during disembarkation. Entertainment was good and we were lucky to eat at the table with the Motown singers for a new nights before they performed and left the ship. I have another cruise scheduled on RC Liberty of the Seas in January and will see how they compare as my experience on the Jewel will be hard to beat. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this particular cruise because of the amazing ports. We only had 1 day at sea and then a new port each day. It was great! At Each port the staff was very helpful and it took no time to get off and on the ship. The ship was smaller ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the amazing ports. We only had 1 day at sea and then a new port each day. It was great! At Each port the staff was very helpful and it took no time to get off and on the ship. The ship was smaller than what we are used to, however, much calmer waters. Ship did not rock at all. At times, I almost forgot I was on the ship. The staff are extremely accommodating and lovely. The food and entertainment was good. We did not have to wait in the main dining room or in the specialty restaurants. We did not feel crowded at all. We always found chairs at the pool, tables in the buffet for breakfast. The entertainment staff worked really hard the entire cruise to make sure that everyone had a good experience from the kiddie activities to the adult entertainment. We would definitely take another cruise similar to the Jewel of the seas. Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My husband and I decided to try a cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary. After a week in Italy, we boarded at Civitavecchia and off we went. We were very pleased with our room (a balcony room). It was larger than expected, with ... Read More
My husband and I decided to try a cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary. After a week in Italy, we boarded at Civitavecchia and off we went. We were very pleased with our room (a balcony room). It was larger than expected, with plenty of storage (didn't even pull out the hooks I'd been told to bring), and a very comfortable bed. The bathroom had great ventilation and smells didn't linger. We spent most of the days on shore, but when we were on the ship we enjoyed the buffet breakfasts in the Windjammer (ate breakfast at Tides once, but found it too slow and not any better food quality), and our dinners at the Tides restaurant. I wondered if we would enjoy sitting with other people each night at the 6pm seating, but it actually added to our experience. We got to know our fellow diners a little, and enjoyed finding out what they had done that day and what they had planned for the next. We really enjoyed our dinners every night, too. The food was wonderful, and our waiters were so awesome. We tried two of the specialty restaurants, Chops and Giovanni's Table, and enjoyed our food (and our table at the window) at both of them. I swam in the pool once (small but nice) and read a book on the pool deck (had to crawl onto my lounge chair from the foot, they were so close together) on our first at sea day, but the second at sea day was cold and rainy, so we stayed in. We used the gym a couple of times, and it had plenty of equipment and wasn't too crowded. We saw a couple of the shows at the Coral Theater, which we enjoyed, and a couple of movies at the cinema (seats were a little well-used, and we laughed at the English subtitles on the English movies, but it was all fine). I attended the first day's orientation for new cruisers and gained some useful information, and we also went to one game show (a family feud type show) that was funny. My husband and I agreed that every crew member we encountered, from our room steward to the security people getting back on board to the harrassed wait staff at the Windjammer during busy meals, was as absolutely delightful as could be. They seemed genuinely friendly and eager to make our stay the best it could be. I have to eat gluten free, and I was always able to get something good, although sometimes I had to do a little work to do so. I found out a few days in that they had GF waffles at breakfast if you asked for them, and the 5th day I got a piece of GF chocolate cake at dinner (when I asked the right person--I had previously been told there wasn't any such thing). Generally, though, I just had to go with naturally GF food, like salads, omelets, bacon, steaks, potatoes, creme brulees, fruit, etc. Luckily these were easily available. We had some unexpected schedule changes, but the ship handled them all very well. We were headed to Mykonos, but there was a passenger with a medical emergency, so we went to Athens that day instead. They let us know around noon the day before (we were at sea), so we had time to change our plans. When we were coming into the port at Naples, some ship in front of us made some steering mistakes and backed up traffic to the point that we docked about 2 hours late. The ship gave us an extra hour that night before we had to be back on board. We bought the internet package (the Voom wifi) since my husband had to work while we were there, and we found the internet to be generally strong and fast, and it worked all over the ship. Pricey, but worth it for us. Overall, as you can tell, we had a great experience, and even my skeptical husband agreed that we will definitely cruise again in the future. Royal Caribbean did not disappoint. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
For our 30th wedding anniversary last summer, we'd planed a Southern Caribbean cruise while on our Alaska cruise in 2016. However, we had to cancel that cruise, so we decided to go "all out" for our 31st wedding anniversary ... Read More
For our 30th wedding anniversary last summer, we'd planed a Southern Caribbean cruise while on our Alaska cruise in 2016. However, we had to cancel that cruise, so we decided to go "all out" for our 31st wedding anniversary with a 9-night Greek Isles tour that included two ports in Italy. Shortly after putting a deposit down on our cruise, we received offers in the mail from Delta Air Lines for American Express Skymiles cards that included 60,000 miles which, if we spent an additional amount per card would give us enough miles to fly roundtrip to Rome in Comfort+ class, which provides four extra inches of legroom to Coach. So, our flights were "free". I purchased an Orange Holiday SIM chip for my iPhone, which promised to provide us with plenty of data, call and texting capability throughout our trip. My spouse had planned and was well prepared with sanitary wipes, snacks and many other necessary items we'd need throughout our trip. SUNDAY It was our first time as passengers in Atlanta's 'new' International airport, and we were there 2+ hours early, which gave us time to thoroughly check it out before making our way to our gate: a lot of duty free shopping and some premium dining options. Just before boarding time, it was announced that there was a small issue with our plane, and it ended up delaying our departure about 30 minutes. With Sky priority boarding (a feature of Comfort+), we were able to board after all the wheelchair bound passengers were settled. We embarked from Atlanta on Sunday at 7:30 PM and landed in Rome on Monday at 10:45 AM, a little more than 9 hours total. Even with the extra legroom and somewhat better recline-able seats, neither of us were able to sleep during the flight. The most notable part of our flight was the quality and amount of food we were served; it was a lot of food and it was pretty good too. There were 9" diagonal video screens on the seatbacks in front of us and quite a large selection of movies etc. to choose from as well; I watched a longish Western when I wasn't trying unsuccessfully to sleep. I replaced my Verizon SIM with the purchased SIM so that my phone would ready upon arrival. When we landed in Rome, I turned on my phone and - although it took 20 minutes or so - it started working perfectly during the drive to port. MONDAY (Day 1 - 7,171 steps/2.6 miles/10 floors) It's been 19 years since we were in the Rome, and the last time we stayed in the city for 3 days before our cruise out of the nearby port of Civitavecchia. This time we prearranged a Civitavecchia Cab Service private pickup for each way between the port and Rome's Fiumicino (FCO) airport. The distance is about 47 miles and it took under an hour each time. I'm afraid I didn't fully understand the instructions we'd received via email about where to meet our driver, but we did eventually find him. I left my spouse "inside" with all our luggage while I exited the terminal. An initially very helpful police officer helped me to locate the "white column" meeting point where there were a slew of drivers holding up name placards. However, he would not let me reenter the terminal to retrieve my spouse and our luggage. Fortunately, she was able to see me when the sliding doors were open and I was able to signal to her to bring the luggage - which took two trips - and join me. We located our driver and, as we followed him through the labyrinth of hallways, stairs and parking lot to his vehicle, it appeared that he knew everyone we passed along the way. Having no Euros as yet, I asked our driver if he could take me by an ATM on the way to the ship, and he stopped at one in the port city. Once we got to the port, we tipped the driver, went inside and found two lines. Which one should we get in? I went one way, my spouse went the other and we determined that I needed to take both big bags with tags to the luggage drop while we carried our carryon bags (2 each) through the metal detectors towards check-in. Up the escalator, we had to fill out declaration forms and carry them to the appropriate queue (no waiting for suites guests!). We made our way onboard by about 1 PM and since our suite wasn't going to be ready until after 2 PM, we went to the Windjammer cafe to eat lunch. Of course, everyone else on the ship was doing the same thing, and so it was very crowded. As I'd read on Cruise Critic, one of Jewel's best features is the back-of-the-ship covered outdoor dining seating area. So we made our way there to find seats, which took a couple of times around, before making our way one-at-a-time through the buffets. The food was pretty good and, throughout the cruise, I can confirm that it was better than it was on our last cruise - Adventure in Alaska - and also in the main dining room, which was very good. After lunch we went upstairs and noticed that the Sports Deck was empty, so we dropped our bags and relaxed on the comfortable lounges there while waiting for our room to be ready. Our Junior Suite (1570) wasn't far from the Windjammer, one flight down in the back third of the ship on the port side. In fact, above our room was buffet seating which means occasionally we heard footsteps through the ceiling. The room was much as we've come to expect, the right size and amenities for us as we have usually chosen these accommodations for our cruises. In short order we met Denis, our cabin attendant for whom my spouse had a gift, and some special Royal Gifts were delivered: champagne, truffles and chocolate covered strawberries. As part of the "Decadent Romance" package, we were also supposed to get a dozen long stemmed roses, but after a couple of days of waiting I found out that there were no fresh flowers onboard, so I opted to receive credit back on my card. If I'd have been quicker on my feet, I probably couldn't have gotten us "free" Wi-Fi instead. Next, we explored the ship and remarked at how similar it was to Enchantment, which we'd taken to the Bahamas three years prior. It has a Centrum in lieu of a Promenade deck and our room was fairly conveniently located to it without being too close to hear the nightly dance music parties it hosts. There isn't really anything remarkable able Jewel's amenities, especially when you've been on Royal's bigger ships, except the aforementioned Windjammer's outdoor seating. That's not to say that it doesn't have plenty of things to do on a sea day; this cruise had two, which also served as formal nights, and we were certainly not bored with all the available activities and things to do. With the sun positioned about an hour before sunset, we enjoyed a beautiful embarkation from the port of Civitavecchia from Deck 12, above the pool, with most of the other passengers onboard. Still "up" from the night before, it was getting too difficult for us to stay awake for our Tides (Main) Dining Room seating at 8:30 PM; we found this out while lounging in the Solarium until about 7:15 PM. So we headed to the Windjammer to eat our first dinner on ship, and then returned to our suite to crash for the night. Obviously we didn't attend the 'Welcome' show in the ship's theater, something we never miss. TUESDAY (Day 2 - 9,128 steps/3.5 miles/18 floors) Fortunately, the next port was Messina, Sicily, with a ship docking time of 11 AM. That means we could sleep in, get up and enjoy a leisurely breakfast in Windjammer (WJ) and return to our suite's balcony to watch while the ship entered the port. It was a beautiful clear morning and we thoroughly enjoyed it. I wrote a Tripadvisor review of our excursion in Sicily, so I'll link to that here: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187889-d2615234-r628178197-Sicily_With_Mario-Messina_Province_of_Messina_Sicily.html Watching from our suite's balcony the ship's departure from the port of Sicily was magical, glorious in fact. Since our captain has spun the ship upon our arrival that morning, the starboard side was next to the pier which meant our docked view overlooked the Madonnina. At night, she was spectacularly lit. As a bonus, only two miles away across the expanse, we could see the lights on the tip of the boot of Italy. We watched as our ship traveled north out of the port and then steered south towards Greece so that we could then see the night-lit Messina and much more of Sicily as well. With Sicily to our right, the waxing half moon was brilliant in the clear sky up to our left. Arm-in-arm we watched as a shooting star streaked by for several seconds, changing from blue to green, yellow, orange and red in a flash before disappearing. Thank you God! We debated going to the show that night - Tenors Unlimited - and thought we'd decide during dinner whether to go afterwards or not. Turns out dinner ran through the show, so we missed it. For the first time, we were seated at a Main Dining Room (MDR) table with others that we didn't previously know. Our table of eight had only four others, most nights, a couple of women traveling together without their husbands and mother with her son. We really enjoyed getting to know each of them throughout the cruise, discussing our excursions and activities, while we were served efficiently by Mario (from the Philippines) and his assistant Davor (from Montenegro). As I wrote earlier, the food was very good, sometimes outstanding and never just good. I usually opted for the beef or steak option, and unfortunately we missed the salmon (which was the first night). The appetizers, especially the crab and seafood cakes, were great and the desserts - we usually chose the chocolate option - were terrific as well. More times than not, I went with our head waiter's recommendations, and he never steered me wrong, but I've always wondered whether the waiters' recommendations are based on what didn't 'sell' well during the first MDR seating. Didn't matter, it was mostly excellent. WEDNESDAY (Day 3 - 6,109 steps/2.2 miles/35 floors) Our first of two sea days began as always with breakfast in the Windjammer. There was a program in the theater about the Shore Excursions offered for the remaining ports, which we attended even though we had plans already for all the ports except Mykonos, which was to be our first stop in Greece. We checked out other parts of the ship including the Solarium's hot tub and lunched - again, in the WJ. Later that day, while we were lounging in the sun on Deck 12, there was announcement that - because of crew member's emergency - our ship would be stopping in Athens first instead. We decided to beat the crowds to Deck 4 to talk with the Shore Excursions staff to see how our planned ship excursion in Athens - Highlights of Athens/Small Group - might be affected. She assured us that our excursion would be rebooked for Thursday (in lieu of Sunday as originally planned). At 5 PM, we went to the Vortex for the Meet & Mingle gathering and watched while four of the five bottles of wine or champagne were raffled off to passengers that had been with us on our Sicily with Mario tour the day before, one of whom announced that their planned private excursion in Athens had been successfully rebooked. After talking with others at the party, we returned to our suite to start getting ready for the first formal night. At about 7:15 PM that evening, my spouse noticed a flashing light on our cabin's phone. It was a voicemail that informed us, since there were already four ships in the port of Athens on Thursday, none of Royal's shore excursions could be rebooked and therefore all of them had been cancelled. We found out that there would be a representative from a "Hop on, Hop off" bus company in the Centrum at 8 AM to sell tickets that could be put on your room's bill, but otherwise we were on our own. This was obviously a disappointment, and we discussed several options including trying to hook up with the Meet & Mingle group, if there was still room on their tour. Ultimately we decided that we could utilize the Rick Steves' audio tours I had previously downloaded to my iPhone with the "Hop on, Hop off" bus option. We went down to the Centrum to have our pictures taken with the captain and another photographer before enjoying another meal in the MDR. Also that night, we enjoyed our first show in the Coral Theatre, which was excellent, a program called City of Dreams which showcased the singing, dancing and orchestral talents of the ship's ensemble. THURSDAY (Day 4 - 18,042 steps/6.6 miles/19 floors) I discovered that my iPhone had a message displayed on it which indicated that the cellular function had failed, that an update needed to be downloaded before it would work. I was unable to resolve the issue and - since I thought that the SIM may have corrupted my phone, I didn't want to 'infect' my spouse's phone with it. After getting up early to eat breakfast in the WJ, we were determined to be the first ones in line to buy "Hop on, Hop off" bus passes. We then walked off the ship and - after getting some assistance - located the two deck yellow (Gray line) bus and found seats in front on the top "open" level. We received ear buds which when plugged into the multi-language ports on bus provided an audio description of what one was seeing while the bus drove from the port of Piraeus into Athens. When the speaker wasn't narrating, there was a louder Greek music playing on the audio. The bus had Wi-Fi, which I was able to use to get reconnected to the Internet yet still not resolve the cellular phone error. Unfortunately, I soon learned - from the heat in my pocket - that my iPhone was rapidly losing its charge, so I shut it off. Later, I noticed that it was still hot and that shutting down the phone had done nothing to slow the battery's declining charge percentage. From then on during our trip, after recharging it overnight, I was able to use my phone on our excursions to take pictures for about 3-4 hours each day before its battery would totally discharge. We arrived at the bus's first significant stopping point - the Acropolis - about the time that every other bus and excursion must have gotten there. Lots of people made the famed outcropping look like an ant hill crawling with insects. We bought our tickets, paying an extra 10 Euros for admission to several other sites (none of which we ended up seeing) and made our way up the path with the hordes. After making our way up and through the people and countless tour groups to a point where we finally had a view of the Parthenon, it was apparent that not having a guide was keeping us from fully appreciating what we were seeing. I took out my phone and ear buds and was able to get Rick Steves' program playing in my ear, but after several minutes realized that this wasn't going to work very well given the fading battery life and the loud crowds which made hearing the audio difficult. However, I did manage to hear that we'd already missed seeing Mars Hill, which he described as a scraggly rock to the left of the ticket booth below. Ignorant of what we were seeing, while we walked around the Acropolis, I decided to at least take a picture of every informational placard so that I could at least read about it later (at this writing, I still haven't had time). We were amazed at how vast the city of Athens is, surrounding the Acropolis like a sea of white buildings. From our perch, we could also see many of the other historic sites - without knowing what they were - in the immediate areas around and below. After taking lots of pictures, we traveled back down and to the right to find the Areopagus aka Mars Hill. We scaled the original steps and took in the elevated view afforded from the rock, which is spectacular in its own right and only exceeded by the views from the Acropolis itself. Returning to the bottom, we first got back on the bus to travel to the Acropolis museum until we were able to understand the driver who said that it was only a short way down a wide walkway (she pointed towards the front and left). I'd listened to Steves' audio regarding the museum - which is built atop an archeological dig site! - a few months prior and remembered his enthusiasm for it, an enthusiasm I now share. We paid a modest admission charge and had to check our backpacks before entering. The museum's entrance hall contains many artifacts and leads upwards towards the second floor - one can climb steps or take an elevator - where there is a plethora of excavated statues and other objects each with an informative placard about its history etc. At first, I was being diligent about seeing (and reading about) every piece, until I realized that I could be there for hours. We eventually made our way up escalators to the middle area of the third floor where we watched a very informative video in English; it ran again with English subtitles. We then discovered that the area around the outside on that floor was a recreation of the Parthenon itself, including some of the original Parthenon marbles: pediment, metopes, and frieze. One can see the Parthenon atop the Acropolis out the north museum windows. All in all, an illuminating and fascinating display of the ancient Temple of Athena. We walked back on the same pedestrian street - the Dionysiou Areopagitou - to our bus, which we then rode around the city loop for between almost 90 minutes, listening to the audio descriptions of the various sites we saw from the bus including the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathenaic Stadium. By 3 PM, we were ready to return to the port of Piraeus and our ship. Throughout our bus ride we noted how crazy the traffic and drivers were - especially those on motorbikes - on the city streets, which sometimes resembled organized chaos. Off the bus, we walked back to the cruise terminal while being 'accosted' by various vendors or beggars, though not as bad as being in Jamaica. Our balcony - on the port side of the ship - was the perfect place to watch our departure from the port of Piraeus (and every other port) because we could watch as the All Onboard time approached and the quickened steps of those passengers who were just able to make it before the deadline. Unfortunately for some, perhaps because of the last minute port change, it appeared that a number of passengers were left in Piraeus, unable to make it back to the ship in time. Leaving the port, we had a beautiful sunset as well; it seemed as if the captain slowed the ship's turn for a while in order that we might fully enjoy it to completion. Later that night we went to the theatre to see Sean Alexander, a confusionist (magician), who impressed with various card tricks and other unbelievable (in many ways, too complex) stunts, before enjoying another meal in the MDR. FRIDAY (Day 5 - 18,224 steps/6.8 miles/57 floors; phone's date off, half of next day's count in total) We awoke to a view of the port of Rhodes (or Rhodos). I have to admit that pre-cruise I had low expectations for the island of Rhodes. However, we had signed up for an Historic Rhodes Walking Tour and it soon became clear that this was going to be one of the best experiences on our cruise; our guide Ioanna made it wonderful. She was so knowledgeable about the history of her native island, and was so proud of her heritage that it was infectious. Fortunately, we were each given ear-mounted headphone, which enabled us to hear everything she was saying without having to be at the front of our group, about 30 people. After a short walk from the ship along the shore and through the Virgin Gate of the Medieval City, we stopped and sat in the courtyard of the Church of Saint-Marie-du-Bourg, where she proceeded to tell us the history of Rhodes from Before Christ through World War II. We then walked to the Jewish Martyrs Square on our way through relatively empty streets - the shops were just starting to open - to the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes; Ioanna referred to the Knights of St. John. Before entering the palace, Ioanna made sure we looked down the Ippoton - the Avenue of the Knights - which was relatively empty when we got there. We were then the first group to enter the Palace, its grand courtyard showcasing eight marble statues. She then walked us up its grand staircase - featured in the movie The Guns of Navarone (1961) - and into a series of large and small rooms, each of which had historical (or authentic recreations of) floor frescos, furniture, and other artwork from the medieval period. Ioanna related that she and her brother used to play in the castle as children, her brother locking her in one room in the dark in an attempt to scare her and, keeping silent, she hid for hours until crying out so that family members could locate her. Exiting the Palace, we noticed how full of people it now was, as was the Ippoton, which we traversed on our way to the Archeological Museum. Ioanna gave us a comprehensive tour of the artwork there, demonstrating and describing the evolution of the artists' techniques from the more primitive ages through the Renaissance influences. At our tour's end about 12:30 PM, we decided to make our way back to the ship for lunch, planning to return for shopping that afternoon. What a great day! We also bought 24 hours of Wi-Fi to reconnect with our family; it was available until through Saturday afternoon, after that day's excursion. We skipped the Crown & Anchor Club party, which we only usually attend to see if we'll win one of the raffle items. That night we saw one of the showcase singers Claire-Charlotte try her best to perform various "Women of Rock n Roll" classic hits, an ambitious attempt to be sure, before heading to the MDR. After dinner, we saw the Love & Marriage Game Show which is always good. The oldest couple won, as usual, and ironically the newlywed's MDR table was adjacent to ours. SATURDAY (Day 6 - 9,140 steps/3.3 miles/29 floors) Getting up early for our most anticipated stop and tour - Island of Santorini and Village of Oia - we had our one and only tender port; we met in the theater with all the other tour groups and were assigned to group 3 of 10 for our tour. Although we probably could've managed the island on our own, we booked a tour to ensure an early arrival on the island, and I think it paid off. Instead of tendering to port below the capital city Thera aka Fira, where one has a choice between donkeys, their path or cable cars up to Fira, our tender went to the Athinios, where we took a tour bus trip up a perilous switchback onto a main 'ridge' road and various others all the way to the famously picturesque cliff-side town of Oia, at the northwest tip of the (reverse C-shaped) island. We were the only ship in port and perhaps the first tour bus there, so we had relatively crowd-free experience as we walked Oia's narrow pedestrian-only, shop-lined streets, which wind around and provide various offshoots that drop off to the left or rise to the right before providing another array of choices (some even traverse down to the coast itself). Our "guide" (more of a wrangler, really) started us at the (Church of) Panagia Platsani, and directed us to take either the main street to the left (east) or to the right (west) with no further instruction other than to not venture off the main street. She said that the streets were designed to frustrate invaders and were therefore confusing on purpose. We were fortunate to go to the right because we were able to make our way all the way to the point of the coast where spectacular overlooks are available, in the time allotted. We also had time to go a little way to the left before having to return to our rendezvous point by the appointed time. We took selfies and offered to take other couples' pictures for them (they counter offered for us) and ran across several professional photographers that were taking newlyweds and brides etc. photos with various angles of the town as their background. We ventured into shops but did very little shopping because of the limited time. After returning to the bus as a group, we then traveled to Santo Winery where we enjoyed breathtaking views while sampling three kinds of wine, cheese and olives. Afterwards, we took the short drive to Fira, which is similarly situated on a cliff's edge and also features narrow, shop-lined pedestrian streets along the ridgeline overlooking the caldera shaped island, and our ship. We had the option of returning the same way we'd come (by bus and tender) or staying in Fira to shop and wander but then having to make our own way back to the tender port below either by donkey path or cable car. We opted to return with everyone else by bus. We had a beautiful departure to watch from our balcony as we 'silently' slipped by Fira and Oia on our way to Mykonos for our last Greek port of call. We skipped the show that night - Tango Buenos Aires - but did stop by the Centrum after dinner to see the entertaining 50's & 60's Rock 'n' Roll party start. My spouse rescued me just before one of the cruise staffers was able to grab my arm to pull me onto the dance floor! We enjoyed watching it from several floors above instead. SUNDAY (Day 7 - 6,422 steps/2.4 miles/19 floors) Mykonos was the port of the day and since we didn't have an excursion planned, and had gotten up for a 7 AM meet time the prior three consecutive days, we decided to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, and then get off the ship on our own. As it turns out, the smallest of the Greek Islands used to have a tender-only port. The new port which we used, however, required us to buy a 4 Euro roundtrip ferry ride - or walk 3 miles on the side of a road without sidewalks - to get into town. Great deal for the ferry company - and Royal Caribbean who has effectively offloaded the tender cost to its customers. In any case, we decided that Mykonos would have been a great first port in Greece as had been planned, but wasn't as exciting as our last Greek destination. Other than its windmills, four of which are in a row at its western coastal tip, there isn't anything particularly unique or special about Mykonos when compared to the other destinations (especially the day after Santorini). It's a quaint little seaside town with a labyrinth of pedestrian, shop- and restaurant-lined walkways (sound familiar?). Plus, it was annoying to not be able to readily find a public W/C to use, especially having to pay 1 Euro to do so! I think we only spent a couple of hours there before returning by ferry to our ship. Before heading to the show, we walked through the WJ, not that we were hungry but they usually have theme nights so we thought we'd check it out. Good thing we did because we discovered the Chocolate Buffet Bar! Wow, so many delicious desserts. We grabbed some chocolate mousse, which was in champagne flutes, and a few other delicacies and decided we'd return after our MDR dinner for more. The show that night was Tracey Shield, who performed as "An Evening with Celine Dion", and she was hilarious as a very good impersonator, had all the singer's quirky mannerisms down and a very talented spot on singing voice as well. During dinner, we mentioned the Chocolate Dessert Bar to the others and learned that the WJ was closing at 9 PM, so they'd missed it. One at our table asked if there were chocolate covered strawberries offered in the WJ and, when we said yes, asked our head waiter's supervisor if we could have some delivered to the MDR. She promised a full plate for the table the next night, and she delivered not one but two plates to our table on Monday night! After dinner in the MDR, since the next day was a sea day anyway, we stayed up to watch the 70's Disco Inferno Dance Party with our Italian cruise director Andrea - very good - and the rest of the ship's Entertainment family. They had a Village People impersonation group that further energized the show, including dancing on the handrail of a Centrum glass elevator as it ascended from the floor to the topmost level. Crazy fun! We watched it all from seats above. MONDAY (Day 8 - 3,611 steps/1.3 miles/9 floors) Our last sea day was of course relaxing: we had breakfast in the MDR for once, did some shopping, my spouse attended a couple of the health and fitness classes in Vitality at Sea, played pool in the Games Reserve and the Fairways of Jewel (miniature golf), spent our casino's free spins (per our Emerald status) and played $5 of free blackjack per their promotion, enjoyed the Solarium's hot tub and snacks, sat out by the pool - they were running blooper videos on the big screen - took a nap, and then got dressed and ready for pictures early for the second formal night. We enjoyed the show in the theatre - West End to Broadway - and remarked about the many elaborate and colorful costumes employed by the show. After our meal in the MDR, we went to the Safari Club to witness the outrageous Quest Adult Game Show; it was amazing to us what people were willing to do so that their team could claim the honors. TUESDAY (Day 9 - 1,853 steps/.66 miles/5 floors; phone died before Pompeii) Up bright and early to meet in the Theatre for our last excursion - Taste of Sorrento & Pompeii - we soon learned that porting in Naples was delayed. Per our captain, the Regent's captain failed his first attempt to port that morning and - like dominoes - that backed up every other ship's schedule, including Jewel's. Initially, there were only three different excursion groups gathered at 7 AM but, as the delay continued to an hour, the theatre filled to capacity with all the other excursion groups. Some in ours speculated about what would have to be cut from our tour, but we soon learned that the All Onboard had been moved back an hour. The port of Naples appeared larger and older than any of the others we experienced during the cruise, and later our guide confirmed that our ship was docked very near the recently discovered 'original' port of Naples, below the currently operating port. We exited the ship and were soon on our bus. Our guide Giancarlo spoke very good English, is an archeologist employed by the Italian government by trade, and explained that he couldn't wait to be part of the excavation of the remaining 10,000 hectares of Pompeii (about a third of which had yet to be explored) once the existing ancient city's ruins had been fortified. We drove in lots of traffic, past Mount Vesuvius on our left with the Gulf of Naples on our right, through the small town of Castellammare di Stabia because of work on the main highway, and through several tunnels on our way south and around the bend to the west towards Sorrento. There were times when I was concerned that our bus driver was falling asleep, and Giancarlo seemed concerned too, prodding him on more than one occasion during the trip. After existing the last of the tunnels, as the coastline curved back to the left at Montechiaro, we were treated to a panoramic overlook of Piano di Sorrento, Sant'Agnello, and Sorrento below. Our first stop was actually a family farm - Agriturismo Fondo Galatea - and we had to exit our larger bus and board the farm's smaller bus to traverse a narrow one way street - the driver honking all the way - down to the facility. We walked down the driveway to enter a covered patio where tables were set up. There, we sampled fresh mozzarella cheese, bread and olive oil, olives, salami, wine and limoncello, all of which was delicious. While we ate, we witnessed a demonstration of how mozzarella takes shape and form in molds. We then walked further down the driveway to see where some of the products - such as the limoncello - are made, and also saw a tree that was growing both lemons and oranges. After the farm, we headed down the hill to Sorrento, but first stopped in a wood inlay factory (in the basement of the Lucky Store) and saw various beautiful, expensive pieces for sale. The two of us then ventured into the quaint city, walking through it to the coastline where we enjoyed several awesome views from near the Piazza della Vittoria and, as our guide suggested, the Villa Comunale, a park that overlooks beaches and the Port of Sorrento. We then made our way through the Piazza Sant'Antonino to the Piazza Tasso where we enjoyed an original Margherita pizza (thin crusted, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce and basil leaves) at the Pizzeria Aurora. With limited time left before our group's rendezvous time, we walked too quickly down Via S. Cesareo and the Corso Italia for shopping (I stopped to sample some Gelato) before - getting help in - finding Via Antonino Sersale back to the Lucky Store. We all boarded the bus and headed back the same way we'd come from Naples that morning towards Pompeii. What struck me initially about Pompeii's Archeological Park was how it was located in an urban area: the city of Pompeii, which is indistinguishable from the surrounding area's towns with Google Earth. Yet here in the heart of Pompeii is this park which houses the ancient city, that was discovered and much of it has been uncovered after being buried by the volcanic ash and pumice from Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. I was also aware that it was now almost 3 PM and was concerned that our tour of Pompeii would be too short to get much from it, especially since our guide dropped us off in a Cameo factory while he went to buy our tickets. But my concerns were unwarranted as Giancarlo gave us an excellent tour of the ruins; I feel that we got a very comprehensive feel of the time, the people, their houses and shops, the class system, the public areas, baths, house of ill-repute, and infrastructure including the roads, their design for cleanliness, as well as the aqueducts and water system. While there were crowds, it probably wasn't as crowded as it had been earlier in the day, and in less than 3 hours I think we got an adequate understanding of it. We made it back to the ship around 6 PM, just 30 minutes from All Onboard (definitely our closest call for the cruise), and then had to walk through shops - and less security - in, up, down, and then around the outside of the port's terminal building before boarding the Jewel. While my spouse got ready for dinner, I remembered to go to the Business Center to print the boarding passes for our flight home, but was dismayed to discover that I'd have to buy at least 1 hour of Wi-Fi to do so! I decided to go to the Crown & Anchor Society Loyalty Desk where the attendant allowed me to use his computer to accomplish the task. Returning to our cabin to collect my spouse, we made our way to the Photo Gallery to choose which ones to buy from our formal nights before enjoying the Farewell in the theatre - Carlo Truzzi & Simona - who did a shadow show, their hands mimicking various wildlife and celebrities, set to music, and our last supper in the MDR, handing tip envelopes to our two waiters. WEDNESDAY (Day 10 - 5,849 steps/2.2 miles/3 floors) We opted for the walk-off-the-ship option; I had previously saved a couple of donuts and bananas (which took days to ripen) from the WJ for breakfast. After leaving an envelope for Denis, we departed with all our luggage and headed for the fourth floor. We actually had to get on the elevator going up if we ever expected to find room on one with all the passengers heading down from the WJ above. It wasn't clear from the instructions left in our room where we were supposed to meet, or that we couldn't actually get off the ship until 7 AM, but we found our way despite getting conflicting and incorrect information from two different Royal employees. Our driver was a few minutes late to pick us up, but just about the time another employee of the same company started to help, he showed up. It was the same driver, and he whisked us to Terminal 3 at the Rome airport, where we had to find our way first to Delta Air Lines and then through to the security line. After standing like sheep with everyone else for 20 minutes or so, when we got to the front we noticed the express line to the left and asked the airport employee whether the TSA PRE CHECK on our ticket meant we could use it. Using her own credentials on the ticket scan, she helped us skip the longer x-ray machine line by going through the Fast Pass on the left. We were amazed by the shopping mall like insides of the airport where you could buy virtually anything "duty-free", but proceeded on to our gate where we had 3+ hours until departure. I believe we could have made the 9:30 AM flight, but ours was at 12:45 PM. However, since the FCO airport had free Wi-Fi, at least we were able to get reconnected. No water fountains anywhere! Using the vending machines, 1.5 Euro/bottle, is better than buying bottles from the airport vendors for 3+ Euros. Thankful for our Sky priority boarding, we were able to board fairly quickly for our 11+ hour flight home. Again, sleeping was not possible so I watched four movies while receiving 3-4 different food services on the plane. It was almost 6 PM Atlanta time when we landed and we made it through customs, called the Park n Ride Plus shuttle, and when we finally arrived home it was 8 PM. ONE THING we didn't do on this cruise that we've done on the last couple is book our Next Cruise while onboard. For one, I noticed that we got a great deal booking this cruise right after Royal announced it, and those announcements for 2020-2021 are later this month. For another, we're not yet sure where we want to go for our next cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Personal background - Retired traveling with my wife on 24th RCL cruise and 44th cruise overall. We were asked to join our long time friends on their 1st European trip. We are Diamond +. We love cruising! ---- we like seeing the world ... Read More
Personal background - Retired traveling with my wife on 24th RCL cruise and 44th cruise overall. We were asked to join our long time friends on their 1st European trip. We are Diamond +. We love cruising! ---- we like seeing the world without multiple hotels and flights from place to place. Don't read another word if you must eat your meals in a specialty restaurant, cruise in a suite or have your own tour van and driver waiting for you at every port. We love and respect you guys but that isn't who we are. This review is intended for the cruisers that might want to be bold and venture out on their own and save some money in the process. --- Here we go! Arrived in Rome by air one day early (so that our friends could see some of Rome). We took the train into Roma - Termini. The option here is local (8 euros with one train change) or express (14 euros direct with no stops). We took the local - take the express! too much hassle to move bags to the other platform. Stayed in pleasant B&B within two blocks of station. They had our rooms ready at 10am. Took Metro to Colosseum for 1.5 euros. Trevi Fountain on Metro for another 1.5 euros. We purchased Vatican Museum tickets from home on Vatican site cheaper than travel agents and used them on our return to Rome after the cruise. Day 1 Rome cruise Departure - took train to Civittavecchia (Rome's Port) - 5.10 euros. Local bus at port train station was 2 euros to cruise port. Cruise bus picks up at cruise port entrance for FREE ride to ship. Check in - very fast and efficient before noon ON BOARD! Cabin ready before 1PM - 3056 port side ocean view - we like to see the water but don't need a balcony. Windjammer open for lunch but notice cruisers can serve themselves!!!!! Typical Windjammer fair - good selection. Dinner MDR table with our friends. Day 2 Messina/Taromina - Go to Taromina if you have never seen it. Can get train from port to base of mountain and then local bus to Taromina short distance. Walk through town and reverse travel back to Messina but leave early on return to avoid crowd departure. We had already been there so we walked through Messina to Catholic chapel overlooking town but also stopped at noon in front of the mechanical clock tower for 15 minute show. BOUGHT whole Napoli Pizza for 1.50 euros! - fed all four of us! Best Pizza of whole trip!!!!!! Day 3 at sea - spent half of the day in the Solarium. The hot tub jets WERE WORKING!!! Day 4 Athens - Hard/windy rain but three of us walk to train station for 1.20 euro (senior discount over 65 yrs old) ride from port to downtown Athens. Watched Honor Guard at Parliament high step with pom poms on the shoes. Walked to Pantheon (free entry on this date due to national holiday) past Hadrian's Arch. Returned to ship on train for same price. This is when we heard several passengers were still on board with NORVO symptoms. Look it up and then go WASH YOUR HANDS!!!! The crew began cleaning/disinfecting all surfaces being touched. One of our group was now down and confined to their cabin. More reports came in as the numbers rose! Extreme measures are now in place -- rails wiped every half hour - even the railings into the hot tubs. Food is now served by staff in Windjammer!!!!! V-Bags are out all over the ship! First we hear 50 then 100. The Captain admits there is a NORVO outbreak and announces the highest level of CDC response (more than 200 cases) and the war is on!!! Day 5 Mykonos - Great stop with wonderful easy walking streets and alleys. We were tendered into port and had a nice lunch while shopping. On our return to the ship our second friend begins to have symptoms. For those who have never experienced this travelers virus. It hits you fast and hard. Its all hands on deck cleaning. Even the ships officers are behind the Windjammer serving line helping out. Day 6 Rhodes - Walked to the Museum of the Crusaders and have a fantastic experience walking through the hospital where so many men from all over Europe gathered during the crusades to heal or die of their wounds or sickness. It would be a real life history lesson for anyone. We WILL BE BACK!!! Back on board, our friends are recovering and get released from cabin restriction at midnight. Day 7 Santorini - Catch 1st tender off the ship to get early gondola ride up the cliffside to the white washed town with the blue domes. Beautiful views and very picturesque. Another island that we would return to see again. Our friends join us in town in the late morning. My wife and I NEVER got sick and our friends were completely recovered but the other cruisers were still having issues. Day 8 - At Sea - Another day at the Solarium and more Trivia challenges. Day 9 - Naples - The port authority delay everyone from departing from the ship for more than 2 hours. We think it was because of their concern over the Norvo outbreak but we were never told why. The crew is exhausted but the sick cruisers are almost all well again as is our foursome. We had already been to Pompeii which you can do on your own by simply walking or taking the tram over to the train station. The cost is less than 8 euros and a short walk to the ruins where you can hire you own guide at the entrance. You can negotiate the price. Stay at least two/three hours, have lunch and return to the train. We took the same train to the Herculaneum ruins closer to Naples and had another 8 euro pizza for lunch. Retuning to the ship was an even faster express train and a walk down Naples shopping street back to the port. Day 10 - Departure for Rome - Again, very efficient, same bus rides to the train station in Civitavecchia and back into Rome for our Vatican Tour using the 1.5 euro Metro again. Day 11 - We get up early and take the short walk back to Termini for the EXPRESS train direct to the airport. We NEVER took a ship's excursion, got into a taxi, got pick pocketed or got sick eating the local fare or drinking the local brew. Access to restrooms are either public or as simple as a wonderful 1.50 euro pastry purchase at a local café. The Jewel of the Seas did a fantastic job and we would gladly cruise again with this Captain, this crew and this ship. Read Less
Jewel of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 0.0
Dining 3.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 5.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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