742 Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We were literally cut off in the Coronavirus Epidemic so this review will be what happens when things go wrong. We are two upper 30s adults and our two kid, twin boy and girl who were seven and just shy of 8 when we sailed. This sailing ... Read More
We were literally cut off in the Coronavirus Epidemic so this review will be what happens when things go wrong. We are two upper 30s adults and our two kid, twin boy and girl who were seven and just shy of 8 when we sailed. This sailing was March 9th , so mid-cruise all cruises ceased operations, so this review will let you know how RCCL handles emergencies. The first two days were in the port of Dubai, as we started on a Monday and didn't leave until Tuesday, the lines were small. They had you fill out a questionnaire, adults did it for the kids, that asked if you were feeling okay and check for virus symptons. You were also screened for a fever and upon arrival and at the cruise desk verbally asked to confirm the paper information again while they visually searched everyone's passport for stamps of effected areas. ( This search was also done at the airports leaving the state's and upon arrival in the UAE.) It went quickly as we were fit to sail and we were having lunch by 2:30 pm, just before they closed at 4pm. Ports Now our first two days were spent in Dubai, click my name for a day by day review, but as far as port go it had more than enough to do, as day three they made an announcement that UAE had closed all ports and we were being forced, after a passenger was checked and cleared of the virus, to dock only in the UAE. Later in the week the second leg of our B2B was cancelled, as well as all cruises due to the pandemic. Thus we had some sea time, but we only ported in Dubai. While some people ventured to Abu Dhabi, it was about a 2ish hour car ride, we remained in town. The good port is about 10ish kilometers ( according to the taxi/uber gps) to the metro or about a 25 minute cab ride (around 35 dirhams ($12ish) more when leaving the terminal) to the Dubai mall, where the Burj Khalafi also is located. Annoying for us as we like to do our owing touring. Depending on which terminal there is a free mall or outlet mall shuttle ( the outlet mall is far away unless you plan on visiting the theme parks). For the required can ride, I would prefer to embark and disembark there, but not use the cruise as a way to see Dubai. Food That is always subjective, but we didn't go hungry. We enjoyed breakfast in both the buffet and dining rooms for different reasons, so we were pleased. Though they don't change the breakfast menu so it got old, but they have a buffet in the dinning room so it was a great place to get a quick and got meal as we could serve the kids and then order something like an omlete for ourselves. We only had lunch in the Windjammer and they had staples that never changed, like pizza for the kids, but slight variation such as different stir fry dishes, that kept it exc iting. The Solarium is the only place to get anything to eat after 9:30pm.They had pizzas,salads and some sandwiches ( and cookies that we devoured most evenings.) Not the best selection, but if you were hungry and didn't want to pay or wait for room service it was good enough. I will say do stop by for the cookies though. We did the Chiefs Table and while the food and service was too notch, I don't think I would do it again. I will say they are very generous with their wine pours... I couldn't finish my last drink. Room 3578,3580 We had 2 connecting ocean view rooms, which normally are too expensive, but there wasn't really a difference for two or four in a room so we got two. If budget isn't a problem this is great as it allowed us to keep the rooms tidy and he ready faster. It was super easy to embark and disembark as we were about ten room away to the exit. The other way about ten rooms to the elevator and stairs, so we could get around super quickly. I really loved this location. kids club The more exotic itineraries don't attract too many kids ( so the kids's club monitors told me,that they don't see too many kids at all on this Jewel). with the Coronavirus scaring many away, my kids were usually the only ones in attendance, four was the most ever there. They didn't do their normal routine, so I can't really fault them for anything. They let my kids play and draw, while pretty much doing whatever game they were interested in, so for that they get high marks. Even though it was only my 2 kids, they always wanted to go so they did a good job. Bars There were a lot of wonderful themed bars on this ship, but we couldn't take advantage of too many because of the kids. If you have a drink package or like to hear music this would be a nice ship to just sit and and enjoy that atmosphere. Shows/Entertainment We never made it to one as we used the ship as a hotel. We caught a movie on the deck and we really enjoyed doing that. I like that ships have these as they are a unique experience. They had activities going on, but we were there to see the middle east not hang out. We passed music and other things like that daily so they were available we just didn't take part. My daughter love the rock climbing all and my son enjoyed that little mini golf on board and the sports area. My only complaint was they were inconsistent with the times they were open and they would say they're open and then no one would be there. They had a small kids pool with a slide that was the slowest thing on the planet and made everyone stuck, but it was there and the kids enjoyed it. It had very limited hours and was only open for 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon so you couldn't take advantage of it often. Guest services We were blown away that on the 3rd day they offered a full refund once they realize they couldn't sale anymore, though it is taking a long time, we did receive the taxes and port fees refund within days of leaving the ship, but not the cruise fair. I thought that was very generous and you could even get the gratuities refunded if you requested it. We stayed for the duration of the week so we left them and place, but immediately offering a refund I thought was very generous and a nice way to handle the whole epidemic fiasco. (Not what I heard other ships on other lines we're doing without a fight.) Now as a back to back passengers, they just left us hanging out to dry. They said we could talk to the port authority to help get accommodations, but they were not willing to help us at all get a place to say until our next week's airfare flight, though they did offer a generous $300 Change fee reimbursement. We are a big boy and girl so we were able to book our own accommodations, but if you needed help and did not book anything through them they were not offering it. You had to do it all yourself. Now I will say have we booked through them they were taking care of all of this for you. But with everything going on we had to cancel them it end up flying out the last day of the cruise because the UAE begin to close off the flights. Disembarkation Because we had an early flight out we didn't get to experience the normal disembarkation procedure, but I will say by 5:45 AM almost all of the luggage was already out. If you left the ship before 6AM you had to clear your room charges the night before, but by the time we got up and we're heading out we had already gotten our statement delivered to the room. We left about 5:40AM. We took our own luggage since it was super easy, but also keep in mind in Dubai, you have to have your luggage scaned on the way out as well as on the way in. This check was also for every time you left the ship, they checked your bags going into the country (and your temperature because of the coronavirus with a thermal camera.) Overall While very stressful I was satisfied with the Jewel of the Seas and Royal Caribbean's response to the epidemic. We are diamond members now and will continue to sail with them because of how they handled the situation and the product they provide . Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We booked this cruise on "Jewel of the Seas" long before the Coronavirus scare and decided to go ahead anyway, as we have a daughter living in Dubai whom we wanted to visit. In the couple of weeks before the start date, RCI sent ... Read More
We booked this cruise on "Jewel of the Seas" long before the Coronavirus scare and decided to go ahead anyway, as we have a daughter living in Dubai whom we wanted to visit. In the couple of weeks before the start date, RCI sent us several reassuring emails that the cruise would go ahead, so we were never left wondering whether we should cancel. I cannot speak highly enough about this cruise company. Embarkation at Dubai was smooth and efficient and we were all looking forward to sailing to the other scheduled ports. However, suddenly the port authorities (Oman, Abu Dhabi, Sir Bani Yas Island, etc) all announced a ban on cruise ships, due to the current Coronavirus pandemic. We therefore spent the entire cruise at Dubai. This may sound dire but, thanks to the Captain's regular tannoy updates and the wonderfully upbeat and positive attitude of the Cruise Director and all the staff and crew, it was one of the best cruises we have ever experienced - and we've done around thirty. The food was excellent, with plenty of choice; all the shows were among the best we've ever seen; and the sun shone daily! One of the first things RCI did was to assure all guests that they would receive a full refund of the cruise fare via the credit card details lodged with the ship (not just vouchers for another cruise). This is in contrast to some other cruise companies, which I understand are proving very evasive on the subject of refunds. The Captain said he would understand if any passengers decided to disembark early and take an earlier flight home - they would still receive the full refund. Inevitably some did just that, so by the end of the cruise the number of passengers had diminished considerably. However, the standard of service, quality of food and the entertainment remained superb. Even with a handful of people in the theatre, the performers continued to give the same 100%. Sadly, the crew are being sent home, to wherever their homes are, and their contracts will be ended. At this stage they have no idea when they will be rehired. Yet even this morning, at our last breakfast in the Windjammer buffet, a crew member told us that his most important priority was the health and happiness of the guests - incredible! Even though this cruise turned out to be very different from the one we'd expected, we enjoyed it very much. Jewel of the Seas was a well run, very happy ship, right to the end, thanks to Royal Caribbean, the Captain and all the crew. I would say to anyone thinking of booking a cruise in the future, once this current "hiccough" is over, please don't hesitate to cruise with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
I don't really get the criticisms of this lovely ship. I usually sail on better cruise lines and my low expectations coupled with some less than flattering reviews meant I was pleasantly surprised by a great week cruising the seas ... Read More
I don't really get the criticisms of this lovely ship. I usually sail on better cruise lines and my low expectations coupled with some less than flattering reviews meant I was pleasantly surprised by a great week cruising the seas around Dubai. Public areas were very attractive and well maintained, staff were unwaveringly polite, helpful and efficient and the entertainment staff were great. I attended two shows and both were among the best I've seen. The production show of Argentine Tango was the best I've ever seen in terms of production shows. We had good food every night and good service. The buffet lunch in the main dining room was exceptional. Great effort by all staff. We met some interesting people in a very friendly atmosphere. All in all a great week for a great price. If you miss these next (last) weeks when she sails out of Dubai, you are missing a bargain. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
From England and booked online via Royal Caribbean. First cruise but the destination was the real seller having nothing to compare to. Emirates flight was great to Dubai. Plenty of security at port but no problems with that. Carry all ... Read More
From England and booked online via Royal Caribbean. First cruise but the destination was the real seller having nothing to compare to. Emirates flight was great to Dubai. Plenty of security at port but no problems with that. Carry all paperwork and credit card to hand. Pre paid deluxe drinks package and most shore excursions. Ship - previously said nothing to compare to and a little nervous having read bad reviews from others. Spotless and absolutely no concerns on the ship. Scared of deep water and never wanted to cruise - NO safety concerns onboard and have already booked with Marella for new destinations but I am nervous this will not live up to the jewel! My daughter 11 did not want to go to kids clubs but loved her time onboard including mini golf and rock climbing. Enjoyed the fact we had deluxe drinks packages as tried a few cocktails I wouldn’t normally plus I paid for peace of mind. Probably didn’t get my money worth but again knew what i was paying for. Evening entertainment was great. I was tired after that and didn’t stay out till midnight or see any partying. Food was lovely. Staff always friendly! I am a bit of a nuisance and kept an eye on the cabin tv to make sure no charges - We did get a sneaky charge for cocktails the day at Sir Bani Yas however I rang from my room and they were removed immediately. I left with zero charges on my account as I wanted! I took dirham for onshore and dollars. I came home with money as we only had odd coffee and fridge magnet at each destination plus a scarf for the mosque. Shore excursions were great apart from Dubai. We ended up going back into Dubai via free shuttle afterwards. We literally rushed through the mall to Burj Khalifa and drove round the island for hours without food stop! It was super annoying so went back to mall afterwards. Knowing that there are usually free shuttles on my next cruise unless we want to pre book a activity we will make own way/free shuttle into centre, also saves waiting for people that are late getting on the coach..again the Dubai excursion left us 40 minutes late due to waiting for people. Not too long but from 8:30 till 3pm no food stop I was frustrated. UAE is amazing full stop just respect the culture or don’t go simple. You can dress as you would at home but did see a group of girls from ship going to Abu Dhabi mall with swimwear and see through cover ups on- my husband laughed as did others. I only felt the ship move the day at sea and I was probably overthinking it. I did not enjoy the day at sea as much because I like me space. I did sit round the pool for my daughter but not my thing. Day at sea couldn’t get spot around the pool so we sat on chairs on another deck, it was red hot and I actually preferred the spots away from everyone looking out at the sea ( i thought I’d never enjoy looking at the open sea!) overall I loved waking up at a nee destination and getting excited for the day! Ps the coffee shop was lovely. Main restaurant food lovely. Windjammer lovely. NO COMPLAINTS. Just nervous Marella discovery 2 won’t be as good! Considering this was older and smaller than the RC fleet we will try Harmony or another one as the company was so easy and no hassle at all. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We are a retired couple who enjoy cruising to interesting places. We had never been on the Jewel, but have been on several ships within the fleet. On arriving in Dubai, we stayed for a few nights pre cruise. Our flight and transfers ... Read More
We are a retired couple who enjoy cruising to interesting places. We had never been on the Jewel, but have been on several ships within the fleet. On arriving in Dubai, we stayed for a few nights pre cruise. Our flight and transfers were very smooth, although we arranged this independently, not through the Company. Check in at the port was easy & quick. Passports are taken before embarkation, & returned during the cruise. Our cabin was extremely small, and unknown to us when booking, was an interconnecting room. We never take these rooms, but have to admit we didn’t hear anything from the next cabin on both sectors of the cruise...we did a b2b, and stayed in the same cabin. The balcony was a reasonable size & we sat there everyday, except when there was adverse weather ! It was most unusual for this part of the world, at the time we were cruising, to have so much mixed, unsettled weather, but it didn’t deter us from walking ashore. Some days it was cold in the morning, then later, it was too hot to sunbathe ! As we were coming to the end of the second cruise, the weather became more settled. We were looking forward to Bahrain, as we had never been there, but that was cancelled in the interest of security & safety, so not a problem. Doha, Qatar, was interesting. The free shuttle dropped us at the museum, in a car park, but after looking around, spotted a sign for the Corniche, which was within easy walking distance of being dropped off. It was a very pleasant walk, all on the flat, and we walked past the big oyster...a much visited monument ! There is also a lovely park at the museum, which we also walked around. Everything was clean & well maintained....throughout the majority of the ports where we stopped. The only port which was a bit disappointing was Khasab, but even there we found a good walk to the beach, which has potential, but has still to be developed ! We also walked to the fort, which is in the opposite direction from the beach. There really isn’t much in town, so taking the shuttle might not be worthwhile, but ..... Our favourite port is Muscat, Oman, which is kept beautifully clean & the palace is worth a visit. It is possible to walk there from the port, along the Corniche, but it is a fairly long walk, & in the heat, might prove too much for some. When we were there, the temperature was perfect for walking. Sir Bani Yas island is a tender port, and when we visited during the first cruise, the weather was very windy, but we managed to get ashore. We didn’t take any excursions ashore, instead walked about the area near the drop off point. To be honest, not much there in this area, except sun loungers, cabanas and food stops. The weather wasn’t warm enough to lie and sunbathe, so after walking around, stopped for a light lunch and walked back to the tender station to return to the ship. There is a section for suites & Pinnacles, and a golf cart type of vehicle transports those wishing to go to Al Reem beach, which is the private area for the aforementioned. The ship was well maintained, & all crew we encountered were delightful, pleasant & friendly. Our MDR servers for both cruises were lovely people. The food was hot, well presented, tasty and perfect portion size for us. We have absolutely no complaints about food, regardless where we ate. There was a good selection of food in the WJ and there is no excuse for people not to choose healthy options, of which there was plenty. The Diamond Lounge & the Concierge Lounges were well presented. It was good to see that the CL was for only Suites & Pinnacles, meaning that it was a pleasant place to sit in the evenings without being overcrowded. The D Lounge extended to part of the Vortex lounge, so there was plenty of space for all to sit. The crew in the lounges were lovely. Octavian in the CL was so professional & friendly. He was on his own, and remembered every drink passengers ordered, although always checked before serving, to make sure there was no change ! We didn’t know crew before we went on, but by the time we left, felt as if we had been in the company of dear friends ! Our SRA was good, & cleaned our room early. He knew we were early risers, so managed to clean our room before we returned from breakfast, which meant we didn’t have to rush to go off the ship. The crew in Chops were professional, helpful, kind and friendly. Breakfast was a pleasant experience, and our regular servers couldn’t have been nicer...Ana & Dickson. The HD, Tony, is a lovely person, as were all his team. Ganesh, F& B seemed to be omnipresent, & always greeted us with his enigmatic smile. There are too many people to mention individually, but all we encountered were a credit to the company. Only downside was that we had an issue with our internet for a few days, but it wasn’t to do with the ship, but the satellite signal where we were. Ariel, IT manager, tried to resolve the problem, but it was out-with his control. After a few days, the signal suddenly returned ! We liked the ship, & look forward to returning later, knowing we are going to meet pleasant crew. It is unlikely ships in this company will sail in the area after this year, for various reasons, so we are glad we managed to visit the ports again. Unfortunately there wasn’t a reserved sun lounging area for Gold card holders, but we always managed to find a spot to lie for an hour. We did notice some loungers were reserved for quite a while, but policing this is difficult, although on sea days, think the reserving of loungers could prove an issue. Some people put towels & items in their loungers, then went away, returning after a considerable period of time ! Our first experience on this ship proved to be very positive. This Captain always started his announcements by greeting passengers, & his fantastic crew, which was good. We are looking forward to our next cruise, especially when the itinerary is very port intensive, as we like to explore areas on foot. Finally....wish smoking was banned in the casino. It was really an awful place to be, so we avoided the area, but that meant we couldn’t go and enjoy a few moments on the slots. At least it saved us money !!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
There were a couple of minor niggles, but overall this was a fantastic cruise on a lovely ship full of character. Embarkation was very smooth, and there were drinks and snacks available at the Port too as we waited to get onboard. There ... Read More
There were a couple of minor niggles, but overall this was a fantastic cruise on a lovely ship full of character. Embarkation was very smooth, and there were drinks and snacks available at the Port too as we waited to get onboard. There was a slight wait for our cabin to be ready once we were on the ship, but this meant we had the chance to sample the drinks menu! We dined every night in the main dining room (we were allocated TIdes - Deck 5). The food was probably the best we’ve had on a cruise ship, and the portion sizes were very generous! The Apple Pie was to die for! There was always plenty of choice on the menu, with some classic dishes always there for fussier eaters. We did use the buffet (Windjammer) for Breakfast and Lunch, and were also very impressed with the quality of food and different dishes available here. We lounged by the main pool mostly, and used the Solarium occasionally. There were plenty of loungers available, so it was easy to find somewhere to sit and relax most days. The pools (both outside and inside) were both a decent size, and didn’t feel too crowded, even on the sea day. One of our main annoyances with this ship were the theatre shows (or lack of), as theatre-goers, we frequent the theatre every night on cruise ships normally. But some nights, there was no theatre show, with the theatre being used as a cinema instead, when there was already a cinema on board. When there were theatre shows, the times would never be consistent, and changed constantly. The evening entertainment in other bars and lounges we thoroughly enjoyed especially some of the game shows, and the pianist in the Schooner Bar was very entertaining. We attended the Silent Disco both times throughout the week and loved it! This ship was one of the bigger mid-size ships we have been on so far, and although being around 15 years old, it was well maintained, and kept extremely clean throughout. There were plenty of bars and lounges onboard, and we especially loved the Safari Lounge. Even throughout busy periods, it never felt over-crowded. Disembarkation was very smooth. We felt very sad to be leaving, as we had a great week and met some lovely people during our time onboard. I wish MSC would take note of how other cruise lines deal with disembarking, as I really feel that they could learn a lot, especially after our horrendous experience earlier this year when we disembarked the MSC Seaside. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Pre-cruise: My wife and I had reserved a room at the Hotel San Giorgio in Civitavecchia, Italy. In addition, we had also purchased the hotel's Gold Package. The package included among other things, a shuttle service from Funcimo ... Read More
Pre-cruise: My wife and I had reserved a room at the Hotel San Giorgio in Civitavecchia, Italy. In addition, we had also purchased the hotel's Gold Package. The package included among other things, a shuttle service from Funcimo Airport, Rome and to the hotel. Unfortunately, the hotel shuttle from the airport was obviously overbooked, and we had to wait an extra four hours at the airport, beyond the previously agreed pickup time, for a new shuttle to arrive from the hotel. In the future, we would rather book hotel accommodation in Rome, and take a shuttle from the hotel to the cruise port in Civitavecchia, the day of departure. Embarkation: Went smoothly. The Ship: We found Jewel of the Seas too bee mostly well maintained. Stateroom info: We had booked a Veranda Stateroom aft. on deck eight. It was very comfortable, and with a large balcony. We were very satisfied with our always smiling stateroom attendant, A.S. Pradipta. Dining: We had the second seating on deck four in the MDR. Unfortunately, we were disappointed that the dinner menu had changed since our last cruise with Jewel of the Seas in April last year. The menu map had no longer a separate section for the previous, every day classic dining choices. We also thought that the selection of dishes were no longer as extensive and varied as before. We also missed that cold soups now were very rarely offered. But we were mostly pleased with the quality of the food we selected. We were very satisfied with the excellent and professional service we received on our table no. 216 from Waiter, Francis and Assistant Waiter, Sarah - both from the Philippines! They took really very good care of the two of us! We had all our breakfasts in the Windjammer, and lunches too, if we got back on time, after being ashore. Regarding breakfast, we were disappointed that they did not have ordinary ham among the cold cuts, but only a cheap variant. We also experienced several times they ran out of fruit yoghurt. Fortunately, we had never any problems finding an unoccupied table, even during “peak hours”. And we think the staff did a good job of clearing the tables. We were not satisfied with the Café Latte-Tudes on deck five. What a negative contrast to Celebrity’s excellent Café al Bacio! Café Latte-Tudes for instance use paper cups, not proper cups. There is insufficient seating, and we also missed a nice waiter service. Bars: The service in the bars were varying. We got the best service from the Pool Bar. Entertainment: We thought both the singer, Gary Williams, and the Tenors Unlimited, made good performances in the Theater. The Crown & Anchor Society: As Diamond Plus members we used the nice Concierge Lounge on deck 13 for the nightly Diamond Event. The lounge was never to crowed, and the bar service was very good. Shore excursions: We had only pre-booked one excursion with the ship, from Naples - “Sorrento on your own”. Unfortunately, we were a little disappointed with this excursion. Part of the bus ride went through tunnels, and we also thought the guide was talking too low. Itinerary – The six ports of call were all good. And we were particularly pleased when we arrived in Santorini, that it turned out that Jewel of the Seas was the only cruise ship that had anchored in Santorini that day. There was, therefore among other things, just a relatively short wait for the cable car back and forth to the city of Fira. Internet: It was sometimes slow. Disembarkation in Civitavecchia - smooth. Easy to find baggage. We bought a bus transfer to Funcimo Airport at Guest Services. For one hour's bus ride from the port, the transfer price was far too high-priced!! Overall – A very pleasant cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Cruised the Greek Islands for the first time. Loved being on the Jewel as we had sailed the Panama Canal on her in Feb. Pleased to see some of the same crew and felt like family! Food was great, as usual. Wait staff friendly and ... Read More
Cruised the Greek Islands for the first time. Loved being on the Jewel as we had sailed the Panama Canal on her in Feb. Pleased to see some of the same crew and felt like family! Food was great, as usual. Wait staff friendly and attentive. Decided to stay on board in Naples as we had been off the ship everyday to that point! Loved seeing the ports but needed down time! Suggest you not try to do EVERYTHING at each port so you don;t wear yourself out. Did not do many of the shows as preferred to relax with a drink and music in the evening, but the juggler was amazing! If you fly in a day early, suggest you stay in the port city rather than Rome. Much quainter and pretty. If your first time to Rome, then, yes, see a few sites in Rome, but our night in Civitacecchia was amazing! Cabin gal was amazing and we loved Solarium be so available. Our favorite bar tender was there as well so an extra perk. We only did two shore excursions thru the ship and the last port, Capri, Sorrento, Pompeii tour was fantastic, but LONG. Be prepared to walk. The Ship may be older and ready for upfit but was very clean and was constantly being maintained and looked after. Our favorite ports were Crete and Rhodes. The Taste of Crete tour was very good. We did NOT like MyTime Dinning so changed for the third night to a shared table. They were very accomodating to do this. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I’m a frequent cruiser (widow-60s), most often with RCL in the Caribbean. This was a bucket-list & 1st European cruise to celebrate my retirement. I was joined by one of my kids. We spent 4 days in Rome first, which was useful to ... Read More
I’m a frequent cruiser (widow-60s), most often with RCL in the Caribbean. This was a bucket-list & 1st European cruise to celebrate my retirement. I was joined by one of my kids. We spent 4 days in Rome first, which was useful to adjust to the time difference. Ship: Service was fine, and ship was maintained well. Food: We really loved the Chef's Table, and our dinners at Giovanni's and Chops. We also had a Chops lunch on embarkation (note: The Key lunch was in the dining room not in Chops itself -- very few people were in the restaurant itself for lunh, and it was a nice way to kick off the cruise). Kid took advantage of coffee-card and enjoyed specialty coffees all week. The Mystery Theatre dinner show was lame, but we really enjoyed meeting our tablemates and the dinner. We ate breakfasts in the Windjammer, which were good. We tried both the Windjammer & MyTime dining (always seated quickly) for other dinners. RCL food has definitely gone downhill, but we enjoyed some very good and some not-so-good meals at both venues. There are two soda machines at the back of the Windjammer for use with the soda-card cups. One didn't work for a few days, but it did not appear that many people used them anyway. Entertainment: We skipped the shows (really -- a Celine Dion impersonator and a couple that makes shadow figures?). Maybe the shows were great, but after days of tours we were simply too tired to go. Lots of trivia and Karaoke, and some good music in the lounges and in atrium. The 2 Billiard tables were always in use. My Kid noted the basketball tournaments were canceled, but few people had showed up anyway. Ship condition: We thought the ship was in very good condition for its age. It had been a few years since I cruised on a small RCL ship, and it felt very cozy. I won $150 on two spins in the small casino (and stopped while I was ahead LOL), so I think the casino was fun. As someone else noted, the ship doesn't get washed down often and we observed dirty/salt-encrusted windows. Not surprising though, in view of the scarcity of water in many of the ports. Excursions: We took all RCL excursions, and only had 1 bad & 1 mediocre tour guide. Our guide for the bus tour of Naples only pointed out sites on the right side of the bus so people on the left side missed 90% of the things he pointed out. In Santorini, our guide for the Oia/Fia tou walked quickly before everyone was even off the bus and often talked to people who were immediately next to her. At one point she described the Santorini volcanos and said that the govenment could stop the above-ground volcano but not the one that was under the ocean. Okaaaaay. I didn't know that Greece is able to stop a volcano!!! By the end of the cruise, I had ended up skipping the excursions in Rhodes & Athens to stay on-board to rest due to strenuous walking tours the previous day (I did not ask for refunds). Santorini was a particular fitness-challenge whether passengers climbed down the 600+ steps to the port or waited in the sun for 1-1/2 hour for the cable car. Quite a few passengers stayed onboad the next day to recover. Overall, very satisfied - the fault was not RCL's, but my own for under-estimating how strenuous the trip would be. Passengers: A mix. Many retirees due to length & month of cruise, but there were also families incl. some young children. Primarily seemed to be Canadians & Americans, but we met a few other nationalities as well. Everyone was very friendly. Biggest take-away from this cruise is NOT about RCL, but the itinerary. I was totally clueless about the reality of the physical challenges of touring countries with so much history (and without America's ADA laws, which we take for granted). Descriptions of excursions disclosed fitness levels but I felt they underestimated how much walking would actually be necessary. I had bought a Fitbit, and routinely found I had walked 8,000-10,000 steps and climbed the equivalent of 10+ staircases on tours -- all in hot sun/80's temps over very uneven and hilly terrain. Tour guides seemed to race ahead. Archeological sites, picturesque villages built on the side of volcanos and historical buildings don't have elevators, benches to rest, etc. I found a folding cane to be useful as a walking stick. Despite the challenges, I'm thrilled that I went on this adventure and believe RCL made it a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I choose this ship for the itinerary, goal was to see the Greek Islands without many sea days. I had read some poor reviews but we have to disagree with them! The ship more than met our expectations. We loved the size of the ship, it never ... Read More
I choose this ship for the itinerary, goal was to see the Greek Islands without many sea days. I had read some poor reviews but we have to disagree with them! The ship more than met our expectations. We loved the size of the ship, it never felt overly crowded. We felt it was in fine shape and noticed staff always working on maintaining it. The crew were friendly and did their best to make our time great. We never had to wait for a table for anytime dining, which was much appreciated after long port days, don't know if we just timed it right though but never saw a long line. I really can't comment on shore excursions offered by the cruise line as we just did our own thing. For us onboard entertainment is not very important either, we mainly use the ship as a way to get from point A to point B but do enjoy the perks. We did go to a couple of production shows and found them to be well done with talented singers and dancers, quality costumes, sets and content. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We did both itineraries the Jewel offered:: Aug 4 was the Greek Isles (4 ports) & Aug 11 was 5 ports in the Western Mediterranean. Larger balcony rooms were sold out when we booked. We usually do Jr Suites or Larger Balcony rooms, ... Read More
We did both itineraries the Jewel offered:: Aug 4 was the Greek Isles (4 ports) & Aug 11 was 5 ports in the Western Mediterranean. Larger balcony rooms were sold out when we booked. We usually do Jr Suites or Larger Balcony rooms, so this room was tight, but adequate. The balcony was fine. First week we were forward starboard side. The forward elevators were easy access to the Fitness Center/Spa, the Solarium (which had Grab & Go breakfast if you didn’t want Windjammer crowds), the shops and the theater. Overall, the food was very good to excellent. We did Chefs Table the first night which was discounted—so fabulous! Dinner all other nights was in the Dining Room & it was a pleasure—varied menu, excellent service by waiters, delicious. If we were back from excursions, Lunch was in Windjammer, I’d give it a B—if you like Indian & Asian dishes you’re in luck. Breakfast was very good In Windjammer, just a little harried with the masses trying to eat quickly to get to meeting places for excursions. The Dining Room offered Brunch one morning approx 9:30-12:30–do it if you can. It was excellent! Excursions were mostly terrific. In Santorini, highly recommend RCCL Excursion: Wine Tasting (Santo Winery) & Oia. In Athens, we made arrangements on our own for a private tour/taxi with a great guy, Leonidas Abenakis & it was a fabulous day. Here’s his information: mobile phone +30 6972 112.468; email: tour@rideathens.com or www.rideathens.com Leo was very knowledgeable, gave us almost 2 hours at the Acropolis Museum (don’t miss it); city highlights; panoramic view from Lycabettus Hill; changing of the guard at Presidential Palace; Hadrian’s Arch; 2004 Olympic Stadium and more. He will tailor the tour to your wants. We had a blast with him! During week 2, I would also recommend RCCL Excursion in Ajaccio, Corsica—the Prunelli Gorges. It was a wonderful tour of the island, taking us into the mountains—beautiful country, lush hillsides, gorgeous lakes, quaint villages & Susanne was a wonderful guide full of history & anecdotes. Barcelona RCCL Excursion recommendation would be Gaudi’s Barcelona which includes the amazing Sagrada La Familia Cathedral, other Gaudi structures & city tour. Staff on the ship were so friendly, helpful—can’t say enough good things about everyone we encountered. It was a wonderful trip!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because the dates fell on the week of my birthday AND it left out of the port of Civitavecchia. We LOVE Rome so we had an excuse to visit again. We flew in the night before the cruise so that we could explore and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the dates fell on the week of my birthday AND it left out of the port of Civitavecchia. We LOVE Rome so we had an excuse to visit again. We flew in the night before the cruise so that we could explore and relax. Embarkation was smooth. It took a total of about 20 minutes between checking in and getting onto the cruise ship. We booked excursions in Santorini, Athens, and Katakolon. We explored on our own in Mykonos. I vlogged all of the ports and shore excursions, so if you would like to see which excursions we booked, check out my youtube channel: Morgancita The ship was beautiful! We had an interior room which is always perfect for us because the only time we spend in the room is to shower and sleep. They had a movie theater which was nice on sea days (get there early or you won't have a seat). The pool always had music or some form of entertainment which was nice. They had a show every night and it was always something different which was great. The food was average and I say this because they didn't really switch up the options much in the buffet. The main dining room was also pretty limited. Not the worst food but definitely not the best. The highlight of our trip was meeting another mother and daughter couple who were from London who were EXACTLY like us. We spent the night of my birthday at a free silent disco party on the ship which was SO MUCH FUN! This is what I love most about cruising. You get to go to the most beautiful places and meet even more amazing people :) Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
that was a perfet cruise on a beautifull big ship and perfect places. Many things to do inside.. the casino, the bar, tha parties, the pool. all excellent We all enjoyed our time in and out of the ship!!! The food was fantastic ... Read More
that was a perfet cruise on a beautifull big ship and perfect places. Many things to do inside.. the casino, the bar, tha parties, the pool. all excellent We all enjoyed our time in and out of the ship!!! The food was fantastic and a lot :) ( i think we got soum pounds :) )Cabins where new clean and very comfortable.! Embarkation was easy and fast. Spending time inside the ship was a great pleasure but also in the islands and Athens we had great time. All the places are fantastic, safe and clean. We recomend Elegantgreektours.com company for your \\ tour in Athens. These guys are fantastic, polite , and speaking fluent English. so we had a fantastic journey!! we recomend this cruise for everyone. couples, family, honeymoon, etc we took great memories back home and we will travel again with the same company definatelly !! Thank you for the fantastic trip! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
July 7 - 14, 2019 - Greek Islands. I can't say enough good things about the ship, the staff, cleanliness, activities, etc. Putting some misconceptions to rest. If you don't have a pillow top on your mattress, look ... Read More
July 7 - 14, 2019 - Greek Islands. I can't say enough good things about the ship, the staff, cleanliness, activities, etc. Putting some misconceptions to rest. If you don't have a pillow top on your mattress, look under the bed (that is where ours was stored). Staff went above and beyond, were friendly and helpful. Room was set up as we requested. Food in the main dining room was awesome. Food in the Windjammer (only ate there for breakfast) was good, plentiful and abundant. Snacks in the Solarium was the same each day, but very good. The life boat covers on Deck #7 - were not an issue and didn't hinder our view. We did our own thing for excursions so can't comment. If there was one negative, it would be that the music at the pool could get a bit loud. You had to yell at people when talking to them. Everyone loved the evening shows. We only saw the Tango show and it was excellent. Fellow travellers attended all of the other evening shows and raved about them each night at dinner. We had the key. We were on the ship by 11:00 am and by the pool by 11:15. Signage for the key was everywhere. Had lunch at Chops - excellent.. Tendering in Santorini was easy (and the reason we got the Key). Wifi was good, no issues. We had an early morning transfer to the Rome airport on debarkation day so the Key was not used for debarkation, however luggage pickup was super easy. We also received two fruit baskets on one of the days. We asked why and were told because we had the Key. I had a massage one day and it was excellent. There was no blatant attempt to upsell. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise as a family vacation, with daughters and their families. The days in ports were very good and only 2 days at sea, fit our agenda perfectly. We like sightseeing and are not beach folks. Dining options met all our needs. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as a family vacation, with daughters and their families. The days in ports were very good and only 2 days at sea, fit our agenda perfectly. We like sightseeing and are not beach folks. Dining options met all our needs. Entertainment and activities on sea days were plentiful. All the crew members were “at our service” and were happy. The session with the ships captain was very nice and telling about why the crew was very happy. The Schooner bar was a comfortable place to meet before dinner. The Diamond Club is a nice place away from the crowds with a good view of the ship and surrounding areas when in ports. The Vortex could have been open more hours, even if just serving light refreshments. It’s a nice but unused space during the day. The movies on deck were great, as were the poolside activities. We would definitely go again! Read Less
Sail Date May 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
Sail Date April 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 March 2019
My husband and I have been cruising with Royal Caribbean for years. We love the cruise line and have always had a good experience. It was my bucket list item to go on a Panama Canal Cruise. We usually take about one cruise per year but had ... Read More
My husband and I have been cruising with Royal Caribbean for years. We love the cruise line and have always had a good experience. It was my bucket list item to go on a Panama Canal Cruise. We usually take about one cruise per year but had never gone for more than one week. The Panama Canal cruises usually run 15-16 nights. We decided NOT to wait until after we retired!. We went on the Jewel of the Seas in February of 2019. Yes, I'm just getting around to posting! (lol) The cruise was 16 nights and after doing research, we opted for the cruise from East to West which would enable us to view more sunsets plus this cruise gave us one more port. We left from Miami and finished in San Diego. This ship is a couple fleet classes down (in size) but we loved the layout of the ship. Because of it's smaller size, there are also less people, less lines, less crowds. When going through the canal, the ship was just feet from the wall. All of the shows were great and a good variety. We didn't have to make reservations and several times we went to both seatings because we enjoyed the show so much. We saw several hilarious comedians, a fantastic hypnotist, an entertaining magician and a very cool Beatles tribute band called the Beatlemaniacs. In fact, they played two different nights and afterwards, I felt like I really saw the Beatles with all the screaming that was going on. Our ports of call were great. Cartagena,Colombia was our first stop and although we knew little about it, we really enjoyed the ancient walled city. Other ports were Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala (loved it) and three stops in Mexico to include an overnight stay in Cabo San Lucas. We had 8 days in a port and 8 days at sea. We enjoyed our time at sea where we could relax and explore the ship. There is plenty to do! The highlight was crossing the Panama Canal. That was the reason for the trip and my bucket list. I loved every moment of it and it took us about 10 hours to cross. A lady boarded our ship from the Panama Canal Authority and she narrated the entire crossing from the Captain's Bridge, which was very interesting. For the most part, we could hear her fairly clearly - even though we were outside for most of it. We went through the old locks which is just what I had hoped for. It was definitely like what I had learned about when I was younger and the architecture of each lock is amazing. They just don't build things like that anymore. The great thing about being on a big ship, is when it gets hot, you slip inside to cool off and have a drink. As you cross the large Gatun Lake, there is not as much to see, although it is beautiful. Take that time to eat lunch or dinner and then be available to go back out on deck once you get to the next lock. We had very few children on our voyage which was an extra bonus. Although we've enjoyed all of the cruises we have taken, this was our favorite and the most adventurous. We chose excursions to include zip-lining, horseback riding, parasailing and whale watching. Every one of them was organized and fun. We never felt unsafe anywhere. We were most surprised by Guatemala and how beautiful it is. We went to the ancient city of Antigua and saw three volcanoes on the drive. We were fortunate to have been able to do this. When things return to normal, if it's on your bucket list - do it! 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
Sail Date February 2019
The Jewel is definitely just that!!!! A JEWEL. We loved this ship and had a marvelous cruise. Met some terrific staff from bar service to My Time Dining service. The Diamond Lounge is a great place for spending a couple hours meeting ... Read More
The Jewel is definitely just that!!!! A JEWEL. We loved this ship and had a marvelous cruise. Met some terrific staff from bar service to My Time Dining service. The Diamond Lounge is a great place for spending a couple hours meeting new friends and relaxing. Aline, the liaison in the DL, is a tremendous asset to RCI and the Jewel, as is Mark who is a great server. We also fell in love with Prime in the Centrum Lounge...she is so charming and seems to love her job. The best entertainment we have seen in many years was Travis DeLoyt (Elvis Impersonator). What a fantastic show and Travis is one of the most warm and friendly people we have ever met. Royal needs him on their ships. TERRIFIC!!! We enjoyed our first try at My Time Dining and are so happy we finally did. Much more pleasant as everyone there seemed more satisfied than we have experienced in the main Dining Room on our past few cruises. We once again were wowed when we had dinner at one of the specialty restaurants...always a wonderful experience. Our stateroom, on deck 9, was a very nice spacious balcony room. Love the location of the upper decks!!! We didn't do shore excursions on this cruise, but nothing could have beat spending 2 hours in Senor Frogs; meeting so many awesome people and having a blast! We have visited Nassau many times in the past so have seen all they have to offer. Nothing better than Senor Frogs for great fun. All in all....this cruise, as usual, exceeded our expectations as has every Royal cruise we have taken over the past 6 years. Prior to that I cruised Royal for many years and will never change. We are definitely "Loyal to Royal"!!!! thank you Royal Caribbean, for another tremendous vacation. Next one up, Brilliance of the Seas in April. Can't wait!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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
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
Sail Date December 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
Sail Date November 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
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
Sail Date October 2018
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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