Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by Penguinkat
- Sail Date: December 2012
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Excursions: grand cayman the best decision we did was to not get a ship excursion and instead we bought one of the main shopping plaza walk by tours for $15 near the margaritaville restaurant. It took an hour and a half and was well worth it. A/c bus, went to the town of hell to send postcards home and drink a beer by the neat rock formations out back, went to the dolphin experience, and the tortuga rum cake and rum sampling factory. This was half price cheaper than the ship to the same places. Easily back to the ship ontime.
Cozumel we did the $79 double snorkel catamaran which was fantastic! Best guided snorkel ever, we saw sea turtles, a couple small sharks, stingrays, grouper, lots of fish, etc. free drinks after snorkeling, fun music up top afternoon and the all inclusive island stop at playa mia for an hour and a half was neat too....they called it a free snack but it was lunch really with sandwiches, fruit, fries,etc. hammocks were fun and lots of water activities. Try out senor frogs at the port before onboarding.
Onboard pub trivia was neat but prizes were silly, karaoke was cute, quest was fun. Next cruise I would bring a bottle of hand soap vs using the provided bars, a power cord or extension cord(especially if anyone needs a sleep apnea machine). Best decision we made was a balcony and also brought a medium sized rolling cooler onboard as a carry on that they never ever opened but just put through the xray machine. We were allowed to bring two wine bottles per room out of Tampa and also easily brought half a case of diet pepsi, and bottled waters with no issue in the cooler, they only asked if we had ice in it since they had to turn it to put it through xray. Was great to have that! Room attendent constantly kept two ice buckets filled for us.
Nice cruise, very very limited activities unless you have kids, food was so so. Disappointed that it was not better. Portofino dinner was good, tiramisu came with a shot of Baileys and seafood spedini was the highlight. The catamaran excursion in cozumel I mentioned above went to playa mia all inclusive beach and was incredibly better looking than some of the photos from another detailed review (plus you didnt have to get wet on the catamaran unlike the twister for those not wanting to snorkel). Playa mia had tons of chairs, unbrellas, hammocks, a pool, shaded areas, four bars and lots of water sports. I recommend the miami vice frozen drink which is half daiquiri half pina colada...although it is mostly sweet. Beer is safest bet at playa mia. Our cabin 7520 had plenty of space as balcony detail mentioned above. It was smooth sailing all week until the last day which was very large swales and it took me a couple days on land to stop feeling it. The casino did not have well organized texas hold em cash games, very disappointed in that. Room location was easy walk to elevators and solarium. Further walk to restaurants. Try the chili in the 12th deck (sea chasers?) and ask for more chips, it is filled with pulled beef very tender and good. We didnt get towel animals every night only twice but I guess that is alright. Smoking cigars on balcony is allowed. Bring your own vs buying a cigar at aficionados on board.
Seeing skyway bridge first night ws neat but necessary to do every cruise. We were on wait list for my time dining which they easily accommodated and that helped. Service in all restaurants was excellent.... Food was like being at a wedding or convention though. Lunch in MDR good for tutti salad. Burgers were same size as sliders though. Windjammers buffet had several mislabeled items, corned beef was excellent, go to the fried egg line on the far left instead of waiting in the omlet line on far right- they will make any omlet for you there. Wine package was good deal and you could carry leftovers anywhere with you. Would have done the 7:30am take your own luggage off on final day vs the 30-45 minutes of lines to leave once you were finally called. Do the sit down free portraits even if you dont buy any, the white backdrop photos were dramatic for every family with great results, although $20 a photo was steep it was worth one or two. Dont bother with the $10 bijou shopping spree onboard, you can get all that at Tampa airport bijou without the grabbing and bustling. Coffee bar desserts and muffins,etc are all free.
Internet worked great onboard, decided to pay by minute instead of package. Package meant 60minutes at a savings of seven cents so .55per minute, BUT from 7-9 each morning it was .44 without the package. Great time to connect for a few minutes especially if you have ipad, etc to download emails and news and facebook updates and read them offline. Also I recommend getting a google voicemail for free as it allows you to turn your phone off and it sends you an email transcribing all messages and plays them back via email without ever having your phone one. Easy to setup and basically just forwards vmail messages but not the calls. Anyways, it worked for me for any emergencies. That is abut it......pizza anytime of night at solarium pool bar cafe is good when you need something Feel free to ask questions. Hope that helps.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Catamaran tourCatamaran double reef snorkel. Great time, well worth it especially if you like to drink. Best led snorkel we have ever done. Guides stayed around group and pointed out stingray, seaturtles, fish and even a couple small sharks. Equipment was extremely good. Then we boated to playa mia for lunch (although they said it would only be a snack) it was ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit, salad and great fries. All you can drink -5 bars there but stick with beer, the daiquiris are sweet and probably not much rum. Great hammocks, decent beach loungers (signs said umbrellas were extra so find some near a tree if you want shade or near enough to one without being directly under it). Lots of water sports and jumping things in the water there, lots of space. Ride back was awesome - sit up top - they will bring drinks to you - beer, margaritas, water, etc. Fun singing and dancing and watching others. Grab a drink before you board ship at Senor Tequilas, but watch the prices.View All 98 Catamaran tour Reviews
Island TourBooked with a street vendor outside of mall and margaritaville area. $15 for same tour the ship was offering for double the price. Safe and well worth it. air conditioned bus with about 25 people was somewhat tight but ok. Went to dolphin encounter, free rum and rumbread tasting at tortugas, mailed a postcard and had a beer at town called hell. Driver allowed some families to be dropped at 7 mile beach at the end and picked them up two hours later. Nicely done, highly recommend.View All 145 Island Tour Reviews