1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Jewel of the Seas
This was my first cruise... that may be a good thing or bad. Good because the opinions expressed here are purely objective as I can't compare them to another ship or cruise line. Bad for the same exact reasons. Our trip definitely started on a sour note. We arrived at the dock at Port Everglades a little earlier than planned; the place was utter chaos. It seemed that the ship was still off-loading passengers while trying to take in new ones. Either way, it took a number of requests from several different people to find out where we should go and what should be done with our bags. Worse, when we finally did get a porter to take our two suitcases, he began pointedly grubbing for a tip despite the huge sign over his shoulder saying that the porters are salaried and don't receive gratuities. After a 90-minute wait, we were finally allowed to go to our stateroom; ours was an interior cabin on deck eight. The room was definitely small, but I have to credit the person who was in charge of laying out the space... the room was full of places to store our items. The closet was large enough for two, and there are smaller drawers and cubbies everywhere. Conversely, and this may sound like an odd complaint, the interior decorator of the staterooms should be shot. The carpet, loveseat, desk chair, bedspread and pillows were done in dizzyingly busy fabrics, none coordinating with anything else in the room. It just made what could have been a nice space look gaudy and cheap. The cleanliness of our stateroom left a lot to be desired. We found several bobby pins on the floor, and several of the wall panels had what looked like drips of dried milk on them (at least we hope it was milk.) Worst of all, there was a huge pink stain on the loveseat of the room. My guess is that it was spilled nail polish, but again, it could have been anything. We did ask for our cabin attendant to do what he could about it; he did a valiant job, but there was a blotch on the loveseat for the duration of our trip. The bottom line is that the cushion (or the entire loveseat) should have been replaced... nobody wanted to sit on the dumb thing for the entire trip. Once we got underway, things improved. Although a lot of the decor is over-the-top, the Jewel is a nice ship. I was particularly impressed with the solarium pool, and the sheer size of the Coral Theater, which is huge compared to how small some of the other areas of the ship are. With a capacity of 2501, expect to wait in your share of lines. None of our waits were too long, but it was a bit exhausting to have to constantly stand around for things like an elevator, a tender ticket or to simply get into dinner. I found the food on the Jewel to be very good, and the service to be above par. I liked the two formal nights in the "main" dinner space called Tides... if you're not into this kind of thing, the ship offers more casual dining in the Windjammer Cafe, which also serves breakfast and lunch. Snacks are available at most hours at the Solarium Cafe, including delicious, made-to-order crepes. My only gripe here that the server that we encountered there each time we went was uncharacteristically surly. We opted to do our booking of excursions online instead of through the ship, and I recommend you do the same. Not only did we save a lot of money, but our groups were tiny. This made for a much more personal experience. The first port of call was Key West. We booked tickets on the Conch Train ($22.50 each online), which is a car-driven trolley tour that weaves around the streets of Key West for 90 minutes. The tour guide/driver was little hokey, but it afforded us to see a huge amount of the town. Later, we walked Duval Street and winded through some of the back streets of the town to see more of the interesting architecture. Next was Cozumel. I wasn't so much disappointed with this stop as I was stunned: the island was devastated by Hurricane Wilma, and is years away from returning to its former glory. That being said, the locals there are surprisingly upbeat considering how desperate things must be for them financially. We rented a car through Avis and drove ourselves to a beach club called Playa Corona to go snorkeling. To my amazement, the club was still operating out of what is essentially the rubble of what it used to be. The snorkeling was only average in my estimation, but the people there were attentive and remarkably non-pushy. We ventured on to take a drive around to the eastern side of the island. The ocean is beautiful here (although the currents here make swimming beyond dangerous), and we found a place called Coconuts that has managed to already rebuild nicely. The food there was excellent. A note about renting a car on Cozumel: if anything should happen to the vehicle while in your care, you are financially responsible and may be held on the island until you've paid for any damage/loss incurred. Do yourself a favor and blow the $20 on LDW (Loss Damage Waiver) and drive without worry. Next was Costa Maya. Essentially a port made specifically for cruise ships, the area's main attraction is a glorified strip mall located right off the pier. The best thing I can say is that it's relatively clean; after that, it's not terribly authentic and the vendors are pushy to the point of embarrassment. The nearby town of Mahahual is far more authentic, but very poor. It was the only spot on the trip where I didn't feel safe. My advice is to ditch all of the above and take a tour of the Mayan ruins in the area instead. We booked a tour of the Chacchoben Ruins online. Although we were driven to the site in a minivan (as opposed to the large tour busses that the ship's excursion used), we were rewarded by not only saving money but being part of a tour group of FOUR people. The ship's groups were easily 30 or more. Furthermore, our guide, Veronica, was simply stellar. Her very real interest in the site and its history made for a genuinely interesting tour of the ruins. Chacchoben is a small site compared to Tulum or Chichen Itza, but I didn't feel its size detracted at all... the ruins are majestic and breathtaking. It made what could have been the worst stop on the trip one of the best. Last was Grand Cayman. I'd say the low point of our trip occurred here with our tender ride over to the main port city of Georgetown. Not only was there a prolonged wait to get on the tender, but the docking procedure at the pier in Georgetown was one of the most unsettling moments of my life. Our tender driver had an obviously hard time getting into his docking area and managed to actually slam our tender into the one behind it. One of the workers trying to tie the tender off came within inches of being crushed; and all this happened within inches of me. Scary. Georgetown itself was hot and choked with traffic; we had a much better time once we made our way to Stingray City to swim with the wild manta rays. Again we booked online; our group had six people in it as opposed to the 40 or more in the group next door. After a pleasant final day at sea, we returned to Fort Lauderdale. Disembarkation was delayed because of port traffic and we did have to wait for two hours to leave the ship. Once we were called to do so, however, the disembarking process went smoothly... much more so than when we had arrived at the same dock six days earlier.

Jewel of the Seas - Western Caribbean

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by GlennCT

Trip Details
This was my first cruise... that may be a good thing or bad. Good because the opinions expressed here are purely objective as I can't compare them to another ship or cruise line. Bad for the same exact reasons.
Our trip definitely started on a sour note. We arrived at the dock at Port Everglades a little earlier than planned; the place was utter chaos. It seemed that the ship was still off-loading passengers while trying to take in new ones. Either way, it took a number of requests from several different people to find out where we should go and what should be done with our bags. Worse, when we finally did get a porter to take our two suitcases, he began pointedly grubbing for a tip despite the huge sign over his shoulder saying that the porters are salaried and don't receive gratuities.
After a 90-minute wait, we were finally allowed to go to our stateroom; ours was an interior cabin on deck eight. The room was definitely small, but I have to credit the person who was in charge of laying out the space... the room was full of places to store our items. The closet was large enough for two, and there are smaller drawers and cubbies everywhere.
Conversely, and this may sound like an odd complaint, the interior decorator of the staterooms should be shot. The carpet, loveseat, desk chair, bedspread and pillows were done in dizzyingly busy fabrics, none coordinating with anything else in the room. It just made what could have been a nice space look gaudy and cheap.
The cleanliness of our stateroom left a lot to be desired. We found several bobby pins on the floor, and several of the wall panels had what looked like drips of dried milk on them (at least we hope it was milk.) Worst of all, there was a huge pink stain on the loveseat of the room. My guess is that it was spilled nail polish, but again, it could have been anything. We did ask for our cabin attendant to do what he could about it; he did a valiant job, but there was a blotch on the loveseat for the duration of our trip. The bottom line is that the cushion (or the entire loveseat) should have been replaced... nobody wanted to sit on the dumb thing for the entire trip.
Once we got underway, things improved. Although a lot of the decor is over-the-top, the Jewel is a nice ship. I was particularly impressed with the solarium pool, and the sheer size of the Coral Theater, which is huge compared to how small some of the other areas of the ship are.
With a capacity of 2501, expect to wait in your share of lines. None of our waits were too long, but it was a bit exhausting to have to constantly stand around for things like an elevator, a tender ticket or to simply get into dinner.
I found the food on the Jewel to be very good, and the service to be above par. I liked the two formal nights in the "main" dinner space called Tides... if you're not into this kind of thing, the ship offers more casual dining in the Windjammer Cafe, which also serves breakfast and lunch.
Snacks are available at most hours at the Solarium Cafe, including delicious, made-to-order crepes. My only gripe here that the server that we encountered there each time we went was uncharacteristically surly. We opted to do our booking of excursions online instead of through the ship, and I recommend you do the same. Not only did we save a lot of money, but our groups were tiny. This made for a much more personal experience.
The first port of call was Key West. We booked tickets on the Conch Train ($22.50 each online), which is a car-driven trolley tour that weaves around the streets of Key West for 90 minutes. The tour guide/driver was little hokey, but it afforded us to see a huge amount of the town. Later, we walked Duval Street and winded through some of the back streets of the town to see more of the interesting architecture.
Next was Cozumel. I wasn't so much disappointed with this stop as I was stunned: the island was devastated by Hurricane Wilma, and is years away from returning to its former glory. That being said, the locals there are surprisingly upbeat considering how desperate things must be for them financially. We rented a car through Avis and drove ourselves to a beach club called Playa Corona to go snorkeling. To my amazement, the club was still operating out of what is essentially the rubble of what it used to be. The snorkeling was only average in my estimation, but the people there were attentive and remarkably non-pushy. We ventured on to take a drive around to the eastern side of the island. The ocean is beautiful here (although the currents here make swimming beyond dangerous), and we found a place called Coconuts that has managed to already rebuild nicely. The food there was excellent.
A note about renting a car on Cozumel: if anything should happen to the vehicle while in your care, you are financially responsible and may be held on the island until you've paid for any damage/loss incurred. Do yourself a favor and blow the $20 on LDW (Loss Damage Waiver) and drive without worry.
Next was Costa Maya. Essentially a port made specifically for cruise ships, the area's main attraction is a glorified strip mall located right off the pier. The best thing I can say is that it's relatively clean; after that, it's not terribly authentic and the vendors are pushy to the point of embarrassment. The nearby town of Mahahual is far more authentic, but very poor. It was the only spot on the trip where I didn't feel safe. My advice is to ditch all of the above and take a tour of the Mayan ruins in the area instead.
We booked a tour of the Chacchoben Ruins online. Although we were driven to the site in a minivan (as opposed to the large tour busses that the ship's excursion used), we were rewarded by not only saving money but being part of a tour group of FOUR people. The ship's groups were easily 30 or more. Furthermore, our guide, Veronica, was simply stellar. Her very real interest in the site and its history made for a genuinely interesting tour of the ruins. Chacchoben is a small site compared to Tulum or Chichen Itza, but I didn't feel its size detracted at all... the ruins are majestic and breathtaking. It made what could have been the worst stop on the trip one of the best. Last was Grand Cayman. I'd say the low point of our trip occurred here with our tender ride over to the main port city of Georgetown. Not only was there a prolonged wait to get on the tender, but the docking procedure at the pier in Georgetown was one of the most unsettling moments of my life. Our tender driver had an obviously hard time getting into his docking area and managed to actually slam our tender into the one behind it. One of the workers trying to tie the tender off came within inches of being crushed; and all this happened within inches of me. Scary.
Georgetown itself was hot and choked with traffic; we had a much better time once we made our way to Stingray City to swim with the wild manta rays. Again we booked online; our group had six people in it as opposed to the 40 or more in the group next door.
After a pleasant final day at sea, we returned to Fort Lauderdale. Disembarkation was delayed because of port traffic and we did have to wait for two hours to leave the ship. Once we were called to do so, however, the disembarking process went smoothly... much more so than when we had arrived at the same dock six days earlier.
GlennCT’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Rates
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email