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Jewel of the Seas left Southhampton October 30th and arrived in Fort Lauderdale November 11th. We visited three ports of call, Le Havre, France; La Coruna, Spain; and Funchal, Madeira, with sea days interspersed followed by a six day Atlantic crossing. This was the second such crossing for us, we had traveled to Europe in April aboard HAL's Westerdam from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome. We are experienced cruisers having traveled on seven cruise lines and 11 different ships in the last five years. Embarkation/debarkation: Among the smoothest we have experienced. No long lines. Pleasant staff; warm greetings and send offs. Ports of Call: Future cruisers may want to note that free WI-FI access was available in the welcome center at the cruise ship dock in Le Havre (you had to have your own laptop) and that Funchal has a free municipal internet center at Rua de Ferrieros. It is open M-F 12:00 - 19:00; Sat. 10:00-17:00; closed Sundays and holidays. A hop-on and hop-off double-decker tour bus operated in Funchal with a stop a quick walk from the cruise ship dock. Cost was 10E to ride until evening and then the ticket could be used on the yellow city buses - far more time than we needed for the one-day visit. Ship/room: The Jewel had been in dry dock prior to our departure. We were surprised then to have a series of plumbing problems, sink stopped up, shower didn't drain and on two evenings water flooded the bathroom floor. All were quickly attended to and corrected. Guests from at least two other cabins had similar flooding problems. The ship and our room were kept immaculately clean. Staff was attentive to detail. On two more stormy days, seasick bag dispensers were quickly hung at each landing and placed in common area bathrooms. Our room provided plenty of space for storing suitcases (we had two 22' inch suitcases and a carryon of similar size) under the beds. Speaking of beds, they were short. Designed to come to a point in the center when the two twins are pushed together, the closer you get to the side of the bed, the shorter the bed becomes. Dining: The quality of the food in the Tides Dining Room and the Buffet, may have improved since the professional critic (see professional review) first ate in them, but we found it to fall short of RCL's competitors. A blandness, sameness and lack of creativity was noted by several fellow guests. Perhaps expectations were too high, but to have frozen potatoes in the potato salad at lunch not once, but twice, had us wondering when they had been cooked and when the salad had been made; green peas in scrambled eggs marked Mexican scrambled eggs, left us chuckling. Unfortunately, it appeared that more creative talent went into the design of the laminated menus than the food preparation itself. Portofino's was well worth the additional $20 per person surcharge, so much so we dined there twice. The food was excellent and it easily took two-hours to savor the many courses presented to us. Seaview Cafe was a welcome change from the ship's buffet. Great snack bar grilled sandwiches and salads. Coffee bar: Unlike HAL and Princess Cruise lines, we were told on the first day that we were unable to purchase a punch card to reduce the per cup cost and/or earn a free drink. The fifth day of the cruise, and after the purchase of several lattes (Seattle's Best coffee) we were given a 'buy six and get the next one free' card. Alcohol: RCL's policy on alcohol is that you are not allowed to bring any alcohol on to the ship for consumption. Anything brought aboard will be confiscated and held until the night before disembarkation. This was a disappointment as it has been fun on other lines to purchase a bottle of wine in the country we were visiting to take to dinner and consume while traveling. There were several reasons - none the same, by the way - given by staff for the policy, but it was a definite 'ding' in rating this cruise. The on-board per glass wine prices ranged from $4 a glass for wine from cardboard boxes (put into a wine barrel) in the buffet to $24 per glass Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon. RCL also prohibited the bringing of food on board and confiscated that as well. We were allowed to bring fresh flowers on board. Telephone: Those who have Verizon wireless service are able to make phone calls from international waters at far less money than the $7.95 per minute charge for using the ship's phone. We were quoted $2.49 per minute by Verizon.

Jewel of the Seas - Trans-Atlantic

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by KirklandCruisers

Trip Details
Jewel of the Seas left Southhampton October 30th and arrived in Fort Lauderdale November 11th. We visited three ports of call, Le Havre, France; La Coruna, Spain; and Funchal, Madeira, with sea days interspersed followed by a six day Atlantic crossing.
This was the second such crossing for us, we had traveled to Europe in April aboard HAL's Westerdam from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome. We are experienced cruisers having traveled on seven cruise lines and 11 different ships in the last five years.
Embarkation/debarkation: Among the smoothest we have experienced. No long lines. Pleasant staff; warm greetings and send offs.
Ports of Call: Future cruisers may want to note that free WI-FI access was available in the welcome center at the cruise ship dock in Le Havre (you had to have your own laptop) and that Funchal has a free municipal internet center at Rua de Ferrieros. It is open M-F 12:00 - 19:00; Sat. 10:00-17:00; closed Sundays and holidays.
A hop-on and hop-off double-decker tour bus operated in Funchal with a stop a quick walk from the cruise ship dock. Cost was 10E to ride until evening and then the ticket could be used on the yellow city buses - far more time than we needed for the one-day visit.
Ship/room: The Jewel had been in dry dock prior to our departure. We were surprised then to have a series of plumbing problems, sink stopped up, shower didn't drain and on two evenings water flooded the bathroom floor. All were quickly attended to and corrected. Guests from at least two other cabins had similar flooding problems.
The ship and our room were kept immaculately clean. Staff was attentive to detail. On two more stormy days, seasick bag dispensers were quickly hung at each landing and placed in common area bathrooms.
Our room provided plenty of space for storing suitcases (we had two 22' inch suitcases and a carryon of similar size) under the beds. Speaking of beds, they were short. Designed to come to a point in the center when the two twins are pushed together, the closer you get to the side of the bed, the shorter the bed becomes.
Dining: The quality of the food in the Tides Dining Room and the Buffet, may have improved since the professional critic (see professional review) first ate in them, but we found it to fall short of RCL's competitors. A blandness, sameness and lack of creativity was noted by several fellow guests.
Perhaps expectations were too high, but to have frozen potatoes in the potato salad at lunch not once, but twice, had us wondering when they had been cooked and when the salad had been made; green peas in scrambled eggs marked Mexican scrambled eggs, left us chuckling. Unfortunately, it appeared that more creative talent went into the design of the laminated menus than the food preparation itself.
Portofino's was well worth the additional $20 per person surcharge, so much so we dined there twice. The food was excellent and it easily took two-hours to savor the many courses presented to us.
Seaview Cafe was a welcome change from the ship's buffet. Great snack bar grilled sandwiches and salads.
Coffee bar: Unlike HAL and Princess Cruise lines, we were told on the first day that we were unable to purchase a punch card to reduce the per cup cost and/or earn a free drink. The fifth day of the cruise, and after the purchase of several lattes (Seattle's Best coffee) we were given a 'buy six and get the next one free' card.
Alcohol: RCL's policy on alcohol is that you are not allowed to bring any alcohol on to the ship for consumption. Anything brought aboard will be confiscated and held until the night before disembarkation. This was a disappointment as it has been fun on other lines to purchase a bottle of wine in the country we were visiting to take to dinner and consume while traveling. There were several reasons - none the same, by the way - given by staff for the policy, but it was a definite 'ding' in rating this cruise.
The on-board per glass wine prices ranged from $4 a glass for wine from cardboard boxes (put into a wine barrel) in the buffet to $24 per glass Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon.
RCL also prohibited the bringing of food on board and confiscated that as well. We were allowed to bring fresh flowers on board.
Telephone: Those who have Verizon wireless service are able to make phone calls from international waters at far less money than the $7.95 per minute charge for using the ship's phone. We were quoted $2.49 per minute by Verizon.
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