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Booking this cruise was easy. Also, booking the air through RCCL's choice Air program was easy. I, however, eventually handed my reservation over to a third party agent to take advantage of some extras like onboard credit as well as free specialty restaurant dining. About 3 months out, the first problem I experienced was that with each air schedule change, RCCL's Choice Air department did not forward those schedule changes to my travel agent who would then have forwarded those changes to me. There were 3 schedule changes in all. I was only aware of these changes because I would check my airline schedule on a daily basis - directly with the airline. Not a very positive start with their air department. (I might also mention that I overnighted in Philadelphia at the Microtel Philadelphia Airport the night before. But those details are in another review. But let me just add that this was an acceptable property for those needing a one night stay before a flight.) The next problem I had was showing up late for my pre-arranged transfer shuttle to the ship. In this case, my airline sent my luggage on an earlier flight (by two hours) and removed it from the conveyor belt two hours earlier (sending it to the lost luggage department). By the time I tracked it down, my shuttle had departed. I spent over an hour talking with meet and greet staff by baggage while waiting for a ship's shuttle which never came. I ended up taking a taxi independently. These were the two big issues for me this entire trip. So, needless to say, I did not get off to a very good start. I would like to add a side note here: assuming things had gone smoothly and I had gotten on the ship's shuttle, I was told I would have to say good bye to my luggage which would then have been delivered to the room later in the day. I explained that I wanted to take my own luggage onboard the ship so that I could unpack right away. I guess that would not have been allowed. It seems self-assist works when getting off the ship, but not when getting on the ship, should you choose to use the prearranged shuttle service. Take note. By the time I got to the ship (4:30ish) there was no line and I buzzed right through check in. I went immediately to guest services (small line) explained my transfer situation and asked for a refund for the taxi. This amount was turned into onboard credit, once the front office clerk got approval from her supervisor. After dropping my luggage in my room (cat. D2 aft) I went directly to the future booking office and booked a cruise for a year from now in order to take advantage of onboard credit (for onboard bookings). In that process, I learned that RCCL is changing their cabin categories, which differs from any currently available hard copy brochures for 15-16 sailings. A category that I wanted to book (cat. D1) was not allowed because that space was only available for a party of 3 or 4. In order to get an aft balcony cabin I had to settle for an E3 because of being a solo traveler. Another point to take note. Finally, I got to my cabin and unpacked. The ship's life boat drill occurred at 8:00 pm with an 8:30 pm sailing. The ports began (5 of them) the next morning. We started in St. Thomas at the main pier. We were the only ship in port (I think because of it being a Sunday). I did a 6 1/2 hour day trip to St. John offered by the ship. I loved this excursion because it gave me lots of time at Trunk Bay. PS, you can rent low rise beach chairs at Trunk Bay for a reasonable rate. The next day, we were in St. Kitts. I did not get off the ship because I have been there several times before and saw all I needed to see. The following day, we were in St. Martin. I chose the Orient Bay Beach Rendezvous. This trip provided me with lounge chair, umbrella and buffet lunch, which was actually very good. The problem with this tour, however, is that the lounge chairs are so close together and so deep (about 7 rows of lounge chairs in a confined space) that if you don't get a chair in the front row, you can not gaze at the beautiful water, or people watch, for that matter. Following St. Martin, we arrived in Dominica. I did a four hour tour featuring river tubing. This is the second time I have done this tour. It makes me happy. There was lots of laughter as the smooth rocks cause the river tubes to spin, sort of like bumper cars on the water. This is a tour I will repeat each time I return here. Really no need to be responsible for carrying this tube. The guides are quite knowledge about the river and the flow patterns in the river. They are in the river with you, standing in thigh high water to assist during the entire experience. My last port of call was Barbados. I chose to do a separate taxi ride to get to a beach on the south west corner of the island (the beaches south of where the ship docks are whiter (with some pink flecks) and with a bit of wave. (As a kid I loved to jump the waves). I ended up at Rockley Beach aka Accra Beach. The beach was pretty white sand with enough surf for those with surf boards to travel maybe 20-30 feet per wave. There was a beach bar here with changing facilities. Also lounge chairs and umbrellas were available for rent. (The beaches further north of the pier are tranquil with no surf and with darker tan sand). The next day was a sea day before returning home. Now for the food. I did not eat in the MDR. I had one dinner in the Windjammer Café. It does not matter whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, the food here was very good. All of my breakfasts were eaten here. I enjoyed each meal. I rotated dinners between Portofino (the Italian restaurant) and Chops Grill - the steak house. Portofino meals were excellent, but not really a restaurant for red sauce dishes. One night I had seafood on a skewer (i.e., lobster, scallops, shrimp and another kind of fish which I swapped out for more shrimp). This was excellent. Another meal I had was veal chop ala Parmesan. This was not veal parm. as we know it in the US, but rather a chop with a bone covered in fresh ground Parmesan. This was delicious and tender. At the chops grill, I ordered a filet one night. Succulent and tender. Another night I ordered a sirloin. That was fabulous as well. These were maybe some of the most incredible meals I have ever had, including at sea on more upscale cruise lines. Now for the cabin: I was in a D2 cat. aft facing balcony on deck 10 (room 1104). This row of cabins sit directly under the outdoor dining area of the Windjammer Café. (About 1/3 of the balcony space is exposed to those looking down from the Windjammer Café directly above). Also, something to note is that each morning between 4:00 and 5:00 am, the cleaning crew in the Windjammer Café were moving (scraping) those chairs above. That noise was easily heard. I could set my watch to the time this would occur. Once the Windjammer opened at 7:00 am, one could hear the chairs scraping the floor throughout the day. (I am thinking a better bet, if one were interested in the aft cabins, would be to choose a room on deck 8 or 9). Even from my deck, 10, I really had no view of those below me. But, deck 11 (Windjammer Café) did have a partial view of my balcony on deck 10. My room was very spacious. For the most part it was clean. There was some dust on the dresser drawer handles, which if not pointed out wouldn't be noticed by the room steward. Another observation I made was that the sheers between the sliding glass door and the curtain was looking a bit stained. Another observation which might not be noticed if not opening and closing the sliding glass door with some regularity. Let me add that there was enough storage space for 2 people for 2 weeks, easily. Overall the ship looked in great shape. I had seen online some images of the public spaces which appear to have been updated since they were taken. But, I hear that the ship will get a big makeover in May 2016. As for a question I also had about the promenade deck which I researched through Cruise Critic: Does the Promenade deck wrap the ship? The answer is that it does and does not. Most of deck 5 is where you will find the Promenade. However, forward you have to climb a set of stairs taking you to deck 6 (just before the helipad) and then down a set of stairs on the other side. Let's briefly talk about the elevators. They are slow and pokey mid-ship. Sometimes selecting a button did not trigger all of the elevators and other times it did seem to. Oddly, to move from one floor to another mid-ship, these elevators are placed only on the port side of the ship. The elevators seem to run full most of the time. I am thinking the button selectors need to be replaced. And finally, let's touch upon staff. Generally speaking I found staff to be more pleasant than on the sibling cruise line also operating out of San Juan. The staff were friendly and approachable. In particular I was treated like a king at the champagne bar by Joel and by Mariia. In the Windjammer Cafe' I spoke with a Jamaican waiter who still practices the dying art of balancing a tray of coffee cups, creamer and sugar on his head. He was a very pleasant man with great posture! I did not have any need for the children's clubs, nor did I venture to the main theater for shows. Disembarkation could not have been any easier. I was called to disembark the ship before the scheduled time. I worked my way through customs and immigration rapidly. An improvement I noted from last year's sailing with the sibling cruise line also out of San Juan was that the luggage truck followed right behind the shuttle bus. A year ago, the luggage truck followed by about a half an hour. I had my luggage this year, once I got off the shuttle bus, in about 5 minutes. Great improvement here. So, I am booked on Adventure of the seas a year from now and can not wait to get back to the Royal Caribbean experience.

Excellent job except for a few bumps

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by kwebster58

Trip Details
Booking this cruise was easy. Also, booking the air through RCCL's choice Air program was easy. I, however, eventually handed my reservation over to a third party agent to take advantage of some extras like onboard credit as well as free specialty restaurant dining. About 3 months out, the first problem I experienced was that with each air schedule change, RCCL's Choice Air department did not forward those schedule changes to my travel agent who would then have forwarded those changes to me. There were 3 schedule changes in all. I was only aware of these changes because I would check my airline schedule on a daily basis - directly with the airline. Not a very positive start with their air department. (I might also mention that I overnighted in Philadelphia at the Microtel Philadelphia Airport the night before. But those details are in another review. But let me just add that this was an acceptable property for those needing a one night stay before a flight.)

The next problem I had was showing up late for my pre-arranged transfer shuttle to the ship. In this case, my airline sent my luggage on an earlier flight (by two hours) and removed it from the conveyor belt two hours earlier (sending it to the lost luggage department). By the time I tracked it down, my shuttle had departed. I spent over an hour talking with meet and greet staff by baggage while waiting for a ship's shuttle which never came. I ended up taking a taxi independently.

These were the two big issues for me this entire trip. So, needless to say, I did not get off to a very good start. I would like to add a side note here: assuming things had gone smoothly and I had gotten on the ship's shuttle, I was told I would have to say good bye to my luggage which would then have been delivered to the room later in the day. I explained that I wanted to take my own luggage onboard the ship so that I could unpack right away. I guess that would not have been allowed. It seems self-assist works when getting off the ship, but not when getting on the ship, should you choose to use the prearranged shuttle service. Take note.

By the time I got to the ship (4:30ish) there was no line and I buzzed right through check in. I went immediately to guest services (small line) explained my transfer situation and asked for a refund for the taxi. This amount was turned into onboard credit, once the front office clerk got approval from her supervisor.

After dropping my luggage in my room (cat. D2 aft) I went directly to the future booking office and booked a cruise for a year from now in order to take advantage of onboard credit (for onboard bookings). In that process, I learned that RCCL is changing their cabin categories, which differs from any currently available hard copy brochures for 15-16 sailings. A category that I wanted to book (cat. D1) was not allowed because that space was only available for a party of 3 or 4. In order to get an aft balcony cabin I had to settle for an E3 because of being a solo traveler. Another point to take note.

Finally, I got to my cabin and unpacked. The ship's life boat drill occurred at 8:00 pm with an 8:30 pm sailing.

The ports began (5 of them) the next morning. We started in St. Thomas at the main pier. We were the only ship in port (I think because of it being a Sunday). I did a 6 1/2 hour day trip to St. John offered by the ship. I loved this excursion because it gave me lots of time at Trunk Bay. PS, you can rent low rise beach chairs at Trunk Bay for a reasonable rate.

The next day, we were in St. Kitts. I did not get off the ship because I have been there several times before and saw all I needed to see.

The following day, we were in St. Martin. I chose the Orient Bay Beach Rendezvous. This trip provided me with lounge chair, umbrella and buffet lunch, which was actually very good. The problem with this tour, however, is that the lounge chairs are so close together and so deep (about 7 rows of lounge chairs in a confined space) that if you don't get a chair in the front row, you can not gaze at the beautiful water, or people watch, for that matter.

Following St. Martin, we arrived in Dominica. I did a four hour tour featuring river tubing. This is the second time I have done this tour. It makes me happy. There was lots of laughter as the smooth rocks cause the river tubes to spin, sort of like bumper cars on the water. This is a tour I will repeat each time I return here. Really no need to be responsible for carrying this tube. The guides are quite knowledge about the river and the flow patterns in the river. They are in the river with you, standing in thigh high water to assist during the entire experience.

My last port of call was Barbados. I chose to do a separate taxi ride to get to a beach on the south west corner of the island (the beaches south of where the ship docks are whiter (with some pink flecks) and with a bit of wave. (As a kid I loved to jump the waves). I ended up at Rockley Beach aka Accra Beach. The beach was pretty white sand with enough surf for those with surf boards to travel maybe 20-30 feet per wave. There was a beach bar here with changing facilities. Also lounge chairs and umbrellas were available for rent. (The beaches further north of the pier are tranquil with no surf and with darker tan sand).

The next day was a sea day before returning home.

Now for the food. I did not eat in the MDR. I had one dinner in the Windjammer Café. It does not matter whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, the food here was very good. All of my breakfasts were eaten here. I enjoyed each meal. I rotated dinners between Portofino (the Italian restaurant) and Chops Grill - the steak house. Portofino meals were excellent, but not really a restaurant for red sauce dishes. One night I had seafood on a skewer (i.e., lobster, scallops, shrimp and another kind of fish which I swapped out for more shrimp). This was excellent. Another meal I had was veal chop ala Parmesan. This was not veal parm. as we know it in the US, but rather a chop with a bone covered in fresh ground Parmesan. This was delicious and tender. At the chops grill, I ordered a filet one night. Succulent and tender. Another night I ordered a sirloin. That was fabulous as well. These were maybe some of the most incredible meals I have ever had, including at sea on more upscale cruise lines.

Now for the cabin: I was in a D2 cat. aft facing balcony on deck 10 (room 1104). This row of cabins sit directly under the outdoor dining area of the Windjammer Café. (About 1/3 of the balcony space is exposed to those looking down from the Windjammer Café directly above). Also, something to note is that each morning between 4:00 and 5:00 am, the cleaning crew in the Windjammer Café were moving (scraping) those chairs above. That noise was easily heard. I could set my watch to the time this would occur. Once the Windjammer opened at 7:00 am, one could hear the chairs scraping the floor throughout the day. (I am thinking a better bet, if one were interested in the aft cabins, would be to choose a room on deck 8 or 9). Even from my deck, 10, I really had no view of those below me. But, deck 11 (Windjammer Café) did have a partial view of my balcony on deck 10. My room was very spacious. For the most part it was clean. There was some dust on the dresser drawer handles, which if not pointed out wouldn't be noticed by the room steward. Another observation I made was that the sheers between the sliding glass door and the curtain was looking a bit stained. Another observation which might not be noticed if not opening and closing the sliding glass door with some regularity. Let me add that there was enough storage space for 2 people for 2 weeks, easily.

Overall the ship looked in great shape. I had seen online some images of the public spaces which appear to have been updated since they were taken. But, I hear that the ship will get a big makeover in May 2016.

As for a question I also had about the promenade deck which I researched through Cruise Critic: Does the Promenade deck wrap the ship? The answer is that it does and does not. Most of deck 5 is where you will find the Promenade. However, forward you have to climb a set of stairs taking you to deck 6 (just before the helipad) and then down a set of stairs on the other side.

Let's briefly talk about the elevators. They are slow and pokey mid-ship. Sometimes selecting a button did not trigger all of the elevators and other times it did seem to. Oddly, to move from one floor to another mid-ship, these elevators are placed only on the port side of the ship. The elevators seem to run full most of the time. I am thinking the button selectors need to be replaced.

And finally, let's touch upon staff. Generally speaking I found staff to be more pleasant than on the sibling cruise line also operating out of San Juan. The staff were friendly and approachable. In particular I was treated like a king at the champagne bar by Joel and by Mariia. In the Windjammer Cafe' I spoke with a Jamaican waiter who still practices the dying art of balancing a tray of coffee cups, creamer and sugar on his head. He was a very pleasant man with great posture!

I did not have any need for the children's clubs, nor did I venture to the main theater for shows.

Disembarkation could not have been any easier. I was called to disembark the ship before the scheduled time. I worked my way through customs and immigration rapidly. An improvement I noted from last year's sailing with the sibling cruise line also out of San Juan was that the luggage truck followed right behind the shuttle bus. A year ago, the luggage truck followed by about a half an hour. I had my luggage this year, once I got off the shuttle bus, in about 5 minutes. Great improvement here.

So, I am booked on Adventure of the seas a year from now and can not wait to get back to the Royal Caribbean experience.
kwebster58’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1104
I was in a D2 cat. aft facing balcony on deck 10 (room 1104). This row of cabins sit directly under the outdoor dining area of the Windjammer Café. (About 1/3 of the balcony space is exposed to those looking down from the Windjammer Café directly above). Also, something to note is that each morning between 4:00 and 5:00 am, the cleaning crew in the Windjammer Café were moving (scraping) those chairs above. That noise was easily heard. I could set my watch to the time this would occur. Once the Windjammer opened at 7:00 am, one could hear the chairs scraping the floor throughout the day. (I am thinking a better bet, If one were interested in the aft cabins, would be to choose a room on deck 8 or 9). Even from my deck, 10, I really had no view of those below me. But, deck 11 (Windjammer Café) did have a partial view of my balcony on deck 10. My room was very spacious. For the most part it was clean. There was some dust on the dresser drawer handles, which if not pointed out wouldn't be noticed by the room steward. Another observation I made was that the sheers between the sliding glass door and the curtain was looking a bit stained. Another observation which might not be noticed if not opening and closing the sliding glass door with some regularity.
  Jewel of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Beach
    I chose to do a separate taxi ride to get to a beach on the south west corner of the island (the beaches south of where the ship docks are whiter (with some pink flecks) and with a bit of wave. (As a kid I loved to jump the waves). I ended up at Rockley Beach aka Accra Beach. The beach was pretty white sand with enough surf for those with surf boards to travel maybe 20-30 feet per wave. There was a beach bar here with changing facilities. Also lounge chairs and umbrellas were available for rent. (The beaches further north of the pier are tranquil with no surf and with darker tan sand).
    View All 139 Beach Reviews
  • River Tubing
    I did a four hour tour featuring river tubing. This is the second time I have done this tour. It makes me happy. There was lots of laughter as the smooth rocks cause the river tubes to spin, sort of like bumper cars on the water. This is a tour I will repeat each time I return here. Really no need to be responsible for carrying this tube. The guides are quite knowledge about the river and the flow patterns in the river. They are in the river with you, standing in thigh high water to assist during the entire experience.
    View All 29 River Tubing Reviews
  • Beach
    I chose the Orient Bay Beach Rendezvous. This trip provided me with lounge chair, umbrella and buffet lunch which was actually very good. The problem with this tour, however, is that the lounge chairs are so close together and so deep (about 7 rows of lounge chairs in a confined space) that if you don't get a chair in the front row, you can not gaze at the beautiful water, or people watch, for that matter.
    View All 235 Beach Reviews
  • Catamaran Tour
    We started in St. Thomas at the main pier. We were the only ship in port (I think because of it being a Sunday). I did a 6 1/2 hour day trip to St. John offered by the ship. I loved this excursion because it gave me lots of time at Trunk Bay. PS, you can rent low rise beach chairs at Trunk Bay for a reasonable rate.
    View All 157 Catamaran Tour Reviews