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This was out 15th cruise but the first time flying to a port which was our only "worry". The process was painless and compared very favorably to our typical drive to the ports. Jewel was in good shape, a little dated in some areas but a solid ship still with a good crew. The ports were excellent with St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts, Dominica and Barbados. We actually found ourselves running out of energy towards the end of the week after a whirlwind of excursions, recommend pacing yourself with a very port heavy itinerary. Did not really participate in any onboard activities, the shows did not catch our interest and the bulk of the "programming" seemed to be scheduled during the day when we were busy on excursions. Cabin 8088 was good, but could have been great. The balcony is huge and came with 2 loungers, 2 chairs and 2 small tables. However, the noise from the centrum was noticeable. I had read that the fire door was usually closed at night to limit the noise but this was not the case. Music was audible not really loud enough to keep us awake at all. Excursions were as follows: Kon Tiki harbour tour in St Thomas; crew was personable and energetic but the tour was a but flat, seemed like we had a very small group compared to the size of the tour boat so maybe we just didn't have enough people to get the party started. Snorkel and Kayak in St Kitts; awesome excursion, fun drive down to the south end of St Kitts, snorkeling with some huge starfish and then a couple of miles of kayaking back up the coast. Powerrafting and Snorkel in St Maarten; another great excursion, zipping around the island at about 60 knots, snorkel stop was at the Tiki Hut (very staged snorkel spot with sunken artifacts, but perfect for our son), free beers and rum punch while floating at the beach, great guides. River Tubing in Dominica; this one was just ok, about an hour on the bus doing some sightseeing on the way to the tubing was fine and interesting, the river tubing was a blast but then ended up with an other 90 minutes on the bus which was too much after everything else. Tiama Catamaran and Snorkel in Barbados; another great excursion. Sailed up the coast on the Catamaran then snorkeled with 2 Sea Turtles, a pair of huge pufferfish, a ray, an eel, a flounder/skate and an assortment of other tropical fish, more free beers and drinks while sailing back to the ship were a great ending. Only real complaint was with Main Dining Room. Our servers were personable and we enjoyed talking with them but the service was just a bit "off", the other tables around us seemed to be a course ahead of use, get refills on drinks, etc. where we didn't. Food quality was definitely lower than expected, steaks were frequently small, tough and gristly, couple of incidents of undercooked seafood and no shrimp to be found (disappointing to our son who loves the shrimp cocktail and the fishermans plate).

Good ship, Good Destinations, Painless Flights to/from San Juan

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by jticarruthers

Trip Details
This was out 15th cruise but the first time flying to a port which was our only "worry".

The process was painless and compared very favorably to our typical drive to the ports.

Jewel was in good shape, a little dated in some areas but a solid ship still with a good crew.

The ports were excellent with St Thomas, St Maarten, St Kitts, Dominica and Barbados. We actually found ourselves running out of energy towards the end of the week after a whirlwind of excursions, recommend pacing yourself with a very port heavy itinerary.

Did not really participate in any onboard activities, the shows did not catch our interest and the bulk of the "programming" seemed to be scheduled during the day when we were busy on excursions.

Cabin 8088 was good, but could have been great. The balcony is huge and came with 2 loungers, 2 chairs and 2 small tables. However, the noise from the centrum was noticeable. I had read that the fire door was usually closed at night to limit the noise but this was not the case. Music was audible not really loud enough to keep us awake at all.

Excursions were as follows:

Kon Tiki harbour tour in St Thomas; crew was personable and energetic but the tour was a but flat, seemed like we had a very small group compared to the size of the tour boat so maybe we just didn't have enough people to get the party started.

Snorkel and Kayak in St Kitts; awesome excursion, fun drive down to the south end of St Kitts, snorkeling with some huge starfish and then a couple of miles of kayaking back up the coast.

Powerrafting and Snorkel in St Maarten; another great excursion, zipping around the island at about 60 knots, snorkel stop was at the Tiki Hut (very staged snorkel spot with sunken artifacts, but perfect for our son), free beers and rum punch while floating at the beach, great guides.

River Tubing in Dominica; this one was just ok, about an hour on the bus doing some sightseeing on the way to the tubing was fine and interesting, the river tubing was a blast but then ended up with an other 90 minutes on the bus which was too much after everything else.

Tiama Catamaran and Snorkel in Barbados; another great excursion. Sailed up the coast on the Catamaran then snorkeled with 2 Sea Turtles, a pair of huge pufferfish, a ray, an eel, a flounder/skate and an assortment of other tropical fish, more free beers and drinks while sailing back to the ship were a great ending.

Only real complaint was with Main Dining Room. Our servers were personable and we enjoyed talking with them but the service was just a bit "off", the other tables around us seemed to be a course ahead of use, get refills on drinks, etc. where we didn't.

Food quality was definitely lower than expected, steaks were frequently small, tough and gristly, couple of incidents of undercooked seafood and no shrimp to be found (disappointing to our son who loves the shrimp cocktail and the fishermans plate).
jticarruthers’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Ages 10 to 12
Service
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8088
Cabin was a standard size/shape with a Pullman bed above the regular beds.
Everything seemed to work fine, the sink was draining slow but no big deal.
Balcony was HUGE, standard width but probably about 10 feet deep with 2 loungers and an extra table to go with the normal 2 chairs and a table.
Noise coming up from the Centrum was a little noticeable but not bad enough to keep us awake at night.
  Jewel of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Turtle Swim
    Catamaran ride for about 30-40 mins to the dive site.
    Dive site looks like just plain sand but then the food scraps go in the water and the wild life closes in :)
    Ended up with 2 sea turtles, a ray, an eel, pufferfish, skate/flounder and a cloud of tropical fish in the water with us.
    Free beer/booze at the beach and on the hour or so sail back to the boat were appreciated.
    View All 89 Turtle Swim Reviews
  • River Tubing
    Sightseeing on the way to the tubing was good, nice waterfalls, interesting scenery.
    River tubing itself was a blast, good pace, some fun rapids with some drift time as well.
    Bus ride back was a brutal 90 minutes after everything else.
    Be aware total bus time was about 2.5 hours, with 1.5 hours of tubing and 30 mins at the waterfall stop.
    View All 31 River Tubing Reviews
  • San Juan
    Did not take the time to any excursions/activities in San Juan but the embarkation process was very easy. Landed at the airport about 11, grabbed a cab and we were on board and eating lunch at about 12.30 after breezing through the terminal.
    View All 3,802 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review
  • Kayaking
    Brief and entertaining bus ride down to the launch point at the south end of the island.
    A very nice snorkel (saw several huge starfish along with coral and fish) to warmup and then a challenging 2-3 mile kayak up the coast. When the wind/tide were against you, you had to work pretty well.
    A lot of fun overall.
    View All 17 Kayaking Reviews
  • Power-Rafting
    Great guides with interesting information while racing around the island at 60 knots !
    Snorkel was at the Tiki Hut which is a pleasant "staged" dive, especially for beginners.
    Free Beer/Punch while on board the boat and floating at the beach was a nice touch.
    View All 13,269 Power-Rafting Reviews
  • Kon Tiki Boat
    The tour was fun, cruised around the harbor, viewed a reef and some fish, relaxed on the beach and then cruised back to the boat.
    Seemed like we had about 25-30 people but the boat was setup for closer to 100 so it seemed "flat"
    View All 60 Kon Tiki Boat Reviews