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Our last few cruises have mostly been the megaships (Freedom, Oasis class, Quantum) and we were a bit worried that we’d feel claustrophobic or bored on one of the smallest and older ship of the Royal Caribbean fleet. Luckily the Jewel proved us wrong. The ship is still beautiful, the connection to the sea with the abundance of glass everywhere is perfect, and the staff was the happiest I've experienced in a long time. Both the crew member at the door of the Windjammer jamming to the fun music on his phone, and the coffee server balancing a tray of coffee cups on his head or a wine bottle in the evening put a smile on our faces and helped start our days off right! Sailing out of San Juan is a treat – there’s time to enjoy the town with the late sailaway, and seeing Old San Juan at night lit up is so pretty. Muster drill needs some work – the way the newer ships do it inside a cool lounge or theater is much easier than standing in the heat crowded in on deck. We don’t agree with having to be delayed for muster by the people who don’t show up – they should be tracked down and some fine or such imposed against them, rather than us having to stand for so long waiting. Not only were we crowded together in the heat for so long, but we ended up having to stand next to an obnoxious and drunk couple who loudly complained constantly about Muster cutting into their drinking and smoking time – they should have been removed. We had a quick Windjammer dinner so we wouldn't miss being on deck for sailaway. For Day 2 in St Thomas, we took the ship excursion ‘St John’s On Your Own’. It’s so much easier (and no more costly) to board the boat to St Johns right at the pier rather than worry about the timing of getting to Red Hook for the Cruz Bay ferry and back. Fair warning to anyone unable to take the motion on a smaller boat – it was a wet and rocky ride there and back. All of the passengers from the different St Johns tours sailed over together, wearing different color wristbands to differentiate which tour we were on. After disembarking at Cruz Bay we shared a safari taxi with several others and headed to Trunk Bay. Our Meet & Mingle for our Roll Call was originally scheduled during an inconvenient time on a port day later in the week, but gladly a couple of emails from our group got that changed to 5pm on our St Thomas day. We enjoyed the M&M, and the Cruise Director John Blair met with us. (By the way, he is a very visible and involved CD) We ended up chatting with another couple and being so relaxed we decided to not bother with dressing up for the 1st Formal night, so another Windjammer dinner for us! Day 3 was St Croix. We needed some serious R&R this vacation, so just walked left off the pier and headed to the Freedom City Surf Shop that had been recommended. It was certainly convenient, but just ‘OK’. Some of the chairs were held together by duct tape and the entry into the water was quite rocky (not pebbly, but some large rocks to climb over), but all in all it was a nice day. For Antigua on Day 4 we took a cab to Jolly Beach to meet some friends that got there earlier. A heads up – you will be accosted by the orange-shirted taxi drivers looking to give you a ride or a tour. We felt intimated and annoyed by them swarming around us, and walked away before going back and finding a quieter, more polite older gentleman, Little Joe. Beautiful beach, clean bathrooms, and the Castaways looked like a nice beach bar and grill, but we were holding out for Roti for a late lunch back in town. We had made arrangements with the driver to pick us up a few hours later, and he was there promptly, and dropped us off at Roti King. We enjoyed the Chicken Curry Roti with a local beer, and were the only gringos (non-locals) there. We only had a short walk back to the pier, but our gut reaction was that this port needs quite a bit of infrastructure work - the roads are in poor condition and we didn't feel 100% comfortable walking around. Day 5 was St Lucia; many of our Cruise Critic Roll Call had arranged to take Cosol Tours together. This tour operator has really grown, and there were quite a few vans running the excursion. Royal Caribbean’s Jewel, Adventure and a small HAL ship were in port, and we felt somewhat overcrowded at many of our tour stops. Our driver and tour guide was Ben, and was very good. Our day consisted of sampling a variety of local foods, several photo ops, a stop at a banana plantation, waterfalls, a visit to the Sulphur Springs, a boat ride to a beach between the Pitons (the only real negative point of the tour – the boat operators didn’t tie the boats down properly and it was amazing people weren’t injured more than they were getting out of or into the boats, and there weren’t nearly enough chairs available for the number of visitors to the beach to be comfortable). We had bottled water, beer and rum punch available during the trip, and ended with one last local treat – delicious bread and cheese. The next day was Grenada. Again we had a nice Roll Call group booked together for A&E tours ½ day Best of Nature Tour. We were split into 2 vans with 6 each so we had plenty of room to be comfortable–Eddie (the E of A&E) on one bus, and his son Elon the guide for our group. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Our stops included a spice manufacturing, waterfalls, a rain forest, volcanic lake, a rum distillery, and a stop at Grand Anse Beach. With a slightly late start waiting for a member of our group that didn’t show up, enjoying some of our stops longer than expected, and a bit of traffic, we just didn't have the time we had hoped to visit the beach – it was picture perfect though. Our last day was our only day at sea. During port days there were always plenty of seats by the pools, but as expected, it was a beautiful day and there was hardly a chair to be found. We found one seat in the Solarium and shared it until another opened up later. Unfortunately there were a lot of chogs (chair hogs), and we noticed chairs unoccupied for over 2 hrs with no 'chair police' in sight. We had a chance to explore whatever we hadn't seen of the ship before, shop, and relax. As far as food goes on the ship: The Windjammer was as expected – maybe slightly less variety than on the larger ships, but making up for that was the nice variety of outside or semi-outside seating available. We only had one meal in the MDR, and as with most other MTD spaces, our two top was so close to others that we may as well have been at a table for 6. We enjoyed a nice Portofinos dinner, and the next night booked a Portofinos wine pairing. This was an excellent experience – very much like the Chefs Table on the newer ships, and I can’t believe only 3 couples signed up for this. The next day Chops offered a California Wine Pairing dinner, and this was wonderful as well…again only 3 couples. Too bad the 2 wine pairings were back to back – after the amazing meal and wines we kind of conked out and missed a lot of the nightlife, so I can’t comment on The Quest, the disco, etc. We caught the Love & Marriage game – always fun – and one of the evening Pool Parties. We heard lots of complaints (both beforehand on CC and on the cruise) about drink prices being $12. Although the bar menus only listed Specialty drinks at those prices, the Drink of the Day was $7.75, many wines by the glass for under $12, beers certainly were, and I believe we had several well drinks (such as Rum & Coke, Tom Collins, etc) for maybe the $8 range (with the 18% gratuity included in that). After debarkation in San Juan, we had a late flight, so we took a taxi to Barrachina’s used their free luggage service (with a generous tip, eating brunch at their new upstairs café, and later enjoying a Pina Colada at the bar before leaving), and walked around Old San Juan. The Radiance class was our first cruise 10 years ago, and this class ship is still our favorite.

Jewel is still a beautiful ship.

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by delacruz

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Trip Details
Our last few cruises have mostly been the megaships (Freedom, Oasis class, Quantum) and we were a bit worried that we’d feel claustrophobic or bored on one of the smallest and older ship of the Royal Caribbean fleet. Luckily the Jewel proved us wrong. The ship is still beautiful, the connection to the sea with the abundance of glass everywhere is perfect, and the staff was the happiest I've experienced in a long time. Both the crew member at the door of the Windjammer jamming to the fun music on his phone, and the coffee server balancing a tray of coffee cups on his head or a wine bottle in the evening put a smile on our faces and helped start our days off right!

Sailing out of San Juan is a treat – there’s time to enjoy the town with the late sailaway, and seeing Old San Juan at night lit up is so pretty. Muster drill needs some work – the way the newer ships do it inside a cool lounge or theater is much easier than standing in the heat crowded in on deck. We don’t agree with having to be delayed for muster by the people who don’t show up – they should be tracked down and some fine or such imposed against them, rather than us having to stand for so long waiting. Not only were we crowded together in the heat for so long, but we ended up having to stand next to an obnoxious and drunk couple who loudly complained constantly about Muster cutting into their drinking and smoking time – they should have been removed.

We had a quick Windjammer dinner so we wouldn't miss being on deck for sailaway.

For Day 2 in St Thomas, we took the ship excursion ‘St John’s On Your Own’. It’s so much easier (and no more costly) to board the boat to St Johns right at the pier rather than worry about the timing of getting to Red Hook for the Cruz Bay ferry and back. Fair warning to anyone unable to take the motion on a smaller boat – it was a wet and rocky ride there and back. All of the passengers from the different St Johns tours sailed over together, wearing different color wristbands to differentiate which tour we were on. After disembarking at Cruz Bay we shared a safari taxi with several others and headed to Trunk Bay.

Our Meet & Mingle for our Roll Call was originally scheduled during an inconvenient time on a port day later in the week, but gladly a couple of emails from our group got that changed to 5pm on our St Thomas day. We enjoyed the M&M, and the Cruise Director John Blair met with us. (By the way, he is a very visible and involved CD) We ended up chatting with another couple and being so relaxed we decided to not bother with dressing up for the 1st Formal night, so another Windjammer dinner for us!

Day 3 was St Croix. We needed some serious R&R this vacation, so just walked left off the pier and headed to the Freedom City Surf Shop that had been recommended. It was certainly convenient, but just ‘OK’. Some of the chairs were held together by duct tape and the entry into the water was quite rocky (not pebbly, but some large rocks to climb over), but all in all it was a nice day.

For Antigua on Day 4 we took a cab to Jolly Beach to meet some friends that got there earlier. A heads up – you will be accosted by the orange-shirted taxi drivers looking to give you a ride or a tour. We felt intimated and annoyed by them swarming around us, and walked away before going back and finding a quieter, more polite older gentleman, Little Joe. Beautiful beach, clean bathrooms, and the Castaways looked like a nice beach bar and grill, but we were holding out for Roti for a late lunch back in town. We had made arrangements with the driver to pick us up a few hours later, and he was there promptly, and dropped us off at Roti King. We enjoyed the Chicken Curry Roti with a local beer, and were the only gringos (non-locals) there. We only had a short walk back to the pier, but our gut reaction was that this port needs quite a bit of infrastructure work - the roads are in poor condition and we didn't feel 100% comfortable walking around.

Day 5 was St Lucia; many of our Cruise Critic Roll Call had arranged to take Cosol Tours together. This tour operator has really grown, and there were quite a few vans running the excursion. Royal Caribbean’s Jewel, Adventure and a small HAL ship were in port, and we felt somewhat overcrowded at many of our tour stops. Our driver and tour guide was Ben, and was very good. Our day consisted of sampling a variety of local foods, several photo ops, a stop at a banana plantation, waterfalls, a visit to the Sulphur Springs, a boat ride to a beach between the Pitons (the only real negative point of the tour – the boat operators didn’t tie the boats down properly and it was amazing people weren’t injured more than they were getting out of or into the boats, and there weren’t nearly enough chairs available for the number of visitors to the beach to be comfortable). We had bottled water, beer and rum punch available during the trip, and ended with one last local treat – delicious bread and cheese.

The next day was Grenada. Again we had a nice Roll Call group booked together for A&E tours ½ day Best of Nature Tour. We were split into 2 vans with 6 each so we had plenty of room to be comfortable–Eddie (the E of A&E) on one bus, and his son Elon the guide for our group. We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Our stops included a spice manufacturing, waterfalls, a rain forest, volcanic lake, a rum distillery, and a stop at Grand Anse Beach. With a slightly late start waiting for a member of our group that didn’t show up, enjoying some of our stops longer than expected, and a bit of traffic, we just didn't have the time we had hoped to visit the beach – it was picture perfect though.

Our last day was our only day at sea. During port days there were always plenty of seats by the pools, but as expected, it was a beautiful day and there was hardly a chair to be found. We found one seat in the Solarium and shared it until another opened up later. Unfortunately there were a lot of chogs (chair hogs), and we noticed chairs unoccupied for over 2 hrs with no 'chair police' in sight. We had a chance to explore whatever we hadn't seen of the ship before, shop, and relax.

As far as food goes on the ship: The Windjammer was as expected – maybe slightly less variety than on the larger ships, but making up for that was the nice variety of outside or semi-outside seating available. We only had one meal in the MDR, and as with most other MTD spaces, our two top was so close to others that we may as well have been at a table for 6. We enjoyed a nice Portofinos dinner, and the next night booked a Portofinos wine pairing. This was an excellent experience – very much like the Chefs Table on the newer ships, and I can’t believe only 3 couples signed up for this. The next day Chops offered a California Wine Pairing dinner, and this was wonderful as well…again only 3 couples.

Too bad the 2 wine pairings were back to back – after the amazing meal and wines we kind of conked out and missed a lot of the nightlife, so I can’t comment on The Quest, the disco, etc. We caught the Love & Marriage game – always fun – and one of the evening Pool Parties.

We heard lots of complaints (both beforehand on CC and on the cruise) about drink prices being $12. Although the bar menus only listed Specialty drinks at those prices, the Drink of the Day was $7.75, many wines by the glass for under $12, beers certainly were, and I believe we had several well drinks (such as Rum & Coke, Tom Collins, etc) for maybe the $8 range (with the 18% gratuity included in that).

After debarkation in San Juan, we had a late flight, so we took a taxi to Barrachina’s used their free luggage service (with a generous tip, eating brunch at their new upstairs café, and later enjoying a Pina Colada at the bar before leaving), and walked around Old San Juan.

The Radiance class was our first cruise 10 years ago, and this class ship is still our favorite.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9540
We were in an E2 balcony, I didn't realize was going to be smaller than the E2 we had on the Freedom a few years ago. Next time on this class of ship we’ll stick to a D1, it was just a bit tight walking past each other in the cabin! Like most RCCL ships, there was plenty of storage for all of our ‘stuff’. We love that feeling of unpacking and settling into our ‘home’ for the next week.
  Jewel of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Grenada
    By the recommendation of one of our Roll Call members, several of us booked A&E tours for their ½ day Best of Nature Tour. Although we were comfortable with our group of 12 in one van, we were split into 2 vans with 6 each – each with a driver and Eddie running one group and his son Elon the guide for our group. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with Elon – an incredibly knowledgeable young man with a love for his island and lifestyle. Our stops included the Amba-Kaila-Spice manufacturing plant (we would have loved to see the plant in action, but did enjoy the demonstration offered and shopping in the store), Annandale waterfalls, Grand Etang rain forest, volcanic lake, a rum distillery and ended at Grand Anse Beach. With a slightly late start waiting for a member of our group that didn’t show up, enjoying some of our stops longer than expected, and a bit of traffic, we just didn’t have the time we had hoped to visit the beach – it was picture perfect beautiful.
    View All 633 Grenada Cruise Port Reviews
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  • San Juan
    We had a 6pm flight home on our day of disembarkation in San Juan. We enjoyed the ship until it was time to get kicked off, and took a taxi to Barrachina's in Old San Juan. They provide a wonderful free service of storing luggage from 9am-5pm. It seems to be a good business practice - we gave a tip as recommended, but also decided to start our day on our own in OSJ with breakfast in their Governo's Cafe & Deli upstairs and before leaving for the airport later that afternoon, enjoyed a Pina Colada at the bar. We were at Barrachina's 2 years ago for the Flamenco Show and dinner, and they've really expanded their facility since then.

    Old San Juan is a wonderful place for just wandering. We've already visited the Forts, so just strolled (especially love Paseo De La Princesa and exploring the sculptures along the way, and the walk along the water to Paseo del Morro).
    View All 3,783 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. Croix
    We needed some serious R&R this vacation, so just walked left off the pier and headed to the Freedom City Surf Shop. We got there a little later in the day - by then most of the chairs were rented, so we got the 'dregs' (duct tape was involved :) ), but it was fine. The entry into the water for much of their stretch of beach was quite rocky (not pebbly, but some large rocks to climb over), but once in, the water was gorgeous. There were reasonably priced drinks (we had the rum punch 2 for $5) and food was available.
    View All 421 St. Croix Cruise Port Reviews
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  • St. John Tour
    We took the ‘St John’s On Your Own’ Royal Caribbean Excursion. It’s so much easier (and no more costly) to board the boat to St Johns right at the pier rather than worry about the timing of getting to Red Hook, the ferry to Cruz Bay, and back. Fair warning to anyone unable to take the motion on a smaller boat – it was a wet and rocky ride there and back. All of the passengers from the different St Johns tours ride over together, wearing different color wristbands. After disembarking at Cruz Bay we shared a safari taxi with several others and headed to Trunk Bay.

    Entry to the Virgin Islands National Park at Trunk Bay is $4 pp. We rented a couple of chairs (they are the low to the ground beach chairs, not chaise lounges. Rental was $5 per chair, but heads up that there is a $25 deposit CC or cash for each chair and a deposit for anything you can rent – snorkel gear, etc.).

    The food at the grill was adequate – burgers (meat and veggie, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs, fries, etc. It’s nice having decent restrooms, showers and changing facilities available. There were taxis waiting to head back to Cruz Bay, but we made the mistake of not following our instincts to wait and not get into a smaller taxi that 3 other couples were waiting in. Once we sat down, we filled the 2 benches, but the driver insisted there was room for another couple, so we were really squeezed – and they looked like they were about to slide out the back!

    Once back on board the ‘Painkillers’ began flowing, ‘lubing’ us up to buy their t-shirts and caps. The crew was fantastic and I think they are from Cool Boats USVI.
    View All 172 St. John Tour Reviews