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All in all, the cruise was a great experience. This is my 4th cruise, 2nd on Royal Caribbean. Our itinerary was San Juan-Barbados-St Lucia-St Johns-St Maartan-St Croix-San Juan. Check-in: The check-in and boarding process was very easy, especially since we arrived dockside a little early. The ship: I really don’t have much to say about the Jewel of the Seas. The ship is older, due for a retrofit in April, so I can look past the age of the boat. It basically is what it is, and I can look past that knowing that. The crew appeared to do what it could to keep up on the maintenance issues, which kept them fairly busy. Amenities on board: Wi-Fi system lacking, though I didn’t use it. My teenager was upset though. She got over it. I hope this is upgraded in the retrofit. Activities: The comedians were great. Didn’t see the Broadway shows, however. New Years Eve event was excellent, and we had a great time! Service: This is my area of biggest complaint. While all in all, the staff tried to be pleasant, I found the service to be slow at best. Bar staff was always busy (naturally) but they seemed to always be understaffed, and slow. Room attendant was acceptable. Since some of the crew appeared to be nearing the end of their contract, they just didn’t display the friendliness that I would expect. I spoke to one officer staff, and she was less than friendly. I think that they would put out the minimum effort, and they seemed to be always talking about tipping. And since I mentioned it here, let’s talk about that tipping. It is to be earned for superior performance, not expected just because they served you. When you purchase the unlimited beverage package, they include an 18% gratuity. If you want something else, you gotta earn it. Royal Caribbean, if you talk about how your employees should be tipped, as a part of their wages, then there is obviously a problem with your wage scale. The dining room staff was acceptable; nothing fabulous here. Although they were trying to drum up the tipping. Same with the store staff and even the excursion staff. Again, all in all, just acceptable at best service. Excursions: Got what was expected. Nothing more. Dockside was usually slow, and once we didn’t leave from dockside until almost an hour from our meeting time, which put us late for the rest of the day. Only complaint I had was from the Kayak trip on St Croix, which my family was looking forward. My response was…eh. The cost was higher than the other excursions we went on, by almost 50%, and we received nothing for that extra cost, in my opinion. So I would not recommend the “ocean going kayak adventure.” It was an adventure. It was boring. In looking back, I would have rather saved the money and buy my own kayaks. Shopping: Didn’t really come to shop, however, we bought something on the ship. Was surprised when we got pulled out of the disembarkation line to hit the special Customs line, where I had to pay duty. Wasn’t that big a purchase, but here’s my issue: If you buy something on shore, and you want to get it through Customs without paying duty, you take that chance, and you are fully aware of it. I don’t do that, but there are people that do. It’s their business. You take that chance if you get caught, and you pay the piper. I don’t take that chance. The person ahead of me said that he’s been on 20 cruises, and never got the special screening from Customs. But he also purchased something from the ship. So obviously, Royal Caribbean is flagging people who purchase something onboard, and pulling you out for Customs screening. A Customs requirement? Not likely. There’s something going, and I just don’t like it. So my suggestion is: DON’T BUY ANYTHING OF VALUE FROM ONBOARD STORES! Not to try and get around Customs, but to show that RC shouldn’t be acting as an agent for Customs. Or anybody. They are a recreation provider, not an extension of the government. So in conclusion, this cruise was nothing spectacular. Got the bare minimum, got over charged, and just didn’t receive any wow factor. If RC is going to continue using these smaller ships, they should spin them up to try and compete with bigger ships. My first cruise was on RC, and before I took this cruise, I was all set to be a little more loyal. But now…..not so sure.

Jewel of the Seas Not a Gem

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by dsplumb21

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2015
  • Destination: Caribbean
All in all, the cruise was a great experience. This is my 4th cruise, 2nd on Royal Caribbean. Our itinerary was San Juan-Barbados-St Lucia-St Johns-St Maartan-St Croix-San Juan.

Check-in: The check-in and boarding process was very easy, especially since we arrived dockside a little early.

The ship: I really don’t have much to say about the Jewel of the Seas. The ship is older, due for a retrofit in April, so I can look past the age of the boat. It basically is what it is, and I can look past that knowing that. The crew appeared to do what it could to keep up on the maintenance issues, which kept them fairly busy.

Amenities on board: Wi-Fi system lacking, though I didn’t use it. My teenager was upset though. She got over it. I hope this is upgraded in the retrofit.

Activities: The comedians were great. Didn’t see the Broadway shows, however. New Years Eve event was excellent, and we had a great time!

Service: This is my area of biggest complaint. While all in all, the staff tried to be pleasant, I found the service to be slow at best. Bar staff was always busy (naturally) but they seemed to always be understaffed, and slow. Room attendant was acceptable. Since some of the crew appeared to be nearing the end of their contract, they just didn’t display the friendliness that I would expect. I spoke to one officer staff, and she was less than friendly. I think that they would put out the minimum effort, and they seemed to be always talking about tipping.

And since I mentioned it here, let’s talk about that tipping. It is to be earned for superior performance, not expected just because they served you. When you purchase the unlimited beverage package, they include an 18% gratuity. If you want something else, you gotta earn it. Royal Caribbean, if you talk about how your employees should be tipped, as a part of their wages, then there is obviously a problem with your wage scale.

The dining room staff was acceptable; nothing fabulous here. Although they were trying to drum up the tipping. Same with the store staff and even the excursion staff. Again, all in all, just acceptable at best service.

Excursions: Got what was expected. Nothing more. Dockside was usually slow, and once we didn’t leave from dockside until almost an hour from our meeting time, which put us late for the rest of the day. Only complaint I had was from the Kayak trip on St Croix, which my family was looking forward. My response was…eh. The cost was higher than the other excursions we went on, by almost 50%, and we received nothing for that extra cost, in my opinion. So I would not recommend the “ocean going kayak adventure.” It was an adventure. It was boring. In looking back, I would have rather saved the money and buy my own kayaks.

Shopping: Didn’t really come to shop, however, we bought something on the ship. Was surprised when we got pulled out of the disembarkation line to hit the special Customs line, where I had to pay duty. Wasn’t that big a purchase, but here’s my issue: If you buy something on shore, and you want to get it through Customs without paying duty, you take that chance, and you are fully aware of it. I don’t do that, but there are people that do. It’s their business. You take that chance if you get caught, and you pay the piper. I don’t take that chance. The person ahead of me said that he’s been on 20 cruises, and never got the special screening from Customs. But he also purchased something from the ship. So obviously, Royal Caribbean is flagging people who purchase something onboard, and pulling you out for Customs screening. A Customs requirement? Not likely. There’s something going, and I just don’t like it. So my suggestion is: DON’T BUY ANYTHING OF VALUE FROM ONBOARD STORES! Not to try and get around Customs, but to show that RC shouldn’t be acting as an agent for Customs. Or anybody. They are a recreation provider, not an extension of the government.

So in conclusion, this cruise was nothing spectacular. Got the bare minimum, got over charged, and just didn’t receive any wow factor. If RC is going to continue using these smaller ships, they should spin them up to try and compete with bigger ships. My first cruise was on RC, and before I took this cruise, I was all set to be a little more loyal. But now…..not so sure.
dsplumb21’s Full Rating Summary
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Ages 16+
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