Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by Suyling
Arrived a day early in San Juan for cruise and stayed at the Sandy Beach Hotel Let me just start out saying the best thing I can say about this hotel (if you can call it that) is that it is very close to the beach. We realize that San Juan is still recovering from the recent hurricane, but most of the conditions in the hotel were not related to any weather issues. At check in I wouldn't say the person was out and out rude but he was very short. The elevator did not work properly, you have to step up or step down to get in/out of it. The room was very barren. I'm not sure the floors were cleaned as they were very gritty. The TV did not work (looks like it took rain damage at some point). There was no phone and the safe was a rusted box with no lock. There was no smoke detector in the room and my husband was very concerned about this as he is a volunteer fireman. The bed was like sleeping on a piece of plywood. We got no sleep. Needless to say after spending a few hours on the beach we were anxious to get on the ship. This was our 1st time back on a Royal Caribbean ship in quite some time. We have been trying different cruise lines. The embarkment went smoothly, we arrived at 12:15 pm and within 1/2 an hour from the time the taxi dropped us off, we were on the ship. The first thing I that struck me funny is the time the ship disembarks 8:30 pm which is quite late. We were not able to get into the cabin for a few hours. We decided to have some lunch in the Windjammer which was okay and explore the ship. The one thing I liked is they decorated for Christmas. When we purchased mixed drinks we noticed the cost had increased quite a bit. As we always do we had scheduled a massage the 1st day of the cruise. My husband and I enjoyed the massage. What we didn't care for was the hard sell of products afterwards. The 1st night we were seated for dinner in an annex of the dining room with 11 people at our table. We like to sit at a large table to get to know other guests. But it was way overcrowded. The next day we requested another table and they put us at a table for 2 without even asking our preference. It was right next to a window (although with the 8:30 seating you cannot see anything) and also next to an overcrowded table of 13. WOW! Talk about tight space and the servers were busy with the larger table most of the time. This meant, that we were treated, as an afterthought. The food was okay, but nothing spectacular. As for entertainment the shows were not Great, nothing memorable about them. There were not a lot of activities to attend. The ones they did have seemed to be in the center of the ship which was very small. People would rudely stand in front of you when you were trying to watch what was going on. They had a few trivia’s and things by the main pool when we departed the islands. We spent a good portion of time in the solarium as the main pool was over crowded. This ship only had 3 hot tubs so there was a waiting period to be able to enjoy them. Since we had a balcony room we wanted to have a snack and drinks on the balcony and discovered that they now charge a fee to use room service. It seemed we were being nickel and dimed every time we turned around. The islands we visited were St. Kitts, Antigua, Martinique, Barbados, and Granada. As always we have alot of fun on the excursions. In St. Kitts we did a catamaran sail and lunch cruise where we snorkeled and went to a private beach in Nevis. In Antigua, we also did a catamaran sail and private beach with a lobster lunch which was very delicious. In Martinique we did something different, we went to a zoo and rum distillery which we loved the zoo. The distillery not so much. In Barbados, we again went on a catamaran sail and snorkel with the turtles which was fun. Finally, in Granada we opted for something different and went on a River tubing adventure. The adventure started with the mini bus ride there, very narrow winding roads and no shocks on bus, and we sat in last row. It took longer to get there and back than we were on the river. We were laughing the whole time getting to the river, our hour long river tubing and coming back to the ship. All our excursions were Awesome! Our one day at sea we decided to go on the behind the scenes tour which was very interesting. I believe my husband enjoyed the Bridge the best. I do have to say that the excursion prices seemed to have gone up a good bit as well. Especially the behind the scenes tour was pricey. Disembarkment as always could go smoother that it does. It seems by that point they just want you off the ship. We noticed that the ship tended to cater to the Spanish speaking population, which was not the case the last cruise we took out of San Juan. Overall, I think we will try a different cruise line the next time we take a cruise.
Suyling’s Full Rating Summary
This cabin has an obstructed view. It does not list this in any of the information that we received about the cabin. Directly below our cabin are the life boats so you cannot see directly down into the ocean you can only see straight out. The cabin seemed dingy to me as if it needed a good cleaning. We were so disappointed in the cabin we asked to be moved. Unfortunately, they were not able to accommodate our request. The cabin Steward did not introduce himself until day 3 of the cruise. We thought this was quite strange. We were not impressed with what was supposed to be a Deluxe Balcony cabin.
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