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We selected this cruise for the itinerary, The Holy Land. The first sailing day we had stormy weather. Lots of queasy passengers, very hard to walk around and several activities cancelled or rescheduled. This is one of the challenges of sailing and -- it happens. The crew did a great job of communicating and making us as comfortable as possible given the circumstances. Because of the weather, our Sicily stop was changed to Crete. Personally, we didn't mind because we had never visited Crete. Our Ashdod port was changed to Haifa so we had an overnight stay in Haifa. We agreed, better to be safe. Unfortunately, it was a religious holiday and everyplace we visited on the Jerusalem and Bethlehem shore excursion was very, very crowded. Compounded by the longer transit time (1.5 hours) from Haifa versus Ashdod, it was not the experience we had anticipated. Nonetheless, we were able to quickly see religious sites that had enormous emotional and sentimental value to us. The Jewel is a little older, but well maintained. I have sailed on the Jewel before so I knew what to expect in terms of ship size and layout. It does not have zip lines, surfing, multi-deck slides, carousels, and neighborhoods. The Jewel is a good, mid-sized ship with some of the older ship style charm. We were in cabin 9256, which has a standard size cabin, but a larger balcony. The extended balcony has a nice AFT and Port view. There are passenger cabins above and below. It is very private and quiet. It would be nice to have a staircase towards the aft. Our aft cabin was quite a walk; on the bright side, we got exercise just going/coming to/from the cabin. The food ranged from okay to good; the dining room staff was very pleasant. We had Anytime Dining and our average wait for a table for two was approximately five minutes. The seatig wait time was consistent with a land based restaurant. The entertainment in the centrum area was quite good. It was usually a crowded area. We are in our late 60s and sailing in November allowed us to avoid too many children and teenagers. The children that were sailing were very well behaved. Our fellow passengers were primarily multi-generational families and couples. The shore excursions were as described, so no surprises there. We pre-ordered the excursions we wanted and used the ship excursions for most of our ports. The two exceptions were that we booked the Hop On Hop Off bus in Rhodes (small port city) and Athens (we had been there before and just wanted to get an overview). Yes, there were less expensive excursions available from private vendors...but the notion of being left at a port frightens me. We quickly learned, strenuous meant strenuous and made one or two adjustments to our selections after our first full day excursion. When we changed excursions, I wished the Shore Excursions Desk onboard would honor the 10-20% discounts we received for pre-ordering. Also, Easy Ephesus could spend a few minutes at the ruins for pictures and a lot less time hearing a carpet sales pitch. We had a great time. My overall suggestion for this itinerary would be to take the earlier sailing (there were only two offered in 2019), the weather would probably be better and you may avoid religious holidays.

Interesting Cruise Experience

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by Noble724

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We selected this cruise for the itinerary, The Holy Land. The first sailing day we had stormy weather. Lots of queasy passengers, very hard to walk around and several activities cancelled or rescheduled. This is one of the challenges of sailing and -- it happens. The crew did a great job of communicating and making us as comfortable as possible given the circumstances. Because of the weather, our Sicily stop was changed to Crete. Personally, we didn't mind because we had never visited Crete. Our Ashdod port was changed to Haifa so we had an overnight stay in Haifa. We agreed, better to be safe. Unfortunately, it was a religious holiday and everyplace we visited on the Jerusalem and Bethlehem shore excursion was very, very crowded. Compounded by the longer transit time (1.5 hours) from Haifa versus Ashdod, it was not the experience we had anticipated. Nonetheless, we were able to quickly see religious sites that had enormous emotional and sentimental value to us.

The Jewel is a little older, but well maintained. I have sailed on the Jewel before so I knew what to expect in terms of ship size and layout. It does not have zip lines, surfing, multi-deck slides, carousels, and neighborhoods. The Jewel is a good, mid-sized ship with some of the older ship style charm.

We were in cabin 9256, which has a standard size cabin, but a larger balcony. The extended balcony has a nice AFT and Port view. There are passenger cabins above and below. It is very private and quiet. It would be nice to have a staircase towards the aft. Our aft cabin was quite a walk; on the bright side, we got exercise just going/coming to/from the cabin.

The food ranged from okay to good; the dining room staff was very pleasant. We had Anytime Dining and our average wait for a table for two was approximately five minutes. The seatig wait time was consistent with a land based restaurant.

The entertainment in the centrum area was quite good. It was usually a crowded area. We are in our late 60s and sailing in November allowed us to avoid too many children and teenagers. The children that were sailing were very well behaved. Our fellow passengers were primarily multi-generational families and couples.

The shore excursions were as described, so no surprises there. We pre-ordered the excursions we wanted and used the ship excursions for most of our ports. The two exceptions were that we booked the Hop On Hop Off bus in Rhodes (small port city) and Athens (we had been there before and just wanted to get an overview). Yes, there were less expensive excursions available from private vendors...but the notion of being left at a port frightens me. We quickly learned, strenuous meant strenuous and made one or two adjustments to our selections after our first full day excursion. When we changed excursions, I wished the Shore Excursions Desk onboard would honor the 10-20% discounts we received for pre-ordering. Also, Easy Ephesus could spend a few minutes at the ruins for pictures and a lot less time hearing a carpet sales pitch.

We had a great time. My overall suggestion for this itinerary would be to take the earlier sailing (there were only two offered in 2019), the weather would probably be better and you may avoid religious holidays.
Noble724’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Spacious Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 4B
Average sized cabin but large balcony. The balcony has a slightly extended area that enables you to have both Aft and Port views. Passenger cabins above and below so very private and no noise from other cabins. If you like Aft cabins, this is an excellent choice.
Deck 11 Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Athens (Piraeus)
    Good for an overview of Pireaus and Athens. We visited Athens before and did not want more than an overview.
    View All 1,276 Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Nazareth and Galilee
    Excellent experience. It was great to visit Nazareth, Galilee, the River Jordan, Sea of Galilee, Mount of Beatitudes and Capernaum. These were the areas we wanted to visit during this sailing. Although there were a lot of stops and significant religious history, the tour was a comfortable pace and enjoyable.
    View All 24 Nazareth and Galilee Reviews
  • Bethlehem Walking Tour
    We were really looking forward to visiting Jerusalem, the Western Wall and Bethlehem. For security reasons, we skipped Ashdod and the ship remained at the port to Haifa overnight. Porting in Haifa added an hour to the distance we traveled for this excursion. We left late and it was a religious holiday; therefore, very, very crowded and rushed. We were pleased to be able to visit Jerusalem, the Western Wall and Bethlehem, in spite of the crowds and hurried experience. Regardless of the issues, it was great to see and experience the religious areas of Jerusalem and Bethlehem -- that is why we took this sailing.
    View All 11 Bethlehem Walking Tour Reviews
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre
    We were really looking forward to visiting Jerusalem, the Western Wall and Bethlehem. For security reasons, we skipped Ashdod and the ship remained at the port to Haifa overnight. Porting in Haifa added an hour to the distance we traveled for this excursion. We left late and it was a religious holiday; therefore, very, very crowded and rushed. We were pleased to be able to visit Jerusalem, the Western Wall and Bethlehem, in spite of the crowds and hurried experience. Regardless of the issues, it was great to see and experience the religious areas of Jerusalem and Bethlehem -- that is why we took this sailing.
    View All 9 Church of the Holy Sepulchre Reviews
  • Western Wall
    We were really looking forward to visiting Jerusalem, the Western Wall and Bethlehem. For security reasons, we skipped Ashdod and the ship remained at the port to Haifa overnight. Porting in Haifa added an hour to the distance we traveled for this excursion. We left late and it was a religious holiday; therefore, very, very crowded and rushed. We were pleased to be able to visit Jerusalem, the Western Wall and Bethlehem, in spite of the crowds and hurried experience. Regardless of the issues, it was great to see and experience the religious areas of Jerusalem and Bethlehem -- that is why we took this sailing.
    View All 13 Western Wall Reviews
  • Kusadasi
    Good overview of Ephesus. Suggest there be a 10-minute photo stop at the Ephesus ruins and a lot less time at the carpet factory.
    View All 632 Kusadasi Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Kusadasi Cruise Port Review
  • Limassol
    Great overview of Paphos. Leisurely pace.
    View All 76 Limassol Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Limassol Cruise Port Review