This cruise sailed over Christmas and this was the reason we booked a cruise only and arranged our own flights, we were then spending New Year at a hotel we go to regularly in Dubai. We've done this cruise many times with RCI and Azamara so we knew what to expect from the ports however we hadn't sailed on Jewel before.
Emarkation: We stayed 1 night pre-cruise at the Fairmont Dubai which was close to the airport and Port Rashid as its never a good idea travelling overnight and going straight to the ship. Our transport picked us up at 11:00am and we were at the port by 11:15, dropped off our luggage and headed for immigration and check-in, this was very efficient and we were on board by 11:45. The Windjammer was open for lunch and was reasonably busy when we go there but we managed to get a seat outside. The cabins were available by 13:30 so headed down to unpack.
Cabin: The spacious balcony cabin on deck 9 was a decent size with plenty of storage space and a good size balcony, there was tea and coffee which was great and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was small but there was a shower with a proper shower screen but no added extras like shower cap or fancy amenities, very basic, a bar of soap and some cheapo shower gel, the towels were a decent quality and thick. The cabin steward was efficient and made sure everything was kept clean.
Overall the cabin badly needed upgraded.
Dinning: We had opted for My Time Dinning and had booked our times in advance, we had also reserved Giovanni's and Chops. The food was excellent in every venue including The Windjammer, there were plenty of choices for everyone and we were never disappointed at breakfast or lunch times. The service in all venues was first class, sometimes a bit slower in the main restaurant in the evening depending on which table you were at and who the waiters were. The only disappointing thing in the main restaurant was that turkey was served on Christmas Eve and not Christmas day.
Entertainment: Some shows we enjoyed however we have seen better singers and dancers purely personal choice, we also don't like circus acts however the best show we watched was Bruce Parker an amazing singer and very charismatic gentleman. There was also the Matisse Trio, Magic Duo and Sagitario Duo who played in various areas around the ship all good.
Bars: A lot of activities seemed to stem around the atrium during the day and in the evening which can be a bit annoying if you are walking through so we tended to avoid this deck whenever we could.
The Schooner Bar was always busy as there was musical entertainment every night. In the Safari Lounge there was a great Gin Bar a recent addition to the ship and a Vodka Bar which very few people knew about as it wasn't advertised anywhere, we only found out about it after speaking to Anthony who was working in the Solarium Bar. We enjoy Gin and we were very pleased to see such a great variety of Whitely Neil Gins along with many others and a good Gin menu for cocktails, Anthony (the same Bar Man from the Solarium) was very friendly and was excellent in offering ideas.
Dress Code: All I can say is some people obviously didn't get the memo!!! even though you are on holiday you should dress appropriately for the restaurant in the evening and make a bit of an effort on Formal nights.
There was only 1 sea day on this cruise and as expected the pool deck and surrounding areas were very busy, all the sun beds were occupied and too close together. The weather was fabulous during the cruise mid to high 20s every day which isn't always the case at this time of year.
The crew were constantly cleaning and sanitising and everyday in the Cruise Compass there was a section about Wash Up and the Captain also reiterated this regularly however near the end of the cruise there was an outbreak of Norovirus and additional cleaning was introduced, when will people not recognise basic hygiene by washing their hand after using the toilets!!!!
Disembarkation was straight forward as we were overnight in Dubai anyway and everyone was off the ship for 09:00am
Overall we enjoyed the cruise however in my opinion the ship is in need of a refurbishment and we were told by an Officer that this not scheduled until sometime in 2021 however it wouldn't put us off sailing on Jewel again
The cabin was a decent size with plenty of storage space and a good size balcony. The bathroom was small and definitely in need of a major upgrade, the inside of the bathroom cabinet was practically falling apart, however there was a proper shower screen as opposed to a curtain which was far better, there were no fancy toiletries and no extras apart from a small bar of soap, I certainly would not use the body wash that was in the shower.