We are a retired couple who enjoy cruising to interesting places. We had never been on the Jewel, but have been on several ships within the fleet.
On arriving in Dubai, we stayed for a few nights pre cruise. Our flight and transfers were very smooth, although we arranged this independently, not through the Company.
Check in at the port was easy & quick. Passports are taken before embarkation, & returned during the cruise.
Our cabin was extremely small, and unknown to us when booking, was an interconnecting room. We never take these rooms, but have to admit we didn’t hear anything from the next cabin on both sectors of the cruise...we did a b2b, and stayed in the same cabin. The balcony was a reasonable size & we sat there everyday, except when there was adverse weather !
It was most unusual for this part of the world, at the time we were cruising, to have so much mixed, unsettled weather, but it didn’t deter us from walking ashore. Some days it was cold in the morning, then later, it was too hot to sunbathe ! As we were coming to the end of the second cruise, the weather became more settled.
We were looking forward to Bahrain, as we had never been there, but that was cancelled in the interest of security & safety, so not a problem.
Doha, Qatar, was interesting. The free shuttle dropped us at the museum, in a car park, but after looking around, spotted a sign for the Corniche, which was within easy walking distance of being dropped off. It was a very pleasant walk, all on the flat, and we walked past the big oyster...a much visited monument ! There is also a lovely park at the museum, which we also walked around. Everything was clean & well maintained....throughout the majority of the ports where we stopped.
The only port which was a bit disappointing was Khasab, but even there we found a good walk to the beach, which has potential, but has still to be developed ! We also walked to the fort, which is in the opposite direction from the beach. There really isn’t much in town, so taking the shuttle might not be worthwhile, but .....
Our favourite port is Muscat, Oman, which is kept beautifully clean & the palace is worth a visit. It is possible to walk there from the port, along the Corniche, but it is a fairly long walk, & in the heat, might prove too much for some. When we were there, the temperature was perfect for walking.
Sir Bani Yas island is a tender port, and when we visited during the first cruise, the weather was very windy, but we managed to get ashore. We didn’t take any excursions ashore, instead walked about the area near the drop off point. To be honest, not much there in this area, except sun loungers, cabanas and food stops. The weather wasn’t warm enough to lie and sunbathe, so after walking around, stopped for a light lunch and walked back to the tender station to return to the ship. There is a section for suites & Pinnacles, and a golf cart type of vehicle transports those wishing to go to Al Reem beach, which is the private area for the aforementioned.
The ship was well maintained, & all crew we encountered were delightful, pleasant & friendly.
Our MDR servers for both cruises were lovely people. The food was hot, well presented, tasty and perfect portion size for us. We have absolutely no complaints about food, regardless where we ate. There was a good selection of food in the WJ and there is no excuse for people not to choose healthy options, of which there was plenty.
The Diamond Lounge & the Concierge Lounges were well presented. It was good to see that the CL was for only Suites & Pinnacles, meaning that it was a pleasant place to sit in the evenings without being overcrowded. The D Lounge extended to part of the Vortex lounge, so there was plenty of space for all to sit. The crew in the lounges were lovely. Octavian in the CL was so professional & friendly. He was on his own, and remembered every drink passengers ordered, although always checked before serving, to make sure there was no change !
We didn’t know crew before we went on, but by the time we left, felt as if we had been in the company of dear friends !
Our SRA was good, & cleaned our room early. He knew we were early risers, so managed to clean our room before we returned from breakfast, which meant we didn’t have to rush to go off the ship.
The crew in Chops were professional, helpful, kind and friendly. Breakfast was a pleasant experience, and our regular servers couldn’t have been nicer...Ana & Dickson.
The HD, Tony, is a lovely person, as were all his team. Ganesh, F& B seemed to be omnipresent, & always greeted us with his enigmatic smile. There are too many people to mention individually, but all we encountered were a credit to the company.
Only downside was that we had an issue with our internet for a few days, but it wasn’t to do with the ship, but the satellite signal where we were. Ariel, IT manager, tried to resolve the problem, but it was out-with his control. After a few days, the signal suddenly returned !
We liked the ship, & look forward to returning later, knowing we are going to meet pleasant crew.
It is unlikely ships in this company will sail in the area after this year, for various reasons, so we are glad we managed to visit the ports again.
Unfortunately there wasn’t a reserved sun lounging area for Gold card holders, but we always managed to find a spot to lie for an hour. We did notice some loungers were reserved for quite a while, but policing this is difficult, although on sea days, think the reserving of loungers could prove an issue. Some people put towels & items in their loungers, then went away, returning after a considerable period of time !
Our first experience on this ship proved to be very positive. This Captain always started his announcements by greeting passengers, & his fantastic crew, which was good.
We are looking forward to our next cruise, especially when the itinerary is very port intensive, as we like to explore areas on foot.
Finally....wish smoking was banned in the casino. It was really an awful place to be, so we avoided the area, but that meant we couldn’t go and enjoy a few moments on the slots. At least it saved us money !!!
Deck 8 forward....see main review. Smaller than we usually book, but functional. Cases could be easily stored under the bed, but there were only 2 of us. It must be very cramped if more than a couple in the room ! We put the small table out on the balcony to give us more space. Storage accommodation was adequate for our needs. Safe was a good size, & the cooler kept bottled water and cans of drinks cold.