1 - Boarding for the first time: We have been on well over a dozen cruises over the years. This was, by a long shot, the easiest time we have ever had initially boarding a ship. We walked with our luggage into the pier in Amsterdam, answered a few health (COVID) questions, walked past a carousel where we put down our luggage, and boarded the ship. I would estimate the entire process from the taxi dropping us at the pier until we were on the ship was no more than 5 minutes.
2 – The condition of the ship: The Jewel of the Seas is one of the older and smaller in the line. Therefore, it does not have some of the really flashy amenities of the more recent additions to the fleet. We found this as actually a good thing as the ship was very easy to navigate and move around in. We found the ship, as always, clean. Our cabin was fine and the staff that took care of its upkeep were top notch. The only issue we were particularly unhappy with was the state of the windows in any of the general portions of the ship. They were filthy to the point of not being able to see out of them. This was particularly an issue as we spent a good deal of the trip passing points of interest that necessitated our getting on the open decks to enjoy.
3 – The activities: Varied and plentiful. There was something for everyone. The main shows were great. The cruise staff was spectacular and made the trip a very personal experience (thank you Ashleigh you cheeky Brit!).
A great start to the cruise. We have stopped trying to fly inbto a port and board the same day, preferring rather to fly in the day before and fly out the day after a cruise. This had the added benefit in Amsterdam of being able to tour a bit. We spent a great day walking the canals and going to the Anne Frank House (book early).
Did the Belfast/Titanic tour from the ship. If you're in Belfast, the Titanic museum is a must.
WAAAAAAY to short. We had just a few hours in port, which is made even shorter by the fact that the shp ddoes not dock in Cork, but in the tiny town of Cobh. From there you take a train to Cork. We toured both towns on our own, but wish we were not rushed to get back on the ship by 4.
We walked the town. a great way to get a feel of rural Iceland
Our first day, we did a tour of a geothermic power plant, some falls, and some guysers, from the ship. It was a great tour and well worth the money. Unfortunately, it was the only day of the entire cruise that the weather was bad (cold and rainy). The second day in Reykavic we toured the city on our own. A really nice place to visit (yay for the Penis Museum!).
We did a self-guided tour across the city (5.5 miles walking plus an Uber). We went to a beautiful cathedral as well as the Prince Road Synagogue (150 years old). We then went to the Cavern Club and other Beatles haunts.
We did a third-party led tour called Puffins and Elves from ArcticShoreX. It was EXCELLENT!!! The drive up and over the mountains was beautiful (Look! Seep! Look! More Sheep!). And the destination, Puffins, did not disappoint. There were hundreds of Puffins and other birds, all more than happy to pose. A special shout out to the folks at ArcticShoreX who were one of the friendliest and most responsive companies I've ever dealt with.