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Jewel of the Seas Review

Older ship but the pros outweigh the cons for us.

Review for the Baltic Sea Cruise on Jewel of the Seas
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ginawsu
6-10 Cruises • Age 40s

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Additional details

Sail Date: Jul 2023
Cabin: Ultra Spacious Ocean View
Traveled with children

Just returned from a 12 night British Isles trip and wanted to share my perspective in case it helps other travelers like me. I'm an intermediate cruiser- have done about 7 total, this was my 2nd with RC after sailing on Harmony when it was brand new about 5 years ago. I traveled with my spouse and 3 kids (age 5-12), and 6 additional adult family members. I'll always maintain that cruising is the idea way to travel with multiple generations and extended family: we had dinner together every night, and had options to being alone or together as much or as little as we wanted each day. I selected this itinerary specifically for the ports of call and also because the Jewel offered a unique stateroom option that was perfect for my family of 5: the Ultra-Spacious Ocean View. This is a huge, suite-sized room but without suite amenities or a balcony (it had 2 large windows) so it doesn't have a suite price tag. A large main room with sitting area that contained a king bed and, a pull-out sofa, 2 chairs, large desk/drawer/vanity area, then a small side room that was partitioned with a curtain that had a set of twin bunk beds. Our 5 year old had the pull out sofa and that was perfect for her (wouldn't recommend it for an adult) and the tween boys were in the bunks. We we had so much closet and drawer space that most of them remained empty for the trip. Being able to spend 12 days where we didn't feel like were were on top of each other was really lovely. Even more so because now post-covid days, the stateroom service is only done once per day, so those using pull down/out beds have them in the sleeping position full time vs having them stowed during the day and employed in the evenings. So- those ultra-spacious ocean view rooms are a gem for families.

The ship: Yes, it is older and showing it wear and tear. My 2 sisters traveling with us had an ocean view room and the window was so foggy that they didn't really have a view out of it, which would have been very disappointing. The furniture and fixtures are at the end of their life-cycle. BUT. Everything else made up for it. The service was excellent. The main dining room room was better than I expected after my experience 5 years ago on Harmony and the reviews I had read about Royal's recent menu changes. I don't think I had a single dish that wasn't nicely done. I also had one dinner at the specialty sushi restaurant that was very good and dined at the Chef's Table one evening. That experience was fun but seemed a little haphazard in its marketing. It was marketed as a restaurant but it isn't- it's a food and wine pairing dinner. We ate at a large table with several other parties. We enjoyed it, but I think there was one party who probably though they were having a quiet dinner alone, only to be faced with a social scene and lots of conversation with strangers :) I'm glad we tried the specialty restaurants, but honestly, it wasn't necessary. Our dining room servers were excellent, the food was great, and it was fun to see my kids try all sorts of new foods- the 2 older ones ordered off the adult menu all the time. I do think they removed lobster tail from the complimentary menu on formal nights, and now it is only available (every night) for a surcharge. I think this hurts some folks' souls very deeply. I could care less, and consider a smart cost saving measure.

I loved the size of this ship. There were plenty of social activities throughout the day but mostly, it was such a packed itinerary that we didn't have a chance to be bored. We had 3 sea days on a 12 day cruise, 2 of them were in the first 3 days, so after that it was go-go-go. This is probably all relative though. I have 3 young kids. The idea of sitting alone in a quite room and doing a cross word puzzle seems like abject luxury, so I really didn't notice an absence of zip lines, carousels, wave pools, etc that the newer/bigger ships offer. My kids didn't have a chance to be bored either. We didn't use the kids club nearly as much as I thought I would based on my previous cruising experience simply because all went out together on most port days. By the end, the 2 younger ones were pretty wiped out on day trips, so they stayed in the kids club for one port day while we enjoyed an outing in Wales- it was win-win and everyone was happy.

Cabin Review

Ultra Spacious Ocean View

This category is a real find for families with younger kids. So much space and it's a great value since it isn't considered a suite.

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