Food and Service Quality Suffer Due to Cost Cutting: Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by Pastaman1964

Jewel of the Seas 3
Member Since 2008
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Food and Service Quality Suffer Due to Cost Cutting

Sail Date: April 2011
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
I have traveled on over 10 cruises over the last few years on a variety of cruise lines (including one prior cruise on RCI).

The ship is maintained in good condition and all public rooms are clean and attractively decorated. Deck 5 has a wrap around promenade for walking around the ship. The pools were great but they were drained at night and not heated.

Entertainment was good overall. Shows consisted of a magician, impersonator and several good musical shows. The pool band was excellent (Caribbean Force)The ships band and dance were equally talented and worth seeing.

The food and service in the Tides dining room was very surprising. I kept comparing the food quality and service to my last RCI cruise on the Vision of the Seas four years ago.The dining room service was generally slow and entries were frequently delivered to the wrong person at the table (This appears to be the result of under staffing). Food quality had decreased significantly. For example; surf More and turf consisted of some type of mystery meat and pre-frozen prawns. The prime rib was tough and flavorless. Worst of all were the baked goods. From the buffet to to the coffee shop (Latte-Tudes) every baked item (including the pizza) was pre-frozen and heated up on board. Princess does not does that!

The ship was beautiful and the ports were interesting, but I would have a difficult time going on another RCI Cruise. It was apparent that RCI is doing everything it can to cut costs and the food quality and service have declined as a result. Less

Published 04/24/11

Cabin review: E37040 Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony

We stayed in cabin 7040. This cabin has a balcony which is approximately 100 square feet and included two chairs a table and a lounge chair. Cabin was neat and had adequate storage and was in a very quiet location. Cabin size was approximately 160 square feet. The bed is comfortable but small and curved at the foot to allow for space to walk around. This cabin in adjacent to the the forward elevators and is convenient for accessing most of the ship.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Of all the ports we visited, Cartagena was the one I was most looking forward to. Architecturally the old city is beautiful. It is a classic walled Spanish town with most of the buildings dating to the 16th-18th century. Since we did not have a tour scheduled, we hired a cab for a few hours to take us on a tour of the city. This tour includes stops at the monastery, Fort San Felipe and old town. At each location we were immediately surrounded by vendors which would never take no for an answer. (I have traveled to Mexico many times and Cartagena is much worse!) Since there were more vendors than tourists we had to cut our time short at each stop. Even when we bought our tickets to the Inquisition Museum downtown, people were coming up to us inside the museum to sell personal guided tours through the museum for $20 each. Our visit ended with our cab driver telling us that the initial rate quoted had changed and that we owed more. The old town is worth seeing but would not recommend taking a private taxi. Maybe one of the ship's tours would have been better.

Colon is primarily an industrial port and not much to look at. There is a shopping center adjacent to the pier that is interesting and safe to walk through. We spent most of our time on a tour to the Gatun Locks. The tour takes about 3 hours and is definitely worth the time. You are taken by bus to a covered observation platform to view ships transiting the canal. Great photo opportunity. Afterwards the tours stops at the Hotel Melia (located on Lake Gatun)for a drink. People were very friendly and would highly recommend the tour to the canal.

Grand Cayman was fun to explore. We hired a driver to take us to the Rum Cake Factory, Dolphin Encounter and to Hell (local town). He dropped us off at Seven Mile Beach and spent a few hours enjoying the water. Great place to go swimming/snorkeling. Water clarity was great and the temp was perfect. Only negative in Grand Cayman is everything is very expensive. Would definitely go back when we can afford.

The town of Puerto Limon is not much to look at. It is an industrial port which has only recently started to accommodate cruise ships. As a result, there are few amenities close to the pier. We took the tour to the Dole Banana Plantation south of town and very much enjoyed it. Our driver stopped every few miles on our drive south to show us different flora and fauna. On one occasion he stopped to get a cacao plant and another to pick a bunch of finger bananas for the bus to sample. Tour of the plantation was interesting and you are given a presentation of the entire process with plenty of time to ask questions and take pictures. Overall the people were very friendly and would recommend taking the Banana Plantation Tour but not recommend spending too much time in town.

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Member Since 2008
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