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34 Royal Caribbean Pacific Coastal Cruise Reviews

Great service both in the cabin and the dining room. Waiter and assistant waiter left us wanting for nothing. The main issue was not enough and poorly programmed elevators so it took a long time to get to some places on the ship for those ... Read More
Great service both in the cabin and the dining room. Waiter and assistant waiter left us wanting for nothing. The main issue was not enough and poorly programmed elevators so it took a long time to get to some places on the ship for those who can't climb stairs. There could be up to a 10-15 minute wait for elevators when first arriving in port and following meals/shows, etc.. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly with only a mild issue with customs between cruises (we did 2 back to back). Ports were very interesting. Great low cost shuttles available if you aren't taking shore excursions and lots of good info available on things to do in port. Shows were all very well done and entertaining. Top notch headliners and the ship's singers, dancers and band were also extremely good. Overall cruise staff was quite helpful as was NextCruise desk. Already booked our next cruise for next year. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
The embarkation was very easy.. everything at the port was handled well.. our cabin was a handicap cabin (which I very much needed,) but we had signed up for 3 people and only had one bed... they did remedy it by bringing in a rollaway.. ... Read More
The embarkation was very easy.. everything at the port was handled well.. our cabin was a handicap cabin (which I very much needed,) but we had signed up for 3 people and only had one bed... they did remedy it by bringing in a rollaway.. but that was a little of a hassle to get my motorized cart in and around and it limited us using the desk/ safe area... the windjammer the first day was a bit of a disappointment.. but it did get better as time went on... Dinner in the Sapphire was very spotty.. we had a new waiter that couldn't seem to get things correct... didn't seem to know which steaks were rare and which were well done.. the first night we had an incident at the table behind us that none of us were aware of at first... (A woman got sick) Instead of just covering it up, all of a sudden two guys in masks and full body suits came in with a huge vacuum..... well they parked it right behind two people at out table and then the waiter came by and was attempting to step over it to serve our dessert... well he accidentally turned it on... wow.. it blew a terrible smell right up in our faces.. that incident cleared out 4 tables around us with fresh desserts still sitting on the table... Also at the windjammer on time we were sitting there enjoying our food and one of the busboy type people kept standing there staring at our plates... it was creepy.. finally one girl sitting across from me told him to move on... it was strange... Having sailed on the Explorer a couple times before, I realize this was not a common cruise, in fact we heard many times that much of the crew were new when they hit Seattle.. Our cabin attendant told us it was his first day, But I must say it seemed as though he had been doing that job forever... he was FANTASTIC.... The entertainment seemed spotty also.. but we did very much enjoy the Ice Show... I was on this cruise with 25 friends and family and overall we enjoyed it.. I just felt bad that I talked many of those 25 people to join us as first time cruisers and they didn't see the best service in the world as I had sold it... We all had a great time.. and even greater time meeting up with the Cruise Critic friends... Lets fix this ship and move on.. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I chose this cruise for two reasons: one, because it was a short cruise to places that I wanted to see, and two, because it was perfect for getting me to my next rewards tier. Getting on board was a process; it wasn't horrible, ... Read More
I chose this cruise for two reasons: one, because it was a short cruise to places that I wanted to see, and two, because it was perfect for getting me to my next rewards tier. Getting on board was a process; it wasn't horrible, but it wasn't quick, either. Lots of folks on this cruise were folks who'd been on many other Royal Caribbean cruises, and the lines at registration were long. Of course, that was NOTHING compared to the lines to the buffet. These lines were EXCEPTIONALLY LONG. And what you were waiting for was awful; the layout of the buffet was awful, and you quite often could not find things like ketchup. On that first day, there were two bottles of ketchup for everyone - not packets, but bottles. Horrible. Once you got past that, however, the experience was entirely different. Royal Caribbean has stepped up their game in terms of service in the dining room. I take the traditional dining, due to the fact I really appreciate the better service I get that way. And while the service was great, the cooks getting the food to the servers was SLOW. It was worth it, in some ways; banana rum soup; watermelon raspberry soup - WOW. I'm not an adventurous eater - I stuck to the steaks at supper - but the appetizers were tempting and AMAZING. Easily the best food I've ever had on Royal Caribbean. Can't say that about breakfast, though. The horrible layout was just as bad at breakfast; the food was worse. There are only two ways you can ruin bacon - you can overcook it to the point it's burned - which was for the first two breakfasts - or you can undercook it - which was for the second two breakfasts. Thank God for Fruit Loops. Bar service was wonderful. The bartenders were friendly and fast. I had a drink pass, and spent most of the cruise downing virgin strawberry daiquiris; I had one in my hand pretty much all the time. I adored my cabin. I stayed on the 12th floor, in cabin 1876. It's kind of a corner balcony, and not necessarily what some might want, but I liked it. The room was quite spacious, and I never felt cramped. The stops were amazing. I did the Butchart Gardens tour in Vancouver, and the Steam Powered adventure in Nanaimo. While I thoroughly enjoyed both, I was surprised that I enjoyd the Nanaimo stop more. If you're going on Royal Caribbean, you're going for the entertainment. Entertainment on this ship was WONDERFUL. I felt the on-board show went well, and was particularly impressed by a trumpet player they had the first night. There was an illusionist one night who I felt wasn't quite up to par, but the quality of the other shows just made the whole experience amazing. The ship is an older ship, and there are a few things the newer ships have that you may miss. I usually consider the ship itself a part of the destination, but this time, I was underwhelmed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
This was my first cruise on RCL and only my second cruise overall so I'm fairly new to cruising. As previous reviewers stated, the embarkation situation was a bit of a nightmare. I booked transfers through RCL from the airport to the ... Read More
This was my first cruise on RCL and only my second cruise overall so I'm fairly new to cruising. As previous reviewers stated, the embarkation situation was a bit of a nightmare. I booked transfers through RCL from the airport to the port and waited 3 hours at the airport before a bus arrived. Then it was another 2 hour wait inside the tents to check-in. My friend and I decided to just wait it out until the line shortened so we sat in a shady, breezy spot. We were one of the last ones on the ship and boarded during the muster drill. We were told to go straight to our muster station. We were hot and hungry but just glad to be on the ship. At least our stateroom was ready! I've worked in airline operations so I understand that sometimes things go wrong so we weren't too critical of the situation but we heard plenty of complaints from the other passengers the whole week. Inside Stateroom: My first cruise was on HAL which all bathrooms have a bathtub so this smaller sized one on Jewel made me laugh out loud when I first opened the door but it was definitely adequate and always clean. Plenty of space for my friend and I and the beds are soooo comfortable with nice linens. Cruising in a balcony cabin my first time, I was wary about booking an inside but found no problems with it whatsoever as I was only in there to sleep and shower. Being mid-ship on the 3rd deck, I found the location very convenient. Dining: My friend and I did MTD and the first night we showed up right at 5:30 as we hadn't eaten much of anything all day. We had the best wait staff (Elmer and Carolina) so we made reservations the rest of the week so we could be in their station. My friend is gluten-free and they were very accommodating to her needs with always having a plate of GF bread for her and allowing her to see the menu for the next evening so she could make her order beforehand. We looked forward to our dinners every night so we could chat with them. Food overall was very good with most entrees being very tasty and filling and never cold. The chilled soups were excellent and my upgraded order of a filet mignon was cooked perfectly. Great experience at Tides. We also ate at Windjammer and although I don't care much for buffets, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety and the quality of food. Crew were always on hand to help with anything. Activities: I thought the various activities were lots of fun but were a bit lacking on port days with maybe one or two classes offered. Karaoke was so much fun. My friend and I love trivia and played several times but we quickly realized that the same people kept winning each time. We found out that the passengers were on the same cruise the week before and I'm assuming already knew all the answers. This was really disheartening. Near the end of the cruise, trivia wasn't much fun for us anymore. Some blame could be placed on the activities crew for doling out the same questions but I feel that the passengers should have done the considerate thing and let some of the newbies win a few games. The activities crew were fun and engaging though and we enjoyed chatting with them. Ship: Beautiful ship. Everything was very clean and sparkling. Elevators were few but never in a hurry so not a bother for us if we had to wait a couple minutes. Easy to navigate as well. Service: Excellent! I have absolutely no complaints on the service we received during our cruise from our stateroom attendant to guest services. Of course we really bonded with our wait staff and was a little sad on our last night on the ship. Passengers: My friend and I are in our 30's and most of the passengers were of retirement age. This really wasn't an issue but complaints were numerous and of course the bragging of loyalty levels. But we also got to know quite a few people who were so great and became instant friends. Overall, a great cruise and looking forward to cruising RCL again. :) Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Sailed Pacific coast on Jewel of the seas in October as part of a longer USA trip. Let me start with everything that went right. Jewel is a beautiful ship, medium size and easy to navigate with quirky ship shaped maps on each deck. ... Read More
Sailed Pacific coast on Jewel of the seas in October as part of a longer USA trip. Let me start with everything that went right. Jewel is a beautiful ship, medium size and easy to navigate with quirky ship shaped maps on each deck. Lovely centrum with plenty of bars close by so not far to walk to go from one to the other. Other bars are dotted around the ship more aimed at the evening rather than the daytime. Plenty of places to sit although I did notice some wheelchair users struggling with space at times especially in the corridors and around the shops when the watches were out. We found prices in the shops on the expensive side although did pick up a couple of watches at knock down prices and they are still working. Plenty of places to eat onboard pretty much all day if you know where to look.....we ate in the windjammer as we prefer to eat when we want to and it worked for us although, unlike some reviewers on here, we are not fussy eaters. Have to say though that the food could have been warmer at times. Burgers and the hotdogs were lovely though nom nom. We didn't do any excursions as we prefer to do our own thing when in port.....only disappointing day was Santa Barbra where it threw it down so we stuck with the ship. The tendering worked for us and my wife loved the voice of the tendering announcer which I found soooooooo game showy.....the price is right anybody? San Francisco was just magical as we knew it would be......it's a sentimental place for usage completlely lived up to our expectations from the golden gate walk to bubba grumps for food to just wandering around enjoying the view. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge and past Alcatraz was a bucket list tick for us and was awesome. Monterey was good had a Andre in the cannery district but Ensenada was simply too hot for us so back to the ship we went to enjoy the air conditioning. Our cabin attendant (Lola) was simply magical, friendly, approachable and always smiling and our cabin was the best we have had on any of our cruises, loved the balcony especially on the day at sea which just allowed us to chill. Disembarking the ship was hassle free and from leaving our meeting point to standing on the dock was about 30 minutes and this included going through customs so all good. Now to the worst. This is my 3rd cruise and first with RCL so I'm not really a hardened cruiser however I have never seen a shambles as bad as the attempts to get us on the ship at Port of Los Angeles on the 3rd of October. Well actually shambles is putting it mildly.mwe arrived at the port at 1100 with our shuttle driver not knowing where we were to be so he dropped us off at berth 92. It was only by bond luck we happened to see a coach with Jewel of the seas written on the front that we were then taken to our ship berth. 2 tents set up next to the ship and we then sat in one for 2 hours before we were allowed to join a line....2 hours later we were on the ship and pushed unceremoniously to our muster station as they were in the middle of the drill. No water, no food and toilets I wouldn't let my dog use really didn't start this cruise off on a good voting for us. What made it worse was the lack of apology from RCL and just a list of excuses from all the computers went down through to the port weren't expecting a shop of this siz to dock at this berth.......well m sorry but when I checked the port of low Angeles web site in July it specifically stated that the ship was going to be at this berth so they all had plenty of time to ensure a smooth transition for all. In 35 degree hat I'm glad I wasn't waiting outside the tent. And our luggage made it to the room before we did...unheard of. Overall from the moment we made it to our cabin and from then on we loved the cruise, the ship and our 7 days on the Jewel.....just a shame about the preceding 4 hours. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Pre-Cruise: ========= stayed at Best Western Plus Downtown Vancouver; Excellent Hotel with location within walking distance to the Mall and restaurants. Lots of REAL bargains on shoes, handbags, purses, dresses, etc. FREE ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: ========= stayed at Best Western Plus Downtown Vancouver; Excellent Hotel with location within walking distance to the Mall and restaurants. Lots of REAL bargains on shoes, handbags, purses, dresses, etc. FREE Shuttle provided by Hotel to the Cruise Port Victoria: ======= Took FREE CVS shuttle from cruise port to Fairmont Empress Hotel where we boarded the CVS bus to the Butchart Gardens (price $45 US per person) . What a wonderful place with over 5 -themed gardens which are very well maintained. Boarded the Hop-On Hop-Off BUS ($20 US per person) upon return to Empress Hotel and took a 90 min tour of Victoria travelling thru various points of interest. Excellent way of sight seeing. Bus dropped us off at the Ogden Port as a courtesy. What a wonderful Bus driver Astoria/Oregon ============= Took the RCL excursion to Seaside and Canon Beach. Excellent tour with quit a bit of time spent at the beach San Francisco ============ Took RCL tour of Muir Woods and Sausolito on day#1 Took BigBus 1-day pass ($45 US per person) on Day#2 and saw entire San Francisco. Palace of Fine Arts, Lombard Street (crooked street), Fishermans Wharf, Civic Centre, China Towne, Union Square, GoldebGate Bridge. Monterey ======== Took RCL excursion of Monterey and Carmel. Excellent tour with lots of stops Santa Barbara ============ Took RCL excursion of Monterey and Carmel. Excellent tour with lots of stops Los Angeles ========== Took -hr tour of Malibu, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and drop off at airport. This tour was okay since it only had 3-stops instead of 5 to 6 as promised Shows & Movies ============= Excellent daily shows ini the theatre; Broadway productions are top-rated and they had extremely good comedians Hollywood movies were good too although they could have done better with other choices Food ==== Windjammer Café food was edible but lacked variety. Very few vegetables and main dishes; Most dishes were repeated but nevertheless it did the job Ship Condition ============= For a ship of its age, it was in Excellent Condition. No complaints whatsoever and the inside cabin was excellent as well (cabin #8021). We have sailed on the Explorer, Adventure, Allure, Oasis and Voyageur in the past and this was our 1st on the Radiance Class Ship. We will definitely travel on this ship again. Extremely well maintained and easier to find your way around. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
The following are some experiences and observations about our 5/16 California repositioning cruise on the Jewel of the Seas - sailing out of San Diego. We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary, but we are also big fans of the ... Read More
The following are some experiences and observations about our 5/16 California repositioning cruise on the Jewel of the Seas - sailing out of San Diego. We chose this cruise specifically for the itinerary, but we are also big fans of the RCL Radiance class ship. San Diego is a great departure port; taxi fares to almost anywhere in San Diego proper are very reasonable and cabs are easy to find. We decided on the Marriot Courtyard in the “Gaslight District”. This historic property is a real gem with friendly, polite staff and a great, central location. There are many restaurants, nightlife venues, grocery and drug stores within a short walking distance; if you forget to pack something or want to pick up a few bottles of vino to bring onboard, it is all readily available. We visited the USS Midway. It is a short $10 cab ride from the Gaslight District and the ship is docked about a half mile or so from the cruise pier. This is a wonderful museum and it was an honor to tour the ship and talk to the many volunteers who serve as docents and guides. Many of these gentlemen served on the Midway; all were friendly, very knowledgeable and eager to share their experiences about life on board. This is remarkable and very memorable tribute to our naval history. We arrived at the cruise pier about 12:30 PM; we booked a GS category cabin and with priority embarkation we were walking onboard in under 10 minutes. Everything was very efficient. We stayed in GS suite #1554; the cabin was showing some wear and tear and in need of an update but overall, it was OK. The location was excellent since it is very close to both the elevators and the Concierge Lounge. Unfortunately the weather during almost the entire cruise was not cooperative so we got very little use of the balcony. I am not a big fan of the design of the balcony in these “hump cabins”; even though I believe that it is a bit larger, privacy is compromised. Overall the areas of the ship we visited were pretty nice; but like the room, some signs of wear and tear - but nothing too significant. Food – a very subjective topic but overall we were surprisingly pleased with the MDR food quality and presentation. Every night escargot was available and twice during the week they served the “fisherman’s platter” entre, which features twin lobster tails; certainly not as good as the “old days” but pretty decent nevertheless. We enjoyed the other nightly menu selections and thought dinners overall were fairly good; we typically share a dessert and we were very pleased with the selection and quality. Lunch in the MDR was also pretty good; and they offer an excellent, server prepared salad bar which I really enjoyed. Suite guests are served breakfast at Chops Grill; again, we enjoyed the food quality and especially the friendly service. It seems that on JOS, RCL is trying to keep the Sea view Café a secret. I knew it was there from previous sailings on this class ship but in the dailies, it is only offered as a cover charge ($10) venue. However, it is free during the late afternoon; either this was an oversight or it is being downplayed as a free restaurant for some reason. My favorite, grilled grouper and Cesar salad, is still available but it just didn’t seem as good as I remembered it on past sailings. Entertainment – with the exception of the (non-singing) piano player, we thought all of performers in the bar venues were mediocre. Mid-week we caught the show with Bowser of Sha Na Na fame and really enjoyed his performance. We didn’t attend any of the production shows until the final afternoon and after seeing that show, we thought we probably had missed some good productions. The Cruise Director was actually a very good performer; funny, personable and a very good singer. His wife works with him and she is also very talented and connects with the audience. Missing on the JOS was the big “cirque du soleil” style show in the Centrum. We saw this production on the Brilliance a few years back and thought it was spectacular. Whether the show is off the roster, or this ship is just not set up for it wasn’t clear but we really missed it. Casino – some good, well trained dealers and slots that at least produced some “seed money”. Unfortunately RCL still hasn’t gone totally non-smoking in their casino so for non-smokers like us, it is occasionally unpleasant. Service on the ship was spotty but overall good. It seemed clear to us that RCL has under-staffed the ship and it is reflected in both the level of service and the overall vibe of the staff. Our room attendant had a great attitude and worked very hard to please, but the poor man had so many rooms to service it seemed he was always rushed. Unlike sister company Celebrity, as well as HAL, there is no “butler” type specialized service that comes with a full suite cabin; the room attendant is expected to do it all. Fetch luggage, clean and attend to the perks you hope to receive with the cabin category. We tipped generously because he tried so hard and we truly felt for bad for him with so much on his plate. MDR servers also tried very hard to please; we chose MTD and thanks to a great maitre d’, sat in the same dining area every evening. We had the same servers each night and we could not have been more pleased. But again, it was obvious watching them they were stretched very thin and had a lot of tables and diners to manage. Bars, Café Latte-tudes, casino etc. all appeared to be short of servers. There never seemed to be enough staff to attend to customers and when things backed up a little, service slowed way down. A few times I wanted bottled water while playing in the casino; one of the casino staff actually called over the bartender to take my drink order. Beverage package – I purchased the “premium beverage package”. Depending on what and how much you drink, this could be a good option. I was not happy with it and cancelled after a few days; a pro-rated refund appeared on my sea pass account. I only drink wine, water, juice in the morning and an occasional beer. The wines on the wine list I would enjoy were never actually available in the bars. For water, only a small bottle of Crystal Geyser or club soda were available and in the MDR at breakfast, OJ was available but for a $2.50 fee. There seemed to be too many rules and not enough options to make this have value. And of course, there were never enough servers. One bright spot however was the “Champagne Bar”; good service along with some decent selections made this one of our favorite venues for relaxing with a glass of wine before dinner. Suite amenities – if you’re looking for something comparable to the higher end suite perks offered by Celebrity and HAL, you will no longer find them on RCL. Aside from a bigger room, priority embarkation/disembarkation/tendering and access to the Concierge Lounge, there isn’t a whole lot else offered for the considerable jump in price. However the concierge on this ship, Diego Tripaldi, is a first rate ambassador for RCL; always eager to please and help. This guy has a real future in the hospitality industry. Ports – some brief comments on the itinerary. Since this was a repositioning cruise, it is not regularly offered by RCL but it is an interesting alternative if you’re looking for something a little bit different. Although the weather wasn’t very cooperative, this was still an interesting experience. In my opinion, Catalina is all about Avalon. Although we did an RCL sponsored tour of the island, there really isn’t all that much to see after the first hour. Taking the tour didn’t give us as much time in Avalon but we still had time for a great lunch (Bluewater Avalon Seafood) and to stroll around this scenic little town. San Francisco – what can be said about this incredible city? The ship docked at pier 27, a beautiful, new facility minutes away from many “Fisherman’s Wharf” attractions and ferries. We decided on Alcatraz and a day in Sausalito, but I don’t think you can make a bad choice with 2 days in port and so many options. Victoria BC – our stop at this port was cut very short because of a mechanical delay departing SF. This is a regular stop on many Alaskan itineraries and it is a beautiful city with many fine dining options. Summary – as much as we enjoyed this cruise, it was probably our least favorite of all. Perhaps it is the cumulative effect of RCL cut-backs and under-staffing but the “wow factor” of an eager, friendly staff and the little things that made a cruise experience special were just off. And that is not to say that there weren’t some really engaged staff we crossed paths with throughout the week. There were some standouts but in general, we always felt like many of the service personnel were just going through the motions. A final word on the delay departing SF. We talked about this with a ship officer who happened by one day. Evidently (and in complete layman’s terminology on my part), a new part was installed on one of the turbines and there was a soft-ware issue that prevented it from starting. While it was a back-up turbine, the Captain wisely chose not to depart until it is was in working order. I applaud what I believe to be a wise decision; putting safety first is the most important consideration of all in my opinion. Thanks for reading. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first cruise on RC and only our second cruise overall. We cruised from San Diego to Vancouver, BC, though we disembarked in Victoria to visit family. When we entered the cruise embarkation area, we were whisked around the ... Read More
This was our first cruise on RC and only our second cruise overall. We cruised from San Diego to Vancouver, BC, though we disembarked in Victoria to visit family. When we entered the cruise embarkation area, we were whisked around the long line-up to a counter where our check-in occurred quickly and efficiently. I presume that was because we were booked in a junior suite, but, regardless, it was a nice perk. We checked out our room and had lunch in the Windjammer. One of our suitcases was delivered quickly and we waited hours for the other, which never came. After we left port, we went to Guest Services to see about the missing bag and were told to go to "Confiscated Luggage". We found this area and there was my bag. I travel with a small portable fan and apparently this is not allowed (Princess did not have a problem with it). So, though my fan was confiscated for the rest of the trip, I did have my luggage at long last. The communication process re: confiscated luggage could use improvement since ongoing concerns about missing luggage detract from one's ability to relax and enjoy their cruise. We had dinner that night in The Tides. The service was good, but my husband said his steak was lousy and tasted as if it had been "boiled". The portions were also quite small. I enjoyed my meal (though I can't remember what I had...). We went to the show that night and it was OK. The sets were very professional, but the theme seemed confused. As a result, we didn't go to any more shows. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment in the Centrum: various duets, trios, soloists. The flow of people on the ship was good. We enjoyed the casino and buffets. We particularly liked that our picture was not being taken every time we left the ship and there was no pressure to buy, buy, buy pictures. We had a $300 on-board credit that we didn't know about until 2 days before we got off the ship and checked our account on the TV. The price of the drink packages was exorbitant/ridiculous, so we didn't buy them (and we don't even drink alcohol). We wished there was at-your-table drink re-fill service in the Windjammer during meals. The shopping was fun. The art auction was a bit odd for us, but mildly entertaining. We enjoyed the trivia games. We were delayed leaving San Francisco by 9 hours due to engine trouble, so we arrived in Victoria 5 - 6 hours late. Our arrangements (lodging, car) in Victoria had to be re-arranged and RC was kind enough to place phone calls for me at no charge to make modifications. Many people were disappointed that their excursions in Victoria were cancelled. Overall, we enjoyed our cruise, but wished the weather had been warmer and sunnier. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
It was an interesting trip. We flew into San Diego from Houston. We had booked our pre-cruise room at the Hilton San Diego Bay Hotel. We arrived a little bit after 12:00 pm. The Hotel looked nice from the outside. The lobby was ... Read More
It was an interesting trip. We flew into San Diego from Houston. We had booked our pre-cruise room at the Hilton San Diego Bay Hotel. We arrived a little bit after 12:00 pm. The Hotel looked nice from the outside. The lobby was spacious. The location was great. It was a short walk over the pedestrian bridge from PETCO Ball park. It was a short cab ride to the Cruise terminal. The Gas Light district is right across the street as well. There is a "metro rail line" close by as well. and on San Diego Bay. The down side of the hotel was having to pay extra [$25.00] for early check-in (we were there a little after noon). If you did not want to pay for early check-in, having to pay extra for a bay side view [$20.00], which then allowed you to check in early. It all boiled down to paying extra to get into the hotel or paying extra to leave your bags with the bellman. We ate lunch and breakfast at the hotel. It was a bit pricey [what hotel restaurant isn't], but the food was good and the value was reasonable. The ship departed for a 6 day repositioning from San Diego, California to Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Our stops included Santa Catalina Island, Ca., San Francisco, Ca., Victoria, B.C., Canada, and ended in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Boarding was quick and painless. It was funny that the Platinum line was checking in quicker than the Diamond and Diamond plus line. It did not take that long to get processed and join the ship. Our dining times were confirmed, our table position checked out, spa appointments made, and on to the Windjammer. At 1:00 p.m., they opened the rooms for passengers. We were in Room 8664. It is a starboard side balcony room with a partially obstructed view. The obstruction was the ships "washing" platform that was "parked on the forward part of our balcony and the aft portion of room 8662. It got in the way of a few pictures, but you soon learned to either wait or zoom. This was a standard room. We normally store our suitcases opened underneath the bed, but you had to fold it at a 90 degree angle to get them started under the bed. Then you could put the items you did not put in the closet and drawers back. This room was a long walk to the elevators [aft]. If you do not want to walk 100 yards to and from your room each way, then get something closer to midships or forward. Given that this ship runs on gas turbine - electric motors, it was pretty quite. Our room attendant was Debbie Roberts. She was good natured, friendly, and efficient. We would sing a duet or get a friendly greeting every time we saw her. Thanks Debbie. We ate in the main dining room at the first seating. Our dining table attendants were Sampong [Thailand] and Julian [Saint Lucia]. They did a great job. They helped us enjoy the cruise. They were both outgoing, friendly, and attentive. Julian was a bit of a character. Both were also funny and engaging. Thank you gentlemen. Our first stop was on Santa Catalina Island. The ship stopped and tendered into Avalon. It was just a get off for us and walk around the shops in town to see what was there. Since I was stationed on San Nicolas Island for about 20 months, I passed on the nature excursions. SNI was about fifty miles west of Santa Catalina Island. With the exception of the million dollar buildings on SCI, San Nicolas Island contained a lot of diverse wildlife, birds, and flora that we were able to get right next to or even in the middle of to enjoy. The cruise up to San Francisco had a few large whales and a lot of pilot whales. There were a few dolphins, seal lions, seals, and birds near San Francisco tearing up a bait ball [feeding]. The weather was cool [50s-60s]. It was interesting to come in under the Golden Gate Bridge. I believe the Captain said that we had about 15 meters from the top of the ship to the bottom of the road deck of the bridge when we went under it. Even staying overnight in S.F., we could not cover much of it. We went on the hop on - hop off double decker bus tour. Unlike Sydney Australia's version [travels in both directions], this one only went one way. So if you missed getting off at a stop, you had to either ride the 2 1/2 hours around to get there again or catch a cab from the next stop. This was a bit disappointing. The first day in we rode the bus around it's entire course and then got off at Fisherman's Wharf. While we were walking around Fisherman's Wharf, there was a power outage shutting down the shops, stores, and restaurants. So we walked the mile or so back to the ship and kicked back waiting for dinner. On the second day, we went to the Academy of Sciences in the Golden Gate Park. It was interesting, but plan on being there for several hours if you want to give it justice in looking at all of the exhibits. They have a nice aquarium, butterfly garden [rain forest], whale exhibit [on loan from New Zealand], planetarium, earth quake simulator, and other exhibits. We did not go through all of them. We then boarded the bus back to the ship. We were supposed to stay in S.F. until 5 p.m. and then depart for Canada. However, the ship had a problem starting one of its gas turbines. There are two on board and at the speeds we were traveling, they only needed one, but the USCG would not let them leave port until the problem with the second turbine was fixed [can't blame them, it is a safety item]. We did not leave until approximately 2:00 a.m. I know, I stayed up and videotaped the departure and travel under the Golden Gate Bridge. We were approximately 5 1/2 hours late getting into Victoria, B.C. This put us in too late to go on our tour to Butchart Gardens and also make dinner on board. Being that it was the last night on board, we always go to dinner to tip our wait staff and thank them for helping make our cruise enjoyable. Instead of taking the tour out to Butchart Gardens, we took a cab into Victoria and then walked from China Town down to the wharf near the Parliament Building. We had been here before, and we just wanted to roam around and see the town under the lights. The Parliament Building was brightly lit up. A little souvenir shopping later, we took a cab back to the ship. We enjoyed the on board entertainment. We had seen one of the entertainers on two prior cruises. He is a comedian and entertainer. He had updated a lot of his act, so it was good. We either participated in or watched a lot of the on board activities in the lounges or clubs. We were visiting with friends from Arizona on this cruise. We had fun. The only thing we were truly disappointed with on the cruise was the lack of any real late night snacks, "late night bites" [gone for years], cookies, and burgers/fries. The only place to go to was the Solarium [opens at 11:00 pm]. You could get pizza, hotdogs, sometimes wraps, and sometimes turkey sandwiches on "chibata" bread. Your drink choice was water or water. They could have had cookies, coffee, tea, lemonade, and water without much of a hassle. We always asked the "chef" if he had cookies. One night we brought some, asked him if he had any, and when he replied, "we don't have any", we offered him some. He got a good laugh out of that. The short jaunt to Vancouver was uneventful. We waited to get off until our scheduled time of near 9:30, and then discovered that my suit case had been seriously damaged. They tore three of the four wheels partially off of the suitcase. This was quickly reported and a report taken by one of RCI's personnel. We then went out to the taxi line to depart, and it took us over 90 minutes to get a cab. That was disappointing. If we had known that there would be this kind of delay, we would have arranged for a shuttle or a limousine to take us to our hotel in Richmond, B.C. We took a cab from the Cruise port to a nearby car rental agency, rented a car, and then arrived at the Pacific Gateway Hotel in Richmond, B.C. [next to Vancouver International Airport] at approximately noon. We were met outside by a bellman [which we did not need] who greeted us and directed us to the front desk. The lobby was spacious, but it lacked seating space if the desk was busy and you needed to sit down. When we arrived, there were only two people ahead of us, so it was no big deal. There was an $18.00 CAD per day parking fee. There is a small lobby shop, but it did not have much in the way of drinks. Check in went smoothly. We provided a credit card for incidentals, obtained magnetic keys, and we were off to our room. You need to have a room key to go up in the elevators. Our first room was 713. We got into the room and then moved the thermostat down to 68 F. The fan did not come on and the Air conditioner did not come on. We called the front Desk and they promptly supplied us with another room [836]. The A/C came on when we moved the thermostat down to 68 F. This was a King size no smoking room. While it faced the airport, it was not too noisy. My wife told me that she heard several sirens the first evening/night. It turned out there is a local fire hall [fire station to us] about a half mile up the road. The room was fine for the two of us. The side chair was a bit boxy and reminded me of an office chair for a lobby visitor. There was a desk with various connections and outlets. WiFi was free. The bathroom was clean and had a tub and shower [in one]. As we were packing to leave, my wife commented that the dust ruffles on the bed could stand to be cleaned. We did turn the thermostat down to 66 F as it was a bit warm to us at its 68 F setting for sleeping. There is a connected bar and grill [Pier 73]. There is a "tidal river" adjacent to the Hotel. It was spacious, had an outside deck, and the food was good. As with most hotels, it was a little on the high side of mid ranged fare. We did not eat in the breakfast restaurant inside. There are two direct contact flight "computers" for carry on fliers only. There were two computer terminals with a common printer for other uses including checking in for flights that did not require scanning your passport. Given that we were flying international, we called the 800 number to get a confirmation for our flight. The hotel had a 24/7 shuttle to the airport. It left the hotel on the hour, 20-minutes after the hour, and 40-minutes after the hour. It picked up passengers at the terminals at 10-minutes after the hour, 30-minutes after the hour, and 50-minutes after the hour. It was handy when we dropped our rental car, and then the next morning [5 am] when we went to the airport to catch our home flight. All in all, we enjoyed the trip. Six days was short for a cruise [even though most we have been on were 7 days]. Notes: The advantage that existed in on board pre-booking an open cruise ticket have essentially disappeared. The only real advantage is a $25.00 cabin credit. We still have an open ticket from last year that we will use in the future. We were told that the Jewel of the Seas will be undergoing its 30 day dry docking in 2016. That will freshen up the ship and give her that new feeling. It should be noted that the Diamond, Diamond Plus Lounge was created by using the Viking Crown Lounge and Vortex Nightclub as an exclusive venue from 5:00 pm until 8:30 pm each night [good idea when there is no dedicated lounge]. There were a lot of Diamond and Diamond Plus members there. The first night was not well prepared. Someone "forgot the canapes" and a "make do" set up was put together. After that, the canapes were done right. There was only one bar tender and one server for the area. That needs to be fixed for future cruises. The service was slow. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
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