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Sail Date: January 2018
We selected this cruise because it had a low cost being booked in just weeks before sailing, the itinerary with ports nearly everyday looked interesting, and it began and ended in San Juan where we live. The ports did not disappoint ... Read More
We selected this cruise because it had a low cost being booked in just weeks before sailing, the itinerary with ports nearly everyday looked interesting, and it began and ended in San Juan where we live. The ports did not disappoint although many places in St Croix and St Maarten/St Martin were closed due to severe hurricane damage (don’t let that keep you from going as there is still plenty to see, the resilience of the people is inspirational, and the money spent by cruise travelers helps the islands recover.) We did not visit any of the specialty restaurants. The main dining room dinners were good but not great and the menu of eight or so items changes only one or two items a day. The evening shows were good. Art auctions were informative. We made many friends on this cruise. The staff was very nice and helpful at all times. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
The ship and the cabin were very clean and well kept. The cabins were evidently older but still in excellent shape. The dining experience was great with friendly staff and outstanding service in the main dining room. The buffet on the ... Read More
The ship and the cabin were very clean and well kept. The cabins were evidently older but still in excellent shape. The dining experience was great with friendly staff and outstanding service in the main dining room. The buffet on the cruise wasn't as excellent but was still good overall. As for on-board entertainment, the ship had plenty to offer. Trivia, mini-golf (kinda lame), production shows, band performances in the centruum, etc. All the performances were great. Comedians: late-night comedy was hilarious! Music Shows: Musicians (except for a couple singers) we're absolutely incredible - very high musicianship. Service was great at the main dining room (Tides), Chef's Table, and Izumi (Japanese Cuisine). Food at all the previously mentioned placed was also outstanding. At Chef's table, the head chef even came out and gave us the recipe for the Smoked Tomato Soup we had in the 2nd course. Definitely recommend the Chef's Table experience if you can justify the expense. Be careful with the shore excursions the descriptions aren't very clear. EcoTrek to Bamboo Falls requires water shoes. The Turtle and Shipwreck extrusion in Barbados was amazing - be aware of the drinks.. they're very generous with the alcohol. I would definitely do this cruise again given the option. As i haven't traveled with any other cruise lines, I cannot comment about the difference between lines, but Royal Caribbean was a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
My friend and I chose this cruise to celebrate our birthdays. This cruise is perfect for families, and friends like us who varied interests as there is something for everyone. It was our first cruise so it may be useful for other first ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise to celebrate our birthdays. This cruise is perfect for families, and friends like us who varied interests as there is something for everyone. It was our first cruise so it may be useful for other first timers to know that all meals are included, the dining room is exceptional, and drink packages are separate. There is a huge diversity among the crew members, and they are truly knowledgeable and hospitable. Our cabin looks like other photos posted here, and was pretty comfortable since we like having space (stateroom with balcony). Keep an eye out for the itineraries. Definitely go to the themed lunches! The activities (random or scheduled) are worth it! Each port has excursion, but if you are able, agile, and practice proper safety measures, you can definitely go without (and save some money along the way). We will definitely go again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
A little background-We are regular cruisers and have been sailing for 20 years. We are in our 50's and we were a party of four in two cabins. This was a Southern Caribbean itinerary including, St. Criox, St. Maarten, Barbados, Martinique ... Read More
A little background-We are regular cruisers and have been sailing for 20 years. We are in our 50's and we were a party of four in two cabins. This was a Southern Caribbean itinerary including, St. Criox, St. Maarten, Barbados, Martinique and Grenada. The executive summary-excellent ship, common areas are very clean and tidy. Service and food was outstanding. Our room and cabin steward kept everything very clean and he listened to our needs. Dining service in Windjammer, Main room and specialty restaurants including service, food quality and timeliness, was a 10 out of 10. We flew in and flew out on the same day. Taxi service is about 25.00 each way approximately for two. At the airport and at the port there are Taxi controllers that help you with the established pricing. I recommend on leaving the ship that you use a porter. The porter will guide you faster through the maze of people hanging around the port area. The ship is a smaller ship in their fleet, perhaps that is why the customer relationship model excels so well on her. We were constantly greeted with a smile and offered assistance, even while sitting down in the buffet. You enter the ship in the Centrum area and that is pretty much the heart of the ship. It worked for us. There is only one main bank of elevators here. There are a few elevators, maybe 2-3 forward as well. None aft. We never found crowding to occur, even on port days. If you have sailed on Royal before, the shops are the shops are the shops, lol. In case you don't know this, the liquor vendor is a private, third party entity. You will find different prices and sales within the fleet. So, if you find something on one ship at a great price, don't wait to try and purchase it on your next sailing, it may not be there or even be the same price. You will find accommodating bars all over the ship. I even found a spot that had one of my favorite beers, Heineken Light on draft. We did have the Bev package and did not find any delay or negativity when receiving our service. I did always wait for our beverage to see the exchange, once served and it was good, 100% of the time, we would give a dollar cash as an extra gratuity. We have done this for years, we are going to continue doing it, it works for me. Layout of the ship is nice, explore it. We were finding spots even on the last two days that we hadn't explored yet. We used room service a few times and it was solid each time. No issues at all. Our bed, linens and towels felt soft and fresh and did not feel old or dated. Although we were in a suite, we did not have this same experience in a GS on our last sailing on another vessel. Again, this was a superb sailing. We did not attend any shows, but we did listen to the bands in the Centrum area every night. It was delightful! We do enjoy Casino time. Supervisors in the casino were some of the nicest we have met. Dealers were friendly and talkative-and funny. Five dollar minimums are the norm. Poker preliminaries and cash games were had on many nights. Smoke was not an issue. Bar service was very good. Up top, pools were very clean. They did have a slide area, a kids area and a solarium area for adults only. The solarium had its own bar and snack stand. On this ship, the solarium roof actually opened for several hours of the day while in port. It was a very nice area. I participated in one of the daily Spa specials and it was excellent. Three services for $99.00. Experience from start to finish was excellent. We took advantage of our Concierge services and the people and area were top notch. Wonderful! I can and wish I could write more. I just don't have enough time. Bottom line as you can probably tell, we left very, very happy and we would sail on her again. I would recommend this ship for anyone. Do your research, gain info from various posts to help you make your decision easier. Safe travels. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My DH and I booked this cruise in late November. At that time, we were status post 2 Category 5 Hurricanes (Irma and Maria), did not have electricity at our house and needed a break. We chose this ship and itinerary because 1) it was ... Read More
My DH and I booked this cruise in late November. At that time, we were status post 2 Category 5 Hurricanes (Irma and Maria), did not have electricity at our house and needed a break. We chose this ship and itinerary because 1) it was leaving from San Juan, which is not far for us as we live on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands 2) Grenada and Martinique--my DH had sailed thru Grenada many years before, but our experiences with both were limited and 3) the price! RCCL was having a heck of a sale! We chose an interior cabin--we have cruised before w/ balcony and window, but the idea of a TOTAL escape appealed to us. This may be wordy for a review, but I have divided it up into sections--Embarkation, Ports of Call, Dining and Disembarkation. Enjoy! EMBARKATION We flew into San Juan the day before (1/20/2018). By this date, we had been enjoying electricity at our house for a month. As we booked the cruise during our "powerless" days, it was important to us that we had electricity and water in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We chose to stay at the San Juan Airport Hotel, as we were certain that they would have both of these amenities! Usually, our stays there are due to flight interruptions. The room was small but clean and comfortable; these is a restaurant at the hotel with a bar, but we rented a car and did our usual San Juan itinerary (Costco! Longhorn Steakhouse!). We went to the Condado area for dinner. We turned in our rental car that night and enjoyed a very lazy morning in the hotel room till it was time to head out to the pier. We decided the earlier the better for boarding; after a ~$25.00 cab ride from airport to pier, we arrived a little bit before 11am. There was a line, but not long. I think the only reason that there was a line is that the luggage porters did not start accepting bags till 11am. Once they started, that line went fast; there were hardly any lines inside the terminal and before we knew it, we were on board the ship! For those that like a bottle of wine or water in your cabin, there is a store inside the terminal where you can purchase these items. Once on board, we only had 2 little bags with us (the rest went to the porters); the cabins were not ready till closer till 2pm. Lunch in the Windjammer was not at 12noon, but before 1pm. For us, it was great to get a "lay of the ship" and find those spots that we would come back to. While exploring the ship, we found the "Captains Table" dining room. I had considered booking this before boarding, but held off. Later, when we were able to go to the cabin, I found a credit from our TA! I called the reservation number and immediately booked us seats at this dinner for Wednesday night---more on that later!! We were able to catch the show that night, great comedian, nicknamed "Mudflap". He was really funny, did not use cuss words and we laughed so hard till it hurt! Great start for our vacation! PORTS OF CALL--- ST. CROIX What can I say about my home island!!?? DH stayed on board, but I took advantage of being in Frederiksted. We live closer to the town of Christiansted, so this was a treat for me to be out on this side of the island! There is a nice beach, right to the left of the pier when you walk out. Best thing about the beaches in F'sted-----seaglass! I collected a nice baggie of smooth broken glass, colors of green, blue, amber and clear. It started to rain, so I headed to the shops. I found a pop up bar where they were pouring the locally made draft beer. A friend picked me up and we went out to Rhythms at Rainbow Beach. If you like a bar/ restaurant and ability to rent chairs/umbrellas, this is a good beach for that. Another would be Sandcastles at the Beach-on the other side of the cruise ship dock. I would recommend using a taxi to take you to either beach---long walk in my opinion. As a member of Cruise Critic, I learned from the Roll Call that there would be a country music concert at Rhythms, courtesy of folks that were on board the cruise. So the bar was packed and the music was great and my drinks were frozen and good! Several of my friends met me there, and they all had a good time, as did I. Best port stop for me on the whole cruise!!! ST MARTIN Been there, done that--not only on previous cruises, but girlfriend getaways--but I had a plan. DH and I took the ferry over to Phillipsburg (be sure to get your discount tickets on board the ship). Walked up the street to the Guavaberry Shop. Bought a bottle of guavaberry rum for next Christmas. Sent DH back to the ship with the bottle. I found my favorite beach bar, "Blue Bitch". Bought my bucket of Amstel Bright (best beer in the Caribbean, only on the Dutch islands). Sat on my chair and enjoyed a few hours of beach time. Best thing about buying drinks on the islands---can usually catch free Wi-Fi. That is how I stay connected with friends and family during these trips. MARTINIQUE My goal on this island was to enjoy a nice French Creole lunch. This was accomplished at the local market, which is walking distance from the port. The market is quite lively, and in the back were about 4-5 small restaurants. I ate at Chez Carole (had read good reviews on line) and it did not disappoint. Before lunch, we walked around the town Fort de France. Be sure that you have Euros; the market appeared to prefer this. Exchange rate was not good---changed $70.00 USD to ~$50.00 Euros! At the port, there are gift shops, and they did take USD. Right at the port was a ferry service to take you to the beaches, if you so desire. BARBADOS We have been here a few times, courtesy of cruise ships. We decided to visit the Mount Gay Rum factory. It is not far from the port. You could walk it, but I would recommend a taxi--much cooler and easier. The driver dropped us off and came back to pick us up at a designated time. GRENADA Here, we did book a ship excursion, an island tour that included visits to Annandale Falls, Grand Etang Lake and a cocoa plantation. The tour was scheduled for 4 1/2 hours, but it did seem longer. Our driver was friendly and knowledgeable about the different spices that grow here. If you prefer a beach day, there were boats that would carry you to Grand Anse beach. Short walk from the port. DINING Dining for us was the "My Time" dining. We had made reservations for 8pm. They seated us at a 2 top, but there was a 2 top next to us, so this is how we made new friends. That night, our waiter was Robin--he was great, provided recommendations, very professional. It was the only night that we were able to enjoy his service; when we asked to reserve that table for the rest of the cruise, someone else had already done that! We did reserve a table on the other side, next to the railing. Our waiter was fine, but he never gave us recommendations, only took the order. The assistant waiter was more interactive with us, his name was Mladen. Our meals in the main dining room (The Tides) were fine, no complaints. The best meal was "The Captain's Table!". This was a 4 hour event---private dining room, we were seated at a table with 14 other passengers. We had great conversation! Each meal was described by our Chef and paired with a nice wine. I highly recommend this experience, especially if you enjoy good food and wine. Two days before sea day, Robin saw us in the Windjammer and suggested that we attend the Galley Brunch Tour (with bottomless mimosas!) and a Wine Tasting at Vintages. We signed up for both, they took place on Sea Day---had time to do both and still make it to dinner! Vintages was one of our favorite bars---the Sommelier there, his name starts with a "V" (I should have written it down!) was knowledgeable and personable. Everyone on the ship, from our cabin steward Chris, to the staff in Windjammer, to the Art Auction crew----all extremely pleasant and contributed to our fantastic experience! DISEMBARKATON Our flight was late (430pm late) in the afternoon. So we signed up for the Bacardi Tour to help pass the time. Meanwhile, our luggage went ahead to the airport. Since we had signed up for the excursion, we left the ship early, no issues w/ Customs, no lines to speak of. As easy as it was to board, it was just as easy to get off the ship. Overall, this vacation did the trick--helped us to de-stress and unwind. Best decision we made! I hope this information helps you if you are planning on this cruise---I would recommend it! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I have been on the jewel 4 times and other RCCL many times I am Diamond status The service and all waitstaff were wonderful The itinerary was pretty good NEGATIVE: the bed was so hard that it felt like a cement slab My hips ... Read More
I have been on the jewel 4 times and other RCCL many times I am Diamond status The service and all waitstaff were wonderful The itinerary was pretty good NEGATIVE: the bed was so hard that it felt like a cement slab My hips were sore no matter which way I turned They put big pads on the bed to help the situation. The glass shelf in bathroom kept falling off. The safe door was broken The worst surprise of all was that now they are charging for room service!!!! This just started this year No other cruise line does this Also they raised the cost of gratuities Be prepared to be charged for all these new things The Jewel is getting tired and needs some help in appearance I don't think we will be going on RCCL again unless there is a spectacular itinerary which probably wont happen We chose this cruise because of the Island itinerary which we enjoyed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We booked this cruise specifically for the port intensive itinerary and the ability to visit new islands we had not been to previously. This was our first time on Jewel, and first time on a smaller ship. I booked a large, aft balcony ... Read More
We booked this cruise specifically for the port intensive itinerary and the ability to visit new islands we had not been to previously. This was our first time on Jewel, and first time on a smaller ship. I booked a large, aft balcony on deck 10 - cabin 1604. I had read earlier that this was located below an outdoor eating area of the Windjammer and previous reviews indicated some chair scraping noise was to be expected but no one mentioned it was a serious issue. I thought it would only occur during Windjammer hours and hadn't realized this open area is accessible 24/7. As a result, we had very loud chair scraping noise reverberating through our metal ceiling at all hours of the day and night which would wake us from a dead sleep. I should also mention, neither my husband or I are light sleepers... this noise was LOUD. I would not book this cabin again or recommend to anyone. Worse still were the two nights out of the week when the staff decided to clean the floors in the outdoor area, at 2:00AM for a good 90 minutes or longer, dragging chairs and tables to and fro... very disruptive. The balcony is also stepped which meant we had large gatherings in the open area above, hanging over the railing, chatting and staring down at us almost every time we were out on our deck, morning, afternoon, evening, late evening... didn't seem to make a difference. There was absolutely no privacy. Soot was an issue for us on this balcony as well. The chairs, lougers, table and floor were all dirty every day with black soot that got all over our clothing. The service on this ship was really lacking with a few exceptions - Our stateroom attendant, Philip was wonderful! As were several of the attendants in the Windjammer (Washy Washy first!) and Leonora in the Schooner Bar was an amazing sweetheart of a bartender but for the most part, the rest of the servers we encountered seemed new or just clueless. Our waiter in the main dining room didn't introduce himself and barely said two words to us. He lost our Sea Pass cards during our first dinner and wouldn't return to our table. We had to get the assistant waiter to track them done for us. Getting a refill on a glass of water was impossible and no one seemed very friendly. We were not the only guests to come to this conclusion either... we talked with several who had the same opion. At the Centrum bar, the bartender was also new or clueless... One night I asked for a Budweiser and glass of Merlot. I received a Coors Light and two glasses of white wine in response...These were just a few examples of how the service lacked. This was nothing like our last experience on the Adventure of the Seas where the service was top notch. Entertainment was good and the ship seemed well maintained. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Cruise had a great itinerary. Highlights were derfinitely St Kitts and St Lucia. Puerto Rico is always a fantastic place to stay! The food is absolutely amazing (Bebo's Cafe), and we never get tired of walking and exploring Old San ... Read More
Cruise had a great itinerary. Highlights were derfinitely St Kitts and St Lucia. Puerto Rico is always a fantastic place to stay! The food is absolutely amazing (Bebo's Cafe), and we never get tired of walking and exploring Old San Juan. The Jewel of the Seas is really starting to show its age though. There was always an unpleasant odor near our cabin and in our stateroom bathroom. The shopping area was very small. Staff was fantastic though - always friendly and accommodating! The elevator buttons did not always work properly and some of the exterior lights on the elevators also did not work. We were not as happy with the dining. We were required to order dessert (which did not change much from day to day) when we ordered our dinner as opposed to ordering dessert afterwards. The downside of this is that sometimes after dinner, we did not want dessert, or we would have changed our minds based on the entree. Not a really big issue, but it seemed to irritate us most nights. The embarkation process was incredibly smooth! It took us less than 20 minutes from the time that we dropped off our bags. Disembarkation was similarly smooth. It really was a very good cruise, but I would have preferred to be on a newer boat. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
I chose this cruise because several other friends had already booked and my wife and I wanted to join the fun. This was our 6th cruise, ( 3rd Royal Caribbean), but it was our first cruise during the winter months. We flew from Baltimore to ... Read More
I chose this cruise because several other friends had already booked and my wife and I wanted to join the fun. This was our 6th cruise, ( 3rd Royal Caribbean), but it was our first cruise during the winter months. We flew from Baltimore to San Juan on January 14th, 2018 to board the Jewel of the Seas. We arrived and everyone was very helpful with the exception of one female staff member in the terminal, she seemed to be bothered by questions we had about the ship. We boarded the ship and located our balcony cabin on the 9th deck (9552). The cabin was very clean and the view from the cabin was awesome! On the first day the bathroom had a slight sewage odor but it dissipated after day 2. We dined in dining room during the late seating every night, (table 473). There were 8 of us at the table and we were waited on by Julian and Peter. The food was very good and Julian and Peter made our dining experience excellent. Julian and Peter treated us like we were the only people on the ship and attended to our every need, even brining us our coffee and Baileys at the end of each meal without asking! The entertainment and activities on the ship were great. We attended two comedian shows and a newlywed game show which was hilarious. The main pool got a little crowded during the prime pool hours and the poolside bar service was a little slow during this time as well but I wouldn't call it bad. The bartenders were always happy and very courteous. The service on the ship was excellent, our cabin was always clean and the towel animals were there every night. The Windjammer restaurant staff kept the food tasty and the tables clean. My only complaint would have to be the line for the shore excursions on the ship. We had a simple question about our excursion we booked on line prior to the cruise but the we waited in line for 20 minutes and the line didn't move. I'm not sure if our timing was bad or not but I thought it was worth mentioning. Our cruise traveled to St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. All of the stops were great but I will have to mention the taxi drivers on Antigua are VERY aggressive and made a few members of our party uncomfortable. An older couple we were traveling with actually returned to ship because of the taxi drivers. If you go to Barbados a "must do" excursion is the snorkel and swim with turtles with Captain Kim Joseph. Captain Joseph is the only female boat Captain on the island and she knows how to throw a rum punch party! This was everything I expected of a cruise. I will be taking another Royal Caribbean cruise ASAP! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Choose this cruise for best value and itinerary and were not disappointed. I would recommend for families. Only one day at sea, so busy but great itinerary for the price. We had a disappointing experience with tides dining room on our ... Read More
Choose this cruise for best value and itinerary and were not disappointed. I would recommend for families. Only one day at sea, so busy but great itinerary for the price. We had a disappointing experience with tides dining room on our first visit. However we were contacted and asked for feedback. Dining manager apologized and made up for it with great service and experience following nights. We like Giovanni for food, Chops food was good but the atmosphere the night we were there was very noisy with large groups, the ceiling are low so our private dinner felt more like pub atmosphere. The food in the Windjammer buffet was always good for breakfast and lunch, great options and you can sit outside on back deck. Although our cruise was full, there are always options to find a quiet place to relax. The safari lounge is very nice and we had great service there, would liked to have more live music options there instead of Centrum. Read Less
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