September 2013 - Jewel of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern
The Jewel of the Seas is an awesome ship! While the stateroom decor and common area decor may be a little dated, the ship itself is in great condition and it's design makes up for this fact. The Main Lobby Area is beautiful, especially at night when the main staircase lights up and the ceiling rises the full 12 stories with balconies all the way. The views are stunning. The outside elevators are awesome as the view is all glass over looking the ocean.
We enjoyed the Main Dining Room, Windjammer Cafe, Casino, Theater, Champagne Bar and the Schooner Lounge. The Portofino Restaurant was very good and I highly recommend it as well. The food, service, staff all were exquisite!
Our Stateroom attendant, Joyce, was amazing! Greeted us by name every time she saw us, asked how we were doing, what we had planned for our day and even offered suggestions on things to do or places to visit at our ports. She was very kind, professional and personable! I really miss her!
Our Dining Room Staff, Pavel and Monicia, were incredible as well. They outshined the staff of every cruise we have been on. After the first evening they knew our names, what we liked and did not hesitate to make suggestions or offerings that would tempt anyone! The food was excellent and their service made it awesome!
The only two items that I would suggest to RC about this ship is: 1 – work on the ventilation in the Casino on the Smoking Side. It’s very poor and really makes a smoker cry as it gets very smoky and uncomfortable. 2 – the main Pool. Too small for a ship of this size. To only have two pools and both to be so small, it makes it very uncomfortable on the day at sea to enjoy. You’ve got 2,000+ people trying to squeeze into a small pool…not good planning on that part. Also, during the day at sea, they start doing games and such, it pretty much closes one pool off (Main one) to the rest of the guest. The Solarium Pool is even smaller in my view and gets that much more crowded. Maybe review that planning of events and consider all guest’s? Don’t get me wrong the activities were great fun to watch, but standing in the hot sun for two hours to watch is a little more than a lot of people can handle. I think you loose some of your guest’s that way.
Ports – Our stops were awesome! We went to St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. All were amazing places! • Check out Orient Beach in St. Maarten and take the Beach Rendezvous Tour. It’s a great tour, with “Momma” as your tour guide! She was amazing and made the tour very enjoyable. The beach time was great! 2 hours, including a great lunch! • St. Kitts was fun, but not my favorite Island. We did the 4X4 Safari Tour and Beach Break. The Tour was fun, took you through the towns and villages up through the mountains and rain forest, back down the opposite side of the island and to a beach for some swimming time. The beach – that was what made this island not my favorite. Actually it was the tour stop. The beaches are probably better in other spots. This was literally on the edge of a dock, very rocky, water not as clear made for a “careful” dip in the water. The beach is set next to a Beach Bar, that owns the beach front property and they sort of expected you to make a purchase of some sort. Very small place. Would not do this tour next time. Would recommend doing an island tour without the beach or just doing a beach at another location on the island. The tour guide and company were very good...just think they need to find a better beach stop. • Antigua, wow…breath taking! It’s beauty will amaze you. We did the Island Tour down to the southern shore to see the ruins of two historical landmarks (British Forts), where the Atlantic means the Caribbean. The 1,000 ft vistas offer amazing views of the coast and island. We also visited the oldest harbor port in the Caribbean, the Old English Harbor (not the official name, but what I remember). It was a great stop, had a brief tour, time to explore on our own, shop and were offered a free beverage. It was a great day! Next time we will try the beaches here! Gorgeous Island, I highly recommend this tour. • St Lucia, by far my favorite Island on this trip! We did the Catamaran Tour of the island to the Pitons and a beach stop. The Island itself is simply gorgeous and will remind of you of the pictures of islands you see in the South Pacific. The water there is awesome, the beaches are beautiful and secluded. The tour itself was a lot of fun and the crew very entertaining. I highly recommend this tour! • Finally Barbados! This was my favorite stop and favorite activity. We did the 5 star Catamaran Tour to snorkel with sea turtles and over a beautiful coral reef. This tour was the better part of 5 hours. We literally sailed, no motor, down the East Coast of the island getting information about the island, people, homes and such along the way. Our first stop was to snorkel with the sea turtles. We saw 4 and they stuck around as long as we did, a full 30 minutes in the water with these amazing, endangered sea creatures. Then back on board, we were served a gourmet lunch on china and silverware. Food was incredible!! Our final stop was at a beach to swim, beachcomb or snorkel above the coral reef, which extended all the way to the beach itself! Made for easy snorkeling and we had a full 45 minutes. Finally we sailed back to the ship and only when approaching the harbor did the sails come down and the engines turn on. A truly relaxing, fun, awesome experience! Can’t wait to do this one again!!!!
That was my first 7 day Caribbean Cruise. It will most definitely not be my last. RC has a loyal customer for life – it can only get better after this one!!! Looking forward to booking my next cruise with RC very soon…just cant decide on the destination I want to try next! Happy Travels!!!