August 2015 - Jewel of the Seas to Alaska - Inside Passage
...how much we were going to enjoy this cruise before I booked this for my wife's birthday. It had been 20 years since our last cruise and we were not fans. Plus I'm a warm weather person and Alaska was not on my list...well, it is now. Not only did we enjoy visiting Juneau & Skagway...but Royal Caribbean cruise line's "Jewel of the Seas" is a "don't miss it" in our book. From the moment we set foot on the ship it was total VIP treatment. We had a balcony stateroom (highly recommended for this cruise) that was cleaned and straightened twice daily. Our stateroom attendant was outstanding and always available. While we are not big on the formal dining arrangements, we very much enjoyed the Windjammer Restaurant. It's the buffet style restaurant that did not require any reservations. All you had to do was look like you needed help, or anything, and a restaurant attendant was there to help. We also had a wonderful dinner at the steak house (additional $35 per person, but worth it). Here's a tip, and my one negative from the trip: you do not need to book a drink package (that is unless you drink alcohol...we don't drink enough to warrant an alcohol package). There's plenty of iced tea, coffee and juice available always. We booked 2 soda packages but went to get a refund on the first day because we did not need the packages. While Guest Relations agreed to reimburse me for the $312 for the packages, so far I've only received reimbursement for one (I did go back and inform Guest Relations that they only refunded one package so they said they would refund the other package but so far..no reimbursement) For entertainment the Jewel of the Seas performers and live band were great. They put on two shows plus there was a Vegas level comedy act one night and an Eagle cover band "The Long Run" also performed one night on the cruise...all very, very entertaining. For excursions we recommend the helicopter trip to the glacier. Though expensive-$312 per person we saved some money by going through (not an ad I swear), it's a rare experience and well worth it. We also did the dog mushing trip in Skagway and really enjoyed the experience. On the bus trip up to the dog camp the driver stopped the bus for this awesome photo op of a bald eagle...got lots of great shots. The cruise through Tracy Arm Fjord was almost indescribable. I lost count of the number of glaciers...and sea lions floating by on ice breaks. The final day was in Victoria, BC. We did the Big Red Bus tour and had an enjoyable time. We would recommend the Royal British Columbia Museum as a must see. Lots of great totems.
But through it all, I have to say it was the staff of the Jewel of the Seas...from Captain Thor to Cruise Director Dennis to port specialist Kat C to our stateroom attendant Janice on Deck 9 and all the way UP to the great staff in the dining rooms...they made this trip magical for my wife and I. And in turn, they've made us big fans of Royal Caribbean and set the bar very high for the next crew on our next RC cruise!