July 2015 - Jewel of the Seas to Alaska - Inside Passage
This was our first cruise so our expectations were not too high. However, Royal Caribbean International and the crew/staff onboard the Jewel of the Seas made this trip a fantastic one.
Our stateroom number was 9204 and had the balcony on the Port (left) side of the ship. The room was clean and larger than we expected. Closet space was ample and we were able to store all our clothes in it, plus some smaller items in the six drawers in the table/mirror area. Storage under the bed also made for ample room. Our room had a small flat screen television as well.
Our Stateroom attendant Garnett was polite and more than willing to assist with anything we needed, although we needed little as he kept the room made up each day and made the obligatory animal figures with the towels we had read about.
The Ship was in great shape considering it has not been updated in a decade. I didn't see anything out of sorts with the ship. The Windjammer Cafe served a great variety of food items, all hot and fresh. Servers were quick and attentive. Dinner in the Tides main dining room was great. Our Head Waiter Felix and his assistant Vikram made sure we had everything we needed. They took time to remember hour drink orders and even took time to chat and have some fun. They also sang as a group with the other waiters and assistants each evening. Steak and Lobster the 6th night. Of course this was the night we had a special five course with wine dinner at Chops Grille where Marinette served us a wonderful meal with just the right wines to compliment each course. Nobody missed the steak and lobster.
We spent time playing bingo each day and one of our friends won a thousand dollars. The others in our group also won smaller amounts. The highlight was one of our couple friend entered the slot tournament and won a free cruise next year on Oasis of the Seas out of Cape Canaveral.
The weather was gorgeous each day with blue skies and sunshine. In Juneau we took the "Best of Juneau" shore excursion and went to see the Mendenhall Glacier as well as took a whale watching tour where we saw Orca Whales and Humpback whales! The day was finished up when we attended the salmon bake and had a great meal while being able to take photos of a very large and majestic Bald Eagle at the water falls.
There were two formal nights on Day 2 and Day 6.
In Skagway we arrived to blue skies and sunshine. We opted for the White Pass Summit trip and then spent the day walking around Skagway. I will say this. Royal Caribbean talks up the shopping and highlights Diamonds and what not. Many of the gift stores are owned by RCI is what I was told so that made sense why all the expensive jewelry. We managed to find other gifts, but I would have preferred more actually native handcrafted stores. There were a few but not many.
Victoria, British Columbia was impressive. The "Garden City" was beautiful and we spent the morning riding the double decker open top bus tour of Victoria for an hour and a half. We opted out of visiting Buchart Gardens as it was 45 minute ride out of town and would not allow for much time in Victoria. We walked around town for the afternoon, having lunch at the Irish Times Pub and purchasing gifts in several stores.
The last night before returning there was a "Disco Night" in the main atrium. It was a hoot with the staff dressed up in their Disco outfits and everyone having a great time.
All in all it was a great trip and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. There were a lot of children as well as older folks on this trip. I was surprised at the number of small children, but it did not make the trip any less enjoyable except when they were in the adult pool which made it quite loud and not easy for folks to just relax. That was only one day though and the rest of the time it was fine.
In closing, I recommmend RCI and an Alaska cruise if you want a limited stop trip with a few days at sea. This is not a party cruise. Views of Sawyer Glacier were awesome with no clouds at all.