kimmilou

kimmilou
Third Mate

Joined: 05/10/2015
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kimmilou's Past Cruises

Harmony of the Seas

November 2016 - Harmony of the Seas to Caribbean - Bahamas

Bigger was definitely better in our opinion

My 16 year old son and I went on this cruise together to check out the newest and largest cruise ship in the world. We booked it 18 mos in advance. This was my 11th cruise and 3rd with Royal Caribbean. My son has been on 5 cruises and it was his 3rd with RC as well. Our only port on this 3-night itinerary was Nassau, Bahamas. 

 

We loved all all aspects of the ship and cruise. We saw 3 shows, which were the ice skating show (1887), Grease, and The Fine Line show st the amazing aqua theatre. The shows were top notch. We enjoyed the flow rider, Ultimate Abyss slide, zip line, and my son tried the water slides. All were enjoyable. We also attended a trivia contest in Schooners one morning. 

 

With only 3 days on Harmony we did our best to explore as many areas that we could. On the day we boarded we grabbed a delicious slice of pizza from Sorrento's while walking through the Promenade then had another little bite to eat at the Solarium Bistro. We ate dinner in Grande (anytime dining) at the main dining room all 3 evenings. We found the food better on Harmony than our prior RC cruises. Each night we had a different menu to choose from. For breakfast we tried Johnny Rockets on Boardwalk once, Windjammer once, and the Park Cafe in Central Park once also. They were all good. Since it was a short cruise we decided not to try any specialty restaurants. We usually do on 7-night cruises, however. We heard from other passengers that Jamie's Italian was outstanding. We did not use room service this time. Other lunches included Johnny Rockets where we used our free lunch for booking a boardwalk balcony stateroom and another lunch at the Solarium Bistro after our afternoon in Nassau. 

 

We spent time on our sea day at the Sports Pool and at the Solarium. The hot tubs were all clean and comfortable. We especially liked the large ones that cantilever. Nice view! Loungers were plentiful and easy to find. RC had s crew member watching over the adult pool to ensure kids under 16 did not go in. It was nice to see rules enforced. 

 

Our room was spacious and comfortable. We felt there was plenty of storage space between the closets and drawers. My suitcase easily fit under the bed. Everything worked perfectly fine. We had a fridge but never used it.  The couch was large and comfortable. 

 

The technology was really great great on the ship. You now just tap your card in front of the reader on the door instead of swiping. You check into shows you have reservations for with the card and the ship photographers now enter your room number into their camera then you go to the photo area and order the ones you like from a computer. No more having to thumb through or eyeball everyone else's prints to find your own. Nice! One day my card would not work to open my stateroom door. Luckily my son's Wow Band worked fine so I took a trip to Huest Services where they quickly made me a new one. 

 

Disembarking went smoothly. We found our luggage quickly and there were plenty of taxis available to drive us to the airport. 

 

In Nassau we did not book an excursion. We wanted to leave our day open ended so we could return to the ship when we felt like it. We walked to the Querns Staircase and Fort  Fincastle. Great views of the ships and Atlantis from the fort. Getting off and on the ship in Nassau went seamless and no lines at all during the times we passed through. 

 

Overall we we really had a fantastic 3-day journey on Harmony and would book her again. We look forward to doing something similar when the next ship comes to the US. The ship was completely sold out and the only time it felt crowded was  during the safety drill. 

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Jewel of the Seas

April 2015 - Jewel of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern

Jewel of the Seas is truly a gem out at sea

I took my 15 year old son on this cruise to experience the beautiful islands of the Southern Caribbean.  Overall we had a fabulous time and I would recommend it to others.  We found the Jewel of the Seas to be in great shape and clean.  The dining room staff was excellent as was the food quality and choices.  Our stateroom attendant took good care of us and we rarely saw him.  He was unobtrusive, which was nice.  The ports we visited were my driving force in booking this itinerary.  It was very port intensive with only one sea day.  We flew into San Juan to board the ship and the ports we went to were:  St Thomas, St Kitts, Dominica, Barbados, and St Maarten.

In St Thomas we took an excursion to Tortola to swim with the dolphins.  I booked this prior to sailing via Royal Caribbean.  It was an enjoyable and educational time.  I felt there was plenty of interaction with the dolphins and the dolphin trainer we worked with was very knowledgeable.  The dolphin discovery place has photographers who take beautiful pictures for you to view and purchase afterward if you so choose-no pressure whatsoever.  We did purchase the CD because we like to remember our vacation memories.  The place also had clean facilities for showering/changing, a food service area, and a gift shop.  It is set in a picturesque location and enjoyable to spend a day in such a park.  The ferry ride over to Tortola from St Thomas is about an hour and you do have to pass through customs on each end.  The tour guide gave us the appropriate paperwork to fill out in advance so everyone was well prepared, which sped up the process.  There was a 15 minute ride from the ferry terminal to the dolphin discovery place each way.  

On St Kitts we had booked a city highlights tour with Beaulah Mills from Welcome Tours prior to sailing.  We got to meet Beaulah as soon as we walked out of the cruise ship terminal building and she walked us to our driver and made introductions so we could start off.  We saw some beautiful gardens at both Palm Court and Romney Manor with opportunities to get out and walk around.  Our driver pointed out many monuments, schools, hospitals, and businesses along the tour.  We stopped at Timothy Hill and got to take pictures of a beautiful overlook where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet separated by a mountain.  At the end of the tour you are left at a beach with unlimited beach time and at the agreed time the driver comes back to drive you back to town. We had lunch at a beach shack called Jam Rock and walked around to see all the wild monkeys and a mongoose or two.  It was a fun and educational way to see St Kitts.

In Dominica we booked a tour through BJ's Travel.  It took us to the Emarld Pool and Trafalgar Falls.  Both places are uniquely beautiful.  After visiting Trafalgar Falls (our last stop) we made a short stop to get our complimentary beverage.  When we boarded the tour bus and took off all of a sudden the tour bus started making a terrible noise!  A couple miles later when we started going up a steep hill the bus broke down.  It was 3:50 and we were supposed to be back on Jewel by 4:30.  Our tour guide called his company's office and they sent a replacement bus out to pick us up and also phoned Royal Caribbean to let them know our situation and RC held the ship for us.  We wound up making it back to port to board at 4:28!  That was wild!  Memories...

In Barbados we booked a tour of the Agapey Chocolate factory right in Bridgetown.  We walked to the factory in about 5 minutes from the cruise ship terminal and enjoyed learning about how to make dark chocolate.  There were plenty of samples along the way too.  It was a fun and interesting place to see. We bought several candy bars to take home as souvenirs and we knew to return to the ship and place the candy in our mini fridge right away.  We then caught a taxi to the Boatyard where we enjoyed the afternoon on Carlisle Bay swimming and taking advantage of their fun facilities.  There are plenty of additional packages you can buy at the Boatyard such as jet skis and swimming with the turtles.  The Boatyard provides a free shuttle back to the cruise ship terminal and these shuttles leave fairly often so you can choose how long you stay at their facility.  They do have a restaurant, bar, and restroom/changing facilities.  

In St Maarten we did something very gutsy and left the island and took the public ferry to Anguilla.  It was a self-guided tour.  Although I had some anxiety I had done plenty of research online ahead of time on getting this whole thing to come together.  We took a taxi from the ship terminal to Marigot, the French side capital, grabbed some food from Sarafina's (French boulangerie/patisserie) and then walked to the ferry terminal paid our fares and took the next ferry over to the beautiful Anguilla.  We spent the day on Meads Bay (we got there by taxi from the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal).  At 2:30 we reversed our route and took the ferry back to Marigot and picked up a taxi back to Phillipsburg where there were roads closed down for their Carnival parade.  Turns out the day our ship stopped in St Maarten it was a holiday for the locals.  Anyway our taxi driver had to let us out across town and give us walking directions the rest of the way.  We walked about a mile but we made it in plenty of time thanks to good planning on my part.

We did splurge and treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at Chops.  Chops is the specialty restaurant on the Jewel that specializes in beef.  We had delicious filet mignons with all the sides we could want for.  The service was outstanding as was the ambiance.  It was a very relaxing enjoyable dinner.  

I felt our stateroom was smaller than rooms we have had on other cruise lines yet there was plenty of storage space for everything we brought.  We enjoyed having a balcony cabin on Deck 7.  Several times a day I sit out on the balcony and just soak in the views.  Does it get any better than that?

I have nothing but good things to say about my vacation.  I do my homework ahead of time and research the things I want to do so there are no disappointments.  Jewel is a beautifully decorated vessel that is sure to please every step of the way.

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kimmilou's Tips

Harmony of the Seas Harmony of the Seas - On embarkation day if the Windjammer is crowded walk up to the Solarium Bistro. Great selection and no wait time.
Bridgetown, Barbados - We went to tour the Agapey Chocolate Factory then spent the afternoon on Carlisle Bay at the Boatyard.
Jewel of the Seas Jewel of the Seas - We enjoyed the onion rings at the Seaview Cafe. A must try on board. A word of caution on the beach/pool towels-when you get off the ship at port you must scan towels out with your ship card. Make sure you return them once you return to the ship regardless of whether you used them or not.

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shared a quick tip for Harmony of the Seas"On embarkation day if the Windjammer is crowded walk up to the Solarium Bistro. Great selection and no wait time. "

added Nov 5, 2016 cruise on Harmony of the Seas to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Bahamas cruise on Harmony of the Seas and gave it 5 stars!

received a helpful vote on their Jewel of the Seas cruise review - Jewel of the Seas is truly a gem out at sea

received a helpful vote on their Jewel of the Seas cruise review - Jewel of the Seas is truly a gem out at sea

shared a quick tip for Jewel of the Seas"We enjoyed the onion rings at the Seaview Cafe. A must try on board. A word of caution on the beach/pool towels-when you get off the ship at port you must scan towels out with your ship card. Make sure you return them once you return to the ship regardless of whether you used them or not."

added Apr 25, 2015 cruise on Jewel of the Seas to their profile.

reviewed their Caribbean - Southern cruise on Jewel of the Seas and gave it 5 stars!