April 2015 - Jewel of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern
Having cruised several times in the past, many of which are on Royal Caribbean, I am comparing this cruise to others. The ship is one of the smallest which is great from a crown control perspective. I never felt overwhelmed by the number of people on the ship and, in fact, felt many times that there was hardly any one else on the ship. But the ship also stops every day but one - not ideal if you are looking for relaxation and don't want to feel obligated to get off the ship.
It's been 6 years since I've taken a RC cruise and a lot has changed - toiletries are no longer provided in rooms, upcharges have significantly increased in the specialty restaurants, quality has declined, and the number of activities on the ship have been reduced. I also felt very "nickel-and-dimed" on the cruise - had to pay extra for so many things that were free in the past. RC plans to renovate the ship next year and it desperately needs it. Wear and tear are obvious.
The dining room experience was mediocre. The meal choices were just "ok"; the service was hit and miss, and the quality was average. We got the same quality of meal at the buffets. The buffets, however, lacked service especially during dinner. Not a single staff member approached us for bar service.
I would only recommend this cruise for first time cruisers who have not had better RC experiences because they will not be disappointed.