6 Night Western Caribbean (Ft. Lauderdale Roundtrip) Sail Date: November 12, 2006 Ship: Jewel of the Seas Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Singles/Friends Reviewed: 11 years ago
Like any cruise ship, you will do lots of walking, but I think the layout and distribution of food/bar venues was well-done. In particular, the Centrum always seemed to have music or something going on, and just about every level had comfortable seating areas overlooking it.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We ate all of our meals in the buffet, so I can't comment on the dining rooms (although we heard the food was good). The buffet has such a great variety and was more casual, so we just ate there. The selection was fantastic--salad bar, fruit bar, dessert bar, pasta bar, make your own pizza, hot dinner bar (steak, fish, etc.), stir fry bar, and on and on. Everything I sampled was good. I should add that they had a lot of healthy selections and always at least one sugar free dessert. The low-fat desserts tasted like the real thing.
5 out of 5
We didn't attend the shows, but the onboard activities (horseracing, demonstrations, etc.) were fun.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
Staff was always friendly and helpful. Everyone smiled and said hello.
5 out of 5
We were amazed at how spotless the ship was, even in the higher-traffic areas. We didn't see a speck of dirt or dust anywhere. Dishes and glasses were picked up from tables very quickly.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We had an interior stateroom. It was tiny, no doubt about it. Larger people may have a difficult time moving around. I would say I'm average sized, and I was fine. It's amazing what they can pack into a small room. You have the option of ordering in-room movies ($11.95/each), and they also have a mini-bar. Our rooms were made in the early afternoon and then beds turned down in the evening.
We went to the Chocchoben Mayan ruins. I enjoyed this. We took about an hour bus ride both ways. Our guide spoke good English and was very entertaining. We spent about an hour or so at the ruins (just enough time). The ruins are not too big, just enough to see the city, etc. There is a small market area there, and you will find better prices on souvenirs but you have to bargain. There was a clean restroom and place to buy water there, too. We shopped at the port when we returned from our tour, but there was nothing there that you couldn't see in Cozumel or one of the other ports. Again, other passengers told us that the beach excursions were nice.
We visited Truman's White House, which was interesting, and did some shopping. The only problem we had with Key West was that it was crowded (I don't know if it always is--that was our first time there).
There were 4 other large cruise ships there the same day were were there, so George Town was CROWDED. They do have a little more variety of shops (Swatches, linens, Tortuga, etc.), but the heat was much worse than in Mexico. We did not spend much time in George Town before we returned to the ship, and it seems a lot of other passengers were returning early from George Town, too (I would guess mostly because of the crowds).
Only buy into the shopping hype if you're buying expensive jewelry. Even on the silver (which is plentiful), you will still spend $200+ for a nice piece. You only really get good buys on high-end jewelry. If you're not prepared to spend at least $500 on a piece of jewelry, then do a shore excursion. We heard from other passengers that the beach excursions were the thing to do. One other passenger went to Cancun (which we had thought about doing), and she was very disappointed. Next time we will head for a beach.
Pros: The staff was very friendly, the ship was spotless, and we had a wide variety of things to do (or not do!). The shopping on board is just as good as on shore--next time we won't spend as much time shopping off shore.
Cons: Shopping was hyped on this cruise, and I did not think the shopping was all it was touted to be. When we cruise again (and we will!) we will do some beach excursions or stay on the ship more.
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