Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean

Contributor Level: Third Mate

Experience
7+ cruises

Reviews
3

Helpful Votes
15

3 out of 5

Not up to the usual excellence

Sail Date: October 31, 2006

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Oceanview

This is a beautiful ship of the Radiance class. We have sailed on her before, in May, and were delighted with almost everything. (see comment on entertainment below). However on this trip, the Shore Excursions staff, and the Crown and Anchor staff were woefully inadaquate. We had multifple tours cancelled, one with no notice at all so we spend an hour on the pier waiting for a tour cancelled before we landed. One tour was cancelled after we went to dinner so we would not have known if we didn't see the notice on the Centrum desk. Crown and Anchor did not let these Diamond members know about most of the activities, and the ship itself made almost no announcement except for Bingo.

The overall quality of the trip was diminished by these lapses, even making due allowences for the fact that this was a repositioning cruise. I would expect that on its regular 8 & 6 day sailings the ship's staff will perform much more efficiently.

Pros: itinerary

Cons: lack of timely information from the crew

Recommends Jewel of the Seas? Yes!

Entertainment
The weakest part of the RCL presentation. The entertainers are, absent the comedians. F list or worse. The production numbers, while enthusiastically performed, are old, stale and formulaic. The cruise director, Karen, is abominable. She gives no information of value, and her assistant was not only more informative, but far more presentable.
Food and Dining
The quality of ingrediants in the food is outstanding. However, the food continues to be overly fussy. Portions have been adjusted over the past few years and are appropriate. Seasoning is very good, though the staff always wants to add pepper before you tast the food. The desserts are only fair. This is unusual for RCL, but often the description does not meed the reality. A parfait is not a cakelike confection, nor is it a frozen pie. The same idea with puddings. They are not a creamy substance here, they are largely cakelike. The ice cream continues to be superb, especially the raspberry sherbert.
Cabin / Stateroom
Generally of good size, and very well maintained. Storage for suitcases can be a problem if you have more than one large size, but the staff will store those for you on request. I do miss the individual soap and shampoo, but the economies of scale do make sense in this regard.
Service and Staff
On this ship, and on RCL generally, all you need to do is ask. Only once have we been disappointed in the staff, and that was our head waiter's fault on the Baltic trip. On this ship, whenever you ask, you get an answer, quickly. However, you do need to ask as the staff is not clarevoyant, and won't assume you need help if you don't let them know.
Ship Quality
Physically, the ship is well laid out and easy to use. Unfortunately RCL continues to allow smoking in some lounges, in particular, the Pit Stop, Casino and Schooner bars which 3 require that you transit the same to maneuver the center of the ship on levels 5 and 6. Smoking around the pool is not as annoying but present on the port side.

We find the size to be about as large as we enjoy as the approximately 2000 passengers are easily accomodated, yet there are very few areas where it seems crowed. The public areas, and private areas too, are kept exceptionally clean by very helpful and apparently cheerful staff.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is bustling, crowed and can be a lot of fun. But, it can get very boring after more than a couple trips. Excellent shopping in the old city, and the forts are great for scenic views.
Don't Miss: Visit the Don Q exhibit near the piers and take the ferry and bus ($18 total) to the free Bacardi factory tour. 2 drinks are incuded. A rain forest tour is great fun too.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Shopping is the best in the Caribbean. Jewelry, liquor, electronics, and of course souveniers and T shirts. Take the time to walk through the stores. The staff are very friendly, offering drinks and even lunch to the weary. Don't forget the alleys like Drake's Passage and Hibiscus Alley. Negotiate, haggle and smile. Except for a couple very large stores, and on alchohol, everything is negotiable. There is a free internet cafe on the second floor of a sore named for a mid european country. The cable car ride is a great way to view the island.
Don't Miss: Go shopping here. If you take a quick island tour and like what you see, come back for a week. Theres much to do, but not enough time in this port for more than maxing out the credit card.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Shopping is the best in the Caribbean. Jewelry, liquor, electronics, and of course souveniers and T shirts. Take the time to walk through the stores. The staff are very friendly, offering drinks and even lunch to the weary. Don't forget the alleys like Drake's Passage and Hibiscus Alley. Negotiate, haggle and smile. Except for a couple very large stores, and on alchohol, everything is negotiable. There is a free internet cafe on the second floor of a sore named for a mid european country. The cable car ride is a great way to view the island.
Don't Miss: Go shopping here. If you take a quick island tour and like what you see, come back for a week. Theres much to do, but not enough time in this port for more than maxing out the credit card.
Oranjestad, Aruba
Beaches are the feature here. If you can, try some water sports. Outstanding snorkeling and scuba. Skip anything that features the "natural bridge". It fell down 2 years ago. WARNING: There is considerable construction in Oranjestad. As a result, the old 100 yard walk to the downtown is now close to 1/2 mile. There are virtually no taxis as the port is not accessable to them due to post 9/11 security.
Don't Miss: The mall next to the Crystal Casino, and the little shops across the way.
King's Wharf, Bermuda
The little mall across from the mooring is fine for little things and souveniers, but take the ferry across for a wider shopping selection. The public bus was recommended for an overview of the island. Don't. It travels at breakneck speed and you can't really see much. Take an island tour, it's worth the price.
Don't Miss: Get a dark & stormy. Don't use the restaurants for more than a drink as two burgers can easily cost over $50.
Oranjestad, Aruba
Beaches are the feature here. If you can, try some water sports. Outstanding snorkeling and scuba. Skip anything that features the "natural bridge". It fell down 2 years ago. WARNING: There is considerable construction in Oranjestad. As a result, the old 100 yard walk to the downtown is now close to 1/2 mile. There are virtually no taxis as the port is not accessable to them due to post 9/11 security.
Don't Miss: The mall next to the Crystal Casino, and the little shops across the way.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is bustling, crowed and can be a lot of fun. But, it can get very boring after more than a couple trips. Excellent shopping in the old city, and the forts are great for scenic views.
Don't Miss: Visit the Don Q exhibit near the piers and take the ferry and bus ($18 total) to the free Bacardi factory tour. 2 drinks are incuded. A rain forest tour is great fun too.
Curacao
A wonderful slice of Holland in the Caribbean. Walk about the Punda side of the city. The locals are very nice and friendly. If you can, visit the Curacao factory. More samples to try. The older part of the city is featured, and with good reason.
Don't Miss: The synagogue and old city are worth the trip alone. The aquarium is very small, but swimming with the sea lions or dolphins is great fun.
Curacao
A wonderful slice of Holland in the Caribbean. Walk about the Punda side of the city. The locals are very nice and friendly. If you can, visit the Curacao factory. More samples to try. The older part of the city is featured, and with good reason.
Don't Miss: The synagogue and old city are worth the trip alone. The aquarium is very small, but swimming with the sea lions or dolphins is great fun.
King's Wharf, Bermuda
The little mall across from the mooring is fine for little things and souveniers, but take the ferry across for a wider shopping selection. The public bus was recommended for an overview of the island. Don't. It travels at breakneck speed and you can't really see much. Take an island tour, it's worth the price.
Don't Miss: Get a dark & stormy. Don't use the restaurants for more than a drink as two burgers can easily cost over $50.


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