9 Night Eastern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip) Sail Date: May 19, 2011 Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 6 years ago
We just returned from sailing on the Jewel and we had a great time! We were on a 9 day eastern caribbean cruise from New York which had 2 days at sea on the way down and 2 days on the way back. The staff made sure there were plenty of activities to keep people busy on the days at sea and they were always friendly and helpful. We had a room with a balcony which was not much more expensive than a room with a window and we LOVED it! It was so nice to be able to sit out on our private balcony and enjoy the sunsets and sunrises and also the views coming in and out of port. The room itself was a nice size for a room in a ship and the bathroom was also very nice. The shower was larger than I thought it would be. There were two main restaurants (Azure and Tzar's Palace) which were included in the package pricing. We ate dinner at one of those restaurants every night and the food was fabulous! I am a vegetarian and had no difficulty finding a selection of different things to eat each day. There are also buffet restaurants to chose from and we chose to eat there for breakfast and lunch so we didn't find it necessary to pay additionally to go to the restaurants with the cover charge. We were aware that there is a daily gratuity (per person) that is added to your bill but some people were not. The alcohol, soft drinks and bottled water are all extra costs also so some people really had extensive bills by the time they got home. You can't bring your own alcohol on board to drink but we did see people bringing packages of bottled water and boxes of soft drinks on with their luggage which was a great idea to save some money if cost is an issue for you. Otherwise, the evening entertainment was pretty good and, overall, it was a great time.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
We loved the freestyle dining and being able to go when we wanted to and not when we had to! I am a vegetarian and found plenty of gret choices and variety. We never even went to the specialty restaurants and had plenty of choices.
3 out of 5
There were a lot of entertainment options. The evening entertainment was pretty good but don't expect a broadway performance--just relax and enjoy it for what it is.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The staff was exceptionally friendly and helpful. Our cabin stewards went above and beyond and would make us towel animals every night so it was fun to see what they would leave for us and they knew us by name.
5 out of 5
The ship was clean, kept up very well, and very nicely decorated.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
We had a room with a balcony and it was beautiful! It was a nice sized room and we loved having our own balcony to see the ports or to just sit out and read a book and relax. The bathroom was bigger than I thought it would be. It was still a bahtroom in a ship, of course, but it was very nice.
We went on an excursion that involved a tour of the city and of the fort. The tour was educational and interesting and we both enjoyed it. The tour guide did a nice job with being interesting and with keeping things moving on the tour.
We went on the rum and punch beach trip. The bar owner takes you to his beachfront bar and gives you a lounge chair and all the rum punch you can drink or punch if you are not a drinker. He was very entertaining and very informative on the trip over to his place. He made it an enjoyable experience and the beach was beautiful. The only thing we didn't like is that in St. Maarten there are all sorts of "vendors" or locals on the beach who come up to you repeatedly and try to sell you whatever they are marketing that day--backpacks, hats, scarves, magnet jewelry, etc and they come around over and over. We didn't like that part very much.
St. Thomas was our favorite port of all. Maegan's Bay was beautiful and the island tour was amazing. It is a beautiful island-don't miss this one. We also went to Blackbeard's Castle which was cute but touristy, however, there is a bar at the end and the bartender/bar owner was very friendly and sitting and chatting with him was one of the highlights of our trip. He was a great guy and very interesting--I would make time to stop by.
Don't Miss: Maegan's Bay and the Bar at Blackbeard's Castle
We weren't too impressed with Tortola. My fiance is a diver and there is a famous dive site there so if you are a diver, that is a great opportunity for you. However, we went at a time when we were the only ship in port and there weren't enough others interested in diving for him to be able to go on the dive so he was disappointed. I went on the Virgin Gorda tour of the baths and caves which is fabulous in the brochures. The company running the excursion was terrible. The didn't have enough buses so we had to stand in the pouring rain and wait until they called more buses to pick up the rest of us then, when we got on the bus, there was absolutely no sightseeing information given over the loudspeaker during the 20 minute drive there or back or the 40 minute boat ride so I know nothing about the island. When we got to the site, we were left on our own to explore for 2 hours and told to return to the bus. It is rugged terrain and some people really struggled.
Pros: The staff was extremely courteous and friendly and the food was great
Cons: Just be careful of the additional charges for things like soft drinks and bottled water
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