1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
**DISCLAIMER : this is a really long review ... I really like to talk. It provides a thorough review of my experience and of the ship** Hello, this is my first cruise review although I have been on 7 before, primarily with Carnival. ... Read More
**DISCLAIMER : this is a really long review ... I really like to talk. It provides a thorough review of my experience and of the ship** Hello, this is my first cruise review although I have been on 7 before, primarily with Carnival. Coming into the cruise, I had low expectations for the ship, and its' offering of activites. I am 15 years old, and I traveled with my brother, aged 17, and my parents. Before we embarked on our voyage, we stayed 4 nights in Rome before making our way to Civitavecchia, where we set sail on July 1st. After 4 strenuous days and nights touring the eternal city, a relaxing cruise would be the perfect end to a vacation. However, after reading through reviews on my own before the trip began, I was worried there would be nothing for my brother and I to do at the teen club (Fuel), let alone there be any Americans onboard! We were definitely mistaken at these aspects. Without further ado, please enjoy the review! Embarkation On July 1st, our car service picked us up and we were brought through the beautiful Italian countryside to Civitavecchia. This was not our first cruise from this port, whose name translates to "old town". Instead, the charming port town of Civitavecchia was home to beautiful beaches, markets, and even a McDonalds. 5 years ago, my family took a 7nt Western Mediterranean cruise on the NCL Epic, and our standards were not met. We did not like the overall accomodations, the embarkation system or the ferry-like feel of the itinerary. (People could start their 7nt voyage from any port.) On the contrary, we were blown away by the structure and speed of Jewel's embarkation process - within 15 minutes, we were able to drop off our bags, go through security, check-in, and board the ship. A process which almost always seems to incur delays was flawless! An added bonus was that our staterooms were already available to occupy at 1PM, and within 45 minutes of boarding, our bags were at the room. After settling down, we headed to the Windjammer and ate a very good meal. After this, my brother and I split away from our parents to explore the rest of the ship. Above all, we left the port 30 minutes early, adding to the already impeccable things Royal Caribbean had done so far. Dining Every night, except for the night of Santorini, we ate in the Main Dining Room - Tides. We chose the "My Time Dining" option, knowing how well it can accomodate to our own needs as cruises, however we were thrown a curveball when we were told we needed to make reservations. This didn't seem right, because our previous understanding of the concept was simple - sit down whatever time you want and eat! We were told we needed to make reservations prior to embarking, but after talking to the head waiter, we were able to make reservations for dinner at 6:45. Royal's My Time Dining concept could use some work, but overall, it was okay. The food in the MDR was exceptional and extremely tasty. The plate preperations and flavor in each dish exceeded those of other cruises, which contradicted most previous reviews. Dinners like the braised short rib and jerk chicken never fell short, and desserts like the chocolate melting cake were never burnt. In fact, Royal Caribbean outdid Carnival on Carnival's own dish! Windjammer offered a plethora of options for both breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every day, there'd be a different country of focus that the buffet would feature foods from. On the 6th day, (Katakolon), the country was Mexico, and Royal Caribbean raised the bar high with their burritos, tortillas and fajitas. The only things that could have used work were the pizza and burgers. Although the slices of pepperoni were okay, the plain slices were lackluster. Channeling my inner Dave Portnoy, the cheese slice was a 2.4/10. Entertainment and Activities The ship offered two "Headliner" shows in the Coral Theater, City of Dreams and Emperors of Soul. City of Dreams was too confusing to follow, and it just did not make sense. However, Emperors of Soul was the complete opposite. A singing and dancing routine performed by 4 men had the crowd dancing, clapping and singing along. In fact, the show was so good, they came back for an encore on the last night of the cruise! This show was a main reason as to why I enjoyed the cruise so much. The venue, the Coral Theater, was very well designed. The seats were very wide and had a built in A/C unit in the backs of the seats. The theater was two levels, with monitors on either side of the stage and an orchestral pit built under the stage. Poolside, there were tons of line dances to Spanish songs. The cruise director staff made sure to teach anyone who didn't know the dances, like yours truely. At the Fuel Teen Disco, parties lasted from 10PM all the way to the teen curfew at 1AM. Due to the abundance of quincenaras onboard that week, the club was occupied by many nationalities, including soccer-passionate Columbia fans who never lost their pride even after their team lost in penalties to England. The teen club gave everyone opportunites to meet people from all over the globe and to dance with them. I even learned a few new dances myself. Overall, the club exceeded my expectations. Coming into the trip, I thought I'd be bored out of my mind, but in reality, I had more fun at Fuel than I ever had at any Carnival teen club. Service The service onboard was another impeccable attribute of the cruise. Besides the cabin steward, who was not very friendly, every other worker went out of their way to greet you, smile, and ask if you needed anything. Additionally, the bartenders poolside were not agressive to the point of annoyance. They only interacted with you if you interacted with them. Would I go again? Of course, that's a silly question. In fact, I'd even cruise with Royal before I went back on Carnival. The service was excellent, the ship was excellent, and everything else was excellent. The size of the ship was perfect, because I never felt crowded but I never was bored of the ship. Lastly, the panoramic views from the scenic elevators are unparellel to anything else on any other liner. If I'd had to change one thing, it'd be the personality of the cruise director, but different strokes for different folks. Some don't care about the CD, but others like me make a big deal of it. All in all, past reviews do not do this ship justice! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
The itinerary is what bumped my rating to 4 - the rest of the trip is what kept it from being 5. I'll just lead with this: I am a Disney girl through and through. I have cruised other lines and of those have been most happy with Royal ... Read More
The itinerary is what bumped my rating to 4 - the rest of the trip is what kept it from being 5. I'll just lead with this: I am a Disney girl through and through. I have cruised other lines and of those have been most happy with Royal Caribbean if not doing Disney. I am generally a fan of Royal Caribbean's Radiance Class ships (nothing bigger...definitely no Behemoths of the Seas sized girls) - I like the size and all the glass AND that I'm not paying for a ton of bells and whistles for things I have no desire to use on a ship (ice rinks, water slides, fake surfing, fake sky diving, etc.) - and I've always wanted to go to Greece, so when I saw this combination of a Greek Isles itinerary with the Jewel of the Seas, I jumped at it. Embarkation was pretty smooth - I was cruising with a friend (a first for me as I usually cruise solo) and we took a shared shuttle from Rome to Civitavecchia and were able to go straight to check-in and directly onboard. We went to the Windjammer which was pretty busy, but we grabbed a table and took turns getting food. A quick trip to the spa for a tour and raffle entry and for her to book a manicure and we were able to go to our cabin. I chose a balcony cabin (9000) as a special treat for myself - I'm usually content with an ocean view only. It was a nice treat to have the balcony, and being right at the front, I could observe the bridge activity and even wave to the Captain and other officers. Service overall was good. I am all about re-using lanyards and had no issues using my Disney Cruise Line lanyard on this trip. I was a little amused when I observed that the crew members I passed seemed far more interactive with me than others wearing RCCL or other lanyards - almost like they knew what a DCL cruiser expects...which in all honesty is the attentiveness I think EVERY cruiser should expect on ANY line. Dining was...up and down. I am gluten-free, so that does alter my meal experiences. At the buffet, they have a "corner" which has shrunk from an entire pod to one side of a pod - and was very curry-heavy. There were times I just got things I knew were naturally gf from other areas because I am not celiac so cross-contamination is not as big of an issue for me as for someone with celiac. They did have a side of the dessert station with gluten-free things - lunch was very mousse/puddingish heavy. Breakfast there WAS no gluten-free area - but a lot of breakfast stuff is naturally gluten-free. They did have bread that you could request to have toasted in its own toaster, but they did not have bagels, which they did have on Brilliance 2 years ago. In the dining room, we had My Time Dining but I made reservations for the same time each night so we were mostly able to have the same service team. I pre-ordered each night, and it actually took me making a comment on the mid-cruise food survey for them to make it clear that I could go off-menu (after I ordered the chicken breast the second night in a row). Dessert choices did seem to have improved from the menu 2 years ago in that there were some cakes that were gf. I did SORELY miss the cold fruit soups - only one night saw any offered, even in the Windjammer. One other thing we discovered is that things did not always come with the sides listed - and the staff did not seem to realize that. Breakfast in the MDR they were able to do gf pancakes - though they were very heavy and cake-y even for pancakes - and gf French Toast which was good. The biggest glitch in the MDR was on Santorini night. Because departure was not until 10, they closed the second floor of the dining room and it was "open seating" (meaning no set dining times) so very few had their servers or location. They could not locate my order at first in spite of me telling them my cabin number AND my table number from the night before AND my servers - I was hot, dehydrated, tired, and hungry...all of which had me practically in tears and saying "Just let me order for tomorrow and I'll just go to the Windjammer" until a head server jumped in and found everything for me. I decided that if I do a cruise on Royal again and there is an "open seating" night I will just go to the Windjammer and not plan on the MDR at all. Entertainment... BLAH. There was exactly ONE production show - the poorly-named City of Dreams (honestly it's a nightmare) - and ONE semi-production show - Tango Buenos Aires, which was good but I'd seen it on the Brilliance with exactly the same lead pair. The other nights were some contortionists (no thank you), some Motown cover group I found abysmal and left halfway through their second song, and some other act I could not figure out what he was supposed to be from the description and didn't bother going to. I don't do casinos, so that's not a draw. Nights were pretty quiet for me - either curling up somewhere and reading or watching the World Cup games in my stateroom. (Those were shown in The Pit Stop and on the big screen by the pool - and those could get CRAZY...especially when Brazil was playing as we had a group of "15s" (Brazilian girls on a group trip to celebrate their 15th birthday) as well as a larger seemingly family-based Brazilian tour group on the ship.) I have never been over-the-top impressed with the entertainment on RCCL, but this week was a new low IMHO. Let's be honest - this trip was all about Greece, and she was amazing!! Santorini - I had booked the Scenic Kaiki Boat Ride and Volcano Hike, but discovered upon getting to our cabin and finding every excursion ticket but that one (and thus heading to Shore Excursions) that it was cancelled by the provider. But I'd been booked in the Volcano Hike and Hot Springs Swim at no extra charge. The hike is DEFINITELY a hike - parts are steep, and the ground is covered with loose rocks - but it is beautiful. The swim part was fun - it was a hot day, so I swam over to the hot springs area and then back to the cool water. They did make it clear that you needed to be able to swim up to 150 feet in open water to get to the hot springs - but there were some people who ignored that and were not happy, especially when a couple of PRIVATE boats pulled up and had noodles for people to use to support themselves getting over. The shore excursion does NOT, and nothing in the description said they would. We were given 2 cable car passes, so I went up to Thira and walked around a little bit. The line to go down was HORRENDOUS as there were 3 ships in port, so I opted to walk down the stairs. They are steep and can be slick and are shared with donkeys, but it was fine. IMHO Santorini was kind of the star of the ports because of the beauty. Mykonos - I did the Ano Mera Monastery and Scenic Island Drive tour and it was nice. I opted for the earlier time so that I had time to take the Sea Bus from our dock (we got the dock spot - 2 or 3 other ships had to tender) to Old Port - 4 euros round trip - and walk around Mykonos Town a little. Very pretty. Pireaus (Athens) - Did Athens on Your Own which was a bus into Athens and time to explore on our own. Our bus escort walked us to the point of the line for the Acropolis and showed us exactly where to meet her, which was great. The line for the Acropolis was long - as expected - and moved VERY slowly. And it was in pretty much direct sun. There were tour guides (they had the official badges, so they were actual guides) selling the tickets and a tour. We let the first woman pass us, but then my friend and I decided we would see how much the tour was going to be the next time we saw someone offering it. A guy came by and was selling the tickets at the 20 euro you'd pay at the gate and a tour for 10 euro. You'd meet him "under the umbrella" for the tour part. BUT since he was not gathering the whole group with him as he sold the tickets...nothing was stopping us from going in on our own and skipping the tour. We decided it was worth the 10 euro to NOT stay in the line - we just thought of it as getting MaxPass at Disneyland - and we happily skipped on through the gates. The climb up is steep and slick - and VERY crowded at places. At one point, I got swept up in the middle of a huge group, so I just kept going. We knew where to meet for the bus, so I was not stressed my friend and I had gotten separated. Having grown up in Nashville and seen the only full-sized replica of the Parthenon, it was AMAZING to see the real one!! We did meet up on the top and after finishing looking around headed down. We went to the cafe our escort had pointed out and got lunch. I found eating on shore in Greece to be a challenge being gluten-free. I had cards printed off in Greek but most places indicated they didn't think they could accommodate. By this point I'd learned a few things I could have that were safe, so I just stuck with ordering that. I wish I'd paid attention to the name of the place (I thought it was Mythos, but that was only the name of the beer they were all selling) because the food was good (hint: the souvlaki is GREEK and not Americanized all smothered with sauce) BUT there was an infestation of some kind of biting bug (I'm going with mosquitoes as it was NOT the typical bed bug pattern and nothing followed us back to the ship) in the woven seat of my chair. We know it was my chair because that night I discovered a bunch of bites all over the back of predominantly my right thigh - with a few on my left. I opted to just take Benadryl and put some gel on them that night (the next day I got some cream from a pharmacy in Olympia) rather than go to the medical center as I figured that is all they'd do...and charge me a ton. We know it had to have been there because of the two of us I was the only one with them (and if something had been in the room she would have gotten bitten also) and the bites lined up exactly with how my leg had been on the chair. But Athens was awesome. Katakolon (Olympia) - Went with Olympia on Your Own here. It was great to walk around the site of the original Olympic Games - but another HOT day! And you're in the country, so it's country hot! The little town was cute - and the pharmacist was nice. There was a beach volleyball tournament going on (no beach, but sand pits) and I watched that for a while - there appeared to be no charge, and no one ran me off. We did make a stop on the way back to the ship for shopping - obviously one of those stops where the guide and/or driver get a kickback from the purchases made, but this store actually had some nice stuff. I found the perfect wedding gift for 2 of my friends getting married next year, so that was a bonus. Debarkation in Civitavecchia was simple - no customs to go through. It was little confusing finding the shuttle (provided) to the port entrance, but we got there. We had already planned to just take the train back to FCO as my friend was flying onto Copenhagen and I was staying one more night (in Fiumicino - wish I'd chosen to go back to Rome and just paid a taxi to FCO as there is NOTHING in Fiumicino). I did ask one of the taxi hawkers how much for the shared service she was selling. At 40 euro each, we passed. (We'd only paid 35 each for the shared service TO the port we had arranged in advance!) At that point she started to get aggressive and flat out lied about the train service - saying we'd have to change 3 times (only one change) and that "It is a Sunday, so it will take FOUR HOURS" (we had looked at the schedule and knew it would take about 90 minutes and there were PLENTY of trains). At that point I turned around and said "NO! I live in New York, and I know how taxi scams work - and you're a classic." She was not happy, but it shut her up. It was 2 euro each for the shuttle bus to the train station (supposedly you can walk, but we did NOT find it as well marked as I'd read on here that it was) and 11 euro each for the train. Overall I enjoyed the trip. Greece alone was worth it and I would go back there in a heartbeat!! I will likely go solo when I go again because that really fits my touring style better. I am undecided on if I'd cruise Royal Caribbean again. I like the itineraries, but the lack of evening entertainment for someone not into casinos or the (IMHO stupid) adult things like Quest or Love and Marriage combined with the dumbed-down menus make it hard for me to really consider them again. Time will tell, but this girl is definitely planning to go back to Disney Cruise Line for the foreseeable future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We sailed the Jewel of the seas as being our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. Previously, last year we sailed on MSC Meraviglia, then the 4th largest liner in the world, therefore Jewel of the seas is Much Smaller. That meant initially ... Read More
We sailed the Jewel of the seas as being our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. Previously, last year we sailed on MSC Meraviglia, then the 4th largest liner in the world, therefore Jewel of the seas is Much Smaller. That meant initially we didn’t have high expectations. But it turned out to be better than all our other cruises. I will split this review into many sections. Embarkation: We flew into Rome Fiuminchino (excuse spelling); it was there we were met by Royal Carribean reps. They were genuinely nice and had a smile on their faces. They led us to a lovely, cool and comfy, air conditioned coach. Transfer to the ship was hassle free. Once we got to Civvitavecha cruise terminal, it only took 20 mins to get aboard. Stateroom: We were in an interior cabin located on deck 7. It was spotless and splendid. It met all our needs: Kettle, tea/coffee faculties, fridge, safe, hair dryer and a flat screen tv etc. Only downside is the TV was quite slow at responding. Our cabin steward Lemech always went above and beyond and made us always feel welcome. He was the best crew member I’ve ever had an encounter with on a cruise. He really does deserve a raise. There was little noise at night, beds were comfy and sheets were changed regularlily. Bathroom was spotless and towels replaced daily. I really can’t complain here. Food: From the Buffet (Windjammer) to the speciality restaurants, everything aboard the Jewel was the best. We ate breakfast in the buffet each day and it had everything you could possibly need: fruit, continental breakfast, American breakfast, a wide Range of cereal and drinks etc. The food tasted like heaven but better. Lunch was again ate in the windjammer. It had a different theme each day, eg; taste of Italy. All lunches had a wide range of food and again Tasted amazing. Dinner was spent in Tides Dinning room - deck 5. “My time dinning” is a gem. We got a table whenever we wanted and served straight away. Food was again lovely, however portion sizes can be small. Service on the other hand is out of this world. Entertainment: For kids there was plenty, slides, pool, golf, table tennis, cinema etc. For teens there was a huge teen programme that was very successful according to people in our group. It was brilliant and they made many friends through many activities. For adults there is the gym which had amazing facilities for the size of the ship. I can’t comment on the spa as I never used it. There is also ample sun lounges for people, even on days at sea. There is never a need to rush. At this stage, I could write a book with things to say, but here is a few general things: -poolside bar staff is amazing, brilliant atmosphere at night especially watching the World Cup on the big screen. -Latte Tudes is a gem. Use it. -Shows at night where a let down, but that didn’t phase us, as there was plenty else to do else where. Disembarkation: painless. We where first off ship at 0645, and we where through the terminal and onto the transfer back to the airport by 0700. Jewel was amazing, would do again 100%. Quick word on ports: Santorini - we hoped on the tender and took the cable car up. 6 Euro pp. we walked about and shopped, absorbing the local culture. We walked back down the donkey track which was an amazing experience, although u do feel sorry for them. Something needs to be done to Stop the treatment of them. Mykonos - did not get off, sun bathed at the amazing pool facilities onboard. Athens- we got off, and found a taxi driver. For 150 Euro, 5 of us got a 6hr tour around Athens which included visits to Acropolis, Olympic Stadium, Various Viewpoints, Parliament and shopping stops. Well worth it. Do not book expensive excursions. Do it yourself and you’ll really get to absorb life in the city. Katakolon- quiet port, beautiful sandy beach for relaxing is within a 10 min walk. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We travelled with two other couples, ages 50-70’s, on the Jewel of the Seas in June 2018. Itinerary was the western Mediterranean sailing from Civitavecchia outside Rome. This was our 24th cruise, 10th on Royal Caribbean. Overall ... Read More
We travelled with two other couples, ages 50-70’s, on the Jewel of the Seas in June 2018. Itinerary was the western Mediterranean sailing from Civitavecchia outside Rome. This was our 24th cruise, 10th on Royal Caribbean. Overall we had a great time and highly recommend the ship and this itinerary. I tend to write lengthy reviews so I highlight each section in case you want to skip to an area you care about. CHECK-IN: We used a shuttle service from our hotel in Rome to the port, approximately one hour drive costing 60 Euros per couple. Make sure whoever takes you can drive onto the port, thru the security gate, direct to the ship. Otherwise you have to take a shuttle bus from the gate to your ship. We arrived at the ship at 1130 am. Check-in was very smooth and we were on the ship in 20 minutes. We ate lunch in the Windjammer buffet, no dining rooms were open, and rooms were available at 1 pm. CABIN: We booked a standard balcony room on Deck 9. Room had a nice layout with plenty of drawers including many in the middle of the closet. Only minor inconvenience was the bed sat low so I had to raise the end of the bed to slide our two large suitcases underneath for storage. Room was clean and it was apparent the Jewel had undergone a renovation recently as the carpet looked fairly new. Bathroom layout was fine with the standard “torpedo tube” shower. Our cabin attendant was outstanding – always available and very pleasant. Big drawback was the TV - very limited shows and no free movies, only pay-per-view. SHIP: After sailing mostly large RCCL ships, it was nice to be on a smaller ship. Although lacking the fancy areas and big shows, the Jewel made up for it with the friendly crew and less crowded areas. We spent most of our free time during the day at the adult-only Solarium pool with a medium size hot tub. Unfortunately the nice padded loungers are limited so you need to get them early on sea days or else use the plentiful loungers located on the decks above. The fitness center is fairly large for a small ship and it was never crowded (lol, they rarely are). DINING: We opted for late dining at 830 pm so we did not have to be rushed after a full day of sightseeing in Europe. Fixed dining usually has friendlier wait staffs and this was no exception – our waiter and assistant were extremely pleasant and very capable. The dinners in the main dining room were very good, probably better quality than we’ve seen in the last 5 yrs on all our cruises (exception: Disney always has good dining room food). We ate at both Chops steakhouse and Giovanni’s Italian restaurant, $32 per at Chops and $30 per at Giov’s. Both were extremely good but we decided Giovanni’s was better if you only go to one. We did not try the Sushi restaurant. For breakfast we used room service the first morning due to early excursion – cost $8 plus fees for hot food which was good. However we ate in the Windjammer or dining room the rest of the week for breakfast and lunch. During peak times the Windjammer was short on tables and they weren’t cleaned as quickly as they should have been. The Solarium had a small café open during the day with snacks inc pizza. SHOWS: For the first time ever on a cruise, we did not make any of the shows. This was because the ship had five stops so we spent all day sightseeing/shopping, then a leisure evening, then dinner. So no time for the shows. I imagine they were fine. They had music every evening in the atrium on Deck 5 and people would hang over the railings above to listen to the groups. LOUNGES: We spent most of our evenings before dinner in the Viking Crown Lounge on Deck 13. It was fairly empty and the bartender was excellent. Only drawback was children are allowed in all the lounges and one family turned part of the lounge into a mini-playground so it was a little noisy. It might be nice if RCCL could designate one public lounge as adult-only in the evenings. MOVIES/INTERNET: The ship played 2 almost-first-run movies every day – one at the main pool screen and the other in the movie theater on Deck 6. We saw several movies including one late-night outside by the pool. The ship had very good internet - we prebooked one Voom package which was the lower priced one, did not include streaming – 30% off with prebooking. We were given the login and password during embarkation. My wife and I traded off using the internet on each of our phones, no sweat. It was nice having unlimited data and texting (Imessage with Iphone wifi), also Facetimed back to US several times. A little slower in our cabin but fairly fast in common areas. DEBARKATION: As all our stops were in the EU, there was no immigration or customs getting off in Civitavecchia. When they called our number, we walked quickly off the ship and retrieved our luggage. If you need to leave early, you can take your luggage off yourself between 630 and 730 am. We previously booked a shuttle service which met us at the ship and took us to Rome airport which was 45 minutes away. CANNES/NICE: Our first stop was the only tender harbor on the cruise, rest of the time we docked. So we picked a ship excursion to give us priority debarkation plus peace of mind for a late return – good thing too! We did the excursion “Nice and Monte Carlo on Your Own” which was an 8 hr bus tour with 2 lengthy stops. There was a guide on the bus who gave us local info plus helped with ideas on where to visit and eat, also set up meeting times for the bus. Nice was a good stop with time to walk around and shop, not much culture downtown. Monte Carlo (Monaco) was an okay stop. Unfortunately the traffic was horrible and the bus parked away from downtown next to the Cousteau Museum. We visited the museum and walked 10 minutes to the palace but were unable to go downtown or to the fabulous casino. As traffic was forecast to be bad, the guide cut 30 minutes off our visit to Monte Carlo. Then a couple decided to be late so we sat in the bus 45 minutes waiting for them to find us. Once we got going, we ran right into rush hour traffic between Monaco and Nice. We ended up getting back to the tenders 30 minutes after “all aboard time” but saw other buses arriving late. So, overall it was an okay tour for seeing places we had never been but we ended up riding/sitting in the bus for 5 hours with maybe 4 hrs to walk around. If you prefer a shorter experience you can walk around Cannes, which didn’t have much other than shops, or just go to one city. AJACCIO, CORSICA: Next stop was Corsica. We chose to take the “Snorkeling” excursion as we weren’t sure what else to do there. Here is where I miss the old RCCL reviews on excursions – they took them out several years ago so you can’t get any info on the excursions. The online description wasn’t very complete. We walked ashore and were taken to three rubber zodiac boats. We were told to leave everything behind inc towels as the boats didn’t have much room. We donned full wetsuits which were uncomfortable, then piled into the zodiacs. Had a nice view of the ship and harbor during our 30 minute ride to the snorkel site. Once there we found the water was fairly cold (prob mid 60s F) so wet suits were needed. Unfortunately the snorkeling leaves a lot – we all joked about seeing “the one fish” in the water. No reefs, no color, just rocks and seaweed. Also no defog for the masks and I unf left mine behind at the dock in our haste. The 30 min ride back was bumpy as the waves picked up. I really like snorkeling and this was about the worst I’ve experienced so I would not recommend it. At least it was a short tour so we had time to get back, clean up, and walk around the harbor shops and cafes. BARCELONA: Next stop was Barcelona and our experiences improved considerably from here on. There is much to do in Barcelona. As we had been here before and seen the Olympic site, Montserrat (which is a good tour!) and Gaudi’s Park Guelle, we booked tickets to the Sagrada Familia tower tour. We planned to take a taxi there but unf ran into a bad taxi driver who insisted there was a protest downtown (which we never found nor did anyone confirm) and dropped us off short for a high price (10 Euros for 1 mile ride). He didn’t run his meter so we were suspicious but we weren’t sure what to say. We ended up walking 2 miles to the church which was fine for us. Another couple took a taxi direct to the church for 15 Euros so we were just unlucky. Church was cool – we had toured the inside before. Tower tour takes you up top in a small elevator with walkways around top with great views of Barcelona, then you take a narrow staircase down, then tour the inside. We booked tickets online 60 days before as we were told the tower tour can book up. Afterwards we had plenty of time to walk back to the harbor and shop, also grabbed lunch on the way. Barcelona is a very easy town to get around, just watch the grumpy taxi drivers! Ohh, to top it off, we took a taxi from outside the harbor to our ship which was a 5 min ride. Meter was running and we think it said 5 Euros but he charged us 10… again chose not to argue so paid up. OBTW, this contrasts with Rome taxi drivers who were amazingly honest – one couple said their taxi driver gave them money back because they overpaid. MAJORCA: We had been here before and took a bicycle tour of Palma so we had seen downtown and the large church before. This time we booked the Catamaran Tour to see some of the island and included snorkeling. This was a great time and I highly recommend it! The catamarans (there were 3 total) were very large and comfortable. They had regular toilets, a first for a catamaran tour for us, plus a bar that sold reasonable alcoholic drinks inc beer. Sodas and juices were free. Very good sightseeing on our 45 min ride down the coast. We anchored in a beautiful cove and were given snorkeling gear. This time I brought my defog drops! Water was much warmer than Corsica, prob mid to high 70’s. No wetsuits needed. You got used to the water quickly and the air temp was mid 80’s so very comfortable. We swam about an hour seeing fish and nice rock formations, also went ashore on the rocky coast. Water was very smooth. Overall a nice time. On the way back they put out ham and turkey sandwiches. The stop in Majorca was short so we weren’t able to go into town afterwards. CAGLIARI, SARDINIA: Originally we had not booked anything in advance. However we did a great Segway tour in Rome and another couple had segwayed in Majorca the day before so we decided to try a Segway tour here. I used internet to locate the highly reviewed NewWay Sardinia segway tour and sent them an email asking for a short 2 hr tour for 6 people. The next morning I had their confirming email with directions for the 10 minute walk from the pier. This turned out to be an amazing tour! Turns out Cagliari is full of narrow streets and is very hilly. Also they have siesta from 1230 to 330 pm. So our Segway tour took us up and down the hills in the narrow, fairly empty streets. Our tour guide was terrific and we ended up taking 30 extra minutes on the tour so he could show us more. They have a 3 hr tour and we probably should have taken it but we wanted to have plenty of time to roam. So I highly recommend them as well as a Segway tour pretty much anywhere in Europe – just read reviews first to make sure you use a reputable company with proper equipment and training. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We are a family of four adults who have cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past. The ports of call were attractive and we were able to walk around the cities without having to take official shore excursions. The Jewel of the Seas is one ... Read More
We are a family of four adults who have cruised with Royal Caribbean in the past. The ports of call were attractive and we were able to walk around the cities without having to take official shore excursions. The Jewel of the Seas is one of the older ships in the fleet. We were fortunate enough to have a promotional drinks package for two people. However when we tried to change the two named people before the start of the cruise we found the Beverage Supervisor and Manager to be unhelpful despite all the passengers existing from the same family and staying in the same cabin. Because we had booked through a travel agent the Beverage Manager and superviser used this as an excuse to be difficult. The cabin steward was exceptional. She worked hard and appeared to be enjoying her job. The bar staff on the other hand in the sun deck were overworked and were not able to assess who was first at the bar. This led to a few disgruntled passengers waiting to be served with drinks. The evening dining experience in the main dining room was great. The portion sizes were good and the quality excellent. There could have been a better choice of starters. Entertainment was average apart from the Tango Buenos Aires was an excellent show. The Casino was a no go area for non smokers. We enjoyed the onboard activities including rock climbing and bean bag toss. I found the steam room and sauna to be too hot and rarely used by passengers. On the whole the cruise was an enjoyable experience with a few hiccups including a bunged up toilet where we had to find alternative arrangements. I would definitely recommend this cruise and advise anyone to try not to let the negatives overtake the positives. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Everything was so well organised from the minute we stepped our foot on the ship. No lines at breakfast lunch or dinner no waiting to get off the ship and back. The rooms very clean and the employees so excellent in all the ship. The food ... Read More
Everything was so well organised from the minute we stepped our foot on the ship. No lines at breakfast lunch or dinner no waiting to get off the ship and back. The rooms very clean and the employees so excellent in all the ship. The food was brilliant and so much variety for all tastes. All hours.The theatre was great all shows very good. The casino was ok sometimes you win and most times you loose. Pure luck. We tried our luck afew nights. The pool was great with lots of games. The drinks were nice. All the fruit served were excellent. All the cruise was spectacular I want to go again very soon. You can take children also because the ship is so safe and their are so many things for them to do. I would recommend a family vacation with no worries at all time. One word describes Jewel of the seas Magnificent. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas is a beautiful ship! Staff: The staff throughout the shop was very nice and polite. They were very attentive to your needs and patient. Food: The food was tasty and the presentation was very nice. ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas is a beautiful ship! Staff: The staff throughout the shop was very nice and polite. They were very attentive to your needs and patient. Food: The food was tasty and the presentation was very nice. Unfortunately, they ran out of coffee and water cups. The host greeted us with a friendly smile and a little dance. He truly enjoyed his job! :) Dining staff: We had two (2) dining staff members who were very friendly and accommodating. Unfortunately, it took a little while to get our food. But overall experience was very nice! We chose Royal Caribbean because it sailed to the best ports in Greece. The ports were great and the price was very reasonable. Embarkation and disembark was very easy. The ship offered bus transportation from the port to the airport for a reasonable price. The staff was very accommodating and helpful. Plus, the right was comfortable. I will definitely cruise with Royal Caribbean again! GREAT JOB!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Family wanted to see Greece and Italy so thought the best way to get a flavor of each was to do a cruise and then stay in Rome for four days after in hotels. Weather could not have been better for the 7 days. The islands were excellent ... Read More
Family wanted to see Greece and Italy so thought the best way to get a flavor of each was to do a cruise and then stay in Rome for four days after in hotels. Weather could not have been better for the 7 days. The islands were excellent and the tours were worth while to us since we got on the tenders and to the Greek islands first. Santorini was the first island. We saw the Akrotiri ruins and toured the island stopping briefly at Eia and Fira. Excellent tour through Royal worth it in our opinion. Cable car ride down had a long line but we made it in time though you could walk down the path if you wanted to. Kids just wanted to ride the cable car. Gelatto was excellent in Fira, I just wish I could remember the name of the location there. Shopping for trinkets was best on Santorini. Next was Mykonos where we cruised on in, briefly went to the beach and swam in the ocean. Water was clear and nice. Then we went on the tour to Delos to see the ruins. Excellent tour through Royal. Well organized. Everything was well organized. Tours went off without a hitch. Athens was next and was outstanding. We opted for the all day Acropolis followed by buffet lunch (excellent - at the Intercontinental Hotel) followed by ruins of Temple of Posidon. Not much time to shop in Athens with a tight touring schedule. This was the highlight tour of our trip to me. Our family like Katakalon perhaps more than I did because they got to see the olympic ruins. Katakalon shopping was nice, though in the village. Tour guide did not mention best shopping for us and we bought some overpriced trinkets on Katakalon but not too bad. We had two inside rooms on the eighth floor connected for the four of us. Attendant did a great job cleaning the room twice each day. I liked the Jewel of the Seas a lot because you could go out and sit and watch the ocean on just about any deck no problem. Cruise was booked solid but did not seem crowded. Main dining room food was excellent as was service by our waiter. Windjammer is fine, great for breakfast though we preferred lunch and dinner in the main dining room because we felt the quality was a bit greater and were willing to sacrifice the choice for increased quality. Very relaxing. Entertainment dancers and singers were very good. Onboard entertainment was plentiful. We were usually too tired to stay up very late. Only negative is that the pools are small and there are not the activities of the super ships, though we took the longest tours on every island stop and were thoroughly tired when we got back to the boat each night with our children. Positive is that we really felt in touch with the Mediterranean not encased inside a moving city. We never participated in any fitness activities. We never felt hurry up get off and on the boat. We did all the top ten Rome activities on our own after the cruise staying at Pope's Window hotel (really good and close to the Vatican) and then Hotel Martini (excellent location for the rest of Rome, ok for the family, but room not as nice as Pope's Window) - though staff at both hotels were very helpful to us with men at Hotel Martini extremely helpful about how to navigate Rome. Everyone spoke English very well at the two hotels we stayed at after the cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Let me start by saying that my last cruise was on Harmony the first month it was released! Prior to that cruise I was on Oasis of the Seas. I was really nervous about going back to the smaller ship. But, I was pleasantly surprised and ... Read More
Let me start by saying that my last cruise was on Harmony the first month it was released! Prior to that cruise I was on Oasis of the Seas. I was really nervous about going back to the smaller ship. But, I was pleasantly surprised and I absolutely loved it. The ship's updates are great! Feels like the newer ships. but the staff makes a huge difference!!!! The lines in Santorini was extremely long, the RCL team was there to assist us in getting back timely and safely. They stayed with us and even gave us water. The ship is actually in great condition for a new ship. They have done a great job keeping it updated and maintained. Absolutely enjoyed this ship! Smaller and more personalized. The shows and night time activities are not nearly as vast as the larger ships. The one show I attended was just "ok"! Nothing I couldn't have missed. Don't get me wrong...the talent was incredible, but the theme of the show itself seemed pointless. From the room attendants to the waitstaff to the general management.. these guys are pros and really go OUT OF THEIR way to ensure you have a great time. Shout out to Peter (Hotel Director)! People like Peter makes all the difference! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
7 day med cruise with my hubs (55 yo), DD (21 yo) and DS (17 yo): Embarkation was simple and from the time we were dropped at the terminal (11:30 am) until we were onboard was less than 20 minutes. It was all well organized. We used ... Read More
7 day med cruise with my hubs (55 yo), DD (21 yo) and DS (17 yo): Embarkation was simple and from the time we were dropped at the terminal (11:30 am) until we were onboard was less than 20 minutes. It was all well organized. We used Airport Shuttle Express for three transfers, Fumicino to our apartment in Rome, Rome apartment to Cruise Port and then Cruise Port back to Fumicino. The total cost for 4 passengers was 297.67 euro. They were prompt, courteous and the drivers were all interesting to talk with and gave us lots of interesting information about Rome. I would use their sevice again. We spent 3 days pre-cruise in Rome and loved it. We only had one guided tour and it was for the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine Hill. We used Context Travel and our guide Valeria was an archeologist and a Rome native. I highly recommend this company and guide. I used TicketItaly to purchase our tickets for Borghese Gallery and the Vatican Museums on Friday night and we self guided those easily. I recommend the vatican museums at night because of the reduced crowds. Since this was our first cruise we did not really know what to do the first day so we explored the ship (it is small) and then ate lunch in the Windjammer (WJ). It would have been nice to have lunch options but it was OK. The cabins were open at 1:00 pm and everyone else's luggage arrived by 3:00 pm but I had placed 3 bottles of wine that I bought in Rome as souvenirs in one suitcase so I got a call to go down to the luggage holding area and explain myself and was able to keep the three bottles with me. Santorini:We took the RCCL excursion to volcano hike and hot springs swim and it was good. The volcano hike is not easy and it was pretty hot. The only issue was that the boat we were on dumped at the area we were supposed to jump from so a few people were very grossed out. I did not see this happen so I cannot confirm what they saw. The excursion included cable car tickets but we went back to the ship after the excursion and did not explore Santorini. Mykonos: We walked the town, shopped, ate, drank and took lots of pictures. It was very relaxing. Athens: We had a 1/2 day private tour with H.P Hellenic Private Tours and it was perfect. They were on time and Kostas our driver and Helen our guide were both wonderful. The cost for four people for five hours was 350 euro, which included a private guide. We departed at 8:00 am and were in and out of the Acropolis before the crowds and the heat got too bad. Katakolon: We walked off the boat and wandered the super touristy shopping area that is right off the ship. It was fun and easy. The only specialty dining we did was Izumi and we all enjoyed it as it was a nice change of pace. Both Tides and the WJ were a bit boring as far as food options. My DD and I preferred Tides but my DS and Hubs preferred the WJ. My DD and I did the Sushi making activity on the last sea day and that was fun and interesting. We went to the Concierge Lounge twice for drinks and snacks and enjoyed ourselves. I had purchased drink packages when they were on sale ($41.00 plus 18%) for the deluxe and the refreshment package ($18 plus 18%) for my DS. We may not have maxed out everyday but I thought the convenience was worth it. We would all get several bottles of water each day to keep in room and to take on excursions. We tried every bar on the ship and the service was fine in all of them. Not spectacular but not bad either. At the Solarium pool area Hubs ordered a beer and waited about 20 minutes for the beer and his Seapass to appear. I do not recommend purchasing Voom for this itinerary. The connectivity was really bad. Through experimentation we deteremined that it worked in the cabin bathrooms and on certain decks ;-D We walked off the ship lugagge in hand at 6:45 am on the last day and our driver arrived on time at 7:00 am to take us to the airport. The drive time was less than one hour. I had no erroneous charges on the account but I checked it twice throughout the cruise based on information I learned from the Cruisecritic website. I used Air2Sea for our airline tickets as they were cheaper than any other website. Our flight out was at 10:50 am and we made it through airport check in with one and a half hours to spare. Read Less
Jewel of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.0 4.3
Dining 3.0 3.9
Entertainment 3.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 3.0 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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