Jewel of the Seas
by Sheri M.
January 7, 2007
My husband and I booked a winter cruise with JOS three weeks before the sail date as a break between job changes. We've sailed with RC once before on an April cruise to the Western Carribean. The Jewel was a beautiful ship, much bigger than the Rhapsody. We had a balcony for the first time and will never sail any other way-the views and privacy were well worth the price.
Since food is important on a cruise, I'll begin there. Food in the Windjammer was only so-so, as expected. The Seaview Cafe was excellent, and provided terrific views at sunset. Everything we ordered there was terrific-beautiful fruit plates, Ceasar salad with grouper, brownies. We usually went there for an afternoon snack after working out at the gym, since we had the late dinner seating at 8:30. Dinner in the Tides dining room was inconsistent. The lobster and shrimp were great and one night my husband had a chicken marsala and warm chocolate cake that were divine! However, sea bass and salmon on other nights were disappointing and tasted a bit off. We ate one night in Chops and Portofino each. What a treat! The ambience was very romantic, we had a private booth in Chops and a table by the window in Portofino. The service was excellent and all of the courses were delicious. It was definitely worth the extra $20 in my opinion.
The weather was rainy and gray in Cozumel, so we did not go ashore. Costa Maya turned out to be very disappointing. The beaches were rocky and there were only some bars/restaurants and very aggressive natives hawking their wares. I don't know why Royal Carribean thinks this is an acceptable port of call. I would not return here ever! We tendered into Grand Cayman, but were expecting that to be canceled at any minute because of the windy weather. Stingray city and many other beach excursions were cancelled. That left us again with just shopping, and I can look at jewelry and trinkets for only so long.
The ship was beautiful and had many attractive public areas. Dancing at night was our main entertainment, either to big band or counry western in the Centrum, or to disco in the Vortex. There was a good mix of ages on the ship, and it seemed to have an international feel with many foreigners on board, moreso than when we sailed from Galveston, TX on the Rhapsody.
Overall the cruise was relaxing and we loved the ship. However, consider the possible rougher seas and stronger winds when sailing in at this time of the year. We will not do a Carribean cruise in the Winter again for this reason.