Jewel of the Seas
by Lisa Hudson
February 9, 2008
Overall this was one of our best cruises ever. This was our first time on RCCL and it will definitely NOT be the last. As far as we were concerned, they outdid Princess in every aspect with one minor exception. I still think Horizon Court has the best selection of buffet food but Windjammer was still very good. The service, cabin and beauty of the ship were amazing. The staff truly seemed to enjoy their jobs. We had the best waiter we have ever had on any cruise. His name is Walther and he is transferring to the Independence of the Seas in May, so watch for him. He is from Peru.
Dinners were probably the best food we have had on any of our previous cruises.
We stayed at the Renaissance in Fort Lauderdale on 17th street. We knew we liked this hotel as we have stayed there before. It is adequate, nice and clean and a good location. There is a Walgreens right across the street for any last minute items you might need. The hotel is going to undergo extensive renovations starting in May 2008. Not sure what this would mean if you are staying there after May, but just know it sounded like there was going to be a lot of construction.
We boarded the gorgeous Jewel of the Seas at 12:00 on 2/9. We were not able to get into our cabin until 1:00. So we wandered to LatteTudes and loved their coffee. The gal that worked there was very friendly. The price of coffee included a nice pastry as well -- including cookies.
Our cabin (9576) was a bump out and had the largest balcony we have EVER had and the nicest balcony we have ever had. There was a huge overhang which provided great shelter from a bit of rain every now and then, but not too often -- typical tropical weather. Temps were in the upper 70s to 80s and nice breezes. I would book this cabin again anytime. It was also the quietest cabin we have ever had. It is amazing how close we were to the Centrum and heard nothing in our room. And some nights the music was pretty loud, but the cabins are totally soundproof. I did hear another toilet flush every now and then when it was quiet.
The casino was great, especially on the first night when I won $600 on the quarter slot machine after only putting in about $2.00. I kept it all and put none back. I bought a beautiful John Hardy bracelet with the money in St. Thomas. We had fun jewelry and watch shopping in St. Thomas.
St. Thomas and St. Marteen and Tortola are very clean and friendly. Nassau was friendly, but not so clean. We took the Discover Atlantis tour and thought it was very enjoyable. It was worth the $56 pp. You got great access to the aquarium. It did involve a lot of walking so if that is a problem for you, it might be tough. The only glitch was that it was a bit unorganized getting everyone onto ferries to get to the Island. It took about 45 minutes just to get organized and get everyone over to Atlantis. This is the only shore excursion we did on the cruise.
We did not attend the production shows but did see the Comedian and Juggler. Can't remember their names at the moment but they were HILARIOUS. The juggler was the best juggler I think I have ever seen. The illusionist Charles Bach was so-so in my opinion. The Coral Theater was great and there was plenty of room for everyone. There were separate showings for first and second seating.
This itinerary was great because we really had a total of 3 days at sea as we arrived in San Juan around 2:00 (I think) and Nassau around 12:00. It was most enjoyable. I have included a link to our pictures -- sometimes the site loads slowly. I took some pics of the extra large balcony but it was hard to get good angles. Our towel animals were wonderful as well.
There are no hand sanitizing machines anywhere, but I think that RCCL has realized that these are not effective in preventing noro so they urge everyone to wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. There are signs in the restrooms regarding this. Since we had noro on the last cruise we were very conscious of this.
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com with any questions. If I think of anything else, I will add and respond to any questions.