We are currently on a seven night cruise to the Southern Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. After a few days on board, here are our first impressions of the cruise ship.
First, what made us choose this cruise? Well, as those in the Midwest know, spring came a little late this year. Three weeks ago my wife said to me, “I want to go somewhere warm”. I found a great deal ($709 per person) for a balcony cabin on this seven night Caribbean cruise that visits five Caribbean islands.
Embarkation was one of the best experiences I’ve had in over 30 cruises on 11 different cruise lines. We arrived at the port around 11:00 am and were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. It couldn’t have gone any quicker or smoother. This is my first time cruising out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and I was highly impressed.
When we entered into the terminal, we noticed that there was no one in the line for those who do not have any loyalty status with Royal Caribbean. They told us we could use that line instead of waiting in the “Gold Line” that had roughly 30 passengers in it. We were checked-in in minutes and on our way to the ship.
We have a balcony cabin on deck 7, cabin 7662. The first thing we noticed was that the balcony was huge. I mean, really huge. Half of it is private (part closest to the room) and the other half it open to the cabins beside you and above you. While this may bother some cruisers, we really love having all that extra space.
The cabin itself is pretty standard for a cruise ship. One nice thing is that the shower has round, clear plastic doors. I was expecting to have one of those annoying shower curtains that is found on most older cruise ships. There is just enough storage for a seven night cruise and a nice little home as we island-hop in the Caribbean.
At 90,000 gross tons, Jewel of the Seas is a great option for those who do not want to sail on a mega ship. It’s just small enough to easily make your way around the ship and just large enough to offer plenty of options.
So far, our favorite place on board is the Solarium. I’m actually writing this article from one of the loungers by the pool. There is a retractable roof that is closed at night and open during the day when the weather is nice. So far, it’s been 85 and sunny everyday so it’s been open.
There also seems to be an abundance of deck space and loungers on board. While the main pool deck isn’t that large, there are tons of loungers all around the ship. With this port intensive itinerary (5 ports, one sea day), there are always tons of free loungers. Being a sun lover, this is something I’ve really enjoyed about the ship so far.
The crew so far have been fantastic. We are always greeted with a warm friendly smile all around the ship. Our room steward Rosalba has done a tremendous job so far and we couldn’t be happier. She is one of the friendliest room stewards I’ve ever had.
Leaving out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, we are able to visit many islands that aren’t on a ton of itineraries. We have visited St. Croix and St. Maarten so far. Port stops remaining include Martinique, Barbados, and Grenada. If you love tropical islands, then Southern Caribbean itineraries out of San Juan, Puerto Rico are the only way to go.
I don’t always talk about food since it is so subjective. However, we ate at Giovanni’s Table last night and it was absolutely fantastic. It was one of the best meals we’ve ever had on a cruise. Seriously, you need to eat here on your next Royal Caribbean cruise. Come hungry, the portions are generous and delicious.
We purchased the 3 day specialty restaurant package for $70 per person. We are dining at Chop’s Grille tomorrow night and looking forward to the steakhouse.
Also, my wife has a severe allergy to gluten and the staff on board have been extremely accommodating.
I’ll will have more about this cruise after we get back. But so far, it was been a great trip.
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