I am fresh off of a seven night cruise to the Southern Caribbean on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas. It was a round trip cruise from San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you have never done a cruise out of San Juan, you really need to. However, that is another article that I will be publishing shortly, this one will deal directly with Jewel of the Seas.
I have been on everything from a Vision class, to Quantum class, to Oasis class ships from Royal Caribbean, but this was my first time on a Radiance class cruise ship. At 90,000 gross tons, I found it to be the perfect sized ship for a port intensive itinerary.
Our port stops included St. Croix, St. Maarten, Martinique, Barbados, and Grenada. It was an awesome itinerary and far better than the standard Eastern/Western Caribbean ones. After all, you can only go to Cozumel and Nassau so many times.
So what did I love about Jewel of the Seas? For starters, my wife and I loved the nautical theme throughout the ship. It seems that most new cruise ships have this 6 Flags theme park over the top theming, this ship was completely different. From the Windjammer buffet to the entrance to the Schooner Lounge, it felt like you were on a traditional cruise ship.
To get an inside look at the layout and decor of Jewel of the Seas, you can watch the following 13 minute walk through video that shows everything from the pool deck, to the main dining room, to our balcony cabin.
I love eating at the steakhouses on cruise ships across various cruise lines. For some reason, I’ve never had the opportunity to dine at Chops Grille. We purchased the three night dining package for $70 per person and made reservations for Giovanni’s Table and Chops.
If you plan on dining at Giovanni’s Table, here’s an important tip. Come hungry! I mean, real hungry. This instantly become one of our favorite specialty restaurants at sea. The food portions were extremely generous and well prepared. It’s an Italian restaurant and I highly recommend it.
Chops Grille, the steakhouse onboard Jewel of the Seas, also didn’t disappoint. The filet mignon was cooked to perfection and the service was outstanding. Neither of us are big on formal nights so we like to eat at specialty restaurants as an alternative to those nights. Since everyone wants the lobster in the main dining room on formal night, the specialty restaurants aren’t as busy. This means you get even better service and have a more enjoyable experience.
The Solarium onboard was one of our favorite public areas on the ship. Having a roof that can open when the weather is nice and close when it begins to rain means that you can always enjoy this area. It is an adults only area and we never saw a kid in it the entire cruise.
The music at the main pool was kept to a reasonable level. You could easily talk to the person next to you without having to yell. It was the way it’s supposed to be and made catching some rays at the pool enjoyable.
Another really nice feature was that they put out cold drinks right on the pool deck. This included water, lemonade, and ice tea. It was awesome being able to get something cold to drink that was free without having to go into the Windjammer.
We had My Time Dining and were able to reserve the same table for each night of the cruise. This was the first cruise where I had this type of dining and was able to have the same servers every night of the cruise. However, it was a bit confusing at first. On the first night of the cruise, we were told we could reserve the same table for the rest of the cruise.
However, since we were eating at Giovanni’s Table the next night, we would lose the table if someone else liked it that night. It ended up working out OK but it can be confusing if you plan on eating at specialty restaurants for a few nights of the cruise.
Odds and Ends
The Cafe Selects card is awesome for those who love their espressos, cappuccinos, and mochas. For $31, you get a card that gives you 15 specialty coffees throughout your cruise. The best part is, you can share it with others in your cabin. This added up to a nice savings for us and we would buy this coffee card again.
Nothing bothers me more than a smokey casino that filters out through the rest of the deck that it is on. One side of the casino on Jewel of the Seas is smoke-free. This is really nice if you want to get from one end of the ship to the other and need to cut through it. I wish all cruise ship casinos were like this, or better yet if they made all of them smoke-free.
Our balcony cabin was on deck 7 (7662). The balcony was huge, it reminded me of the ones on Deck 10 on Ruby Princess. It was easily double the size of a regular balcony and comes at no extra charge. It is important to note that not all of the balcony is private and you can’t look straight down into the water. But with all that extra space, we didn’t mind one bit.
You can watch a short two minute video walk through of our cabin and balcony below:
The ship rarely, if ever felt crowded. It quickly became one of our favorite cruise ships that we have sailed on.
In the spa, there is a separate men’s and women’s locker room that includes a sauna and steam room. This area is complimentary. If you are a spa person, this is another reason why smaller cruise ships are the way to go. The newer, larger ships no longer have an area like without paying extra.
There is a pretty cool small movie theater hidden near the sports bar. Movies were shown throughout the day and a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of cruise life.
Overall, it was a great cruise on Jewel of the Seas and there’s no doubt that we would book another cruise on this ship.