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My husband and I decided to try a cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary. After a week in Italy, we boarded at Civitavecchia and off we went. We were very pleased with our room (a balcony room). It was larger than expected, with plenty of storage (didn't even pull out the hooks I'd been told to bring), and a very comfortable bed. The bathroom had great ventilation and smells didn't linger. We spent most of the days on shore, but when we were on the ship we enjoyed the buffet breakfasts in the Windjammer (ate breakfast at Tides once, but found it too slow and not any better food quality), and our dinners at the Tides restaurant. I wondered if we would enjoy sitting with other people each night at the 6pm seating, but it actually added to our experience. We got to know our fellow diners a little, and enjoyed finding out what they had done that day and what they had planned for the next. We really enjoyed our dinners every night, too. The food was wonderful, and our waiters were so awesome. We tried two of the specialty restaurants, Chops and Giovanni's Table, and enjoyed our food (and our table at the window) at both of them. I swam in the pool once (small but nice) and read a book on the pool deck (had to crawl onto my lounge chair from the foot, they were so close together) on our first at sea day, but the second at sea day was cold and rainy, so we stayed in. We used the gym a couple of times, and it had plenty of equipment and wasn't too crowded. We saw a couple of the shows at the Coral Theater, which we enjoyed, and a couple of movies at the cinema (seats were a little well-used, and we laughed at the English subtitles on the English movies, but it was all fine). I attended the first day's orientation for new cruisers and gained some useful information, and we also went to one game show (a family feud type show) that was funny. My husband and I agreed that every crew member we encountered, from our room steward to the security people getting back on board to the harrassed wait staff at the Windjammer during busy meals, was as absolutely delightful as could be. They seemed genuinely friendly and eager to make our stay the best it could be. I have to eat gluten free, and I was always able to get something good, although sometimes I had to do a little work to do so. I found out a few days in that they had GF waffles at breakfast if you asked for them, and the 5th day I got a piece of GF chocolate cake at dinner (when I asked the right person--I had previously been told there wasn't any such thing). Generally, though, I just had to go with naturally GF food, like salads, omelets, bacon, steaks, potatoes, creme brulees, fruit, etc. Luckily these were easily available. We had some unexpected schedule changes, but the ship handled them all very well. We were headed to Mykonos, but there was a passenger with a medical emergency, so we went to Athens that day instead. They let us know around noon the day before (we were at sea), so we had time to change our plans. When we were coming into the port at Naples, some ship in front of us made some steering mistakes and backed up traffic to the point that we docked about 2 hours late. The ship gave us an extra hour that night before we had to be back on board. We bought the internet package (the Voom wifi) since my husband had to work while we were there, and we found the internet to be generally strong and fast, and it worked all over the ship. Pricey, but worth it for us. Overall, as you can tell, we had a great experience, and even my skeptical husband agreed that we will definitely cruise again in the future. Royal Caribbean did not disappoint.

Our first cruise, but not our last!

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by DorothyLarson

18 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My husband and I decided to try a cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary. After a week in Italy, we boarded at Civitavecchia and off we went. We were very pleased with our room (a balcony room). It was larger than expected, with plenty of storage (didn't even pull out the hooks I'd been told to bring), and a very comfortable bed. The bathroom had great ventilation and smells didn't linger. We spent most of the days on shore, but when we were on the ship we enjoyed the buffet breakfasts in the Windjammer (ate breakfast at Tides once, but found it too slow and not any better food quality), and our dinners at the Tides restaurant. I wondered if we would enjoy sitting with other people each night at the 6pm seating, but it actually added to our experience. We got to know our fellow diners a little, and enjoyed finding out what they had done that day and what they had planned for the next. We really enjoyed our dinners every night, too. The food was wonderful, and our waiters were so awesome. We tried two of the specialty restaurants, Chops and Giovanni's Table, and enjoyed our food (and our table at the window) at both of them.

I swam in the pool once (small but nice) and read a book on the pool deck (had to crawl onto my lounge chair from the foot, they were so close together) on our first at sea day, but the second at sea day was cold and rainy, so we stayed in. We used the gym a couple of times, and it had plenty of equipment and wasn't too crowded. We saw a couple of the shows at the Coral Theater, which we enjoyed, and a couple of movies at the cinema (seats were a little well-used, and we laughed at the English subtitles on the English movies, but it was all fine). I attended the first day's orientation for new cruisers and gained some useful information, and we also went to one game show (a family feud type show) that was funny.

My husband and I agreed that every crew member we encountered, from our room steward to the security people getting back on board to the harrassed wait staff at the Windjammer during busy meals, was as absolutely delightful as could be. They seemed genuinely friendly and eager to make our stay the best it could be.

I have to eat gluten free, and I was always able to get something good, although sometimes I had to do a little work to do so. I found out a few days in that they had GF waffles at breakfast if you asked for them, and the 5th day I got a piece of GF chocolate cake at dinner (when I asked the right person--I had previously been told there wasn't any such thing). Generally, though, I just had to go with naturally GF food, like salads, omelets, bacon, steaks, potatoes, creme brulees, fruit, etc. Luckily these were easily available.

We had some unexpected schedule changes, but the ship handled them all very well. We were headed to Mykonos, but there was a passenger with a medical emergency, so we went to Athens that day instead. They let us know around noon the day before (we were at sea), so we had time to change our plans. When we were coming into the port at Naples, some ship in front of us made some steering mistakes and backed up traffic to the point that we docked about 2 hours late. The ship gave us an extra hour that night before we had to be back on board.

We bought the internet package (the Voom wifi) since my husband had to work while we were there, and we found the internet to be generally strong and fast, and it worked all over the ship. Pricey, but worth it for us.

Overall, as you can tell, we had a great experience, and even my skeptical husband agreed that we will definitely cruise again in the future. Royal Caribbean did not disappoint.
DorothyLarson’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Spacious Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 4B 9642
The cabin was bigger than we expected, and really very nice. They were very smart with their space, and there was plenty of room to unpack and make ourselves comfortable. The balcony was lovely to have, not only to go out and see what was happening when coming into a port, or to check the weather when getting dressed to go onshore for the day, but also to see the moon on the water as we cruised, or to spend a little quiet time in the sun. The bathroom had enough room to stash most of our toiletries, and I was pleasantly surprised to have good ventilation there. The shower had good water pressure and plenty of hot water. The bed was really comfortable (we like a firm bed), and our steward brought us extra pillows when we asked (so we had the ridiculous number of 3 each).
Deck 11 Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Athens (Piraeus)
    This day was amazing, and all the more so because it was rather unplanned. We got off the ship at 6:30am (an hour before dawn--ugh!). We shared a cab with a couple we had met on the ship, and ended up hiring him to drive us around for a couple of hours. (We had this idea that we were going to walk everywhere, but it's a lot bigger than we thought!). We first went to Lycabettus hill, and stayed there for about 1/2 hour taking pictures of Athens and the Acropolis hill all lit up as the sun gradually came up. He then drove us to the Olympic stadium, and then to the Acropolis right when it opened. Waited in a very short line to buy tickets, and enjoyed the hill without many crowds. Getting up early is the way to go! We used our Rick Steves Audio Europe app (the walking tour) to enlighten us as we visited the Pantheon and other sites there. After an hour or so there, our cab driver took us to the Temple of Zeus, and then dropped us off near the Plaka. We walked through the Ancient Agora of Athens (included in our ticket along with the Acropolis and the temple of Zeus). We then stopped to eat at a quirky place called Little Kook (google it!). A great place for sugar-a-holics. I ate a wonderful greek yogurt/honey/fruit/seeds thing, but my companions had huge shakes topped with waffles and frosting, crepes, etc. We then walked to the Archaeological Museum, which is one of the best there is. We took the subway back to Pireus (where the port is), and walked about 20 minutes from the subway stop to our ship.
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  • Mykonos
    We arranged to go snorkeling with the Mykonos Diving Center. They picked us up at the port and took us to Paradise Beach. They dressed us up in wet suits (it was October after all) and snorkels, and a guide accompanied my husband and I for a 90 minute snorkeling trip along a reef. The best part was that he spotted an octopus, and we followed it for about 10 minutes. Beautiful. They took us back to Mykonos town, and we wandered up and down the streets there for a couple of hours (churches, windmills, etc.) before taking the water taxi (2E each) back to our ship (we docked at the new port--no tendering, but a little farther from town).
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  • Naples
    We took the metro from the port to the train station at Piazza Garibaldi, and caught a train (the Cirumvesuviana train line) to Pompeii (about 8E each). We had planned to go early and beat the crowds, but our ship docked about 90 minutes late, so we just had to mingle with our fellow tourists. We used the Rick Steves app walking tour of Pompeii as our guide, and it was great. After a couple of hours there we took the train back to Naples and walked through the city, stopping to eat, stopping to look at things, and finding great gelato. We then walked back to the ship. It was maybe a little too much walking, by the end of the day, but maybe it was also the last day of our trip and we were just tired out. Naples is covered in grafitti and felt just a little less safe than anywhere else we had been, but we were fine.
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  • Rhodes
    We absolutely loved Rhodes. It is a medieval walled city that has been so carefully maintained and restored that it is easy to picture knights and the like walking around. It is a beautiful town. We disembarked reasonably early and went first to the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, beating most of the tours and crowds. Wow! It is in amazing shape and was just like you would imagine a medieval palace to be! We also visited the Archaeological Museum, and enjoyed that. We then walked over to the other side of that end of the island and swam at a beach for an hour or so, before eating lunch and wandering back via the tip of the island. So relaxing and beautiful.
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  • Rome (Civitavecchia)
    We spent several days in Rome before boarding the ship. It was very easy to take a train from Termini to Civitavecchia, and only cost us about 8 Euros each. Then we caught a bus (2E each) from just outside the train station to the cruise port, and then the port bus to the ship.
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  • Santorini
    We did the hike from Fira to Oia, and loved it! We took the cable car (do NOT walk up the donkey trail, or ride the donkeys) up from the tender dock, and just started heading left. We eventually got on the right path and wandered through the towns of Fira, Firostefani, and Imerovigli (stopping once for a smoothie and a bathroom) before getting to the more desolate parts of the trail. It took us about 3 hours, walking at a moderate pace, and despite some reviews depicting parts of the trail as scary, we never felt unsafe at ALL. Use this website for great directions--https://santorinidave.com/fira-oia-hike. In Oia we wandered off the main drag (away from the caldera) to find a more reasonably priced restaurant where we ate dolmas, greek salad with a slab of amazing feta, and dreamy yogurt with honey. We then paid 1.8E each to catch a bus back to Fira (not much of a line, pay on the bus). We stopped once on the way back and picked up a bridal party on its way to the wedding in Fira! We couldn't figure out if that was just the best way to get there, or if the bride's big day was NOT going as planned, but it made the rest of us smile a little more on the way back. Took the cable car back down and tendered back out to our ship. Beautiful day!
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  • Taormina (Messina)
    We docked in Messina at 11am, so it was kind of a short day. After visiting the clock tower to see what medieval animatronics look like (it does its thing at noon each day), we walked to the train station and caught a train to Taormina (4E each). We then took a bus (2E each) from the train station up to Taormina. It is a lovely hillside town, with great views of the coast and picturesque streets. Not much to do there, though, besides shopping and taking pictures. We did have a nice lunch before catching a bus and a train back to Messina.
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