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Summary: A good cruise for a handicapped wife and her husband. The only "hard spots" were issues with the Royal Caribbean front office regarding accessible tours. My wife normally uses a scooter for mobility. We booked our shore excursions months in advance through Royal Caribbean, and were assured that all the tours we booked could accept my wife's scooter. Two days before the cruise, we got an email saying that some of the shore excursions we had booked could not accept my wife's scooter; this threw us into a panic (but successful) effort to rent a wheelchair for those excursions. Because the Royal Caribbean front office told us these excursions could accept the scooter when we bought the excursions, the overall cruise lost a rating star. At least Royal Caribbean told us about the problem while it could still be fixed. Had we found out about the problem on the ship, the rating star penalty would have been harsher. On to the cruise proper: The cruise started in San Juan, PR. We flew in on the day of the cruise, so we didn't get a chance to explore anything. Royal Caribbean handled the airport/dockside transfer. As things turned out, we were part of the last batch of people to arrive, so no embarkation crowds. We went though the embarkation process as fast as we could walk/scoot through the stations. Total embarkation time (leaving San Juan airport to our ship cabin) was about 1/2 hour. The ship: The Jewel of the Seas was in good condition and clean. Accessibility for my wife's scooter was good (including public restrooms marked handicapped accessible). We could take the scooter on deck without problems, and we did not have problems getting around the public spaces. Ship corridors were acceptably wide. Royal Caribbean ships do not have self-service laundromats; for us this limits the maximum length of a Royal Caribbean cruise to 7 days based on the amount of clothes we can feasibly pack. If there is anything I could change about the Jewel of the Seas, I would add self-service laundromats. We did not find travel sundries in the shops on the ship (e.g.; toothbrushes, razors, and feminine hygiene products). Cabin: We had cabin 7612, a handicapped accessible cabin with a balcony. The cabin was big enough to maneuver the scooter, and the bathroom had a walk-in shower. Our cabin steward (Bruno Martins) gets a shout for the good service he provided. Dining: We ate all our shipboard meals in the Windjammer buffet. We found the variety and quality of the food to be generally good. We did find the baked pastries (donuts in the morning and cakes in the evening) to be dry (stale?). Entertainment/Activities: Unfortunately, we developed colds early on in the trip, so we spent most of our shipboard time in our cabin. We didn't go to any shows. We did go to a few of the shipboard activities (belly flop contest and "Love and Marriage" game, and found them enjoyable. One note on the theater: The scooter accessible portion of the theater is limited to behind the last row of seats. However the view from there ins acceptable. Service: We have already mentioned the fine job done by our cabin steward, Bruno Martins. The rest of the the staff struck us as just as enthusiastic and service oriented. We got the impression that they genuinely liked their jobs. Ports and Excursions: A disabled cruiser will find shore excursion options extremely limited. We booked our excursions through Royal Caribbean to avoid surprises, but as noted above, we were not completely successful in that regard. First up was a "Behind the Scenes" tour that I took on our sea day. This tour took us through the ship's operational areas, and as a retired engineer with a marine background, I learned much. This tour is not available to mobility-impaired folks. Barbados, Grenada, and Dominica: We group these three islands together because they are similar. We took accessible general tours of the islands, and enjoyed the tours immensely. The islands are beautiful. The general impression we got of the populations was that the islands were poor, but one did not need much money live on them. St. Maartin/St. Martin: Again, we took an accessible general tour of the island, and came away thinking this island was basically a tourist economy. We were one of 4 cruise ships in St. Maartin that day; that should tell you something about what makes the island tick. St. Thomas: No accessible excursion of this island was available, so we just walked/scooted around the port. We were not impressed, as all we saw were assorted stores catering to the cruise ship passengers. Disembarkation: A taxi strike with associated blocked roads disrupted the disembarkation plan in San Juan, but the problem was solved and we easily made our flight. Would we recommend this cruise to others? Yes, with the caveat that no self-service laundry or travel sundries will be available on the ship.

Good cruise - problems with the front office

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by wgmiller

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Summary: A good cruise for a handicapped wife and her husband. The only "hard spots" were issues with the Royal Caribbean front office regarding accessible tours.

My wife normally uses a scooter for mobility. We booked our shore excursions months in advance through Royal Caribbean, and were assured that all the tours we booked could accept my wife's scooter. Two days before the cruise, we got an email saying that some of the shore excursions we had booked could not accept my wife's scooter; this threw us into a panic (but successful) effort to rent a wheelchair for those excursions. Because the Royal Caribbean front office told us these excursions could accept the scooter when we bought the excursions, the overall cruise lost a rating star. At least Royal Caribbean told us about the problem while it could still be fixed. Had we found out about the problem on the ship, the rating star penalty would have been harsher.

On to the cruise proper: The cruise started in San Juan, PR. We flew in on the day of the cruise, so we didn't get a chance to explore anything. Royal Caribbean handled the airport/dockside transfer. As things turned out, we were part of the last batch of people to arrive, so no embarkation crowds. We went though the embarkation process as fast as we could walk/scoot through the stations. Total embarkation time (leaving San Juan airport to our ship cabin) was about 1/2 hour.

The ship: The Jewel of the Seas was in good condition and clean. Accessibility for my wife's scooter was good (including public restrooms marked handicapped accessible). We could take the scooter on deck without problems, and we did not have problems getting around the public spaces. Ship corridors were acceptably wide.

Royal Caribbean ships do not have self-service laundromats; for us this limits the maximum length of a Royal Caribbean cruise to 7 days based on the amount of clothes we can feasibly pack. If there is anything I could change about the Jewel of the Seas, I would add self-service laundromats.

We did not find travel sundries in the shops on the ship (e.g.; toothbrushes, razors, and feminine hygiene products).

Cabin: We had cabin 7612, a handicapped accessible cabin with a balcony. The cabin was big enough to maneuver the scooter, and the bathroom had a walk-in shower. Our cabin steward (Bruno Martins) gets a shout for the good service he provided.

Dining: We ate all our shipboard meals in the Windjammer buffet. We found the variety and quality of the food to be generally good. We did find the baked pastries (donuts in the morning and cakes in the evening) to be dry (stale?).

Entertainment/Activities: Unfortunately, we developed colds early on in the trip, so we spent most of our shipboard time in our cabin. We didn't go to any shows. We did go to a few of the shipboard activities (belly flop contest and "Love and Marriage" game, and found them enjoyable.

One note on the theater: The scooter accessible portion of the theater is limited to behind the last row of seats. However the view from there ins acceptable.

Service: We have already mentioned the fine job done by our cabin steward, Bruno Martins. The rest of the the staff struck us as just as enthusiastic and service oriented. We got the impression that they genuinely liked their jobs.

Ports and Excursions: A disabled cruiser will find shore excursion options extremely limited. We booked our excursions through Royal Caribbean to avoid surprises, but as noted above, we were not completely successful in that regard.

First up was a "Behind the Scenes" tour that I took on our sea day. This tour took us through the ship's operational areas, and as a retired engineer with a marine background, I learned much. This tour is not available to mobility-impaired folks.

Barbados, Grenada, and Dominica: We group these three islands together because they are similar. We took accessible general tours of the islands, and enjoyed the tours immensely. The islands are beautiful. The general impression we got of the populations was that the islands were poor, but one did not need much money live on them.

St. Maartin/St. Martin: Again, we took an accessible general tour of the island, and came away thinking this island was basically a tourist economy. We were one of 4 cruise ships in St. Maartin that day; that should tell you something about what makes the island tick.

St. Thomas: No accessible excursion of this island was available, so we just walked/scooted around the port. We were not impressed, as all we saw were assorted stores catering to the cruise ship passengers.

Disembarkation: A taxi strike with associated blocked roads disrupted the disembarkation plan in San Juan, but the problem was solved and we easily made our flight.

Would we recommend this cruise to others? Yes, with the caveat that no self-service laundry or travel sundries will be available on the ship.
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 2D 7612
Cabin 7612 is a handicapped accessible cabin with a balcony. The cabin was big enough to maneuver the scooter, and the bathroom had a walk-in shower. Our cabin steward (Bruno Martins) gets a shout for the good service he provided.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins