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We chose this sailing as a short and inexpensive trip that my whole family would have time for. While there was little exceptional about this sailing, it was very nice that nothing went wrong. Twice on Carnival the ships had stabilizers fail. Once on Holland America the ship lost an engine and we had terrible diesel fumes. So, no problems to report is noteworthy. The ship struck me as a good size - not monstrous and overcrowded nor small and claustrophobic. Elevators were slow and a couple may have been out of service. The ship's public areas were noisy, even the solarium. The deck chairs on deck 5 provided peace and quiet though. This particular sailing seemed like an excellent choice for new cruisers or cruisers worried about motion sickness. The ship never had to speed to get anywhere, and the Caribbean in January tends to be smooth to begin with Our ports were not special, or at least, Royal Caribbean did not help make them special. We couldn't find a shore excursion in Nassau from RCCL that was suitable for someone in less than great health, so we took one on our own. Then Labadee had nothing available either. Worse, Labadee is supposed to include a buffet lunch with basics like, you know, drinking water. They "ran out" and the only water available had to be bought. Hmm. Food on board was average but adequate. It's sad that Royal Caribbean charges for room service as that may be a deal breaker for my parents when it comes to booking future cruises when other lines don't charge. This is especially a problem at night when the only things available are the awful offerings at the Solarium - some of the worst pizza, cookies, and sandwiches I've had on a ship. The flip side of that was the Chef's Table. That was remarkable. The waiter, Kasim, and the chef, Calesia, served a six course meal with wine pairings that my family will talk about for years. Definitely a five-star experience. I also thought their photographer, Jarenne, was one of the most skilled I've met after almost fifteen cruises, our steward Krishna was friendly and efficient, and entertainment staffers like Felix and Silvia helped make the trip more fun. The internet on Royal Caribbean was an improvement over my experience with other lines. If staying connected is important, RCCL appears to have a leg up. Other good things: Embarkation went smoothly. Our cabin had enough storage space for two people. It was comfortable (beds were a little firm) and well-lit. Ship seemed clean and well-maintained. We liked the sailing enough to book a second cruise on Royal Caribbean, one that would also be on the Jewel. That may have been a mistake. First, the advertised itinerary did not match the actual itinerary. More of an issue, we were told that booking through Next Cruises would give credit back to our travel agency so we could get their advertised perks. Not necessarily so, as the agency is telling us that free gratuities aren't combinable which means we might come out behind, and booking with Next Cruises doesn't appear to be cancel-able. I feel misled, which is marring my feelings about a pretty good trip. Hopefully things will be resolved, but for now I'd hesitate to recommend using Next Cruises.

Not fantastic, but some good experiences/Be Careful w/ Next Cruise Bookings

Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by Darshan1

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Spacious Ocean View Balcony
We chose this sailing as a short and inexpensive trip that my whole family would have time for. While there was little exceptional about this sailing, it was very nice that nothing went wrong. Twice on Carnival the ships had stabilizers fail. Once on Holland America the ship lost an engine and we had terrible diesel fumes. So, no problems to report is noteworthy.

The ship struck me as a good size - not monstrous and overcrowded nor small and claustrophobic. Elevators were slow and a couple may have been out of service. The ship's public areas were noisy, even the solarium. The deck chairs on deck 5 provided peace and quiet though.

This particular sailing seemed like an excellent choice for new cruisers or cruisers worried about motion sickness. The ship never had to speed to get anywhere, and the Caribbean in January tends to be smooth to begin with

Our ports were not special, or at least, Royal Caribbean did not help make them special. We couldn't find a shore excursion in Nassau from RCCL that was suitable for someone in less than great health, so we took one on our own. Then Labadee had nothing available either. Worse, Labadee is supposed to include a buffet lunch with basics like, you know, drinking water. They "ran out" and the only water available had to be bought. Hmm.

Food on board was average but adequate. It's sad that Royal Caribbean charges for room service as that may be a deal breaker for my parents when it comes to booking future cruises when other lines don't charge. This is especially a problem at night when the only things available are the awful offerings at the Solarium - some of the worst pizza, cookies, and sandwiches I've had on a ship.

The flip side of that was the Chef's Table. That was remarkable. The waiter, Kasim, and the chef, Calesia, served a six course meal with wine pairings that my family will talk about for years. Definitely a five-star experience.

I also thought their photographer, Jarenne, was one of the most skilled I've met after almost fifteen cruises, our steward Krishna was friendly and efficient, and entertainment staffers like Felix and Silvia helped make the trip more fun.

The internet on Royal Caribbean was an improvement over my experience with other lines. If staying connected is important, RCCL appears to have a leg up.

Other good things: Embarkation went smoothly. Our cabin had enough storage space for two people. It was comfortable (beds were a little firm) and well-lit. Ship seemed clean and well-maintained.

We liked the sailing enough to book a second cruise on Royal Caribbean, one that would also be on the Jewel. That may have been a mistake. First, the advertised itinerary did not match the actual itinerary. More of an issue, we were told that booking through Next Cruises would give credit back to our travel agency so we could get their advertised perks. Not necessarily so, as the agency is telling us that free gratuities aren't combinable which means we might come out behind, and booking with Next Cruises doesn't appear to be cancel-able. I feel misled, which is marring my feelings about a pretty good trip. Hopefully things will be resolved, but for now I'd hesitate to recommend using Next Cruises.
Darshan1’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Spacious Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 1B 1066
I like this room. Nice balcony. Close to the central elevator and one floor down from the Lido. There can be some noise from carts be rolled across the floor above but the steward said we could call about that. Shower is a little small compared to other lines I've sailed but more or less big enough for me (I'm 250 pounds and 6 ft).
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Labadee
    Labadee is pretty, but 1) the food/drink service was not very good and 2) I would strongly avoid the craft village. There are nice things to buy in the artisans market but avoid the hawkers in the orange shirts leading you up the hill to the village. It's a very high pressure sales area and you will likely be unhappy buying things you don't want. The market building has the same offerings (and more) at comparable prices. Labadee is relaxing but overall it's not one of my favorite ports.
    View All 1,795 Labadee Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Labadee Cruise Port Review
  • Miami
    Beautiful city. Driving is a little crazy. Would strongly recommend a restaurant called Pollos y Jarras - delicious Peruvian cuisine.
    View All 2,395 Miami Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Miami Cruise Port Review
  • Island Tour
    Fairly disorganized at first but the guide was friendly and offered some information about Nassau's history. It was a little humdrum. Nassau is probably best enjoyed on the water, so a bus tour isn't what I would recommend.
    View All 303 Island Tour Reviews