Jewel of the Seas Cruise Review by Stevie G
- Sail Date: June 2019
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Interior
We have been loyal Royal Caribbean travelers for some time now - about 6 cruises under our belts but I have to say this time we did experience some things which I think is a indicator of Royals future. I have noticed more and more retail shopping on board - buy purses, watches, paintings and constant sales pitches for fine dining even future cruises. However I find it interesting that when you try to talk to them about buying future travel excursions or upgrades on the next cruise they won't talk to you!
Usually My Time Dining has worked out well for us. This time not so good. I think they sat us in the regular dining room because as we sat and ate our dessert the waiters were swarming all around us trying to swap out the dining room for the next seating. We felt very rushed and responsible for them not being able to complete their swap. It wasn't what we have experienced in the past. The next night they moved us to a better location, still on the same deck. The waiter assured us there would be no rush, he did a nice job of handling our requests and was very friendly. He asked us if we wanted to come back there and brought over the grumpy head waiter who said he would have to check. Never saw that waiter nor table ever again. In fact they too were having to turn over the dining room so we still felt rushed but the waiter stood with us and assured us we were ok. On our fourth night (we skipped the third due to these issues) we got a table on the My Time Dining floor and it was better but it should not of taken four days to do this.
In Santonini they tendered us to shore. What a cluster! This was probably one of the most unorganized things I have seen on a Royal ship. Imagine the lines you see at the airport when waiting to board the plane. Same here. People very confused, people all jamming into small ship hallways to "be the first one off" - even though they had given out tender assignments at 7am that morning. The staff seems very confused and frustrated with the whole process. I just find the ignorance of people to each other irritating. People all thinking they should go first are clogging up the entrance area - no one paying attention to the rules being said via loudspeaker and just an overall rush. Thank God this wasn't some kind of emergency - I could see people just running each other over to be first. Royal needed security to get into these hallways and limit those near the steps to those who had tickets to be in the area. We had boarding tickets for tender 3 and watched these women with tickets for tender 18 trying to get their way in. There is just no way they should of even been in the area. The return to the ship from Santorini was just as complicated. The safest way down the cliff was the gondolas. There was a line throughout the town just waiting to get down. As the minutes clicked off until the ship left, the line never seemed to get shorter. The ONLY saving grace to this whole process was that an officer from the ship was sent up there to yell out to people "don't worry we are not going to leave you". Just a very poor start to our week tour and something we had in our heads each time we got ready to leave the ship on the next days tour.
Overall I felt the smaller ship was much less crowded. We had nice seating for breakfast and lunch. I got into it with one woman about her saving multiple seats for her friends, even while she sat and looked at a sign which said no seat reserving. The ignorance is just rampant on cruise ships as everyone feels they are immune to the rules and respect for other passengers. That only seems to increase as you add more and more people to a ship. We now will look for smaller cruise lines where there isn't as much of this type of attitude and hopefully enjoy other passengers along the way. We like Royal but I really am seeing a change in their approach to cruising - it's all about making more money vs. the Royality of being a cruise passenger.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Athens (Piraeus)We booked a day tour with Private Greek Tours - Nikos and his team were very professional. We had a great driver and a clean, new touring van. We also hired a tour guide from The Travel Insiders to provide us with insight at the Acropolis and other Greek sites. This was a wonderful day filled with a lot of information. Our guide worked well with the driver to get us close to the back entrance to the Acropolis. He also picked us up there to shorten our walk down. There is a lot of walking there. We also went to see the changing of the guards and walked through Plaka. It was an amazing tour we will not soon forget.View All 1,226 Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Reviews
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Katakolon (Olympia)Yet another tour with The Travel Insiders. Our guide on this day was very well versed in the Olympic area. She provided both Greek stories and confirmed historical facts about the area. She took us into the museum to see wonderful status found on this site. There was so much to see and detail the day went very quickly. They also took us to a quiet beach away from crowds where we could sit on a back patio of a hotel and have a good lunch and relax with winds off the ocean. This was a wonderful day.View All 550 Katakolon (Olympia) Cruise Port Reviews
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MykonosWe took the Mikonos Catamaran tour. It turned out to be one of the best days of our lives! We had a private catamaran for the day where we got to experience Delos and the surrounding crystal clear waters. This was amazing in that we felt very alone and could just enjoy our time together. They served us a 7 course meal that we tell others may have been the best meal we have ever had. It included calamari, prawns, Greek salad, warm fetta, bread, a huge bowl of pasta with sauce, zucchini and others - along with all the wine, beer, soft drinks and water you wanted. We were treated like Royality all day long and it was so special. We will never forget this experience. I would highly recommend this excursion.View All 1,029 Mykonos Cruise Port Reviews
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Rome (Civitavecchia)This is the port where the ship left from. We went from Rome to this location via train. First, trying to figure out how to purchase train tickets was a cluster. Next, Rick Steves and others all said it was possible to walk to the dock from the train station. NO WAY. We were all ready to grab our bags and walk - we got there and started walking. We got near the port and confusion began. Walkways were blocked, no signs with any details, nothing. Finally a bus driver pointed us back towards a small shoping area offering free rides to ANOTHER bus area where they would take us to the ship. Not once was any of this mentioned to us. BEWARE! After going through all of this I probably would of set up a transfer with Royal Carribean from the train station to the dock. I did this on our return and it worked out the best. There is a long Taxi line at the train station when you arrive, there is also a bus - which we never saw. You can buy bus tickets in the store in the train station. But no matter what you do, from the train station you have to go to a drop off point in the middle of town which is where you get buses to take you to the drop off point at the ship. You can't walk here and you can't take a cab or any other transportation directly here. So the great race to be first is slowed by you having to wait in line at the bus port location.View All 2,146 Rome (Civitavecchia) Cruise Port Reviews
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