Number of Cruises: 13
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Jewel of the Seas
Sailing Date: September 28th, 2004
Itinerary: Canada / New England
After my first cruise on the Jewel of the Seas earlier this year I was really looking forward to this trip and to be on the Jewel of the Seas again and I was not disappointed.
This Review is a little long again and for all of you that read my first review it maybe similar in some parts, but hey it was the same ship and cabin #61514;.
I arrived in Boston two days early to spend some time in Boston and to acclimatize to the different time zone. After going through immigration and customs I took a short taxi ride to my pre-booked hotel. It was a beautiful warm and sunny Sunday. I stayed at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. Check-In was a breeze and I got a nice corner room on the top floor of the south tower.
I had one full day at Boston and next to walking around the town and doing some sightseeing and shopping I did the Duck Tour. I can recommend this tour which starts at several places around town and takes you on a City Tour around town and gives you in addition to the usual view of the City a great view from the Charles River.
I had nothing planned for the embarkation day, of course beside of going to the ship. Because of the Hotel package booked through RCCL I had the Hotel to Pier transfer included. I got a letter from RCCL with all the necessary information about the transfer and luggage transportation a day in advance. They had setup the luggage collection for 11:00am with the Bell staff of the Hotel. The luggage should be delivered directly to the cabin on board the Jewel of the Seas. Bus departure from the Hotel was scheduled for 01:00pm. As I didn´t want to arrive at the pier with a crowd of people I decided to beat the rush and arrive there early by making my way on my own. I left the Hotel around 10:30am and took a taxi to the pier. I arrived at the pier around 11:00am and they had not started the check-in yet. The porters have been around immediately to collect the luggage to bring it to your cabin. I had to wait just for a few minutes until they started the check-in procedure. They set up different lines for check-in depending on what deck you are on. I didn´t recognize a special line for priority check-in. Later I saw that they used the pier-coordinator line for the priority check-in. However there have not been to many people that early and the line at the pier-cordinator was the longest one of all.
Although check-in procedure was done in a timely manner it seemed to be little bit disorganized. At this early time the computers haven´t been set up correct already and many of them didn´t work. This slowed down the procedure a little. The cruise reps. At the check-in have still be learning to check-in the people and as they had to collect my passport it took some time until they got a signature from a purser for the passport receipt. Finaly they didn´t have my Seapass card ready and I had to wait at the pier-coordinator line again. After a cruise rep. recognized why I was waiting there again they took me to the front and it was done in a few seconds.
They had started boarding too although they informed us that the staterooms wouldn´t be ready before 01:00pm. I was on the ship around 11:30am. The fire doors to the cabins have been closed with signs on them that the cabins wouldn´t be available until 01:00pm.
I didn´t want to lug around my carry-ons and so I went to my cabin to drop them off. I placed them in the closet and I didn´t even saw anybody to hinder me from doing this.
There have been many groups touring the ship and also the cabins. I toured the ship a little bit myself too. Especially to have a look at some of the different cabin categories.
>From noon they served lunch at the Windjammer Buffet. The cabins have been ready from about 12:30pm. The muster drill was held at 04:30pm.
Although the embarkation procedure could improve a little bit at some points it was still a breeze.
I had the same cabin like on my first cruise on the Jewel of the Seas (GS#1552). I felt home immediately. It is really nice to come into your room and be familiar with it on the spot. Just like coming home.
Coming into the room you have the closet and bar area to your right and the bathroom to your left. The closet had three doors with large mirrors. The real closet was just between two of the doors. Behind the third one was just something like a space for hanging your jackets. There was also a bar in the room. Under the bar there are ten drawers and another closet and of course the fridge. The fridge was stocked with some items. It was no problem to remove them to put your own things in it. No sensors in the fridge like on some ships. By the way the Safe was in the closet too. It was one of the type where you have to put a four-digit number in to operate. Towards your left (opposite the bar) is the bathroom door. The bathroom is very spacious with a double sink, bathtub and toilet. There are another two drawers in the bathroom and a medicine cabinet behind the mirrors and closets below the sinks too. The bathroom is all marble and you don´t have the usual step to get into it. They provide you with bath-gel, shampoo, Lotion, Soap, cotton balls, Lip balm, Shoe-Shine, Showercap and more. The living room had a three-seater sofa, which folds out to a full size queens bed and two chairs. There has been a DVD-Player and TV too. On the interactive TV you can purchase Shore Excursions, review your Seapass account, get port information and many more. TV and DVD player are connected to a sound system. There are several speakers in the ceiling all over the cabin. Very good sound. The sleeping area could be divided with a curtain from the rest of the cabin. In the sleeping area there are two beds that can connect to a queen. The night stands have two drawers each. The vanity is also in this area it has another eight drawers. The balcony is reachable through a sliding door from the seating area. The balcony is spacious too. It is equipped with too chairs, a large table and an additional chair with a leg rest. I don´t know why they put only one of them on the balcony as it´s a double room and a second one could fit easily on.
There is a climate control in the room too, but I didn´t touch it as the temperature was ok for me the whole time. The cabin was very good isolated against noise. I never heard anything in the room. Even if there was some loud music in the Centrum nothing could be heard as soon as the cabin door was closed. I also never heard anything from the deck above.
The cabin location was very convenient to me. It is close to the centrum area and the concierge lounge. Every spot onboard is just a few steps away. The view from the balcony is OK. You can view forward and see the bridge. Looking backwards the hump is in your way. Looking straight down you look at the cover of the lifeboats but this is only if you lean over the railing and look really straight down. Concerning privacy on your balcony this may not be the best choice as it can be viewed from the balcony of #1554 - the hump cabin. But this one is not good for privacy either as it can be watched as easily from my room. No problem for me at all. I would choose this cabin again.
Captain: James Macdonald, Canada
Cruise Director: Karen Maybury, England
F&B Manager Michael Ibrahim, USA
Hotel Director: Nibu Sayed, India
Executive Chef: Peter Howell, Australia
Loyalty Ambassador: Matthew Clark, England
Overview about Itinerary and Daily Schedule:
Day 1 – Boston: Casual
Welcome Aboard Show
Day 2 – Bar Harbor: Formal
Captain´s Welcome Reception
Headliner Showtime “The Music and Dancing of The Guse´s”
Day 3 – Halifax: Smart Casual
Production Showtime “City of Dreams”
Day 4 – Sydney: Casual/Rock&Roll
Headliner Showtime “The Comedy of Don Gavin”
Chocolate Decadence Buffet
Day 5 - At Sea: Formal
Headliner Showtime “Romantic Tenor JC Fisher”
Welcome Back - Crown & Anchor Party
Day 6 – Quebec City: Casual
Production Showtime „West End to Broadway“
Day 7 – Saguenay River: Smart casual
Headliner Showtime Pianist Craig Dahn
Day 8 – At Sea: Formal
Platinum & Diamond C&A reception
Production Showtime “Tango Buenos Aires”
Dead again (Murder Mystery)
Gala Midnight Buffet
Day 9 – St. John: Casual
Headliner Showtime Comedian
Day 10 - Portland: Casual
Farewell Show “Jeff the Juggler”
Day 11 - Boston: Debarkation
The ship is gorgeous. If you walk across the ship there are so many nice places to spot and watching carefully you can spot fine art everywhere. You can feel that there must have been somebody putting his heart into the design. It´s very easy to get around. There are 6 elevators in the centrum. All of them are glass elevators. Two facing the centrum area and four facing the glass facade and the ocean. In the front there are three more elevators. Sometimes the elevators get quite busy but all in all it´s enough capacity. On the promenade deck you can almost go around the ship. If you like to do a full turn around the ship you have to use the stairs in the front to go one deck up, to the Helicopter pad and down again on the other side. The Helicopter pad in the front is great as you get a nice view from there. You can also do the Titanic like feeling. In my first review of the Jewel from the 05/28 sailing I put some critic because I felt some areas to be very crowded. This was better on this sailing. I´m ont sure if it was just because I sat in a different area in the Dining room but it was not so tight this time. The waiters had much more space to move around. Also the Windjammer was not that crowded this time, even on sea days. It may have helped that they opened up the Windjammer Veranda (this was covered with an art exhibition on my last cruise).
Talking about the food I have to say it was good. I ate only dinner at the dining room and all other meals in the Windjammer. The Dining room meals have been great in taste, and well served. Our team of waiters (Adolph from the Caribbean and Alexander from St.Petersburg, Russia) have been great, giving recommendations every evening. You still had the choice of three salad dressings served from the assistant waiter. The bread is served too, but our assistant constantly asked if somebody wishes another piece. By the way I never paid for Orange Juice during dinner. The Windjammer is set up with different buffet Islands. With this setup you don´t have to stand in long lines. Although the place was always frequented well I had never to wait in a long line to get access to the food. The negative result of this setup is that you have to walk around a little bit to get an overview of the offered food and to get it together. The taste was good. I just tried the Seaview Café once. It was a nice place for having lunch or a snack. The food is cooked on order. You have to place your order at the counter and the meal is served to your table. They also serve great Milkshakes there. You have to pay for the Shakes but not for the food. I complained a little about the heat of the food on my first cruise. I have to say this improved and the food was always hot on this cruise. The menu was basically the same but that was OK to me.
Our team of waiters have been great. They have always been around to take care of us without being offensive or disrupting. They remembered already the second day our likes and had i.e. the drinks ready for us.
I rarely saw my cabin attendant team. They have not been as present in the hallway as I used to have it on other cruises. But I don´t know what range of cabins and how much of them they were responsible for. So it maybe I couldn´t spot them because they were behind the hump. But to make it clear this was no problem for me. When I left my room I put the Make up my room sign into the key slot of the door. And I don´t know how she made it but my room was ready every time I got back. This was very surprising for me as she couldn´t spot me when leaving as I said before. The cabin was made up two times a day and of course I had turn down service the first night too. I used the laundry service a couple of times too. My cabin stewards collected the items from my room and they´ve been back on time always. They do a great job on this too and the price is very reasonable.
I didn´t order room service but got delivered something complimetary to the room every afternoon. It was very nice. I got things like Canapes, Cookies, Truffles, Sweets, Shrimps, Danish, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Cheese, Fruit, Vegetables, etc.
Can´t tell very much about our Concierge Brett Goad, as I didn´t have anything to do for me personally. When I entered the lounge during his hours he was always friendly. The Concierge lounge is a nice place. They also have some Internet stations available there. Sometimes they have some sweets during the afternoon there too. Mostly I used the Lounge only for getting some very good coffee or something else to drink to take to my cabin. It´s a very small place and gets crowded soon, especially when the bar is open. I recognized that some people used the Yacht Club area as an extension of the Concierge Lounge in the evenings. Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, Orange Juice and Grapefruit Juice is available 24/7.
Although I didn´t frequent the bars too much but from the few times I´ve been there I can only say good things about the service. The Bar waiters have been around always. The service was prompt
Guest relations / Excursions:
The few times I went there I was always served promptly and to my total satisfaction. The staff was very friendly and when coming back there I´ve been recognized and addressed with my name. This is remarkable with 2000 people on board.
So the overall rate of the service on this cruise is very positive. As I already said this was my second time on the Jewel of the Seas and I felt like coming home. One thing I was really surprised about was that I was recognized and greeted by crew members and they knew me from my first sailing (4 month between the two sailings). This happened to me even with crew members I haven´t had much contact to on the first sailing.
A great crew is important for a great cruise expierience
I can´t say too much about the animation program as I rarely took part in any of those activities. It was a quite port intensive trip and I took the Sea days for relaxation. I attended the evening Shows every day. The three Production Shows have been quite good. The best one in my eyes was City of Dreams it is just remarkable what they put on a cruiseship stage today. The Headliner entertainment was great too.
Ports of call / Excursions:
As this was only a 10-day cruise and only 2 seadays during this 10 days I decided not to do too many excursions. Another reason for this decision was that I visited most of the ports before. I pre-booked excursions for Quebec and St. John and booked a third one in Portland onboard. Tickets have been delivered to my cabin the first day.
At Bar Harbor the ship is anchored in the Bay. Next to us the Grand Princess was in port too. We had to tender in. I used the Priority Tender Tickets from the Concierge and it worked well. No wait. I had no excursion booked for Bar Harbor. I had planned to just walk around town a little bit. However when coming on land my attention was driven to a trolley tour to the Acadia National Park. The 2,5 hour tour was $20,- and took us around the National Park. We stopped three times. One stop was at top of Cadillac mountain and we had a great, unlimited view that day. Another stop was at the Thunder Hole and the third one at the Wild Gardens. After the tour there was plenty of time to visit the shops in the City.
Again I had nothing planned here at Halifax. I went off the ship at my own leisure. They had a complimentary shuttle to another pier as we have been docked a little further down from the city. There have been the Galaxy and the Carnival Victory. I walked along the Harbourwalk which was a nice scenic walk along the harbourside. It ends at the Casino. It was a great day to do the walk it was a little bit chilly and windy but sunny. Around noon it got a little bit warmer. Unfortunately they had a power failure downtown, so many stores have been closed in the morning. I still spent a while and towards noon the power was back and the shops opened again.
Sydney has a little downtown area which is only a few blocks. I did nothing special here just walked along the downtown area which was done in less than two hours. They also had setup a little market with local arts and crafts at the Harbour terminal. We have been docked here while the Galaxy was anchored and had to tender in. I relaxed most of the day on the ship
This was my first RCCL shore excursion during the trip. I booked the Walking Tour & Horse carriage Ride. We met our guide at the pier and it was just a few steps until we reached the Lower town. The ship was docked right in front of the Chateau Frontenac. Great View from my Balcony. Our first stop was at the Place Royal where we got some explanations. We proceeded then to the Petit Champlain and the Funiculaire. The Funiculair is an elevator that takes you to the upper town. Exiting the Funiculaire you are right in front of the Chateau Frontenac. We had some time for more explanations and to look around until our horse carriage ride began. It was an 40 min. carriage ride with 4 people in each carriage. I felt it was the best way to get around as you could see much more than from a coach. After the ride our guide showed us some more spots in the upper town before we walked downhill to the lower town again to view the huge wall painting. The tour ended at the Place Royal and everybody could decide to go back to the ship or stay at town. It was a great tour and I can highly recommend it.
I went back to the ship for lunch and headed back to explore the town on my own a little bit in the afternoon. As the Jewel departed at 11:00pm there was also enough time to explore the town at dark. It´s a total different view to see everything lightened up.
We entered the Fjord very early in the morning. I set my alarm clock and got a great sunrise to see from my balcony. As it was very cold I watched the most of the passage comfortable from my cabin with all curtains open and a great panorama from the sofa and the option to step out on the balcony whenever I wanted. Only drawback was that the ship decided to not transfer the narration of the guide into the cabins as some passengers had complaint they want to sleep and feel disturbed by the narrations.
For St. John I had booked the Ride the Rapids tour. I was warned beforehand to take some clothes to change with me on the trip as you get definitely wet. The tour started off a little late as they had to bring in another bus because ours broke down before it came to the pier. After a brief City tour we stopped at the Citymarket. This is an indoor market. We had about 30 minutes to explore it on hour own. After the stop we proceeded to the Reversing Falls for the Jet Boat Ride. Our group was splitted into three smaller groups. Every Jet Boat held 12 people. We got some instructions on the boat ride and they took our belongings aswe couldn´t take them on the boat. We have been outfitted with watertight clothes. Our shoes had to stay ashore too, We got some socks to wear during the ride. And finally we got gloves too. I have to say it was pretty cold. The ride was really fun and we got soaking wet. The provided clothes helped a little but however everything I had on got wet, including my underwear and it was the same with everybody. It was good I had something to change. At the conclusion of the Jet Boat Ride we got some refreshments including a lobster roll. I can also highly recommend this tour, but take warm clothes to change!
In the afternoon I walked up to town on my own again
This was the last port and also the last port of the cruise. I had a tour in the afternoon so I walked into town in the morning and used some time to start packing. In the afternoon I had a tour to Kennebunkport, a picturesque little town. We had some free time to walk around there. We also saw Walkers point the summer home of the Bush family.
In the afternoon we had a great sailaway again with a beautiful sunset while passing the many lighthouses.
Knowing about the bad connections on the Jewel of the Seas from my earlier cruise this year I decided to apply for the CyberCabin. I got the hook-up right on embarkation. It was $100 for the cruise. Connection was again not very good. Very slow and sometimes it took forever to get connected. Fastest connection rate was 46,2 kbps, sometimes slower. Public terminals are available at a cost of $0,50 / minute. They are available on deck 4, at the Latte-Tudes, at the Buiseness Center and in the Concierge Lounge.
It was a fabulous cruise and it´s a great ship. I really enjoyed the cruise and as I said it was like coming home. My first cruise on the Jewel already was great but there have still been some minor things to improve as you can read in my former review. I think many of these things have been improved since then.
I have only a few words to rate this cruise. Great crew, great ship, great cruise.
A review is of course always a matter of personal opinions and subjectivity. I tried to reflect my feelings during the cruise and describe what I recognized. It´s always seen through my eyes of course again. I´m also not sure if I reflected all aspects of the cruise, the service, the ship and the ports. If you like to get any additional Information feel free to ask and I´ll try to answer at my best.