Cruise Ship: Jewel of the Seas
Cruise Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Cruise Dates: April 9, 2005
Guest Contributor: Marty -- A First Time Cruiser
Yes, the trip can be either wonderful or just not very exhilarating. My experience on the Jewel of the Seas leaves room for improvement. First, the rooms are extremely small. Upon entering the room, it can be fairly traumatic for one to see just how small the bathroom and bedroom is. The room accommodations do provide for many small places to store your personal items brought onboard, but little room to sit down with another couple in your room to play cards, etc. In fact, the table provided in the room was very small and oval shaped with insufficient room to play solitaire on it. The bathroom could not get any smaller or if it would have been smaller, many individuals would not have been able to use the facilities. Looking at the picture that is shown on the Internet site as a room with a porthole, the view was very deceptive and it definitely provides an incorrect impression on what the room really is like. Unfortunately, the room size is comparable to the size and type generally provided to government workers at nicer hotels (not luxurious) such as Hilton Inns, Sheraton Inns, etc.
The cost per night per room with a porthole view is fairly expensive, about $335 a night, which includes ones food for the day. They do have free food available at several locations throughout the day, but the overall quality would earn a 3+ star award. For example, we ate breakfast in the dining room one morning. I ordered an omelet and biscuits, and never received the biscuits, just bacon, which was not ordered and I do not understand why the person brought the bacon to me. The coffee creamer was sour and tainted my coffee that both myself and another individual did consume some before we noticed the situation. Due to the understanding of the English language which left a little to be desired, the waiter did not understand the need for a fresh cup of coffee and new creamer. In addition, he did not know what a biscuit was, even though they were available upstairs where there was a breakfast buffet being served on a different deck. On another occasion, when I became sick and had to eat just bouillon and toast along with taking Imodium, it was difficult to locate bland food for the two nights that I was told by the ship nurse to consume. However, for $20 a person, one can eat at the 4+ star restaurants (there are two onboard), which will add another $40 per room a night towards your total cruise expense for two in a room.
The entertainment was free and very good. There were two performances a night in the three story theatre thereby allowing for most guest to attend. In addition, there are two dining times (early and late) in the large dining room that can accommodate around 900 persons per seating. The staff in most of the areas onboard was pleasant and tried to accommodate each individuals desires. The entertainment varied each night (i.e., singers, dancers, comedians, magician, etc.) and on one night, it included one star that I was familiar with and appreciated his act. In addition to the main theatre, there are several lounges with entertainment (piano bar, three piece groups, etc.) that will help one to relax and enjoy the 3+ star floating resort.
Although the ship stopped at five locations, most of the people we spoke to felt that two of the sites left a lot to be desired. The two sites lacking some merit were both dirty, individuals were constantly begging for your attention for you to take a taxi ride with them, etc. One island, Antigua, had soldiers driving around brandishing M-16s, which can either make one feel good that their safety is of utmost importance or there is a high crime rate in the area. However, the island does have over 300 beaches, but I really would not feel very safe going anywhere in a taxi or tour bus.
Overall, the cruise was an experience that I will not forget. My wife and the other couple we were with thought the cruise was fun and exciting (they were not a neophyte like myself). If I were to ever go on another cruise, I probably would change cruise lines where they have at least one US citizen as an officer (none on our ship, just workers) and definitely would want a suite where one would have a larger bathroom with a tub and larger overall room accommodations.