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Royal Caribbean International: Jewel of the Seas

Jewel of the Seas Review

The fourth and final Radiance-class ship, Jewel of the Seas was launched in 2004. In 2016, the ship will be the last in the class to receive upgrades that have been popular throughout the fleet such as an outdoor movie screen poolside, a pub, the casual Park Café, Italian and steak-house specialty restaurants, digital signage, lounges for elite past passengers, and a new nursery.

Considered by many people to be the most beautiful vessels in the Royal Caribbean fleet, Radiance-class ships are large but sleek and swift, with sun-filled interiors and panoramic elevators that span 10 decks along the ships' exteriors.

Big, bigger, biggest! In the early 1990s, Royal Caribbean launched Sovereign-class ships, the first of the modern megacruise liners, which continue to be the all-around favorite of passengers who enjoy traditional cruising ambience with a touch of daring and whimsy. Plunging into the 21st century, each ship in the current fleet carries more passengers than the entire Royal Caribbean fleet of the 1970s, and has amenities—such as new surfing pools—that were unheard of in the past.

All Royal Caribbean ships are topped by the company's signature Viking Crown Lounge, a place to watch the seascape by day and dance at night. Expansive multideck atriums and promenades, as well as the generous use of brass and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, give each vessel a sense of spaciousness and style. The action is nonstop in casinos and dance clubs after dark, while daytime hours are filled with poolside games and traditional cruise activities. Port talks tend to lean heavily on shopping recommendations and the sale of shore excursions.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Aft on deck 6, four distinct lounges and a billiard room form a clubby adult entertainment center
  • Spacious family ocean-view cabins sleep up to six people
  • Ships offer a wide range of family-friendly activities and games

Cons

  • Upgraded features of the fleet are not consistent throughout this ship class, so check before booking
  • Dining options that charge have replaced some that were previously complimentary
  • Libraries are tiny and poorly stocked for ships this size
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 857
  • Entered Service 2004
  • Gross Tons 90,090
  • Length 962 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,056
  • Passenger Capacity 2,112 (2,501 max)
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Nov 15, 2015

Panama canal

This was a great 15 day cruise with a fantastic Itinerary and great shore excursions. There are plenty of relaxing sea days aboard ship and the crew on this ship was friendly, cheerful, helpful and made the experience wonderful. This ship is only one of two able to traverse the Panama Canal. It is older but still well maintained and is scheduled for its second renovation in 2017 we were told. The service on this ship was really outstanding.

The stateroom attendant and the dining room servers were among the best we have ever seen in 20 years of cruising. We would definitely recommend this itinerary. Royal Caribbean changed the entire menu on our second day. Instead of normal cruise ship fare they replaced the menu with a very limited, unappetizing and obviously cheapened menu. Gone are the Cruise ship normal foods like prime rib, turkey, shrimp cocktail, New York cheesecake. Instead they have substituted almost inedible dishes which when you actually have them in front of you seldom look like the description on the menu. The "everyday" menu was similarly very limited consisting of a few items you wouldn't pay to eat and the tough beef described as "Manhattan strip steak". The passengers ship wide hated the menu and the food and menu were the talk of the ship in elevators, bars and the dinner table. This was an epic fail on RCIs part. What a disaster. Someone at Royal has lost their mind. The food in the two specialty dining houses, Portofino and the Steakhouse were excellent, but the cover charge has gone up to $25 and $35 per plate respectively. Nevertheless the food was a great respite from the swill they tried to serve in the dining room. Our stateroom has quite spacious and surprisingly had a lot of storage which is seldom the case. We were very pleased with the stateroom and our attendant did the usual fantastic job. In the Royal Caribbean cost cutting corner cutting they have done away with pens and paper in the staterooms (as well as ice) so bring your own writing materials to make notes. They will bring ice on request. Royal has apparently done away with the Broadway type shows. In 15 days they presented one show and it was a rehearsal for adoption fleet wide. It was a rather strange collection of music which was supposed to be from Broadway shows but about 40 % of the music didn't actually come from a play. Go figure! Otherwise the nightly entertainment is comedians, jugglers, variety acts and musicians. The musical activities in the various venues were very good throughout the ship and had a good mix of music. There was oldies, Latin music, contemporary. All of the excursions we had ended up being great. The chiva bis in Columbia, the indian trip in Panama, the coffee plantation in Costa Rica. All of them exceeded expectations. We didn't get off the ship in Guatemala due to security concerns and the two Mexican ports, Cabo and Puerta Vallarta we had seen previously. Tender operations on this ship were excruciatingly inefficient so if you plan on going ashore NOT with a shore excursion get your tender ticket as early as possible or you will regret it. This was a great trip. I would absolutely recommend this trip to anyone who wants to not only see Latin America but traverse the Panama Canal with about half of the 15 days being relaxing sea days. The crew on this ship was fantastic, always helpful, cheerful and knowledgeable about their jobs. The specialty dining was similarly very good experiences. Regrettably the new Royal Carib food menu in the dining room was horrible. Since almost every passenger we ran into hated it I suspect that Royal will get the message. What is more concerning to me is whether Royal is trying to save money by corner cutting. That will force me to return to my other favorites, Celebrity and Princess.

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By Kim_CR

  • New

Mar 29, 2015

Eastern Caribbean

Sailed March 21 on a seven day eastern Caribbean cruise out of Puerto Rico - ship is very nice, standard Royal Caribbean ship,, plenty of shows, shopping and good food choices. Ship had a movie theatre and was showing newish movies, including Gravity. Casino too smokey for me and I do not understand why cruise lines continue to let people smoke inside the ship (or at all) If ships continue to allow smoking keep all smoking to a certain side of the

ship - outside ONLY! Music and activities throughout the day to enjoy. Spa was nice, always busy, same for the fitness center. Our ports were St Thomas, St Croix, St Lucia, St John Antigua and Grenada, last day was at sea, sailing back from Grenada. Ports are similar, beaches, local shopping and island tours. I enjoyed Grenada the most as there is a great rain forest. The tour from the ship was a driving tour, I was hoping for a hiking tour and although we made a few stops, we drove through the rain forest. Food choices were good, I ate early dining and Windjammer, not in the specialty restaurants. Plenty of fresh fruit/vegetables and a variety of entrees Stateroom was fine, shower small, I prefer showering in the spa area as the showers are much larger Plenty to choose from, for all ages I only did one shore excursion - rain forest tour in Grenada, it was fine, although I would have preferred a walking tour. Several people I spoke with enjoyed catamaran tours. Most people seemed to spend the day at the various beaches Overall, had a great time!

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  • New

Mar 23, 2012

Mexico

Fabulous time. Ship was clean, staff friendly and certainly willing to go the extra mile, plenty of options for dining and entertainment, and spacious rooms! Never felt crowded as ship does a great job of dispersing 2500 passengers. Easy on and off processes as well. All reviews I read before booking I found to be true. I would book with Royal again. Many options for food. Main dining food and service were great, comparable to upscale

dining. Ate at Chops one evening and would recommend that as well. Clean, spacious and well maintained. Comfortable sleeping and plenty of room for two. Fun and good for all ages.

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  • New

Dec 22, 2011

Tampa-Cozumel-Costa Maya-Tampa

Happy, Relaxing, Rejuvenating and Energizing!! Abundant, not excellent but very good, lots of variety, delicious desserts. Comfortable, quality furnishings, big enough for the two of us. Numerous, nonstop We booked our own snorkeling excursion instead of one that was offered by RCI. My husband and I just came back from our first cruise 5-days with Royal Caribbean on Jewel of the Sea, sailing Tampa-Cozumel-Costa Maya-Tampa.

We are 63 and 54 and were far from the oldest on the ship. The guests were of different ages but mostly elderly. They were basically divided into two groups “ the virgin cruisers (cute! but not my term) and the Diamond and Diamond-Plus cruisers". There were many weddings, anniversaries and birthday celebrations. The activities were non-stop during the day and evening in different parts of the ship. Food was served every minute at numerous bars and restaurants. The atmosphere onboard was unbelievable everybody, and I mean everybody, was really happy! Guests could not stop dancing even in the elevators. Each and every operation of the entire cruise was conducted smoothly and we did not experience a single problem or inconvenience whatsoever. I have to confess -- it was hard to resist the temptation to just eat, eat, eat. Thank God they did not offer free drinks! There were two options to avoid coming back home a few pounds heavier to eat at Tides (the main dining room) or even better, to eat at one of two specialty restaurants (Portofino or Chops Grille) instead of the buffet at the Windjammer Cafe, and/or to do some serious working out at the Fitness Center. I had an opportunity to speak my native tongue because the members of the crew were from many different countries. We did not turn on the TV even for a minute and were not interested in checking our emails for five days. We just submerged ourselves in the happy atmosphere of the ship and gave ourselves over to the kindness and care of the wonderful crew team. I was so energized that the day after we returned I was able to do two consecutive 60-minute spin classes in my health club with two very hard instructors.

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  • New

Aug 5, 2011

Scandinavia and Russia

I can highly recommend this cruise. It has one of the best itineries I have experienced, with every port having something good. The food was good, we did MyTime dining which is a must for this cruise due to the new of port days. Stateroom was to the normal standards. The entertainment was good. Particularly the shows which could rival the West End. There was a pianist, which I thought I would not like so did not attend, but everyone

was raving about this. Also I missed the Salsa dancing, and this was also very good. No time to get bored on this ship. With the exception of Gothenburg and Russia you can easily make your own way to the cities by foot or the port shuttle bus. We went to the church of the spilled blood and it was absolutely amazing. Well worth the visit. We were very lucky, the weather was in the mid 70's and sunny the majority of the time. Unfortunately the week before it rained, so I guess it is a bit like the uk? Each port had something to offer and was easily reached. Prices are high in Scandinavia so probably best not to eat out unless it doesnt bother you.

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