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Joined: 05/06/04
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Loc: Virginia
Jewel of the Seas: Nov 29 to Dec 3, 2012
      #1462100 - 12/13/12 06:50 PM (

Jewel of the Seas: November 29 to December 3, 2012

I had some American Airlines FF miles that were going to expire by end of year if not used, so (of course) we had to be willing to spend some money to get the (almost) freebie flight to Tampa to take a four night cruise on Jewel. We really like the Radiance class on Royal Caribbean and Jewel is a great ship.

Using Bonnie Buchanan (of course), we got a relatively cheap balcony – no suite for us this cruise – darn! It was fine. Had a good cabin steward with the name of Harold John – he seemed awfully tired most of time – took care of us very nicely, though.

We flew down to Tampa (through Chicago – those crazy FF mile deals) on same day as cruise left – we flew home same day we got back, as well. No extra days for this weekender. We usually arrive at least a day early for a cruise but we figured that if we missed the boat this time, we would just enjoy wherever we were.

On this cruise, we met the Pinnacle Club – or whatever name they go by. In Florida, particularly Tampa area, there are a lot of frequent cruisers – and I mean FREQUENT. We now have 258 cruise points on Royal Caribbean - which is a lot relative to most and we are Diamond Plus. Many of these couples have over 1000 points. So, no upgrades for us on a cruise like this one. Although some on Cruise Critic make fun of their wearing of their special Pinnacle nametags and accuse them of being cruise snobs, etc., we did not have that experience at all – of course, we love to cruise, so we never mind talking about cruising. We enjoyed talking with a number of them and the ones we met were very nice. Does make it a little different when a good number of passengers cruise almost as much as the crew and they all know each other very well.

Only port of call was a day in Cozumel. We went on a snorkel trip with Eagle Ray Divers – with which we have gone 3 or 4 times before. They leave from La Caleta Marina, a very short easy cab ride from the International Pier where the Jewel docked. At first we were the only two customers, but then Diana (owners’ daughter) found two diving students and an instructor to join us – they would have gone with just the two of us, but we were glad that they could find at least a few others to go. We did a 4 reef thing – it is a three reef trip with lunch for which we asked for another snorkel instead of lunch. I only went in three times, but the wife went all four and really enjoyed it. The guide we had – sorry, I forget his name - was very good and gave us great snorkels with plenty of time, even though there were only two of us. We saw a number of rays – including the biggest eagle ray we have ever seen – very nice! Actually, my biggest problem in Cozumel was – as usual - finding my way out of pier terminal – very confusing! We shopped only in pier area after getting back from snorkeling – the wife shopped for a variety of stuff while I sat on a bench and did nothing –well, OK, I had a drink.

On board ship, there were two other folks we met whom I will remember well for some time. The first is Maria from Rumania who was my bartender in the Concierge Lounge function up on Deck 13 – she was great. She knew exactly what we wanted and our names after our first drink order first day. Excellent service. Made all other service pale in comparison. Although, Maria, there was that one 5 minute gap between drinks…. The second is Alicia the Opera singer from Chicago with whom, along with Wendy from Chicago, we fought two trivia battles in the Schooner bar. We did not win the first – but she had said that she would return for the Broadway musical trivia and I made sure she joined us for that one. With a very little help from me – coming up with Starlight Express for one answer – she knew the answer to almost everything else and we won! The cruise staff guy made a comment at one point about no one there being an opera singer (sheer coincidence that he said that) and we corrected him. He then had her prove it and she launched into some aria or something – it was pretty clear that she was a very talented professional. Cruise staff guy was so impressed he gave her the prize of a Royal Caribbean passport wallet thing in addition to the markers we all got – yeah, the prizes are not that great – the fight is for the honor of it!!! Her waiter got her to sing something in the Main Dining Room one of the two nights we were in the MDR – I think she was the best known passenger among other passengers on board the ship and was a lot of fun. Having been a trivia teammate of the rock star of the cruise gave us extra status!

I had packed some mouthwash in our only checked bag and they held the bag at customer relations. I have no problem whatever with whatever security or checking for booze that they want to do (I have never tried to sneak any alcohol or other contraband on board), but I do not understand why they cannot call you and let you know they are holding the bag. It was late on first day, we were starting to get ready for bed, bag was still not there, and it finally occurred to us to call and check – they then told us they were holding it and we had to come down and let them check what was in it. I let myself get annoyed and apparently showed it enough that the wife told me to relax and she would go get it. She was gone a while – when she showed up at customer relations, they had to call one particular security guy who apparently was the guy for whom you opened your bag – bit of a wait for him show up. She thought it odd to be opening our bag right there in customer relations. I just do not see why they could not call and tell you to come down and get it in the afternoon.

All things considered, a great cruise!

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Joined: 08/01/00
Posts: 63830
Loc: Central Florida!
Re: Jewel of the Seas: Nov 29 to Dec 3, 2012 [Re: Snorkeller]
      #1462119 - 12/13/12 07:54 PM (

Thanks for the report.. Sorry, I just hate this BS with Royal Caribbean and most of the others, treating you like a child, confiscating your bags because they think there is liquor in there. One of the many reasons why we prefer Princess.

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Joined: 07/19/03
Posts: 1137
Loc: Bucks County, Pa.
Re: Jewel of the Seas: Nov 29 to Dec 3, 2012 [Re: Snorkeller]
      #1467029 - 01/05/13 06:29 AM (

I just booked this boat for Southern caribbean cruise this summer. Glad to hear you liked it. Taking my daughter for a graduation gift.

-------------------- Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.

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