In this article, I am going on a Royal Caribbean cruise aboard the Jewel of the Seas. This will be my first time going on this cruise line so I was excited. I will talk all about the amenities aboard and things to do and of course talk about the food and if it was any good, and explore the 5 destinations of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, and St Maarten.
The adventure started bright and early in Phoenix, AZ. I was on my way to meet my friends in Puerto Rico where the Jewel of the Seas Cruise ship was. The first leg of the flight took me to Charlotte where I had a short layover, just enough time to get some lunch. After 3 or 4 hours I had made it to Puerto Rico.
I met my friends and we went to our Airbnb and then explored Puerto Rico the next day. Old San Juan is amazing you need to check it out if you ever go.
Finally, it was cruise day. With our bags packed, we were ready. I wore my favorite first-day cruising attire, we grabbed our bags and headed to the port. After a short 8-minute car ride with no traffic, we made it to the terminal.
The Puerto Rico Cruise Terminal isn’t bad but very small compared to others I have been in like Long Beach and Port Canaveral. And you mostly have to wait outside which is a bummer if it is hot and humid, but not super bad.
I found several others that I knew that were joining our big singles group. The boarding process was pretty painless, we waited about 30 to 40 minutes or so and then were able to get through the terminal and board the ship.
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What is there to do aboard the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas Cruise Ship?
Since we didn’t have our room keys yet we explored the ship. This is the smallest of the ships I have been on but there is still so much to see and do. The first thing I noticed is the decor was elegant and had a very old-world feel to it like it was straight out of the 1920s.
From a water slide to a decent-sized miniature golf course to a cool rock climbing wall. I was not able to try the rock-climbing wall because of my shoulder. Lots of people in our group tried out the mini-golf course. It was bigger than other bigger ships that I have been on. There were swimming pools, hot tubs, a sports court, and a basketball court where I shot a few balls.
The main pool deck area also had a large outdoor movie screen where movies were played and other things were shown like the NFL playoff games. It was fun to sit in the whirlpool tub and watch the games.
There were dance clubs where our group spent a lot of time dancing in the late evenings, a piano bar, pool tables, and a fun theater with all kinds of shows, my favorite show was this acapella group where Devin a new friend of mine participated there was also a Celine Deon Cover artist who sung very similar to Celine Deon.
Something interesting about the pool tables that I found fascinating is they were on a hydraulic system or something like that which kept the table level even though they were moving with the ship. Pretty awesome.
They had an arcade for the kids (that you have to pay extra for), and a place for just adults called the solarium, there was a nice cinema which usually had 1 or two movies playing in it each day, and a vitality spa (where I wound up winning the raffle for $150 credit. I didn’t wind up using it, I gave it to my friend Dil instead), of course there was a casino, called the Casino Royale on board. I didn’t spend any time there because I don’t gamble. And much more to see and do on the ship.
When it comes to kids I wouldn’t say this was the best ship for kids. Because of the size. The mini-golf, water slide, and arcade are about it. The larger cruise ships will have more things for kids.
There were lots of little shops aboard in case you wanted to buy overpriced named brand and designer items or maybe you just forgot a few items like toothpaste, Dramamine, etc.
One of the highlights of the ship was in the middle of the ship was a place called the centrum where you could see from deck 4 all the way to deck 12. In the above photo, I am on deck 12 looking down. There was lots of live music and dancing and other activities in this area.
There was constant entertainment that you could attend, karaoke was a favorite for our group, and my friend Matt and several others killed it. One night we attended a cool silent dance party in the safari club. You got headphones and then you could tune in to two different channels and dance, but only you could hear the music. Very fun for the spectators and participants.
There was also a gym on board with great views of the ocean, pretty common for most cruise ships to have a gym or fitness center. As well as a jogging track. And plenty of other public spaces where you could just sit down and relax and enjoy the ship or a spectacular view of the ocean and ports.
Some other things to mention there were different competitions that members of our large group participated in. We had a team compete in a 3×3 basketball tournament, several of our group were in a dodgeball tournament, and there was a belly flop competition with a few from our group participating, and one of our group members Devin wound up winning the whole thing.
The wi-fi coverage was decent pretty much everywhere on this ship I assume it is on all Royal Caribbean International cruise ships. I just wish wifi was included with the price of the cruise. But that is pretty standard on other cruise lines as well to make you pay extra for wi-fi.
Is Royal Caribbean Food any good?
One of my favorite things about cruises is the food! You can eat food almost 24/7 if you want to. On deck 11 was the Windjammer where you could find all the main buffets which were open for breakfast lunch and dinner. Some of my favorite things to eat here were the bacon and eggs and the pastries. I also liked that they had fresh fruit all the time.
Around the ship, there were other specialty restaurants and dining options like the Chops Grille steakhouse in the Schooner Bar and Giovanni’s table that you could eat at that you had to pay extra for. Another thing I ate a fair amount was the pizza. It wasn’t gourmet, but it but I still liked it! However, my complaint is that it wasn’t available all the time. It was closed when the Windjammer Buffet was open. And it is probably because this is just a smaller ship.
For dinner, we spent most nights at the Tides Restaurant in the main dining room on levels 4 and 5 with a big group of singles that we were part of. I wouldn’t say the food was the best I have ever had, but I did like it and there was a good variety of things to eat and some things that I enjoyed.
You always had a choice between appetizers, which came out first, the main entrees, and then the desserts. A good selection each night I would usually order two appetizers one main course and then 2 desserts.
Now when it comes to food on a cruise ship, I need to talk about the soft-serve ice cream! I didn’t go overboard, no pun intended, with the ice cream this time, I only averaged one cone a day. I need to be honest I did not like the ice cream on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas as much as I did on both Carnival ships I had been on. It wasn’t as creamy. But it was still good and I enjoyed eating it.
Jewel of the Seas Staterooms, are they any good?
I also want to talk about my stateroom. My room was on deck 4. And I was impressed by it. It was a standard double occupancy room but I was in it by myself. I had a queen bed in mine and of course, you could have it separated into twin beds or additional bunk beds with up to 4 guests per stateroom.
Even though the Jewel of the Seas staterooms and ship are 20 years old my room was great. It seemed bigger and in my opinion, was a little better than the new larger carnival ships I have been on. There was a nice long desk a couch with a little table and a pretty standard-sized bathroom. You could order room service if you wanted which I never did so I can’t comment on how good that service was.
My friend Dil splurged and booked a balcony. I can see why people like the balcony staterooms because of the awesome ocean view right from your room. They are pretty great, but for me not worth the extra money.
After one full day of cruising in the Caribbean, we arrived at our first destination Barbados. I won’t go into all the excursions in this article because I wanted to just focus on the ship experience.
It was such a fun cruising experience. I enjoyed my time on my first Royal Caribbean ship the Jewel of the Seas. I do think I prefer the bigger ships but the Jewel of the Seas wasn’t bad at all. The cruise fare is reasonable just a tad more expensive than Carnival. Would like to try some of the larger Royal Caribbean Ships.
Also, I think I prefer more sea days since we only had 1 full sea day but that isn’t a gripe about the ship just the nature of the cruise itself. I can’t wait to go on another cruise. Where should I go next?
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Happy Cruising everyone!
Check out my other cruise articles here:
Watch my in-depth video about the Jewel of the Seas and also the destinations and excursions I went on. (So many clips of the food and other amenities aboard!)
The stops were in the Southern Caribbean islands of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten.