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Jewel of the Seas – Southern Caribbean – April 29 – May 6, 2018

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San Juan, Puerto Rico; St Croix; St Maarten; Martinique; Barbados; Grenada; San Juan, Puerto Rico

CC has been a great help in planning our cruises. I have gained so much information and insight on just not the cruise we are going on but so much useful information on cruising in general. Following are our experiences and thoughts on our Jewel April 29 – May 6 cruise in hope that it may be of benefit to others. We have been home for several weeks, so this is a little delayed, but I chose to write it all in Word and then cut and paste so it will be all together. I find it a little frustrating in some reviews I have followed when strung out and then many comments between so at times difficult to find and compile all the information. In doing it this way, hoping if you are going on the Jewel or a similar itinerary this will be helpful. Took a little longer to write than anticipated as we came home to email issues with COX, they did something to our account while we were in Puerto Rico and no one at COX seems to be able to fix it. Beware if you have COX and go out of the country you may come home to emails being rejected and unable to send and their customerservice is pretty horrible.

 

We booked through Next Cruise in 2016 while on the Liberty a different itinerary and ship for April 2017, but built a new home to be completed that May, so changed to an April 2018 itinerary on Grandeur. In December DH found this itinerary and liked it better so again we changed. The cruise had been transferred to a TA so all changes were handled by him and was quite easy. We had purchased travel insurance through "The Trip Insurance Store" immediately after booking the first cruise so that was easily transferred. Joined the roll call, which was quite active and added very much to the excitement and fun of planning our cruise. Excursions, deluxe beverage package, and dining reservations were all pre-booked.

 

Flight to SJ: We flew AA from Tucson connecting in Dallas to San Juan the day before. Flight left Tucson at 9:43 am with a little over an hour layover in Dallas, then to SJ arriving at 8:44 pm. In Dallas sat on the tarmac for approximately 1 hour as a problem with the strut, but easily fixed so we were about an hour late getting into SJ.

 

Pre-Cruise Hotel: Best Western Plus Condado Palm Inn & Suites. Took a taxi from airport to hotel. Taxi was easy to get, taxi stand right there coming out of baggage claim, tell them where and they will give you a slip with cost, $20. We arrived at hotel about 10:30 and easily checked in. There was a 3 hour time change (ahead) so we were fine. Dropped off our luggage at room and headed to dinner. We decided to have dinner at the hotel restaurant and it was good, sure other options might have been better ….. just didn’t want to venture out too far. We selected this hotel because of its location. Wanted to stay in Condado area and it is close to a CVS and Walgreens, both right across the street, easy to get last minute items needed for the cruise. We took only carry on luggage so needed to pick up suntan lotion (big one):cool: and large size things could not take with in our carry ons. Of note, both stores had a fairly good wine selection so if you do not have beverage package and want to pick up your 2 bottles of wine to take on board you could probably find something suitable if you are not too discriminating on your wines. About the hotel …… it was okay for one night. We were in a standard king room, had a refrigerator and microwave and coffee maker, Wi-Fi. Room was fairly quiet and bed was comfortable, but the bathroom was really tiny. Continental breakfast was included, which I did not have, but DH did and said it was very basic. Check out was 11:00 am so we leisurely got up and checked out at 11:00 am to head for the cruise port. Hotel got a taxi for us immediately (think itwas $15) and off we went.:D

 

Embarkation: Arrived at terminal approximately 11:30 am and walked right through, no waiting, and no lines. After getting on ship, boarded on deck 2, went to windjammer and mojito:tropical-drink: in hand by 12:00 noon. Got some lunch and just hung out until cabins were ready at 1:30 pm.

 

Cabin: Category D1 Balcony stateroom #9072. Great location, on the port side, close to elevators but not too close, also off the Centrum but again a few doors down so we heard no noise. During events in the Centrum they close the door leading into the hallway which helps with the noise. All islands were on the port side so had great views coming in. Room was very nice, did not notice any wear and tear, safe good size and easy to see into, bed was comfortable, closet plenty of room and good amount of hangers (though I brought some with me andused them). Closet has pull down rods so can double hang, but I found it a bit short so did not use, also a bank of shelves down the middle (rods on each side). A lot of storage, drawers, shelves, cabinet each side of mirror dressing area, and one in the bathroom. Nice size couch with 4 throw pillows, and a table. Luggage fit under bed. Bathroom typical, shower had doors (no curtain). Balcony average size, 2 chairs and table. White space across which I believe was for storage, but never heard any noise from. We like coming out of the room not having another room directly across from us. We very much liked our stateroom and location.

 

Packing: We took carryon luggage only, each a 21”carryon and 15” underseater. We mainly do this to avoid the hassel of checking luggage and worrying about it getting lost. I use packing cubes and packing folders and it is amazing just how much I can fit in. I am an over packer and did so for this trip …… though have notes as to what we did not wear/need so won’t next time (hopefully). I took 2 cocktail dresses (for formal nights), sundresses/dresses, capris and tops for evenings and shorts, tops, sundresses, swim suits, coverups for day. I also had 7 pairs of shoes plus the pair I wore (of course several of the shoes were sandals that don’t take up much room). DH took sport coat, 2 ties, shirt and 2 pair pants (for formal nights), the pants he wore for evenings with nice short sleeve shirts, for day shorts, golf/polo type shirts, swimsuits. We both took water-shoes, which we did not use/need. Once cabin was ready unpacking was a snap, we didn’t need to wait for luggage and the cubes other than what needed to be hung went on the shelves and in the drawers.

 

Muster: 5:45 pm and pretty painless, not long …..no more than 30 minutes (if that). Our coordinator was part of the entertainment team and was very entertaining so that helped.:D

 

Sailaway: 8:30 pm. “Let’s Get Loud Sailaway Party” with DJ and entertainment team poolside. Was lively and a lot of fun ….. lot of line dancing.

 

..........more to come:):D

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I decided to break it up as in the editing stage from Word (need to respace) almost had it done and it just disappeared.:( Sooooo will break it into sections (won't loose so much if it disappears again)......

 

Dining: We had MTD and made reservations for 6:30 pm the first night and 7:00 pm the other nights. The reason for this…. early was 6:00 pm (which was too early) and late was 8:30 pm (too late). We also thought that with MTD and 7:00 pm reservations would be more flexible (could change if needed, but never needed to). The time was perfect for us as plenty of time to enjoy dinner and get to the shows and activities. The first night even though we had reservations, they were not going by reservations, but open seating. We were first shown to a table in a walkway so requested another location which was better but not great. It was at the top of the stairway and next to the rail. Other reviews had mentioned you are often given the same table each night and we did not want that one for the duration, but the waiter was great. We requested a window table, which they did not have the first night but made a note and the remainder of the time we had the same window table and waiters. There were two entrances, one on each side of the dining room, one for reservations and one for those without reservations. We were at a two-top but the tables are very close together so you are quite close, which was fine we ended up conversing with the couples on both sides, several nights the same couples. Dinner/service took no more than 1½ hour, we were never rushed. Service was good, some servers are better than others and ours wasn’t real high energy but was pleasant enough. Will say that to be a disconnect on the last night, we wondered if something had happened :confused: as service wasn’t as good as the previous nights. We did specialty dining (Chops) one night; just let them know to not hold our reservation. Formal nights were day 2 and day 6, lobster was on the second formal night. We would do MTD again, worked well for us.

 

Windjammer: Several of the same food stations so very little crowding and lines moved quickly. We only ate breakfast and lunch there. Each day had a theme so food did vary, but a lot of the same things. There is also outside seating in the back which we really enjoyed, not quite as hectic and also inside the AC was pretty cool ….. outside was quite nice. Some tables and chairs, but also had couch and big chairs with a table between which we found quite relaxing.

 

Food: Diningroom: For the most part the food was pretty good. Food is subjective, and a lot depends on what you order, some things were better than others. They did a nice job on presentation. The menus varied, some things repeated, but always plenty of choices. We both had deluxe beverage packages and most every night we would be served a specialty after dinner shot…. Didn’t ask for it just brought to us when our wine came. We had breakfast one morning in the main dining room, but it was very slow, food was good but selection somewhat limited. Understand there was a breakfast buffet in the main dining room as well, but we never went to it. Windjammer: Was okay/good ……. it is buffet (I am not a big buffet fan), plenty of choices so able to find plenty to eat. There was a made to order omelet station for breakfast, you would tell them what you wanted in it and they gave you a pager for when it was ready.

 

Specialty dinner: Chops: Food was excellent. DH had the filet and it was cooked to perfection. I had the rack of lamb and it was perfect. We both had deluxe beverage packages and they kept the wine glasses full. Service was superb! We very much enjoyed out dinner there!

 

Entertainment: We found the entertainment quite enjoyable. Previous reviewers had commented that the production shows were not good if not bad. Perhaps they were still getting in sync previously, but we found them very entertaining and thought the voices and dancers quite good. Another reviewer noted that the sound mixing wasn’t good so perhaps it depended on where in the theatre you were sitting …… we were in the very front row and sounded fine to us. No they are not “Broadway” but we felt they did put on a nice show. We did not go to the “Welcome Aboard Show” comedian Louis Johnson so cannot comment on it, but showtimes were 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm. We did go to the “Majority Rules Game Show” 9:00 pm in the Safari Club and it was entertaining. Day 2: “City of Dreams” RC Singers and Dancers showtimes 7:15 pm & 9:00 pm Coral Theatre. We went to the 9:00 pm show and as I said we enjoyed it, found it quite entertaining. After we went to “Finish the Lyric Game Show” 10:00 pm Centrum which was fun to watch. Day 3: “Big Band Swing” Centrum 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm. "Adult Comedy show Louis Johnson" 7:45 pm Coral Theatre (we did not attend) but did attend “The Love and Marriage Game Show” 10:15 pm Coral Theatre and it was good. Day 4: “Tango Buenos Aires” 7:15 pm & 9:00 pm Coral Theatre. We loved it! But then we love the Argentine Tango ….. found it very entertaining and well done (nice little story to it). Day 5: “Dancing with the Stripes” 8:00 pm Centrum. It was really fun and pretty hysterical. The “stripes” really get into it. A lot of fun to watch. Headliner Showtime “Brad Cummings” 7:15 & 9:00 pm Coral Theater, Ventriloquist and comedian ….We found him good and entertaining …..don’t sit in the front row (you will get picked on). 10:15 pm "70’s Song Tribute" with the RC Singers Centrum, 10:30 "70’s Disco Street Party" Centrum, was fun. Day 6: Production Showtime “West End to Broadway” RC singer and dancers and Jewel of the Seas Orchestra 7:15 pm & 9:00 pm. We enjoyed it. Day 7: 9:30 pm –10:15 pm Safari Club "Jazz Cabaret" with the RC singers and JOS orchestra. We very much enjoyed it and even able todance some. Farewell Showtime comedian “JR McCollom" 7:45 pm Coral Theatre and "Late Night Adult Comedy JR McCollom" 10:30 pm Coral Theatre; went to the Late Night show and ended up walking out…. Did not enjoy it, though it was fairly crowded and many people laughing ….. we just did not care for it..

 

There were plenty of other activities …. way too many to try to do it all. Several nights stargazing (though did not attend)…. heard Cruise Director is very knowledge and did a good job. Of course the usual trivia, bingo,karaoke, music and dancing. There are many things going on all the time …… so plenty to keep you occupied. The shows in the Coral Theater were never really crowded at the times we went, so no issues in finding seats.

 

Movies: There is a cinema, which we did not go to. Previous reviewer had commented that selections of movies and times were poor. Day 1 show times were 3:00 pm, 6:30 pm, 9:00 pm and midnight ….movie was “Coco”; day 2 times were 9:00 am, noon, 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm 9:00 pm &midnight……movie – “Jumanji”; day 3 same times ….movie “Dunkirk”; day 4 same times …..movie “Darkest Hour”; day 5 same times ….movie “Ragnarok”; day 6 same times ….movie “Jumanji”; day 7 same times movie…”Coco”.

 

Big Screen Movie times poolside: day 1- 9:30 pm “Pitch Perfect 3”; day 2 - noon, 6:30 pm, 9:30pm “Coco”; day 3 noon, 6:3 pm, 9:30 pm “Jumanji”; day 4 - noon, 6:30 pm, 9:30 pm “Dunkirk”; day 5 - noon, 6:30 pm, 9:30 pm “Darkest Hour”; day 6 6:30 pm, 9:30 pm “Ragnarok”; day 7- noon, 6:30 pm, 9:30 pm “Dunkirk.” I am sure the movies change, this was what was available on our cruise, but indication of variety and times.

 

Beverage Package: We both had the deluxe beverage package, :wine-glass::cocktail::tropical-drink:pre-purchased through cruise planner during a sale. For us it works as includes of course alcoholic beverages, but also water (we drink a lot of water), specialty coffee, sparkling water, soda, fresh squeezed orange juice. We figure alcoholic 4 drinks a day (which isn’t hard to do), but then the other things more than pays for it and it is less hassle and we just don’t need to think about it. No big bill at the end; just the shock when purchasing, but by the time the cruise rolls around forgotten about, over and done with. I enjoy mostly specialty drinks (the frou frou kind) around the pool, and before dinner, wine with dinner and after dinner cosmo or liqueur type drinks. DH likes mixed drinks, also shots of tequila, and enjoyed some of the different mixed drinks on the menu, also wine with dinner. We both enjoy sparkling water with dinner. So that along with the specialty coffee the beverage package is good for us.

 

VOOM: Purchased combined with the beverage package. We like to keep connected with family and friends at home. Also with WIFI calling have use of our cellphones and have used it to make calls from the ship thorough WIFI. Speed was fine for what we used it for, never had connection issues.

 

TV Programming: The channels I remember were CNN (US version), FOX news, ESPN (great as were able to catch some golf), TCM, few channels with old sitcoms, around RCCL and weather RCCL. Think there was pay for view.

 

more to come..........;)

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Meet &Mingle: Ours was on Monday (Day 2 )at 4:00 - 5:00 pm Vortex, deck 13. Notice was in our room when we returned from dinner on Day 1. We did attend, unfortunately some were late in getting there as had excursions that didn’t get back until 4:30, but at least were able to pop in at the end. It was nice to meet some of the people that had been chatting with on our roll call; we had a great roll call. Cruise Director stopped in for a bit.

 

Dress: One of the questions frequently asked is what to wear/dress suggestions …… well for the most part everyone was very well dressed and appropriately for the venue. MTD we only noticed one table dressed very casually every night and they did stand out. 2 nights were formal day 2 and day 6. The first night was casual and most were dressed in what they wore when coming on the ship. To my surprise 2 additional days, day 5 and day 7 were casual, though for the most part people dressed as they would for smart casual. Day 3 was “White” and day 5 was “70’s”, though we really didn’t notice too many dressed in white or in 70’s. I can only speak for what we noticed in MTD, so not sure with regards to early or late main dining, but from what we observed around the ship most were dressed pretty much the same.

 

Music: Music in many different locations and venues …..classic melodies, big band swing, dance music, latin music, piano entertainment, and night club dance music with DJ.

 

Cruise Director: Andrea Olivieri, is fairly new and we thought he did a good job, pleasant and energetic without being over the top. He would first speak in English and then in Spanish and did an amazing job of just rattling it off.

 

Staff: Amazing staff. Room steward was great, always pleasant not interfering, but talked with occasionally. Room was always spotless, towel animals (I believe) 5 nights. Plenty of servers never had problems getting drinks. Plenty roaming around windjammer, cleaning tables and getting beverages, etc. Everyone very friendly and helpful.

 

Pools: Main pool was usually pretty busy and a lot of kids. Also, site of activities and poolside movie screen, usually pretty crowded. We only laid by the main pool on the last day (sea day) but were able to find lounge chairs in the shade. Solarium was quieter, adults only and very pretty setting. We were always able to find lounge chairs. Was a little interesting as seemed to have different towels (white ones) and we weren’t quite sure if crew put them on the chairs as they were rolled up (of course until someone used them) and then just left ….. not sure if someone was using them as many didn’t have any personal belongings. We just moved the used towels and enjoyed the chairs, no one ever claimed them so guess we were okay. If was always pretty full. There were lifeguards at both pools, but we felt sorry for the ones in the Solarium as they just stood there and no one was really in the water. We thought they should at least have a high lifeguard chair to sit on, just seemed so boring for them …… sure a lot more to watch for at the main pool.

 

still more to come ........

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Excursions: We pre-booked all excursions through Royal during sales. We have done both private and ship excursions; it really depends on comfort level. We have never experienced a bad excursion booked through Royal and happy with the ease of it all. Know there are a lot of very good/excellent private tour providers and most of them say they will get you back to the ship on time…… that is all fine and dandy but sometimes things are out of their control, emergencies, break-downs, traffic, and accidents. Generally we look at what the ship offers and then compare to private, if ship has something we like we compare prices …..if close or even a bit more, we go with the ship. We also consider where, time frames, and proximity. We would never book a private tour returning very near to All Aboard, want at least 2 hours before and always have an alternative plan. We have had several experiences where we would not have made it back in time (fortunately not on a cruise so no worries about being left ….. but made believers that things can and do happen). Ship excursions are also much easier to cancel if necessary.

 

St Croix: Only Island we did not have a pre-arranged excursion. The plan was to go ashore and take a taxi to Rainbow Beach. When we got to an area with a sign and several booths for excursions it was somewhat congested with a large group of people, so we decided to just walk into town. Well, the town right outside of the Port is fairly small and not a lot of shops or anything of real interest to us. We saw a beach area so just thought would walk down to it, but decided to try the other direction. Went by the fort, took a few photos and a little beach area, but really didn’t interest us much. The color of the water is just beautiful! By then it was getting later, so decided not to try to get a taxi to Rainbow Beach and it was getting a little hot so decided to go back to the ship and the pool. Glad we had made arrangements for the other ports as this is usually what happens when we try to wing it.

 

St. Maarten: Maho Airplane Experience. Meeting time 10:00 am on the pier. Yes, know we could have just taken a taxi, but this also included a little tour on our way and guide provided some good advice. We were able to see some of the island and the damage from the hurricane. A lot has recovered in the area we were in , but there was still a lot of damage visible. We were dropped off just a little ways from the beach area and advised of our return meeting time. We walked to the beach area and Paradise Bar, not far. Was very crowded, though there was room around the pool area and some tables available at the bar. We could not find any chairs or umbrellas at the beach, but saw another beach area down the way so walked down there and easily found two chairs/lounges and an umbrella $20 and included two drinks. Watched the planes landing overhead, it is really something to see/experience. The times are posted so you know when to expect them. Most were smaller planes, but were a few larger ones. We each had a foot/leg message. We really enjoyed the excursion and very happy we did it. Was a 4 ½ hour excursion which was plenty of time and allowed for extra time when returning to port.

 

Martinique: Southern Imperial Plantations. Meeting time 8:00 am in the Coral Theatre. Took a while to decide on this one as we really wanted to see the island. We were glad we selected it as was very interesting and did see a lot of the island. The plantation was very pretty and interesting. It was a long drive and our tour guide was very informative, but not over the top with talking non-stop. Included a rum distillery and tasting which most everyone enjoyed ….. rum isn’t our thing …. great in rum punch though. Creole lunch at an ocean front restaurant with rum punch and wine was also included and quite tasty. If you plan on buying anything best to have euros, one our tour members wanted to buy a coke from a machine and the vendor wouldn't exchange $$ for euros, fortunately I had some and she was able to get what she needed from me. I just had a few left from a Europe trip a few years ago and had thrown in my bag. It was a nice excursion, 6 hours 45 minutes.

 

Barbados: Submarineand Island Tour. Meeting time 9:15 am at end of pier, exit of terminal building. We really enjoyed this one, two submarine excursions were offered, we chose the one with the island tour and so glad we did as got to see a lot of the island and our guide was very informative. The submarine was a fun experience, we went to a depth of 145, they give you a dive certificate and also take your photo which you can purchase for $5 (very reasonable and we did). The crew was very entertaining. We didn’t see a whole lot of colorful fish, but did see some and a sunken ship. You do take a boat to the Atlantis Submarine and on the way back they give you rum punch. I will say that I was a bit apprehensive, but after getting on the submarinewas quite comfortable … didn’t feel closed in at all. Our group wasn’t real large so the submarine was not filled to capacity and there was plenty of room. This excursion was a highlight of our trip and would recommend it, 4 ½ hour excursion. Though, if we were to return to Barbados we would do the Calabaza catamaran as several of our roll call did it and said it was great. That is a private tour.

 

Grenada: Spice and Waterfalls. Meeting time 12:15 pm on pier by the terminal. We had originally booked Creole Escapade for 12:30 pm, but a day or so before we were called advising that time tour had been cancelled and we had been moved to the 8:00 am tour. We specifically had booked the later time as didn’t want to have to be up and out again early. We went to the shore excursions desk and there was no issue with cancelling it and scheduling a different tour and gave us a 10% discount. There weren’t a whole lot of later in the day tours so we chose the Spice and Waterfalls. At first I was a bit disappointed as we really wanted to see a bit more of the island, but ended up to be fine. Our tour guide was very good and informative, really provided a lot of information on the island and was very interesting. He and his family have lived on the island most of their lives. The spice factory was interesting, you are not allowed to take photos inside as the workers don’t want to be photographed …… their working conditions aren’t very good so we wondered if that was why. After going to the spice factories we proceeded to the waterfall, which was quite beautiful and had the opportunity to swim, which we decided against ….. just decided we didn’t want to ride back in wet swimwear. Upon arrival were given rum punch. There were two young men that were jumping and put on a nice show, also were very helpful with helping others in jumping. The road up and back is very narrow and windy, so was quite interesting how the bus driver handled the roadway. It was all fine though, he did a great job, never felt unsafe. All in all it turned out to be a nice excursion, 4 hour excursion.

 

and more yet to come.......:)

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.....and this should finish it up:p

 

Disembarkation: Times were assigned by luggage number, ours was #25 9:30 am (though we didn’t have checked luggage, so guess it really didn’t matter) and were to go to Coral Theatre. We headed to Coral Theater about 9:00 am and when we got there were told to go ahead down to deck 2 ….. numbers were being called in groups, quickly and times didn’t seem to matter much. Of course elevators were jammed. When getting off the elevator on deck 2 the line was snaking around in front of the elevators, so confusion:confused: for people as getting off elevators were coming out in the middle of the line. Fortunately a passenger in front of us took charge and was directing everyone as they came off the elevators to where the end of the line was. Would have been nice if Royal would have had a staff member doing that. So that part was a little hectic. It was moving fairly quickly though. After getting off the ship, we headed to the lines for customs. There were several lines but moved quickly, would say didn’t take more than 15 – 20 minutes. Once through and outside taxi stand was easily found. Again, told them where you wanted to go and were given a paper with the price $16 to our hotel.

 

Post Cruise Stay: We decided to stay the day following the cruise as Sunday airline departures were considerably more. We did want to see Puerto Rico and originally thought would go in two days early, but after finding out the difference between Sunday - Monday departure, decided to stay the day after and were very glad we did. It was much more relaxing not getting off the ship, to the airport and home …… always kind of a let down, so nice to have the extra day. We stayed at the AC Marriott and loved it! It is newer and everything was very nice and in good condition.... somewhat trendy, has a rooftop pool. Room was very nice, refrigerator (with 2 bottles of water,complimentary) in room coffee maker, safe, WIFI, bed was comfy, room had no carpeting. We were on the 8th floor and had a balcony and slight view of the ocean and beach of the Stellaris. It is in the Condado and walking distance of stores and restaurants. Definitely would stay there again.

 

After getting off the ship, we took a taxi to the hotel getting there around 10:30 am. Of course our room wasn’t ready. They gave us a couple bottles of water, stored our luggage, called us a taxi and said they would call when the room was ready. So off to OSJ we went. Taxi was $15. We had him drop us at the San Cristobal Fort and we toured that, found it very interesting and some very pretty views. We found there was a free trolley that would take us around OSJ and had a stop right in front of the Fort so we hopped on and rode around for a bit. We decided were hungry so got off for lunch. Found a restaurant "Raices" which looked good and was pretty crowded so thought would try it and glad we did. We sat outside and ordered fish tacos that were very good and huge, 3 to an order, which we shared. Following lunch we walked around for awhile, by about 2:30 pm still had not heard from the hotel so decided to return. Got a taxi, again cost $15. When we returned to the hotel our room was ready. The Marriott AC is connected with the Marriott Stellaris, so guests at the AC may use the pool and beach facilities at the Stellaris, beach chairs, umbrellas and towels. We decided to go over and get a little beach time, it was a shortwalk. When we got there decided the pool was so nice we would just stay there for awhile. After enjoying the pool returned to the hotel to rest a bit and get ready for dinner. The night we flew into PR we had asked at the Best Western we were staying at about restaurants and "Oceano" was suggested, but because it was late we didn’t want to venture out. While at the Stellaris we asked about restaurants and again "Oceano" was suggested, after cleaning up we went to the AC bar and again "Oceano" was suggested so we decided to give it a try. We were very glad we did, it was fabulous! It is just a short walk, on the beach, pretty crowded, but we were early enough we didn’t have a wait, were seated on the patio. We ordered the calamari and the scallops and both were excellent! The calamari was in strips, yucca crusted, but very large strips …actually calamari steaks cut in strips ….. the second best calamari I have had (best being at Café Prego at Catalina Island, though they are no longer in business). It came with 2 dipping sauces and both were perfect with it. The scallops were cooked perfectly, on a bed of sweet potato puree and crispy pancetta between each. Great presentation! It is not inexpensive, but we felt a good value for the quality of the food, excellent service, and location. We loved it ….. a great way to end our trip!:):D

 

Return Flight: We had an AA flight leaving SJ at 9:00 am. The night before I had downloaded our boarding passes and found that our seats had been changed to almost the last row and from an isle and center to a window and center. We had a rather tight connection in Dallas so being way in the back would mean a longer time getting off and also did not like the widow seat. We planned on leaving for the airport at 7:00 am, but we decided to try to make it earlier. We were up and ready and out by 6:20 am. Hotel quickly got us a taxi ($20) and we were at the airport before 7:00 am. Getting through agriculture inspection was a breeze, so line at all. I had been concerned as had heard that lines could be long and it could take awhile, so was very relieved. Went to the AA check-in and the agent was able to change our seats to a much closer row and back to an isle. TSA was a breeze, walked right through. So had plenty of time, found our gate and then some breakfast. Flights home were all on time. Got into Tucson at 2:35 pm, friends picked us up and we were home before 3:30 pm.

 

Final Thoughts: We had a fabulous trip! Loved every bit of it!! The Jewel is a great ship, now too big not too small, it never felt crowded. Ship is easy to navigate. Elevators were close to our cabin though sometimes had to wait during busy times, but never too long. They are all glass so really pretty and yes, did have the day of the week. The crew was great, all so friendly and helpful. It was a port intensive cruise, lots of entertainment and activities in the evenings/nights. we enjoyed our balcony, especially in the mornings when coming into port. The passengers were great …. most everyone was dressed nicely and were so pleasant. There weren’t a whole lot of kids, and all were well behaved. Guess, it all reflects when people are having a good time. We had no complaints. We did not book a next cruise…. Only because we just aren’t sure where we want to go next and with the non-refundable deposits and charges to change, next cruise is not quite so lucrative. We decided to just keep our options open. We really want to go to Singapore, Thailand,and Vietnam so looking at that, but there really aren’t many cruises that seem to work for us …. may do a land or combination land/cruise. We will do another cruise and it will be on Royal ….. we have been pleased so far, so no reason to try another line.

 

There have a lot of questions on the condition and recovery of the islands. For the most part, they are recovering well. Where we were and what we saw of Puerto Rico things were coming along. We did see some damage, but very little in the areas we were. All the hotels near where we were, were up and running. St Maarten, we only saw the Dutch side and there was noticeable damage, but a lot of recovery as well. The people were all happy and very happy to see the tourists back. We are aware that some of the areas have a long way to go, may take awhile, but they have a great attitude. Taxi’s in San Juan are a breeze ….taxi stands easily found and you tell them where you want to go, they give you a slip with the cost and off you go, we always paid in cash ….. not sure it they take credit cards .... we were impressed!

 

It has been a month since we have gotten home, sorry for the delay in getting this out ….. but as I said in the beginning wanted to write it all and post close together. Had a few glitches along the way dealing with email issues and other things that got in the way. I’ve not included photos as really don’t know how ....will need to work on that :D wanted this to be more informative. I do have the compasses and will keep for awhile, happy to refer to them for any questions. I don’t want to scan and post as just too time intensive. Happy to answer any questions and hope that his helps in your planning.

 

Thank you for following along......that's it folks!:D

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Thanks for your review. Great write up, and I throughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

eafeae9b43f12c1b24f2d4ceb68834af.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Hi there,

Great Post, lots of information. Thank you for that! Just have one quick question, Were there Starbucks drinks available on this ship and were you able to utilize you Deluxe Drink Package when purchasing? (ex. coffee, teas, latte's).

Thank you :):)

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Thanks for your review. Great write up, and I throughly enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing.

eafeae9b43f12c1b24f2d4ceb68834af.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

You are welcome. Thank you for reading. See you will be on Jewel .... hope you got some info can use.:D

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Hi there,

Great Post, lots of information. Thank you for that! Just have one quick question, Were there Starbucks drinks available on this ship and were you able to utilize you Deluxe Drink Package when purchasing? (ex. coffee, teas, latte's).

Thank you :):)

 

Thank you for reading. There was not a Starbucks .... but Cafe’ Latte-tudes and is included in The Deluxe Drink Package. It is not Starbucks, but was pretty good.:):D

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Thank you for sharing... leaving in Dec for my best friend and DH darling husband "149th" birthday.,,,

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Fantastic review....

 

We love the Jewel and will miss her not being in San Juan. At least we'll have Vision in Puerto Rico.

 

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

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Thank you for your very informative review.

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Thank you for sharing... leaving in Dec for my best friend and DH darling husband "149th" birthday.,,,

 

Enjoy your December cruise ...... great way to celebrate 🎉

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Fantastic review....

 

We love the Jewel and will miss her not being in San Juan. At least we'll have Vision in Puerto Rico.

 

Sent from my VS995 using Tapatalk

 

Thank you .... yes, we might have wanted to do it again ... but maybe different ports or different ship now.:)

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Thank you for your very informative review.

 

You are welcome . Hope it helps in your future planning.

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QCAZ...thanks for taking us along on your cruise.
r

 

Enjoyed doing it ..... kinda like reliving it:D:)

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Thank you for sharing... leaving in Dec for my best friend and DH darling husband "149th" birthday.,,,

 

We'll be on the same cruise if you're sailing on the 6th!:)

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Sherry

Excellent review. Enjoyed reading. We did Jewel on our Canada/ New England cruise in 06.

Enjoy your next cruise.

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I am in awe of your packing expertise. We carried on once on a 7 day Celebrity cruise out of Miami. I took one pair of shoes and wore one. I hated not having more shoes. This was a little easier than RCCL because Celebrity not longer requires jackets for men and DH could get by with a nice long sleeve shirt and a tie. We still struggled. We now take one checked spinner bag each so that we can walk on and off the ship with all our luggage. Very few people can take that many shoes in a 21 inch. I applaud you. It was a great review but you had me at the luggage description.

Thank you

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San Juan, Puerto Rico; St Croix; St Maarten; Martinique; Barbados; Grenada; San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

 

Sailaway: 8:30 pm. “Let’s Get Loud Sailaway Party” with DJ and entertainment team poolside. Was lively and a lot of fun ….. lot of line dancing.

 

..........more to come:):D

 

 

I'm just now finding your review! It was great sailing with you and the rest of our roll call! Now to re-live the cruise again!

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Meet &Mingle: Ours was on Monday (Day 2 )at 4:00 - 5:00 pm Vortex, deck 13. Notice was in our room when we returned from dinner on Day 1. We did attend, unfortunately some were late in getting there as had excursions that didn’t get back until 4:30, but at least were able to pop in at the end. It was nice to meet some of the people that had been chatting with on our roll call; we had a great roll call. Cruise Director stopped in for a bit.

 

 

 

I was one of those who showed up at the end, glad to see a few of you still there. Royal always has trouble picking a time for the M&M on the southern routes with only 1 sea day. I would have preferred 4:30 to 5:30. No Door prizes for me, but it was nice meeting Andrea the CD. Very charming fellow new to Royal.

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..

Thank you for following along......that's it folks!:D

 

 

Great job on the excursions description Sherry. We might try one of those in Martinique if we go there again. Wish we had went to Dominique. We hope to sail with you a 3rd time. Give my best to the AZ cruisers gang.

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I am in awe of your packing expertise. We carried on once on a 7 day Celebrity cruise out of Miami. I took one pair of shoes and wore one. I hated not having more shoes. This was a little easier than RCCL because Celebrity not longer requires jackets for men and DH could get by with a nice long sleeve shirt and a tie. We still struggled. We now take one checked spinner bag each so that we can walk on and off the ship with all our luggage. Very few people can take that many shoes in a 21 inch. I applaud you. It was a great review but you had me at the luggage description.

Thank you

 

Thank you. :) Packing has always been a challenge and with the airline restrictions makes it even more so ... plus just the time in checking and retrieving our bags .... figured there has got to be away .... and no concerns of lost luggage. We did a 7 day Liberty out of Galveston and did check one 24” for the two of us with our evening wear, extra shoes and whatever else, plus the 21” and 15” but then worried if it would make it (it did). :D If you haven’t tried packing cubes and packing folders highly recommend it..... amazing how much more fits... I had several things didn’t even wear. Shoes are always a problem .... but I found that the little flat ones will fit in between the rails for the handle both down the middle and sides, then tuck-in the others wherever there is a space. I also had two pair in the 15” underseater. I will admit that both pieces were stuffed. The 21” is a spinner and the 15” has wheels but sits on top of the 21”. Mine is Samantha Brown and though it is really cute doesn’t roll all that great once packed so fully. DH’s is Travelpro (which is what I had for years and loved) and his rolls great. :D I will be replacing mine with Travelpro before our next airline/cruise trip. RCCL does not require men to wear jackets so nice shirt and tie will work (though DH took one). Of course a lot depends on where you are traveling to ... Caribbean is easier.... not sure I could do it if going to a cooler climate .... but would try;)

 

Glad you enjoyed the review and thank you for your comments!

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I'm just now finding your review! It was great sailing with you and the rest of our roll call! Now to re-live the cruise again!

Thanks, was nice sailing with you and our roll call. Yep, always nice re-living the cruise ..... just goes by so fast .... but great memories!

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I was one of those who showed up at the end, glad to see a few of you still there. Royal always has trouble picking a time for the M&M on the southern routes with only 1 sea day. I would have preferred 4:30 to 5:30. No Door prizes for me, but it was nice meeting Andrea the CD. Very charming fellow new to Royal.

Bill, I know and I felt bad ..... you were the one that started the roll call and kept the excitement going ..... thank you for that:D definitely 4:30 - 5:30 would have been better, but at least you made it for a bit and glad you were able to connect with CD Andrea.

 

Great job on the excursions description Sherry. We might try one of those in Martinique if we go there again. Wish we had went to Dominique. We hope to sail with you a 3rd time. Give my best to the AZ cruisers gang.

 

Glad you liked the excursion descriptions ... hope is helpful to those looking at things to do ..... hard to find much info on them .... at one time at least could get reviews on RCCL excursions but that feature has been removed it seems. If we return to Barbados would definitely do the catamaran you did .... that just sounded awesome:):D. Hope to sail with you again!

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