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Jewel of the Seas March 9 2020 when coronavirus affects but not infects your cruise- review

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So we just returned from the March 9, 2020 sailing of Jewel of the Seas.  It was supposed to do Abu Dhabi, Oman, and Yas Island and later Oman was dropped and an extra day was added to Abu Dhabi, but honestly that doesn't matter as everything changed due to the coronavirus.  I thought I would give you all a review to read as it looks like we will all be quarantined for the next two weeks.


Who were are: my hubby and myself late 30s our twins who are 7, would have turned 8 right after we returned home, but that will come later.  We are diamond and so are our kids who always vacation with us.


This is meant to be fun so refrain from comments on my writing, how long it takes, and basically being a troll as I will ignore you.


We live in California so our adventure behinds at LAX so on with the show.

Edited by bearette
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Great to have a review as we're all going to go into cruise review withdrawal..lol.  Also inteterested in hearing about Jewel as it doesn't get a ton of coverage.  Sounds like you had some changes to your cruise, but thanksfully still coronavirus-free, so very glad to hear.  Hope it was a wonderful vacation.  Thanks for sharing.

Edited by LuCruise
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February 2020


Coronavirus began reeling its ugly head in China so we started to worry as we had flights booked on Air China, nonrefundable with a 22hr layover in Beijing.  After flights began getting banned we were able to cancel and get a full refund, so we took it.( Hotel too, but we hadn't paid any money in advance). We got the refund a month later as we waited for our layover in the airport.  They had a form to complete on line so that is what we did.  It was easy and we never had to talk to anyone.


We were booked on the March 16 cruise and the price due to the virus had dropped dramatically.  I called our travel agent and as their policy will not refund we were able to upgrade. So we did to the Grand Suite!  But while researching the room we noticed the March 9 cruise was advertising $199 cruise so we asked about that too. An hour later we were booked for a b2b for the steal of $1100 for two connecting ocean view rooms. I cancelled our apartment in Dubai, just before any fees were in place, and we were ready for our trip!


March 7th

We dropped off our dogs with our puppy sitter and carried on with our day. We were running late, as we are the type that checks in 3 hours early. We didn't leave until 3:30 for our 6:25 pm flight. (We live about an hour from the airport, but it usually takes 1.5-2 due to traffic. We didn't need to worry as the airport was virtually empty as was the freeway. We had rebooked on Turkish Air because they had the cheapest flights for our last minute booking. We ended up with a flight to Sharjah because coming home it had an 8 am flight that was better priced than Dubai and we didn't want to leave at 1am.  There was no passport checks for us in Istanbul and we walked directly into the terminal. We had about a 7 hr layover, either flight going, so we used something called a Dragon Pass, research online as it is like priority pass, to get a discount pass to enter the lounge. 19 pounds was the cost.


The coronavirus had everyone on high alert and we had all our passport pages checked for banned areas. They literally looked page by page.  On entering Turkey an infrared camera was taking your temperature as we exited the plane, the same in Sharjah. I have never had my passport and self scrutinized so much before.


the lounge

This lounge was worth the pass for the shower alone.  It had food, drinks ( some alcohol too), wifi and coffee included.  Another item was a printer as I was able to print our cruise docs and luggage tags, as my printer at home was giving us problems. There was a small kids play area, but it was better for toddlers as my kids got bored quick.  The couches made resting easy and the time passed quickly with food and drinks available.



The airport was pretty small, but busy. We found our luggage easily and made our way to the exit and car rental, which was just behind the exit. Even with the passport check it took only 30 minutes from plane to car rental, Avis.  The car rental took longer because we had trouble with the card, we forgot to put the travel notice, so once that was settled we were on our way by 8am. I recommend traveling here if the price is reasonable as it is easily manageable.


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Sharjah March 9


It was early so the mosque etc... wasn’t open yet. We decided to go to the waterfront and waste some time until the 10am tour. As the mosque here only gave tours on Monday we thought we hit the jackpot. We made a detour to an ATM, as we forgot to hit one up in the airport since it was about 9am we headed over to the side with all the restaurants and went into the Caribou coffee shop. It was a lot for coffee and muffins but we were paying for location, location, location...






We paid about 10aed for parking as we were there about an hour.


We headed over to the mosque where my kids enjoyed watching the local cats walk by while we waited for the tour. The outside was covered in scaffolding and with the help of my google translate app we were told they would meet us out front for the tour. The tour people never came and as it got closer to 10 am we realized with the restoration work we wouldn’t get to see the outside. As many other tourist came and went we gave up at 10:10am and decided to visit something else.









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Great,  Something other than CV!! Love the Jewel and been to Dubai many times, so Interested to hear what you thought of it. Looking forward to hearing more 

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Sharjah continued

We decided to hit the old town Heritage area and started with the fort. We parked there and got a parking token- FYI- they look like casino chips and when you turn them in they have the time stamp of your arrival.

The fort was empty, I think there was one other guy there. We paid for a combo ticket as it comes with all the area items for 20aed and 10aed for kids. Just one sight was 10aed so this was a good deal. We paid with a large bill so the lady at the cashier desk gave it to the security on hand and told us to return later for the other tickets and change. She told us to start in the jail and we made our way around.

There was some displays in English and Arabic. My daughter was creeped out by the prisoner. She hightailed it out of there so I didn’t get to read everything.


My son braved a photo


The courtyard

It was interesting but there was a lot of reading that the kids just weren’t having. A whole section was dedicated to the different Shieks and leaders which was boring for the kids as it was just photos and more reading for each one. There was a few rooms closed, but we were done within an hour. The highlight for the kids was the well, they were fascinated by it.

We availed ourselves of the restroom and returned to get our other tickets and change. Once there we were offered tea/ coffee or water. It was already hot (80s for those in the USA) so we enjoyed the drink and tried to get our kids to try the dates. They weren’t having it, but I didn’t force them as I hate them myself.


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Sharjah continued

We made our way to the heritage museum and this was our favorite of all of them. Once again we were offered refreshments and were greeted warmly. I will say everyone was very welcoming and nice to us. That usually doesn’t happen in museums when I walk in with two kids...

We spent about an 45min here as well and we could have spent longer but we were trying to rush through.


View from the top... I didn’t take any pictures inside...I was tired. They had a section with fables to listen to with dioramas for the kids and we spent the most time in there.

Another drink was offered and I got my son to try the dates- he wasn’t a fan.

We then headed to the house. I forgot what it was called, but they said it was a pearl merchants house. This house was interesting and my husband is big into architecture so we spent another 45 min here. They had a coloring activity for the kids that tied in with the decorations of the house.




We made it down the alleys to the last museum, calligraphy, but it was really small and we were done in five minutes. The kids were starting to act up as well, they just wanted to sit down and tried to lay down on the couches provided to enjoy a refreshment so we headed for the souk section before the meltdown began.

We were in and out of there quick with our new purchase of a bag for my mom and magnets- my favorite souvenir as it’s cheap, easy to pack and holds up all the kids art on the fridge. Plus it is nice to remember the trips as I see them on my fridge.

We promised the kids a run around the park by the parking lot so we made the trek in the hot sun- it was about 1 pm now. We availed ourselves of the water they provided at the museums and it was needed as we had to walk to the complete other side of the park because there was a charge. It was 6aed, I think they missed me as I followed my kids into the park who ran straight for the play area, but the booth my husband went to wasn’t open for purchases so they sent him to the other side.

This park is worth the price of admission. It was gorgeous and they had workers whose sole job was to use leather straps to keep the pigeons from landing and dirtying the park.


Selfie- I have travel hair




Posing while running between play areas, there were four of them.


My hubby went to get the car and then I met him at the gate to give the kids more play time. The white car in the middle is our rental behind the gate if you look closely.

Now we were ready for the ship. We headed over taking the scenic route through town so we could see some of the sites from the car such as the blue souk, the stadium/amphitheater, and something else that was on my magnets, but we never did see the book statue.

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Dubai port


The drive was really easy, but confusing as there was a lot of getting into that lane early and then going a kilometer before you can take the turn. My husband said this city was the easiest place to drive as the roads were nice and well marked, though we did have a turn or two where we had to go around because we missed it.


I had read a lot about not being able to park in the port, but that was untrue. We were berthed at terminal 3 and had plenty of parking. There were no checks for cars coming in and we were able to pull to the front and park. I never took a picture, but it was convenient.


We got our stuff, turned in everything but our backpacks to go to the room and made our way into the terminal.


It took longer than normal because they went through each of our passport pages one by one to make sure we didn’t have any of the banned areas stamped in our passports. There was a small area roped off were others were being secondary screened- whoo hoo that wasn’t us- and we made it on to the ship.


I could breath easy now. My son has a trend of getting sick or having an accident on vacation, eye infections, colds, stomach bugs, trips to the ER for stitches... he has done them all to me. I was waiting for him to manifest with a fever just to spite me... Thankfully this trip he was good- he just would not stop touching his face! Luckily I always carry wet wipes and hand sanitizer even before all the crazy virus talk so we were good.




If you look in the background of the elevator you can see the port area and the parking lot



Late lunch


We didn’t want to get too comfy because we had the car and wanted to head out to see the Miracle Garden and Global Village. We took off right away for the village. The kids had a power nap in the car, we filled up on coffee at lunch.


Miracle Garden


Differently a must do. The kids took a while to warm up and mostly whined into my side for 20 minutes and tried to sit on every bench we passed.


There was a lot of whistle blowing going on, don’t stand on the edges, don’t turn the swings chairs so fast, ... they were on people for getting close to the flowers. It wasn’t always us but it got annoying hearing the whistle blow constantly.




Nice shoes




Photo by my daughter




They loved this swing chair




More photos by my kids




More photos


Some good ones by my husband












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Global village


Yes this is still day one, we were trying to acclimate to the time change.


The kids were nice and awake now. It was family day so the lady warned my husband he wouldn’t be allowed in if he was alone, but we were also there so 15aed to get in each. Spoiler- we stayed way longer than planned because we loved it. If you come plan to shop or you will be bored. There are some free shows but the highlight is the shopping. We stared left and hit every area until we got to the carnival section. The kids were losing steam so this woke them right up. We spent another two or so hours in the carnival.




Global village entrance




Iran entrance- it had a lot of nice details




Canals - beautiful areas and this had some water features the kids could play with - free!




Roller coaster




The kids first circus




And circus treats






Fountain show- Bellagio it wasn’t but nice




The little red riding hood themed show was really neat- my daughter likes werewolves after watching a Nickelodeon movie- she was one for Halloween- so we stopped to watch it.


It was getting late and while my son is obsessed with cars we can’t handle it anymore and decided to skip the car show and headed to the exit. We made a stop in Kuwait to buy a dress for my daughter and myself I had been eyeing- you’ll see us in them later.




The exit



Finally we made it back to the ship and it was about 11pm. We took showers in our two bathrooms (if I can afford it we will always do this it was so nice having two) and crashed hard.


Jet lag sucks and we were all starting to stir at 3-4 am but we forced ourselves back to bed until 7ish.




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6 hours ago, bearette said:




































Finally we made it back to the ship and it was about 11pm. We took showers in our two bathrooms (if I can afford it we will always do this it was so nice having two) and crashed hard.


Jet lag sucks and we were all starting to stir at 3-4 am but we forced ourselves back to bed until 7ish.




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Wow you did well to last so long. When we arrived to do the cruise a couple of weeks before you we flew overnight. We arrived at our hotel around 9am and crashed for a couple of hours and even then we were asleep by 9pm!


Look forward to hearing more.

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3 hours ago, kernow said:

Wow you did well to last so long. When we arrived to do the cruise a couple of weeks before you we flew overnight. We arrived at our hotel around 9am and crashed for a couple of hours and even then we were asleep by 9pm!


Look forward to hearing more.


We did the Jewel of the Seas cruise the week before OP and had a much easier time of it due to our departure and arrival times both being in the evening.  We left Miami at 8pm on a Thursday and arrived in Dubai at 7:20pm on Friday evening after our 14-hour  nonstop flight.  We zipped through the airport thanks to the Marhaba meet-and-greet service, checked into our hotel at the marina, had a nice dinner, went to sleep later that evening, and then woke refreshed in the morning and ready for a day of sightseeing.  This was the first time we've taken an long international flight and arrived at our destination in the evening local time rather than in the morning.  This worked out much better for us and we didn't seem to incur any of the usual effects of jet lag .

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Day 2 Tuesday March 10


We had to return the car by 8:30 am ( I rented it 8:30- 8:30 so as no to incur a second days charge, though they let us pick it up early. )


We were having breakfast by 6:50 at the diamond lounge, though we were getting dirty looks for being there early as it didn’t open officially for breakfast until 7am. My husband has a physical need for coffee so we spend a lot of time in the lounge just to grab a coffee from the machine and we were out by 7:45am.


We made a stop for gas with a view of the Dubai Frame and then drove into town to return the car. We used Avis so the car had to be returned to an office right next to the financial district metro stop. It was super easy as we pulled up to the curb they came out to meet us. They did a quick look around the car and one guy took it around to their parking while another person checked us out. We were in and out in 10 minutes.




Breakfast bagel



Burj and mall


We were right by the metro so we just walked over and took the moving walkways to the other side to catch the metro to the mall and Burj Khalifa. It was only one stop so 3 aed each. My kids were the same price as an adult so we all bought a silver metro card- we used it throughly.


The night before we were laying in bed and decided to get our Burj Khalifa tickets. We needn’t have bothered as the mall and Burj were pretty empty. The mall didn’t open until 10am and our tickets were timed for 9:30am. The mall is a maze so we made several wrong turns before ending up in the right place.


A bathroom stop and then we were in the elevator. I think the pictures speak for themselves.




The mall




Are we going the right way?




We are up high




I was going to purchase one of these from the At The Top photographers but they wanted 300 aed! Highway robbery so this snap was all we got.




I think this was the only picture of all of us that wasn’t a selfie...




We didn’t break it, it was part of the interactive video. My kids and some adults around- loved this.


We had bought the VR experience with the tickets and while cool I would skip it unless you really love these things. The kids loved it, you were an agent and had to complete some challenges in the Burj and then “jump” off the building.






By 10:30 ish we had felt like we saw enough. We checked out the items in the gift shop, but weren’t impressed with much. My daughter who had been very well behaved the whole time picked out a notebook and in the second smaller shop my husband saw a pencil with the Burj on it so he bought her that too. My son had to hold my hand in the shop... though he wasn’t that bad, he just didn’t come when I called him which in my book is a capital offense.


We decided it was time to go into the mall and entertain the kids.











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The mall


I will start by saying a mom packing fail, as we drive to the airport I realized I forgot both of the kids bathing suits- I usually pack several too so no one has to wear a wet one. I took that as a sign I needed to shop in the mall.


We made our way to the aquarium and the H&M next door to check out the bathing suits. I didn’t want to carry them so I picked out the ones I wanted and made a mental note to come back. I also checked out the Gap and several other stores, but the H&M had the best prices, 59 and 69 aed for the kids suits versus 100aed or more at the Gap and other stores I checked.


Before we left I had heard about the Entertainer app which came with several two for one specials and deals for 95 aed. We made our money in the aquarium tickets alone and we were able to purchase two for one explorer tickets for all four of us, I believe the tickets were 295aed.


The explorer tickets came with some extras which were worth it for the kids.





The main tank




Look how big!




Then you get to walk through the tunnel/ aquarium.



After the main tank you go upstairs and visit the “zoo”. The main part of the aquarium.





The entrance to the zoo section








Behind the scenes tour




Feeding frenzy




The croc




Boat tour- this was at the beginning but we went back and did it at the end because the worker told us the line was long. This was a great ending as it was a ride on the top of the main tank with a glass bottom so you could see into the tank. We placed our phones down and made videos which the kids thought was amazing. This was the best part of the explorer experience. It also came with a small simulator, which the kids liked but was a bit cheesy that you did before joining your boat tour.




Picture of the glass bottom


It was about 12:30 now so we headed into the H&M to get the suits. While there I had my son hold the bag with the notebook- big mistake as he found some toys and abandoned the bag without my knowledge... we will come back for it later.


The only issue was they didn’t have any swim shirts in H&M so I ended up buying a more expensive soccer jersey- France as it kind of matched the shorts and he preferred it over the white one. It was still cheaper than the other stores.




A selfie spot to entertain the kids while I bought the suits


As we walked we came across my husbands

Achieles heel




Water for the kids and a coffee for daddy, plus a mug to add to our collection


We wanted to see the fountain show so we made a quick dash to the fountains. It was part way through this show I realized we didn’t have the bag and I had to run back with my son to get it.





The fountains before I took off.




It’s bright out here!





My husbands fancy photos while he waited for me to get the bag






She is holding my sunglasses


At this point we were done so while this area was on our list to explore later we decided it was time for a cab because I didn’t want to walk all the way back through the mall and there isn’t any easy way from the metro to the port.


It wasn’t the right area for a cab and after not wanting to pay 50 aed for a luxury car we walked up to the street and found a waiting cab. He was heaven in my eyes and we hopped right in! 36 aed and we were back at the port.


We barley made it for late lunch and hit the windjammer just before the muster drill.


Muster completed we decided to rest in our room, rest turned into a 3 hr nap. We had to force ourselves up and we took the kids to the kids club to get them going. My husband and I headed down to dinner.



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As we hit the ground running we slept through sail away.

At dinner the line was pretty long so we opted to sit with others and we had a nice dinner with four other couples. We discussed our days in Dubai and our upcoming adventures. We enjoyed the conversation so much I had to run up to get the kids before the kids club closed.

Adventure Ocean
Now is a good time as any to talk about Adventure Ocean. There was almost no kids onboard. The worker told me there were 30 kids on board total. She said the Jewel doesn’t attract very many families. When we dropped them off there were two other boys there (in any age group, but they happened to be their age). I never once saw a teenager in the fuel area when we walked by to get the kids either. Due to the limited number of kids they never did the activities mentioned in the handouts. They did what my kids wanted to do so they played ball games, Mario Kart on the wii and color/ art activities. They did try to keep with the themes at the beginning, but by day three my kids were usually the only kids there.

They loved the kids club because they got to pick what to do and they catered to them.

Back to dinner... we brought the kids to the table for dinner and being on vacation... the kids had ice cream for dinner. I admit it, I didn’t give them anything else first because we were all tired and after they ate the ice cream- they did get pizza from the solarium to take back to the room. My kids basically ate pizza and a salad for every lunch or dinner on this trip so I wasn’t ensuring proper nutrition at every meal.

By then it was 11pm. There was a production show I had wanted to go see but since we talked and ate dessert through it we went to shower and go to bed.


The walk to the taxi area


Solarium - this was the nicest area and had I not had my kids I would have used it more. The theme of this area was amazing, but I didn’t take pictures because it had the nets because it was closed at night. This picture was taken because my daughter is obsessed with cheetahs and all big cats- so she took this photo.


The kids towel animal that greeted them in bed- they loved that it was wearing my daughters hat.


It was cuddly Simaba’s bed time too.

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I have to tell you I am really enjoying your review!  Your kids are adorable and they look so happy!

They make me smile just looking at them enjoying themselves.  Good job Mom and Dad!😀


I really had no interest in  visiting the ME but I have been seeing it differently through your eyes and it looks very interesting.

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Thank you everyone for replying and following. I enjoy reading your comments.

Sharjah - we actually were at the travel show in LA and when talking to Turkish airlines they suggested Sharjah as an alternative. When we rebooked we checked both and the price for the flight time we liked was much better in Sharjah for the way home. It took about 35 minutes to get to Dubai from Sharjah, though keep in mind if we would have left at normal work hour times that could double.

I appreciate the cute kid comments. As I have dark hair they obviously didn’t take after their mom, but their ‘tude is all mine.

I usually like to arrive at night, but there wasn’t an option for me this time, everything had a long layover and last minute Emirates (nonstop) was out of my price range.

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I wanted to start out with an edit to the section on taking the metro.

That thing was crowded. So crowded we let the first train go but here the second train wasn’t any better we pushed our way in like everyone else. We were literally sardines in a can and I am not exaggerating. My kids were whining and begging to sit but you couldn’t even see past the people to the chairs. If this bothers you then I recommend the Gold Class which is a little more. It was better in the off hours but between 8-10am it was crazy busy and in the evening when people got out of work.

Another option is the women and children car which we utilized later, men aren’t allowed so my husband would be on the regular side and I would be in the women and kid car next to him, to give us some breathing room!

That thing was incredibly clean. I could smell disinfectant on it when we would ride it. When we rode it to the end of the line we saw someone getting on and sanitizing it. I only took one picture of it so here it is...


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