There are a multitude of cruise ships to pick from for your next cruise so how do you decide which one is right for you? One way to investigate and vet out your next cruise is by reading about the individual cruise lines and ships. At a recent conference (cruise3sixty), I had the opportunity to spend some time aboard Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas. Part of the Radiance class of ships, the Jewel of the Seas entered service in 2004. At 90,090 GRT, she can carry 2,114 double occupancy (2,502 maximum) and 842 crew members. What is unique about the Radiance Class of ships is the amount of glass just about everywhere to allow you to see all around you. The Jewel of the Seas has a ten-story glass-constructed Centrum, glass elevators facing the sea, and the highest percentage of outside cabins in the Royal Caribbean fleet.
There is so much about this ship that I liked that I don’t know where to begin! I have never been on a Radiance Class ship, but knew about all of the glass, but never expected it to be so light. Even with the wood tones that are all throughout the ship, the ship always feels light and bright. I especially love that you can ride on one of those outside elevators facing the water. Imagine being out at sea, be it in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, or even Alaska — the sights you’ll see riding on that elevator! Although not the best possible picture, this is a picture looking from the Centrum area to the side where all the glass is looking out to the water and the elevators are nearby. Normally, you might expect a wall and it would be darker, but well lit. Having the natural light is a bonus.
Another favorite area on the ship for me was the Seaview Cafe. Granted, they weren’t serving any food when I went by, but the idea that you can sit outside while you eat is amazing. Some ships have a few tables perched outside, but to have a quiet little place high up on deck 11 to sit out is great. Located on the end of the deck near the sports deck with the golf simulators nearby, this small cafe offers quick bites during the day for anyone needing a fast meal. Maybe you’re waiting for your kids in Adventure Ocean, only a few steps away. Perhaps you’re waiting on someone to come out of the Day Spa and Fitness Center. Any way you look at it, this little cafe is a great diversion and retreat while on the Jewel of the Seas.
If you need a little more room or want to sit out at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, try the Windjammer Cafe one flight down on deck 10. A staple on the Royal Caribbean line, if you’ve sailed on a Royal Caribbean ship then you are definitely familiar with the Windjammer. The only difference here is the outside seating area. Grab your food off the buffet line and head outside to enjoy the view! We were docked here in Fort Lauderdale and you can see the great panoramic view. Royal Caribbean diehard fans know to get the honey stung chicken the first day onboard and to go after the white chocolate donuts every morning. They aren’t white chocolate glazed, no — they are pure chocolate spread on the donuts. If you enjoy a little insulin shock in the morning then you’ll love these donuts.
Pool area: On deck 11 you will find two pools with one in the Solarium for adults only and one for everyone. With the customary hot tubs and deck chairs, the pool area looks to be in line with the traditional Royal Caribbean pool layout. You can lay out near the pool on deck 11 or go one deck up and overlook the pool.
One thing about the Jewel of the Seas that is different than others you might have been on is up on deck 12. Here you can find Adventure Beach which is a waterpark for kids with a waterslide and pool. Can it get better than that? Just next door is the Sports Court and nearby Adventure Ocean. Maybe the kids want to spend a few hours their with their new friends before lounging the afternoon away on the windy waterslide. Afterwards they can hit the video arcade and maybe you can find the teens in your family over in Fuel, the teen lounge.
Itineraries: The Jewel of the Seas is a dedicated Caribbean ship for Royal Caribbean and sails out of Tampa on short 4 and 5-night cruises and longer 7-night cruises out of San Juan. Here is a sample 7-night Southern Caribbean cruise itinerary for April 5, 2014:
San Juan 4/5/14
Tortola (Roadtown) 4/6/14
St. Maarten (Phillipsburg) 4/7/14
Basseterre, St. Kitts 4/8/14
Roseau, Dominica 4/9/14
Bridgetown (Barbados) 4/10/14
At Sea 4/11/14
San Juan 4/12/14
Balcony cabins start at only $899 per person plus taxes/fees and you should always remember to check prices before your final payment. If the price drops, many of the cruise lines will honor the price drop!
Next time we’ll look at some of the cabins, dining options, and more. Don’t forget you can always look at pictures of cruise ships on our FaceBook page and get up to the minute cruise news via Twitter. Until next time, keep dreaming about your next cruise and then make a plan to go on one!