Royal Caribbean International
gts Jewel of the Seas
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Operator: Royal Caribbean International
Year Built / Last Refurbished: 2004 / 2004
Length / Tonnage: 962 / 90,090
Number of Cabins / Passengers: 1,056 / 2,112
Officers / Crew: Norwegian / International
Operating Area: Caribbean
She entered service in June of 2004. She is smaller than the massive Voyager-class vessels and larger than Royal Caribbean's older tonnage. Overall she provides a more refined environment that the other ships with the extensive use of polished wood and muted colors and fabrics. She may not have an ice rink on board but there is still plenty to do on this ship.
The focal point of the vessel is the Centrum (Decks 4-12) which extends over 8 decks. In addition to the reception area at the base of the Centrum, the adjacent areas on each deck accommodate 2 bars, the library, 12 internet stations as well as several small lounges. The individual decks are served by six panoramic elevators, some of them facing the sea. The highlights of the Centrum are the suspended crown-and-anchor platform at the uppermost deck level as well as a 30 ft. high work of art. Deck 12's Centrum area houses the Crown and Anchor Club, with a plexiglass-covered well looking down into the Centrum.
Let's begin our tour of the Jewel on the top deck (Deck 13). Aft on Deck 13 is the putting green and miniature golf course. From there, walk across a small bridge and you reach the 30 foot Climbing Wall which is attached to the rear of the ship's funnel. Climbers must sign a waiver, or have a parent or legal guardian sign if they are under 18.
On the other side of the funnel is the Royal Caribbean trademark Viking Crown lounge. Over the years as the size of the ships has increased so too has the size of these lounges. The one on the Jewel is huge. By night the Viking Crown is divided into two separate sections: the Hollywood Odyssey which is a casual club with a small stage, and the Starquest Disco, which includes a dance floor with the latest in lighting and a revolving bar. By day it serves as an observation lounge. The fully glazed walls give the room an open character.
One deck down towards the bow (Deck 12) you will find the Shipshape Fitness Center which provides a variety of sports equipment (more than 60 pieces) and includes an aerobic area. In addition the vessel is equipped with a variety of sports facilities including a climbing wall, and jogging track, basket ball and volley ball court as well as a miniature golf course and a golf simulator.
A children's area is located midships on Deck 12. This includes Optix, an area designed specifically for teens. Optix is a smaller version of Starquest, equipped with the latest in lighting and sound technology as well. It has a bar, computer terminals, a foozeball table, and a movie viewing room. In short, it provides a comfortable place for the teens (13-17) on board to hang out and meet new friends.
Towards the back of Deck 12 as you go outside you will pass the basketball court to port and the children's pool area to starboard. Finally there is the Seaview Cafe which is a great place to watch the sea go by or check out lay of the land when you get to port.
Following the stairs down one deck brings you to Deck 11 and the Windjammer Cafe which is the Jewel's casual self service restaurant. Forward from the Cafe is the outdoor pool area including two jacuzzis. Continuing forward brings you to the Solarium which is an indoor pool area covered by a retractable glass roof. The tropical bathing area has an African theme including three big elephants hewed out from stone.
As you exit the Solarium you enter the Health Center, which is decorated with artificial stones and houses several steam bathes, saunas, showers, a mud bath and massage rooms.
The next four decks consist primarily of passenger accommodations. Decks 9 and 10 include public areas adjacent to the Centrum. The Yacht Club lounge is on deck 10 and the ship's small library is on Deck 9. Decks 8 and 7 are made up exclusively of passenger accommodations.
The entrance of the Aurora Theatre takes up the forward part of Deck 6. The theatre provides seating for approximately 900 guests and plays host to the typical shipboard entertainment fare of singing, dancing, and comedy. The theatre includes a multi-sectional stage and orchestra pit that can be raised and lowered, video projectors, and an impressive collection of special effects.
Moving aft on Deck 6 you pass the balcony of the theatre and reach the Scorecard sports bar. The bar includes a video arcade and live sports are broadcast when available
Exiting the Scorecard brings you to the Casino Royale casino. In addition to 150 slot machines, there are the typical collection of blackjack, craps and roulette tables. If you've seen one cruise ship casino you've seen them all.
Leaving the casino you approach the Schooner bar with consists of a small lobby and an art gallery featuring a huge ship’s hull. The Schooner Bar itself is the largest ever on any ship in the RCCL fleet and makes quite an impression with its various ship-shaped ceiling domes, interesting parquet, the large number of ship models and many other decorative maritime details. At the bar passengers can enjoy drinks or snacks while listening to live piano music.
Across the hallway from the Schooner Bar are the ship's two alternative restaurants, Portofino and Chops Grille. Royal Caribbean claims Chops is the first steak house at sea which is probably true but it is also one of the more expensive alternative restaurants with a $20 a head surcharge.
Colony Club is a unique lounge area that includes four additional and distinct meeting areas: the Bombay Billiard Club, Jakarta Lounge, Singapore Sling's and the Calcutta Card Club. All areas are linked together by a central street dotted with flickering glass torches – giving the quaint illusion of gas lamps of British colonial times, the era after which the facility has been modeled. These lounging areas are travelers' opportunity to enjoy a drink, read, relax and play cards or a variety of other games.
Within the Colony Club you can enjoy the Bombay Billard Club, with two self-leveling billiard tables and game tables to the Starboard Side, or televisions to the Port Side. Coffered ceilings, wood moldings and period furniture give the authentic feel of an old English billiard room. Just several steps up are the Jakarta Lounge and Singapore Sling's. The Jakarata Lounge has a smaller, more intimate bar and lounging area on the starboard side, and features multiple gaming tables. Singapore Sling's includes a larger bar, piano and a lounging area along the entire aft end of the ship. Both the Jakarta Lounge and Singapore Sling's are filled with comfortable seating and a relaxing, semi-tropical décor that mirrors the environment of the old colonies. Finally, in the Calcutta Card Club, you'll find 11 card tables, five of which are poker tables. A credenza stores classic surprises – allowing guests to enjoy games such as bridge, checkers, chess and backgammon.
Below the Colony Club, on Deck 5 is the balcony of Cascades, the ship's main restaurant. The central columns in the restaurant give it an almost art deco feel reminiscent of the glory days of shipboard travel.
Moving forward on Deck 5 you reach the "Shops of the Centrum" arranged on both sides of a passageway. These include a perfume shop, a souvenir shop, a resort ware shop, a general store, a jeweller´s shop and a gift shop.
Just past the shopping area to starboard is the photo shop and art gallery and to port is the Books, Books & Coffee bar. This floating coffeehouse has all your favorite coffee beverages; cappuccino, espresso, latte, teas and more from Seattle's Best; and it's also a retail book outlet. Decorated with warm wood veneers with accents of hot reds to the insides of the display cabinets, plush red sofas and unique back lit glass panels. Special attention has also been paid to the lighting design to ensure it compliments the overall ambience of the space.
Outside the Coffee Bar is the bottom level of the Cinema which seats up to 64 passengers. It is equipped with a 5.0 m x 3.65 m large screen. The bottom level of the Aurora takes up the rest of Deck 5.
There is no wrap-around promenade on the Jewel although there is limited outside deck space on deck 5. It's a nice place to get away from the crowds but the deck area varies in width, is covered with a rubber coating and slopes towards the bow. Deck 5 is also a common embarkation/disembarkation deck, and this is the deck to access the Helicopter pad, which is occasionally opened to the public for extraordinary views.
The business center and meeting rooms take up the forward part of deck 4 and the remainder is made up of passenger accommodations, the Lobby Bar and the lower level of the Cascades restaurant.
While we like the public areas of the Jewel more than her huge running mates, she is laid out as a warm weather ship and as such she can seem crowded while sailing on colder weather itineraries.
The Cascades dining room provides seating for a total of 1229 passengers and consists of the main restaurant on deck 4 and 5 amidships and the smaller restaurants, the Tides, on deck 4. The main attraction of this area is the big waterfall at the stairway.
The Windjammer Cafe self-service restaurant provides seating for approximately 400 passengers. Various individual counters offer a wide selection of food - pizza and hamburgers, salads, desserts, soups and sandwiches. Adjacent to the self-service restaurant are the indoor and outdoor areas of the Windjammer Café.
The Sea View Café has a Caribbean theme and offers spectacular ocean views. The indoor area with its large windows is very spacious.
There are also two alternative restaurants on board the Jewel. The Chops Grill is a steak house with an open kitchen that allows passengers to watch the cooks preparing their meals. It is furnished in mahogany and provides seating for 95 guests. Portofino is an Italian restaurant which seats 112 passengers and offers a wide selection of food.
The quality of the food and service ranges from good in the main restaurants to very good in each of the alternative restaurants.
The ship is equipped with a total of 1050 passenger cabins comprising 237 inside cabins and 813 outside cabins, including 1 Royal suite, 6 Owner’s suites and 17 balcony suites. Each of the suites and outside cabins has a private balcony. The Royal suite covers approx. 90 m² and has a fully glazed front. A piano, a large bar area and a marble bathroom provide a maximum of comfort. In all cabins the living area can be separated from the bedroom by a curtain.
For families three family suites are provided on board. Each suite is provided with two separate bedrooms, a large balcony and a whirlpool. 200 cabins are furnished with an intercommunicating door by which they can be converted to 100 double cabins that are well suited to accommodate families or groups. In addition the ship is provided with 14 cabins for passengers with disabilities.
All passenger cabins are equipped with colour TV, telephone, safe, and individual temperature control as well as internet connection.
Anyone who wants lots of action, good night life, and doesn't mind living in a small cabin....should be pleased with the Jewel of the Seas. We saw all age groups, many nationalities, many income brackets....everyone seemed to be having a good time.
Jewel of the Seas operates in the Caribbean year round.
The Jewel is nice - we definitely prefer her to her larger fleet mates - but overall like so many of the new ships entering service recently, she is so similar in design, in decor, in overall flavor....that distinguishing traits are but a blur. One's about as good or bad as the next. The phenomenon of uniformity and loss of character came to the airlines a few short years ago.....much to the savvy traveler's distaste. Now it's happening at a frightening speed to the cruise lines. So as reviewers, about the only thing left for us to consider is whether the Jewel of the Seas is a good deal for what she provides......and what will separate having a good time or not on the Jewel of the Seas will be weather and the attitude of your fellow passengers.....and that we cannot soothsay for you.
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