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  #1  
Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:47 AM
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Default Jewel of the Seas--12/27 - 12/31 VERY LONG PHOTO REVIEW

Jewel of the Seas
Four-Night Cruise to Cozumel, Mexico
December 27, 2012 – December 31, 2012


INTRODUCTION

In anticipation of this cruise, I read dozens of reviews and looked at hundreds of photos of the ship. I recalled the things that I liked to read and see in a review, and I tried to take pictures and mental notes on many of those things as we cruised. I suppose you could say that I took this cruise with this review in mind.

I took as many pictures of things around the ship and food, food, and more food as I could. For those like myself who crave “food porn” in a review, I hope I can satisfy that hunger. (Or you might just get hungrier looking at the pictures!)

Please feel free to chime in or ask any questions throughout the review. This cruise is fresh in mind, so I am happy to answer any questions about the ship, the cruise, or any of our experiences.

Finally, though this review is 99% overwhelmingly positive (this really was a great cruise for us), I will try to be critical on some points, especially where I think others can learn from our experiences and where RCI can improve. Aside from a few things, however, I have nothing but good things to say about the Jewel of the Seas, her crew, and this cruise.

I look forward to your comments and feedback and hope you enjoy my review even half as much as we enjoyed this cruise.

ABOUT US

We are twenty-four years old, recently engaged, and live in New York City. This was my fiance’s (“DF”) seventh cruise and her fifth on Royal (she is Gold). This was my eighth cruise and my seventh on Royal (I am Platinum).

PRE-CRUISE

Since this was only a four-night cruise, we decided to spend three nights in Tampa before our sailing. We took a 7:45 a.m. flight out of La Guardia on the morning of Christmas Eve (December 24th) and arrived at our hotel by 11:30 a.m. (Cab was a flat rate of $25 plus gratuity.)

We stayed at the Tampa Marriott Waterside in the Channelside District of Tampa. The hotel itself was very nice, but, since we were staying over Christmas, many of the restaurants in the hotel and nearby were closed. If you stay here, however, I recommend paying a bit more for a room with a water view and a balcony. I was able to see a Carnival ship heading out to sea on our first day there.



Another shot from our balcony:



It was a bit rainy and cool that first day, so we just had lunch, took a nap, and then went to dinner at Koto Steakhouse, a local hibachi restaurant. The food was very good, although our chef didn’t do any tricks, unlike the chefs at the other tables. We went to the Hardrock casino afterwards and left a deposit there.

The next day’s weather started out much better with temperatures in the 60s and expected to rise into the mid-seventies. The sun was in and out, and we started the day by the pool. We ate lunch at the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool. It never got quite as warm as was predicted and was a bit windy at times, but we had a nice relaxing day nonetheless.

View of the Marriott pool:



View from the Marriott pool deck:



We ate dinner at another hibachi restaurant, Oishi Japanese Sushi and Hibachi Restaurant, which was even closer to our hotel. (Yes, we love hibachi. However, our excuse this time was that this was all that was open.) The food was good here too, although it was Christmas Day and the restaurant was almost completely empty.

The following day, our last in Tampa before the cruise, we went to International Plaza, a relatively large mall with a nice variety of stores. It thunderstormed in the morning and was only in the sixties by the afternoon, so we took a cab over to the mall and spent the afternoon there. I realized that I forgot to pack a tie, so I bought a new tie and shirt. We had dinner at Cheesecake Factory and got dessert at Cold Stone Creamery by our hotel.

Overall, we had a very nice pre-cruise stay in Tampa, although, since the weather was generally cloudy and cool, I’m not sure I would spend three full days there in December with the hope of laying by the pool all day. The Tampa Marriott Waterside, however, is beautiful and has a great view of the port.

Okay, enough with the boring pre-cruise formalities.
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Majesty of the Seas (December 2008)
Enchantment of the Seas (June 2009)
Liberty of the Seas (May 2010)
Majesty of the Seas (January 2011)
Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
Freedom of the Seas (August 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:48 AM
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DAY ONE
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2012
TAMPA, FL

I woke up around 5:00 a.m. This was definitely unintentional, but perhaps my subconscious wanted me to watch as the Jewel pulled into port. (The balcony from our hotel room overlooked the port.) I couldn’t see anything until around 6:30 a.m., and I almost missed it! The ship was not lit as brightly as I had expected, but I managed to snap a few shots:









DF was still sleeping, so I decided to go for a run along the water. However, it was a bit chilly (still in the 40s from the night before), so I went to the gym at the Marriott instead. We then packed up our belongings, attached our computer-paper-printed luggage tags, and caught a cab to the port. ($3 per person.)

This morning was still cold—in the low 50s at the time of boarding. We, however, wore shorts and bathing suits so as to get into the cruise mindset. The people who worked at the port were all wearing winter coats and hats, so I’m sure we must have been a sight to see.

Check-in was seamless. The expedited check-in line for Platinum and above actually came in handy, as there was a short line for regular check-in but no line at the expedited check-in area. We then got our Seapass photos taken, took the obligatory Welcome Aboard photo, and boarded the ship. I suppose it was 11:19 a.m.:



I also suppose it was Thursday:

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Navigator of the Seas (August 2005)
Majesty of the Seas (December 2008)
Enchantment of the Seas (June 2009)
Liberty of the Seas (May 2010)
Majesty of the Seas (January 2011)
Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
Freedom of the Seas (August 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
Pride of America (July 2014)
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:49 AM
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We headed straight to the Windjammer for lunch.



This would be the only time we had a meal in the Windjammer. I’d say our WJ lunch experience was average—nothing special but certainly nothing to complain about. I was happy that they had some sort of tomato basil cream sauce (seen above) that I’ve had before but couldn’t locate on subsequent cruises.

After lunch we went out to the pool deck. Even though the temperature probably did not get much higher than the low 60s for the day, it was not very windy and the sun was shining brightly. Thus, it was actually very warm on the pool deck and probably felt more like 70s. There were plenty of other people on the pool deck, so I doubt it was our thick Northeast blood that kept us going. ☺

At 1:00 p.m. we went to check out our cabin. This was only our second-ever balcony and our first-ever aft. We were on deck ten and had heard great things about these aft balconies on Radiance-class ships. First of all, as everyone else on these boards has said, the balcony itself was HUGE. There were two lounge chairs, two regular chairs, and a small dining table out there, and we could have easily fit another two lounge chairs.





My only complaint with the aft balcony is that you don’t get much breeze. This is nice when it is cold outside, but, otherwise, I like to feel the warm breeze coming off the water at night, and you don’t really get much of this in an aft.

The room itself was also bigger than we’ve had on previous cruises. There seemed to be extra closet space and the couch was definitely longer than in our cabin on Explorer of the Seas last New Year’s.



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Navigator of the Seas (August 2005)
Majesty of the Seas (December 2008)
Enchantment of the Seas (June 2009)
Liberty of the Seas (May 2010)
Majesty of the Seas (January 2011)
Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
Freedom of the Seas (August 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
Pride of America (July 2014)
Oasis of the Seas (February 2015)
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:50 AM
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After we put our carry-on luggage down, we headed back out to the pool deck.





At first, bar service on the pool deck was a bit slow and sporadic. However, it picked up as the afternoon progressed, and I had no trouble ordering and downing several strawberry daiquiries and Coronas. We then headed back to the room quickly and then to the muster drill, which was pretty quick and relatively painless.

After the drill, we went back to our cabin to watch sailaway. I usually like being up on the top decks during sailaway, but the view from our cabin made missing the music and festivities worth it.







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Enchantment of the Seas (June 2009)
Liberty of the Seas (May 2010)
Majesty of the Seas (January 2011)
Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
Freedom of the Seas (August 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:51 AM
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We then unpacked and ordered room service. Not realizing that room service didn’t start until 5:00 p.m., I tried calling to no avail. I then tried ordering on the TV, which said that the order went through. After about twenty-five minutes (now 5:20 p.m.) and no confirmation call, however, I called room service again and was told that they didn’t receive our order. We were in a bit of a rush, since we wanted to be showered and changed in time to watch the ship go under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. However, I placed the room serbice order over the phone and the food arrived about thirty minutes later. We got two spinach dips, two caesar salads, and one steak sandwich with fries. It’s amazing how a full-fledged meal on land becomes a small pre-dinner “snack” on a cruise ship.

We went under the bridge at around 6:45 p.m. I expected a lot of people to be on deck watching, but there were only a few as it was very cold by this point. The captain did, however, blow the horn loudly as we went under. Later in the cruise I heard the captain say that the ship clears the bridge by six feet. It definitely looked closer than that from our vantage point.



We had some time before the Welcome Back show at 7:45 p.m., so we headed to the Schooner Bar and ordered mudslides. These milkshake-like alcoholic beverages became our drink of choice for the cruise. (And I wondered why I had to loosen my belt by day two. ☺)

The Welcome Aboard show was good. It featured the comedy of Stephen Thomas, who also appeared on the last night. His routine was a bit heavy on the typical cruise ship humor and a technical difficulty at the end of the show thwarted his closing act (which he performed on the last night), but he was good nonetheless.

The cruise director was Steve Davis, who was a bit of a disappointment. He gave an amazing performance of “Twist and Shout” on the last night and had a few good jokes throughout the cruise, but it felt like he was more of a DJ host—merely announcing the activities and acts—rather than someone who could energize the crowd and really get into things.

After the show we went to Portofino for dinner.

View of the centrum on the way to dinner (came out a bit blurry but was too hungry to take another):



We had reservations in the specialty restaurants every night, since we wanted to hit both at least once and didn’t want to do the MDR for just one or two nights. Our waitress at Portofino was good, but the restaurant was pretty empty and we had no assistant waiter as we usually do. We’ve had intentionally slow service at Portofino in the past, so we told our waitress to course everything but not to wait unnecessarily in between courses. She got it perfect on this first night.

I got the risotto appetizer, DF got a soup, we split the fried zucchini and fritters appetizer, and each got a caesar salad. The zucchini appetizer was not as good as we remembered and the caesar salads were maybe a step above what they serve in the MDR. The risotto, however, was amazing.

For our entrees, I ordered the spiedino di mare and the T-bone steak. The spiedino di mare consists of salmon, shrimp, scallops, and one very small lobster tail served on a skewer. It is excellent if you like seafood.



DF got the lamb chops (very good) and a side of the pappardelle ai funghi, although her pasta came out a bit dry. For dessert, we split the tiramisu, which was very good.

My steak was underwhelming and overcooked. Our waitress said that there would be an extra $10 charge for the second entrée, which I said was okay. However, she didn’t end up charging for it—not sure if it was because I didn’t really eat my steak on account of it being overcooked or if she just forgot. Here is the steak:



We also ordered a wine of white zinfandel:



TIP: If you are a C&A member and are considering purchasing a bottle of wine that is also served by the glass, you are better off buying two individual glasses and using the buy-one-get-one-free coupons to turn two glasses into four. Those coupons are not valid on mixed or frozen drinks, so unless you put them to use on beer, this would be your best value. I, of course, didn’t think of doing this until the last night.

Overall, we definitely enjoyed this Portofino experience, although the food was not nearly as good as it was on Explorer last year.

We had sat down for dinner around 8:45 p.m. (when the show let out—late seating was pushed back fifteen minutes too) and finished just before 10:30 p.m. We stopped back at the room and picked up some “ammo” for use in the casino. The casino was very crowded, and only the $25 blackjack table had open seats. Craps was also packed, so I decided to sit down at three card poker. I lost the first few hands but then hit three kings (only my fourth-ever three-of-a-kind). I decided that I didn’t want to give the house back its money that night, so we cashed out and went back to the room.

We called it a night at around 11:00 p.m. (It was tiring laying in the sun, eating, and drinking all day.) We were exhausted, but it was a great first day aboard the beautiful Jewel of the Seas.

Day two to come tomorrow…
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Navigator of the Seas (August 2005)
Majesty of the Seas (December 2008)
Enchantment of the Seas (June 2009)
Liberty of the Seas (May 2010)
Majesty of the Seas (January 2011)
Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
Freedom of the Seas (August 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
Pride of America (July 2014)
Oasis of the Seas (February 2015)
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:53 AM
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Again, please feel free to post questions, comments, or feedback as the review progresses!
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Navigator of the Seas (August 2005)
Majesty of the Seas (December 2008)
Enchantment of the Seas (June 2009)
Liberty of the Seas (May 2010)
Majesty of the Seas (January 2011)
Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
Freedom of the Seas (August 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
Pride of America (July 2014)
Oasis of the Seas (February 2015)
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 03:07 AM
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Great review! We were on this cruise, too, and also had a super time.

Not sure if it explains things, but I'd read somewhere that Steve just came onto the ship in late November from Mariner, where he was the activities director. He seemed a little inexperienced, but I liked that he worked hard, was nice, and seemed to care about doing a good job.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the review!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 03:26 AM
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Default Aft cabin exhaust?

Looking forward to more installments. We did Radiance of the Seas back last march in Australia (around the bottom of Aus and the South Island of New Zealand), and we loved the ship. Interesting about the aft not getting a lot of breeze. We wondered if there was any exhaust smell that might linger in the aft area? Also did you find it a lot of walking to get places? I am not able to walk far due to health reasons, and therefor we are a bit wary of the distance issue.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 08:08 AM
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We've sailed the Jewel on 4 of the December cruises. Our first sailing had Dennis as the CD, then he went on vacation and Steve filled in. I can tell you Steve is much better than Dennis. Steve will be getting back off on January 5th and Dennis returning. I will miss that Michael Jackson Triller dance and pool volleyball-crew versus staff, and the tug o war by the pool.

How did you like the dining room food? I wasn't overly impressed with the new menu/taste. But I found the service to be excellent across the board.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 08:37 AM
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Default Thanks!

WE are leaving in 7 days on the Jewel. I love the pre-cruise teaser.

I noticed you went under the bridge at 6:45. Did you leave port at 4:30. I don't want to miss it.

Thanks!
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 09:26 AM
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Default one more?

Do you remember what time All-aboard was in Cozumel?
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mets550;

At 1:00 p.m. we went to check out our cabin. This was only our second-ever balcony and our first-ever aft. We were on deck ten and had heard great things about these aft balconies on Radiance-class ships. First of all, as everyone else on these boards has said, the balcony itself was HUGE. There were two lounge chairs, two regular chairs, and a small dining table out there, and we could have easily fit another two lounge chairs.



I thought I read a thread that Royal didn't allow loungers on balconies anymore. This is nice to know if they do. Did all of the Jewel afts have loungers?
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishgal432 View Post
Do you remember what time All-aboard was in Cozumel?

All aboard in Cozumel it at 5:30. We also change times on the ship. Prior to arrival in Cozumel they set the clocks back at 3:00 am to 2:00 am.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windjamming View Post
Great review! We were on this cruise, too, and also had a super time.

Not sure if it explains things, but I'd read somewhere that Steve just came onto the ship in late November from Mariner, where he was the activities director. He seemed a little inexperienced, but I liked that he worked hard, was nice, and seemed to care about doing a good job.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the review!
Steve definitely worked hard and was very nice. It wasn't even that we particularly disliked him; I just think we've had much better CDs before. However, if he first started two months ago, I suppose it takes some time to really get the hang of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjsmith63 View Post
We wondered if there was any exhaust smell that might linger in the aft area? Also did you find it a lot of walking to get places? I am not able to walk far due to health reasons, and therefor we are a bit wary of the distance issue.
There was no exhaust smell that we noticed. I did hear the scraping of chairs in the early morning coming from the WJ above, as others have noted. However, it didn't particularly bother me and never lasted long. We also didn't hear any conversations from the outdoor WJ seating directly above us. As for walking, it was a bit of a pain going back to the room everytime. Deck ten was close to the pool but not to anything else, and the hike from the elevator/stairs to the room was not insignificant. We're young and ate way too much (if you couldn't tell from our first night ), so the walking was a good thing. However, if health issues prevent you from walking far, you might want to consider a cabin closer to the hump.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ksuds View Post
How did you like the dining room food? I wasn't overly impressed with the new menu/taste. But I found the service to be excellent across the board.
We only ate dinner in the specialty restaurants, so we didn't get to try the new menus. We ate lunch in the MDR twice, but I believe the menus there are unchanged. Lunch was good--the salad bar was excellent (and too filling) as always. I didn't like the tomato risotto in the MDR but did enjoy the steak sandwich. My only complaint was that they didn't have cajun fries on either day we went, even though it is on the menu as coming with certain dishes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irishgal432 View Post
WE are leaving in 7 days on the Jewel. I love the pre-cruise teaser.

I noticed you went under the bridge at 6:45. Did you leave port at 4:30. I don't want to miss it.

Thanks!
Have a great time! Yes, we left port at around 4:30 p.m. and went under the bridge at approximately 6:45 p.m.


Quote:
Originally Posted by irishgal432 View Post
Do you remember what time All-aboard was in Cozumel?
All aboard was 5:30 p.m. in Cozumel and we set sail a few minutes before 6:00 p.m.
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Navigator of the Seas (August 2005)
Majesty of the Seas (December 2008)
Enchantment of the Seas (June 2009)
Liberty of the Seas (May 2010)
Majesty of the Seas (January 2011)
Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
Freedom of the Seas (August 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
Pride of America (July 2014)
Oasis of the Seas (February 2015)
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Want2Cruise 701 View Post
I thought I read a thread that Royal didn't allow loungers on balconies anymore. This is nice to know if they do. Did all of the Jewel afts have loungers?
I had seen that somewhere too (and even prepared DF for that possibility) but had also read that that wasn't true. I didn't notice what the other balconies had, although I think I probably would have noticed if they did not have loungers. Ours, of course, did have the loungers, and we definitely made good use of them.

I also noticed loungers on some of the suites on the starboard side of Liberty of the Seas, our neighbor in port in Cozumel.
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Navigator of the Seas (August 2005)
Majesty of the Seas (December 2008)
Enchantment of the Seas (June 2009)
Liberty of the Seas (May 2010)
Majesty of the Seas (January 2011)
Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
Freedom of the Seas (August 2013)
Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
Pride of America (July 2014)
Oasis of the Seas (February 2015)

Last edited by mets550; January 3rd, 2013 at 11:32 AM.
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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:47 PM
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Default Day two

DAY TWO
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2012
AT SEA

We woke up to a mostly cloudy morning and a bit on the cooler side, despite a high of 81 degrees. However, the sun was peaking through a little bit and would not stay hidden for the entire day.



The view is beautiful. I was actually surprised, however, that the wake was not longer.



Another shot of the room:



I got dressed and went upstairs at around 8:30 a.m. to reserve chairs. We then both went up to the pool deck and laid out for a little. However, the sun was nowhere to be seen and it even drizzled a bit in the morning. We alternated between the solarium (which has a heated pool) and the main pool deck based on how the weather was.

A quick note about the solarium: it is absolutely beautiful in there. We usually spend very little time in the solarium, even when it has an open roof (the roof never opened on Jewel—not sure if it even could), since we prefer the main pool deck atmosphere. Even on this cruise, we didn’t spend much time in the solarium. However, if you prefer peace and quiet and and an absence of children, this is definitely the place to be. The hot tub was not congested with small children, as were the two on the main pool deck. (I checked the pool rules, and it does not actually prohibit children from going into the hot tub. It just says that they must be supervised.) The heated pool was very nice, especially in the wintertime. And the solarium itself was climate-controlled; on the colder days it felt like it was heated and on the hotter days it felt like it was air-conditioned. The space itself is very well-appointed as well. Definitely a highlight of the ship, even though we didn’t spend more than an hour or two in here total.

At 12:00 p.m. we headed to the MDR for lunch. We first tried lunch in the MDR on Explorer last year and had great experiences. Thus, we were highly anticipating our two MDR lunches on this cruise. We got a table for two and went to the salad bar for the tutti salad. This really is excellent. They have more ingredients than most delis on land and everything is extremely fresh. They will also chop your salad for you, and you can put different proteins in as well. My salad was as follows: romaine lettuce, brussel sprouts, corn, olives, fresh mozzarella, grilled chicken, shrimp, croutons, and thousand island dressing. Delicious. For our entrees, DF got the pasta special, which had some sort of cream sauce on it; she enjoyed it. I got the steak sandwich, although I was disappointed that they did not have cajun fries (only regular fries) on this cruise. The sandwich also came with a small caesar salad, which was a bit unnecessary considering the massive salad bar. The steak sandwich itself, however, was good and also had BBQ sauce and bacon.

TIP: Get to the MDR as soon as it opens at noon, as the line starts to grow after that. Also, the salad bar line got long just minutes after we ordered, and we were seated and at the salad bar no later than 12:10 p.m.

We headed back to the pool and tried to soak up as much sun as it popped in and out from behind the clouds. At 1:15 p.m. was the bellyflop competition. It was entertaining—as always—although there were no really big men who volunteered. The biggest guy—and also the winner—was not even that big, but the bellyfops—even from the skinny guys—had pretty good form. At 2:00 p.m. I headed down to the casino to play in the blackjack tournament. It cost $20 and had a prize pool of around $450. This was based on the amount of entries; first, second, and third places were paid. There were five tables of seven players each, and the top seven overall (not necessarily from each table) advanced to the final table. My strategy was to bet all of my chips on the first hand and, if I won, coast into the final table. I got a 12 against a dealer 8 but then hit an 8 for a 20 and won the hand. I bet the minimum for the remaining six hands and watched as the dealer destroyed all of my tablemates. I advanced to the final table but did not end up placing. Still fun though, and DF came down to watch.

We then headed back to the pool deck, and the sun was out in full force. The problem, however, was that our chairs were in probably the worst spot for the sun. (And to think I picked these out all by myself in the morning!) The Jewel has one of the smallest main pool decks that I’ve seen, and there are not a lot of chairs that are directly in the sun the entire day. This is a problem on all ships when the ship and sun move, but only the first two rows of chairs on one side of the pool deck were in the sun at any given time. Not wanting to waste our first real sun of the day, I moved some chairs to the area in front of the band. (Don’t worry, other people were already here, so we weren’t obstructing anyone or anything.) What I failed to consider, however, is how loud it would be only fifteen feet from the band. (Vacation problems. ☺)

At 3:45 p.m. we watched “The Hunt,” a poolside scavenger hunt. This was a bit like Quest although PG-rated and without teams. It was a lot of fun though, and, since we were sitting right up front, we helped out with some of the items.

At around 5:00 p.m. we went back to the room and sat on the balcony for a bit.





We then went to get a cookie from Lattetudes and a drink and then headed back to the balcony. On the way, I noticed some of the beautiful artwork around the ship:

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  #17  
Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:48 PM
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Default Day two cont.

Maybe I just haven’t noticed it before, but the Jewel seemed to have some of the best artwork in the stairwells and all over.

I got ready first and while DF was getting ready, I headed to the casino and returned my winnings from the previous night. They had $6 blackjack, $5 three card, $5 roulette, and $5 craps. I played more craps than anything, although I don’t think I had a single winning session there. The dealers on this night, however, were very nice and were cheering me along. I really enjoy going to the casino before dinner, as it is much less crowded at that time. It also ensures that I only spend a limited amount of time there, as I know I must leave for a show, dinner, etc. at a certain time.

We then went to the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception in the Safari lounge. This is the lounge with self-leveling pool tables, which really are a sight to see. The reception was very nice; we grabbed a few free champagnes and listened to the band perform. The band in this lounge was an all-Asian group, and the female singer was absolutely unbelievable. When she was done, many people—myself included—gave her a standing ovation. There were also some cold orderves but no mini hot dogs or mini egg rolls. ☹

We then went to dinner at Chops Grille. Our waiter, Avinash, was excellent this night, and we gave him two of our four WOW cards. We were seated one table over from the captain, and—like a crazed-fan spotting a celebrity in public—I couldn’t help but snap a photo:



It looked like the captain’s family was aboard with him too.

We started off with bread, which I think is better in Portofino but very good in Chops as well.



Then we each got a caesar salad. I love how they cut it up in front of you—very “not so traditional.”



We each also got double shrimp cocktails. The shrimp is delicious in Chops—much larger, juicier, and fresher than in the MDR.

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  #18  
Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:49 PM
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Default Day two cont.



I guess we didn’t like it.



I also ordered the asian-inspired spicy tuna, which was probably my favorite dish of the entire cruise. If you like spicy tuna or just spicy food in general, then this is for you.



Avinash bent over backwards to ensure that we got everything we wanted and didn’t give us any trouble about ordering so many appetizers (which we finished).

DF got the petite filet, which was excellent and cooked to perfection.



She couldn’t quite cut it with her fork, but just pushing down ever-so-slightly with a knife was enough to cut the filet in half.



I got the porterhouse, which was much better than in Portofino and was very juicy. It was a bit overcooked, however.
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  #19  
Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:51 PM
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Default Day two cont.





They don’t have pasta on the menu in Chops, but they brought it out for DF anyway. We also got the broccolini, mashed potatoes, and sauteed asparagus.



For dessert, we ordered the crème brulee (which came out on fire!) and the chocolate mud pie. DF loved the crème brulee and I the chocolate mud pie. (The things I would do for one more bite! )



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Old January 3rd, 2013, 12:52 PM
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Default Day two cont.



Chops was a long meal—a bit over two hours. However, with all the food we ordered, this was to be expected. We didn’t make it to Battle of the Sexes at 10:15 p.m. and decided not to see the production show, West End to Broadway, at 10:45 p.m. (We’d seen it before and don’t particularly love the production shows anyway.) We finished our night in the casino and left an additional deposit there.

We had a friend waiting for us in our cabin:



Clocks were moved back one hour tonight, so we got an extra hour of sleep.

Overall, we had a great day onboard and anxiously looked forward to our day in Cozumel.

Day three later…
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Explorer of the Seas (December 2011)
Jewel of the Seas (December 2012)
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Enchantment of the Seas (February 2014)
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Oasis of the Seas (February 2015)
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