Jewel of the Seas - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Jewel of the Seas


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 380 out of 500

Accommodation: 141 out of 200

Food: 242 out of 400

Service: 279 out of 400

Entertainment: 74 out of 100

Cruise: 271 out of 400

Overall Score: 1387 out of 2000

Jewel of the Seas Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 90,090

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9228356

Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)

Original Cost: $350 million

Entered Service: Jun 2004

Registry: The Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 961.9/293.2

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 27.8/8.5

Propulsion/Propellers: gas turbine (39,000kW)/2 azimuthing pods

Passenger Decks: 12

Total Crew: 858

Passengers (lower beds): 2,110

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 42.9

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.4

Cabins (total): 1,055

Size Range (sq ft/m): 165.8-1,216.3/15.4-113.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 577

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 14

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 volts

Elevators: 9

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2

Hot Tubs (on deck): 3

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/40

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This is a large resort ship for family-friendly casual cruising

Overview. This ship is best suited to young-minded adult couples and singles, families with toddlers, tots, children, and teenagers who like to mingle in a large ship setting with plenty of city-like life and high-energy entertainment. The food is acceptable, stressing quantity rather than quality unless you pay extra to dine in the specialty restaurant.

The Ship. Jewel of the Seas is a streamlined, contemporary ship, with a two-deck-high wraparound structure (Viking Crown Lounge) in the forward section of the funnel. Along the starboard side, a central glass wall protrudes, giving great views - cabins with balconies occupy the space directly opposite on the port side. The gently rounded stern has nicely tiered decks, which gives the ship an extremely well-balanced look.

As aboard almost all new cruise ships today, the navigation bridge is of the fully enclosed type. In the very front of the ship is a helipad, which also acts as a viewing platform. Pod propulsion power is provided.

Inside, the decor is contemporary, yet elegant, bright and cheerful, designed for young, active types. The artwork is quite eclectic and provides a spectrum and a half of color works. The interior focal point is a nine-deck high atrium lobby with glass-walled elevators that travel through 12 decks, face the sea, and provide a link with nature and the ocean. The Centrum, as the atrium is called, has several public rooms connected to it: the guest relations and shore excursions desks, a lobby bar, Champagne bar, a small library, Royal Caribbean Online (an Internet center with 12 computers), a Concierge Club, and a Crown & Anchor Lounge. A great view can be had of the atrium by looking down through the flat glass dome high above it.

Other facilities include a large Schooner Bar that houses maritime art in an integral art gallery, and a rather large, noisy, and colorful Casino Royale. There’s also a small dedicated screening room for movies (with space for two wheelchairs), as well as a 194-seat conference center, and a business center.

This ship also contains a Viking Crown Lounge, a large structure set around the base of the ship’s funnel. It functions as an observation lounge during the daytime, with views forward over the swimming pool. In the evening, the space morphs into a high-energy dance club, as well as a more intimate and relaxed entertainment venue for softer mood music and ‘black box’ theater.

The very comfortable Jewel of the Seas offers more space, more comfortable public areas and several more intimate spaces, slightly larger cabins, and more dining options than most of the larger ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all bar and spa bills.

Niggles? There are no cushioned pads for sunloungers, and the deck towels are quite thin and small. It is virtually impossible to escape background music anywhere (it’s even played in the hallway outside your cabin).

Families. Youth facilities include Adventure Ocean (it’s on Deck 12), an ‘edutainment’ area with four separate age-appropriate sections for junior passengers: Aquanaut Center (for ages 3-5); Explorer Center (6-8); Voyager Center (9-12); and the Optix Teen Center (13-17). There is also Adventure Beach, with splash pool and water slide; Surfside, with computer lab stations with entertaining software; and Ocean Arcade, a video games hangout.

Accommodation. There’s a wide range of suites and standard outside-view and interior cabins to suit different tastes, requirements, and depth of wallet, in 10 different categories and numerous price groups. There are 14 wheelchair-accessible cabins, eight of which have a private balcony.

Apart from the largest suites (six Owner’s Suites), which have king-size beds, almost all other cabins have twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed. All cabins have rich but faux wood cabinetry, including a vanity desk with hairdryer, faux wood drawers that close silently (hooray), television, personal safe, and three-sided mirrors. Some cabins have ceiling-recessed, pull-down third and fourth berths, although closet and drawer space would be extremely tight. Some cabins have interconnecting doors, allowing families with children to cruise together in adjacent cabins. Audio channels are available through the TV set, so you can’t switch off its picture while listening. Data ports are provided in all cabins.

Many ‘private’ balcony cabins aren’t very private, as they can be overlooked by anyone standing in the port and starboard wings of the Solarium, and from other locations.

Most cabin bathrooms have tiled accenting and a terrazzo-style tiled floor, and a shower enclosure in a half-moon shape (it is rather small, however, considering the size of some passengers), Egyptian cotton towels, a small cabinet for toiletries and a small shelf. There is little space to stow toiletries for two or more.

The largest accommodation consists of a family suite with two bedrooms. One bedroom has twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed, while a second has two lower beds and two upper Pullman berths, a combination that can sleep up to eight persons - this would be suitable for large families.

Occupants of accommodation designated as suites also get the use of a private Concierge Lounge where priority dining room reservations, shore excursion bookings, and beauty salon/spa appointments can be made.

Dining. Tides - the main dining room - spans two decks; the upper deck level has floor-to-ceiling windows, while the lower deck level has picture windows. It is a fine, but inevitably noisy dining hall and eight huge, thick pillars obstruct the sight lines. It seats 1,222, and the decor has a cascading water theme. There are tables for two to 10, in two seatings for dinner. Two small private dining rooms (Illusions and Mirage) are located off the main dining room. There is an adequate wine list, with moderate prices.

Other dining options. Extra cost venues include Portofino, with 112 seats, offers Italian cuisine, and Chops Grille Steakhouse, with 95 seats and an open ‘show’ kitchen, serves premium meats in the form of chops and steaks. Both have food that is of a better quality than in the main dining room and are typically open 6-11pm. There is a cover charge, and reservations are required.

Casual breakfasts, lunches, and dinners can be taken in the self-serve, buffet-style Windjammer Café, which can be accessed directly from the pool deck. It has about 400 seats, and ‘islands’ for specific food types, and indoor and outdoor seating. Additionally, there is Seaview Café, open for lunch and dinner. You can choose from the self-serve buffet, or from the menu for casual, fast-food seafood items including fish sandwiches, fish ’n’ chips, as well as non-seafood items such as hamburgers and hot dogs.

Entertainment. Facilities include the three-level Coral Theater, the ship’s large showlounge, with 874 seats, including 24 wheelchair stations. The sight lines are good from most seats due to steep tiers. A second entertainment venue is the Safari Club, which hosts cabaret shows, late-night adult comedy, and dancing to live music. All the ship’s entertainment is upbeat - so much so that it’s virtually impossible to get away from music and noise.

Spa/Fitness. The Day Spa health and fitness facilities have themed decor, and include a 10,176-sq-ft (945-sq-m) solarium with whirlpool and counter current swimming under a retractable glass roof, a gymnasium with many cardiovascular machines, a 50-person aerobics room, sauna and steam rooms, and private massage/body treatment rooms. The facility is staffed and operated by Steiner Leisure.

For the sports-oriented, there are activities galore - including a 30ft (9m) -high rock-climbing wall with five separate climbing tracks. It’s free, and all safety gear is included, but you’ll need to sign up.

Other sports facilities include a nine-hole miniature golf course, and an indoor/outdoor country club with computer-controlled golf simulator, a jogging track, and basketball court. Want to play pool? You can, thanks to two special tables whose gyroscopic technology adjusts to the movement of the ship.