Royal Caribbean International is the big sister brand to our cruise line of choice all these years – Celebrity Cruises. RCI has always had the reputation for big ships, big features, big family fun. As early the 1980s they were building and sailing the largest ships at sea.
At the start of the 21st century, RCI carried on – constructing some 140,000 ton behemoths. Then for a time they stepped back and built 4 90,000-ton ships. I believe their reasoning was to have some more ships in the fleet that could go through the old Panama Canal locks, plus sail in cooler waters.
Jewel of the Seas was one of the 4 constructed at that time. In size, she’s very similar to the Celebrity M-class. In one way this meant that the Jewel constituted a nice introduction to RCI for a Celebrity cruiser. On the other hand, it made comparison and contrast quite easy. My first few hours aboard seemed like a strange dream where I was sailing on Celebrity Constellation – but was not.
RCI has an unusual way of numbering its cabins, too. On Celebrity one side of the ship has odd numbered cabins and the opposite side has even numbered. On RCI the outside cabins are even numbered and the interior cabins are odd numbered. You can walk a long way trying to find your stateroom. Trust me.
That said, Jewel is a fine ship – lots of glass to let in the light, plenty of wood paneling, and a real nautical feel to it.
It’s a Meyer Werft built ship like the Celebrity Solstice class, so it has a nice central atrium that goes up 9 decks.
No tree in the center, but a nifty metal sculpture accessorizes things.
The Solarium has a Siamese vibe going for it.
There are plenty of deck chairs for sea breezes on sunny days.
There is a big screen near the pool for movies every night. It wasn’t as popular on this cruise because the ocean crossings tend to be cooler in the evening.
Another shot of the poolside theater.
Our cabins were adjoining with a communicating doorway – cozy but well appointed. On grandkid slept above us, and the blue sofa pulled out to accommodate another one.
The big bed was a handy spot to work on your school Powerpoint presentation for when you got back. Our cabin attendant Igusti was great at making towel sculptures too!
Although the Jewel lacked some of the “gee whiz” features of the RCI giants – like surfing simulators, zip lines, and ice skating rinks, there was plenty to keep the kids busy such as a swimming/wading pool.
Mini-golf. Nonna loved this too.
A water slide exclusively for the younger set..
And the rock climbing wall – available on every RCI ship. Veronica turned out to be a demon climber – hard working and persistent until she got to the top.
Everyone in the MacDonald – McLean extended family enjoyed the Jewel. So much so that RCI will definitely be part of future cruise plans. The McLeans want to look into the Oasis class – biggest cruise. ships ever built. Grandpa and Nonna will likely investigate another one of the smaller ones because they like the service and the relaxed vibe of a ship like Jewel of the Seas.
Unfortunately, Jewel of the Seas has made her last Transatlantic cruise for a while. She’ll be based in Dubai next winter. Oh well.