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tcmagnum

Jewel of the Seas - Review Greek Cruise 6-23 to 6-30.

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My sister, cousin and sister in law & I (ages 44 to 50) had been planning this trip for 2 years since our last trip to Europe in 2017 – Venice and 9 day Mediterranean cruise.  We left home on Sunday 6-16.  We did 2.5 days in Paris.  Short flight to Rome.  Spent 4.5 days in Rome.  Then cruise.

Getting from Rome to the port was a pain.  We took the train.  Then got turned around walking to the staging area.  Once we found the staging area...Stand in the hot sun without any shade and wait for the 1 bus to transport people to the ship area.  People were starting to overheat and get pissed (I was one of them).  Finally a second bus showed up.  We ended standing out in the sun 45 minutes.  Once to the 'sign in' area - it went very smoothly.  Maybe a total of 15 minutes of turning in suitcases/checking in before we walked on board.

 

Lunch in the Windjammer Café.  As expected for the first day, people were rude and pushy.  So we got our food and went outside to enjoy the shade/cool breeze.  This was the only day that I felt pushed or rushed in Windjammer.  For the most part, I thought the food was very fresh and tasty.  Always a huge selection.  We usually ate breakfast and lunch at Windjammer - dinners in main dinning room (my time dining).  On the Jewel go to the back of the ship on the 11th floor.  Great area outside, but covered to eat or just relax!!

 

Rooms… We had 2 connecting ocean view rooms on the 3rd floor.  Nice size round window - actually very nice.  We were able to upgrade for only $10 person to the ocean view when we booked.  I loved having a window!! Rooms were open 45 minutes early.  Yay!!  But our bags didn't show up until after 4 (but before 5:30).  Room 3622 and 3620... Bathrooms were small, but we had plenty of room for all of our stuff.  I felt the shower was decent size - I was able to shave my legs in the shower.  As I stated before I love the window in our room.  The window had a nice shelf (sunken down a little) between the bed and window.  I put a lot of my loose stuff in there.  It kept my side of the room organized.  The vanity had 2 mirrored doors that held space to store more items.  above the tv was the safe (decent size) and 2 more shelves above it.  Mini frig below tv.  Love seat with table (table in the way).  Connecting rooms made it seem even bigger.  Our room attendant was AMAZING!!!  Jonus had the most amazing smile.  Always had us wine glasses and fresh ice in the room (twice a day).

 

The workers checking us in at arrival didn't pay attention to how many wine bottles we had with us. So at embarkment we got 8 bottles of wine for the 4 of us (two rooms). This continued with each port. By the end of the cruise we had brought on 21 bottles of wine (for 4 people in two rooms). 10 of the bottles made it back to the states - but the other 11 bottles?? Mmm...Wonder what happened to them.

 

Sea Day…The pool area was nice.  We didn't see much of the chair hogs or really the need for it until the last day of the cruise - second sea day.  The first day of cruise and the second were just wonderful.  Nice activities by the pool.  Only complaint about the pool activities was when the band was playing by the pool.  Way too loud.  The statue in the pool area could use a cleaning. Definitely watch your account with the towels.  You have to sign the towels in and out with your sea card.  They do and will mess things up, but if you ask them nicely/politely the workers will correct your account right then and there without having to go to customer service!!

 

On first night, we opened a few bottles of wine and had a few drinks with dinner.  Our waiter was Dezley and Assistant waiter was Iaryna.  Loved them both!!  It took him a day or two to warm up to us, but once he did we had a blast.  Iaryna was great.  Her smile was so contagious.  She is going for waiter next, so hoping she will get the promotion!!  Karaoke was next in the Safari bar.  Had a blast!!  The Safari Bar is a hidden gem.  Find it and use it!!  We then decided to go to the disco at Vortex!!  Such a great time once it started – ran a little behind.

 

Santorini…  First port and that was a major screw up.  Ship was late anchoring.  It was then late getting cleared by Santorini - about an hour!!  Tenders took forever.  We didn't get off the ship until after 3:30 with ship scheduled to arrive at 1:00.  We opted to walk up the donkey hill.  One in our group was terrified of the cable cars.  Another was already sick to her stomach.  The walk was a long hard hot walk.  But we did it!!  Got to the winery and had a blast at our wine tasting!!!  Santo Winery.  Had time to walk around and do a little shopping before hiking back down the donkey hill.   I never saw anyone get hurt walking up or down the hill.  It was in the sun, so it was hot.  Bring water.  To be honest it was a great experience doing the walk.  I would do it again!!!

 

Mykonos…Easy as heck.  We took a taxi to the beach to the left of where the ship docked.  Really silly of us since it was only a 10 minute walk.  Lol…Very nice beach.  2 sunbeds with umbrella was only 20 Euros.  I was happy with that price.  The people working there didn’t attack us.  Just told us to pay before we leave.  They offered bar service and food delivered to our sunbeds.  Nice clean beach  Cold water.  Started to get windier and windier so after a few hours we walked back to the ship.  Heather/Kelly headed to the adult pool to read (nap).  Suzy/I grabbed the sea taxi to the town center.  We walked around the narrow ‘streets’ (cars not allowed).  We finally found the famous wind mills.  It was so damn windy at this time.  We walked around.  Took tons of pictures.  Got to see ‘Little Venice’.  Then back to ship for me.  Suzy went for a run (crazy girl). 

 

Athens…We had a guide booked for the main sights in Athens – Acropolis.  Parthenon.  We found a taxi easily and it was a set rate to city center.  It was great.  No hassle.  We got to the meeting area early and found our guide.  Heading into the area.  Wow…I’m not good with the names of the sights I saw, but wow.  Very worth it.  Take water!!!  Out in the hot sun with thousands of your not so friendly neighbors.  The guide gave us some interesting information.  She was good on finding shade areas to stop and talk about what we were seeing.  Then we aimed for the top.  And really, if the ruins don’t impress you then…It was huge and impressive.  After a 2.5/3 hours tour – we went our own way.  Heather/Kelly heading down the hill the eat and shop in the Plaka neighborhood.  Suzy/I went to the Acropolis Museum.  It was very impressive to read about what you were seeing.  And the view of the Parthenon/Acropolis from the top floor (floor to ceiling window) was very cool… After a few hours, Heather/Kelly texted us we had to eat at this one place.  We help from a picture they sent we found the restaurant and damn it was so good.  First they gave us shots of Raki to start our lunch – FREE.  Then Suzy got the pork Gyros.  I got the chicken Gyros.  I’m drooling thinking of this right now.  Lunch here ruined the lunch I usually get at the state fair – ugh.  Then they brought us a chocolate desert (mmm mmm) and shots of Mastika – both FREE.  Very nice way to end our lunch in Athens.  The other gals had went back to the ship.  Suzy/I walked around for another few hours.  Looking at stores and sights.  Suzy flagged down a taxi and off we went to the ship.  Pool time for all of us!!

 

Chocolate Buffet…No advertisement.  No warning.  Heather/Suzy found it and got ahold of Kelly/I and we hit it.  It was so good!!!  Sucks we only found it with 15 left before they took it down.  But what we got – WOW!!!

 

Olympia (Katakolon)…We had a private driver booked to take us from the tiny port of Katakolon to see Olympia and then a winery.  We found him and the owner of the company pretty easily.  George wouldn’t let us in the van until the air cooled it off – great start.  We were suppose to be in a sudan, but they upgraded us for free to the van.  The drive to Olympia took about 40-50 minutes.  Enough time for us to decide we like George!!  He had us laughing in no time.  Olympia is next to a small town were we would meet up with George when we were finished.  I think the ruins at Olympia were the most impressive of all the ruins we saw.  Only about 50% of the ruins were marked off so you couldn’t walk amid them, only around them.  But the other 50% were wide open.  You could get as close as you want to the ruins.  It was so just humbling to realize we were walking on the spot were the first Olympics were head.  Pretty damn cool.  Again we split up into 2 groups.  The other gals finished pretty fast.  Suzy/I took about 2 hours to see the ruins and the museum next to the ruins.  We then met up and headed to the winery.  Very pretty.  Family ran winery.  We got a short tour and then the fun started.  They served us a small plate of cheese/meets/bread.  Very good.  Then the wine started.  I couldn’t even tell you how many tasting – 5 or 6 or 7?  We were pretty hungry to we ordered more bread.  And each of us ordered another full glass of the wine we liked the best (3 euros a glass).  This is where I bought my bottle of wine that I brought home.  Poor George – He had to drive 4 tipsy females back to the port.  Lol…At port we had time to walk around and shop a little before back on ship.

 

Sea day…Our last full day on the ship is a sea day.  Thank goodness!!  We were up early and at the pool.  Good thing – The pool chair hogs were out in force.  We took turns going and eating and getting drinks.  We had a wine tasting on ship on this sea day.  Our table mates started off quiet, but we ended up being the last ones in the room at the end just talking.  They gave us a plate of cheese/grapes for the wine tasting.  There was 5 tastings.  To be honest none of the wine was my favorite, but I drank all of it.  Relaxed and finished packing till our last dinner.  After dinner we hit the karaoke in the Safari Lounge.  It got going pretty fast and could have lasted 3 or more hours, but they called it after an hour because of the battle of the sexes that was next.  The battle of the sexes was so damn funny.  A lady had her young daughter there (10-12 years old) but they left pretty fast.  Good thing.  It got pretty risqué pretty fast.  Lol.  And of course – the Ladies ran every challenge.  Guys weren’t even close.  Lol.  Went up to Windjammer as was our tradition to check out the deserts.  Not impressed so we all got more ice cream!!

 

Rome – Disembarkment…We did self disembarkment like we always do.  We got in line around 6:30 and what off ship at 6:45 (right on schedule).  At the last minute we reserved a private car to take us to the airport.  We had no desire to fight the train.   We were off the ship and in parking lot by 6:50 with the car reserved for 7:00.  Driver got there at 6:55.  Not bad at all.  Nice drive to airport.  Got through check in and security with no issues.  Kelly/Suzy/I flight was delayed 15 minutes.  Didn’t matter to us as we had a 4+ hour lay over in Philly.  Heather’s flight was delayed over an hour – big issue for connecting flight.  Our gates were right to each other so that was nice.  Got on the plane with no issues.  I ended up with a nice seat mate.  Kelly/Suzy sat behind me.  Dinner was very good.  Always get the pasta on American Airlines.  2 glasses of white wine with dinner.  Good movies.  Long flight.  First time ever…My lower legs/ankles/feet swelled up.  So uncomfortable.  Of course we made our connecting flight with no issues.  The long travel day was starting to catch up with us.  We were getting slap happy.  Travel pillow went on the second I sat down on plane and to sleep I went.  Got to Louisville at 11:00pm.  Home by 12:00.  Heather on the other hand…Lets just say karma is a bitchy.  She had been bragging that she would be home in bed way before us.  And she would have if not for her delays in Rome!!  She missed her connecting flight, but they rebooked her before she landed.  But even with my 40 minute drive home from airport, I was in bed before she was.  Karma…Lol…

Odds/Ends…

 

* Crew… I thought the crew (for the most part) were very friendly and helpful.  Always smiling and asking how you were doing.                                                                                                                 * Cleanliness….Overall the ship was pretty clean.  Only real issue I ever noticed was in the pool around the filter and the feet of the statue were disgusting.                                                                                                                                 

* Cruise activities director…We didn’t see this guy until the second to last day when we went to a show in the theatre.  But the other cruise activity crew more than made up for that.  They were amazing!!                                           

* Show is theatre…Hate to say it but one of the worse shows I’ve ever seen.  We usually love going to the shows... Just sad.                                                                                                                     * Casino…We are not smokers and the smell of smoke will get my asthma going.  But I’m happy to say, if you stay in the non- smoking section of casino – you won’t have any issue.  Yay!!  But…After the first night when my sister and I both won on the game king machines…me on video poker $65 up in 40 minutes.  The next 4 nights they were “resetting” most of the machines.  Very frustrating.  No information on when/if they would get done.  So boo on Royal Caribbean on the casino.                                                                                                                           * Announcements…Any time any announcements were being made, you had to go out in hallway to hear them.  And if you were by the pool – forget about hearing anything.  The captain on our cruise made some interesting announcements about were we were and what we would be seeing shortly – Stomboli Volcano.                                                                                                         * Bar Service…We didn’t use the bar at all.  We drank wine from our room.  So no opinion on this.                                                                                                                                                                     * Wi-Fi on board…I have Tmobile phone service in the states.  For free in France, Italy, and Greece I got FREE unlimited text and data with .20 minute phone calls (all included in the plan I already had).  So while we were at any port (or close to shore) I was able to have free text and data.  On sea days – nothing, but no issues.  This perk from Tmobile was great…one was able to facetime their kids/husband for free, one was able to text hubby for free, another was able to use facebook to messenger her guy, and I was able to text my hubby and parents.  I also talked to my hubby a few times.  We were also able to do a closed group for family/friends on facebook to keep everyone up to day.

 

Would we cruise on this ship again?  Maybe.  We usually pick our ships on the itinerary more than picking a ship.  And we are looking at doing a 2 week driving tour of Germany/Switzerland in a few years for our next trip – so no cruise.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for your detailed review.  Sailing on the Jewel Holy Land Cruise in November 2020

and I appreciated reading your review.

 

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Thanks for providing thi review. We are on the Jewel for the 9/1 sailing. Can you provide some more details:

 

- What tour company/driver did you book for your tour in Olympia? What winery did you go to?

- What was the restaurant that you went to in Athens? What tour company/driver did you use for your tour of Athens?

- How long did it take you to walk down the stairs in Santorini to the ship?

 

Thanks for any additional tips you can provide.

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5 hours ago, ElmwoodPark said:

Thanks for providing thi review. We are on the Jewel for the 9/1 sailing. Can you provide some more details:

 

- What tour company/driver did you book for your tour in Olympia? What winery did you go to?

Just as an alternative there are coach companies waiting right outside the Dock gates offering transport to Olympia for just a few euros. Can't remember exactly how much but much cheaper than the ship transport only. The tour guide gave a running commentary on the trip out on the area and the games. Once there you buy your tickets into the ruins which include the, museum at the ticket office, no queues. Just be warned they left very promptly. We almost left three people behind. 

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I boarded in Rome 6/30 and they were really hot on the wine... our carry on bag with the 2 permitted bottles got referred to the Naughty Table!!!  

 

The new new terminal is very impressive and the boarding was quick. 

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YAY! Thanks for your review, I'm doing this cruise in 2 years and can't wait!!

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3 hours ago, little britain said:

I boarded in Rome 6/30 and they were really hot on the wine... our carry on bag with the 2 permitted bottles got referred to the Naughty Table!!!  

 

The new new terminal is very impressive and the boarding was quick. 

Good to hear about the new terminal, thanks.  If I carry on a 12-pack of caffeine-free soda, will that be okay still?

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3 minutes ago, DrivesLikeMario said:

Good to hear about the new terminal, thanks.  If I carry on a 12-pack of caffeine-free soda, will that be okay still?

 

Should be OK if you are carrying it on at initial embarkation.

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5 hours ago, little britain said:

I boarded in Rome 6/30 and they were really hot on the wine... our carry on bag with the 2 permitted bottles got referred to the Naughty Table!!!  

 

The new new terminal is very impressive and the boarding was quick. 

We were very surprised about our wine. We were ready and willing for the extra wine to be stored for us and returned on the last night.  But guess we got lucky...

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57 minutes ago, tcmagnum said:

We were very surprised about our wine. We were ready and willing for the extra wine to be stored for us and returned on the last night.  But guess we got lucky...

You must have!! They had the Naughty Table loaded at Palma today too 

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Do you remember what the name of the great restaurant you ate at in Athens was? Was it in the Plaka neighborhood?

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1 hour ago, notladjr said:

Do you remember what the name of the great restaurant you ate at in Athens was? Was it in the Plaka neighborhood?

Elaea.   See picture!!

Yes in Plaka.

IMG_8429.JPG

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On 7/3/2019 at 10:26 AM, ElmwoodPark said:

Thanks for providing thi review. We are on the Jewel for the 9/1 sailing. Can you provide some more details:

 

- What tour company/driver did you book for your tour in Olympia? What winery did you go to?

- What was the restaurant that you went to in Athens? What tour company/driver did you use for your tour of Athens?

- How long did it take you to walk down the stairs in Santorini to the ship?

 

Thanks for any additional tips you can provide.

1-  Tour company in Olympia?  I'll try to find that info..

2-  Winery in Olympia?  See picture...Olympia Land Estate. 

3-  Elaea. See next picture. 

4-  Tour company.  I'll have to look that up. 

5-  The walk up donkey stairs in Santorini took right at 50 minutes to an hour. 

6-  The walk down the donkey stairs took about 30 or so minutes. A lot easier. 

IMG_8430.JPG

IMG_8429.JPG

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Hi really great review.... really useful and appreciated it as we are going on the same cruise in August - so looking forward to trying Jewel.  

 

is is there any chance you can post the cruise compasses for each day please?

 

cheers

 

roger

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