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claroquesi

Jewel 7/9 review

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On July 9th we arrived at Barcelona airport. We went to our baggage claim area. We were met by Representatives, who collected our things, and told us to meet the woman outside the baggage claim area for our transfers. After about 10 minutes we boarded our bus and were off to port. When we arrived at about 1:00, we breezed through check-in. DH felt it was the smoothest embarkation he has ever had with a cruise line:). We then went to our room; we were told it wasn’t yet ready, so we went to lunch. We had pizza, it wasn’t as good as pizza we had on other lines, and we rarely had it on subsequent days. We then explored the ship a little and went to our room.

We chose a balcony cabin and were on the 9th floor. The room was clean and attractive. It is a smaller room, than we are used to on cruise lines, but the bathroom was the cleanest and most attractive we have seen on ANY line. The faux teak teal walls and tiles are very nice looking, the shower had great water pressure and was placed high on the wall. For us, that is a plus, as DH is tall, and often has to contort himself to rinse the shampoo out of his hair.;) The shower was large by cruise standards and had a sliding glass door to separate it from the rest of the bathroom. The room has several lighting options, and sufficient storage space for belongings. There is a small couch/bed, coffee table, desk, and TV. There was a fridge with a stocked mini bar. I would get that emptied to chill my water/soda etc.

DH had a nap (jet lag) and I explored the ship. There were relatively few people on, though it was nearly 3:00. I went to deck 12, saw the spa facilities although never used them. I did not use the gym this cruise, however the facilities were nice, the machines new, and most came with an individualized television sets to watch with your workout. The library was stocked with books and even has a book exchange. There are two pool bars, one on the pool deck and one on the sundeck above each with it’s own grille. And two pools, one with a waterslide, and another for adults. The deck is very bright and has a Caribbean feel, which is slightly incongruent with being in Barcelona, but not inappropriate to a cruise vacation feel. The buffet is also on this deck.

I returned to the room and waited for our bags to arrive, they did about 4 hours after check-in. We then changed for muster drill. We mustered in a common lounge; the drill was in English first then in Spanish and German. Have patience; it’s a long one. They take attendance using your cabin number on your life vest; you have to be there.

After muster we went to our CC get together. We decided Marti gras beads would be a good identifier. We were wrong; they were given as favors for the sail away party. In spite of this we managed to get together and meet some great people.:DAfter the get together, we were pretty knackered, we then went to get dinner and go to sleep.

We tried to go to Tango’s, which was “full”, but not full. We tried to get the staff to explain to us how dining is “freestyle” if you have to strategically plan where every meal will be had, and at what time? Must be a language issue, because none ever came clean on that one!:confused: We gave up on food and went back to the room where we discovered little tiny fruit files had taken residence on our ceiling (20 or so). :eek:DH took care of it, and we had no problem with this for the rest of the cruise. We went to sleep and decided to try to tackle the ideas of “Freestyle” cruising tomorrow!

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Enjoying your review so far. Others have also said the same about Tango's being full but not.

 

This seems to be the norm on the ships. It was like that on the Dawn but I understand it and didn't mind it since I used to be a waitress/hostess (you name it). They most likely do not have enough waiters staffed to have every table full all night so they cut off how many people sit in areas so that the number of tables is manageable for the waiters. I guess to alleivate the quizzical looks on cruisers faces and some of the not-so-nice responses the host/hostesses must get about this, they should make the restaurants a size that is manageable for the staff so they can fully seat it and then cruisers wouldn't have to wonder why they aren't seating people but have many open tables. Of course, the downside to this idea would then be that cruisers would complain the restaurants aren't big enough because they're always full! LOL...

 

If this post is just for day one, I know I need to set aside time to read about all the other days!!! :) Looking forward to the rest!

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With 10 restaurants it would almost be impossible to keep enough crew to man all of them, all the time. I guess to keep people from griping they could build the smaller then they would be full so no one would have to ask why? NMNita

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When we woke up on day two, we felt ready to take on the world, or maybe just breakfast. We did so in the Garden café. I had eggs and bacon, my breakfast of champions, I was pleased to find breakfast came with a selection of juices, most lines do not include this. The eggs were O.K., the bacon was great, I like it well done and it was consistently crispy every day I ate breakfast. DH had the freshly made waffles from the waffle bar. He felt that they were very good, but time your eating accordingly, as they are freshly made and there can be a wait. We ate poolside, a nice view, but anytime you leave the buffet area in the morning, make sure you have salt and pepper (ketchup, butter, creamer etc.) These are not on the tables.

After breakfast we made a few reservations for specialty restaurants and got changed for the pool. The first day was a sea day. The pool area has plenty of towels and they are located at several spots on many decks. The sea day around the pool is always a zoo ;)and we know this, however while there is a no-saving 30- min limit on the chairs, we did not see this enforced. There are also only a few shady spots, the space under the deck is all tables and chairs. We sat on the sun deck above the pool and watched the people. After a while, we had lunch at the grille, which has hamburgers, hot dogs, and the like. This proved to be the most consistent dining venue of the trip.:cool:

Against our mother’s advice, after eating we went for a swim in the pool. The adult pool NEVER had children in it. Not because of any kind of enforcement, but because all the children were so fixated on the water slide they wanted nothing to do with the adult pool. It was luxurious to have the only splashing in the pool be from the waterfall. The pool is saltwater, and deeper than the signs say it is. The pool band played a selection of Caribbean :confused:music during our swim, for some reason. I overheard several people complain that the music did not fit the location.

Sunned out, we headed to the art auction, we had to register for a paddle, to get our free glasses of “champagne”. We did so, but the auction was starting late, so we had to return the paddle and head to our favorite on ship activity, the trivia.

We arrived at Maltings, the beer/whiskey bar. They have an impressive selection of beers and this was by far our favorite bar on the ship. At first, I tried some light beer on tap at the bar. The lines for the tap beer are messed up though. It took me about two days to decide this as I realized that Miller Lite should not taste like Stella Atrois. Thankfully the Bass, while a slow pour due to air in the lines, tasted right. They had a good selection of bottled beers too, and in keeping with the oddly Caribbean theme, they had Banks beer (Barbados), which you cannot buy in the States. We enjoyed our beer and were soundly beaten at trivia.:o

As that evening was formal night, we decided to dine in the Azure dining room. We were seated promptly. The menu does not have an extensive selection, nor does it encourage you to have multiple courses like other lines. There is a selection of a hot appetizer, salad, some soups and that is about it. I had clam chowder; it had peppers and one LARGE piece of clam in it. It was interesting, flavorful, but not the best I`ve ever had. DH started with cold crab salad. He thought it was O.K. I had Wellington, a little overdone, but a favorite of mine. DH had sole, light and flaky. Dessert was excellent, crème brulee and crepes suzette. After dinner, we had a nightcap went to the casino, then off to bed. We were greeted in our cabin by an elephant made out of towels, with bedtime mints for eyes! It was very cute and a nice way to end the day.:)

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Would you say that the majority of the people dressed up for formal night? Were there photographers available to take pictures? If so, do you remember how expensive they were? My husband and I are sailing on the Jewel 8/6. I have never cruised and was wondering about the formal night since it is freestyle. Thanks so much for the great review!

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Would you say that the majority of the people dressed up for formal night? Were there photographers available to take pictures? If so, do you remember how expensive they were? My husband and I are sailing on the Jewel 8/6. I have never cruised and was wondering about the formal night since it is freestyle. Thanks so much for the great review!

 

We have also just got back from Jewel 7/9. There were very few formal dressers and we decided not to take any formal stuff on this cruise. That proved to be the right decision although we noticed on one night in the Azura Restaurant that the no shorts rule appeared to be ignored (or not enforced!).

You cannot fail to have your photograph taken whenever you want to the photographers were always on hand. They were about $14 as far as I recall.

I would advise booking early for the speciality restaurants the day after you arrive otherwise you get the least popular times i.e. 5.30 or 10.00.

Our favourites were Mamas kitchen - no surcharge and Teppanyaki if you enjoy being entertained by the chefs as well as eating excellent food. We tried all except Tangos and Cagneys and the food was very good.

The main restaurants were a little disappointing with the lack of choice and imagination. I had English style fish and chips one day with soggy batter and "french fries". Certainly breached the Trade Discriptions Act!:eek:

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Day three Messina

 

Today we got up early and watched the boat pull into the port of Messina. I could not believe how close Italy is to Sicily. Dolphins played off our starboard side as we got our first glimpse of Italy in the early morning light. It was enchanting! The harbor, in fact the sea, the entire time we were on board was like a lake. Today wasn’t a big day for us as we planned no shore excursions. We wanted to gear up for our next three big travel days. We went to morning trivia, but none was there. So we headed to Messina. In Messina we walked around a little and poked our heads in some shops. We didn’t find a lot to do, so we had some gelato :p(yummy) and headed back on board.

After some pool time, we headed to trivia (lost again) then to change for dinner. That day we ate at Cagney`s steakhouse. Both DH and I had the crab cakes and the filet. They were excellent. :DThe potatoes that came with the steak were a little gummy, like they’d been sitting out, but hey, overall it was great! For dessert we had the flourless chocolate dessert, very rich.

After dinner when it was getting dark we were treated to one of the most fantastic things I have ever seen. The volcano on the island of Stromboli shooting lava into the night air as we glided along beside her. I`ve never seen anything like it, it was truly breathtaking.:D

 

After the natural fireworks display, we went to watch karaoke in the Fizz lounge, this is very cool lounge with modern décor. This is where karaoke and multimedia games are played each day. In this lounge we had the best service on the trip. Karaoke was a blast, old and very young alike were singing on the stage in the front, while the words and some strange and incongruent video footage plays on several large screens around you. It was a blast. And very popular!

We stayed until about midnight, the line for us between people and pumpkins. We returned to our cabin only to be greeted by a goat made from towels! What a staff! Time to get some rest though, next stop, Napoli.

 

Thank you all for reading my review or as DH calls it my opus. And thank those of you who have fielded questions for me on this thread.;)

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My wake up call sounded bright and early today as we headed off for our excursion to Pompeii. We skipped breakfast today, but did stop off to fill our water bottles in anticipation of a long hot morning. We went to the Stardust lounge and waited for our tour to be called. When it was, we left the theater, received our stickers, and disembarked the ship.

The port terminal in Naples is desolate; there are some shops in it however, to buy trinkets, t-shirts etc. We boarded a bus to Pompeii. The bus was a little cramped but the excitement of the drive made you forget about the state of your knees. I`m not one to go in for stereotypes as a rule but, I`ve never seen such aggressive driving as I did on Italian highways! :eek: The scenery was first rate though, a welcome distraction, driving through cut lava fields was a treat, and the mountainous background was breathtaking.

First stop on our excursion was the Cameo Factory. I didn`t know we would be stopping there, but was pleased that we would. There was a large selection of cameos available for purchase. I do wish, however that more detail was given into the historical significance of the cameo and the manufacturing process. The stop is fairly brief, and soon we are on our way to Pompeii.

We arrive in Pompeii and it is truly amazing to be in the presence of something so old. There are some amazing frescoes and tile work to see. The sheer size of the city is daunting. Our guide, we felt, while pleasant, seemed to be somewhat limited in her English. I had wished for more historical detail, and felt a lot of what she said was repetitious and “dumbed-down”. I don`t think this was because she wasn’t knowledgeable about the site, but rather that she couldn’t quite convey what she could have done in her own language.

Pompeii is HOT, bring a hat, stand in the shade whenever possible too, and drink plenty of water. Also look at where you are going there are some uneven stones, dogs napping, and sometimes some “interesting” pictures in the stones as well.;) After our tour, we were given some free time (30min.) to look in the market for souvenirs. DH and I headed down the path and out to…. A different place than where we came in. Oh well, the others will be along in a second and this will all work out. DH and I shared some pizza and bottled water. After refreshing ourselves we look around for our tour and see none.

OH NO! :eek:We are in the wrong place and we have only 10 minutes to find our tour! We run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find the square we got off in at the beginning. A nice vendor finally gave us directions to go about ¼ mi. down the road to the right. What a relief! We found the group. We took a wrong turn somewhere; thank goodness it all worked out O.K. :oWe met with our group and got back on the bus to the ship.

After some afternoon relaxation, the art auction and some emails, we had a drink and went to dinner. That night we dined at Tangos. They give you tortilla chips guacamole and salsa to start. By the time we finished that I was full! I had enchiladas and DH had fajitas. Both were good. We split the marscapone chocolate cheesecake. We decided we would return to this restaurant. For evening entertainment we went to movie trivia, the casino, then greeted our fish towel animal as we hit the sack to get ready for the most important ship day, Rome

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We were greeted in our cabin by an elephant made out of towels, with bedtime mints for eyes! It was very cute and a nice way to end the day.:)

 

I heard several people talk about this and it was mentioned in one of the Second City skits, but no one in our party of 6 (3 staterooms) experienced this. Do you think it was a function of the talent (or lack thereof) of your cabin steward? Ours was very good in all other respects.

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