Jewel of the Seas: Agent Blog
We had an excellent start to our cruise our flight was on time and very comfortable. There were only around 90 people on our flight, so plenty of room. On arrival in Cyprus we went through passport control very quickly and handed in our health questionnaire, we then collected our luggage and were directed to our coach. Our flights were all booked through Royal Caribbean so we had our overseas transfers included. There was approximately a one hour transfer to the port, where we then collected our cases off the coach and gave them to the porters where we would next see them outside our cabin.
Security at the port was quick and efficient, firstly we registered for our rapid covid test, whilst we were waiting for our results to come back we showed proof of our vaccination certificate, this can be done on the NHS app or by phoning 119 to get a paper copy. Cyprus flight pass, we filled this in online which was free of charge. We also had to show our set sail passes and passports, once these were checked at security we were shown to a waiting area, the whole process took around 20 minutes before we got our negative results and were cleared to board the ship. There were a lot of staff to help and direct passengers to the right place at check in. Masks had to be worn throughout the whole check in process and there were lots of hand sanitising stations dotted around.
Once we were on board we headed straight to our cabin, there was a sign on the door to say the cabin had been sanitised and our cases had already been delivered. We were booked into a standard balcony cabin which had adequate storage space, a double wardrobe with shelves and several more drawers and small cupboards, more than enough storage for a 7 night cruise. Also in the cabin was a fridge, safe, hairdryer, mirror with good lighting and also a full length mirror, as well as tea and coffee making facilities. We had a private balcony with an unobstructed view with a table and 2 chairs so we could enjoy the sunshine on our own private balcony. Once we had unpacked we headed down to our muster station to complete the safety drill, at the moment you can complete the required safety drill through the Royal Caribbean app, which means you only need to report to the muster station to confirm you understand the drill and are shown how to put on your life jacket.
After checking in at our muster station we were able to have a tour around the spa, here we were shown various treatment rooms where they offer different types of massages at an extra charge. They also have a hairdressing salon and a large fully equipped gym. There is also a sauna on board but it is currently closed due to covid restrictions. Again a lot of sanitiser stations around this area of the ship, plus wipes in the gym to sanitise any equipment you use, we also noticed signed on the toilets stating limited people allowed at any one time. It is evident when walking around the ship that Royal Caribbean have taken their new health and safety protocols very seriously and are doing everything they can to keep all guests and crew safe on board.
Tonight we have chosen to have dinner in the main dining room, Tides. We opted for my time dining, meaning we can go to dinner whenever we are ready and gives us a little bit more freedom than the structured dining times, however tonight we did book a table for 8 o’clock so we didn’t have to wait around for a table. When arriving at the dining room there were two lines, one for if you have made a booking and one if you are just turning up without a reservation. As we had booked a table we were able to walk straight in and be seated at our table which was great. The food was very good, they had a great selection on the menu, tonight I ordered mushroom soup for starters, prime rib for main and pear and blueberry crumble with vanilla ice cream for dessert. The waiters in the main dining room were amazing, they were very attentive and explained the menu to us before ordering and also after we had eaten they informed us that the following night was going to be a formal night and the different dining options that were available to us which was handy to know so we could plan our day. After dinner we had a walk around the ship to get our bearings, again all of the public areas were very clean and lots of sanitiser to use. The ship was quiet as it wasn’t fully booked, with approximately 420 passengers on board, whereas Jewel of the Seas normally takes 2300 guests. After our walk we went to the show in the Coral theatre which was a circus entertainer, the whole show was excellent, the seats in the theatre were very comfortable and even had a drinks holder in each seat which was handy. Upon entering the theatre the staff did ask for our cabin number which we can only presume was for tracking purposes.
Day two of our sailing was a sea day, so we started our day off with breakfast in the Windjammer, this is the buffet restaurant on board which has so much choice for any meal. For breakfast they had on offer fresh fruit, cereal, pastries, pancakes, waffles as well as a full cooked breakfast with a choice of eggs which are made to order. The Windjammer on board Jewel of the Seas wasn’t a typical buffet restaurant; I thought it was a much nicer dining experience, due to covid everything is served to you which made everything a lot cleaner and safer.
Today we were moved cabins as we had been upgraded to a grand suite, which was great and we now have all of the suite perks which means free drinks between 5 and 8pm in the private suite lounge as well as our own concierge. As it was so good for breakfast, we headed to the Windjammer again for lunch, they had a chocolate buffet which was amazing, again overall the food was really good with plenty of choice for everyone. As we were at sea we spent the afternoon by the pool cooling off after our lunch.
As mentioned with being a suite guest you do get perks around the ship, so tonight before dinner we headed up to the Conceirge Club for drinks which was lovely, we were offered free drinks and horderves. We chatted to the bartender and waiter in the Concierge Club, who were from Bali and the Philippines and they said how grateful they were to get back to work and thanking us as passengers enabling them to do so, they also mentioned that Royal Caribbean had helped them financially when they were not working which was really nice to hear. After dinner tonight we went to watch the show, City of Dreams, the singers and dancers in the show were excellent, at the end of the show you are asked to stay in your seats and are asked to leave in sections, making it less congested when leaving the theatre.
Day three and we arrived in Athens, it was predicted to be very hot, around 41 degrees, so we decided to spend the day on board as we have been to Athens before. When we docked in Athens it was very quick and easy to disembark, lots of excursions are on offer and you’re also given information about the port, buses and transport available, as well as details about where the nearest beaches and shopping areas are for those who wish to go ashore independently. We got up a little late this day so headed to the Windjammer for breakfast, again with plenty of options you are spoilt for choice. We did go for a quick walk around Athens before getting back on board for lunch and spending most of the afternoon in the adult only solarium as we wanted to get out of the sun and had a very relaxing, quiet afternoon.
Before tonight’s dinner we sat out on our balcony with a few drinks, I would definitely recommend getting a balcony cabin as you have your private outdoor space to relax. After drinks on our balcony we headed down to the main restaurant which again was excellent and then headed to another show, which was four male singers called The Barricade Boys, they all come from West End shows in London, which was great to see.
Today we arrived in Mykonos at 7am, we were up early and had breakfast in Chops Grille, which is available for Suite Guests, they offered a lovely breakfast menu and we had a table by the window looking out to Sea. It was a tender operation to get off the ship in Mykonos, this process was very easy and quick with no wait at all, 5 minutes on the tender and we had arrived. We walked around the main town and then found a little café where we sat and had a delicious milkshake. There is a public beach by the main town centre, we sat down and relaxed on the beach for the afternoon before walking around the rest of the town which is very pretty and spotlessly clean, with narrow streets with shops selling clothes, jewellery and souvenirs, there are also a lot of designer shops too. After our walk we headed back to the ship and spent the afternoon sunbathing and swimming, chatting to other passengers on board. The general opinion was that the food on board was absolutely amazing, the staff were lovely and everyone felt very safe and were enjoying themselves. One thing that I really appreciated on board Jewel of the Seas was how attentive the staff were, when I was at lunch today, again in the Windjammer, one of the waiters asked if I would like dessert, when I told him I would go and have a look what there was, he asked what I would like and that he would go and get it for me. Staff on board Royal Caribbean really does go the extra mile for their passengers. After lunch we were approached by the spa staff who said they had a special offer on for today only, personally I would not book any treatments in advance as they usually seem to have offer each day, especially on port days.
We also had a letter to our cabin today, reminding us to book for our complimentary covid test in order to be able to fly home. We have the test on board the ship on Thursday which is 2 days before we fly home. Without taking this test we would be unable to fly home, the tests are all organised and paid for by Royal Caribbean, which makes things so much easier for passengers. Looking at the daily planner that was left in our cabin makes it so much easier to plan activities and see what is on offer for the day, tonight’s entertainment is a magician/illusionist show as well as piano music in the schooner lounge, big band music by the Royal Caribbean Orchestra, movies, game shows and quizzes, as you can see the variety of evening entertainment offered on board a Royal Caribbean cruise is exceptional, with something for everyone to take part in. If you prefer a quiet place to relax in the evening you can head up to the sky bar with amazing views, there is also a nightclub, Vortex, if you want to get your dancing shoes on!
Day five and we arrived in Santorini, we had to get another tender at this port which didn’t take long at all. We arrived and headed straight to the cable car which takes you straight up to the town and costs 6 euros each way. Once at the top we had a wander around the lovely shops and stopped for a drink in a bar with spectacular views. After spending some time here we took a local bus to Oia, which cost less than two euros each and took around 20 minutes, it’s definitely worth the trip there as Oia ia well known for the most beautiful sunsets and the blue domed buildings. It was quiet in port when we arrived, however we have visited Santorini before when it was a lot busier and would recommend visiting Oia first and then coming back to look around Thira to make sure you have plenty of time to get back to the ship. Also bear in mind the queues for the cable car down can be busy so again allow plenty of time. Masks had to be worn on the cable car, the bus and also in shops, I also noticed the prices in shops seemed to be reasonable and the locals seemed pleased to have tourists back. My biggest tip is that Santorini is really easy to explore on your own.
When we returned to the ship we found out there was an officers deck party for the sailaway from Santorini, the entertainment team where out on deck teaching Greek dancing which was really fun. The officers were mingling with the passengers making sure everyone was enjoying themselves. After the sailaway party we headed down for another very nice dinner in Tides restaurant, the dining experience on board has been really enjoyable, even though we chose My Time dining we have been able to sit at the same table each night and had the benefit of choosing what time we eat.
The next stop on our cruise was Chania, today we were docked so no need for a tender boat. All week there have been no queues to disembark which has been really good as we are able to grab breakfast and walk straight off. In port today there was a shuttle bus provided into the centre of town for 3 euros each for a return journey. We were dropped off right in the town centre and and walked to the Venetian harbour, the old part of town where there is a 14th century lighthouse and maritime museum. The whole bay is lined with shops, bars, cafes and restaurants and was lovely to wander around. You can also book boat trips from the harbour which didn’t seem too expensive.
After exploring the town centre we came back to the ship and had lunch then sat by the pool for the afternoon. We then headed up to deck 5 where there are sunbeds with a nice view which is a very quiet area compared to the main pool. Today was the day we had to take our PCR tests to be able to fly home, they had the testing area set up in the Conference centre near the art gallery, there were staff from Eurofins on board, who were the company used for the tests. The whole process was very quick and we had swabs taken from both nostrils and not our throat.
Our final morning we had to be up early as our disembarkation time was 8am, we were able to walk straight off with no queues, I believe this was due to the lesser number of guests on board, however the process is staggered which makes it a lot easier for people to get off the ship. We were able to disembark the ship, collect our bags and get on our coach within 5 minutes. As our flight was not until 3:30pm, a tour was arranged for us which was approximately four hours long and ended up with us being dropped off at the airport at the end. Our tour was a walking tour in Limassol, alternatively you could sit by the seafront and have a drink if you preferred, we were then taken to a pretty town called Lefkara which is famous for lace making, we were here for an hour and could stay with the guide or wander on your own if you wanted.
After our tour we were taken to the airport, when arriving at the airport and went straight to check in, it is worth making a note of everything you need to be able to board the plane, including negative test results and forms to enter the UK. Again the plane was not fully booked and we had plenty of space. We were asked to stay in our seats unless using the bathroom to minimise contact with other passengers and keep your mask on unless eating. Passport control at Manchester airport was very quick and efficient, we only needed to show our passpors and as long as the PLF form was completed correctly you are able to walk through and collect your bags.
Written by Kim Hartley
Over 25 years of travel experience. Been there, seen that, sailed the world.
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