So readers by now you think that all I do is cruise. I really do enjoy land based vacations, but since I started cruising three years ago, you’d be right. I like my land vacations combined with cruising, cruises are fun and great value for the money, I’ve no intention to stop any time soon. Of my 14 cruises, 12 have been on Norwegian Cruise Line. I’m comfortable there, they’re quirky, I’m quirky, the other passengers are quirky, it suits me and me usually introverted but I’m an extrovert on vacation quirk.
So when group opinion for what was to be a group cruise one year ago said that we were to go on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, I was only marginally excited I have to admit. …”Bbbbut” (sob) I said. “What about Freestyle dining, ’cause I don’t eat eat with weirdos, only quirky folks.” I said, “I want to go to the White Hot Party” I said and finally a “Oh all right.”
Well a year later it was a relief to find out that I had nothing to be concerned about. While I still think that more personality gels more with the freestyle cruising concept I’d certainly go, and look forward to going on a Royal Caribbean cruise again. In fact I even bought future cruise credits.
Some Differences Some Similarities
Despite being an introvert, I put forth an effort to be outgoing when on vacation and I actually think that being around people I don’t know can be a nice thing for brief periods. That doesn’t extend to eating with strangers however.
On Norwegian, freestyle dining is the norm. When you’re hungry you go and eat. You can eat alone, with whomever you came with or with a group of strangers if there’s an open table. There are also way more specialty dining options on Norwegian.
On Royal Caribbean, you pay the daily service charge ahead of time for what is called “My Time Dining” if you want to arrange to eat by yourself of with the group you came with you should arrange this ahead of time with you travel agent or the line itself if you booked directly though them.
My preference: Norwegian. The lines for My Time Dining were long at the time that I went to eat (after 8pm) so I in fact asked to be seated with the women that I was traveling with. They actually had a table to themselves, so it worked out.
When I sail again on Royal Caribbean if I am traveling solo/sola I will probably request assigned seating at a table for 1. If I’m traveling with others, I’ll request a table for us only. As that seems like something fairly easy for them to accommodate it seems a simple solution.
Besides the dining aspect, they’re a good deal more alike than they are different. The entertainment around the ship is similar. I can’t comment on the shows because I was too busy to ever go see one, but I certainly plan on catching on the next time around.
The crew, staff and officers are just a friendly and the officers are fairly equal in visibility.
I have 5 great interviews coming up with the following members of the Jewel of the Seas.
The Captain, The Staff Captain (who is a woman – girl power!), the Hotel Director, The Cruise director and the Food and Beverage director, all really cool people, but I yes I favor Kate McHue Staff Captain because without trying to sound cliche she’s pretty awesome!
The Centrum. It’s in the middle of the ship, it’s easy to find and many activities take place there. Thumbs up! The 70s party was a blast and I like the thought of it being where everyone can get to right away and join in. The downside is that the area on the Centrum floor isn’t large, but in some ways that just adds to the fun of the chaos that is dancing for all the world or at least ship to see. It’s a great place to be if you’re trying to meet up with others, or simple sit quietly sipping on a coffee taking a glance up to reflect on the majesty of these huge vessels.
What I did
Dancing on the Pool Deck
Oh sure they do that on most cruises, but it’s fun! After standing there watching people do latin line dancing Dennis the cruise director decided that I wasn’t going to get away with standing on the sidelines. I found out when Elvis on the CD team told me “you with the camera, come here” Oh dear. Handing the camera and iPad over to Dennis I got up and shook my booty with everyone else and guess who got pretty good photos of it!
Thanks for the photos of me dancing Dennis!
Laid around the Solarium on the pool deck. Laid around the Solarium on the pool deck. Laid around the Solarium on the pool deck. So comfy! And the best (strongest) Margaritas!
Behind the scenes tours of the Galley, Theater and Bridge. If you’re new to cruising or just interested about what makes your trip special they’re worth doing. It also gives you a chance to ask questions of those that help make the sailing a smooth and enjoyable one.
Dinner with the F&B Director Tony Fitzsimmons. Delightful and charming with over 55 years at sea! I’ll tell you more about him when I post the interview he was kind enough to give.
…explored the ship and a whole lot of relaxing. Because that’s what vacations are supposed to be about. Who knew laying in bed, snacking and watching Skyfall could be so much fun!
Would I go back on the Jewel of the Seas?
Heck yeah! I had a great time on the ship, lots of activities, really nice people that work there and the ship is really beautiful. There is glass everywhere. The elevators, the coffee shop, all over. You can always have a great view of what’s happening without having to go far.
All Photos and Written Material Copyright TravelXena.com 2013 ©