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But will there be a walrus? Jewel Arctic Cruise, June 20-July 2, 2022


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I’m tempting fate by starting this blog a whole two days early. Eep! We’ve been trying to cruise some form of this itinerary for years and it has just never worked out. Then finally in 2020 we were booked. Hooray! Wait, what? Global pandemic? Doh! There was no lift and shift option, since Royal didn’t offer anything like this in 2021, so we took our FCC and stayed home. As soon as the summer 2022 schedule came out I booked, deciding to worry about how it might fit in our plans later 😉 Turned out to be a little bit stressful, since we will be moving less than 4 weeks after we get home from this trip, but that’s Future KristiZ’s problem. Good luck to her! Ha!

It is myself, MisterZ, and MomMe again on this cruise. The conversation might have gone something like this: “Hey Ma! We’re cruising the Arctic next year!” “Oh, how fun for you two!” “No, WE’RE cruising the Arctic. All three of us.” “Well ok then! Guess I better find some sweaters.” I appreciate her ability to roll with it 😉 

We’re on Jewel of the Seas in an aft corner 2-bedroom Owner’s Suite, #9656. Should be perfect for all the Norwegian scenery.


  • June 20 - Amsterdam
  • June 21 - At Sea
  • June 22 - Molde
  • June 23 - At Sea
  • June 24 - Tromso
  • June 25 - Honningsvag
  • June 26 - At Sea
  • June 27 - Alesund
  • June 28 - Flam
  • June 29 - Haugesund
  • June 30 - Kristiansand
  • July 1 - At Sea
  • July 2 - Amsterdam

June 29 was supposed to be a sea day, but about 30 days before departure Haugesund was added. First time I’ve had a port added without any other port changing. Who knew? It was already a pretty busy itinerary, now more so. 

I will hopefully be able to include some photos from MisterZ’s much better camera as we go along. And please ask whatever questions you have about Jewel, Norway, or anything else and I’ll do my best to get them answered.

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Flight logistics for this cruise were tough. Since we’re coming from Managua, Nicaragua our options are a bit limited. I also wanted to avoid the “test to fly to the US” hassle if we were just going to transit through, so flying through Panama City was the choice. I also didn’t want to fly for 18-24 hours. There is one flight per day from Managua to Panama City, and then one nonstop flight from Panama to Amsterdam. Sounds great, right? Except the Managua flight got into Panama 5 minutes after the Amsterdam flight left. And the two airlines involved don’t play nicely together, so buying a through ticket wasn’t possible anyway. Overnight in Panama was our only option.

And then flight schedules changed about 6 weeks before our trip. Turns out we would have had a very manageable 3 hours to make the connection in Panama, but now it was too late. Changing either flight by a day would have tripled our cost. Overnight in Panama remained our best option.

We flew to Panama yesterday, and spent the night at the Crowne Plaza Airport hotel. It was… serviceable. And that’s pretty much all I’ll say about that. Oh, except the dinner buffet (the only choice) was actually pretty tasty. So that was nice.

We are currently sitting in the KLM lounge waiting for our Amsterdam flight to board. MomMe, flying out of Jacksonville via Atlanta, is already on her way to Amsterdam. We will meet her at the hotel, as she gets in about 6 hours before we do.

We got the email from the Suite Concierge about 6 days out. I’ll see if I can drum up a copy later.




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We have arrived in Amsterdam! We flew nonstop on KLM in business class. It was an outstanding flight. MisterZ and I decided long ago that the vacation starts when you leave your house, not when you reach your destination, so we budget for nicer flights than we did when we were young.

Here’s my seat:


And MisterZ’s adorable tiny welcome aboard Heineken:


Ten hours, over night. Here’s the menu (it was all delicious, btw):


Also, KLM does a cute collectible gifty thing — a house full of gin! There are 102 different ones to collect, a new one every year apparently. The flight attendant made it clear we should fly a lot more and collect them all 😉 We’ll see if they make our suitcases go to the Bad Kid room tomorrow or not!


We’re staying at the Steigenberger Airport Hotel Amsterdam. It’s quite lovely, although some rooms are more updated than others. The restaurant is excellent. This hotel chain is always a solid choice, if you have the option. MomMe was already here as planned.

We used our BinaxNOW covid tests and all came back negative. Woohoo! We are currently waiting for the tiny humans to stop playing Minecraft on the hotel computers so that we can print our result. Heh.

One more sleep and we’re ON THE CRUISE!! 


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5 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I just noticed that Cheker is your suite concierge! He was on Harmony for quite a while and he is awesome!  I always wondered if he came back after the pandemic. Glad to see that he is back at it again. 

Happy cruise day!

Yes! I’m already impressed! 🙂 

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We woke up a bit leisurely, and then had an excellent breakfast at the hotel. Had we chosen to stay at the Movenpick like many others did, we would have walked across the street to the ship. But we opted for the short trip on the front end when we were tired from flying and ended up with a 20 minute taxi ride. Very manageable! Cost was 75 euros because the hotel called us a van. That was about 15 euros more than a regular cab, but it was a very comfortable trip so we didn’t mind.

At the terminal we went first to a separate station for losers… uh, people who didn’t have bag tags. Our cruise documents (including bag tags) never did show up for us. The nice man there took about 45 seconds to write us up some tags and then whisked our bags away. Then we went upstairs to check in. The suite line was not immediately apparent but asking the first line wrangler got us headed in the right direction. We did not need to show our vax cards; they said the uploaded picture was sufficient. We had our printed setsail passes and our printed covid tests. #TeamPrintItOut

Then, a monkey wrench. The nice check in kid said “oh. Hm. Come with me please” and hauled us off to the special service desk in the corner and then hightailed it out of there. The nice woman there was very careful to tap dance around the problem in hopes of softening the blow, but we got it out of her after a minute — turns out we had an outstanding balance of $138 euros (why euros and not dollars I have no idea). She was careful to make it clear we were definitely getting on the ship, but that we would have to go to Guest Services to either pay or clear it up. She vastly underestimated my need to GET ON THE SHIP. Just give me the bill already and I’ll sort it out later!! HA! She was pleased I didn’t have a meltdown, poor lady. I imagine her job is the worst of any in the terminal.

That took 8-10 minutes and then we were off to the next stage. We were handed a boarding group card and sent to the next room. We waited less than 5 minutes and then were sent to board. This step was just crowd control, so that no one was packed too closely together.

No mask mandate in the Netherlands, FYI. Still lots of signage about being careful, but everyone was pretty much left to their own devices.

All told, we left the Steigenberger at 10:48 and were onboard at 11:55. 

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Cabin 9656, aft corner. 



Second bath:


Vanity for second bedroom:


Main room from entryway:


Entertainment center:


Second bedroom and closet:


Master bedroom, vanity, closet, bath:




On the deck plan it looks like the balcony is bigger than it is. That said, you can actually get around the side and sit/lean against the side of the ship pretty comfortably.

I wondered how this room would feel compare to the side 2-br GS on Enchantment, which is significantly bigger. I think we will be quite happy even though it’s smaller — we’re one fewer people and the balcony is definitely larger.

I was also worried about windows on this particular itinerary, since there will be a LOT of daylight, but it turns our neither bedroom has any windows.

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Some other bits about the cabin — there are binoculars available for use:


Pillow choices:


First night pressing offer and towel delivery:


Complimentary delivery:


Water (Evian) for the suite, sparkling wine for D+, and a bunch of waters for not sure what:


We also got a fruit plate for the suite and 3 Coronas for D+ (although only MisterZ has Corona as his choice).

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Here are the assorted fliers in the room. First is the suite letter:


Then the two Diamond letters for MomMe:



And the Diamond Plus letters for MisterZ and me:



The loyalty event is night 2:


We earned another block on this cruise, but they are out of stock so here’s the card for that:



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Hands down my favorite sailaway of any cruise ever! Helped that there was so much light — it felt like 3p when we finally sailed away at nearly 6p — she we got to see everything so clearly. Also, it takes a long time to get to the actual ocean from Amsterdam so there was a lot to see for a long way. 

Shots while still docked:




Early part of sailaway, while still in the center of town:




Later, as we got to the more industrial areas:



Then more pastoral:




I have no idea what this is but I like it!







There’s a single lock near the exit, which was fun:



Crazy people… uh, surfers enjoying the nice weather. There were 50 or more of them scattered on both sides of the ship exit. Plus several parasailers:


The lighthouse marking our entry into the ocean:


I may have a few more shots. I’ll do a second post if I do!

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