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Jewel of the Seas

Live Blogging from Jewel of the Seas - Preamble


Hi everyone, I'm really excited to announce our next live-blog experience as we get ready for a cruise aboard Jewel of the Seas for a 7-night Southern Caribbean adventure.

It is my hope to provide to our readers a daily look at what this cruise will be like and share our experiences with you.  This means I will try to post photos every day along with a written report of how things are going (internet permitting).

If you're new to our live blogs, check out the live blog we did for Freedom of the Seas back in February for an idea of what you're in store for. I'm hoping to give you all a daily look into what we did that day, what was good/not good and what we have planned for the next day.  

For this cruise, we're flying from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico on Friday, September 20 to start our adventure.  We're flying in a day early because we want to be good little cruises and make sure we get to our port in plenty of time and we also want to explore San Juan a little bit.  We're travelling with another couple and their kid, so it will be quite the family adventure this time.  

Our flight leaves New York at 8:00am, so we will be arriving in San Juan with plenty of time to explore everything before staying a night at the Sheraton Old San Juan.  The next day, we will board Jewel of the Seas as early as humanly possible and start the real fun on September 21!

This is our first time on Jewel of the Seas and first time trying out the Southern Caribbean itinerary.  Our friends that are cruising with us are new to Royal Caribbean, so I'm hoping to get them hooked and Loyal to Royal as well.  We booked this cruise 18 months ago, so we are really excited that this vacation is finally here.

Another first for this cruise will be AT&T invited us to try out their new smartphone cell service package that is exclusively for Royal Caribbean.  Because staying connected while on vacation is so important these days, we thought it would be fun to give it a go.  We will be using the "AT&T Cruise Ship Calling, Messaging and Data" plan, which includes 50 minutes of talk time, 100 text messages and 100MB of data.  Essentially, it's a cell phone package for use only onboard the ship and it will be interesting to see how well it works.  More on this later!

What really drew us to this cruise is the port intensive nature of this itinerary and the fact it's a number of islands that are new to us.  We feel like we've done the eastern and western Caribbean routes enough and want to try something new.  Five out of six islands we are visiting will be new, so there should be a lot of first times for us.  

Who is going

Matt (me), Marissa (wife) & Gabriella (2 year old daughter).  Tim (husband), Sarah (wife) & Logan (1 year old son)

Our itinerary

Our Ship

Next update should be on our San Juan day, Friday, September 20.  Stay tuned for all of our live blog updates right here.

Interviews with Jewel of the Seas staff members


If you like taking a look "behind the curtain" of how a Royal Caribbean ship works, then check out these two interviews TravelXena posted with the Food & Beverage Director and the Staff Captain from Jewel of the Seas.

On a recent cruise, both crew members took some time to answer questions about their day to day work aboard this beautiful Radiance class ship.

Staff Captain Kate McHue shared a little bit about the exciting and challenging parts of her day when she's on duty.

"Every day is different. Every day is a different port. You wake up and there’s a different situation you have to handle, there’s a different emergency there are different people. That’s probably the most challenging and the most interesting part of this job. Never have the same day twice. That was one of those things that I wanted to get out of the office from. It was getting a little redundant."

Food & Beverage Director Tony Fitzsimmons, who has been working on cruise ships for 28 years, shared some insight for anyone who is considering working on a Royal Caribbean ship.

"I’d tell them (about) sometimes the heartache of being away from home if anything happens. And the actual blessing that you’re going to be amongst people of good nature and good character and all working together for one particular aim and that’s to make the guests happy."

You can read the full interviews with Tony and Kate on the TravelXena site.

Royal Caribbean sailing year-round to Barbados once again


Royal Caribbean will resume cruises to Barbados after removing all of its ships from the Southern Caribbean route last year.  

Barbados Tourism Minister Richard Sealy made the announcement after negotiations with Royal Caribbean that he characterized as "intensive".

Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas has been offering cruises back in May, will offer year-round service to the Southern Caribbean island.  In addition, Royal Caribbean's brand new Quantum of the Seas cruise ship that is under construction, will have incremental service starting in November 2014.

Sealy was excited about the news of Royal Caribbean's return, "I would like to think that the leadership of Barbados had something to do with that.  Certainly, the relationship with the port project would be part of it. But we have done our part."

Royal Caribbean had announced in March 2011 that it was leaving the island but then joined into a joint venture with Barbados to build a brand new state-of-the-art cruise terminal in Barbados that will cost over $300 million.

Suspicious device near Jewel of the Seas turns out to be nothing


After officials investigated a suspicious device at the port of Tampa near Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas, it turned out to be a liquor delivery made by a semi-truck transferring items for the cruise line.

"There was no device found, or explosive material found," said Col. Jim Previtera of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, during a press conference Thursday regarding the incident. "We did impound a couple items we removed, and our technicians will look at them."

Officials were alerted earlier today when an unidentified item on the dock near Terminal 3 was found.

As a precautionary measure, officials evacuated workers on the terminal, shore staff and contract security employees.  There were no passengers onboard Jewel of the Seas at the time.

Suspicious package found near Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas


A suspicious package was found today at the Port of Tampa, Florida near Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas.  The Hillsborough Sheriff's office said the suspicious package was found on a pallet that was to be loaded on the cruise ship.

Two bomb-sniffing dogs found the package during a routine inspection.  Explosives experts are now investigating the package and should have an answer to what it is very soon.

As a precaution, the sheriff's office evacuated the terminal building that was being used to check passengers in for their Jewel of the Seas cruise.

Once the package inspection is complete, cruise ship staff will re-board the ship and Terminal 3 will reopen. 

Cruise ship passengers are waiting in the area and are still hoping to board the ship today for their trip to Cozumel. The only thing they've been told is that when the ship's horn blasts, they will be allowed to board.

Royal Caribbean will send Jewel of the Seas for Southern Caribbean cruises in 2014


Royal Caribbean announced today Jewel of the Seas will return to San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2014 and offer Southern Caribbean cruises once again.

Following what will be its first year-round 2013-14 Southern Caribbean season, Jewel of the Seas will offer three itineraries throughout the region, calling at St. Croix, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados on one; at St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados on another; and at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba and Curacao on the third.

Hurricane Sandy keeps Jewel of the Seas docked in Boston


Hurricane Sandy is keeping Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas in port instead of departing on schedule.  

Jewel of the Seas was supposed to depart yesterday on a two-week repositioning cruise to Tampa, Florida but instead will remain docked in Boston until at least tomorrow according to the Massachusetts Port Authority.

Royal Caribbean was concerned about Hurricane Sandy's path and opted to keep the ship in port.  Due to the delayed departure from Boston, Jewel of the Seas will sail a revised itinerary.

ESPN announces ESPNatSEA events aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships


ESPNatSEA announced a new schedule of  ESPN International live network sports viewing-cruise VIP events aboard select Royal Caribbean ships in 2013.

The new events are part of an initiative by ESPN to offer specialized viewing events to sports fans who also want to enjoy a cruise.  The first two inaugural events will be held aboard Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

"Oasis MVP Cruise I" aboard Oasis of the Seas: 7-night cruise round-trip from Ft. Lauderdale to some the hottest Caribbean destination such as Labadee, Falmouth, Jamaica; and Cozumel, Mexico. The biggest football day of the year will be televised live at sea, so be prepared. Dates: February 2 to 9, 2013.

"Jewel MVP Cruise II" aboard Jewel of the Seas: Calling all women soccer fans and football lovers. The biggest day in football is not the only sporting highlight on this 5-night VIP cruise. There will also be a special focus on the international success and rising popularity of women's soccer. This cruise leaves from Tampa, stopping in Key West, Fla. and Cozumel, Mexico. Dates: February 2-7, 2013.

The events will include private VIP cocktail receptions with sport celebrities,behind-the-scenes participation in the production of popular ESPN International programs and sport event viewings.

Participation in both programs will NOT be offered on the cruises. However, interested parties who may have already booked their cruise can contact ESPNatSEA at [email protected] to register for the VIP Experience.

Royal Caribbean director of corporate incentive and charter sales, Lori Cassidy, commented on the partnership, "Royal Caribbean is very pleased to be the host of the two launch events for ESPNatSEA. ESPN and Royal Caribbean have a long history of supporting each other as partners in televised sporting events - for example ESPN International is a sponsor of the Royal 5K running events."

Tropical Storm Leslie cancels Royal Caribbean cruise ship stops


Reports from passengers aboard Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas are that due to Tropical Storm Leslie, Jewel of the Seas will not call on Newfoundland on Thursday.

The ship's captain indicated to passengers that Jewel of the Seas will go around the storm and go instead directly to Boston. Jewel of the Seas is making a trans-Atlantic crossing from Iceland.

In addition, Brilliance of the Seas is doing its part to avoid Leslie and will skip the Faroe Islands and proceed directly to Iceland.

These changes have not been formally announced by Royal Caribbean yet but the reports are coming from passengers aboard the respective ships.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship collides with cable


Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas hit a cable while sailing into the port of Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands of Denmark.  The accident caused a crew member to be injured when falling debris hit him while he was outside.

The incident occurred September 6 at 8am local time according to a Royal Caribbean statement when Jewel of the Seas came "in contact with a cable hat extends between Bordoy and Eysturoy Islands."

The accident also resulted in damage to the mast and some equipment on the mast.  Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez emphasized that the accident has no effect on the seaworthiness of the ship. Moreover, Jewel of the Seas has moved to its next port of call in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Martinez added that Royal Caribbean is working closely with the local authorities to determine why the collision occurred, "All the navigational tools and charts we use to plan our voyage, including information we obtained from the local port authorities and harbor master in advance of our arrival, indicated we had enough clearance to pass under the cable."