Belize, we took a water taxi out to Caye Caulker. Evidently there is a new water taxi competing with the old Caye Caulker water taxi association. It is closer to the port and less expensive. It also leaves at 9:15, which is 15 min. later than the other one. So we used it and it worked well for our schedule. We used Tsunami Adventures on this trip to take us out to the Marine Preserve. It was nice, but not as good as our previous experiences with them. Next time I think I will spend a bit extra and take a flight to San Pedro and visit Ambergris Caye. It takes about an hour and a half to get out there via water taxi. So a flight is much more practical.
The Captain was a soft spoken, gracious man. He was very generous to our group. Since we had many people in our roll call he offered bridge tours to our group over the course of several days so everyone could attend, and spent a great deal of time with each group explaining the workings of the ship and answered everyone's questions in great detail. I thought it was so nice of him to do this for us.
Hotel Director was Steven Jacobson, he was always out and about, very approachable. I wrote him a letter regarding our experiences and to really let him know the things that impressed us the most about our experiences on the Jewel. Within minutes of reading it, he phoned me to thank me for sharing the information with him.
Rochelle and Carolyn who coordinated our group functions on the ship really worked hard for our group, any request I threw their way they did their very best to make it happen and they were lovely ladies to deal with.
One great thing one of our group members proposed that was great fun, we did a poker/cabin crawl. Since we had such a large group of over 200 people on board. We went from cabin to cabin and at each stop and picked up a card and then we all met at the end of the crawl and the people with the best poker hands split the pot. That alone was a hoot, but it allowed us to tour a huge variety of cabin categories as well. Everything from an inside cabin all the way up to Owner's and Penthouse Suites and Courtyard Villa's. Our friend's Owner's Suite was to die for. OMG it was so beautiful. If anyone wants to try this ...perhaps for Let's get Lei'd I have an email that goes into great detail how to execute it. I think it is a great icebreaker and just good clean fun. The staff organized a luncheon and awards banquet following the crawl and we sat and visited with one another for hours.
The Entertainment on this ship was second to none. I felt like every act was headline material. Many had performed on Jay Leno, Oprah, etc... and the sheer volume of talent onboard was mind boggling. Cirque Bijou was fantastic too. This is one of the few cruises that I made a point to get to as many shows as possible. I generally find it hard to get too excited about the entertainment on Cruise Ships. I also am not one to go gaga over Cruise Directors, but I really enjoyed Que Hundermark. He was just a nice guy who was working about 16+ hours a day trying to offer as much entertainment to the passengers as he could pack into one day.
The kid's club was fantastic. I love the new hours they are offering. Basically on sea days they are open from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. and you decide when the kids will attend or not. It offers a lot more flexibility, the kid's loved it! We would let the kids go as early as they wanted in the morning, generally pick them up around 1 or 2 and take them to lunch and go play at the pool or go read for a while in the library, then they could return anytime they liked and then have dinner early at the Kid's Cafe which they loved as well. We had the honor of sailing with several of the counselors on previous cruises and once more they impressed us tremendously. I wish I could just bring them all home with us, what a great, talented group of young people, who took great care of the kids and helped provide them with a special holiday to remember.
This ship is nice because they have a kid's only hot tub, and an adults only pool. However, most of the adults weren't in the adults only pool, and it made things quite congested in the only pool the kid's were able to enjoy. Then the adults would get frustrated with some children for being boisterous and splashing. I really think a ship this size needs more than two small pools. Of course then there is the swim diaper issue. It was not enforced at all. At one time I counted as many as four children in the pool and water slide area in swim diapers at once and the pool attendant was present and aware of their presence and said nothing. I do feel this is a health and sanitation matter and I don't want anyone's cruise ruined due to ecoli or other bacterial infection, they could have done a better job in this area.
I really enjoyed this cruise, I would rank it as our best one yet. Embarkation and disembarkation (we carried our luggage off at 8:00 a.m. because of an early flight from FLL) was seamless, and speedy. Very well organized.
So really I have to give this cruise two thumbs up. It was a wonderful experience!