Hey ebEric - Congrats! I like what I see in this thread, but I guess I have a slight concern - you are considering the Jewel of the Seas Southern Caribbean 7 night out of San Jose. The port itinerary is what had you luring, but Have you thought about the logistics of flying to San Juan? The Jewel of the Seas I know - departs from San Juan not San Jose - The itinerary is perfect. The concern I have is flying to San Juan and cruising. I am sure your agent "Expert" has referenced the area of Fitness to travel as it can mean several things - In general, all guests must ensure that they are medically and physically fit for travel. This is stated in your Cruise Ticket Contract
and did they go over the need for travel insurance
as well? This coverage can be thru the cruise line or thru an independent company that the agent is duly licensed to sell.
As far as your questions - Specialty dining in Chops Grille and Portofino carry an extra charge. For you (since you will be drinking) you may want to consider the Alcohol package or other non-alcohol packages or specialty dining Here is a link to a page that can help you Onboard Experience - Royal Caribbean International
If you are on the itinerary I recently sailed on then you will be visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico (docked) easy on/easy off, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands for a full day 8:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked (easy on and easy off) Philipsburg, St. Maarten 8:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked, okay on/off long pier ; St. John's, Antigua 8:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked Castries, St. Lucia 9:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked Bridgetown, Barbados 8:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked; a full day to relax Cruising - might want to book specialty dining for this night and or a spa experience rather than a simple massage I recommend Relaxation rituals like experiencing the Thermal Suite, with heated beds, showers, and a collection of exotic steam vapors throughout and/or trying Rasul(tm), an Arabian cleansing ritual of chakra muds and aromatherapy, your last day is debarkation in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Oh and by the way unlike some other cruise lines that don't focus on men you can get ready for the new baby by taking advantage of spa services focused on men on this cruise - Men can enjoy the benefits of a deep cleansing exfoliation, an anti-aging shave or an Elemis Skin facial it helps to have something to do and creates couple time, better than having her watch as you surf Flow Rider(tm).
... There are also activities like making a scrap book for sharing with the baby when it becomes of age. You can see them here Things to do onboard - Royal Caribbean International
Now I only provide advice from my own experiences, but if you are considering the Jewel of the Seas, and your new wife is pregnant, I would really advise a pre-night in San Juan. See Baņo Grande, a natural swimming pool. Then take a walk on Camitillo Trail and look for the artificial nest of the Puerto Rican parrot and the flora and fauna of the Palo Colorado forest. I recommend staying in an exploring Old San Juan, the second-oldest European settlement in the New World. Ride to San Felipe El Morro, the most dramatic of all the city's military fortifications. Visit the Casa Blanca Museum & Gardens, the Ballaja Barracks, Quincentennial Square, San Jose Church, San Juan Cathedral, and Cristo Chapel. On Foot you will find Old San Juan is walking distance into compact, yet fascinating, Old San Juan. Streets are uneven (constructed of blue cobblestones, cast from furnace slag), and hills are steep, so wear comfortable shoes (tennis shoes a must). Trolleys: There's a free trolley that will take you around Old San Juan and to the forts. You can pick it up across from the information booth, between cruise piers three and four. One great street for window shopping is Calle Cristo; highlights include Magia (99 Calle Cristo), an artisan who crafts works of art from recycled objects -- old mirrors, wooden shutters, antique windows and even pocket-sized religious icons. A new find on our most recent visit to Old San Juan was the pocket-sized Plaza Arturo Somohano. Just a block behind the Sheraton Old San Juan (located at pier central), this tree-shaded park is home to artisans, who sell hand-made and designed crafts. They must be approved by the government to open stalls (no "made in China" stuff here). While vendors vary, on my trip, there were beautifully scented soaps from Taino Soapworks (the anise lavender is a favorite), hand-tooled leather belts, pretty (and reasonably priced) beach-glass jewelry, gourds and coconut shells and charming, hand-made, burlap handbags. Take a tour of La Fortaleza (9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.). Visit the Catedral de San Juan, which dates back to 1540. Fans of the Spanish cellist Pablo Casals should check out the Museo Pablo Casals (Plaza San Jose, Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.), where the Spanish master's collection includes manuscripts, photographs and a library of video tapes of Festival Casals concerts (played on request). Gourmet Dinners: Because many ships spend evenings in San Juan and don't depart until late-night, cruisers should also consider dinner options. Head to the aforementioned SoFo, where the hip restaurants of the moment include Marmalade (317 Fortaleza), which offers a U.S.-inspired menu. Also try Kudeta (314 Fortaleza), which, with its pan-Asian cuisine, feels like something out of Bangkok; order the paella valenciana risotto or the shrimp curry. Aguaviva (364 Fortaleza Street) is another trendy place; it serves seafood. (Note the whimsical, octopus-like chandeliers.) Although the Sheraton Old San Juan is closest to the port (I did not like the large casino), back this fall I loved a one-night, pre-cruise stay at the Caribe Hilton (Los Rosales Street, 787-721-0303), on the outskirts of the old city -- there are plenty of pools, a beach, bars and eateries so you can just hang out, the morning of our cruise we undertook a five-minute taxi to Old San Juan, stored our belongings at a hotel and relaxed prior to getting to the ship. The Hilton (I am a HHonors Member) has been renovated in the past few years and has a lovely on-site spa. If you have lots of extra money then the most Luxurious accommodation in San Juan itself is the Ritz-Carlton San Juan Hotel, Spa and Casino (6961 Avenue of the Governors, Isla Verde; 787-253-1700). In my humble opinion it is, hands-down, the most luxury hotel in San Juan and it's located on the beach at Isla Verde where you'll also find other values like Embassy Suites and Courtyard by Marriott. One of the best places to get details on San Juan is the San Juan Convention and Visitors bureau.
As I stated above my wife and I had a delightful sail on the Jewel of the Seas in the Southern Caribbean and in my next posting I will share the delightful shore side excursions we under took in this multi-port (docked) itinerary! Best to you!