Saturday, April 30, 2022

Royal Caribbean Cruise (Jewel of the Seas) - April 2022

Cruise Information

This cruise was our sixth cruise, and our second on Royal Caribbean.

  • Dates: 2022 April 23-29
  • Ship: Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas
  • Cabin Number: 3568
  • Itinerary
    • Miami, FL
    • Cozumel, Mexico
      • Trolley Tour (Not through Royal Caribbean.)
    • Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico
      • Chacchoben Mayan Ruins
    • Nassau, Bahamas
      • Nassau by Land and Sea
  • Notes
    • First Cruise without the kids


We had a wonderful time on our cruise. We got to meet many nice people on the cruise including staff and fellow passengers. This was the first cruise that we took without the kids or other friends and family members. It was also the first cruise that we took since covid-19 disrupted everyone's life in March 2020.

It was nice to travel alone as we interacted more with our fellow passengers. We met some nice folks such as Sam and Suzanne from Florida; Lourdes and Stacey from Florida; Lenord and Juaneta from Fredericksburg, Virginia; Jim and Caroline (may have wrong name) from Boston; and Charles and Charlotte from Georgia.

Captions from Back to Front and Left to Right
Bea, Rich, Suzzane, Sam, Charles, & Charlotte at Dinner
Bea, Rich, Suzzane, Sam, Charles, & Charlotte

Lenord, Rich, Bea, Juanetta
Rich, Nilesh, and  Caroline(?)

Bea and Suzzane

Lourdes and Bea

Rich and Stacey

Among the staff, we got to know Mariruth from the Philippines, who took care of our stateroom; Roberto and Nilesh from India, who were our waiters at dinner; and Neilbert from the Philippines, who always greeted us with a smile at the Windjammer buffet.

Captions from Back to Front and Left to Right
Bea and Neilbert

Roberto, Nilesh, Rich, and Bea

Cozumel, Mexico

We had planned to go on the Chichen Itza Ruins excursion at Cozumel but unfortunately, not enough people signed up for it and it was canceled. Somehow, we were not notified ahead of time, so we arrived for the excursion and did not see a sign for the excursion. We saw Francis from the Shore Excursion desk and asked him about it. He was able to get us on the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins at our next stop at Puerto Costa Maya.

Cozumel, Mexico in the morning

At the port, there is plenty to see and do but beware that the shopkeepers, particularly the jewelry shops, heckle you as you walk by. It is understandable since covid has adversely impacted the economy in Cozumel, but the shopkeepers were the worst in Cozumel. We may have stayed longer if they had not been so aggressive trying to get us into their shops.


Señor Frog's

Bea with a statue of Señor Bandido

Trolley Tour

We were able to get on the Cozumel City Tour by Trolley through the stand at the port. We were fortunate that enough folks signed up with the tour company there, so we were able to take the tour. We had a great guide, who when by his nickname, Panda. On the tour, we saw many places including stops at San José del Mar Parroquia Catholic Church, Casa Mission TequilaMonumento a la Hispanidad, and some shopping, where we had some ice cream at La Flor de Michoacan.

Our tour guide, Panda

San José del Mar Parroquia Catholic Church

During the tour of the San José del Mar Parroquia Catholic Church, our guide, Panda, explained how the Spainards brought Christianity to the Mayans at Cozumel and how the Mayans were given the choice to be slaves or leave and finally how the Mayans revolted and gained their freedom.

The new church
Interior of the new church - Painting of Jesus

Interior of the new church - Stained glass windows

Interior of the new church - Stained glass windows

Interior of the new church - The Sanctuary

Interior of the new church - The Alter

The old church

Sunday School

Close up of the sign in the Sunday School

Casa Mission Tequila

There were eight of us in the group and none of us drank alcohol or at least not very often, so there was not much interest in the tour, but it was informative. I think the tour may have been a bit rushed since none of us consume alcohol.

We were shown the agave plant and it was explained that tequila is like wine as it is named after the region that the agave plants are grown. The volcanic soil in the regions that it is grown gives the tequila a unique taste. It takes several years, 11 to 12 years if I recall correctly before an agave plant is ready to be harvested to make tequila then several more years for it to age properly. Some manufactures take shortcuts to make the shorten the time from planting to selling tequila, which results in an inferior product.

The guide at Casa Mission Tequila 

Some agave plants

Panda explaining some of the differences of the types of tequila available

Monumento a la Hispanidad

We stopped at the Monumento a la Hispanidad, which had a replica of a Mayan pyramid and a statue of the Mayan goddess of fertility, Ix Chel. 

Bea and Rich with the Trolley in the background

Statue of Ix Chel

Bea and Rich at the monument

Drink stand across the street from the monument

The coconut drinks are presented with a flower (These are not just coconut juice. They are very tasty and come leaded or unleaded. We had the unleaded version.)

Bea and Rich enjoying coconut drinks

Bea and Rich at standing on the rock beach behind the drink and souvenir stand near the monument

A view of the rock beach

Shopping and Ice Cream at La Flor de Michoacan

Our last stop before returning to the port was in a shopping area. While we were there, we bought some souvenirs and had some coconut ice cream.

Bea with an anchor and sign for Isla Cozumel, Mexico

Google Street view of La Flor de Michoacan (2014)

Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico

The port at Puerto Costa Maya has quite a bit available as well. There are shops and restaurants like Cozumel, but they were more enjoyable as the shopkeepers were not as aggressive as in Cozumel, so we were able to enjoy the area more.

Bea on the pier with the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas in the background

Sign for the aviary

Pink flamingos at the aviary 

Five frogs fountain and shops

Posing for pictures with the people in Mayan costumes

Costa Maya sign at the port

Chacchoben Mayan Ruins

The Chacchoben Mayan Ruins was the highlight of the trip. Ever since learning about the Mayans, Aztecs, Olmecs, and Incas, in high school, I wanted the opportunity to visit some ruins and see some of their history firsthand. This experience did not disappoint but it was rushed and way too short. 

The bus ride from Puerto Costa Maya to Chacchiben is an hour each way. That left two hours for the tour but about half an hour was spent with 15 minutes at the start and end for shopping and restroom breaks. There was only about an hour and half of actual touring of Chacchoben. 

On the bus ride, the tour guide does explain some things about what we will be seeing and about Mayan culture. Our tour guide was truly knowledgeable and was either extremely interested in history or just really liked his job. He had more materials than other guides that we saw on our visit. Too bad that he did not bring more of that energy to his presentation but perhaps he did not get much from us or was just having an off day. He did do an excellent job but there was something missing.

I would recommend the tour but keep in mind that this is a four-hour tour with only about an hour and a half of quality time on site.

Arrival at Chacchoben

The sign as you enter the site

A silk cotton tree. These trees were sacred to the Mayans

A temple in the living area

Rich and Bea on the steps of the temple

Rich at the temple

Another view of the temple

Some rooms near the base of the temple are visible

Another view of the temple

An area where houses were built around a plaza. A strangler fig stands in the plaza with the host palm rotted away

Another view from the plaza

A view of a raised portion. It is believed the elevation of the home denoted the status of the family

Steps to the plaza that was used for worship. It has 32 steps on this side and is worth the climb. The plaza at the top is larger than expected and has several temples

A view of a temple on the raised plaza

Another temple on the plaza

A closer view of the temple

Nassau, Bahamas

The port at Nassau had a lot of construction going on to improve the port area. The construction did not get in the way of the experience of visiting the port.

The Atlantis Resort

A view from the ship

A map of the Bahamas

A bike to honor the Duke, John Wayne

Nassau by Land and Sea

There were two options for the Nassau by Land and Sea excursion. Both were the same but one includes an open bar for $6 more. If you like to drink, then it may be worth it. If you purchase the open bar option, you are given a wrist strap so the crew on the catamaran knows that you have purchased that option.

The first portion of the excursion is the sea portion, which lasted about 45 minutes and took us past several celebrity homes. Our guide pointed out several places of interest and made several jokes. One example is he told us of a beach that was once his favorite as it was a nude beach. The government had to ban the nude beach though as it was causing congestion in the harbor as all the boats would slow down as they passed by.

The Atlantis as viewed from the catamaran

Some of the homes of the rich and famous

Feeding the fish

Returning to the pier

Carnival Dream, Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas and Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas

The land portion was on a small, air-conditioned bus and stopped at Fort Fincastle & Queen Victoria Staircase, and a shop, which sold rum cakes. Along the way, our guide and driver, King Richard, pointed out several sites such as the parliament buildings, the two hospitals, the Governor’s Mansion, and other points of interest as well as some history. Our tour did not include the Atlantis resort, but we were not interested in the Atlantis as we had visited it on our prior visits to the Bahamas. 

The Discover Nassau Bahamas sign on the bus

This building was built around a Lignum Vitae tree, which is the national tree of the Bahamas

Canon with the recently vandalized Columbus statue under wraps. A leg and arm were damaged on the statue and our guide commented that it cost Christopher Columbus an arm and a leg to come to the Bahamas.

Guests viewing the Rum Cakes available

Bea with the Atlantis in the background as viewed from the hill at Fort Fincastle

The water tower at the top of the hill near Queen Victoria Staircase

Rich and one of the friendly shopkeepers at Fort Fincastle

A silk cotton tree with pods on the hill at Fort Fincastle

The parliament buildings with Queen Victoria's statue

Conch Fritters at Sharkeez Bar and Grill

Before returning to the ship, we did a little shopping and stopped at Sharkeez Bar and Grill to try some Conch Fritters. We bought six fritters for around $13 including tax. They were very good but not too much flavor from the conch. They tasted like plain fritters so I was not too impressed. 

A view of the interior of Sharkeez