One of the five-night Western Caribbean itineraries.
Illustration courtesy of Royal Caribbean

During all the hubub over the largest airspace closure over Europe since the Second World War, Royal Caribbean quietly made a unique addition to its Caribbean lineup for the Fall 2011-2012 season: the addition of Jewel of the Seas on the 4-and-5-Day Western Caribbean run out of Tampa, Florida.

While the ports themselves don’t stray too far from the norm for your typical Western Caribbean run, the inclusion of both Cozumel and Costa Maya gives sun-worshipers and history buffs alike a second chance to experience all the ancient sites like Tulum or sandy beaches they can handle.   Couple that with one or two days at sea, and you have a relaxing, warm, quick getaway.

What really ratchets up the cool factor on this itinerary is that a newer ship like Jewel of the Seas has been placed on the run.  Shorter cruises are usually the domain of older cruise ships no longer suited for the seven-day or longer runs, either due to changing passenger tastes, limited amenities, or smaller cabins.  Which isn’t to say that they’re bad; just that they don’t have all the bells and whistles.

Jewel of the Seas, however, has all the requisite cool factor you could want: glass elevators, self-leveling pool tables, and a sleek ocean-liner design coupled with a huge array of beautiful public rooms and comfortable staterooms make this ship – and her four-and-five day itineraries – ideal for the cruiser unwilling to compromise on comfort, but looking for a shorter holiday that will please the boss.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Tampa.  Not as glitzy as LA, nor as crowded as Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa remains an easily accessible city loaded with sights and attractions, not to mention friendly citizens.  Because it isn’t the major destination hub that Miami (or even Orlando) can be, flights to Tampa can often be had for a substantially better price than its better-known neighbors to the East.

For more details on these voyages, including pricing and departure dates, visit Royal Caribbean’s website.  Sailings start in November of 2011.


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