CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Rhapsody of the Seas by Dan Western Caribbean January 25, 2004

My fiancé and I (both in our mid 30's) traveled on our first cruise aboard the Rhapsody.

We booked a category C Superior Ocean View Suite. The embarkation was very quick, due in large part to RCCL having a separate embarkation line for Suite passengers. Parking is available at the Galveston pier for $60. The ship itself was very well kept and

I'll attempt to break down the cruise by using the following categories:

Room - The room is smaller than the pictures present, yet, it is still a decent size. I strongly suggest spending the extra money if possible and booking a balcony suite. Having the extra space and the balcony to relax or spend some private time is well worth it. We had some people we met on the cruise, who booked an inside room, visit us and they couldn't stop saying what a difference the balcony/space makes. However there were some problems with the room. On the first evening, we went to bed after 1AM, only to be awoken by a screaming 2 year old in the room next door.

Thankfully after speaking with the purser, we were able to move to another suite down the hall. I don't know who would bring a 2 year old with them on a cruise. If you are considering doing this for whatever reason, please reconsider! Aside from the screaming 2 year old, the rooms are pretty soundproof, although I would suggest looking at ship map to ensure you are not under the swimming pool or above the lounges. The other major problem with the room was smoking. People on both sides of us smoked on their balconies, which definitely brings down the enjoyment of your balcony for non-smokers. RCCL should have non-smoking rooms aboard the ship. Some tips: bring an alarm clock, shoe organizer, and any other space saving/organizing things you can think of.

Food - What can I say? There was a lot of it. Available 24 hours a day. The dining room food and service was excellent. The Windjammer café is very tasty and convenient. Late night options included the Solarium café (pizza, hamburgers) or room service. Room service was good but it takes 45 minutes after you place your order. Drinks such as Iced tea, Lemonade, Tap Water (purified) and Orange Juice were free; Sodas, Booze and Bottled Water are extra.

Entertainment/Activities aboard the Ship - The nightly entertainment shows at the theatre were very well done. Other daily entertainment aboard the ship was spotty at best. After the first couple of days, bingo, art auctions and assorted pool games get old pretty fast, and I don't do shuffleboard or karaoke. The spa is overly expensive especially when you consider the treatments are not that great. The ship does have a decent exercise room and there is a jogging track.

Ports of Call - The Ports of Call the ship visited were Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. The good news: Cozumel was excellent! We did not book an excursion through the cruise line. We rented a jeep at the pier. By talking with locals we were able to find Paradise Island Beach, which is brand new, very clean and provides free non-motorized water sports as well as rock climbing. At the beach, we booked a snorkeling tour of Palancar Reef aboard a glass bottom boat. The tour was simply awesome as the guides provided free alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks during a 20-minute ride to the reef, provided the snorkeling equipment and instruction. We snorkeled the reef for 1 hour in which we literally saw thousands of fish. The trip to Key West was so-so. You don't arrive at Key West until @5PM EST and you leave by 12AM EST. Key West is a nice but peculiar town with plenty of shops and historical sites along the main drag but not an abundance of other activity due to both the time of arrival and the fact Key West is not known for water activities. A minor annoyance, due to it's timing there was not time to eat dinner aboard the ship. Now we get to Grand Cayman.....Or not! The ship did not go to Grand Cayman. The captain informed the passengers that the waters surrounding Grand Cayman were too rough and the harbormaster was not letting us tender. This was a MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT. We booked the cruise largely to go to Grand Cayman, not to spend another day at sea, watching pool games and playing bingo. To make matters worse, once we got to Cozumel the next day, we were informed by people aboard other cruise lines that they were went to Grand Cayman the prior morning and had absolutely no problem with tendering. The Captain was caught in a lie, which he tried to talk his way out of during a passenger/captain information meeting, which was held the next day. We also found out that the Rhapsody had canceled the Grand Cayman visit on the 2 cruises prior to ours. The captain informed us that RCCL doesn't want to take the risk other cruise lines do, and therefore will be canceling Grand Cayman as a destination.

Due to the Grand Cayman incident, I probably will not travel with RCCL again. Aside from that, the cruise was a good vacation and I would recommend taking a cruise vacation to people who ask.

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