Rhapsody of the Seas
by Rebecca Van Cleef
July 2, 2006
We just returned from our vacation aboard this ship yesterday and had a great time. I traveled with my husband, my brother and his wife, and my parents. We are from Spokane, Washington so we flew into Houston Hobby on the Saturday before the cruise started. We stayed at a hotel at the airport Saturday night and used the Galveston Limo company shuttle to get us to the ship on Sunday. If you are flying in, I recommend this service. It isn't a limo, it is a shuttle bus. They picked us up at the airport on Sunday morning and provided round trip service between the airport and the ship. Both getting to the ship and returning were efficient and painless.
Even though the Rhapsody is an older ship, I felt she was clean and pretty well kept. I expected to see some wear and tear so I wasn't dissapointed. My parents, however, thought it was a little too worn out and due for a makeover. We were very pleased with the dining room quality and service, and the Windjammer cafe provided quantity if you're looking for that over quality. Embarkation and disembarkation were both uneventful and easy.
We did excursions through the ship at both Grand Cayman and Cozumel. We did the Rays and Reef w/ lunch in Grand Cayman and had a great time. Both the stingrays and the snorkeling were awesome! The lunch piece was at a hotel on the beach, so we had a couple of hours of beach time w/ beach chairs, showers, restrooms, etc. In Cozumel we did the Tulum Express to the Mayan ruins. We didn't bring my parents with us on this one and were thankful they stayed behind. It was the most hot I have ever been in my entire life. There was also no shade so, although the ruins were beautiful, it was hard being in the extreme heat... especially if you aren't used to hot, humid weather.
The only real challenge we encountered on the ship was that the beach chairs and tables around the pool area are saved with beach towels by about 9am. There is a rule that you can't save a chair for longer than a half hour but it isn't enforced. My parents enjoy "people watching" so someone had to be up on the pool deck sitting at a table in the shade to save it by about 7:30 am on sea days.
I thought the nightly entertainment was just so so. However, my parents (who are seniors), loved it. It was all well done, so it must just be a matter of entertainment preference.
Overall, we had a great cruise experience. This was our third RCI cruise and fourth overall. I definitely recommend this cruise and thought that for an older ship, the Rhapsody was a pleasant voyage.