Rhapsody of the Seas
May 20, 2007
My husband and I decided to take a cruise for our 3 year anniversary and to celebrate getting into graduate school. We chose the 7 night Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the seas, mainly because of the price and the itinerary. There were 4 ports, Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Costa Maya, Mexico; Progresso, Mexico.
The overall review: This was an excellent deal, very much worth the money and we had the most relaxing, exciting, and fun vacation ever, all rolled into one. The ship was clean and a good size, our room was spacious and the service for our room, the dining room, and the rest of the ship was excellent. There was a laid back atmosphere on board and hardly any children, the children we did see were well behaved. We are in our mid twenties and found several people our own age to hang out with.
There were a few partiers on board, but we were never disrupted or bothered. The glass windows in the ship are marvelous, and there are plenty of quiet places to sit and watch the world go by. I have no complaints; the only things I would change are more dining choices and better food in the buffet area, eat in the dining room every chance you get. My biggest tips that I would pass on would be, bring an over the door shoe hanger, it saves tons of space, pack everything on hangers, hang everything up that you can as soon as you get to your room. Be at the ship early, we had a 4pm sail away, and we boarded at 1pm, 15 minutes to get from the shuttle to our room. Fill out the Set Sail pass paperwork ahead of time online, this saves tons of time. Double check everything if you did not book through a travel agent, or the line, flight times and dates, shuttle times and dates and hotel reservations. Confirm these a week or so ahead of time. Bring insect repellent, we could not find it on board and did not have time to find some in port before leaving for our excursion. First seating for dinner was excellent for us, even though we are younger and did stay up late. Bring Bonine (over the counter motion sickness medication), and take it at the first signs of sea sickness (faint headache, slight tiredness, and slight nausea). Bring your own water, soda and alcohol on board if the line allows it, this will save you money – call your cruise line to see what restrictions apply, some lines will let you bring a “reasonable amount” of some of these. Research the ports and try to book not with the cruise line for shorter excursions, for longer ones, do book with the line to avoid getting left. Two people go left at one of our ports. Book excursion ahead to avoid the line at the excursion desk or in port, also reduces stress. We did not self assist off, although we debated it, we were off the ship and on a shuttle by 10:30am the next morning, and our color was towards the bottom of the list. We booked our own shuttle from Houston to Galveston and back to the airport, one tip, it leaves on the taxi, ground transportation side, NOT the shuttle side, unless you booked with the cruise line and then it does leave from the shuttle side. A little confusing, thankfully we figured that out in time.
Dining Room: Good to Very Good food, if you do not like something, send it back, they really want you to be happy and it is truly a luxury to be able to do this. The beef was the best of all the fare, although the lobster was very good also. The desserts were so-so, the chocolate cake was excellent. I did not eat the lamb, but others at our table enjoyed it. The fish is okay, but the beef was the best. Very good bread. The best dinners were the best on the formal nights. Service was excellent an in my opinion could not have been better.
Buffet: Okay, some things were good, the pasta, the salad bar, the breads, my husband really enjoyed the deli sandwiches, and we did not try the carved meats. Service was great.
Room Service: We did not use this feature.
Stateroom: We booked the smallest cheapest stateroom, and we booked guaranteed instead of picking a specific room. We were upgraded to a larger interior stateroom and had plenty of space. We were close to the front of the ship and there was a rocking motion, but honestly it helped us sleep. The lack of the window was wonderful; we took a nap every day at all different times and the complete darkness was excellent.
Shows: Some were really good, the comedian, the juggler, and Lenny Welch, others were good, the Peru dancers and fluorescent puppet show. A couple were not that good, the impersonator (a good job, but too old for us, we did not know over half of the people he was impersonating) and we did not like the country musical, we did not go to piano man.
Other entertainment/activities: Tons to do on board, the casino was really fun, single deck blackjack was easy and fun. There were tons of dance classes that we went to, we went to a wine tasting, we went to some other shows such as the newlywed inspired game. We went dancing in the Viking crown lounge frequently. We went to the captain’s corner. We watched the art auction. All were lots of fun. There was definitely a lot to do, but no pressure to do it.
Ship: Clean, pretty, lots of windows, wonderful bars, lounges, and quiet areas. Easy to navigate.Ports:
Cozumel, we took the ferry to Playa del Carmen, and took a bus to the ruins at Tulum, very beautiful, my hubby had never seen ruins, nice, not so far as Chichen Itza. Also went to Xel-Ha (pronounced Shel-Ha), which is Mayan for brakish, it was a water park, we did not have enough time here but it was excellent, I would come back here and spend all day. I heard Xcaret is nicer, though. Our friends went to the Chankanaab water park in Cozumel (ten minute taxi ride from the ship), and swam with the dolphins, they said this was excellent and worth the money. If we went back I would go here instead, less time commuting, more time playing in the water. However we LOVED Xel-Ha and Playa del Carmen.
Roatan, Honduras: Beautiful, much more tropical than Mexico. We went to Gumbalimba Park and then snorkeled off the beach there. This is a botanical garden, monkey refuge, and bird sanctuary, very beautiful and fun, great for kids. Also, there is a zip line canopy tour. We loved the snorkeling, you could swim right off the beach to a reef and we saw TONs of fish. Our friends went up the beach a ways to the Tabayana beach and said it was excellent, they also said the scuba diving was very good here. Bring insect repellent! There are no seeums here.
Costa Maya, Mexico: We took a boat out to the reef and went snorkeling. It was a lot of fun, beautiful reef. Too much time commuting and not enough time in the water, it was a lot of fun though. To get there we went to a fishing village about ten minutes away from Costa Maya, which was a lot more authentic and less touristy.
Progresso, Mexico: this is the only place we did not book anything. The pier is very long, four miles, but there are free busses to the town, they will direct you to the beach and the market place. We went to the beach and hung out and relaxed, we walked down to a restaurant and ate Guacamole and Pico de Gallo, it was excellent and no Montezuma. Our friends went to Chichen Itza, they said it was a lot of fun, but a long way there and back and very hot. Some other friends on a carnival ship the same week went on the the Caves and Caverns tour and did not like it. She was accidentally pushed into a cenote from a great height by another tourist and fell 30 feet or so. No one offered her any condolences, she was quite upset. This was booked through Carnival; however, I am not sure if RCL would have handled it differently. Overall: Best Vacation Ever!!!! We loved it and hope that this review was helpful.