This describes our 11 night cruise on the Rhapsody of the Seas on April 30 to May 11th. We stayed in stateroom 8062, a mini-suite, with a great attendant Manuel.
Embarkation in Honolulu was quick and painless. We were in the Windjammer Cafe buffet at 11:30 having lunch. Great lunch spread! Easy drill on departing cruise day May 1st. 82 degrees and sunny in Honolulu.
Ship: this mid-size ship is beautiful and grand, (750 employees) several lounges, restaurants, beautiful theater, pools, hot tubs ( which were open late- GREAT). It is very well maintained, immaculate, staff cleaning at all times.
Stateroom: lovely and spacious, with large bathroom and adequate storage. We were 3 adults in this room and my daughter slept on the sofa bed, alway made up for her in the evening, along with towel art. Beds were very comfortable. We loved our suite.
Dining: We had booked Our time dining (having to prepay gratuities). Ok, no problem. But, we didn't know we had to go reserve our dining time upon boarding. So, when we went for dinner, everything was booked till 7:30. Too late for us, considering we wanted to attend the 9:00pm show. Therefore on a few evenings, we ate in the Windjammer which did not open before 6;30pm. What is That? The lesson is: If you book Your Time Dining, Go see the Maitre D, after boarding and reserve your favorite time right away, OR book your favorite time when you book your cruise (months in advance even). Enough said about that.
The highlight of our dining experience was with Maria, the hostess. Such a lovely, bubbly lady. RC is lucky to have her at this post. She is a true gem!!!
Another point to be made: After 9pm there was hardly nowhere to eat, only a cafe serving sandwiches and pasta salads and cakes. Also, Windjammer was closed between 3pm and 6:30pm. Where do you eat when returning ship from port? RC should re-evaluate their dining venues and times. It did not bother us too much but others in our party, younger crowd like to have good dining options available at all times of day.
Food:We thought the food was very good to average depending on the venue. The windjammer buffet for breakfast was plentiful with several options: fruits, eggs, bacon, pancakes etc.... I didn't eat at the buffet for lunch but I hear there was quite a spread and large variety of items fit for all. But for dinner it was sometimes hit/miss-limited selection, tasteless at times.
Food in the main dining room was always very good, the times we did actually eat there. While the menu serves 3 courses (appetizers, entree, dessert), you could order whatever you wished ( appetizer, soup, and salad, entree, dessert). The waiters always accommodated our requests. The variety of entrees was very good-lamb, coq au vin, chicken, beef (filet mignon), fish, veal, vegetarian, pasta etc... Desserts were fabulous.
We ate at 2 of the specialy restaurants: Italian and Japanese: both very good food and service but with a price. We prefered the Italian venue.
Entertainment: We loved our cruise director Casey, very funny, hard-working, alway visible, organizing all sorts of activites along with his staff. The cruise orchestra was amazingly talented but was not seen or heard nearly enough. However, there were alway many activities to entertain or keep guests busy: trivia, lectures, games, arts and crafts etc.... The ship singers and dancers were talented, energetic and hard working and put on very good shows. But again, they were not used enough to help entertain guests during the days, although it may have been difficult to motivate the crowd ( quite older 60 yrs and up). The pool group Kool Vibes were OK at first but annoying after 2nd day, way too repetitive. The group New Version were a welcome relief for the next few days, more up -beat tunes. Jim Brookhart, in the Schooner Bar was a favorite.
Pools/Hot tubs: 2 pools, one indoor for cooler days ( 5 days at sea from Hawai to Vancouver were cool/cold, hence everyone headed for the indoor pool.) Quite buzy in there. We opted to stay inside in lounges/ activities or hot tubs. Enjoyed the hot tubs but the jets were not strong enough. They were open late though, which is a plus.
Overall experience: We sooo enjoyed this cruise.
Service/Staff: Fantastic service from every member of crew, and alway with care and a smile. RC is to be commended for its fantastic staff providing excellent care to its guests. Captain Rob chatted with us every day at noon, with a great sense of humour. One day, Service Desk called to say they needed to to maintenance in our room. They gave us a complimentary entry to the Italian specialty, courtesy of RC for our inconvenience. How lovely of them. Very appreciated.
Honolulu: loved this city, beautiful scenery, mountains, rainbows, Waikiki beach. We did a long stroll in the city and did a dive with North Shore Shark Adventure. Great exciting fun.
Lahaina Maui: Favorite Port, Just beautiful. Amzazing scenery. Rented a car and drove around the island and stopped for shopping downtown. Stopped at a public beach for swimming. Saw giant turtles. Great day.
Hilo, Big Island: Did a Helicopter Tour over Volcanoes,(50 minutes) just amazing to see lava flowing, and also great waterfalls. Rented a car to visit more waterfalls. Great port.
Debarkation: Very long and delayed, There were 2 ships at port in Vancouver. Long custom lines. Such is travelling!!
The only area where I would rate it 3.5 is the My Time Dining Experience, but overall the entire vacation was a strong 4* of 5
WE LOVED OUR CRUISE !! Thank you RCCL for an amazing vacation.