This is my first time using a review site of any kind, but thought i would share my Rhapsody Of the Seas experience.
Leaving the hotel at 11am for my midday boarding as advised by my embarkation details, (clearly the guests on the week previous cruises on other RCI ships didn't read their info correctly, having seen the news broadcasts with people lined back to Circular Quay)I was meet as soon as i got out of the taxi by a porter who took my bag and directed me to the priority boarding agents, who very quickly walked me through and past the line of people again who clearly didn't read their boarding times, and i was very quickly given by Sea-Pass card and directed to the gangway for boarding, so from the time of my taxi arrival to the time i was sitting in the Centrum with a Starbucks Hot Chocolate was under 15mins.
Cabins are not available until after 1pm which is fine, you have access to the public areas and restaurants for lunch etc.
Having walked around the ship and using the new touch info boards located outside the lifts so you don't get lost are great, time flew and it was soon after 1pm so i made my way to my cabin located towards the rear of the ship on Deck 8 - a junior suite.
Suite Review :- walking in to be met by a very fresh and clean cabin with what was a clearly an updated interior, yes the woodwork is older but being a light wood holds it age well, new carpet, the new sofa and chairs, 32" flat screen TV, iPad - YES iPad,new curtains and bedding along new balcony furniture and i have the say the bathroom was a real surprise with all new cabinetry - tiles etc was very much welcomed.
My luggage was there waiting for me with plenty of hanging space with ample hangers and drawers - hidden away in one cupboard was the mini bar fridge, restocked daily with treats.
The bed was larger then the usual queen size - yes its a twin joined but it had a great topper and i didn't notice the join and i found the bed to be one you just wanted to crawl into and stay, the crisp white sheets, dona and comfortable pillows all great and very clean.
The cabin attendant was very quick to come and introduce himself and offer assistance and explain the cabin features etc, he was great and more friendly then i have had on other ships.
Safety drill was at 1700 - one concern i had was my cruise card said one life boat station and the back of the cabin door said another?? i went to the area on my cruisecard and found i wasnt on the list, but i survived...
As we didn't sail until 2200 i had pre booked dinner on the RCI website for Chops Grill - WELL WORTH THE COST - the best steak i have had in a VERY long time and the Creme Brulee flaming as its bought to the table was sensational - he i am sitting at a table over looking the harbour, the Opera House etc couldn't be better, i dined at Chops a total of 6 times over the cruise, for the very personal service lack of crowds and the sensational food.
I dined at all restaurants at some stage and always wanted the return to Chops, Windjammer can be a bit of a cattle yard at breakfast and lunch, but you expect that and the usual growls from people thinking the ship is out of food and they are going to starve, when clearly there is more food on the way and plenty of it.. I had one gent take a doughnut off my plate saying he didnt see them and he wanted one, they are on the breakfast buffet if you look...
The Self Service Ice Cream was great and the nicest I've had in a long time, but there was always a problem with one of the machines.
Ports of call - We could have given Newcastle a miss altogether - you arrive into a dodgy area of town - but oh well.
*Cairns was in at the terminal located in town - that's great so we didn't have to tender.
*Willis Island saw us and also one of the P&O ships there so that was fun to see.
*Airlie Beach - tenders to the marina, that's OK just take your time in the morning and then you don't have to line up for tickets.
*Brisbane saw us at another grain terminal and very unfriendly ground staff (not ship staff) and about 45 mins from the city.
I do have one or two downfalls with the trip,
*On the over night in Cairns one of the male stage performers was on shore with another female crew member and he was VERY vocal in his opinion of his fellow performers giving his review at their lack of talent and or stage presence to anyone in earshot - i think he thought he was better then he really is and its disappointing to have someone like that put-down his fellow performers, he did a similar LOOK AT ME rant on the bus in Airlie discussing he was going to Chicago or what ever, i turned off when i heard his rant on the bus..
* The cruise director Casey - not the best cruise director i have had on a ship - an older couple asked him to take a picture of them whilst returning to the ship on the tender from Airlie Beach, i was sitting near then and saw him put his finger over the lens, as it was an older camera they had no idea as they couldn't see the picture, i said to them before they left id take another picture of them on the camera so they knew they had a couple of shots, Casey then laughed to other crew saying its good when they (the guests) have old cameras and you can aim it at breasts, fingers anything other then what they wanted, Very unprofessional.
*I booked through Ozcruise with the $100.00 on board credit which was never posted to my account and i'm still trying to follow up on this.
*I booked the Access All Areas tour for the last day $150.00 for 3 hours or so, which is great but the male assistant cruise director was going on holiday when the ship got to SYD and he was more interested in packing his shoes and showed little or no interest and handed us over mid tour to another girl who was much better - we were to be given a bag of goodies etc as part of the tour which never came, again i am trying to find out via the agent and also RCI what happened to it.
To be fair on my statements regarding the issues with the couple of crew and the missing tour pack, i have advised via the survey left in the cabin and also the emailed satisfaction and they have yet to respond.
Upon arriving back to SYD it all ended so quick and saw me off the ship as quick as i had boarded.
The Access All Areas tour is well worth it for anyone interested in seeing how the ship works, visiting deck zero, staff areas and staff bar and up to the bridge to meet the captain and officers and check it all out, along with the great guys in the engine control room and printing areas, chef, stores etc etc
In closing Rhapsody of the Seas is not the newest nor the biggest but with its recent refurbishment and the cleanness of the ship i would cruise again with RCI and/or Rhapsody.