Let me start by saying that this experience exceeded my expectations in every way. My Athena experience, where the cruise line went belly-up after I'd booked it, left me rather cheesed off, but on booking this cruise I had an open mind.
The cruise was 7 nights and went Sydney, Melbourne, Burnie (Tasmania), Hobart (Tasmania), ending back in Sydney. Embarkation went quickly and smoothly and I was on the ship and into my stateroom within 35 minutes. The stateroom was spotless and bigger than I'd been led to believe but as I am 6 feet 5 inches tall I'm used to tight quarters! Having a hand-held shower made my life easier, and the water pressure was awesome.
We set sail at around 6 pm, into a rough Tasman Sea. The ship rode beautifully but I still got a little green around the gills! Seasick tablets helped, and I went to the late dinner sitting in the main (Edelweiss) restaurant. The crew were 100% professional, and the meal was great, if a little small, however they offered me another serving, and nothing was too much trouble.
The entertainment was excellent, but the karaoke, which I love, was sparsely populated. Went to bed, where I discovered that once I got horizontal, I slept like a baby. Had a really good look around my beautiful ship, got somewhat freaked out by the fact that everybody knew my name! Still don't know how they did that. Ship was spotless, and lovingly maintained. Took advantage of all facilities, but steered clear of the buffet, as I gathered that more people got the norovirus if they ate there. Nobody got sick on this cruise however.
Ate at the specialist Chops Grille, magnificent NY Strip steak. Perfect. I have eaten at some top restaurants in my 51 years, but have NEVER had service as good as the staff in this restaurant. I won't bore everyone with details, but the rest of the cruise was flawless as well. I'm a bad sleeper, but I had 7 of the best nights sleep I've ever had. Everybody was happy and seemed to have a great time. All meals were excellent, though the 3rd time in Chop's Grille wasn't as good as the first few times, mainly because the steak wasn't quite as good as the first one!
All in all, I had a fantastic time, and have been boring all my friends, recommending cruising and particularly RCI. The only thing I didn't like was the cost of the internet, at 65 cents a minute, and the SLOWEST internet speed I've seen since the 90's. There were a few bands on board, but the NEW VERSION, a cover band, was one of the musically strongest cover bands I've ever seen and were a credit to the ship. James (Activity Manager) and Ricky Matthews (Cruise Director) were highly efficient and highly hilarious. Sadly, they are being split up, which I think is a mistake, as they made a great combination, but they are being promoted so it looks like RCI rewards talent.
I left the ship, quickly and efficiently, feeling like I was leaving my family behind. I can't wait for the next one, and am planning to catch the Celebrity Solstice on an 18 night cruise next February. Thanks to the crew and officers of the Rhapsody Of The Seas for letting me get my mojo back.