Cruise was 10 night South Pacific. My 4th cruise, first with RCI. Previous 3 with P&O
The embarkation process was pretty smooth. We waited in line for nearly half an hour and then went through the formalities of checking in and photos taken and were on board and having lunch in the windjammer and it was about 3 pm. After that we went and found our room and our luggage was waiting stacked at the end of the corridor so we wheeled it ourselves to our cabin. We were travelling with a 6 year old and 1 year old so our cot was not in the room. We asked our cabin attendant about the cot and he brought one back about an hour later. The room overall was small, that is to be expected on an inside cabin. The bathroom was particularly tiny, and the shower would be quite a struggle for anyone other than a normal build.
We had set time dinning of 6pm, as we chose not to pre-pay the gratuities. Our table attendant Anoop was sensational and quite frankly was the best staff member we have encountered on all our cruises. The dinner service was not rushed and we would most nights finish at about 7.40pm. My wife enjoyed the RCI dining food better but I rated my last P&O cruise better but overall was very enjoyable.
The Windjammer or "buffet" was also very good. It is not al-a-carte but there is enough selections there to please almost everyone. We choose to eat there for Breakfast and lunch everyday over the restaurant and also did have dinner there on 2 nights.
The alcohol on board is where you can rack up the most money on your card. The beer price, Corona, was $5.50 including the mandatory 15% tip which is better priced than P&O. The wine was expensive, a cheap $7 bottle that we enjoy at home was $32 on board. You can order wine at the dinning room and if you don't finish the bottle they will store it for you until the next nights service.
The nightly shows in the theatre were good. Not outstanding but we watched the show on most nights and went away saying that we didn't just waste the last hour of our lives so I guess that is a positive score.
We never used the baby sitting service for the 1 year old, there was quite a few babies on board and you were encouraged to pre-book. I think it was $8 per hour. We have a 6 and 8 year old that went to the kids club with 1 rating RCI first and the other P&O first.
I found the daily schedule of activities on board lacking compared to my previous cruises.
The solarium or adults pool section was very nice, but a little small at peak times. Deck chairs were in short supply but we always found a table and chair and would enjoy a swim and a beverage there every day.
The on-board coffee shop espresso was supposed to be Starbucks. Other than the cup it was served in, I think that was a stretch. With Australians and Americans all being coffee lovers I guess I was expecting a little better. Some times the line at Latte-tudes could be a little long so remember you can also get coffee at the solarium.
I never tried the Casino. The shopping experience was somewhat ordinary if you are a "shopper". There are a few selections of RCI branded souvenirs and the rest are overpriced jewellery and watches with duty free tags on them. The photography team are always about snapping shots and doing portraits. Its your choice to buy them or not, quite a few people do but starting at $25 per photo I believe that they would sell more and make more money if it was a little more reasonably priced.
Overall the ship seemed quite fresh considering her age. It was big enough to explore but not to big to be always getting lost. The tender process to the islands was quite smooth compared to some disastrous ones with P&O. I found the staff generally to be quite good and helpful.
Having read a lot of the other reviews on this site about the Rhapsody, with quite a few being negative prompted me to write this review. Not everything at home, work or holidays is 100% perfect but you get some people who just like to complain. Its your holiday and its the way you view it that makes the experience memorable. Go on board with a positive attitude, and you will have a great time. I have booked another cruise with RCI later this year and would recommend them to all.