Embarkation - Very well handled and smooth. However time of embarkation upon arrival and what was printed on the Set Sail Pass differed by a couple hours. Would recommend getting their a little early or calling ahead of arriaving at the ship. Luggage drop off was open very early on and I was able to drop off my luggage and take a harbour cruise before boarding the ship.
Staff - For the most part the staff is very friendly and work to please the customers. However, I do believe the drink packages have automatic tips that have been put in place have dampered the customer service level a little bit.
Entertainment - I believe Royal is probably investing more and more of its dollars towards its bigger ships for entertainment and it shows as it appears the smaller ships like the Rhapsody have dwindled in the entertainment value and were a little lack luster. With only 3 production shows for an 11 night cruise. a couple arial shows in the centrium, and the rest More
were imitation guest singers. At least for this cruise the entertainment seemed to revolve around celebrating the decades. going from 50s to 90s. With a different decade each night or two. This would have been ok if it were just for a couple nights but repeatadly for the whole trip it gets a little old. I would love if Royal would still invest some money in their shows and set up more story line productions on their smaller ships as well.
Activities. Activies for the first few days were great. However if you have more than a couple days at sea. You may get what I got and saw they repeated a lot of the activities and just said it was Part 3 or 4 depending on what sea day it was. Here they also have cut back and now the traditional tour of the backstage of the theatere is included in the All Access Behind the Seas tour package that costs around US $150 for, which use to be free. There was one cold cooking demonstrations, but no hot cooking demonstrations which was also always a favorite of the past. Captains corner was good, as well as formal nights. There is as always the traditional belly flop competition, volleyball match, and sexiest man on the ocean compeition. One thing though is that I would encourage the cruise director Luke to make himself known within the first couple hours of everyone boarding as I wasn't sure if there was a cruise director until about the 3rd or 4th day.
Food. Food was pretty good. However it was appearent that they have cut back on this too. No longer is Rhapsody offering the Cruise class of Filet Mignon or Lobster tail. Instead they tailor a specailty night according to the region they are sailing. You can still get the lobster and Filet, but at traditional fine dining restaurant prices.
24 Hour food service on decks seem to also be a thing of the past. No longer is the Windjammer open 24/7. There are now service hours, and at least on this ship it seems the 24/7 pizza and burger joint in the adults solarium has been transferred into a light snacks deli and late night midnight pizza.
Suggestions for Royal for Rhapsody would be to bring back lobster night, invest more in original story line production shows for longer cruises instead of contracting out half the nights even though this might be the cheaper option.
Overall the trip was enjoyable, even though the ship is older and smaller, I did still expect a little more from Royal, but I guess the cruising experience has changed with the economy for the company, but I hope they improve. Less
Rhapsody of the Seas Cruises to Australia & New Zealand