I've been talking about this cruise to anyone who will stop and listen to me talk. I suffered the Post Cruise Blues (PCB) for nearly a fortnight. I waited at my dining table for the menu to be handed to be each evening to no avail. There was no midday call from my Captain announcing our location. No one turned down my bed and left fluffy towel animals in the stateroom. I wanted to run after the ship on the day we returned to Sydney and beg them to let me back on board!
Rhapsody of the Seas is like living on board your own City. While everyone wants a lovely stateroom it's true when they say you barely spend any time there! (but they were lovely! Plenty of storage in the bathroom ladies!)There's wii tournaments in the Schooner Bar, Movies in the Broadway Melodies theatre, Bingo in the Shall We Dance Lounge, Yoga classes in the Gym, Rock Climbing for young and old, Sunshine and Poolside snoozing on the upper decks and heavenly treatments in the Vitality Day spa. All of the facilities on board are clean and well maintained with an air of luxury.
The cocktail list in the R Bar is phenomenal and I'd be lying if I said I didn't try and make my way from the front cover to the back! The service from all staff on board - Edelweiss dining room, Windjammer Cafe, Izumi's, Viking Crown Lounge, Park Cafe, Lattetudes, Casino, House Keeping and Room Service to name a few - was faultless. All of the staff we interacted with were friendly and endeavored to cater to our every need/whim/early morning room service desire! The variety and quality of the food and beverages on board was quite remarkable for such a large ship. There were great vegetarian options and lots of salad and vegetables with the dishes... and if I could have worked my way through all of the dessert menus I think I may have attempted that also!
We visited 7 ports in total: Vila, Isle of Pines, Lifou, Champagne Bay, Mystery Island, Luganville and Noumea. The system for Tender to the islands ensured there were no long queues or lengthy waiting periods - hoorah! If you're planning on partaking in some snorkeling it's definitely worth taking your own gear, or, if you're stopping in Vila early in the cruise you can pick up a snorkel and goggles set for $12 ($A)... and you'll need it! Champagne Bay was by far the most gorgeous beach I have ever seen. The locals will take you to the Blue Lagoon for $10 ($A) return. It's about a 20 minute bus trip from the main beach area and $7 ($A) entry fee. Just be sure to negotiate with your driver what time you would like them to pick you up! The Duty Free shopping is best done in Vila and while the markets make for an interesting peruse, the best place to shop is a small shopfront on the Lini Hwy near the ANZ bank. You'll find most of the bits and bobs in the markets here for less than you will pay at the markets.
The entertainment on board was fantastic! There was a Motown show (dancing in the isles IS permitted!), Aussieboys tribute to Australia, The Royal Carribean Dancers and Singers... but in particular I really enjoyed the Mentalist: Phoenix. I didn't even know what a mentalist was until the evening before the show when it was announced for the following evening and the friend I was travelling with explained it to me. I'd pondered it most of the following day and was pretty keen to get a seat at the front to prove the whole show 'wrong'... even more so in the hope that I would get selected to be part of it in order to further prove something 'wrong' -- I still don't know what the 'something' was. I was the complete skeptic: 'Pfft I've watched Magics Secrets Revealed!' and ready to put a big red BS stamp all over it! After about 15 minutes into the show and watching his every movement intensely I started to feel a bit weird because I couldn't work anything out; it was all happening around me yet I couldn't see it. I kept whispering "How the did he just do that?!" and thinking I needed another drink... and then when he -- blindfolded, in a mostly dark room -- told the guy on the other end of the microphone his favourite drink was Southern Comfort? (cos he took a gob-ful at the time) Speechless (which is unheard of for me -- I'm pretty sure I could talk underwater with a mouthful of marbles... in all my school reports it said 'Joanne could achieve much more if she spent less time conversing with her neighbours', but I digress...) Then it was my envelope that was selected... 57? Check. Sydney? Check. Joanne/Jo? Shit! C-l-o-u-g-h? MIND. BLOWN. I am completely utterly fascinated by the whole process and if you're lucky enough to be on the ship when Phoenix is, make sure you're at the 7pm AND the 9pm shows because the first time around you'll be in such disbelief and amazement it will be difficult to pay attention!
If you're considering booking a cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas I highly suggest you do it now... now... might be best to stop reading here and go and book that Cruise...