According to the dictionary, the definition of rhapsody is "a state of elated bliss; ecstasy" and this is exactly how I felt during my 12 night cruise of the South Pacific.
Now I am only a second time cruiser, my first cruise being in July 2012 aboard the P&O Pacific Sun. It was the Sun's last ever cruise before being decommissioned to China to become a floating casino and boy, did it need some love. Despite the condition of the ship I still had an awesome time and one I wasn't sure could be topped.
From the moment myself and my bestie Joanne stepped aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas we were wowed at every turn we took. The ship recently underwent a 16 million dollar refurb and I wasn't expecting to see much of where that cash was spent (even to replace the towels on a ship this massive would cost a fortune), especially seeing as we were in what I affectionately call "The Slums" of the ship way down on the middle of deck two, I thought there would not have been a single red cent spent on our bottom of the line room. Whether it was or not the room was fantastic, heaps of storage space in every nook and cranny and more lights than Broadway, it made for a very comfortable home away from home.
It took me the first couple of days to truly relax and get in to the holiday swing but before long I was sleeping when I wanted to sleep (the beauty of a pitch black interior suite), participating in ballroom dancing lessons in front of 100's of people stone cold sober and making friends that I will have for life.
It never ceases to amaze me that considering the sheer volume of passengers on board that the food can be so delicious. We requested to have the same waiters from the second night on the ship when my friend and I ended up being the last ones in the main dining room being shown how to make rabbits out of our napkins! From that night on we looked forward to coming home to Leon and Roman, who would have our wine chilling and waiting, know exactly what we wanted to order before even we did and always having a cheeky trick to show us using toothpicks or other locally sourced tableware. The only downside to the consumables on board was the coffee, I am quite the caffeine fiend and the coffee was so bad that I had a total of 3 cups the whole cruise - detox anyone?
We participated in (and sometimes just enjoyed watching like the voyeurs we are)many of the on board activities which were always in abundance and delivered many laughs. The evening shows were very professional and entertaining (some times not for the reason they were intended, but we won't go there!), my favourite being Phoenix the Mentalist. Joanne asked me over dinner on the night of the show what a mentalist was, which I defined as a magically hypnotic mind reader (in a nutshell) and Jo was keen to be a part of whatever came our way during the show. So I made sure we sat near the front in the hopes that Jo be picked to participate. Not only did Jo become a part of the show (while blindfolded, Phoenix guessed [bad definition but I lack any other explanation] Joanne's name, home town, number between 1-100 and spelt her mothers maiden name - which is a very uncommon one - among other things) but I too was wowed by this mans ability to see through my clothes! (I suppose I should offer a short explanation - I was wearing long pants but somehow Phoenix picked that I had a scar on my left knee from an accident I'd had as a child - freaky!). We both walked out of the show totally amazed and pumped full of adrenalin after being absolutely bamboozled by the accuracy and sheer talent of this man. We then went to the bar only to bump in to Phoenix and his assistant Catherine, who approached us to say thanks for being in the show. They were both so down to earth and friendly and we were fortunate enough to get to know them over the next couple of nights that they were on board. We hung out in our own little posse including another couple we had met on the cruise, it was the highlight of the holiday and all made for a very cool story to tell the folks back home.
The ports of call were stunning, the tender process efficient and the weather perfect. I also made good use of the gym (not that it counteracted the 3 course breakfast, lunch and dinners, not to mention litres of wine I consumed) which was state of the art and I also climbed the rock climbing wall (hardest 60 seconds of exercise ever). I could rave on about the ship for pages but I think you get the gist. If you want a holiday that you can unpack once yet visit many destinations, whilst having your every need tended to flawlessly at a very affordable price then I strongly recommend cruising with Royal Caribbean. I came home with a serious case of Post Cruise Blues (known as PCB among the gang) and cannot wait to plan my next one...