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Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Review by DJ

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Rhapsody of the Seas
Rhapsody of the Seas
Member Name: DJ
Cruise Date: December 2005
Embarkation: Galveston
Destination: Western Caribbean
Cabin Category: I
Cabin Number: 2558
Booking Method: Internet Agency
See More About: Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Reviews | Western Caribbean Cruise Reviews | Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals
Member Rating   3.0 out of 5+
Dining 4.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Cabins 3.0
Entertainment 4.0
Spa & Fitness 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions 2.0
Embarkation 3.0
Service 5.0
Value-for-Money Not Rated
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: Rhapsody of the Seas Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Rhapsody of the Seas Deck Plans
Rhapsody of the Seas - Western Caribbean
Warning: this review is long. And if you don't read every word, you'll never know what you were missing! Ha ha!

" Background Information My husband and I took our first cruise as a celebration for earning my Master's degree. We definitely wanted to sail from a (somewhat) nearby port so we wouldn't have to get on a plane. I detest flying, not to mention the added expense flying presents. So we sailed from Galveston. Since we drove, we didn't have to worry about hiring a car. We ended up at EZ Park because of the advice given on this board. It was certainly cheaper and it was easy getting from the lot to the ship. Getting back was another story. We waited in front of the port terminal for an eternity before the shuttle showed up. I guess that's what we get for staying on the second deck and getting off the ship last.

" Travel To Port of Embarkation Embarkation was exactly what I expected. The line was long because we dawdled at the monument. If we had followed advice given on this board, we would have arrived earlier, knowing we would have been allowed to board anyway. Even so, the line moved fairly quickly. I just wish we had checked more of our stuff. I had brought my trumpet with me for the talent show and between it and my suit bag containing our formal wear, things were starting to droop, if you know what I mean. We didn't have any trouble getting the bags we did check, although they did take their time getting to our room. We did have them in plenty of time to dress for dinner, however.

Did you know audio books make road trips go faster? And thank goodness for public libraries which often have many of them for free. I found a John Grisham novel and some stand-up comedy routines. We stopped in San Angelo, Texas for some good Mexican food at a dive on Bell and Oakes streets and a quick trip around town to look at the Christmas lights. San Angelo has the best Christmas lights. There is a house in the barrio, on Hill Street, that has a vacant lot next door filled with all kinds of lights and decorations. The whole town comes out to see it every year.

I discovered that men's restrooms are very busy in hunters' territory. It was like going to a NASCAR race. For once, it's nice to be the female. There's no line. I also discovered that sometimes, tolls are a good thing. It tends to cut the amount of traffic. God bless the toll roads!

" Hotel Info (if any) We arrived a couple of days early so we could do some sightseeing in Houston. We also built in that extra time in case of bad weather. You know, it does snow in Texas on occasion. Luckily, not this time. We arrived in Houston on Friday night and settled in. On Saturday, we got up and visited the boardwalk at Kemah. This was a fun activity. We had a local artist make paintings which we gave to family as Christmas gifts. We also visited NASA. However, the tour was so impersonal we did not enjoy it. It was getting dark (and cold) on the tram back to the visitor center, so we could see the fireworks being shot off when the Norwegian ship set sail from Houston. We stopped at the San Jacinto monument on Sunday morning before heading to Galveston for embarkation. The San Jacinto monument is Texas' answer to the Washington Monument. But taller, of course. The revolutionary battlegrounds surrounding it are beautiful, even in winter. If you don't know much about the Texas Revolution, I highly recommend visiting. It'll shed some light on why Texans are so proud of their state. The hotel itself was a Comfort Suites, which is our usual hotel of choice. It was rather unmemorable, which is probably a good thing. That generally means it was clean, smelled good, and didn't have bugs.

" Stateroom We stayed in a stateroom with a window on the second deck. Lots of people advised me to go with a balcony room, but I have to draw the money line somewhere. A balcony would have been nice, but a window was perfectly adequate. We probably spent more time in our room than most folks, but it was usually about taking a nap rather than working on a tan. Which we could have done on the balcony, but the bed was a good place for that too. We probably could have gone with an inside room and saved even more money, but it was nice to look out at night and see the whitecaps on the water. Plus, we left our curtains open so the sunrise would wake us up. We were usually asleep before midnight, so this was not a problem. (Don't forget, were Baptists. We don't dance. Much.) It actually made it easier to wake up and get going. But I think I'm going to get going faster next time. Theres fun things happening in the mornings, but I was too slow to go to any of them.

The shower was a little on the small side, but the whole bathroom is evidently set up to handle water overflow (go figure). I finally just left the curtain open while I showered. I never did quite figure out the water temperature controls in the shower though. I had a constant hand on them trying to adjust it to where I wanted it. No luck. Other than that, I'll second everyone's comments that the room was indeed small, but did not lack for storage. I was afraid I'd leave something behind, there were so many cubbyholes all over the place.

They hide the trash can in the room. It looks like part of the table. I didn't know what to do with my candy wrappers left over from Houston. Also, I'm going to have to remember to bring a real blanket from home next time. The one we had seemed to be a twin-sized bedspread turned sideways. I could either cover my feet or my shoulders, but not both.

" Ship Info The ship wasn't too bad kinda like staying in a mid-class motel. A little shabby, but clean and neat. Considering how much time we spent there (or didn't spend, I should say), it was quite adequate. If the beds were nicer-looking, I'd want one for my house. I had the best sleep ever. Well, except for the bump in the middle where they connected the two twin size beds to make a double. After the first night, I didn't notice it. Maybe I trained myself to stay on my own side of the bed. We did feel the ship rocking the first couple of days, but the sensation transferred to land after that. I guess that's what they mean by getting your sea legs.

One evening, we got a notice left in our room that the water would be shut off for a couple of hours overnight. Some of our fellow cruisers say that didn't get the notice, so imagine their surprise when the beer finally ran through their systems. Or coffee&I guess.

Muster was not a lot of fun. Well, it was actually a lot of fun for the guy standing behind me, who had already been liberally partaking of the alcoholic choices on board. However, I had never been on a ship before and I really wanted to hear the drill. I couldn't hear because of the loudmouth behind me. On the lighter side, at least he was a funny loudmouth. So, I eventually gave up trying to hear the drill and laughed at his jokes. They wedge everyone in their muster station in these really neat lines, but I have to remember to get my husband to stand behind me next time. It was a little uncomfortable having my rear pressed up against some strange guy. And if you have a bad back, I suggest you load up on pain pills because it's a long 15 minutes, if you know what I mean. If you don't, let's just say that the standing position allowed by your wedged surroundings along with those massive life vests do not equal proper posture.

Surprisingly, we didn't run into a lot of cigarette smoke. We generally stayed on the starboard side (I think smoking is on port side). The only real smoking we had to deal with was in the lounges, but even that wasn't bad. The worst of it was walking past the bar in the Schooner Bar for the trivia games. Once past the bar itself, the smoke and the smell went away.

" Dining Our waiter, Madhu (at first, I thought he said his name was mud bug), was very good at his job. He like to pretend offense when I refused dessert. Okay, I'm a picky eater and the desserts were a little fancy for my taste. In the end, I promised him that it's not you, it's me. He stopped harassing me about it and I may have actually lost five pounds on this cruise. The headwaiter, Sergey, I think, was a lot of fun. My husband ordered a cake for me on the last night, since that would have been graduation day. Of course, there was no choice here. Sit through 3 hours of boring speeches and an hours-long reading of name after name? Or go on a cruise to the warm Caribbean. Are you insane? Of course, I chose the cruise. By the way, the chocolate cake was super-good. We shared with our table-mates and still had a bit leftover for breakfast. That's right. I had it for breakfast. You wanna fight about it?

We ended up eating in the dining room for most meals because that's where the best food was. We tried breakfast with everyone else in the Windjammer the first morning, but they were using the sodium-egg recipe. It felt like I was eating a salt-lick. Also, they hide food all over the Windjammer so you have to hunt for it. It's like a big breakfast scavenger hunt. We never got to have a table to ourselves in the dining room, but we were spending plenty of time by ourselves in the room, so we used our breakfasts and lunches to get to know our fellow cruisers. We met people from all over. I think we even met a couple who took the bus from Michigan to catch our cruise. Sounds like a fun December road trip to me. Our regular supper-mates were a family of four from Austin and a couple from Canada. We didn't see the couple all that much, but the family were regular cruisers and filled us in on everything we needed to know about cruising. Especially the important stuff like lobster night and Key Lime pie. The best part for me? Pizza in the Solarium. That was some of the best pizza I ever had. The funny part of the food is that we didn't discover the snacks in the Windjammer until our last day at sea. This is probably how we didn't gain any weight during the cruise  we couldn't find the food. We only ate at mealtimes. Except for the 11 p.m. Solarium pizza.

For the formal nights, I brought along a skirt suit. Since I would generally only wear it for job interviews, I figured I should get some more use out of it. I only brought one, though. They do have a dry cleaning/pressing service on board, so I sent it to be pressed for the second formal night. Luckily, I did manage not to spill anything on it. My husband also wore a business suit. Our male tablemates were dressed much the same, although the two women from the family decked out a little nicer. I supposed I could have, but I waited too long to go shopping. Something about trying to get my schoolwork done so I could go on the trip kinda stopped me from spending my time on frivolous pursuits.

We deliberately signed up for the early dinner seating because that was our normal suppertime. I knew if we tried to wait for the later seating, we'd regret it. Unless you're planning to sleep late and party all night, in which case you'd want to shift all your activities back a couple of hours, or unless you're European and you keep city hours, I don't recommend going for the late seating. There was a really long line to get in the first night, but if you get to the dining room right after the start time, theres no line and you go right in. Of course, on the first night, seating takes longer because they have to show everyone where they are sitting.




" Activities We're probably not the biggest partiers, so we did a lot of the daytime activities and actually slept at night. Because we were on the second deck, we didn't have any trouble with extraneous noise. So there's nothing to jolt you awake in the middle of the night so you can realize you have to make a bathroom run. We generally slept late, ate breakfast, and then found a trivia game to play in the Schooner Bar. These were a lot of fun, even though my group never won anything. I think the prizes were generally along the lines of a free Bingo card from Mo Money Marnie, the Bingo lady. (We're Baptists. We don't gamble. Much.) Anyway, you learn a lot about the people in your group from discussing the answers. For example, I learned my husband isn't the Elvis expert he purports to be. Or else, he suffers amnesia under duress. You pick.

We took along cards because we were hoping to find some folks to play rummy with us. What we should have done was pay attention to the daily itinerary. Evidently, they were holding some card tournament where they teach the participants how to play some card game I never heard of and then have a tournament with a winner at the end of the week. It looked like a lot of fun, but we didn't discover it until too late.

We did go to the shopping talk the first morning. Think I'll skip that one next time. It only does any good if you're planning to buy stuff. We were a little chintzy. (Nothing to do with being Baptist, we were just broke) It seemed like they were trying to talk everyone into investing in Tanzanite mining or something. It seems like the cruise world is its own world sometimes. There are some chains that show up in every port. Señor Frog's, Diamonds International/Tanzanite International, and Del Sol are 3 examples of this.

I think we spent about $12 in the onboard shops. I had to buy the requisite souvenir cup and I think we bought an inflatable ship for the nephew back home. Between that and $3 at Ben and Jerry's, I must have been a sore disappointment for Royal Caribbean. No gambling, no drinking, no shopping. You'd think I stayed in my room and sulked the whole trip. Good thing I know how to have fun without spending any money.

I had been hoping to go to the Speed Reading lecture they were offering since I had just completed the need for it. It turned out to be a memory technique seminar instead. I don't remember how it works. I guess it doesn't.

My biggest concern when we booked was what kinds of activities would be offered on board, and I never could get much in the way of specific answers. What I really wanted to see was an actual schedule, which no one had. So I've taken the liberty of scanning our daily schedules and posting them on the web for everyone to see. They'll be there until the copyright police find me. Hopefully they'll have mercy because I'm just trying to help them sell cruises. How altruistic of me. You'll find them at http://picasaweb.google.com/newspaperemail. Just click on the little magnifying glass on the upper left of each image to get a readable view. If you're lucky, I may even post some of the photos we took, so keep checking back.

" Service I have no complaints about the service. We didn't see much of our room steward. I generally prefer to stay out of their way while they're working. He seemed offended when I asked him to remove the cans of Coke and Dr Pepper from the dressing table, but he still left us some nice towel critters. I took pictures of all of them. He had some kind of fetish about my sunglasses because once he found them, he used them every night. I never did quite figure out what he was doing with our pillows when he made up the room in the morning. One of them looked like an inchworm, but the rest looked more like abstract art. Maybe he was art student. Who knows? Our dinner service was excellent, like everyone said it would be.

I was told to sign up for the spa services early, so that was the first place I went after lunch. The line wasn't too long. I decided to skip the massage and just signed up for a manicure. It was the most expensive manicure I ever had, but it was also the best one. It lasted from the early afternoon of Day 3 until the night after we disembarked. I was just finishing up when we pulled into port at Key West, so the manicurist pointed out how the water changes color closer to port. Since I had never seen ocean water any color other than dirty gray or dirty brown, this near-fluorescent green/blue color was a novelty.

" Entertainment We didn't do much of the entertainment. We went to the show the first night which was a comedian I never heard of. I thought he very funny. And his act was clean. I think he did a late-night show later in the week and that was when he let loose the profanity. Glad I missed that one. My ears are sensitive. We also saw a magician named David Haines. I never heard of him, but he was very good. I couldn't believe how well he and his assistant balanced considering how much movement the ship was making that night. But that was nothing compared to the last sea day, when we hit a good thunderstorm. They had to cancel the farewell show because the ship was moving so much. I think I heard they may have rescheduled it for later, but I was asleep for most of the day. I didn't much care. We skipped the other shows. I'm a musician, so I'm a little picky about live music. I wasn't interested in the Platters, but lots of people said they were good. Just listening to the various bands (a lot of them were one guy and a keyboard) around the ship, I had had enough live music.

I was the first person to sign up for the talent show. I'm a gifted trumpet player, and I like everyone to know that up front. Evidently I was the only one to sign up because it was cancelled. Or else, no one wanted to hear me play. Dang, I dragged that thing on board for nothing. They just don't know what they're missing. But I was bound and determined to embarrass myself, so I volunteered for karaoke night.

Did I mention that I turn into a piece of wood when I sing on stage? Still, I thought I was going to be better than anyone else in the room (because all the ones before me were really bad). Until the Jim Carrey impersonator got up to sing the theme from Flashdance. Right before my song. I don't know if he won because I didn't stay for the whole thing. (I was more interested in dinner.) But he was certainly the most entertaining person there. That might have been the alcohol, but what do I know? And who cares? I laughed so hard my lungs came out of my nose.

They did show a couple of movies in the theater, so I got to see most of Batman Returns. At least, I think that's what it was. Made a big impression on me, you can see. They also played a bunch of TV reruns in the rooms. We actually got to see some episodes of 8 Simple Rules that we missed while John Ritter was still alive. I was in love with him, so this was especially exciting to find. I heard they show some of the shipboard activities on the room televisions, but we never did find them.





" Shore Excursions We took the tours offered by the ship in each port because we felt it would be safer that way. We have never been out of the country (yeah, like Juarez counts&), so it seemed like it would be worth the extra money for the insurance factor offered by the ship tours. It was. Except for Key West.

In Key West, we took the trolley tour. We enjoyed the tour, but feel like we were shortchanged. Sure we saw the whole island before dark, but dark comes really early in December. We didn't realize there would be no stops along the way whatsoever, so we waved to the big bullet as we drove by (that would be the Southernmost point of the US, for the unenlightened). We said hello to the roosters, who are evidently quite famous. We laughed at the mooners as we drove by. Yes, we were mooned by a bunch of pre-pubescent kids. How could we not laugh? I'm sure they probably mooned all the other trolleys as they drove by too. They probably sit around and wait for the cruisers to drive by. I'll bet our driver knew it was coming. We drove by Ernest Hemingway's house. That's nice. But what did I learn about him? Nada. Since we're not drinkers (Remember, we're Baptists. We can't have any of that), we went back to the ship after the tour and had dinner in the dining room. Well&after we stopped off at Del Sol and bought t-shirts for the kiddies. What kid wouldn't like a shirt that turns colors in the sun? Or how about color-changing nail polish for a 9-year-old niece?

On Grand Cayman we also took a tour that took us to the Turtle Farm and to Stingray City (to watch, not to swim). Our guide on the bus was a little boring, like he had run through his spiel a few too many times, but he had a funny way of talking about one of the stops. We went to&Hell. Luckily, we came back. And we brought pictures. The rock formations are beautiful, especially surrounded by all the plants and flowers. We bought postcards and stamps in the little store nearby and mailed postcards back home. Nobody got any of the postcards we sent. Guess we'll never do that again. It was a mad scramble here because we only had about a 15 or 20 minute stop. Everybody else on the bus was doing exactly what we were doing. Not to mention the other two buses that stopped. Stingray City was nice. Our demo diver had a fantastic sense of humor. We learned how to say yeah, mon, and no problem, mon. Evidently, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica used to be the same country. The turtle farm was okay, but I spent my time there wondering why it felt like the gift shop was moving. It must have been built over water&yeah, that's it. And did I mention it was HOT in Cayman? Somebody forgot to tell them it's winter in December. A big storm was moving in from a distance as we were waiting on deck to leave.

Our last stop was at Cozumel. We took the tour and shopping which was really a tour that ended in the pier shopping district instead of at the pier itself. The tour was fantastic. If I ever find Patricio again, I'll take the tour again. He was very entertaining. Actually, he did say mi casa es su casa, so I guess I'll be staying at his house next time. We learned that the clock tower on the municipal building is marked in Mayan numbers. We learned that Montezuma's Revenge is such an ugly thing evidently because Montezuma was Aztec, not Mayan. ;-) We did most of our Christmas shopping there in the shopping district on the pier, so we had some really unique gifts this year. I was especially proud of the hand-tooled leather wallet I found that matches my father's gun belt. (Relax he's a cop.) They try to get you to buy the black coral, and our tour guide told us how to tell the real stuff from the fake stuff the vendors will try to sell you. But I remember reading somewhere that you shouldn't buy black coral because it's bad for the environment. I settled for an onyx instead.

It started raining while we were in Cozumel. Actually, it was just a mist in the morning, which made for a nice tour. The sun even came out for a bit while we stopped at the beach (no sand, thanks Wilma!) on our tour, so we did see some blue water. Many of the buildings were demolished from Hurricane Wilma, and most of the trees were lopped off at the top. By halfway through lunch, though, it was a full-out downpour. And do not be fooled. Pancho's Backyard may have a canopy over the outdoor dining area, but it leaks like a sieve. We scarved down the rest of our lunch (now soup) and went shopping. And if you're worried about Mexican currency, it wasn't a problem. We made sure we used credit cards, which have some consumer protections. Most of the places printed our receipts in US dollars, although Patricio did give us the exchange rate, just in case. It did not make for a beautiful stop, but it was definitely the most fun.

I forgot to mention that because of my eye problem related to my seasick patch, Mexico was lots of fun. You should know, if you've never been on a cruise, that the ground starts to sway around day 3 or 4. I don't mean the ship  that feels normal. Land sways. So with my vision all messed up and the ground moving like that, I felt like I was on drugs. Assuming I know what being on drugs is like. Maybe it's nothing like that. (I'm a Baptist. And my dad's a cop. It was hopeless from the start.)

" Disembarkation This was very uneventful. Which is just as well, since we were completely evented-out. We were so exhausted from our week's activities, we could do little more than stare dumbly at the TV reruns showing on the screen in the theater. Since we were on deck 2, we were in the last group to disembark. I had neglected to get additional cash for tips, so we had to carry our own luggage. Unlike embarkation, I didn't see any porters eagerly rushing to take our luggage for us. They probably know the tips aren't as good at the end of the trip when everybody is out of money. Like us. Customs was a breeze&probably because we hardly spent any money. I'm glad it took the driver forever to come pick us up and take us back to the EZ Park lot. I didn't feel so bad about not tipping. Although it probably wasn't his fault. He was probably overloaded from the previous rounds of passengers. I'm starting to feel some remorse now. I'll bring more next time. I promise. Besides, we did spend a pleasant hour standing among the smokers in a sunny spot on the concrete watching all the taxis and shuttles go by. Considering we had a 10-hour car ride ahead of us, it's probably just as well we didn't try to get there too quickly.

Likewise, our car was undisturbed after spending a week in a parking lot and us many miles away. Considering it was not in the best neighborhood, I am incredibly impressed and will assume the EZ Park people had something to do with that.

" Summary/Miscellaneous In short, we walked. And walked. I don't know what these people are eating to gain 5 pounds, but we did so much walking during our cruise that I don't think it would have been possible to gain. Even with 11 p.m. pizza every night. And room-service cookies at bedtime. We tried to explore the entire ship the first two days, and then we did a lot of walking in every port.

We hung out on the deck as we were leaving Galveston. I was glad we were at the back of the ship because we could see dolphins following us and leaping up out of the water every so often. But I was kicking myself because although the weather was fairly nice that day, 5 p.m. is near sunset and it was December, after all. Between the deeper shadows and the wind, I nearly froze to death! No, really! Next time I'll remember to bring a jacket.

I got my doctor to prescribe the seasick patches because I already knew I'm prone to motion sickness. My husband's doctor wouldn't prescribe them because of the side effects. That should have been a clue. But I've never been one to have side effect problems. At least, not before this trip. I noticed at dinner on day 3 that I couldn't see the menu very well until I took my glasses off. My vision is normally not too bad, so it generally doesn't matter whether I wear them to read or not. I finally took a good look at myself in the mirror the next morning and that's when I noticed my left eye was dilated to about twice the size as the right one. No wonder I couldn't see straight! My husband made me take the patch off  I'm pretty sure it was behind my left ear, hence the left eye being affected. I didn't have any problems with motion sickness until the last day of the cruise when we hit a nasty thunderstorm. But watching the lightning hit the water from the Solarium deck chairs was sure cool. That was in between bouts of nausea, which was an all-day thing. I tried the Dramamine pills, but like a lot of drugs, it did nothing for me. Shoulda put the patch back on: side effects be darned to heck! I made it through five minutes of the towel-folding lesson before I gave it up and went back to my room. I really wanted to learn how to make those towel critters  I was very disappointed. I ended up sleeping most of the day. But did I mention the vacuum system on the ship decided to go out for several hours right about now? Meaning the toilets didn't work. In rough seas. Isn't that nice? People were walking around in the halls with sick bags. Part of the reason I chose to sleep most of the day is because I hoped I wouldn't notice how badly I needed to visit the bathroom. It worked. I managed not to lose my breakfast or my lunch, but dinner was another story. The last day of the cruise was also my graduation day. I wasn't allowed to skip dinner because my husband had made a special request. I didn't want to disappoint. Surprisingly, I felt fine during dinner. It wasn't until a couple of hours later, while trying to pack up, that I finally gave it up. But after sleeping all day, I slept all night too. I was very well rested. And ultimately, isn't that what vacations are for?

I'm really glad I brought along some laundry soap because they do fill the pools with salt water. It does make you float more  I had a hard time holding myself down in the hot tubs, but I think it also makes your bathing suit start to sour sooner. I think. Anyway, I was able to soak my bathing suits in soapy water after our nightly hot tub sessions and they would come out smelling quite nice the next morning after drying all night. I just bought a little squirt bottle from Target and took a small amount with me. It also comes in handy for those little spills in the dining room that you get because you're too nervous to eat properly. I don't think a day went by that I didn't spill something on my shirt. Tide pens are good, but they can only so much.

We did buy trip insurance because it had been advised by a whole bunch of people I know, some of whom work in the travel industry and some who just travel a lot. We ended up buying the insurance offered by our booking agency, although if you do your research, you may find better insurance for less money. It turned out we never needed it, but the thought of getting sick in a foreign country scares the bejeezus out of me.

I should probably mention at this point, because no one else has, that it took about four days for the ground to finally stop moving after we got back. It's a lot easier to get your sea legs than it is to regain your land legs.

Curiously, we were only asked for our passports when we checked in. We were meticulous about carrying them in port, but we never needed them.

I brought my laptop with me so I could upload pictures from my digital camera. I have a habit of running out of memory or battery power anytime I tried to take a picture of a headstone at someone's grave. Like when we visited Graceland. (I know what you were thinking, but you never know when you're going to need to take a picture of a headstone.) So I wanted to make sure I had plenty of room on the camera at all times. I found out a little too late that the room safe isn't big enough to hold a laptop. I had wanted to take along a flash drive and transfer the pictures to that, but evidently the ship's computers are just for web surfing.

Although we enjoyed the cruise, we were both very disappointed with Royal Caribbean on one aspect. We specifically booked a cruise because it was going to stop in Jamaica. I had a boss a few years ago from Jamaica and I wanted to see his home country. Our itinerary was changed sometime between booking (in February) and November, but we weren't notified in time to change our plans. Nor did I feel there was a valid reason for them to change the stop to Key West. I would have understood if it had been because of bad weather or civil unrest, but their response was that there were too many ships in port in Jamaica. I know they're contract states that they have a legal right to substitute ports or change the itinerary for any reason. But if you're selling a cruise that goes to places A, B, and C, you ought to have to produce that cruise unless there are true circumstances preventing it. Otherwise, it looks like false advertising or a bait-and-switch tactic. I do plan to cruise again, but I think I'll find a cruise line that actually delivers the product it sells.

Publication Date: 10/25/06
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