Four months ago we sailed on the Voyager of the Seas from Singapore to Sydney, so this cruise was a very good opportunity to compare the Voyager with the Rhapsody. We arrived at the time allocated by the cruise line for check-in and all was good sailing. The check-in was without any problems and took about 20 minutes after having dropped our bags at the drop-off point. We were able to get straight to our cabin for a quick inspection before visiting the Windjammer Restaurant for a light snack. The first impression was yes the Rhapsody shows its age but the ship is well looked after and very clean. It is obviously a lot smaller than the Voyager but that was expected and we actually found this a plus. When we returned to our stateroom our luggage was waiting for us.
Now first to the Stateroom. It was well appointed but there were a number of things which I considered a drawback. On our previous cruises we have always had a small bar fridge in the room but this was sadly missing which meant that all the cool drinks you find usually in the fridge were placed on the dresser taking up room. The second problem I encountered was that unlike the Voyager we had no electric kettle in the room. I am in urgent need of a cup of coffee in the morning and my main complaint about the Voyager was that while a kettle and tea was provided, coffee was not. Being smart (I thought) I brought some instant coffee on board expecting to find a kettle and was very disappointed. However after speaking to our Cabin Steward he organized a kettle for us and I was very happy once again. Another thing I did not like was the size of the bathroom, but what really annoyed me most was the plastic shower curtain which sticks to your body no matter how you stand in the shower. There are further small drawbacks in comparison to the Voyager such as the entertainment system which has no movie channel and the display of the route and map of the ship is hard to see and understand. Furthermore there are no electronic updates about the charges and the money you spend on-board which means that every couple of days we had to go to customer service to get an interim statement.
All of the above is much better on the Voyager but then the Rhapsody has other aspects which are very positive. The Rhapsody is very easy to navigate and it is hard to get lost. The mixture of people on this cruise was great. We found quite a number of younger people and young families on board and as 80% of the passengers were Australians, the atmosphere on board was much more lively than on the Voyager.
The entertainment was enjoyable and the venue for the movies in the theatre or near the pool in the open was good and only the selection of movies was in my opinion rather strange. Two movies which I thought were strange choices - one was about the hijacking of a ship by pirates at sea and the other one was about the survival of a sailor after his yacht was hit by a stray container. Interesting choice I thought!
The entertainment in the lounges was of a good standard but sometimes we had to escape to the Viking lounge to read our books without having to listen to music everywhere else on the ship.
We did not eat in any of the speciality restaurants and on shore days, had our breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer. We really would have preferred our lunch in the Edelweiss but unfortunately this restaurant was only open for lunch during sea days which is a shame because the salad bar in the Edelweiss is absolutely fantastic.
For dinner we always went to the Edelweiss and this was the highlight of the cruise. The food was outstanding and only surpassed by the service we received. Our 2 waiters ( Leon and Prasath) were absolutely fantastic and went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Thanks a lot for the service guys and I hope that someone in a management position on Royal Caribbean reads this and commends these two guys on their service.
The ship stopovers while interesting were nothing to excite us but if you are into snorkelling and swimming you will have a ball. The beaches were beautiful and the water crystal clear. We like to take a long walk when we are on shore and in a couple of the ports, there really wasn't much to see other than the beautiful view.
Overall we have no hesitation to recommend the Rhapsody and we had a great vacation and were well looked after,