This was our first trip on the Rhapsody of the Seas and Royal Caribbean International (RCI). Previous cruises had been with Princess and Star. This Cruise did not compare favourably with either Princess or Star.
Arrival, Boarding, Reception were all of a high standard.
Large Oceanview Stateroom. No fridge in the room. Standard stateroom furniture on other Cruise ships but not on this one. A fridge was eventually supplied but only after a complaint to a crew member who was doing a survey on the second night of the trip.The shower was small and water pressure in the sink taps was almost non-existent. The room was well maintained, clean and tidy. The steward was very friendly.
Edelweiss Dining Room. A quite acceptable dining room as far as seating and positioning was concerned. The meals were well prepared if somewhat predictable and unexciting. The Table Waiter and his Assistant were very good and attentive.
Dining Dress. The Rhapsody of the Seas has a reputation as being somewhat informal but it was disappointing to see that this informality spilled over into the two formal dining nights. The conditions (on the Rhapsody web site) for formal dining nights dress indicate “Formal: Suits and ties or tuxedos for men, cocktail dresses for women”. If this is a standard then it should be fairly easy to enforce, however it is obvious that RCI does not want to do this and as a result their standards have slipped to the extent that polo necked shirts and even t-shirts, as well as shorts and sandals were tolerated. Change the requirements if they are not to be enforced.
Entertainment. Fairly predictable and a bit boring although the costumes for the large ensemble shows were very good. The magician was very good but the rest was pretty stock standard cruise line entertainers. This was a view expressed also by longtime cruisers. Most of the daytime activities were provided on the last two days of the cruise.
Entertainment Staff. Very good, hardworking, pleasant and I am sure “sleep deprived” by the end. Unlike other cruises the Cruise Director was noticeable, a lot of the time, by his absence.
Staff. All the staff that we came into contact with were friendly, helpful and could not do enough for the passengers. The Guest Services staff tended to be short but considering the amount of problems they would have had to solve, who can blame them.
Ship. The Rhapsody is seventeen years old and is beginning to show it. It is being removed from the Australia and South Pacific cruise program and, I believe, going to Asia. It is to be replaced later in the year (announcement in April 2014) let’s hope it’s a little bit better laid out (see below) than the Rhapsody.
Schooner Bar. A great place to have a drink and relax and listen to a “piano man”. It’s a pity then that it’s smack in the middle of the main traffic area between the theatre and main lounge. Not only distracting but noisy.
This was not a bad cruise but it wasn’t a great cruise either. It’s what you make it but a little help wouldn’t go astray and there was too many “activities” that required payment or required sitting through a selling seminar. If you want to sit by the pool, if it’s not too windy, and eat (although not after 10pm) then I suppose this type of cruise is for you.