We just returned from our Alaskan cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas. This was our 3 rd time cruising with Royal Caribbean -once on the Mariner and once on the Oasis(too big for our personal taste but the amenities were wonderful). We are an average middle class family of three 2 adults with 1 five year old daughter, and grandparents came too.
Dinning Room - We had requested 5:30 dinner and. Table for 5. When we got our sea pass cards we noticed we did have 5:30 Dinner but we were at 3 separate tables. So down to the dinning Room we did go to find a long line of others with similar problems. The one trying to fix the problems was not the Maître De but just a waiter who had his hands full. We started talking with others and figured we could all probably fix our own dilemmas much quicker and some people did. We waited for over an our for our turn to be told by this waiter that our tables were next to each other and would be pushed together- really- someone couldn't have told me that before I waited for an hour. We LOVED our server and the food was good too. Training a brand new assistant waiter took a few days but he got it by the 4th day;) We had steaks, prime rib, salmon, chicken, shrimp cocktail, salads, and the cold soup was always a treat. The little one had pizza every night but not for lack of choices on a separate kids menu. The desserts were always a treat- but we are dessert lovers at put house.
Windjammer- terribly crowded on the first day, but we expected that, and we were able to find a seat after a few passes. Food was good but the variety didn't seem to change much from day to day for breakfast and lunch- same eggs, bacon pancakes and Danishes everyday for breakfast. Same deli meat, pizza hamburgers/ hot dogs for lunch. Some days the kids cereal was available some days it wasn't. We had an awful time in the Windjammer on the glacier day. Once our boat left the Glacier Everyone decided it was time for breakfast and it was chaos. We did get a table but the other people were terribly rude- hungry I guess. Stepping on and grabbing things from my 5 year old, not allowing anyone to cut in to grab something quickly just poor manners all around. But the staff was so nice- we made some lovely friends of the wait staff in the windjammer.
Drink packages- to our feeling not really worth it on this boat. We had 1 soda package and one Royal Replenish. The soda offerings for this boat are a huge joke- do you want coke or sprite- that's it- total waste of money for us. Found better offering from the free stuff list- coffee, tea, lemonade, iced tea, some juices.
Rooms- we had 2 balcony rooms - well worth the money, but the inside rooms we got to peek into we're not totally bad just small. There was plenty of storage in our room to put everything we brought along including the toys we bring for the little one. We had a special request for our room and it was worked out even better than I expected. Our daughter is allergic to laundry detergent so we made that known when making our reservation and a representative called us to personally make arrangements with us as to what we needed done and they offered to steam clean the room instead of using the usual cleaning supplies - to us that was wonderful news a huge plus.
Kids Club: We paid for the little one to have the Barbie Experience - that was so much fun for her - these activities occur separate from the rest of the kids club activities and made her feel special as the group was small. She participated in every event that the Barbie Experience offered the story time, designer dresses, dance class and runway and loved every minute. She begged us on several occasions to take her to kids club and liked the regular one okay but not as much as the Barbie stuff. The staff was very kind and made all the kids feel welcome and when they saw "their" kids outside of kids club they always went out of their way to say hello, even on their time off. I also appreciated the fact that as soon as the kids were signed in they had them go and wash their hands and kept it up through the session - no extra germs for us please.
Pictures: We did enjoy the opportunity to have our pictures taken so many times but it is a bit strange to have them taken at dinner while you are eating- but they have done that on all of our cruises. But once the pictures are taken it becomes a very chaotic experience to find them. On both of our previous cruises they put all of your pictures in a folder with your room number on it and you could just check your folder each day for new ones. It doesn't seem to work that way on the Rhapsody- you have to hunt for your pictures individually In a certain section everyday and they are always being moved around so they are never in the same place twice. By the last night there was not enough room for all the pictures so they put them in stacks on the table for you to go through. The other issue this bring up for us as parents is that anyone can see, pick up and oh yes even buy a picture of your darling daughter to take home with them if they like- that's not okay with us.
On our way up to the train depot our tour made a stop at the dog musher camp. The man giving the tour has run the Iditarod race 7 times and shows all of his equipment and explains everything vividly- he is wonderful at his job! He had our small group quite captivated. Our 5 year old is extremely afraid of dogs so we worried about this part of our tour but it went very well actually. When you are introduced to the dogs they are behind a gated area and she was able to stand WAY back, while everyone else could go up to them fence and love on the dogs as much as they wanted. They hooked up a 6 dog team and showed us how they run with a sled and how excited the dogs get when they realize they have been picked to GO. Then comes the best part- you get to hold and love the puppies! Even our very scared daughter got in on the action - of course the 12 day old puppies were the thing;) If he hadn't counted them out exactly I'm sure a few would have gone home with the guests, including us, as they were so sweet and cuddly. Wonderful Experience- A MUST DO!
We really enjoyed our tour up the mountain by bus to the railroad depot. Our driver gave us some wonderful information on the way up and slowed at beautiful spots so we could get pictures as she pointed things out along the way. And the train ride back down was so much fun and informative. If given the chance to go back we would do this tour again and again.