We flew into Seattle two days before our cruise. It was the first time on the West Coast for DH amd myself and we wanted to see all we could. Our flight from Richmond Va was 4hrs and 20min long, but the scenery was beautiful from the plane and the Pilot kept us informed as to our location. We took a cab to our hotel in Belltown, Quality Inn and Suites, it cost $40.00 for the two of us and the driver let us stop by the Safeway to pick up water and snacks. The Quality Inn was great, clean rooms, king sized bed and our room opened to an outside patio. The staff was really friendly and extremely helpful in helping us make tour arrangements. There is a heated pool, fitness area and hot tub in the hotel, all very clean and safe. We enjoyed our free breakfasts each morning, had Belgian waffles, eggs, fried potatoes, sausage, bagels,and many other items to choose from.
On the cruise morning we took the hotel van-driven by sp? Oveido who was so informative and helpful. We had two other couples with us who had done this same cruise three times and Oviedo had been their driver for each trip, try to get him for your driver! We left for the cruise dock @ 10:30am and walked right up to the desk for our registration and Sea Pass cards. At 11:15 we boarded the Rhapsody! We are only C&A Gold, so no special treatment for us. The RCCL person told us the ship emptied out by 9:30am and thus we were allowed to board early! This was our first cruise on the Rhapsody and our first on a smaller ship. We were a little concerned about the age of the ship and what she had to offer. We need not have worried!
She is a beautiful ship, extremely easy to navigate and what a crew! Everyone that we met had big smiles and spoke to us like we were old friends returning home! Even the staff at the Purser's Desk were friendly and you know what a thankless job that can be with handling questions and complaints! We had an aft D1 corner cabin and it was awesome! The wrap around balcony had three loungers, two deck chairs and a large table. We spent lots of time out there. Our cabin had plenty of storage and our suitcases lived under the bed very nicely. Our cabin steward was Malbert and he was spot on the whole cruise. We introduced ourselves the first evening, told him things that were important to us and everything we had requested was done just as we asked. He made me the cutest towel animals and just beamed when I complimented him. There was another steward, a lovely lady who had the adjoining cabins in her assignment (I never got her name) but she sang while she cleaned, she had the most beautiful voice and she made the entire hallway smile. You've probably heard that there is lots of vibration on the ship and that many get seasick. Yes, the ship does vibrate at times but not horribly and you get used to it. There was some rocking and rolling, especially in the higher,windy water and some people did get sick, but it did not last long and we all managed to survive! Going to sleep at night was like being rocked in a hammock!
The ports were fun, we did our shopping in Juneau, rode the Mt Roberts Tram and ate at Tracy's King Crab Shack. Tracy's is wonderful, fresh king crab, homemade crab bisque to die for, crab cakes and best of all, meeting Tracy! Her "shack" is at the cruise dock, easy to find and she's open usually 11am-7pm. We left there and took the Blue Bus to Mendenhall Glacier for $7 pp and stayed until the last bus at 5pm. Skagway is a fun little place, a sort of pseudo town, but picturesque. We had booked with Chilkoot Charters on the White Pass Railway and rode the train to the Summit. We were taken by van back to Skagway. Our train car had only 15 people so we had plenty of room to move around and take pics. Our van driver was Shawn Driphten and he plays in a "Big Band Sound" band on Tuesday nights at the local saloon. He is a part time Skagway resident and was so informative about the town and local customs. Ask for him if you can. Tracy Arm Fjord was magnificent!! We couldn't get all the way in because of the icebergs, but it was still one of the most beautiful sites we've ever seen. One of the most amazing parts was how QUIET it is in the fjord, the flat calm teal colored water, huge cliffs on either side and the beautiful blue icebergs, it takes your breath away! Victoria,BC was the icing on the cake! What a beautiful place! Flowers everywhere lots of parks and green space and a fabulous inner harbor. We took the Prince of Whales whale watching tour and loved it. We saw humpbacks, orcas, sea lions and otter. The crew is very informative, our guide was Arly and she really knew her information. After having spent nine days on the West Coast, my DH and I decided we definitely grew up on the wrong coast! We East Coast folks could learn a lot from our cross country friends, utilizing our inner harbors, great parks and green spaces, hybrid trolleys, recycling products,etc.
The day of debarkation arrived and went smoothly. We had signed up for Luggage Valet, they picked up our bags the night before and we didn't see our luggage again until we landed back in Richmond. We used the RCCL shuttle to Sea Tac, getting there in plenty of time for our 1:10 flight. All in all, we loved the Rhapsody and have booked another cruise on her for next year.