We cruised on Rhapsody of the Seas in April/May 2009. Sydney to Hawaii visiting the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Maui and finishing in Honolulu. 16 nights,Junior Suite #8558 We are a married couple in our 40's no kids.
This was our 2nd cruise with Royal Caribbean, our first was on Explorer of the Seas around the Caribbean. Although this ship wasn't as large, it was just as great!!!.
We decided on this cruise because it ticked all the boxes for us....departing out of Sydney, going to Tahiti and Hawaii which we wanted to do and longer than the usual 7 nights around the Pacific.
We chose the Junior Suite because we like to spend time in our cabin and for 16 nights thought it was the best option for space etc....I also like to have a bath!!!
We left Sydney on a rather cold and very wet day but the boarding process was not affected by this. As we had a Junior Suite was had a designated check in counter and all ran smoothly....we were checked in and on board in about 10 minutes.
Our Suite was cabin # 8558 about mid ship. Very spacious, not ultra modern but I wasn't expecting that. it was well appointed and very clean and not worn in anyway (I believe the ship had recently been refurbished). The bathroom was a very good size and it was a proper size bath. We had plenty of cupboard and drawer space. The balcony was private and the living space plenty for us. Overall we were very happy with the Junior Suite and feel we got value for our money. Cabin attendant was very nice, no problems there....actually we hardly saw him which is probably how it's meant to be, but all requests were attended to in a prompt manner.
The ship left a little late due to the loading of provisions but only by about 30 minutes or so.....no drama.
We had requested in our booking that we be seated on a table of 8 which we were but unfortunately no-one turned up for 2 nights!!!! The waitstaff were very accommodating and managed to move us to a table of 10 for the remainder of the cruise and we were very happy with the company and actually did alot with the people on our table ( we met most nights for pre-dinner drinks and also after dinner entertainment).
We thought the food was very good, no complaints about service and choice. We liked the idea of the 24 hour pizza/hotdog bar in the solarium pool area and utilised this a couple of times!!!!!
We also had canapes and drinks in our suite on 2 nights (with people from our table). This was organised at the pursers desk and was delivered right on the time requested. We obviously had to pay for this but the canapes were beautiful and very well presented. We were able to get the drinks from the bar on the floor below (ice bucket and glasses provided) and we enjoyed this little extra touch with our new friends....10 people fitted into the Junior Suite with no problems at all....when we returned to our cabin after dinner it was all magically cleared away for us!!! The service was very good indeed. The purser's desk even provided invitations that we handed out for our gathering.
Although we didn't go to every show, the ones we did go to we thought to be very good....there was also a good variety of shows to cater to everyones taste.
As we were away on ANZAC day and there were alot of Aussies and Kiwis onboard, there was a service organised in the theatre at 0800am on Anzac day which I would say 98% of passengers went to. I think it was organised by some aussies onboard but the Captain and crew went out of their way to find flags, wreaths, poppy pins etc for the day. They even organised a game of 2 up with all money going to the RSL. It was fabulous. I think now that Royal Caribbean know about this day they will incorporate a service in the future when sailing in this region. It was put together very quickly but very well. Credit to them. The service was very emotional and was appreciated by all onboard.
On our cruise we crossed the Equator and the ship organised a greeting of King Neptune and put on a real show. All passengers receieved a certificate for this. It was a really well organised event and went for about an hour....they got alot of the passengers involved and was another nice touch to the whole cruise experience.
As we had sailed with Royal Caribbean before, we were invited to the Captain's Cocktail Party. it was very nice and he greeted every guest and had a brief chat with them....we were served any drink we wanted and canapes....it lasted for about an hour and was a nice touch for returning passengers. We were also give a voucher book for various discounts onbaord which we took advantage of.....another nice gesture by the company. We found all these little "extras" were definately a great way to entice us back.
Overall we enjoyed the ship very much....my husband even had a go at the rock climbing wall!!!! we couldn't fault any part of the cruise. Even the tender service was very efficient. We didn't book any shore excursions, just did our own thing.
I had done some research beforehand and found a fantastic day trip in Bora Bora with a local company to swim with the sharks and stingrays. I believe the ship had a similar excusion for double the price. I booked ours over the internet and the tour rep was on the dock to meet us at Bora Bora. it was a full day tour and we had a beautiful buffet lunch on a secluded island that the hosts prepared...then sang to us and explained how all the food was cooked etc. Swimming with the stingrays was incredible and we were not rushed at all,as I said it was a full day tour and they brought us back to the ship. I'm sure the tours on RCI are fine but they were priced in US dollars and at the time we sailed the dollar wasn't that great so we prefered to do our own thing.
All in all it was a fantastic holiday I really can't complain about anything with the ship. The only word of warning I would give is that you need to be careful when cruising from one port and finishing in another (not a round trip). RCI here in Australia did not offer air/sea packages at the time we sailed (this may have changed now)which meant you had to organise your own airfare back to Australia from Honolulu. It's a bit of a trap for young players as a oneway fare from Hawaii (or anywhere else for that matter) was priced in US dollars and twice the price of a return ticket if purchased in Australia......it can add a bit to the holiday if you are not aware of this. It didn't effect us as my husband works for Qantas so we get cheap fares but I thought it should be pointed out for those people who don't have that advantage.
Other than that, no complaints whatsoever.....we wish RCI would base a ship down her all year round as there isn't any decent ships here most of the year (we don't like the cheap P & O ships).
Job well done Royal Caribbean......we look forward to sailing with you again!!!!