We chose Rhapsody based on good reviews from her Aussie season and great value pricing. We chose inside and whilst a window would have been nice, we were not at all disappointed and spent only the minimum "sleep" time in the cabin. The room was certainly no palace but was adequate and we were surprised by the more than ample storage space. We only sighted our steward twice on the entire cruise! - not an issue as everything was in order and always spotless including the mandatory towel pets!
We were quite satisfied with the dining options. Our My Time choice worked well - always walked straight in (no need to pre-book) although the first night we were seated with a table of 8 and the others were already into appetizers as we arrived. Also the mains were rushed as soon as appetizers cleared. On subsequent nights we chose table for two and still found neighbors to chat with, and our waiter was excellent in meeting our request for slower pace of service. menu choices were More
overall pretty good - the lobster on formal night was not great but steaks always good and fabulous butterfish! Desserts were always fabulous (even if unnecessary!).
Formal night was pleasant but you definitely don't need a tux! I was more the presentable with blazer,tie,slacks and the DW was comfortable in her dress pants and blouse.
Meals,(including a couple of dinners) in the Windjammer were fine with pretty good selections. Never had to wait for a table.
Overall the ship was in fine condition for its age and we were amazed how uncrowded it was despite 2000+ pax on board. The staff were, without exception, SUPERB. Friendly smiles, great service and excellent memories for our favorite drinks. Enjoyed Derek in the Schooner Bar and spent a little too much (time and money) in the casino! Skipped the art auctions - what a joke!
We attended the theater show on three occasions - the first was the Nelson Brothers (Ricky Nelsons twin sons) with a tribute show to their pop - a fabulous trip down memory lane. Next was Tony Tillman - a top Vegas Sammy Davis impersonator and a great song a dance act. The final farewell show on the last night was predictable but ok.
Ports: Juneau - we made our own advance booking with Harv & Marv (based on Cruise Critic reviews) and it was arranged they would collect us from the Glacier so we came of the ship into town, took the tramcar ride up Mt Roberts (ho-hum...) and the took the shuttle bus to Mendenhall ($7pp) - the glacier was awesome but the 45 minutes we had there was more than enough. H&M picked us (and 2 others) up on queue and this was an absolute highlight of our vacation - we saw orcas and humpbacks in numbers and got some fabulous photos and video. Capt Steve was most amicable and informative and the trip was worth every penny. Give the big boats a miss as you will not get as close a spectacle.
In Skagway we also took critics advice and pre-booked with Dyea Dave. He met us on the wharf and we were a little disappointed to find we would be traveling in the 2nd vehicle with his off-sider Beckie. Most in the group were anticipating the train journey one way and with heavy cloud it was agreed we would proceed on the bus and look at the train for the return. WELL - after 30 minutes it was obvious Beckie knew her stuff and was a great guide - she stopped when and wherever we wanted to take photos and with only 9 on the bus we were a great bonded group. Emerald lake was beautiful and the lake and mountain views on the Klondike highway were spectacular - some fabulous mirror lake images. After lunch were all agreed unanimously we were having such a good time with Beckie we would skip the train - thank goodness as we had 2 amazing brown bear encounters on the roadside on the return journey. Another memorable highlight of our trip.
Final port of Victoria was spoiled a little by dreary weather. We booked the shuttle tour to Buchart Gardens once we were in town and the weather did clear to give us an opportunity to enjoy these beautiful gardens - well worth the visit.
There were 4 ships in port in Juneau and 3 in Skagway but we experience no crowd problems. We avoided the jewelery stores and minimal time in the souvenir shops but made the most of some time at Skagway Brewing and the Red Onion - both great fun!
All in all the cruise was all we could have expected and then some. Rhapsody is a lovely ship and we hope we may enjoy some more time on her down-under. A great middle of the road, non-intimidating ship with a super crew. Would love to return to Alaska again some day. Less