I'll start off by indicated that my wife and I have cruised with P&O, and we loved the experience on both occasions, the ship was the Pacific Dawn.
The journey, with Royal Caribbean, Rhapsody of the Seas, started with our local travel agent, where we booked the cruise, and the booking included 8 people. I looked over the decks on the Royal Caribbean, Rhapsody of the Seas liner, and decided to go with the interior stateroom category M, on Deck 8. It appeared to be large, with plenty of room, more about the room later. The travel agent from the start had great difficulty in answering our questions, we are still, until this day, unsure if this was their problem or RCI problem!
When we booked the cruise all 4 groups of 2 people received a $200 on board credit. We asked for this in writing, so that we had no issues after our cruise, but again this was never received. As expected 5 days into the cruise we checked at the perser's desk,aboard the ship, and we needed to fight them to get the credit put on out on board statement. The service personnel, were helpful but the fact that our travel agent, after the ship ring them, was not very civil with them, did not help the situation. I also asked for travel tags from both the travel agent and RC Australia, directly. I finally got them, they were just plan blue pieces of sticky paper, nothing on them. I printed off my own tags and that all worked fine. I was unable to print off the tags for two of our group so when we arrived at the pier they needed to line up fill out the tags, attach them to their bags before they handed them to the baggage handlers. Now how hard is it, for RCI, to send each passenger their our luggage tags so they can attach them to their bags before they even leave their homes. This way there are no hold ups at the pier??
Our room on the Rhapsody of the Seas, was small, even though the RCI site, and brochures, showed it different. In fact they show them with a double seated lounge, but it was not! We were unable to get to either side of our bed as the single seated lounge and TV cupboard was hard up against the base of the bed. So to get to the draws that were up the top end of the bed, both my wife and I, needed to sit on the base of the bed roll onto our backs, rotate on our backs, throw our legs over our heads and to the side to get to our draws. I want go into the issues about getting out of bed during the night to go to the toilet!!
I wish there was no TV and then we would not have been frustrated by the fact that American TV must get a thrill out of playing Television shows from the start, for about 5 minutes, then nothing, except continue this on and on and on after the relentless display of American advertisement. Did I tell you that 98% of the passengers were from Australia!
The shower was so small that if you dropped the soap you needed to turn off the shower, open the curtain get out of the show bent over, get your soap off the floor, get back in shut the curtain, and turn the shower back on. How hard was it to drop your soup? Not very, as the only soap holder had 1/2" gaps, so every time you put the soap back into the holder, guess what!! The first time I dropped the soap I did try to retrieve it, but my bum hit the back wall and through me out of the shower, through the curtain and onto the toilet, so I learnt fast on that one!
The closet to hold our cloths was very small, that we used the few small draws that were available to house allot of our cloths. Did I tell you that we had draws at the head of out bed! To get our undies and socks and shorts, remember, and in this order, SIT-ROLL BACK-ROTATE ON BACK-SIT UP, and your at your draws. Of course to get back to the bottom of the bed, to get dressed, just do the same but in reverse. You do get to be good at it!! Thank you Royal Caribbean for these exercises!!
If you need a fridge, bad luck just an ice-bucket filled full of ice, so if you need to keep any thing larger then a Mars Bar in size, cold, forget it!
I took my Laptop, due to work commitments. After finding out how to connect to the ships WiFi, the next trick is to ensure that you continually get a statement from the Perser's desk to refund the amount that you have just spent on the WiFi. I paid for a package, and the system kept on charging me for both my package and again at full price, so I was charged twice, so be aware of this, as I was told that the on board IT guys were told about the problem, but I was never told what the problem actually was.
On to the food, dining was good and service at night was excellent, thanks go out the Auston and Jing, Li for this, they are a credit to RCI. COFFEE or to be more pacific the regular coffee from the machines and served at the dinning tables, OMG, what is it that they are using and calling coffee. I once was under my car, draining my oil sump, and got some of the oil in my mouth, and guess what, you got it, the same consistency and taste, as the Royal Caribbean coffee. The captain informed us that they were unable to supply use with instant coffee in satchels, as they were under contract to Seattles Best coffee company, and they had not yet developed an instant coffee. So a word of advise if you love your coffee take and container of coffee on board with you, if they find it, and take it from you, it is worth the risk. Also the temperature of the coffee was cold a good amount of the time, and I was sure we were travelling the Pacific, not in Alaska.
The entertainment at night, well the showtime crew were poor, but the other acts were good. Again does Royal Caribbean understand that 98% of the passengers on board are Australian, very American Cabaret style. Some people may lick it but it was not for me.
Do not sit at the back of the Tenders as they go ashore, they run on diesel and you will cough and cough until you arrive to your destination. The tours we selected were great, the blue hole and waterfall being the best. RC, in my opinion did not have enough water at the Islands as I often seen that they had no water available because they had run out.
My age is 50 years, the majority of passengers were around this age but there were allot that were older. Now I would not say that I think myself as a stick in the mud, but some of the snooty older passengers, made occasions very uncomfortable. Why don't people like this stay in their own homes and grace their own mirrors with their sour puss faces?
The cruise director, the only thing I can say is that she tried to hard. Comedy was not her, so when she tried to be funny, I felt sorry for her. One thing she hard a very nice voice, so maybe she should replace the showtime crew.
So in my opinion, and that is all this is, the best part of my cruise experience with Royal Caribbean, was the initial excitement the day before we got on board the Rhapsody of the Seas, the when we disembarked at the end. The bit in between was only a fair experience. They need to have some experienced Australians show them how to do things on board a cruise ship to suit the tastes of the majority of Australians!