My wife and I celebrated our 10th anniversary by deciding to go on a cruise. We are both in our mid thirties and decided to cruise without our two children.
After much internet research and visiting travel agencies for information, we decided to do a cruise with RCI's Rhapsody of the Seas as it appeared to be one of the better ships that visit our shores here in Aus.
We travelled from Brisbane down to Sydney via Virgin Blue and had absolutely no problems finding our own way from Sydney airport to Circular Quay via the train. Circular Quay train station is right outside the International Cruise Terminal where the Rhapsody was docked. The train trip took less than 20 minutes and was hassle free.
Embarkation was very smooth. We were on the ship in a matter of 10 minutes or so after arriving a little late thanks to some bum advice from our travel agent (not RCI's fault). Knowing what I know now, I'd arrive around lunch time (rather than 4pm) to board the ship for a 6:30pm departure.
My first impression of the ship was how beautiful she was. You enter in through a 7 storey high centrum/atrium which was quite stunning. The ship itself is in very good condition considering it is now 13 years old.
Sail away was supposed to be 6:30pm although we didn't get away till around 11pm thanks to a refueling issue. Because of this, the ship was operating at or near top speed for the first couple of sea days. The weather wasn't the best and many people were sea sick including my wife. This was negated by taking medication and/or by going up to the upper decks and getting some fresh air.
The public areas on the ship were very nice indeed. Despite being at full capacity (around 2500 passengers) the ship rarely felt crowded. There was always an area onboard to escape the masses if you felt the need. We are not big alcohol drinkers, so I never encounted any issues to do with bar staff as such unlike some other reviews I've read.
Want to avoid crowds at meal times (particularly breakfast)? Get up early and go to the Windjammer Cafe when it first opens (6:30am). There was hardly a soul there at this time of the morning and even when the buffet style hot breakfast came out around 7am, there were still very few people there to enjoy it. Not only that but you get the freshest possible food as it's just being brought out. If you see anyone complaining about the "hot food" being cool or cold...there's a chance they weren't there first thing in the morning.
The outside pool area was nice but perhaps the best place of all for us adults was the Egyptian themed solarium indoor pool area. It has 2 spas and a pool that are normally only meant for children over 16 and adults, although on this cruise the kids were allowed in this area for a few hours a day due to the ordinary weather outside. My wife and I spent many an hour in this part of the ship as it was very relaxing indeed with both a bar and a small poolside cafe.
There was something for everyone on this ship. I'm not a "foodie" as such but the choices available were astronomical not to mention the availability. You will never go hungry that's for sure. It was quite strange to be eating a hamburger, hotdog, pizza and/or chips at 1:30am by the solarium pool after having had a 3 course banquet in the main, silver service dining room earlier in the evening.
If you're only into junk food you'll be taken care of. Similarly if you're a health nut you have endless choices of food and you certainly won't go hungry. Not everything served was to my liking but there were always plenty of other options to like.
I can't fault the staff onboard this ship. The service was A1 from our perspective, right from the room attendant through to the dining room, eatery and bar staff. Every single staff member we ran into was very friendly and helpful when need be.
We will certainly be cruising with RCI again when the right opportunity comes along.