This was our first cruise, and as you would expect we were thrilled with the experience. Not everything was perfect, but I have yet to take a vacation that did not have at least a few bumps along the way.
We drove from Fort Worth, TX, the night before and stayed at the Holiday Inn on the Beach. They offer free parking and shuttle service to and from the cruise terminal. The room was fine for our needs and the cost was reasonable. The shuttle service was not at its best on this trip. Heading to the cruise was a long wait, but not too bad as you could sit in the lobby. From the cruise we had to call 4 times, and the wait was about an hour and a half. Next time we will take a cab. I am sure that Holiday Inn was doing the best they could, but after the slow process to get off the ship I was not in the mood for any other delays! ;)
Weather was cold in Galveston and stayed cold through Key West. We stayed off the pool deck for the most part and explored the ship. Rhapsody truly is a beautiful ship. I did not see any area that was worn or dirty, as I have read in other reviews. At least not to the extent that it seemed obvious. Rhapsody may not be new but she is well maintained.
Key West was a chance for us to get off the ship and walk on dry land for a few hours. Can't say anything else good about it as a port of call. Now I can say I have been there I guess.
By the third day the weather had warmed up and we had a good day by the pool. The steel bad was not bad, but I think they did the same 4 songs over and over. I hope to never hear "Brown Eyed Girl" or "Margaritaville" ever again. Okay ... no time soon at least.
Costa Maya ... Thought I would hate this port, but we had a good time. We had booked Stingray City for the Caymans and were not happy with the change in itinerary. I decided to hate Costa Maya for not being a Cayman Island but found a lazy day on the beach was not so bad after all. The tide pools were awesome, and I got some great pictures of the critters that populated the pools.
Cozumel was an experience. We did the snuba tour through Royal Caribbean. They put us in a taxi to get to the dive shop -- we WALKED back to the terminal. Taxi rides in Cozumel are not for the faint of heart. Snuba was great! Again I got a ton of underwater pics. We did not go to any reef, just walked across the street and got in the water from the beach. Just a few patches of coral in the area we dived, but still a beautiful dive.
Food on the cruise was good over all. I did not feel the need to send anything back or order another dish. The wait staff was friendly and could not do enough to please us. We often had extra desserts brought to the table just so we could try them -- without asking. I am not hard to please, but I found the whole dining experience to be great. Even the Windjammer Cafe had enough variety to keep me happy. Breakfast was consistently exceptional. Okay ... I did stay away from the steam table for the most part, and did the omelet station instead. The bacon just looked funny to me ... Is it supposed to be orange??
Shows were entertaining if not actual Vegas quality. They did a good job with what they had. The new comedian Chad Chesmark had his first show on the Rhapsody during this cruise. We thought his act was the best of the shows we attended.
Over all I can't think of anything bad to say about the Rhapsody or her crew. Cabin attendant was friendly and our cabin was always clean when we came back to it. (Thanks Hayden!!) Towel animals every night were great.
We have already booked for September on the Rhapsody and our extended family will be going with us this time. Having only been on one cruise now, I am sure I could be more critical about the Rhapsody if I had cruised on other ships before. However, as it is, ignorance is bliss and I could not have asked for a better vacation.