When people think of Royal Caribbean, they often imagine mega-vessels with an interminable roster of wow factors: bumper cars, robot bartenders, skydiving simulators and parks so large they could be part of a floating city.
But, there's much more to the Royal Caribbean fleet than these showstoppers. The 2,416-passenger Vision-class Rhapsody of the Seas isn't the biggest or the flashiest of the fleet, but it does have a lot to offer on a more manageable scale. Activities are aplenty onboard, and there won't be a moment where you're wondering what to do. Active cruisers can tackle a rock climbing wall, fitness classes or a jogging track. Connoisseurs of food and drink can sample wine and cuisine at three specialty restaurants -- or even head to the main dining room or buffet, both of which score high in terms of diversity of offerings and quality of provisions. Evenings can be spent at any of the bars and lounges, sipping hand-crafted cocktails and soaking in music, or at the theater where performers put on nightly shows to packed houses.
Service and consistency are particular strengths on Rhapsody of the Seas -- the result of being a medium-size (and not an overwhelmingly large) vessel. Crew members, from waiters and cabin stewards to the guest services personnel, make an effort to extend their warmest welcome and offer their genuine assistance.
For those who admire ocean views, there are plenty of places onboard to take in the sea breezes -- though not necessarily from your cabin. The ship has just two decks of staterooms with private balconies.
All meals in ship’s main dining room and Windjammer Marketplace, as well as snacks and meals at Park Cafe; also continental breakfast room service options
Daily entertainment, including most activities (unless otherwise noted) and all main theater shows
Use of the fitness center (excluding classes)
Use of the rock climbing wall
Adventure Ocean Kids programming through 10 p.m.
Gratuities, <strong>only</strong> if you booked your cruise in Australia and New Zealand in AU and NZ dollars
Daily gratuities for crew ($14.50 per person, per day for Junior Suites and below; $17.50 per person, per day for Grand Suites and above)
Drinks, excluding water, tea (including iced tea), coffee, lemonade and selected juices from the Windjammer buffet
Most specialty dining and room service
18 percent auto-gratuities added to all specialty dining, beverage, spa and salon purchases
Most fitness classes, and all spa and salon services
Activities including but not limited to arcade play, arts and crafts classes, bingo, alcohol tastings, sushi-making classes and casino gaming
Adventure Ocean kids club programs after 10:00 p.m.
Wi-Fi access and packages
Photos, artwork and retail shop purchases
The passenger makeup on Rhapsody of the Seas cuts through a broad swath of people ranging in ages and geographic origins, though when the ship sails to the Caribbean you'll find lots of people from Florida and the Midwest. When the ship voyages through the Mediterranean, you'll find more Europeans sailing. You'll find young couples, families with tots and teens, and retirees on vacation. During school vacation, plenty of school children populate the ship.
Daytime: Dress, for the most part, is casual onboard Rhapsody of the Seas. About the ship, passengers roam around in shorts or jeans, T-shirts or summer dresses for most of the day.
Evening: In the evenings, some people get decked out in their finest -- jackets and ties, flowy dresses -- on formal nights (typically two evenings for a weeklong cruise). Others won't bother with changing from their day wear. The evening dress codes are merely suggestions, in any case. As a general rule of thumb, passengers -- when choosing their attire -- fully embrace the vacation vibe.
Not permitted: There's no fashion police, though swim attire is not permitted in the more formal public venues and tank tops are prohibited in the main dining room and specialty restaurants at dinner.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.
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It's a smaller ship so go with the right expectation or you will be disappointed.