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Rhapsody of the Seas Review

3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1472 reviews
53 Awards

Finally an Objective Review of RCI Cruise to Vietnam, etc.

Review for Rhapsody of the Seas to Asia
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Mike G.
First Time Cruiser

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Public Rooms
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Sail Date: Jan 2008

Overall: If you are thinking of taking a cruise to Vietnam and Asia I am sure the broad range of feedback on this site must be confusing. My wife and I thought for a long time about taking a trip to Southeast Asia and my wife was probably the most studious passenger in terms of planning our own excursions. People referred to her as "the woman with all the notes." I think some of the variation you are seeing in reviews is related to how adventurous people wanted to be. Southeast Asia is AMAZING and a wonderful place to visit. Do not expect well developed tourist entertainment. These are newly emerging cities, which are dirt cheap, exciting, friendly, and full of energy. The people in Vietnam were incredibly friendly. You will have no problems with communication. Many people speak English and if they don't they will find you someone who does. Just do some research before you go and do not rely on RCI to be your tour guides off the ship. There were also some lovely Asian passengers and if you hang out with them they'll take you to great places in the ports. Bring your own maps, tour books, and talk to other people who have been to Vietnam before you go. Organization: We found RCI to be utterly disorganized at almost every step of the way on this journey. In their defense, I spoke to a crew member on the last day who told me they just were not prepared for this journey and had not done their research, so they were learning as they went along. They had unusually high numbers of people signing up for their excursions, because people were afraid to travel on their own in this unknown part of the world. We called RCI several times before leaving the U.S. to inquire about visas and could not get any information, other than we were to take care of that ourselves since they couldn't determine that for every nation. We went to N.Y. city and paid a great deal of money for Visas on our own. Then when we arrived they offered Visas to the passengers at a reduced rate. They said we didn't need Visas for Cambodia, then the day before they quickly tried to issue Visas for 1,500 passengers. Unfortunately some people decided to skip the hassle and missed Cambodia. Cambodia was AMAZING, but the ship scared off many people with their faulty information that it was dirty, unsafe, etc. We also had major problems getting our passports from the ship to travel overnight. I think you will find the people who thought this was organized didn't try to do anything creative. RCI was not open to anything creative like staying overnight in Hanoi on your own. On the return from Bangkok a crew member was collecting passports in the line as we boarded the ship. Security had an alarm set on their computer for everyone who had a passport. Guess what? They were missing 10 passports after everyone got on board, which delayed sailing. Well why was the woman collecting passports in line and bypassing their check and balance system of having security collect the passports? Little things like that, had me concerned about the leadership staff in general. And if you politely asked for help, I found them to be quite rude, especially at the Purser's desk, which should be the epicenter of customer service. Suggestions: If you're going to do this trip get some travel books and learn about Southeast Asia. Do NOT rely on RCI to provide accurate information. I agree with other reviewers who commented about the confusion related to port locations, cab costs, etc. I'll tell you one quick story. We became friends with a family who were visiting relatives in Vietnam. The ship changed the port at the last minute and these people were never able to hook up with their family. That is a sin. All that distance. Why did RCI have to change ports at the last minute? And why couldn't we know? Food: We found the food fine. We liked the diversity of food selections. We ate with 3 Asian couples who fully appreciated the Asian menu available every night. Personally I liked it too. We were in Asia, why would I want to eat meat and potatoes? I can get that anytime at home. I also liked the Indian food and had that many days. Entertainment: Very variable at times. But on this cruise you should be spending a lot of time ashore and be coming back to the ship exhausted. You're there to see Southeast Asia. If you want to hang on the ship, it's a lot cheaper to cruise somewhere closer to home. Summary: Southeast Asia is amazing. Do go there. Just do your homework and you'll be fine. Do not expect this to be like other cruises where the cruise line takes care of everything. On this one RCI missed the boat, so to speak. You need to do your homework.

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