The Rhapsody of the Seas is an old ship but has an old time elegance. As a cruiser that has gone over five trips with Princess, I found that this ship was better in everything except the Buffet, which serves the same old foods everyday. The entertainment was a "B" as compare to Princess's "D" rating. You can option in to giving the mandatory tip. This system is much better, the service was much better and friendlier. This applied to the room steward and the waiters. The foods in the seating was also much better than Princess. So, I was very please overall with the cruise.
Our cruise was the second trip of the route and I expected them to get the logistic problems solved. They give misleading information about visas. They told us that we need to get individual visa for Vietnam and Cambodia, but at the ship, they were able to get a ship visa for the whole ship. The head office and the cruise ship are not communicating with each other. Getting off the ship, whether to leave or to go on a tour is also a logistic nightmare. Getting your passport, inorder to stay overnight in Hanoi or Bangkok is a adventure.
Regarding tours, we use non-ship tours in Vietnam and Thailand. We have always done this in Australia, New Zealand, Rome, China and Russia and always got great service. In Vietnam, DO NOT USE BUFFALO TOURS, as recommended by Frommer. They do not honor their own contracts and always ask for more monies that they original agree to. They also do not call to find out where the ship will dock, therefore they are always 2 hours late. I would recommend that in Vietnam, just arrange a tour with the people that are waiting. Get an written agreement as to the price and go from there. In my opinion there is nothing in Hanoi worth going for a 4 hours bus ride one-way. Stay in Ha Phong Bay instead. Saigon is better than Hanoi for shopping, especially designers silk outfits. But it is also a long bus ride and there are not much sights worth seeing. Thailand was very interesting, except for the traffic which is worse than New York City at rush hours.