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7 night cruise starting in Rome and stopping in Santorini, Mykonos, Athens and Katakalon (ancient Olympia) with a sea day at beginning and end. You don't arrive at the first stop, Santorini, until 1 pm and we found the tender process very slow so we didn't manage to get off the ship until after 2 pm. By that time the queue for the funicular up to Thira was long and everyone was getting hot and fractious. Thira is a pretty town with lovely views, souvenir shops and bars and restaurants, but I'd definitely recommend a dip in the sea before going up there. We took a boat trip from the old port (not a RC trip - we found ourselves) around the volcano and swimming in the caldera, which was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had. Timing of other stops - morning to late afternoon, is much better. We didn't take any of the RC tours but all sights very accessible independently. Dining - we dined every night in the Edelweiss, early sitting. We were really happy with the food, standard of service (Demaciano and Frank) and very much enjoyed the company of our table companions. Our young teenagers were always made to feel very welcome, and some of the waiters also did a great sideline in magic tricks (Jaycee especially). Entertainment - there was something for everyone - my teenage daughter especially enjoyed the dancers and the acrobatics; my husband loved the piano bar and the singer Anthony Michaels, and the 70s disco inferno party was a spectacular and a real blast. The kids loved the rock climbing wall and Harriet and Stefan were very kind and encouraging. My one real gripe was the sunbed situation on sea days. On the first day we didn't even manage to get one sunbed between the four of us, so many beds were "reserved" with towels, despite notices on the poolside saying this was not allowed. On the second morning, staff did start putting post it notes on sunbeds, limiting "reservations" to 30 minutes, but this was too little, too late. On the last day we were up really early to get our spot and ended up behaving like a family of meerkats every time someone wanted to get up to get a drink or do something else - not very relaxing. The staff are so excellent every where else I do think there should be more focus on this aspect - e.g. staff helping people to find a spot, clearing items left on sunbeds themselves rather than leaving passengers to do this; and having more beds in reserve on sea days - there was additional deck space which could be used. The Windjammer is equally crowded, especially at breakfast times, with guests pretty rude, pushing and getting irritated. We mostly didn't get a table inside, but Windjammer is the only choice for breakfast if you wish to eat before 8:30 ( and you have to if you want a sunbed!). Contary to other reviews I've read, I thought the Windjammer food was ok for a mass produced buffet. Only other thing to mention is the wifi, which at 20 USD per day for one device is a complete rip off. I understand that service will be constrained at sea, but once in port, free wifi should be available - we are in the 21st century after all.

A great time, but beware the crowding.

Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Review by CatherineDM

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2015
  • Destination: Greece
7 night cruise starting in Rome and stopping in Santorini, Mykonos, Athens and Katakalon (ancient Olympia) with a sea day at beginning and end. You don't arrive at the first stop, Santorini, until 1 pm and we found the tender process very slow so we didn't manage to get off the ship until after 2 pm. By that time the queue for the funicular up to Thira was long and everyone was getting hot and fractious. Thira is a pretty town with lovely views, souvenir shops and bars and restaurants, but I'd definitely recommend a dip in the sea before going up there. We took a boat trip from the old port (not a RC trip - we found ourselves) around the volcano and swimming in the caldera, which was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had. Timing of other stops - morning to late afternoon, is much better. We didn't take any of the RC tours but all sights very accessible independently.

Dining - we dined every night in the Edelweiss, early sitting. We were really happy with the food, standard of service (Demaciano and Frank) and very much enjoyed the company of our table companions. Our young teenagers were always made to feel very welcome, and some of the waiters also did a great sideline in magic tricks (Jaycee especially). Entertainment - there was something for everyone - my teenage daughter especially enjoyed the dancers and the acrobatics; my husband loved the piano bar and the singer Anthony Michaels, and the 70s disco inferno party was a spectacular and a real blast. The kids loved the rock climbing wall and Harriet and Stefan were very kind and encouraging.

My one real gripe was the sunbed situation on sea days. On the first day we didn't even manage to get one sunbed between the four of us, so many beds were "reserved" with towels, despite notices on the poolside saying this was not allowed. On the second morning, staff did start putting post it notes on sunbeds, limiting "reservations" to 30 minutes, but this was too little, too late. On the last day we were up really early to get our spot and ended up behaving like a family of meerkats every time someone wanted to get up to get a drink or do something else - not very relaxing. The staff are so excellent every where else I do think there should be more focus on this aspect - e.g. staff helping people to find a spot, clearing items left on sunbeds themselves rather than leaving passengers to do this; and having more beds in reserve on sea days - there was additional deck space which could be used.

The Windjammer is equally crowded, especially at breakfast times, with guests pretty rude, pushing and getting irritated. We mostly didn't get a table inside, but Windjammer is the only choice for breakfast if you wish to eat before 8:30 ( and you have to if you want a sunbed!). Contary to other reviews I've read, I thought the Windjammer food was ok for a mass produced buffet. Only other thing to mention is the wifi, which at 20 USD per day for one device is a complete rip off. I understand that service will be constrained at sea, but once in port, free wifi should be available - we are in the 21st century after all.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7521
We chose an interior stateroom, which was very cramped with us 2 adults and 2 children, we were falling all over each other. That said, there was ample storage space and Charles, our fantastic cabin steward, brought us plenty more hangers, as well as kept it spotlessly clean throughout. The bathroom was tiny but shower good and powerful.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Athens (Piraeus)
    This remains one of my favourite cities in Europe. The city is beautiful and laid back, and the Greek people are super friendly, welcoming and not at all pushy. I'd been concerned that the past year's financial crisis might have changed things, but not a bit of it. We took a taxi into Athens centre for 15 euros ( took from main road rather than directly outside ship). As we'd been here last year, we didn't do the sights, but from last trip I'd seriously recommend the Acropolis Museum, which is beautifully done, spacious and cool. This time we just wandered the lanes around Plaka - there is some lovely jewellery on sale at very good prices, as well as leather goods, art and clothing. We also had another leisurely lunch of courgette balls, haloumi and sardines, before heading off back to the ship.
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  • Katakolon (Olympia)
    We took a bus from right outside the the port to Ancient Olympia at a cost of 26 euros for 2 adults and 2 children. The bus drops you in the town a short walk away from the site and waits 2 hours before departing. The site itself is impressive in scale and evocative, definitely a must see, although very much in ruins. This is the one ancient site I've visited where I've wished we had a guide, as it was difficult to build up a complete historical picture simply from the plaques and the leaflet. We didn't make the museum, which would have helped. Bring sunscreen and wear comfortable shoes, it is hot! Back in Katakalon it looked like there were some nice beaches nearby and some good restaurants on the sea front.
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  • Mykonos
    Mykonos town is picturesque and, being flat, much more accessible than Thira. We managed a decent swim and sunbathe before the crowds moved in - and given there were 3 other cruise ships docking on that day, move in they did (one of the hazards of peak season). We tried to get a taxi to get a bit of a tour of the island, but the queue was long and not moving. If we weren't travelling with kids we would have rented scooters (only 25 euros for a day) but as it was we opted instead for a lazy lunch right on the water. Lovely Greek salad, sardines and calamari served by the very friendly locals, followed by a tour of the souvenir shops. A lovely, relaxing day, I'd throughly recommend this stop.
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  • Rome (Civitavecchia)
    We didn't take any of the RC excursions, preferring to do our own thing. Most people we met on the cruise had stayed in Rome either before or after the cruise, as had we, and I would really recommend this as there is so much to see. In Rome you just walk into history on every corner. The obvious must dos are St Peters and the Colisseum - worth it despite the peak season crowds, but we also loved the church of San Giovanni in Laterano and San Gioavanni and San Paulo further out. If you have time, Tivoli gardens are spectacular. In the evenings, we loved wandering around Piazzas Navona and Campo di Fiori in the Centro Storico, listening to the buskers and watching the artists. Restaurants are mostly touristy but decent enough - watch out for the price of wines - many try to charge 20 euros for a bottle of house red, which is pretty steep.
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  • Santorini
    In the early afternoon there are long queues for the funicular, which is unpleasant in the heat. Thira is a pretty town, with lovely bars, restaurants and souvenir shops, and of course great views, but you may not appreciate it properly after a long wait in the hot sun, and it's this aspect that's influenced the lower score. Real high point was the boat trip from the old port, around the volancano and swam in the caldera. This was truly amazing and well worth the 120 euros to hire the boat for 1 hour (up to 10 people). Tip - don't wear white - volcanic waters stain it brown!!
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