I initially booked an Outside Cabin (paying double for travelling as a single) but closer to sailing date upgraded to a Balcony Cabin. A good decision. I'd read many critiques about Rhapsody prior to sailing and was a little dubious about what I would find. The size of the ship and the amount of other passengers was also a bit of a concern and I just needed a rest.
EMBARKATION in Sydney, at midday was very smooth and trouble free and I was allowed immediate access to the cabin. Lunch was being served in the Windjammer Cafe. We had the first night of the cruise tied to the wharf in Sydney so I was able to enjoy some of the treats that city has to offer and a walk around to the Opera House after dinner, to look back at the ship is a magical experience.
DINING ON Board the ship has the two options, the Edelweiss Restaurant or the Windjammer Buffet plus of course the 24 hour room service. The second night on board, the night we sailed I dressed myself up and went to the Edelweiss Restaurant and was directed to a table that was already full. I asked a waiter for somewhere else to sit and despite my protestations about making a fuss he bothered the people at the table for their cruise cards etc. I felt a little awkward standing their under their glares, all dressed up and no where to go. When it was discovered that everything was supposedly in order (with them) I was told to go downstairs to get another table allocation. I did so and after some further bother and a good 15-20 minutes into the dinner sitting was allocated another table. Back upstairs and ushered to a table set for 8. I sat there for the meal alone. A bit like waiting for a bus that wasn't coming. As a single passenger travelling alone it did feel a little uncomfortable. The meal and the waiters were very good. The following night I dressed myself up again and went back to my allocated table to find that my new table was also full. Downstairs again and to a hassled maitre'd who argued that my table was allocated and thats where I had to sit. He didn't seem to be able to (or want to) grasp the fact that twice my allocated table was full of other diners and that the last thing I wanted to do was create a fuss with the other passengers. I gave up the unequal struggle and proceeded to The Windjammer Cafe. I did not bother with the Edelweiss Restaurant again after that. FOOT NOTE On the second to last day of the cruise when the tip vouchers were allocated to us I went to the Reception Desk and wanted to have my restaurant vouchers changed to the great staff in the Windjammer but I was told by a very surly and unsmiling female staff member that it was not possible. I tried to explain the restaurant fiasco but she brusquely told me it was COMPANY POLICY. I had to tip staff that had never served me.
Balcony Cabin 7098 was great. Good size, plenty of cupboard, drawers etc. Great to have a kettle for tea and coffee making in the room. Cabin was near the elevators so hallway was sometimes a little noisy with other passengers. TV reception was bad most of the time, due I am sure to ancient TV set. Programme selection very repetitious. Shower curtains annoying in such a small shower. Beds/pillows were very comfortable.