Assortment of Unrelated Family Members Do Alaska on Rhapsody: Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Review by Gablin

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Assortment of Unrelated Family Members Do Alaska on Rhapsody

Sail Date: September 2009
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Seattle
I'm old, so I've been on several cruises, and I usually have a good time. I had a good time on this cruise, too, mostly because my family and I made our time good.

This cruise was my daughter's idea. She and her family have been on three other cruises, two with Carnival and one other with Royal Caribbean. Six years ago, I went on Paradise (when it was nonsmoking) with them. At the time, my granddaughter suffered from asthma and a nonsmoking ship was essential to her health. Then, four years ago, I went with them on Voyager. I always enjoy time with my daughter and her husband and with my granddaughters, and I like shipboard life and meeting new people, trying new food, etc. When I've cruised alone or with friends, I've chosen HAL, but I agreed that Royal Caribbean had been great in 2005, and would probably be great again.

My daughter also invited others in her family, including my former husband (her father) and his wife, and extended the invitation to whoever More wanted to go with us.

We turned out to be a group of eleven people. About six weeks before the cruise, my son-in-law found out that he couldn't go with us, due to work, so one of the granddaughters was permitted to bring a friend in his place. The friend, 17 years old, had never been on a cruise and was thrilled to come along. My ex and his wife invited their best friends, who had also never been on a cruise. Ex and his wife had been on one before, on Carnival to Mexico. My former stepdaughter and her husband joined us, as well as my exhusband's wife's former brother-in-law (Did you get that? Her sister died some years ago, but the brother-in-law is still family, of course.) and his girlfriend.

My daughter hoped that everyone would book cabins on the same deck. Ha! We old people are like herding cats! She chose Deck 7 inside for her two cabins, and I chose Deck 3 inside. My ex and his wife and their friends all chose Deck 7 inside, and then later switched to Deck 2 outside. My stepdaughter and her husband stayed on Deck 7 inside.

Daughter also suggested we all sit together at dinner and suggested late seating, which was fine with me and with my stepdaughter and her husband. Upon arriving on the ship, my exhusband and their friends decided that they couldn't eat that late at night and four of them chose first seating with the unmarried couple choosing "my time" dining at a table for two. We found out later that they main reason they chose to eat earlier was that they assumed (you know how that works out) that the shows would take place after each dinner. When they learned that the second dinner seating people always went to the show before dinner, they wanted to switch back, but it was too late.

We all saw each other every morning in the Windjammer for coffee and/or breakfast depending on what time we got there.

Seven of us (daughter, her two daughters and extra teen, me, ex and his wife) took two cabs from my daughter's home on Bainbridge Island to the ferry terminal and walked on the ferry with our luggage. The teens seriously overpacked and so did my my daughter's stepmother, so there were many many suitcases to haul onto the ferry and then down to the sidewalk on Alaskan Way. My ex had arranged for a limo, he said, that would pick us up in front of the ferry terminal in Seattle. No limo showed up. He phoned them and they said they would be along pretty quick. Finally, a sport utility vehicle showed up. Amazingly, all of the suitcases and all seven of us were able to be crammed into it.

We met up with the rest of our party at the pier. We deposited large bags with porters, after much discussion about it. The people new to cruising wanted to drag their own bags aboard, and it took some time to explain to them why they would be not having as good a time if they did that. Boarding went very smoothly after that, and we gathered in the Windjammer for lunch.

Because of the season, it turned out that the three teens with us were the only teenage girls on the ship and there were only two teenage boys, who had to go to bed early, I think. Our 19 year old wanted to participate in the same activities as the two 17 year olds and they wanted to go to the over 18 activities. They could not do that until about three days into the cruise when my daughter signed a letter saying that she absolved the ship, the cruise line and whoever else of any liability if the 17 year olds were somehow damaged by hanging out with the 19 year old. Since one of the 17 year olds was the friend of the 19 year old, it made sense for them to participate in the same activities.

The organized activities for them weren't great, except the rock climbing. However, they went to the shows with us and we taught them to play poker in the card room. We had to use checkers and dominoes for chips, as there were no chips in the card room. The girls also swam one or more times per day, when the pool was open. I swam a few times, too.

The weather out of Seattle was fairly rough, and got even rougher during the night when we left the Straits. We pitched and rolled most of the night, but I didn't really mind it. The folks one deck below me, who had outside cabins, were kept awake by the light on the ocean spray, and also complained of the noise.

Saturday morning, to my complete surprise, I became seasick. I've only been sick one other time, which was 18 years ago on a cataraman off of Hawaii. I recovered quickly by heading topside to the fresh air and the view of the horizon.

The weather stayed very rough, and finally the pool was closed on Saturday, as the waves in it were considered to be too dangerous. The girls had really enjoyed the waves!

I've posted on the Royal Caribbean board my elevator experience. When our group gathered together in the Windjammer and again before dinner, I shared it with them.

Formal night was fun! The girls enjoyed dressing up and having my daughter fix their hair for them. I thought they looked beautiful, and we encouraged them to pose for pictures at every photographer location. Then, the second formal night, since they had different dresses to wear, we did the same routine. One of them has a really fancy dress (with a very large skirt) that had cost her a lot of money when she bought it a year or so ago. She asked her mother and me to help guard her dress from people stepping on it while she waited in line for photos.

We disembarked in Vancouver and eventually got on the late afternoon train to Seattle. Amtrac was great, and we were all in the same car, where we continued the poker education. For chips, we used torn up pieces of paper napkins. Ferry to Bainbridge, then picked up my car at my daughter's home and drove to my home. It was good to be home, of course.

Rhapsody (I see that I haven't said anything much about the ship or its food, people, shows, etc.) is not in as good shape as I like ships to be. It has some dirt, some rust, some creaks and so forth. The employees were pretty friendly, and some of them quite helpful, but there was a sense of strain on the part of some of them. The food was fine - not wonderful, but certainly edible and sometimes very interesting. Dining room service was very nice at dinner. I had breakfast in the dining room twice, but it wasn't great. I don't know why you can't have a poached egg or two, but you can't, I was told. I asked why that was, in my sweetest voice and was told that the waiter didn't know why. He just knew that it could not be done. Salad service at lunchtime in the dining room was wonderful. The salad was huge and very good.

There were comedians two nights and all of us enjoyed them very much. There were nice singing and dancing shows, based on different decades of popular music. They were OK. We really liked the music in the dining room the most. It was lovely. We also enjoyed most of the music in the Champagne bar at the bottom of the atrium.

My cabin was not super clean when I arrived and had some left over items in the bathroom cabinet (toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, perfume, etc.) I threw away the previous occupants' stuff and washed everything down with a soapy washcloth. I would remember to bring some of those disposable sanitizing towels if I went on another Royal Caribbean ship.

I would also bring some instant coffee or some of those coffee bags. There was a hot water pot in the room and some teabags, but no way to make coffee. Room service is fine, but sometimes I like to have coffee before I even put on a robe. I had read somewhere about the hot water pots, but didn't think to bring coffee with me.

There was plenty of storage space in the drawers and the closet for one person, and the bed was quite comfortable. My suitcase would not fit under the bed, but it was not a problem.

Waiters in the Windjammer were very kind to all of us, and the waiters in the bars were also pretty good.

I bought a wine package to share with my daughter and ended up sharing it with my stepdaughter's husband, too, as it was more than we could consume in a week. The girls had soda stickers, as did my daughter. I don't drink sodas, so it was either water, coffee, tea, juice, lemonade or alcohol for me. Less

Published 10/06/09

Cabin review: L3543 Large Interior Stateroom

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Port and Shore Excursions

Sunday morning we arrived in Juneau. My ex's friend used to live in Alaska, so he was considered to be the expert on what to see. However, we all did our own thing anyway. One person rode a helicopter out to the Mendenhall Glacier, two took a tour to a mine and the Glacier and most of the rest of us walked around downtown Juneau. My stepdaughter took a city bus out to a department store, where she bought some clothes, as she and her helicopter-riding husband had left a suitcase behind with half of their clothes in it. I had been to Juneau before and really couldn't generate an interest in seeing the same things I had seen before, so I was content to walk around with the girls and watch them choose t-shirts, thimbles, charms, etc.

Read 1187 Juneau Reviews

Skagway was Skagway. What can I say? Three from our group did the train ride. Weather in Skagway was pleasant and even a little sunny.

Read 878 Skagway Reviews

We disembarked in Vancouver and took taxis to the Amtrac Station, where we put our luggage into storage. One couple spent considerable time going back to the cruise terminal, as they had left two bags there. The rest of us spread out to see a bit of Vancouver. Chinatown shocked our innocent teens, so we left there and went to Science World, a holdover from the 1986 Expo. We had a good time there, including eating lunch, but it was soon time to head for our train to Seattle.

Victoria was beautiful and all of us enjoyed it. I hadn't been to Victoria since the late eighties, so I was glad to be there. I went to the Royal BC Museum, which is a very good museum. Then, I joined the girls and my daughter at the Wax Museum.

Read 876 Victoria Reviews

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