The third time was not a charm: Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Review by Antelope77

Rhapsody of the Seas 4
Member Since 2011
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The third time was not a charm

Sail Date: June 2011
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Seattle
Although we got a late start, we have sailed exclusively with Royal Caribbean to date, and we made Diamond Plus in only 12 cruises. Our first two cruises were on the Rhapsody out of Galveston, Texas. Those cruises, the last one being in 2006, were very enjoyable in all respects and therefore, when we had a chance to book the Rhapsody again for our first look at Alaska in June 2011, we were excited. This cruise was particularly important to us because our daughter and son-in-law were accompanying us, and it was their first cruise. Naturally we had hyped the entire experience to the extreme.

We flew from San Antonio, Texas to Seattle via Southwest Airlines without a hitch, and arrived a day early in order to see a bit of the city. We stayed at the Holiday Inn downtown which is walking distance from the Space Needle. The rooms were spacious, comfortable and affordable. We had an unforgettable dinner in the revolving restaurant atop the Space Needle. It was expensive, due to the More fact that the cost of transport to the top is included in the cost of the food, but the quality and presentation of the food was excellent and worth every penny.

Check in at the terminal the next morning was seamless, and we were quickly on board and in the Windjammer for lunch. The Windjammer was full of noisy excitement, and we managed to find a table where we had a light lunch before getting into our cabins. Sadly, our first meal in the dining room at 6:00 p.m. was a disaster. Although we met the staff and quickly gave our orders, the food did not arrive until 7:30 p.m. We were only told that there had been a mix-up in the galley, but no details were given. Our four table mates were so miffed, they changed to the late seating and another table.

Dinner service in the dining room thereafter was excellent, and we liked our waiter and assistant waiter very much, but we soon realized that the selections and quality of the food were not what they used to be. This was particularly true in the Windjammer where the food and service was very disappointing throughout the cruise. Beverage service to the table was virtually non-existent, and it did not improve even after we complained to a manager. If we wanted a beverage or a refill, we had to get it ourselves. The worst part of it was the food - meat too tough to chew, rock hard underdone potatoes, cold food that should have been hot. Putting together a satisfying meal in the Windjammer was a real challenge, accomplished only after much trial and error.

We have been on 7 different RCCL ships and while RCCL food has never been exceptional, it has been good enough, and any shortcomings were made up for by prompt and friendly service. The food offered by the Rhapsody in both the main dining room and the service-starved Windjammer was charitably mediocre on this cruise, enough so that we will not sail on it again until we hear that changes have been made.

The cruise itself was great. Whale watching, glacier tours, the train ride over White Pass - everything we had hoped for and more. The tour buses were new and clean, and the drivers were professional and personable. The shopping in the quaint shops of Juneau and Skagway was an added bonus. The entertainment on board the Rhapsody was also first rate. Although we prefer the Voyager and Freedom class ships, we thought the singers and dancers on the Rhapsody were the best we have seen.

Disembarkation was seamless as well, and we left the Rhapsody with sadness and a few regrets. We are hoping that the food/service related problems we experienced are unique to the Rhapsody and will be corrected. We did use the Guest Satisfaction survey to convey our disappointment in this regard. We aren't giving up on RCCL - we have a Celebrity cruise (our first) to Hawaii and back in October, and we are taking our son and his family with us on the Voyager out of New Orleans in March, 2012 Less

Published 07/12/11

Cabin review: JS8088 Junior Suite

Read All Junior Suite (JS) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Although we did not have much time to enjoy it, the city of Juneau was pretty and clean. We had a great whale watching tour, followed by a trip to the glacier. The scenery is spectacular to say the least. We saw about a dozen humpback whales and lots of eagles and seals but no killer whales. The weather was perfect. There were two inconsiderate passengers on the glacier tour bus who were so late getting back, our driver had no choice but to leave them behind. Their 5 travel partners were incensed by his decision and got off the bus in protest but the remaining 45 passengers applauded as they exited. We reported the incident to the Explorations desk on the Rhapsody so they would have the whole story in case any complaints were made by the offending parties.

Read 1187 Juneau Reviews

Seattle was incredible. We had a nice hotel, ate well, enjoyed exceptional weather conditions, and saw some amazing sights. The Space Needle dining experience was excellent - pricey but worth it. When we returned to port, we took a tour bus to see more of Seattle before being dropped off at the airport. We had a very entertaining driver (Frank was his name. We visited Starbucks' original shop, and shopped the length of the public market across the street. No trip to Seattle would be complete without an excursion through the market.

Read 523 Seattle Reviews

Skagway is amazing. It is much smaller than we had imagined. The shops are quaint and full of artist created items. The train ride over White Pass was very enjoyable. The coach was clean, the windows were clear, and the seats were comfortable. And of course the scenery was spectacular. The bus ride back down to Skagway was excellent as well.

Read 878 Skagway Reviews

Our Victoria tour of the Gardens with the gourmet lunch was cancelled due to lack of participation so we decided to simply go into the city and see the sights of Government Street. It is a beautiful city, and the shopping opportunities were many. We had lunch in an Irish pub on Government Street, and while the food was a good and interesting, it was over-priced. But it was a beautiful day for a walk through unfamiliar places.

Read 875 Victoria Reviews

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