This was the first cruise for our family (mom, dad, and kids ages 12, 15, and 17). It exceeded our expectations in every way and we are looking forward to cruising again with RC. Rhapsody is apparently an older and smaller ship that lacks ... Read More
This was the first cruise for our family (mom, dad, and kids ages 12, 15, and 17). It exceeded our expectations in every way and we are looking forward to cruising again with RC. Rhapsody is apparently an older and smaller ship that lacks most of the amenities of the newer and larger ships in the RC fleet. However, there was plenty to do on board with the shows, pool, and games/activities. The food in the main dining room and buffet was excellent. My wife has a severe wheat allergy and she had no problems finding gluten free food on board. Our waiter went out of his way to accommodate her and there were many good gluten free options at the buffet too. One concern at the buffet was cross-contamination, but this did not turn out to be an issue. Overall, the service was outstanding and the waiters, servers, and staff aboard the ship were friendly and met our every need.
Our kids did not like the teen activities aboard the ship, but they did participate in most of the games, trivia, and shows and (of course) swimming and rock climbing. We did not drink alcohol or gamble so I can't comment on that aspect of the cruise.
Kohunlich and Dzibanche Mayan ruins is an excursion from Costa Maya. This is a combined excursion in which you see both sites, not just the Kohunlich site. Our family (including the kids) loved this excursion. The bus ride to the pyramids is about 2 hours, but in the process you get to see a lot of the region including many non-touristy Mexican villages. The guide also provides you with a lot on information about the region and Mayan history and culture. The best part about this trip was that there were so many ruins to explore and so few people at the sites. In most cases, our group of about 20 people were the only people at the sites. I think this is because we did not go on the shorter (Kohunlich only) excursion and the sites were far from the cruise port. We also liked the fact that you can climb the ruins and take awesome pictures. The two sites (which are about a 15 min drive part) are awesome. The tour gives you snacks, a sandwich, and plenty of bottled water which is also nice. Overall, this day long excursion is outstanding and is much better than staying in Costa Maya which seems to be a tourist trap.
Barrier reef snorkeling is an excursion from Belize City. You take a tender boat from the ship to a private island about 30 mins away. The island is very small and beautiful. They provide you with snorkeling equipment, split you into groups about about 20-25 and then lead your around the reef. If you are inexperienced (like us), you can use a life vest to float. More experienced snorkelers were separated into a different group. Our group consisted of two guides who pointed out fish, coral, and other sea creatures (e.g., barracuda, sting ray) and sometimes picked them up so we could touch them (e.g., star fish). There are also several people in kayaks watching over us to make sure everyone is safe. Overall, it was a lot of fun. After snorkeling, you can swim, relax on the beach, or drink Belize bottled Cokes. The trip home on the tender as awesome too because everybody got some rum punch. Yes, I do mean everybody!
Beach horseback ride and swim is an excursion out of Roatan. You take a small van on a 30 minute ride to the beach on the other side of the island. In the process, you get to see some pretty impoverished areas of Roatan. The private beach itself is absolutely beautiful. Be aware that you will need to bring some money with you to rent a locker ($10) and water shoes ($3) if needed. You may also want money for food and drinks. We spent 1 hour swimming and looking at crabs, fish, and other sea creatures after our horse ride. The horse ride itself is about 45 minutes long and a lot of fun - especially when the horses wade in the water. None of us are expert riders and we had no problem. The guide will walk with you and provide you with any help you need. They offer pictures for $100 (54 pictures total), which is a lot, but the pictures themselves were outstanding. My wife and I agree that this location (and pictures) were the prettiest of the entire trip.
The amazing secret river is an excursion offered out of Cozumel. You take a ferry from Cozumel to the mainland (Playa del Carmen) and then a short bus ride to the secret river. The total trip to the Secret River is approximately 45-55 mins. The secret river itself is absolutely beautiful - perhaps the highlight of our trip. We were split into small groups of about 10 people with 1 guide. They provide helmets, wet suits, life vests, water shoes, towels, lockers - everything you need at no additional charge. The views inside the cave are incredible. You can walk on dry land or wade through 1-2 feet of water in most of the cave, but there are portions that you must swim too. You do not have to to be athletic to participate, but you cannot be scared of water or claustrophobic. I am not a good swimmer and I had no problem floating with the life vest. After the hike, they give some Mayan liquor to drink and an excellent Mexican meal at no additional charge. Then, they take you back to Playa del Carmen to shop for about 1 hour and take the ferry back to Cozumel and the ship. Overall, the experience was excellent and the company that ran the secret river tour was second to none. Read Less