128 Tampa Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to go through the Panama Canal. We only could take two weeks off from work, so this was the cruise we chose. This was a repositioning cruise for the Miracle, but Carnival also billed it ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had always wanted to go through the Panama Canal. We only could take two weeks off from work, so this was the cruise we chose. This was a repositioning cruise for the Miracle, but Carnival also billed it as a Panama Canal cruise. PROS: Our stateroom (an obstructed view balcony) was large enough for two people and kept well cleaned and stocked by our excellent steward, Lindon. The obstruction of our view was not bad at all, and consisted of a lifeboat that came about up to our ankles. Our servers in the main dining room, Roxana, IWayan, and Indrawan, were excellent. The cruise had numerous sea days, which was very relaxing. The fun squad kept us busy with lots of trivia and games. Food was delicious, and there was plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. Minimal chair hogs and dinner lines, the cruise was not fully booked. Embarkation was fast and easy, about 10 minutes from curb to lido deck. This crowd was a little on the geriatric side with loads of diamond and platinum members. Everyone made it to the muster drill, and everyone made it on time after being ashore. We did the Chef's table, it was excellent and well worth the money. Singh and Helen at the service desk were very helpful. CONS: Carnival needs to take a look at their cruise passenger demographics before a cruise. This cruise was filled with senior citizens (there were only 11 children on board!) that were on a bucket list cruise. We went through the panama canal during mid-day (which was too hot for these seniors), people were understandably standing out on deck to see the locks, and Carnival could have provided some cooling measures like iced washcloths and cool drinks. I did see some cool drinks being handed out, but none never made it to the forward lido deck where there were about 250 passengers. Also, put some chairs out on the forward lido deck! We were standing for hours in the hot sun. With all the sea days, I would have appreciated some chairs out on the outside promenade deck. It's nice and quiet down there, and a great place for reading, but only if there's a chair there to sit on. Carnival advertised this cruise as a Panama Canal cruise, but we were given minimal information the actual day of the canal transit. They did have some sort of (pilot?) guy that made about 10 short announcements over the course of the 13 hour transit, but that was it. No guest speaker the night before that told us what to expect, or about the history of the canal, or any other speakers. There was one Academy of Fun guy, but he talked about space, astronomy, astronauts, etc. He was great, but it would have been more appropriate to talk about the canal that was on all of our bucket lists. Seriously, Carnival, what would it take to get some history buff speaker? Or a civil engineer? Debarkation was terrible, and I've never ever said that before in any of my reviews. Not sure if the ship arrived late or what, but debarkation started about an hour late. We didn't get off the ship until almost 11, and we were in the middle of the crowd. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
It was our 50th anniversary and we thought a repositioning cruise would be a great experience. On previous cruises we have always eaten in the dining room for all our meals. We found the food to be cold. My omelets were incomplete, only ... Read More
It was our 50th anniversary and we thought a repositioning cruise would be a great experience. On previous cruises we have always eaten in the dining room for all our meals. We found the food to be cold. My omelets were incomplete, only half of my omelette had filling in it. We tried it again when we gave our review on the ship and they asked us to try breakfast again. The food was still cold. The windjammers breakfast was much better. We only ate dinner in the evening. We had great table mates and enjoyed there company. The food was just adequate. Some nights I couldn't find something to eat. When my husband ordered beef bourquinion he had 3 small chunks of beef. In the Centrum the chairs were ripped. My husband ordered an anniversary surprise for me and only half of what was supposed to come was missing. They did not have it aboard the ship. Our daily compass had incorrect information On the front it said casual dining and in the center it stated formal attire. Half the guests showed up formal and half casual. The activities schedule was the same activities at the same time. The activities were very one note. If you had early dining you missed activities. They also had last minute changes in the shows. Our tour guide on one of the cruises left passengers behind and we missed more than half of our tour Thank goodness one of the onboard next cruise employee was with us. She was appalled that we were left behind with the employee. They only refunded half of our tour money because they said we saw half of tour. The eating outside the windjammer was stained and dirty. Alot of chipped paint was noticed. We have been on Royal Caribbean ships before and enjoyed them. We did not enjoy the Brilliance of the Sea and would not recommend this ship and this experience left a bad impression for us to cruise again with Royal Caribbean. In the past we always enjoyed our experience. This cruise was for a special occasion and it spoiled our experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was our first trans-Atlantic cruise so we were very excited and a little nervous. We enjoyed every minute of the trip! The staff was attentive and very friendly. The food was way above average. The fellow passengers were lovely ... Read More
This was our first trans-Atlantic cruise so we were very excited and a little nervous. We enjoyed every minute of the trip! The staff was attentive and very friendly. The food was way above average. The fellow passengers were lovely people. And most important, the seas were calm throughout the journey! As vast majority of our fellow travelers were seasoned cruisers and I heard that about 80% had diamond status or above with RCCL. We have already signed up for another TA next May. The shows were just ok, but the bands were awesome! Kinetic band always entertained the audience and played great dance music. We had an interior cabin which was small as we expected, but we spent very little time there. The fitness center is also sort of small and limited. We selected my time dining for dinner and had wonderful service and great meals. It was a wonderful cruise across the deep blue sea! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean--having been on Holland America (3-star Mariners), NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. We liked the itinerary and the timing was right for us. We booked 21 nights which was sold as part of a package, ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean--having been on Holland America (3-star Mariners), NCL, Celebrity and Carnival. We liked the itinerary and the timing was right for us. We booked 21 nights which was sold as part of a package, but turned out to be basically two cruises, back to back: A TransAtlantic out of Tampa, and then a week in the Mediterranean ending up in Venice. Another recent review called it "A Tale of Two Cruises" and I agree with that impression. We were interested to see that RCI treated it like two separate cruises although we've been on other b2b's before on other cruise lines that didn't do that. Anyway, I am aware that The Rhapsody is different from the mega ships in the RCI fleet, but it is similar in size to the other ships we've sailed with, and we basically liked the ship a lot. The public areas are beautiful, especially the "Centrum" and the theater. We really liked the layout of the Windjammer buffet (although it was often very crowded). But, O.K., here are my personal "complaints": Our ocean-view cabin was very small, with barely enough room to wedge our suitcases under the bed. We're used to small showers, having been on river cruises and traveling in an RV--but the shower is really, really small. And I missed having a nice place to relax and look out over the ocean. The best views are in the Windjammer at the front of the ship, but it isn't a place to "hang out". There are good views aft from the "Shall We Dance" lounge, but that space was underused except for the hundreds of "Diamond" level passengers who pretty much took it over. And I was really upset that the "Royal Crown Lounge" (a small but lovely venue overlooking the pool area) was pretty much off limits unless you were "Diamond Plus". In fact, the daily newsletter advertised a special price on Martinies in the Royal Crown Lounge, but we were informed that we were not allowed to sit down and enjoy our drinks there! Many activities were scheduled in the Schooner Bar which is a narrow, noisy hallway, basically. I just think there could be a better use of the various areas overall. We thought the food was very good, almost without exception. We didn't eat in any of the specialty restaurants, but enjoyed the bounty of the Windjammer and the choices in the main dining room. My husband had a New York Strip Steak that was tough, one night. But everything I ordered was delicious. They did a good job of providing a lot of interesting things to do during the TransAtlantic sea days--almost to the point that we had to make some time for ourselves to just sit and read. My only complaint about the activities was that I would have enjoyed a lecture or two about the history of the areas we were going to visit. The "port talks" they did have were mostly about ship excursions and/or shopping. In fact, there was very little advice or help forthcoming for those who just wanted to get off at the ports and explore. We attended all the evening entertainment in the theater and thought it was all outstanding. Unfortunately many of the shows were repeated in the third week, but it was so port intensive that we didn't really care. Everyone comments about how friendly and accommodating the staff and crew are, and I agree. How all those hardworking people stay so cheerful and nice is amazing. And they are so good about getting to know you and making everyone feel special. But (I guess I always have a "but") we did have a little problem with someone's inefficiency. As I said, the two portions of the cruise were treated as two different cruises. And at the end of the TransAtlantic in Barcelona we were required to get off the ship and be issued new "Seapass" cards. When we booked the cruises we had to pre-register for each one separately and give all the usual info about passport numbers, credit card numbers, etc. Well, as we got ready to disembark in Venice we got a call in our room informing us that we needed to come to the desk to settle our account!?? I was politely but firmly informed that security would not allow us off the ship until we paid our bill in cash! What!? The bill for the first two weeks had been taken care of automatically--this was just for the third week. So, we had to stand in line with all the disgruntled passengers complaining about overcharges, etc., until our turn when the guy at customers service poked the computer for about 10 minutes and then remarked casually that this had happened to a couple of other people who did back to backs. Someone just forgot to re-register our credit card. While I'm talking about money, I do need to mention that RCI obviously tries valiantly to offset the original low cost of the cruise with "nickle and diming" everything else. The "specialty restaurants" charge outrageously high prices, I think. And wine, and cocktails--crazy prices! They did have that happy hour martini special ($9) in the Viking Crown Lounge (Where the only place you could drink it was at the bar) and a 2-fer price on Margaritas in the Schooner bar. We had most fantastic weather. It was balmy and smooth sailing all across the Atlantic. The only rough seas were one night in the Mediterranean and we slept right through it. We enjoyed all the ports. We booked ship tours in both Canary Island stops and the one in La Palma was especially good ("North Shore") with an overview of the island including a stop in a beautiful interior rain forest, and a visit to a rum distillery that included a tasting. One of the highlights of the trip was sailing through the Straits of Gilbralter at dawn. Several hundred passengers stood on the upper decks looking at the lights of Africa on one side and the famous Rock of Gilbralter on the other with the beautiful sunrise behind it. We did our own thing in Malaga.We made our way through the historic old town center past the cathedral to the Alcazaba. We purchased tickets and wandered through the gardens and and rooms of that ancient Moorish fortress. It reminded me a lot of a smaller Alhambra. Then we walked up (and up) the hill behind it to see the "castle" behind it. By then it was hot and sunny, and we wore ourselves out climbing that path. When we got to the top we discovered that there was a bus stop there, and the "Hop On Hop Off" could have taken us to the top! Oh well. Beautiful views! In Barcelona we got a taxi to Sagrada Familia where we had bought tour tickets on line to see the inside. Then we taxied back to Los Ramblas where we strolled down with all the crowds, and then detoured off into the Gothic quarter we had a light lunch at at sidewalk cafe. After Barcelona the whole ship had a different feel after the leisurely trip across the ocean. A lot of the "retirees" disembarked, and there were many more young people and family groups. And we had a different port every day. In Cannes we once again "did our own thing". We jumped on the little tourist train loading up right at the pier and got a good look at the seaside boulevard and all the beautiful yachts on the one side and fancy hotels on the other. We've been to Rome before, so we opted to take the only ship tour doing something different out of Civitavecchia: a visit to an olive farm in Tuscany. It was a pleasant bus ride through the countryside with a visit to the sleep mountaintop village of Tuscania before a light snack of bruschetta with various flavored olive oils as well as a glass of wine at the olive farm. Our last ship tour was to the ancient Roman city of Herculaneum which was buried in the same volcanic eruption as nearby Pompeii. Fascinating. In Catania, Sicily we looked out our cabin window to see Mt. Etna all covered with snow! We later learned how unusual it is to have snow on Mt. Etna in May. Gorgeous! Unfortunately we didn't get pictures because clouds rolled in and Mt. Etna disappeared. We took a smaller group tour arranged through our Cruise Critic roll call. It was a beautiful day making our way up to the little resort town of Taormina after a harrowing drive up switch-backs to the mountain medieval village of Castelmola. Amazing views! And we also did a Cruise Critic tour to Krka National Park in Croatia. On the way back to the ship our guide gave us a quick visit to Zadar and their "sea organ". This review is getting too long to gush on and on about the beauty of Krka--all the waterfalls and rivers and emerald pools. Truly a beautiful spot. And I also don't want to do a whole separate review of our time in Venice where we disembarked and spend two wonderful (although rainy) days. All in all it was another great cruise--small criticisms notwithstanding. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Because the oasis got canceled. I still wanted a transatlantic cruse and this was still available last minute. It is a small ship with little to do. Entertainment is the worst at sea. The ship is clean, safe and comfortable. Average age ... Read More
Because the oasis got canceled. I still wanted a transatlantic cruse and this was still available last minute. It is a small ship with little to do. Entertainment is the worst at sea. The ship is clean, safe and comfortable. Average age is 70 plus. Embarkation was horrible as we were kept waiting at the airport so no porters at the port and were told to take all our luggage on board ourselves. Ship had an air maintenance issue that took several hours to resolve. Disembarkation was easy. Due to rough seas we had 3 days in the Azores. But we missed the two ports in France and then Belgium. Compensation was below other cruise lines. I know as I just got the RCCL credits. My room stewards were excellent. The food was repetitive and the fruit rotten more often then not. Most don’t go to the dining room so service is fast at dinner. Overall a boring cruise as I read 10 books. Dining overall was average, cabin old with a bathtub and kept clean by great room stewards. No library, no production shows, Astro physics ,history and port talks were repeatedly full as nothing else to do. The movie theatre small so you needed to get there twenty minutes early. If you want to sleep go on the Rotterdam. Given I now have a future cruise credit, I will go on holland America again just not this ship. Not much to say as there is not much to review on this ship Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 4th NCL cruise, and 7th overall cruise. It was an enjoyable experience and we saw many Caribbean islands we had never been to before. The ship was clean and had enough public space that passengers could spread out in. ... Read More
This was our 4th NCL cruise, and 7th overall cruise. It was an enjoyable experience and we saw many Caribbean islands we had never been to before. The ship was clean and had enough public space that passengers could spread out in. It's a nice sized ship (2400 passengers) which is manageable - and our preference over the huge ships. It was easy to find your way around, although the only small challenge is that the 6th deck doesn't run straight through. So if you want to access the Summer Palace main dining on the 6th, you have to go up to 7, to go back down to 6. It's a beautiful dining room, and worth finding! Our balcony cabin was perfect for 2 people - lots of storage, a small couch and decent sized balcony for a cruise ship. We unpacked for our 11-day cruise easily finding space for everything, and stowed our luggage under the bed. The only small issue was that the lighting was not great after the sun goes down, so for women getting ready for dinner, it was a bit of a challenge to see in mirrors. A big thank you to Rommel, our awesome Cabin Steward, for doing an excellent job! We found the main dining rooms (Summer Palace and Indigo), and specialty dining were wonderful - we experienced great service and delicious food! Le Bistro and Teppanyaki were our favourite specialty dining venues, and Cagney's and Moderno were really good as well. The Lotus Garden, which is NOT a specialty dining venue, was great - don't miss out! However, we were less than impressed with the quality of food at the buffet, and at O'Sheehan's Pub...yuck. We ended up going to the main dining rooms for breakfast/lunch instead. We spent some time at the casino and experienced the best service from all staff: special mention - Eka, Carlver and Hong Wang were amazing, we really appreciate their hard work. The casino has a good variety of slots machines and tables, it got busy after the shows finished, but was always well-managed. We never had to wait for drink service, and the staff was always friendly and accommodating. Embarkation was quite easy and much faster than anticipated - the lines were very long, but we were on the ship within an hour of arriving at the port in Tampa. Our rooms were ready by 1:30 or 2pm, and luggage was promptly delivered to the cabin that afternoon. Disembarkation in NYC was not quite as smooth, but overall not bad. We only docked at 10am to even begin the disembarkation process, but had to be out of our cabins by 9am. The only food option available at that time was the buffet - so 2400 people waiting in public spaces for hours to depart, and food/coffee on only one deck. We booked shore excursions only after we got on the ship - and managed to get every excursions we wanted except for one - but there was another decent option available and we took that one instead. I would recommend however that you book excursions (and speciality dining reservations) before getting on the ship to be sure you are not disappointed. The excursions were very well-run and organized, we enjoyed all of them. Overall, this was a very good cruise experience. What made it extra enjoyable were the staff who work on the ship - they all work so hard and such long hours, we truly appreciate them! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
The itinerary caught my eye, embark Tampa , visit 6 Caribbean ports, disembark NYC.We arrived the evening before the cruise, ate locally and got a good night's sleep at the Quality Inn. Arrived on Sunday at the port with everyone else ... Read More
The itinerary caught my eye, embark Tampa , visit 6 Caribbean ports, disembark NYC.We arrived the evening before the cruise, ate locally and got a good night's sleep at the Quality Inn. Arrived on Sunday at the port with everyone else going on the cruise ( or so it seemed) ,boarded about 1 hour 15 minutes after arriving. The Pearl is an older, smaller ship but in my opinion a nice ship to spend 11 days aboard. An adult pool as well as a children's pool is always a nice touch. The chair hogs were out in force & policing was near non existent which takes away from those fun in the sun sea days by the pool. We found ourselves hiking up to the sun deck to find chairs,ok but not easy to take a dip in the pool. The bars ,restaurants and public areas were all enjoyable.Getting reservations in the specialty restaurants was a challenge. We were forced to take an early evening dinner reservation toward the end of our cruise, either hat or a 9-10PM seating,no thanks. Indigo & Summer Palace were excellent food & service ,only one night were we made to wait for a table. The cabin was on deck 5,outside window, noise level, very quiet ( restaurant above so no noise at night).We saw several shows, all good, Stardust Theater seats were not comfortable for any length of time. The lounge entertainment was good. Casino , only one roulette table & it was always crowded.The service throughout the ship was exceptional, thank you to the crew for a great time aboard The Pearl.Loved the ports with the exception of St. Lucia ,nice Island but the excursion detoured us to a beach that was over run with locals in your face selling booze & trinkets,sometimes uncomfortably, almost threatening. Don't do the St,Lucia Beach break. We loved the other ports and the excursions chosen, all professionally run, We will sail with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a cruise to a place I always dreamed of visiting - CUBA. That was the highlight of the cruise. Embarkation went very smoothly. We had a 12 show time and we were on board eating and playing cards by 12:30. Due to an serious ... Read More
This was a cruise to a place I always dreamed of visiting - CUBA. That was the highlight of the cruise. Embarkation went very smoothly. We had a 12 show time and we were on board eating and playing cards by 12:30. Due to an serious fall, my niece broke her leg and rented a knee scooter which met the size requirements of Carnival. It was to be in the room by 2pm. At 2:15 we entered the room and there it was. Perfect. 4pm we set off from Tampa. We arrived at Key West the next day at noon. We hung out on the ship while in dock, lazing around and enjoying each other's company. We took off from Key West, spent the night in the casino and in the morning arrived in Cuba. Disembarking was also made easy via customs, even though explaining an e-cigarette met with odd looks. Off we went to meet up with Jorge from Blexie who proudly drove us around Cuba explaining various areas, customs and culture. It was a long awaited experience and not a moment of regret. Back on the ship we dressed and got ready for a night at the Tropicana. An incredible show that made the trip even more memorable. We were sailing by the time we woke for two sea days and just remembering what we experienced. The trip back home was a little rocky, but not sickening. The temperature was too cool to be outside, so it was back to the casino. We arrived in Tampa, disembarkation went well and now I spend my time remembering the sites and sounds of Cuba and the wonderful crew of Carnival. It was perfect!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
+I had never been on a cruise before let alone out of the United States of America. I chose this exciting cruise because of a combined decision among family members. The ship is not even the biggest ship offered, yet is still really large! ... Read More
+I had never been on a cruise before let alone out of the United States of America. I chose this exciting cruise because of a combined decision among family members. The ship is not even the biggest ship offered, yet is still really large! The state rooms were very clean and the staff members were lovely. Most of my meals were held at the Marketplace. The food had many options- some the same every day but definitely enough variety for me to enjoy the experience and not feel like I am eating the same thing every day. -There were two fires while I was on this ship. One was at 3am. This consisted of staff members and the captain over the loud speaker at 3 o clock in the morning. The way the staff handled the situation was great, however a fire in the incinerator at 3am is not always the best wake up call. The second fire had to do with the A/C units. I don't know how far the A/C outage occurred, but me and my floor did not have air conditioning for a night & half the next day. The last negative I have is that the bathroom toilet in my state room randomly did not have water flowing in it and would refuse to flush. This is gross and not acceptable for obvious reasons. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I decided to go on another transatlantic cruise with Royal Caribbean because I had such a great time on the 2017 transatlantic cruise on the Brilliance of the Sea. This year I decided to take the Rhapsody of the Seas from Tampa to ... Read More
I decided to go on another transatlantic cruise with Royal Caribbean because I had such a great time on the 2017 transatlantic cruise on the Brilliance of the Sea. This year I decided to take the Rhapsody of the Seas from Tampa to Barcelona. The ship is probably about 20 years old and could use a make-over but even though it's a little dated it is clean and a very nice ship. The cruise director Elvis and his assistants, Eric & Bernie, are fabulous. They are the best I have experienced and made every day fun. Their expertise at keeping the activities fun and the good entertainment made the cruise enjoyable. Most people hear about how great the food is on a cruise. Well, NOT ON THIS CRUISE! If this was my first cruise, I would probably call everyone who talked about delicious food on cruises a liar. This food looked fantastic but tasted the opposite. Out of 9 dinners in the dining room, there were 7 days that people at our table sent food back because it was so bad they couldn't eat it. Appetizers and desserts were left uneaten after taking one bite. The buffet wasn't any better. How can hard boiled eggs be so hot that you can't peel them and pizza be cold? Everything in the buffet was dried out. Pancakes were so hard they could be used as frisbees, toast would completely crumble when you picked it up and bacon always ended up as bacon bits. If you can live off boxed cereal & milk for 14 days then you would be happy. I on the other hand lost over 10 pounds. It's nice to lose weight but I didn't book this cruise to lose weight. This is only my second cruise with Royal Caribbean so I won't be recommending Royal Caribbean to friends. Hopefully, this is just a fluke and not normal. I have a couple more Royal Caribbean cruises booked this year and I'm hoping they are better, otherwise, it's bye-bye to Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise because it provided a way to get to Europe fairly economically when you consider all room and board and good food and entertainment and excellent childcare and programs included! We got to see many beautiful places on ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it provided a way to get to Europe fairly economically when you consider all room and board and good food and entertainment and excellent childcare and programs included! We got to see many beautiful places on our cruise and had the option of taking paid for excursions or venturing out on our own. Excellent staff and service! We didn't want for anything! All of their staff are friendly and helpful and it was so fun to meet people from all over the world. Royal Carribean had a great mixture of staff from various places around the world and it was fun to talk with them and learn from them! Their programs for our children were excellent. Our children had so much fun and it provided my wife and I to have a true vacation. All the ports we stopped at were beautiful and fun to explore. It was also nice that at one of the ports they offered complimentary shuttle into town. The food was excellent and plentiful and they even had gluten free options. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We like transatlantic cruises. This was one of the finest. We made new friends, and fully relaxed with the activities provided. We especially enjoyed Charlotte and her watercolor classes, and the lectures on medicine. Cigar/cigarette smoke ... Read More
We like transatlantic cruises. This was one of the finest. We made new friends, and fully relaxed with the activities provided. We especially enjoyed Charlotte and her watercolor classes, and the lectures on medicine. Cigar/cigarette smoke is highly offensive to me, and gives me migraines, and yet the casino was one of the freshest we ever experienced, as we occasionally passed through it. I did comment to guest relations about how much nicer it is. It was great that the Diamond Club area was expanded, due to the high number of Diamond, etc. guests on the ship. We really enjoyed the Happy Hour, the snacks and the fun with friends. On other ships we have been able to eat and enjoy the Pinnacle club, as well as top shelf dinners, because we had a Jr. Suite. This was not applicable on the cruise, which was a little disappointing. And I wish I had known how disappointing the internet would be, as I would not have purchased it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This was my first voyage on Rhapsody of the Seas and my first on Royal Caribbean. As someone who has sailed fairly extensively on Holland America Lines (HAL), this is my point of comparison. The positive aspects of Rhapsody of the Seas ... Read More
This was my first voyage on Rhapsody of the Seas and my first on Royal Caribbean. As someone who has sailed fairly extensively on Holland America Lines (HAL), this is my point of comparison. The positive aspects of Rhapsody of the Seas on this transatlantic crossing to Barcelona were the friendly, competent level of service and the food. The lunch buffet choices and quality were actually better than HAL. Kudos to the chef who creates such wonderful curries and other Indian food. The dinners in the dining room fell a wee bit short of HAL, but not by much; they were completely fine. The shore excursions on the Canary Islands were reasonable and had excellent guides and venues. Check-in was quick and easy in Tampa. The several lectures presented by a doctor speaker on medical/health history were top drawer. The negative aspects of Rhapsody of the Seas compared to Holland America are significant. First, the entertainment. Certainly, entertainment is a matter of personal taste, but for us a kid in a backwards ball cap doing wheelies on a BMX bike is not for us. Neither were the magician, the (rather embarrassingly talentless) guests’ talent show, and so on. As for music, I missed the classical music and the jazz I’ve experienced on HAL. (Yes, there’s a violinist and electrical guitarist playing modern movie themes and pop hits, but their playing, no matter how good, didn’t appeal to classical or jazz fans). Second, the noise. Almost everywhere you go on the ship, it’s noisy, either from the entertainment in the central atrium, or the top outdoor-pool deck, or the ubiquitous PA system, which is constantly playing Muzak-type noise. This was heard even in the hallways on the cabin levels. What’s wrong with allowing some quiet spaces without Muzak? Third, the amenities. Yes, I do like smaller ships, but certain amenities were lacking compared to HAL. No free New York Times online or in hard copy, no real library, no indoor movie theatre, no quiet indoor lounges, etc. We met some nice people on board, and enjoyed the voyage a lot. However, the hard-to-define characteristic of ambience – the vibe – was not as good on this voyage for the most part compared to HAL. I’d say that the HAL ambience is more relaxed and also more elevated. We’ll stick with HAL in future, when possible. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We did the trans Atlantic crossing. the ship was quite, not a lot of children on it maybe because it was a 14 night cruise and not school holidays in the USA. Meet some fantastic people on this cruise. the staff were wonderful and helpful ... Read More
We did the trans Atlantic crossing. the ship was quite, not a lot of children on it maybe because it was a 14 night cruise and not school holidays in the USA. Meet some fantastic people on this cruise. the staff were wonderful and helpful in many ways. We are diamond member with crown and anchor, so spend some time in the diamond lounge, JJ was a very good host and a very pleasant lady. the ship was clean and tidy, meals were had mostly in the dinning room at night, the wait staff were excellent. there was plenty of entertainment on the ship, from ship board activities to the shows in the main the theatre. The activity manger and there staff did a good job with all the activities they put on. We visited Key west and the canary islands. I would do the crossing again in a few years. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Toronto airport was shutdown by ice- we had to fly out of Detroit, and missed our Cruise out of Tampa. As a result we had to get on 1 day late in Key West. We had made flight arrangements will HAL, and they were great! They put us in the ... Read More
Toronto airport was shutdown by ice- we had to fly out of Detroit, and missed our Cruise out of Tampa. As a result we had to get on 1 day late in Key West. We had made flight arrangements will HAL, and they were great! They put us in the Marriott at Tampa airport ($219 per night) and covered our flight to Key West. Food and Service was wonderful. Ship was a little tired- faded carpets (so what). TV service was intermittent and limited. DVDs were often scratched and unwatchable We were not informed that 4 ships would be docking in Punta Delgada so independent tours were not available. Main dining room open for breakfast only 8am to 9am. We were very satisfied, above comments are not intended to be overly critical, just to advise future travellers not to expect perfection. Holland America is our line of choice, after sampling most others ( no Carnival Line party atmosphere, no Cunard snootiness, just friendly excellent service). Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This was a great cruise. It was a smaller ship than what we are used to but we thoroughly enjoyed the whole cruise. We booked most of our excursions from SPB Tours and would highly recommend them. The groups were small and the guides ... Read More
This was a great cruise. It was a smaller ship than what we are used to but we thoroughly enjoyed the whole cruise. We booked most of our excursions from SPB Tours and would highly recommend them. The groups were small and the guides were very knowledgeable. In Normandy we booked thru Overload Tours and they were fantastic. What a great tour. Would also recommend them. The room was large and even had a bathtub. The ship was very clean and the crew were awesome. Food was fantastic and had not one complaint about the food. Both the dining room and the Lido Market got high marks. All the open spaces were very clean and I found that there were lots of places to sit and just read or relax. They had a cruise EXC on board who told quite a bit about each port that you were going to. She was not affliliated with the shore excursion desk so she was very informative and not pushing the cruise ship excursions. We enjoyed all the ports we went to. I'm glad we went at the beginning of the cruise season as I can see the ports getting very crowded and very busy at the different places. I would definitely recommend Holland America. All in All a Great Cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
This cruise started out as a 15 day repositioning cruise from the Caribbean to Europe and we added a 12 day Baltic cruise. The Rotterdam handled the trip just fine and the crew was outstanding as you would expect a Holland America Lines ... Read More
This cruise started out as a 15 day repositioning cruise from the Caribbean to Europe and we added a 12 day Baltic cruise. The Rotterdam handled the trip just fine and the crew was outstanding as you would expect a Holland America Lines Crew to be. FYI - Just before we left, it came to our attention that the coin-operated laundry had been removed. :( As we were not at that time 4 Star Mariners [we are now], we used the Laundry-by-the-Bag option [$20]. The clothes came back the next day done well w/shirts & pants on hangers. For 4 & 5 Star Mariners, this service is complimentary. We enjoyed the food service on board. From the Dive-In, to the Lido, to the MDR. No complaints and I'm sure going to miss the fellow who served up such large portions of ice cream! Gals, don't forget the complimentary chocolates in the Explorer"s Café for after that leisurely fine dining meal. We rarely book non-HAL excuirsions w/the exception of Hop On-Hop Off buses. We booked 7 excusions including a 2 day in St. Petersburg, as did most of the folks on board. All were just fine if not a bit tiring for this 71 YO man. The evening entertainment in the Main Theatre was very good most nights [I'm not picky]. Some performances were good enough to watch twice. Be aware that it's a wise person who gets a seat about 20 minutes early. Embarcation was a nightmare as a storm delayed our plane by enough to miss the ship in Tampa [and yes I know that it's best to come a day early - but it's also expensive]. There were several folks on the plane going on the Rotterdam and we even had HAL's FlightEase option. No HAL people met that plane and we were left to our own devices as to how to get to the ship. Disembarcation was a dream! Fast and well planned. Just to clairify, we will be using HAL's FlightEase on each voyage. They just slipped up this time. Could I recomend the MS Rotterdam? Yes. Could I recommend Holland America Line for your next cruise? Yes, but remember it's not a booze cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We went on this Cruise because the ship was just out of dry dock. We decided to try Carnival again ( we went on the Glory Carnival 2014). Our expectations were very low & we were surprised to see how beautiful & clean the ship was. ... Read More
We went on this Cruise because the ship was just out of dry dock. We decided to try Carnival again ( we went on the Glory Carnival 2014). Our expectations were very low & we were surprised to see how beautiful & clean the ship was. The staff everywhere were very helpful, pleasant & always there to help. TIPS: We had the Faster to the Fun- did get you on fast but our luggage wasn’t at the cabin on time. It did also help with disembarkment! We also had the “eat anytime” the lines were very long! ( FTTF) doesn’t work for restaurants on this ship! (Next cruise we’ll do a regular time slot) Do get the drink package & when at dinner ask for your bottle of water for your room or they charge you if you use the bottles in your room. Tell your room steward you want your room done twice a day & ask for a bucket of ice for your water.(we tipped him in the beginning of the cruise) He did a wonderful job! We also always bring singles with us! We tip after our drinks are served & you will see a difference in how you are treated. (This is on all cruise ships) Don’t go on carnival for great food! The food is ok. Nice they put the two new eateries on board. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We had a wonderful time on board of The Brilliance of the Seas, crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Tampa to Amsterdam. Our cabin was really nice and more spacious as we would have thought and was kept tiptop by the crew. Dining was really ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on board of The Brilliance of the Seas, crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Tampa to Amsterdam. Our cabin was really nice and more spacious as we would have thought and was kept tiptop by the crew. Dining was really good (too good, according to the weight I gained.. and I did a daily work-out in The Gymnasium!!) Grace and Dmytro served swiftly, kind and patiently at our table and the menu was really superb, compliments to the Chef and his crew two. We had some meals at The Windjammer Café and that was really good too, but sometimes it is hard to find a nice table. We really enjoyed the entertainment on board. There was a 9 man band with 4 fabulous vocalists, lots of nice other live music during the day. Some shows, like the juggler, were not our cup of tea but other guests seem to have enjoyed these shows also. Because of the weather we had to change the route and two ports (Waterford and Dublin) had to be canceled. We went off the ship for a nice walk in Porta del Gado on the Azores. We have spend two days in Cork and we have visited the town on one and made a short bus tour across the island the other day. We had always thought a cruise was boring and we were scared to get seasick. We had a pretty rough ride according to the captain but except for a less steady walk, we really enjoyed our days at sea. After 15 days we have arrived in Amsterdam and...we have booked another transatlantic cruise in 2019 with Royal Caribbean from Barcelona to Miami. Traveling with a cruiseship to or from the US is so much relaxter than traveling by plane, no jet lag! Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We received a letter to arrive at the terminal after 1 PM......checked that morning on the roll call when anyone got on board.....shortly after 11AM-off we went. Easy. Went to the Windjammer for lunch. Rooms were ready by 1:30. Luggage ... Read More
We received a letter to arrive at the terminal after 1 PM......checked that morning on the roll call when anyone got on board.....shortly after 11AM-off we went. Easy. Went to the Windjammer for lunch. Rooms were ready by 1:30. Luggage arrived later in the afternoon. We did MTD. We are Diamond and they offered the Colony as the overflow lounge. We went around 6,after the early eaters left, so we could find a seat. Cocktails and appetizers, then we would go to the show or movie at 7, dinner to follow. We meet some very nice people at cocktails and dinner. Service was very good at both places also. Enjoyed dinner every night but 2 in the dinning room, once in the Windjammer and once at Chops. The first 8 days were sea days and the weather was wonderful. We had a cloudy day in the Azores where we took a private tour arranged with other cruise critic followers. The weather got cool, windy, rainy and the boat rocked! The captain told us we would miss East Dunsmore/Waterford, have an extra sea day and to to Dublin before Cobh/Cork. The winds were hurricane range! Lots of broken dishes that night in the dining room! We rocked and rolled! Then the next day the Captain said we would be skipping Dublin and staying in Cohn/Cork where it was a protected harbor for 2 days to keep everyone safe. Oh well.....it happens-and you go with the flow. Because it was a 15 day transatlantic, there were only 18 kids on board. All the staff were friendly and helpful! The ship was going into dry dock after our cruise, but we enjoyed her. Spent a couple of afternoons in the hot tubs, walked the outside track on 12 a lot, used the work out room, watch a movie in the theater, saw most of the shows, read lots of books and had a very relaxing cruise. Meet a lot of veteran transatlantic cruises and we can see why-would definitely do this again! Had our last breakfast in the MDR because we weren’t scheduled to leave until 8:30. We took the ship’s transfer to the airport where we found the luggage there before checking in. Our flight was after 2PM and it was an easy way to go. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The transatlantic cruise was on my wife's bucket list. 8 days of open ocean until we hit the Azores. A bit long, but put a couple books back on the shelf after reading them during the crossing. The refrigerator in our superior ocean ... Read More
The transatlantic cruise was on my wife's bucket list. 8 days of open ocean until we hit the Azores. A bit long, but put a couple books back on the shelf after reading them during the crossing. The refrigerator in our superior ocean view with balcony never got fixed the whole cruise even though we let the stateroom attendant know about it. Schooner bar was staffed with two competent bartenders, Oldemar and Meliza. They kept us lubricated under the Deluxe Beverage Package. The revamped menus were okay, nothing special. The food tasted okay, nothing special. Only one Tarantella that I could recall. Although, we did the Chef's Table one night which was superb! The Azores shore excursion in Ponta Gorda was a bust. The whole island was fogged in. The tour guide was kind enough to show the picture on her phone as we made each stop to see Sete Cidades and tell us that was what we would have seen. The orchestra onboard was outstanding, especially the drummer. We left Ponta Gorda and enroute to Ireland, the Captain made the decision not to put into Waterford or Dublin because of a winter storm kicking up waves of 15 meters or more. Darn, that's why we came. To his credit, he put together an informative PowerPoint presentation in the theater to explain his reasoning with weather charts, navigation charts, meteorological forecasts and the like. Everyone in attendance applauded. As a token, he offered to overnight in Cork so we could have two days there. I commend his decision in the interest of safety. We left Cork and in two days we arrived in Amsterdam. We took the shore excursion to the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens with airport drop-off. Beautiful gardens at their peak, only so for a short window in the spring. But we weren't departing, so at the airport, we grabbed a taxi to the hotel where we spent two nights in Amsterdam before heading home. This was the first time in 17 RCCL cruises I've used Air2Sea to make flight arrangements. I'll just say, I am going to do so from now on with the deal we got for the trip home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
It was a great time. All the staff where so nice. We love the size of this ship. Easy to get to know everyone. We where in cabin 9050 which said it had a 25% obstruction from a window cleaning ladder.It was not bad and did not obstruct our ... Read More
It was a great time. All the staff where so nice. We love the size of this ship. Easy to get to know everyone. We where in cabin 9050 which said it had a 25% obstruction from a window cleaning ladder.It was not bad and did not obstruct our view too much.But the divider between cabins had a big gap so we could see the people next to us if they where on their balcony. The cabin was a great size and we booked this cruise late so not many to choose from. But this would not be my first choice. The food was good, shows where OK the smaller ships don't tend to have the best acts.Room attendant did a great job. I think all the staff work so very hard. We did miss two ports in Ireland due to a storm, but it was very nice of Royal to give us a voucher for money off our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I was looking forward to a nice elegant ship and this was the wrong choice. The ship was very dated, carpets and chairs worn out. The food was terrible and there was no entertainment. I have been on a lot of cruises and this is the ... Read More
I was looking forward to a nice elegant ship and this was the wrong choice. The ship was very dated, carpets and chairs worn out. The food was terrible and there was no entertainment. I have been on a lot of cruises and this is the worst food I think I was ever served. The crew was not upbeat or friendly. It felt as if they were wanting it over and didn't want to go out of their way to say hello. The entertainment was good but there was not enough of it. Unless you gamble there was nothing to do from 7pm to 10:30 pm. And at 10:30 pm the disco opened. Much too late after a day of sun. The excursion was fun and that was the best part of the trip. I would not recommend this ship to anyone. It needs to be scrapped and refreshed. Which I was told by staff the ship is getting remodeled in April 2018. That would explain a lot. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
In writing this review, I would like to concentrate mainly on the entertainment/activities that can be experienced on the Rhapsody Of The Seas - but to begin with, I shall just quickly cover the basics. I cruised onboard the Rhapsody ... Read More
In writing this review, I would like to concentrate mainly on the entertainment/activities that can be experienced on the Rhapsody Of The Seas - but to begin with, I shall just quickly cover the basics. I cruised onboard the Rhapsody for 2 weeks (14 nights) back-to-back, embarking on 4th February and finally leaving the ship on 18th February. The mid-cruise immigration process went smoothly and all of the consecutive cruisers were personally escorted off the ship and straight back on again. I must question though - would it not be easier for the guests, if the Immigration Officer boarded the ship to see our passports, instead of making the people in wheelchairs or on 'scooters' and 'walking frames' to make the journey down the gangways; which were quite steep and difficult to maneuver? Both of the one week cruises saw exactly the same itineraries and were identical in almost every way. Sometimes that can be a good thing or sometimes not! I'll let you, the Cruise Critic members, decide. Embarkation was easy; no wait times, no problems, no drama. My first impressions were that this ship was clean, well cared for and provided everything that I expected. My cabin review can be found later in this critique so I will not mention it here. Although I much prefer to dress for dinner and frequented the main dining room every evening, I must confess to thinking the menu was somewhat repetitive, with few choices and even less herbs and spices! The Wind Jammer on the other hand, offered a huge variety of dishes, both hot and cold. All were delicious! Considering the distances between the ports, I did not appreciate the length of time allowed in the ports of call. In George Town, Grand Cayman the last tender back left at 3pm. In Costa Maya it was back onboard by 3.30pm. In Cozumel, all aboard by 7pm (nice) and in Belize City the last tender back was 5.15pm. On the last sea day of the first week, the Captain announced that high winds were expected overnight and in order to miss these currents, he was sailing the ship full speed ahead and that as a result, we would arrive in Tampa 3 hours early. Subsequently the Casino and bars closed at midnight and the public areas were deserted by this time. Interestingly, on the last sea day of the second week, the Captain announced exactly the same thing; there were high winds expected and in order to miss these winds, the ship would increase speed and arrive in Tampa 3 hours early. I checked the weather report on the internet this second time and there were no high winds expected. It was smooth sailing al the way. Nevertheless, the casino and bars closed at midnight and we arrived in Tampa 3 hours early! Strange, huh? Now you've had the 'veg' ...... so on to the 'meat' of this critique - the ENTERTAINMENT! It was diverse, fun, silly and, as it shoud be, wholly entertaining! In anticipation of writing this 'entertainment' review - and with as much as my energy and my time constraints would allow - I took part in as many activities as I could. In an effort to experience both sides of the coin, if I took part in an activity one week, then I sat and observed the guests' reactions the other week. All of the trivia quizzes (music/world events/general knowledge/sports/movies/places/songs with color/true or false..and so on..) presented different questions each week and were conducted in a fun and pleasureable manner. The game shows and activities (such as:- Putting on the Hits/Battle of the Sexes/Who wants to be a Caribbeanaire/60 seconds or less/Finish That Lyric/Love and Marriage/Most Talented Couple/Ring Toss/Taboo/The Quest/Belly Flop/Majority Rules/Bean Bag Toss.... and oh, so many more...) were fun, comical, exciting and interesting (to both take part in and to watch). All In all, the Activities team did a fabulous job - and as much as I don't want to make this critique an adulation to one particular person, necesssity deems that it may turn out that way. The Activities staff ultimately come under the jurisdiction of the Cruise Director, who can make the entertainment precisely that - entertainment! - or just a drag and a bore; leaving people opting not to go/paticipate. I must say that the highlight and instigator of the unsurpassed entertainment onboard this cruise was the Cruise Director, one Elvis Pinto Robles. Obviously I have cruised with RCCL many, many times but never have I seen, met and spoken with, a more personable and charismatic Cruise Director. On both weeks, he was highly visible on all decks and chatted with all the guests he met. No-one was passed over and he made a point of making every singe person feel important. He was funny, quirky, comical, enthusiastic and clearly strived to include EVERYONE in the fun. I heard him (on 70's Disco 'Macho Men' evening) call out to people on the 6th, 7th & 8th decks. He encouraged everyone to dance and join in - and I saw old ladies and men get up out of their chairs and do a few steps. He came down off the stage and himself danced with seniors, the disabled, young kids, guests small, big, fat, thin, of every ethnicity. He encouraged old men to join in and parents to bring and dance with their chidren. He reached out to couples and grand parents and I am convinced that Elvis is a man who clearly understands his job, enjoys his work and strives to include everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) in the fun. When speaking with him, I learned that he is informed of his cruise guest demographics 2 days beforehand. Every Cruise Director knows (if he bothers to read and take notice of it) the different nationalities, how many seniors, how many 30/60s, how many kids, etc., are on board - and it was quite obvious that this Cruise Director speaks to his Activities staff and 'tweaks' the entertainment to match this criteria. This was easily identifiable in the change of 'trivia quiz' questions and the 'Finish That Lyric' game show, to name but two. I have been on many, many cruises and elieve me, this man knows his craft! This is also the first time that I have seen the Cruise Director teach his own salsa dance class! These were very well attended and in speaking to the majority of people attending this class, their response was that although they had never danced salsa before, they were taking the class simply because it was being taught by Elvis. It became obvious (on both weeks) that the guests simply adored him. He is not only DOING his job, he LOVES his job - he is an entertainer and a performer in his own right and a definite asset to RCCL. I am absolutely convinced that if you ever sail on a ship where Evis Pinto Robles is the Cruise Director, you will certainly not be disappointed - both with the entertainment or his Activities staff onboard. In what would otherwise have been a very mediocre cruise, the Cruise Director and his Activities staff saved the day (or should I say, saved the 14 days!) Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
First of all a transatlantic cruise is the way to go if you love cruising! The Jade was recently refurbished and it is lovely.The entertainment on the ship, especially the Element show was fantastic ! We really enjoyed eating at the ... Read More
First of all a transatlantic cruise is the way to go if you love cruising! The Jade was recently refurbished and it is lovely.The entertainment on the ship, especially the Element show was fantastic ! We really enjoyed eating at the specialty restaurants, especially Le BISTRO and La Cucinca. Don't miss the crepes on the Lido deck , they were outstanding. I'm not going to give details of the ship, but to share how fantastic the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle influenced our cruise! We had organized games, tour's and a fun room crawl.I can honestly say that it was one of the most fun and enjoyable experience that I have had on a ship ! Thanks to CC and will be signing up on every Roll Call. We're booked on the Epic in January and on the Bliss in May for a Panama canal cruise! Look for solivitagal on roll call ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017

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