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Royal Caribbean International: Rhapsody of the Seas

  • Royal Caribbean International

Rhapsody of the Seas Review

Insider Take

Best For People Who Want

Plenty of windows for ocean view in the public rooms and dining room.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

Balcony cabins; mega-ship sports facilities, huge casinos.

Onboard Experience

The fifth of what are now called the Vision-class ships, also including Legend, Splendour, Enchantment, Grandeur, and Vision of the Seas. These ships are all nearly identical with many things in common, the only difference being that each iteration gets a little bigger and carries more passengers. The all have the distinctive Royal Caribbean "Centrum", seven decks high on these ships, atop of which one finds the Viking Crown Lounge. The decor is light and contemporary, and mostly in good shape because the Royal Caribbean keeps it that way, though it isn't unusual to see some wear and tear in pockets.

Decor

All of the ships of the class have public rooms full of large expanses of glass to let in glorious sunshine and sea views. She was hailed in her day as a large ship that still preserved the sense of being at sea. Today, she's an older ship, and actually considered small, but still elegant and classy enough to attract a younger clientele looking for sea escapes and action at night.

Public Rooms

You'll find the Champagne Terrace at the bottom of the the Centrum, where live palm trees and a string embellish the ambiance of brass, marble & glass. This is also the shopping area, where three large duty-free stores offer plenty of browse time. There are light woods and marble set fountains throughout the ship, which along with the live foliage and open expanses of outside windows, give the entire ship a feeling of aliveness.

High atop the Centrum, on deck 11, is the ever popular Viking Crown Lounge, perfect for watching the scenery go by (a near 360 degree field of vision near the very top of the ship) in Alaska or the Panama Canal. It is also the place to be at night when it becomes the ship's late-night disco. There's more dancing in the evening in the Anchor's Aweigh Lounge, albeit at a less frenetic pace, while another popular bar is the nautically-inclined Schooner's. Vegas-style floor shows are presented in the That's Entertainment Theatre with generally good sight lines from all seats. And as if all that is not enough, Casino Royale has all the table games and slots a non-professional gambler could ever need.

There is a library as well as The Crown and Anchor Study, with computer assisted visual aids to show the ship's position and more information from the bridge. Nearby is a card room and conference center.

Cuisine

Breakfast in the Windjammer Lido cafe includes cooked to order omelets, or scrambled eggs at the buffet, but fried eggs are not available. Lunch in the Lido is equally pleasing albeit a simple selection. More interesting is the afternoon tea bread pudding or cobbler along with sandwiches, cakes, cookies and ice cream. Overall, passenger satisfaction ratings for the dining room meals are good, as well as for the Windjammer buffets for lunch and and afternoon teas. The option for a late night snack seems to vary on a nightly basis.

Restaurants

The two-story restaurant, amidships, with great views, features a raised platform for pianist or small ensemble. While large enough to handle a thousand people per seating, tables are far enough apart to preclude a feeling of crowdedness. The Windjammer, forward end of Deck 9, also has floor-to-ceiling windows.

Entertainment

Royal Caribbean is one of the few cruise lines to offer "name" performers, and comedians. Lounge performers are also seasoned and polished.

Fitness/Spa

The gym's awfully small for a ship this size. The main pool on Sun Deck is adjacent to the Solarium, a stunning glass-enclosed second pool with whirlpools and comfortable lounge chairs. In the "ShipShape" fitness center, you'll find a spa operated by Steiner's of London (they of the notoriously pushy staff). A rock-climbing wall has also been added to Vision.

Children's Facilities

In addition to separate play areas for kids aged three to 12, there is also a teen lounge that converts to a disco, making Vision an excellent choice for families with children of many different vintages. The "Adventure Ocean" youth program has age-specific facilities and programs supervised by youth counselors for Aquanauts (age 3-5, must be toilet trained), Explorers (age 6-8), Voyagers (age 9-11), Navigators (age 12-14) and Teens (age 15-17). The program runs year-round in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. Parents can leave their children at Adventure Ocean while they take shore excursions. For this purpose, the facilities open 30 minutes ahead of morning shore excursion departures. Otherwise, organized activities are offered from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with group babysitting from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a fee. Teen centers are now open past 2 a.m. Teens will find their own private coffee house and disco.

A new program for infants and toddlers 6 months to 3 years, in partnership with toy maker Fisher-Price, offers 45-minute playgroups for children accompanied by an adult, involving storytelling, creative arts, music and a variety of Fisher-Price learning toys and games. Aqua Babies are six months to 18 months old while Aqua Tots are 18 months to three years old.

Private babysitting is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., provided sitters are available, for children from one year old. The rate is usually between $8.00 and $10 per hour depending on the number of children in the family. Cash payment is made directly to the sitter. Arrange through Guest Services at least 24 hours in advance.

Attire

There are two formal nights per cruise. Maybe it's this ship's particularly festive reputation that induced most men to don tuxedos for formal nights, even though a dark suit would work fine. In general, though, this ship offers so much to do that you're likely to see fellow passengers dressed every which way.

Service

It's obvious that the multinational staff and crew enjoy watching their passengers enjoy themselves. They're uniformly cheerful, knowledgeable, and eager to help. The wait staff in every restaurant is noticeably solicitous and conscientious.

Cabin service staff is efficient but unobtrusive. The purser's desk is notably responsive, especially in view of how much troubleshooting they must have to do on a ship this size. Room service, though, can be pretty slow.

Tipping

Royal Caribbean suggests a per person per day gratuity of $3.50 for the stateroom attendant ($5.75 if sailing in a suite); $3.50 for the waiter; $2.50 for the Assistant Waiter; .75 Head Waiter. These gratuities may be paid in cash or charged to your onboard account. For children sailing as third or fourth passenger in the stateroom, tipping is at the parents' discretion.

A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.

Cabins

Rhapsody's cabins are cleverly designed to make them feel larger than they actually are; even the smallest feature a small sitting area, and there's a lot more storage space than you'd have any right to expect. Inside cabins start at a tiny 135 sq.ft up to 172 sq.ft. while Oceanview staterooms measure 154 sq. ft.. Family Ocean View Staterooms (237 sq.ft.) can accommodate up to six people. Standard amenities include TV with pay-per-view movies, CNN, safe, lighted vanity, individual temperature control, hair dryer; bathrooms have showers and medicine cabinets; minibars and tubs are found in the highest category stateroom.

Superior Oceanview with private balcony are 195 sq. feet plus a 41 sq.ft. balcony. The five categories of suites include the Junior Suite (241 sq. ft. 64 sq.ft. balcony) and the Royal Family Suite, accommodating up to eight people, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms (463 sq. ft., balcony 55 sq. ft.).




Ship Overview

The fourth of Royal Caribbean’s Vision-class ships, Rhapsody of the Seas launched in 1997. In addition to new staterooms and a family suite being added, upgrades to the ship in 2012 included an outdoor movie screen poolside, the casual Park Café, Asian, Italian, and steak-house specialty restaurants, digital signage, lounges for elite past passengers, and a new nursery.

The first Royal Caribbean ships to offer balconies in a number of categories, these Vision-class vessels, named for sister ship Vision of the Seas, have acres of glass skylights that allow sunlight to flood in and windows that offer wide sea vistas. The soaring central atrium at the heart of each ship is anchored by a chic bar that fills with music after dark and is the ideal spot for watching the daring aerial performances overhead.

Big, bigger, biggest! Royal Caribbean has the largest modern mega cruise liners in the world, as well as some of the most innovative technology on its newest ships, from robot bartenders to the fastest Wi-Fi at sea. Its fleet of 25 and counting are all-around favorites of passengers—arguably the most multigenerational (and Millennial) crowd at sea—who enjoy traditional cruising ambience with a touch of daring and whimsy. Each ship in the fleet has action-packed activities such as surfing pools, rock-climbing walls, and on the newest ships, skydiving simulators, and 10-story slides.

Expansive multideck atriums and promenades, as well as the generous use of brass and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, give each vessel a sense of spaciousness and style. The action is nonstop in casinos and dance clubs after dark, while daytime hours are filled with poolside games and traditional cruise activities. Port talks tend to lean heavily on shopping recommendations and the sale of shore excursions.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • Open, light-filled public areas offer sea views from almost every angle
  • Each vessel now offers numerous dining options, both free and for a fee
  • Daring aerialists offer a new wow-factor high above the central atrium

Cons

  • Some lounges serve as a thoroughfare and suffer from continuous traffic flow
  • Except for premium suites, accommodations lean toward the small side
  • There are no self-service laundry rooms
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 765
  • Entered Service 1997
  • Gross Tons 69,130–78,491
  • Length 915
  • Number of Cabins 1,020
  • Passenger Capacity 1,800–2,000 (2,076–2,435 max)
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Oct 3, 2015

Greek isles

I would like to thank all the guest services staff, and specifically C. Silva, D. Laguna, E. Abreu de Souza for being very helpful and attentive to our needs after having missed the boarding and our luggage due to airline delays. It helped make the rest of our cruise so much more enjoyable. Our room cabin attendant was also very attentive and pleasant...loved his special touches in making up our cabin and helping us with laundry, luggage etc. Last

but not least, our dinning room experience was wonderful and our waiter, and his assistant gave us excellent service and we're very attentive, accommodating and friendly. Thanks to all. Very nicely done cuisine and presented well....lovely selections, portions small but delicious and desserts lavish. Comfortable and clean cabin. Mattresses could be a little firmer or plumper...could feel slats or boards underneath a little. Shower and bath in good order and clean. Although entertaining, the poolside entertainment was too loud and overwhelming for too much of the day! Often the music was so loud I could barely hear my audible book on lap top and conversation was difficult....the solarium was quieter but a little warm and humid for lounging. The activities in the central lounge were good, not great, and difficult to get seats if you were in the early dinner seating. The dance performances were very nice and the special solo acts were good. The movie choices were not inspired! The adult game shows were entertaining and upbeat but the band was too loud and caustic while waiting for the game. The excursions to the antiquities were wonderful and several of the guides were excellent. Athens Acropolis tour was a bit of a disappointment and we didn't appreciate the extended forced souvenir shopping in some of the overpriced venues. Also, the tour operators should put a warning about bringing rain weather gear. They have nothing on board and we got soaked when our Athens and Pompei tours got rained on. Our trip overall was wonderful. We had some very bad travel delays when we missed our connection in Rome to board the cruise due to a major delay with USAirways and they also managed to delay our luggage for 5 days because they didn't transfer our luggage when they transferred us to another flight. We utilized the choice air emergency day of travel phone # given in our cruise papers and an agent by the name of Alex was extremely helpful. She made all kinds of arrangements for us and they all worked perfectly. The shore agent in Crete also took great care of us so we were able to enjoy our cruise as soon as possible.

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  • New

Apr 28, 2014

Review of Rhapsody of the Seas

Isabelle norvil Age: 68 Occupation:Retired administrator Number of Cruises: 1 Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas Sailing Date: 2015-09-15 Itinerary: Greek isles I would like to thank all the guest services staff, and specifically C. Silva, D. Laguna, E. Abreu de Souza for being very helpful and attentive to our needs after having missed the boarding and our luggage due to airline delays. It helped make the rest of our cruise so

much more enjoyable. Our room cabin attendant was also very attentive and pleasant...loved his special touches in making up our cabin and helping us with laundry, luggage etc. Last but not least, our dinning room experience was wonderful and our waiter, and his assistant gave us excellent service and we're very attentive, accommodating and friendly. Thanks to all. Very nicely done cuisine and presented well....lovely selections, portions small but delicious and desserts lavish. Comfortable and clean cabin. Mattresses could be a little firmer or plumper...could feel slats or boards underneath a little. Shower and bath in good order and clean. Although entertaining, the poolside entertainment was too loud and overwhelming for too much of the day! Often the music was so loud I could barely hear my audible book on lap top and conversation was difficult....the solarium was quieter but a little warm and humid for lounging. The activities in the central lounge were good, not great, and difficult to get seats if you were in the early dinner seating. The dance performances were very nice and the special solo acts were good. The movie choices were not inspired! The adult game shows were entertaining and upbeat but the band was too loud and caustic while waiting for the game. The excursions to the antiquities were wonderful and several of the guides were excellent. Athens Acropolis tour was a bit of a disappointment and we didn't appreciate the extended forced souvenir shopping in some of the overpriced venues. Also, the tour operators should put a warning about bringing rain weather gear. They have nothing on board and we got soaked when our Athens and Pompei tours got rained on. Our trip overall was wonderful. We had some very bad travel delays when we missed our connection in Rome to board the cruise due to a major delay with USAirways and they also managed to delay our luggage for 5 days because they didn't transfer our luggage when they transferred us to another flight. We utilized the choice air emergency day of travel phone # given in our cruise papers and an agent by the name of Alex was extremely helpful. She made all kinds of arrangements for us and they all worked perfectly. The shore agent in Crete also took great care of us so we were able to enjoy our cruise as soon as possible.

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  • New

Aug 7, 2013

Alaska

This cruise exceeded my expectations. I was not excited about being on a ship with 1800 people (we prefer smaller ships), but we took our daughter, son-in-law and 10 year old grandson and it was important for him to have activities to keep him busy. This is a wonderful ship for families with children traveling with them. My grandson loved the place for the 9 - 11 year olds. He spent a great deal of time there which then gave his mother and father

a real vacation. Depends on the venue. The three speciality restaurants - Chops, Izumi and Giovanni's Table were excellent. We even went back to Chops on our last night we liked it so much. We did not eat breakfast or lunch in the dining room. We had dinner there one night and it was average - very slow service, not a great table and food was OK. We did enjoy our meals in the Windjammer Cafe - lots of variety and it was fresh. Also can get Starbucks pastries for free if you buy a Starbucks. Stateroom was very nice. We had starboard side verandah - this is best side as we had a wonderful sunset in Juneau and were away from the dock in Skagway. I would highly recommend a verandah due to the two days of cruising and also the best spot for the iceberg viewing. Beds were comfortable. There was a couch and desk area. Shower was pretty good sized with good water pressure. Also lots of storage. AS I said our grandson loved the kids club. We enjoyed the pre dinner music in the Centrum. Also the rock and roll show with Bowser and the Stingrays and the evening we spent in the Schooner Bar listening to Derek Lewis and his bawdy songs. We did not like either of the two speakers - one on glaciers and one who was a retired Royal Mounted Police. The woman who spoke on glaciers was too detailed and her power point slides were impossible to read. Also she gave lots of information about glaciers we were not going to visit so it was probably a canned speech. The retiree spoke a lot about himself and other stories rather than about the organization and its workings. We were very disappointed with the aerial shows. The first one was cancelled after 10 minutes due to some technical problems and not rescheduled. The second one was only 10 minutes and not very exciting. We did a whale watching with Marv and Harv rather than through the ship as it allowed us to have our own boat instead of being on a large boat with lots of people. I would highly recommend taking a whale watching trip. The Yukon Pass Railway which we did do through the boat was OK. It's an hour up and an hour down on a small gauge railway. The cars are comfortable, but it's hard to get good pictures when the train is moving. Due to fog we did not get off at the top as there was no view. I would not recommend eating or visiting the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau - hot, crowded, a real tourist joint. Also disappointed with shopping in Juneau - mostly tacky souvenier shops. Butchart Gardens in Victoria was wonderful - again we booked our own transportation as we wanted to spend as much time as we could. This is a must see if you're a garden buff.

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  • New

Jul 19, 2012

Alaska Inside Passage

This cruise was very good - our best ever. We have sailed with Royal Caribbean 6 times now, but this is our last. I would gladly recommend the ship, the itinerary, the staff, the food - but NOT Royal Caribbean's Customer service. This is the first time anything has gone wrong. I have complained in writing 3 times and they just ignore me - does anyone know how to get them to respond? Alaska was an amazing experience. We expected this to

be a "once in a lifetime", but we are already considering returning - with anyone but Royal Caribbean. We did get a bit fed up with the penny pinching and the need to pay the staff more in tips than I earn. We have previously only been on the bigger ships - Freedom and Voyager class, but this smaller ship was very good. It is a shame that so much was made of a multimillion dollar refurbishment, because it was hard to see where all the money was spent. Even so, it was very nice. Food was quite good. Mainly we ate in the main restaurant - we don't like the buffet race, although from what we saw, Rhapsody was more organized, cleaner and less busy than others we have sailed with. We were on Liberty in May 2012 and did notice that the menus were very similar, but good meals every night, with plenty to choose from. Wine and drinks were fine - not too pricey - wine served at perfect temperatures. The Waiting Staff - Vicky and Lester were absolutely fabulous - probably the first time we had tipped "recommended amounts". Stateroom (eventually) was very good - see my rant later on. We had a Junior Suite with balcony. "Refurbished" apparently. I think this applied only to the bathroom, the rest looked a little tired, but beds were comfortable, rooms were quiet, air con seemed to keep the temperature nice - once we had fiddled with it a bit. The Cruise director on Rhapsody was brilliant - loads of fun and had whipped the staff into great shape. The skits she put on were mostly better than the "broadway" style singers and dancers. Shows were a little lackluster otherwise. The special guests were fun. We took a helicopter flight onto Mendenhall Glacier - WOW! and hiked with crampons and icepicks - WOW!. This was so good! (There are no toilets on a glacier - not good for some). We also went to see the sled dogs - also good fun. Both a bit pricey - but reassurance of having booked and that they would get us back to the ship on time made it worth it now the rant: We booked this cruise whilst on Independence of the Seas in March 2011. We wanted the rear corner junior suite - because of the better balcony - "not a problem" - Fernando took the deposit and booked it. In March 2012 we had an e-mail to advise us of a "change of state room". The corner suite was no longer available they said, because we are refurbishing the ship - choose another they said - so we did. I e-mailed immediately Royal Caribbean and asked if we could have the suite if it became available - we got a reply - "we'll get back to you", but they didn't. I emailed gain in May 2012 - they completely ignored that one. We complained on the ship - "tough" (Although I have to say that Guest Services on the ship seemed to want to help and were very pleasant but RCI did not want to get our suite back or offer any compensation). Other people on our table had been moved suites and were given $200 compensation - and they were moved like-for-like. They were US Citizens - more important that us Brits. I had the survey when I got home - told them again - "If you would like a reply give us your e-mail and telephone number" - done that - completely ignored. What a load of rude people RCI must be for no one to bother to reply to 3 complaints. I have seen other similar complaints/reviews - please don't reply and explain to me that it was a "mix-up" with cabin numbers - we've heard this excuse, I want to know why can't the staff of RCI respond to our complaints? I can't book with them again - this was our 6th cruise with them of 7 total cruises. Our understanding of this is that if a US citizen wants your cabin, they can have it and you will be moved. Tough! Beware. They like your sterling, but they don't like you Brits.

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  • New

Jul 15, 2012

Alaska

This was a gorgeous cruise, with overwhelming scenery every day (best seen from the Viking Lounge on deck 11). The food is wonderful, and the crew go out of their way to make you feel special. Just be wary of beverage packages offered online pre check-in. The food was wonderful. The main dining room's selections for dinner were exquisite. The buffet dining room offered a ton of choices for breakfast and lunch; we didn't use it for dinner.

Very small (compared to Disney), but immaculate and well taken-care of. Our room steward was wonderful. Those that I attended were fantastic. The cruise director, Anna Bass, is enchanting and always entertaining. This isn't an excursion, but don't miss the galley tour. It's impressive. Definitely see the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. The room staff were wonderful and attentive; it was hard to get dining room and bar staff to attend to you. Crew took a lot of care to remember names and preferences, and asked often about my younger son by name, who had been seasick during the first days. It was a wonderful touch. HOWEVER, we feel we were duped in two ways: 1) during online check-in, cruisers are offered a chance to pre-purchase beverage packages. The water package says only 24 bottles will be delivered to your stateroom, without specifying the volume. We assumed the standard 500ml size, and ordered two cases. Turned out the bottles were 1.05L bottles. We were unable to drink 50L of water during 7 days, and since the bottles were delivered to the stateroom loose, (not in a plastic-covered case) I can only assume those we left would be sent to another stateroom that ordered them on the next cruise, allowing RC to sell them twice. This seems underhanded. 2) Also offered was a soda package, offering unlimited soda refills for $50 for the week. Turned out you needed to get refills from the bartenders, who served refills last or not at all since no chit was handed over and their chance of a tip was lower. We did NOT drink our money's worth of soda, not even close. We feel ripped off. Also, having our waiter openly solicit tips on the last night in the main dining room made me sort of regret having tipped him earlier that day.

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