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Kelly a Bandaries-Kiser

Age: 18

Occupation:College student

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas

Sailing Date: October 16th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

This was second time cruising on board the MS Rhapsody of the Seas out of Galveston, I live in Houston. I am a cruise ship fanatic and have been fascinated with British liners and modern day cruise ships since I was 6 years old. Pretty rare for a lady huh? Well, the first time I sailed on Rhapsody was July 14-21st 2002. It was my first cruise and a dream cruise, I would never have ever recommended mediocre Carnival to anyone. Sadly, this is probably my last time on board Rhapsody due to a bad experience. She (how we refer to ships) has begun to take a beating. Her floors no longer sparkle and shine as before. The service in the dining room was not what I anticipated, especially from my beloved Royal Caribbean International; who in my book could do no wrong.

The wait staff were not friendly as before, and the pursers are very rude on this ship. One purser from Mexico was rude to me. I asked her which floor the Viking Crown Lounge was on and she told me “11, but its not for you anyway!”. I said but I’m 18, and I had checked with the other pursers before to make sure I was not going to get kicked out like I did when I was 15 the first time. She told me I had to be 21 and not go to up there, I even offered to show her proof the rules were 18, and even to show her my drivers license but she refused. This led me to complain to the children’s activities manager up on 10 and they told me that I was right. My mom went back and “had a little discussion” with the head purser about this. The one last straw with this ship, which even led to our complaints being filed with corporate offices in Miami were that there was no planning in our ports of call. I understand that the onset of hurricane Wilma in the Gulf, was an act of God; however I believe that thorough planning should have been utilized in this situation. I was working hard this summer to afford the $550.00+ fare in order to go to my favorite island Georgetown, Grand Cayman in the British West Indies. This ship also was going to Jamaica, and we had already booked the Bob Marley Zion tour, we later learned it would be Rhapsody’s last voyage to Jamaica. The storm came and the captain started freaking out, I would too. However, we ended up in Tampa Bay, Florida dropped off in a makeshift dirt mound at the port authority headquarters. We had no transportation to town, and no knowledge of how to get there. My mom and I shared a cab with a married couple and rode a few miles to the bar district. It was extremely hot, and even through this I would choose Tampa ANY DAY over Key West, I promised myself I would never step foot in rotten, boring, sauna-like Key West ever again.

Cozumel was normal. The dress code was not enforced in the dining room or in Windjammer. I always dressed up, which I do for the formal sit down dinner, other people wore shorts, tank-tops, and totally inappropriate clothing into the dining room; not a word was said about this. I wear a bikini with a cover over my bikini bottom to the relaxed Windjammer and I was asked to leave and go change. I cant believe this from Royal Caribbean, my mom and I are considering going to Spain on one of their upscale ships, Voyager of the Seas. I just don’t suggest you go on Rhapsody of the Seas, my opinion of it is now up there with Carnival, and to me Carnival is trash.

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