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Age: 45


Number of Cruises: 5

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas

Sailing Date: November 20th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Overall, my family and I had a fantastic cruise. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not on our side, but you can't blame Royal Caribbean for that. I heard several folks complain about the number of kids (over 600 of the 2400 were kids), but hey, it was Thanksgiving weekend, and we expected a lot of kids. We just couldn't believe the number of kids under the age of 1, though. Just crazy parents, I guess (haha). They weren't a bother, though.

The food and sevice was great. If you go to the pool-side bar, make sure you say hello to Thompson. He has been on the ship for 4 yrs. Very friendly and poors a great drink!

Our first planned stop, Key West, was canceled due to the winds and waves. We saw Key West dead ahead, then it went to our left and we just kept going. Quickly, the captain came on and told us the winds and waves were too rough. Well, as soon as we headed away from Key West, we found out what he was talking about. It was a very rough night for a lot of people. We would see several folks leave, one-by-one, from the dining room table, and heading toward their room with motion sickness. Our dinner mates introduced us to Bonine (has Mecklazine). Luckily, I didn't get sick, but my wife and daughter did. They took the Bonine and felt better within 1-2 hours. The Purser's desk gives free Mecklazine tablets, but have Bonine onhand. Highly recommended. Doesn't make your drowsy like dramamine does.

Finally hit Grand Cayman on Thursday. It was great to get on land for a change. However, Grand Cayman is not like it used to be just a few years ago. Of course, it didn't help that there were 5 other ships there. Man, was it chaotic! I don't think anyone from our ship, nor anyone from the other ships, was prepared for it. Due to the seas and damage received from the hurricanes, we were not able to dock to land. Instead, we had to anchor and be tendered ashore in small boats. It was half-way quick getting to shore, but when it was time to come back, it took over 2 hours standing in line to get on the tender that brought us back. Just too many people in 1 spot. The weather was not on our side, either, It poured!

I went diving while my wife and daughter went to swim with the stingrays. Let me give some advice here. Do not book the excursion that has the Swim with Stingrays, snorkling and lunch as a package. The stingray and snorkling portion was great, but the luch was god awful, plus you had to stand in line over an hour to get the food. You can take cabs to get places, but they charge from $5-$8 a person, each way. So, that's $25 each way for a family of 5, making it a total of $50. Some cabs tried to charge $8, but I think $5 is the going rate. Just be careful. Anyway, you will love the stingray place. My 9 yr old daughter had a blast and even kissed 3 stingrays! Oh, another something to watch out for. Depending on the weather, the water at the stingray place can be a little deep and very choppy. On a nice day, it is pretty shallow and very calm. It was pretty high and very choppy when my daughter was there, but she loved it very much, non-the-less.

I don't know who talked with all the other ships, but someone got with all the ships in Grand Cayman, and asked all the ships "Who had gone where and how many stops have you made". I guess some of the other ships had made stops before Grand Cayman, as they were asked not to go to Cozumel, to lighten traffic. This was great because there was only 1 other ship besides ours at Cozumel.

Cozumel was our favorite stop. 2 places I recommend are the Delexe Beach Break and the Palancar snorkling. The Deluxe Beach Break took you to Play Mia beach where it was all you can eat and all you can drink, plus it was a blast for our daughter. They had a water trampoline, a floating wall to climb, kayaks, peddle boats, etc. Very clean and a lot of fun. They had another area where you could meet some of the beach chefs and cook your own feast on a grill, then eat it while you drank beer and/or wine. I think this was a different packege, but everyone, and I mean everyone, who did it had the time of their life! The Palancar snorkling was fun, then on the way back, they just told you they would open up the refreshment stand on the boat trip home. It was open-bar, from what I heare, and there were a lot of happy people coming off this adventure!!!! They all had a blast, they said.

Now, back to the Rhapsody of the Seas. I heard so much talk about the fries in the Solarium (back of deck 9). They were very good, I must admit. However, they are similar to the fries you get at Burger King, but better. They serve pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries back there. The fries were good, so try them. One thing they do not tell you about the Solarium pools in any brochure, is that you have to be 16 or over to use the pools. Anyone can go to get the food or play ping pong, but you just have to be over 16 to use the pool and hot tubs. Not a bad thing, because sometimes us grown-ups want a little place to ourselves, but my 9 yr old was a little disappointed. But, hey, there is a pool and 4 hot tubs just outside for her!

We only ate in the dining room for dinner. Breakfast and luch was spent at the Windjammer Cafe, at the front of Deck 9. Food, food, and more food! The view was great, too. The only minor complaint was they tried to make a plain chocolate cake and a plane cheese cake too fancy, which ruined them. They put 2-layers of chocolate cake that had some terrible jelly or something in the middle. I wish they had just plain chocolate cake! Oh well, there was plenty of other desserts to choose from. If you didn't like that, all you had to do was go to the Ben and Jerry's ice cream on deck 6. You had to pay for it, but the homemade waffle cone and great ice cream was welcomed treat! Highly suggested.

Evey now and then, I wanted just a few minutes to myself. A great place to get away from it all during the day is the Viking Crown at the back of the ship, on deck 11. It was so relaxing to just sit there and watch the open sea from the top of the ship. I guarantee you will forget about any worries up there. Quiet and relaxing!

The ship has plenty to do. They teach different types of dancing every day, from country, hip hop, classical, etc. I heard this was a blast, too.

We also met some very nice people and met up with a wonderful family who had a daughter the same age as our's. They were inseparable and are keeping in regular contact! That's what friends are for. I hope we can all keep in touch through the years.

The only other advice with those with younger children is to take the Early Seating during dinner. We had the late seating, which started at 8:30pm. Our daugher went 90-to-nothing the entire day and didn't have much energy come dinner time. She passed out every nite at the end of dinner. She had no problems sleeping hahahahaha.

I highly recommend this ship and think you will have a great time. Just remember, not everything goes perfect, but just about everything did.

Oh, a great place to park and leave your car is EZ Cruise. It is on Rosenburg (25th) and Sante Fe Place, about 2 blocks form the terminal. They charge $55 for the week. Worked out great for us. It was fairly within walking distance, so I went and got the car while my family was getting the luggage.

Hope this helps

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