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Norma Blanco

Age: 25

Occupation:CSR

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas

Sailing Date: September 18th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

My husband and I decided to take our first vacation/cruise on the Rhapsody of the Seas. We have heard wonderful things about the ship and the cruise line, so we decided to give it a try. I thought the ship was neat and clean.

Parking & Boarding
Finding a place to park was not a problem. I found a discount online www.ezcruiseparking.com and they offered a discount for online reservations $45 for 7 days. It seemed very reasonable so I made the reservation online. Plenty of barbed wire and razor wire around the top of the rod iron fence, so I knew my vehicle would be safe. Parking was not a problem, but we did wait quite a while for the shuttle (approx 45 minutes). We were told it was because the Carnival Cruise Ship forgot to disembark two decks and starting doing so around 1pm. I don’t know if this is actually what happened, it was the rumor around the terminal.

Boarding the ship was a very smooth process, (approx. 15 minutes) of course if you have your set sail pass (which I did) at hand, it made things much easier and you get on the ship much faster.

Cabin
We had a large interior stateroom, it was a little smaller than what I expected, but of course I had never been on a cruise before, so I was expecting a hotel size room even though I was told it wouldn’t be that big. The cabin attendant was very nice once he got used to seeing us go in and out of the room, but seemed a little shy and was not well informed of the many questions we had. We were told to call the Purser’s desk for just about every question we had. We just figured he would know a little more about the ship and the activities that were aboard the ship.

Activities
Our itineraries were on our bed daily after breakfast. We were well informed of the times and locations of the functions, and announcements were made for bingo daily (very fun, but didn’t win any money).

Ports of Call
We were really looking forward to seeing Cayman and Cozumel, but our trip was cut short because of Hurricane Rita. We opted to come home (Houston) and try to salvage our belongings, and then evacuate. We did although, have a chance to visit Jamaica. Personally, I think it’s too much hype. Dunn’s River Falls is wonderful and the climb is a little challenging, but overall, I would go back just to go to the water fall and the beach. We took a small route that lead us away from the tourist area (big mistake) and I was a little afraid of the atmosphere. I would have really enjoyed getting braids in my hair, but for $2 a braid seemed a little expensive, so shop around if you want braids in your hair. We were told “no pressure mon” to visit the shops, but there was plenty of pressure around us. It was a little spooky at times, but it was not as big as a deal as I thought it would be. We shopped around a bit, but no big purchases. I really enjoyed seeing the hand crafted items.

Detour Home
Royal Caribbean offered passengers to fly home on Wednesday a little before leaving Jamaica. The captain gave an announcement that they would be in Montego Bay, Jamaica because of the weather conditions and not being able to return to Galveston on Sunday as planned. Those who got to stay……..fun fun fun!! Maybe next time I can choose to stay. The offered the option of flying to Dallas/Ft. Worth or San Antonio. We were unsure about the conditions at home, but after speaking to a few family members, we were told it was best for us to head back home. Royal Caribbean flew us from Jamaica to Miami, Miami to Dallas. They paid for the air fare, but to return home to Houston was at our expense. I recommend to purchase insurance for the cruise. I am in the process of filing a claim to get a Travel Delay refund. Hopefully all goes well with that.

As for Cayman and Cozumel, maybe next year and not during Hurricane Season.

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