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Shelly Tatistcheff

Age: 42

Occupation:courier

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 26th, 2006

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

I read every review I could find before sailing so I was the resident expert among our cruising companions. We flew into Houston Saturday and spent the night. We RENTED a car from ENTERPRISE car rental, call the local office in Houston so you don't get charged the one way fee. We got a van and it was only $65 after taxes. When we got to Galveston my husband returned the car after dropping my 2 daughters(12 and 15) and I off at the ship. We waited about 20 minutes for his return. We had done all our paperwork online for Royal Caribbean and sailed through the line. By noon we were onboard eating lunch. We learned right away in the Windjammer Restaurant that you don't have to eat the first things in the line, in the middle of the restaurant is more food, ie, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc and the DESSERTS (they were so terrific). They also have sugar free desserts all the time which is great for us diabetics. We were allowed into our rooms at 1p.m. We always book inside rooms since we are never in them. Oh, we are non-drinking, non-smoking plain people in our 40's. This cruise had more activities going on daily than any cruise(7) we have ever been on. We decided to do all the shuffleboard, shuffle golf, rock climbing, ping pong activities. You got a "ship shape dollar" for every activity you did, I got 22 and my husband earned 18. At the end of the week we traded them in for t-shirts, towels, visors, etc. All the contests had medals to earn, too, and I earned 3 bronze, never got that ellusive gold. We made LOTS of friends doing these activities. We ate in the dining room every evening, great food and service. For lunch we sometimes did buffet, sometimes main dining room. Food in both was great. Got room service for breakfast a few days, always a treat to have someone bring you your breakfast! We always get 2 rooms and the girls get one and we get the other. You have to book them with one adult in each room but when you get onboard they are fine with the kids getting one and the adults the other. So the weather was great, hot and humid. Wear lots of lotion. People got their skin fried, including us, by not being careful enough.

The ports:
Key West:
We got off to find the key lime pie store and had key lime pie on a stick and bought some key lime candy. Then we wanted some sundries so found the Walgreens as had been recommended on another persons review. It is on the main bar street in the 500 block. Not far at all. Since we don't drink we went back to the ship.

Grand Cayman: We got off and wanted to snorkel. There were 6 ships there, 12,000 people we decided. Very zoo like! Dozens of people trying to sell us excursions but we asked where EDEN ROCK was, as I had read about it on an earlier review. It was about 1/4 mile to the right as you leave the ship, a VERY short walk. Just a very small sandy place with about 20 beach chairs for rent and snorkels for rent for $12 per person. The fish here were AWESOME. It was the very best tip I got off this board!!! Although there were 12,000 people roaming the stores we felt very at ease. I guess the other 11,980 people went to the beach the people trying to sell tours to! When we returned to the ship everyone was complaining about not seeing any fish, we felt bad for them. Oh well. Didn't do the stingray excursion but people either loved it or hated it. Heard there were alot of children screaming and not wanting to get in the water to be with them so I didn't feel we missed anything.

Cozumel: We got off the ship around 11:00 with no tender problem. Shopped a bit, prices were GREAT. Got lots of nice $5 t-shirts right on the tender boat! Prices were better once you got past the main street. Didn't do much there since we got fried snorkling so we didn't want to go to the beach again.

Shows were great, 2 broadway type, 2 comedians, 1 juggler, one indescribable group from Venuzuela or something like that but they were fantastic and of course the welcome aboard show with the cruise director.

We had a great time. The 12 year old was bored with her program so never went, the 15 year old did stuff at night with her group. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Coming bad we opted to take our own luggage off at 7a.m. If you can and don't have too much stuff, DO THIS. We were in a cab(Enterprise was sold out so we couldn't rent a car)$135, by 7:45 and on our way to Houston. Took 1 hour to get to George Bush Airport. It was much nicer hanging around the airport til our 11:30 flight rather than sitting on the ship waiting to be called only to get in line, get off and try to find our luggage and then get through customs. This is a nice feature they offer. If you do this don't bother waiting on the 6th floor where they say to wait, people were on the 5th and 4th(the gangway is on the 4th) and the announcements are made all over this ship announcing when to go so you don't have to worry about it by not being in the lounge on the 6th floor.

Have a great vacation!

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