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Julie

Age: 56

Occupation:Management

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2011-12-17

Itinerary: Soyth Pacific

Exceeded my expectations in all respects - totally wonderful. Beautiful ship. Excellent crew and staff who couldnt do enough to help.

Boarding was rather lengthy, and due to a particularly cold summer it wasnt very pleasant waiting outside on the quay...but all staff exceptionally pleasant and made the wait bearable.

Sadly, my neither my elderly parents nor myself and brother were able to make use of our balconies at all during the 10 day trip due to being down wind and next door to two very heavy smokers...even at 04.30h in the morning....so breakfast on the balcony, reading quietly or having a glass of wine were all not to be. Had a major and detrimental effect on our holiday, and of course the expense of paying for a balcony stateroom which I had paid for the 4 of us - we could have had the same holiday in a low deck cabin with a sealed window, as that is exactly what we ended up with.

Departure from ship was excellent - off and luggage collected with minutes. Very good indeed.

Only used Windjammers at lunch time and formal dining room Eldelwiess in the evening. Very good selection in the Windjammer at all times, clean. Staff helpful. Lovely to relax there and enjoy the amazing views. Evening meals were superb, and our waiter Ganash and assistant waiter Shanshan were brilliant. The shows they put on for us with the singing firstly with all the chefs, and later in the week all the waiters was wonderful....and made a hugely enjoyable evening.

Were clean and kept that way all during our cruise. Our cabin person Adi was brilliant - he couldnt do enough to help and was kindness itself to my elderly parents. Well done to him - he and Shanshan really made our holiday.

Only fault I could find was the shower curtain which showed mould and could have been changed at little cost - but towels were always spotless and bedding too. As mentioned booked these mid-ship staterooms particularly for the balconies - but unable to use at all.

Good to be able to make your own tea or coffee, and the mini fridge a real bonus - I had pre ordered water so always had a bottle chilling. Plenty of space for clothes and suitcases to be put out of sight. Good lighting - flat screen TV though very very limited viewing - unless you want to watch the cruise director chatting on endlessly!

The entertainments director did not appeal - we dont like being called "luvvies" at our age....and it was a bit low brow. However, many many others seemed to enjoy her activities so can only speak for ourselves.

Disappointed in the theatre productions, though a totally beautiful theatre - wasted really I feel. There seemed a lot to do at all times - and probably something for everyone, though we like a bit of peace and quiet (hence the balconies)!

Noummea - we did the day trip to Amadee Lighthouse 45 minutes by fast ferry. Fabulous and very underrated. Food and dancing Polynesian style was just amazing - and the island is absolutely lovely. Not to be missed!

Vanuatu - apart from arriving late in port, and pouring with rain, and due to the loud speakers not be transmitted into the staterooms, just in the corriders, we missed out on our booked trip so decided we would get off any way to at least stretch our legs, even though it really was pouring with (warm) rain! Found the taxi drivers shouting at you (long lines of them gripping on to the fence that separates the dock area from the "road") very intimidating. I was with my elderly mother and unfortunately and as mentioned by someone else, even if you negotiate once you get in the car (and ours was a death trap - should not have got in but my Mum was so enthusiastic to see something) they persist in wanting to take you somewhere you dont want to go.....and our trip turned from 10 dollars into 50 dollars - and it was quite frightening actually. Wouldnt go there again in a hurry and its their wet season so dont really know why its included in the itinerary!

Lifou - just loved. Lots of confusion at the the market area as no one clearly explained or understood the car rental or private taxi driver system and no one seemed to speak English - so brush up on your French. We had a 2 hour trip which cost 30 dollars a head - it turned into 3 hours, we were shown around the island with Henri (fantastic) and then taken to a wonderful beach to swim....getting back into his car wet and covered in sand to no complaint and no hurry to get us back inside his 2 hours time slot. Totally wonderful island and fantastic experience.

Isles of Pines - lived up to its name, and it just perfect. Greeted by islanders with head dresses of flowers for each of us and dancing by the local tribespeople. Beaches superb. Local bus for 45 min trip around - really good trip and value for money. ** Note: its much easier on these islands if you take the local currency. They do accept Australian dollars...but the local money makes things like postcards so much easier to buy. ** Note: if you want a permanent memento of your island visit you can pay a few dollars to have your passport stamped. Wish we had known before we disembarked! Mystery Island - interesting watching the locals arrive with their wares in their little boats. Islanders very quiet, but friendly if spoken to. All sell the same kind of thing, pareos, grass skirts, fresh coconuts - which they cut the top off for you and give you a straw to drink from, LOVELY, but the island itself is lovely and the swimming fantastic. No food there though, but the tenders are running back and forth to the ship all day long so its easy to go back for lunch and come out again if you want to.

It was our first time cruising, and it was my treat to my family - so cant tell you how disappointed I was that we were not able to make use of the balconies. I can understand that people want to smoke - but it should be kept to decks only and comepletely banned from cabins. Smoke coming into your balcony and apartments is unavoidable if you are down wind from smokers as it gets sucked in by the forward motion of the ship. If you suffer with seasickness even the slight smell of cigarette smoke is enough to set you off - and once in your cabin it gets in your hair and clothes and is highly unpleasant.

Other than that, it really was the most beautiful ship with fantastic crew and great food and really if it hadnt been for the loss of our balconies it would have been perfect. We would definately go again, but next time will book low decks with just a port hole - cheaper and guaranteed smoke free!

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