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Jeff Hackney

Age: 36

Occupation:Systems Administrator

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas

Sailing Date: March 9th

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Year: 2003
This is a review of a Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas. This seven day cruise embarked @ the port of Galveston, Texas. This is important information in that the vast majority of the passengers on the ship are Texans. No, I don’t hold a grudge against the fine people of Texas, my wife and I are Texans but it’s important to note if your looking to explore the Caribbean and meet people from outside the Lone Star state.

My first recommendation for you first timers is find a travel agency that sells lots of cruises on the particular line you’re sailing. This is very important in that a travel agency that sells high volumes of a cruise lines staterooms is much more likely to get a better deal and upgrades. Shop around! You’ll be happy and richer for it.

Our stateroom was a deluxe ocean view located on the fail tail (7660) and had a wonderful view and large balcony. If you can afford it or shop for a bargain I highly recommend you get a balcony. Unless you’re the type of person that wants to be pool side the entire trip to enjoy the sights and fresh air you’ll find the sanctuary of you’re balcony well worth the extra cash for the trip.

The Rhapsody of the Seas is a nice ship with pleasant amenities and art to enjoy when walking the corridors. You’ll be surprised just how much art adorns the walls and various locations on the ship. The art auction is well worth registering for and participating in. Even if you don’t plan to buy anything it’s one of the few endeavors on the ship that are free and provide champagne and free art.

The entertainment is, well, entertaining. It’s not Broadway but enjoyable and something the entire family can do together. The comedian on our cruise was very good and had some “Texas” specific humor that may not strike the funny bone of someone from the north.

Meals were generous and very tasteful. We enjoyed wonderful service and were lucky enough to have delightful dinner company also. Not to worry, if you’re stuck with someone who you just don’t “jive” with the staff will accommodate a move to another table.

Dinner seating is broken into early and late. I would suggest the second seating for anyone who doesn’t need to be in bed by 9 p.m. If you’re planning on going ashore for an excursion the last thing you want to do is hurry back to the ship just for dinner. Not to mention, one of our formal nights was after a day in Belize.

Which brings me to our two excursions. We did the jungle bike and cave tour in Belize and the Discover Scuba diving in Cozemel. I highly recommend both to anyone wanting to escape the excursion crowds and enjoy the best each location has to offer.

Raymond, our Belizian tour guide, and his family really showed us a wonderful time riding the somewhat challenging trails of the forest and showing us some really cool caves!

The diving in Cozemel was well worth the price. Just make sure that you want to do it, no refunds for those not completing the dive as a young girl in our group discovered.

Some thing to look out for on the ship. The only drink that are free are coffee, juice, water and tea. They sell soda stickers ($30 all you can drink) but it’s only for fountain drinks at the bars. Alcohol is pricey so if you’re a drinker plan accordingly. The cruise line will let you carry on bottled water and sodas but no alcohol. We brought an extra bag filled with water and soda. We saved $ and had a bag to bring home gifts in.

Coffee is only available in one location and it’s on the 9th deck. I recommend you take room service the first morning (it’s free) and order coffee. Hide the carafe and use it to shuttle coffee to the room as needed.

The ship has a adults only area with a pool and hot tubs so if you’re traveling sans children as we were (15th wedding anniversary) you’ll be able to have some fun in the pool without the kids.

I can only hope you enjoy your cruise as much as we did. Be prepared to have a rough week upon your return though as it’s hard getting back into the “real world” once you’ve had a week at sea.

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