Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas
Sailing Date: October 17th, 2004
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was my second cruise on The Rhapsody and once again, I really enjoyed myself. We had a group of 8 people, family and friends, and the Edelweiss was extremely helpful in getting all of us seated at the same table. Our waiter, Raymond, was absolutely excellent and his recommendations for dinner were always top notch, we couldn't have been more pleased. This is a great ship, and it's very convenient for those people who live in the Southeast Texas area. We arrived at the port at 12:00 and were on board by 1:00, which really wasn't bad considering we were moving the whole time, the worst part was really getting to the port itself as we sat in traffic for a full 1/2 hour to go only a quarter of a mile or so. Our room was really nice, we opted for a suite this time and got room 8534, I was pleased with the size of the room and the size of the balcony. The shore excursions were great if you were able to book them, Costa Maya was all booked up, but we were able to book a BOND adventure on-line before we left. I couldn't say enough good things about this excursion, you got to go underwater in a personal water scooter, snorkel, ride on a glass bottom boat, and there was an open bar and buffet, well worth the price of the ticket! Key West was very pretty, it's a great place to do some shopping and take in the ambiance. Costa Maya was nice too, not very commercialized yet and the water was beautiful. We rented a golf cart for $15.00 per hour and drove around at our leisure, it was a lot of fun!
Overall, this was an excellent trip, but I'll point out just a few of the drawbacks. As I stated earlier, the traffic can be very bad if you get to the port around noon, I would recommend trying to get there early, around 11:00 or so, or wait until just a bit later, perhaps around 2:00, but noon is very bad, try to avoid it. Also, I was a little dissapointed at how loud the deck above our room was, the pool is on that deck and people made a lot of noise moving lawn chairs and running around. I completely understand that it's not going to be as quiet as a room with a cabin deck above, but it doesn't make much sense to me that people pay more for the suite and then have to deal with thumping and pounding at all hours. I can safely say that I won't opt for the suite again, but it was nice to try. I think that a room with a window would be more that sufficient, unless you can get a really good deal on a balcony, which is how we got ours. Finally, and this is touchy, I was really bothered by the large amount and obtrusive actions of some of the same sex couples on the ship. Being that I had a balcony on deck 8, I found out early that unless I wanted to see groups of butt-naked men standing on the balconies below my own, I should either stay inside or look only directly out to sea, never down or in any other direction. I realize that a balcony is semi-private, but by no means are they completely private and I don't think other passengers should have to be subjected to the naked frolicking of couples in love, same sex or otherwise. I really felt for the families who had children as I imagine they must have been bombarded with questions about the photographs that had men in various states of hugging, kissing, canoodling, etc. At any rate, their is no way to control who your shipmates will be, and all in all, other than the traffic, same sex public pictures and balcony reviews, it really was a good trip.
I would highly recommend Rhapsody and Royal Caribbean, they are a great line and go above and beyond to make sure you're happy with everything they have to offer.