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Dr. Bob Griffin

Age: 56

Occupation:College Prof

Number of Cruises: 9

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas

Sailing Date: February 13th, 2005

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

Galveston is NOT an easy port to reach. Flying in/out of Houston (nearest airport) is 75 miles away and expensive transit. Shuttle bus by RC is $39 each way.

We had just cruised in the fall to Alaska on Celebrity. Everything up-to-date and clean and sharp. This ship, however, was in DESPERATE need of refurbishing of cabins, both furniture and permanent fixtures. Very shabby and dirty feeling all over the deck and public areas (except both restaurants which were spotless). Rate a "C+".

Food was a step up from Carnival type, but with small portions and a VERY LIMITED menu. Odd compared to other cruises, and parallel to recent cutbacks in Princess (our favorite line). It lacked variety and quality of most was like Outback, NOT the fanciest gourmet place in our town. Rate "B".

Entertainment was acceptable, although stage productions were limited. Special groups and small ensemble entertainment was excellent. Rate "B"

Very noisy ship. Not just the creaks and groans and banging of metal-on-metal, from cleaning the Promenade or balconies, but more ambient noise from other cabins. Rate "B-"

Two banks of elevators instead of three (no rear bank) and that made much more walking (I have to use a cane and feel every step). Many areas are not conveniently laid out - although we loved the buffet dining in the FRONT of the ship instead of the rear. Rate "B-"

Big complaint was shore excursions. We had two and they were both CANCELLED by Royal Caribbean. With just a one-day notice while we were on board; no time to find another. Their shore excursion desk on board confided that these were almost ALWAYS cancelled due to lack of numbers; that is just not right! Rate an "F" and that is generous!!

Key West was a good stop, as most 7-10 day trips out of Florida do NOT stop there. And cruising the Gulf of Mexico is calmer and eye-opening to see the vast numbers of oil rigs, etc., that are not witnessed on the Baja or off Florida cruises. Grand Cayman was limited because of hurricane damage and because we were #6 ship in port and at 2000+ people, the smallest! Cozumel was, well, Cozumel. Itinerary rates a "B+"

It was a moderate vacation. Not great but not horrible. Restful, with some good activities and group games, etc., that were fun to join in. But I did feel like a "foreigner", as 1750 of the 2050 on board were Texans. And acted like it!!

Overall rating? "B-"

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