Occupation:Police Communications Supervisor
Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Rhapsody of the Seas
Sailing Date: January 23rd, 2005
Itinerary: Western Caribbean
This was my 1st cruise ever and I have to say the most fun I have ever had on any vacation.
My wife and I live in the Dallas area and decided to drive down the night before. That night just happened to be the 1st night that Galveston celebrated Mardi Gras and our hotel room faced the street where they had a large parade. We got to watch all the fun from a heated hotel room and didn't have to freeze our rear-ends off.
The drive to the port was a little cumbersome since they block off many of the streets leading to the ports for the Mardi Gras celebration, but not bad overall. I dropped my wife and our luggage at the RCI port and parked in their secure lot about 1/2 a mile away. It costs about $70 for the week, but again, it is a secure lot and everything was right where I had left it the previous Sunday (I've heard of people paying ove $100 a week at some airports for parking). We did have a slight problem at the check-in area (credit card problem), but it was taken care of very quickly at the Purser's Desk on-board.
This being our honeymoon, we went "all out" and got a suite on deck 8, 8014 Grand Suite, and LOVED it!! Our stateroom attendant was wonderful and fulfilled any request we made. I'm not used to that type of service and it totally blew me away!!
The first night on board we ate in the formal dining room and we seated with some great folks from Minnesota. The food selection seemed ok, but I'm a simple "meat and potatoes" guy, so I went the conservative way and got the steak. It was cooked perfectly and the service was outstanding. Believe the other reviews when they say the key lime pie is TO DIE FOR, that is my favorite dessert and they have by far the best I have ever tasted. (Sorry, Mom). The other 6 nights my wife and I ate at the Windjammer buffet mainly because we had so much we wanted to do, we didn't care if we made back to the boat at a specific time. And our room was 1 floor below the Windjammer and right next to the elevators so it was much more convenient. Not to mention the food was excellent!!
The ports were alright. Having never been to any of these places or traveling much at all, I can say I enjoyed them very much. Key West was fun to walk around, but it's a much "different" atmosphere than what I'm used to around home. Not that it's bad, just "different". My wife and I got to do alot of souvenir shopping at each of the ports, but I liked Cozumel the best. For a fun time, make sure you stop by Carlos N Charlie's and get yourself a yard! I'm sure on our next cruise my wife and I will book a few shore excursions, but this being our honeymoon we just wanted to go around the ports at our own pace and see what we wanted to see.
The staff on board were excellent, there was always so much to do. Dan the Party Man was our cruise director and it would be wrong if I didn't mention Bingo Ali, since we were part of her Bingo family. I even won a trivia contest on board, it's kinda neat the things you can find to use a luggage lock for...hahahaha. The shows were good, we especially liked the comedian David Orion and the juggling comedian as well, though I forget his name. My wife and I were almost picked to be in the ship's version of the Newlywed Game, but were beat out by a 20 yr old couple who had their own family cheering section. I can say we would have been SO much more fun, but I'm not bitter. No....really!!
All in all it was a great experience, and we're planning an anniversary cruise for next January as well. If you get the chance, go with Royal Caribbean and the Rhapsody of the Seas...you'll LOVE it!!