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Cruise Reviews

Rhapsody of the Seas

Rhapsody of the Seas

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Ship Specifications
Year Built: 1997 Age Restrictions: One person in each
Year Refurbished: 2004 room must be 21 years old or older
Previous Name: N/A Seating Assignments: Assigned or My Time
Guest Occupancy: 2,435 Dining Hours: 6:15 pm or 8:30 pm
Crew: 765 Internet Access: Yes
Tonnage: 78,491 tons Bars/Lounges: 8
Length: 915 feet Spa: Yes
Beam: 105.6 feet Fitness Center : Yes
Cruising Speed: 22 knots Swimming Pools: 2
Decks: 11 Hot Tubs: 6
Ship's Registry: Bahamas Bowling Alley: No
Casino: Yes Rock Climbing Wall: Yes
Show Room: Yes Ice Skating Rink: No
Disco/Night Club: Yes 24-Hour Room Service: Yes
Library: Yes Hair Dryer in Room: Yes

Rhapsody of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's Vision-class ships. This means that she's the sister ship of the Enchantment of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas and (of course) Vision of the Seas. Although she's not one of the younger ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet, she's been updated by Royal Caribbean through the years to feature various modern amenities. For instance, onboard Rhapsody is a rock-climbing wall, 8 bars and lounges, a couple of pools, six whirlpools, a casino, day spa and fitness center.

Destinations & Itineraries
Rhapsody of the Seas will be featuring cruises in the following regions (subject to change, based on the cruise line's discretion):

2012: Australia & New Zealand
2013: Alaska, Australia & New Zealand, Hawaii

There are a wide array of stateroom types onboard Rhapsody of the Seas. Rooms range from basic interior staterooms all the way up to 1,000+ square foot suites. All Royal Caribbean staterooms come with a private bathroom, vanity area, hair dryer, closed-circuit TV and phone.

Interior Staterooms:
The interior staterooms onboard Rhapsody have all of the standard features listed above, as well as two twin beds (that can convert into one queen-size bed), a shower in the bathroom and room service that is available 24 hours a day. The least premium interior staterooms are the category Q's. The category Q, N and M (listed on order of usual cost) staterooms are considered standard interior staterooms, and are 135 to 144 square feet in size (depending on the specific room). Category K and L staterooms are called Large Interior Staterooms, at 151 square feet. Category J staterooms are Superior Interior Staterooms and are 174 square feet. The least expensive interior stateroom category that can accommodate over 2 people is the category L.

Ocean View Staterooms: At 154 square feet, Rhapsody's standard ocean view staterooms (categories H, I, F and G), all which are known as Large Ocean View Staterooms, are larger than her interior staterooms and feature the same amenities as the interiors. A category FO stateroom is a Family Ocean View Stateroom, which is 237 square feet in size. Such a stateroom features two twin beds (that can be converted into a queen-size bed), an additional twin bed, and a sitting area with a sofa bed and Pullman bed.

Balcony Staterooms: The most basic balcony stateroom onboard Rhapsody is a Superior Ocean View Stateroom with a Balcony. These rooms (categories D1 and D2) feature two twin beds (that can convert into a queen-size), a sitting area (some with a sofa bed that one person can sleep in), a refrigerator and (of course) a private balcony. These rooms are 195 square feet and have a 41 square foot balcony.

Suites: The most basic suites onboard Rhapsody are the Junior Suites (category JS). These rooms have two twin beds (that can convert to a queen-size), a private balcony, a sitting area with a sofa bed, a refrigerator and a bathtub. The Junior Suites are 241 square feet, with a 64 square foot balcony.

Grand Suites (category GS) are 355 square feet, with a 116 square foot balcony. These suites feature two twin beds (that can convert to a queen-size), a private balcony, a sitting area with a soda bed, a bathtub and a refrigerator.

The Royal Family Suites (category FS) are 463 square feet, with a 55 square foot balcony. They have two bedrooms with twin beds that can convert to a queen-size, two bathrooms (one with a bathtub), a living area with a double sofa bed and Pullman bed and a private balcony. These large suites can accommodate up to 8 passengers, making them a very popular choice for large families.

The Owner's Suites (category OS) are 523 square feet, with a 116 square foot balcony. They have a queen-size bed, a private balcony, a separate living area with a queen-size sofa bed, a bar, refrigerator and bathtub.

The most premium (and, of course, most expensive) suite onboard Rhapsody of the Seas is the Royal Suite (category RS). This massive suite is 1,140 square feet, with a 131 square foot balcony. This suite has a separate bedroom with a king-size bed, a whirlpool bathtub, a living room with a queen-size sofa bed, a baby grand piano, refrigerator, dining table and an entertainment center.

Royal Caribbean offers a choice between traditional dining (with assigned seating times) or My Time Dining (an open-dining setup). You'll have the same menu regardless of which dining format you choose. When making your reservation you must let the booking agent know which dining setup one you'd like to request. The one you want may be unavailable or on a waitlist. If that's the case, you'll have to wait it out and see if you get the one you want.

Traditional dining is where you must choose between a specific seating time: the main seating (at 6:15 pm) or second seating (at 8:30 pm). With this format, on each night of your cruise you'll dine at the same table, with the same people and same wait staff. One of the nice things about having assigned dining tables is that you get to build a rapport with your waiter, rather than having a different one each night.

My Time Dining allows you to select when you dine and who you dine with. With this flexible dining setup you can choose to dine in the main dining room at any time between 6:00 pm and 9:30 pm on each night of your cruise. If you choose this setup you must pre-pay your gratuities prior to your cruise. With My Time Dining you'll be able to request a specific waiter (subject to availability). You'll be seated with the party you arrive with, and you can request to be seated alone or with other guests. If you select My Time Dining, reservations are recommended to avoid a delay in seating (reservations can be made once you're onboard the ship).

The elegant main dining room, Edelweiss, spans two stories and is located towards the rear of the ship (on decks 4 and 5). There is a five-course menu that changes each day, with cuisine that is slightly above average for the cruising industry. The menus usually have a theme each night (such as French, Italian, Caribbean, etc).

The Windjammer Cafe (located forward on deck 9) is Rhapsody's buffet. This is a very popular dining option, especially for lunch. The food being served changes on a daily basis, and is constantly being refilled throughout the day. During lunch times you'll find items such as sandwiches, burgers, pizza, fries, buffalo wings, salads, wok-dishes, sushi, desserts, and more. You can also go there at dinner time (instead of to one of the restaurants) for a more casual setting, with the same basic menu as the main restaurant.

Don't forget that 24 hour room service is available for all passengers. There is a basic complimentary menu, but it's an excellent option for a late night snack, or for when you're feeling a little lazy and would rather the food come to you. There are a few items on the menu that you can order at an additional cost, such as bar drinks. A new policy, as of 2009, is that Royal Caribbean will be charging guests $3.95 per room service order placed between 12:00 am and 5:00 am.

Onboard Features
Like all of Royal Caribbean's ships, onboard Rhapsody of the Seas there's a ton of things to do and places to be at.

Broadway Melodies Theatre (located forward on deck 4) is Rhapsody's main show lounge, featuring a wide range of acts on each night of the cruise. Acts may include Broadway-style production shows, comedians, magicians, hypnotists, singers, musicians, dancers and various acrobatic performers.

Other popular nightlife areas onboard Rhapsody of the Seas includes the Champagne Bar (mid-ship on deck 4) and the Viking Crown Lounge (which can be found forward on the deck 11, Rhapsody's highest deck). The Casino Royale is located on deck 5 and is definitely one of the ship's hot spots, especially later at night after the theatre show ends. Shall We Dance Lounge, located towards the rear of Rhapsody (on deck 6) features live music on most nights.

One of the most popular decks of Rhapsody of the Seas is deck 9. This is because there a few pools on this deck (including the main pool, sports pool and various whirlpools), as well as a ton of lounge seating and bars. The Rhapsody's day spa and fitness center is also located on this deck (towards the rear of the ship). The Windjammer Cafe, Rhapsody's main buffet area, is located forward on this deck and can get quite busy during the prime lunch hours. Also located on deck 9, the Solarium is a wonderful indoor/outdoor adults-only pool area (with a retractable roof). It's a great place to kick back and relax, as there are plenty of lounge chairs as well as a pool and a couple of whirlpools.

There are a bunch of fun places to be on deck 10 of Rhapsody of the Seas. Among them are the rock-climbing wall, jogging track, video game arcade, the teen center and the Adventure Ocean youth facilities.

For those looking for a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere, the library can be found mid-ship on deck 7. Also on deck 7 is Rhapsody's card room. One deck up you can find the Explorers' Lounge (internet cafe) and Crown & Anchor Study. The photo gallery is located on deck 6, and is where you can check out and/or purchase the photos taken of you during the cruise by the staff. Also on deck 6 are various duty-free shopping boutiques, where you can buy various hard alcohols, cigarettes, perfume, jewelry and clothing at great prices.

For those looking to ask a general question of the staff, or to check on your onboard account, the Guest Relations and Explorations! (shore excursions) desks are located mid-ship on deck 5.

Dress Code and Attire
While onboard the ship the following is considered by Royal Caribbean to be typical attire, for indoors or outdoors: shorts, t-shirts, slacks, trousers, casual skirts, blouses, and sundresses. Don't forget to bring bathing suits for the pools and hot tubs. Pretty much, it's casual during the day.

For dinner, there is a certain dress code in place. Depending on the night, there may be a casual, smart casual, or formal dress code recommended. On a Royal Caribbean cruise there will be at least 1 formal night. The number of formal nights on your cruise depends on the length of your cruise. Please be aware that the number of nights are subject to change at the ship's discretion. Formal night clothing is considered to be cocktail dresses for women. For men, suits and ties (or tuxedos) are good. Smart casual is considered dresses or pantsuits for women, and jackets for men.

Here's a general guideline that Royal Caribbean provides for its nightly dining types:
Cruise Length Casual Smart Casual Formal
3-Night 2 0 1
4-Night 3 0 1
5-Night 3 1 1
6-Night 4 0 2
7-Night 4 1 2
8-Night 4 2 2
9-Night 5 2 2
10-Night 6 2 2
11-Night 7 2 2
12-Night 7 3 2 or 3
13-Night 8 2 3
14-Night+ 9 2 3

Children Programs
Royal Caribbean offers babysitting in group settings, and on an individual basis in your stateroom (based on the staff's availability). Children must be at least 1 year old for babysitting services. If you want to have in-stateroom babysitting you must reserve that service at least 24 hours in advance (just call the main desk while onboard, as it cannot be arranged for prior to boarding the ship). The current (subject to change) rate is $8 per hour for one or two children of the same family. It is $10 per hour for three children of the same family.

Adventure Ocean® is Royal Caribbean's youth program. Their program is divided into groups, by age: Aquanauts (3-5 Years), Explorers (6-8 Years), Voyagers (9-11 Years), Navigators (12-14 Years), and Guests (15-17 Years). Every member of the Adventure Ocean® staff has a college degree in education, recreation, or related field and has experience working with children ages 3-17. There is a Teen Center that is open from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am.

Royal Caribbean has Fisher-Price programs for younger children as well: Aqua Babies (6-18 months), and Aqua Tots (18-36 months).

There is a ton of kids and teens facilities on deck 12. For example, there is a video arcade, featuring both old and new games. The Teen Disco is also there; it's a great place for teens to meet, dance, and hang out. Adventure Beach is an area with a kids' pool with child-sized furniture.

Tipping and Gratuities
Royal Caribbean recommends the following gratuity guidelines:
Suite Attendant: $5.75 a day, per guest
Stateroom Attendant: $3.50 a day, per guest
Dining Room Waiter: $3.50 a day, per guest
Assistant Waiter: $2 a day, per guest
Head Waiter: $0.75 a day, per guest

These gratuity rates apply to guests of all ages. Please be aware that a 15% gratuity charge will be automatically added to your bar bills. Gratuities for the room service, casino and spa staff is at your discretion.

You can pay for your gratuities by one of the following ways:
- In cash (at the end of your cruise)
- Having the cruise line add them to your SeaPass (onboard) account
- Pre-paying them (by having your travel or booking agent add them to your reservation)

Alcohol Policy
The official minimum drinking age on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships is 21. However, on cruises departing from European and South American countries, where the legal drinking age is typically under 21, a parent that is sailing with their 18 to 20 year old son(s)/daughter(s) may sign a waiver allowing them to consume alcoholic beverages.

Guests are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages onboard. Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports of call or from the onboard shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of sailing.

Gambling Policy
The official minimum gambling age on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships is 18 years old. Guests under 18 are not even allowed to be inside the casino. Proof of age is required. On Alaska cruises you must be at least 21 years of age to gamble. All gaming operations are performed in U.S. currency.

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