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During a cruise vacation, the ship is often just as much a destination as the port of calls on your itinerary. Read on to see how much we enjoyed Sailing Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the ports we visited last month on our Caribbean cruise. Today, however, I want to talk about the actual ship we spent seven wonderful nights on and what it was like Sailing Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas.
At the end of last summer, Derek and I were going through ideas of how he wanted to celebrate his 40th birthday. Although Vegas did get tossed around a few times, it was a Caribbean cruise that ended up winning our decision. Why? Because we wanted the all-inclusive options that come with cruising plus a cruise is always the best way to get away from it all.
Initially, we were searching for four or five-night cruises, however, I found a deal on a seven-night aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas. Pricing was the same for the seven-night sailing as I found on the four and five-night sailings we were considering.
Rhapsody of the Seas is one of the older and smaller ships in Royal Caribbean’s current fleet. It first launched in 1996 and has undergone quite a few refurbishments over the years. It is part of the Vision class and Derek and I have actually sailed its sister ship, Enchantment of the Seas.
I know in this day and age of mega-ships it’s hard to believe that we would want to sail an older and smaller ship. However, there are some really great advantages to sailing smaller and here is a breakdown of why we enjoyed Sailing Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas.
This recent sailing I did something different. I booked an inside stateroom. I typically prefer an ocean view or balcony but at the time of booking the inventory was limited. Balconies were sold out which isn’t unusual on the older and smaller ships because the percentage of balcony staterooms are a lot less compared to the newer ships. It’s only been within the last ten years that the cruise lines have increased the percentage of balcony staterooms on their ships.
Our main reason for booking an inside stateroom was that there were only ocean views available on the lower decks and we were able to snag an inside on deck seven. I am particular on which deck my stateroom is located. I like the advantages of the higher decks because those staterooms tend to be closer to the areas of dining, drinking, and activities. This allows us to use the stairs more often over the elevators. This is very important to me on a cruise. I tend to consume many more calories than usual not just because of food but drinks, too. Sneaking in extra physical activity helps balance it out some.
Our stateroom was very small but we really didn’t spend a lot of time there apart from sleeping, bathing, and changing clothes. Our stateroom attendant, Claudia, was incredible. She provided excellent customer service throughout the whole cruise. It was definitely difficult saying “goodbye” to her.
There were really only three things that I was happy to leave behind at the end of our cruise. One was the tiny bathroom and that is just part of cruising. The second was the warmth of our stateroom. We had our thermostat set at the lowest setting because we like a chilly room when we sleep. It never really got super cool though and was quite warm. The third was the bed comfort. It was on the firm side and we prefer a plush mattress, however, it wasn’t so uncomfortable to where we couldn’t sleep.
One of my favorite parts of cruising, drinking! I’m not a big drinker in my daily life but it’s a different story when I’m cruising. We don’t get completely sloshed but it’s nice to be able to have a few drinks and not worry about who’s going to be the designated driver, which is usually me. Although there was an early evening of drinking at the pool bar with a couple from Michigan, they missed their dinner service and we were a little tipsy when we arrived for ours! Hey, it’s vacation, right?!
There are seven different bars to choose from on Rhapsody of the Seas. Derek and I enjoyed the Viking Lounge for a sophisticated nightcap. It has a wonderful view of the ocean and pool deck. The Schooner Bar was great for evenings when we wanted some live music. We especially enjoyed the piano man.
Our favorite bar where we spent our days and early evenings was the pool bar. We enjoyed sitting there and talking to other cruisers and our favorite bartenders the majority of our trip. Kevin and Cleve were the best bartenders. Cleve, especially, takes great pride in his craft and it comes through in every drink he produces. My husband, a former bartender, and I have great respect for that.
One of the things I love about cruising with Royal Caribbean is that their food is always delicious! The Rhapsody of the Seas has many dining options from the included main dining room fare to the specialty dining options like Chops Grille. We had actually considered going to Chops one evening but once we saw the daily menus in the dining room each evening, we just decided to eat there every night and every meal was excellent!
Prime rib, filet mignon, and lobster tails, oh my! The appetizers and desserts were delicious, too! I had an incredible crab cake, salads, shrimp cocktail, and even beef carpaccio throughout the week. Derek and my dad ordered escargot every single night.
Apart from one breakfast and one lunch in the dining room, we had the majority of those meals in the Windjammer. The variety was wonderful and it was all delicious. It’s impossible to starve on that ship. I have to admit that I was relieved on our morning of disembarkation and I was still able to comfortably zip my jeans up!
Once again, service was incredible in the Windjammer and Dining Room. We loved Arlene and Alex, our dining room servers. They did a great job every night and made sure we were happy with our meals.
There is entertainment consistently throughout the day and evening aboard the ship. I particularly enjoyed the three musical shows during our cruise. The first one was a tribute to country music and the second a tribute to piano men like Billy Joel and Elton John. My favorite was the ballroom show that featured the ship’s professional ballroom dancers. All the performances were great and a wonderful way to spend a part of your evening aboard the ship.
One of my favorite areas aboard the ship, the spa! We always try to get some sort of treatment during a cruise. We got a couples massage one late afternoon and it was incredible! Our masseuses were very professional, the views in the waiting and treatment rooms were amazing, and the experience was totally relaxing! I definitely recommend this particular financial splurge no matter where you’re cruising but the spa on the Rhapsody was quite impressive for a smaller ship.
We didn’t do any major shopping aboard the ship. We did check out some of their sales but nothing really stood out to me and said, “Buy Me”. The sales associates, however, were very kind and helpful.
Derek and I aren’t big gamblers but I do enjoy a little slot action. We typically save our casino time for our last sailing day which we did on the Rhapsody. Lady luck was not on our side this time so we didn’t spend too much time in the casino. We budgeted twenty bucks and when it’s gone, it’s gone. As far as casinos go, this was not my favorite but since we’re not big gamblers it wasn’t that big of a deal. It just seemed a little on the small side plus I’m not a fan of the cigarette smoke.
Café Latte-tudes is one deck below our stateroom. Since we bought a drink package, specialty coffees were included and bottled water. We visited the café a few times throughout the day for both. It’s not Starbucks but the mochas were still good and my mom quite enjoyed their iced chai tea latte. The lady who worked the café was quite good and always provided wonderful customer service.
One of the busiest spots on the cruise especially sea days is the pool deck. Some people will get up extra early on sea days to secure themselves a lounge chair for the day! Compared to newer and larger ships it may seem underwhelming but it’s still nice and the large poolside screen adds to the entertainment especially when they screen blockbuster movies throughout the day and evening.
It’s impossible to get bored on a cruise ship. There are so many activities going on throughout every single day. There are dances, art auctions, bingo, seminars, classes, karaoke, trivia, and more. We participated in a food and drink trivia on our first sea day. My dad and I also took a short cha-cha class. We definitely didn’t come close to mastering the technique but it was still fun. Enjoy the short video below of our dance instructors doing a short cha-cha demonstration at the end of our class!
No matter your interests, even on a small cruise ship like the Rhapsody, it’s easy to find something to do. Then again the simplest activities are usually my favorite like finding a large window with a chair and enjoying the view as we sail along sometimes with a book in tow. An early morning sunrise session on the pool deck isn’t too bad either, don’t you think?
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our recent adventure Sailing Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas. It’s a wonderful ship with a crew that provides excellent customer service and if you ever come across an interesting itinerary sailing aboard it, don’t hesitate, book it!
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