that 1st cruise was the most wonderful vacation I have ever had - did not think
a person could be so relaxed. Just my daughter, granddaughter and I went -
had a balcony on deck 7...and what a beautiful lady Rhapsody is.
The food was very good, had great tablesmates, wonderful waiter named Greg
from Poland, room steward (Dale) kept everything looking good in the cabin.
Enjoyed all the ports (especially Caymans) - but favorites were days at sea.
when we got off the POST CRUISE DEPRESSION was awful - drove our
families NUTS until we booked again. Daugher, her husband and both
of her kids going week before you, and I'm taking my mother and brother
9/29. (and my daugher's husband is already dreading when I get back because
Gaby and I will probably once again be obsessed until we book something
again - maybe Spendour)
Just returned from the Rhapsody and another great cruise week, 7/21-28, was rendered by RCCL. A quick review is in order and hopefully might help a few CruiseCritic pals taking this ship in the future.
Being from Little Rock, we elected to drive the majority(5) of our celebrating Grads and only had 2 of our party fly into Hobby, no room in the carriage for all the luggage and bodies. Thanks to cousin in Houston for help in getting to Galveston and back.
First, we went to Houston on Saturday, not wanting plane or car problems to be a problem on Sunday. Made a reservation at the JWMarriott at the Galleria online for a reasonable rate and got to eat at Pappadeux's for a precruise seafood fix....Got up Sunday am and completed the docs, charge card, signatures, etc. to speed along embarkation. Piled the luggage in the two cars and head south to Galveston. Be CAREFUL - Houston is working on many of their roads, sometimes I-45S and they may have traffic jams for another hour.... Leave yourself time. Arrived at Galveston at 11 am, going south of 22nd street to approach driving North and missing the giant line of cars. To our surprise, Disembarking was still very much happening. We were in the line but everyone else was picking up luggage. A nice policeman, they all were, told me to let him clear me a path and to pull over and get my bags out. Grabbed a porter and did that, leaving the gang there and heading to the parking lot with $60 cash in hand to park for the week. Parking lot not empty tho and had to kill some time until Noon to park car, but the gang was waiting until 12 to start anyway. Wait till 12 to head to pier.
Processing went fine. Wife had broken foot and was riding in wheel chair, we got to bypass the line for once which wasn't bad anyway. Be sure that the members of your party that wish to charge their accounts to a charge card, have one that has THEIR name on it, not their parents, they wouldn't let us use one of the Grads parents cards, so I gave him one of mine. On board by 12:30 pm, checked out rooms, grabbed a bite of lunch in Windjammer - great salads daily - checked out dining table in Edelweiss, put on the trunks and hit the pool.
Enough of this moment by moment.
Pools - Pool Deck and Solarium pools were both great, to each his own. The saving of deck chairs by earlier risers and not early pool users was not a problem this cruise. Could it be Southern hospitality? Great pool games as usually by staff daily. Ample bar staff to keep you cool as well. Solarium Cafe offered pizza, burgers and dogs at 11 am until 2 am, but under 18 are asked not to use pool or hot tubs there. They didn't. Pools are saltwater, tubs fresh water and both cleaned daily and not open late either.
Rooms - Well cleaned and tended to by stewards. Towel creatures will surprise you daily. We had our steward, JoAnna, keep our carry on ice chest filled with ice and she never let us down. We were on deck 3, outside and room was fine, as before on RCCL. Peeked in the 8th deck rooms before leaving and saw the bathtub there as well as the sitting area and balcony they offered.
Dining - Who could get hungry on a cruise? The food presentation and service was excellent as on previous cruises. Would rate the food itself from good to excellent, and not outstanding. It is kind of hard to get that rating preping for 2500 per meal. The filet was excellent as well as the shrimp and lobster. Halibut, leg of lamb, lamb chops, pasta, veggies were all on the evening choices. Ask and yea shall be given.
Formal nites - Most everyone on board did wear either a dark suit or a tux, very few didn't follow the dress code these evenings. Our 5 grads all wore their tuxes except one dark suit to show how dasking they looked decked out and they sure did with some of the most beautiful young Texas ladies that evening as well. Other nites were sporty casual, few sport coats were observed any night, and yes, some tanks tops and shorts were worn by some who either failed to note protocol or lacked proper upbringing. Windjammer is open for super casual dining always.
Entertainment - You guys missed out on a very special treat. The headliners on the cruise were the one and only "5th Dimensions." Man did we let the sun shine in.. This group has got the dynamics of music that continues to appeal to all of us from 1967 on. ENCORE!!!! By the way, Lamont won at the Bingo game too.... Magic, dancers, etc were offered thru the week and enjoyed. Clowning was also prompted by the crusie staff which has to be given a 5 Star rating.. What energy and vitality they bring to every event they host: bingo, pool games, Karoke(don't miss out), Sock hop(check this one out, it was hilarious), Newlywed's Game - get the picture - I didn't have much fun, did I........ Be sure and tell Cyril that Sid says to tell her Hi and much love. She is a joy.
Ports - Key West. a downer for the grads, not 21 and mostly a bar stop if you don't book an excursion to do something there. My new cruise buddy, Johnny Lee from Midlothian, did the regatta and had a blast sailing in a race. Check that one out. Pier entertainers performed during sunset for the landlovers. Hogs Breath Saloon had a great guitar player and cold beer.
Grand Cayman - thunderstorms mired the morining and clouds covered the skies most of the day. Capt Clinton Ebanks took us on a trip to Stingray City and reef snorkling and was fun, even with the subdued lighting. Many rays, barracudas, conch, corals, etc were seen on the dive. No bargains were found by the wife in the shops, lunch was a bit pricey at the Paradise Cafe but good and view of harbor was outstanding with 4 great ships on anchor.
Cozumel - Look out!! Wife found some bargains immediately. We hired cabs to Mr Sanchos and then back to Carlos N Charlies, Mr Frogs, 1/2 Mr Frogs and stumpbling to the Rhapsody at 6:25 pm. Loved it and the beautiful water here in Mexico. Sanchos is free entry. Many families here. All watersports are rented, nothing on the house. Good Buckets of Dos XX, nice Mexican food too. Drinks are pricey but good. Playa del Sol looked packed. C N C rocks all day, but again not for young kids in the bar area. You might think you were at Mardi Gras at times. Ha!
At the pier, 1/2 Mr Frogs will take you last dollars until sailaway.
Horse racing - A Blast!! I put together the "ARTEX" Ltd Partnership" to buy some horses at auction for the owners race on Saturday. What fun and what a way to get to meet some other cruisers... What if more did this and the price of those fillies really went up - what a purse for the winner! 10 of us,, 9 Texans and 1 Arkansan joined in and bought 2 horses to run in the race. One of our horses, Super Sid's Sidekick, named for Johnny Lee, won the big race, rode by jockey Chris(son of sid), for a purse of $1242.25. The crusie bet him down to be the favorite only paying $7 on a five dollar bet...Anyone interested in some land along the White River????
Rhapsody of Texas - what a great week. Our son and his four buddies loved it, all night long most nights. Mom and I loved it. Johnny Lee and daughter Jessica loved. The Capt and his crew deserve a salute as they say on Hee Haw. The Galveston policemen deserved a pat on the back directing you in that Texas' sun as well. Hate to come home today, but, looking forward to Legend of the Seas and beautiful Hawaii next May, thanks to Dean, the C & A Loyality Ambassador who will get you some deals and send the booking to your TA for handing.... Anyone want to form a Hawaiian Ltd Partnership??
I'll post a more detailed account later - HA!! email if i can answer any of your questions..
Yes - used the balcony a lot. Had breakfast out there a couple of times, my
granddaughter loved to go out and use the little table (just her size) to color
or play with one of her Barbies.
And in the evening, after Kailey went to bed, my daughter and I would get
a pot of coffee, couple of desserts and sit out there and watch the world go
by. Also in port, we would come back early and sit out there.
You are going to have a wonderful time - don't know how old your kids are - but
my 4 year old granddaughter loved the Club Ocean program - in fact, made it
quite clear she preferred to be there instead of with us (she did consent to eat
dinner with us most evenings - but then afterwards back to the Club Ocean till
10 pm). Packing - Gaby and I both overdid on some things and not enough on
others - wish now I had taken more shorts and fewer slacks. For formal nights,
we both had the universal "little black dress" that we changed accessories for each
night and it was fine. We have 2 of the large rolling suitcases and 4 carry-on's
and we were able to pack everything for 2 adults and 1 child (however, we did have
to purchase a small tote bag on Rhapsody to carry home some of the "treasures"
we found in port. One thing we are doing is designating one small tote bag as
the "cruise bag" and in it we are putting all the little things one might need - like
duct tape, small alarm clock, night lights, post-its, etc.... - last time, we had stuff
packed all over - maybe this will eliminate the do you have the clock - no, it's in
One thing we were not prepared for was how small the cabin was - quite a shock
when we opened the door - but once your luggage arrives you will find that you have
a place for everything and once Rhapsody starts pulling out nothing else seems
to matter. Sort of don't sweat the small stuff (and unless the ship is sinking, it's
all small stuff). Best tip I can offer - relax and enjoy yourself and do as much or
as little as YOU want - your biggest decisions are should I lay out by the pool or
go to towel folding -- do I want 2 appetizers and no salad or just one of everything --
Thanks so much Marti...when we sail, mine will be 14 & 11....I think they will have plenty to keep them entertained when they don't want to be with us, from what other friends have told me and what I've read here on prior posts. I was concerned about the formal dress for the kids, mainly my 11 yr old son, but we are going to get him a new suit, so he should be fine (obviously, he's not real overjoyed about that! ) My 14 yr old daughter does not mind dressing up, so that won't be a problem. On the other nights, how casual was the dress in the dining room? I know not to wear shorts there, but I wasn't sure if capri outfits or pant suits would be alright for my daughter and myself. My hubby & son will wear pants and button down shirts..will that be okay for them? Of course, we may go to the Windjammer some nights, where I understand shorts are okay? Thanks again for the info...it was great. I was stressing over the packing, but that helped out alot.
Thanx from me too. I was particularly glad to hear you describe how much you used your balcony - the pot of coffee and dessert late in the evening - that's my kind of relaxing evening. I also went out and bought the basic black dress yesterday ($29.95 on sale at Foley's!). I'm also planning to wear the same dress, different wraps, jewelry, shoes. I didn't want to invest a lot in something I will rarely wear.
I don't remember ever seeing capri's in the dining room - might have been some
the evening we were in Key West - that was the most casual night I saw (even
saw couple of guys in blue jean shorts - no one said anything but looked tacky).
That was the only night that had open dining - you could eat at your assigned table, or wherever you wanted pretty much whenever you wanted. I think the 2 formal nights were Monday and Thursday - and those nights they had a photographer set up
so you can get some really nice family pictures - actually they have some sort of
photographer every night - but those 2 nights were especially nice.
We always ate dinner in the dining room and on the casual nights wore slacks
with a blouse, sweater (no t-shirts), and I saw lots of pant suits for women. The
men at our table wore button down shirts or the polo type and always looked
very nice. One of the couples at our table had a little boy about 13 - and he seemed
to enjoy dressing up on the formal nights - but as soon as he finished dinner he was off to the video game room and I'm sure the suit came off. At lunch and breakfast in the dining room you can (and we did) wear shorts - but we usually ate breakfast in the Windjammer (loved the made to order omelets) and split days for lunch between Windjammer and dining room -depending on the menu. Never tried the pizza or hamburgers in the Solarium - but comments ranged from "very good" to "terrible" - so I guess it's just personal preference. The only other thing about the food - for us it was sort of bland - very very good just not as spicy as we like (and considering you have over 2000 people to please I can understand). This next cruise we are taking a small
bottle of Tony Cacheres so we can spice up as needed.
Where in Texas do you live??? We live in the Katy area.
We live about 60 miles south of Galveston....about 15 miles from Galveston itself. We'll have a real short trip over to the pier that sunday morning! Thanks so much for the info on the dress. Like Sherie said, I hate to go spend alot of money on formal dresses that I may not wear again, but I have a nice cocktail dress and I am going to get a black dress to wear. My daughter has two really pretty sleeveless dresses that are a crushed velvet (lightweight)..one is black and one is burgundy...they were bought for a school dance, and then she decided on something else! Teenagers... I will probably bring pants and nice blouses or short sleeve sweaters to wear on the casual nights...not sure what my daughter will bring...she normally wears jeans/shorts/capris and matching tops all the time, and wears dresses or skirts to church...she doesn't have any pants really, so I guess we'll be shopping for her!
We're not going on the Rhapsody, but have had a balcony cabin on all our cruises and just love it. A pot of coffee in the morning, and star gazing at midnight...ahhhh, tis my favorite spot to relax. Bon Voyage. :wave
My husband are also going on the 9/22 cruise. I can't wait. I haven't found anything that fun for key west. My husband isn't a big drinker or partier, but I take over that part.
He will be in the kareokee bar everynight singing as the stetson king.
We are leaving next Sunday, 8/11. We went before on May 12. The entertainer may have changed but we were in a balcony cabin above the Schooner Bar (Cabins 7610 & 7612). The piano bar was more of a rock and roll venue. The first night, we were rocked until 2:00 a.m. My parents had more problems than we since they went to bed much earlier.
We got my parents moved up the hallway after the second night of problems. No change available for us but were promised that all parties were aware of the problem and would keep it down. On the third night we came in at 1:00 and it was as loud as ever. Decided to go on down as we couldn't sleep and see what all the fun was.
Found the cruise director in stage saying "let me hear you scream." (Call in an orthopedic surgeon, the camel's back is broken) That night I wrote a letter on the back of one we had received from the guest relations manager where she stated the efforts taken to resolve the problem.
Moved to a category A owners suite the next morning. Good resolution. The guest relations manager was fantastic.
I can not remember the entertainer's name but will avoid that area of cabins in the future. The other side of the ship is no problem either. My parents were moved up to 7600 and had no further problems - except a bit of a green tint to their skin after we were moved up to the suite.