Rhapsody of TEXAS - a review



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..

email questions LRSkier2@netscape.net, Rhapsody in subject line or suffer deletion.......
Legend of the Seas '03
Rhapsody of the Seas '02
Ocean Princess '01
Grandeau of the Seas '00


Thanks so much for the review, and welcome to the Addicts board. btw; I post on CC as bayou cruiser.
Thanks, again for the review, it is greatly appreciated.