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Royal Caribbean Cruises aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas
Above: Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Ship.

Passenger reviews

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Ship Details
Began service: May, 1997
Guest capacity: 2,000
Total staff: 765
Length: 915 feet
Passenger decks: 11
CDC inspection score: 97

Rhapsody of the Seas Overview

The Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship departs from Houston, TX (Galveston). Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises to Western Caribbean.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Western Caribbean.

As with the other ships in RCI's Project Vision, one enters Rhapsody of the Seas through the Centrum, a soaring, seven-deck atrium. Rhapsody has an artistic theme, for which I have coined the term "Astro-Nautical," a blend of images from the heavens and the seas, which is carried forward through every aspect of the ship's design. Ceilings and carpets often utilize stars and planets in their designs, while wall hangings picture undersea life. More than a million dollars was spent on Rhapsody's art collection, an unusually high figure for a ship with fares in the low midrange.

As on all Royal Caribbean ships, staff is energetic, friendly, and accessible.

Passenger flow is excellent. But big "events," like the famed midnight chocolate buffet, drew so many people, and such a long line, that we gave up and went to bed.


The bottom-end cabins (150 sq ft.) are small, but comfortable and practical, and even the smallest cabins feature a sitting area. Storage space is generous. Cabins feature TV's, phones, safes and toiletries. Rhapsody has just added hair dryers to every cabin though robes are only available to those who have booked category A suites. Nearly 40% of the outside cabins have balconies. Only two cabins on the ship (8086 and 8586) have obstructed views.

Cabin service was exceptional, unobtrusive and thorough. My cabin stewardess created imaginative towel-people and creatures, a whimsical touch that was appreciated by passengers who propped these "soft sculptures" in their window.


Service and cuisine exceeded my expectations. Having said that let me add a note: Royal Caribbean is not a "foodie" line like its sister cruise line Celebrity. When you order a burger or duck you are rarely offered an option in how it's prepared (i.e. medium rare, medium well, whatever). Still, I found the food to be hearty, good, and plentiful. Service at dinner was unobtrusive and thoughtful.

RCI makes up a "Ship Shape" selection list each night from the regular menu, but fails to include nutritional information. There are vegetarian options on every lunch and dinner menu.

Breakfast and lunch buffets are served in the Windjammer Cafe and lacked variety. The Windjammer also serves as an alternate, casual dinner venue, for which no reservations are necessary. Twenty-four hour room service from a limited menu and selections from the dining room menu during mealtimes are available. There's a hot dog and hamburger grill in the Solarium.

Royal Caribbean has introduced a complex drinks-package. Adults and children can buy an unlimited soda card for $33 and $21 respectively (plus 15 percent tip). Adults can buy, for $29.95, twelve 16 oz. non alcoholic drinks (works out to about $2.50 apiece) or $44.85 for 12 alcoholic drinks (about $3.75 per). You buy the cards at any ship's bar.


Rhapsody's Broadway Melodies Show Lounge is one of the most functional and intelligently designed we've experienced. Sightlines from the main floor and balcony are excellent. Seating is on fixed banquettes, which guarantees adequate space to enter and exit rows. On a one-week cruise, expect one show featuring a name entertainer, two production shows, three evenings of variety acts, and a farewell show.

The casino has slots, dice and all the usual card tables. We found the casino staff unusually friendly and helpful. I've never had so much fun losing money.

The intra-ship TV channel features numerous channels of professionally produced promotional videos and a rather small selection of movies.

Fitness & Recreation

The main outdoor area has a large, heated pool surrounded by four hot tubs. Toward the stern is the Egyptian-themed Solarium with the secondary pool and two more hot tubs. This area is covered by a retractable glass dome. There is an additional small sunning area in the bow. Rhapsody has a good-sized gym with eight treadmills, exercise bikes, step machines, etc. A second room offers aerobics and free weights. Steiner's of London has the usual spa onboard. Besides fitness pursuits, the cruise staff conducts a large number of games, competitions and other activities both on sea days and in port.

Public Areas

The most recognizable public room on Rhapsody of the Seas is the signature Viking Crown Lounge, which sits atop the Centrum rather than astride the stack, and is reachable directly from the Centrums twin glass elevators. It feels far from the action, and on my visits, there weren't too many people. However, it's a great place to watch the ship come in to port. At the foot of the Centrum, on Deck 4, is the Champagne Bar.

Our other favorite lounge was the Schooner Bar - the best tables are those that look out on floor-to-ceiling glass windows onto the promenade one deck below. Shall We Dance, located at the stern, is the ship's secondary performance venue but is off-the-beaten-track as you must walk through the Schooner Bar to get to it. In the evenings, the library, which has its own balcony, is open for cigars and cognac and is a great spot for a post-dinner drink.

Another favorite public space is RCI's new "Royal Caribbean Online" Internet lounge, which offers real-time access to the Web 24/7 for fifty cents a minute. It's easy to email; computers are outfitted with software from the best known ISPs, from AOL to Hotmail to Yahoo, among others. The room is beautifully designed with three "stations" of four terminals apiece and bordered by floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean and the top-most part of the Centrum (which means you can hear the pianist playing below). There are no self-serve laundry rooms on Rhapsody.


Rhapsody has an extensive children's program called "Adventure Ocean" for kids from three (or when toilet trained) through seventeen. The children are broken up into four age groups: Aquanauts (3-5), Explorers (6-8), Voyagers (9-12), and Navigators (13-17).

Group baby sitting is available from 10pm - 1am, and on port days, from noon till departure. The rate is $4 per hour per child (who must be at least three years old and potty-trained). In-cabin sitting is available through the purser's desk and must be booked at least 24 hours in advance, based on availability. Minimum age is one year; the charge is $8 per hour, in cash, for up to two children within the same family, $10 per hour for a maximum of three children in the same family.

RCI will not accept pregnant guests in their third trimester.

Rhapsody offers one of the most varied children's menus in the industry; kids are offered a choice of thirteen different main courses.

Expert Rhapsody reviews are edited by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com, an award-winning cruise community. This objective information can help you choose just the right ship for your next cruise vacation.

Check Dates & Prices for cruises to Western Caribbean.


Discount Code

Rhapsody of the Seas cruise reviews

Cruise Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced CDC inspection. Rhapsody of the Seas Score: 97

Cruise Critic: Rhapsody of the Seas
The Cruise Critic gives Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas a 3-ribbon rating.

Rhapsody of the Seas "Great Ship and Service"
Date: August 21, 2005
Reviewer: Miami Beach 411 User, College Station, TX
We just got back today from a wonderful cruise aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas. The Cruise destination was outstanding, the ship was beautiful and the service was beyond our expectations. This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean, the first was to Alaska on the Radiance of the Sea.

We did early seating this trip and were able to attend most of the shows. They were all very entertaining and fun. The food was first class and the Waitstaff was just superb. I would leave again right now if we could. I will be booking again with RCI in the near future.

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