|Above: Royal Caribbean Cruise
Lines Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Ship.
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Began service: May, 1997
Guest capacity: 2,000
Total staff: 765
Length: 915 feet
Passenger decks: 11
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Rhapsody of the Seas cruise reviews
Ship Inspection Report
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced
CDC inspection. Rhapsody of the
Seas Score: 97
Critic: Rhapsody of the Seas
The Cruise Critic gives Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas a 3-ribbon
the Seas "Great Ship and Service"
Date: August 21, 2005
Reviewer: Miami Beach 411 User, College Station,
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
Request a brochure, or find a travel agent who represents Royal Caribbean
Cruise Line at the company's official Web site.