On the day of embarkation, getting to the Port of Venice proved to be a quick jaunt from the hotel and obtaining a cab across from the hotel at the train station was easy and painless. The total price for transportation was €35. The ride itself reminded me of being back in Beijing in a cab riding to the hotel wizzing and zooming and zig-zagging through traffic, both white-knuckled. This ride however, was made a bit more palatable with the company of family and the excitement of the adventure that awaited us all.
Once we arrived at the port, embarkation was smooth and flowed very well. As we breezed through check-in, we made our way up the gangway, and there she was, Rhapsody of the Seas.
Rhapsody of the Seas isn’t the biggest of Royal Caribbean’s ships. Its smaller scale makes it more beneficial as it can go to places the mega-ships cannot. Rhapsody of the Seas is a Vision-class ship that holds 2,146 passengers and includes a rock-climbing wall, jogging track, specialty restaurants and of course, Royal Caribbean’s signature main dinning room. The ship has two decks of staterooms with private balconies. One amenity I always take advantage of is the Vitality Spa and a deep tissue massage – prices have risen unfortunately. The masseuse was very good and it was a welcome secluded hour away from the ship’s buzz and people.
The ship is beautiful and fairly well-kept for its age. The ship is standard Vision-class. For this itinerary the entertainment was subdued compared to other ships I’ve traveled on. For the main events, there was a “tango” show that somewhat utilized the ship’s dancers but showcased a couple dancing the tango. Otherwise, there was a bad magician, a so-so piano bar singer, and then there was a magnificent pianist/violinist duo who performed in various areas of the ship- never really given a proper venue for their talents. Otherwise, the entertainment was standard cruise fair such as RC’s signature game Quest, karaoke, and bingo. The cruise director has some work to do on the activities list.
Our cabin was standard yet in good condition. The beds slept well, which is important in any hotel regardless if it is on a ship. Our cabin steward was nice and always had our cabin tidy and ready for us upon our return from an excursion.
As far as food and dining, the staff in the main dining room went above and beyond to make our experience great. The food itself was average and never really wowed. The food in the ship’s cafeteria Windjammer however was more flavorful. The staff throughout the ship are what make the shipboard experience delightful.
The excursions the ship has also were average at best. One of the stops was Dubrovnik. For eight months I repeatedly received emails advertising a “Game of Thrones” tour that I found out a couple weeks before the cruise sold out the first day it was offered. While I will not berate RC for this, this would obviously be a popular excursion that should have been expanded. And I’ll say this now- explore Dubrovnik on your own time. The baroque charm Kotor tour was worthy and enjoyable, the Santorini Island Tour stopping in Oia, Fiera, and the winery was delightful and informative. While lasting most of the day, the Ancient Olympia Tour was informative and historic and made a bit more tolerable in the heat by having the motor coach with A/C. The excursions could use a bit of tweaking but overall, they were enjoyable, informative, and worth the expense.
This itinerary is amazing, and I would highly recommend it. Dubrovnik was captivating walking the walls, Kotor beautiful, Olympia (Katakolon) historic, and Santorini was enchanting and calling me back.
Going on a Sea Cruise