Rhapsody of the Seas - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Rhapsody of the Seas


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 385 out of 500

Accommodation: 147 out of 200

Food: 257 out of 400

Service: 250 out of 400

Entertainment: 63 out of 100

Cruise: 270 out of 400

Overall Score: 1372 out of 2000

Rhapsody of the Seas Statistics

Size: Mid-size Ship

Tonnage: 78,491

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9116864

Builder: Chantiers de l’Atlantique (France)

Original Cost: $275 million

Entered Service: May 1997

Registry: The Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 915.3/279.0

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 24.9/7.6

Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (50,400kW)/2

Passenger Decks: 11

Total Crew: 765

Passengers (lower beds): 2,000

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 39.2

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.6

Cabins (total): 1,000

Size Range (sq ft/m): 135.0-1,270.1/12.5-118.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 229

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 14

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 9

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2

Hot Tubs (on deck): 6

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This modern ship is good for casual, family-friendly cruising

Overview. What makes Rhapsody of the Seas feel warm and cozy is the use of fine, light wood surfaces throughout its public rooms, plus the large array of potted plants. Throughout the ship, the artwork is upbeat and colorful, with a musical theme: classical, jazz, popular, and rock ’n’ roll.

The Ship. This all-white ship, sister to Vision of the Seas has a beautifully rounded stern and a single, slim funnel positioned at the very back of the ship. There is a reasonable amount of open-air walking space, although this tends to become cluttered with sunloungers.

The ship shares design features that make many, but not all, Royal Caribbean International (RCI) ships identifiable, including a domed Viking Crown Lounge, positioned above the Centrum - the ship’s multi-level atrium.

There’s a wide range of interesting public rooms, lounges, and bars, and the interiors have been cleverly designed to avoid congestion and aid passenger flow into revenue areas (a digital finger-touch ‘wayfinder’ system shows you the ship in relation to where you are standing).

The seven-deck high atrium lobby - called the Centrum - is the interior focal point, and the social hub of the ship. It houses an R Bar (for some interesting cocktails), several passenger service counters, an art gallery, and Café Latte-tudes (for coffee). Aerial entertainment happens in the Centrum, too. Close by is the superbly flashy Casino Royale, and the company’s signature Schooner Bar, with its nautical-theme decor.

Ship-wide Wi-Fi is provided (yes, there is a cost if you use it), as is a digital direction-finding system, electronic mustering, and a large outdoor poolside movie screen. Also, iPads in every cabin contain content about the ship’s amenities and activities. Ship enthusiasts will like the chair fabric in the Shall We Dance Lounge, with its large aft-facing windows, and the glass case-enclosed mechanical sculptures.

Families. RCI caters to children really well with Adventure Ocean - a play area adjacent to a Royal Babies and Tots nursery - for babies of 6-36 months. Other ages are grouped as follows and have their own facilities and play areas: Aquanauts (3-5-year-olds); Explorers (6-8); Voyagers (9-12); Navigators (12-14); and Teens (15-17).

Accommodation. There are numerous accommodation grades, priced by size and location. The standard interior and exterior-view cabins are very small but have just enough functional facilities to make them acceptable for a one-week cruise (longer might prove confining). The decor is bright and cheerful, although the ceilings are plain; the soft furnishings make this home away from home look like the inside of a modern Scandinavian hotel - with minimalist tones, and splashes of color. Twin lower beds convert to queen-size beds, and there is a reasonable amount of closet and drawer space, but there is little room to maneuver between the bed and the desk/television unit.

The bathrooms are small but functional. The shower units are small, too, and there is no cabinet for toiletries. The towels should be larger and thicker. In the passageways, upbeat artwork depicts musical themes.

Choose a ‘C’ grade suite if you want spacious accommodation that includes a curtained-off sleeping area, a good-sized outside balcony with part, not full, partition, a lounge with sofa, two chairs and coffee table, three closets, plenty of drawer and storage space, television, and video player. The bathroom is large and has a full-size tub, integral shower, and two washbasins with two toiletries cabinets.

For the best accommodation, choose the Royal Suite. It resembles a Palm Beach apartment, and comes complete with a white baby grand piano. It has a separate bedroom with king-size bed, living room with queen-size sofa bed, refrigerator/minibar, dining table, entertainment center, and vanity dressing area. The decor is simple and elegant, with pastel colors, and wood-accented ceiling treatments. Located just under the starboard side navigation bridge wing, it has its own private balcony.

Dining. The two-level Aquarius Dining Room is attractive and works well as a large restaurant, although the noise level can be high. When you book, choose one of two seatings (fixed for dinner) for dinner or My Time Dining (eat when you want, during dining room hours). The cuisine is typical of mass banquet catering that offers standard fare comparable to that found in American family-style restaurants ashore.

Other dining options. A number of (extra-cost) venues were installed or refreshed during the ship’s 2011-2 refit. Chops Grille is for premium steaks and other grilled meats and seafood. Izumi Asian Cuisine includes a sushi bar and features hot-rock cooking; it is open for lunch and dinner. A-la-carte menu pricing applies to both venues.

Chef’s Table is a private experience co-hosted by the executive chef and sommelier for a five-course wine-pairing dinner (it’s a little expensive, but worth it for a special occasion). Park Café is a casual no-charge market-style eatery for salads, sandwiches, soups, and pastries.

For casual cuisine, the Windjammer Café - located at the front of the ship with some commanding ocean views - is the self-serve buffet eatery.

A drinks package is available at all bars, in the form of cards or stickers. This enables you to pre-pay for a selection of standard soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, but the packages are not exactly easy to understand.

Entertainment. The Broadway Melodies Theater is the principal showlounge. It is a large, but well-designed room with main and balcony levels, and good sight lines from most of the banquette seats.

Other cabaret acts are presented in the Shall We Dance Lounge, located aft, and include late-night adult comedy, as well as live music for dancing. A number of other bars and lounges have live music of differing types.

The entertainment, for which RCI always gets plenty of praise, is upbeat and colorful. However, it’s difficult to escape from the background music provided everywhere - even in the passenger hallways and elevators, and outdoors on the pool deck.

Spa/Fitness. The Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center is set in a spacious environment on one of the aft uppermost decks. The decor has Egypt as its theme, with pharaohs lining an indoor/outdoor solarium pool. The spa is operated by Steiner, a specialist concession whose staff provides a wide range of body treatments and hair care.

For the more sporting, there is a rock-climbing wall with several separate climbing tracks. It is located outdoors at the aft end of the funnel.