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Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Review
3.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,547 Reviews

Very relaxing cruise on one of RCL's smaller ships

Rhapsody of the Seas Cruise Review by bhague

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2020
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean

We're long-time RCL cruisers (Diamond Plus). Our favorite class of ship is Radiance Class, but we've been on a couple of Voyager class ships, plus a couple from other lines. This was our second cruise on the Vision class. We chose this itinerary because it included Belize and Roatan, and we hadn't been to either.

We flew to Tampa the day before the cruise (we got burned once by a flight delay that caused us to miss embarkation) and went from our hotel to Ybor City for dinner.

The boarding process was among the easiest we've experienced (we got there around noon). It would be helpful if RCL would indicate the port terminal on the reservation, though - we initially went to the wrong terminal, and got stuck in traffic going to the correct one, which was much closer to our hotel and away from the traffic. Took us a half-hour to go what should have been just a few blocks. My mistake for indicating the wrong port to our Lyft driver, but again it would be nice to know it in advance.

The ship itself is nice but in need of some updating. We had an aft Junior Suite on the starboard corner with a huge balcony that had two lounge chairs plus two regular chairs and a table, and we used that on sea days to avoid the crowds on the pool and sky decks. However, when we did visit those decks we were always able to find lounge chairs in the sun or shade, whichever we preferred that day.

We ate twice at Izumi (very good - the sushi rolls were excellent and the hot rocks steak was very tender), once at Giovanni's Table (good, but we miss Portofino) and once at Chops. Usually we eat a couple of times at Chops, and I've never had a bad steak there. However, the filet I had was the worst cut of beef I've ever had in my life (and we Kansas Citians eat a lot of steak). In fact, the first one they brought was bad, and it was undercooked, so they brought me a completely different steak, and it was equally bad, though cooked more. After a couple of bites I gave up and finished my wife's filet (fortunately she ordered the large one). The ones I was served didn't look like filets, the texture was unlike any other steak I've had, and they tasted awful. (My wife tried it and concurred.)

We took our other meals in the Windjammer, and it was good, with a lot of variety. However, I'm not sure why they had Indian food offerings every day - it would be nice to mix it up a bit and offer other cuisines. We've done enough cruises that we don't eat in the dining room any more, mainly because we don't go on vacation to get dressed up.

We love sea days, and those were great. Our ports were Belize, Cozumel, Roatan and Costa Maya. We've been to Costa Maya twice before and Cozumel many times, but the others were new to us.

Belize was fine - very friendly people. We're not into the jungle tours, and we've done the Mayan ruins before, so we just walked to the "BELIZE" sign and the lighthouse, then walked around the port and had lunch before going back to the ship, where we pretty much had the pool deck to ourselves.

A word of warning: we bought souvenirs at the Jungle Shop, and ate lunch at the Wet Lizard, which was pretty good. At both establishments I used a different credit card than I usually use (neither place takes Amex so I used a Visa). At the end of the cruise I looked at my credit card app, and saw an unrecognized charge. I initiated a dispute with the issuer. After the payment posted and I had more information, I investigated, and it turned out that someone had used my card info and name to reserve a room at a hotel in Belize for the weekend after the cruise. So it had to be an employee of either the Jungle Shop or the Wet Lizard. I won't go back to Belize, and from now on when I visit ports, I'm using cash only.

Cozumel: we used day passes at the Iberostar resort that included buffet lunch, all drinks, beach chairs and towels, and the pool. We purchased them from resortforaday.com. Decent property, but the water just off the beach is too rocky to walk on, and the building where lunch is served doesn't have enough seating, so we ate outside with our plates on our laps. The drinks were just okay also. Some fellow passengers went to the Nachi Cocom beach club and it looks much nicer, for less money, so next time (2022!) we'll go there.

Roatan: again, we didn't book excursions, so we just walked around the port area and got back on the ship.

Costa Maya: there were five ships in port and we didn't want to go to an overcrowded beach, plus we've done excursions to the ruins near there before, so once again we walked around the port area and shopped. It was extremely crowded with that many ships in port, and is much more developed than it used to be. We also had lunch there and it was good.

All in all we had a great, low-key, relaxing vacation, but we booked our next cruise on Radiance class again. However, I'd cruise on this ship or one of its sisters again.


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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Tampa

Easy port to cruise out of with decent hotels nearby; close to Ybor City (but don't try to walk from Channelside to Ybor - very dodgy areas in between).

Belize City

Decent enough, but again, use cash, especially if you go to the Wet Lizard or the Jungle Shop.


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bhague
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