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KaydenDeen

Not-so-live Rhapsody of the Seas Thanksgiving Cruise Blog

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I am writing to you from the Rhapsody of the Seas and we are currently on our 4th day. Sorry for the delay. 

 
I am currently traveling with three people and two of us are in one stateroom and two of us are traveling with The Key. 
 
Embarkation Day: 
Embarkation was a bit of a mess. The Key members were given a priority boarding and our group decided to split up between Key and non-Key. There were not many agents helping Key members and we were waiting so long that the non-Key member of our group was through the check-in process about the same time. The check-in process took forever and I got onboard with a headache and took the longest nap once in my stateroom. 
 
The Ship: 
I’ve read a lot of negative reviews about people’s gripes with Rhapsody. I think I had to change my mindset prior to boarding and I reminded myself that this is not an Oasis Class ship. Once I was in the right frame of mind, I was pleasantly surprised by what I’ve found. The ship has an intimate feeling to it and I regularly run into the same people. The ship is clean and the staff have been great. It may be a little dated in some areas, but this hasn’t interfered with my ability to enjoy all she has to offer. As Matt once said, there are no bad Royal Caribbean ships. 
 
The Food: 
The food is okay. There has been one dinner in the MDR that I couldn’t finish because it was so bland, but everything else has been adequate. The buffet food is plentiful and there is decent variety to please most palettes. Nothing has really blown us away, but I’m satisfied with what the majority of food we’ve had thus far. 
 
The Activities: 
Rhapsody doesn’t have as many activities as the bigger ships, but we’ve managed to keep ourselves busy. We’ve been to one show, we’ve taken advantage of the trivia nights and I personally have caught up on my sleep. It’s been 9 years since our last Caribbean cruise and I was surprised that Royal charges for their galley tour, which used to be free. I can’t comment on activities for children, but imagine that there isn’t a lot for teenagers to do. 
 
Tendering: 
Key members are supposed to get priority boarding on the tenders, but honestly we didn’t need it. We got to Grand Cayman early in the morning and there was no difficulty getting off the ship. The staff offered to let Key members cut the line at a non-tender port, but we didn’t feel the need to do it. 
 
Staterooms: 
The staterooms are satisfactory and clean.  I’ve taken everybody’s advice and have brought my magnets and am using a multi-USB hub to charge multiple devices. 
 
The Shows: 
Saw Piano Man and thought it felt like a high school production. The magician last night was more entertaining. Overall, both were okay. 
 
The Internet: 
The Surf & Stream is generally good so far. There have been a few moments when it has been a little slow, but it’s not terrible. I have been able to stream Netflix and shows from my ITunes account. 
 
Coffee Card:
The regular coffee onboard isn’t much to write home about. I pre-purchased the coffee card and I am satisfied with the overall value. The staff on Rhapsody have been generous with their “punches.” I ordered a double shot of espresso this afternoon and it was only one punch. 
 
We are having a great time here on Rhapsody and have no big complaints so far. Please let me know if there are any questions out there. 

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Day 7- Sea Day 

 

Like most vacations, this one is ending way too soon. Time certainly does fly when you are having fun. It’s been difficult to write with so much going on, so I apologize for the big gaps and so few posts. 

I guess I’ll catch everyone up by starting with the excursions and ports. 

Key West: 

No official excursions were planned, but I was on my own mission to find an authentic key lime pie, sample some conch fritters and to make it to the Southern Most Point. 

-Kermit’s came highly recommended by Yelp reviewers and it certainly didn’t disappoint. They also had several samples of key lime flavored desserts including cookies, taffy, peanuts and hard candy. 

-The Southern Most Point was crowded and there was a long line for people wanting to get their selfies with the iconic monument. We cheated and took our selfies from a different angle in order to bypass the the queue. The key lime pie was delicious and I would have had another slide had I not been so full from lunch earlier in the day. 

-Thanks to Yelp again, we ended up at a place called, The Conch Shack, to get our fritter fix. I’ve never had a conch fritter before, but they reminded me of hush puppies. They were good, but nothing that I needed to try again necessarily. 

Grand Cayman: 

We’ve been to Grand Cayman before and didn’t feel the need to visit Sting Ray City and we wanted to avoid the crowds on 7 Mile Beach. With a little research, we found Smith’s Cove. In reviews on other sites, it was rated highly and apparently had better snorkeling and fewer people compared to 7 Mile Beach. The 1.5 mile walk was not pedestrian friendly and required us to walk on the street occasionally and sometimes through people’s yards. The cove itself was small and there were only a handful of people around. The snorkeling wasn’t spectacular, but did manage to see a few different types of fish and a lobster. If you’re considering going, you might be able to get a taxi there, but not sure how easy it is to get transportation to take you back to the ship. I’d be hesitant to take smaller kids on th

 

Cozumel: 

Here we booked the Chaak Tun cenote swim and Mayan ritual cleanse. The cenote swim was one of the neatest excursions I’ve done in the Caribbean. You basically are snorkeling in fresh water cenotes surrounded by stalagmites and stalactites. I’ve been able to see these formations in caverns before, but this is the first time I’ve been able to swim and snorkel while seeing them. 
The Mayan cleansing ritual was interesting on many levels. This part of the excursion was added after we booked it. I feel like I won’t do it justice by attempting to describe it in my own words (I’ll try anyways), but I encourage you to do a little research into it before you participate. We went into the ritual without any research and the whole thing took me by surprise. The majority of the ritual involved stepping into a brick hut that was like a sweat lodge. There were 8 of us piling into the little hut, the entrance was sealed with blankets and we were sitting around a little pit filled with HOT lava rocks. A shaman would throw water on the rocks which would create HOT! steam and she would play the drums and sing. I’m not a huge fan of saunas or steam rooms and I wasn’t sure if the steam and the stifling heat was too much for me. I found it difficult to breath sometimes and I started to wonder if I was going to pass out or if I would start to hallucinate. The whole ritual took about 20 mins. When we exited the hut, someone poured cool water over us and I thought I was going to pass out from the drastic change in temperature. The whole thing was surreal and otherworldly, but not sure I could do it again. 

Costa Maya: 

We decided to bypass the shopping area “labyrinth” and decided to book an independent excursion at Maya Chan Beach. You may have heard about Maya Chan from one of Matt’s earlier posts. For those of you unfamiliar with Maya Chan, this is an all inclusive food/open bar excursion located about 30 mins away from the port. Included in the fee, there was snorkeling equipment, a small pool, water shoes, paddle boards, boogie boards, floating beach chairs, and kayaks. We also had a semi-private palapa, beach chairs, a bed, and a hammock. You have to book your spot in advance and they only accept a limited number of people. The beach never felt crowded and the staff are very accommodating. The staff will even take your drink order and deliver your drink to you while you are comfortably situated in a floating beach chair! It’s a bumpy 30 min drive and the beach is in the middle of nowhere, but I highly recommend this little jaunt.

***Feel free to ask me questions about my excursions or the ports of call we’ve visited. It’s the least I can do to repay everyone for the plethora of helpful information I’ve taken away from this blog!***

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Day 7- Sea Day (Continued) 

 

Thanksgiving! 

 

I’ve seen several posts in the blog inquiring about the dinner menu on the Thanksgiving. Yes, there is a special menu! Last night was the formal night and were given a special Thanksgiving menu and were told that lobster would be served this evening instead. 

 

My Thanksgiving dinner was as follows: 

 

Appetizers (yes, I ordered two lol): 

-Almond-crusted fried brie 

-Sweet potato & butternut squash soup

 

Entree: 

Over-roasted turkey served with cornbread stuffing, roasted root vegetables, green beans & baby carrots 

The three of us also sampled the Chestnut truffle risotto 

 

Dessert: 

Homemade pumpkin pie (turns out was a cheesecake vs regular pumpkin pie) 

Sampled the Old-fashioned pecan pie 

 

The Thanksgiving menu was one of the better meals that we had on this trip so far. I feel that Royal really put a lot of effort into this dinner and we were quite satisfied. And just like Thanksgiving on land, we left the dining room table overly STUFFED! 

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Day 8- Debarkation Day 

Yesterday was our last full day on the ship and we spent most of the day at the Solarium. It was a nice respite from the rowdy outdoor pool area that was mostly dominated by younger kids. Some people on the message boards have voiced concern about the under 16 age restriction not being enforced in the Solarium. We spent a good part of the day here and I never saw a child in the pool, hot tub, or sitting in any of the chairs. 

Thanksgiving Meal:

Thursday night was a formal night and they served a traditional turkey dinner in the MDR. Since Thursday was the special holiday dinner, lobster night was pushed back until Friday evening. The turkey dinner was probably one of the best meals we had on our entire vacation. The meat was tender and everything was well seasoned. 

 

Lobster Night:

On Friday evening we all ordered two lobster tails for our entree and the staff was very accommodating in our request. The lobster was okay, but we found that the shrimp from the Windjammer during lunch was tastier. We still were able to clear our plates and we left our last dinner full and content. 

 

Schooner Piano Bar Guy:

After dinner in the MDR, we headed to the Schooner Bar for cocktails and to listen to the piano player. The piano man played a lot of recognizable oldies tunes and would attempt some awkward and inappropriate comedy between songs. His audience was most older adults, but occasionally there would a child or two hanging out with the family. His jokes were sometimes racist, sexist and a little raunchy. Even with a kid at sitting next to the piano, he seemed oblivious as he would say some inappropriate things. I’m not easily offended, but this guy needs to consider his audience 

 

Late Night Comedian: 

Late Friday night we attended the adult comedy show. We had seen a PG-13 performance from this comedian during the farewell show and thought he was amusing enough to catch his rated R performance later the same night. When Royal says that it’s an adult comedy show, they meant it. He was entertaining, but I’m sure he offended a few people who didn’t know what they were getting into. This comedian’s performance was one of the better shows that we had seen on the ship. 

 

Debarkation:

Debarkation day usually feels a little hectic. All week you are in vacation mode and then debarkation day feels like you’re being pushed out the door. The whole process of exiting the ship this morning was actually pretty easy. There were no lines in the gangway and the customs line was moving steadily. The entire process was one of the easiest debarkations I’ve had. 

 

The Key:

I had purchased The Key before my sister-in-law decided join us. For this trip, two of us had The Key, but my sister-in-law did not. Since we wanted to keep our little group together, we decided to forego some of the benefits and I felt like I didn’t need them on this ship. We were offered to skip the line on both tender/non-tender ports, but the lines weren’t usually that long. We were supposed to get special seating in the theatre, but we always found a seat without a problem. We missed the welcome luncheon and debarkation breakfast for Key guests, but we were able to get into Windjammer without issue and debarkation was nearly seamless. I paid a low price for The Key prior to boarding the ship and mostly got it for the Voom Surf & Stream internet. When I boarded the ship, the Surf & Stream internet was $3 more per day compared to what I paid for The Key. 

*Would I buy The Key again? That would depend on the price. If and when I decide to get on a bigger ship, I would pay for The Key if the price was right. 

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41 minutes ago, KaydenDeen said:

Did you know that hiding rubber ducks onboard is a thing? I found one! 

I’ve been hiding them for awhile now, got some for our Serenade cruise coming up. I tend to hid more on the bigger ships as there is more interest in it there. 

Thanks for the live blog..we’re looking forward to sailing here in April 21 on her TA venture over across the pond.

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2 hours ago, KaydenDeen said:

Did you know that hiding rubber ducks onboard is a thing? I found one! 

ECF86D97-5BEB-464A-BCF8-F4DA770EBE18.jpeg

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What is the deal with the rubber ducks, I have never found one, can't say I have ever looked for one. Will,start looking, thanks for pics and info, looks like a great cuise. 

 

 

 

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10 hours ago, Dan Curtis said:

What is the deal with the rubber ducks, I have never found one, can't say I have ever looked for one. Will,start looking, thanks for pics and info, looks like a great cuise. 

I wasn’t actively looking for them, but one of them caught my eye while walking in a stairwell one evening. Then I purposely started looking for them and I couldn’t find another one. 
 

It was a great cruise and now I’m trying to get used to the colder weather here in the Washington DC area. 

 

 

 

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