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First home port cruise - Rhapsody Of The Seas, Sep 23-28 , Greek Islands


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Here we go , finaly a cruise we do not catch a flight to nor hotel.

5 days cruise which starts at Hifa , Israel and stops at:

1. Limassol Cyprus.

2. Rhodes , Greece.

3. Santorini, Greece.

And one sea day.

Lots of locals and first 5ime cruiser which is always interesting to see the reaction. Will try to do some short love blogs as it's can be a different experience. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is RCL take 2 trying to call Hifa an home port. First they tried when C19 was still a major thing , it was at summer 2021 with Odyssey of the seas. We had two cruise booked on it but then it was cancelled, RCL changed the plans and we once again had to catch a flight to cruise from the US (back 2 back and one of them was on a star class so no complain ).

This year they brought Rhapdody over and we gave it another try.

The plans were simple , no need to worry about and  flight  being delayed nor to book hotels ,just board. Well plans are one thing and reality another. I had to fly for a business trip (yes they are also back) to handle some crises in  one of our projects and fly back in , yes , less than a day before the cruise .  At least it was not a long one  over the Atlantic flight but short European one and I got to be there during historical times.

Plans was to arrive home , do laundry, pack and get ready. Getting to Hifa port might be one of the easiest things to do as the port got a train stop adjust to it. Only issue is that due to maintenance the train is not working between Tell Aviv and Hifa at Fridays 😞 which is the embarking day. Since parking is very limited near the port I decide to take the car and park it near the first Hifa train stops (free parking near a football stadium) and catch a short ride to the port . That's what we did , 50 minutes drive , parking and walking with the suitcases to the train. As we arrive we just missed one of the train so we had to wait 15 minutes to catch another. We boarded the next train and waited, 5 minutes before it started I felt something is wrong , I got my suitcase but wait something is missing, yes my backpack with my passport. I left my spouse with the suitcases and went back to the car , let her wait for me at the port train station. Apparently some times it's good to miss the train , if we board the earlier train I would found it out only at port... So I found my backpack in the car , walked back to the train station and board the next train, at least my spouse got some new jokes to tell about me 🙂 Embarkation process will come next.

 

 

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Embarkation:

Short walk from the train station RCl put a tent for drop off luggage. That was a long line as only few people handled the luggage and one queue for all. Apparently this was a good time to check and ask questions as whoever was in a suit or bought the key could go directly to the front of the line and drop the luggage. Since we are sailing in JS we did just that and after 5 minutes we went to the next station. To so you need to go over a bridge (elevator available) the next station is a security check were they scan the hand luggage. Once this is done you go to another tend (with very good and needed AC) to do the check in following passport control. The next tent is the duity free and a station were they collect your passport (to get it back the day after). Once done you go out and take a shuttle to the ship , it's one minute ride. Sounds complicate but all in all  from the minute we gave  our luggage to the time we board it took maybe 10 - 15 minutes, not bad. Hifa port authority are in the process to build a new terminal which will make things easier, we will see.

 

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Few observations:

Food - WJ has the same food as every ship + some middle eastern food (Pita bread, Humos, some salads) no Kosher restrictions.

Main dining room is split to two, regular one and Kosher one. Park Cafe is Kosher.

Room service breakfast dose not show the free continental option , hope it is mistake.

The safety drill is now even easier , no need to watch the video just to sign in in the muster station.

Cruise compass is 70% in Hebrew.

Drinking package is 50$ per day , it was 40$ in the cruise planner sell.

 

 

 

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Day 1 - Hifa.

Most of the information regarding the embarkation I already described in the previous posts , all in all not too bad, I do hope they will finish building the new terminal. Once we board and done with the muster we went to the WJ , food is regular WJ food nothing to write home about. Looks like the WJ will be busy. We wanted to drink a coffee so we went to check the diamond club but 8t was closed or more likely our card did not open it. I think they did not prepared to have any diamonds from Hifa 🙂 . We went to the concierge club in the 10th floor. It was open and no cards was required, coffee machine was working. Rooms were ready at 1:30 and the luggage arrived already. The JS suite is smaller than in the new ships but still allot of space for both of us. Tour at the ship, deck 5 outside deck is one of the best in the fleet , wide and open. Around 6 pm we left the port , always a  nice view . The other side of the port is the military ship docking location , no pictures from that side , still planning quick return home 🙂

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This was the pilot ship , funny 

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We watched the sell away while I heard our neighbors trying to convince the cabin attendant to put some blocking fence on the balcony so their kid will be safe I thought that that's why you have a door to the balcony but what I understand. Dinner was in the main dining room . It was very organized and fast for the first day. I took the cheese plate, antipasti plate and the rib eye . Always make me smile when they ask me how I want my steak cooked as no matter what I will ask it will always be well done (at least in the MDR) anyway , it was good.

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Post dinner we went to contribute some money playing in RCL, it was not that crowded but still tight as always. At 10pm we went to watch the welcome on board show. The cruise director was followed by an Hebrew spoken assistant who explained the show and next activities, it took around a minute. The main performer was a comedian juggler, he was funny and performed some nice juggling tricks.

Tomorrow, Limassol.IMG-20220924-WA0022.thumb.jpg.678d6fce5f6e49cd4af0afba9753c5d4.jpg

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