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Rhapsody of the Seas
Bringing on the WOW

Aerial Performers
R Bar

Part Two

With Rhapsody of the Seas’ revitalization comes a new emphasis on the Centrum as the heart of the activities on board. “Grounding” the action on Deck 4 is the new 60’s inspired R Bar where classic cocktails, like Martinis and Manhattans, are interspersed on the menu with trendier drinks, such as Mojitos. The area surrounding R-Bar is a gathering spot for activities ranging from golf putting competitions and dance lessons to towel folding and cooking demonstrations, not to mention it’s the best spot to enjoy the nightly musical interludes (from classical to Motown), dance parties, and the Centrum Aerialist spectaculars—pictured here from high above are two high flying aerialists rehearsing for their grand finale performance.

While seating and standing room space is limited on Deck 4, the beauty of Centrum is that there is plenty of viewing area at the railings on the decks above it. In some cases, you get a better perspective of what’s taking place from above than below.

Activities & Entertainment
Centrum is the center of it all, but there’s plenty to keep you busy throughout Rhapsody of the Seas and new Digital Way-Finding screens to help you make your way around. The nautically themed Schooner Bar is popular at any time, but particularly when trivia contests are on the daily schedule. Shall We Dance, the secondary show lounge hosts games and activities and evening music for dancing or listening. With its spectacular sea views, the Viking Crown Lounge is the ideal spot for daytime relaxation or a nightcap. Late at night it hosts rocking dance parties. In the Broadway Melodies Theater, it’s showtime with the Rhapsody Singers and Dancers as well as guest performers, including musical acts and comedy shows.

Other pursuits to keep you busy are jewelry making classes, art auctions, “horse racing”—a cruise ships staple, port and shopping seminars, Nintendo Wii challenges, and, of course, gaming in Casino Royale (also refreshingly smoke fee).

For Active Lifestyles
Staffed by Steiner Leisure, the Vitality Day Spa on Deck 9 boasts a full menu of salon and barber treatments, spa indulgences, and med-spa regimes (acupuncture, teeth whitening, and volumizing skin treatments). For those who can't miss a daily workout, the Fitness Center sports state-of-the art equipment and a wide range of exercise classes from aerobics to kickboxing and yoga. Joggers and walkers can complete laps on the uninterrupted jogging track that completely surrounds Deck 10, which is also where adventurous sports enthusiasts can take a “hike” on the rock climbing wall.

If your workout consists of more sedentary pleasures, the Fitness Center changing rooms feature both sauna and steam rooms and the enclosed adults-only Solarium Pool has two adjacent hot tubs, while the outdoor Main Pool has plenty of sunning space, four hot tubs, and uninterrupted views of the giant outdoor LED movie screen.

Kid Stuff
In the past, young families with infants and toddlers had a difficult decision to make if they wanted to take a cruise. If their children were too young for the youth program—for which they usually had to be at least three years old and potty trained—their options were limited. With Royal Caribbean’s Royal Babies and Royal Tots program, they can now take a cruise with the assurance that their tiny cruisers will be well taken care of when mom and dad want to participate in adult activities.

Rhapsody of the Seas’ new nursery for babies 6 to 36 months old has drop-off options during the day and in the evening. Parents are given a special bag for their little one’s diapers, wipes, and other supplies that they bring along when they check into the nursery. There is an $8 per hour charge and a maximum of eight babies and toddlers can be accommodated. With one staff member on hand for 4 children, the care is personal and attentive—and they even change diapers so there’s no need for a beeper call for mom or dad to come and take care of it. Food is even delivered for the little ones at lunch and dinner. Parents can instruct caregivers about their children’s preferences at nap time and, if for instance they like to be read a story or be sung to sleep with a lullaby, that will be taken care of.

For fun, there is an assortment of Fisher-Price toys that babies and toddlers can play with and there’s a daily play time for parents to join in. Parents can even plan to pack lighter by ordering the supplies they need—for a charge, organic baby food and diapers, wipes, and creams by Huggies will be delivered to them upon arrival in their staterooms.

There’s no longer a need to leave little cruisers behind at Camp Grandma since Royal Caribbean has made it so easy to travel with them. In addition, there are still facilities and traditional programs for children from age 3 up to teens 17-years old.

Programs and activities by age group are:
Aquanauts 3-5 years, finger painting, music activities, educational games
Explorers 6-8 years, pirate night, backstage tour, pajama night, games, talent show
Voyagers 9-11 years, karaoke, sports tournaments, scavenger hunts
Teens 12-14 years, sports tournaments, pool & dance parties, scavenger hunts, karaoke
Teens 15-17 years, pool & dance parties, DJ training, karaoke, movies

There is even a very cool video arcade.

The Rejuvenated Rhapsody of the Seas Experience
Having enjoyed cruises on other Vision-class ships in the past, I was anxious to see the improvements on Rhapsody of the Seas first hand.

Would adding the new specialty restaurants, as well as new accommodations in place of upper deck public areas previously open to the Centrum (including the former library, card room, Crown & Anchor study, and Explorer’s Lounge), make the ship seem less spacious? Would views of the sea be spoiled?

Not at all. As it turns out, the eliminated public spaces were hardly missed. I remembered them, but didn’t particularly notice their loss—except for the smoking area open to Centrum on a high deck where my husband had enjoyed cigars in the past. He’d have missed that a lot, but the air is clearer and that’s a bonus, especially with so many activities, such as the cooking demonstration pictured here, taking place in and around the Centrum.

Schooner Bar

While a seldom used lounge was eliminated to make room for Chops Grille, the only spots that seemed a bit tight are the Schooner Bar, which lost some space to the new Giovanni’s Table, and Viking Crown Lounge, where room was made for Izumi on the upper level and the lower level shrunk for the Concierge Club, reserved for top level Crown & Anchor® Society members and passengers booked in Grand Suite-level accommodations and higher. Diamond Club, reserved for Diamond-and-above level Crown & Anchor® Society members, was carved out of the Shall We Dance Lounge and the difference was barely noticeable.

What was noticeable was a whole lot going on in a totally refreshed atmosphere. After her makeover, you'd never guess that Rhapsody of the Seas was launched in the late-1990's.

Fast Stats
78,491 tons
915 feet long
106 feet wide
Speed 22 knots
1,998 guests, double occupancy
2,416 total guest capacity (including uppers)

Back to -> Part One

Photos © Linda Coffman

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