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fiveappleheads

back from Rhapsody 4/24/05

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After reading so many reviews here, I get the idea that everyone likes the whole story, so let me start from the very beginning: I was born a poor child...just kidding...here we go...

 

We awoke Sunday morning at 330 in the morning, got the kids up and showered and got out by 0430, we arrived at JFK in NYC with about an hour and a half to spare...breezed thru security. I let the kids ( 3 girls 8,11, &12 ) take naps until we got to board the plane to Houston...of course they slept the better part of the flight too. I chose to rent a car one way from Houston to Galveston to save a little money and it worked out well, we landed at about 1045 and we were in the car and heading to Galveston by 1130. We didnt hurry to the pier but we were still ready to check in just before 1:00 pm after dropping the rental off and all. Check in was a breeze especially since we booked a grand suite (8516).After a quick stop in the cabin to drop off the carry-ons, we were off to the Windjammer for lunch. The kids were very impressed with the Windjammer and made many trips back throughout the week. After lunch we went back to the cabin to change into swimming suits but I talked the kids into taking a walk around the ship with us first so they had an idea of what was to come and what was expected from them. They were amazed at the size of the ship. This was their very first cruise. Just as we were about to head down to the pool they found the rock wall. They just had to climb so up they went...I never realized i was raising monkeys. We spent a bit of time there but eventually made their way to the pool. After enjoying the pool for a while we went back to the cabin to change and head to the muster drill and then to the dining room. I was glad we packed a change of clothes in the carry-ons but we did get our luggage just as we were walking out to dinner. We went to our assigned table and met our waiter and asst waiter. Two women, one from South Africa (Nomsa) and the other from Chile (Laurice) both immediately took a great liking to the kids. They were very spoiled the whole cruise. After dinner we attended the welcome festivities and the Adventure Ocean kids program meeting. The kids were a bit apprehensive over the whole idea of the Adventure Ocean but after the very first session they couldnt wait to get back to see their new friends and partake in all of the activities that they offered. I highly recommend "forcing" the kids into the first day or two of activities, they will love you for it later.

 

Monday, At sea: The kids got right into the kids activities while me and my wife wandered the ship. This was out fourth cruise, the 3rd on Royal Carribean and the first out of Galveston. We did a little gambling and played a little shuffleboard and some ping pong, but for the most part just relaxed while the kids kept busy. After we picked them up from the morning session we went to lunch in the dining room. the food was very good. Alot of people that post here seem to be dissappointed by the food but we never had a bad meal the whole week. There were things we personally didnt like much but they were all cooked well and never a problem getting something else if we didnt like a choice we had made, which only happened twice...one lunch and one breakfast. Monday night we went to the show after dinner and it was quite enjoyable. After the show the kids went to the pool and arcade until about 11pm. By then I was so tired still recovering from the previous days travels. Had a great night of sleep.

 

Tuesday: We all woke bright and early, this day the kids wanted to go to the buffet for breakfast, but not until they ordered some fruit and juices from room service "so they could enjoy the balcony" as my 8 yo put it. After breakfast they were off again to the kids programs so we took this time to do some picture taking and video taping aroud the ship including some candids of the kids in Adventure Ocean with the staffs permission. Again, after picking them up from the morning session, we went to lunch and then back to the cabin to prepare for our arrival in Key West. The kids stayed with us while we arrived in port, they were very impressed with the way the ship docked and was tied off. We left the ship for our first excursion, the Conch Train and Trolley tour. This was well worth every penny, very informative and our tour guide was very funny. After the tour we walked around for a while and did all of the touristy shops. Just before sunset we headed to Mallory Square for all of the festivities we had read about. It was all very amusing, we watched the Catmans show and ate conch fritters...they were okay i guess. After the sun went down the girls started bugging to go back on board so with plenty left to see and do we cut our time in Key West short and boarded the ship. The rest of today was pretty uneventful with the exception of another great night of entertainment.

 

Wednesday: We were at sea again. Heading for Grand Caymen. The kids made the most of the ship today, playing with their new friends, swimming, and occasionally attacking the soft serve ice cream in the Windjammer. My wife and I made a point of wandering the ship again and talking to whomever wanted to chat, we also did the shops on board and a little more gambling. Alot of my story is being cut short, but let me tell I have 3 very funny kids that keep us entertained everyday of the year. But they were particularly funny this week. After picking up the girls today, my 8yo informed me that she had brought some of her allowance with her and she wanted to go see what the casino was all about. After a quick chat about the rules, that was pretty much the end of me visiting the casino, I really didnt want them getting the wrong impression. Ha ha.I dont really remember the order of what dinner was what but I can tell you that both formals were fun for the girls initially but they couldnt wait to get out of there by the time the dinners were coming to an end. The whole memory thing goes for the shows too, but I can tell you that they were very good. One night was a comedian, another night was Kenny James, a singer that was a star search champion back in the Ed Mcmahon days...he was great...another night was a magic show, very good again although my 11yo who dabbles in magic said it was nothing that she couldnt do...again, very funny kids. Another entertainer was an group of six brothers that did a comedy sing and dance routine that was just great. All in all I gave the shows 4 stars...how did I get back to Ed Mcmahon again, oh well.

 

Thursday: we arrived in Grand Caymen and were tendered to the island. This went well at first until we arrived at the dock and my lovely wife informed me that we forgot a few things back on the boat (girls girls girls) so lucky me got to go back and do it all over again. We headed to the Capt Marvins office to catch a bus to out next excursion, Snorkeling with the stingrays...a major highlight for my kids. The day went well. Back on board the rest of the evening went routinely well. The kids were more and more comfortable with the on board life. Plus getting a little too used to the pampering from the suite attendant and the spoiling from the waiters.

 

Friday: We arrived in Cozumel bright and early and left the ship to meet our tour group. We did the Jeep beach and jungle tour. What a blast. The kids could not have laughed any harder through the better part of the tour. They also fed us a really nice lunch. After being dropped off back by the pier the girls had their hair braided before reboarding the ship. Another great day of fun, and another rather routine night on the ship.

 

Saturday: at sea again, we took advantage of the free time now that the kids were really involved in what they were doing. we got to lay in the sun a bit and play a little more shuffle board and some other quiet stuff.

 

We disembarked with no problem at all, got our one way rental back to Houston and were off for another full day of travel to get home. I know I left out a thousand pages of details, I just wanted to get the point across that you really can make it what you want..and we made it alot of fun and good eats. Some of the highlights of the menu for me was the chicken marsala, the lamb chops, the filet mignon, and of course the lobster tails...the lows for me were the shrimp cocktails, the new york strip steak, and the creme brulee dessert.

 

I would also like to say many friends and others questioned me why in the world I would cruise out of Galveston instead of Florida or even out of NY, well the original answer was because the airfare was half of what it would have been to get to Orlando for us, and it was way too cold to leave out of NY for us.......BUT!!! my new reason, which I am telling everyone now, is that a huge percentage of the cruisers on board were from Texas and you people are the friendliest most fun people to be around. I want to thank you for making this our best cruise yet and making a lifetime of great memories for my kids. I will definately be cruising out of Galveston again, and would most definatley cruise aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas again. I would be happy to answer any questions about cruising with the kids or anything else you can throw at me I will try to answer the best I possibly can. Thank for taking a minute to read my story and I hope you found it somewhat readable, I did the best I could to remember the order of events, next time i'll take a notebook.

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Appleheads, sounds like you have a great time ... We cruised out of Galveston last year on Splendour when we were a family of five and the kids called it the vacation of a lifetime ... Only difference ... It was cold in and out of Galveston, but it was in March. We hope to do Rhapsody out of Galveston or Grandeur out of New Orleans next spring break, because we can drive from Minnesota to the dock in less than a day (we now have four kids, and the airfare is a little more costly than mini-vanning it).

 

And you're right about them thar Texans. As long as we didn't mention that we Vikings got hosed in that playoff game in 1974 when Drew Pearson of the Cowboys interferred with our guy and cost us the NFL title ... we all got along fine.

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Welcome back.

 

And glad you enjoyed your trip.And glad you enjoyed our Southern Hospitality.

 

My folks on on her now.She is still my favorite.Your review is basically a carbon copy of mine.Not much usually goes wrong on Rhapsody.

 

I have heard mumbling (mostly on the Princess board) about not liking the embarkation process in Galveston.Having as many cruises as my family does out of Galveston..I can say it must be contain to certain ships only,because its the easiest I have encountered.

 

Again..Welcome home.Time to book another:D

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Appleheads, sounds like you have a great time ... We cruised out of Galveston last year on Splendour when we were a family of five and the kids called it the vacation of a lifetime ... Only difference ... It was cold in and out of Galveston, but it was in March. We hope to do Rhapsody out of Galveston or Grandeur out of New Orleans next spring break, because we can drive from Minnesota to the dock in less than a day (we now have four kids, and the airfare is a little more costly than mini-vanning it).

 

And you're right about them thar Texans. As long as we didn't mention that we Vikings got hosed in that playoff game in 1974 when Drew Pearson of the Cowboys interferred with our guy and cost us the NFL title ... we all got along fine.

 

Ohhh..the tales I can tell about that game..:D

(Roger to Drew,always comes through):p

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We have only cruised out of NY previous to this cruise, and let me tell you, Glaveston was a dream compared to Embark and Disembarking in NY especially since 9/11, although i've heard they are trying to make it smoother these days. I'd still rather go to Texas than right next door to NYC for a cruise.

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What I failed to mention in my original post is that we are already booked on another cruise for 05/15/05 on AOS out of San Juan...this is the "no kids" cruise with a bunch of our friends, so I only have 12 days left to my next cruise...how sweeeeeet it is!!! I just wish I could do that every year.

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fiveappleheads

 

Thank you so much for your post. We've been on the Rhapsody 5x's and truly feel that she is the friendliest ship afloat. Of course, I'm a true Texan. I've also sailed a total of 16 x's. Reading your review was truly a delight and made me think of the all the times when we take our grandson (who is now 6). Oh, the memories. We have only one daughter and one grandson. Your girls sound adorable and you and your wife are truly blessed. Glad you had a good time and thanks again for the review.

 

Linda

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Glad to see you get a review out so quickly! Still working on mine. I'm sure we crossed paths at some point on the cruise. It was the first cruise for all six in our party and we were all impressed by the Rhapsody.

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I'm so glad you had a great cruise, and especially that you enjoyed your Galveston departure!

 

I'm sailing in the Royal Suite in July with my sis and her two boys. Thanks for posting your review of the Rhapsody. It'll be our first RCCL experience.

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Our suite attendant let me see the owners suites and the royal suite on our departure day, they were very nice. You will have a great time. I cant have my kids stay in the RS because the only songs they know how to play on the piano is Mary had a little lamb and the theme from All in the Family...ha ha, no kidding...they would drive everyone on the deck crazy.

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And for budaman, i caught a few of your posts right before we left for the cruise, i really wished i had replied to meet you guys...i'll keep a watchful eye out for your next one, and maybe we'll tag along, i can never say no to a good cruise.

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Fiveappleheads, thank you for that wonderful review. Sure sounds like you had a wonderful time with more coming on your adult cruise!! What memories that will bring!!

Stircrzy, it won't be long now until our turn on the Rhapsody! Less than 2 months to go for me to really experience Texas hospitality on the high seas. Yeeeeeeeahaa.

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Applehead, we've managed to keep our M&M thread going and we welcome you to join us. Maintaining the communication between us helps lessen the PCD everyone is feeling right now!

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Great Review ! And Thanks for takeing the time to let thoes of us that remain land locked re-live a week on Rhapsody.

 

The amezing thing is that the staff and crew on Rhapsody never seem to have the dreaded 'off' week :D. You read post about not so good times on other RCI ships, but cant remember the last one about Rhapsody.

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"a huge percentage of the cruisers on board were from Texas and you people are the friendliest most fun people to be around"

 

I couldn't agree with you more. We've cruised out of Florida and what a difference!!! We're watching to see what variety RCCL can offer for future Texas cruising because we want to do it again. Non stop flights from Nebraska and friendly, friendly people made this my favorite cruise too.

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As a native Texan we love to pride ourselves on our friendliness. Glad we did not disappoint! And hey, apple - that was MY ROOM you were in. Get outta there! Pretty awesome bathroom for a cruise ship, huh? So glad you and your girls had a great time and you win Husband of the Day for going back on the tender to get the missing items.

 

That concludes the nice things I have to say to you since you are cruising again in 11 days. 4_1_200v.gif

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wolfgang, you made me laugh out so loud at work that everyone came over to ask what was going on...the people i work with are none too happy that i'm going again either. thanks.

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Thanks for the review. Hubby and I leave in 38 days (not that I'm cournting down or anything!!!).

 

I can't wait to be on board!

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Hey Lamar - I seem to remember my Rams getting hosed on a few of those calls when playing your team in the 70s too!:)

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Loved the review. We will be in 8516 in September. Can't wait to experience the Rhapsody. Having read many positive reviews of the ship and crew is what sealed the deal for us.

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