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Babymoon12

Review – Rhapsody of the Seas – South Pacific – Dec 2014

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Background:

 

My husband and I (early 30s) travelled with our daughter (13 months). I’ll do a separate post in the family cruises section on all the detailed baby stuff.

 

We live in Cairns and we flew to Sydney the day before to spend the day shopping – hello post-Christmas sales! 

 

This was our second cruise (but first as parents). Our first was a Western Caribbean on Freedom of the Seas in Dec 2012 which we loved.

 

We chose Rhapsody of the Seas because we liked RCI and the itinerary and (importantly!) it had a Royal Babies and Tots nursery. It was obviously smaller than Freedom, but was still big enough to feel like a big ship and there was plenty to do. Those wayfinder touch screens are the best!! I used them constantly. I also had my highlighter for the cruise compass which I read over each night.

 

We did dinner in the main dining room each night because we loved it and had great tablemates. There were 3 formal nights, 2 tropical nights and the rest were casual.

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Day 1 Embarkation:

We arrived at the OPT about 12.30pm and were on board 20 minutes later. We are only Gold Crown and Anchor Society members but we had a special shorter line which helped.

 

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Our stateroom was 3502 which is waaaaay forward on deck 3. It was a larger outside stateroom with a sort of bay window and 2 small portholes. This was brilliant as we put the cot (aka pack n play) in the bay area so it didn’t use up any of the floor! Bonus! Being that far forward, there was a fair bit of movement throughout the cruise, but not enough to make any of us sick.

 

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Muster drill with a 13-month-old is stressful! It didn’t help that we were in direct sun but people need to get their butts there on time so it can be done and we can all go!! Ok, rant over.

 

For sailaway, we stood aft on deck 9. We had an amazing view of the harbour bridge, opera house and CBD as we left. It was great!

 

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Day 2, 3 and 4 At Sea:

 

We spent sea days exploring the ship and doing trivia, game shows, bingo and playing in the nursery/room/deck 5. The activities on Rhapsody were fantastic and the guest entertainers were very good but the RCI shows weren’t quite to the standard of Freedom.

 

We didn’t spent a lot of time by the pool since DD wanted to walk around constantly so we had to chase her. I did bring a blow up pool for her to use which she enjoyed, even if only temporarily.

 

New Years Eve was a formal night and there were decorations, hats, horns etc on the tables and the cooks and waiters danced around and sang so there was a great party atmosphere. The party continued all around the ship. We put DD in the nursery and headed to the Shall We Dance Lounge and then to the Centrum for the countdown.

 

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Day 5 Luganville:

 

We got up early (thanks DD) and were off the ship by 8.30. We decided to get a taxi to the Nanda Blue Hole. We paid AU$50 for the taxi and AU$5 each entry fee. It was about 25 minutes drive each way and we spent about 40 minutes there. The blue hole was gorgeous but OMG cold!!

 

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On the way back, our driver asked if we wanted to do anything else. Given we had heaps of time, we decided to check out Million Dollar Point. We paid an extra AU$50 and AU$5 each entry fee. It was a windy and rough day and the snorkelling was poor so we didn’t stay long.

 

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Day 6 Champagne Bay:

 

We left DD in the nursery for the morning so we could snorkel together and relax. The beach, water and coral at Champagne Bay are beautiful! We were there early again but by 10.30am the beach was packed! We had a look at the markets and got back on the ship to collect DD and have lunch.

 

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Day 7 Port Vila:

 

Another early start and we were off the ship by 8.30am looking for a taxi to the Cascade Waterfalls. There were a LOT of taxis around and some boards showing their pricing (which was ridiculous), but we spoke to a guy which seemed to be acting like a facilitator between passengers and taxi drivers and he hooked us and another couple up with a taxi driver to take us there, wait then return us to town for AU$30pp (DD was free) plus AU$25pp entry fee. We were all happy with that.

 

As we were already aware, the walk to the top of the falls is long and has stairs and water crossings. We wore reef shoes and hubby carried DD in a Baby Bjorn and we found the walk pretty easy. It was certainly worth the sights and the swim at the top! The crowd was starting the head up as we were leaving so being early is key!

 

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We spent the rest of the day doing some duty free shopping (the alcohol is very cheap) and looking around. And we caught a water taxi back to the ship

 

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Day 8 Lifou:

 

This was a lazy day. We just spent some time at the beach near the tender pier. It was high tide when we arrived, so there were only a few flat spots. Later on, there was more beach, but no shade. Hubby went snorkelling, and says he wasn’t that impressed (although I had 38 pics on my underwater camera!).

 

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Day 9 Isle of Pines:

 

My favourite port! We put DD in the nursery and got on an early tender and headed straight for the postcard area – not the front beach, walk through the trees a bit til you reach water on the other side of the island. That sounds far, but it really wasn’t. Follow the sign that says ‘Kanumera Beach’. Beautiful area, trees, sand, water, fish. Bliss! We decided the shallow water and calm sea would be good for DD too so at 11am we collected her, had lunch and went back! We took some bread to feed fish and they weren’t shy at all!

 

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Day 10 and 11 At Sea:

 

Again, we spent sea days trying to relax, but chasing a toddler. We did more exploring, trivia, bingo and shows etc.

 

Hubby’s birthday was on Day 10 so for dinner we had decorations and cake!

 

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Shot of the centrum just çoz

 

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Day 22 Dismbarkation:

 

And suddenly, it was over and we had to get off. 

 

Disembarkation was smooth and fast. Much better than our experience in Port Canaveral. We were off the ship before 9am and caught a train to the airport to fly home. Our flight was 1.10pm so we had ample time to arrive, check in and do some more shopping.

 

Final Thoughts

Our second cruise experience was very different to our first because we had a toddler but we had a good time. I thought 7 days on Freedom was too short and felt that 12 days was better.

 

We are definitely looking to cruise again and will probably do so with RCI.

 

I hope this review has been helpful. Feel free to ask any questions or for more pics (I took A LOT!).

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