Part 1: Tour of the Ship
I have just finished my 3-week Christmas / New Year break and back at work. The past week, I have been relaxing at home, almost too relaxed to the point where I didn't feel like cooking anything "fancy" or "blog-worthy" and I didn't even feel like blogging. After that nice and refreshing break, I feel like blogging - but I don't have any cooking material to share! So I've decided to blog about my holiday... I hope that's okay :)
Our journey began on the 18th of December 2010 at Sydney, Australia. Hubby and I flew from Melbourne to Sydney in the morning, and when we arrived at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, Sydney - we were both pretty excited to see that our ship was already there waiting for us!
The local passers by were quite excited too! A lot of people took pictures of the ship whether or not they were hopping onboard. I felt pretty good at that point, I GET TO HOP ONBOARD!
After about an hour of queuing up and going through customs and checking in our luggage, we finally got our SeaPass Cards. The SeaPass Card is our single piece of identity card which acts as a swipe key to get in our rooms, as well as a "credit card" for all purchases onboard, as well as our ID for hopping on and off the ship. We didn't have to worry at all about carrying cash or passports around. Very handy!
We got ourselves a "Large Oceanview Stateroom" which pretty much had all the facilities we needed. It comes with a Queen sized bed, a couch, coffee table, TV, surprisingly spacious wardrobe, a small but sufficient bathroom, a dressing table and a safe to keep all our valuable belongings.
As soon as we dumped our stuff, I grabbed my camera and we decided to go and explore the ship. The Rhapsody of the Seas has 11 decks altogether, which meant 11 floors to explore. Hubby decided to explore from the bottom up since we were already in Deck 2.
As we were exploring, the staff were busy moving luggage bags to designated rooms. Deck 2 and 3 were pretty much rooms and rooms and more rooms! The Rhapsody of the Seas is a "Vision" Class Royal Caribbean ship and our cruise had a total of 2,022 passengers!
This is the main dining room - Edelweiss on Deck 4 and 5 - where we had all our serviced meals. Edelweiss Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but we mostly come here just for dinner as it is a lot quicker to just grab a quick bite at the Windjammer Cafe buffet... but I will get to that later :)
Also on Deck 4 is a Champagne Bar where people can enjoy a quiet drink or two.
The main Guest Relations and Explorations Desk is located on Deck 5.
Also on Deck 5, is the Casino Royale. The casino is only open on days when we're on the sea, and closed when we are actually at our Port of Calls due to gambling laws. This casino operates under international gambling laws so they are only allowed to be open while in international waters. We spent quite a lot of time here on our first couple of days, as hubby and I were attempting the Royal Texas Holdem Tournament but we didn't make it to the final table. I came 2nd place in the qualifying round but the other guy beat me with a lucky hand. Oh well!
Also on Deck 5 (and Deck 6) is the Broadway Melodies Theatre. Hubby and I spent a lot of time in this gorgeous theatre. Every night there is either a production show by the Royal Caribbean dancers and singers, or a guest act - we had an instrumentalist who can play 275 musical instruments, an illusionist, a juggler, singers, and acrobatic acts. The production shows were so awesome! World class production shows with amazing stage props and incredible talent. Very entertaining! Would normally pay at least $70pp to see one of these shows... but on a cruise ship, it's FREE! Well ok, all inclusive in the cost. Also, movies were shown in the theatre every afternoon - mostly recent movies, occasionally classics, and of course a Christmas movie on Christmas Day.
Photo of hubby and I in the theatre :)
On Deck 6, the Schooner Bar is a casual bar where people can sit and drink and chat. On the evenings, the Schooner Bar would feature a live singer / pianist and during the day Trivia would be hosted at the Schooner Bar. As you walk past the Schooner Bar, the Shall We Dance Lounge is this huge place where a live band plays at night for some dancing and during the day it is used for lectures, workshops, cocktail demonstrations and Bingo.
Also on Deck 6 is the Moonlight Bay Lounge where you can just relax and read a book or play some board games or simply sit back and chat to friends and spend some quiet time with the family.
Deck 6 also had Conference Centers with a variety of meeting rooms.
Deck 7 had more rooms but also the Library and the Card Room.
Deck 8 had even more rooms (fancy suites) as well as the Internet Lounge.
Deck 9 - Outdoor pool with four whirlpools / spa areas and the pool bar.
Also on Deck 9 - the indoor pool with two whirlpools (adult only area, kids are only allowed if the weather is bad and only if supervised by an adult and only within certain hours).
The indoor pool area (the Solarium) also had a cafe where you can grab a pizza or a burger and help yourselves to some salad and desserts anytime of the day! Open until late.
We helped ourselves to some soft serve ice cream while we were at the pool!
Also on Deck 9, the Windjammer Cafe! The Windjammer is open pretty much all day for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you can pretty much walk in anytime during the day and help yourselves to the vast amount of FOOD, buffet styled, all you can eat! The menu changes everyday too (except breakfast that's pretty much the same everyday) but lunch and dinner offer a nice surprise everyday. Words cannot express the free flow of food in this place, so I will let these photos do the talking...
Anyway, enough with the food or I will never finish this tour of the ship! I will blog more about the food in Part 3 of this blog series.
Deck 9 also had the Day Spa and Fitness Centre. The photos of these areas were taken with my phone so much poorer image quality. But here's a quick photo of the Hair Salon:
Deck 10 had the Observatory where you can walk all the way around the ship.
Deck 10 also had a Rock Climbing Wall. Hubby wanted to do this, but never got the chance to. Too busy with other activities! Deck 10 also had a Teen Center and Arcade where teenagers can hang out and play games. Interestingly enough, at night the Teen Center turns into a Teen Disco where teenagers can also dance the night away in a non-alcoholic zone. Very nice. The children's play center aka Adventure Ocean is right next door, where toys, books, games and activities for the kids are organised. Parents can also leave their kids there and enjoy their day without worrying! Childcare services are also available at night for a fee. A cruise holiday is a very family-friendly holiday!
And on Deck 11, the Viking Crown Lounge turns into a pretty happening nightclub every night. DJ Jamie is the inhouse DJ and he spins the latest songs. There is also a bouncer! Like a normal club, you cannot enter if you are below 18. The SeaPass card clearly shows your age, and their scanning system has a picture of you, so you still don't need to carry ID around. Hubby and I only went "clubbing" once throughout our entire cruise trip but that was enough, we're getting old haha. The dancefloor was packed and it was a good night - like the "real thing" in clubs onshore.
So that's basically my first round-up featuring a tour of the Rhapsody of the Seas cruise ship. Part 2 will feature some of the activities while were onboard, followed by some Food Reviews in Part 3 and finally a recap of the Port of Calls in Vanuatu and New Caledonia in Part 4.
Overall, this cruise holiday was excellent value for us. We got a good deal with CruisePilot during their sale period 15 months before we set sail. We pretty much got a 40% discount and only paid $1,200pp for 9 nights accommodation, all food included, all entertainment included. That is on average $133pp per day! On any other holiday, you can easily pay triple that if you included the cost of 3 meals and entertainment.
To be continued....