When people think of Royal Caribbean, they often imagine mega-vessels with an interminable roster of wow factors: bumper cars, robot bartenders, skydiving simulators and parks so large they could be part of a floating city.
But, there's much more to the Royal Caribbean fleet than these showstoppers. The 2,416-passenger Vision-class Rhapsody of the Seas isn't the biggest or the flashiest of the fleet, but it does have a lot to offer on a more manageable scale. Activities are aplenty onboard, and there won't be a moment where you're wondering what to do. Active cruisers can tackle a rock climbing wall, fitness classes or a jogging track. Connoisseurs of food and drink can sample wine and cuisine at three specialty restaurants -- or even head to the main dining room or buffet, both of which score high in terms of diversity of offerings and quality of provisions. Evenings can be spent at any of the bars and lounges, sipping hand-crafted cocktails and soaking in music, or at the theater where performers put on nightly shows to packed houses.
Service and consistency are particular strengths on Rhapsody of the Seas -- the result of being a medium-size (and not an overwhelmingly large) vessel. Crew members, from waiters and cabin stewards to the guest services personnel, make an effort to extend their warmest welcome and offer their genuine assistance.
For those who admire ocean views, there are plenty of places onboard to take in the sea breezes -- though not necessarily from your cabin. The ship has just two decks of staterooms with private balconies.
Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas Dress Code
Dress, for the most part, is casual onboard Rhapsody of the Seas. About the ship, passengers roam around in shorts or jeans, T-shirts or summer dresses for most of the day. In the evenings, some people get decked out in their finest -- jackets and ties, flowy dresses -- on formal nights (typically two evenings for a weeklong cruise). Others won't bother with changing from their day wear. The evening dress codes are merely suggestions, in any case. There's no fashion police, though swim attire is not permitted in the more formal public venues. As a general rule of thumb, passengers -- when choosing their attire -- fully embrace the vacation vibe.
Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas Gratuity
Gratuity is $14.50 per person, per day for cruisers in standard staterooms and $17.50 per person, per day for suite passengers. The amount is automatically charged to passengers' SeaPass accounts, which is then pooled and distributed among the crew. An additional 18 percent is added to specialty restaurant covers and bar purchases, as well as spa treatments. Though not required, some people choose to tip the stateroom steward and the waiters who tend to their dinner table extra -- in other words, the staff who get to know passengers on a one-on-one basis.
Note: Australians and New Zealanders do not have the stateroom service charge added to their account; fares automatically include this gratuity as long as the cruise was booked in AU or NZ dollars.