When we first booked 16 nights aboard Rhapsody of the Seas it sounded like heaven. Then we started to tell people. 16 nights, they said, that’s a long time. Which made us start to think that 16 nights really was a very long time. Perhaps, indeed, even too much time. We had only cruised once before and only for 4 nights, this was going to be a lot longer than that. Before we boarded we knew there was going to be a lot of older people onboard. However we did assume there would be some young people. And there were a couple of young people and the odd child here and there, but most people were really old. Someone told us that the average age onboard was 69 and while we have no idea if that is true or not, but it is the funniest number and must be pretty close to the truth, so let’s go with it.
People take cruising really seriously. There was a couple on our ship who were spending their 2000th night at sea (fyi you get a free steak dinner if you make it this far). Another couple on board had started a petition to keep the rhapsody of the seas in Australia (this was its last trip out of Australia, it will be replaced with a newer ship). This couple had sailed on the rhapsody of the seas over 60 times.
Cruise ships provide a lot of opportunities to be competitive. We quickly fell into a sea day routine of spending our time between breakfast and lunch participating in trivia games. We managed to win a few games, but lost the progressive trivia by a measly 1 point. Between lunch and dinner we idled by the pool or tried one of the other activities onboard (like rock climbing which had almost no line). After dinner we’d either see one of the shows onboard (as long as it was a comedian), watch a movie or have a few drinks before heading off to bed to wake up and do it all over again.
The food was ok, nothing to write home about. There was plenty of it, but all fairly bland, even the wasabi schnitzel or the Harissa chicken. Despite the constant large meals we managed to avoid putting on any weight, largely because we avoided the lifts and took the stairs everywhere.So was it too long? We were happy to leave on the last day, some people had another two legs (30 more days to go) and we certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed that. On day 13 Keelie witnessed an almost punch-up in the smoking area after breakfast, so maybe it was a little too long for some people (although we were about to stop in Bali, and Bali does tend to do strange things to Australians). Much like our first cruise, our last day on board was spent in a mad rush trying to do all the things we had meant to do and hadn’t got around to yet (play bingo, go to the casino, play a game of shuffleboard, have a proper breakfast in the main dining room, etc), so there was enough to prevent us from getting too bored. However for that length of time a larger ship with more variety in the eating/drinking options might be welcome. The big screen on the pool deck showed the same tropical images on a continuous loop the entire time. If we had to watch it any longer I wouldn’t have been responsible for my actions.