Rhapsody Of The Seas
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Founded by three Norwegian shipping companies in 1969, Royal Caribbean’s first ship, Song of Norway, entered service in 1970 as the first passenger ship purpose-built for warm weather cruising instead of point-to-point transport. Song of Norway also was the first ship with a cocktail lounge cantilevered from its smokestack, thus making the Viking Crown Lounge a hallmark of every Royal Caribbean vessel. In 1988 Royal Caribbean and Admiral Cruises merged, marking a growth spurt highlighted by the debut of the 2,350-passenger Sovereign of the Seas and its dazzling five-deck atrium. After going public in 1993, adding more glittering ships to its fleet, the line in 1997 changed its name to Royal Caribbean International, better reflecting global scope and itineraries. In 1997, Rhapsody of the Seas entered service in Alaska, and in 1999 RCI hit what even competitors called a “home run” with introduction of its first Eagle class ship, Voyager of the Seas, with the industry’s first rock climbing wall and an ice skating rink to boot. In 2004, RCI continues trail blazing with new options in the Gulf of Mexico, expanded adventures in Alaska, more itineraries in Europe, and 15 Royal Caribbean ships cruising the Caribbean.
As one of a half dozen Vision-class vessels, Rhapsody of the Seas has a light, airy sense of whimsy, thanks in part to extensive application of glass throughout the interior design. Big window panels in public areas help guests remember they are on an adventure at sea, despite spacious comfort of a land-based resort with value-added amenities . Like sisters Legend, Splendour, Enchantment, Grandeur and Vision (each “of the Seas”), Rhapsody has the signature Viking Crown Lounge, an eye-popping centrum, swimming pools, and an Egyptian-themed Solarium spa and pool with a retractable glass canopy. Dinner, sometimes themed, can be a grand affair in the two-tiered dining room with a dramatic staircase. Youngsters are never bored, thanks to the Club Ocean Children’s room and the FantaSEAS Teen Center. Dazzling production shows in the Broadway Melodies Show Lounge garner raves, and it helps that the sightlines from both balcony and main floor make it easy to enjoy what’s unfolding on stage. In 2004, Rhapsody sails round-trip from Galveston, Texas on 7-night itineraries departing Sundays, followed by a day at sea, a lengthy stay in popular Key West with plenty of time for shore excursions or independent sight-seeing, plus calls at Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Key West shore excursion, bookable in advance or onboard, range from a self-guided historic homes tour or a conch train/trolley tour to scuba adventure.
Year entering service: 1997
Rhapsody of the Seas, like all Royal Caribbean Vision-class ships, has cabins that have been designed with a spacious look, and the ship’s public spaces are especially airy and bright.
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