February 24, 2017

Rhapsody of the Seas

February 18, 2017 – I am off for two weeks on the Rhapsody of the Seas sailing from Tampa, Florida to Honduras, Belize , and Mexico. Actually I am doing a back to back and will be visiting each port of call twice, unless the captain diverts us to some other location.

Scott and Alyssa drive me to Tampa, and are spending the rest of their day at Busch Gardens.

This is definitely one of the fastest and easiest ship boardings I have ever encountered. Probably less than 20 minutes from stepping out of the car to being in the crown lounge on the ship. Of course this being a smaller ship makes the logistics much easier, but everything went smoothly, well for me anyway.

Entering the port building immediately in front of me was a couple with a big red wagon loaded with about 4 large suit cases and miscellaneous smaller items. I sure I saw a kitchen sink in the pile. Needless to say, security would not let them in. I have no guess what they expected to do with the wagon once on board. Fortunately I was able to just change lines and enter a different door.

The cabins were ready by 1:30, and I found my luggage in the hallway by a little after 2:00. To get the ship loaded as quickly as possible, luggage was initially just brought to the right section of the ship. A separate crew was slowly moving luggage to individual cabins, but most of it was just picked up from the hallways by the passengers.

By mid afternoon it began to rain, and I must assume it was also raining at Busch Gardens. Hopefully the kids were lucky, and inside at the time. After the usual muster drill, not "mustard" as many say, we left port promptly on time at 4:00 PM. The rain had stopped but it was very cloudy and overcast as we made our way under the Sunshine Bridge a little more than two hours after leaving Port. Tampa will never see any of the larger ships as they are just too tall to fit under the bridge, we clear with feet to spare.

The diamond lounge at most has about 40 guests during cocktail hour. I understand it is the first night, but the dress is what I would expect on Carnival. Armless tee shirts, shorts, swimsuits and ball caps. Not what is usually seen. I will see what happens tomorrow.

I am assigned late dining, as that is all that was available when I booked. Just one more reason I plan to eat at Park Cafe or the Windjammer.

The first night there is only one show. The comedian was good. I remember seeing him before, but don't remember the specifics of his routine. There are advantages to being able to forget.

As we head WSW towards Honduras, the seas are about 3 to 6 feet. Being a small ship we roll just enough so that if you think about it you realize you are on a ship.

Sunday is a sea day. The temperatures are in the mid to upper seventies, the skies are mostly sunny most of the day. Many passengers lounge in the sun or take dips in the pools. Unlike the larger ships there are plenty of deck chairs for everyone. A new detail I have noticed for the first time is that one of the pool staff stands on the platform of one of the hot tubs all day just watching over the pools. Not a lifeguard, but at least a set of eyes. There are some kids on board, but not a significant percentage. The cruise director tells us that the passenger manifest includes people from 21 countries, the majority being Americans followed by Canadians.

I spend an hour or so with future cruise sales re-booking some cruises. Because of changes in fares, and the fact that I now qualify for a discount on the single supplement I was able to save some dollars by re-booking.

By Monday evening the seas have picked up a little and a few passengers are beginning to complain about the ships motion. Every 20 of 30 minutes we hit a little larger wave that rattles throughout the ship. It's good to be able to hear and feel that I am actually on a ship and not just in a hotel somewhere.

The same improperly dressed guests are in the Diamond lounge again tonight. Even though it is formal night, they don't care. Yes, I had a private conversation with Alan the Diamond Lounge Concierge about the lack of proper dress. He doesn't seem to care any more than the offending guests.

Charlie is here, and fact he has been here for the last 7 weeks. I have said this before in earlier posts, but the only time I ever run into Charlie is on a Cruise ship even though he is one of my neighbors at home. I hope these two weeks turn out better, but his first four weeks were plagued with rain, high winds and generally unpleasant weather. They were diverted to different ports on several occasions, but that is just the way it is when dealing with mother nature.

Tonight's production show is with the singers and dancers. This being my first cruise on this ship, it is the first time I have seen this particular show. Because of the cost involved Royal very rarely will change a production show. They find it more advantageous to reposition ships to different markets every 3 to 5 years instead.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to be in Roatan, Honduras.

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