June 2015 - 11 Night Aegean Sea Exploration (Istanbul Roundtrip) Cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas
Royal Caribbean no longer noble
We chose this cruise for the ports and good prior experience with Royal Caribbean. While the ports were excellent, this is a smaller ship and a bit boring. While I do not rock climb and would never "ride the waves" on their newer ships, I found there was little entertainment except that of the evening show and even that was poorly timed at 7 & 9 pm. Many passengers obviously enjoyed themselves but I believe it was partially due to the 3-2-1 package of free beverages that they chose. Being boringly sober, I memorized the same episode of Castle I fell asleep to nightly (I tried watching The Mentalist, only shown in German, but hadn't seen it frequently enough to remember the plot).
The balcony cabin was a decent size but the balcony unusually small. Two small sitting upright chairs and a small table was all that would fit. Royal Caribbean seems to have given up any pretense of luxury such as small lotion, shampoo, or conditioner bottles. One soap dispenser was in the shower and even that became empty - our cabin attendant forgot to refill it. The beds were hard and it took 3 days to get the egg crate we requested when first meeting the cabin attendant (yes, we tipped him generously).
There are movies shown on the deck but no blankets, hot chocolate, or other amenities were provided like Princess does. In short, what made the vacation was the fact that in an 11 night cruise, we were only at sea 2 days. No port lecturers, other than shopping, were given and there were few interesting daytime activities. Pricing on computer services were the most outrageous I've seen.
Like many cruise lines, Royal Caribbean seems to be pushing "My Time" dining. I booked early in January and could not get late seating. The food was basic and the service decent. The daily newsletter had little sense of reality in that it had the dining places and times listed incorrectly on port days, said that a port (shopping) lecture on Mykonos and Crete (in the title) would talk about Rhodes and Santorini, and told us we would depart the ship on June 20. Our cruise ended on July 2.