Cruising to Alaska on Rhapsody of the Seas – August 14, 2009 – Sail Day

Luggage and cruise documents in hand we arrived at Seattle’s Pier 91.  Friends from the Seattle area hosted us for a few days and then were kind enough to drop us off at the pier.  As soon as the vehicle stopped a porter asked us if we were on Rhapsody of the Seas.  When we said we were he said he’d be glad to take care of our baggage for us.  Since our booking was all electronic, we didn’t have official luggage tags that some people have.  The porter led us to a counter where a man asked our names and then handed our porter tags.  We stood there while he put them on and then he told us that was it.  The bags would be delivered to our room.  I handed him a tip and we went inside where a smiling lady looked at our documentation and pointed us to security.

Passing through security was a lot like going through security at an airport.  However, unlike it is at the airport, the people handing security were smiling and welcoming us.  From there we stood in a long, but fast moving line for cruise check in.  Within 10 minutes we were at a window where we showed our passports, cruise documents, and the credit card which was linked to our sail account.  Then, with our sail passes in hand (these serve as our identification, room key, and on board credit card) we walked up several flights to board the ship on level five.  Around 20 minutes from arriving at the pier we walked onto the ship.

The rooms were already open so we found our way to our tiny room.  Since we’d asked for a “queen size” bed the room had been set up that way.  The room was so small that you couldn’t walk around the bed, but had to climb on and off the end.  Closet space was adequate in spite of the fact that our two big suitcases took up most of one side.  The bathroom was tiny and the shower had only a curtain rather than a door.  It is likely that the biggest advantage to having a higher class cabin isn’t the outside view so much as it is the amount of space.  Still, there was plenty of drawer space.  We unloaded our luggage and found spots for everything.

We had eaten while waiting for the luggage to be delivered.  The buffet restaurant is called the Windjammer and is located in the front of the ship on deck nine.  Our first meal there wasn’t especially impressive; however, subsequent meals were just fine.
aboard rhapsody - seattle - 8-14-2009 5-46-17 PM.JPG With mild temperatures on deck we spent the departure time outside, enjoying beautiful views of downtown Seattle as it receded to the distance.   Puget Sound is filled with interesting shipping.  As we watched the world go by we realized that one of the boats we were seeing was a submarine being escorted by two coast guard boats.

Rhapsody isn’t the biggest Royal Caribbean ship but it’s large enough to need some exploration of the eleven decks that include everything from two pools to a small shopping center to several places to enjoy music.  One of the most impressive was a violin-piano duo situated right at the center of the ship in the Centrum that is open up through the ship from deck four to deck nine.  The music was wonderful and could be heard in the seating areas on each deck.   Meanwhile, out by one of the pools a group was singing contemporary oldies.

Our dining choice was “My time” so we weren’t tied to a specific eating time.  The first night, we ate the evening meal in the main dining room.  Everything thing was done formal style and our waiter, Emal was very good, instantly learning the names of all seven people at the table.  Although we ate in different area each night, Emal never failed to call us by name when he saw us walking through his area to be seated elsewhere.

The motion of the ship was more than I expected, but still relatively minor.  It felt a little like driving over a road that is mildly rutted.  In a few places there’s quite a bit of vibration but most everywhere there’s just a gentle reminder that one is on a ship that is actually moving.

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