Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Sail Away to Paradise; Step on Board Rhapsody of the Seas with Peter Chapman

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Sail Away to Paradise; Step on Board Rhapsody of the Seas with Peter Chapman

Article excerpt

ROYAL Caribbean, with a fleet of 22 super liners, is moving towards basing three of its super ships out of Sydney, including Rhapsody of the Seas, a magnificent vessel that can carry almost 2500 passengers.

I boarded the Rhapsody in Hawaii for a 14-day cruise across the Pacific taking in Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora.

Passengers included more than 800 Australians, 500 Kiwis and others from 51 different countries. Many were return passengers.

The message from Captain Rick Sullivan to his 800 crew was C[pounds sterling]make this trip as relaxing and as friendly as possible for the passengersC[yen].

Before I left I checked out an internet site called C[pounds sterling]cruise criticC[yen]. The biggest whinge is that you can't take your own alcohol on board. My advice is to accept it as part of the cruise cost.

Alcohol prices aren't bad: a stubby costs under $5 and a glass of good quality wine around $7.

The one thing no one could complain about was hunger pains. The food was varied, excellent and never boring. The wine list was mostly American wines but you could find a good drop of Peter Lehman Shiraz for $33.

The five-day first leg took us to Papeete in Tahiti. Papeete Tahiti sounds a magical place but the island has only a few magic spots.

My disappointment of Tahiti was quickly forgotten the next day when we landed in nearby Moorea. Here was the real magic you expected from an island paradise.

A tour to swim with stingrays proved an incredible experience as they gently nestled up to you looking to be fed.

I was fortunate to share a dinner table throughout the cruise with Betty, a sprightly 79-year-old from New Zealand. Betty was the talk of the cruise after she jumped off the small tour boat fully clothed during the stingray experience. She'd forgotten her swimmers but she wasn't going to miss out on this once in a lifetime experience. …

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