Rhapsody of the Seas

Radiance of the Seas meets passenger feedback

Radiance of the Seas is on her way to Australian waters. Fresh from a multi-million dollar makeover, this ship which entered service in April 2001 and carries 2112 passengers will be followed by her sister ship Rhapsody of the Seas.

Due to arrive in Sydney on the morning of 15 October, she will be the biggest ship based in the region and she will stay here until early April 2012. As well as a 34-night circumnavigation of Australia Radiance of the Seas is offering weekend getaways of 2 nights, 14-night and 16-night cruises to New Zealand and trips to Hobart and Melbourne.

The refit of Radiance has been based on passenger requests, say the owners the Royal Caribbean line. Those who have travelled before on this vessel can expect to find staterooms for singles, new dining venues, an English Pub, an outdoor movie screen, improvements in the lounges and a new Royal Babies and Tots Nursery. And all the carpets and soft furnishings have been replaced.

These new restaurants include a Samba Grill where the Seaview Grill was. Offering different meats, all carved at the table and South American specialities like the caiparinhas (one of my all-time favourite cocktails since I first visited South America) which promises to be a favourite. The Chef’s Table will be a venue seating just 14, offering a five course meal with wines to compliment the food. On a similar theme Rita’s Cantina will offer Mexican cuisine – and another South American favourite, the Margarita – no cover charge and no reservations.
If you prefer Japanese the Izumi will be more to your taste. Here they promise traditional Japanese food, including sashimi. Or you may find Giovanni’s Table with it’s focus on the food of Tuscany is more your thing. And when you just feel like being casual there’s the new pub or the Park Cafe.
Can’t imagine getting around all these restaurants in a week – let alone a weekend taster – and I haven’t even mentioned the hot dog House…. you can see I enjoy my food.
I’m looking forward to visiting this ship when she comes our way… and I hope many of my clients will take advantage of her long stay in our waters!
Pic is of the Radiance in dry dock in British Columbia, Canada where many ship fitouts take place.

Fewer ships, cooler mornings

As the days grow cooler and shorter, fewer ships will enter our harbours. Despite what my mobile said this morning, daylight saving has not finished and I am now taking my early morning walk round the harbour foreshores just after sunrise. (Daylight saving will end on Sunday 5th April).
Here is the Celebrity Millenium when she was moored in Sydney Harbour earlier this year. Today you will find the her docked at the International Terminal. She is due in Melbourne on 31st March, from there she will sail to Hobart, arriving on 3rd April.
Rhapsody of the Seas will arrive in Sydney on 31st March and stay until 2nd April and the Sun Princess will sail into Darling Harbour on 2nd April, leaving the same day.
Sun Princess is in Hobart overnight – and that will be the last cruise ship in our southern most port until the Spring. Melbourne will also not see any more cruise ships until the warm weather returns.
Next summer we will see more ships in our harbours than ever. And new ships are being built just for our waters. Carnival Australia announced last week that the Pacific Pearl will arrive in Australian waters and be based in Sydney from the end of 2010 and Pacific Sun will be based in Newcastle around about the same time.

A few more ships in port

This week you will spot the following ships in your port…

Wednesday 18 March
Millenium is in Sydney Harbour for the day – she’s pictured here when she visited at the end of February
Rhapsody of the Seas visits Adelaide for the day
C Colombus is in Devonport, Tasmania just for the day
Diamond Princess in Hobart Tasmania, leaving same day

Thursday 19 March
Volendam will visit Sydney and stay overnight
Rhapsody of the Seas is in Melbourne for the day

Friday 20th March
Pacific Dawn arrives in Sydney and leaves same day
Sun Princess visits Fremantle and leaves the next day
Rhapsody of the Seas is in Adelaide for the day

Saturday 21st March
Pacific Sun visits Brisbane for the day
Volendam arrives in Melbourne and leaves the same day

Monday 22nd March
Melbourne will welcome Rhapsody of the Seas for the day

Tuesday 23rd March
Royal Princess arrives in Burnie, Tasmania and leaving same day
Volendam is in Adelaide, leaving the same day

More and more Aussies are taking cruises and the most popular cruises are those in our home waters – Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific – then Asia. The big attraction of cruising is the inclusion of accommodation, meals, transport, entertainment and, in many cruises some great extras, all in the one price. And for many getting on and/or off in the home port is another plus – as is only unpacking once. If you fancy cruising – or think you might – we can suggest a cruise that will suit your budget and your time-frame – there are so many to choose from. There are also many different types of cruise ships – so if you would rather travel with people of your own age, on a big ship, or a small exploration vessel, we can find the right one for you.
Drop me an email anytime – martin@travelchoice.com.au

Queen Victoria, Queen Mary and the Crystal Serenity

Well dear readers, I was hoping to present you with some beautiful photos of the Queen Victoria docked at Sydney’s International Terminal, followed by the Dawn Princess sailing out of our beautiful harbour at night… but I need to brush up my photography skills.
So this week – the Queen Mary 2 will arrive in the Harbour on Thursday (bringing the lovely Biba back into the offices of the Mosman Cruise Centre) and the Crystal Serenity will follow on Saturday. I am thrilled to have been invited to visit both of these luxurious ladies of the sea and hope to do a better job of photography so I can present you with a slide show of them both.
If you’re out cruise spotting this week look for…

24th February

  • Rhapsody of the Seas in Sydney Harbour
  • Diamond Princess visits Melbourne for the day
  • Queen Victoria visits Adelaide for the day

25th February

  • Royal Princess arriving and leaving Sydney
  • Celebrity Millenium visits Melbourne for the day
  • Black Watch moors in Burnie, Tasmania for the day

26th February

  • The Queen Mary 2 arrives in Sydney, docking at Garden Island, and stays for a day
  • Saga Rose arrives in Sydney and berths at the International Cruise Terminal overnight
  • Rhapsody of the Seas visits Brisbane for the day
  • Black Watch visits Melbourne for the day
  • Diamond Princess goes to Hobart, Tasmania for the day

27th February

  • Aurora arrives in Brisbane and leaves same day
  • Royal Princess will also moor in Brisbane for the day
  • Volendam visits Burnie, Tasmania for the day
  • Athena goes to Fremantle for the day
  • Diamond Princess goes to Adelaide for the day

28th February

  • Millenium returns to Sydney and stays until March 2. She will moor at Athol Buoy
  • Crystal Serenity arrives in Sydney and stays at the Overseas Passenger Terminal until 1 March
  • Pacific Sun arrives in Brisbane and leaves same day
  • Volendam visits Melbourne for the day

1st March

  • Pacific Dawn arrives for the day in Sydney Harbour
  • Aurora also visits Sydney and stays overnight. She will moor at Point Piper Buoy then move to the Overseas Passenger Terminal
  • Saga Rose arrives in Brisbane for the day
  • Pacific Sun moors in Adelaide for the day

2nd March

  • Volendam arrives in Sydney and departs same day
  • Athena returns to Fremantle for the day

Phew! Busy time. If you’d like more information I’m always happy to oblige. Just email me, martin@travelchoice.com.au or phone me during office hours on 2 9968 1600

In Sydney Harbour today 10 Feb – three big ships

I’ll update this later… but have just realised that today is the day when Hapag Lloyd’s Europa, Holland America’s Rotterdam and Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas are all in port – until tomorrow 11th. The Rhapsody has moored off Athol Bay in Mosman because there is not the space for three large cruise ships. And we’re supposed to be an international port? White Bay won’t solve this problem – 2 out of 3 of these ships don’t fit under the bridge!
I’m off to inspect the Rotterdam this evening so I’ll have more to tell tomorrow! Watch this space for some pics and some news

Ships coming and going

Bit quieter this week in the ports of Australia – they’re all at sea! It’s not until 24th that the first ship returns. Though the little known Black Prince will leave Adelaide on 23rd.
Our picture shows Pacific Dawn leaving Sydney last week – she’ll be back on 28th.
24th January
Pacific Venus will leave Darwin having arrived the day before
Pacific Sun will arrive in Brisbane and leave same day
Sun Princess will arrive in Melbourne and leave the same day
Athena will arrive in Fremantle and leave the same day
25th January
Diamond Princess will arrive in Hobart and depart same day.
27th January
Diamond Princess sails into Melbourne leaving again at 5.
Athena comes back to Fremantle and leaves again
Rhapsody of the Seas will arrive in Sydney and depart the following day
Bookmark this blog to keep up to date with ships around Oz – or contact me – martin@travelchoice.com.au if you have a specific inquiry.

Rhapsody of the Seas

The first feature we are shown on Rhapsody of the Seas are the floor to ceiling windows and canopies on the 10th and 11th floors. Branded by the Royal Caribbean International Cruise line as one of their Vision ships – this is why. What better place to take a photo of the Sydney Opera House or The Sydney Harbour Bridge than on a towering ship docked at Sydney’s Circular Quay’s International Terminal.
Today I joined a group of other travel agents on a tour of this ship. These tours give travel agents a first hand look at the cabins and suites and all the facilities.
The day began with grey clouds frowning over the Harbour Bridge but by mid-morning the sky was smiling and the sun was shining. The city looked as if it had been polished for the ship’s visit.
Our tour of the Rhapsody of the Seas, which carries 1998 passengers, is 78,000 tonnes, was built in 1997 and re-furbished in 2007 took us to:

  • a rock climbing wall,
  • one of the biggest dance floors I have seen on a ship in the Shall We Dance ballroom,
  • a theatre that seats 870 and is the focus of evening entertainment by visiting performers and the ship’s own production company,
  • a child focussed centre with a kids room, a video games room and an over-14s ‘night club’
  • a large casino,
  • a large Day Spa with an Eqyptian theme and a hairdressing salon with big windows to the sea,
  • a fitness centre that also looks out to sea
  • four flexible conference rooms.

We were also invited to view all the suites from the luxurious Royal Suite with its white grand piano, marble bar and huge sitting room to the interior staterooms with all the comforts
of an elegant hotel room. In between there are Family Suites, Ocean View Staterooms, Balcony Staterooms – all offering TV, telephone, private bathrooms and room service.
Our visit included lunch on board in the Edelweiss restaurant. Meal options include fine dining, casual dining and buffet-style restaurants, a pizza paarlour and an ice cream bar.
There are 21 ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet – this is just one of them.
Tomorrow the Rhapsody sails for New Zealand. Later this year she will once circumnavigate Australia – one of the most popular cruises.
If you would like to find out more about this ship’s itineraries – or others in the Royal Caribbean’s fleet – please contact me… I’d love to tell you more.
See the Gallery of photos of the Rhapsody of the Seas

Ships in your port

Bit late this week – at this time of year the ports are so busy with cruise ships. Today I have spent 5 hours on a ship’s visit on board Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas . This is what travel agents do in order to check out the ships without actually sailing on them and it gives them an opportunity to look at the different types of cabins and the facilities on board. More about that to come in the posting on Rhapsody of the Seas.
If you were watching on
11 January
Rhapsody of the Seas sailed in and out of Hobart
12 January
Nautica sailed in and out of Hobart and Sun Princess arrived and left Melbourne.
13 January – today
Rhapsody of the Seas is in Sydney until tomorrow 14 January – she sails at 6pm.
Silver Whisper has sailed into Hobart and will sail again late today.
15 January
Silver Whisper sails into Melbourne leaving the same day
17 January
Silver Whisper will arrive in Sydney, stay overnight and sail for Hong Kong next day
Pacific Sun will arrive and depart Brisbane
18 January
Pacific Dawn sails into Sydney leaving the same day
19 January
Dawn Princess will arrive in Sydney and leave again.

Sailings for week 5 to 10 January 2009

Ports are busy at this time of year as ships come and go for their Pacific seasons – all these ships are staying in the Southern Hemisphere. Ships visiting Australian ports this week are:
5 January
Celebrity Millenium, Volendam and Diamond Princess sailed into and from Sydney
Nautica arrived in Brisbane and left the same day
6 January
Rhapsody of the Seas arrives and departs Sydney for New Zealand
7 January
Nautica arrives in Sydney and stays overnight, sailing the next day (photo of Nautica taken at Circular Quay on 7 Jan.)
Volendam arrives in Melbourne and departs the same day
8 January
Pacific Dawn arrives in Sydney
Rhapsody of the Seas arrives in Melbourne and leaves same day, Celebrity Millenium arrives and stays overnight
9 January
Dawn Princess returns to Sydney and leaves same day
Fremantle will welcome Athena which departs same day
10 January
Pacific Sun visits Brisbane for the day
Nautica will visit Melbourne and leave the same day
Do email me – martin@travelchoice.com.au if you would like information on any of these ships and their itineraries. Or you can call Sydney time between 9 and 5 – 2 9968 1600.

This Week’s Deals

South Pacific Wonders Special $999.00*
Rhapsody of the Seas (see below for information on this ship) cruises New Caledonia, departing 2 April 2009 from Sydney. Prices start at $999.00*
11 nights on board – here is the itinerary.
2 April departs Sydney
3-4 April at sea
5 April, Noumea, New Caledonia
6 April, Mystery Island, Vanuatu
7 April, at sea
8 April, Luganville, Vanuatu
9 April, Vila, Vanuatu
10 April, Isle of Pines, New Caledonia
11-12 April, at sea
13 April returns Sydney
Email me – martin@travelchoice.com.au with your questions

Here are a few more of the current deals:
Sail on the Queen Victoria from Sydney to Bangkok from $8.049.00
Departs Sydney 20 Feb 2010
Duration: 31 night
Price includes:

  • One-way economy class airfare with Singapore Airlines from Bangkok
  • Transfers in Bangkok
  • Free stopover in Singapore at the Fairmont for one night
  • and all the benefits of sailing on the beautiful Queen Victoria.

18 night Pacific & Hawaii Discovery on the Dawn Princess (see below for more info on this ship) from $2,799.00
Departs Honolou 5 May 2009
Flight upgrades available…
We can tell you more about this and any deal you see advertised..
email Martin@travelchoice.com.au
*Conditions apply