Arrived in San Paolo to chaos at 5 am. 1 guy trying to corral 500 passengers, tag them and get them on buses who had trouble speaking English. Arrival at Santos was even worse. 3 large ships turnover passengers at 8 am in a terminal that accommodated maybe 500 people while 6000 were off loading and 6000 were getting on. Minimal bilingual people available to assist arriving passengers. RCCL passenger area once you got into the RCCL designated area was good, swift and helpful as most counter personnel were bilingual.
Once onboard you received conflicting bad news- Rooms will not be available until 11:30(onboard at 10), then the time was pushed to 1:30. Cabin Stewards not available to greet you, no welcome onboard champaign nor someone to help you to your cabin- your were basically on your own until dinner.
Dinner and the "ATTACK of the DRAGON LADY" when I approached my table I was verbally attacked by an Asian lady who said "You do not belong at this table anymore ONLY my friends are allowed here go find another table!!!!!!" Great personality and welcoming onboard for dinner. After going to the assigning Maitr'd I got my second table, also predominately Asians, and was almost told the same thing by a "Group Leader" Ms. Lee. But the table told her to get lost and initially welcomed me. At the completion of dinner and after ordering dessert the ENTIRE table left and I sat alone eating my dessert. I quickly checked my underarms and possible body odor problem but was "smelling like a rose" so I knew it wasn't anything offensive. I went back to the head Dining Room Maitr'd and requested another table and was accommodated.
The third night out the table server came up to one of my table mates and said "You are not on my list for this table I'll finish serving you then you have to leave and get another table. I recommended they see the Dining Room Maitr'd and they were returned the next night. That same night we (4 table mates) ordered Escargot and scallops came instead without any explanation as to why they were substituted. We complained b/c if someone had had a fish allergy they would be dead b/c they weren't told. Others may have wanted another appetizer but were denied that option.
At5 pm on Day 4 I get a call from the Dining Room Maitr'd Andreas who says "ALL OF YOUR TABLE MATES HAVE ASKED THAT YOU BE REMOVED FROM THE TABLE SO I AM PUTTING YOU IN "MY TIME DINING" AT 6:30." I was floored b/c I had spoken with my stablemates and they never said anything all day. Thinking this was a VINDICTIVE attempt to embarrass me I set out the next day to prove my point which I did- all 9 other people on the table stated to me that was a lie and I was welcomed at the table.
I took my case to the Food and Beverage Manager, Markus and asked him to step in and verify my story or Andreas' and get back to me. Markus assured me he would speak the tablemates during dinner which he didn't do while sending me to an EMPTY TABLE in My Time Dining. At The Capt.'s Diamond Club reception that night Markus pointed thumbs up about the dinner and I told him I ate alone and moved on. By chance when I left the reception I saw the Bar Manager/Director who is under Markus. I told him to tell Markus that I was returning to the original table the following night and I expected to see my place setting there and I expected NOT to see Andreas the rest of the cruise. I resolved that problem w/o any help. I also put my complaints in writing and I received 2 meals in theSpeciality Restaurants as gifts for my problems with the hope I would NOT COMPLAIN. I talked to the Capt. about it also.
The rest of the trip was good. Our Capt. in light of the recent problems incurred by Anthem off South Carolina, warned us of heavy and rough seas and high winds around Cape Horn and for that reason he altered course which we were grateful for. It happened another night when we entered the Chilean Fjords and again the Capt. altered course to make it safer for the passengers.
The ports were extremely interesting and most of the excursions were in English only. But the entertainment was all in Portuguese as a large amount of the passengers were from Brazil. A very large portion of the dining room, wait and room staff were Brazilians making them the catered to population which meant everything was said in Portuguese first the Spanish then English then German making the Capt.'s morning reports take up to 20 minutes to complete (At Capt.'s roundtable was an hour and because of the multiple translations he only answered 6 questions). The entertainers spoke Portuguese first then translated to English and Spanish which detracted from their presentations. And I noted that when Portuguese was spoken not many audience participants clapped or responded to questions with applause or acknowledgement of any kind. As a matter of fact, the Dance Competition final round was so rigged/slanted that when the wrong couple in the audience's mind was selected for third everyone whistled, booed and very loudly so the host had trouble containing them. After the wrong couple was removed the people continued to whistle and boo their displeasure for the better part of 10 minutes.
Speaking to many NON Brazilians it was obvious people were not happy. It was rumored on board that the RCI contract with Brazil would terminate when Rhapsody returned to Santos reversing the trip because of many demands of the Brazilian government to employ more Brazilians on the round trip. The Capt. DID verify that RCI will terminate the contract with Brazil for use of Santos at the end of the return trip BUT he never gave a reason.
Rhapsody is a well maintained and clean ship. People take pride in their jobs and try to do them to the best of their ability but they are not well educated on People Skills and helping passengers without getting hostile when given negative information.
Those people who were members of the Diamond Club had an excellent location for their nightly functions in the aft of the ship and "Shall we Dance" entertainment Room. MOST amenities available to Diamond and above members were available but had to be asked for or asked why they were NOT in my room when I arrived.
A point here about lack of notification- When I boarded I had NOTHING in my EMAILS to tell me where or when the Mixer was. I checked my email and the I asked at the Customer Relations Desk and was told RCL is not responsible for that party and we have nothing on it for you. OOOOPPPPPSSSSS missed the mixer b/c Cruise Critic didn't notify me. And yes I have been on a cruise before when I had a sign on my door and a note on my bed when I embarked to tell me where the Mixer was and at what time. Maybe I didn't get the message on how to find everything. Not even an email in my Trash or Spam email.
My recommendation is that people look at the 4 and 5 star cruises that are ALL INCLUSIVE. Here is why- 1) Free included shore excursions, all inclusive premium bar drinks ALL DAY, some include free air and transfers to the ship from many big cities, NYC, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Dallas and LA., FRISCO, Seattle to name a few. If you add up what you paid on the Rhapsody it may be MORE than an all exclusive trip. 2) the 4 and 5 star trips have a smaller capacity so you get to know a lot more folks, 3) The ships used by the All-Inclusive cruises can get into a variety of different ports and make things more interesting.
Also you might want to explore a RIVER CRUISE in Europe, Russia, China that also are "all inclusive."
Each of the above cruises offers something different than the mass population cruise of 2200+by limiting the amount of people on the boat to under 400.
RCCL has diminished it's service, food and entertainment over the last 20 years and is almost worse than Carnival.
Small but good enough for one person- 7-10" between bed and walls on both sides. But bed was comfortable. Cabin Steward was good but slow to understand directions. Towels and all other bathroom necessities were amply supplied. Soft drinks were hidden in a cabinet hidden with NO directions on where to find then nor their cost. PLENTY of HANGING SPACE FOR ONE AS WELL AS PLENTY OF DRAWER SPACE. Two may have had a problem. Rm was right off Deck 4 Centrum the main entertainment area. This was ideal for me b/c I could keep the cabin door open and hear the music being played in the Centrum which was VERY ENJOYABLE.
Chaos at the terminal for folks who flew all night. 1 bilingual person to help 1500 incoming and outgoing passengers get to the proper transportation.
Garbage filled water tour showing how people live in the delta around Buenos Aires w/o electricity, shopping malls and cars. The delta soon will cut off Buenos aires from the Tigre Rive.
it was ok but not as interesting as Punta del Este
traveling through the bay to the rookery the scenery on the mountain range was better in my opinion than Alaska. We ported in the bay the night before and the views of Ushuaia were magnificent and in some case breathtaking.
Disappointing as the weather was not conducive to enjoying the penguins unclose and personal with rain and heavy winds. Dockside shopping was not good and going into town was near impossible b/c we were leaving within an an hour after our arrival back at the ship.