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Rhapsody of the Seas Movie Screen

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Was hoping for peoples' opinions/experiences.  Was on Rhapsody of the seas a few weeks back.  Booked it because we thought it would be a good fit with our son (special needs; loves to swim and watch movies).  Get on the ship and there was scaffolding around the outdoor movie screen and was informed that they would be doing maintenance on the screen most likely for the entire week (ended up being 6 out of the 7 days).  For those who are unfamiliar with the Rhapsody, it does not have the bells and whistles of RCI's bigger ships.  RCI's summary sheet highlights the outdoor movie screen, rock climbing wall, retractable roof (that also had problems), and a bungee trampoline (which we never did find).  The pool/movie screen area with a smaller ship was certainly a factor in deciding on this cruise.


I will try to attach pics, and I have videos of drilling and hammering that went on while they worked on the screen.  When I asked at guest services what I could have done to avoid this situation and what can I do to avoid it in the future (no communication beforehand), the response was nothing I could have done, that passengers are really at the mercy of whatever they decide to perform maintenance work on any particular cruising, and that it is RCI's policy that they provide no advance communication/compensation for any inconvenience.  Is this par for the course for how RCI does business?


We have 20 plus cruises (mostly on Disney and Holland America).  Was just on the Nieuw Amsterdam a few weeks ago; everybody on the ship received a $50 onboard credit because they changed some port times because of azipod issues (as explained in a letter when we first got to our cabin).



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Welcome to Cruise Critic. 


I was on the same sailing and, while inconvenient, I'm not sure when (other than a dry dock) they could do the work. It was noisy and smelly and they had the deck behind the screen roped off. 


I was also o. The following week, and they had half the Windjammer roped off as they were pulling up the carpet for replacement. 


Maintenance on any ship is ongoing. For a 20+ year old ship even more so. I've sailed with Royal exclusively, so I can't speak to other cruise lines, but yes, there usually is some kind of upkeep on every ship I've sailed on. And there is probably no way Royal, or any other line can let you know what their maintenance schedule is so you can plan around it. 



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10 hours ago, Troysers1 said:

Is this par for the course for how RCI does business?

Yes, maintenance is an ongoing thing on all ships, though larger projects wait for the next dry dock.

Edited by Biker19

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one should never choose ship/sailing based on one criteria.  besides, they don't always show movies on the screen in the first place.  a lot of times is sports events or   generic  screen saver images.  and many times the  LEDS or pixels or whatever are busted and you don't even get a full screen image  in the first place.  


I have been on ships where the kiddie splash zone was  blocked off while they replaced the  non skid padding.   that too was noisy and distracting.  I have been on ships where  one block of elevators was down for  extensive maintenance.  then there was the time  one side of Deck five outdoors was blocked off while they replaced the  railing.  


as for compensation.. you are contracted for a  cruise from point A to other points.  if they gave  OBC every time one  thing was unavailable  to the person that wanted it  when they wanted it( things I can think of are  access to the Rock climbing wall, or a lounge that's was  reserved for a large group)  they'd go broke.  


you can watch movies in the cabin.  some ships even have an indoor movie theater or show them on  certain days in the main theater.  

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Yes, this is normal for cruise lines, though I will say fixing something as large as a movie screen like that is unusual. Usually they would try to fix that as part of a dry dock or longer stop. One has to assume the screen was in pretty bad shape.  


As others have noted, repairs and maintenance are a daily operation so there is no way for Royal or any cruise line to know what will be happening on any given cruise.  The one clue you have on how much maintenance may or may not be happening is to look at the last dry dock refurbishment date for the particular ship. The older the ship and the longer the period between the last dry dock and your sailing will give you some clue as to the condition of the ship. More maintenance will be required of a ship that is older and is has been on the water for years after a dry dock.  

Edited by creativegenius

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Additionally, there was a certain urgency to fixing the screen (and this was a full replacement). 


The Super Bowl was in 2 weeks. 


As it was, they had to show the Divisional championship games in small indoor venues. 



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Thank you for the responses and the different perspectives.  I have worked in service organizations and whether it was for myself, my team, or the organization, the goal was to exceed expectations, and avoid unexpected, unpleasant surprises for the customer, so with this context, I would have thought that RCI would have been better served sending out something ahead of time saying we will be working on a major maintenance item and your cruise has been discounted accordingly or offer a reasonable OBC to offset the inconvenience, but I guess I am in the minority.


As mentioned, I have been on several Disney cruises, and while I have seen them perform maintenance during the cruise (painting the hull for example) it has been less invasive than what was on the Rhapsody.  I guess I am thankful I was not on the cruise the following week where it sounds like the buffet may have been out of commission for rug replacement.  We found that the Disney experience was definitely superior, but perhaps that is why it is more expensive.


We had a good cruise, but more based on factors beyond RCI control (fantastic weather, and probably the most courteous group of fellow passengers (limited chair hogging, only smoking in designated areas, etc,..) than factors RCI could control (food was mediocre) although we found staffs' attitude was generally very good. 


Once again, thank you for your opinions.

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