For the first time since her debut back in the late 1990’s, Royal Caribbean is bringing the Vision class Rhapsody Of The Seas to Europe, to operate a string of cruises around the Greek Islands and the Black Sea. Together with her sister ship, Splendor Of The Seas, the Finnish built Rhapsody Of The Seas will be part of an eight ship Royal Caribbean line up in Europe for the 2015 cruising season.
Ever since her completion in 1997, the 78,000 ton ship has sailed on largely Alaskan and Mexican Riviera itineraries. A few years ago, Rhapsody Of The Seas became the first major Royal Caribbean ship to be regularly deployed in the booming Australian market. Recently modernised and refurbished, Rhapsody Of The Seas remains in Australia at this time.
She will redeploy for her maiden European season from Sydney to Istanbul, making a series of voyages that takes her from Sydney to Singapore, to the Indian sub continent, through the Suez Canal, with a final scheduled arrival in Istanbul on June 1st.
The Black Sea programme begins in earnest that month, when the Istanbul based Rhapsody will make a trio of ten and eleven night cruises, calling at Burgas in Bulgaria, Odessa, Yalta, Sochi and Sevastopol. Among the highlights of this programme will be a number of overnight stays in three cities; Istanbul, Sochi, and Odessa.
July 2015 sees the Rhapsody Of The Seas move to Rome’s port of Civitavecchia, to begin a series of seven, nine and eleven night cruises to the Greek Islands. These will emphasise stops at some smaller, less visited ports such as Thessaloniki and Bodrum, together with some of the ‘greatest hits’ ports such as Mykonos, Katakolon, and Santorini.
There will then be a cruise through the Mediterranean to Barcelona, from where the Rhapsody Of The Seas will depart on November 19th for a transatlantic crossing to Brazil, and an austral summer season of cruises in South America. All of these cruises are now on sale.
A third ship in the class, the last built, name sake Vision Of The Seas makes a surprise return to Europe in 2015, just two years after leaving to be redeployed on short, year round cruises out of the USA.
The company is also deploying it’s new build, Anthem Of The Seas out of Southampton, as well as the massive Allure Of The Seas from Barcelona (see previous blogs).
Needless to say, these things can also change. Stay tuned for any updates as they become available.