One of Australia’s favourite ships, Royal Caribbean International’s Rhapsody of the Seas, will say farewell to Sydney – and Australia – for the final time today, Friday 17 April, after calling the Emerald city home for the last eight years.
So loved is she by locals that a petition to keep her in Australia started when news broke that the popular ship will be leaving Australia. Over the last eight years, she has carried over 290,000 guests, from loyal fans who have sailed 60 cruises to celebrities such as Jimmy Barnes, Marcia Hines, the Village People and Chubby Checker.
“Rhapsody of the Seas lifted the bar for local cruising when she first arrived in October 2007, and during her eight seasons here, has also touched the hearts of locals – some who have sailed every season that she has been here. Home ported in Sydney, she was our first ship to be based in the region and really helped to kick start the cruising boom Down Under. She has brought more than 272,000 guests to Sydney over 136 visits, many of whom were international tourists. We are proud of the contribution Rhapsodyhas made in the Australian market and for Royal Caribbean globally,” said Sean Treacy, Commercial Director, Royal Caribbean Australia.
“She has also been incredibly popular for her crew over the years. They have loved sailing in this part of the world and delivering the best possible experience for our guests onboard.”
During her eight years based here, Rhapsody of the Seas passengers have consumed many tonnes of local produce, including fruits and vegetables such as bananas from Queensland and strawberries from Victoria; meats like beef, chicken, pork and crocodile; seafood such as barramundi and snapper; as well as a range of Australian wine, beer and of course, water. She had also hosted many celebrities who starred on chartered Cruiseco cruises, such as the popularRock the Boat, Cruisin’ Country, Cruise N Groove, and Blue Suede Cruise.
When she arrived in 2007, Rhapsody of the Seas revolutionised cruising in Australia as the largest cruise ship based locally at the time. She offered the first truly international style of cruising with incredible features never imagined by local cruisers including a rock climbing wall, a completely new ship design which featured lots of glass for beautiful vistas throughout, world class dining, and award-winning children’s club.
“Rhapsody of the Seas changed cruising in Australia forever with features that had never before been seen on cruise ships here. While she will be missed, we are thrilled that her big sister Explorer of the Seas will be replacing her this coming season, more than doubling the number of guests on every sailing, and offering a huge range of amenities including the FlowRider surfing experience, ice skating and much more.”
Rhapsody of the Seas concludes her final season in April, departing Sydney for Singapore on 17th April 2015.
This coming summer, Royal Caribbean International will begin a new chapter in Australia, homeporting four superliners in Australia when Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas are joined by recently revitalised Explorer of the Seas in Sydney, and the first Royal Caribbean ship to be based in Brisbane – Legend of the Seas – increasing total capacity by almost 50 percent.