There are makeovers and then, there are Makeovers. As she gracefully sailed out of Singapore's Sembawang shipyard, Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas showed off the results of her four-week long drydock. In the largest project of its kind to take place in Singapore – and one of the biggest ever makeovers for an Australian cruise ship – US$54 million dollars worth of spectacular features were added in a complete revamp of the entire ship.
At a champagne ceremony held in the ship's new-look atrium Captain Rick Sullivan invited one of the ship's most frequent guests, Alan Worrall, to cut a ribbon to mark the rebirth of Rhapsody of the Seas. Mr Worrall is the ship's biggest Australian fan with almost 50 cruises taken on her to date.
According to Gavin Smith, managing director of RCL Cruises Australia, Rhapsody of the Seas' revitalisation is further proof of Royal Caribbean's commitment to the growing Australia cruise market, with the total investment of revitalising Australia-based Rhapsody of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas amounting to over US$75 million in the last two years.
"With Rhapsody of the Seas we thought about all the innovative ways we can give Australians the best and most memorable holiday at sea. Now guests can enjoy a different dining option for every day of the week, they can be entertained under the stars in the open-air cinema or in the heart of the ship, when the atrium comes alive as a vertical theatre with breathtaking aerial shows, or they can choose to simply relax in any of the chic new lounges and bars. We're also introducing some 'firsts' to Australian waters, such as iPads in every stateroom and a Starbucks coffee shop.
"With this complete bow-to-stern makeover, guests will be sailing on a virtually new ship. I strongly encourage Australians, including some of her 175,000 past guests, to revisit one of Australia's favourite ships," said Mr Smith.
The revitalisation incorporates popular elements from Royal Caribbean's newest ships –the world's largest superliners Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. Rhapsody of the Seas is only the third ship to undergo a refurbishment since Royal Caribbean's fleet-wide 'revitalisation' program was announced last year and follows in the footsteps of her fellow Sydney-based sister ship Radiance of the Seas, which was fully revitalised in May 2011 in advance of her maiden Australian season. Both revitalised ships will return to Sydney in October this year and will also be joined by Voyager of the Seas – the largest megaliner ever based Down Under – with an unprecedented three Royal Caribbean ships offering a series of one to 18-night cruises around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
For a sneak peak of Rhapsody of the Seas' transformation, take a look at this short video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTQy3xumLvU