The Rhapsody of the Seas is welcoming guests back today, marking the return of Royal Caribbean International’s entire 26-ship fleet.
Kicking off a summer season in the Mediterranean, the Vision-class vessel is completing the company’s restart plan, which started in December 2020 with the Quantum of the Seas.
For its first cruise in over two-years, the Rhapsody is sailing from Civitavecchia, a port near Rome, Italy, on an open-jaw itinerary.
The seven-night voyage ends in Piraeus, Greece, and includes calls in Catania, Salerno, Santorini, Mykonos and Kusadasi.
Continuing its European program, the ship will sail additional four- to seven-night itineraries in the Mediterranean departing from various homeports in the region, such as Barcelona (Spain) and Ravenna (Italy).
According to Royal Caribbean, the full deployment includes visits to 25 destinations in the Greek Isles, southern France, Italy, Turkey, Croatia and more.
Starting in August, in a first for the company, the Rhapsody is also offering a series of cruises from Israel.
Through Oct. 31, the vessel will be based in Haifa, sailing three- to eight-night itineraries to Greece and Cyprus.
A Vision-class cruise ship, the Rhapsody of the Seas originally entered service in 1997.
As part of the Royal Advantage refit program, it was subjected to a month-long, $54 million drydock refit in 2012.
During the major revitalization, the 78,491-ton ship received a host of new amenities and venues as well as an assortment of technological upgrades.
Among the additions were new dining options, including Chops Grille, Izumi Asian Cuisine, Chef’s Table experience and Park Café.
The 2,000-guest vessel also got a bow-to-stern refresh of all furniture, carpet and upholstery, including renovated staterooms.
With the Rhapsody now in service, 26 cruise ships have resumed service for Royal Caribbean International since March 2020 – when the COVID-19 pandemic led the cruise industry to a full stop.
After first welcoming guests back in Asia in December 2020, the company restarted revenue operations in North America in June 2021.
As more ports and destinations around the world reopened for cruise operations, the rest of the fleet was reactivated gradually in the past 12 months.