Ok, Just returned from the Brilliance of the Seas repositioning cruise, from Rome to Amsterdam, the stops on the cruise were Gibraltar, La Corunna, Le Havre, Dover and then Amsterdam.
Overall, it was an 'OK' cruise, but unfortunately, some of things about the ship need improving, and soon!
We booked this cruise a few months ago because of the price, we just wanted a cheap cruise and this fitted the bill, OK the ports aren't exotic, but they were fine, nothing wrong with any of the ports, all served a purpose.
Booked Monarch flights from London Luton to Rome FCO airport, it was slightly delayed, but wasn't a problem, flights was fine for a budget airline, perfect, stayed at the Holiday Inn near the airport and again it was fine, done the job we wanted it to, taxi transfer on the morning of boarding.
Boarding the ship was a breeze as normal with RCI, from arriving at the port to be on the ship was around 20 mins, enjoyed a lunch in the Windjammer and then the Rome sun for the afternoon, made our way to room and it was lovely, it had the window cleaning gantry partially obstructing our balcony but it didn't bother us.
First night on board we went for main dinner to find our table, waiters etc first night dinner was OK but was slow, but we put that down to being first night etc went to main dinner for the following 3 nights, but found the dinner to be cold on most nights, and extremely slow, despite our comments to the head waiter etc nothing really changed, they said that the ship is renowned for slow food from the galley and it wont ever change! So after 4 nights we gave up and used the Sea View Cafe and the Windjammer.
The bars etc on the ship are lovely, all were in good condition, all had pleasant and friendly staff and I took a fancy to the sports bar, enjoyed the live sports with a relaxed drink and being able to enjoy a smoke in there as well made it a perfect venue for myself.
The facilities on the ship were excellent, nice pool, nice cent-rum, nice solarium, nice kids pool and slide etc all as we would expect from RC to be honest.
We didn't go to the theatre every night, but the shows we saw were very good.
Enjoyed the gyro-pool tables, although they could do with some new sets of balls ad they are old and getting knackered!
The guest services team on the desk were hit and miss, the big American black guy was great, funny and you could see he enjoyed his job, also Julie from the UK, been on her ships a few times and she is lovely, and really helpful.
The Captain and his staff could be seen around the ship on lots of occasions which I always feel is reassuring, always polite and always saying Hello, his talk on navigation was very interesting.
Windjammer, as usual good selection of food at all times, tasty and hot, good staff in there as well.
Sea View Cafe, this was a wonderful venue, loved the Pizzas and sandwiches, no doubt this will be changed to a premium dining venue during the refurb next year which will be a shame.
Room service, breakfast always good and usually on time, but the other stuff at other times was hit and miss.
Kids facilities, my youngest is 7 and enjoyed her times in the club, didn't go to every session, but usually around one session per day, they were good with her and she enjoyed herself, my boy is 14 and there weren't many teenagers on board but he met up with a couple of kids his age and they went to the events that were listed for teens, some ran, some didn't, but at that age they were just as happy playing football, basketball, swimming, Windjammer etc and they enjoyed themselves.
Good mix of passenger nationalities, lots of US, and plenty of Europeans, oriental and a good amount of Aussies, many of whom seemed to be doing back to back from the previous cruise from Dubai, most of the other passengers all seemed friendly as usual, although did have one run in with some inconsiderate American passengers, but that was unusual as 99% of all other passengers were great and friendly.
Cabin, was nice and spacious, and the balcony was nice, but you can see in places its getting to the point where it needs a makeover, the attendant was good, there when you needed him but equally faded into the distance when not needed, the balcony was shabby at best, furniture was old and tired, much of the metal work around the balcony was rusty, the bed unfortunately was extremely uncomfortable, every morning I was waking up with a terrible bad back, and it would take about an hour before that eased, I suspect some of that is me being used to my own bed, but its not something that I have encountered on RC cruises before so I suspect a mixture of the two really.
Weather for this cruise was good in Rome and Gibraltar, La Corunna dull and overcast, Le Havre, overcast other days at sea were dull and overcast and a couple of times very misty meaning use of the fog horn every 5 Min's at times.
Saw some whales around the ship on the day after Gibraltar and some dolphins when in the English Channel, they were special moments you realize what wondeful cratures they really are.
Originally we were going to Amsterdam and we had flights booked etc, but my wife is an ill woman and she decided we should get of in Dover and get a taxi back to our car as she wasn't really well enough to stand around Airports etc for the flight the following day, so we informed RC that we wanted to do that and they were very helpful and made the disembarking process very smooth and quick, so top marks there!
Overall, we enjoyed the cruise, but they really need to tighten up in the MDR it let the rest of the cruise down, would I cruise Brilliance again, probably yes as we liked the ship and once she has been refurbed next year I am sure she will be even better than she is now!
Overall marks out of ten for the complete holiday, around 7/10 would of been better if the MDR experience was better.