Brilliance of the Seas - good ship, great staff
Europe - British Isles & Western
The Brilliance of the Seas was a very nice ship. I know several other reviews were critical of the age of the ship, but it was only evidenced in certain areas such as the Pacifica Theater.
We were very happy with our Deluxe Balcony Stateroom. Our cabin steward was very nice, if a bit chatty. We found our dining room staff very knowledgeable and pleasant. We were using the My Time dining and our waiter Christian and assistant waiter, Raifla were great.
We spent quite a bit of time in the Casino and also up on the 13th floor at the bar across from the Stardust bar (disco)so my husband could smoke his cigars. Dusan, the bartender was great and very personable.
Overall we had a good time. I would have liked to spend more time in the Schooner Bar and the Solarium, but we were busy on excursions, so we ran out of time.
The only negative thing I would have to comment on were the shows and some of the activities were not very engaging.
I would More
cruise with Royal Caribbean again and on the Brilliance of the Seas.
I am adding info on La Coruna, Spain. It was our second port of call, but there is not space to comment in the excursion portion. We did not take a tour, but walked around the city. Lovely parks and squares. We found it to be beautiful and an easy walk from the ship. Less
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Cabin review: Brilliance of the Seas
We were in room 1004. We had a balcony. The room was nice. We had quite a bit of fog on our cruise, so we were very close to the fog horn when it was sounding. Bring ear plugs just in case.
The only complaint about the room was the flush on the toilet was worn and needed several pushes to flush. Other than that a nice room.
Port and Shore Excursions
Amsterdam was our final port. We stayed one day and then returned home. Most people talk about the coffee shops and the red light district these were not the highlight of this city. The city is small enough to walk to all areas and we did. It is interesting and I wished I had more time there. The red light district I thought was much ado about nothing. Yes there are women in the windows, in bras and panties, but that is about it. The coffee shops are scattered all over the city. Not a problem if that is your thing.
Whether you are going to a hotel or the airport from the ship, take a taxi. There are plenty just outside the cruise terminal. Walking to the train station is a long walk. Do not do it. It is especially a problem with luggage. I know I did it. Never again.
Dover is approximately 45 minutes on the bus from the ship. The castle itself is okay, sort of small, but interesting all the same. What I found really nice were the grounds of the castle. Large expanses of green hills, flowers, streams and black swans. Like something out of a photograph. We had 2 hours here, but could have spent double the time, with so much to enjoy. There was a lot of walking, so you need to be fit. One of our favorite excursions.
A City Under Siege Exhibition
We took the cable car up to the top and the view was truly breathtaking. I was surprised how close you are to Africa. A real treat. Then we took a walk through the tunnels. That was very interesting. I would recommend this tour. For the tunnel portion you need to be able to walk up a couple of inclines. Not too difficult, but if you have any issues with walking, this could be challenging.
This was one of our favorite tours of the cruise.
I have mixed feelings about this excursion. Since this was our first trip to Europe and our only chance to see Paris, we opted for the 3 hours into Paris and the Seine River Cruise.
The bus tour was okay. Remember a tour on a cruise is only a taste of a city, so it is somewhat frustrating that you see great things, but cannot get off the bus to explore.
We went on the Seine River cruise with a company called ONYX. It was a glass enclosed boat that was supposed to serve lunch while you look at various sites.
This was the most expensive excursion offered by Royal Caribbean. The sun screens did not work on the river cruise, so consequently, we were baking in the sun and unable to eat because of the discomfort. Also, on the river you are cruising with high walls around you and glass all around, so it is difficult to get pictures. I would not recommend this. It was very disappointing. If I would do it again on my own I would take the transportation into the city from the Cruise ship and use the hop on and off buses to see the sites. But you, know, you don't know what you don't know until you experience it once. Learn from our mistake.
After the river cruise, we did some more driving around on the bus and were able to stop at the Eiffel Tower for 45 minutes. This was great. There is a lovely park here. There is not enough time to go up in the Eiffel Tower as the lines are long, but it is still something to see.