We booked this cruise and understood it was a northern European departure port (Copenhagen) and were happy that the cruise would have a mixture of international guests and many Europeans as well. What we were not advised at any point was that this cruise had a special focus on Spanish guests which became obvious when we saw the entertainment plan which had a large element of speciality Spanish entertainment brought on board.
The specialist entertainment was interesting and included Argentinian Tango dancers, an Argentinian bongo band as well as other Spanish guitar players on board.
However, when it came to other entertainment this was very limited and this let down the whole Cruise especially on the final night when all we had were 2 of the ships singers singing 'slow' duets for 30 minutes, a quick entry and exit by the ships dancers for 1 song then an introduction on stage to the ships hotel staff...bet that didn't cost too much to put on !
A staple of most cruises these days is the 70's night and there was a show which included the ships staff as YMCA lookalikes, but in the 'Centrum' area! Why not in the Starquest dance club where we could join in and dance....well it might be because using the Centrum area stairs makes it look good on the cruise video ... sorry I'm being cynical but that's the only reason I can think of to hold a really popular 70's night in a small 5m x 5m dance area in the ships atrium.
There was a 70's band that appeared in the ships theatre for 1 night which was OK but long past their sell by date and delivering drifters and Mowtown songs in both English and Spanish and doing neither very well!
This should have a been a great cruise on what is a beautiful class of classic cruise ship. We have cruised with RCL, and sister company Celebrity, on many occasion's including other Radiance class ships such as Serenade of the Seas and have always enjoyed the atmosphere aboard and had Broadway / West End class of shows provided and were very disappointed that the cruise director failed to deliver this quality of show on this cruise. Clearly a cost issue as I know that these high quality shows cost a lot to put on , but they are put on by other RCL and Celebrity ships why not on the Brilliance or is this now the way forward for RCL using low cost low quality shows?
It was also noticeable that cost cutting has come to the dinning room with a lack on cruise staples such as 'steak night' or 'baked Alaska' night. There were side menus where you could order a steak...at extra cost.... Prime rib was served on the first night and that was very good, but there was no surf and turf (except in the side menu) unless you wanted to book a seat in the Chops restaurant at $30 each...apologies! we did have prawns one night but no lobster....
We had good weather for the most part (Bergen was wet) and the ports were good runs ashore although as most people know Norway is VERY EXPENSIVE and coffee and cakes for 2 cost $25 with a BigMac meal costing around $20...we were tempted but declined the big Mac but the coffee and cakes were fantastic!
Accommodation on Brilliance is very good and little to fault here although our shower had a mind of its own in terms of the spray head and was never repaired..our Steward telling us he's logged the problem but no one came to fix it...just ended up using more towels to dry the floor!
Shuttles to and from the airport in Copenhagen were not really cost effective but convenient. On arrival to join the cruise we were kept waiting for 20 minutes outside at the bus stand (in the rain) and when we got to the port no one was there to greet us and we waited on the bus for another 20 minutes then had to off load our own bags to the porters...less than the seamless service we were promised by RCL...
Should have been a great cruise on Brilliance of the Seas but ended up being 'just a cruise' which was a great pity as we love this class of ship and have seen real change since we sailed on her sister ship Serenade a couple of years ago.