This cruise was my retirement trip. After 37 years as a police officer I felt I owed it to myself. Seeing that this cruise originatted in Copenhagen (my wife's grandmother is from there) and went to Norway (my grandparents are from there) selecting it was a no-brainer! We spent a few days in Copenhagen before the cruise. A beautiful city. I think my wife and myself were the only ones not riding bicycles!
The ship left on Saturday the 25th. We had been upgraded to a junior suite so check in was quite easy. It took a total of 20 minutes from the time the taxi dropped us off at the pier till we boarded. Our cabin was ready about 1:00 pm. It was spacious and clean. Our cabin steward introduced herself to us and we were off to sxplore. I'm used to cruising on Voyager class ships and above so I was afraid that Brilliance would seem small. I was happily mistaken. Although the set-up is different I never noticed that this was a smaller ship. It had everything her larger sisters had except the ice-rink.
At dinner that night we meet our table mates. There was Josh and Becky from the U.K., Michele and Mona from New Jersey, and Sandra from Germany. It was a pleasure dining with them! The food was all right. I can't say it was outrageous. The waiter and the assistant waiter were attentive but lacking in personality. I would have to give the dining experience a "B-". If it wasn't for our table-mates we would have eaten in the Windjammer more. Speaking of the Windjammer, the food there was just okay. Most days we ended up sitting outside. Glad the weather was always cooperating.
The ports we visited were all beautiful. Oslo, Stavinger, Alesund, Geiringer, and Bergen. We wanted to keep the excursions short so we only took the city tours that were at the most 3 hours. The only exception was when we were in Alesund we booked the Path of the Trolls Tour that was about 8 hours long. Unfortunatley I was unable to take the tour due to a bout of the noro-virus! I just stayed in the cabin all day doing what the noro-virus makes you do! My wife came down with it the next day but she didn't miss any excursion. We were out of commission one day each. If you're going to be sick, you might as well be sick on a cruise ship! Getting back to the shore excursions, they were all well organized and well guided. The weather could have been better but it seems that every time we got off the bus the skies would miraculously clear up! There is something that impressed me about Copenhagen and all the Norwegian cities we visited: there was always a "7-11" nearby! That kept me from getting homesick!
I have to mention my favorite place aboard Brilliance. It was the Hollywood Odyssey nightclub which doubles as the cigar lounge. Every night I'd go there for a cigar and cognac served by my new best friend Radu! Usually I'd be the only one there, but a few times I was joined by Jim and Gunther from Germany. Radu always made you feel welcome. He'd clip and light your cigar for you and always see to it your drink was full. It was always a good way to end the day.
In the past we've only taken Caribbean cruises. They seem to have more of a "party" type atmosphere. This cruise was more of a laid back, sightseeing trip. Not better or worse, just different. The food could have been better and I would have liked it if we didn't get sick, but all in all not a bad trip!
Disembarking was a snap. We caught a cab to the airport and before you know it (about 10 hours later) we were home, looking forward to our next vacation.