We sailed out of Port Liberty New Jersey. We were lucky to have a cabin with view towards New York City and this gave us a view of the new tower growing at 'Point Zero'. It's almost three quarters finished now. We could also peak at the Statue of Liberty from a good vantage point.
We arrived at the port directly from our same day Miami flight at about noon. Taxis at the airport were plentyful. There was only one person in front of us at the taxi line, so in a few minutes we doing 90 miles an hour towards the port and $60 later, we were walking towards the Royal Caribbean check-in agents which made us sign a self checked certificate of health, were we promissed to be free of diseases, or being recently sick. I wonder what they would do if anyone ever answers in the positive?
After check-in and the required welcome aboard picture, we sat for about 1 hour waiting for our group number to be called, for the five minute busride to the ship. No amenities while waiting here and no actual order in which the numbers were called as different agents had their own ideas as to which number had been called last.
Boarding the ship was effortless, and we found our cabin ready made and waiting for us at about 1:45pm, which was a great confort. We quickly ditched our carry on luggage and set out to explore the ship.
The Brilliance, even though very well set up, it is showing it's age. We found lots of beautifull wood trims, and lots glass, and art throughout the ship.
We sailed on time and before we new it, we were getting ready for cocktails, to wait for dinner call at one of the many watering holes. We decided on the Champaing Bar at mid ship. That became our pre dinner spot for the rest of the cruise. Although the drinks are on the expensive side, they were well made and they allways had complementary hot hourdeuvers and caviar.
In spite of the many valiant efforts by our experienced waiters, dinner at the main dinning room was unremarkable. The food was predictable and on the bland side. Although abundant, there was a noticeable absence of premium dishes such as lobster or high quality fish and beef. Desserts were no better with the expected icecreams, cakes, and pastries. Don't go on the Solstice for the food. Perhaps the premium pay extra dinning rooms had better fare, we did not challenged them.
Our cabin was as clean as you could make it, our attendant was excellent, keeping ice in our bucket always, and fresh towels and linens very clean.
The balcony was excellent and a very much used space.
The ports of call were average, and some times we docked far from the city center needing a shuttle.
I recall in Bar Harbor an excellent two and a half hour trolley tour do not miss it, it's very worth it's price.
If you plan to rent a car in port, do make advance reservations, car are few at the NE ports and more so at the smaller cities like Gaspe, and Bar Harbor.
When we got to Quebec, there were two lines at the terminal. One for bus transport and one for taxis. Do try to get bus transport, or arrange for a limo in advance as getting a taxi at the port of Quebec is absolute madness. Our taxi line snaked all over the Quebec terminal, for two hour before we reached our turn. It is absolutely unacceptable and a real downer to end a "good" cruise this way. It left us with a bad taste to say goodby this way.
Over all a good cruise, plenty of pretty public rooms to hang out in, a good spa, do try the sauna and steam room.
Entertainment, although an excellent cruise director and staff, was below par. Do not go to this criuse for the entertainment, gof ro the relaxation time. good luck to you future Brilliance sailors.