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Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by SJDMD

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Brilliance of the Seas
Brilliance of the Seas
Member Name: SJDMD
Cruise Date: July 2013
Embarkation: Harwich
Destination: Baltic & Northern Europe
Cabin Category: E1
Cabin Number: 9500
Booking Method: Local Travel Agency
See More About: Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Reviews | Baltic & Northern Europe Cruise Reviews | Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 5.0
Entertainment 4.0
Spa & Fitness 5+
Family & Children (By Age Group)
Shore Excursions 4.0
Embarkation 5+
Service 5+
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates 4.0
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Ship Facts: Brilliance of the Seas Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Brilliance of the Seas Deck Plans
Great Ports, Good Ship

We booked this cruise for it's ports, sailing dates, past experience with RC and cost. We were not disappointed but I do have a few thoughts to share. Our past RC cruise was on it's twin the Serenade in 2006. This was a 7 day Western Caribbean with one sea day and we loved everything about it. I think I just tired a bit of the Brilliance after 13 nights with 4 sea days.

The Brilliance is in overall nice condition after her recent dry dock. The added outside movie screen was not a big hit because it was never that warm (think Alaska cruising). The staff was fantastic in every venue. The shows were a mix, some great, some so-so but we were disappointed they only had one "Broadway" type show in 13 nights. The on ship activities (which we enjoy) did get old near the end and you would think RC could spring for more than a pen as a prize (every time).

We have always done (late) seated dining and opted for the "My Time" dining this cruise. It is not called "Anytime Dining" for a reason. Unless you want to wait or chance eating at 9:00, you need to make a reservation for 6:30 or 8:00 (the only 2 reservation times). We made reservations for every evening a month before we departed, guessing whether or not we thought we'd like to eat early or late which worked out ok. I'd recommend going to the dining room the first day and picking out a table you like. They can assign you to that table for the rest of your reservations if it's available. Because we didn't pick a table and often came 15 min late for our 6:30 reservation we ended up by the kitchen more than once. The food ranged from ok to excellent in the dining room. I think the food was better in 2006 (and they gave you lobster then). We almost never ate in the Windjammer which was a free-for-all most of the time. We usually ate breakfast in the dining room and lunch was either on the excursion or at the Park Cafe.

I don't like that there are now only 3 venues to eat with out additional charge (Dining Room, Windjammer buffet or Park Cafe). They've taken out the Skyview Cafe and it's a bar only. The Park Cafe was good but usually very crowded. Rita's Cantina was only a minimal surcharge but service was very slow on 2 occasions.

During our past cruises our children enjoyed the kids club or the teen clubs. This trip 2 of them were too old (21 and 19) for the clubs and it would have been nice to have more specific activities for this age group, especially early in the cruise. They only had a late night "get together" in the bar on a few occasions for "18 - 21+" The 16 year old wouldn't venture into the teen club on his own. This forced them to hang around with us more which was actually nice.

One thing to keep in mind is that you will lose 3 hours on 3 different evenings during the first 5 days on your way to St. Petersburg and if you flew in on the day of the cruise and lost 6 hours going to England (like we did), the jet lag can be significant.

Publication Date: 08/08/13
Read the Baltic & Northern Europe ports review by SJDMD
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