This was our 3rd cruise and thought it would be fun to do a New Year's Eve Cruise this time. We were not disappointed! We live in Tampa so the 20 min drive to the port was so convenient. We opted for Valet parking and immediately was greeted by a very loud and annoyed attendant because we pulled in the wrong area. When the luggage helpers approached the car, they apologized for his outbursts and said it was normal for that particular person. In my opinion there is no need for anyone to scream and yell because you pulled into the wrong lane. My husband tried to apologize but it went on deaf ears. I was tempted to go back and demand an apology but we were anxious to get aboard and my husband said we would be wasting our time anyway. Moving on, embarkation was very smooth and non-eventful. Very friendly people greeting us with warm welcomes. Upon entering the ship we did notice immediately the difference between this one and the Adventure of the Seas. We knew it was one class down size-wise but wanted a cruise out of Tampa so the Brilliance was perfect for us. We went to the Windjammer for lunch while our room was being finished and were not disappointed. The variety of the food is amazing. We actually ended up eating there for most of the cruise. Our compliments to the chef. We didn't have one bad thing there. On to our balcony stateroom cabin which was very nice. Our only criticism was the shower with the pull around curtain instead of doors. Water ended up on the floor after each shower, but no biggie.Our steward, Ayu I think was her name was outstanding. Friendly, cheerful and very accommodating. I asked for extra towels and every day and night there were ample. She checked on us often and even offered suggestions to help with seasickness which I encountered on the last day.
The first night dining we had the late seating and had asked for a table for two. We ended up at a table for 8 which was fine and we met some nice folks. We got a call the next day asking if we would mind being moved to another table in order for them to accommodate a large family and we did not have a problem with this. We ended up at another table for 8 with more nice people, however our seats were right next to the mini stations (not sure what they are called) and the clanging dishes were somewhat distracting. We then went to the maitre d' to ask if we could opt for the earlier seating for the rest of the cruise but he could not accommodate. A little disappointing but again no biggie. Food was excellent and service was perfect.
Key West was our first port and we loved it. The Conch Tour was very informative. My favorite was the Hemingway House and the six-toed cats. Back on board, this was New Year's Eve and needless to say it was so much fun. The Centrum was packed with dancers and the entertainment was wonderful. The bartenders were outstanding and fun, even dancing behind the bar. People were even dancing in the glass elevators and having a blast. Loved the music. I would say the age group for this cruise geared more towards people in their 50's+ which was exactly what we wanted. The music was familiar and the singers outstanding. We went to the pool deck which was just as much fun with everyone having a great times. Wonderful New Year's Eve.
Next day at sea was relaxing. We went to the beautiful Solarium and ate at the Park Cafe, again good food and wonderful salad bar. The lounge chairs were a little uncomfortable but not bad. Next day Cozumel. We didn't go into town but did stop in the shops right at the entrance. We were inundated with jewelry people and everyone had the best deal in town, of course. My husband bought me so very pretty jewelry and we did buy some pure Vanilla at the suggestion of a friend.
We continued to eat all three meals at the Windjammer and Park Cafe for the rest of the time, including dinner because we realized the 8:30 seating was just too late. My Time dining was unavailable. This was probably my only disappointment, along with the lack of service in Rita's Cantina. No one was ever there to serve us.
The entertainment in the Theater was just ok for me. My husband liked it better.
Like I said the last day was rough seas and I always get seasick. We spent most of the time in our cabin which was fine.
All in all, a good cruise and fun time. We met some very nice and interesting people. Good memories. Next time we will spend the extra time driving to Ft. Lauderdale or Port Canaveral to cruise on a bigger ship. I missed the promenade that we had on the Adventure. The shops on the Brilliance were a little lacking.
Thanks Royal Caribbean for an enjoyable Holiday cruise.