Let me say first that if you are checking out these reviews wondering whether or not to sail the Brilliance or sail to Cozumel, YESSSSSSS, Go sign up and then head back here to read my review!
We are from St. Augustine so instead of making the 3 hour drive the morning of embarkation we decided to stay the night in Tampa the night before. Well worth it. We got to the port around 10:15 a.m. We used valet parking ($80), it was well worth it both coming and going, but more on that later. We handed off our luggage and car and headed up to check in. We had to first show our passports and licenses. Then we were inside the port. We had to fill out the health questionnaire and then check in at the desk. I had already don't online check in, so it didn't take long. we got our seapass cards and then it was time to sit and wait. It felt like a long wait to be honest, but that could be because we were anxious. We were the 3rd group to board and once they called us we were quickly on board the Brilliance of the Seas! The ship is beautiful! WOW!
We went to guest services first to get our seapass hole punched to put on our lanyards, then we were off to explore. We went to the MDR (main dining room - for the newbies) to check on our My time Dining reservations and requested a table for two. The hostess, Helga was so sweet and new our names immediately (we had only been on board 10 minutes!). She took good care of us and we had the perfect table at the perfect time each night!
We then decided to head up to the pool. We got a couple of chairs, went and changed into our suits and I went to the bar in the main pool area to get us each a drink. The lady at that bar kept ignoring me. She was quite rude. So we ended up ordering from one of the pool waiters. Anyway, we had our drink and were set to go. We went into the solarium, I had heard so much about this adults only, indoor pool area. It didn't disappoint. We loved it! We got some chairs and went and sat in the jacuzzi and had out drinks. We went back and forth from the jacuzzi to the pool. Then we decided to eat lunch at the park cafe. It is inside the solarium and very convenient. They set up a beautiful salad bar which my partner loved. I went and had the famous Kummelwick sandwich. If you like roast beef, don't miss this! it is a RCCL original and its awesome. I think I had 4 over the whole cruise.
After lunch, around 1:30 our cabins were ready. Our deluxe ocean view with balcony, was awesome! I don't think I could cruise without a balcony again. It was lovely. We were on deck 8 which I thought was a level to be on. Our stateroom attendant was Oneil and he was great. We got unpacked. I must state that I checked a piece of luggage with water and soda. It was confiscated. I got most (not all) of it back when we got off the ship. If you are going to bring drinks on, CARRY THEM ON. We did bring two bottles of wine on with us (again carried on). We got unpacked and went to the muster drill which was quick and easy.
I had a bottle champagne that I ordered waiting in the room for us, so we had that and went up on deck for sail away. We toured the ship a bit and made it up on deck in time to go under the bridge going out of St. Pete. That is another thing not to miss.
I see I have typed ALOT already so I am going to start summarizing more.
Dinner the first night in MDR, great table for two. I ordered the strip steak, couldnt eat it, as it was WAY over done, so I ordered the prime rib, which was way to rare. I am really not a fussy eater AT ALL, but these were not good. The escargot and coconut asian soup were excellent! I had escargot every night!
Our first day at sea we ordered room service for breakfast, how nice to have breakfast on the balcony!
We worked out, swam, went in the jacuzzi, went to the art gathering, got a free print, checked out our photos, had some more drinks, relaxed. Ate lunch at Winjammer buffet. The buffet is very busy, the food is very good. More pool and jacuzzi time. Dinner in MDR, Helga hooked us up with a table on the water, so nice! We stopped to have our portrait done and have our picture with the captain. The free champagne was flowing. I think we had like 6 glasses each! Dinner was great! I had duck, partner had filet. That night we went to a game show, "finish that lyric" I participated and was a finalist. It was a blast. Headed to the Park Cafe for a late night snack.
I wanted frozen yogurt at the WindJammer each night but was never able to get it. Went to sleep.
Woke up early, had breakfast at the park cafe and got into port at Cozumel. We loved it! We did the San Gervasio and Island Overview excursion. It was AWESOME and well worth it! Our tour guise Katy was outstanding. We felt safe and comfortable on the air conditioned bus. San Gervasio is excellent and the island tour with a stop at a super beautiful spot where you can get a drink called the Coco Loco (a must!), this tour was perfect. We then took a cab from the pier to the Money Bar ($10). The Money Bar was awesome. The food and drinks were reasonable and excellent, free snorkeling, just excellent! Took a cab back to the pier (another $10) and we shopped. Got flustered in the flea market by being approached so much. Shopping in the stored was great.
Back on board we hated to leave cozumel!
We were so exhausted, that we ordered room service for dinner. The food was just ok, very disappointing.
Room service is the only food on the ship that is not great.
Our last day at sea was full of relaxing and checking out things we might have missed. We worked out again, played mini golf, checked out our photos etc. We had breakfast and lunch at the park cafe (had to get my last kummelwick!) Had a couple of drinks in the pool then went to change. We went to the closing night show, which was great and then the MDR for dinner. Dinner was supposed to be lobster but the menu changed. I had the lamb shank, YUM!
After dinner we packed, put our luggage and headed to the Colony Club for the adults only scavenger hunt. We teamed up with two other couples to make a team and had a blast! I highly recommend this!
Monday morning, breakfast at the Windjammer and then off to wait to disembark. This took a while and felt a little disorganized but overall wasn't too bad.
We hated to leave.
The ship and its people are great! the food other than room service was great! My favorite dessert is still the warm chocolate melting cake on Carnival, but RCCL has some excellent desserts. Carnival is more accessible for late night drinks (meaning water, coffee, juice, tea) which to me is important. I did miss Carnival's towel animals every night ( we only got two). However, the Brilliance of the Seas is highly recommended. There is plenty to do, or if you just want to relax that works as well!
Don't think twice, book this cruise!
Im going to go not to research my next one right now!