We (my wife and I) just completed a 26 day cruise on the Brilliance of the seas, then had two weeks home and then went on to the Carnival Freedom for an 8 day cruise. I thought some might find a comparison between the two ships interesting.
We bought similar Cabins on both ships, and the size of the two cabins was about the same (I didn’t bring a ruler, so I didn’t do any measurements); also the size of the balconies was about the same. However, there was a big difference in the size of the beds. The bed on the Brilliance was smaller than the bed on the Carnival Freedom. The bed on the Brilliance has very rounded corners, which makes the bed much smaller at the outside edges, so if you are near six feet tall, and sleep at the edge of the bed, your feet stick off of the bed. Also the bed on the Brilliance was narrower than the one on the Carnival Freedom. The bed on the Carnival Freedom has slightly rounded corners (like our bed at home), and so if More
you sleep on the edge of the bed, your feet stay on the bed. Also, we both thought the bed on the Carnival Freedom was more comfortable than the bed on the Brilliance of the Seas.
While we thought the size of the balconies were the same, I liked the one on Carnival Freedom better. When I sit on the balcony chair on the Brilliance of the Seas, and look out, the rail is right in my line of vision, so if I’m sitting reading a book, I have to duck down, or get up off the chair to have an unobstructed view. I’m not sure what the difference is (higher chair, or lower rail), but when I sit on the chair on the Carnival Freedom, reading a book, I can just look out straight, no bobbing up or down (thank you Carnival, I really like that).
On the Brilliance of the Seas, we had Clo as our cruise director. She’s great; too bad she only does a few months a year. The entertainment in the main theatre was top-notch, we had several performers and performances that I would have gladly paid to see, if the show came somewhere nearby. The entertainment in the lounges was also great, I don’t know how they did it, but I was completely impressed by the quality of the entertainment onboard. On a 26 day B2B cruise we never had a dark night. The only thing I did not care for was the shows that were held in the Centrum. Someone in corporate offices thinks it’s a good idea to have shows in the Centrum that only about 10% of the passengers can see. While we were onboard for 26 days, and quite a few shows were held in the Centrum, we were only able to see one of them (if you wanted to see the show, you had to get there at least 45 minutes early).
On the Carnival Freedom we had Skip as our cruise director. I would think twice if I saw he was the cruise director on another Carnival that I was taking. First the quality of the shows was mediocre at best. There was one really good show, but that was all. When there was a production show, I was disappointed that there was no live band. All of the music was pre-recorded, and at least some of the voice sound was. I never sat close enough to tell if all of the singing was just dubbed, or if some of the singing was real, and that bothers me as I like a real, live performance. We had one dark night, in the main theatre, and no comedy scheduled for that night, why? Some of the shows were once only in a night, so having early dinner, we had to rush through dinner and forgo dessert if we wanted to see the show. I like having the comedy club onboard, and went to see a show there most nights there was a show.
I thought the quality of the food in the main dining room was very good on both ships, although the service was better in the main dining room on the Brilliance of the Seas. We didn’t eat at any specialty restaurants on either cruise so I will not comment on that. The food in the buffet was a lot better on the Carnival Freedom, and the buffet seating was always open. On the Carnival Freedom, they have the seafood place up on deck 10, that we love, and now they have Guys’ burgers, which are really, really good (probably not good for you, but they taste great). Guys burgers’ are fresh, handmade burgers with a fixings bar on the side. They also have fresh cut French fries that are among the best I’ve had. Royal Caribbean has a policy of closing off the buffet restaurant seating area several times a day, and it was often closed on the Brilliance of the Seas when we came back from shore and wanted something to eat, or just get a tea, then try to find what’s open. I think the food selection and quality in the buffet was much better on the Carnival Freedom.
Both ships were quite nice in appearance and well kept. All of the crew we encountered were quite friendly and helpful. On the Brilliance of the Seas, there was a problem and some kind of virus infected the ship. It happened on about day 6 of our 26 day cruise, and stayed with us the rest of the time. The crew took a lot of extra precautions to try to keep everyone well, and it worked for us. I felt very sorry for all of the crew, as they had to do a lot of extra work. We did notice that on the Brilliance of the Seas, that most of the coffee cups outside of the dining room were stained inside and some had lipstick on the rims, something we did NOT see on the Carnival Freedom. I can’t help but wonder if the dishwasher was not working properly and this contributed to the virus.
We have cruised on both Carnival and Royal Caribbean about the same number of days (about 90 each). The biggest perk for us on Carnival is the three free loads of wash each, too bad Carnival seldom does long cruises. The biggest perk for most on Royal Caribbean seems to be the Diamond lounge where you get free drinks for three hours. You decide which perk is better for you. Other than that the other perks are about the same. Less
Carnival Freedom Cruises to the Southern Caribbean