Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by brucelee: Brilliance of the Seas - Eastern Mediterranean
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Brilliance of the Seas - Eastern Mediterranean
My husband and myself (early 50s) and another couple (also early 50s) found our own transportation to Barcelona where we spent several days before getting onboard the ship. Both couples have cruised several times previously on RCCL and several different cruise lines. Arriving at the ship, embarkation was amazingly quick (15 minutes-tops). We have travelled on this ship (and sister ships Radiance and Serenade) so we were able to find our way around without difficulty. The ship is is good shape except for the deck chairs and lounges - stained and showing wear. We always go for the cheapest cabin onboard - we spend so little time there anyway. The inside cabin on Deck 2 was a decent size (we have had smaller) and had everything we needed. Our cabin steward was very attentive. Our luggage arrived in good time and we were unpacked before we had the lifeboat drill. We always like to check out our dining table (prefer large)as soon as possible to make any changes is needed. We were at a More
table for 6 which worked out well - we all got along. This is the first ship we have ever been on where the late seating for dinner is TOTALLY FULL. We figured out it was the European influence. Due to the fullness, we found the dining room very loud. Our waiter and assistant waiter did their jobs, but did not go "above and beyond". It was commented by members at our table that the food had definitely gone downhill. There is no longer lobster or filet mignon served in the dining room - you must go to the specialty restaurants for those items. There were evenings when I didn't want any of the entrees and just asked for an appetizer to be served when everyone else had there main course. (others at the table did the same thing). The Windjammer was ok - they always had hamburgers, pizza and salads if you didn't like the hot choices. We really liked the Seaview Cafe - pasta (freshly made), Caesar salad (also, freshly made), pizza and paninis we very good. We needed to use the services of Guest Relations and Shore Excursions and few times and found them to be helpful. There seemed to be a downsize in the number of waiters on the Pool Deck - I liked not being pestered to buy a drink every 10 minutes, but I did notice that dirty dishes was hanging around for quite a while. We were not travelling with children so I don't know what the children's program was like, but I can definitely say that LOTS of people were not using it. There were kids everywhere - in the pool, in the hot tubs, playing in the elevators and by themselves at the evening (late) performances. The entertainment was good (most of it) though not well attended. I guess that is because everyone is so tired from being in port all day. There was a trio of German "fools" (Schlossen something or other) that were absolutely awful. It was 3 men wearing short pants doing stupid things. The four of us all left after about 20 minutes when it appeared that it wasn't getting any better. The production shows were good and the Argentinean TANGO show was incredible. This was a very port intensive cruise. First day - we went to Monaco on our own. It was really great and we stopped at the mountainside town of Eze on our way back - that was worth while stopping. Second day - we took the 10 hour trip to Florence/Pisa. Lots of walking, lots of statues, lots of information, little bit of rain. I think the way to see Florence is to spend a few days there on your own so that you can really go into some of the museums and wander the neat, narrow streets. We had lunch - good meal, and then left for Pisa. We had not heard a lot of good reports about Pisa and were pleasantly surprised. We had a couple of hours there and that was long enough, but if you are that close - it is worth seeing. Third day - we took a tour of Rome - Coliseum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel. Amazing!! Would have been nice to be able to spend longer in St. Peter's Basilica - absolutely gorgeous. Sistine Chapel was great too. Long day, but worth it!! Fourth day - finally a day to rest - and we did!! Fifth day - Mykonos - took transfer bus to edge of town and wandered the streets and shopped. Saw the pelican - HUGE!! Ate lunch, went for a quick dip in the Med at the little beach beside the road on the way back to the bus. Really nice day - no need for tour. Day six - Santorini - tendered to meet bus at the far end of the island. Went to Oia and then a winery (samples) and then to Fira. This is so incredible, built on the side of the mountain. Looks just like the pictures you see with the white and blue roofed buildings. We wandered around in the stores (more jewelry stores than I have seen in a long time) and took the cable car down (ticket included with tour). Great day!! Day seven - Kusadasi, Turkey. Took tour to House of Virgin Mary and Ephesus. Very interesting. Lots more trees than I expected and Ephesus is a lot bigger than I thought. Lots of info from guide. A bit of time to look on your own. Tour finished off at a carpet company. Very informative (even if you don't want a carpet), served a snack and apple tea and very nice people. Then we went to the Bazaar - that was fun!! Lots of leather and souvenirs. Sellers will dicker over prices and are not as aggressive as I have run into in Mexico. Day eight - rest - and we need it. Day nine - Athens. Took the city tour and to the top of the Acropolis. Lots of info again. Hot day - take water. The walk to the top of the Acropolis is not as bad as I had envisioned it. There are so many people, you just all move along slowly. AWESOME!! All that history. The trip to the Acropolis is about the only thing that I saw in Athens worth seeing. Several other people felt the same way. Day 10 - rest again. Day 11 - Naples. We took the bus tour to Pompeii. More history. It is amazing to see how advanced the ancient civilizations were. Very informative. When we returned to the ship, we walked around the city. Had a pizza - very good!! This was a bit of a disappointment for shopping. The stores were closed in the afternoon and so we just walked around. This was the only place we saw gypsies (a little girl approached us at lunch). We had been warned about pickpockets and gypsies by lots of people. Day 12 - time to pack - that is when you realize how much you actually bought. Day 13 - time to get off. Every cruise we take the disembarkation goes more smoothly. We took the transfer to the airport and then began our long journey home. This was truly the trip of a lifetime. The ports were wonderful, the shore excursions (all from the ship) were good. (We always like to book from the ship rather than on our own, because we get nervous about getting back to the ship on time). The announcements on the ship sometimes get a little annoying (when they are in 5 languages). My only complaint was the food (my husband had NO complaints regarding food). I would definitely take another cruise to the Med (when I save enough money) and will most certainly be cruising with Royal Caribbean (as well as other lines) again. Less
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