Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by sunflower63: SO expensive on board, but had a great time
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SO expensive on board, but had a great time
Embarkation was ok in Barcelona. Took about an hour, but our bags taken off us immediately so we weren't loaded up in the queue.
Great ship - lots of glass and open areas.
Entertainment - not loads to do in the evenings or even during the day if the pool was out of action (as it was for 2 days - once cos they had to re-fill it after a child was sick- they blamed the sea water for that! and once cos the ship was tanking it back to the disembarkation port and it was a bit choppy to say the least!). We did find a bit more to do later on in the cruise but there was only one film per day in the cinema and they repeated them during the 12 nights. The evening entertainment, or rather live music, started in the open centrum bar around 6pm, and this music pervaded the entire central area of the ship. Great when it was more sedate classical string quartet stuff, but when you're in the library for a quiet read, or enjoying a quiet cocktail without the children (all up on the More levels but still in the central part of the ship), bongo bongo very loud caribbean style music was EVERYWHERE! Could have done without quite so much of that! This was also pool entertainment for a few hours each day of the days at sea. Definitely not the time then for a peaceful read by the pool- my Ipod got drowned out too - even Linkin Park couldn't be heard over that! Shows were goo - went to 4 - magician/illusionist, a Popera band, an Argentinian dance troup doing Argentinian tangos (really good) and can't remember the other.
Drinks on board were extortionate! We checked with people from the US and Canada and all found them high, not just us Brits. Drinking wine is important to me, and the cheapest by the glass was £6.15 after gratuities of 15% for a 175ml measure. The cheapest bottle I could find was about £20 and that wasn't a particularly good one. A Peter Lehman Shiraz was £32 per bottle!! So no, we didn't get sloshed the whole cruise. We limited ourselves to a beer each in the afternoons and a couple of glasses in the evenings, and bought one round of drinks for a group we met and our drinks bill came to about £480 by the end of the 12 days. We did buy a wine package (not sure it made it any cheaper - maybe we saved about £20 with that) and a soda package for cokes etc for one of our daughters. Apple juice for the kids was chargeable with the evening meal in the restaurant, although free with breakfast. You can't openly fill your water bottles up with chilled water, for use on the trips on shore, but we managed to take beakers full back to our room and do it there!
Once we'd got over the fact and resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to have a large bill at the end of the hol we relaxed a bit (about that issue - relaxed about everything else) and had a good time.
Sunbeds weren't too much of a problem, but you did need to get one early by the pool(about 10ish) Afternoons usually had free beds by pool. The staff monitored the sunbed situation pretty closely and I saw them move stuff off unattented beds if they had been left for more than half an hour or so. They were watching them all the time.
Food was good, although I'd agree with an earlier critic who said that the food in Winjammer could have been hotter. Was ok though. We ate every night in the main dining room and had some really nice food. A little repetitive, but the staff were very willing to get stuff our children particularly wanted (ie fruit plates for starters, plates of un buttered, unsalted broccili and carrots every meal time - without even having to ask for it in the end!) Friend went on P&O at the same time as us and I think they may have had better, moe varied food in their main dining room - 7 courses compared to our 3! Coffee and tea came at the end of the meal but if you wanted to have cappucino or anything remotely fancy, there was an extra charge for that too (about £2.30 for a small cappucino).
Ports of call were fantastic. Only took one organised trip but found out some friends on the ship did the same thing for £40 compared with our £154! You can do most of the ports of call on your own but you do have to be careful. Pompeii we took a taxti outside the port and the guy charged us 100 Euros which included 2 hours waiting and return to the ship - payment on return. This is about average for this. Ephesus we made a bit of a mistake and got ourselves a trip which started off cheaper and promised a shorter duration (which suited us as we wasnted to come back and explore Kusadasi) but it ended up to not include the entrance fees and lasted more than twice as long as they insisted on taking us to a leather outlet for a fashion show and would have taken us to a pottery show and more if we hadn't kicked up a fuss! So we didn't see any of Kusadasi after all!
Kids clubs were probably ok, but our two didn't want to go. Youngest (8) went twice and had a good time, but they made friends elsewhere who didn't got to the clubs and so wanted to be with them instead.
Disembarkation was very smooth and fast, but there was a 40 minute queue for a taxi. Getting a taxi from there to Barcelona airport cost us about £35 Euros for four of us plus baggage, so much cheaper than the RCL shuttle. Less
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Cabin review: Brilliance of the Seas Interior Stateroom Deck 2 4049
Door configuration bizarre - couldn't go to toilet if someone else was looking in a wardrobe for something to wear. Light was on a slow light so took time to warm up when turned on - not sure if deliberate feature or not, but very useful in the night so as not to wake everyone us with bathroom trips. Not as many hiding places/storage as P&O had - there were places they could have added but didn't. Our room a little noisy at times (but not after midnight) as we were close to the Centrum music/bar. Didn't bother us though and it was quite handy to be able to prop open the door to hear Captain's announcements as I believe you can't hear them in all cabins (deliberately so).
Port and Shore Excursions
Free entrance for EU citizen children with proof (credit card sufficed).
Quick tip - pre-book before you go for a tour around some of the closed to public houses in Pompeii. We didn't but apparently it can be done.
Typical RCI trip
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Nice Cruise, BUT