Brilliance of the Seas is superbly designed to accommodate families; kids even get their own Daily Compass delivered to their cabins every night. The extensive Adventure Ocean Program groups kids in five categories (3 to 5, 6 to 8, 9 to 11, 12 to 14 and 15 to 17). The 3- to 11-year-olds are in one room, and the teens are across the hall, with their own disco. The top-notch youth facilities include a computer lab, PlayStations and Adventure Beach with a waterslide and pool. Programming ranges from arts and crafts to games, rock climbing and science fun.
During sea days, the kids program is available from 9 a.m. to noon, 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. When in port, the program is available all day long, leaving parents with the (wonderful) option of going ashore and leaving the kids for part or all of the day. But older kids may not take kindly to this, as the age groups are all mixed on these port "baby-sitting"days.
My Gulf cruise was during the school year, so there were very few children onboard, but on school holidays, the activities step up a notch with kids' special dinners and late-night events for a small charge, so parents can dine alone. On a previous cruise on Brilliance with my kids, we found Adventure Ocean to be one of the best children's clubs we'd come across at sea.
Other kid-friendly features onboard include a waterslide (although this appeared to be closed for my whole cruise), an arcade, mini-golf, a rock-climbing wall and Ping-Pong.
For younger kids, you also have the option of hiring baby sitters if you need a night out. This is bookable only when you're onboard, not in advance, and costs about $10 per hour for two children and $15 per hour for three. Group baby-sitting service is available late nights; kids must be at least 3 years old and potty trained; the rate is $6 per hour, per child.
The in-cabin televisions have a dedicated children's channel. In the dining room, young cruisers can choose from the Captain Sealy's Kids Galley Menu.
Every night, there's a Junior Curfew at 1 a.m., which means teens can't hang out round the pool or in the disco unless they're still participating in an Adventure Ocean program.