34 Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

This is the only cruise line to chose. Everything was awesome. I can't think of one thing that I did not like. The food was great. So many choices. The shows were outstanding. The slides were so much fun. Our stateroom was clean and ... Read More
This is the only cruise line to chose. Everything was awesome. I can't think of one thing that I did not like. The food was great. So many choices. The shows were outstanding. The slides were so much fun. Our stateroom was clean and never had to ask for anything. I wish everyone had a watch to wear instead of the cards. That would be a great way for everyone to keep track of their cards is just wear a watch. The swimming pools were warm and felt great when you went into them. The volley ball games were fun. It was fun playing against the officers. The bathrooms were always clean. Everything was clean. My favorite show was Grease. The marriage game was so funny. It was so fun to watch. Overall I think that it was the best trip I have been on. I would never cruise with any other cruise line except Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I have always enjoyed cruising. My first cruise was on R.C. back in 1992 on the Viking Serenade. It was so miraculous. The midnight chocolate buffet! The servers and the cherries Jubilee. Waiters cutting my lobster tail. Really, one of ... Read More
I have always enjoyed cruising. My first cruise was on R.C. back in 1992 on the Viking Serenade. It was so miraculous. The midnight chocolate buffet! The servers and the cherries Jubilee. Waiters cutting my lobster tail. Really, one of the best parts of cruising has always been the access to food at all times. And it was good food. Well, on Brilliance of the Seas, that is no more. That food was a major gastric catastrophe. My two sisters ordered beef brisket on a potato pancake the first night. They received a greyish/green color of a slice of something odd, served on a mashed potato that had been pressed ever so slightly with a spatula. My battered fish filet was a small, shrunk up piece of soggy bland fish. Served with crunchy, hard peas. And it really never improved after that. We did eat for two different nights in the Italian restaurant and the Steak restaurant with the upcharge in price. That food was very good, yes. But, the rub came from why must we pay extra to get decent food? Are they purposely making the main dining room and buffet food bad so that you are forced to pay extra to get a good meal? It was very insulting to pay the money we did to receive food that bad. And service that slow. And the lack of being able to get water, unless you bought a beverage pass was also frustrating. The first night was a broadway singing show, it was good. If you were old. The second night was an A capella group. They were okay, but no scenery or props. We left halfway through. The third night was a comedian. He was just okay. So the shows passed time, but were not outstanding. The activities on board were typical and repetitive. Scavenger hunt, crude language game shows with drunk people, buy art, buy jewelry and sunglasses, buy a spa treatment. Or exercise early in the morning. Having two days at sea, I really, really wished for some different activities. Movie theatre very small and filled very quickly. The casino was fine. We always had nice people at the roulette wheel. It is a bit of tight quarters in there, but good for evening entertainment. We rode horses in Cozumel. The workers were pleasant and fine. The horses were nice, the ruins were pretty basic and the horses walked like they were sleepwalking. But still a good time if you like horses. The bed in my cabin was comfortable. The cabin sofa had holes, it looked old. But it was quiet when I was sleeping. Overall, my Mom and myself and my two older sisters had a fine time, because we were together. And we had some opportunities to dance in the evening. I felt like the cruise was doing whatever it could to make you spend as much extra money as possible, and that was disappointing, Most of the employees could not speak decent English at all, and that often caused some confusion. We chose this cruise line because it was an easy departure from Tampa for us, and because my Mom wanted a Casino. (No Casinos on Disney cruises). Would I go on this cruise or Royal Carribean again? No. From the moment we arrived on board, there was really no one to welcome us, or make us feel like it was some grand adventure. It felt like we were merely cogs in an assembly line. I will keep my fond memories from the 90s and leave the Millenium cruises to others. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We are a family of 4, children ages 10 and 13. This was our first cruise and were a little nervous based on reviews posted on line. All we can figure is that some people will complain about any detail, just to complain. This was a ... Read More
We are a family of 4, children ages 10 and 13. This was our first cruise and were a little nervous based on reviews posted on line. All we can figure is that some people will complain about any detail, just to complain. This was a beautiful, well kept ship. The food was good, based on the number of people it had to be prepared for. The staff was excellent, kind attentive and probably offered the highest level of service we have received on any vacation. The ship is small, compared to others in the fleet, but the trade off is minimal waiting in lines and areas available to catch a moment alone. We loved it, and are planning our next cruise already. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was my 3rd cruise and 1st on Royal Caribbean. Last cruise was over 5 years ago (Carnival). All taken with my spouse. The Good: Check-In - Much smoother than in the past Stateroom - Decent Size (although the bathroom ... Read More
This was my 3rd cruise and 1st on Royal Caribbean. Last cruise was over 5 years ago (Carnival). All taken with my spouse. The Good: Check-In - Much smoother than in the past Stateroom - Decent Size (although the bathroom size took some getting used to), clean, comfortable bed Dining - The food in both the Main Dining Room and Windjammer Café was good - nothing outstanding but better than some. Entertainment - There was a variety of music around the ship. The RC Singers were good. Activities - We enjoyed watching the Cake Decorating Challenge and taking the Napkin Folding class. Port - Easy on and off (we didn't do any excursions) The Bad: Stateroom - NO Clock (in fact, hardly any around the ship - strange when you have a schedule to follow). Two small bars of soap and a shower wall dispenser of lousy shampoo. No lotion or shower gel - come on - even cheap hotels give me that! Dining - I personally don't see why people would want to take a cruise - known for free food - and pay extra to eat at other onboard restaurants. I would be curious to see how many people use these. Seems like 4 of them is excessive. I can appreciate that cruise lines want to reduce waste - hence no midnight buffet, but when the main dining room and café were closed (between meals and late night), there was only one small place by the pool where you could get free food! Have an appetizer buffet or a chocolate bar - something. Where is the never ending soft serve (which they kept running out of)? Other than our server team in the main dining room, the dining staff was not friendly Bar - Slow service and never could find a friendly bartender! Entertainment - They tried, but the Royal Caribbean dancers were not very good and the choreography was bad. I felt sorry for anyone travelling with kids because 3 of the 4 shows were not kid friendly. Activities - There were a lot of things that seemed designed to sell you something. We wanted more Bingo, more Trivia. It seemed like things we wanted to do were at conflicting times. Video Arcade - HORRIBLE!! Maybe this is not a priority, but the games were certainly lacking. Several of them didn't work and one died in the middle of us playing it! WiFi - Too expensive! OUTSTANDING Stateroom - Our Cabin Steward was very friendly, remembered us, and checked on us. Dining - Our Main Dining room serving team were friendly and engaging. They remembered us and our preferences. Entertainment - The 3 Las Vegas Tenors and Comedian Juggler were both outstanding shows. Disembarkation - Very smooth and took less time than estimated. Overall, I would take another Royal Caribbean Cruise, but it would really depend on the ship amenities. I felt as though we ran out of things to do. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This was our fifth cruise with family over the Christmas break. It was our second cruise with RC. We left from Tampa and visited Key West and Cozumel. We've been on RC, Carnival, and Celebrity, and in comparison to the other cruises, ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with family over the Christmas break. It was our second cruise with RC. We left from Tampa and visited Key West and Cozumel. We've been on RC, Carnival, and Celebrity, and in comparison to the other cruises, this one was near the bottom. First the positives: most of the workers were all excellent. Everyone smiled at us as we walked by. It took us less than 30 minutes to check-in. They were very fast and efficient, getting everything we wanted in place. Our room attendant knew that we were traveling as a large group of 13 people, and he made it a point to know all of our names. We saw him at least three times a day. He would dote on the kids and ask us how we were doing. Our room was always cleaned and up to par. His name was Foster. He shared about his family and how he was doing. We already had prepaid tips, but he did go out of his way, so we give him a bit more because he made the effort to get to know us. Everyone in our group agreed that he was a great attendant. The ship itself was very clean; workers were always cleaning up and making everything nice. One of the floor boards in the solarium broke, and it was immediately fixed up. We saw workers constantly cleaning, painting, fixing. It looked like a well maintained ship. There was a lot of activity around the ship to keep people busy. The casinos and bars looked empty, but this trip was probably more family-oriented than most trips. We enjoyed our time playing mini putt-putt, watching the seas, enjoying some of the shows (the comedian was very funny (though crass at times), lounging in the adult solarium, chatting with people in the hot tubs, sitting the atrium and listening to classical music, learning Latin dancing, watching the latest movie (Jurassic World). The kids (6 through 12) enjoyed the kids adventure ocean club. The kids workers in there said they expected 500 children to overload them, but there were never that many kids in the club. Most kids hung with their parents or floated in the dinky pool. Our kids enjoyed some of the activities offered by the club. My kids said this club was comparable to Celebrity's and Carnival's. One day, they had a family scavenger hunt where everyone had to go around the ship and find various items. The winners won small plastic medals. That was a bit of a disappointment since Celebrity's family scavenger hunt winners received real prizes of tote bags, t-shirts, water bottles, and tickets to port excursions. RC was very helpful when we had issues in the dining room. Because we were a large group of 13, and we couldn't get a fixed time, they still were able to give us a 6pm table during My Time Dining, and we never had to wait. Our server was always the same person. We really appreciated their efforts to help solve any problems we had. Here are the negatives: Our cabin had a urine smell in a certain corner. We were hoping it would go away, but it never did. We couldn't blame our attendant; we think it was just stinky in the cabin. Our first dining night, our server and water attendant acted like it was their first time serving people: menus were given upside down to three out of the 13 people (we just took turns looking at the three menus), rolls were thrown on our laps, food plates were thrown onto our tables like it was a greasy spoon diner, water was poured over our shoulders interrupting our conversations, and the waiter never introduced himself or the food. It seemed a bit like a comedy show. All 13 of us asked the head waiter for a new table, and they promptly gave us a new one the next night. This new waiter and attendant were far superior to our initial servers. He never dropped rolls into our laps, took our water glasses and poured them from the side, placed our plated gently in front of us, introduced himself and shared the best dishes from each night. In fact, he knew that our family loved to try new dishes, so he always brought out more entrees and appetizers and put them in the middle for all of us to try. He gave fruit cups to all of the kids as we waited for our meals. He knew what he was doing, and he was tipped more than what was expected. He went beyond what was expected of him, and we appreciated his efforts. This ship took away smoked salmon, but we think it must have been a new rule, because when we asked a server if the buffet had smoked salmon, she said most certainly and went away to get some for us. She came back empty handed apologizing that she had been on vacation the week before and was surprised to see the smoked salmon taken away from the buffet line. She made it a point to write that down on an evaluation for headquarters, hoping that RC will listen and bring it back. When we went to the Minstrel Dining Room for breakfast one morning, we didn't see the smoked salmon on the menu, but we asked the server, and he went away and brought us a plate with two small portions of the smoked salmon on a bagel. I guess this is supposed to be a secret for those who have cruised before. How are people to know that they do serve smoked salmon in the dining room if they don't put it on the menu? Cost cutting? Breakfasts in the Minstrel Dining Room took almost 2 hours because there were not enough waiters. We kept asking the water attendant to please take our order, and she couldn't because that was not her job. In the end, we decided not to go to the dining room for breakfast as it was wayyyy toooo slowwww. Since Celebrity's coffee shop gave out free desserts from their counter, we had assumed RC would do the same. We went over to Lattitudes and asked for the desserts, and the attendant said it was free only for paying customers, but he felt sorry for us and gave us a free sample. That kind of put a damper on our dessert belly. Ah well. Nightly entertainment was sometimes only appropriate for adults only. We had to find other things to do with our kids. Some of the family went to the adult-only shows and told us that it was not worth remembering. One night, the comedian was good, and the kids enjoyed him. A singer was one night, and he was pretty good, but we were too tired to watch the entire show. The last night's dance show was showy, but it seemed very confusing as we couldn't follow its theme; I guess it was like a variety show. No chocolates on the pillows :( Guess that's for fancier ships now. Our time in Key West was nice. We enjoyed walking around and seeing the site, tasting the various Key Lime Pies. It was a busy day for Key West, with several ships docked. It was nice to enjoy our time. In Cozumel, we enjoyed Paradise Beach, though it looked way busier than expected. All of the lounge chairs were taken by 11am. We did manage to grab a table with an umbrella to put our stuff at. The waiter told us because of the crowds, it would take a long time to get our food, so we ordered our food and went swimming. We got back, and the food was all ready. Everything tasted fresh and delicious. We had a great time there. They said there were seven ships docked at Cozumel that day, so it was really quite busy! We probably won't go back on Brilliance OTS again. Maybe another RC ship? This ship is a great introduction ship to those who want to try out cruising. The basics are all there. It was fun and enjoyable. The food didn't surpass other ship experiences, but it was still good to try new dishes. Other reviewers said this ship was "just OK". I would have to agree. Not superior, not bad. Just OK. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This is my second cruise, first with Royal Caribbean. My family of 5 (husband, 21mth old daughter, 8 year old son and 14 year old son) arrived in Tampa at 9:20 AM (straight flight with Air Canada from Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Upon ... Read More
This is my second cruise, first with Royal Caribbean. My family of 5 (husband, 21mth old daughter, 8 year old son and 14 year old son) arrived in Tampa at 9:20 AM (straight flight with Air Canada from Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Upon arriving to the airport everything went smoothly. The Royal Caribbean airport transfer representatives were fast and efficient. Was happy to see that our bus was a huge GreyHound sized bus with lots of space. The Embarking process was fast and I was happy that we were able to board the ship as early as 11:00 AM. The only downside to that was our rooms were not available until approximately 1:30 PM, which Meant we had to lug around with our carry ons (for my family that meant 5 bags). The Wind Jammer buffet on Deck 11 was open for lunch as soon as we got on Board. I was not impressed with the food in this restaurant on the first day. Everything was cold or Luke warm. Nothing was hot and things did not seem overly fresh the way I would have hoped. The staff were polite but also not overly friendly like I experienced on my last cruise. So in a nut shell nothing to put down about the staff but nothing to rave about either. The ship was clean overall. I feel like although Brillance is a smaller ship, they could do with a little more staff to decrease wait times and clean up public areas more efficiently. The ship has a traditional feel. Deck six is a beautiful Deck with a wood grain feel. It is quite nice. The casino and many of the speciality restaurants are also located on this deck. However, the overall feel of the ship is a bit dated in my opinion. The pools, the Salarium, main dinning rooms and the Centruim could all use some updating. The onboard technology was great however. The touch screen navigation tools to help you locate different areas of the ship was great. The kids camp and nursery were nice and spacious, but the ship overall was not kid friendly. This ship was filled with retired people and the activities etc were geared towards that democratic (bingo, knitting lessons, etc.). I would not choose Brilliance if you are a young-middle aged family with young children and teens. Other ships just have so much more to offer for a better family vacation experience Our cabin was 8502 (Family Ocean View) Our room was on the larger size, but that did not mean bigger bathroom. We had 2 bedrooms that were separated by a wall and closed off by thick curtains. We also had a spacious sitting area and lots of storage space. Our room consisted of 1 king size bed that could be converted into two twins, a bunk bed and a fold out couch bed. The room was great. One nice big window. It was very comfortable for my family of 5. We also had a playpen for the baby in the room. Loved the cabin overall, although the shower needs to be bigger! Room service was typically very slow and even crew staff discouraged us from using it. I only used it daily to get warm milk for the baby. For the most part they would come within 25 minutes with that small order, so I would imagine that it took much longer for more substantial orders. Dining needs improvement overall. I was really not impressed. The food went from okay to horrible unless you paid and ate at the speciality restaurants, which from my experience was amazing. I was not impressed with the fact that I had to pay to get good, freshly made food. Also the time between getting seated and actually your food was too long. The breads at dinner never seemed fresh. Always hard and crummy. If it wasn't for the exceptional head waiter Elena our children would have become restless waiting for food. Elena was great. Super friendly. Always intervened and made sure we were seated quickly and that the children's meals were out fast. She went out of her way to keep our baby entertained and did her very best to make the best out of our dining experience. She was the only WOW factor about the cruise. Loved her and her hospitality. There was another head waiter that was great as well. When I got tired of the bland menu I jokingly requested some good old Jamaican food and to my surprise he brought me food that I believe was his own personal stash dinner he must have made for himself. That was beyond kind. I must say that although Brillance has an older crowd, the people aboard when I went were so understanding and kind to our young family. The were polite, patient and just loved having our little baby around. Mind you she is quite entertaining. I say all that to say that although the ship and the activities were not geared to children really, the people were still great! I personally would not go on Brilliance of the Seas again with my children because there just wasn't enough for them to do, although the had fun with what they had. The shore excursion that we did was in Key West. Super cute little island and I enjoyed our tour. We did the old town trolley and Butterfly Conservatory. We also did the ship wreck museum and walked around the island. Really liked Key West. Friendly people and lots of little shops. No real beaches though. The other stop was Cozumel Mexcio. Did not do a tour cause it was raining for most of the morning. Did walk around on our own. It was too hot and humid so we did not walk very far. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Returned from Tampa after 13 day cruising the Caribbean and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Long flight from UK so enjoyed chilling out on first three sea days. Good table in Minstral with very attentive service from Mckoy and ... Read More
Returned from Tampa after 13 day cruising the Caribbean and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Long flight from UK so enjoyed chilling out on first three sea days. Good table in Minstral with very attentive service from Mckoy and Adelyn. Could not fault any of crew who were all very efficient and friendly. Nightly theatre acts were good but not keen on production nights. Disappointed no films were shown on deck at night as this was a new feature on this ship. Also no deck barbecue. Noticeable cost cutting since last cruise but food of good quality with all evening meals enjoyable. Also, my husband was please to see authentic indian curry in Windjammer every day. Very disappointed with the new pub, no atmosphere and more like a courtroom than an english pub. Seating was awful and needs redesigning. Chose to prepay premium package after given incorrect information by R.C. shore contact precruise misinformed me that not possible to pay for package once on the ship which left no option but to pay up front. This was a huge mistake as I had nowhere near the amount to break even and would not take up this package in the future. Cocktails $11.80, spirit mixers $8.26 with beer similar price which I feel is a little excessive. Unfortunately, the shore team do not match up to the service on board the ship, with my onboard account charged twice to my credit card on my return. with a denial and no apology from R.C.I even after my bank confirmed this and retrieved the money. Still waiting for reply to my email after a week. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was not our first cruise but it was our first Royal Caribbean Cruise. We knew that we wanted something longer than 7 days. This was 13 days, a Repositioning Cruise. Initially we chose this particular cruise because it left out of ... Read More
This was not our first cruise but it was our first Royal Caribbean Cruise. We knew that we wanted something longer than 7 days. This was 13 days, a Repositioning Cruise. Initially we chose this particular cruise because it left out of Boston......an hour from our home, and ended in Tampa where we had relatives that we would be visiting after the cruise. Our boarding was fairly easy.....arrival at about 11:00 and onboard at about 12:00. It definately helps to have all papers filled out as Royal tells you and easily accessible. Pleasant surprise, we were greated with Champagne as soon as we got inside. What a gorgeous ship, lots of glass and light......just beautiful all over. Walked around and got a general overall view of our home for the next 2 weeks. Our room was available by 1:15 and we anxiously made our way there and scoped out the room, bath and storage. Our luggage came over the few hours or so....We had quite a few suitcases and garment bags and I wanted to get clothes hung and put away quickly so our vacationc ould begin. After that we went up to the Windjammer for lunch.......excellent, everything we tried was great. We made several reservations during our cruise at alternate dining venues: Chops, Chef's Table, Izumis, and the Italian restaurant Giovannis. Each was exquisite, different in their uniqueness but delicious, and the service was impeccable. Overall our exprience with Royal was superb. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
First cruise ever so we really didn't have anything to compare it to. Our room had plenty of storage but the balcony had a huge ladder blocking 1/2 of the view (room 8162). Our room attendant did a wonderful job keeping it clean and ... Read More
First cruise ever so we really didn't have anything to compare it to. Our room had plenty of storage but the balcony had a huge ladder blocking 1/2 of the view (room 8162). Our room attendant did a wonderful job keeping it clean and refreshing the ice bucket, very friendly and a nice person. ( Foster Allen). The ship was amazing and beautiful. Food was good. The entertainment around the ship at the bars and in the elevator areas was a nice touch. The main entertainment was armature and lacked talent. We walked out twice. Service was good in mdr and our waiter (Christian) was pleasant and does a fine job. We went to the casino even though I don't smoke or gamble because the staff there and three bartenders were extremely friendly and a lot of fun to talk to. One of the main highlights of the day was going there to see them again, also Ramon from the Rita's Cantina made us feel welcomed. .Mostly all of them seem to come from Romania. The pool areas were fun and we really enjoyed the solarium pool. Now for the bad news. I was treated like pure you know what by an excursion person. I was there to spend money and book an excursion not to fight and be treated like I'm an imposition and there to make him work for 3 minutes. I filed a complaint and never heard back from anyone. Did my own excursions after that. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We took a taxi from our hotel to the port, $30.00, a little expensive but our bags went right from the taxi to the porter. A tip for him and we were off. Lines were very short and we were onboard in no time. Due to the fact that the ... Read More
We took a taxi from our hotel to the port, $30.00, a little expensive but our bags went right from the taxi to the porter. A tip for him and we were off. Lines were very short and we were onboard in no time. Due to the fact that the previous cruise was cancelled due to weather we were able to go direct to our cabin. We had a balcony cabin on deck 9 and it was an awesome cabin. I was able to get everything put away and then we went to the Windjammer for some lunch. It was pretty chilly so we stayed in our jeans for sail away. Our dinner that first night was in Chops and they didn't dissapoint! The steaks were wonderful and so were the desserts. Our ports were Key West and Cozumel. We didn't take any excursions, just walked around the port. In Key West I bought sandals at Kinos and in Cozumel I bought jewerly. The entertainment was pretty typical. I didn't care for the comedian but Savanah Jack band was awesome! Also, the high wire act in the Centrum was very fun to watch. We even watched the practice sessions during the day. All in all this was just another fabulous Royal Caribbean Cruise. We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I recently took the reposition cruise on the Briliance from Boston to Tampa with stops in the South Caribbean. THE GOOD: The ship itself is very nice and the public rooms are beautiful and welcoming in their design. The size and guest ... Read More
I recently took the reposition cruise on the Briliance from Boston to Tampa with stops in the South Caribbean. THE GOOD: The ship itself is very nice and the public rooms are beautiful and welcoming in their design. The size and guest capacity of this ship is just the right size for the type of cruise I enjoy. The ship's staff was fabulous. Everyone on the ship, from the bartenders, waiters, Windjammer staff, room stewards, desk clerks, store workers to the amazing entertainment crew were fabulous. They smiled and talked to us and made us feel like they were really happy that we were there and were happy to help us in any way. It was a welcome change from some of the larger ships we've been on lately. The cruise director, Clo, is the best one I've ever seen on any ship we've been on. You can tell she really loves her job and she's very good at it. THE BAD: The toilets stopped working on our first day for about 8 hours and then worked sporadically for the next several days. All of the public restrooms smelled like urine for the entire trip and we just tried to avoid using those. Our friend's room flooded and they were displaced for a couple of days to an inside room. The ship obviously has some plumbing issues. The food overall was not very good. Breakfast is exactly the same every single day and most items were cold and tasteless. I tried twice to get an omelet but after waiting 15 minutes each time, I just gave up and never tried again. Lunch was also exactly the same items every single day. The only thing that changed was the type of meat they put in the Curry sauce and the type of soup. Dinners were okay but I would say we only had two meals that I was classify as "Good". The rest ranged from inedible to okay. We ate once in Giovannis and that was better than the dining room but the meat was served almost raw so they had to take it back and cook it again. Everything else served there was very good. This ship also moved much more than other ships I've been on so, although I had a fabulous time and enjoyed the cruise immensely, I would not go on this particular ship again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We have sailed previously with Royal Caribbean and really enjoyed the layout of this particular ship. The Promenade deck was always interesting and they had a cool parade the first night. The VERY best thing was the magician/comedian. Best ... Read More
We have sailed previously with Royal Caribbean and really enjoyed the layout of this particular ship. The Promenade deck was always interesting and they had a cool parade the first night. The VERY best thing was the magician/comedian. Best show I've seen on a cruise ship. The ice show and Temptations review were also very entertaining. Unless you eat a lot of red meat the food was sub par. Our traveling companions raved about the prime rib, steak, etc. I tried the seafood each night and should have learned my lesson after the 4th or 5th awful meal. The best thing on the ship was a crew member named Labrador. It was his task to get all to use hand sanitizer upon entering the Windjammer (also sub par food compared to other Windjammers). He was hilarious! Sang songs sometimes with others accompanying with instruments and lyrics that were a crack up. Fitness center needs some TLC. All the balance balls were about flat and I never found any staff in that area at any time. The machines are great though. St. Lucia was the most amazing port. Be sure to sign up for the snorkel/cruise excursion. Get to see all the island. Also the Barbadian Buccaneers in Barbados is a hoot. Done it two years in a row and just as much fun. Swim with sea turtles and dance with all the others who have had too much rum punch on the way in. If you are a golfer go to the Buccaneer in St Croix. Not a ship excursion, hire a taxi. Have to say this was the best "at sea" day we have experienced. All kinds of fun activities to watch like the sexiest man and belly flop contest. There was a diverse age group on this ship which made it more interesting even for those of us in our 60's. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was our eighth cruise, the fourth time with RCI. We had a very relaxed journey from start to finish. We are from Sullivan County (NY). Due to the late departure of the Brilliance and the fact that we had vacationed in Puerto Rico ... Read More
This was our eighth cruise, the fourth time with RCI. We had a very relaxed journey from start to finish. We are from Sullivan County (NY). Due to the late departure of the Brilliance and the fact that we had vacationed in Puerto Rico previously, we over nighted at the airport (EWR). We stayed in the Newark Airport Hampton Inn. We had a 9:30 Jet Blue flight and found not having to drive (a two hour journey),then fly and transfer to the port all in the same day a more relaxed and less tense way to approach the travel from home to ship. If you seek additional information re the hotel,I have a review of the hotel and park/fly option of the Hampton Inn on Trip Advisor. Briefly,the Hampton Inn is not a "posh" hotel but the staff is helpful and I find their parking facility and use of their "courtesy van" most convenient. It will meet or exceed your expectations. Our Jet Blue flight the next day was on time. We found the seats comfortable, and their service, although limited, was sufficient for this four hour flight. The crew was most hospitable. For those of you who have never made the airport to cruise ship transfer before (like us),it is a snap. Just exit the baggage area and the cabs are lined up to take you to your ship.The base price is $21.00 (for two people)plus $1.00 per suitcase. For peace of mind, it is always best to ask what the fare will be prior to getting into the cab. We did not hear a peep about anyone getting ripped off by a cab driver. Your trip (depending on traffic) should take about twenty minutes. If you follow the on-line check-in list pre-boarding paper processing will go very smoothly. Don't forget to print out or request your ship luggage tags before you leave for the cruise. Put them on your luggage when you get to the cruise line terminal. All you will have to do is leave them with a baggage handler just prior to entering the terminal. If you arrive without your luggage tags, the baggage handler will print them up for you. It is best to have whatever you will need to enjoy the time between boarding the ship and the time you get your luggage (by 7:00PM). You will have access to your room so you can change into the shorts, workout clothing, or the ensemble that you have in the separate bag you boarded with. We did not get our baggage until 7:00 and we had early dining, so we were verrrrry casual for our dinner the first night (but so was everyone else). The pre-boarding and boarding processes were very easy. We landed at 1:30PM and by 3:00PM we were exploring the ship. It only took two seconds to explore the stateroom. Our "large", ocean-view stateroom was a bit of a disappointment. It is nice to have a "window", but one had to contort on the bed to peek out of the port hole. We will experience a balcony the next time. The price difference from an inside room to this "large" ocean-view stateroom was not warranted. Aside from the porthole view disappointment, there was ample room to hang and store our clothing and put our luggage under the comfortable bed. All of the public rooms (not speaking about bathrooms here) were always in guest ready condition. After every event the staff swoops in and in moments it is as though nothing happened and if you wanted a quiet retreat at least one lounge was available to read, chat quietly, or practice your dance moves (like we did). I was a frequent user of the fitness center. I found it an an adequate substitute for my usual fitness regimen. Never had to wait for a free elliptical or fitness station. Yoga classes and spinning classes were also available. The entertainment on board was better than we had expected. We particularly enjoyed the murder mystery dinner provided by Portofinos, one of the specialty restaurants on board. We ate there twice and totally enjoyed the food and service. We went to the theater twice. The variety shows presented were enjoyable, consisting of singing and dancing, acrobatics, and a comedian. The food and service in the dinning room was excellent. If you even hinted that you were torn between entrees or desserts there was no need for any consternation, all of your culinary wants would appear. The food in the buffet was average fare. A large variety of food offerings were always available breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eggs, waffles, french toast, sausage, beacon,salmon, cereal,oatmeal, muffins tarts, cookies, fruits for breakfast. Lunch and dinner also provided myriad choices to satisfy the palate. Paul and Ken the cruise director and the activity director had a very good chemistry and provided a morning show (taped the night before and ran all day) that contained light hearted banter and useful information. We found our way around each port city on our own and also ventured to beaches. We did do one snorkeling trip that was booked through the ship's excursion office. We have come to the conclusion that at this time in our lives cruising offers you the most value for the money. If there was one area in which we found some disappointment it was the lack of ballroom dancing opportunities. There was a "Big Band" performance in which the opportunity to allow for dancing i.e. swing, foxtrot, waltz was absent. It was designed for listening pleasure but not so much as for dancing. We did very much enjoy the Latin Trio and the music they provided for dancing salsa, cha cha, bachata, merengue, samba, cumbia, and rhumba. The silent dance in the disco lounge was unique. Dancers wore headsets to dance to the music of two deejays. Dancers heard the music through their headset while spectators watched them dance and could converse with each other without having to shout over the music. At times it seemed dance partners were dancing to two different songs. Lastly the Meet and Greet that we went to was very nice. We made new friends, had some appetizers and even won a raffle prize. All in all, we liked this RCI cruise on the Brilliance of the Seas. Departing Puerto Rico cuts down the sea days and puts you in a different port each day. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
This was my 10th cruise on RCI. I have to say the last few years I had been finding that the service was not what it used to be but on this cruise this cruise was not the case. We had the BEST dining room service that we have had in years. ... Read More
This was my 10th cruise on RCI. I have to say the last few years I had been finding that the service was not what it used to be but on this cruise this cruise was not the case. We had the BEST dining room service that we have had in years. Our waiter and assistant waiter went beyond what was expected and regularly told us if we were not happy to let them know right away as they wanted to meet our expectations! The Brilliance is due to go into dry dock for some serious renovations. I have been on ships due for dry dock before and I was quite worried when I found out this one was going in soon. I was on Grandeur years ago and it was a total disaster. I again was surprised to find the ship was still in over all very good condition and clean. Much of the furniture is showing it's age and needing to be replaced but other than that no complaints. We did hear of some plumbing problems on the ship and we did have a short period where our toilet didn't work but it was quickly resolved. The crew is doing a great job keeping the ship up. It seems that when they designed this ship they also did an amazing job of using the space on it compared to some of the other ships we have been on. Over all we were very happy with this cruise and can't wait for the next one!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Departed Old San Juan on the Brilliance after spending one pre-cruise night in the Milano hotel, where our room cost $150 and was no bigger than our cabin on the ship. Yes, and an inside room, with no window, 50-year-old furniture and ... Read More
Departed Old San Juan on the Brilliance after spending one pre-cruise night in the Milano hotel, where our room cost $150 and was no bigger than our cabin on the ship. Yes, and an inside room, with no window, 50-year-old furniture and mushroom carpet. The hotel was okay because right in the heart of the old city. All we did was sleep there, plus have the breakfast for $5.50 per person on the rooftop the day of departure - excellent, almost cancelled out the mushroom carpet. This was a sentimental cruise for me (my fist ship was the Radiance) as I wanted to sail again on this beautiful class of ship before the re-fit/expansion. And, it was my hubby's fist cruise ever, as I had press-ganged him into taking one (just one, you never have to do it again if you don't like it) cruise with me. The cruise hit a home run for both of us. Can't cover it all, but here are the highlights, with a couple lowlights at the end. We did DIY at all ports, and that worked for us, cuz we don't like lots of people around us and we do like to walk the road less-traveled. Loved Magan's Bay in St Thomas - been on many Caribbean beaches, but this one deserves its rep as one of the ten best. I hate swimming if I think my feet are going to touch something sharp or mucky. Win! I loved swimming there. Hubby had a great time walking the whole beach end-to-end with the binocs, watching the waterfowl. I had been to St Lucia 20 years ago on a land vacation. Very sorry to see the St Lucian tourist industry now incorporates people aggressively flogging their tacky souvenirs and not taking no graciously as an answer. Plus at every stop, charging a dollar to use the potty??? I did dip myself in the mud at the volcano, and it was a hoot. However, it took me two days afterward (and a brush purchased in Guadeloupe) to scrub that volcanic grit put of all my crevices. Guadeloupe was the unexpected surprise hit of the vacation for us. We just did DIY in Pointe a Pitre, and loved every minute of it. We found this port interesting, clean, safe, and sophisticated (see wassup's posts in the community threads for details). Antigua - meh. You have to walk two blocks away from the pier before the people stop pestering you to take their taxi or tour. We took the local #17 bus to and from Nelson's Dockyards, pretty good excursion for less than $30 for two people. Glad we didn't spend more. We loved St Croix. Small, clean, lovely, historic, straight ahead as you walk off the ship. And if that isn't enough, there's a fine beach within view and to the left of the pier, no cost, rentals available, food shacks with WIFI, tide pools, and a laid-back groove. As for the Brilliance, yes, she needs to go in for a refresh, but it was great to sail on her the way she is, before that. Never had the potty smell in the cabin before, but we did on this one in our aft cabin 9260, mostly in the bathroom. The steward did his best, but could only subdue it. Otherwise, she is a little worn at some edges, but truly we weren't looking at that, because with this ship it's all about looking outside all the time. This class of ships' great genius is bringing the outside in. Final word: Marcelo the classical guitarist is a genius. The Starlight trio can play music from any century and make it sound amazing. Final final word. The hubby, the reluctant cruiser, beat a path to the ship's onboard sign-up for a next cruise. Sold!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
I went into this cruise with reservation due to the time of year but my husband pushed me to go and I was very pleased we did. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean once before through the Panama Canal they did not disappoint us. This ... Read More
I went into this cruise with reservation due to the time of year but my husband pushed me to go and I was very pleased we did. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean once before through the Panama Canal they did not disappoint us. This is the first time we cruised for the fun of it and not for the itinerary. Can't say to much about the islands we went to as they were all very similar and not real interesting. Only did one excursion for snorkeling and that was fun. The one place we were very pleasantly surprised with was San Juan. Having been there several times many years ago the city has made an amazing comeback. Old San Juan was a great place to spend a few days before the cruise. So we like to eat at a late dinner and we ended up with no one at our table of 6. We were disappointed as we enjoy meeting new people but our waiter and assistant waiter made up for the lack of company, they were wonderful. I am allergic to onions and unlike Princess and Celebrity the Brilliance of the Seas accommodated me with wonderful choices with my own sauces. We found all the employees to be friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. It was difficult to find guests to converse with as at least 50% of the ship were from Porto Rico and most did not speak English or want to speak English. I must say many of them were rude and pushy. We stayed away from the buffet for that very reason. Entertainment was fun and there was always something to do. I just wish Royal Caribbean would go to more exotic places so we could cruise the all the time, then they would be my favorite cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We had a few kinks the first day on the boat which was annoying however the staff handled it so well that we really couldn't be upset. I didn't notice any issues with the ship or any updates needed. I was not aware any issues ... Read More
We had a few kinks the first day on the boat which was annoying however the staff handled it so well that we really couldn't be upset. I didn't notice any issues with the ship or any updates needed. I was not aware any issues on the ship. As a person who enjoys a few cocktails - I highly suggest purchasing the drink package $55 a day for premium pkg. The only con is that it requires everyone in the cabin to purchase it. So my dad was out of luck because my mom doesn't drink. I am a high maintenance travel. I have to have a gluten free diet and need a lot of clean whole foods. When we got on the ship - there seemed to be not a lot of healthy foods. However, at dinner our head waiter asked what I needed and every night provided me with the foods I needed. They also had a big selection of gluten free foods. They went out of their way to accommodate my needs. Also, I knew I needed to keep up my fitness program somewhat while on the cruise but after visiting the gym and meeting the staff - I can say they motivated me to work out everyday and it felt amazing. Also suggest the castaway sail and snorkel in St. Thomas. The price was right and the crew was amazing. If I knew how much fun it would be - I would have booked two for same day. If you really want to laugh - what super trooper (meow) before you go. Highly suggest this cruise and we will be spending Christmas on this cruise line again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Just back from a back to back cruise on Brilliance covering Christmas and New Year. The ship looked great with a Christmas tree, lots of decorations and ginger bread houses. We've sailed on brilliance before and whilst it is an ... Read More
Just back from a back to back cruise on Brilliance covering Christmas and New Year. The ship looked great with a Christmas tree, lots of decorations and ginger bread houses. We've sailed on brilliance before and whilst it is an older ship the atmosphere is fantastic. Some evidence of wear but nothing major that we saw. The ship is going into dry dock in spring but all the talk we heard was of renovations to the public areas. Embarkation and disembarkation - we checked in quickly about 2 pm but then had to queue for 90 mins in the heat to get on board. Staff said delays were caused by immigration. Change over day was good. We attended a meeting the night before and were given out sea pass and " guest in transit passes". We left the ship about 9.30 with no delays but noticed queues at immigration. Our disembarkation day was very bad . We were due to leave the ship at 10 - 10.15 but didn't clear the port until 12.30 and there were people behind us. For quite a while only citizens of US were being allowed off the ship. We probably wouldn't sail from this port again. Cabin - this was fine . We had cabin 9072 a family cabin with a sofa bed. Cabin is old style, air con probably not as efficient as on a new ship and shower curtain rather than door. Our cabin steward had just been promoted from the laundry and we experienced a few problems in the beginning but things improved over the 2 weeks. Food - we had my time dining and had the same table and dining team every night. Food was fine with a special menu for Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. Christmas Day good, New Year's Eve less so although party atmosphere good with party hats , rattles etc.We found the windjammer to be fine and never had any problems finding a table. Ports St Thomas. We got a taxi to Blackbeard's castle but unfortunately closed so taxi driver dropped us off in town where we did a spot of shopping. Checked out the Big Kahuna rum shop but ended up in Gladys's for coffee. Then walked back to the ship via the marina which is very stylish. Sea day and Christmas Eve - lovely evening. Platters tribute band who were quite good then carols in the atrium followed by a balloon drop. St Lucia and Christmas Day. We got a taxi to Reduit beach. Everyone in the taxi had to agree a return time which we managed quite easily. Later Father Christmas joined the ship n a lifeboat and distributed gifts to children in the atrium. Guadeloupe - we were greater by a steel band. We explored point a pitre including the cathedral and then returned to the ship. We wanted to like this port as we'd read lots of criticism but it was very neglected. We didn't meet many people who had enjoyed their excursions and noted that the pool deck was busy very early. That evening we saw the Unexpected boys a Frankie Valli tribute band who were good. Antigua - we'd privately booked with Segways of Antigua which was excellent. Ate at Hemingway's for lunch which was mediocre. St Croix. We bought day passes for Sandcastle on the Beach which was lovely. Very good restaurant with fantastic views attached to the hotel. San Juan. We got a taxi to San Cristobal Fort and then travelled on the free shuttle bus for a while. We tried to have lunch at barrachino's but it was very busy. Tortola - we used an RCI trip to the Virgin Gorda Baths. The catamaran trip was lovely. Baths were interesting but very busy . St Maarten - New Years Eve. we used water taxi into phillipsburg. Did a spot of shopping and then spent a few hours on Great Bay beach. Lovely beach which was very quiet. Had lunch at the Blue Bitch on a veranda with lovely views of the bay and live music outside. The ship left at 5 pm but anchored in the bay to enable us to watch the islands firework display at midnight which was fantastic. Lovely party atmosphere on the ship and fantastic way to welcome the New Year. St Kitts and New Years Day. Husband and son went on a ships trip to zip wire which we loved. We all then went into town as there was meant to be a carnival. Lots of opportunities to buy food and drink but we didn't catch the parade. Guadeloupe - stayed on the ship. Barbados - we'd booked cool runnings prior to leaving home. We were met at the dock and transported to the boat. This was a fantastic day out which we could really recommend. We had a fantastic holiday on Brilliance. It's a great ship and all the crew we met were friendly and helpful. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We were lucky enough to get away form the hurricane/no power on to the brilliance on 11/2 I will cover each section as I saw them as we have been on 16 cruises; The Ship Very clean and did not show its age but there was an awful ... Read More
We were lucky enough to get away form the hurricane/no power on to the brilliance on 11/2 I will cover each section as I saw them as we have been on 16 cruises; The Ship Very clean and did not show its age but there was an awful odor around decks 4 and 8 that was disturbing but I never lingered around those areas, our room on 7 was not affected. The cabin It was small but clean, also anyone over 6 ft tall will have their feet falling off the bed. We had a HD flat screen TV as well. The Service The 1st 2 night in the 6pm dining were shaky but they rebounded well and we had a vg experience with Helga. Our room steward was solid as well, always got what needed to be done. Staff around the Windjammer were solid as well. Kids Club My 9 year old son had a fantastic time 9-11 group, he was there many hours of his own choice and stayed late night every night, counselors were very enjoyable. My 16 year old daughter went up the 1st night and did make friends thankfully but there were little to no organized activities, but she met a good group of kids and had a great time anyway. The Food The new menu had a slow start the 1st 2 nights where the Prime Rib and other steak were only good items but the rest of the cruise had very good to excellent multiple choices. We tried almost everything , getting 2-3 of each and enjoyed dinner. This was 100% improved over the previous menu, even the lobster was a solid size and tasty. The Windjammer like all other cruises had the same breakfast every day but lunch was shaky at best with very limited choices, no outdoor BBQ. The dining room for lunch had a great make your own salad and solid entree's. The Pool Very crowded but expected on a small ship but we always managed to get 2-3 chairs for my family. Entertainment Staff The CD Paul and asst Cuddy were great and very active around the ship but the bingo/trivia person was having major communication issues and most if not all passengers could barely understand him. The house band was awful, either played instrumental 30's/40's music or 100% spanish by the pool deck. The only time there was a DJ by the pool who played music from the past 20 years was at the end of port days, I asked him why not on sea days, he said he had to work on the rock wall. All live music was geared to a 55 plus age group throughout the ship. Entertainment There was not much to do show wise other than 1 at 2 different times in the main room. The singers were solid but had awful material, I felt bad for them other than 1 show where they got to sing a few sings form the past 40 years. The 60 year old comedian told jokes that you can get form an joke book. The juggler was painfully awful, begging for applause and feedback and he performed twice. The "Original Drifters" were different and good,not my music but better than most. The best show was the comedian/piano player in the main room one night. If you want unique late night shows this is not your cruise, no late nite comedians or a band playing music form past 30 years. It was overall a vg cruise, the ports were excellent as I researched before and picked a beach to take a cab on our own 4-Shipwreck Bar beach (St Kitts) 1(Mullet Bay (St Maarten) 3-Brewers Bay (Tortola) ,2-Sapphire Beach (St Thomas)I have ranked them in our preferred order. The women did their shopping only by ships and said it was OK, we had free wifi and cheap beer right at the port at St Maarten and St Thomas Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
This was my husband's last minute decision cruise ! and it was a great idea. Our first time with Royal Caribbean, a very good choice. The ship is for about 2200 guests - and around 800 employees. I have to say they where all great ... Read More
This was my husband's last minute decision cruise ! and it was a great idea. Our first time with Royal Caribbean, a very good choice. The ship is for about 2200 guests - and around 800 employees. I have to say they where all great ! Friendly, very good service, a wide variety of nationalities, which just makes it so International. Since I like to mix with different cultures, I had a great time talking and listening to all these different people (staff and guests). Brazilian, French, American, Canadian, Venezuelan, Philippines, Tunisian, Mauritian, and many more. Our cabin was a large nice spacious ocean-view stateroom, but the bathrooms are rather small, specially the shower. If the shower curtain is not fully fitted, inside, you just flood the whole bathroom = which happened a couple of times after trying to bend down and wash my feet- i would inadvertently push the shower curtain outside the receptacle. As in other cruise lines we have taken, we only had a shampoo gel dispenser, no body lotion nor body gel. SPA: Gladly I found the very nice, spacious sauna and steam room at the Spa (no extra cost) and had my shower there everyday, they are huge, spacious, with 2-1 shampoo, body gel and even a hairdryer. Since it was a last minute cruise, and did not have time to get myself ready before hand, I decided to have a few things done on board at the spa. I was amazed to see they did BOTOX, fillers and lots more. I decided to have the Dysport - a free consultation with a GREAT doctor (Young Peruvian Doctor) . He was very kind, gave excellent advice, took all the needed time to explain the different procedures, not pushy, and had great hands injecting the product- believe me I have done it before- and here there was no pain, no bruising and asked to come back the last day of my cruise for a check up and touch up if necessary. He made himself available between my shore excursions, or my last day heavy schedule. Just wonderful!! Very patient oriented. I also had the microdermabrasion w/ oxygen, which is not like the (real?)one's I've had before, so I was a little disappointed, it was more like a facial with an airbrush. A bit pricey - get a normal facial instead. The Irish estheticienne, was very professional. The fitness room with almost brand new and enough equipment for busy days, we used it every day. Food and Beverages: Food is good all around, not the best we've had on cruise ships but Not a lot of junk food, which is probably good if you cruise with kids that you want them to stay fit. And it was good for my husband too (no temptations). We went to the Chop Grill restaurant (extra cost) which had great steaks - if a meat lover- it's well worth the price. Had a great Malbec bottle of wine with that. The only buzz was that we did not get the desserts but preferred the Irish coffee instead (which seemed to be on the menu)- NOT good, no taste, no cream, not enough whisky, nor strong coffee ... we didn't drink it. Worst, they charged us for it. We took a wine package and they do offer a wide variety of wines worldwide - mostly ''young'' wines from 2010. We were happy about our wine package. They have a champagne bar, which we went for pre dinner drinks - we had a half bottle French champagne that came out stale -without bubbles - the Philippine barman tried talking us into believing it was like that! That he drank champagne everyday...I'm glad he did not insist and changed it. My husband, being French, was not very happy about this issue. But they do have a service cart at the end of this bar (it's a bit hidden) - with plenty of Caviar like fish eggs, toasts, sour cream, soup, mini samoussas, mini dumplings, etc. That was a nice finding ! That became our meeting place with friends and went there every day. I would suggest that they do offer expresso coffee at breakfast and dinner with no extra cost - especially if they want to keep the European guests. They do have a good coffee at Cafe Latte-tudes, but then you have to buy your coffee then go to have breakfast at the Windjammer, the time you line up at the different stations ... your coffee is cold! Activities / Excursions : We didn't get a lot of information on shore excursions - you needed to watch them on TV in the cabin, which is ok, If you have time to watch ''in circles''the excursions. They do have the info on paper, it seems they give it out at the beginning of the cruise, we didn't get it, so everyday we were going to the guest services desk, some particular days there are a lot of people waiting, so we would just give up and go excursionning by ourselves. We probably missed out some nice places to visit. The St. John( Antigua) and Pointe a Pitre (Guadeloupe) ports of call were a bit uneasy as we had heard it was unsafe and we had no Online information on these places. and the language barrier in Guadeloupe = the only island we were visiting that didn't speak English nor had the same currency. Finally, the Guadeloupe stop was particularly awesome - thanks to French guest we met on-board. They knew somebody living in Guadeloupe (this girl speaks French, Spanish and English fluently). She was SO helpful, she gave us information on where to go, all the different island activities, and even got us a last minute sea scooter excursion of 3 1/2 hours to a beautiful little island -or we could have done it on a speedboat- she even took into account the weather and sea conditions, which were great . We preferred the sea scooters (BTW our guide was a handsome very professional but very good looking guy). We contacted her by Internet- artek.rh@gmail.com - I'd highly recommend her. We felt taken care of and special. she explained clearly the Euros - dollars, what we were going to pay to the tour operator - where to go if we had extra free time, even where to eat excellent Creole French food. Do like the Guadeloupeans (sp?) do - she said. We were back on the ship, no hassles and felt really have taken advantage of what Guadeloupe has to offer -We might come back and stay a week. The only thing we missed was not having a girl like her in Antigua. Our other best stop was Saint Kitts- we loved taking the taxi to chill out at Carambola beach. Saint Martin, which we knew from other cruise ship stops is just hassle free. i'd recommend going to Orient bay beach - the excursion to the Waikiki on Orient bay was good. Some of our friends stayed in Philipsburg - on the beach and shopping, it is the easiest of all islands for tourists. The San Juan port of call was OK, but out French friends that got on in Guadeloupe , said it was a bit hectic for those already on board, as they had no more Internet on board, the pools are being cleaned, the spa is closed, so you just get off the ship, but there is nothing walking distance nearby. So for those embarking outside Porto Rico, be sure you get an excursion, taxi or a good book to read, they felt not taken care of. For us flying in to San Juan, it was very easy to get on board and do all the paperwork , luggage and all cleared. we arrived around 3 pm. there were a lot of Porto Ricans already on board, and they are very festive ! they are loud and like to party, so start rehearsing your salsa dance steps ! Activities on board are well announced, the 2 times shows is just great idea, even though we missed a few... we were just too lazy. We laughed so much at the Colony club at the ''Quest'' by cruise director Paul from England. Do not miss it ! All the staff and employees are great, and friendly. Special thanks to our head waitress Nicoleta and Andreea ( I think from Roumania) - great service , happy smiles. We enjoyed this cruise very much. We felt the wide variety of culture and ages was well balanced . We do want to try the bigger ships from RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
My husband, my mom and our almost 3-year old daughter, sailed on the Brilliance of the Seas between 5/3 - 5/15. We booked private tours for all of our shore excursions (detailed below) and rented a car (www.santorinicarhire.com) at ... Read More
My husband, my mom and our almost 3-year old daughter, sailed on the Brilliance of the Seas between 5/3 - 5/15. We booked private tours for all of our shore excursions (detailed below) and rented a car (www.santorinicarhire.com) at Santorini, Greece. This was an active and busy cruise and it was an amazing trip for us. It was not easy to travel this itinerary with a small child but with the help of our private tours, we enjoyed all of our ports of call a great deal. We loved all of our private tours and would recommend all of our tour operators. The Brilliance of the Seas was a beautiful ship and we choose to have to two state rooms (one balcony and one inside) because we knew we would be really cramped in one of those tiny inside cabins. The food at the dining room was great and our dining experience was outstanding since we had the most wonderful waiter ever! He name was Adrian. The buffet was convenient but selection was somewhat limited compared to the other cruise we were on. The ship was clean and well equipped. All of the wait staff was very friendly and helpful. On board entertainment was outstanding. The only complaint we had was the information desk was always crowded but our over all experience with the ship was great. Nice - Revelation Tours (http://www.revelation-tours.com/) We had Ingrid as our driver and tour guide and she was knowledgeable and very polite. She was waiting for us when we arrived from our tender. We visited Nice (market of the old city), the medieval villages of Saint-Paul and Eze, as well as Monaco and Monte-Carlo. Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy - Tuscan Heart (http://www.tuscanheart.com/Home.htm) We reserved a Tuscany and Pisa tour for May 5th, 2010 with Daniele's Tuscanheart since we read a great review for the company and Daniele on Cruise Critics. Daniele was extremely responsive to our questions prior to our arrival and he was such a pleasure to communicate with. He gives his potential clients the benefit of doubt and didn't even charge us a deposit!! Livorno was our second port of call and we hit some wicket waves at our first port, Villefrance. Our ship was suppose to dock at Livorno at 7am but didn't make it into the port until 1pm or 2pm. We weren't sure if anyone was going to be there to greet us since we were about 5 or 6 hours late and had no idea what time we were going to get there until a couple of hours before we docked. When we got off the ship, there he was, Daniele was there with a sign of our name just as what we discussed before. Daniele told us that he was not aware of our delay and arrived at the dock by our original meeting time, 8am, and was informed that we would be late and he subsequently returned to pick us up. He was able to cover most activities we had discussed in less time and he even gave us a discount due to the shorter tour! Daniele set up a wine tasting tour for us with Pierluigi as part of our Tuscany tour and it was excellent. http://www.torciano.com/giachi-wine-club/index.htm. We had a case of Chianti shipped back home. It was a little pricey but worth it! In summary, I would recommend Daniele's Tuscanheart to anyone who may consider a private tour in that region. Daniele is extremely flexible and he can customize your tour for you. This was less expensive for us then going on a ship tour and our experience was far better than the big bus! You can get more info at http://www.tuscanheart.com/Home.htm. Turkey - samyeli (www.sammystravel.com) I booked a private tour with Sammy's travel and their local operator is Samyeli Tours. On the date of the tour, a guide, named Isik met us at the cruise ship exit and she led us to our vehicle and the driver. The van was large enough to accommodate 12 people and our group included 7 adults and one child so we were very comfortable. The tour guide had a microphone which was very helpful and we all could hear her very clearly. Turkey was an amazing place and a pleasant surprise for most of us on the tour. Isik was very knowledgeable about the history of all sites we visited. Isik took us to Siren Village for lunch. We walked on a winding and rather steep path to reach the restaurant. For me the climb up to the restaurant was very rewarding as we got to see the village and real people who lived there. Lunch was served family style and was delicious. We had so many courses and could not even finish it all. The view from the restaurant was also gorgeous. Isik told us that visiting a Turkish rug store was part of the tour but it was optional. There was no pressure about going to the rug store and some of tour mates chose to go back to the ship directly. The only thing I'd like to see done differently was instead of going to the pottery factory as the first thing in the day, spending more time at Siren Village would have been nice. However, overall, the tour was a very good experience and we enjoyed it very much. Naples - Giovanni Lerusce (www.positanocardrivers.com) We wanted to visit Pompeii and Amalfi Coast while in Naples. I contacted Giovanni Lerusce for a private tour. (AUTONOLEGGIO Via Sal. Quisisana, 35 80053 Castellammare di Stabia (Napoli) ITALY Tel/Fax +39 0818715021 Mobile +39 3383244002 E-mail giovanni.lerusce@tin.it Web-site: www.positanocardrivers.com) Giovanni was responsive, courteous and thorough in answering my questions. He sent a picture of the Mercedes van in which we would be riding for the tour. He made recommendations as how to schedule our time and detailed meeting instructions. He recommended that we hire a private tour guide when visiting Pompeii which proven to be invaluable and greatly broadened our knowledge and appreciation of this amazing ancient ruin. On the day of our tour, Giovanni was waiting outside the port with a sign of my name as we had previously discussed. He informed us that he had rearranged our day to visit Pompeii later in the day because the port was extremely busy that day and majority of the visitors in port were heading to Pompeii directly which would make our visit less pleasant and cause us to lose time slotted for other sites. We went on the drive for Amalfi Coast and stopped by Sorrento, Positano and Amalfi. The view was truly breath taking! Giovanni then took us to a family restaurant (unfortunately, I forgot the name) for lunch where we enjoyed delicious food (awesome pizza!!), great service and wonderful view. We then visited Pompeii after lunch and our guide was great and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit there. By the way, Giovanni had driven many famous people including Daniel Craig and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In conclusion, I can't say enough good things about Giovanni Lerusce and would recommend his services to anyone who may be interested in visiting Naples. Rome - Rome Cabs (http://www.romecabs.com) My husband and I have been to Rome a few years ago on our own and we absolutely loved it. We wanted to show my mom and our daughter the city as well and went on a private tour with Rome Cabs in Rome. I communicated with the owner Stefano prior to the tour and he was extremely responsive and helpful. In addition to suggested tour information, he forwarded us the link to purchase Vatican ticket online and told us to obtain admission tickets for 2pm. On the day of our tour, Alex, was waiting for us at the dock with a beautiful Mercedes Van when we got off the ship. Alex had such an excellent command of English and I thought he lived in the US for a period of time. Alex had an intimate knowledge of the winding, narrow, incredibly crowded Roman roads and got us so close to all the sites. We covered all the major sites in one day and got back to our ship with plenty of time to spare. We enjoyed our day in Rome a great deal and would recommend Rome Cabs and Alex to anyone when might be interested in coming to Rome. Rome is packed with famous historical sites and one can easily spend a whole week and not see everything. With the help of a private English speaking driver, you remove many unknowns and save a lot of time. Athens - Athensbytaxi http://www.athenstaxi.org or https://www.athensminibus.com I booked a tour with Paul for a private tour in Athens and reserved the taxi. Paul was very responsive and courteous. On the day of the tour, Paul's son, Dimetrious, came to meet us outside the customs' building. The taxi was clean and comfortable. We visited The Acropolis, The Temple of Zeus, The Hill of Lycabettous where we took the most amazing photo of Athens, The Old Palace, The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier and The Changing of The Guards and we stopped at Plaka for lunch. There is no way that the big bus tour could come close to what we were offered! I want to express my sincere appreciation for all our tour guides! Our experience was greatly enhanced by these wonderful and hospitable people. I also want to thank the wonderful group of people whom we met on Cruise Critics and on board. Their insights and recommendations made our cruise a success. Gary, thank you again for doing all those organization for the group! Lastly, I want to send a special thank you to the gentleman at msbrant825@netzero.net for the thorough and extremely detailed review posted on Cruise Critics. I chose almost all of my private tours based on his review and they all turned out beautifully. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My husband and I are both seniors who have cruised over 40 times since 1990. The Brilliance was our 24th cruise on RCI. We flew into MIA the night before and arrived at the pier the next day about 11:30 A.M. As Diamond Club members we ... Read More
My husband and I are both seniors who have cruised over 40 times since 1990. The Brilliance was our 24th cruise on RCI. We flew into MIA the night before and arrived at the pier the next day about 11:30 A.M. As Diamond Club members we assumed we would be among the first to check in but this was far from being the case. The line for Platinum/Diamond/Suites was much longer than the line for Deck 8 so we chose the latter. Even so it was over an hour later before we got to the desk. Having used the on-line check-in we assumed it wouldn't take long to complete the process but there but it did. Upon finally leaving the desk with our room keys in hand we were directed to another long line and began another long wait while both Welcome Aboard and then security pictures were taken. We have never encountered a longer or more frustrating embarkation on any other ship we've ever sailed on. Rumors had it that the ship had a delay with its disembarkment that day and thus the tie-up. Regardless of the reason, it took us an appalling 2 hours to get from the pier to the Windjammer for lunch. We had been on the Brilliance several years ago and were pleasantly surprised to see she was just as beautiful and elegant as before. It was in such immaculate condition that we thought it had been re-furbished but found out that will not take place until April. The entertainment was excellent and included Merril Osmond (elder brother of Donnie and Marie) and Marty Allen and his wife who received a standing ovation. Overall the food was good except for the lunch buffet in the Windjammer which was very disappointing. There was a good variety of food daily but most of it lacked tastiness. This, too, was consistently the worst lunch buffet of any ship we've ever sailed on. The dining room food was fine for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Debarkation was handled very poorly. The first passengers were called off shortly after 7 A.M. Having a late afternoon flight we stayed onboard until 9 A.M. but stood in line for immigration for 90 minutes after leaving the ship. Just as with embarkation, and the Windjammer lunches our debarkation was the worst we've ever encountered. These were 3 major annoyances on an overall lovely cruise with a great itinerary which included Curacao and Aruba. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We sailed on a 12 day Med cruise on the Brilliance in May 2006. When the opportunity came along to book a post New Years 9 night cruise with a 55+ discount for and inside cabin I cancelled any plans to do a New Years cruise. In addition I ... Read More
We sailed on a 12 day Med cruise on the Brilliance in May 2006. When the opportunity came along to book a post New Years 9 night cruise with a 55+ discount for and inside cabin I cancelled any plans to do a New Years cruise. In addition I use the Royal Caribbean credit card and had built up $550 in credits to apply to the cruise. We already planned to visit relatives in Florida for Christmas so we drove from Rockledge to Miami the morning of the cruise. We used an off site airport parking service at about half the price of parking right at the pier. They provided timely shuttle service to the pier. Since we were Platinum members for the first time we stood in the VIP waiting area. It seemed like there were very few non Captains Club members and they were being processed faster than the VIP's until a Royal Caribbean employee finally realized the wait time for VIPs was too long and speeded things up. It did not matter much as it seems like customs was about one hour behind releasing the ship for boarding which created a long line of people who had been processed but could not board. Finally we did get on board and everything was familiar in a matter of minutes. In the Med we had an inside stateroom. This time we had an oceanview at about 1/3 the cost per day! Our room was almost midship on deck 3 and very stable in what turned out to be some rough seas. We were early dining at a table for 6 on the 2nd level. Our only complaint was it was too cozy! We wound up with my wife making friends with the waiter who was from India and the assistant waiter who was from the Philippines as she had traveled both places before they were born! One couple at our table were from Hati and were now US Citizens living and working in Florida. The other couple was from the midwest and had recently retired. They only attended dinner in the dining room a couple of nights. We wound up joining a toble for 10 right next to us that only had 6 as the other couples were changed to late sitting. It made it even nicer that one couple in that group was a cruise critic couple. Our weather leaving Miami was in the 50's after having been in the 80's just a few days earlier. Our cruise critic plans to meet at the outdoor sky bar resulted in just 3 or 4 couples showing up. The one couple was from St. Louis and we hit it off right away and made plans to snorkel together. They had just finished the cruise for New Years on the Brilliance and were doing back to back cruises to a lot of the same ports. They proved to be a great source of time saving and money saving advice. The first night the seas were running swells in excess of 6 feet and there was some motion in some parts of the ship. The first sea day was chilly and a little rough but we did the mile walk and took in all the ship had to offer as far as trivia contests and line dance and whatever activity of the hour we wanted to do. We wound up being so busy we never did hit the hot tubs! The entertainment all week proved to be wonderful with a couple of nights of exceptional talent booked. Friends who had just sailed another Royal Caribbean ship a month earlier insisted we had to book the zipline on Labadee. It proved to be everything it was advertised to be. The only disappointment for me was they had some winds and insisted we control our speed to 30 mph and NOT allow us to get up to 50 mph. Our first stop in Curacao we had booked a snorkel tour that was almost identical to the one our new friends from St. Louis had done a week earlier. We were not disappointed even though we encountered a little liquid sunshine off and on. Since we had our own equipment and were experienced snorkelers the captain of the vessel allowed us to jump in the water as soon as he anchored. The next stop was Aruba where we took the local bus service out to a beach and snorkeled. It was the same area that the paid tours visited but cost a whole lot less. It was just a lazy day where we snorkeled awhile and rested on the beach and ate and drank and then snorkeled again before it was time to catch the bus back to the pier. We did walk around and take pictures and window shop in the morning before we met our friends after lunch. I almost forgot that we had a great Cruise Critic get together on the second sea day. The ship provided gifts for all and some nice door prizes and non alcoholic drinks and snacks. The couple from Tennessee had organized a cabin crawl and we got to see everything from an inside cabin to our oceanview (with the whitecaps almost hitting the window!) to junior suites to handicapped suites to hump cabins with balcony. It was enjoyed by all who participated. Thank you Lou for organizing it. On the formal night we cruise critic folks who wanted to participate met in the casino and we each played 5 pulls for $3 each pull on the Wheel of Fortune slot machine with the understanding we would split any money remaining at the end. Some 30 people participated and everybody who put in $15 got back $10.50. It was worth the $4.50 for the entertainment of rooting and moaning and groaning and the thrill of a $100 spin by one person. We next stopped in Ocho Rios where we booked the tour to walk up the falls. The liquid sunshine came and went again and we had a great group. It was a little daunting walking through the local gift stands on the way back to the tour bus but we survived! The second formal night we had all 6 at the dining room for lobster so we sat at our regular table. The final night my wife and I booked the Portofino's restaurant and stopped by the dining room to say farewell to all our new friends at our regular table and the table next to us and to drop off our tips to the waiter and assistant waiter. We then enjoyed a wonderful meal from soup to nuts at Portofino's. Two of the wait staff were still there from the Med cruise and it was great to renew memories with them. After this cruise season the Brilliance will spend 2 weeks being refurbished and will then spend all year doing Med cruises. The service was a little spotty this time but I believe it was due to lots of new hires who had not worked as a team for very long. Nobody had a bad attitude and I have to say this is now the biggest bargain we have had cruising. It far exceeded what one should expect for the price paid per day. Our last port was Labadee where we saw some scattered liquid sunshine especially early in the day. Labadee was a combination of the zipline and one last opportunity to snorkel. The trip back to Miami allowed us to be lazy and purchase some photos in our formal outfits and use our Platinum coupon book to get some free drinks and half priced special coffee. We also had complimentary robes in our room and a special Captains brunch with alcohol. This entire trip was filled with great memories of new friends and new ports of call and new activities on a great ship we had sailed before at the bargain basement price you normally associate with some really bad ships. Our disembark went a lot smoother even though customs was slow in getting enough stations open to handle the number of people. We got back to our car and drove north to visit relatives just in time for lunch. We look forward to our next cruise which will be on a Princess ship for the first time on a 31 day adventure to Australia from San Francisco with 6 other couples and 66 total cruise critic members. If anyone has questions you can email. Terry Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Brilliance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 3.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 3.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 3.5 3.4
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.0

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