Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because we were visiting friends in Tampa and we love RC. This was a short getaway and was perfect for the time we had. The ship was ready to go when we arrived- originally, we had received an email stating that ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were visiting friends in Tampa and we love RC. This was a short getaway and was perfect for the time we had. The ship was ready to go when we arrived- originally, we had received an email stating that the ship might be late due to fog returning to Tampa the night before- but we sailed on time. Check in was a breeze and we were on the ship with drink in hand by 1pm. Lunch was good at the Windjammer. Room was ready by 2 pm. The ship was clean and very well maintained. Easy to get around. Muster was quick and efficient. The Dining- well we got shut out of the assigned seating and had to do My Time Dining. I was actually pretty disappointed because our travel agent at AAA COULD HAVE reserved us a spot prior to getting on the ship (NEVER AGAIN AAA) but did not- so we had to take the 5:30 seating. This was actually a blessing. We had Muhammad and Michael at the same table every night and they were happy and waiting for us. Told us NOT TO WORRY, they would take care of us and they did!! Food in the dining room... Much better than usual. Flavors were good, variety was interesting and maybe the 5:30 seating meant fresher food. I don't know for sure, all I can say is the food was cooked perfectly and tasted very good. We did not go to any specialty restaurants on this trip. We did breakfast in the dining room 2 days- was pretty good. Decent hours of operation. Windjammer- good variety, fresh and yummy. Very clean and staff was nice. Lots of seating- go out past the big wicker chairs/tables. There are loads of seats off the end. Very quiet and close to the Kiddie pools/sports courts. (Just up the stairs and you were there) Park Cafe by the Solarium- good food, skimpy on the Roast Beef- but was quickly added if asked. Soups there were pretty bland. NICE salad station with excellent and fresh choices. Lattitudes- Great coffee. Better than the nasty they pass off as java in the dining room. So, get a coffee card prior to getting on the ship. Was worth the money. Food there was quick but yummy. Excellent service. Pools- nice but we did not swim. Hot tubs nice- did not go in. I am not a fan of bathing in EVERYONE'S germs... They were well watched by lifeguards and seemed super nice. NEVER found a chair to be comfy in. TOO MUCH CIGARETTE SMOKE, so could not sit by the pool. They were ALWAYS reserved with someone's towel. That was super frustrating. Solarium- NEVER could get a seat... Was disappointing. Did not go to spa. The fitness room is well-stocked, clean and good operating hours. Running track is too small, but in comparison to the Allure or any Oasis Class- it was adequate for the size of the ship. Pool bars- too crowded, drinks were inconsistent and over-priced. Better off going to an inside bar and then making your way up to the pool deck. Schooner bar- great drinks, excellent entertainment. Belly Flop competition was HYSTERICAL. Casino- did not go. Enough smoke to give one an asthma attack. Stay away. Never heard that anyone actually won anything big... Cruising days were relaxing and perfect. One formal night- most people adhered but seems gone are the days when people really got all dolled up. I miss that. No jeans- but baseball caps at the table are rude... My opinion. Cozumel- we did the Mexican cooking and tasting. What a blast. Luis and his crew walked us through a dessert (Plantains with chocolate tequila sauce), Grouper with chopped veggies and Sopas (hope I spelled that right...) with Spicy shrimp for an appetizer. Let's not forget the margaritas, Rum Punch etc... Then we had 2 hours on the beach followed by a lovely 30 minute booze nap on the way back to the ship... Perfect day and so much fun. Entertainment. Seriously, Mike the Cruise Director needs a nap. That man is everywhere. Fun, goofy magic tricks. The Orchestra was phenomenal and the singers/dancers were excellent. They had a Canadian group called Rookie and they rocked the house. Unbelievable energy. They packed 7 days worth of entertainment into 4 days and it was WOW. Manda Vincent in the Schooner bar, Piano/violin trio- tremendous talent. We did not have children but they had nice areas for them and they seemed good. Disembarking- we did self carry. Were out and in the taxi by 8:30am. Sad to leave for sure. The guy in the terminal showing us the way out said "that way please... back to reality". I wanted to slap him... Hope all this helps and we would not hesitate to go on this ship and this itinerary again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2018
If you are interested in Cozumel as a family destination, this cruise may be a good choice but insofar as cruising itself- nothing special about it. All the niceties that used to make cruising such a special event were missing on this ... Read More
If you are interested in Cozumel as a family destination, this cruise may be a good choice but insofar as cruising itself- nothing special about it. All the niceties that used to make cruising such a special event were missing on this cruise and the food was NOT good. No Sailaway events, dessert extravaganza or last night event. Rooms are tiny, no robes, no little bottles of lotions, etc., no turn down service or chocolates on your pillow at night. Towels were barely adequate. The cabin staff and waiters were helpful and friendly enough. But for a good band with an amazing drummer and a lounge singer, entertainment was second rate.Bar service and drinks were good and some funny activities at the pool, nice fitness center but dismal Windjammer dining room. Nice improvements on internet service and luggage retrieval at home port, just not a cruise I would consider taking again Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was looking forward to a nice elegant ship and this was the wrong choice. The ship was very dated, carpets and chairs worn out. The food was terrible and there was no entertainment. I have been on a lot of cruises and this is the ... Read More
I was looking forward to a nice elegant ship and this was the wrong choice. The ship was very dated, carpets and chairs worn out. The food was terrible and there was no entertainment. I have been on a lot of cruises and this is the worst food I think I was ever served. The crew was not upbeat or friendly. It felt as if they were wanting it over and didn't want to go out of their way to say hello. The entertainment was good but there was not enough of it. Unless you gamble there was nothing to do from 7pm to 10:30 pm. And at 10:30 pm the disco opened. Much too late after a day of sun. The excursion was fun and that was the best part of the trip. I would not recommend this ship to anyone. It needs to be scrapped and refreshed. Which I was told by staff the ship is getting remodeled in April 2018. That would explain a lot. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We had family visiting from out of town and decided to spice up their vacation with a four night cruise out of nearby Tampa. The ship had been remodelled since our honeymoon cruise on her in 2002 and had everything we needed and expected ... Read More
We had family visiting from out of town and decided to spice up their vacation with a four night cruise out of nearby Tampa. The ship had been remodelled since our honeymoon cruise on her in 2002 and had everything we needed and expected from Royal Caribbean. The food was some of the best we've had on our most recent cruises. The entertainment reflected their very talented entertainers and muscians. We had the good fortune to have the young musical group Rookie on board for two fantastic concerts of music from the 50's and 60's. It seemed that the staff was putting into four days what is typically found in a seven night cruise, so there was something for everyone. Our favorite part was the shore excursion we took in Cozumel, Mexican Cooking, Tasting and Beach Break, CZB5A. Chef Luis was the best. He is a talented chef as well as a teacher and entertainer, who helped us prepare a delicious lunch while laughing all the way. We would do that excursion over and over if we could. Just a note of caution for the more experienced cruisers amoung you, there are a lot of young people getting away for a long weekend and so the cruise took on a little more of a party atmosphere that you don't often see on the longer Royal Caribbean cruises. Lots of energy there that outlasted us into the wee hours. Overall this was a wonderful opportunity to introduce cruising at it's best to the newbies, or just enjoy a getaway with someone else driving and cooking!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Tampa signage to and from the port could be a little better. We love the ease of embarkation at Tampa and valet services there are superb! We loved the quaintness of the ship. It is really pretty. Some of the rooms are used but we think ... Read More
Tampa signage to and from the port could be a little better. We love the ease of embarkation at Tampa and valet services there are superb! We loved the quaintness of the ship. It is really pretty. Some of the rooms are used but we think they are definitely underutilized like the Colony Club behind the Schooner bar. Except for one negative instance of crew-to-crew interaction, everyone was friendly and helpful. We had the best dining team we have had on a cruise ship in a while, (Carmo & Diony!) Main dining dinners were super! Smoking in the casino is atrocious! Of course, we are non-smokers but even some smokers were complaining! We love to play but the smoke was a deterrent and kept our time limited. (Our bank account thanks you though!) The slot machines could use some updating. This ship didn't have many of the newer slot games, mainly old ones. Overall, we would cruise Brilliance again tomorrow! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
This was the smallest Royal Caribbean ship I’ve sailed on and, not only was I sailing solo for the first time, but in an inside studio cabin. Brilliance does not have all the bells and whistles nor entertainment venues of the ... Read More
This was the smallest Royal Caribbean ship I’ve sailed on and, not only was I sailing solo for the first time, but in an inside studio cabin. Brilliance does not have all the bells and whistles nor entertainment venues of the Voyager, Freedom and Oasis classes that I’ve previously sailed on. What it does have is a more intimate less crowded feeling, wonderful sea views throughout the ship and is perfect for a more relaxing cruise. While I missed the ice skating show that is on the larger classes and definitely prefer their Royal Promenade over the Centrum on the Brilliance, I didn’t miss sailing with over 1200 children - there were only 61 kids on this cruise. While this Brilliance cruise had a more mature mix of passengers, it wasn’t just a bunch of old seniors like me. Lots of young professionals and couples taking a vacation from their kids rounded out the mix and everyone seemed a lot more friendly and relaxed. Embarkation was fast and smooth. I checked in 10:30 with no lines and enjoyed complimentary coffee and pastries while I waited in the Diamond area. I was onboard by 11:00. I enjoyed dinner in the main dining room 3 nights and ate at the buffet the other 2 nights. Food ranged from okay (the free steak in MDR) to good (the lamb shanks in Windjammer) to very good (the MDR lobster tails, yum). I also enjoyed the roast beef sandwiches in the Park Cafe. The first day I met a couple who had My Time Dining and advised them of the importance of making reservations for the week ASAP. When we bumped into each other later in the cruise, they thanked me profusely for that advise. People without MTD reservations had to wait long times and in long lines. Our cruise director was Mike Szwajkowski who had just returned to Royal. I thought he did a great job! Mike was genuinely friendly as well as funny and entertaining without being obnoxiously silly. He also knows some cool magic tricks. I especially appreciated the recognition he gave to our military veterans. Brilliance has a really superb orchestra and had some great entertainment. I enjoyed all the shows . One of our headliners was Jimmy Hopper, a very talented singer and pianist. And funny too! Jimmy joked about what all of us older cruisers most have thought when we first saw him (think punk rocker) and how his daughter used to borrow his eyeliner (because it was "better than mommy's") so now it is tattooed on. I found the ship and all the venues to be clean and well maintained. I had one of the best room stewards ever in my 15 cruises on Royal Caribbean (thank you Wesly Pierre). I found the bar staff throughout the ship to be friendly, happy and efficient. I had the Replenish Package which covers all non-alcohol drinks including things like virgin Pino Coladas. I debated taking off a star for the fiasco that was getting off and on the ship in Key West. Because we docked at Outer Mole, we had to wait for the Navy to okay disembarkation. Their delay in doing so resulted in everyone wanting to get off at the same time instead of what might have been more staggered for excursions. And then everyone had to wait in a huge line for the shuttles to take into town. I arrived 45 minutes late for my Conch Train excursion, booked through the ship on sale for only $20.00. The fully narrated tour was both educational and funny! At just over 90 minutes, it took you past all the main sights. You could stay on and go around again if you wanted and get off at one of the 3 stops. After some shopping and walking around Mallory Square, I took the shuttle back through the Navy base to the ship where the line on the pier to get on the ship was even worse than the line to get out had been! Our other port was Cozumel where I stayed on the ship and enjoyed the heated pool and hot tub in the relatively empty solarium. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
First of all, let me say that this was our first and last experience with Royal Caribbean. The way they handle their "my time" dining situation alone was enough to make us never return, but there were many other little things ... Read More
First of all, let me say that this was our first and last experience with Royal Caribbean. The way they handle their "my time" dining situation alone was enough to make us never return, but there were many other little things that we take for granted with other cruise lines where R/C fell short. We are fairly frequent cruisers and have cruised on several other lines including Carnival, Princess, Norwegian, Holland America, and Wind Star. Typically we choose Carnival for our winter Caribbean cruise. However, after hearing a friend rave about Royal Caribbean for years, we decided to give them a try. Come to find out later, the friend (who went with us) hasn't cruised with R/C in quite a while, and she was the first to admit that a LOT has changed, and not in a good way. On the positive side, embarkation was a breeze. The ship was spotless, and the crew, for the most part, were friendly and helpful. The cabin had plenty of storage. There was rarely a problem finding a deck lounge, although they were all roped together and were wedged right against each other, so you had to kind of climb in and out from the end, which was quite awkward. The major negative for us was the "my time" dining. We always choose the flexible dining with other lines and have never had a problem. Occasionally at peak dinner times we've experienced a short wait, but never over 15-20 minutes. There were 2 lines at dinner, one for those with reservations and one for those without (which was a LONG line). People ahead of us were being turned away and being told they needed to go to the Windjammer buffet or to one of the specialty restaurants (which of course is an extra charge, but apparently didn't require reservations). When we reached the desk, we were told it would be a wait of 1 1/2 to 2 hours and that we should have made reservations. After explaining to the maitre'd that this was our first R/C experience and we didn't realize reservations were required--and after not simply turning around and going away -- he finally agreed to seat us and told us he 'had us all set' for the following night as well, but that we would need to make reservations for the balance of the cruise. The next morning I realized he didn't tell me a time for that evening, so I went to check and was told we had no reservation for that evening and that the earliest that was available for the balance of the week was 7:45 each evening. My mother is in her 80's and, because of dietary requirements dictated by medication, is unable to eat that late. So I explained that, but was still told that 7:45 was the earliest available. So I requested to just be switched to the early seating for dinner for the balance of the week. They said they'd 'had a problem with the early seating last night' and could not accommodate any more people. A very nice young man in Guest Services named Andre spent over 30 minutes with 4 different people on the phone and finally said he got us set up with a 6:30 dinner reservation for the balance of the cruise. He took one of his cards and wrote our cabin numbers and the reservation time on the back, just in case I had a problem. When we got to dinner, we were told we had no reservation. I told him what Andre said and gave him the card and he informed me that he 'was much more important than Andre.' Again, we didn't "act ugly", but we didn't just turn around and leave either, and he finally agreed to "accommodate us" again but said that the rest of the week would be at 7:45. So I'm back at Guest Services the next morning where, after another long ordeal, we finally have reservations at 6:30 confirmed for the balance of the week. When I questioned why it was such an ordeal, the head waiter told us that they redirect people to the Windjammer buffet and the specialty restaurants because "it made the lines shorter." (Not to mention more profitable for R/C!) Chocolate-covered strawberries and pastries were delivered to the cabin as an apology, which was nice but did nothing to correct what is obviously an inherent problem. In fact, other crew members acknowledged that dining issues were very common. So the way the dining is handled alone was enough reason for us not to choose R/C in the future. But even if it wasn't for that, R/C simply did not live up to our expectations. The food was average at best. Not every dish is going to be outstanding, but on every night at least one person in our party of four had something that was simply inedible: soupy crème brulee with big burned spots on top; a berry cobbler that was doughy and not cooked through; a seafood pasta with virtually NO seafood or sauce; a dry, overcooked salmon filet; extremely fatty prime rib; lukewarm soup; and the most tasteless lobster I've ever been served anywhere. And many times we felt the dinner service was being rushed. Then there were a lot of little things that we were not accustomed to with other lines: being charged $2 for bottled water when you leave the ship to go into port; no bathrobes in the cabins; no body wash in the shower, and one of the smallest showers I've ever seen; a charge for room service except for continental breakfast (and no room service menus in the cabin); no pizzeria; and their practice of sitting trays of iced tea and lemonade out on the buffet meant that most of the time the drinks were watered down where the ice had melted. The shows were not very good, but sadly that is true with most cruise lines these days. However, some of the musicians in the center atrium in the evenings were quite good. We booked the hop on/hop off trolley in Key West through the ship, which went smoothly. But having been to Cozumel many times, we did not do a shore excursion there. Overall we felt R/C fell far short, and there are many other options that are less expensive. In fact, we just booked a 7-day Caribbean cruise on Holland America for $100 more than we paid for 5 days on R/C!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
This is a fun short cruise with lots of activities to choose from. We had fun playing trivia and the mystery game was fun but very unorganized with little direction given. The entertainment was great except the juggler was poor and ... Read More
This is a fun short cruise with lots of activities to choose from. We had fun playing trivia and the mystery game was fun but very unorganized with little direction given. The entertainment was great except the juggler was poor and turned off many people. The dancers and singers were great and the individual singer, Jimmy Hopper, was awesome. The comedian was also quite good. We also enjoyed the around the ship entertainment. There was always something going on. Things that needed improvement are the very smoky casino (be like Celebrity and go non-smoking for the good of all!), disembarking in Key West all at once rather than a number system for those of us that excursions, less "selling" of specialty restaurants and spa items. Our balcony cabin, 9226, was very spacious and had lots of storage. The worst thing about the cabin is the tiny bathroom and tiny tiny shower. Also, to not give any shampoo, conditioner and lotion in separate bottles is very cheap. All that is provided is a shampoo/conditioner in a dispenser on the wall of the shower and it is of poor quality. I asked the cabin steward for some but he said he would have to ask his supervisor and none ever materialized. (I have always gotten some before). The food for the most part was very good with good choices. I was disappointed in the sirloin steak off the everyday menu as it was tough and overcooked. The cold soups and the desserts were good. We had great service with Jin-Lee and Rex for 3 nights and good service at Chops. The 2 hosts who ran the entry for anytime dining were not friendly or inviting, at times at odds with each other. For the most part we had a good time, the service was great, and I would recommend this short cruise on the Brilliance. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our first RC cruise & Im afraid we were not impressed. 1st off we always do MY time dining on all our past cruises (carnival) & have never had a issue waiting maybe 15-20 mins for a table. When we got in line for MY ... Read More
This was our first RC cruise & Im afraid we were not impressed. 1st off we always do MY time dining on all our past cruises (carnival) & have never had a issue waiting maybe 15-20 mins for a table. When we got in line for MY time, we were told we really needed reservations & no table would be available until after 8:15 (it was 6:35) but they would have immediate seating in Chops, or one of the other Speciality dining areas (where to pay min $32 per person) they also informed us they were already booked for the rest of the cruise (5 days) & the earliest reservation for any night would be 8:30 or later. So we ate dinner at the buffet every night as well as lunch because the days we checked the dining room was not open for that either. The food in Windjammer was just so-so, typical buffet & it seemed we had alot of the same selections every day & night...We did get the eat in the dining room later in the cruise, the 1st night I ordered the strip steak but our waiter suggested I get the filet (additional charge of $16.95) I said the strip steak will be fine, then he said he would give me 30% off..No thank you, I felt like they again were wanting us to pay for food, first by offering us seating in the speciality restaurants, then suggesting the speciality cut meat & even bargaining the price, & let me not forget, room service also had a $7.95 delivery fee. Never encountered that on other cruise lines. On to the cabin.. we liked the Cabin & the layout of the room, The attendants were excellent & the room kept very clean. The only complaint I have again is by comparison to other cruise line is that we had no robes, chocolates at turndown or towel animals (only 1 night) ..Entertainment was typical. We did go to the Book your next cruise booth to see what was available for last minute deals since we live in FL & typically can go on last minute weekend, I was told by a very stern woman that "We have no last minute deals you have to tell me where you want to go" OK, we can go the end of this month or something in March leaving from Canaveral or Tampa.."I need to know what your looking for maybe you should go get on the internet & find something & come back" Really? Now call me cheap but im also not paying to get on their internet to find a cruise then go back to them to book it. We did try again a few days later with a man at the desk, same info given to him & he told us what he had to offer, when I told him didnt seem like a very good price, he said its the same 30% discount everyone gets. I said thats fine we are military, Senior, FL resident & I could get the same cruise much cheaper with Carnival, he didnt comment so I felt they had nothing else to offer us. We did not book another. Im not saying we will not cruise with RC again, we will give them another chance Im not sure this was the best cruise for us to begin with. It was kind of a geriatric crowd so we assumed that was the reason for the early closing of the pool, the entertainment choices & food offerings.. Will try another ship in their fleet. Read Less
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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