1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Brilliance of the Seas
Well! I am home, back on the sofa with a cuppa tea wondering if we had really just been away for 12 nights! I knew Harwich before hand and knew the ease of the train station to the port but really didn't expect to get from the train to the windjammer in 24 minutes. Porters assisted without being asked and there were no queues at all but to be fair we were one of the first on board. Staterooms were ready on time and prepared to the configuration specified for me and my two daughters. We had a one hour late departure due to 'unforeseen circumstances' and an announcement was made promptly to this effect so no hanging around on the deck wondering what was going on. The first day was at sea and this allowed a good chance to explore the ship. In the whole a very clean and well presented vessel. I have no complaints about the condition of the ship and believe me I can be very critical about missing or damaged fittings. However there was one window near the Park Café that was plated over due to being shattered but intact. This rather annoyed me as spoilt external photos of the ship. But in fairness this is something that will be sorted when next in dock for overhaul as it isn't as simple as a light bulb! Toilets were spotless and frequently cleaned and handles/taps sterilised. Entertainment was good. The shows and singers in the theatre were very good in particular Robert. Not sure about the BMX bike display, not really in keeping with the other shows on offer. Bands were all good and liked the Centrum although it did become a little crowded on occasions but still prefer this against the 'Promenade Deck' arrangement on the other bigger ships. Photographers were superb and helpful, shopping was the usual stuff but I do wonder why they have so many watches for sail! I did not use the casino. Stateroom attendance was helpful and pleasant, the room was always cleaned and stocked well. No concerns there (only had an outside cabin as not used balconies on previous cruise - in fact now considering just having an inside room as spent very little time in the room other than sleep and showering!) Food - Not as good as expected! This seems to be a theme I have seen on other reviews. Still acceptable but nothing special, certainly not as good as 'Independence' last year. Also found that for a short period there was no coffee station available despite being 24 hour facility. Windjammer was the normal style but at twice I had to wait for cutlery to be stocked up, waiting with a plate of food and nothing to eat it with. At breakfast the baked beans were 'baked' and the black pudding cut to thin so it went crispy/hard. However on the plus side all the staff were polite and helpful. Mentioned elsewhere was the slow clearing of tables and this was very evident on the rear veranda of the Windjammer where often dishes remained for long periods after people left. Service in the Main Dining Room was good and as expected, however the food was not to the high standard I had hoped for. I already knew this but what is dished up in the dining room was what was also on offer in the self service. I am not upset, just a little disappointed..... still put a fair few pounds on tho! Ports of call - I like to explore at my pace and do my own thing and therefore I took the relevant currency with me for each country except Russia (and one other - later!) and did not undertake any Shore Excursions with RC. Copenhagen - We left the ship as soon as we were cleared and walked alone the embankment getting photos of the Little Mermaid on the way with no one else around. After a leisurely walk we arrived at Nordhavn and went on a canal trip, we went with the company at the end of the canal rather than the one slightly further back as the staff were in a uniform and the boats looked nicer (all in the presentation!). I recommend this trip. We then walked across Castle Island and back to see the changing of the guard which was nice to see but as per other comments elsewhere was not a patch on the standard of discipline shown at the Changing of the Guard in London. We then had an ice cream at Nordhavn and walked back to the ship for 3pm. Tallinn - Left the ship promptly and walked direct to the Old Town and enjoyed the peace and quite of the place before the place became alive. The market square had a good selection of touristy type gifts at reasonable prices. We left the Old Town when it became busier and headed to near the train station where were saw a 'local market'. We didn't feel comfortable taking a closer look so headed back to the Old Town and up the spire of the church which gave us superb views and well worth the climb up if you are able to. (280 steps if I recall correctly), Back to the ship for 15:00 when the heavens opened. Pier has wifi and for the 90 mins before we set sail I sat using the wifi from the dry Solarium presuming the wifi transmitter was on the post outside the window as it was full connection! St Petersburg - we did a 2 day grand tour with Alla Tours. As mentioned I prefer to do my own thing but this time it was a necessity due to the visa arrangements. The tour was superb and discounting my desire to wonder off it did deliver what was offered and the guide was superb, we had a group of 12 and I don't think there was ever a question that she couldn't answer. Billed in Roubles and converted to Sterling worked out at £520 for the 3 of us which I think is reasonable, however being British I am not a fan of paying for a service and then paying again for it! But the guide and driver delivered the tour perfectly. One comment, the tour includes visits to souvenir shops which I believe are part of the tours parent operator and although the stuff on sale is available in any currency the same can be said for the shops within the terminal but cheaper. I wont judge on the quality as know knowledge on this. Passport control was as expected, military and without expression! There is no wifi at the terminal! Helsinki - off the ship early and walked into the centre, obtained a tram day pass which also covered the ferry to the island which I forget the name of but worth a trip. A nice City, clean and easy to get around. Back on the ship and a chance to use the wifi from the terminal whilst siting on Deck 12 Starboard side! We then had an announcement from the captain regarding the planned call in Stockholm and due to the forecast of high winds the pilot would be unable to get out to the ship to guide the captain in to port. Therefore an alternative plan was being considered and would be announced within 2 hours. We left Helsinki on time and took a steady sail out to sea. The announcement came and Stockholm was ruled out, therefore Visby also became a 'no go' due to the expected conditions. The alternative plan was given and I was over the moon, a day at sea then Gothenburg followed by Oslo. Superb! Many people on board commented on the fact they needed the day at sea after 4 busy days. Some were sad at missing Stockholm but I didn't here any out right complaints. The port at Gothenburg is a long way from town and as we had not pre-planned our trip I wasn't aware of exactly what was available transport wise at the pier. Most of the crew had no idea and the general feel was that there was nothing other than the Volvo factory and museum. I took a gamble and got off the ship promptly and within 2 minutes a family followed us and we joined forces and shared a taxi/people carrier to town for 60e each way. We were dropped right in the centre and agreed a pick up time with the same driver which worked perfectly. RC were offering a shuttle bus for $18 each but in allocated time slots. With the taxi we were in the centre before the first time slot shuttle had left the ship. I then found a bus that stopped 300m from the ship (head straight down the road from the pier and the stop is on the left) the bus number 32 runs every 30 mins Mon-Fri. Sat and Sun is by request! (check the Gothenburg bus website). Gothenburg is a beautiful city, spotless and stunning architecture. Well worth the visit. Oslo - The ship docked in the harbour outside the castle. The ships crew said a 30 min brisk walk to the town but I think a 15 minute wander is more appropriate! Obviously I didn't have any Norwegian Krone. Therefore I brought a travel pass on my card and popped back to the ship for a lunch time snack! I found Oslo to be a bit grubby to be honest, graffiti and litter quite obvious. However the harbour area was nice and obviously recently re-developed. Overall......... Loved it and can't wait for our next trip with RC in 8 weeks!!

A great trip, happy but a few comments!

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by Andy Ashton

Trip Details
Well! I am home, back on the sofa with a cuppa tea wondering if we had really just been away for 12 nights!
I knew Harwich before hand and knew the ease of the train station to the port but really didn't expect to get from the train to the windjammer in 24 minutes. Porters assisted without being asked and there were no queues at all but to be fair we were one of the first on board. Staterooms were ready on time and prepared to the configuration specified for me and my two daughters.
We had a one hour late departure due to 'unforeseen circumstances' and an announcement was made promptly to this effect so no hanging around on the deck wondering what was going on.
The first day was at sea and this allowed a good chance to explore the ship. In the whole a very clean and well presented vessel. I have no complaints about the condition of the ship and believe me I can be very critical about missing or damaged fittings. However there was one window near the Park Café that was plated over due to being shattered but intact. This rather annoyed me as spoilt external photos of the ship. But in fairness this is something that will be sorted when next in dock for overhaul as it isn't as simple as a light bulb! Toilets were spotless and frequently cleaned and handles/taps sterilised.
Entertainment was good. The shows and singers in the theatre were very good in particular Robert. Not sure about the BMX bike display, not really in keeping with the other shows on offer. Bands were all good and liked the Centrum although it did become a little crowded on occasions but still prefer this against the 'Promenade Deck' arrangement on the other bigger ships.
Photographers were superb and helpful, shopping was the usual stuff but I do wonder why they have so many watches for sail! I did not use the casino.
Stateroom attendance was helpful and pleasant, the room was always cleaned and stocked well. No concerns there (only had an outside cabin as not used balconies on previous cruise - in fact now considering just having an inside room as spent very little time in the room other than sleep and showering!)
Food - Not as good as expected! This seems to be a theme I have seen on other reviews. Still acceptable but nothing special, certainly not as good as 'Independence' last year. Also found that for a short period there was no coffee station available despite being 24 hour facility. Windjammer was the normal style but at twice I had to wait for cutlery to be stocked up, waiting with a plate of food and nothing to eat it with. At breakfast the baked beans were 'baked' and the black pudding cut to thin so it went crispy/hard. However on the plus side all the staff were polite and helpful. Mentioned elsewhere was the slow clearing of tables and this was very evident on the rear veranda of the Windjammer where often dishes remained for long periods after people left.
Service in the Main Dining Room was good and as expected, however the food was not to the high standard I had hoped for. I already knew this but what is dished up in the dining room was what was also on offer in the self service. I am not upset, just a little disappointed..... still put a fair few pounds on tho!
Ports of call - I like to explore at my pace and do my own thing and therefore I took the relevant currency with me for each country except Russia (and one other - later!) and did not undertake any Shore Excursions with RC.
Copenhagen - We left the ship as soon as we were cleared and walked alone the embankment getting photos of the Little Mermaid on the way with no one else around. After a leisurely walk we arrived at Nordhavn and went on a canal trip, we went with the company at the end of the canal rather than the one slightly further back as the staff were in a uniform and the boats looked nicer (all in the presentation!). I recommend this trip. We then walked across Castle Island and back to see the changing of the guard which was nice to see but as per other comments elsewhere was not a patch on the standard of discipline shown at the Changing of the Guard in London. We then had an ice cream at Nordhavn and walked back to the ship for 3pm.
Tallinn - Left the ship promptly and walked direct to the Old Town and enjoyed the peace and quite of the place before the place became alive. The market square had a good selection of touristy type gifts at reasonable prices. We left the Old Town when it became busier and headed to near the train station where were saw a 'local market'. We didn't feel comfortable taking a closer look so headed back to the Old Town and up the spire of the church which gave us superb views and well worth the climb up if you are able to. (280 steps if I recall correctly), Back to the ship for 15:00 when the heavens opened. Pier has wifi and for the 90 mins before we set sail I sat using the wifi from the dry Solarium presuming the wifi transmitter was on the post outside the window as it was full connection!
St Petersburg - we did a 2 day grand tour with Alla Tours. As mentioned I prefer to do my own thing but this time it was a necessity due to the visa arrangements. The tour was superb and discounting my desire to wonder off it did deliver what was offered and the guide was superb, we had a group of 12 and I don't think there was ever a question that she couldn't answer. Billed in Roubles and converted to Sterling worked out at £520 for the 3 of us which I think is reasonable, however being British I am not a fan of paying for a service and then paying again for it! But the guide and driver delivered the tour perfectly. One comment, the tour includes visits to souvenir shops which I believe are part of the tours parent operator and although the stuff on sale is available in any currency the same can be said for the shops within the terminal but cheaper. I wont judge on the quality as know knowledge on this. Passport control was as expected, military and without expression! There is no wifi at the terminal!
Helsinki - off the ship early and walked into the centre, obtained a tram day pass which also covered the ferry to the island which I forget the name of but worth a trip. A nice City, clean and easy to get around. Back on the ship and a chance to use the wifi from the terminal whilst siting on Deck 12 Starboard side!
We then had an announcement from the captain regarding the planned call in Stockholm and due to the forecast of high winds the pilot would be unable to get out to the ship to guide the captain in to port. Therefore an alternative plan was being considered and would be announced within 2 hours. We left Helsinki on time and took a steady sail out to sea. The announcement came and Stockholm was ruled out, therefore Visby also became a 'no go' due to the expected conditions. The alternative plan was given and I was over the moon, a day at sea then Gothenburg followed by Oslo. Superb! Many people on board commented on the fact they needed the day at sea after 4 busy days. Some were sad at missing Stockholm but I didn't here any out right complaints. The port at Gothenburg is a long way from town and as we had not pre-planned our trip I wasn't aware of exactly what was available transport wise at the pier. Most of the crew had no idea and the general feel was that there was nothing other than the Volvo factory and museum. I took a gamble and got off the ship promptly and within 2 minutes a family followed us and we joined forces and shared a taxi/people carrier to town for 60e each way. We were dropped right in the centre and agreed a pick up time with the same driver which worked perfectly. RC were offering a shuttle bus for $18 each but in allocated time slots. With the taxi we were in the centre before the first time slot shuttle had left the ship. I then found a bus that stopped 300m from the ship (head straight down the road from the pier and the stop is on the left) the bus number 32 runs every 30 mins Mon-Fri. Sat and Sun is by request! (check the Gothenburg bus website). Gothenburg is a beautiful city, spotless and stunning architecture. Well worth the visit.
Oslo - The ship docked in the harbour outside the castle. The ships crew said a 30 min brisk walk to the town but I think a 15 minute wander is more appropriate! Obviously I didn't have any Norwegian Krone. Therefore I brought a travel pass on my card and popped back to the ship for a lunch time snack! I found Oslo to be a bit grubby to be honest, graffiti and litter quite obvious. However the harbour area was nice and obviously recently re-developed.
Overall.........
Loved it and can't wait for our next trip with RC in 8 weeks!!
Andy Ashton’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Cabin 4544
Poetic use of the word 'large' but certainly suitable for us. Wardrobe not big enough for 3 of use (2 girls!) and when you open the wardrobe door you block the light out so you cant see in!The cabin was not affected by noise from the centrum and there was no traffic noise in the corridor. But saying that we are deep sleepers!
  Brilliance of the Seas Deck Plans