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Our family was on the Brilliance sailing out of Barcelona on July 20/07. To preface this review, we are a family of four. Our children are 12 and 9 years old. This is our second Mediterranean cruise as we had sailed on the Splendour in July 05. We have also cruised on the Disney Magic and the Golden Princess in the Caribbean prior to the Splendour. I mention these facts, as it certainly affected our thoughts on our more recent cruise. Ship and Suite: The Brilliance is beautiful. I was impressed by the use of glass that lent an airy feeling to this ship. She is showing wear in some areas that previous reviewers have mentioned, but for the most part she is in good condition. Our Owners Suite was nice. Lots of room and lots of storage...just what we needed for a 12 day cruise! However,the sofas are starting to show some wear as are the marble tiles in the shower. Our suite attendant, Anjela (sp?) was excellent. The fitness centre onboard was great. Equipment was clean and organized well. My husband and I each took turns wearing off the Italian food that we ate on land (NOT ON THE SHIP)! The shops, theatre area,lounges, restaurants are well laid out and everything was easy to locate onboard. I was impressed enough to say that the Brilliance's finishings and decor was the nicest that I have seen based on all of the 4 ships that I have cruised on. Food: Big disappointment. Big, big disappointment! In the 2 years since I had cruised on Splendour, RCCL cuisine has gone way downhill with the exception of Chops and Portofinos. I convinced 2 other families to cruise with us on RCCL based on our past experience. I felt embarrassed that I had touted RCCL dining. It was hit or miss with the dining offerings. Sad to say, it was mostly misses. However, our waitress Inga was amazing as was our assistant waitress, Alvira. If it wasn't for their excellent attention we probably would have bypassed Mistrals and headed to Chops or Portofinos. Equally disappointing was breakfast room service. Powdery eggs and overcooked bacon. Awful coffee. OJ replacement on some mornings because apparently they ran out!!?? Windjammers offerings were okay, not great, as I recall the Splendour to have been. The kids always enjoyed the soft yogurt ice cream. Pizza in the seaview was okay, again not amazing. Chops and Portofino were excellent. Reserve as many nights as you can!! Service at all restaurants and cafes was superb. Note to RCCL, keep the service, spend more money on food quality!!9Perhaps the decline of the US dollar has made RCCL decrease their food budget.....very disappointing!! Kids Club: Another major disappointment!! Specifically, the 12-14 year group and the 9-11 year group. The 12-14 year group never seemed to have supervision. The scheduled activities were not organized properly. This group was a breeding ground for trouble. Needless to say, our son, my niece and my friend's daughter were not allowed to participate and I should add, neither did they want to!! The 9-11 year group also had major shortcomings. When we arrived at the kids club the first night, it was very disorganized as to who the counselors would be for the different age groups. No warm and fuzzies here, folks. I cannot begin to describe the difference (negative)on the BOS kids club compared to the kids club aboard the Splendour. However, I will mention that the 6-8 year old group seemed to be well run with some energetic staff. Note to RCCL: Maybe if you are going to plunk 30 children down in front of a TV, you could get a larger TV (i.e. the one that was in our OWNER"S SUITE)instead of the 20 inch one that resides in the Adventure Ocean club. Activities: Our families loved the self-leveling pool tables. We finally had the bartender establish a 30 minute rule so that some people weren't playing for 2 hours. It would be nice to see more pool tables onboard. Rock climbing was fun but hot. Not the fault of RCCL. Bingo was great. The gentleman that did the calling was hilarious. We tried to make it to all the Bingos. "Have you had your Bingo today", became the children's catch phrase. We all had fun. We only went to 1 show. It was the magician and his wife. They were entertaining for the whole family. My husband and I tried the casino on 2 occasions. Unfortunately we left donations. (Those who hate smoke.....AVOID the casino!) The smoke fog certainly curtailed our time there (as did our losses:)) Excursions: We did the ships tours for St. Paul du Vence, Florence and Venice for 1/2 day, and Corfu. We used DRIVERINROME with Daniele for Rome......OUTSTANDING!!!, Marcello with SEESORRENTO......good-great. Having been to some of these ports before, we realized the time value by engaging private drivers. We literally saw twice as much in a day as we would have using the ship's tours. In Dubrovnik we took the tender in and walked the walls and saw the Old City on our own....easy and less expensive. We did a beach day in Corfu. In hindsight, I would have hired a taxi to make a round trip to the beach of our choice. Dear Readers, do your homework before you leave home. I saw many passengers arriving in European cities with US dollars, wondering where they could exchange them to get a better rate than on the ship. I saw people deciding last minute which tours they might book. Research and planning is key when you embark on this type of vacation. Summary: We booked this cruise as soon as it became available. All 3 families occupied a suite (OS, RFS, GS) and we wanted our pick of location so we booked early. We picked this cruise based on the itinerary and my reviews of the Splendour. The Brilliance has the right mix of port stops and sea days mixed in at the right time,compared to the other cruises that we had considered. The two other families that I had enticed into joining us, based on my glowing reviews of the Splendour of the Seas Med cruise in 2005, enjoyed the cruise as did we. Unfortunately, the food and the kids club fell way short of all our expectations. For future Med cruising, I would consider RCCL's posher cousin, Celebrity, or check in at Princess or Crystal. Safe travels.

Brilliance of the Seas - Eastern Mediterranean

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by Dr. Pam

Trip Details
Our family was on the Brilliance sailing out of Barcelona on July 20/07. To preface this review, we are a family of four. Our children are 12 and 9 years old. This is our second Mediterranean cruise as we had sailed on the Splendour in July 05. We have also cruised on the Disney Magic and the Golden Princess in the Caribbean prior to the Splendour. I mention these facts, as it certainly affected our thoughts on our more recent cruise.
Ship and Suite:
The Brilliance is beautiful. I was impressed by the use of glass that lent an airy feeling to this ship. She is showing wear in some areas that previous reviewers have mentioned, but for the most part she is in good condition. Our Owners Suite was nice. Lots of room and lots of storage...just what we needed for a 12 day cruise! However,the sofas are starting to show some wear as are the marble tiles in the shower. Our suite attendant, Anjela (sp?) was excellent.
The fitness centre onboard was great. Equipment was clean and organized well. My husband and I each took turns wearing off the Italian food that we ate on land (NOT ON THE SHIP)!
The shops, theatre area,lounges, restaurants are well laid out and everything was easy to locate onboard. I was impressed enough to say that the Brilliance's finishings and decor was the nicest that I have seen based on all of the 4 ships that I have cruised on.
Food:
Big disappointment. Big, big disappointment! In the 2 years since I had cruised on Splendour, RCCL cuisine has gone way downhill with the exception of Chops and Portofinos. I convinced 2 other families to cruise with us on RCCL based on our past experience. I felt embarrassed that I had touted RCCL dining. It was hit or miss with the dining offerings. Sad to say, it was mostly misses. However, our waitress Inga was amazing as was our assistant waitress, Alvira. If it wasn't for their excellent attention we probably would have bypassed Mistrals and headed to Chops or Portofinos.
Equally disappointing was breakfast room service. Powdery eggs and overcooked bacon. Awful coffee. OJ replacement on some mornings because apparently they ran out!!??
Windjammers offerings were okay, not great, as I recall the Splendour to have been. The kids always enjoyed the soft yogurt ice cream. Pizza in the seaview was okay, again not amazing. Chops and Portofino were excellent. Reserve as many nights as you can!!
Service at all restaurants and cafes was superb. Note to RCCL, keep the service, spend more money on food quality!!9Perhaps the decline of the US dollar has made RCCL decrease their food budget.....very disappointing!!
Kids Club:
Another major disappointment!! Specifically, the 12-14 year group and the 9-11 year group. The 12-14 year group never seemed to have supervision. The scheduled activities were not organized properly. This group was a breeding ground for trouble. Needless to say, our son, my niece and my friend's daughter were not allowed to participate and I should add, neither did they want to!! The 9-11 year group also had major shortcomings. When we arrived at the kids club the first night, it was very disorganized as to who the counselors would be for the different age groups. No warm and fuzzies here, folks. I cannot begin to describe the difference (negative)on the BOS kids club compared to the kids club aboard the Splendour.
However, I will mention that the 6-8 year old group seemed to be well run with some energetic staff.
Note to RCCL: Maybe if you are going to plunk 30 children down in front of a TV, you could get a larger TV (i.e. the one that was in our OWNER"S SUITE)instead of the 20 inch one that resides in the Adventure Ocean club.
Activities:
Our families loved the self-leveling pool tables. We finally had the bartender establish a 30 minute rule so that some people weren't playing for 2 hours. It would be nice to see more pool tables onboard.
Rock climbing was fun but hot. Not the fault of RCCL.
Bingo was great. The gentleman that did the calling was hilarious. We tried to make it to all the Bingos. "Have you had your Bingo today", became the children's catch phrase. We all had fun.
We only went to 1 show. It was the magician and his wife. They were entertaining for the whole family.
My husband and I tried the casino on 2 occasions. Unfortunately we left donations. (Those who hate smoke.....AVOID the casino!) The smoke fog certainly curtailed our time there (as did our losses:))
Excursions:
We did the ships tours for St. Paul du Vence, Florence and Venice for 1/2 day, and Corfu. We used DRIVERINROME with Daniele for Rome......OUTSTANDING!!!, Marcello with SEESORRENTO......good-great. Having been to some of these ports before, we realized the time value by engaging private drivers. We literally saw twice as much in a day as we would have using the ship's tours. In Dubrovnik we took the tender in and walked the walls and saw the Old City on our own....easy and less expensive. We did a beach day in Corfu. In hindsight, I would have hired a taxi to make a round trip to the beach of our choice. Dear Readers, do your homework before you leave home. I saw many passengers arriving in European cities with US dollars, wondering where they could exchange them to get a better rate than on the ship. I saw people deciding last minute which tours they might book. Research and planning is key when you embark on this type of vacation.
Summary:
We booked this cruise as soon as it became available. All 3 families occupied a suite (OS, RFS, GS) and we wanted our pick of location so we booked early. We picked this cruise based on the itinerary and my reviews of the Splendour. The Brilliance has the right mix of port stops and sea days mixed in at the right time,compared to the other cruises that we had considered. The two other families that I had enticed into joining us, based on my glowing reviews of the Splendour of the Seas Med cruise in 2005, enjoyed the cruise as did we. Unfortunately, the food and the kids club fell way short of all our expectations. For future Med cruising, I would consider RCCL's posher cousin, Celebrity, or check in at Princess or Crystal. Safe travels.
Dr. Pam’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
Service
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