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Brilliance of the Seas Review

4.0 / 5.0
1,538 reviews


Review for Transatlantic Cruise on Brilliance of the Seas
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First Time Cruiser • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Dec 2007
Cabin: Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony

This review is about our cruise on Dec. 2, 2007 Brilliance of the Seas transatlantic from Barcelona to Miami. We left Phoenix on Nov. 30 and arrived in Barcelona on Dec. 1. We always arrive a day early just in case. We were barely able to make our connection in Houston from Continental to Air France. We changed planes again in Paris and then on to Barcelona, where we were sure our luggage could not possible have made it. Lo and behold, the bags were the first ones off of the plane! We stayed at the beautiful Hilton Diagonal Mar. This is a fairly new hotel and very luxurious with a shopping mall right across the street behind the hotel and the Mediterranean Sea across the street in front of the hotel. We had a beautiful view of the sea. The mall had a huge supermarket inside and we were able to purchase bottled water and other goodies for the cruise. There was even a Dunkin Donuts inside, plus plenty of restaurants and a food court. We had a good and inexpensive meal there. We were not near the historical center of the city, but closer to the port. After our dinner, we hit the bed as we were exhausted from the flight. Breakfast was included in the special advance purchase rate and it was very good. The service there was impeccable and they were very friendly. No language barrier at anytime, either there or at the mall. We had prearranged taxi service from Angie's Taxi for both pick up at the airport and from the hotel to the ship. He was there right on time and had a large van. I would highly recommend them and we found them through past reviews on this board. There seemed to be plenty of taxis at the airport. We arrived at the ship around 10:30 am. They checked us in immediately. We had to wait until 11:00 am to board. No problems there at all. The rooms were not available until 1:00 pm so we headed to the Windjammer, which opened at noon. We had a D1 cabin right on the "hump." The location was great and we enjoyed the convenience. The library was right there, which is also a WIFI area, though we did not have a laptop. The ship is absolutely beautiful. The only sign of age was on the balcony, where the paint was peeling off of the roof and some rust. The new bedding was very nice. I had asked for an eggcrate mattress, which was not there. One visit to Guest Relations and we had the eggcrate on the bed the next day. Our room steward was Wendell, and he was very good. He was a bit shy, but very friendly. One note: when you leave the room in the morning and want your room cleaned, please put the little "make up room" tag in the door. We could not figure out why our room was not made up until after lunch. Once we did that, it was done when we returned from breakfast. Our last three cruises were on Celebrity and the stewards seem to know when we left for breakfast as they were waiting for us to leave the room so that they could get in there. No complaints there at all. He also made great towel animals. I had to take photos of every one of them! As far as the ports went, we only took two tours, one by RCCL and one organized by a fellow cruiser on the thread. Hers was in Gibraltar. It was fantastic and was a real bargain. We were met by a 15 passenger minivan with a great driver/guide. It was a 2 hour tour, but took you to all of the interesting places. He was also willing to drop you off either in the shopping district or back at the ship. Gibraltar was our favorite port. If you like British goods, there is a Safeway there (now called Morrison's) and it is a short walk to the port from there. The other tour was on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. We took the "World Heritage and Wine tour." It was very poorly done. It stopped in the village square in La Laguna where we had an hour to amuse ourselves, then on to the wine museum for a short stop and potty break, and then to a wine shop. The wine shop was the best part of the tour as they had a few tapas to eat while sampling their wines, which were quite good. We were able to buy a few souvenirs and a bottle of wine. This was a bad tour and our fellow tour people had many complaints as we did. The guide was not knowledgeable at all and mainly spoke about herself. She spoke to the fellow Hispanic passengers in Spanish for most of the cruise and trashed people of various nationalities. It was embarrassing and we could not get off the tour fast enough. We filled out the complaint form from the Explorations Desk and they refunded us a whopping $10.50 each on the last night of the cruise because of the complaint. Other people had heard about this tour so we were not the only ones. We had bought our favorite wine, the special Malmsey wine, on Madeira and were at our quota. All of the wines were confiscated by RCCL when getting back on the ship. They were returned the night before disembarkation. They had two gangways and it depended on which gangway one used as to whether they'd be confiscated as we watched people go through security with them and on to their cabins. Since we purchased them for home, it did not bother us as long as we got them back. The next area is the food. It was pretty bad. I never thought we could go hungry on a cruise ship, and we didn't. Out of thirteen cruises, this was the worse food ever. My husband, who is not as picky as I am, even gave up on the dining room. Our waiter, Mauricio, was technically good, but was not friendly AT ALL. They even repeated the special menu offering "beef shoulder." The "always available" steak was top sirloin (which the waiter told us was tough unless ordered rare), which is something I would not purchase from the supermarket at home. One evening, I requested the Caesar salad from the "always available" menu. Mauricio said they were out of it. The assistant waiter, Siony, asked me why I had no salad that night. I told her I wanted a Caesar salad, but that Mauricio said they were out of it and she came back five minutes later with the Caesar salad. I don't expect the food to be excellent, just good to very good and did not have that on the Brilliance. We did eat in Chops one night and it was very, very, good. When the head waiter thanked us on the way out, I commented that I wished the dining room food was half as good. He said he was aware of the problem and that they were going to make some changes in January, beginning on the Brilliance, and going fleet wide. Even the Windjammer went downhill as the cruised progressed. Most of the chicken entrees in the Windjammer were dark meat only. Only occasionally did they offer white meat. The food seems to be recycled from the dining room from the night before, which is understandable. We have sailed on RCCL before, the last one in 2004. Celebrity, hands down, has much better food, quality wise (maybe a bit bland, but certainly acceptable). We missed the grilled hamburgers from the poolside grill on this one. Breakfast in the Windjammer was fine, although no Belgian waffles from the omelet station, just in the warming bins on the line. The entertainment varied. We enjoyed "Soul Sensation," a Motown show, and Bryan G, a musician and impressionist, but the true highlight was Marty Allen and Karon Kate. Karon is a very talented singer and musician and Marty Allen was hilarious! He is 86 years old and just as funny as when I saw him as a child on Ed Sullivan. His jokes were contemporary and quite clean and he offered to pose for pictures after the show. We ran back to the cabin to grab the camera and he posed with first myself and then my husband. We will never forget him. I was ready to get off the ship when the time came and happy to have access to all of the restaurant chains. It's a sad day when I can cook better than what they served! In all of my 13 cruises, this was my least favorite. RCCL, please do something about the food. We weren't the only ones abandoning the dining room. Unfortunately, we can't afford Chops and Portofino's every night.

Cabin Review

Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony

Cabin D1
1 Helpful Vote
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