Well this was my 3rd cruise and my boyfriends 1st so we both had our ideas of how hoped it would turn out. Overall we enjoyed ourselves and would recommend this itinerary in a heartbeat but would NOT travel on this ship again. As it turns out we were told that Brilliance of the Seas will be going over to Europe permanently and I am hoping they decide to dry dock it for a bit to do some much need improvements.
I will first say that we decided to arrive in Miami a couple days early and based on feedback in this forum stayed at the Holiday Inn at the Port of Miami. We enjoyed our stay there and would recommend it. It was right across the street from Bayside Marketplace which was super convenient and just a short bus ride to South Beach. This is not the Ritz Carlton, but definitely served it purpose and I would stay there again if I left on a cruise going out of this port.
Ok on to the ship! Let me start by saying that the ship itself looks nice as long as you don't look too close at anything in particular. The main culprits showing their wear and tear would be the carpet and upholstery on the chairs (lounges, dining room, bars). I did see staff cleaning constantly all aspects of the ship so I think they try, but I have to assume the traffic that goes through on these ships is staggering. Our ship was full with just over 2,000 people and the day we got off they were boarding for another cruise. Our cabin was small, but nice. Nothing spectacular, but it did the job. Plenty of closet space and drawers. On our arrival we nicely asked for 2 robes and our cabin steward was kind enough to find us a couple to use. Having the balcony on this cruise was nice, but I would recommend staying on the other side of the ship because were mostly in the shade. I also wouldn't recommend our room location (7016 - front of the ship). We felt a lot of ship movement and we happened to be right over the Pacifica Theatre. If there was a show going on or they were rehearing we got to hear it all. Literally our floor was vibrating which sucked the couple of nights they had early shows. I called the front desk but there was nothing they could do since it was a full ship. Like all cruises the pool chair hogs were out in full force very early in the morning. If you didn't get a chair by 9 or 10 am then you could forget it. But we figured out pretty quickly if you just wait till around lunch time people vacate them and you could get a decent one where you aren't sandwiched in like a sardine. Nicer pool chairs would have been great which is again one of the things that could be upgraded. The staff was nice and every passenger on the ship we met was very friendly. We were probably one of the youngest couples on the ship by far (early 30's) but we didn't mind. It provided a very relaxing environment!