1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Brilliance of the Seas
BACKGROUND: My wife and I are both retired and are Platinum level on several cruise lines. This was our 2nd RC cruise and we thought we’d try a Canada/New England cruise. For this review, I decided to give each component a “1” to “5” number grade with “5” being excellent. * BOSTON: We purchased a “Cruiseport, hotel stay and parking” package from STAY123.com and arrived at the Holiday Inn Express (Boston St) in Boston the day before the cruise. The room was adequate, the price was amazing, the breakfast was very good, the staff was helpful and the hotel is next to a mall that has a grocery store plus 2 restaurants. The complimentary shuttle took us to the pier at 2:00 PM and we were given tickets and a number to call for a shuttle after the cruise was over. Hotel + staff = 5 * EMBARKATION: RCL notified us by e-mail and texts to NOT board before 1:00 PM because the ship was coming off a Trans Atlantic reposition. We took the 2:00 PM shuttle from the hotel to the pier so by the time we got to the ship, the lines were gone and we breezed through with no problem – there wasn’t even a person to “check” our wine. The cabins were ready so we dropped off our carry-on bags and had lunch at the buffet. Bada bing, bada boom. Embarkation = 5 * THE CABIN: We were on Deck 8 aft cabin 8156 – three decks directly below the buffet. The balcony cabin was adequate as was the actual balcony. The bed was comfortable and the TV was large enough BUT the choice of channels was pretty meager. I know most people like to unplug for a vacation but I like to know what’s going on in the world – my bad. As usual the closet doors open toward the bathroom door so you have to maneuver around to get stuff out. The bathroom was adequate and we followed other posters advice and brought over sized clothes pins to put on the bottom of the curtain to keep it in place HOWEVER the shower curtain was replaced midway thru the cruise with a longer one so we didn’t need the clothes pins PLUS the curtain didn’t cling to us. The shower had great water pressure but was a tad small. The actual toilet area was small – but adequate. We had no noise or cigarette smoke problems, there was no heavy foot traffic and there were NO kids running in the hallway at all. Our room steward Tosha (Tow shuh) was superb. She was very pleasant and helpful we gave her extra money on day 1 and day 8 and our only request was that she keep our ice bucket be filled when she cleaned the cabin. She also spoke English well with a nice Jamaican accent so there were no communication issues. Cabin = 4.5, attendant = 5 * THE FOOD: We had anytime/your time dining but ate most meals at the buffet and sometimes sat in the outdoor area at the stern of the ship. * MDR: We made our only appearance at the MDR on formal nights and even though we had made reservations, the line for dinner was like waiting in line to buy concert tickets. The food choices were good, the food was better than expected and the service was efficient and timely. Waiting in line = 2.5, Food = 4 * Buffet: Once we found the best times to eat, things were fine. Sometimes you have to hunt around for what you want since BUT once you found out where stuff was, it was pretty much a certainty it would always be found there. Some offerings on the buffet were just OK while others were very good (like the Indian food) but seafood, veggies, salads & fruit were my mainstay anyway and I never walked away hungry. Made to order omelets in the morning were among my favorites. 4 * Bar service: We brought two bottles of wine aboard and we bought a few drinks onboard. Our bar bill was about $20. 3.5 * Room service: Never used it. No rating * Soda/drink packages: Never used them. No rating * SHORE EXCURSIONS: More info for each is in the Shore Excursion Reviews * Portland: Docked right in the center of town. Four ships total in port. * Rockland: Tendering port and wasn’t too bad thanks to the calm seas. We were the only ship that day. * Bar Harbor: Another tendering port which was OK thanks to the calm seas. We were the only ship that day. * Halifax, Nova Scotia: Docked at the commercial pier. We booked the ship’s “Duck Harbor” tour. Four ships total in port. * Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: We booked the ship’s “Bus tour and stroll” excursion. We were the only ship that day * Sydney: We booked the ship’s “Bell Museum and Baddeck” tour. We were the only ship that day. * OTHER SERVICES/MISC: * Internet: We opted out of any purchase. May folks just waited until they went ashore to use the many wi-fi connections that were available. No rating * We didn’t use the Spa although I used the gym in the early afternoons of sea days so I had no issues with finding an open T-mill, elliptical or life cycle. The treadmills, elliptical and pedal machines were in great shape and the weight machines were primo. 5 * We didn’t buy any photo packages and ignored most photographers who tried to snap our pix. No rating * We attended the welcome back party and were treated to several rounds of drinks…free booze…how can you go wrong? 5 * We didn’t go to the casino. No rating * Cruise Director and staff were often seen before shows in the Stardust Theater and around the ship. Nice people without being annoying. 4.5 * We used Passengers’ Service & Shore excursion desk and the staff was courteous and professional. 5 * The boutiques/stores had their usual “sales” which were mostly for jewelry, old stock and watches. We only bought a few trinkets for folks back home. 3 * We attend the Broadway Musical show at the Pacifica Theater and found it entertaining. 4.5 * Solarium was a GREAT place to relax and even grab some sandwiches, salad and cookies. 4.5 * DEBARKATION: We ate our breakfast and then waited in the Centrum area on deck 5 until they called our tag number to get in the final line (which was rather long) until we finally left the ship. It wasn’t a nightmare at all – the customs people were on the ship taking forms and checking passports just before we got to the “doink” machine that checked our sea passes for the final time. After that we called for the shuttle to bring us back to the hotel to pick up our vehicle and head home. 4 * OVERALL: What a great time – FABULOUS weather for all 9 days, good cabin with superb service, great itinerary, calm seas, lots of food and good value for the price but as usual it ended all too soon. It was also great to start off with $250 OBC from our RCL VISA card points which we put toward the ship shore excursions. The ship never felt crowded. Just don’t wait until “rush hour” to eat or go to the shows. We’re already booked on the Grandeur for a 10 day Caribbean cruise in April of 2016 and are very much looking forward to it. I would recommend this ship & itinerary and give it an overall rating of 4.9

Cruises in September can be hit or miss; this one was SUPERB.

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by mojomorris

Trip Details
BACKGROUND: My wife and I are both retired and are Platinum level on several cruise lines. This was our 2nd RC cruise and we thought we’d try a Canada/New England cruise. For this review, I decided to give each component a “1” to “5” number grade with “5” being excellent.

*

BOSTON: We purchased a “Cruiseport, hotel stay and parking” package from STAY123.com and arrived at the Holiday Inn Express (Boston St) in Boston the day before the cruise. The room was adequate, the price was amazing, the breakfast was very good, the staff was helpful and the hotel is next to a mall that has a grocery store plus 2 restaurants. The complimentary shuttle took us to the pier at 2:00 PM and we were given tickets and a number to call for a shuttle after the cruise was over. Hotel + staff = 5

*

EMBARKATION: RCL notified us by e-mail and texts to NOT board before 1:00 PM because the ship was coming off a Trans Atlantic reposition. We took the 2:00 PM shuttle from the hotel to the pier so by the time we got to the ship, the lines were gone and we breezed through with no problem – there wasn’t even a person to “check” our wine. The cabins were ready so we dropped off our carry-on bags and had lunch at the buffet. Bada bing, bada boom. Embarkation = 5

*

THE CABIN: We were on Deck 8 aft cabin 8156 – three decks directly below the buffet. The balcony cabin was adequate as was the actual balcony. The bed was comfortable and the TV was large enough BUT the choice of channels was pretty meager. I know most people like to unplug for a vacation but I like to know what’s going on in the world – my bad. As usual the closet doors open toward the bathroom door so you have to maneuver around to get stuff out. The bathroom was adequate and we followed other posters advice and brought over sized clothes pins to put on the bottom of the curtain to keep it in place HOWEVER the shower curtain was replaced midway thru the cruise with a longer one so we didn’t need the clothes pins PLUS the curtain didn’t cling to us. The shower had great water pressure but was a tad small. The actual toilet area was small – but adequate. We had no noise or cigarette smoke problems, there was no heavy foot traffic and there were NO kids running in the hallway at all. Our room steward Tosha (Tow shuh) was superb. She was very pleasant and helpful we gave her extra money on day 1 and day 8 and our only request was that she keep our ice bucket be filled when she cleaned the cabin. She also spoke English well with a nice Jamaican accent so there were no communication issues. Cabin = 4.5, attendant = 5

*

THE FOOD: We had anytime/your time dining but ate most meals at the buffet and sometimes sat in the outdoor area at the stern of the ship.

*

MDR: We made our only appearance at the MDR on formal nights and even though we had made reservations, the line for dinner was like waiting in line to buy concert tickets. The food choices were good, the food was better than expected and the service was efficient and timely. Waiting in line = 2.5, Food = 4

*

Buffet: Once we found the best times to eat, things were fine. Sometimes you have to hunt around for what you want since BUT once you found out where stuff was, it was pretty much a certainty it would always be found there. Some offerings on the buffet were just OK while others were very good (like the Indian food) but seafood, veggies, salads & fruit were my mainstay anyway and I never walked away hungry. Made to order omelets in the morning were among my favorites. 4

*

Bar service: We brought two bottles of wine aboard and we bought a few drinks onboard. Our bar bill was about $20. 3.5

*

Room service: Never used it. No rating

*

Soda/drink packages: Never used them. No rating

*

SHORE EXCURSIONS: More info for each is in the Shore Excursion Reviews

*

Portland: Docked right in the center of town. Four ships total in port.

*

Rockland: Tendering port and wasn’t too bad thanks to the calm seas. We were the only ship that day.

*

Bar Harbor: Another tendering port which was OK thanks to the calm seas. We were the only ship that day.

*

Halifax, Nova Scotia: Docked at the commercial pier. We booked the ship’s “Duck Harbor” tour. Four ships total in port.

*

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island: We booked the ship’s “Bus tour and stroll” excursion. We were the only ship that day

*

Sydney: We booked the ship’s “Bell Museum and Baddeck” tour. We were the only ship that day.

*

OTHER SERVICES/MISC:

*

Internet: We opted out of any purchase. May folks just waited until they went ashore to use the many wi-fi connections that were available. No rating

*

We didn’t use the Spa although I used the gym in the early afternoons of sea days so I had no issues with finding an open T-mill, elliptical or life cycle. The treadmills, elliptical and pedal machines were in great shape and the weight machines were primo. 5

*

We didn’t buy any photo packages and ignored most photographers who tried to snap our pix. No rating

*

We attended the welcome back party and were treated to several rounds of drinks…free booze…how can you go wrong? 5

*

We didn’t go to the casino. No rating

*

Cruise Director and staff were often seen before shows in the Stardust Theater and around the ship. Nice people without being annoying. 4.5

*
We used Passengers’ Service & Shore excursion desk and the staff was courteous and professional. 5

*

The boutiques/stores had their usual “sales” which were mostly for jewelry, old stock and watches. We only bought a few trinkets for folks back home. 3

*

We attend the Broadway Musical show at the Pacifica Theater and found it entertaining. 4.5

*

Solarium was a GREAT place to relax and even grab some sandwiches, salad and cookies. 4.5

*

DEBARKATION: We ate our breakfast and then waited in the Centrum area on deck 5 until they called our tag number to get in the final line (which was rather long) until we finally left the ship. It wasn’t a nightmare at all – the customs people were on the ship taking forms and checking passports just before we got to the “doink” machine that checked our sea passes for the final time. After that we called for the shuttle to bring us back to the hotel to pick up our vehicle and head home. 4

*

OVERALL: What a great time – FABULOUS weather for all 9 days, good cabin with superb service, great itinerary, calm seas, lots of food and good value for the price but as usual it ended all too soon. It was also great to start off with $250 OBC from our RCL VISA card points which we put toward the ship shore excursions. The ship never felt crowded. Just don’t wait until “rush hour” to eat or go to the shows. We’re already booked on the Grandeur for a 10 day Caribbean cruise in April of 2016 and are very much looking forward to it. I would recommend this ship & itinerary and give it an overall rating of 4.9
mojomorris’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
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 8156
Three decks directly below the buffet. Cabin was adequate as was the actual balcony. As usual the closet doors open toward the bathroom door so you have to maneuver around to get stuff out. Comfortable bed, TV was large enough BUT the choice of channels was pretty meager. The shower curtain was replaced midway thru the cruise with a longer one so we didn’t need to put the clothes pins at the bottom PLUS the curtain didn’t cling to us. The shower was small but had great water pressure. The actual toilet area was small but adequate. Not much foot traffic since cabin is about 5 cabins from the very end of the hallway. The only slight downside was that the deck below juts out a bit a bit so you can’t see the water right below
  Brilliance of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Boston
    Hotel stay at HIE on Boston St was very enjoyable.
    View All 666 Boston Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Boston Cruise Port Review
  • Double Decker bus tour and stroll
    We booked a ship offered trolley tour thru the city which was interesting and informative. Afterward we had a lobster roll and beer at the Lobster On The Wharf Restaurant which was right on the pier then walked along the pier and had ice cream for desert. I'd recommend all 3 activities (or something similar) for Charlottetown first timers.
    View All 13,750 Double Decker bus tour and stroll Reviews
  • City Tour
    We booked the Harbour Hopper Duck tour thru the ship. Kaleigh the guide was very informative and entertaining but wear warm clothes since you’re on the water for the actual harbor part. We were docked at the industrial pier and took free shuttles to the business area where you can find lots of souvenirs and lots of seafood. Take the boardwalk and you’ll find lots more places to shop/eat. We opted for lobster rolls and ice cream.
    View All 50 City Tour Reviews
  • City Tour
    We booked a trolley tour direct online thru Portland Discovery Tours. Our driver was humorous and informative making the tour enjoyable. I'd recommend the trolley tour for sure (book it online so you're guaranteed a ticket).and if it's a nice day, get there early to book the harbor/bay cruise tour. We split a lobster roll, fries and a beer at the Portland Lobster Co. It's on the main street with plenty of tables so it's easy to find a seat. There's also entertainment at various times. I'd recommend it for Portland first timers.
    View All 47 City Tour Reviews
  • The Bell Museum
    We took the bus trip to the Bell Museum in Baddeck. The guide for the bus ride was informative and the Bell Museum itself was fascinating with a lot of information and models of Bells inventions. There were also short movies detailing much of his work. We only had an hour there and you could easily spend a whole afternoon at the site. Very interesting for history and technology buffs.
    View All 22 The Bell Museum Reviews