My wife and I love cruising. My wife began on the "MV Georgic" when she went to Canada as a child and I began my cruising in 1969 on the "Windsor Castle" sailing to Cape Town from Southampton. To gether we have now completed approximately fourteen and have visited most parts of the world from Hawaii to South America, Alaska, the Caribbean and through the Panama Canal. We were looking forward as always to our Mediterranean cruise on board the "Brilliance of the Seas" which left Barcelona on the 25th November 2008. On the first evening in the theatre for the welcome aboard show, Chloe, our cruise director, remarked that when she looked at us she realized we weren't on board for the sun - did she know at that time something we didn't know ? I won't bore you with a description of the ship - you can read in other reviews what a beautiful ship the 'Brilliance' is. I won't bore you with descriptions of the ports we visited either, there are many details in other reviews of where people visited, recommendations of web sites to explore for good deals on excursions and places which are a 'must'. Instead, I'd like to tell you about some other features of a remarkable cruise.... We boarded quickly in Barcelona, there were no problems, and we found a little bit of sunshine in the open air part of the Windjammer out of the coolish wind - it was the first and last time, from then on the weather deteriorated which made it impossible to dine al fresco. The luggage was delivered to our state room by mid afternoon so we were unpacked before dinner. Overnight to Villefranche, no problems - the sun was shining when we got there but there was a cold wind blowing, A pleasant wander round the quaint streets and back on board. A windy rocky passage overnight to Livorno which helped us to sleep. The next night, however, it was so windy that instead of going direct to Civitavecchia the captain had to take us the 'long way round' to the west coast of Sardinia and then between Sardinia and Corsica to avoid very strong winds along the coast of Italy. This meant a hefty delay so instead of an early morning arrival at the port it meant a late afternoon one. The decision was made therefore to cancel Mykonos and to stay in Civitavecchia for two nights to enable passengers to see Rome if they so wished. The Captain informed us that one of the other cruise liners in port had actually lost one of its lifeboats the previous night in the rough seas! After leaving Civitavecchia we went through the Straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily where it was very rough so much so that the Pilot cutter was completely hidden by spray every time it hit a wave as it made its way back to its home port after taking off the pilot. As we turned the corner and headed East across the Aegean sea the seas moderated. Our approach to Santorini, was delightful with the town of Fira sitting on top of steep cliffs looking like snow on top of a mountain. Again the sun but quite cool but we enjoyed exploring the narrow streets - a delightful island to visit. Kusadasi in Turkey and Piraeus for Athens next on the list still with relatively calm seas. We managed to leave Athens the day before the riots broke out which was a blessing I guess, but as we approached the south west corner of Greece the captain came on the tannoy system to tell us that very strong winds of over 100 kms per hour had been forecast and we would not be able to get into Naples as planned. Instead we would have to find shelter behind one of the Greek Islands until the wind abated. This we did and anchored together with about another fifteen ships in the lee of the island. We were there for about six or seven hours before we crept out into the open sea and made our way across to Messina in Sicily. This was a last minute port of call arranged by the captain and turned out to be a very pleasant town to visit. It was quite amusing to see so many blown out umbrellas littering the streets! We were horrified to hear later, that there had been a large deputation of irate passengers at Guest Relations in the Centrum demanding that we should go to Naples despite the weather, "They had paid for that port and Royal Caribbean only wanted to keep the passengers on board so that they would spend more money in the shops" ! was one of the comments made to the poor staff behind the counter. Sometimes I wonder at the mentality of some people - what do they think the responsibility of the captain is ? It wasn't too bad as we headed back to Barcelona at the conclusion of the cruise. My wife and I have done some four Transatlantic cruises and went round Cape Horn on board the Millennium and have never ever experienced conditions like the ones we experienced on board the "Brilliance", other than one day off the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic when we experienced 25 feet waves. The majority of our fellow passengers appreciated just what the crew had done for us. The captain at one stage never left the bridge for three days and nights. Despite the weather we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. We met some interesting people although sometimes when we heard complaints about the cruise from people sharing our table in the Windjammer we wondered if we were on the same ship ! One lady actually admitted that she made a point of complaining every time she cruised so that she got some form of compensation and had been successful in all her twelve cruises to date....!