Brilliance - some bits shiny, some a bit dull: Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by paintingfiend

Brilliance of the Seas 4
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Brilliance - some bits shiny, some a bit dull

Sail Date: February 2009
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
We flew to Barcelona with BA and have no complaints whatsoever about the flight or onward transfer to the ship. We have sailed with RCI before, but not for about 10 years, so it was like being a newcomer again.

We were very pleased with our balcony stateroom which had loads of storage space and a sofa. Our cabin steward, Ardra, was always smiling and helpful. Our first main niggle was the fact that they had provided a kettle, milk and tea in the cabin - but no coffee. We were told there was none available, but we could order from Room Service. This was not ideal for us, because we like to have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning when we wake up - not have to wait for Room Service to deliver it. We solved it though but only by me traipsing the streets of Malaga (our first stop after a day at sea) to try and find a shop open on a Sunday. Then we had to "borrow" a couple of mugs from the Windjammer, to use instead of the paper cups provided.

We had More opted for early sitting at dinner before the cruise, but when we saw that would be at 6pm (a bit early) and second sitting was 8.30pm (a bit late), we changed to My Time Dining. This was easy to do, but it meant we had to agree to prepay gratuities at the rate set by RCI. We had decided beforehand to pay gratuities ourselves in cash and had brought dollars with us for this purpose. However, we were able to pay this cash into our ship board account to be offset against the gratuities. But it did mean we were paying top whack, which we probably wouldn't have done had we decided on the amounts ourselves.

We thought the food was only average - not nearly as good as on our P & O cruise last year. There were only 3 courses at dinner, but this was fine for us as any more would have been too much. We also thought there wasn't a lot of variety in the choice. For example, one day there were 3 "cake" choices on the dessert list. But we had no problems with booking in at a time to suit us. We also found it a bit confusing that the dining room wasn't always open for breakfast and lunch - only on sea days. This also applied to the Seaview Cafe, so on port days you are limited to the Windjammer which meant it was packed.

We only took a ship's excursion in Casablanca. There were quite a few grumbles about the organization of the itinerary which meant our day in Malaga was on a Sunday, and everything was closed. The weather wasn't brilliant, so we just had a wander round the towns in Lanzarote and Tenerife, and also in Cadiz. I thought a $5 dollar fee for the shuttle bus was a bit steep (it was free on P & O).

Normally when we're on a cruise we go to the show every night. But the entertainment was not very good. Each night it was just one act - either the singers and dancers, who were good, or someone else. For instance, there was a juggler one night. He was good, but only for the first 5 minutes or so, not nearly 45 minutes. This applied to nearly all the shows. The last night was good because there was more variety, but we were disappointed overall with the evening entertainment.

All the staff were great - we especially liked Simon on the Cruise Director's staff, and Gordon (Cruise Director) was fantastic. The waiters were very amusing and helpful. The one thing we did think was that everything on board was VERY expensive. We felt RCI gave big discounts to the basic cruise price, but then clawed it back by charging over the odds for everything else. (Eg: You had to pay nearly $4 extra if you wanted freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast). Less

Published 03/15/09

Cabin review: D

Lots of room, loads of storage space, comfortable sofa

Port and Shore Excursions

Again, we had been to Lanzarote before, so didn't do a tour, but the options looked OK. The Timanfays National Park is interesting because it looks like a moonscape, and has hot geysers etc. The town of Arrecife where we docked, was quite nice, with a promenade and some good shops.

Not a lot to see here other than Mount Teide, which was snow covered and so you couldn't get to the top. The main town, Santa Cruz, was dull - even the shops were mediocre.
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