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This was the smallest Royal Caribbean ship I’ve sailed on and, not only was I sailing solo for the first time, but in an inside studio cabin. Brilliance does not have all the bells and whistles nor entertainment venues of the Voyager, Freedom and Oasis classes that I’ve previously sailed on. What it does have is a more intimate less crowded feeling, wonderful sea views throughout the ship and is perfect for a more relaxing cruise. While I missed the ice skating show that is on the larger classes and definitely prefer their Royal Promenade over the Centrum on the Brilliance, I didn’t miss sailing with over 1200 children - there were only 61 kids on this cruise. While this Brilliance cruise had a more mature mix of passengers, it wasn’t just a bunch of old seniors like me. Lots of young professionals and couples taking a vacation from their kids rounded out the mix and everyone seemed a lot more friendly and relaxed. Embarkation was fast and smooth. I checked in 10:30 with no lines and enjoyed complimentary coffee and pastries while I waited in the Diamond area. I was onboard by 11:00. I enjoyed dinner in the main dining room 3 nights and ate at the buffet the other 2 nights. Food ranged from okay (the free steak in MDR) to good (the lamb shanks in Windjammer) to very good (the MDR lobster tails, yum). I also enjoyed the roast beef sandwiches in the Park Cafe. The first day I met a couple who had My Time Dining and advised them of the importance of making reservations for the week ASAP. When we bumped into each other later in the cruise, they thanked me profusely for that advise. People without MTD reservations had to wait long times and in long lines. Our cruise director was Mike Szwajkowski who had just returned to Royal. I thought he did a great job! Mike was genuinely friendly as well as funny and entertaining without being obnoxiously silly. He also knows some cool magic tricks. I especially appreciated the recognition he gave to our military veterans. Brilliance has a really superb orchestra and had some great entertainment. I enjoyed all the shows . One of our headliners was Jimmy Hopper, a very talented singer and pianist. And funny too! Jimmy joked about what all of us older cruisers most have thought when we first saw him (think punk rocker) and how his daughter used to borrow his eyeliner (because it was "better than mommy's") so now it is tattooed on. I found the ship and all the venues to be clean and well maintained. I had one of the best room stewards ever in my 15 cruises on Royal Caribbean (thank you Wesly Pierre). I found the bar staff throughout the ship to be friendly, happy and efficient. I had the Replenish Package which covers all non-alcohol drinks including things like virgin Pino Coladas. I debated taking off a star for the fiasco that was getting off and on the ship in Key West. Because we docked at Outer Mole, we had to wait for the Navy to okay disembarkation. Their delay in doing so resulted in everyone wanting to get off at the same time instead of what might have been more staggered for excursions. And then everyone had to wait in a huge line for the shuttles to take into town. I arrived 45 minutes late for my Conch Train excursion, booked through the ship on sale for only $20.00. The fully narrated tour was both educational and funny! At just over 90 minutes, it took you past all the main sights. You could stay on and go around again if you wanted and get off at one of the 3 stops. After some shopping and walking around Mallory Square, I took the shuttle back through the Navy base to the ship where the line on the pier to get on the ship was even worse than the line to get out had been! Our other port was Cozumel where I stayed on the ship and enjoyed the heated pool and hot tub in the relatively empty solarium.

Brilliance - a relaxing cruise without all the bells and whistles

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by FloridaPalms

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was the smallest Royal Caribbean ship I’ve sailed on and, not only was I sailing solo for the first time, but in an inside studio cabin. Brilliance does not have all the bells and whistles nor entertainment venues of the Voyager, Freedom and Oasis classes that I’ve previously sailed on. What it does have is a more intimate less crowded feeling, wonderful sea views throughout the ship and is perfect for a more relaxing cruise.

While I missed the ice skating show that is on the larger classes and definitely prefer their Royal Promenade over the Centrum on the Brilliance, I didn’t miss sailing with over 1200 children - there were only 61 kids on this cruise. While this Brilliance cruise had a more mature mix of passengers, it wasn’t just a bunch of old seniors like me. Lots of young professionals and couples taking a vacation from their kids rounded out the mix and everyone seemed a lot more friendly and relaxed.

Embarkation was fast and smooth. I checked in 10:30 with no lines and enjoyed complimentary coffee and pastries while I waited in the Diamond area. I was onboard by 11:00.

I enjoyed dinner in the main dining room 3 nights and ate at the buffet the other 2 nights. Food ranged from okay (the free steak in MDR) to good (the lamb shanks in Windjammer) to very good (the MDR lobster tails, yum). I also enjoyed the roast beef sandwiches in the Park Cafe. The first day I met a couple who had My Time Dining and advised them of the importance of making reservations for the week ASAP. When we bumped into each other later in the cruise, they thanked me profusely for that advise. People without MTD reservations had to wait long times and in long lines.

Our cruise director was Mike Szwajkowski who had just returned to Royal. I thought he did a great job! Mike was genuinely friendly as well as funny and entertaining without being obnoxiously silly. He also knows some cool magic tricks. I especially appreciated the recognition he gave to our military veterans.

Brilliance has a really superb orchestra and had some great entertainment. I enjoyed all the shows . One of our headliners was Jimmy Hopper, a very talented singer and pianist. And funny too! Jimmy joked about what all of us older cruisers most have thought when we first saw him (think punk rocker) and how his daughter used to borrow his eyeliner (because it was "better than mommy's") so now it is tattooed on.

I found the ship and all the venues to be clean and well maintained. I had one of the best room stewards ever in my 15 cruises on Royal Caribbean (thank you Wesly Pierre). I found the bar staff throughout the ship to be friendly, happy and efficient. I had the Replenish Package which covers all non-alcohol drinks including things like virgin Pino Coladas.

I debated taking off a star for the fiasco that was getting off and on the ship in Key West. Because we docked at Outer Mole, we had to wait for the Navy to okay disembarkation. Their delay in doing so resulted in everyone wanting to get off at the same time instead of what might have been more staggered for excursions. And then everyone had to wait in a huge line for the shuttles to take into town. I arrived 45 minutes late for my Conch Train excursion, booked through the ship on sale for only $20.00. The fully narrated tour was both educational and funny! At just over 90 minutes, it took you past all the main sights. You could stay on and go around again if you wanted and get off at one of the 3 stops. After some shopping and walking around Mallory Square, I took the shuttle back through the Navy base to the ship where the line on the pier to get on the ship was even worse than the line to get out had been!

Our other port was Cozumel where I stayed on the ship and enjoyed the heated pool and hot tub in the relatively empty solarium.
FloridaPalms’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 4587
I’m used to sailing in balcony cabins but, since I was sailing solo on this cruise, I booked an inside studio cabin as I was only going to be in it to sleep, bathe and dress. Booking cheap, I figured I wouldn’t get a very good room steward. I had one of the best room stewards ever in my 15 cruises on Royal Caribbean! Thank you Wesly Pierre! I had a couple of requests he immediately fulfilled. He would open my door anytime he saw me coming. Whenever I returned from breakfast or dinner, my cabin was already serviced. My cabin had more than ample storage (suitcase fit under the bed). I found the location of the cabin great. While located right off the centrum on deck 4, it was nice and quiet located in a private hallway for just the 9 cabins there.
  Brilliance of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Conch Train Tour
    I booked through the ship on sale for only $20.00. The fully narrated tour was both educational and funny! At just over 90 minutes, it took you past all the main sights. Drove past Truman's White House, Hemingway’s and some other famous older homes and haunted homes, the Southernmost Point bouy marker, waterfront brewery, Vietnam memorial, cemetery, sloppy joe's, mile marker 0 and 1, the old customs house, and more. I especially loved seeing and learning about the architecture and plants and trees. The tour ended back at Mallory Square. You could stay on and go around again if you wanted and get off at one of the 3 stops.
    View All 224 Conch Train Tour Reviews