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I had read several reviews of this ship prior to my own sailing on the 8th Feb, and I must admit I thus went on this cruise thinking the worst. Everyone has their own opinion and expectations and this is clearly obvious by the different reviews I have read. I would describe myself as demanding, I have never stayed in a hotel under 4 stars and I expect excellent customer service and love to have the best I can afford, if I don't get it I will be the first to complain. My synopsis of this cruise is that I found the ship spotlessly clean, food was generally excellent in all eating establishments, cabin was well maintained, there was no evidence of flaky paint, stained bedclothes or rudeness from staff at any stage - and yes, looks like RCL are getting it right from Dubai after 3 sailings so far. We went cruise only, so upon arrival (at 8.30am) we took a taxi to the port - this was metered and cost approx 47AED, the traffic was busy and the journey to the port took approx 30 min. At the port there is a big white fully enclosed 'marquee type structure' about the size of a football pitch, but before you enter this your luggage goes through security and you leave your case outside. Checkin for the cruise is colour coded so you take a seat until your colour is called. All pretty normal and civilised. RCL keep your passport for the duration of the cruise, the reason for this is that it is stamped for Visas in all ports. I have never had my passport taken away from me for more than a day, so this was a rather new thing to me, but perfectly normal to them. You collect your passport after 6pm on the last day of your cruise. After completing checkin it was just a case of sitting down in the marquee and waiting to be allowed on board. Refreshments i.e. juice, tea and coffee were provided and there was a small cafe where you could get something to eat, as well as a few souvenir stalls. You could also sign up to the soda package there, however there were no wine packages available - RCL stated that they did not have the supplies and that they had been waiting for 3 weeks for the wine to come (a bit odd really as surely they had done their homework prior to this!) You were allowed to board the ship at 11am, and into your cabin at 1pm - so the wait from 11am means that you can explore the ship, get something to eat, laze in the sun at the pool, or head off into Dubai. I felt that this was very good timing considering that 2500 people had disembarked that morning, and the ship was incredibly clean. Taxis were plentiful at the port so you could easily jump in one and go into Dubai, in fact anyone who wants to see the city should do so on the day of arrival as this is when you have the most time to explore the city. However if you want to really see Dubai then my advice would be to stay there for a few days before or after the cruise as you really don't have that much time there otherwise. Unfortunately the Dubai Tower was closed as it had experienced lift failure on the Saturday 6th Feb, so anyone wishing to go up the tower couldn't do so and it was still closed upon our return. Also the observation deck is the only part of the Tower which is actually open. Anyone who purchases the 100AED ticket for the tower does have to wait 2 days to get in, although those paying 400AED will have immediate access. Most suitcases were delivered to your cabin by 5pm, however my own case had somehow lost its luggage tag which RCL had put on it that morning and therefore was not found until 7.30pm - just as well I was on second sitting for dinner really! My stateroom attendant didn't seem that concerned about it being missing, and did nothing to help locate it - I ended up doing that myself. We had been on Voyager of the Seas in September and I have to say I found the cabins to be slightly bigger on Brilliance and certainly brighter - we were in cabin 9582, a hump cabin that was great as you could see both ways when you were on your balcony - it was near to the atrium lifts and yet we heard no noise from the lifts the whole cruise. Our balcony was not as big on Brilliance as it was on Voyager but to be honest it was plenty big enough, immaculately clean, and had space for 2 chairs and a table. Also we had tea and coffee making facilities in our cabin which was a real bonus - a kettle, tea, coffee, sugar, sweeteners and cups (we took the milk cartons from breakfast back to the room and put them in the mini bar for later on) this is something we didn't have on Voyager last year. The compulsory muster is on the Tuesday (sail day) at 12.15pm; this meant that anyone who wanted to take a tour on the Tuesday had to be back by 11.45am so all tours left the ship that morning at 7am. We set sail at 2pm. We booked an excellent tour in Muscat (Magical Muscat), our guide was Paul a Nigerian who had lived there for 2 years and his knowledge of the country and culture was excellent - this tour takes in the Mosque, Souk, Palace and a museum and lasted 4 hours - then it was back to the ship - we did hear of others on the same tour but who were on another coach who were less fortunate with their guide. We had been to Fujairah previously so had no desire to get off and see anything there again - and quite frankly there isn't much there to see. At the port there were a few stalls set up selling carpets and souvenirs, also a duty free shop (as you cant bring any alcohol onboard anyone who purchased some here had it confiscated as soon as they boarded!) So we spent the day onboard, which is where the sun-lounger fun began. Passengers who must have arisen before the sun reserved most sun loungers! We found it hard to find 2 loungers in the sun at 9.30am as most already had towels on them. Often these reserved loungers didn't have anyone occupying them until after 2pm. If you left your sun lounger for a quick snack then you could guarantee that the people beside you who magically reappeared would move your belongings and chairs in order that their loungers were perfectly positioned to catch the suns rays. Considering that the bulk of passengers are from the UK (well, made up of Scottish, Welsh, English, Irish), then French, Italians, Danes, a few Germans, it shows that the British are the worst for sun-lounger reserving, oh the shame!!! We had been to Abu Dhabi previously but this is a very friendly city, with much to see and do so most passengers left the ship here - the Corniche and Emirates Palace would be a must - and shopping is just as good in Abu Dhabi as in Dubai. We didn't get off the ship in Bahrain - 30 minutes to the port gates and RCL charge $10 for their shuttle bus to the port entrance - once out of there its still not easy getting taxis and although the city is trying to stop rogue drivers ripping people off it's not worth the hassle. Sailed back into Dubai at 2pm on Sunday, and as soon as we arrived taxis were plentiful all day and night. The port does offer a free bus shuttle service to Dubai Mall however the queue for this was massive so it's much easier to jump into a taxi rather than try and save yourself £5 each (taxis are in Dubai port 24/7, with Costa having 2 cruise ships there as well as RCL's 1 there are no shortage of customers for them - so no matter what time you want to go into the city there will be a taxi for you!). We had booked on the BA flight leaving Dubai at 02.40am on the Monday and we thus avoided the disembarkation process on the Monday morning, and we were back home in the UK before anyone had left the ship in Dubai! Downsides of this cruise? Well, the onboard entertainment was pretty woeful (as was Voyager from Barcelona last year), unavailability of the wine package meant that the cheapest wine, which could be bought in Tesco for £4.99, cost you minimum $34, actually the cheapest wine was $28 but they didn't have it!! Gin & Tonic came in at $7.48 which is not bad. Like most companies now-days RCL wants to make as much money as they possibly can out of you once you are onboard - be it bingo, drinks, art exhibitions, spa treatments (which are incredibly expensive) but most importantly tours. Yes tours are over priced i.e. you can book a full day in Atlantis the Palm AquaAdventure on their website direct for £35 each adult but try to book it with RCL and it will cost you $159 each. In the bigger ports such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi you can go off and do your own thing easily, however Bahrain, Muscat and Fujairah ports means you really need to book something with RCL and that's exactly how they make their $$$'s.

Brilliance of the Seas - Dubai 8th Feb 2010

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by BAGirl

Trip Details
I had read several reviews of this ship prior to my own sailing on the 8th Feb, and I must admit I thus went on this cruise thinking the worst. Everyone has their own opinion and expectations and this is clearly obvious by the different reviews I have read. I would describe myself as demanding, I have never stayed in a hotel under 4 stars and I expect excellent customer service and love to have the best I can afford, if I don't get it I will be the first to complain. My synopsis of this cruise is that I found the ship spotlessly clean, food was generally excellent in all eating establishments, cabin was well maintained, there was no evidence of flaky paint, stained bedclothes or rudeness from staff at any stage - and yes, looks like RCL are getting it right from Dubai after 3 sailings so far.
We went cruise only, so upon arrival (at 8.30am) we took a taxi to the port - this was metered and cost approx 47AED, the traffic was busy and the journey to the port took approx 30 min.
At the port there is a big white fully enclosed 'marquee type structure' about the size of a football pitch, but before you enter this your luggage goes through security and you leave your case outside. Checkin for the cruise is colour coded so you take a seat until your colour is called. All pretty normal and civilised. RCL keep your passport for the duration of the cruise, the reason for this is that it is stamped for Visas in all ports. I have never had my passport taken away from me for more than a day, so this was a rather new thing to me, but perfectly normal to them. You collect your passport after 6pm on the last day of your cruise.
After completing checkin it was just a case of sitting down in the marquee and waiting to be allowed on board. Refreshments i.e. juice, tea and coffee were provided and there was a small cafe where you could get something to eat, as well as a few souvenir stalls. You could also sign up to the soda package there, however there were no wine packages available - RCL stated that they did not have the supplies and that they had been waiting for 3 weeks for the wine to come (a bit odd really as surely they had done their homework prior to this!)
You were allowed to board the ship at 11am, and into your cabin at 1pm - so the wait from 11am means that you can explore the ship, get something to eat, laze in the sun at the pool, or head off into Dubai. I felt that this was very good timing considering that 2500 people had disembarked that morning, and the ship was incredibly clean.
Taxis were plentiful at the port so you could easily jump in one and go into Dubai, in fact anyone who wants to see the city should do so on the day of arrival as this is when you have the most time to explore the city.
However if you want to really see Dubai then my advice would be to stay there for a few days before or after the cruise as you really don't have that much time there otherwise. Unfortunately the Dubai Tower was closed as it had experienced lift failure on the Saturday 6th Feb, so anyone wishing to go up the tower couldn't do so and it was still closed upon our return. Also the observation deck is the only part of the Tower which is actually open. Anyone who purchases the 100AED ticket for the tower does have to wait 2 days to get in, although those paying 400AED will have immediate access.
Most suitcases were delivered to your cabin by 5pm, however my own case had somehow lost its luggage tag which RCL had put on it that morning and therefore was not found until 7.30pm - just as well I was on second sitting for dinner really! My stateroom attendant didn't seem that concerned about it being missing, and did nothing to help locate it - I ended up doing that myself.
We had been on Voyager of the Seas in September and I have to say I found the cabins to be slightly bigger on Brilliance and certainly brighter - we were in cabin 9582, a hump cabin that was great as you could see both ways when you were on your balcony - it was near to the atrium lifts and yet we heard no noise from the lifts the whole cruise. Our balcony was not as big on Brilliance as it was on Voyager but to be honest it was plenty big enough, immaculately clean, and had space for 2 chairs and a table. Also we had tea and coffee making facilities in our cabin which was a real bonus - a kettle, tea, coffee, sugar, sweeteners and cups (we took the milk cartons from breakfast back to the room and put them in the mini bar for later on) this is something we didn't have on Voyager last year.
The compulsory muster is on the Tuesday (sail day) at 12.15pm; this meant that anyone who wanted to take a tour on the Tuesday had to be back by 11.45am so all tours left the ship that morning at 7am. We set sail at 2pm.
We booked an excellent tour in Muscat (Magical Muscat), our guide was Paul a Nigerian who had lived there for 2 years and his knowledge of the country and culture was excellent - this tour takes in the Mosque, Souk, Palace and a museum and lasted 4 hours - then it was back to the ship - we did hear of others on the same tour but who were on another coach who were less fortunate with their guide.
We had been to Fujairah previously so had no desire to get off and see anything there again - and quite frankly there isn't much there to see. At the port there were a few stalls set up selling carpets and souvenirs, also a duty free shop (as you cant bring any alcohol onboard anyone who purchased some here had it confiscated as soon as they boarded!) So we spent the day onboard, which is where the sun-lounger fun began.
Passengers who must have arisen before the sun reserved most sun loungers! We found it hard to find 2 loungers in the sun at 9.30am as most already had towels on them. Often these reserved loungers didn't have anyone occupying them until after 2pm.
If you left your sun lounger for a quick snack then you could guarantee that the people beside you who magically reappeared would move your belongings and chairs in order that their loungers were perfectly positioned to catch the suns rays.
Considering that the bulk of passengers are from the UK (well, made up of Scottish, Welsh, English, Irish), then French, Italians, Danes, a few Germans, it shows that the British are the worst for sun-lounger reserving, oh the shame!!!
We had been to Abu Dhabi previously but this is a very friendly city, with much to see and do so most passengers left the ship here - the Corniche and Emirates Palace would be a must - and shopping is just as good in Abu Dhabi as in Dubai.
We didn't get off the ship in Bahrain - 30 minutes to the port gates and RCL charge $10 for their shuttle bus to the port entrance - once out of there its still not easy getting taxis and although the city is trying to stop rogue drivers ripping people off it's not worth the hassle.
Sailed back into Dubai at 2pm on Sunday, and as soon as we arrived taxis were plentiful all day and night. The port does offer a free bus shuttle service to Dubai Mall however the queue for this was massive so it's much easier to jump into a taxi rather than try and save yourself £5 each (taxis are in Dubai port 24/7, with Costa having 2 cruise ships there as well as RCL's 1 there are no shortage of customers for them - so no matter what time you want to go into the city there will be a taxi for you!). We had booked on the BA flight leaving Dubai at 02.40am on the Monday and we thus avoided the disembarkation process on the Monday morning, and we were back home in the UK before anyone had left the ship in Dubai!
Downsides of this cruise? Well, the onboard entertainment was pretty woeful (as was Voyager from Barcelona last year), unavailability of the wine package meant that the cheapest wine, which could be bought in Tesco for £4.99, cost you minimum $34, actually the cheapest wine was $28 but they didn't have it!! Gin & Tonic came in at $7.48 which is not bad.
Like most companies now-days RCL wants to make as much money as they possibly can out of you once you are onboard - be it bingo, drinks, art exhibitions, spa treatments (which are incredibly expensive) but most importantly tours. Yes tours are over priced i.e. you can book a full day in Atlantis the Palm AquaAdventure on their website direct for £35 each adult but try to book it with RCL and it will cost you $159 each. In the bigger ports such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi you can go off and do your own thing easily, however Bahrain, Muscat and Fujairah ports means you really need to book something with RCL and that's exactly how they make their $$$'s.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9582
Cabin 9582 is a hump cabin which means that you can see both ways when you are on your balcony - it was near to the lifts and yet you hear no lift noise Balcony was not as big on that on Voyager of the Seas but immaculately clean, with enough space for 2 chairs and a table. Also we had tea and coffee making facilities in our cabin which was a real bonus - a kettle, tea, coffee, sugar, sweeteners and cups
  Brilliance of the Seas Deck Plans