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Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas. 2010 Middle East Cruise calling at Dubai, Oman, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain The holiday began with a tiring overnight Emirates economy flight on a Boeing 777-200 from Gatwick to Dubai. Emirates made every effort to make the flight comfortable but our party of six all arrived tired and ready for a rest in our Ship's cabin. The flight included a personal screen with a very wide choice of streamed films and TV shows. This allowed individual passengers to watch what they wanted when they wanted to. The local arrival time was 07.45 hrs and the ship was unable to accept guests until the afternoon. We were taken to a Heritage Centre which laid on a breakfast of sweet cakes which appeared to be largely outside the tastes of the new passengers. Eventually at approximately 13.30hrs a coach took us to the ship. We arrived ready to book in at 14.00hrs but had to wait in line for more than one and half hours. We were unable to take advantage of the limited seating otherwise we would have lost our place in the queue. After one hour RCL put additional staff on to assist with the registration but instead of diverting people from the front of the queue for some inexplicable reason they gave priority to people who had only just joined the queue at the back. After registration, we, together with several other passengers made an official complaint to RCL but were told that this was the first time in the Port of Dubai and many of the staff had no experience of registration although they had received the necessary training according to RCL. There appeared to be a lack of management presence in the registration area or maybe they sensed the passengers' anger and just laid low. We arrived in our cabin at just after 16.00hrs, 8 hours after landing at Dubai airport. During the cruise we pursued an answer to our complaint through the reception desk but were informed that the ship did not have the necessary authority so head office would be dealing with this complaint. However during the cruise we learnt of other passengers, probably more persevering than I to obtain a resolution, were given on-board credits as compensation. I decided not to continually expedite a response from the ship as this would have spoilt our holiday. It does seem extremely strange that the ship, made no effort to recompense the majority of customers. A free drink with the dinner on the first evening offered as an apology would probably have satisfied the majority of passengers and gone some way to protecting RCL's brand name. I am not sure what the Marine statutory requirements are in the Middle East regarding Health and Safety; however RCL did surprise me by having the ship's evacuation drill when we were on a ship's tour. They made no effort to hold a further drill for those passengers who were with us in the tour. There was plenty of time for his necessary exercise as the ship spent the first night in the Dubai port. The cabin service only operated when you displayed the relevant notice on the cabin door. For the first two nights our beds were not turned down or the bathroom cleaned due to our oversight caused by our lack of knowledge regarding this policy. The Balcony cabin was of normal industry standard but a lack of proper toiletries in the bathroom (equal to a 2 star hotel) suggests that RCL is run by accountant's whose cost cutting campaign ignores the effects to the brand name. There was no water fountain in the gym and you were expected to purchase the necessary bottled water. This is the first Gym I have visited that does not encourage their customers to drink water during exercise. These small issues indicate a further dumbing down to make the headline price profitable. The Dining room food was generally reasonably presented and cooked but delays in service suggested a reduced level of waiters. The vegetarian options were the predictable pasta suggesting that the Chef's imagination only covered the carnivore diet. The weather was good but a shortage of sun-chairs plus the widespread practice of reserving of empty sun chairs seats with towels made it difficult to find a seat to lay comfortably in the sun. However the decks were crowded with chairs indicating these public areas are not sufficient for the passenger numbers. Deck towels were provided against a cabin number and a twenty dollar charge was made in the event of non-return of each towel to the desk. The tours generally reflected the lack of interesting places to visit at all the ports apart from perhaps Oman. This reflects my personal taste of interest in historical places rather than new buildings and shopping. This is a new cruising area for larger ships and some of the local taxis particularly in Bahrain increased the normal cost up to a factor of ten according to several passengers' horror stories. The ship again repeated the excuse that this was the first time in the area and they were taking steps to make sure it was not repeated in the future. This is good for future passengers but did absolutely nothing from those who suffered on this particular cruise. None of our party experienced either the Spa offerings or the Gym classes due to the very high cost when compared to land based charges. The Emirates day-time flight experience back to Gatwick was comfortable although the booking-in process was nearly one hour. The plane was a Boeing 777-300, which has an economy seat pitch similar to BA's world Traveller plus but without the additional cost. The vegetarian food was far better than anything received on the ship. Would I book another RCL Cruise? - Definitely not Would I fly again with Emirates? - Definitely. Would I cruise the Middle East again - Probably not although a different cruise line such as Holland and America may tempt me as an alternative to the Caribbean Winter sun. Finally despite our on-board complaints and our subsequent letter to RCL we have not received any response. To be fair the letter did request a reply only if RCL cared about their customers cruise experience. However RCL were quick enough to acknowledge the validity of the complaints in the press but qualified this by announcing all the problems had been overcome for future passengers - lucky them!

Brilliance of the sea disaster

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by Peter Munro

Trip Details
Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas. 2010 Middle East Cruise calling at Dubai, Oman, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi, and Bahrain
The holiday began with a tiring overnight Emirates economy flight on a Boeing 777-200 from Gatwick to Dubai. Emirates made every effort to make the flight comfortable but our party of six all arrived tired and ready for a rest in our Ship's cabin. The flight included a personal screen with a very wide choice of streamed films and TV shows. This allowed individual passengers to watch what they wanted when they wanted to. The local arrival time was 07.45 hrs and the ship was unable to accept guests until the afternoon. We were taken to a Heritage Centre which laid on a breakfast of sweet cakes which appeared to be largely outside the tastes of the new passengers. Eventually at approximately 13.30hrs a coach took us to the ship. We arrived ready to book in at 14.00hrs but had to wait in line for more than one and half hours. We were unable to take advantage of the limited seating otherwise we would have lost our place in the queue. After one hour RCL put additional staff on to assist with the registration but instead of diverting people from the front of the queue for some inexplicable reason they gave priority to people who had only just joined the queue at the back. After registration, we, together with several other passengers made an official complaint to RCL but were told that this was the first time in the Port of Dubai and many of the staff had no experience of registration although they had received the necessary training according to RCL. There appeared to be a lack of management presence in the registration area or maybe they sensed the passengers' anger and just laid low. We arrived in our cabin at just after 16.00hrs, 8 hours after landing at Dubai airport. During the cruise we pursued an answer to our complaint through the reception desk but were informed that the ship did not have the necessary authority so head office would be dealing with this complaint. However during the cruise we learnt of other passengers, probably more persevering than I to obtain a resolution, were given on-board credits as compensation. I decided not to continually expedite a response from the ship as this would have spoilt our holiday. It does seem extremely strange that the ship, made no effort to recompense the majority of customers. A free drink with the dinner on the first evening offered as an apology would probably have satisfied the majority of passengers and gone some way to protecting RCL's brand name. I am not sure what the Marine statutory requirements are in the Middle East regarding Health and Safety; however RCL did surprise me by having the ship's evacuation drill when we were on a ship's tour. They made no effort to hold a further drill for those passengers who were with us in the tour. There was plenty of time for his necessary exercise as the ship spent the first night in the Dubai port. The cabin service only operated when you displayed the relevant notice on the cabin door. For the first two nights our beds were not turned down or the bathroom cleaned due to our oversight caused by our lack of knowledge regarding this policy. The Balcony cabin was of normal industry standard but a lack of proper toiletries in the bathroom (equal to a 2 star hotel) suggests that RCL is run by accountant's whose cost cutting campaign ignores the effects to the brand name. There was no water fountain in the gym and you were expected to purchase the necessary bottled water. This is the first Gym I have visited that does not encourage their customers to drink water during exercise. These small issues indicate a further dumbing down to make the headline price profitable. The Dining room food was generally reasonably presented and cooked but delays in service suggested a reduced level of waiters. The vegetarian options were the predictable pasta suggesting that the Chef's imagination only covered the carnivore diet. The weather was good but a shortage of sun-chairs plus the widespread practice of reserving of empty sun chairs seats with towels made it difficult to find a seat to lay comfortably in the sun. However the decks were crowded with chairs indicating these public areas are not sufficient for the passenger numbers. Deck towels were provided against a cabin number and a twenty dollar charge was made in the event of non-return of each towel to the desk. The tours generally reflected the lack of interesting places to visit at all the ports apart from perhaps Oman. This reflects my personal taste of interest in historical places rather than new buildings and shopping. This is a new cruising area for larger ships and some of the local taxis particularly in Bahrain increased the normal cost up to a factor of ten according to several passengers' horror stories. The ship again repeated the excuse that this was the first time in the area and they were taking steps to make sure it was not repeated in the future. This is good for future passengers but did absolutely nothing from those who suffered on this particular cruise. None of our party experienced either the Spa offerings or the Gym classes due to the very high cost when compared to land based charges. The Emirates day-time flight experience back to Gatwick was comfortable although the booking-in process was nearly one hour. The plane was a Boeing 777-300, which has an economy seat pitch similar to BA's world Traveller plus but without the additional cost. The vegetarian food was far better than anything received on the ship. Would I book another RCL Cruise? - Definitely not Would I fly again with Emirates? - Definitely. Would I cruise the Middle East again - Probably not although a different cruise line such as Holland and America may tempt me as an alternative to the Caribbean Winter sun. Finally despite our on-board complaints and our subsequent letter to RCL we have not received any response. To be fair the letter did request a reply only if RCL cared about their customers cruise experience. However RCL were quick enough to acknowledge the validity of the complaints in the press but qualified this by announcing all the problems had been overcome for future passengers - lucky them!
Peter Munro’s Full Rating Summary
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