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I chose this cruise because I prefer the mid-size ship and length of cruise. Brilliance is in great shape. It's well appointed, very clean, with pretty decor. I loved the signature venues that Royal Caribbean is known for like the Schooner Bar, the Windjammer Cafe, the Colony Club and the Viking Crown Lounge (though the Viking Crown Lounge's size was reduced to make way for other venues). I also enjoyed a quiet drink at the wine bar, and the English pub was a nice alternative to steal away for a quiet drink. For dining, the meals in the Windjammer were very good, and the service was excellent there. We were there for almost every meal. The only criticism I have is the coffee is really bad, but you can go to the gourmet coffee shop, and it's included in the drink package. I was looking forward to dining at Rita's Cantina, but it was closed, except they allowed Windjammer diners to use that lovely dining area. The main dining room was not impressive. The food was mediocre, and the plates were tepid at best. We paid an up-charge for the filet mignon, and it was very bland. The appetizers were paltry, i.e.shrimp cocktail. However, the french onion soup I enjoyed. The waiters at main dining room tried very hard to please, but it simply isn't like the old days of cruising where you actually looked forward to a leisurely meal there. I did enjoy the roast beef sandwiches at the Park Cafe in the Solarium. We had planned to try Giovanni's Table but just never got around to it. Regarding the bars, we purchased the full drink package, which was definitely a good idea for us. In general, the bar staff did not impress me especially at the main pool deck, where waiters were scarce (constantly we waited and wondered what happened to the waiter once they took our sea pass card) and the mixed drinks were barely stirred - even the frozen boat drinks - the run sat at the top of the glass. Also, the liquor was obviously not the best, especially when you compared to drinks at the schooner bar. Another thing I noticed at the pool area/bar is they didn't bother picking up empty glasses and cans much so the pool deck got pretty messy at times. Regarding entertainment, I was disappointed that we had no real band at the pool. I'm comparing this to a RCCL cruise we took last year to Bermuda where every day at sea we had a real band playing Bob Marley and similar tunes all day. This cruise it was mostly a DJ who took lots of breaks, and there was also a two-piece "group" where one played keyboard and one sang, which really resembled Karaoke. It was just o.k. I'm amazed that though we were in the Caribbean I heard no steel drum music or reggae on this cruise. The variety band that played in the Centrum was mediocre at best, though I did think the 60's, 70's and 80's theme was a great choice for the crowd. There was a wonderful 3-piece group playing classical music in the Centrum in the afternoons - I especially enjoyed the Strauss. I did not visit the theatre for the scheduled shows, so I can't comment there. The Schooner Bar trivia events lagged and were somewhat elementary. We did enjoy the casino black jack tables - the dealers were very good. I won a little money on the slots. Regarding our cabin, our junior suite was very nice and clean, and it didn't look dated at all, which surprised me given the ship's age. I loved the space and especially the walk-in closet. I've stayed in junior suites on two other cruises, and neither of those had as much space for clothes! Our cabin service was excellent - reminiscent of early days of cruising. Regarding excursions, we opted not to purchase for either port. We did our own thing. We had been to Cozumel and Grand Cayman before so we knew what to expect. In Grand Cayman, we took a short walk to Margaritaville Bar and it was a great atmosphere (there's a pool inside!), and the drinks and food were excellent. The service was great too. We had a wonderful table on the balcony, which overlooked the street and the harbor beyond. Then we shopped, which is always fun. Grand Cayman is an excellent port to visit - it's clean and the people are very friendly. Cozumel was a bust for us, as it stormed most of the day. We caught a break in the rain and walked down to the square just off the pier for a little shopping. The shop-keepers solicited us to visit their shops - it became annoying. I ultimately enjoyed shopping at Los Cincos Soles gift shop. They had a great variety at good prices and friendly staff. On the walk back to the ship, I noticed Senior Frogs was hopping with a live band outside. I wanted to stop there, but by then we were tired of fighting the rain. Embarkation and disembarkation was a snap! It's a quick drive from the Tampa airport to Tampa cruise terminal. The cruise terminal is prettier than Baltimore's for sure. I still think port of Miami is best aesthetically. All in all, I would sail from Tampa on Brilliance of the Seas again. I just wish they would step up their music!

Good overall cruise

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review by Lahcruz

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
I chose this cruise because I prefer the mid-size ship and length of cruise. Brilliance is in great shape. It's well appointed, very clean, with pretty decor. I loved the signature venues that Royal Caribbean is known for like the Schooner Bar, the Windjammer Cafe, the Colony Club and the Viking Crown Lounge (though the Viking Crown Lounge's size was reduced to make way for other venues). I also enjoyed a quiet drink at the wine bar, and the English pub was a nice alternative to steal away for a quiet drink.

For dining, the meals in the Windjammer were very good, and the service was excellent there. We were there for almost every meal. The only criticism I have is the coffee is really bad, but you can go to the gourmet coffee shop, and it's included in the drink package. I was looking forward to dining at Rita's Cantina, but it was closed, except they allowed Windjammer diners to use that lovely dining area. The main dining room was not impressive. The food was mediocre, and the plates were tepid at best. We paid an up-charge for the filet mignon, and it was very bland. The appetizers were paltry, i.e.shrimp cocktail. However, the french onion soup I enjoyed. The waiters at main dining room tried very hard to please, but it simply isn't like the old days of cruising where you actually looked forward to a leisurely meal there. I did enjoy the roast beef sandwiches at the Park Cafe in the Solarium. We had planned to try Giovanni's Table but just never got around to it.

Regarding the bars, we purchased the full drink package, which was definitely a good idea for us. In general, the bar staff did not impress me especially at the main pool deck, where waiters were scarce (constantly we waited and wondered what happened to the waiter once they took our sea pass card) and the mixed drinks were barely stirred - even the frozen boat drinks - the run sat at the top of the glass. Also, the liquor was obviously not the best, especially when you compared to drinks at the schooner bar. Another thing I noticed at the pool area/bar is they didn't bother picking up empty glasses and cans much so the pool deck got pretty messy at times.

Regarding entertainment, I was disappointed that we had no real band at the pool. I'm comparing this to a RCCL cruise we took last year to Bermuda where every day at sea we had a real band playing Bob Marley and similar tunes all day. This cruise it was mostly a DJ who took lots of breaks, and there was also a two-piece "group" where one played keyboard and one sang, which really resembled Karaoke. It was just o.k. I'm amazed that though we were in the Caribbean I heard no steel drum music or reggae on this cruise. The variety band that played in the Centrum was mediocre at best, though I did think the 60's, 70's and 80's theme was a great choice for the crowd. There was a wonderful 3-piece group playing classical music in the Centrum in the afternoons - I especially enjoyed the Strauss. I did not visit the theatre for the scheduled shows, so I can't comment there. The Schooner Bar trivia events lagged and were somewhat elementary. We did enjoy the casino black jack tables - the dealers were very good. I won a little money on the slots.

Regarding our cabin, our junior suite was very nice and clean, and it didn't look dated at all, which surprised me given the ship's age. I loved the space and especially the walk-in closet. I've stayed in junior suites on two other cruises, and neither of those had as much space for clothes! Our cabin service was excellent - reminiscent of early days of cruising.

Regarding excursions, we opted not to purchase for either port. We did our own thing. We had been to Cozumel and Grand Cayman before so we knew what to expect. In Grand Cayman, we took a short walk to Margaritaville Bar and it was a great atmosphere (there's a pool inside!), and the drinks and food were excellent. The service was great too. We had a wonderful table on the balcony, which overlooked the street and the harbor beyond. Then we shopped, which is always fun. Grand Cayman is an excellent port to visit - it's clean and the people are very friendly. Cozumel was a bust for us, as it stormed most of the day. We caught a break in the rain and walked down to the square just off the pier for a little shopping. The shop-keepers solicited us to visit their shops - it became annoying. I ultimately enjoyed shopping at Los Cincos Soles gift shop. They had a great variety at good prices and friendly staff. On the walk back to the ship, I noticed Senior Frogs was hopping with a live band outside. I wanted to stop there, but by then we were tired of fighting the rain.

Embarkation and disembarkation was a snap! It's a quick drive from the Tampa airport to Tampa cruise terminal. The cruise terminal is prettier than Baltimore's for sure. I still think port of Miami is best aesthetically.

All in all, I would sail from Tampa on Brilliance of the Seas again. I just wish they would step up their music!
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1080
Our junior suite was very nice and clean, and I didn't think it looked dated at all, which surprised me given the ship's age. I loved the space and especially the walk-in closet. I've stayed in junior suites on two other cruises, and neither of those had as much space for clothes! Our cabin service was excellent - reminiscent of early days of cruising.
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