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55 Royal Caribbean Dubai Cruise Reviews

I booked this cruise for my husbands 50th birthday. We stopped in the Dubai Marina 4 nights before and stayed in Dubai 6 times before so the intention was to do view sea inwards on our cruise. the ship being the holiday not so the ... Read More
I booked this cruise for my husbands 50th birthday. We stopped in the Dubai Marina 4 nights before and stayed in Dubai 6 times before so the intention was to do view sea inwards on our cruise. the ship being the holiday not so the destinations. Due to the snow days before, we were very worried but we had 4 days to get to the ship. we found others with the same idea. Embarkation was smooth. The clerk at check in didnt know why they took all passengers passports and slapped a big sticky label over the front saying British which was nigh impossible to remove when we left. Normally RC stick labels on the back of the passport not smack bang over your nationality. We usually book an inside cabin as we find as its so dark its the best we ever sleep. Take a small torch and an alarm, we NEARLY MISSED BREAKFAST. Our cabin was clean functional and we were more than happy. Our Cabin Attendant was lovely and when he realised it was my husbands bitthday made a flower collage on the bed and he got a bithday card. A lovely touch. We had muster the first evening and half the passengers were late for the roll call. Very laxidaisical and walking dead slow despite catcalls from punctual people saying *let em drown* bet they speed up if we sink. Shame some of the people wearing the tabards ASK ME FOR ASSISTANCE, had them on inside out. Shame some passengers didnt take the muster seriously. Entertainment excellent. Ken and Tim excellent. Loved the games, the competitions and the YMCA night was FAAAANTASTIC !! Barney the guitarist and singer from Montana is a lovely, friendly and gifted man, mainly featuring in the Crown and Castle English pub. We werent worried about the smokers and didntnfind it an issue, just surprised. There seemed to be more places to sit quietly on this ship. Buffet Food was wonderful. Disappinted that even though we all used the handwash, some passengers still stick their fingers in food. The formal dining was excellent the waiters excellent. Special thanks to the Greeter lady from the Carribean who greeted you to the buffet with puppets and songs. I had a soda package, strange how sometimes you still dont get your soda drink. i asked one male waiter in the Schooner Bar 4 times. on the 5th I asked a lady and it was instantly got for me. The waiters at the pool were the same, easier and quicker to go tothe bar. Our dinner waiter repelenished my drink BEFORE I finished , wonderful. Had this problem on other RC ships. Bar staff more helpful than the waiters wandering around. We had to go back to Dubai for two medical emergencies. I hope if I am ill no one stands and takes pics of me like some passengers did. Unbelievable. We only did one boat trip at Muscat. Which was good and fed dates and Arabic tea. The trip company men were great. The RC sttaff are so attentive and all stop and say hello maam and sir. Bit top heavy on supervision. we had a White Party night on top deck. One table, two men, six ice cream containers, queue of passengers and ONE SCOOP. Six supervisors standing and watching. Never before have we stood at the front of a ship, BRILIANT!! Yes of course we did the TITANIC POSE!! RC run to the same format, but we loved it. This is the best ship we have been on so far and have 4 more coming up on different cruise lines. LOVED IT !!!! and now cant get the Flow Rider song out of my head!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We had 5 days in Dubai before we sailed and this is truly an amazing city. Loved the old city and marvelled at the buildings in the new part. One day was spent in Abu Dhabi and that too is another city I will never forget. The Grand Mosque ... Read More
We had 5 days in Dubai before we sailed and this is truly an amazing city. Loved the old city and marvelled at the buildings in the new part. One day was spent in Abu Dhabi and that too is another city I will never forget. The Grand Mosque should not be missed. 1 night spent at the Burj Al Arab where we were totally spoilt and I can now say "I have stayed there" when I see it on TV. The boarding process was the only let down of the whole trip...3hours to get on the ship standing in a large tent with air conditioning that could not cope. I am lucky that we are reasonably young, fit and healthy and while I was frustrated at not moving (4 meters in an hour in a priority queue)I just had to look at those who were a deal older than us and from cooler climes who are not used to the heat and I thought..the ship can't go without us...so no big deal. Our cabin was an aft balcony cabin and our steward Agi was awesome, as was Noel who looked after the cabins along the corridor that was always saying hello to us. I love the friendly staff on RCL!! We did MTD for the first time and this worked well for us. We had dinner a few times with the same people (If Joyce and Mickey from South Carolina or their family read this, my email address is robynwau@yahoo.com. We had so many lovely evenings with you and missed seeing you the last couple of days and just want to say thank you for your company). Everyone we had dinner with was so friendly and we thoroughly enjoyed every meal we had even more due to the company.Again, the staff in the dining room are fantastic and nothing is too much trouble for them. Willemina was such a sweetie and Claudio always had a cheese plate waiting for us. We had dinner in the dining room every night bar 1 and every night it was spot on and delicious. The other night we had dinner in the Windjammer and it too was lovely. We had breakfast in either the main dining room or WJ. All OK except for one day everyone on the table who had ordered eggs benedict received cold hard eggs. These were promptly returned and replaced. Never got to the dining room for lunch unfortunately as we know they have lovely lunches there, but the BBQ's on deck on sea days smelt so good that we ate these instead. WJ seemed to be always busy but we never had to wait too long to find a table and the food was always good. We went to every show except for the first night as we were at dinner and really enjoyed the entertainment. Ok, the harmonica player was not really my type of entertainment, but he was so extremely talented.The ice show was fantastic( we have not been on a cruise with ice rink before)and we enjoyed going to the 3D movies and the Dreamworks parade was great fun for us "big kids". We were up every night until after midnight either at the parties on deck or at the Pig and Whistle pub. We loved the entertainment and sing-a-longs there. We are non smokers and this was a non smoking venue, although that being said, apart from the odd waft of smoke here and there we never really noticed any smoke. We loved the ports as well. Suzy from CC organised a fantastic tour in Goa, where we visited two old Portugese churches followed by a lovely lunch and tour at a spice plantation. Cochin was amazing. We did a ships tour here to the backwaters where we travelled on rice barges which have been turned into houseboats. Here we saw the locals going about their normal lives along the lakes and canals. Another lovely lunch at a resort. Great value for a ships tour as it was an almost private tour with only 7 of us and a guide in the mini bus and houseboat. Penang we got lucky and had the most amazing taxi driver, Jenny, that took us to all the major sights. Snake temple, reclining buddha,Penang Hill, Kek Loh Si temple, Fort Cornwallis. She bought t-shirts for our two boys when we her about our family. She bought mangoes for us to eat along the way and also some hawker food of yummy pancakes with a peanut topping. KL was fun, we caught a ships coach to the city then found a taxi to take us to the Batu caves and some photo stops including the Petronas towers. We then walked around the shops a little before catching our coach back. Finally Singapore...we were the first ship to dock at the brand new passenger terminal. We had two wonderful nights at the Marina Bay Sands, allowing us to swim in the infinity pool 57 floors up overlooking the amazing Singapore skyline Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
About us: A couple with children (that were left at home with my parents) travelling on our first trip together post being married all those years ago, and celebrating my husbands 40th Birthday. Boarding: We didn't have any issues ... Read More
About us: A couple with children (that were left at home with my parents) travelling on our first trip together post being married all those years ago, and celebrating my husbands 40th Birthday. Boarding: We didn't have any issues at all with boarding, and heard loads of horror stories about other peoples experiences. We arrived at the terminal early, as I had emailed RCI earlier as initially I had been told boarding would take place from 12 noon, and then our paperwork all stated 2pm. I wanted to be on board earlier rather than later, so with no queues to worry about, we were on board by 12:30pm, and it was completely uneventful. That being said, I really feel for those that came later and had the multi-hour wait in the terminal tent. The air conditioning couldn't match the heat, so it was more a sweat box! Disembarking: Ok, we were the first people to arrive at the new terminal in Singapore. Not having too many issues previously, I guess this was the most frustrating day for us. There were big delays getting off the ship. It was funny, as I had joked that by the time we did get off, all the entertainment and fun of being the first to arrive would have packed up, and it had. We were delayed by an hour and a half in a line that just didn't move as they were having technical issues. We received a token postcard for being the first to arrive in the terminal. It was a big building, but there was still work to be done on it to have it completed. Due to the volume of people getting off the boat at the one time, the taxi bay, was a nightmare, so they offered free buses over to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where away from the congestion you could just jump straight into a taxi. We gladly took up this option. Cabin: Initially I had booked an inside cabin. I am so glad we upgraded to the junior suite. It was perfect. There was so much room in it. Ok, so the destinations and weather was probably too hot to actually use the balcony the majority of the time, and we did under use it, but the extra space in the room we just adored. Our Room attendant Sihal Zong, was amazing. I'm not sure that he actually had any time off during the cruise, because I can't remember not seeing him in the hallway at least twice a day during the cruise. The first day he made the effort to learn our names and pronounce them correctly, and every time he saw us after that we were greeted personally. He kept our room very clean, shoes all lined up perfectly (in the end we tried doing as much as possible to spare him these little things), and the bathroom products continually replaced as we used them. You couldn't have asked for anything better than that! Food: I think we only ate in the Main Dining Room four times during the cruise. First night I requested the Salmon, and the waiter kind of told me off, asking why I ordered that, and didn't I like the beef or the other options, and since salmon was on the menu 9 times during the cruise I should choose again ... So I guess I wasn't allowed Salmon and choose whatever else he wanted me to have. Needless to say, I never got my Salmon, which was a bit disappointing. Loved the formal night menus. In the end we ate mostly in the Windjammer, due to the fact we were able to choose what we wanted to eat without being "told off, or persuaded otherwise". We also liked the informality of the buffet, and the selection of food was really good. We never actually ordered room service, we kept meaning to, but were too much on cruise mode, and that seemed too much like planning. Range of food on board was really good, and we never went hungry. The dessert range in the Windjammer was at times a bit underwhelming, but I didn't mind that too much, as its not like I eat desserts for lunch and dinner daily back at home, so helped me not put on weight. Entertainment: I guess being a mum, its sad to admit, but I loved the 3D movies they played as part of their entertainment package. I'm not sure starting them at 10:15pm however was really a good option all the time. Luckily there weren't many children onboard, especially as they were all kids movies that they played. Was just surprised that they didn't replay these movies during the daytime giving you two chances to go and watch them. The Cruise Director Gordon, I really liked, I didn't really go to many of the Headliner shows though, as they just weren't my thing. My husband did sit through most of them though. The Ice Skating show, definitely was the best entertainment onboard. I did have the misfortune of sitting in the wrong seat, so ended up being pulled out on the ice for what seemed an eternity. They really picked the wrong girl for that because I hated being out there, and for being the best show of the cruise, it did wreck it for me, and was so disappointed that I ended up missing alot of it, because my nerves were shot to pieces when they finally let me go back to my seat. I guess it wasn't their fault, but would have loved to have been able to have sat and just enjoyed the show. Everyone said it was amazing. Staff: To the most part staff were really helpful and friendly. There were a few onboard that were either brand new to sailing or just wanted to be elsewhere, but you get that everywhere. Had a bad experience with the hairdressing service. I guess I might try it one further time, before writing off their service altogether. The girl who did my hair was just really rough, and it was hurting the way she pulled my hair about. I did have quite alot of hair come off when I washed it out the following morning. So it wasn't a good experience. I did go twice to the same girl and the second time, was also a very rough and she wanted to be elsewhere experience. I think she was being timed for how fast she could pull off a hair style because 15 minutes later I was out of there $70 something dollars poorer for the experience. Ports: I chose to do my own thing in all the ports. Goa was definitely an experience. Probably the biggest cultural shock of the lot. We hired a taxi with another couple, and I think we were all eager in the end to get back onboard sooner rather than later. Cochin, we went on a group tour organised by someone on cruise critic. It was an amazing port, and we did so much. Was so much fun and a beautiful destination. Penang was another Taxi port, where we went about with another couple. I had pre-booked with Ocean Jupiter tours, and they were amazing. We saw so much of the city in the time we were there. It was a very well rounded trip. Kuala Lumpur, I had pre-organised a tour of the city for 16 of us. It ended up being a very full day and also alot of fun. Best food of the trip was in the KL Towers on their 4th floor food court. Was amazing, and so much fun! Ship: There were renovations onboard during our cruise that we weren't informed of before boarding. We had been aware that there were to be some worked completed on the earlier legs, but we had no idea these were to continue for our leg. One of the shops was closed the majority of the trip, which wasn't too bad I guess, because when it opened, it just had all the things the other shops had. The souvenirs were all from their previous ports in the Caribbean. I dont understand why they didn't leave them there and pick up something a bit more relevant to our cruise? The main area they renovated on our leg was the children's area at the back of the ship behind Johnny Rockets. I believe they opened up the area two days before we got off. Honestly, that looked like the type of place I would have spent alot of time as it had a gorgeous view, was more sheltered from the sun and wind, and the kids pool was just too cute. Other than that, the ship looked in good condition. People complain about the hand rails not being polished and everything else, but didn't have a problem with any of it. The ship looked in really good condition. Hopefully I haven't missed anything. We did have a ball on the cruise. We met amazing people, who I'm sure we will continue to remain in touch with. For a first cruise, apart from a small bout of sea sickness, which I didn't take medications with me for (how stupid am I), it was a really smooth cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
My boyfriend and I booked the 14 night holiday. The first two nights in a 4* hotel in Dubai and then the 12 night cruise from Dubai to India and Oman. We embarked the ship around 1.00 pm from the port in Dubai without any problems. ... Read More
My boyfriend and I booked the 14 night holiday. The first two nights in a 4* hotel in Dubai and then the 12 night cruise from Dubai to India and Oman. We embarked the ship around 1.00 pm from the port in Dubai without any problems. There were a few forms to fill in but there were staff on hand to help with these and it only took about 30 mins for us to go through and get on the ship. We then explored the ship to acquaint ourselves with the facilities. The ship was really lovely. Compared to the Oasis, where the ambiance seemed noisier and busier, in comparison, the atmosphere on this ship seemed calmer and indeed the passengers seemed more subdued and introverted. This was also apparent on the first evening when we did the emergency drill and lined up at our stations on the decks, everyone was quiet and did as they were told. The food was excellent, though we preferred eating in the Windjammer, even in the evenings, as the choice was great and we enjoyed sampling the various international cuisines (buffet style). On a few occasions, breakfast time and some lunchtimes, the Windjammer got very crowded but after a few days you get to known when to avoid the rush (ie late breakfast or after passengers have left the ship to go on tours). Our stateroom, 3542, was lovely and very clean. All of the staff on the ship we found to be superb, all very good at their respective roles, very discreet, very polite and made us feel special. This was better than our experience on the Oasis of the Seas where some of the staff had been brusque and less helpful. We were at sea for 3 days which was great for relaxing and using the facilities. We regularly used the gym, sauna and steam rooms. We played golf and had a go at basketball. We went into the casino a couple of time but found the cheaper slot machines did not pay out much so we lost our money and decided not to go anymore. (Those on the Oasis of the Seas were much better in terms of types of machines and they seemed to pay out more frequently.) We went to several shows in the Pacifica Theatre and enjoyed them. A couple were a bit amateurish but had a charm of their own and proved to be great entertainment. I participated in the Bollywood dance classes over several days (half hour lessons) and then we performed the dance we had learnt one evening the Centrum which was great fun. The Bollywood party that was held on Deck 6 was a bit of a disappointment though as it was so crowded that a lot of guests couldn't get in and turned around and left to do something else. Our ports of call were, Cochin, India. We walked to the port gate and hired a tuk-tuk. We had a great tour of Cochin with our local driver who took us to the church, some Hindu temples, the laundry and several shops (which are designed for tourists). It was great fun overall. The second port, New Mangalore, was mostly an industrial type port so we didn't bother getting of the ship and we enjoyed using the gym and facilities with less people around. We are not anti-social but at times found other passengers to be quite rude when pushing their way into lifts, at the buffet, and grabbing sun loungers but you have to try and ignore them. There were polite and friendly people around too of course. The third port of call was Goa. We hired a local taxi for a tour. The driver took us to a nearby beach. We didn't really like the look of Goa, it was not as we had expected, lots of litter around and unkempt buildings, so we were glad to return to the ship. We think the better sights were further away than we ventured. The fourth post of call was Mumbai. We walked from the ship into Mumbai and looked as some of the colonial style buildings. After about 1 hour we had seen enough for our liking so returned to the ship. We enjoyed our glimpse of India and our favourite place was Cochin as we saw more - goats and cows wandering all over the place freely, saw how people lived and the locals we met were very relaxed and friendly. Our next port was Muscat, Oman. On arrival the scenery was very different to India and quite spectacular. It was great to be able to walk of the ship and along the corniche and look at the lovely sights. It felt very safe. Back on the ship, we continued to enjoy the holiday. It always amazed us how much people eat on board and everyone is ready to start again at each mealtime (is everyone really that hungry)? In the Windjammer the food is so well presented and the variety so good that it is so tempting. After Oman we sailed back to Dubai and enjoyed a relaxing last night on board. We had to have breakfast at 5.00 am the next morning as we had a taxi coming for us at 6.30 am for our flight to the UK at 9.30 am. Disembarkation and the transfer to the airport went like clockwork, no problems whatsoever. Overall we had a fantastic holiday, superb cruise, a trip to remember and lots of lovely photos to look back on. Just hope we can afford another cruise to the Caribbean later on....... Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Just returned from the 12-night Dubai/India/Muscat/Dubai cruise on Brilliance of the Seas and thought we would share our experience. *THE CRUISE* We thoroughly enjoyed the ship and the itinerary. Nice mix of sea days and ports. India ... Read More
Just returned from the 12-night Dubai/India/Muscat/Dubai cruise on Brilliance of the Seas and thought we would share our experience. *THE CRUISE* We thoroughly enjoyed the ship and the itinerary. Nice mix of sea days and ports. India was dirty and polluted as expected but we had a great time at every stop. Plenty to see and do. The ports are not the prettiest by any means and can be a little inconvenient getting in and out, but maybe that will get better if they start getting more cruise traffic. Oman was beautiful - clean, easy to get around and the friendliest people we have come across in a long time. The Grand Mosque is a must see! Dubai has become our favorite city abroad - can't say enough good things about it. Pricey to be sure, but you have to pay to play... *THE SHIP* We have been on every Radiance class ship and Brilliance was very nice. With one notable exception the staff was outstanding. One RCCL staffer thought it appropriate to belittle and insult us (and many others) for showing up at the wrong place to collect our passport/visa info, even though the letter from RCCL(that we ALL had in hand) had directed us there. Anyway, no complaints overall. The captain was quite amusing. *THE FOOD* Two thumbs up for the SeaView Cafe - the Italian fare was outstanding. We went there almost every day. The dining room food was pretty much the same old thing. A fairly boring menu with average food. Would those of us that have cruised on RCCL all agree that the food quality has declined significantly over the past 10 years?? We tried Chops for the first time on this cruise and liked it so much we went back a second time. A little confusion as to who was supposed to be our waiter with a subsequent delay in service, but it was quickly sorted out and made right. The fillet was one of the best either of us has ever had. I was very disappointed that there was no caviar to be had at the champagne bar this cruise. Apparently this ship had a small outbreak of the n-virus on the previous trip (according to comments from 3 different staffers) and they were being exceptionally cautious and clean. We were jokingly calling it the Disease of the Seas, but only because there were so many sick, coughing, sneezing people on this cruise. No fault of RCCL of course, as that is an airborne issue. We were very impressed with the level of effort they put forth to keep the ship clean. *AFT CABIN* This was our first-ever aft cabin. We have mixed opinions on it. The more-than-180-degree view IS awesome, as is the hypnotic view of the wake. Also very nice to be able to look UP and see the sky at night, as well as the vastly increased quantity of sunshine during the day. The larger balcony and lounge chairs are an added bonus. The downside? Noise - the prop wash/wake are loud and you can hear the clattering of dishes coming from the SeaView Cafe right above. You will also smell the SeaView (not so bad really) and the distinct odor of fried foods that wafts up from below as the exhaust from the kitchen comes up from deck 5 below. Take a stroll around to the rear of the ship on deck 5 and you can 'smell' and hear it for yourself. The sound is actually louder on your balcony because it reverberates off of the roof and wall behind. I missed being able to look straight down at the water gliding by and the calm and quite of a regular side cabin. The ship overall and our cabin were very clean, again with one notable exception. Our carpet had food and gum smashed into it all over the place. Either replace the carpet or dig out a cleaner. It was disgusting. Also, why doesn't RCCL clean the gum off of the decks or paint over it? Are we the only ones sickened by it? And being avid non-smokers we sure wish RCCL would prohibit smoking on balconies. If you get stuck with smokers right below and beside you as we did it is very annoying. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Before the cruise we stayed five nights in Dubai on our own, so we had all the sightseeing there done in advance. Taxi from hotel to cruise terminal around 12.00 and embarkation procedure finished before 13.00. Cabin 1104, deck 10 aft, was ... Read More
Before the cruise we stayed five nights in Dubai on our own, so we had all the sightseeing there done in advance. Taxi from hotel to cruise terminal around 12.00 and embarkation procedure finished before 13.00. Cabin 1104, deck 10 aft, was waiting for us and we found a very nice-looking cabin with a really deep balcony with sunbeds and chairs. Our luggage arrived at 15.00. Lots of place for storage so our bags were soon empty. We could not get rid of them anywhere so they were with us in the cabin during the whole cruise. Our cabin attendant Esther gave us in a nice way the best service we could ask for. We had chosen My time dining and table for two in our Pre-Cruise planning and there was hardly no waiting time any night. Our pre-ordered wine package worked well and we could always find wine to match what we choose to have for dinner. All meals were very well prepared, specially the sea-food. Waiter Christian and assistant waiter Ashok gave us all possible attention and the best service you could ask for. Windjammer for breakfast and lunch every day. Enough to choose from but the bread was the weak spot. Same roll every morning and only one kind of darker bread. Two dinners in Portofino, first a Wine and dine experience, with a little argument with the waiter about possible smell of cork from the red wine. Eight people at the table were not convinced that it was the mix of grapes that caused the "corky" smell, but the waiter was. Second dinner in Portofino was for birthday celebration, extra cake with one candle and singing from the staff. The ports of call and the excursions were very positive experiences. Both Goa and New Mangalore showed a different India than the chaotic city of Mumbai. Highly qualified guides, in New Mangalore a voluntary student with lots of examples from his own life. The tour to the Backwaters of Alappuzha by Houseboat was the top of the cruise. Muscat in Oman as the last stop before returning to Dubai showed how fast the development is in the Middle East. Norwegian architect company Snohetta are involved in building the new fish market.This was really the most memorable cruise we have been on and compared to all Caribbean or Mediterranean cruises on the market it really gave new insights and memories. Therefore it is a pity if it is true that there will be no Dubai-India cruises next year. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
just back from the brilliance of the seas. it was for us the first time in the middle east and had a different idea about the ports and rules. our suite was well but not so big as we had on other cruises and a little far from the ... Read More
just back from the brilliance of the seas. it was for us the first time in the middle east and had a different idea about the ports and rules. our suite was well but not so big as we had on other cruises and a little far from the action. But we choose him its our fold. the room was proper and clean. the food was good and the waiters also, but the place where we had the dinner was not what we had in our mind it was a room far from the action ( if there was we had the meaning there was not singing or dancing accept one evening) the choice was good but royal Caribbean style not too much choice. we went too one show and this was good. the white party was great it must be every night. the ports where good but for one too short and for others too long. the prizes for drinks was normal' three port more but not on the list fujeira its not what it must bring and the shore hotel is it not worth too do. muscat we had our own driver from Marc tours he was great and had a lot of information. abu dhabi we had high tea and that was all most missed by the weather. but finally we were on time instead of twoo o clock it was 4.30 pm but we get the time from emirates palace. we had caviar and every thing with gold also the cappuccino. it was very very good Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Hi everyone, first time critic here so apologies if I miss anything out! We just returned last night from our cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, which left from Dubai on March 25 and sailed to India (Mumbai, Goa, New Mangalore, Cochin) and ... Read More
Hi everyone, first time critic here so apologies if I miss anything out! We just returned last night from our cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, which left from Dubai on March 25 and sailed to India (Mumbai, Goa, New Mangalore, Cochin) and Muscat before returning to Dubai. This was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean, but it definitely wont be the last. Most of our cruising has been with NCL. We initially booked with NCL because we like to be casual and Freestyle seemed to fit our needs, and then we didnt want to stray from NCL because we didnt want to be disappointed...however we then tried P&O which we liked very much, and now Royal Caribbean, which we absolutely adored. Embarkation was super fast and super easy. The only hold up was the endless red tape and forms we had to fill out to get into India, but thats down to the Indian government rather than Royal Caribbean. Brilliance of the Seas was a great ship. It could probably use a little refurbishment in certain areas, plus I tend to prefer a larger ship (my favourite until now being Norwegian Jade), but overall it was great. The food was the best we've had on any ship (we've sailed on NCL Jade, Gem, Jewel, Dawn, Epic and Sun, P&O Ventura and Carnival somethingorother - we hated it so I've mentally blocked the name of the ship out). The cabin on Brilliance (8172) was at the extreme rear of the ship with a massive balcony. The cabin itself was great - extremely clean and well kept, although the furniture on the balcony had definitely seen better days and probably could do with being replaced. Im the worlds most fussy eater ever, plus I'm a little on the shy side, so the thought of sharing a table with total strangers really isnt up my alley (hence always having gone for the NCL freestyle option), so most of our meals were taken in the Windjammer Cafe, however the food was definitely top notch, always hot, always fresh, the selection of different foods was immense and I found nothing to complain about. Even though we had to get our own food, it didnt feel like a buffet somehow. Service by all the staff we encountered was fabulous. Marcelo, our cabin steward, couldnt do enough for us, and Paul and Cuddy (cruise director and activities manager) were extremely entertaining. The only problem we encountered (and it wasnt a massive problem) was that one day during the cruise, there was a very nasty looking brown liquid floating on the top of the pool. It actually turned my swimming trunks brown. I mentioned this to guest services who said it was probably suntan lotion (although for there to be THAT much brown liquid in the pool, someone would have had to have used gallons of suntan lotion...), however that night they completely drained the pool and washed it out, and we didnt have a problem after that. Entertainment (shows, etc) on the ship was ok but nothing to really write home about. It was quite amateurish but watchable. Most of it was geared to the English guests, which was fine because the majority of guests were from the UK, but there wasnt much for other Europeans or Americans (etc) onboard. I'm British so I enjoyed the stand-up late night adult comedy but it wasnt to everyones taste. The casino is very small with (in my opinion) a poor selection of slot machines, but there were quite a few gaming tables which seemed popular. The ports of call I visited were amazing - Mumbai was completely mind-blowing, as was Cochin. I didnt get off in Goa or New Mangalore. Muscat was great (I'd been there several times before), and the ship overnighted in Dubai at the end of the cruise and Dubai was as great and as glitzy as ever (I used to work there so I know Dubai very well). Disembarkation was very simple. We waited in the Colony Club until our luggage tag number was called at 8.30am, and by 9.00am we were in our hotel in Dubai, near Mall of the Emirates, wishing we were still on the ship. It really was a fantastically memorable cruise and I'd have no hesitation recommending either Royal Caribbean or Brilliance of the Seas. Ideally I do prefer a larger ship, but the effort RC staff put into their work was immense and all in all we had an absolutely fantastic holiday. While on the ship, we also booked a back to back cruise on Independence of the Seas for next year (Caribbean and then Transatlantic), and I think our NCL days are behind us. There's only so much cheap pizza and frozen chips a man can eat just for the sake of eating 'casually'... Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Many thanks to all the info on this site. We returned on Monday from a great cruise on the Brilliance of the Sea out of Dubai. We loved the cruise. The food was better than expected- especially liked the large shrimp cocktail, lobster ... Read More
Many thanks to all the info on this site. We returned on Monday from a great cruise on the Brilliance of the Sea out of Dubai. We loved the cruise. The food was better than expected- especially liked the large shrimp cocktail, lobster bisque and goat cheese tarts at dinner. We followed a tip and went to the helipad for each sail away- great views and not many people there.Our ship steward, waiters and everyone on the ship were very friendly and did a great job. We never felt unsafe in the ports or during passage in the Straits of Hormuz.We did not see any military action in the Straits- the only unusual site was seeing small speed boats flying flags from Iran cruising up to the ship and waving. The spa had told another passenger to expect the boats- she said they often race each other and like to go close to the ship. We saw live goats in one boat- they were headed over to Oman to sell their goods. Here is a summary of what we did in each port: Dubai- we arrived 3 nights early- had a great apt hotel at Oasis Beach towers. Went to Burj Khalifa at 5:30 one evening to see day and night views from the Burj.Had dinner at Mango Tree at the base of the Burj and were able to see 5 fountain shows from our outdoor table (The shows are every 1/2 hour). We hired a car and driver and went to watch camel race practice, hired an abra boat for an hour to cruise the Dubai creek, went to Gold, Spice and Textile Souks, marina area, did a desert Safari with Arabian Adventures, skied at the Mall of the Emirates, shopped Madinat Jumeriah & spent time at Jumeriah Beach Park. Fujairah: this port was a pleasant surprise.We took ship shuttle to Lulu market where there were dozens of taxis. We hired 2 taxis and first went to the Fujairah fish market (very fun to see) and shopped in the souk portion of the market- bought abayas (burquas). We then stopped at Fujairah fort for photos and then climbed the Bitnah Fort.We stopped at the Friday market but found the shop owners very aggressive. We had hoped to go to Dibba but ran out of time. Muscat, Oman: (first day) did a private day tour with Mark tours. Started at Grand Mosque then went to Wadi Shab (About a 1.5 hour drive)- The Wadi was very pretty but a long 45 min hike along rocks and cliffs to get there. Stopped at Fins beach then the Sink hole. We had hoped to stop at Quiryat but ran out of time again... When we got back to the ship we went to the Marina hotel and had drinks at the roof lounge which gave a great view of the ship and the city. We shopped at the Souk at night- it was very lively with lots of locals shopping Muscat, Oman- Day 2: we walked to the Fish market then along the Cornish and climbed several forts. We then hopped in a taxi to go past the royal palace in Muscat and then back to the souk for more shopping. Abu Dhabi: we had a private tour in a 12 passenger van with a tax driver that we had met in Dubai. Went to the mosque then a city tour and a stop at Emirates Palace for gold specked camelcinno (capuccino with camel's milk and real gold parcels). Reservations are needed even for a coffee stop & there is a 100 diriham minimum per person. We then went to the Heritage village (great prices on crafts at the souk) then drove over to Yas Island. Stopped at the Yas hotel and watched a motor cycle race. Ended the tour with a quick stop at the Iranian souk which is near the ship terminal. Abu Dhabi is a very pretty city and we wish we had more time there. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
Emirates Flights We chose the 20.25 flight from Birmingham. I was expecting attentive service from Emirates and we had been told how good they were. Whether it was because we were 2 hours late departing and the cabin crew was tired I ... Read More
Emirates Flights We chose the 20.25 flight from Birmingham. I was expecting attentive service from Emirates and we had been told how good they were. Whether it was because we were 2 hours late departing and the cabin crew was tired I dont know but the service from them was awful. They were curt and unhelpful. We had one alcholic drink on the flight and missed the tea/coffee as we were queing for the toilet. They didnt come back to us. Couldnt wait to get off. Coming back was much better. However as we had paid £550 for the flight alone, (according to travel agent invoice) I did expect same service no matter which flight you are on. We used our Airport Angel cards for the Exec Lounge at Birmingham and again at Dubai which was good as we were at Dubai airport quite early. Much nicer than Birmingham with hot food etc so well worth a trip to that. Never before though have we had to collect our own bags from the conveyor and transport to the coach. This was a real pain. Before, with cheaper cruise liners our bags have never been seen by us again until outside our cabin so this was a surprise. Breakfast at the Hyatt Very good and very welcome after the rubbish flight service. We almost drank a litre of orange juice each as we were so thirsty from the flight. The breakfast was nice and a smooth, 15 minute transfer to Port Rashid. Embarking Very organised. Allowed on ship at 12.30 and we had the fountain soda package so was able to have drinks immediately. Although we didnt use this much and thought x 1 for both of us would have sufficed. We also took a t shirt each in our hand luggage so we could sit around rather than feel uncomfortable with UK clothes on. Good idea as cases did not arrive till 7pm. Windjammer Restaurant Didnt really jel with this. Food was mostly luke warm, although plenty of choice. Plastic plates, bowls and mugs not a good move for whatever reason RCI have chosen this. Minstrel We had second sitting, which we think is the best as the 6.30 pm sitting would have interferred with our days out and also having to rush to change for dinner not my idea of holidaying. The staff here were great. I loved Agus our assistant waiter. So attentive and pleasant. Our Waiter was also great - from Mumbai and a very nice chap. His nightly recommendations were spot on for the food. The food was lovely, plenty of choice. We did not have the wine package and wasnt sure if we wanted a whole bottle every night. It is 10 dollars a glass all over the ship so quite expensive. Head Waiter abit of a joke. Pleasant enough but just came and chatted to you with a hidden agenda - his tip. We had pre paid ours so the vouchers were delivered to the cabin the night before last one of the trip for you to give out on your last night. He clearly came around on the last night for these and we thought a bit of a cheek, very Americanised and not English protocol. We had x 2 formal nights and they were really nice. Photographers a bit of a pain though. Colony Club This is where we spent most of our nights, mainly due to the lovely Phillipino bar tender called Sharron. She was so pleasant, so attentive and remembered our names from the first night. We really enjoyed being in here, lovely atmosphere around the bar and made a few nice friends. Smoking at the one end allowed. Be wary drinks are very expensive but we just thought hey ho we are on holiday so didnt linger on this issue. Theatre Didnt go but plenty of shows on if thats what you wanted. Didnt really want to be rushed around on this holiday. Cabin Double bed, very comfy, good pillows. Sofa, good tv on a swivel to watch in bed. Shower hot and good water pressure. Plenty of storage. Negatives - ugh paper cups - bad move. No nice little packets of biscuits like we have had before. Hairdryer rubbish - take your own. We didnt take shower gel as previous cruises have had complimentary Molton Brown hanging in shower - nothing here so we used soap. No shower cap but I took a disposable one I had from a hotel room. No little nice things like you get in a hotel room. They are obviously cutting back. Again no big deal real, just the little finishing touches that you expect that werent really there. Sunbeds abit of an issue on sea day unless you are up mega early - we were - unusual for us but nothing worse than a sea day and you cant relax on a bed so we put the alarm on!!! Played crazy golf. Used the Casino once - very good. Ports of call ok. Weather turned bad for us around midday Friday on way to Abu Dhabi and never got better. We brought big bus tour in Abu for 2 days to use in Dubai as well. Well it was a good tour but weather was awful on top of open topped bus and we had a sand storm. Made me laugh though but I was froze. It was like a winter walk along Blackpool front. Used the big bus ticket again in Dubai and did the blue route to see Burj Al Arab and palm island. Again marred by the weather and surprisingly the bad bad traffic jams in Dubai. We were on this for over 3 hours. When they dropped us back at the Mall (they seem to think everyone wants to shop and to be honest enough of this leading up to Xmas) we paid for a taxi to get back to the ship as we couldnt wait for another courtesy bus. The traffic is very very bad and you cant get anywhere fast. The night you leave, cases have to be outside cabin between 7pm and 10pm and this is what we have done on other ships. Negative point everyone off the ship by 9am. Not too bad for us as our flight was at 14.55 and we used the Emirates Exec lounge where we had free drinks and hot food and was able to relax prior to flight. Just finished the holiday off and had smoking lounge in there in separate area so hubby was happy. Other people must have been fed up waiting at the sirport for so long but this lounge really finished it off and again free with Barclays Additions bank account - Airport Angel - well worth it. Birmingham Airport Never get your bags to you quickly. The conveyor kept stalling and we waited ages. Abit of a joke when you see how efficient Dubai airport is. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed this holiday. We will do RCI again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Just returned from a cruise on the BOS which we really enjoyed. We arrived at the port just before 9am and on the ship before 11am. Cabins were available at 1pm so we had lunch in the Windjammer when it opened. We were on Main seating ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise on the BOS which we really enjoyed. We arrived at the port just before 9am and on the ship before 11am. Cabins were available at 1pm so we had lunch in the Windjammer when it opened. We were on Main seating for dinner and our waiter was Jing who was lovely so friendly and efficient. The food was on the usual standard we had experience before and we had no complaints about the food. The only downside was that 2 American ladies who were at our table always arrived very late despite getting gentle reminders from the waiter which is all they can do. We ate sometimes at breakfast in the MDR due to being Diamond members but lunch we had in the Windjammer which was alright. We enjoyed the nightly entertainment shows. Captains welcome on Board and Welcome back parties were a disappointment as they were held for all passengers at the same time and was so crowded. Didn't do any ship excursions but used the shuttles at the ports as you couldn't just walk off the ship. Fujairah was just to the Lulu supermarket which was just like a Tesco Extra and wasn't worth doing. Oman the shuttle took us to the port gates where taxi drivers mobbed you to hire them and couldn't understand we just wanted to walk. You could easily walk to the souk along the corniche which was nice to do. Abu Dhabi the shuttle took you to Marina Mall which was worth doing and a nice ride along the seafront but it was too windy to do any walking. Dubai port shuttles were a disappointed as it was confusing as conflicting info was given as to what ones were turning up. After waiting 30mins or so a lot of passengers got taxis but as we were staying in Dubai after the cruise we decided not to bother and just go back on board. Passengers who did the excursions seem to enjoy them and we never heard any negative feedback. Disembarkation went smoothly and we left the ship at 9am our alloted time. All in all a great cruise Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
After having cruised a number of times on board MSC Cruises, I was really looking forward to my first cruise ever on board RCI. It happened to be on board the Brilliance of the Seas, at a 7-nights cruise departing the 5th of Dec 2011 from ... Read More
After having cruised a number of times on board MSC Cruises, I was really looking forward to my first cruise ever on board RCI. It happened to be on board the Brilliance of the Seas, at a 7-nights cruise departing the 5th of Dec 2011 from Dubai, visiting Fujairah (very boring), Muscat in Oman and Abu Dhabi. I have decided to make this review short, and I have to say that we (my wife and I) were very pleased with the RCI product. All (at least almost all) of our expectations were exceeded. And we will certainly return to this professional company! * All of the staff on board were very professional and friendly. * The ship itself was very nice in most aspects (and the size of it was perfect...as we try to avoid really big ships). OK, the sun deck was really too crowded the whole day we spent at sea, that day was not very enjoyable. * The food presented to the passengers during breakfasts/lunches/dinners a.s.o., in the Windjammer buffet restaurant as well as in the main dining room, was nicely presented and tasted mostly very good. * Most of the evening shows were very elaborated, with a large number (approx 20) of powerful musicians and dancers. Most of the soloists were great - especially the look-a-like Elton John singer/piano player!! However, the Supremes show we found too lame. Finally, I have to mention that I got ill the first day on board (diarrhea & vomiting), however - this was NOT at all caused by anything at the ship! Unfortunately, when we arrived to our hotel the night before the ships departure, at 3:00 AM (in the middle of the night), I - without using my tired brain at all - drunk one glass of tap water (i the room of our 5-star hotel in Dubai). Crazy! Why did I do that?! Well, as a result of this I was isolated in our cabin (a nice Superior Oceanview Stateroom with balcony on deck no. 9) for 2 whole days and nights. However, even if this was very sad, I was very impressed by the help and assistance I was given by the staff at the hospital on board. They, together with the guys working centrally in the room service department, really followed me up in a mostly professional way! The last day of the cruise, I even received a "personal" letter from the Guest Relation Manager on board who said how sorry they were that I hadn't been able to enjoy the cruise, and that the RCI will contact me within the period of some weeks with some kind of a compensation (i.e. if I understood it right, some discount when booking a new RCI cruise in the future). Very professional, I must say! Both my wife and I love good food (and everything belonging to it :-), as much as we also love exercising in the gym.... Regrettably, I only had two real dinners in the main restaurant on board during this week. And I lost a total of 3 kilo's during the cruise... (ha, ha). And I did not get the chance to leave the ship at all during our two days stay in Muscat (Oman). Anyway, as I said already: I was really impressed by the RCI cruise product, as well as the Brilliance of the Seas itself and the sympathetic crew on board. We will certainly return to Royal Caribbean International :-) Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
My very first cruise experience; so didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Very diverse crew; very few Americans as it is Middle East and they don't go to that part of the world. Lots of fun Brits, South ... Read More
My very first cruise experience; so didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Very diverse crew; very few Americans as it is Middle East and they don't go to that part of the world. Lots of fun Brits, South Americans and other Europeans. People very friendly and chatty and willing to go all out and join in the events to have fun. Children were well behaved and had their own areas. The entertainment staff were wonderful; Paul Lancaster, Jerome and Lisa were flawless in their quest to make sure everybody had a good time and we loved the Morning Shows they produced on TV. The on board experience was great; definitely worth getting a room with a Balcony. The rooms are serviced regularly. That was one thing that annoyed me. We had rooms on two floors, on one floor the laundry carts; rubbish bags, hoovers and general crap were always littering the place. On the other floor the corridor was usually left very tidy. Quite a few people commented about how much crap got left everywhere for long periods. The ship was clean, however they did have a problem with passengers getting sick (Vomiting and Gastroenteritis) and all passengers were evacuated in Dubai so the ship could be fumigated. It's not surprising as there is a lot of food left out in Windjammer Cafe in buffet style and tons of people round, so germ heaven. Formal Dining room (Minstrel) was very good and my advice would be to avoid to eat well at Breakfast and dinner, where it's Al La Carte and civilized, and avoid the lunch where everybody is shoveling in their piles of food and fighting for tables. I eat there once and got food poisoning from the Paella. Chops bar was very good if you are a big meat eater; Portofino was poor and not worth the supplement charged. Overall you won't go wrong staying in the main restaurant. They do small tables - 2 & 4 which you can order. Sitting with a load of strangers at dinner is not my idea of fun. For you Brits - Tea on Board is just AWFUL. Take some PG Tips and some of those "taste like Real Milk" sachets. The milk on the ship is UHT and tastes foul, nothing fresh. As the ship is American they use hot water and have no idea how to make tea or how to boil water. Spa and Gym area were well managed and well worth visiting, not over priced and good quality for massage and other treatments. Christy and Joseph from the Gym will do a customised Fitness Programme for you. We did Boot Camp which was fun and nearly killed me, but I look great now :) You will get yelled at if they ever see you drinking diet coke. Bars and drinks generally were a little pricey; Pre-purchased Wine Packages are a good deal - I got the Platinum one - all the wines were very drinkable. Disco was fun but a bit dated. Think revolving bar and Spectrum in Saturday Night Fever. Also very smokey. The excursions and Ports of Call are not up to much. I did the Wonders of Dubai; where you get dragged from one Hotel to another to take pictures of the outside (yawn) and then chucked in a few Malls for an hour with a million people and then see the Fountain display which lasts exactly 3 minutes, get crushed in the crowd on the way back, lose a load of punters who had to take a taxi back to the ship. RUBBISH! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We cruised 19-26th December 2011 and I can tell you, we will not be staying home for Christmas any more. For the first time we paid for embarkation and city tour (we usually do this on our own) and it showed up to be a great idea. After ... Read More
We cruised 19-26th December 2011 and I can tell you, we will not be staying home for Christmas any more. For the first time we paid for embarkation and city tour (we usually do this on our own) and it showed up to be a great idea. After breakfast and check in in Hyatt we were taken to city tour, which gave us basic orientation of Dubai, UAE and the culture. This helped us to plan our two Dubai days at the end of our cruise. In Fujairah we did the East Coast tour which was great value for money (30 Eur for 4 hour trip). The city itself is boring and this was a great choice. We did Muttrah/Muscat on our own, the ship organised free shuttle (in every port but Dubai) and we walked pretty much all day and evening all over the interesting sites. In Abu Dhabi after "must see" mosque we went by taxi to Yas island and stayed whole day in Ferarri World (awesome), the taxi was 25 USD each way (considering this was about 60 km this was great). And finally in Dubai we did Hop on bus day and night, which was good value for money since they took us straight from and to the ship. Burj Khalifa experience, Aquaventure, Souqs, Wafi light show.. just name it, we did it :o) So I must say the ports of call were great. The ship was ok, not stunning but clean with great Solarium, billiard tables, cinema and standard RCI features. I can not say one bad word about the ship. We ate 3 night in Dinning room (including great Christmas Dinner) which served good meals and we were glad to have Robert from Hungary as a waiter since he was polite and quick and not too familiar ( I really hate this in a waiter). Other meals we ate at Solarium, Seaview Cafe and Windjammer, food and service was great as usually, I was thrilled to eat Duck-dumplings which is traditional for my country in a great quality. Our room was standard interior room on 10th floor (great location). Room attendant was awesome, helpful and polite. One incident was disturbing.. in next room an old couple would bang on wall ( and I mean really loudly) if we made a beep after 8.00 pm. Come on people, we were just talking not having a party, if you want to sleep 8.00pm-6.00am stay at home or pay for extra large room, you will reduce the noise. In the morning the old lady would give us an ugly stare and complain but since we really did not do anything unusual(in fact we are quite boring, we usually go to bed before midnight, we do not drink at all and when coming back to room in the evening we try to be quiet) and no one else has ever had problem with us, this did not ruin our day. I just feel sorry for people who destroy holidays not only for themselfs but also for others just because they expect that by paying for the cheapest cabin they can act as they own the ship. I loved the atmosphere on the cruise, Santa showed up (yeah, he was skinny and he used our safety boats to come but it was nice anyways). I also liked the carolling (did I spell it right?), Christmas dinner decoration, the "pull and it will pop" toy we all got and so on. The decorations on the ship were nice but not too much, just the way I like it :o) So, to sum up the cruise was great and the timing made it awesome, so I can only recommend. Just wondering where we will go next Christmas :o)) Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Well we departed from Dublin and flew with Etihad Airlines great flight standard seating with good amount of leg room standard airline food was edible. We landed in Abu Dhabi at 7.15am and were greeted at baggage reclaim by a rep who ... Read More
Well we departed from Dublin and flew with Etihad Airlines great flight standard seating with good amount of leg room standard airline food was edible. We landed in Abu Dhabi at 7.15am and were greeted at baggage reclaim by a rep who showed us to a bus where we would transfer to the Brilliance of the seas we arrived at the terminal at approx 10.30am checked in straight away no waiting around we then had light refreshments tea, coffee, lemonade or iced tea and pastries these were greatly appreciated after flying through the night. We were allowed to embark the ship at about 11am we did the usuall walk around and at midday the Windjammer cafe opened for lunch my god what an assortment of food very impressive. at 1pm we were able to go into our stateroom with balcony I showered and had a rest as did my wife at about 5pm we went up onto deck 12 and watched Cuddy and Gang do our sail away party they danced around whilst everybody watched Dubai sail away. we were set up for 6 O clock seating in the minstrel dining room our main waiter Mohit and his assistant Bogdan were top notch and really couldnt do enough for us we were never without a drink we had a soda package and by the end of the meal were full of bubbles from the coke the food really was outstanding not a single fault hot every time (I cant see what other people have complained about the must really live like royalty at home because thats how we were treated every step of the cruise by every member of staff onboard) The entertainment on board was good the ships own productions were outstanding the magician not so good. The Ports Fujeriah we did a sand dunes tour from here very good driving around the desert and the wadi great day and worth $99 per person Muscat Omen well here both days we went to the Mutrah Souk then back to the ship for the pool and afternoon activities great to relax after all the walking Day at sea I did the all access tour a great tour of the behind the scenes excursion of the ship slighlty over priced at $150 but a must do for any one who likes to see what goes on behind the scenes it showed you the engine room the bridge the galley the laundrey and loads loads more. Abu Dhabi We went to the marina mall here went up the little tower and had a great view of the city of Abu Dhabi Dubai well we got a little taxi tour to the Burj al arab, Atlantis on the palm, Bubai marina and then droped off at Dubai Mall We had pre booked tickets for at the top at the burj kalifha amust do great views and a lovely building. We then went shopping in Dubai Mall a great shopping Mall every shop you could want Disembarking Day went Very Smooth They take care of absolutly everything we were booked into the traders hotel and were transfered with no problems at all our last day we went to the Emmirates mall not as good so after a couple of hours we went back to the Dubai mall more shopping then watched the dubai fountains again fantastic amazing how they do it check them out on you tube Over all a fantastic cruise it was our honeymoon ignore all previous reviews the ship is amazing in good condition and spotless entertainment great white party 70's party great both fantastic nights paul lancaster the cruise director and cuddy the entertainment managers did a great job wish we were still there will definatley cruise with RCI again Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We booked this cruise rather on the spur of the moment - we live locally, know all the ports well, and looked on it as an opportunity primarily for an on-board getaway. The Brilliance of the Seas delivered a first-rate experience across ... Read More
We booked this cruise rather on the spur of the moment - we live locally, know all the ports well, and looked on it as an opportunity primarily for an on-board getaway. The Brilliance of the Seas delivered a first-rate experience across the board. Embarkation went smoothly (being in a Suite helped, as at our arrival time, about 3:00, there was a substantial line. Even so, it did seem to be moving fairly well for all passengers), and within 20 minutes of being dropped at the port, we were in our starboard Grand Suite. First impressions were extremely positive, and they remained so throughout our week. I'm a little mystified by reviewers who say that this ship isn't well-maintained - everything we saw sparkled, every corner was spotless, and the ongoing maintenance of little things that did crop up was around-the-clock (a call to fix a toilet problem was taken care of within five minutes, for example). Even the Windjammer, which must be a nightmare to keep clean given its heavy use, was immaculate, with tables quickly bussed and order generally maintained. We spent most of the days moving between late breakfasts in the Windjammer (although we enjoyed room service as well!), long mornings in the Solarium (adults only, a policy blessedly respected throughout the cruise), a theoretically lighter lunch back up in the WJ, and then afternoons enjoying the balcony in the Suite. I really can't say enough good things about the GS itself - well-laid out, spacious, and with an amazing amount of storage space. We are two large guys and we didn't travel light - but the closets and drawers available weren't half full. The bathroom storage, which includes large medicine cabinets as well as drawers, was especially welcome, and overall the amount of storage made it easy to keep the stateroom tidy and pleasant. The bed was firm and comfortable, and sofa and easy chairs equally so. The balcony had a lounger and table with two chairs, all in a nice faux-wicker. The curtain dividing the bed from the sitting area (and balcony access) beautifully accommodated an early riser and a late sleeper. The bathroom was the size of a standard hotel bath, with two basins, tub, and a fine shower. Our stateroom attendant, Nina, was great - prompt, thorough, and thoughtful. We really appreciated the various perks available to Suite passengers - the Concierge Lounge especially, but also the reserved sundeck up front (off of Deck 12), the reserved space in the WJ (especially nice on the more crowded day at sea), and the little extras like good Gilcrest and Soames toiletries, the Captain's reception in the Colony Club, pool towels in the room (no queueing or worrying about returning them), chocolates on the pillow, etc. I would say they definitely were worth the little splurge. The Concierge Lounge is small but comfortable, and current Concierge Edson Rosa is a thorough professional, as is his sidekick, bartender Norman. The contintental breakfast was always a quiet place for a first quick coffee, and the evening canapes and cocktails were a nice way to meet other passengers, with good quality hors d'oeuvres and good label liquor (Finlandia vodka, etc.). Dinners in the Minstrel Dining Room were on the whole excellent - this isn't top-flight gourmet dining, but careful choosing (with excellent advice from our waitstaff) made for few complaints. Especially good were the prime rib, mixed grill, and many of the starters, especially one night's creamed wild mushrooms. It's always fun to have traditional choices like escargot and shrimp cocktail; we steered away from some choices, such as the cold fruit soups. Desserts lacked sparkle some nights, but we were always happy with ice cream on the evenings when nothing from the menu appealed. We had a table for two on the MDR's upper level, but ended up chatting several evenings with our neighbors - we didn't miss being at one of the larger tables, where service didn't seem quite as personal (or quick - we rarely had to wait more than a few minutes between courses - really excellent pacing even on the busiest nights). We attended several of the shows and thought it a pity that they weren't more crowded - the two production shows (a Tango evening and a generic song-and-dance show) were great fun, and lead singer Charyn Cannon is simply wonderful, a real talent (a couple of her colleagues can more charitably be described as trying their best, but on the whole it was all pretty polished). The non-production nights featured tribute acts (Beatles and Elton John); we passed, but heard mostly satisfied comments from those who went. All of the other musicians were terrific, and it's fun to so many live-music choices scattered around the various venues, especially the Centrum (the soaring main lobby). The Champagne Bar was a major evening destination, and always had some fun people enjoying bartender Rusti's excellent cocktails. We wandered about a fair amount in the evenings as well, and while the disco and bar in the Viking Crown on 13 seemed rather lightly filled, there were always happy crowds in the Schooner Bar. We especially appreciated the two smoke-free evenings in the Casino, but never found smoking a big issue anywhere on board, even with a (considerate) smoker on the balcony next door. We appreciated the (free) spa facilities, with an excellent sauna and nice steam room. It was rarely crowded. We're not gym types, but the gym itself looked fine. We didn't use any of the paid spa services, but the range available looked excellent. Of the various packages available, we took a box of bottled water for the room, a soda package for my partner, and a five-bottle Diamond wine package. I'd recommend them all. It was nice to have the water in the room (tap water is fine, but can be chlorine-y; living in the region, we're just more used to bottled). The soda package was convenient at all times of the day and evening and meant less dealing with receipts, waiting, etc. I thought the Diamond wine choices fine, and was pleased that the billed Korbel sparkling wine has been replaced with the (better, in my opinion) Domaine Ste. Michelle brut. We liked having the unfinished wine at dinner sent up to the room for later enjoyment. The passenger mix for this cruise was diverse - lots of older couples (60s and 70s), but also plenty of 30-50s, and some younger people as well. Comparatively few children (which we liked), and most of those who were aboard were well behaved. At the welcome show, Cruise Director Paul Lancaster (a fine and very funny host, by the way) mentioned that there were travelers from over 40 countries on the trip - there were certainly lots of British and Spanish guests, but also many from other European countries, at least one Chinese group, and a lovely group of Nigerians as well. Everyone seemed to get along very well. The itinerary was definitely not a major concern for us, although we enjoyed the port days as the ship was so uncrowded. Most folks we talked to especially enjoyed Muscat and found Fujairah a little underwhelming. Port access at Muscat (our only stop) was via convenient complimentary shuttle to the port gates, where there were lots of taxis or a short walk to the souq/market area. Muscat, on this cruise, is the one place that travelers will really feel they're in a faraway place - the souq is vibrant and traditional, the people are friendly (if also traditional - I did rather wish that fellow-travelers dressed a little more conservatively in Oman!), and the geography - rocky hills rolling right down to the sea - stunning. The Grand Mosque is a great place to visit, as is the excellent private Bait Al Zubair Museum. Our day at sea was wonderful - even at its most crowded (and the main pool and Solarium both did get crowded - with a fair amount of the inevitable chair-hogging), there were always quiet corners in places like the library, the Colony Club, and the other little nooks and crannies indoors and out. I actually would have preferred another night and day at sea to the final overnight and day in Dubai (not least because in port, the Casino stays closed!). I've read posts complaining about the amount of heavy marketing and upselling on RC cruises, but we weren't really bothered by it - they do push photo packages and such, but I never felt like we were being sold on anything we didn't want. The only bad thing about disembarkation was that it marked the end of our trip. We had a light breakfast in Chops (for Suite guests) and were off the ship and in a taxi within 7 minutes of our scheduled time. So far it's all raves; any little irritations we had were pretty minor, but just so it's not all praise: we were suprised that the pools were so chilly (perhaps being too used to the bathwater-warm pools in the UAE). Pork selections weren't always carefully noted (the Dubai cruises aren't really marketed to local audiences, I know, but still it felt odd for the region). Food in the Windjammer can best be described as serviceable, although with careful choosing, you can do alright (we loved the corned-beef hash at breakfast, the Indonesian choices at lunch one day, and the seafood pie; less successful were most of the desserts and most of the other "ethnic" choices). In both the WJ and the MDR, soups tended toward the thin and tasteless, with the exception of a fine roast garlic soup one night at dinner. In short, I can't imagine a better introduction to cruising than we had on the Brilliance. We are demanding travelers, used to good hotels, excellent restaurants, and good service while traveling in Europe and the Middle East, and this ship measured up. We'll be back! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise from Dubai around Gulf Just returned from a Royal Caribbean cruise on board The Brilliance of the Seas. We joined the cruise in Dubai and had 7 nights aboard on a full board status but this did not ... Read More
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise from Dubai around Gulf Just returned from a Royal Caribbean cruise on board The Brilliance of the Seas. We joined the cruise in Dubai and had 7 nights aboard on a full board status but this did not include drinks. Our ports of calls were Fujairah, Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This was our 1st cruise and was unsure what to expect however our expectations were completely surpassed and we will now find it hard to go back to package holidays. On arrival at the Terminal 1st day we were greeted by a very organised and friendly staff that made check-in very easy and quick. They explained the different ways to pay on board as cash is not an option while on board. We chose to add it to a debit / credit card which we were able to keep track of at all times and pay at the end of the cruise before leaving ship. This was the system used by nearly all travellers. You could pay each day if you wanted but knowing your balance all the time was very convenient. Our bags were left at the quayside and transported to our cabins for us on arrival. The ship was amazing, very clean, spacious, and well equipped for all occasions. There was absolutely masses to do, theatre which was huge, casino, lots of bars throughout ship both inside and out. Restaurants and café bars were placed all over. The main dining area during the day was the Windjammer which was open from early morning to late on at night and had everything you could possibly want to eat and at a very good standard. Just help yourself until you were full amazing. There was a main dinning restaurant for evening meals with a further two specialist restaurants but a supplement was chargeable in these two. Depending on what you selected. The menu in main dining area was very good and had selections for all tastes I can thoroughly recommend the Sirloin and sea food dishes or if you were hungry why not both have, the waiters was very helpful and friendly. There was also catering for vegetarians. Entertainment on board in the theatre was very good and the casino was also very good. There were parties / events in the bars and pool side at night and if you fancied a dance there were dance lessons most nights. Dress was very casual except for main restaurant which was casual / smart and on two nights it was formal attire, bow ties etc but not compulsory. On board ship was a few duty free shops which had sales on most nights and there were some very good bargains to be had. The shops were open during sailing times. At one end of the boat there was a miniature golf course and golf simulator, rock wall, football/basketball/ volleyball courts. Children's play area and pool although there was not many children on board. There is also a very well equipped gym and spa centre, the staff were very knowledgeable and ran classes in all sorts of things from nutrition to fitness and well being. When leaving ship at various stops the organisation was very good and easy. The ship had approx 12 lifts supplying the 13 floors and access for the disabled was well catered for and easy to navigate. Cabins were very clean and twice a day they were checked and cleaned by the staff. They consisted of plenty storage areas, bathroom and the most comfortable beds you could ever get. I would definitely do this again it was, as the ships name suggests, brilliant. Summary Good points - Excellent ship and standards were very high. - Food very good and plenty at all times of day - Entertainment very good with plenty to do - Ships staff and crew very good and helpful - Totally relaxed atmosphere no rowdies or charvers on ship - Abu Dhabi and Dubai were fabulous, - Trips available at each port if required (would recommend trip at Dubai to see tower) - Too many good points to mention you will not be disappointed Bad points - Drinks can be expensive on board, check for fully inclusive and drink packages, our travel agent said there was none but plenty of passengers had them. - Itinerary could have been better, places we stopped at (Fujairah, Muscat) basic but very interesting anyway, mainly markets and shops. - No more apart from leaving you wanting to do it all again and again. Check before booking as the prices between passengers for the same trip varied a lot. We paid just over £800 which included flights on emirates airlines and a 1 night hotel stay at Dubai before joining ship. Some passengers paid nearly double for same trip and package. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Departure: We were a group of 8 going on the trip for Thanksgiving. Our trip startied a little rough, once we boarded the plane to go from Miami International Airport to London Heathrow, it appeared that the plane had engineering problems ... Read More
Departure: We were a group of 8 going on the trip for Thanksgiving. Our trip startied a little rough, once we boarded the plane to go from Miami International Airport to London Heathrow, it appeared that the plane had engineering problems and takeoff was delayed 4 hours. But nonetheless we kept our spirits high. Once we got to London we decided to stay around the Winsdor area before catching our flight to Dubai. After a very long day of traveling, we arrived to Dubai! We were welcomed with open arms and took a shuttle to our hotel. Grand Hyatt Dubai: One of the most beautiful hotels I've ever stayed at and the service was phenomenal. The bag boy even insisted on carrying our purses and didn't let us tip him! The rooms were extremely spacious and luxurious and everyone in our group had a view of the Burj Khalifa from their room window. We spent our day at Dubai and walked to the Mall of Emirates. All 8 of us decided to go to Ski Dubai, since none of us knew how to ski we chose to buy the package that let us do other snow activities instead. I highly recommended it and was tons of fun. Embarkation: That morning we were picked up by private cars and driven to the port. Embarkation was extremely smooth and we were on the ship in no time. The Ship: Even though this is one of Royal's oldest ships it is among the nicest ships. It was very modern and up to date and there so many areas to go to that the ship never seemed crowded. Entertainment: Our Cruise Director's name was Paul Lancaster and was by far the best cruise director we've ever had. Him and his staff had us entertained 24/7. Fabio, an activities staff member was amazing to us all week long. I think it's because we were always willing to dance with him and participate in all his activities. Anyways there was a party on the ship every single night and they never disappointed. As for the shows they were all equally amazing. We saw a violinist and a tango duo. The show "Tango: Buenos Aires" was one of the best shows I've seen on the high seas. Dining: Our waiters Eduardo and Felix were amazing! They always assisted to our needs and always brought out extra plates for us to try. They made us feel so comfortable, we became like family by the end of the trip. One down side was that on Thanksgiving, there was nothing traditional to eat. No complains though, there were only 10 Americans on the ship and we were a group of 8. We never did meet the other 2 Americans... The Wind Jammer was great along with the Sea Side View Cafe, we all went to sea side every night at around 2 a.m. after the parties were over, the waiter always had a table ready for all eight of us with our favorite cookies and coffee. Fujairah: This was our first port of call but my least favorite. We decided to take a short tour of the city and we visited historical forts and mosques. We were also able to walk through a fruit market and got to see a petroleum plant. Once we were done with tour we went back to the ship. Oman: We were in Muscat, Oman for two days and they were phenomenal! Both days we took city tours that highlighted all the must-sees of the city. On our first day we went to see the Sultan's palace and Sultan Qaboos' Grand Mosque. We also visited an Omani museum which was amazing. After the tour was over we went back to the ship to get ready for our night tour. We boarded a shuttle and we went to a local restaurant were we ate traditional Omani cuisine. We were entertained by a band and dancers. The next day we visited old forts and visited a souk. We also had lunch in a beautiful 5-star hotel and visited a natural spring were the locals go to relax on the weekends. Before we knew it, it was time to say goodby to beautiful Oman! Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhab-amazing! Once we arrived in the morning, we too the transport to Sheikh Zayed's Grand Mosque. It's the third largest mosque in the world and definitely a bucket list item. I have never been so amazed by something as I was by the mosque. We were able to see the largest carpet in the world along with the three largest chandeliers in the world. After our mosque tour we took a taxi to the mall were we spent the rest of the day. Dubai: Our last day of the cruise was probably the most memorable. We visited the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, seriously beautiful. We then drive to Palm Jumeirah to visit Atlantis Dubai. After, we did a desert safari and had a moonlight dinner in the desert. There was a henna artist, Bedouin musicians, and belly dancers. Our night was topped off with a camel ride through the desert. Overall this was the best trip I have ever taken. Two thumbs up to Royal Caribbean for creating such an exotic itinerary. The staff was amazing and the ship was beautiful. I recommend this itinerary to everyone! Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
We cruised with my parents (mum celebrated her 70th birthday on board) and 17year old daughter. Our journey started with an overnight flight from Birmingham with Emirates, we were able to choose our seats a couple of weeks before hand on ... Read More
We cruised with my parents (mum celebrated her 70th birthday on board) and 17year old daughter. Our journey started with an overnight flight from Birmingham with Emirates, we were able to choose our seats a couple of weeks before hand on outward and inbound journeys and checked in online 24hrs prior to departure, all went smoothly. Immigration at Dubai was very long, then a transfer to Hyatt Regency where there was more form filling for India, this was all a bit much after an overnight flight and everyone was getting a little fractious, but at least we were also checked in ready to board the ship. Breakfast was a nice hot and cold buffet. 11.30am we were transferred to the ship where we just walked on board Windjammers was open for lunch and our staterooms were ready by 1pm and luggage arrived at about 5pm, which were prepared for as we had carried on a change of clothes and swimwear, so it was straight to the pool for an hour or two, then we took the shuttle bus to a Mall to get our first taste off Dubai, but we were so tired we didn't stay long. Back to the ship for a rest and get ready for dinner, we were 2nd seating which had been changed form 8.30 to 9pm, a little concerned this might be too late, but it worked well. We ate in the dining room every evening, food was of a good standard , but not quite as high on previous RCI cruises. Ate in the dining room for breakfast most mornings, this is where we noticed the biggest difference, service was slow and it never used to be a DIY for cereals etc. but I still prefer it to windjammers, lunch we took in the dining room when it was open, delicious!! We ate in Windjammers on port days after our time off exploring Quote: "I must admit it is the first time we have not managed to get hot food when you come back from a trip!! from 4 - 6 there is no hot food to be had if you were out all day!!!" Windjammers closed between 5pm & 6.30pm, but hot and cold food was available from the Solarium or Seaview Cafe, don't understand above comment. We enjoyed ports of call: Muscat, Oman: We walked off the ship turned left and followed the promenade all the way round to the Residential Palace, about an hours walk.Unfortunately at the Grande Mosque we had missed the opening times, a taxi ride back for a spot of shopping before boarding. Cochin: We had wanted to do the backwaters trip, but we had left it too late, our own fault. We took a couple of tuk-tuks, a memorable experience, to Fort Cochin, pulled up one of the chinese fishing nets, saw the Dutch Palace and got to see a Kathakali performance. We were out for 6hours and cost 20 dollars. Mumbai: Again we walked out of the port turned left and keeping left we walked to the Gateway of India approx 30 mins, It was Sunday and everyone was out with their families, we took the ferry to Elephanta Island, 130 rupees each for an hour ride each way, then it was a walk up to the caves itself, then an entrance fee of 250 rupees each, bearing in mind to do the ships excursion it would have bee 79 dollars each, so a huge saving made.All in all it took 4-5 hrs. We returned to the Gateway of India and went into the Taj Mahal hotel for a refreshing cold coffee, highly recommended. Next we walked to the Railway station, by this time dusk was falling, the architecture was stunning and it was lit up beautifully. A taxi ride back to the port, exhausted. We were docked overnight so headed out the following morning to shop on fashion street, but unfortunately the stalls don't open until 11am, it was 9.30 so we walked back towards the Taj Mahal again and found some shops nearby, then another coffee before walking back to the ship as we had to be back onboard at 1pm, but a lovely morning spent, the men found an inexpensive internet cafe whilst us girls shopped. Unfortunately we didn't get to see Goa because of the fishermens blockade. The ports were great, but i Enjoyed the sea days as well, there was lots to do, lectures, seminars, trivias, rock climbing- I was successful this time-mini golf we had a go most afternoons. Games room situated by the Colonial Club, where cards and scrabble etc were available. Two lovely pool tables which had gyro stabilizers so were level at all times, brilliant Spent a lot of time by the pool never saved a bed but was always able to find an vacant one on deck twelve, yes they are a little cramped, but we would soon moan if there weren't enough. I also enjoyed the gym most mornings and joined in the free abs class, very good. Evening entertainment was of a good standard and enjoyed each and everyone of them. Must give a special mention to our waiters Alvaro and Jonche who were wonderful and our stateroom attendant Leon. Also thanks to our table guests Julie , John, Anthony, Ste and Johnnie, we enjoyed your company at dinner. All in all a memorable cruise , would recommend. Our holiday was completed with an overnight stay at the Hyatt Regency, what a beautiful hotel. As much as we wanted to sit and relax we only had the day to go and explore, we visited the Gold and Spice Souk, then crossed the creek in dhow and shopped in the Abra district, fairly cheap.Then a taxi ride to the Dubai mall(20 dirhams), what a lovely shopping experience just sit and watch it come alive at about 6pm.Wish we had booked for longer that is all we had time to do returned to hotel exhausted, Up early to enjoy pool, breakfast was to die for ,buffet style, but what a selection. Transfer to airport was at midday, holiday oover, we will have to go back to Dubai someday Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We have just returned from our cruise on the Brilliance. We had flown overnight from London and had booked in for the morning at the Premiere Inn Dubai Airport (excellent and very good staff), We made our own arrangements to get to the ... Read More
We have just returned from our cruise on the Brilliance. We had flown overnight from London and had booked in for the morning at the Premiere Inn Dubai Airport (excellent and very good staff), We made our own arrangements to get to the port by taxi.Embarkation in our opinion was very smooth and fast and we had a wander round the ship to get our bearings whilst waiting for our luggage. We didnt have much of a wait and our room attendant Franky was a nice young man. After our luggage arrived we had a shower and went to the Minstrel for dinner (we were 'My Time Dining') it was a bit chaotic with people queueing.This was the only night that we experienced this and we found the food wonderful, great steaks and our Waitress and Assistant Waitress deserve a big thank you, Alejandra and Asa who we built up quite a rapport with. Lovely girls and so attentive and good sense of humour. Only downside I would say are the price of the drinks, RC need to look at this and the 15% on top simply isnt on. We went to the 'Windjammer' for breakfast and although it was very busy we never failed to find a seat. The food was excellent and yes there was a smell of food cooking, but they cooked the omelettes while you waited and where there is food there is an aroma, but no unpleasant smells. The staff were again excellent, nothing too much trouble and asking if you wanted more drinks. We appreciated the 24hr drinks being available for free, water, juice, teas and coffee. Waiters also walked around with iced tea and lemonade also free. We didnt use Chops Grille or Portofino as we were more than happy with the Minstrel. We always booked our time for the next day when leaving dinner the night before. Not a problem to do this we think. The shows were good and we enjoyed them, didnt go to the magician but heard from others it was good. Our cabin was compact and we had a balcony, disappointing when we discovered we were in container ports but didnt spoil our holiday or us using the balcony. Franky kept the room in excellent condition and the shower room/toilet was cleaned twice daily. Toiletries would have been a nice touch of course. We didnt disembark at Fujairah as we had read on here that there wasnt much there. On our first day in Muscat there was a strike with the workers on the port so we didnt dock until after lunch instead of 9am. However we had planned a trip on our own --- Marks Tours which we booked online. Would certainly recommend them, Hamhed our tour guide was excellent. We went to the mosque and fort, museum, fish market and drove us along the conriche, did offer to drop us at the shops but we declined as I have a knee problem and couldnt walk any further!! Mosque in Oman was wonderful and I preferred this one to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi Im afraid.In Abu Dhabi we went independently to the Grand Mosque (by taxi)really enjoyed seeing it and also went to the Emirates Palace which was a lovely experience. Didnt go to the Marine Mall again just due to immobility!As we have stayed in Dubai a couple of times before we stayed on board for the day in Dubai and enjoyed relaxing around the ship. Disembarking from the ship went very smooth and quick and we found a taxi to take us to our hotel in Dubai. We received a daily bulletin every night from our room attendant telling us what was happening every day also there was a daily schedule on the television by James the Cruise Entertainment Director who along with Cuddy told everyone what was happening with times and places to be. Also James and Henrik the ships Captain gave a good view of Abu Dhabi and their experiences of days out, very helpful and informative.We would certainly use RC again and yes maybe there was some paintwork needed touching up but everything else more than made up for it I can assure you. Many thanks to Henrik and his crew and again a special mention to Alejandra and Asa our waitresses and to Franky our room attendant. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We had cruised on the Brilliance before so we more or less knew what to expect onboard. We have also sailed on the Navigator and Freedom class ships before, but feel that the Radiance class ships are the most elegant of all. We ... Read More
We had cruised on the Brilliance before so we more or less knew what to expect onboard. We have also sailed on the Navigator and Freedom class ships before, but feel that the Radiance class ships are the most elegant of all. We chose this particular cruise because we wanted to see this part of the world but, on the other hand, we did not want Dubai to be our only destination, and this cruise offered a bird's eye look of several destinations. We did not leave the ship in Fujairah, as we had read that this particular port had nothing interesting to offer. In Muscat we found a local travel agent, www.mark-oman.com, and booked a half day tour through them. We highly recommend them, as they offer a half day tour in a private car for small groups of four people, at a price almost half than the price offered for the same tour onboard. The ship spends two days in Muscat, one has the opportunity to see a lot in this beautiful city of Oman. Abu Dabi looks like a very modern European city located in the middle east, only much cleaner and quite beautiful. If one is interested in shopping, the Marina Mall is the best place to go. The last two days spent in Dubai were he highlight of the cruise. We booked a half day city tour onboard and then spent the rest of time sightseeing and shopping. If one is interested in spending more days in Dubai, we recommend the Al Manzil hotel, a 4 star hotel with 5 star specifications, very conveniently located next to the Dubai Mall (one of the largest worldwide) as well as the Fountains, where one can watch a spectacular water show every evening starting at 6 p.m. The ship: Boarding was swift and we were onboard within 15 minutes. Leaving the ship was just as well organised. We had an outside cabin with balcony on the 9th floor. As usual, the cabin was always immaculately clean, our cabin attendant was very helpful and there was ample storing space. Entairtainment: We were rather disappointed from the shows in the theatre. They were very poor and unimaginative, compared to previous cruises with Royal Caribbean. The cruise director was a disappointment too, we saw little of him and he could have done a much better job in making the ship look more lively. Food: Royal Caribbean seems to have downgraded the food quality. Gone are the days when lobsters were served in the restaurant. Other than that, the various dishes were tasty and there was a reasonable variety of choices. Compared to my previous cruises we would rate this particular cruise with an 8 on a scale of 10. We have sailed with NCL and Celebrity in the past, but we find that Royal Caribbean will be our first choice in our next cruise. In this very competitive business of cruising, they offer a fair exchange on money paid to services offered and they know how to deal with problems onboard. For example, one of our suitcases was lost while leaving the ship (what a big problem this may be for a traveler), but it was found and sent to us to the airport, by a private car, withing half an hour, in time before we boarded the plane. Will we sail with Royal Caribbean again ? Of course we will, it will always be our first choice. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise as a Christmas present for my wife via a local travel agent. I originally booked a Junior Suite, but the we got upgraded to an Owner Suite. We flew Palanga Lithuania to Copenhagen, ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I booked this cruise as a Christmas present for my wife via a local travel agent. I originally booked a Junior Suite, but the we got upgraded to an Owner Suite. We flew Palanga Lithuania to Copenhagen, wondered around in the cold and had a good meal before catching the SAS overnight to Dubai. SAS, even in economy provide much more leg room than Airbaltic, the only other option from here. Add to that the free meal, drinks and entertainment, well worth the little extra it costs for SAS. We arrived 06.30 hours in Dubai, fairly quick immigration although my wife's Lithuanian passport (despite Visa) meant an eye scan and a lot of tutting. We had booked a car through Alma to take us to Metropolitan Deira hotel for breakfast and a quick sleep. That hotel was not the best, breakfast very simple, hotel room smelt of cigarette smoke and it was noisey. Having said that we ere so tired we slept well. At 14.00 caught a taxi to the Cruise Terminal. As it was our first cruise we did not know the format and got in the wrong queue, probably as a result of still being a little tired and not seeing signs. They were there for Owner suites, we just did not see them until too late. The Andromeda suite was just fantastic..much larger than we thought it would be, extremely comfortable and tastefully decorated. We couldnt stop smiling.The Went to the Wind Jammer for late lunch..buffet style but of surprisingly good quality for mass feeding. First dinner was a mess..a lot of confusion on tables, ours had other people sitting at it and it took the head waiter half an hour to sort it out, depsite his assurances that it would take only a couple of minutes. One man was getting really angry with the mess and was escorted away by security, but frankly he deserved it, he was pushing staff around.Once we sat, our waiter Ivan and his assistant gave us wonderful service and again a surprisingly good quality meal with lots of choice. I really was surprised, feeding 1000+ people in a sitting is a tough job to do well. Second day in Fujeirah, as with many we did not get off, not a lot to see there according to all reports. Spent the day sunning ourselves, relaxing and finding our way around this wonderful piece of engineering. Brilliance really is a phenominal ship. This evening we found out that our gold cards entitled us to free drinks in the concierge club..given the price of wine in the bars, that was a real bonus! And everyone in the club so friendly and relaxed..in fact same applied to whole ship. 3rd/4th Day in Muscat Oman..a wonderful town with friendly people. We took shuttle bus to Port gates and had decided to walk into town as lots of taxi drivers being quite pushy for their services..however once we got past that a very pleasant and friendly, not pushy at all young man approached us and in very reasonable terms offered us the two hour drive around to all the sites. We agreed USD60 for this service. His name is Hamed zizo105h@live.com and would recommend him thoroughly. He took us everywhere in town and out, to the palaces, Mosques, out to the magnificent 5 star hotel along the beach and then out to the hotels where beaches were. He stopped everywhere for photo opportunities and worked hard to tell us all details..but he applied no pressure to do anything, just what ever we wantd to do..we were impressed. Once Hamed took us back we walked down the Corniche near the port. That was not so impressive, but the souk was interesting. The cafes were a little grubby but staff and the fresh juices were pleasant enough. 5th Day Abu Dhabi--a mini Dubai, with lots of impressive things to be seen and obviously it will become bigger as lots of construction going on. We went to the USD3bn hotel where all the Sultans/Sheiks of UAE stay, very impressive, the Marina mall, and a few other places in downtown area...really enjoyed it and would go back for closer exploration. 6/7th Days..Back to Dubai..a city we love. Lots has been written here on Dubai and I dont need to add a lot. After the cruise we had an extra 2 nights at Atlantis the Palm, and what a real treat that was too! Highly recommend it, so much to see and do there that you wont want to go into town. SLightly spolied by a sand storm but not so bad that we could venture onto the beach. As for Brilliance of the Seas..following summary Accomodation-Fantastic Service-very good, from the lads who did the room (and amused us greatly with their towel sculptures) to our waiters in the restaurant, to The Concierge club staff, to the bar staff and entertainment staff. All very service orientated, except for the head waiter (of entire restaurant) who ran around a lot making lots of noise but didnt seem to achieve much. Thankfully Ivan and his assistant more than made up for that. Route-very interesting, but maybe another day in Abu Dhabi rather than Fujeirah would be more interesting. Entertainment-Generally very good, we enjoyed it.We did try a murder mystery dinner in Portofino restaurant one night..that cost more and was not very good, the only disappointing meal. Food- excellent considering the numbers they have to cook for Overall experience..fantastic Drawback-the only thing that really irritated me was the tipping system. Not only is 15% added to every bar bill for service (including the mini-bar) but then you are expected to tip the waiters, room staff and all others at the end of the week..double tipping and at not small percentages! I had no qualms about tipping the staff who looked after us well at the end of the week, but 15% on each bar bill is way over the top and unecessary. And beware, prices shown on the menu are before the service charge, so a USD40 bottle of wine actually costs USD46. If Royal Carribean could get that right, they would have a real winner, but for us, it was excellent and much better than we had dreamed. We will definitely go again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Brilliance of the Seas Middle East Cruise Feb. 2011 Dubai to Dubai As it has been six years since I cruised with Royal Caribbean International I was kind of anxious if I would be disappointed after so many cruises with Celebrity. ... Read More
Brilliance of the Seas Middle East Cruise Feb. 2011 Dubai to Dubai As it has been six years since I cruised with Royal Caribbean International I was kind of anxious if I would be disappointed after so many cruises with Celebrity. Since I started cruising on board big ships with RCI and loved every single cruise I took with them, they have still lot´s of "bonus points ". What I love most about the RCI fleet ( well at least up to their Radiance Class of ships) is the big amount of glass they use for building their ships . So with every turn you take , one is kind of connected with the sea- the ocean, which in my opinion is what cruising is all about. Considering the great success they have with their newest offspring, the Oasis Class I suppose the majority of cruisers don´t care about seeing or feeling the sea. That exactly is one of the reasons I never would set a foot on a deck of one of those behemoths. We were looking for a short early " spring break" , so when we found RCI ´s Brilliance of the Seas doing the middle east - the itinerary just appealed to us. I knew Brilliance already from a Transatlantic back in 2002, so I did not expect any surprises there. We took the night flight into Dubai, with a three hour lay over in Istanbul. The flights were perfect- enough room for our legs, food okay. ( Turkish Airlines) It was just tiring us up- so we would prefer a Nonstop - Flight from Germany to Dubai! First of all we had to kill almost 5 hours until we could board the ship, which we did early anyway at about 11 am. We were among the very first to be on board. The embarkation - Lunch buffet was not open yet- the cabins not yet done- which was expected. It was nice to come back to a ship, which I knew so well. I found the Brilliance to be in excellent condition. Very well maintained and spotless clean- for which Royal is known for. In fact I found her to be in better condition as the Millenium- Class of ships and they are equal in the time they entered service- well that goes just for the signs of wear and tear. X- ships are also spotless clean. We found the food to be good in either the Windjammer ( casual dinning spot) or in the Main Dinning room, even so the service in both locations. What we found a little annoying was the new " towel custom" they must have installed since my last RCI - cruise. One has to show the cruise card to get a towel for the Pool Deck ( as many as wanted or needed though) - no problem at all and it saves Energy and is therefore environment friendly. So this new installment quite suited us! BUT- it is just an absolutely " NO GO " that they run of towels in the afternoon. What is more intolerable is the fact the service person behind the " towel- desk" was extremely unfriendly to say the least- I even would go so fare to call her downright rude. ( We were just told that towels are not be expected until the next day) Nothing to say when they run out for half an hour or something like this. Not nice to feel as if one has to get down to ones knees in order to get a towel! Besides that little weak point the service in either the dinning room both Main and Casual, in the bars or in the stateroom were outstanding. Comparable to Celebrity. The Ports of Calls were interesting and not one to be missed. We always organize our own shore excursions so we can not rate those are provided by Royal. The highlight for us was Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi we recommend a nice stroll along the Croniche ( promenade) , shopping or window- shopping in the Marina Mall and a visit in this seven Star Hotel Emirates Palace- if there is enough time- High Tea there is a really great experience, which we enjoyed immensely. Fujairah, not much to be seen but interesting anyway, we just had a little walk there and did some shopping in the market. Muskat/ Sultanat Oman was a great stop- we stayed there overnight- which I do not really get- because one day would have been enough there- I rather would opt for an additional sea- day instead. Great Souks and old streets to explore. The people in the Souks were in opposition to those in Egypt last year not pushy or rude. So we could enjoy their little shops and the stuff the offered. Here we also enjoyed the walk back to ship along the Croniche with it´s great view out to Gulf! Dubai itself- well one day is just to short there so a pre or past cruise stay there is absolutely the thing to do. Since we booked four additional nights in Dubai we stayed on board the Brilliance during the last day of our cruise, when we were docked in Dubai- as kind of a extra sea day without being out at sea. Royal compared with X: Food- here wins Celebrity hands down Entertainment- much more lively with Royal- if one cares- we could do very well with the more " calm, relaxed" evenings on board X- ships. Service: a close call- but we´d prefer X over Royal Maintenance and Appearing of the ships interior: Compared with the Millenium Class of ships which are about the same time in service ( 2000 until 2003) the Radiance Class shps of RCI are the winners here. ( Except the Connstellation, of course, since she got a refit last year! Cabins/ Balconies about the same, smoke sensible non-smokers should be aware of the fact that Royal still allows smoking on the balcony, while X banned smoking there completely. All in all we would sail with both lines again. Hard to say which we would prefer. One can not go wrong with either Celerity or Royal! Michael Bayer, March 2011 Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
On reading various other reports on this cruise and ship I do not know why people were complaining - What are they used to at home.The ship was very clean, the staff very helpful, and the food very good. Where else can you get lunch until ... Read More
On reading various other reports on this cruise and ship I do not know why people were complaining - What are they used to at home.The ship was very clean, the staff very helpful, and the food very good. Where else can you get lunch until 1600 hours on embarkation day. And breakfast (everything cooked from 0500).All the shore excursions were value for money - definately a good way to see an entirely diferent culture. Even getting free bottled water on all the trips - this was a much appreciated first.The only down side was the entertainment which was not as good as previous cruises. The cruise director Cuddy did not know his facts and seemed to produce an excess of hot air.The dining was very good. The dining room staff were all helpful and informative. The speciality restaurants were also value for money. Evne got free champagne on the last night at the Portifino along with a fireworks display thrown in as well- definately worth the extra. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We are a family of 6 - Grandma (who celebrated her 80th on the 7th), twin girls (who will be 21 on the 22nd), our 16 year old son and us. We flew out on Sunday 4th April in the evening which got us into Dubai at 8am. I had read about the ... Read More
We are a family of 6 - Grandma (who celebrated her 80th on the 7th), twin girls (who will be 21 on the 22nd), our 16 year old son and us. We flew out on Sunday 4th April in the evening which got us into Dubai at 8am. I had read about the staging process so decided to do a bit of sightseeing before getting to the ship in the early afternoon. I arranged for a car & driver to meet us at the airport. I would highly recommend the company we used which I found on the Internet. It was mystiqueluxury if you google them. They were extremely responsive when dealing with them on-line and their service didn't falter when we arrived. We booked a 3-4 hour tour for 560AED in a GMC Yukon which was large enough for all of us and our luggage. Our driver Mark was extremely personable and his manager Shehan took the time to check that we were happy. So much so, we also used them in the afternoon when we arrived back in Dubai. This time they booked us to go up the Burj Kahlifa (so we didn't need to pay the exorbitant on the day prices) and a tour of the "Old Town". On arrival at the docks, we were processed quickly and our bags arrived in our staterooms shortly after we had lunch. In Muscat we booked to go on the "Mystical Oman" tour as the cost of doing it on our own was more expensive than the ships tour. It was very good. In Fujairah we decided to take the shuttle into town ($10 return) which was a mistake. They took us to a shopping centre where we were hounded by taxi's - had a coffee and then returned to the ship. In hindsight, mystiqueluxury did offer to send Mark over to dive us around. His charge for this would have been 700AED - which isn't bad if there are 6 of you. In Abu Dhabi I booked another car and driver using face-book (now that's a first for me!). The company was called Connection Chauffeur. Again, google should be able to find them. This cost us $84 for 3 hours which we increased to 4 hours during the tour. Ahmed was our driver - really nice guy and did us proud. We didn't book anything in Bahrain - and left it too late when we decided we should! That said, we decided to try our luck with the taxi's.. we agreed a price of 70BHD for a 4 hour tour. He wanted 80 - we wanted to pay 60 so we met midway. Our driver this time was Jeff (or Jafer). What a lovely guy - we had a great morning with him. His taxi number I think is is 2457. So, those were our tours now back to the ship. Cabin (stateroom). My wife and I had a double, Grandma on her own down the corridor and our 3 children next door. I would say the cabin size was adequate - no more than that. Our stateroom attendant (Carlos) took care of us and didn't complain about the mess our offspring made! Food. We were on the 2nd sitting with "My Time Dining". We were all impressed with the quality of the food and service from our waiters (Yusof & Ediz) was impeccable. It would however have been nice to have been on a larger table to socialise. We had breakfast in the main restaurant and lunched at the Windjammer. The choice at the latter was very good and breakfast was breakfast. Bars. I guess it is down to the strong dollar but I thought their prices were on the high side. Service was sometimes slow but this isn't a complaint. Entertainment. We all enjoyed the shows but I know this a a personal opinion. It was great to hear live music in each of the bars. We didn't use the disco. Pool. Too crowded and very difficult to get sunbeds as many were "reserved". RCI need to police this better. People would place towels on beds from 7am onwards which isn't good for those who abide by these rules. Summary. We all had a fantastic holiday and would like to cruise again. Things I would check before we do this again are- drink prices (or all inclusive option), cabin size, availability of guest speakers, size of ship (think I'd prefer something smaller). Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
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