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35 Royal Caribbean Dubai Cruise Reviews

We started off on a bad start after flying to Dubai from Manchester & 1 of our suitcases went missing with all our clothes in. The case we received had all toiletries etc in. To cut a long story short, it turned up at our hotel in ... Read More
We started off on a bad start after flying to Dubai from Manchester & 1 of our suitcases went missing with all our clothes in. The case we received had all toiletries etc in. To cut a long story short, it turned up at our hotel in Dubai the morning after before setting off on our cruise so what a relief that was. After arriving at the port, it was manic, we were queuing for 2& 1/2 hours before eventually boarding the ship. We got talking to people who had cruised before & they were saying they'd never had anything like that before. After boarding the ship, we went to our room which was nice then went for our safety talk in case of emergency etc. A reggae band started playing on deck 11 which were brilliant & was playing while we set sail. We were celebrating our silver wedding which they knew about. We sailed on the 14th May 2012 & our anniversary was on the 23rd may 2012. On the 1st night we went to the Magic Flute dining room & they sat us on a table with 4 other people & we could not wish for better people to sit with. One of the couples, we ended up spending the whole duration with & they didn't live far from us. We we're Huddersfield & they were leeds. That same night we got talking to a lovely couple from Hull who we also spent the rest of our holiday with (all similar age & sense of humour). We were quite disappointed with the entertainment. We got told entertainment on Royal Caribbean was excellent. I'm sorry but we have better entertainment in our local bowling club on a sunday afternoon & to say there were over 3000 passengers on board, the bars were empty. There were smoking allowed in The Vault nightclub which spoiled it because there didn't seem to be any ventilationThere were also smoking allowed on the right hand side walking into the Windjamer restaurant so you had to walk through all the smoke if you wanted to eat there. We visited Goa, Cochin, penang, Kuarla Lumpar & Singapore. All those places were fantastic & we did our own thing rather than book trips off the ship. We shared taxi's with the people we met so was much cheaper. We only saw our room attendant twice & for four days she left our soap dispenser empty in the shower. Fortunately we took our own. The most disappointing thing for me was on our silver wedding, i thought they might have at least given us a bottle of cheap bubbly or put a small bouquet of flowers in our room, but no there was nothing at all yet when we went to Cuba & mexico for our Anniversary they gave us champagne, sprinkled the room with rose petals & alsorts,they proper spoiled us & it weren't a special anniversary. It was the people we met who spoiled us. One couple bought us a superb picture that we had taken on the ship in a beautiful frame & the others were fantastic, they made sure we had a good celebration. In the restaurant if our friends hadn't have told the waitress we wouldn't have got anything, even then it was a piece of cake about 2" square with 1 candle on & they sang happy anniversary to you (not happy birthday). I think if there were just my hubby & i, we wouldn't have enjoyed it nowhere near has much so thanks to all the lovely people we met for making it so enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We travelled to Dubai on 13/05/12 and spent 2 nights in the Hyatt Regency (separate review on Trip Advisor). Set sail from Dubai on 15/05/12, going to Goa, Cochin, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Spent 3 nights in Singapore in the ... Read More
We travelled to Dubai on 13/05/12 and spent 2 nights in the Hyatt Regency (separate review on Trip Advisor). Set sail from Dubai on 15/05/12, going to Goa, Cochin, Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Spent 3 nights in Singapore in the Marina Mandarin (again separate review on Trip Advisor). Boarding - was a nightmare, seemed very disorganised and a few people passed out due to the heat. As we were travelling with my 2 year old son, staff noticed he was struggling in the heat and rushed us to the front of the queue (very considerate). Ship - is lovely. All the common areas are well looked after but I have to say I was slightly surprised that the state rooms are a little dated. They do have everything needed and suit most needs, but I expected a little more. We had x2 D1 balcony cabins, my Mothers was next to ours (room 7364). Food - no real complaints. Some of the food was average but the majority was delicious. Johnny Rockets is not worth the money, food was very average but the experience of the staff dancing and singing is enjoyable even if you only do it once. Drinks - were very expensive (around $10 for a cocktail), some drinks were weak and not as nice as back home. Wish we'd bought the wine package as we had a couple of bottles during the cruise but they weren't worth the money really. We obviously did not drink much as had our son with us. We opted for the soda package for me and my partner, and the water package for us all (used this is mix with sugar free cordial I took in our suitcases for our son). This is definitely worth buying before the cruise as an add on. Excursions - hit and miss really. Cochin and Kuala Lumpur weren't good but Penang was an amazing excursion and well worth the money. Many people we talked to had made their own arrangements off ship for a lot less money (something to bear in mind if you prefer independent travel). Facilities - mostly great but have to complain about lack of things for a child my sons age. The children's deck area and pool were closed until the 2nd day before the cruise ended so we had to take him into the adults pool most of the time. The children's clubs did not have a club running for his age (which oddly they advertise they do)? We would have only used them for a couple of hours when it was really hot or if we wanted to try a speciality restaurant (children under 13 are not allowed in these) - but we could not as the club said they would only take over 3's? When I queried why, they couldn't give a straight answer but it obviously had something to do with the fact that there were only 35 children on board (my son being the youngest). This was really disappointing as my son would have loved to have spent more time with other children, playing out of the sun... I did complain but have heard nothing back from Royal Caribbean (no surprises, as everyone I spoke to who had travelled with them before said their Customer Services are rubbish). Staff - almost all of them are truly fantastic and work so hard. Our Waiter Amnat (from Thailand) was amazing. He couldn't do enough for us and paid particular attention to our son. He'd even bring us snacks to take away if our son hadn't eaten much. Would I cruise again with RC, yes I would but I would want assurances that there would be clubs and activities for our son. He didn't travel for free and it was his holiday too. They could have been more accommodating for his age group. Plus we lost his beloved blankie in the Cafe Promenade, it was never found :-( So if you happen to find a yellow plush blanket with a little elephant on the corner, during your travels, I'll email you my address for its safe return!!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Our last cruise with RC was about 11 years ago on the Splendour of the Seas- then a new ship. We enjoyed the cruise, but felt a bit disappointed overall. Mainly, I suppose, because standards were lower than the last time. We had no ... Read More
Our last cruise with RC was about 11 years ago on the Splendour of the Seas- then a new ship. We enjoyed the cruise, but felt a bit disappointed overall. Mainly, I suppose, because standards were lower than the last time. We had no real interest in the ports other than getting to see Petra. Our main reason for the cruise was the two day stop in Alexandria, where we have a relative staying at the moment. So, good points:- Nice cabin with a small but adequate balcony. (Knowing we were in hot countries made a balcony seem a good idea.)Very good cabin attendant. Lots of free tea/coffee/squash available. Public areas good and not too crowded considering the ship was full; mind you, it was good weather, so lots of people spent time outside. All staff seemed helpful and efficient. Excellent transfers to and from the ship- "seamless" would be an appropriate term. Windjammer food fine; cafeteria type basis but works well. Pretty good selection though both wife and I felt many sweets were a bit insipid. Cruise Director's camp humour was charming. Entertainment good. Modern engineering means a very quiet ship, with only very mild vibration- more towards the stern. Not so good points:- Cabin Air Con- seemed barely able to keep up with daytime temperatures of 30 degrees. Restaurant food, to be honest, pretty poor. Never really more than warm, and not exciting presentation. Nowhere near as good as last time. Restaurant service haphazard at times and our waiters seemed a bit rushed: odd as 8 guests on our table never once appeared for a meal- must have used the Windjammer all the time. I don't blame them!Our assistant waiter seemed unable to tell the difference between requests for red and white wine! Daytime activities a bit limited; plenty of things to do, it seemed at first sight, but when one looked closely, not quite as much as one might think. In my view, the bar/wine prices are extortionate; maybe this is how RC really make their money? i.e. Offering a good base-price then shoving on lots of extras. Remember all bar prices have a 15% gratuity added too. So, about US$ 7 for less than a pint of beer, and remember they buy liquor in bulk and, I believe, at duty free prices! Usual expensive excursions. (But we only did one, so that is voluntary.) Expecting you to pay $125 for a tour of the bridge, the galley and engine room!!!! Why the need for salt-water pools? The Chief Engineer said that they can make 1,700 TONS of fresh water a day! (Though they don't need to.) I really don't like the way RC make their passengers responsible for their staff's salaries: we paid our waiters' gratuities in full, despite having given up on dining in the main dining room. The risible "art" on sale. Sad that staff members ask, to your face, for an "excellent" rating when one sends in feedback. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Brilliance was lacking some sparkle This time last year I wrote a very positive review of Celebrity Equinox. This time, regretfully, it is not possible to be as positive although the cruise was far from a disaster. Firstly, ... Read More
Brilliance was lacking some sparkle This time last year I wrote a very positive review of Celebrity Equinox. This time, regretfully, it is not possible to be as positive although the cruise was far from a disaster. Firstly, the positives. As always staff and service were excellent. RCI's efforts in sorting out the visa problems with India were first class. Be warned - get a multi entry visa if you are going to India !!!. The music was good also - The Brilliance band, the classical trio ( piano and strings) and the guest performers. Our fellow passengers from 49 countries were interesting and fun. The solarium is also a nice place to read a book with an occasional dip. Now the negatives. RCI should have warned everyone ( they did warn some people) about the India visa problems. Windjammer Cafe food is barely acceptable and the Main Dining Room a long way short of the standard we enjoyed last year on Celebrity. The hot weather and many sea days meant pool areas were very crowded. The fitness centre is a bit small, old fashioned and lacking in views compared to other ships ( 6) I have been on. The stateroom was a bit cramped and the very old fashioned TV and program selection would not have been out of place in 1970. The main dining room was closed for breakfast and lunch on shore days. This left just the sub standard Windjammer Cafe and the tiny but excellent Seaview cafe on deck 13. The itinerary was good but unlucky. We were not able to go on the Dhow in Muscat due to wind and there was blockade of the Indian port of Goa by fishermen that prevented us visiting. This was probably more devastating for our cabin and dining room staff who missed out on seeing their families than it was for us. One of the earlier reviews has called Brilliance a 3 star experience for a 5 star price. That is probably a bit harsh. However, it is true of the Windjammer cafe and partly true of the main dining room. RCI has cut costs to the extent that the experience is now compromised. We spent 4 days in Jordan after the cruise and stayed in much better accommodation - even at Petra - for less than half as much with much better food. For the first time in 6 years I find myself asking if land based resorts may not be a better way to go. But land based resorts don't offer endless variety of people to have your meals with. Land based resorts don't move with you from port to port or provide the beauty of the sea. Land based resorts don't offer the personalized service and opportunity to get to know staff from all over the world or the continual music and entertainment. The solution is simple. RCI should raise the catering standards to those of their own subsidiary company - Celebrity - and for the older ships improve the programs if not the actual TVs. WIFI in the cabins would help also. The long queues at check in caused by lack of staff didn't help either. In the meantime, we will cruise with someone else next time Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We had already been on the Serenade of the Seas for a week up to Alaska in 2009 and knew that the Brilliance of the Seas is a sister ship. We had liked the Serenade and so were looking forward to a similar experience on the Brilliance. ... Read More
We had already been on the Serenade of the Seas for a week up to Alaska in 2009 and knew that the Brilliance of the Seas is a sister ship. We had liked the Serenade and so were looking forward to a similar experience on the Brilliance. We have family living in Dubai so it was a perfect opportunity to stay with them for a few days before joining the ship. Se we arranged our own flights to and from the UK and booked a cruise only. We booked a cabin on Deck 7 and were a bit apprehensive about the "obstructed view" aspect but in fact when we got to the cabin this was no problem whatsoever. Check in at the pier was a dream - 25 minutes from start to finish and when staff saw that we were returning guests we seemed to be given an extra friendly welcome. Whilst at the pier we signed up for a 7 bottle wine package. We found our cabin very easily. It was quite small - OK for a week but you would not want to be there for more. However, there was plenty of storage shelves and drawers. Comfy bed with 2 huge pillows each. Small shower room serviced twice daily. Our room attendant was Romeo and he serviced the cabin well enough. There was a kettle in the room but all you could have was tea - no coffee is supplied (we enquired at reception). How bizarre and mean is this??? They even supply cream (for the coffee which you can't have!!!). The hot water supply varied and twice when I got up in the middle of the night there was no hot water at all. Whilst waiting for our cases, we went on a tour of the ship. Of course, we soon remembered the layout from having been on the Serenade. However, they had dispensed with the large lounge/bar at the front of the ship and this is now a gym/fitness centre. Overall we thought the decor a bit tired - the whole place needed brightening up. Cases arrived in due course and we unpacked in plenty of time to get showered for dinner. I was really impressed with the compulsory lifeboat drill as you had to give your cabin number to the crew member so they could check that everyone was complying with the drill requirement. This does not happen on a lot of ships we have been on. We had chosen My Time Dining. This worked perfectly and we only had to wait once for a table. We don't like having dinner at 6pm and certainly not second sitting where you are not getting anything to eat until at least 9pm. We found the food in the main restaurant OK with plenty of choice. Service was good and they keep your bottle of wine in store for another night it you have not finished it. We had breakfast in the Windjammer. This place could do with some attention. Firstly there were flies buzzing around in some parts of the restaurant and there always seemed to be a stale smell of food/cooking. Second there are no trays so people have to keep walking backwards and forwards between their table and the service counters. In my opinion this created a clutter of bodies!! The fresh fruit was very good but overall we did not think that the food was as good in this restaurant as in the equivalent restaurant on the P&O Azura. This was especially true in the middle of the afternoon. The afternoon tea spread on the Azura was great - on the Brilliance it was poor - especially the cakes which tasted like cardboard and had plastic - type cream. We never ate here for dinner. Full marks though for the coffees. In fact we liked the fact that you could get coffee, tea and water on tap 24 hours a day for no extra charge. This is good. We ate once in the Portofino and once in Chops Grille. Both meals were excellent - lovely food, excellent service and a nice ambience. OK you pay something extra but we thought this was worth the money. Being Crown and Anchor members we were invited to a function where the Captain addressed us all. This was a big occasion and included canapes and free drinks. We were very impressed with this. The ports of call were Fujairah, Muscat and Abu Dhabi before arriving back at Dubai for a full day in port. Our family had queried why we were going to Fujairah as it is just a commercial port. Well it soon became obvious - we went there to take on fuel for the ship. The place was a dump. Muscat in Oman on the other hand was lovely and we had 2 full days there although one would have been enough. We did an interesting half day walking tour arranged by the ship. Abu Dhabi is a commercial city and really the only thing worth seeing is the Grand Mosque - and this really is worth a visit. We did not get off the ship on its full day in Dubai as we have been there several time and decided to "chill out" on the ship instead. The weather throughout the cruise was variable with lots of haze (not unusual in this part of the world at this time of the year) and it was also quite cool in Abu Dhabi. I would not choose to do this cruise earlier in the year than our date as this weather can be very cool. And now for the things we did not like: 1. The price of drinks on this ship are OUTRAGEOUS. £5 for a pint of beer and £65 for 2 bottles of average wine which we bought in one of the bars and took to our cabin. Of course, all drinks prices have 15% added for service. This is well over the top. For example the service we had for the 2 bottles of wine was the waiter fetching them from the store and handing them to us. We weren't the only people commenting unfavourably on the price of drinks. As a result a lot of the bars were almost empty. This was never the situation on P&O Azura as the price of the drinks was reasonable and no 15% added. On that ship, the bars were very busy. RCI should understand that on this cruise they are catering for the British and Europeans, not Americans and we will not pay over the odds for stuff. If RCI lowered the prices, they would actually sell more drinks! 2. RCI offered a taxi service from the ship to the airport on disembarkation day. Cost?? US$35 PER PERSON!!!! We did the trip by taxi for 65 Dirhams (about £11.50) for the 2 of us and our luggage. This was roughly a quarter of the price RCI were charging. What a rip off by RCI. 3. We had a dispute about 2 items on our bill. Fortunately we check our account on a regular basis and these 2 items occured on the first day of the trip. It then took us 4 DAYS to resolve the problem and to have them removed from our account. This involved us going down to guest relations on each day. No one was interested in helping us and the guest relations staff were next to useless until the last day when we really kicked off and one of their staff actually got the dispute resolved. As he said, we were on vacation and don't need the aggravation. How true but basically it was down to us to run around to bars and speak to managers. What sort of customer service is that? 4. A minor irritation - RCI have withdrawn the daily news bulletin available to guests. So, from the above you will gather that some aspects of the cruise were very good, some appalling and some inbetween. Would we go on RCI again? Very doubtful and not on this ship unless it has had a make-over and freshened up. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We have just returned (last night) from a cruise to Dubai,Oman,Fujariah,Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on the Brilliance of the Seas. This is our first cruise with RCCL and the first time we have visit the Middle East other than has a transit ... Read More
We have just returned (last night) from a cruise to Dubai,Oman,Fujariah,Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on the Brilliance of the Seas. This is our first cruise with RCCL and the first time we have visit the Middle East other than has a transit passenger. After reading the other reviews on this cruise we were a bit sceptical. We had relatively good flight from Manchester with Emirates and arrived in Dubai around 8am after a delay of 1 hour. The trip to the holding centre was fairly short, but being extremely tired, having been up 24hours this was the last thing we wanted. They don't tell you when you book that you don't go straight to the ship you get a letter a few weeks before departure with the option to book a city tour instead, but don't be fooled we were under the impression that you went on the city tour instead of going to the holding centre, but you don't you go to the holding centre until about 10.30 and then go on the tour.Drinks and a light continental breakfast were provided however we had to sit around a table on dinning room chairs for about 3 hrs, we really could have done without this. You are given a coloured card and when your colour is called you then have to board another coach which takes you to the ship. The cabins are not available until after 1pm so another couple of hours in the red hot sunshine in the clothes you left home in. We were quite lucky has when we went to our cabin our suitcases had already arrived but some passengers did not receive theirs until 6pm. We quickly got washed and changed and took a trip from the port on the big bus(the same open top buses you see in London and other cities)cost approx £45 each. The bus takes you around the city and beach area. You can buy a dual ticket for Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is well worth the money as you get to see all the main sites and you can hop on and off at any of the stops along the way. We booked a balcony cabin just for the 2 of us, the cabin was nice and the bed was very spacious which is more than can be said for the balcony, we were a little disappointed with the balcony, just enough room for 2 chairs and a little round table. The bathroom was fine but when you got in the shower you had your own little pool in the bathroom, the shower curtains are not long enough and do not sit in the tray and water goes everywhere. You cannot look in the wardrobe if someone wants to go in the bathroom because the doors have to be opened alternatively. The ship was very nice and extremely child friendly (shame that we had packed the kids off to Cyprus with their Grandma). There was a bit of trouble trying to find a bar inside that opened during the day as most remained closed ( not that you can afford to drink onboard - pint of lager £6 small glass of house wine £6.50, cheapest bottle of wine cost around £25.00 with gratuities ,same bottles that Asda sell 3 for £10! If you ordered a short you did get a good measure though! A 750ml bottle of water cost £3.10, piece of advice whilst in Dubai go to the cafe in the cruise terminal you can buy 2 x 500ml of water and can of pop for less than £3. The drinks, even soft drinks are expensive onboard they say its because they have to have it imported from Jordan and the government charges 16% tax, but how can they justify water and soft drinks being so expensive when they are readily available. The excursions are also very expensive we only did the wild adventure in Bahrain because we wanted to go to the Formula One circuit, it was a 4 1/2hr trip and cost $125/£85 each, most trips were around the same price.The wildlife park was a waste of time but the Circuit was excellent. Dubai,Abu Dhabi and Bahrain are very much alike tall buildings,lots of building work going on but well worth the visit, Fujairah and Oman, not much to see other than forts and mosques. At all of the ports you cannot get off the ship and wander around the port (like you can in the Caribbean) has they are all ports for cargo you have to get a shuttle to the port gates and then taxi's or book excursions through explorations onboard. We only ate once in the main Restaurant as we booked for the late sitting and it was too late most nights (8.30pm) and when you get someone on your table that takes 2 hours to eat a meal your night is almost over and done with by the time you have finished, but it was our choice to eat in the Windjammer self service, the food was very nice I can honestly say that I didn't put anything on my plate that I didn't like, however it could have done to be a bit warmer and I do wish that they could make an alternative warm dessert to Bread pudding it was the only warm dessert for 6 out of the 7 days although it is one of my favourite desserts and it was excellent there is only so much you can take. We didn't manage to make any of the shows but I heard they were quite good. They told us that the average age onboard was 43 it's a pity that the rest of the entertainment wasn't aimed at this age. If you like piano and Violin music and a guy that can't sing then your made up. We really did enjoy the holiday, but after all the hype we got over Royal Caribbean I still think P&O offer the better service and the little extras like information about the ship in your cabin instead of having to queue at Guest relations for an hour, being able to make your own tea and coffee at meal times, having coffee in your cabin instead of just tea and the little bathroom accessories.P & O also offer self service washing machines and tumble dryers all you pay for is the washing powder this is not an option on RCCL but they had an 'offer' on a small bag of small items such as underwear which would come back washed and folded for just $25/£17. The mix of nationalities onboard was nice there were people from all over the world both as guests and staff. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We have just returned from our Brilliance of the seas cruise around Dubai. We have cruised a few times before and whilst we are not "experts" we know what we like and what we expect from a cruise, so here we go! Flights: We flew ... Read More
We have just returned from our Brilliance of the seas cruise around Dubai. We have cruised a few times before and whilst we are not "experts" we know what we like and what we expect from a cruise, so here we go! Flights: We flew emirates from Gatwick overnight arriving at Dubai 07.30 Monday morning. The flight was fine. It had a good entertainment system on board offering more films / programmes than any other carrier we have used. The screens are larger than many and worked well. Food was typical airline standard, the cabin crew attentive and the seats comfortable (no foot rest which could be a problem for some) the flight was 40 mins late leaving but the time was made up during the journey. All in all not a bad experience. ARRIVAL IN DUBAI Having read some earlier reports we were a little worried about the arrangements when landing. Yes you are taken to a "holding area". This is not as bad as it sounds, coffee and light food is laid on whilst they process you and sort out your sea pass account. Some people did register and then made their own way to Dubai for sightseeing; others went on an optional coach trip around Dubai. We opted to stay at the holding area as we were tired and the thought of a few hours on a coach travelling around Dubai did not appeal. We transferred to the pier about 11am and were on board within 15 mins, No problem at all with check in. PORTS OF CALL Having not been to the area before we were unsure what to expect. We had read all the previous reports so decided that on this rare occasion we would book ships excursions. Muscat: we did our own thing, got the free shuttle to the dock gate and walked in to the small town. Had a look around the souk, grabbed a coffee and sandwich in a local cafe and then strolled back to the ship. Not a lot else we can say really, most people done the same thing. Fujairah: Most people took a tour here, we did to. If you take one don't bother with the one we had "east coast tour" Everyone (including us) moaned about it. You basically get driven up in to the mountains to be shown some have been "removed" and sold to Dubai as hardcore for building projects. To quote the guide, "on the left is a mountain, further down the road you can see a clearing, this is where a mountain used to be before it was removed and sold to Dubai" --- riveting! Abu Dhabi: What a fantastic place, we wish they had missed out Fujairah altogether and gone strait here. We done the city tour, great fun and informative. Most people we spoke to enjoyed the visit here. Bahrain: We took the tour "relax day" basically they take you to a hotel with private pool / beach for the day. On the way they give you a quick tour of the city. We enjoyed it as we fancied a day lounging around a decent pool / beach. The hotel was great, the tour includes lunch which was first class and the staff were just fantastic. They could certainly teach some skills to the crew on the Brilliance but we will come on to this! Our only gripe about the day was that the "beach" was about 500 yards long and believe it or not the sea was freezing! Many people stayed on board this day, some took tours and a few used taxis. They appear to have sorted out the problems with taxi drivers trying to rip people off but beware! We did talk to a couple of American woman who had to call the police when the driver demanded $175 for a journey that should have been around $70. The Ship: The Brilliance is starting to look a little "tired". Having said that she was spotlessly clean, many of the carpets are new and the furnishings are in a good state of repair. It's not until you look closely that you realise paint is flaking in quite a few places. We believe it's because they just keep slapping another coat on any area that looks bad. Rust is also showing on many balcony areas. None of this posed a problem for us because as we stated all areas were very clean. FOOD / DINING: When we cruise we expect good quality well presented food from attentive waiting staff. This for us is where it all went wrong. The food at best was mediocre, the presentation of the food was appalling and the waiting staff had so many people to serve it was impossible for them to give the service we would expect. Royal Caribbean appear to have cut back on staff numbers to the extent that customers loose that "pampered feeling". No longer chocolate on your pillow, no turndown service at night, no feeling of "let me spoil you ". Drinks: We were shocked to find that rcl had suspended the normal wine packs that they sell when cruising. First we were told that this was because wine was in short supply. However it was apparent this was not the case they had just decided to try to squeeze a little more money from the guests. Prices in the bars for beers and spirits was also a little on the high side. (That was if you didn't give up waiting to be served by the bar staff who again where greatly understaffed.) It was not unusual to wait for 10 to 15 mins for a drink because the poor barman was on his own! So in conclusion, Did we enjoy the area, yes to a point Could rcl have made the experience better, you bet! Would we cruise again with rcl, Not a chance, How many more loyal customers will rcl alienate before they read the writing on the wall! Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Our pre-cruise stay at the Hilton Beach Resort and Spa in Ras al Khaimah was the perfect location to unwind from the flight from the UK and may have spoilt us for what what was our first (and last) cruise experience. On arrival at ... Read More
Our pre-cruise stay at the Hilton Beach Resort and Spa in Ras al Khaimah was the perfect location to unwind from the flight from the UK and may have spoilt us for what what was our first (and last) cruise experience. On arrival at dockside in Dubai we could not board The Brilliance of the Seas because all the check-in computers were down and we had to wait almost 2 hours before being processed and allowed on board. The stateroom we had booked was their largest but when we saw what space we had we were gobsmacked, at its widest you had about 3 feet of space between the end of the bed and wall, about 10 feet in all, if I opened the toilet/shower room door when my wife was getting dressed, she ended up being knocked into the wardrobe. Having said that, the queen size bed was comfortable and with a small sofa in front of the television, it was just about adequate. Our troubles started at our 9.00am breakfast the following morning. We decided to eat in the Windjammer Cafe as breakfast served in the dining room ceased at 9.30am. The place was heaving with people when we arrived and it took five minutes to find vacant seats. The choice of buffet breakfast was very good, but the layout of the serveries meant you walked around for ages before you found all the components for your meal, then you went for your toast. Seeing that over half of the passengers were British, and the average Brit has 2 slices of toast for breakfast, they had one toasting machine catering for everyone, including those who wanted bagles, rolls, etc. The queue was sometime 20-plus and with the air conditioning working very efficiently, by the time you sat down with your breakfast it was stone cold. At lunchtime, this same apparent lack of of equipment meant that the queue for the one servery for chips stretched an equally long distance. We had no complaints about the evening meal in the dining room, this was first class with a varied menu and excellent service. We had opted for a table for six but when we arrived we had a table for 12 with just one other couple to keep us company. Luckily we got on very well, but it could well have been a disaster. We had ordered a wine package online but because this was a Muslim country, they had not received the delivery so we had to pay the onboard price - around £30 a bottle There are two sittings for dinner, we chose the early 6pm sitting which usually finished between 7.30pm and 8.00pm. Again the problem of space arose when we tried to find seats in the main Schooner Bar for after-dinner drinks. This was always full and meant you either had to sit in the Colony Club and put up with bingo and quizes or go to the sports bar which had very basic seating and plenty of smokers. On our first night we enjoyed a bottle of Moet in the small Champagne Bar but on subsequent nights we found all the seats in here taken by people drinking beer and spirits. The lack of facilities were by now taking its toll. Our days consisted mainly of sunbathing on deck, as the ports of call were all container ports, meaning you had to get a shuttle from the ship to the town, where you were left to your own devices unless you had booked an excursion. The opinion of most people we spoke to were once you had seen one Royal Palace, one Mosque and one Gold Soukh all the rest were very much the same, so our only trip out was in Dubai itself. There were no excursions on our second to last day as we were sailing back to Dubai so the ship was full. Knowing exactly what would happen, I had an early breakfast and grabbed a sunbed at 9.15am and then sat and watched as people began wandering aimlessly around with towels trying to find somewhere in the sun to sit. No chance . . . all the available space was taken and a lot of frustrated sunbathers had to sit in the shade. As this holiday was an experiment to see if cruises would suit us, we decided on 7 nights with Royal Caribbean, as their reputation for quality is well documented. What a disappointment. They have got too greedy by cramming as many staterooms as possible onto the Brilliance of the Seas but have neglected to provide adequate facilities to cope with numbers at peak times. It felt a lot of the time like being at an up-market Butlins holiday camp, but with the rip-off drinks prices of a 5-star hotel - and nowhere to escape to. We had no complaints with the standards of dEcor on board or the service outside of peak times, the casino was very spacious where we spent many hours playing the slots and blackjack. The entertainment was first class with a different show every night - and Gordon, the 'camp entertainer', was a good all-rounder. To summarise, the Brilliance of the Sea has been built to a high standard spec with enough variety of eateries, bars, lounges to satisfy most people but we found it just too congested, with everybody going to the same venues at the same time meaning no seats and slow service. The UAE destination was also a mistake with lack of variety in the ports of call. We have decided to give cruising a miss in future, but for those people prepared to give it a try we would recommend paying a little more for a smaller ship cruising the Med or Caribbean, or for those who love to mingle with the crowds to go for the Ocean Village or Oasis of the Sea experience and pay less money. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
I cruised for a week with my parents on the Brilliance in early Feb. It does not reflect the cruiseline, but our flight from Heathrow on Emitares new A380s were fine. They hold a lot of people, and it takes a long time to get on and off ... Read More
I cruised for a week with my parents on the Brilliance in early Feb. It does not reflect the cruiseline, but our flight from Heathrow on Emitares new A380s were fine. They hold a lot of people, and it takes a long time to get on and off the plane, but it went smoothly. The in-seat TVs are great, the choices are amazing. If you don't find something to watch, theres a problem. There are also some games and a music library. Embarkation didn't take too long. It all depends on when people are flying in. If a bunch of buses show up at once, you have to queue. If not, the process is quick. I never had a problem, and if you do have to wait, there are seats and free wi-fi in the terminal. The ship itself is nice. I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean ship before, and it was nice and clean. The pool area was often crowded though, it was almost impossible to find a chair after 9am, because people would go and throw their towels on them. The buffet area is nice and some good choices. There is a fair amount of seating, and if you go out back and sit outside, there are always tables. The main dining room was nice. The waiters were excellent, and the food was fine. Generally, cruiseline food quality has declined in recent years, so it wasn't fabulous but it was fine. We ate one night in Chops steakhouse, and the food and service was excellent. It was worth the extra charge for a special night out. We went to the Murder Mystery and dinner in the Italian restaurant was included in the price. The food was good, and the entertainment was great. The shows cast does the mystery, and they are a lot of fun. You'll really enjoy this, but be careful, it sells out quickly. It's worth the price. The shows in the theatre were all good. The cast is great, great singers and dancers. We saw all three shows and enjoyed them all. The tango show is especially good, as it features tango dancers from Argentina. It is the most 'different' cruise production. But the cast is all really nice and great performers. The cruise director Gordon is great. He's really funny and charming. Try and have a chat with him if you can. He's a great guy. The TV channel options are horrible. They play the same stuff on a loop over and over again. There are only a couple live news channels, but everything else is BAD BAD BAD. If you are traveling with children, or just like to watch stuff, bring a DVD player or a laptop with some DVDs, because you won't be getting much from the TV at all. Unfortunately there was NO enrichment that I could find. I would have loved to have an archeologist or lecturer speak about the area of the world we were in. This is where civilization began. There is so much history and culture, and it would have been nice to learn more about it. If you are interested in history, do your reading ahead of time! The photographers were not as pushy as I see on other ships. That was nice. People I talked to at guest relations were rude. They seem to not care at all about helping the guests or making things go smoothly. A lot of staff enjoys being on the ship, but guest relations seem to just see it as a job they need to get through. Something should really be done. I find if you go with a reasonable request, they will do all they can to help you, but on this ship, they didn't. I didn't even have a complaint, just a question, and I was treated as though I was a bother to them. Not at all impressed. Explorations (the tours) was tricky because the ship is new to the area. So I understood that the staff was still learning about the destinations and tours. But the lines were rediculously long. Even at the end of the cruise, they had long lines. They really need more excursion staff on the ship. I went to the desk one time, and a girl from the casino was working there, and didn't know much. It wasn't her fault, it wasn't her job. But they need a bigger desk and more staff. The hours were also very short, so every guest had to go see them all at once. The ports were mixed. Dubai is great, and Abu Dhabi is great. Taxis are cheap, there is plenty to see and do. Please make sure you go out and see these cities! Muscat Oman is ok. The port has shuttles that run back and forth into the little town. These shuttles aren't run by the cruiseline, so don't blame Royal Caribbean if there is a problem, cause it isn't them. The town they bring you to is NOT downtown Muscat. There are some restaurants and a market to walk around in, but if you want to go into the city, you take a cab. Negotiate. Don't pay their rate. Also, get familiar with the money. Negotiate a rate in UAE Dirhams. They will accept them. The palace in the city is pretty cool, probably the highlight. Fujairah didn't seem to offer anything. We walked to a few duty free shops, but there is nothing else in walking distance. There are apparent beaches to go to, but we never left the port area. This seems to be a bad port, and I got the feeling they only decided to go here because they had to fill a day. I would have prefered an overnight stay in Abu Dhabi or a visit to Qatar instead. Bahrain is interesting. The port is really REALLY far from everything. There is nothing to walk to. You need to take a tour. That being said, take a tour. It is an interesting country and there ARE things of interest to see and do. The first cruise caused a lot of problems, because taxis were charging naive guests hundreds of dollars for taxi rides, and so the cruiseline is weary of recommending taxis here. That is responsible of them, they recognized a problem and are warning guests about it. Disembarkation was not pleasant. It was easy to get off the ship, but they kick you off by 9am, and most flights aren't until the evening or the next morning. So a lot of people had to bring their luggage around Dubai or sit in the airport. The cruiseline should set up a program where you disembark but they store your luggage for the day. That way people can pick up their bags later and go to the airport, maximizing time in Dubai. It wouldn't be a big deal, because the ship is in Dubai until the next day anyways. This would make a huge difference and wouldn't leave such a bad taste in your mouth at the end of the vacation. Overall we did enjoy the cruise. The staff was mostly wonderful and the shows and entertainment were good. The guest relations staff and disembarkation were negatives. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Boarde the ship in Dubai, total fiasco some passengers were waiting hours in a holding pen many elderly were sitting on the floor, total chaos. On boarding our junior suite i looked at the bedding and found stains all over the duvet cover, ... Read More
Boarde the ship in Dubai, total fiasco some passengers were waiting hours in a holding pen many elderly were sitting on the floor, total chaos. On boarding our junior suite i looked at the bedding and found stains all over the duvet cover, pillows were filthy and had no protectors on. I think they only put top sheet over the duvet to save changing it every turnround which is disgusting. It was changed immediately. Drawers had dark hairs in them very off putting. Ship generally was very nice but not a lot of space to move around when full. Entertainment was the worst ever I have experienced on the 25 other cruises I have been on. Lots of Brits on board (I am one) but it was like a camp site with Karaoke type singers. Mainly in the bars the artists completely out of tune and very old music, many people complaining. The cruise staff and director were a joke hardly ever seen around the ship and looked scruffy in their uniforms. We arrived in 'Bahrain and were literally dumped outside the port to where the taxis were waiting. We wanted to go to Yacht club which should have been 6 dollars they wanted to charge 100 dollars each way for a 15 minute journey. 2 Bus loads of passengers decided enough was enough and went back to ship as usual no Ships personnel around so we went to Pursers desk, attitude was terrible we demanded to see an officer about 50 of us and said if they did not do anything we would all meet the dignitaries that were coming on board for a VIP lunch, amazing how things change. They then decided to put a shuttle bus on for the guests to the town but of course you had to pay. Their Brand is generally cheap, tacky drinks lists, half the European wines were out of stock, staff had poor knowledge of wines, no nuts served with aperitifs you had to ask for them, no bin liners in any of the bins, cheap toilet paper. Our suite had lots of flies as is was situated at the back, you could smell rotting fruit. The Windjammer restaurant was filthy food on floor worktops not cleaned and lots of flies. Mentioned it to staff but not really interested. All in all staff need a wake up call we the passengers have choices and I am going back to Princess Cruises. Hope this helps. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
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