We selected Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas for the 12-night Mediterranean Cruise because of the destinations. Unfortunately, by the time we were able to book, the only available cabin for our family of 5 was the Family Stateroom, ... Read More
We selected Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas for the 12-night Mediterranean Cruise because of the destinations. Unfortunately, by the time we were able to book, the only available cabin for our family of 5 was the Family Stateroom, Cabin 7004. We were assured by the agent booking the cruise that the stateroom “comfortably sleeps 6”. The Royal Caribbean website states, “Two twin beds that convert to a Royal King, measuring 72.5 inches wide by 82 inches long, additional bunk beds in separate area, separate sitting area with sofa bed, and a private bathroom with shower. Stateroom can accommodate up to 6 guests. (265 sq. ft.)” I was apprehensive about booking this stateroom because it seemed very small for 5 people, but went ahead. There is something to be said about a gut feeling.
Arrival at the port in Barcelona went very smoothly, and we were able to get on the ship right away. Upon entering the Centrum, we were welcomed by the wonderful sound of Classical Guitarist Aleksandr Kudrin. (During our cruise, we went to listen to Aleksandr several times in different venues and were always overwhelmed.) An announcement was made about 1:00pm that all cabins were ready. We made our way to Deck 7 and Stateroom 7004. I was overcome with such a feeling of disappointment upon entering. The King bed was exactly as described, but we only saw one twin be in the separate “room”. We did not see how the sofa could fold out into a bed. We inquired at Guest Services regarding the two other sleeping areas and were told that the cabin steward would pull two down from the ceiling at night. We were able to see one, and assumed that the other bed would be the sofa pulled out. We looked at the sofa and saw the upholstery to be very dirty and worn. When we pulled off the cushions, the cushion seams were torn, and the top of the “mattress” was very stained. It looked to be extremely unsanitary. We again made our way down to Guest Services, and were told that we had already reported this issue, and would be contacted by someone in Housekeeping. Some time later, someone from Housekeeping came to the cabin. We showed him the torn seams and the stains. He had to call the cabin steward to come in to show him how the sofa pulled out to make the bed. He said he would have someone come in and stitch up the torn seams, and a duvet would cover the stained area before being made up to be a bed. This solution was not really acceptable, but a replacement was not possible. We decided to make the best of it.
The private bathroom was extremely small. The shower barely has enough room to turn around in. This particular bathroom had a faint smell of mold and mildew, and there were areas in the shower where mold and mildew were visible. There were also areas around the sink where the caulk around the tile was cracked or gone. Needless to say, the cabin and bathroom were worn, specifically the upholstery on the chair and sofa and the window coverings, and very much in need of refurbishment.
Stateroom 7004 is located at the very front of the ship, and a stairwell to an area backstage of the Pacifica Theater is right outside the cabin door. During the afternoon, you can hear musicians practicing their instruments clearly. Forget about taking a nap in the cabin during the afternoon.
The food on the Brilliance of the Seas was very good. The Minstrel was a great place for dinner, and the Windjammer was wonderful for breakfast. The aft deck behind the Windjammer is wonderful in the morning. There was always a good selection of choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We traveled with our three sons, 16, 14, and 11. The older two enjoyed the teen club, Optix. All three enjoyed the Rock Climbing Wall and mini golf. They also enjoyed going to the Cinema to watch movies.
The destinations were the main reason for our choice of this particular cruise. We only did the ship’s excursion for Athens, and we felt we made a good choice on that. The stop in Civitavecchia (Rome) was hectic, and not really enough time to see the city. In speaking to other guests that had taken the ship’s excursion, they felt rushed to get everything in. We took a Hop-On Hop-Off bus from the main train station in Rome, and were only able to get off to see the outside of the Colosseum. Anyone wanting to see the Colosseum and the Vatican should take a ship’s excursion, but be prepared to rush to get everything in. Cannes, Santorini, and Malta were easy ports to do on our own. The buses in Santorini to Oia are full and can be difficult to get a seat on, be prepared for people ignoring lines and just getting on the bus in front of others. A cab may be worth the extra few dollars to get to Oia, which is stunningly beautiful and should not be missed. Oia, however, is full of pickpockets, which work in groups of two or three. Be careful of personal belongings. The cafes in Oia are very expensive. (Read Rick Steves’ Mediterranean Cruise Ports for great tips!)
The ability to go out onto the helipad for sailing out of and into ports was wonderful. The views can be spectacular, and the stunning sunsets on the Mediterranean Sea are something to see.
Royal Caribbean has a policy for pool deck chairs being first come, first served. “Unattended towels and items left on chairs for more than 30 minutes will be removed.” On sea days, all deck chairs around the pool seemed to be claimed by 9:00am. I only witnessed the 30-minute rule being implemented once. There also seemed to be an abundance of unsupervised children around the pool area – screaming, running, and jumping in and out of the hot tubs. The Solarium Pool area is for adults only, but it is a covered area by a glass ceiling. When entering the Solarium from the forward elevator bank near the Vitality Spa, there was a faint smell of vomit. I smelled it every time I walked through there even though I saw it being cleaned. When entering the pool deck from the Solarium on the port side, there was always a faint smell of trash.
Arrival back in Barcelona and departure off the ship was very easy and went smoothly. You are able to keep your bags with you instead of checking them the last night and getting off first through Self Assist Departure. This works out well for early flights out of Barcelona.
Overall, the trip was great and we have many great memories to last a lifetime. The Brilliance of the Seas has it good aspects, but Family Stateroom 7004 was a disappointment. Read Less