128 Tampa Repositioning Cruise Reviews

My 4th cruise with RC and first transatlantic.... I loved it! The room, the balcony, the staff service, friendliness and professionalism were all terrific. I thought room service, dining in the Windjammer and the Minstrel 4th floor and ... Read More
My 4th cruise with RC and first transatlantic.... I loved it! The room, the balcony, the staff service, friendliness and professionalism were all terrific. I thought room service, dining in the Windjammer and the Minstrel 4th floor and food was perfect! I never tried any of the specialty restaurants as I thoroughly enjoyed the dining room and the group of people I sat with. However, I would not use the spa mani/pedi (fire/ice) again, though. Extremely overpriced ($120) and not to US standards .... no gloves worn, nor foot soak prior to starting pedicure, no vibrating chair. I was the only one in the room at the time and the attendant continually ran to the door trying to fix it, rather than letting one of the others who had no customers handle the situation. *** My advice.... make sure you have your nails done before the cruise, or plan to do them yourself. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this ship because we had been on it before. The ship is in the smaller class so less passengers makes it more intimate. The crew and on this ship is awesome. When we partied, they partied with us. The entertainment was top notch ... Read More
We chose this ship because we had been on it before. The ship is in the smaller class so less passengers makes it more intimate. The crew and on this ship is awesome. When we partied, they partied with us. The entertainment was top notch although we had seen some of the performers before. Great food, great service. I highly recommend the galley tour with the special lunch that follows. We already planned our next cruise on this ship for January, 2017. We ate mostly in Windjammer due to convience and the great variety of foods. Every night had a different theme. Although this ship is older, we did not experience any problems with things not being up to par. If you want a fancy ship, try the new huge ones and pay twice the price. My only complaint is that I wish they had more seating in the sentrum. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
The crew - from maintenance and housekeeping to the captain and his officers - and their commitment to customer service made the difference for us. It felt as if every Royal Caribbean employees was working to ensure that we had a great ... Read More
The crew - from maintenance and housekeeping to the captain and his officers - and their commitment to customer service made the difference for us. It felt as if every Royal Caribbean employees was working to ensure that we had a great experience. We enjoyed meals at two of the speciality restaurants-Chops and Giovanni's Table-in addition to lovely dinners in the main dining room and breakfast/lunch in Windjammer. The Champagne Brunch with a behind-the-scenes tour of the galley with Executive Chef Andrew Carmichael was a highlight of the cruise. We booked one shore excursion with RC because of the limited time in Gibraltar and were so glad we did-it was excellent. While we never made it to any evening shows in the Pacifica Theater, we did enjoy the nightly music in the Schooner Bar. Brilliance is older and smaller and beautiful with beautiful views at a wide variety of levels. We enjoyed this transatlantic crossing on the Brillance so much that we've already booked another for 2917. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We booked this cruise at the last minute. We had previously done a few short Carnival cruises to Mexico, but this was completely different. ROOM: Decent size, great stewardess, overall satisfied FOOD: Very hit or miss....they had a ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute. We had previously done a few short Carnival cruises to Mexico, but this was completely different. ROOM: Decent size, great stewardess, overall satisfied FOOD: Very hit or miss....they had a wide variety of food. But, I had the worst Mexican food(in a "specialty" restaurant{!!!}) and pancakes of my life on this cruise. There were other terrible items, but a few really good surprises as well. ENTERTAINMENT: Some great shows and some real duds! I tried the trivia one day and the lady was grumpy and unorganized! Her laptop died while she was playing samples for the music trivia and she was testy when anyone asked questions. SERVICE: What a range! Our stewardess and a few others were amazing! Guest Relations was a nightmare! Everytime I called and asked anything....I'd either get info that would later prove false...or, I'd be put on hold until I eventually gave up. OVERALL: If you find an amazing price, book it! If you have other options....keep looking! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Based on a number of reviews, I was concerned about how we'd like travelling across the Atlantic on the Brilliance of the Seas. I'm happy to report that it was a wonderful cruise. Getting on the ship in Tampa was a breeze, ... Read More
Based on a number of reviews, I was concerned about how we'd like travelling across the Atlantic on the Brilliance of the Seas. I'm happy to report that it was a wonderful cruise. Getting on the ship in Tampa was a breeze, and our room was ready by 1pm. There's no doubt that RCI has much bigger and newer ships. However, the Brilliance of the Seas is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, one can nitpick about some of the areas needing repair or looking their age. But the vast majority of the ship looks as nice as any cruise ship I've been on in the past. And its size of 2,200 passengers or so made it pretty much the perfect sized ship for me. The dining room service was a bit slow at the 6pm seating -- I believe they double-seated our waiter and assistant. However, they were both as nice as could be, and were always working hard no matter what table they were servicing. Our tablemates were great, but most ended up going to the later seating as the time zones changed. We got the Dining package for five days ($100 each), mainly so I could have sushi. Turns out both Chops Grille and Portofino were splendid places to eat. The servings were huge, and they kept feeding us course after course. We ate at both those restaurants twice. The view of the ocean from each restaurant was perfect for our dinners. As for the sushi, Izumi was pretty good, but the value for your money paled in comparison to the other two specialty restaurants. The Windjammer buffet was way too good for a cruise. I was trying not to eat that much due to the length of the cruise, but I always ended up there several times a day. Cooked-to-order breakfast was fairly fast and delicious. They were often carving roast beef at lunch. One night after dinner in the dining room I went up to the Windjammer to get some ice cream, and they were carving prime rib in the Windjammer; it was much better than the food I had in the dining room. A real pearl on the ship was the Park Cafe in the Solarium. This was the closest dining to my stateroom, and was the closest place for coffee, tea, water, ice, lemonade, and punch. They also often were carving roast beef there in the afternoon and in the evening. Due to losing so many hours (1 per day for 6 days), my dining schedule kept getting later and later. The Park cafe was a great place to get salads, sandwiches, pizza, and the carved beef after the Windjammer had closed for the day. I was concerned that seven straight days at sea would get boring, especially on a "smaller" ship (2200 guests). Turned out that once we reached Gibraltar, I still wanted more sea days to continue to have fun on the ship. Kudos to the Cruise Director Ricky Matthews for keeping up the energy to a mostly older and veteran-cruising set of passengers. Activities Manager Tanya was a blast, and had the patience of a saint as I tried to learn the Thriller Dance. Shore excursions were a hard sell on this cruise, as most passengers were at least Platinum if not Diamond level cruisers. Ports of San Juan, Gibraltar and Malaga also have most of their attractions close enough to the port to walk to and/or take a cheap bus. Shows were pretty good for the most part. The ship's singers and dancers were fine in their performances. Karen Grainger was both very talented and very funny -- run and save your seat if she's on your ship. Amy Lee (not the lead singer of Evanescence) was very talented on her violin, and gave a great show. And the Beatles Celebration cover band were very good; the crowd's reaction was much better when they played in the Centrum than in the theatre. The cabin may have been smaller than most cruise lines (as per square footage), but it never seemed small. It was a great place to chill away from the rest of the passengers. The balconies' view was great, even if we mainly saw nothing but the blue ocean for seven straight days. We've never had a bad room attendant on any cruise, and this one was no different. Lowell was perfect, and kept our room spotlessly clean, and the ice bucket full. For a sold-out cruise, it never seemed that crowded. I'm not much for laying around a pool, so I didn't experience the chair saving issues. The casino seemed almost empty at times, but that may have been because it could be open for 16 hours almost every day. It was also one of the places people could smoke, so that kept me from staying in there very long. There were some hiccups - the main one was when they had a midnight buttet. Long story short, lack of communication made it difficult to determine what line to go in for eating vs. photography, and a lot of people missed out on food after a 45 minute wait in line. In their defense, they rarely have them anymore and were obviously out of practice. All in all, this was a great cruise, and a nice ship for crossing the Atlantic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
took this cruise to celebrate our 50 wedding anniversary. We had a oceanview cabin and regular dining (set time and table). We enjoy this opportunity to meet other guests and form friendships. Our waiter and asst. waiter were excellent. ... Read More
took this cruise to celebrate our 50 wedding anniversary. We had a oceanview cabin and regular dining (set time and table). We enjoy this opportunity to meet other guests and form friendships. Our waiter and asst. waiter were excellent. The entertainment was top notch and we enjoyed it very much. They offered many extra celebrations on this ship which made for a more exciting time. The ports were very interesting and we had a wonderful time at each of them . We had planned this trip for some time and was not disappointed. The staff in every venue from workers around the ship , officers, waiters, cabin steward, entertainment staff etc. were some of the best we have meant. We took this cruise to extend our cruise on the new Ovation of the Seas switching in Barcelona. We thought everything went very smooth from checking in to switching ships in Barcelona. We appreciated the extra help that Brilliance offered in our switch to the Ovation. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
I was very impressed that I wasn't bored on the trip across the Atlantic. The staff kept everyone busy with lots of options for activities. The Chef was outstanding. I think this was perhaps my favorite trip when it comes to ... Read More
I was very impressed that I wasn't bored on the trip across the Atlantic. The staff kept everyone busy with lots of options for activities. The Chef was outstanding. I think this was perhaps my favorite trip when it comes to consistency of quality and taste of the food. Each night it was really wonderful. The Diamond Lounge was really nice. I have also always been impressed with the customer service from the employees of Royal Caribbean International in all areas of the ship. Everyone, including dining room staff, cabin staff, activities and service staff all around the ship appear to want to be there. They always have a smile on their faces and greet you. This is different from other cruise lines that I have traveled. They work to keep the ship looking and functioning well, and prevent as many inconveniences as possible. I will continue making the ships of Royal Caribbean/Celebrity/Azamara my first choices when I travel by cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Embarkation was one of the easiest yet. We walked directly in to the terminal, check in, and walked onboard the ship. Head directly to O'Sheehan's for lunch and wait for rooms to open. Once the rooms were opened we had a BA ... Read More
Embarkation was one of the easiest yet. We walked directly in to the terminal, check in, and walked onboard the ship. Head directly to O'Sheehan's for lunch and wait for rooms to open. Once the rooms were opened we had a BA midship, 10602. Overall the room is pretty standard for an NCL balcony pre-Epic. Bathroom could be bigger, couch could be smaller. Night stands on both sides of the bed would be greatly appreciated. We had one of the best room stewards we have ever had, Randy. He took great care of us and was always super friendly. Service on this ship was the best we have ever experienced in twenty five cruises. Everyone from the check in desk to the security guard at disembarkation was wonderful. Wait staff in the MDR, Philip and Ashish, were fantastic and spoiled us. Service in O'Sheehan's was personable, efficient, and overall excellent. We dined in the specialty dining restaurants 6 nights. We did three in Cagney's, two in Moderno, and one in La Cucina. Cagney's food was excellent and the service was even better. Moderno had one of the best salad bars we have experienced. The varying meats being served in Moderno are all quite good, but I personally like to just be brought my meal and I eat, less show would be nice. We did not care for the food in La Cucina at all. While service was still excellent, the food was less than great. We did not do any excursions or see many of the shows. We loved being able to spend the two weeks just kind of lazying around. Casino was definitely fun as well and again the bar service and casino staff were fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Had a great time on this cruise. The ship was only 1/2 full so the service was much better than the usual great service. Only 2 days of rough weather but everything was fine. Food was great, only ate in the dining rooms. We followed ... Read More
Had a great time on this cruise. The ship was only 1/2 full so the service was much better than the usual great service. Only 2 days of rough weather but everything was fine. Food was great, only ate in the dining rooms. We followed this cruise with a 7 day cruise to Norway. We cruise often and really don't care about sitting out by the pool. Had a great time up on deck 13 bar where they offered beer from all over the world. Would have loved to see more beers from our destinations. Got some bad information about the size of the rooms. Had an oceanview and was told that the ones mid-ship were much larger than the ones in the front of the ship. Nope, all the same size. Can not say enough for the staff all over the ship. They were great. Don't want to say much about some of the other cruisers. I did get a little tired of the dogs barking. Might need to redefine what a service dog is and not just wanting to avoid boarding your mutt. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We chose this cruise to be with great friends and travel the Atlantic with so many sea days. We love being at sea and appreciate the activities and time to kick back and relax. We loved the evening Diamond/Diamond Plus events and spent ... Read More
We chose this cruise to be with great friends and travel the Atlantic with so many sea days. We love being at sea and appreciate the activities and time to kick back and relax. We loved the evening Diamond/Diamond Plus events and spent many hours visiting with old friends and making new ones. The crew were awesome and the Captain sure set the tone. He was everywhere and was a real leader for the team. We started in Tampa and stayed with friends. We've been to some of the ports before so we were able to discover new places and explore different sites. The only difficulty was the rain in Europe (oh well). We had an aft JS on this ship and loved the space and the balcony. It was the site of many wonderful sail away and sail in parties. This also provided us with a great down time zone. The ship is older and showing the age in spots. We had ++ vibration in the cabin due to the position. This was especially prominent at night when they pick up speed. The temperature was good in our cabin but many had difficulties in others. I love the aft so the size and balcony are well worth the other issues. The temperature regulation on the ship was problematic. The Windjammer (although I only went in a few times) was always unbearably hot while the centrum on Deck 4 was fridgid. You get a strong smoke smell anywhere near the Casino but this seems to be a problem on all Royal Ships. The activities staff and variety of events was excellent. There was always something one could do during the day if needing entertained. Lots of trivia opportunities that we participated in. Once again our favourite spot is the Schooner Bar. The nightly Diamond/Diamond plus event was moved to the Show lounge and it was very nice to sit back there as the noise level was manageable. This ship is just not designed to have a large number of loyalty members in either the Concierge Lounge or Diamond Lounge. I did not spend much time in the Concierge at it was always very warm as well. The nice thing was it was quiet. They didn't have the TV blaring or music so it provided a nice getaway. At times there were strange odours throughout the ship… We ate at all the specialty restaurants and enjoyed the food very much. The dining room service was good and the food very good. The problem with MTD is always getting the time you really want but I understand the difficulties. Thank you once again for a great vacation. The Next Cruise Desk know us well. I love that so many people are available now. Thank you to the Loyalty Ambassador for helping us out and providing ample opening times. I found the Loyalty times on the Serenade were extremely limited. Cheers and I would do it again… Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Before the cruise we spent 4 days in beautiful FUN St. Petersburg, loved the city so much. We chose this cruise to get us to Europe and because we did the same cruise last year and had an amazing trip. Deck 10 was very dirty the ... Read More
Before the cruise we spent 4 days in beautiful FUN St. Petersburg, loved the city so much. We chose this cruise to get us to Europe and because we did the same cruise last year and had an amazing trip. Deck 10 was very dirty the first week and they seemed to be working on the pool or hot tubs every other day. Very bad smells deck 4 thru 6 interior around the Centrum bathrooms, smelled it on Deck 5 exterior too. Overall dining was good, found Chophouse disappointing, do not recommend ordering the NY Strip. Giovannis was great, ask for Ali as your waiter. Izumi was also very good. The ship orchestra was great as usual, wonderful musicians. The other bands and music were sub par. Needed to update to music from the 60's onward. The most fun was the 70's party in the centrum but as soon as the live band took over, it fizzled and changed to 1930's dance music. Get a clue cruise industry, the baby boomers have arrived!! Service was great, top to bottom. The Captain even sang Mustang Sally in the Centrum and had everyone dancing. The cruise directors staff worked very hard to keep us entertained, thanks Jhun & Jose. Toward the end of the journey, the entertainment really flagged. I love Karaoke but the times were often incorrect in the Cruise Compass resulting in poor attendance. The sessions were too long , resulting in repeated singing by some pretty awful singers which drove many people away. In regards to ports, loved them all but only had a short stop in Cartagena. Got in early morning and left at 1:30, stores didn't open till 10am, far too short a visit. We will do transatlantic cruise again, in my opinion it is the only way to go to Europe!! No jet lag when you get there and you are ready to go. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Our transatlantic voyage on the Vision of the Seas was a lovely experience. There were some minor issues, but our goal was to get to Europe in the most pleasant and economical way possible. The weather was generally very good with just a ... Read More
Our transatlantic voyage on the Vision of the Seas was a lovely experience. There were some minor issues, but our goal was to get to Europe in the most pleasant and economical way possible. The weather was generally very good with just a few instances of rainy weather that resulted in some instability. We had no trouble with walking or sea sickness during these very few times. The Vision of the Seas is a small ship but very well maintained. With age comes some inherent issues, such as smaller than usual staterooms and equipment that is challenging to maintain to current standards (the shower water was never very warm, especially during high use times). There were a few nights where it was a bit rocky with vibrations from the stabilizers. The Windjammer on VOS has a very small selection without a lot of variety. In their defense, the serving area is quite small. Captain Marek Slaby is an excellent captain and the crew was also top notch. I usually hold most crews in high regard but this group was exceptional. Captain Marek is personable and quite handsome. His wife was onboard and it was lovely to see them dancing and interacting. He was a guest judge each day for the Officers’ Master Chef Competition. Captain Marek also said goodbye to each guest at disembarkation. Embarkation: We stayed at the Doubletree Suites which was very nice and in a safe neighborhood. We had dinner at a nearby Caribbean restaurant. The hotel provided a shuttle, but we walked back. The hotel arranged for a shuttle $10 pp to port. The embarkation process was very efficient and we were onboard between 11:30-12:00. Only the Windjammer and Café near the Solarium are open for lunch on embarkation day. We toured the ship by ourselves. The first night’s entertainment featured comedienne Rick Snyder who offered up old jokes. Things got better after that first night. Dining: The MDR was generally a very good experience. Our waiters were excellent and the food was nicely prepared and delicious. A few beef dishes were a bit tough according to the other guests at the table. Our table mates were all lovely people and we enjoyed the conversation each evening. I don’t particularly enjoy waiters dancing and don’t like the pressure to rate them a 10 that increased as the end of the cruise neared. The Windjammer’s breakfasts featured generally the same items each day with a little variety (scrambled egg with tomato, scrambled eggs with shrimp, etc.) The fruit was cut into chunks (nice!) but the pancakes and waffles were dry and hard. The one omelet station was crowded. The food in the Solarium Café was very good and it was pleasant to enjoy a meal there, if you could find room to sit at lunch time. Cabin: We had a small, but efficient inside cabin on the seventh deck. The shower was really small and I am a pretty small person! We dislike a shower curtain clinging to us. Not much storage in the bathroom but the cabin storage was adequate. The mattress was sort of hard and they had no egg crate toppers when I asked but our steward did find one softer pillow. He did a very fine job of cleaning, but we are a couple with few needs. There were no gel or bathroom amenities automatically placed in the bathroom. Entertainment: Many of the entertainers were excellent and worthwhile. We enjoyed Gary Arbuthnot (flutist), James Stephens III (singer/impressionist and comedienne), Mark Preston, Traci Shields, the excellent show band, aerialists and others whom I failed to record in my notes. The dancers and singers were fine and the other performers around the ship were the same. One of the best experiences were the many dance classes offered by Miriam and George Moses. With great skill and patience, they taught the foxtrot, tango, waltz, cha-cha, two step, rumba, swing, etc. The classes were held in the Atrium which has a small dance floor. It would have been much better to hold the classes in Some Enchanted Evening which has a large wooden dance floor, but the games and bingo were held here instead (go figure). Marian and George came each night where dance music was played to help anyone who needed further instruction (or remediation). They were outstanding! There was a variety of dance music each night. We enjoy ballroom dancing but there could have been just a bit more music from the 1960s to1990’s. Karaoke seemed poorly attended and the venues could have offered dancing instead. Enrichment opportunities were interesting if you like to learn about economics. I would have preferred something on history or Europe or Spain, but the presenter did a good job on this topic. Cruise Director and staff: The cruise director, Mike Hunnerup and his sidekick Elvis were the weak link of the crew. I’ve really loved every Australian I have met on cruises, up until this point. His previous mediocre reviews were verified. I think they both purposely try to avoid passengers. I don’t find Elvis’ brand of sarcastic humor entertaining. Enough said. Elvis was the only crew member at the Meet and Mingle for our Cruise Critic group. It was absolutely the worst event ever (no fault of the cruise critics). He held control over it like it was an irritation to be there. NO OFFICERS were present. The rest of the crew was outstanding. Even the customer service staff was kind and efficient and a few went above and beyond which is not typical of many ships. They even made a ship to shore call for me so that I could confirm a private excursion. Master Chef Competition: This was enjoyable and something different. The judges were two passengers who were chosen because they had accrued an ungodly number of cruise days on RCCL. The man was fine but the woman mumbled and couldn’t be understood and was often critical. Captain Marek kept the atmosphere fun and upbeat. The downside was that there were no cooking demonstrations, which I enjoy. Exercise Room: The smallest I have ever seen and very crowded. I don’t want to spend my cruise waiting for equipment. I love a rowing machine and none were there. The promenade was just fine for walking except that the bow was closed off so the dogs onboard could relieve themselves. There were at least three onboard, one being a very well trained and “real” service dog. The others were given rides in strollers… Religious Services: A priest held mass daily and the Jewish passengers had a Passover dinner. RCL put the priest in charge of the Sunday non-denominational gathering and he didn’t even show up on the first Sunday. The Protestants had to sort of fend for themselves. At first, four different groups posted on the community board but then they all worked together amicably to have one daily at 3:00. The ship did not allow the service to be mentioned in the daily bulletin even though there were several ordained people in this group. This group turned out to be another wonderful experience and grew in number each day. James Stephens III, a performer on the ship attended each day and added immensely to the comradery of the group. We met many lovely people and a number of people who were on their way to the mission field in Europe. This group was one of the very best experiences on the ship. Medical Services: I had the misfortune of needing to use the facilities but it turned out that the doctor was just wonderful and diagnosed my condition exactly right and the total cost was lower than I expected. $186 for the exam, lab test and two medications. I went down to the medical center at 8:00 and was done by 9:00. Very good experience. Pool and Solarium: Even though it was April, many guests had a chance to use the pools. The Solarium is lovely but the chair hogs start coming before 7:00 (I had my AM coffee there each morning and witnessed the claiming of chairs each day). RCL did nothing to stop it. The pool and solarium area were large and pleasant with comfortable seating. Laundry: RCL had a $30 “special” bag but it was only for items that did not require pressing (pajamas, t-shirts, underwear, socks, etc). Anything that required pressing was at the regular rate, but the cost was not prohibitive. Priority Status: A transatlantic often has many people with diamond status and above. Some Enchanted Evening Lounge featured alcohol and appetizers each day before dinner for the Diamond+ event. We aren’t at that status yet. It would be nice to have a free drink before dinner every day! Comments and Survey: We were told by Elvis to let them know if there was a problem while onboard instead of writing a negative review. There was no easy way to let people know of problems: no comment cards, not many officers roaming the ship, etc. A survey was mailed upon disembarkation but expired in seven days. Many who travel on a spring TA stay in Europe a while, so we had no way of giving our opinion when we returned home after spending 11 more days in Europe. Disembarkation: The process in getting off was relatively easy but it was raining and the que for a taxi was long and many people had to stand outside in the rain. We went through European passport and customs in Portugal, so Barcelona was a snap. Summary: Despite some details that were a bit disappointing, nothing about the cruise would prevent us from booking a cruise on the Vision of the Seas or RCCL again. The positives far outweighed the negatives and it was a great value. The crew and the other passengers made the cruise a great experience and were glad we went to Europe on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Our 2nd transatlantic cruise with RC. Will always try to travel to Europe this way instead of flying, which we find torture. We don't drink or take excursions as we find these very overpriced, but always enjoy our cruises. My ... Read More
Our 2nd transatlantic cruise with RC. Will always try to travel to Europe this way instead of flying, which we find torture. We don't drink or take excursions as we find these very overpriced, but always enjoy our cruises. My wife and I traveled with a friend and were given a family cabin (Cabin 2532) which was perfect for us. The cabin steward, Arlin, was great - low key, friendly and efficient. We found the food not quite as good as on our previous cruise 4 years ago, but still pretty good. I'm a vegetarian and I decided to have most of my meals in the Windjammer as there was much more choice for me there. My companions preferred the dining room for the evening meal and tell me the service was excellent. Captain Marek was great, and every crew member we met was friendly, personable and efficient. Certainly no complaints there. The only real downside was the coffee in the Windjammer, which was terrible! Worse than any coffee we have had anywhere. I hope that RC will make some improvements in that department. We used the gym on deck 10 most mornings. Would like to see more treadmills.There was a 20 minute time limit on them due to high demand. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Fantastic cruise, As a solo cruiser it was the best ever, I met lots of solo women my age group, someone to dine with every night. There was more than enough activities to keep me occupied even the eight days at sea there was plenty ... Read More
Fantastic cruise, As a solo cruiser it was the best ever, I met lots of solo women my age group, someone to dine with every night. There was more than enough activities to keep me occupied even the eight days at sea there was plenty to do, lots of fantastic people from all over. The food and crew were also terrific, I think it was great value for money. The smaller ship was also an advantage being solo the bigger ships can be very lonely. I loved Tampa, great city to cruise out of, I spent two days there after a long flight from Australia. Combining the western Caribbean and the Transatlantic cruises together was also a plus giving me twenty one nights sailing and two different passenger groups, the younger and party mode on the first seven nights to the older more reserved on the Transatlantic. overall a fantastic trip can't wait to do it again Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My trip was a triple back to back to back 28 day. Did cruise at same time as popcorn52 and totally agree with her comments. Best Capt. (Merak) ever. Food was so-so but that's the standard with Royal Caribbean now. But plenty of it. ... Read More
My trip was a triple back to back to back 28 day. Did cruise at same time as popcorn52 and totally agree with her comments. Best Capt. (Merak) ever. Food was so-so but that's the standard with Royal Caribbean now. But plenty of it. Too bad you have to go to a specialty restaurant to get a decent steak. Probably on purpose. Prefer Princess overall however RCL's dining rooms are laid out better. Now that I've reached Diamond level I'm told RCL is playing games. Seems the Pinnacle's don't want to associate with us commoners. Putting a rope between us. Give me a break!!! We will be Elite with Princess after our next cruise so most of our future cruises will probably be with them. Princess will also stack on-board credits, Military, Shareholder, etc. Where RCL will just give you the best credit. Just my observation. Hope this helps you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Whilst my wife and I are experienced cruisers, this was our first Trans-Atlantic crossing. It was our second time cruising with RCI, but our first time aboard a Radiance Class ship. From a loyalty perspective, we are not particularly ... Read More
Whilst my wife and I are experienced cruisers, this was our first Trans-Atlantic crossing. It was our second time cruising with RCI, but our first time aboard a Radiance Class ship. From a loyalty perspective, we are not particularly biased toward any cruise line - we are much more interested in where the cruise will take us. PRE-BOARDING We flew into Tampa from the UK, spending the night prior to boarding at the Intercontinental. The flights and hotel were arranged through RCI, and all were excellent. We did not choose to use their interconnecting service between airport and hotel, or from hotel to ship. It was way too expensive compared to what was available locally – The hotel offered a free shuttle from the airport, and a low cost shuttle to the ship. CHECK IN Tampa proved to be an interesting Cruise terminal when compared to the bigger sites such as either Miami or Ft Lauderdale. Right next to the Aquarium, there was very easy passenger drop-off, well marshalled by the local police. We joined at the busiest time of the day (11.30), and lines were long, but moved quickly. The staff for the embarkation were all extremely friendly and very efficient. We were on board and in ensconced in our cabin 7040 just over an hour later. No small feat to achieve such a short boarding time with crowds of that size, and to have the cabin ready so soon before 2pm. STAFF The ship’s staff were unfailingly polite at all times. Our cabin steward was particularly cheerful and exceptionally helpful at all times. Interestingly on a TA (Trans-Atlantic crossing), the majority of passengers are well-seasoned cruisers, and the majority are high on brand loyalty. Our cruise had 204 Cruise Critic members attending the meet and mingle event. The vast majority of the cruisers were at least Diamond or Diamond plus level. This made for a very knowledgeable and sometimes overly critical cruising group. The amount of times I heard “it was never like this on the (insert name of RCI ship here)” or variations to that theme was far too often. If this was too much for me on occasional conversations, I dread to think what the poor crew went through. Because of the high number of Cruise Critic guests onboard, the Officers decided to put on a private lunch for the CC members who signed up for the Meet and Mingle. The lunch was delicious, as was the free wine. We thought this was a really nice touch which we all appreciated. FOOD This is, after all, one of the main components of a cruise. We have sailed with Royal Caribbean, in the past without complaints. Prior to embarking, I had read a number of reviews that slated the food offering in both the MDR and the Windjammer. I can say that while to food was not exceptional (unless you went to the additional fee restaurants), it was always at least “good”. I am partial to curry, and the curry’s were all without exception incredibly well spiced and flavoured. We did partake in all of the additional fee dining. The Chef’s table was probably the best in terms of value for money and quality. Exceptional food, plus 6 separate glasses of wine. Chops Grill was great, and Giovanni’s was good. Not as happy with the Sushi at Izumi. The sushi was not to my taste, as I do not care much for the sauces, which they seem to like applying to all the sushi pieces. Izumi is also an oddity for the way it is both marketed (it is not) and the way it charges. Izumi is hidden away at the back of deck 12 starboard side (access via the outer deck). The signage does not help in finding the site easily. There is no fee for reserving your table (unlike every other upgraded restaurant aboard), but you are charged for each menu item you order. I would not return to Izumi, but would go to every other site again – especially Chef’s table. THE SHIP This is a really nice ship, not too big, about 2000 or so passengers. The ship was full for the voyage. Due to the weather for this TA (fairly bumpy, overcast and windy throughout), It was never a problem finding a sunbed. It was easy to find your way around, and had sufficient of the usual shops, and special 'sale' days of various items, bags, perfume, jewellery and the like. The prices were standard shipboard pricing – slightly better than ashore, but not enough to say it was an exceptional offer. This ship has a solarium. It was a really pleasant place to spend time, even if the seas were rough. This was the most popular “outside” area, as it was sheltered from the wind, had a bar and snack area, plus a lovely pool and hot tub. Beyond this area was the gym and spa. The gym (not that we used it) had lots of equipment, and the spa the usual treatments with prices pretty similar to most cruise lines. The ship was well maintained, well run, and for a 13 year old, in really good shape. ENTERTAINMENT Chlo was our CD and Alison her assistant. They did an excellent job. The acts they brought on to keep people entertained (remember, this was a TA. A 15 night cruise, with 10 sea days), were exceptionally good. We were not impressed with the gymnast or the one comedian (there were 3 in total), but loved The Magnets (beat-boxing with exceptional harmonies), Tucker, the 3 sets that the production company put on, and the awesome ship’s band. Really good entertainment! DRINKS This was an area where I spent a great deal of time researching all the options available. Drinks packages are actually pretty comprehensive I think, and unlike other cruise lines, not everyone in the cabin needs to be on the same package. I drink moderately, and was not sure that a drinks package would work for me. This was proved correct, even with the number of sea days we enjoyed. If you think that the average drink costs about $8.00, it means that on every single day, you need to drink at least 6 alcoholic drinks. I drank as much as I wanted, of what-ever I wanted (including a nice bottle of red), and never once regretted not getting the package. My wife does not drink, but does go through a lot of soda (Diet Coke). We bought the basic soda package for her, and this proved to be a great deal. DINING ARRANGEMENTS We paid our tips in advance with the cruise fee, and this enabled us to enjoy 'My Time' dining. This actually suited us as it enables us to book a table for 2 (we were on our 25 year anniversary and wanted a little romantic time together without sharing with a table). We were very happy with the arrangements, and the Maître’d was able to book us the same table, at the same night for every night of the cruise. This means were able to bond with our wait staff and enjoy all the trappings of the MDR on the Deck 4, while enjoying My Time Dining for 2 on deck 5. Shore Excursions A bit hit or miss really. (1) Norfolk VA was our first stop. Deciding on a walking tour, we were surprised by how poorly the excursion was organized, and the lack of enjoyment and value that the tour delivered. It was so bad, we bailed out midway through and went to the nearby Mall. This was a first time visit for RCI, and they were feeling their way into what worked and what did not as much as we were. We were asked for our feedback on the tour mid-cruise. We provided it, and were promptly called, and offered a full refund (without asking for it) – Classy RCI! (2) Cork (Cobh). An excellent tour to Blarney Castle and the nearby Woolen Mill shop. The tour was good value, with a superb guide who told us jokes and had us singing on the way home. (3) Cherbourg. A poor trip to Cap d’La Hague and Crepe tasting. The guide was also trying to help the driver navigate the area, as he was new to the locality. The guide was not totally fluent in English (but good enough), and so was trying hard to keep up with where the driver was going (there were many wrong turns), providing an English commentary, and ensure that the coach was happy. It did not work out that well. Cap d’La Hague was a granite peninsular with a few pretty harbours. The Crepes were cold and limited to sugar as the only topping. Not worth the time or money. (4) Zebrugges (Brugge). Did our own thing and had a great time. SUMMARY A great cruise that we very much enjoyed. The itinerary was what we signed up, as we enjoy sea days – Not sure we were quiet prepared for just how many very experienced cruisers attended these type of crossings (and how few kids there were). The few problems we encountered didn't spoil it for us because we are positive people generally who can see the funny side of things, even when they are going wrong. We will definitely sail RCI again, and would happily recommend the Brilliance as a great ship to cruise aboard. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Let me start by saying we have cruised many times, with Celebrity and Princess but this cruise was inferior to both of those lines. It was our first time with RCCL and we chose this as a relaxing way back across the Atlantic after a trip ... Read More
Let me start by saying we have cruised many times, with Celebrity and Princess but this cruise was inferior to both of those lines. It was our first time with RCCL and we chose this as a relaxing way back across the Atlantic after a trip to the USA. We did enjoy our trip but certainly no Wow! The check in was slow at Tampa and took the best part of an hour. Our cabin was ok but the layout made the room seem small and the shower was very cramped. The cabin attendant was good, but despite asking us to put out a card when we were ready seemed to operate to a set routine. The good things The captain was very visible and kept us safe and sort of comfortable during two storms. The putting course was superb. Although our first RCCL cruise we are elite on Celebrity so could attend diamond events which were very good. Had trapped a nerve in my beck and the medical staff were excellent. Visited one speciality restaurant, Giovanni's which was excellent The not so good The Windjammer. The food lacked variety. We like cold smallish lunches. The ham was bland, and egg and fish spread at lunch time were uninspiring. We filled in the mid cruise survey but it made no difference. Difficult I guess to buy prawns etc in the middle of the Atlantic. The service was variable, with some staff being good at clearing tables, others not so. Main Dining Room. Ok but food again not as good and less choices than other lines. Service here was good. Sea Day Programmes (of which there were nine) were bland. Speakers were poor, with one exception, we enjoy enrichment programmes normally. Trivia was ok. Of course the weather limited some things. Needed a bit more imagination. Entertainment. We loved the classical trio, and the group were good. The production shows again not as good as on other lines. The Diamonds were good but comedians etc not our scene. Yes I know you can't please everyone. Disembarkation was much more efficient. So an ok cruise. Will we go RCCL again, maybe, we go via destination rather than line but if both they and say Celebrity do the same trip it will be Celebrity for us. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Tampa was a easy port to depart from. Staff at pier were very friendly and polite. I did bring 2 bottles of wine, wrapped in bubble wrap, in my carry on . I also transported 12 cans of diet coke in my carry on. No problem going thru ... Read More
Tampa was a easy port to depart from. Staff at pier were very friendly and polite. I did bring 2 bottles of wine, wrapped in bubble wrap, in my carry on . I also transported 12 cans of diet coke in my carry on. No problem going thru security. It is a bit of a hike to get on the ship so if you need a wheelchair assist do not hesitate to ask for one. Our balcony cabin was nice. Room steward did a good job. Friendly and courteous. Windjammer was busy on first day but we were able to find seating. Food was very good with nice variety. We ate most breakfasts and lunches there. The Park Cafe has wonderful roast beef sandwiches..not to be missed. We had first dinner seating. Our wait staff was excellent. I was able to order shrimp cocktail a few times even though it was not on the menu. Food was very good..not excellent, but very good. Entertainment was good to excellent. We enjoy going to the shows and the late night comedy. We enjoyed Clo the cruise director. I thought she did a very nice job. Unfortunately, we hit some bad weather, a storm actually, and the seas were very rough for 2-3 days. Days on board were chilly requiring a light jacket. For a 14 day cruise there were 3 formal nights. It was fun to get dressed up. However, my husband didn't share my sentiment so one of the formal nights we ate in the Windjammer. Shore excursions: We didn't do one in Norfolk as my husband was stationed there in the service. We did do the ship excursion in Cobh and thought it was nice. Weather was chilly and rainy so that didn't help. We were fortunate to book a private tour to the Omaha Beach..very moving. The ships tour had sold out weeks before sailing. So if you plan on seeing the beaches in France.book early. We took the scenic Flanders tour in Brugges. It was very nice..got to the chocolate factory..yum. Disembarkation was easy. Plenty of porters to help with luggage. We stayed 2 nights in London following the cruise. It was fun. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our 25th cruise. We cruise with different cruise lines. RCC has the smallest rooms of any cruise lines we have been on. You had to slide around the bed to get to the balcony or other side of the room. Their beds are ... Read More
This was our 25th cruise. We cruise with different cruise lines. RCC has the smallest rooms of any cruise lines we have been on. You had to slide around the bed to get to the balcony or other side of the room. Their beds are horrible. Ours was worn out and sags in the middle. I asked for extra padding but that did not help at all. Woke up in pain daily. Another CC was told they have replaced about half of the mattresses. Their complaint was the bed were way too hard. Ship looks worn out. Blinds in the main dinning room when pulled up have strings hanging from them. Furniture is torn and leather spots torn. One white couch was half gray at the top from grime. Staff was great. People at our table including us ordered Escargot the first and second night. I complained that it was room temperature could they get me a hot one. It took 3 times to get one hot. The second night the assistant Maître d took all 5 of them back to the kitchen and brought out hot ones. I was told they had a meeting on how to serve them hot. The rest of the cruise they were served hot. They do listen and make changes. Cruising has returned to the top class and the rest of us. I hate that there are rooms for some. This causes snobbiest. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Some of the reasons that we chose this cruise was because of the ports since we had not been to Ireland nor had we been to Norfolk, VA or Cherbourg in France. But the other part is just that we like to cruise and the transatlantic answers ... Read More
Some of the reasons that we chose this cruise was because of the ports since we had not been to Ireland nor had we been to Norfolk, VA or Cherbourg in France. But the other part is just that we like to cruise and the transatlantic answers that. This was our 2nd transatlantic and we met some great people and there was plenty to do plus we got hooked on Trivia. It had been a long time since we had been on RCL and I was pleasantly surprised. Very easy to find your way around with the little directional interactional maps that they have on each deck . We are now booked on another RCL Med cruise, the Rhapsody of the Seas in October 2016 which we booked because it had great ports plus it was going to do a transatlantic but unfortunately RCL canceled that portion. I think they chartered the ship out so we booked NCL out of Barcelona. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
It has been nearly 10 years since I last cruised on NCL. I found that on this cruise the level of service and quality of food served was considerably less than on my previous NCL cruises. NCL has too many 'specialty ... Read More
It has been nearly 10 years since I last cruised on NCL. I found that on this cruise the level of service and quality of food served was considerably less than on my previous NCL cruises. NCL has too many 'specialty restaurants' in which the service level barely comes up to the level that used to be available in the general dining room. General dining room service is slow, inefficient and leaves a lot to be desired in menu choices. On a 19 day cruise it felt like the menu in the general dining rooms never changed for the first two weeks. A couple of changes were noted on the last 4 days. Requests made of staff for things like extra sauce would take forever, and the meal course would be complete before the extra item was brought to the table, thus the extra was not longer required, but did result in less enjoyment of the food. Lunch time menus were the worst with food often coming out not nearly as hot as it should have and choices drastically limited and repeated day after day. My main reason to ever select another NCL cruise would be only if the price being offered were substantially less than that of a competing cruise line as you definitely do not get the same standard of service on NCL that I expected from previous NCL cruises. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
"Another don't-miss is Norwegian's signature Chocoholic's Buffet, held once per cruise on each ship. It's a magnificent sight to behold. " This quote is simply untrue as there was never a chocolate buffet..on ... Read More
"Another don't-miss is Norwegian's signature Chocoholic's Buffet, held once per cruise on each ship. It's a magnificent sight to behold. " This quote is simply untrue as there was never a chocolate buffet..on two separate occasions we had water pouring from the ceiling in the hallway...4 to 5 buckets were placed on the floor to collect it...and when the weather turned cold our section of the ship had no working heat for one night and one day...our room steward offered us a one person coverup type blanket. The entertainment ranged from excellent to hastily improvised (an Elvis tribute with false starts and some onstage ego problems)... Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
It was a good cruise and being my first time really enjoy it will be taking other next year.Our Stewart was very nice room was always clean and if we needed anything he was willing to get it for us.almost every night it was show,dinner and ... Read More
It was a good cruise and being my first time really enjoy it will be taking other next year.Our Stewart was very nice room was always clean and if we needed anything he was willing to get it for us.almost every night it was show,dinner and dancing it was really nice to have different choose every day in what was happening at night.Most did private excursions on port days but we did one shore excursion with cruise and really enjoy that. There was so many different types of dining to choose from and it was good and you could eat where ever your heart was into that day. Enjoy the fact that it could be dress down or up depending on your mood. Could have not ask for better service from the cooks to the waiters who clean the tables and the messes that some people left. To me it was a good trip and being my first time really enjoy it was fun to meet different people from all over the world. But as always you get people who will complain about anything and sometimes it seems. That they enjoy hearing their own voice or just looking to complain about anything and if that is the case why not stay home than. p.s no curtain from shower goose me lol Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
My second cruise with Norwegian, I love the freestyle dining idea. The food was very good at the beginning of the trip. Towards the end they changed the menu for the Alaskan run, I did not like that menu much. Seemed to be mostly fish ... Read More
My second cruise with Norwegian, I love the freestyle dining idea. The food was very good at the beginning of the trip. Towards the end they changed the menu for the Alaskan run, I did not like that menu much. Seemed to be mostly fish and seafood, very little choice if you are not into things from the sea. I ate mostly in the buffet after that. Cagneys Steak house was excellent, but I thought a little to pricy. We had a complimentary dinner there, we never would have eaten there if we had to pay the cover charge. We did eat in the Bistro as well, for a Jazz Brunch. Excellent food, and the music was exceptional. My score is reflective of an issue we had with our room. We did not know when we booked the cruise, but our fourth floor room was right over the engine room (4256 I think). The noise was deafening, and it was impossible to sleep. When we complained we were given ear plugs and a promise it would quit once we hit the canal. We had 3 days at sea before the canal. As promised, it did stop for that leg of the journey, but when we hit the Pacific Ocean it was back! We did not have smooth sailing on this trip, (from San Fransisco on it was very rough), the noise seemed to worsen as the seas were rougher.We complained a few times, the hotel sent wine, chocolate covered strawberries, and various staff members to have a listen each time we complained. Finally on day 10 they changed our room, and gave us the complimentary dinner. We then found out our neighbours had also complained and because they were first they moved first. 10 nights of restlessness spoiled what should have been a great holiday. What really irritates me is that nowhere did Norwegian warn travelers about the noise! We paid for what should have been a good stateroom where we could sleep. Next time we will check what is above and below us, and for anyone travelling on the Sun do not book rooms on the fourth floor aft end of the ship! The Sun is a smaller ship and swimming pool deck chairs were hard to come by. People would "save" their chairs all day, leaving pool towels to hold their spot while they ate or attended functions. We didn't manage to get a poolside chair for most of the trip until evening, and then staff would put the chairs away so there was no enjoying an evening under the stars! I found this irritatingl, especially since we could enjoy quiet in our rooms we would have loved to sit outside later in the evening. I could understand during the rough seas, but while we were in the Carribean it would have made sense to leave chairs out later into the evening for people to enjoy. Some days into the cruise deck chairs began appearing on deck 6 where the walking track is, and we were able to grab a couple of those. The entertainment was good, probably not as elaborate as Celebrity or Princess, but enjoyable! We attended most shows, skipping the magician, and the "adult comedy" show. Bingo is stupidly expensive, we would have enjoyed a few games if it wasn't so pricey. There is loads of nightly dancing, some sing alongs, lots of different styles of bands, and entertaining game shows. Something for everyone! I do like Norwegian, we really had great times and not so great on this cruise...a bit of a mixture. Will we do Norwegian again?? Well probably, but with caution. I guess this will apply to any cruise lines, I will ask questions about room locations for sure. For the Panama I would really recommend a larger ship, there is only one outside forward deck where the view is really good, The other forward outside deck has plexiglass which makes it difficult to see through. The ship behind us had about 4 decks at the front, making it really nice for the Panama transition. We got up early to secure a spot (5:00 am), but by 7 there were so many people crowding in we went down to deck 6 and watched from the sides of the ship. The staff are great, very friendly and helpful. Professional. The ship is comfortable and easy to find your way around. Most of the tours we did were very informative and fun, except for LA. Again we booked onboard for Beaches, rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills. Once on the bus we were told buses could no longer stop on Rodeo Drive and drive through Beverly Hills. We let the cruise staff know about this, and were given a comp bottle of wine. Our travel companions did the same tour except they were downtown La and Rodeo Drive, they were refunded their money when they complained. These tours should be cancelled, they are not what they say they are! Book smart....and your trip with Norwegian will be awesome! Oh, the spa, they are great, but heavy on the sales of oils etc. I let them know up front I wasn't buying anything but a message..it was wonderful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I stay at this time in Transatlantic Royal Carribean Vision of the sea from Tampa to Barcelona, this cruice it very small incredible the service and food presentation and the amability of the Windyamer, very clean are best of the best. the ... Read More
I stay at this time in Transatlantic Royal Carribean Vision of the sea from Tampa to Barcelona, this cruice it very small incredible the service and food presentation and the amability of the Windyamer, very clean are best of the best. the people in windyamer very friendly, the people in charge all time want to attending with smile, the Manager Alex Pineda excellent, go table to table and make you than his family, theater shows at this time not good to bored, Restaurant Aquarius service great but the food regular, its best deal windyamer. My opinion the shows may be changed, the activities too bored, the food in restaurant my be change, never see metro D at this time. My WOW to Mr. Pineda and his staff in Windyamer. Excellent service, food presentation, all around Excelllent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015

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