a Ride to Port? If yes click
Began service: January, 2002
Guest capacity: 2,100
Total staff: 859
Length: 962 feet
Passenger decks: 12
inspection score: 95
Such as? You'll find classics like the Schooner
Bar, but there's also miniature and simulated
golf, and the Seaview Cafe. Some Royal
Caribbean traditions have received new twists. The revamped
Viking Crown Lounge is called the Starquest
Disco Bar and the bar actually
revolves. Business and conference facilities have been
expanded on this ship. Latte-tudes Coffee bar,
which replicates a coffeehouse atmosphere -- complete
with Internet terminals -- replaces Radiance's
Brilliance of the Seas Overview
Brilliance of the Seas cruise ship departs
from Miami, FL and Barcelona,
Spain. Throughout the year, she offers ocean cruises
to Europe, Mediterranean, and Panama Canal. Check dates
and prices for cruises to Europe,
Mediterranean, and Panama Canal.
One of the immediate impressions we got on Brilliance
of the Seas was an imitation of a cash register ringing
in our ear: K'ching. Royal Caribbean seems to be moving
into "a'la carte territory". By this, we mean
spending beyond the usual stuff, like shore excursions,
spa services, and casino gaming. Be prepared to pay $10
to take Pathway to Yoga at the fitness
center, 99 cents-and-up to buy a pastry from Latte-tudes,
$9.95 to watch relatively recent-run movies on RCTV, and
a $20 service fee to eat in the ship's alternative restaurants.
On the plus side, Royal Caribbean has been introducing
beverage packages that can cut costs. These include soda
cards (for adults, the package averaged out at about $5
a day, while kids paid about $3 a day). At this point,
Royal Caribbean's the only line to offer an adult "Royal
Cocktails" card; for $39 plus tip passengers can
buy 12 drinks of the house variety, which works out to
about $3.25 per drink, saving roughly $1.75 each time).
Brilliance of the Seas tries to be all
things to all cruisers. While the ship's smaller than
the Voyager, it does have enough room for all
the extras we're coming to expect on contemporary cruise
ships: a range of restaurant options, a fitness facility
with rock-climbing, miniature golf, virtual golf, water
slide and a basketball court. There are so many bars that
even after a 12-day cruise we're not sure we found them
all. And service was generally warm and personable.
But that "big ship" atmosphere has a down
side, too. While the ship's layout aims to spread passengers
out, it can get congested (and passengers often got
a bit aggressive, particularly at the elevators) at
"rush hours", at the guest relations/shore
excursion desk early and late in the voyage, and, most
particularly, getting back on board when shore excursion
buses all pull up at the same time late in the afternoon.
Brilliance of the Seas is the
second in Royal
Caribbean's new Radiance class. The ship's layout
and facilities combine some of the best features from
the larger Voyager class and the smaller Vision class
Of a total of 1,050 cabins,
813 have an ocean view; of these, 577 have balconies
(about 77 percent, the highest ratio in the Royal Caribbean
fleet). All cabins have color television with remote,
which broadcasts a variety of channels, from RCTV's
interactive network (where you can order room service
or pay-per-view flicks, buy shore excursions or check
your onboard tab) to CNN. All have mini-bars (you pay
for what you use), telephones, 110-220 electrical outlets,
beds that convert to double or single, loveseats, and
in-cabin computer jack for Internet hookups.
Cabins in categories C and higher have bathrooms with
tubs; all others just have showers.
Standard outside cabins are very roomy and attractive
and have huge porthole-style windows and loveseats.
Standard balcony cabins are about the same size with
the additional space of a verandah; a note: balcony
cabins on deck seven face an overhang (that conceals
tenders). Inside cabins are surprisingly roomy.
Beyond the basic-style cabins, Brilliance has
a succession of suites, starting with "C,"
which is a more spacious version of the deluxe verandah
(slightly larger balcony). "A" and "B"
staterooms get a few additional extras, like in-cabin
DVD and access to the Concierge Lounge,
where passengers need not mix with the "common
people" at breakfast (continental) or during cocktail
hour (complimentary). The Concierge Lounge
has two Internet stations and a concierge, who assists
these guests with requests ranging from reservations
at the alternative restaurant, to tips on the best nightclubs
in port. Note: Diamond-level members of Crown
& Anchor (passengers having sailed ten
or more Royal Caribbean cruises) also receive access
to the Concierge Lounge regardless
of cabin level.
In the Minstrel Dining Room,
we were pleasantly surprised at the consistently, well-prepared
dishes. Minstrel is open seating for breakfast and lunch;
then set seating (6 pm for main, 8:30 pm for late) at
dinner time. Romantics may need luck to snag a two-top
as there weren't many (or plan to head to the alternative
Windjammer Cafe was the most popular
daytime eatery on the ship. It is a buffet restaurant,
open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and informal
dinners. There is an onsite bar for soda, wine and beer
purchases. And a few outside tables. The food was quite
good, though the selection for breakfast got pretty
humdrum after a few days. Windjammer also has basic
24-hour beverage stations (coffee, tea, water).
We stumbled onto Seaview Cafe by accident
and it became a regular lunch/snack place. The atmosphere
evokes a cozy beach-front cafe. Seaview
is Johnny Rockets with a bigger menu and a beer/wine/soda
bar. It is typically open for lunch when the ship is
at sea; on port days, it opens for late afternoon and
The Solarium Cafe has a pizza bar and
is open all afternoon.
Brilliance has two alternative restaurants
and both require a $20 per person service fee. Is it
worth it? We loved the six course menus and the food
at both; you feel like you are in a small, upscale restaurant,
and as one diner commented, "when's the last time
you got this much for $20?" At the Chops
Grille, choices include a range of steaks (from
New York Strip to filet mignon), lamb chops, prime rib,
chicken and a fish-of-the-day, all beautifully prepared.
Twosomes may want to request one of the banquette tables.
At Portofino, the meal included an
antipasti, soup, salad, pasta, main course (try the
lobster) and dessert. One note: On our cruise, the dining
rooms at both spots were rarely more than half-filled,
yet, the service was inconsistent Later in the cruise,
both Portofino and Chops Grille were
open for lunch and dinner; same service fee and menu
Room service is available around-the-clock.
In the Pacifica
Theater, there were three major production
shows. Other nights, the stage hosted comedians, cabaret
singers and musicians. In lounges, musical programs
included an intimate, cabaret-style duo in the Hollywood,
70s night with a disc jockey in Starquest Disco,
solo piano in the Schooner and fabulous
cha-cha (and other dance tunes) with a three-piece band
in the Lobby Bar.
Days at sea were filled with mostly traditional-style
diversions -- napkin folding, bingo, cooking demos,
and art auctions. The pool area usually had a three-piece
band at prime time sunning hours.
One big disappointment for movie lovers was the ship's
in-cabin and cinema selection of flicks, some so old
that we saw them on cruises last winter. Passengers
who want to relax privately with a more current movie
need to go for the pay-per-view option.
Fitness & Recreation
Ship Shape Center & Day
Spa offers treadmills, stairmasters, stationary
bikes, weight machines, and free weights. Each day,
the fitness director leads workouts geared to a variety
of themes, from Pilates and Cardio Ki-Bo to abdominals
and walk-a-mile. The spa (expect the usual product pitch
after a treatment) offers a variety of services, such
as massage, facials, pedicures, manicures, Rasul (an
Arabian mud treatment), Ionithermie Algae Detox; and
Aroma Stone Therapy.
The Spa's Thermal Suite -- available
for an unlimited rate of $50 or a daily cost of $15
-- includes tiled, heated beds (great for sore backs),
showers that operate in mist or tropical forms, and
(unisex) aromatherapy-oriented steam and sauna.
The Country Club has a basketball court,
miniature golf, rock-climbing wall and golf simulator.
The Solarium pool has two whirlpools,
along with comfortable, cushion-topped promenade loungers.
A running track snakes around the main pool area; seven
times around equals a mile. It is pretty narrow, and
gets congested during peak sunning hours. Passengers
may want to time their run or walk early or late in
The 7-deck high atrium
which serves as a central connection spot for activities
in the ship's center. In the evenings, there was always
music in the Lobby Bar that drifted
along the common areas. The Champagne Bar
is a wonderful spot during the daytime and at sunset.
Latte-Tudes offers specialty coffees, and the Casino
Royale has the usual gaming tables and slots.
The Colony Club incorporates
four different lounges/rooms. The Bombay Billiards
Club has self-leveling pool tables, Singapore
Sling is the ship's events lounge, The Jakarta
Lounge has backgammon, checkers and chess tables,
and Calcutta Card Club
is where guests can play board games
The ship is well equipped with three Internet
stations (50 cents a minute) which seemed more
than adequate. One tip: passengers who travel with their
own laptops can plug into the ship's Cyber-Cabin
program. For about $10 a day (a bargain if
you go online for anything more than 20 minutes each
day) you can hook up from your stateroom. It connects
for both Windows and Macintosh computers. One more tip:
There's no guarantee that the satellite will cooperate
every time you log on -- whether in the cabin or in
one of the workstations.
The ship's library is a disappointment for the size
of the ship. Brilliance's assortment
of shops carry from duty free liquor to insignia
wear to jewelry to perfumes. Regarding the liquor policy,
passengers can buy at duty free prices (and have their
purchases delivered to their cabin on the last day)
or opt for immediate consumption; the price difference
is fairly significant. The duty-free price for a bottle
of Absolut vodka was $9.95; the immediate takeaway cost
for that same bottle is $19.45. The ship also has a
photo area where snapshots taken by ship photographers
can be purchased. Adjacent to that are two conference/boardrooms,
where all sorts of meetings are held -- as well as interdenominational
and Catholic religious services.
Brilliance has a state-of-the-art medical
facility and also has a helicopter
landing pad for emergency medical evacuations.
Ocean Programs has top-notch facilities, including
a computer lab, play stations with video, Adventure
Beach with water slide and pool, arts and crafts,
games, rock climbing and science fun. The "camp"
also uses the ship for various activities -- dedicated
swimming times, movie showings and special group meals.
The in-cabin televisions have a dedicated children's
channel and there's the Captain Sealy's Kids
Galley Menu. Group babysitting service is available
late nights; kids must be at least 3 years old and potty
trained; the rate is $5 per hour per child. For private
in-cabin babysitting, rate is $8 for up to two kids,
per hour with a minimum of two hours. Requests should
be made 24 hours in advance.
Expert Brilliance of the Seas reviews are edited
by Michelle, and provided by Ian and Cruise Critic.com,
an award-winning cruise community. This objective information
can help you choose just the right ship for your next
Ship Inspection Report
Brilliance of the Seas cruise reviews
All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject
to unannounced CDC inspection. Brilliance
of the Seas Score: 95
Critic: Brilliance of the Seas
The Cruise Critic gives Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of
the Seas a 4+-ribbon rating.
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