Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise as it left from Tampa, and had Georgetown, Grand Cayman as one of the two ports on the itinerary, Cozumel being the other. It was our first experience with Royal Caribbean, and we're already looking for other ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it left from Tampa, and had Georgetown, Grand Cayman as one of the two ports on the itinerary, Cozumel being the other. It was our first experience with Royal Caribbean, and we're already looking for other cruise options from this line. Our embarkation in Tampa was a breeze--covered parking garage right across the street (they do have a drop-off area if you don't want to tote your bags that far). Check in was quick and efficient. We were on board in mere minutes. Only small carry-ons are allowed including rolling suitcases, anything larger must be checked, something we didn't learn until we arrived, but our suitcase was delivered earlier than the posted 7 pm. The Windjammer Café was open for buffet lunch with a huge array of choices. All crew members we encountered were friendly and helpful. Our room steward was very attentive but not intrusive. Our best experience was in Chops, the steakhouse restaurant. Oleksandr was a terrific server, memorizing our drink preferences from the first night. Pool chairs are hard to come by, and the promised "no holding chairs" was not enforced which was disappointing. We dined only once in the Main Dining Room, it was okay, but my pancakes were a bit dry and rubbery. Service was attentive there, too. We chose the Ultimate dining package (5 dinners/2 lunches on at-sea days) and were content with Windjammer for breakfasts and lunches. We also purchased the deluxe beverage/internet package we well. Drinks were well made, with a huge variety of options, including a "drink of the day". Drinks on their own are typical of a major resort, so thin $12-15 range, possibly more. Entertainment was way too loud--if you have a microphone, you don't need to shout in order to be heard. We avoided many venues because of the loudness. Revoiced was one show in the Theater that we caught the end of, 5 guys with amazing harmonies and voices. It's worth it! Other games trivia, music trivia, couples games, were held at various days and times and venues. We didn't book any shore excursions in either port, preferring to get a cab to 7-Mile Beach from the pier in Georgetown Grand Cayman, and a cab to San Miguel in Cozumel. Shopping in both ports is a jewelry-lovers dream, but shop around. One of us did take advantage of a spa special one day, but was disappointed that the " from $99 massages" was only on the RCCL website, there was no massage at that price, even on port days. I had planned to massages using on-board credits, but that got eaten up by the higher prices, so I had to choose the special which was a "full body massage", mini-facial, foot and hand massage, (which I found odd to be listed separately!),and a scalp massage (again listed separately). I've read other reviews complaining about smoke, but only found it in the smoking areas which were few, and by Schooner's Lounge, but that was by the Steakhouse, so it could have been a venting issue. Otherwise, it was not smoky at all. There are two pool areas, with the Solarium being limited to 16 and older, so you avoid the joyful squeals of younger kids. The other "family pool" also had a water tube ride, which looked fun for the kids. There's also a video arcade, mini-golf, basketball court, kids club, teen club, and a night club at the top of the ship. The on-board shopping area wasn't large, but it had about half of the space devoted to jewelry. Don't expect to find a mini-drug store, so pack essentials and other needs/wants as there's not much to purchase if you forgot something. We would book again, but Cozumel might become a "stay on the ship day", as we've seen what we wanted and are not into Mexican ruins, scuba/snorkel excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
My husband and I wanted a short, relaxing vacation, and this one definitely met those goals. We stayed in Stateroom 1060, a Grand Suite. It had an oversized balcony with a table that seated 4 and two lounge chairs. We have stayed in 2 ... Read More
My husband and I wanted a short, relaxing vacation, and this one definitely met those goals. We stayed in Stateroom 1060, a Grand Suite. It had an oversized balcony with a table that seated 4 and two lounge chairs. We have stayed in 2 Grand Suites on different ships, so we knew what to expect with the room itself, but really enjoyed the larger balcony. It was a little noisy being so close to the stairs, elevator, and Centrum, but we knew that ahead of time and packed a small fan to use as white noise at night. No problems sleeping! The room location was so convenient being so close to the stairs, elevators, and to the spa, gym, etc. We would definitely pick this room again! We bought the couples pass to the Thermal Spa and really enjoyed that as well. A lot of my time was spent reading a book either on our balcony or while laying on one of the heated stone beds in the Thermal Spa. We also pre-purchased a two-night specialty dining package. We chose Chops and Giovanni's and will definitely do them again. They were both delicious! We chose to stay on the ship at our one stop since we had visited there on a previous cruise. I went to the spa that morning and saw a cheaper special posted on their white board than had been advertised in the Cruise Compass for that day, so I booked an appointment - $105 for a 50-minute Relaxation Special. Included a foot massage, eye treatment, and upper back/neck/shoulder massage. And as with all our previous cruises with Royal Caribbean, the service was excellent everywhere we went! We would highly recommend! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Jeff and Mariappan were our waiters in the Minstrel Dining Room. They were very courteous, kind, and attentive. Jeff made great recommendations every evening and Mariappan was great at personalizing our experience each time. Minstrel ... Read More
Jeff and Mariappan were our waiters in the Minstrel Dining Room. They were very courteous, kind, and attentive. Jeff made great recommendations every evening and Mariappan was great at personalizing our experience each time. Minstrel Dining Room was 5/5 but the buffet was just mediocre. We loved the washy washy lady! My mother-in-law and I had fabulous seaweed wrap massages and my husband enjoyed a nice Swedish massage. Marina and Rena were excellent. They made us feel relaxed and comfortable. We enjoyed the opportunity to rock climb as well! Wish there was more than 1 hot tub in the adult pool area. I wish the formal night photographers were more personable and that they had ample space so that we didn’t feel rushed and crowded. Many of the floors smelled like cigarette smoke so I wish there was better ventilation. I also think that the non-smoking area in the casino should have more slot machine options. Overall, it was still a great cruise and an excellent first cruise experience for my husband. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Took this cruise in celebration of our daughter's 40 birthday. Everything was perfect, with a few exceptions. Be aware that "Anytime Dining" does NOT mean that the time they schedule you for is confirmed. You MUST ... Read More
Took this cruise in celebration of our daughter's 40 birthday. Everything was perfect, with a few exceptions. Be aware that "Anytime Dining" does NOT mean that the time they schedule you for is confirmed. You MUST make a reservation or be prepared to wait. There was a child that could take control of the general intercom and interrupt cruise activities. This line is very conscious of precautions to limit norovirus, as there are hand cleansing areas throughout the ship, which was a comfort. Tendering was handled expediently, but be aware that when tendering, watch both your step and head. I have a bloody lump to support the precaution. Ship personnel were fast to my aid and it really was minor. Some of the theatrical shows were a little lame, but the big musical production was one of the best I have seen on a cruise ship. Drinks can be a little pricey, but the drink card should help the cost. We aren't too big on imbibing, but the little we did was costly. Unless you plan to do water sports, buy jewelry or drink, touring Grand Cayman was a waste of time and we were back on the ship in short time. Cozumel has a nice tourist area and, since we been to Cozumel many times, we kept our visit there. I was amazed that when buying Cuban cigars, the sellers want cash. Since we had just taken an island excursion and bought items and tips, we were low on cash, so the cigars were never bouught. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Parking at local parking lot on channelside in Tampa was easy and quick. Departure and embarkment was super slick. Lots of RC staff available to help. We had a very nice cruise on Brilliance of the Seas. Crew staff was outstanding ... Read More
Parking at local parking lot on channelside in Tampa was easy and quick. Departure and embarkment was super slick. Lots of RC staff available to help. We had a very nice cruise on Brilliance of the Seas. Crew staff was outstanding friendly. Very food food, fine entertainment, peasant trip. We enjoyed the Crème burlee for dessert each night - great! Sadly, no religious services of any type on Sunday, our first experience on a cruise for this. They did offer alternative lifestyles get-togethers daily?? No service might deter our traveling with RC next time. Smoke smell was not a problem except in the casino. Room was adequate, but small for three adults. Pull down bed from the ceiling was unacceptable so we pulled the mattress off and laid it on the floor, making getting to the bathroom an acrobatic skill. We will get a larger room next time with an additional bed. Ship seemed clean with the exception of; we opened the curtain in front of the bed for privacy and dust/dirt whatever came floating down. Billiard table was not leveling making it useless. Miniature golf was enjoyable and not crowded. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My wife and I have taken this ship 3 different times and have usually found it enjoyable. I remember commenting to her the last time how good the food was in the main dining room for 4 of the 5 nights. This time around it was decent only 1 ... Read More
My wife and I have taken this ship 3 different times and have usually found it enjoyable. I remember commenting to her the last time how good the food was in the main dining room for 4 of the 5 nights. This time around it was decent only 1 of the 5. Salads and appetizers were fine but the main course was either just warm, tough, overcooked (steaks), little flavor or all of the above. We sent two dishes back but that didn't solve the problem.The service was very good with our waiter very nice. We chose "anytime dining" which means you had better make a reservation or you won't be seated anytime soon. We were seated in the same section each night at a table for two. I asked to have a table for two in the same waiters area but next to the window. After an explanation of why that wasn't possible I sat there and looked at that able sitting empty for 3 nights.The remainder of the cruise was just fine. Our balcony cabin (8052) was as expected. Clean and quiet. The Brilliance is not a huge ship which is part of the charm. We like to cruise out of Tampa because it is very easy to do so, chances are we will be on the Brilliance again. I just hope they get it together in a couple of ways. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose this cruise because I prefer the mid-size ship and length of cruise. Brilliance is in great shape. It's well appointed, very clean, with pretty decor. I loved the signature venues that Royal Caribbean is known for like the ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I prefer the mid-size ship and length of cruise. Brilliance is in great shape. It's well appointed, very clean, with pretty decor. I loved the signature venues that Royal Caribbean is known for like the Schooner Bar, the Windjammer Cafe, the Colony Club and the Viking Crown Lounge (though the Viking Crown Lounge's size was reduced to make way for other venues). I also enjoyed a quiet drink at the wine bar, and the English pub was a nice alternative to steal away for a quiet drink. For dining, the meals in the Windjammer were very good, and the service was excellent there. We were there for almost every meal. The only criticism I have is the coffee is really bad, but you can go to the gourmet coffee shop, and it's included in the drink package. I was looking forward to dining at Rita's Cantina, but it was closed, except they allowed Windjammer diners to use that lovely dining area. The main dining room was not impressive. The food was mediocre, and the plates were tepid at best. We paid an up-charge for the filet mignon, and it was very bland. The appetizers were paltry, i.e.shrimp cocktail. However, the french onion soup I enjoyed. The waiters at main dining room tried very hard to please, but it simply isn't like the old days of cruising where you actually looked forward to a leisurely meal there. I did enjoy the roast beef sandwiches at the Park Cafe in the Solarium. We had planned to try Giovanni's Table but just never got around to it. Regarding the bars, we purchased the full drink package, which was definitely a good idea for us. In general, the bar staff did not impress me especially at the main pool deck, where waiters were scarce (constantly we waited and wondered what happened to the waiter once they took our sea pass card) and the mixed drinks were barely stirred - even the frozen boat drinks - the run sat at the top of the glass. Also, the liquor was obviously not the best, especially when you compared to drinks at the schooner bar. Another thing I noticed at the pool area/bar is they didn't bother picking up empty glasses and cans much so the pool deck got pretty messy at times. Regarding entertainment, I was disappointed that we had no real band at the pool. I'm comparing this to a RCCL cruise we took last year to Bermuda where every day at sea we had a real band playing Bob Marley and similar tunes all day. This cruise it was mostly a DJ who took lots of breaks, and there was also a two-piece "group" where one played keyboard and one sang, which really resembled Karaoke. It was just o.k. I'm amazed that though we were in the Caribbean I heard no steel drum music or reggae on this cruise. The variety band that played in the Centrum was mediocre at best, though I did think the 60's, 70's and 80's theme was a great choice for the crowd. There was a wonderful 3-piece group playing classical music in the Centrum in the afternoons - I especially enjoyed the Strauss. I did not visit the theatre for the scheduled shows, so I can't comment there. The Schooner Bar trivia events lagged and were somewhat elementary. We did enjoy the casino black jack tables - the dealers were very good. I won a little money on the slots. Regarding our cabin, our junior suite was very nice and clean, and it didn't look dated at all, which surprised me given the ship's age. I loved the space and especially the walk-in closet. I've stayed in junior suites on two other cruises, and neither of those had as much space for clothes! Our cabin service was excellent - reminiscent of early days of cruising. Regarding excursions, we opted not to purchase for either port. We did our own thing. We had been to Cozumel and Grand Cayman before so we knew what to expect. In Grand Cayman, we took a short walk to Margaritaville Bar and it was a great atmosphere (there's a pool inside!), and the drinks and food were excellent. The service was great too. We had a wonderful table on the balcony, which overlooked the street and the harbor beyond. Then we shopped, which is always fun. Grand Cayman is an excellent port to visit - it's clean and the people are very friendly. Cozumel was a bust for us, as it stormed most of the day. We caught a break in the rain and walked down to the square just off the pier for a little shopping. The shop-keepers solicited us to visit their shops - it became annoying. I ultimately enjoyed shopping at Los Cincos Soles gift shop. They had a great variety at good prices and friendly staff. On the walk back to the ship, I noticed Senior Frogs was hopping with a live band outside. I wanted to stop there, but by then we were tired of fighting the rain. Embarkation and disembarkation was a snap! It's a quick drive from the Tampa airport to Tampa cruise terminal. The cruise terminal is prettier than Baltimore's for sure. I still think port of Miami is best aesthetically. All in all, I would sail from Tampa on Brilliance of the Seas again. I just wish they would step up their music! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose as the dates were right, price was right and we only live 45 minutes from Tampa and so port was right. Great ship, lots to do, lots of bars, entertainment and loads of food! Only bad part was not enough for 12 and 14 year old boy ... Read More
We chose as the dates were right, price was right and we only live 45 minutes from Tampa and so port was right. Great ship, lots to do, lots of bars, entertainment and loads of food! Only bad part was not enough for 12 and 14 year old boy to do. They didn't want to go to the teen hangout and so got a bit bored at the day at sea but still had fun. Loved the food (Especially all the desserts)! Had a great day in Cozumel, we hired a private taxi as there were 6 of us, Tour Plaza. They took us all round the island and stopped at the chocolate factory (my kids favorite), tequila tasting (our favorite), mayan ruins and at a private beach club for lunch and a swim. Just wasn't enough time to enjoy the island enough. Our service on the cruise was excellent. We even coped with our cabin space (4 in a cabin was not exactly spacious but OK for 4 nights). Our waiters in the dining room were great and all went out of their way for us all. Particularly Kevin and Swapneel (I think shortened to Neil)! Would definitely go on another cruise with Royal Caribbean, just maybe with adults next time, or when my kids are a little older and will enjoy hanging out with teens more! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise as it was during spring break for our kids. The four night cruise had only one Port of call (Cozumel) and two sea days. We prepaid our parking using Park Connect and walked to the ship in less than 15 minutes. ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was during spring break for our kids. The four night cruise had only one Port of call (Cozumel) and two sea days. We prepaid our parking using Park Connect and walked to the ship in less than 15 minutes. Embarkation in Tampa was smooth, which surprised us as we were told the Coast Guard was doing an inspection and we could not board until noon. Some of the local security people must have been having a bad day cos they seemed angry and pushy. I assumed that would make it super crowded, which was not the case at all. We were told that Emerald level cabins would be ready when we boarded. This was not true, so just beware. All cabins are ready at the same time. Brilliance is a beautiful ship, the Centrum prettier than many I've seen. Dining room service was excellent; food was pretty good. Maybe I am spoiled, but it seems the food isn't as "special" as it once was (I haven't cruised in over a year) and the meals seemed a bit rushed to me (5:30 seating). Was not thrilled with our time in Cozumel as we booked a private jeep tour of the island. Very disappointed in that, but it was not the fault of RCCL. Greedy vendors at every turn took our time and frankly ruined our day. I did not expect that (should have). If I ever return to Cozumel, I will book excursion through the cruise line. (The jeep tour vendor is a TripAdvisor company so it surprised me it wasn't better!) Debarking was also smooth (we carried our luggage off ourselves) and Customs was a breeze (no more customs forms!! YEAH). All in all, a good cruise - weather was great, thank you Father God! Will I do it again? You betcha! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We choose this cruise to get together with friends from other states and to get out in the sunshine. We purposely chose a shorter, less expensive cruise. There were 12 of us all together; 4 of the couples flew from Ohio, one already in ... Read More
We choose this cruise to get together with friends from other states and to get out in the sunshine. We purposely chose a shorter, less expensive cruise. There were 12 of us all together; 4 of the couples flew from Ohio, one already in Florida, and we drove from SC. Embarkation was the easiest we have had in 17 cruises. The Port of Tampa is easy to drive to, easy to park, easy to board. We were onboard in about 30 minutes. Cabins weren't ready so we went to the Windjammer expecting a crush of people. There was no trouble getting tables for the group or food. Since we had twelve, I wasn't able to make the MTD reservation online ahead of time, so I did it for 10 and added the last couple with no problem when we got onboard. Food in the dining room and Windjammer was good to very good. Some of the standouts were the lamb chops, the short ribs, the coconut shrimp appetizer (I wish I'd ordered two as an entree.), soups, warm chocolate cake. I thought the Windjammer food was better than recent previous cruises. We were in an Oceanview on deck 3 nicely located. Bed was very comfortable. Plenty of space. It did have the dreaded shower curtain, but no big deal. Cabin attendant, Omar, was very good and filled our ice every day as we requested. The Almost Elton John show was terrific. The Royal Caribbean singers and dancers were very good, but we only made it to the final show. All the musicians on board were excellent. We hung out in the Vintages bar or R bar most afternoon/evenings and loved all the action and game shows in the Centrum including Locomotion and Jan Cruz. We did shore excursions on our own and liked that we could walk right into Key West from the ship. All in all, the cruise was exactly what we wanted, but there are a few things that could use improvement. First of all, drink prices are outrageous. Sorry, but almost $10 for a Budweiser is ridiculous. $9-12 for a glass of bad wine is highway robbery. I feel like they are doing this to push everyone to the packages and it did work for some of our group. The package added another $600 to the price of what started out to be a reasonable cruise. The Brilliance is a beautiful ship and mostly in super condition. I wish they could keep all those beautiful windows a little cleaner. It really is time to make the casinos nonsmoking. On the bright side it saved us money, because we stayed out of there. I would cruise the Brilliance again. If you don't buy a drink package, it is a great value. A beautiful ship with a wonderful staff! Read Less
Brilliance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 3.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 3.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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