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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
This was our 17th cruise on RC. All our other cruises were wonderful. This one was NOT! I don't know if RC uses the repositioning cruises as training schools for their staff, but it sure seemed that way. First the good. Ports of call ... Read More
This was our 17th cruise on RC. All our other cruises were wonderful. This one was NOT! I don't know if RC uses the repositioning cruises as training schools for their staff, but it sure seemed that way. First the good. Ports of call and all land tours were great.Tour guides were knowledgable and entertaining. Entertainment on the ship was very good. Cruise director "Chloe" was charming and witty. Just wonderful! Our room steward and dinner waiters were very good also. The cruise was comprised mostly of the over 65 crowd. Not surprising since school just started. Most from the U.S. and Canada. Upon boarding, the ship smelled of smoke and mold. During the 4 at sea days there was no tv reception. Guest Services said they had no Satellite. I find that very strange. What was broadcast was reruns of U.S. programs with Spanish, German and Italian voice over. At no time was there any U.S. news or U.S. programs except the ships commercials to pitch products in English of course...spa, shops, photos, dining in extra $ restaurants. The main dining rooms and the Windjammer were referred to as "Complimentary". I think not since we had paid for them and they were included in our cost. Daytime entertainment was bean bag toss in the Centrum, napkin folding, towel folding and trivia in the Schooner Lounge.The worst part was trying to disembark for tours. The crew was totally disorganized and most tours started late. The day of disembarkation in Boston was a nightmare. We were directed dowstairs, then upstairs. All while dragging suitcases behind us. The food was marginal at best and sometimes pretty bad. I don't know if they were training chefs or they just couldn't cook. I just cancelled the repositioning cruise we had scheduled for Oct. 2016 from Barcelona. No more repositioning cruises for us. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Back ground information-We have taken 30 plus cruises on various lines. We flew from Boston to London taking the underground to our hotel which was located near Liverpool Station. Stayed in London for 3 days then took the train from ... Read More
Back ground information-We have taken 30 plus cruises on various lines. We flew from Boston to London taking the underground to our hotel which was located near Liverpool Station. Stayed in London for 3 days then took the train from Liverpool station to Harwich with a change at Manningtree. Problem-doors on train wouldn't open, Finally someone helped out (not the conductor) & showed us you had to lower the window on the door and then press the button on the outside of the door for it to open. (We later learned these were old cars), Then we had to carry luggage downstairs, under the tracks, up the stairs. No elevators! Mostly older Americans were having trouble navigating all of this & most people making the change where going on the cruise. 90 minute train ride to the port. Cruise The Good 1. Embarkation - arrived around 11:30 am-got right on board 2. Main dining room- we thought the food was very good. Surprised to read other reviews not liking the food. I had the escargot several nights and it was excellent with butter and lots of garlic. 3. Service was excellent all around. 4. Entertainment was excellent 5. Ports were wonderful. 6. The people we met were wonderful. The Not So Good 1. We booked Chops for 2 nights and the Italian Restaurant for 1 night. At Chops the steaks were okay but it is not a high end steak house that we have experienced on land. The steaks were not cooked properly and had to go back. The sides were served without the steaks which should never happen as they will get cold. The service seemed to be rote without any thought. On our 2nd time at Chops, they were out of the veal chop and spinach. This is understandable on a transatlantic cruise but we should have been informed when the menus were given. The shrimp dish was not worth the $35 surcharge. No lobster was offered. The Italian restaurant was okay, nothing to write home about but again staff had no concept of fine dining. The Schooner Bar, which is right outside the restaurant, started an trivia activity and it was blaring into the restaurant. You couldn't hear your conversation. We had to ask the Maitre D to close the doors! He was standing right there! We felt the service in the dining room was so much better. 2. The ship did look a little beat. 3. Drinks and wine seemed to be quite high. The cheapest glass of wine was $9. Cosmo's were $12. 4. Disembarkation-a zoo but it always is. All in all, the good outweigh the not so good. Won't do specialty restaurants again. When you are paying extra, you except perfection. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
"Sorry that area is closed" is a refrain we heard on a daily basis in one or more areas. 1. Royal Crown Lounge is for Diamond only. 2. Colony Club is closed for private event. 3. Open dining area behind Windjammer is ... Read More
"Sorry that area is closed" is a refrain we heard on a daily basis in one or more areas. 1. Royal Crown Lounge is for Diamond only. 2. Colony Club is closed for private event. 3. Open dining area behind Windjammer is closed for private event (and was not open even when there were no private events). Availability of seating to eat meals at certain times was a problem. 4. Hot tub is closed for maintenance in Solarium. (Only one on ship) I feel we should know before booking that we will not have access to all public areas of the ship. At times we spent 30 minutes looking for a place where 6 people could sit and socialize. Lack of public spaces is the reason we have avoided the 6,000 passenger mega Oasis class ships. Beverage selections were restricted as we often heard "We are out of that wine selection" and we missed the "drink of the day" (staff didn't know what we were talking about) like we enjoyed on the Serenade four weeks earlier. We found prices to also be more expensive on the Brilliance as compared to the Serenade. It took 3 days for our group of six to get seated with another group of 3 couples (all nice people) but question why this was such a problem in the first place. We had cross-referenced our cruise reservation numbers well in advance and were told it had been handled. On a positive note; the staff overall was excellent with many of them being exceptional. Our wait staff did a good job in spite of the fact they had too many people to serve (2 tables of 12). We enjoyed Rita's Cantina (Vinko was great behind the bar) but often overwhelmed by the volume of demand at times. Our room steward was very good and attended us well. The entertainment was top notch and the cruise director (HelloClo) was one of the best we have ever had. For these reasons, the average overall score came out to a 3 out of 5 instead of a lower score. Kitchen was fair but certainly not exceptional. Experience in Chops Grille also could have been better based on past experiences on other RCCL ships (Steaks ordered medium were served well done for 3 of 6 people in our group). The waiter said they could cook us new steaks, but we had already waited and didn't want to wait to eat after the others were already finished. We received great service at the Rbar in the Centrum. Craig (asst. Waiter forward of Windjammer on deck 11) was friendly and attentive as we spent a lot of time in this area. Bar service in the Solarium was poor with the exception of Park Cafe (again staff was excellent) . Unfortunately; the Solarium bar seemed to be never open all the times we passed through the area. Early morning coffee outside the Windjammer was often empty and no coffee mugs. I learned to inspect empty coffee mugs before using as at least on 3 occasions when I found them to be dirty. I guess I need to read the ship reviews before booking in the future. I doubt I will be returning to the Brilliance anytime soon. Overall, I think the ship is a bit tired and needs a restoration. I expected more based on my past experience with RCCL. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
We had booked this TA 11 months in advance, and chose it because we would sail on the Brilliance, our favourite class of RCI ships. The ports were more or less fun, interesting, or not so much. This review concentrates on our 15-day ... Read More
We had booked this TA 11 months in advance, and chose it because we would sail on the Brilliance, our favourite class of RCI ships. The ports were more or less fun, interesting, or not so much. This review concentrates on our 15-day experience on the ship. This was my eighth cruise on RCI and ninth in total. I'm still scratching my head. The CD, entertainment staff, and cabin staff were so great. The Windjammer staff, Security staff, and sometimes, dining room staff were often horrible. How can you excuse the black-jacket Dining Room "host" who told us to reserve for MTD dining at 7:15, kept us waiting in line with others who had the same reservation time for half an hour, and then saucily told us we had to be patient. When I told him the only appropriate thing he could do was apologize for telling us to make the reservation at that time, he responded by blaming the problem on me. Or how about the security staff on re-entering the port at Le Havre, who were completely unprepared to check us back on board after nine hours on the ground, stood us in line, yelled at us, wanded us, separated my daughter from me, and grabbed her by the arm when she was looking for me. All for what? To confiscate a few bottles of wine or subvert a tourist attack? Seriously, if I were a terrorist, I'd blow up all the people waiting in line for the security checks. Big payoff there. Can I say how disappointed we were that the rear deck outside the Windjammer was permanently closed from the get-go to the finish on this trip? Sure, close it when it's rainy or cold. But that rear deck was closed when it was fair and warm and there were wonderful things to see from it. I guess they saved some money by not having to clean it. The food was meh, a lot of long-stewed things covered by sauce with fancy-sounding names. Very little fresh veg or fruit, and what there was was the same every day. Lot of salt in the food. I could get the same at an all-inclusive. The CD, the entertainers, the shows, the activities were all terrific on this long, often-cold and unpleasant weather N. Atlantic cruise. Good for them, they made it a joy. I have one more cruise booked on RCI in February, and I'll see how that goes. Otherwise, I'm shopping around. All I got for my loyalty points was a $5 reduction on a bag of laundry, and a couple of 2 for one drink things on a 15 day voyage. The rest of my loyalty benefits were useless to me. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
The itinerary for this Brilliance of the Seas cruise provided 6 ports (Le Havre, Plymouth, Cobh, Faroe Islands, Iceland - two days, and Halifax) on the way to Boston, as well as 7 sea days - 4 consecutive days between Iceland and Halifax. ... Read More
The itinerary for this Brilliance of the Seas cruise provided 6 ports (Le Havre, Plymouth, Cobh, Faroe Islands, Iceland - two days, and Halifax) on the way to Boston, as well as 7 sea days - 4 consecutive days between Iceland and Halifax. Thoughts about the ports: - Le Havre itself is not a great destination. Its best attraction is a museum of modern art, with work of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists who worked in the area. Several of the ship's excursions (specifically, to Paris and Normandy) are quite long and may exhaust travelers who have flown overnight to Heathrow the day before. - Plymouth provides a starting point for excursions to Stonehenge and other historic sights. The excursions to Corfe Castle is labeled "moderate," but one must make a long, uphill walk from the parking lot to the castle and town. The town itself is walkable and interesting, with free wifi at the public library and both local craft stores and souvenir shops. - Cobh is a charming little town, with a Titanic museum, several local craft stores, a drug store, an historic church, and lots of space to walk along the waterfront. The train station, with regular service to and from Cork, is right in front of the dock. - The Faroe Islands port is Klaksvik, a town of little charm and limited interest. The excursions offer drives through the beautiful countryside and scenic villages. - Reykjavik itself is worth visiting on foot, especially for people-watching. Several of the ship's excursions involved the Blue Lagoon; fellow passengers's reactions varied from 'Wow!' to 'meh'. Icelanders are quite proud of their geothermal power plant, so a few tours include a stop there. - Halifax has a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus that stops at historic and cultural sites. The public garden is beautiful. Pier 21, the ship's dockage, is at an end of a wide water-front walkway. Passengers who can entertain themselves or who enjoy trivia games will love the sea days. Except for a beautiful day between Halifax and Boston, the weather was too brisk to spend time outdoors. Sea day entertainment was limited to a daily lecture about the next port or Viking history, lots of trivia games, card games, spa services and free seminars to promote spa services, bingo, casino action, art auctions (which closed one of the best lounge areas to use for daytime reading), movies, and a few beer / wine / martini tastings (at a cost). Evening entertainment in the theater ranged from excellent to average. The ship did not provide Broadway-type shows or aerialists. The pianist / vocalist in the Schooner lounge drew a large crowd every night. The ship is clean but dated. Some of the upholstered furniture in lounges seems wobbly or threadbare, with saggy seats. Food and service in the Minstrel Dining Room were outstanding. Fellow passengers were generally over 55, with lots of Americans and Brits, as well as Australians, Germans, French, Japanese, and many other nationalities. Many of them were Crown and Anchor members, with dozens of cruises in their past. About 150 of the 2100 passengers were staying aboard for the next cruise, to the St. Lawrence Seaway and back to Boston. Many had been on the previous cruise to St. Petersburg. The very few children aboard were seldom seen. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2015
When I purchase a transatlantic cruise, I expect the food to be above average. We are not the college/Caribbean crowd that gets drunk and parties on a 4 night cruise out of Miami, the demographics on board are more affluent. I had a ... Read More
When I purchase a transatlantic cruise, I expect the food to be above average. We are not the college/Caribbean crowd that gets drunk and parties on a 4 night cruise out of Miami, the demographics on board are more affluent. I had a wonderful cruise on Royal back in 97 and had no problem booking them this time expecting the same. In the years between 97 and 2015, I had been over on Holland America, which I consider to be the gold standard for food without going up to a higher tier line such as Crystal. I had taken Holland about 8 times over the years, very impressed with them. I went back to Royal to join friends on the cruise. It appears the cruise line has taken the approach of the airlines lately, cut costs at all costs. Here is a synopsis of the meals: French onion soup, came out as a watery brown broth, minus onions, and rather than covered in cheese melted over the sides, had a small piece of toast about the size of a cracker, with about 4 pieces of shredded cheese, previously melted on it, floating on top. Escargot: greasy, couldn't even taste garlic, with some sort of greasy topping, I could not identify. Prime rib, a big slab of fatty meat, didn't even eat more than a few bites. Lobster night....hahahahahaha, that is gone, yes gone, baby gone! Now you get a menu on the table offering lobster for $35. Not even on formal nights, pay up if you want it. Breakfast was the same. No eggs Benedict, no salmon; oh wait, after a week, I was told by a passenger that if you ask for it, they will make it, they HIDE IT! Not on Holland America. The menu was even reduced. What used to be an appetizer selection, a salad/soup selection and an entree, has now been reduced to an appetizer and entree on the menu. You have to ask for separate selections. Now to the buffet, it's only open certain hours, no 24 hour food. It was not tasty, and sort of bad cafeteria style food, lacking taste. Once that is pulled out, your only option for food is a small corner cafe, that looks like a Starbucks food cooler, with sandwiches served in plastic containers, like you would find in a 7-11, "tomato salad", which was cut up tomato, in an Italian dressing, green bean salad, the same, and a pasta salad. Watery tasteless soup was also offered. Any attempt to get good food, means going to the pay restaurants, which some of our table mates wound up doing. Gone is the midnight buffet, that I remember so well, from years ago. Or maybe that was another cruise line with some imagination. I found myself running into restaurants on the stops along the cruise, to get some food I could enjoy. Even at the bar, no nuts served with your drinks. I had to ask the bartender for some nuts, that he had to run around looking for. The wine bar didn't have any, just a selection of cheese, and when I asked for nuts I, yes I, was sent to another bar to get some. A discussion among other cruisers who were in one of the suites, and who had been on Royal many times revealed more. Gone are the chocolate mints on the pillow at night, turn down service is no more, no robes in the rooms, "animal towels on the bed" are down to every 4 days, cleaning staff has gone from 2 per room, to one, apparently ship staff if cut in half. No newspapers. Per the ship staff, this is because most people now get their news off the internet. Really? Have you ever tried to get internet on a ship? Does dial up mean anything to you? 10 minutes to get a page loaded. Apparently they are "working" on this issue. The ship tour, which you now pay for, revealed more. The hotel manager advised that Royal has decided to cut services to divert more money to other areas, as he put it. Read: We are paying our management more money, on the back of your bad cruise! The ship in general looked like it had seen better days, the dining room chairs had food stains on them, curtains falling down, and the rooms looked like they needed a freshen up. Also the dining times were really strange. We booked a fixed dining at 8:30, yet the times on the daily itinerary kept changing the dining times. We missed 2 shows, due to our assuming that we had an 8:30 seating, only to find the show times had been moved as well as the seating times. It was all over the place. Just not happy with this cruise. Mind you the tours were great, the entertainment was great, most nights, and I was satisfied with the balcony room and size. Just wont be back on the line ever again. I go on the cruise as a foodie. Love a good meal! Its what I pay for when I cruise. I would have even payed $100 more for the cabin just to have the lobster on my plate without the extra charge. No, No, No! Won't be back on Royal. Can't wait for my next Holland America cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
Our first TransAtlantic cruise! We absolutely enjoyed it each day. Our cabin was clean, very comfortable beds, towels always refreshed, cabin steward always pleasant. Loved the size of the ship easy to get around and this class ship most ... Read More
Our first TransAtlantic cruise! We absolutely enjoyed it each day. Our cabin was clean, very comfortable beds, towels always refreshed, cabin steward always pleasant. Loved the size of the ship easy to get around and this class ship most like a " traditional " cruise ship. We thought food was great! We ate in all areas of the ship except speciality restaurants because we felt food was quite good everywhere else. Dinner in main dining room (early seating) sometimes took awhile but we enjoyed company of our table mates and really had no where else to go, but to the evening entertainment which was always very good. We then had great fun afterwards singing along with Manda in the Schooner lounge. During the day we attended lectures, played trivia, went to the spa, read, watched the dancers etc so plenty to do. All our shore excursions were excellent with knowledgable guides and clean buses. This was an exceptional itinerary so wonderful ports of call. We felt this was a great value for our money and would cruise with RCL again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2015
We choose cruises for the ports of call or destinations. This was a 24 day back-to-back cruise, leaving from Harwich and finishing in Boston. The weather was dry and sunny throughout and we enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. It would ... Read More
We choose cruises for the ports of call or destinations. This was a 24 day back-to-back cruise, leaving from Harwich and finishing in Boston. The weather was dry and sunny throughout and we enjoyed all the ports we stopped at. It would have been nice to have a day in Greenland as we passed so close, and it would have broken up the 4 days at sea. The ship is getting a little faded and shabby. Even the centrum which looks spectacular in photos is a bit cheap and tacky in real life (lots of flashing coloured lights). There was cleaning and maintenance going on most of the time. Most of the staff were polite and cheerful. Embarkation was quick, efficient and easy. The fire drill was well organised - more like an aircraft safety drill, we didn't have to put on our life jackets. The cabin was well equipped and very comfortable and it was kept very clean and tidy. I was concerned that the ship had no coin operated laundry as you need to take enough clothes to cover different types of weather for 3 weeks. However there was no poblem washing clothing in the bathroom, there is a retractable washing line in the shower and a metal rack over the toilet. most items dried fairly quickly. The atmosphere in the public rooms, particularly the Solarium soon became unpleasantly hot and stuffy, with occasional wafts of air freshener. I'm sure this is why we both got chest infections. But the second part of the trip was better as it was warmer and they opened more windows. There are plenty of places to walk around on the decks or sit, in shelter or semi shelter. I thought the food was excellent. Perhaps I'm easily pleased. There was plenty of variety, and lots of fresh fruit and salad. The Boston cream pie was very good, and the chicken tikka was the best I have ever eaten. Drinks - alcohol was very dear even by cruise ship standards. Drinks from the drinks stations included sachets of various teas and chocolate, flavoured water - lemonade, orange juice, apple juice, fruit punch, mango, raspberry and kiwi, all very sweet, and sometimes iced tea (nothing like the Liptons iced tea you can buy in the UK), just cold black unsweetened tea. The coffee was horrible. Very strong and bitter, but just abour drinkable with plenty of hot water and milk. Ony one drinks station was open 24 hours, just serving coffee and water. On the second leg of the cruise mushrooms, fried bread and black pudding all disappeared. The Windjammer got very busy at breakfast on the sea days, this could have been solved by opening up some of the speciality restuarants. Also more tables for 2 or 4 would be better than those which seat 6 or 8. There were "technical issues" with the toast for most of the cruise, it was very pale. Also some things ran out or had to be queued for, but nothing too bad. The entertainment in the Pacifica theatre varied from very good to mediocre. The young Irish dancers were charming, the Icelandic offering was boring. Some of the musicians and singers performing in other parts of the ship were very good indeed. We only went to the cinema once, 40 seats is not really enough for a ship of that size. The acrobatic show on the last day, in the Centrum, only lasted 10 minues but it was excellent. All BBC programmes disappeared about halfway through the cruise, and films streamed to your TV had to be paid for. During the day we enjoyed the expert's talks on destinations, the talk on photography, the gym, the golf, and the complimentary sauna and steam rooms in the solarium. After we left the Faroes the ship became very rocky for about a day, enough to make walking from a to b diffiicult and it made trying to swim in the solarium pool interesting. Fortunately neither of us suffer from sea sickness. Le Havre - pleasantly surprised by this little town, plenty of shops and restuarants. We took the little tourist train and explored on foot. Weymouth (Portland) - another interesting small town, plenty to see and do. There was a regatta taking place. Cobh (Cork) - once again we got the tourist train up to the cathedral, visited an irish pub and the Titanic Experience. The day before we had to hand in our passports and the day after we left Ireland they were returned which resulted in long queues, lost passports and frayed tempers. Faroes - only heard of this on the shipping forecast, bleak but interesting, a church, brewery and a couple of supermarkets, a few sheep, no trees, a lot of fish farming. Easy to walk round on foot. Iceland - arrived about 12 the first day and walked from the ship to the concert hall (Harpa?) and back, about 7 miles. It wa so good to get some exercise in the fresh air. Shuttle bus available £8 return. We have been to Iceland before so didn't do any excursions. On the second day we got the local bus to the Botanical Gardens. Almost impossible to find due to a total lack of sign posts but worth the effort. Halifax - the ship docked near the centre. We just walked along the board walk - plenty to see - museums, old ships etc. Boston - the most disappointing part of the trip. The ship arrived at 6.30 and I had hoped to be off by about 8, with plenty of time to shop, explore and walk the Freedom Trail. But all those with non-US passports had to have their passports stamped before anyone could leave the ship. This took about 3 hours and was very frustrating. We managed to do a bus tour and a walk, but had I known I would have booked an extra day or two in Boston after the cruise. Rockland Maine - walked round the town and had lobster rolls- delicious! Portland, Maine - not much there. Bar Harbour - took a bus tour to Arcadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain. Interesting place with plenty to see. Lobster for lunch. Halifax - different dock this time. Got the free shuttle bus to the town centre and did a self guided walking tour of the town. Charlottesville, Prince Edward Island - another pleasant town that is easy to get round on foot. Sydney - lots of historic houses and a boardwalk. Boston - same tedious inspection for non-US passport holders. Disembarkation was smooth and well organised and fairly quick. The not so good...... A cruise ship is a floating hotel. Most hotels now have free wifi. So should cruise ships. Many things included in the price on other cruises had to be paid for. Overall we felt the ship lacked the small touches that make a cruise special eg proper afternoon tea with sandwiches and tea, themed lunches etc. I would not travel with this company again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2015
We have cruised with RC several times, we are Diamond members and did really enjoy the Brilliance and the cruise. We stayed several nights in London prior at the Grosvenor House. Great hotel in a central location. Transfer the the port ... Read More
We have cruised with RC several times, we are Diamond members and did really enjoy the Brilliance and the cruise. We stayed several nights in London prior at the Grosvenor House. Great hotel in a central location. Transfer the the port was good and embarkation was fast. We enjoyed each port, Ireland being our favorite. No complaints with any of the excursions we took, the ship, or our balcony accommodations. Very disappointed with Royal. It seems that the more mega ships they build, the more they take away from the cruisers and we were surely not the only ones feeling that way. Now the only lobster you can get is what you pay $42 for and do not even think about watching a movie in you stateroom. $11.99 Really??? So, we have moved on to other cruise lines. Sad to say we are no longer loyal to Royal. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first cruise with RCL, following previous experience with Cunard and NCL. We were a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 child of 11) also travelling with extended family. This was our first cruise where we sailed from the UK, we ... Read More
This was our first cruise with RCL, following previous experience with Cunard and NCL. We were a family of 3 (2 adults, 1 child of 11) also travelling with extended family. This was our first cruise where we sailed from the UK, we liked parking and the lack of hassle involved with flights, but while getting to Harwich was ok for us, it's not a great port. However, embarkation (and disembarkation at the end) was very efficient. From leaving the ship at 0745 we had cases and were driving off by 0805. The ship is a great size, very similar to the Norwegian ships we have been familiar with. We liked the cabin, great use of space and a decent bathroom (better than the NCL layout in our opinion). Cabin service was good, but the staff seemed very overworked. RCL were even more obsessed than usual with cleanliness on our cruise, and our corridor was closed at one point for 3 hours while they sanitised it after an 'incident'. We liked the interior spaces, the itinerary (12 night Scandinavia and Baltic was brilliant), and the general feeling of the ship. Our son liked the kids club and met loads of friends, which was a major bonus. We ate at Chops Grille, which was really good, but felt the other specialty restaurants were less appealing, so missed those out. We were less keen on the restaurant service in the main dining room, and felt there was a lack of choice in the main restaurant and the windjammer, especially if you are a veggie. Over several nights the same stuff kept cropping up, while the food quality was almost always good, the choice seemed narrower than the similar options on Cunard or NCL. Theatre shows were average, with a few high points. In particular the ventriloquist, juggler and final night magician were good, the rest was poor. Cruise director and staff were in federal good with one exception, which was dealt with professionally by Steve (the cruise director). Overall, we loved the destinations (especially St Petersburg and Stockholm); that made the holiday. The ship was 'fine', and we will probably use RCL again, but only if there is a a really good itinerary on offer. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
I rarely bother to write reviews, but I felt that his one had to be done. We boarded in Harwich for a Baltic cruise, and then stayed on board for the TransAtlantic cruise to Boston. I combined my thoughts on this cruise with the cruise ... Read More
I rarely bother to write reviews, but I felt that his one had to be done. We boarded in Harwich for a Baltic cruise, and then stayed on board for the TransAtlantic cruise to Boston. I combined my thoughts on this cruise with the cruise taken just before it. It was a back-to-back. Generally, individuals working on the ship were very nice and gave good service. Gerald, our room steward, and Mariana, one of our waitresses were excellent. But, it seemed like the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. We had requested Traditional Dining but there was no Dining Room or Table on our SeaPass cards when we first got on the ship (Aug 25th). When I went down to Reception to see about it I also asked about the lifeboat drill because my friend had hurt her knee. We were told 4 different things by employees. 1 - someone would come to the cabin and help her. 2- We could go to Cafe Latte-tudes for the drill so she could sit down. 3- only one of us had to go to the drill, and 4- she had to go on deck to the proper muster station. Which we did, and some nice person found a chair for her. I'd hate to think what would happen in a real emergency. Another problem that we had was with wake-up calls. We received 3 unsolicited wake up calls, all at 12.57 AM! And we did not get at least 2 of the wake up calls we had requested. The last one was requested through reception so that there wouldn't be any mix up, but we never got it. On these days we very nearly missed our shore excursions. We also had both our Stockholm excursions cancelled. We were told it was because there weren't enough people who wanted to do them. But they cancelled the excursions 4 days before arriving in Stockholm. There might have been other people wanting to go. One of the excursions we were really looking forward to was the Ice Bar. When we went to the Shore Excursions desk to see about our cancelled excursions we weren't told that the Ice Bar was easily done on your own. We were sold another excursion. I realize that is their job, but it might have been good business to put the customer first. On one of our shore excursions our ticket had the wrong meeting place on it. We were told to meet at the theatre. When we got there the theatre was closed for rehearsals and there was no one else there. I phoned reception and explained our situation. I was told just wait. After awhile I asked an employee that was going by. She also said just wait. I also asked an entertainer when I peeked into the theatre. She said just wait outside the theatre. We eventually went on the pier and found our tour and a nearly full bus. They apologized to us. After the tour we went to the Shore Excursions desk to tell them what happened and they said that tour always meets on the pier. Where's your ticket? Of course, our tickets were handed in to the tour guide so we couldn't prove that the meeting time on there was wrong. It really sounded like the shore excursions person didn't believe us. When I suggested that the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing he told us that an email was sent every night to each employee to let them know what was happening. I don't think employees are reading their emails, if this is the case. We also got emails from Royal Caribbean saying that we needed ESTAs before arriving in Boston. We are both Canadian and that was news to me. So, I went to reception to ask about it and I was told he would ask someone else and get right back to me. Two or three days later I went back to reception for an answer and a different employee was able to confirm we, as Canadians, did not need ESTAs. In Halifax my friend was sitting on her bed and was sprayed with water. When she looked out there was a man hosing down the ship. She yelled to him about the balcony door being open. He rudely yelled back, Well, close it! We were given no notice that that could happen. An officer came down and apologized to her about it. Our steward said he couldn't let us know because we had the Do Not Disturb sign on our door, but he had phoned us for other things when we had the Do Not Disturb sign on. Another irritation was that the ship was always running out of things. Some days there were no bananas, some days there was no ginger ale, and once there was no pineapple juice to make one of the drinks in the bar menu. And the Cosmos were $14! They are $8.25 on Princess. How can you justify charging $5.75 more for a drink? Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We aren't people who spend time in a hotel room, so basic rooms that are adequate are fine. Adequate being the operative word. The room consists of a large bed with two overhead beds. Yes the bunk beds are above the adults head so you ... Read More
We aren't people who spend time in a hotel room, so basic rooms that are adequate are fine. Adequate being the operative word. The room consists of a large bed with two overhead beds. Yes the bunk beds are above the adults head so you are unable to sit up. The above bed is not able to sleep an adult and our 10 year old child is unable to sit in bed without banging his head. If you want to watch telly this is impossible as the settee sits 2 and then there is a single chair. You can't watch from the beds as the ladder is in the way. In the main dining room, the food that is actually presented to you is well presented and tasty. However we have experienced waits of 30 minutes even when booked. The other restaurants are all pay except the Windjammer, this is help yourself. This particularly reminds us of a school canteen, although some of the food is nice. There is a nice sandwich/panini place. Be careful when ordering the all inclusive drinks package. The wine and beer package is just what it says and no spirits are allowed. Freshly squeezed orange juice, latte, etc are all an extra charge. The inside pool is over 16 only accept between 16:00 & 18:00. The service is very hit and miss, with a few going out their way & others seem grumpy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2015
Crew was outstanding in servicing our family during meal times. They made this cruise less disappointing to us. The itinerary is perfect, great selection of cities with good range of excursions and tour options. Royal Tots was ok. Our room ... Read More
Crew was outstanding in servicing our family during meal times. They made this cruise less disappointing to us. The itinerary is perfect, great selection of cities with good range of excursions and tour options. Royal Tots was ok. Our room was not properly cleaned, esp. the balcony (there were slippers, pills from previous guests underneath the bed and plates from breakfast were left in the balcony for days). The windows throughout the ship were dirty, floors in common areas were disgusting by dinner time. The worst entertainment program and cruise director we ever experienced (dull bingo and questions activities, a couple playing songs on playback at centrum, four presentations of MJ's thriller with guests and the list goes on). There is a feeling that the crew is overworked and that a bad working environment is affecting the quality of service. We heard rumours that crew's salary were paid by our gratuities. We were appalled to receive an envelope for extra gratuities the last day, given we paid 18% mandatory gratuity in advance and over each service we bought on the cruise. We gladly tip services that are excellent but we dislike the effect of "being invited" to do so in such a forceful manner. We did a wonderful caribbean cruise with RC but this trip made us reconsider our next travel arrangements. I hope you read my review bf booking this. Plus, if you can, leave from Stockholm. Nothing to do in harwich and it adds 3 days to the cruise that are a killer... Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
I just joined CC after years of reviewing information on the site. Thought I should go back and post some information from my cruising experiences; hence the long delay between cruise date and posting date. The ports and excursions on ... Read More
I just joined CC after years of reviewing information on the site. Thought I should go back and post some information from my cruising experiences; hence the long delay between cruise date and posting date. The ports and excursions on this trip were spectacular. The highlights were St. Petersburg Hermitage museum (quickly run into the square before the tour starts for a picture because you won't get any time to do this otherwise), a bike ride in Skagen, Denmark which included a short hike on the beach to put your feet in both the North and Baltic seas at the same time, and especially the flight to Moscow for a full-day experience in that city which included the Red Square, a Kremlin museum (exceeded expectations and a definite "don't miss"), a subway ride (amazing artwork underground), and a dinner at an upscale restaurant with caviar and blinis and, of course, beef stroganoff (nom nom). I would have given this 5 stars, but there were too many unruly and unsupervised kids to make this cruise fully enjoyable and relaxing. Several people had made complaints, but the CL didn't seem to do much about it. Hopefully, RCI has instituted appropriate procedures to deal with this issue by now. The entertainment quality was not that great, We went on this cruise for the ports and excursions, so the lackluster evening entertainment was not an issue for us. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We arrived in London 3 days before departure . We took the train to Harwich which is an easy one hour journey. Check in was easy and took about 10 minutes The food was hit and miss. One night I ordered a medium steak but it was so ... Read More
We arrived in London 3 days before departure . We took the train to Harwich which is an easy one hour journey. Check in was easy and took about 10 minutes The food was hit and miss. One night I ordered a medium steak but it was so tough even to cut it. The Windjammer cafe is always busy, however service was excellent. The shows were very interesting. We loved the Graffiti Classic and the hypnotist. We were lucky to have good weather in Iceland. We rent a car and drove to the Golden Circle and visited Blue Lagoon. It was fantastic, really worth to go. We joined only one ship's excursion in Faroe Island to visit the countryside. It was expensive and feel like we are being ripped off. We had one really rough sea day on our return to Harwich. It lasted for about a few hours. Finally it died down when we approached the Scottish coast. We enjoyed this sailing very much only the food was under our expectation. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
RCCL has been our favorite among the five different cruise lines we have traveled. We were not disappointed on this cruise. Food in the dining room was outstanding. For casual dining we loved the Solarium with the sun, pool and food ... Read More
RCCL has been our favorite among the five different cruise lines we have traveled. We were not disappointed on this cruise. Food in the dining room was outstanding. For casual dining we loved the Solarium with the sun, pool and food court. Ship is mid size and easy to find one's way around. Evening shows were top notch; especially liked the singer Romano from Italy. The Graffiti Group surprised us as their name did not indicate just how talented they were. We had cool and rainy weather so did not use the outside parts of the ship as we have on other cruises. We took independent tours in each port and found of them to be very enjoyable. In Iceland and the Faroe Islands we booked ahead of time (Geoiceland and 62 Degrees North). In Bergen, Alesund and Geiranger we simply joined a tour at the pier. Were disappointed in only 1 1/2 days in Iceland. The second day ended at 12:30 and we would have liked a full day there. Could have eliminated Alesund as there is nothing there. Cruise ships are new to this port and there is no shopping and little to see. Enjoyed a trolley tour in Bergen and a small boat trip in Geiranger. During our days at sea we would have enjoyed more crafts in appropriate settings. The card making class was held in the bar with no room to work. We traveled with another couple and did play a lot of cards. Work out area is adequate; amazing how few people were using it when I was. Too cool for pool use. Enjoyed the music at the small bars and the Centrum. My wish...that cruises could be smoke free! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
The Brilliance of the Seas cruise to the Norwegian fjords and Iceland was far below what we have come to expect and appreciate from RCL. The ship looks "tired" and well worn, with very dirty areas seen as the glass elevators ... Read More
The Brilliance of the Seas cruise to the Norwegian fjords and Iceland was far below what we have come to expect and appreciate from RCL. The ship looks "tired" and well worn, with very dirty areas seen as the glass elevators traveled up...the spaces between elevator and outside wall were, in places, filthy, making one wonder what the level of cleanliness throughout the ship was! The stop in Alesund was a total waste as there was virtually nothing to do except ride to the top of a mountain, look over, take photos and leave. There were no shops or attractions...very boring. The rest of the Norwegian stops, Iceland and the Faroe Islands were lovely. We asked for wake-up calls 5 times while on board, got 2, a 60% failure rate , which is unacceptable in any type of business. However, we did get unasked-for wake up calls twice, in the middle of the night. (12:10 and 12:15 AM on 2 different nights) We told the guest services desk after each problem, were told "everything has been fixed". We booked a ship sponsored excursion for our last half-day in Iceland. The description of the excursion did not match the actual experience at all. As with all ship excursions, it was not cheap and we really wanted the 1.5 mile hike around a volcano as described but we ended up touring the same basic areas that we had seen the day before on our all day trip (privately arranged). The guest services staff, while very friendly, did not seem to have a firm grasp on most aspects of the ship's services. While waiting I line for at least 10 minutes each time I needed to speak to them, I watched as 2, once 3, members of the staff consulted over the computer to "fix" a guest's issue or answer a question. At dinner, one of our table mates called this a "training ship" and perhaps that was the answer....had we known that, we probably would have booked elsewhere. The food served on the ship was never more than "average", and the Windjammer dining experience as awful as usual. Never a place to sit, a virtual "feeding frenzy" . For a North European cruise could RCL maybe make doors for the currently exterior eating areas to increase the seating area that is truly useful? The Windjammer staff could do SOMETHING to motivate diners who have long-finished eating and are reading/chatting/playing cards on tables other people are needing to Had this been our first Royal cruise, it would have been our last. We have been "loyal to Royal" for years, but it may be time to switch. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
My family, including two sons aged 19 and 13 had a wonderful time visiting Norway, The Faroe Islands and Iceland. The scenery was amazing. We stopped off at Bergen first walking around the port visiting the fish market . We walked up to ... Read More
My family, including two sons aged 19 and 13 had a wonderful time visiting Norway, The Faroe Islands and Iceland. The scenery was amazing. We stopped off at Bergen first walking around the port visiting the fish market . We walked up to the Floyen Restaurant through residential area, parks and woodlands. Stopping to enjoy the views below of the Fjord and the port. It was quite a strenuous walk and not advisable to anyone who is not used to climbing up hills. At the top we enjoyed the stunning views and caught the Funicular back down to the town. Our second stop was Alesund a delightful port. We discovered the old wooden town houses and tasted the local bakes from the bakery. Finishing with a ride on an open top bus around the area. Our third, and favourite, was Gerainger, most spectacular scenery of all. We rambled along the trail of a waterfull, again quite a strenuous walk but very well worth the effort. Very quaint buildings, with grass covered roofs. We hired a Renault electric "Twizy" car with Satnav for a very enjoyable drive around the local roads visiting a farmhouse and beautiful scenic church overlooking the Fjord. We finished our trip with an exhilarating Rib ride on the Fjord for a closer look at the waterfalls. The food and entertainment on Board the Brilliance was excellent. When on board we hardly saw our boys as they had made friends and spent most evenings enjoying the activities and entertainment with the relevant groups. The Faroe Islands were very interesting, we visited the church and was lucky to be involved in a discussion with a local regarding the lifestyle and the whales within the area, which they do not hunt. Iceland, another fascinating country. We arranged an independent tour of the Island visiting the coast, hot springs and bubbling mud pools. Anyone visiting Iceland must go to the Blue Lagoon. Very helpful and friendly staff. So relaxing in beautiful warm waters sipping a prosecco. I was not overly impressed with the RC Brilliance of the Seas. In fact, I was extremely annoyed at having an extra 20% added on to all my bills for drinks as a gratuity with a further space on the bill for an optional gratuity. I queried this charge (as its not displayed on any of the drinks or fridge menus) when I was charged an extra 20% for a bottle of water in the mini bar in our room. Bearing in mind I had already paid over £350 up front for gratuities. When I questioned this I was advised that this additional 20% fee was for bar and waiting staff!! The gratuity I had already paid was for housekeeping staff! It is my opinion that this is not a gratuity but a service charge and should be shown as so. A gratuity is a gift!! I questioned why it was not advised anywhere on the menus etc and was informed it was printed on their website. In my opinion this is unethical, I questioned the fact that we were sailing in European waters and not American and they may have that system in America for paying staff but it was not acceptable in Europe. After a lengthy discussion I was eventually offered a refund which amounted to USD 108.00 in the extra gratuities that I had been charged. Again, In my personal opinion, I don't think this tipping system should be enforced it should be optional and paid for good service and not to supplement staff wages! Hence some of the attitude of some of the staff!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Being from Florida, DH and I prefer cruises that go somewhere cool and this itinerary really fit the bill. We were really looking forward to escaping the summer heat and to make a long story short, this cruise was absolutely wonderful. ... Read More
Being from Florida, DH and I prefer cruises that go somewhere cool and this itinerary really fit the bill. We were really looking forward to escaping the summer heat and to make a long story short, this cruise was absolutely wonderful. The ship is just the right size for us and was well maintained and the staff was friendly and attentive. Now for the details. The cruise sailed from Harwich, England, and I have to say the port was very nice, well organized, and we had no problems with it. A warning for anybody unfamiliar with that port, though, is it's located on the other side of London from Heathrow (and I think from Gatwick too, although I'm not sure) and it's a couple hours drive to get there. I probably would try to avoid sailing from that port again, just because of the time and expense of getting to it from the airport. But if it was the perfect itinerary then I probably would do it anyway. We arrived at Heathrow the day before the cruise (I don't have the courage to fly in the day of a cruise, and didn't have enough vacation time to come earlier and sightsee) and arranged for private transportation to Harwich with TotallyDriven. We were originally going to have a car to ourselves but shortly before sail date I saw a message on CC from another couple looking to share a ride so we ended up splitting the cost with them. I highly recommend TotallyDriven, btw, as they were very accommodating and handled our last minute changes with ease. We stayed the pre-cruise night at The Tower Hotel in Harwich and it was everything I dreamed of - a miniature Downton Abbey. The reception area, dining room, and pub were beautifully decorated and outside was a terrace adorned with flowers and a fountain. I wished I was getting married so I could have it there! Anyway, I have bad knees and had requested a room on the first floor and we were given a lovely corner room with plenty of space and lots of windows. It was an easy walk (even for me) to the scenic waterfront area and we enjoyed it very much. The hotel arranged for a taxi to come for us the next morning to take us to the port. The day of departure our taxi arrived and we were taken on the short ride to the port. It was around 11 am and it wasn't too crowded yet but we were directed to have a seat until our line (we're Platinum) was ready. After a short wait we were called to check in and it went smoothly and up the gangplank we went. Our cabin was a D2 balcony and we were very pleased with it. The last cruise I got DH to go on (DH and cruising is a whole other story in itself and not part of this review) we spent a week in an E1 and I have to admit the slightly larger D2 was well worth it. Especially for a 12 night cruise. I knew the showers on Brilliance had shower curtains rather than the fixed "tube" door that we had on Jewel, but it turned out to not be so bad. It didn't "cling" to me like others have complained about, and I liked how it would give when I hit it with my elbow. Still a really small shower though. The food was about what I expected, some was really really good, some was good, some was just OK, and some things I didn't like. We ate dinner in the MDR every night but one, since we like getting to know our tablemates and sharing stories about our day, and the first few dinners was absolutely fabulous. After that they were good, but nothing I'd get really excited about. Breakfast, lunch, and one dinner were eaten at the Windjammer and I have to say I'm not overwhelmed by it. Not that the food is bad, for the most part, but it's monotonous. Same 'ol, same 'ol. This has been my experience on every RCCL ship, though, and is not a critique of Brilliance in particular. We never did try any of the specialty restaurants, but maybe next time we will. We didn't go to any shows so I can't comment about those, but our tablemates had mostly good things to say. During the cruise a group of passengers had been working with a crew member (Cruise Director maybe?) on doing the dance from Thriller and I did make it a point to go and watch them put on their show towards the end of the cruise. It was really good. As for the ports, we stopped at Bergen, Alesund, and Geiranger in Norway, Klaksvik in the Faroe Islands, and Reykjavik in Iceland. All were docked, with no tenders involved. The weather in most locations was good, with maybe some misty-type of rain but mainly clouds and intermittent sunshine. Temps ranged from highs in the 50's and 60's to lows in the 40's on deck in the evening. Seas were mostly relatively calm with a couple of rough days that had a lot of people looking for seasickness remedies. Luckily DH and I didn't have a problem. I actually kind of enjoyed the rough seas since that's what the North Atlantic is supposed to look like..... Bergen was the largest town we stopped at, not counting Reykjavik. The only excursion we did was a 1.5 hour Panoramic tour thru RCCL (a last minute decision) and we were a bit disappointed. The only panorama we saw was a peek through some trees of the harbor from a small hill - otherwise it just drove around town and pointed out a few sights. Not worth the cost, but a way to see things without too much up-hill-and-down-hill walking. We did get the driver to let us out toward the uphill side of town and walked down, looking at some shops on our way. I was planning to take the funicular to the top of the mountain where I was told there was a lovely park with great views and trails, but there was a huge line waiting for tickets so we passed it up. I was told later the line moved pretty quickly so that's one thing I regret not doing. Alesund was next. A lovely town with beautiful buildings and a canal through the middle of it. A lot of these towns seemed to have burned down in the early 1900's and were rebuilt of stone in the current fashion so they all are in the same style. We did an excursion through RCCL that took us on a long bus ride through the countryside to drive on The Path Of The Trolls - a very steep and winding road down into a valley. At one point we stopped at a roadside stand selling locally-grown strawberries and we bought some and shared them with the other people on our bus. They were really good. We enjoyed the drive a lot, since nature and scenery is more our "thing" than cities. We stopped for a provided lunch at a local restaurant where we had a buffet with salmon prepared at least 5 different ways. Very good, of course. Overall we liked Alesund and thought it was a lovely and quaint town. Unfortunately by this time I was certain I had a bad cold. Next stop was Geiranger. This is a very small town (village, maybe) at the end of an incredibly beautiful fjord. I felt pretty bad so I decided to stay on the ship and sleep for a bit while DH went on the excursion we had booked. Another one we booked through RCCL (I usually prefer private tours but these towns were so small there weren't any other options) and this one went up to Mt. Dalsnibba. He came back with gorgeous pictures of snow and a mountain lake. I spent the morning just wandering on the deck and I have to admit it was a very picturesque place. The fjord isn't very wide and the mountains rose up on either side with mist and clouds floating around. Very peaceful and by the middle of the day I was feeling better - still sick, but not as tired. When DH returned from the tour we took a shuttle bus from the dock to the town and walked around a bit. Very nice little place. The best part, though, was when the ship left and made its way slowly out the fjord. Absolutely gorgeous! The sun was playing peek-a-boo through the clouds and there were waterfalls everywhere. Even though it was pretty cool, windy, and spritzing rain the decks and railings were crowded with people admiring the view and taking pictures. I stayed out until we finally left the fjord and Norway behind (which could explain why it took so long to get over my cold, LOL). The Faroe Islands were next. They didn't have the big mountains and cliffs that we had just seen in Norway, but beautiful rolling green hills. There are cliffs on some parts of the islands at the shoreline, but we didn't get there. We had booked an excursion but a day or two before we arrived at the islands we tried to change it to another one but they were all sold out so we couldn't change. The one we were on didn't go too far into the countryside but we did see a reconstructed village that showed how the inhabitants used to live, with the sod roofs and everything. That's where we encountered a lady with a Faroese horse and foal. Apparently there are only 77 of these horses left because in the past the Scandanavians, English, and Icelanders would come and carry them away until there were only 4 left. The lady explained they expect the breed will die out completely because there isn't enough genetic variation to keep them going. Anyway, the town of Klaksvik is another small town and we wandered around a bit before the ship left. We would've liked to see more of the Faroes and would return in the future if possible. Finally we arrived in Reykjavik where we were spending the night. We took a tour with Geoiceland and did the Golden Circle. It was an all-day tour and we enjoyed it very, very much. Most of the countryside is different from anywhere else I've been - very bleak and flat, with mountains suddenly jutting up out of the ground. We visited the Thingvellir National Park, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are tearing apart. I couldn't decide what the land I was standing on actually was, since the plates are quite a distance apart. Anyway, we visited geysers and the lovely Gullfoss waterfall. We saw volcanoes and glaciers, but they were quite distance away. The driver heard us talking about Icelandic horses and he pulled the bus over by a fence where some were grazing and we got out and fed them grass. He was a great guide and I would definitely recommend Geoiceland to anybody wanting to tour Iceland. They have several tours available. We considered going to the Blue Lagoon but just didn't have time for everything, and after I found out it's manmade it lost it's appeal for me anyway. Our entertainment that evening back on the ship was watching the cars in the parking lot. The way the ship was docked our balcony was facing the port's parking lot and entrance to the ship and in the evening apparently the thing the locals do is bring their cars to the parking lot and do wheelies. It was the strangest thing - about 30 cars or so arrived and lined up in the (empty, because it was night) parking lot. One at a time a car would slowly come out of the line and suddenly go zooming around the parking lot, squealing their tires and putting up big plumes of smoke. They never hit anything or each other, but after a while they would stop and slowly drive away. This went on for a couple of hours. From where we were you couldn't hear anybody talking so we couldn't tell how they decided who would go, it just sort of happened on it's own. The next day the ship was due to sail at 1 pm so we just wandered around town for a bit. Interesting town and we took some nice pictures. We got back to the ship, ate some lunch and then sat on our balcony to watch sailaway. And waited. And waited. A little after 1 the loudspeaker announced about 6 names of people to "report to the Guest Services desk" so we figured they were people who had left ship and weren't in the system as having come back. The announcement was repeated after about 10 minutes. About 1:40 a local hop-on-hop-off bus pulled up and a couple jumped off and ran for the ship. Of course everybody on their balconies on that side were clapping and cheering for them. After another 15 minutes or so a car came peeling into the parking lot and a man jumped out and ran to the ship and up the gangway. He also got a "welcome" from the balconies. Somebody said later that he got back off before the ship sailed and he wasn't a passenger, but I never saw him leave. We finally sailed about 2:30 and the rest of the missing passengers just got left behind. I'm surprised the ship waited that long. Anyway, we sailed along for an hour or two and then a helicopter buzzed us, flying by real low. After a few minutes it came by again and I realized we had slowed to a crawl. Turns out they were there to drop off medical personnel for some type of emergency onboard. The helicopter never landed but kept circling the ship for a while before a couple of people were finally lifted off the ship in baskets and the helicopter took off back to Iceland. After that I imagine the captain put "the pedal to the metal" to make up for all that lost time. We arrived at Harwich the next morning and I had booked a RCCL excursion to take us and our luggage on a tour of London on the way to Heathrow. We only stopped one place, at Covent Gardens for a little shopping, but we saw a lot of the major sights. Considering I didn't have enough vacation time to stay and do some proper touring, and considering we were going to have to get back to the airport somehow anyway, that excursion was well worth it. We were finally dropped off at our terminal at Heathrow, got back on a plane, and returned to reality. 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Sail Date: July 2015
This was our 8th cruise (6 with RCI, 2 with Celebrity) and 2nd time on the Brilliance. The embarkation at Harwich was easy and quick and our luggage was waiting for us outside our cabins straight after lunch. We had a fair idea what to ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise (6 with RCI, 2 with Celebrity) and 2nd time on the Brilliance. The embarkation at Harwich was easy and quick and our luggage was waiting for us outside our cabins straight after lunch. We had a fair idea what to expect service and food wise and we weren't disappointed Except the only negative being with the breakfast in the Windjammer. We were on my time dining and had no problem getting a table with our favourite waiters Dino and Miroslav as long as we went down around 7.15. We ate lunch mostly in the main dining room and the quality and choice was fine. Thankfully we had the inclusive drinks package as the drinks are unbelievably expensive but unfortunately it didn't include premium coffee!! The ports of call were great. Particularly loved Copenhagen and Stockholm. We didn't do any ships tours but used SPB in Copenhagen and St Petersburg (both excellent) and the rest, except Skagen, we used the Hop on Hop off buses ( you get a discount if you keep your tickets and use the same bus on the next stop). The onboard entertainment isn't really to my taste but did like a group called Zoot. In Skagen we hired bikes straight in front of the ship for $10 each and because it is such a small place it is an ideal and easy way to get around. Also I forgot to mention that most of the stops accepted Euros or dollars so we hadn't needed all the different currencies we had taken. All in all we had a great, but very tiring holiday but do think that maybe it's time to try another cruise line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
After several years bringing up young children, working busy jobs, generally getting older, more tired and fatter, this was a much anticipated 1st real holiday for us and the children. We got our first taste of cruising on Serenade of ... Read More
After several years bringing up young children, working busy jobs, generally getting older, more tired and fatter, this was a much anticipated 1st real holiday for us and the children. We got our first taste of cruising on Serenade of the Seas in Alaska in 2005 and loved the experience of seeing some pretty inhospitable but interesting places from the comfort of a floating hotel. The Baltic Cruise seemed like a fantastic option for us- leaving from Harwich, visiting countries that possess intrigue and rich history without a searing hot sun to exhaust us and render our fair complexions charred. We also felt, correctly as it turned out, that this sort of destination might 'self-select' the other travellers better than a sun and booze seeking crowd usually attracted to the Mediterranean at this time of year. It was great being on board with so many nationalities- the Hispanics brought some much needed colour, the Americans the usual positivity and energy, a spattering of Germans, Dutch and French to balance and our fellow Brits to generally complain about everything and feel hard done by. Check in was seamless and whilst hectic and busy, from pulling into the car park to sinking our first beer it took less than 1 hour. Had this been Heathrow, I'd have probably only have got to the stage of re-packing my hand luggage and retrieving my children from lost property within a similar timeframe, assuming, of course, that the M25 had got me there at all. The ship, to the uninitiated is well laid out, easy to get around and provides ample space for the number of people on board. The bars are great- spacious, comfortable, good range of drinks available and regular entertainment. The cabins are cleverly designed and smart. There are signs of wear, as other people have commented. I'd be very interested to see how their houses fare with 2000 guests traipsing through every 2 weeks as overall our stateroom felt appropriate for the price paid and any bumps and scrapes were minimum at best. I was particularly impressed by how quiet the rooms are. I didn't even realise we had a next door neighbour until the last night. The service was, at all times amazing. I spent a few minutes watching the waiting staff during dinner one evening- they do not stop working and smiling whilst they do it. I can barely cope with 2 hours at my work without wanting to cause bodily harm to someone with a biro so how they achieve such standards of positivity is worthy of close scientific study. On at least 2 or three occasions I heard other guest whinging about waiting for a table, or food not quite being right. Feeding 2000 demanding people in a confined, constantly moving, hot, uncomfortable space every night for months on end is a task of epic proportions and the RCI staff are real pros. It was really apparent to me that you get out of a cruise what you put into it, the families who took the time to engage with their waiters / cabin staff / bar staff, work with them and learn a bit about them get so much more out of the experience. We found Rama and Simon to be excellent, consistently. Rana brought us the wrong food twice. He also brought us extra food because he knew we liked certain dishes, made the kids special deserts, ensured we got tables we liked and helped us get the best out of the menus. Was the food perfect? No, but compared to an all you can eat cattle trough at a '4 star' hotel in Palma Nova, it was excellent each and every night. The entertainment was generally very impressive. OK, Donimo the mime / slapstick / clown act wouldn't be on my top 5 list, but the Argentinian Tango night was surprisingly good, String Fever excellent, Siobhan Phillips hilarious and Pete Matthews had the entire room in stitches. The acts were diverse, polished and a welcome end to a day's touring or sitting around drinking beer and taking in the views. Certainly a positive experience for all of the family on this cruise. The kids clubs seemed to be well run and fun- both of our children (4 and 6) can be shy yet came bounding out with stories of fun games they'd played or proudly showing off things they had made. Other activities were good time-wasters. The crazy golf provided plenty of fun, the basketball court was both a social hub and good source of exercise, climbing wall challenging and well run and plenty of music, quizzes, competitions and classes throughout the ship all the time. People seemed to be complaining about on-board 'hidden extra's. There is a simple solution to this. Don't: Eat in the speciality dining restaurants Drink lots of cocktails Go to the Spa Buy art / amber / inches of gold Use RCI to book excursions Have your picture taken We found this pretty easy. We had a picture taken on the formal night and the £40 we spent on the pictures was worth it compared to hiring a professional photographer at home. The excursions were really enjoyable but you need plenty of stamina to do 5 consecutive days. St. Petersburg is a big, beautiful, crazy and overwhelming place and will take it out of even the most hardy of guests. Copenhagen was fabulous, Tallinn quaint, interesting and attractive, Helsinki a surprising and interesting stop and Stockholm warrants a further trip. It would be beneficial if geography allows to amend the itinerary to give a sea day between Helsinki and Stockholm. It is a fantastic, beautiful city and we struggled to take it all in with grumpy, tired children. Still, the tours with SPB were well worth the money- George in Helsinki particularly deserves a mention for his wit, engaging story telling and ability to bring Finland to life for us. Skagen was OK- too small to comfortably cope with a cruise ship in port on a wet day but the shopping is good and the food was excellent. In summary, I would recommend this cruise to anyone who demands a bit more from the actual destinations of their holidays. This is not a good trip for sun worshippers or purveyors of reality TV and gossip magazines. St. Petersburg, in particular requires a bit more historical and cultural awareness than your average Spanish Coastal town- it helps to read up on Russian History (1700 to 1960). Think carefully before taking younger children or sulky teens. Ours loved the shorter more active excursions but struggled with the size of the Hermitage / walking in Stockholm. You can't expect good weather in the Baltics also, so expect a congested solarium and Spanish families filling the hot whirlpools (I'd recommend getting in with them. They can be hilarious). Get up a bit early for breakfast to get a decent seat and try to get dinner in between 6pm and 7.45pm or after 9.30pm to avoid a bit of sitting around. On the whole, this is an informal, fun cruise company who seen to get the basics right for the most part. It's not a 5 star, high-end experience and they do want to empty your wallets, but if you go into it with the right attitude you will love it. We will certainly be booking again with RCI and will seriously consider a return to the Baltics. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We are semi-regular cruisers with RCCL, with Platinum status. We last cruised with them in 2012 (Serenade around the Med). I am mobility disabled and typically travel with my husband. This is a long review, apologies. Ship - I find the ... Read More
We are semi-regular cruisers with RCCL, with Platinum status. We last cruised with them in 2012 (Serenade around the Med). I am mobility disabled and typically travel with my husband. This is a long review, apologies. Ship - I find the Radiance is a good size if you are not a keen walker; you can get from one end of the ship to the other in fairly quick time and everything seems within a decent distance. Usual bars, with the welcome new addition of a pub layout to replace the sports bar, and three included meal locations (MDR, Windjammer and Park Café). Whilst overall the ship was well maintained and very clean, we noticed various areas where the recent "refit" had not had an effect eg damage/peeling paint on top floor of theatre. Cabin - we were in 7114, which is a disabled balcony E3 cabin. Hence you have more space and a walk in shower - this was very helpful. Whilst the cabin was kept very clean and tidy, we did have a couple of small problems - our attendant did not seem confident in her towel animals and we only got two through the whole cruise, plus the balcony door was consistently left closed but not locked. I know these are minor but we look forward to our animals, and it formed part of our overall sense that the quality is being downgraded. Dining - we always did WJ for breakfast and this always had decent choice. Tables always busy but that is nothing new and we often took spaces on the open section. We did MDR most nights for dinner. Service was strong for us, but the choices were disappointing - nothing regional, often repetitive. Most of our table chose the steak more than once, and lobster was never included on our menu without a price supplement. The park café did custom made salads and roast meat rolls, which we had on occasion for lunch. Custom dining - we attended Chops Grille and Giovanni's during our cruise, and enjoyed the extra attention and separate table very much. We did not attend Izumi or Rita's Cantina as it was strongly our view that these should be included in the food price and not charged as extra. Beverages - we elected to take the premium package for beverages. We calculated this as being a couple of cocktails/beers pre dinner, a glass of wine or two with dinner and a closing cocktail. This was the right choice - on reaching the ship, all cocktails advertised were $14. The choice provided in each bar varied dramatically, and the list of "available cocktails" was tiny compared to what is technically available. My husband prefers real ale as opposed to lager, but this appeared to be completely unfamiliar to various staff members (in fact, the ship stocked several interesting varieties if they could be located). It is also definitely the case that, with packages being gratuity included, there is little incentive for pool bar staff to circulate around open areas to earn more tips. We nearly always ended up going to the bar itself if we were on the pool deck, which is contrary to our previous experience. In the Schooner bar and pub, staff were very attentive. Embarkation was organised with military precision - we got to the port for 11.30am, drove to the car park and gave up our bags - which then appeared outside our room before 5pm. Most impressive. Disembarkation was also well organised and the Harwich staff very helpful. Entertainment - we enjoyed the quizzes very much, especially Alison's progressive quiz. The comedy juggler headliner was the best overall, although the comedy singer and the zoots were also good. We were surprised that the Abba experience was put on as we left Denmark, rather than Sweden..... The contortionist/acrobat/strength examples were really unappealing to English eyes, as a fair proportion of their show consisted of videos of other people praising their performance on AGT. All the guest entertainers (ie violinists, pianists, guitarists in the bars and open areas) were excellent. My last point is one which unfortunately coloured our overall view of RCCL and has probably dissuaded us from travelling with them again. We understand from more than one of the guest entertainers onboard that, in addition to their musical responsibilities, they were now also being asked to don gloves, pick up a sponge and assist in cleaning the ship (theatre, etc). We were shocked to hear this, as we know from our own friend circle that the role of musician involves a material investment of time and training - it seemed that RCCL did not value this. Presumably the Captain and officers will not be using their own downtime to scrub the cabins? Although we did see the officers running "celebrity" casino tables on some nights, so perhaps anything is possible! In short - we liked the ports very much, we liked the ship for size, we liked our cabin but overall we felt that we were constantly being nickeled and dimed. It seemed that RCCL aimed at the lowest price for the simple cabin but then tried to get every last cent out of you through pushed extras, which was distasteful. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Unfortunately we never anticipated the huge numbers of bored and badly behaved children that would prove to be the downfall of this cruise. We had decided that this was not a child friendly itinerary and how right we were. Unfortunately ... Read More
Unfortunately we never anticipated the huge numbers of bored and badly behaved children that would prove to be the downfall of this cruise. We had decided that this was not a child friendly itinerary and how right we were. Unfortunately many parents just used the ship as one enormous playground for their unruly offspring who insisted on displaying their athleticism and vocal strengths on dance floors, corridors, stairwells and at the back of the theatre whilst shows were in progress. The Cruise Director Staff were totally unable and unwilling to deal with this problem, in fact a couple of the cruise staff admitted they were actually quite apprehensive about doing anything about it in case they were reported by the offenders and that would go against their record. How absurd! We struggled to find quiet areas without either music blaring ( why is it the cruise staff think we are all deaf?) or children yelling and screaming. OK so that is my main whinge out of the way, in future we cruise during term time, lesson learnt. Other than that we thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and simply loved the layout of the ship. On the whole the food was well presented and tasty with the odd evening of poor quality dining but I guess that is just par for the course with modern day cruising and the necessary cutbacks. Now onto the Ports and my tips for saving bucket loads of money : Copenhagen :Langeline Pier is about 40 minutes walk to the city centre, a level and interesting stroll. You pass The Little Mermaid, watch the changing of the Guard at midday at the Palace and onto the old city with all it's old churches, museums and statues of Hans Christian Anderson. Copenhagen has 1300 'free' bikes that anyone can use between May and December. Insert a 20 krone coin in to release the bike and return to any one of the 125 City Bike Parking Lots. The bikes are all blue or red. There is free wifi on the Pier but it is very slow, better to buy a coffee in the internet café where they will put the password into your phone for you. Catch the water bus by the Polar Bear Statue at the end of the Pier. Maps etc can be picked up from the Tourist Office on the Pier. Tallinn : You have no choice but to use the ship Tender but once at the Port it is only a 5 minute stroll to this beautiful medieval fortified city. Be warned there are lots of cobblestones and steep streets but it is well worth every painful step. The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is an absolute must, quite incredible. Again there is free wifi at the Port. Souvenirs are cheaper here than in St Petersburg, a 5 piece Matryoshka Doll of reasonable quality will set you back around 15 to 20 euros. St Petersburg : Don't bother with arranging a Visa, ridiculously expensive for just a couple of days, just join a couple of walking Tours. St Petersburg is a fascinating place, the tour guides excellent and well informed as well as being very interesting. We did the walking tour of the Church of the Spilled Blood and also the Nevsky Prospekt Walking Tour which were wonderful, both giving us plenty of free time to explore. Helsinki : Pick up a good map from the tourist office on the dock by the ship and ask them where you can find the local bust stop to town. It is just at the end of the Port. Take Bus no 14 to Pajamaki and get off at Kampii from where you can explore everywhere. When you board the bus ask the driver for a day Ticket which will cost 8 euros per person and gives you free access to all buses, trams and public ferries. Fantastic Value! Coming back get the same number bus but to Hesneraari, you will see the cruise ship so it is fairly obvious where to get off. Tram no 2 does a complete loop so stay on that and if you want, just use it as a Hop on Hop off. Must does are Sibelius Park and the ferry to Suomenlinna island. Stockholm : The sail in around the myriad of islands is maybe one of the most impressive entrances to a Port. Everything is within walking distance from where the ship docks, maybe a 20 minute amble. Visit Gamla Stan, the old town, full of cobbled street and pavement cafes. Skagen : OK so everything is within walking distance again. the locals really went out of their way to be friendly but to be honest there was no appeal for me here. Maybe the drizzle and grey skies didn't help. I just loved these Ports of Call, luckily for us the weather held up for most days as long as you got up early. I was told that mornings always have the best weather in the Baltic and I am so pleased we took heed of that. We watched many soaked passengers make their squelchy return to the ship, caught in afternoon squalls and showers. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
INTRODUCTION We are a couple in our 40's and this was our tenth cruise. We have cruised on Celebrity, Disney, NCL and Carnival before and this was our second time with RCCL. Our previous cruise a couple of years ago was great and ... Read More
INTRODUCTION We are a couple in our 40's and this was our tenth cruise. We have cruised on Celebrity, Disney, NCL and Carnival before and this was our second time with RCCL. Our previous cruise a couple of years ago was great and we were very satisfied. This is the reason we choose RCCL again this year. Unfortunately this time we could see that RCCL has cut some corners to save money and it shows. But we still had a good experience so I would still recommend RCCL but read this review to know what to expect. We choose this cruise mostly based on the itinerary that was offered. This cruise was a 12 night cruise with 4 days at sea. The cruise left and return to Harwich (UK) and ports included Copenhagen (Denmark), Tallin (Estonia), St.Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Stockholm (Sweden) and Skagen (Denmark). Initially this cruise was sold with Visby (Sweden) as the last port, but it was later replaced by Skagen which is too bad because Skagen is not an interesting destination at all. THE GOOD: This is a nice ship that is well designed so you are able to find your way around in no time. It is spacious and it never feels crowded in the public areas. The "Centrum" area is an open space in the middle of the ship that goes from deck 4 to deck 11 and it is great because when there is a show or a performance on deck 4 you can gather around this place on almost every deck and enjoy the music and the view. The stateroom is nice and very functional so it feels bigger than similar staterooms on other ships. In fact, this stateroom is bigger than many other "family-room" we book with other cruise company. They made really good use of the space. Everything was very clean and the service was meeting our expectations. The evening shows were good and we enjoyed them. There was a good mix of singing, dancing, comedy, tribute, etc… The only exception that I could think of was the magician which was really lame. The ports of call were the main reason we choose that cruise and they were all great to the exception of Skagen. We never expected any delay to get off the ship in the morning. In fact, sometime we were even able to get off the ship earlier than the time printed on the daily journal. We never had to tender either which is good. The ports were all very interesting but my advice would be to book your excursions off-ship because they are a lot cheaper for the same experience. The pool area was a nice place to relax. We never had any problem to find a chair on this ship. The staff seemed to apply the "no hog chair" policy and most of the passenger did not reserve a chair if they were not there. There is good soft ice cream in the Windjammer restaurant, and you can always find some good refreshment in the "Park Café". They frequently have "Strawberry" and "Mango" no-sugar added water which is very refreshing, one of the best options when you are thirsty. In the morning there is an omelette bar which offers the best choice. About the main dining room (Reflections), we were a group of 15 so we had two big tables. The service was very good at one of the table, but average at the other table. At the good table, after the first night the waiter would bring us our usual drinks as soon as we sat. He was very attentive and always had a great smile to offer. However at the other table the service was slow and we never saw a smile on our waiter's face. And the assistant waiter was borderline rude. I also noticed that they are not too strict on casual nights and you won't have any problem getting in wearing something nice and clean, even if it is not long pants. The sports area is great. You have a nice climbing wall, a very well maintained miniature golf and a "basketball/volleyball" court that are fun to use. There is also a running track if you are in the mood. Registration, embarquation and disembarquation went smoothly and rapidly. THE BAD: The food was really disappointing. The food in the Windjammer buffet at lunch and dinner did not offer much variety and the taste was just average. It was not bad, but it was not very good either. Most of the time there is a "burger/hot dog/pizza" counter but the patties are bring all at the same time in a big plate and they could stay there for a while so they are never really hot, just lukewarm most of the time. About dinner in the main dining room things were not much better. Most of the time the steak was overcook (even when ordered rare) and it was not tender at all. We got a good steak about 2 nights out of 12. The bread was really good and the presentation of the main course was good, but it definitely lacked flavour. A lot of people were talking about the quality of the food and were surprised that it was not better than that. The deserts were ordinary at the exception of the "chocolate sensation" cake that was the best choice most of the nights. Breakfast was a little better in the main dining room if you know the secret!!! The first time I went I was about to leave after reading the menu because everything on it was the same things we could get at the Windjammer. But before leaving I spoke with the head server and told him I was very deceived because there were no "eggs Benedictine" and no smoked salmon on the menu. He then told me that those items were still available, but they just don't put those on the menu and they do not mentioned those either unless you ask for those specifically! Those are the best items you can get for breakfast and RCCL do not advertise them, this is one of place where RCCL decided to cut so now you know! On our previous cruise the Park Café was a nice option. They had smoked salmon and bagels available for breakfast, and in the afternoon they had individual bags of chips. But all that is gone now. They have burrito and egg muffin in the morning but no more smoked salmon and bagels. We could not get any chips either at the beginning of the cruise. However, the chips just appeared around day 6 and they were available up to day 9 then they disappeared. RCCL cut their expenses but I hope they do not expect that we won't notice. Another irritating thing is the short hours you can get ice cream. Ice cream is not so expensive, so if I want an ice cream cone at 10h00AM or after 9h00PM, why can't I get some? I do not understand why they do not put the soft ice cream machine in an area accessible around the clock like they do on other cruise line. If you are looking for a snack after 11h00PM, good luck. You can always use room service but there is an extra charge at night. As for the Cinema, there was limited choice and most movies were at least two years old. About the evening shows, there is not much choice if you are not interested by the main show in the theater. It would be great if they could book a couple of comedian to provide stand-up shows in one of the many location available at night. THE WORST: When we got to the main restaurant the first night we were surprised they assigned us 2 tables of 10 since we specifically asked for 2 tables of 8 when we booked (we were a group of 15). But even worst, they completed the 2 tables by assigning 2 other passengers to each tables. We all speak French except the 2 other passengers at each tables. It was very awkward for us and for them too so we asked if our group could be move to 2 tables of 8. The women in charge spoke French so she told us that she would see what she could do, and then she just turned around and told the other passenger (in English) that she was sorry for the fact they were assigned at a table of a French speaking group but that was because we (the group) never told the cruise line that we were a group and we never requested anything special for our group. I don't know if she thought that we could not understand her, but I made sure to let her know that we did specifically requested 2 tables of 8 when we booked the cruise, and again a couple of weeks before the cruise when we wrote to the cruise line to specifically confirm this. The problem was not us not mentioning or requesting anything, the problem was with the RCCL system (or lack of) that did not followed up our request to the cruise ship responsibles. They finally were able to reassign everyone to more appropriate tables, but the attitude of the woman in charge was rude and not very professional. We bought the "unlimited soda" package and if you plan to do that, be aware that the choice is very very limited. You can have coke, diet-coke, sprite and that's about it, and all of those are fountain soda. There was a couple of bar that had sprite-zero in cans, but most of the time we tried to order it we were answered that they did not have anymore sprite-zero. The fountain soda was on and off, it was flat about 3 times out of 10. The soda package is definitely not worth it. You will be better to drink the orange/apple juice or the no-sugar added strawberry/mango water in Park Café and buy your soft drink individually when you really crave it. At least you would be able to ask for the good stuff (cans). The last thing that is really annoying is the smokers on board. Why do they accommodate so much the smoking crowd? There is a complete side of the outside decks that is reserved for smokers and this is a real annoyance. The number of smoker on that cruise was lower than I noticed on other cruise (I guess this had something to do with the "age factor" of the passenger) but even then, it does not take many smoker to stink up a place. Just walking on the smoking side of the deck to go from one place to another was bothering enough to avoid it at all price. Conclusion: If you choose this cruise for the ports of call you will be very satisfy. You just have to know that you won't be served the best of food, but you won't be starving either! I would definitely consider booking another RCCL cruise if they offer an interesting itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
The theme of this cruise is how to extract the most money from our passengers. We have been on number of cruises . This was by far the worst. Dinning room menue is trimmed down to a bare bone selection so as to force you to go to the ... Read More
The theme of this cruise is how to extract the most money from our passengers. We have been on number of cruises . This was by far the worst. Dinning room menue is trimmed down to a bare bone selection so as to force you to go to the specialty restaurant. Wine is available on certain evenings at a 25 percent discount. I was charged full price. I was told that I had to ask for the discount. This happened twice. Like wise I went to the casino to play slots. Drinks were to be 1/2 price after 11pm. Again I was charged full price and told I must ask for it. The buffet and the Park cafe were boring. The same items every day. Coffee on board is mediocre , no cream just milk. I enjoy coffee so of to the cafe. Cappuccino or espresso is about $4.00 plus tip. It is server in a paper cup with stir stick. No table service.How classy is that. The desserts were tastless and the same for 12 days. They used to have descent juices in the dispensers. Now you get lemon or kiwi water. Yuk. They are determined that you buy the beverage package. As you leave the ship they try to sell you water at $6.49 for a 1 liter. Internet $299 for the trip outrageous I am a 69 year ok male and I am not allowed a bottle of wiskey. This in fringement on my rights. They want you to by their drink package if I pay for a room at the Hilton they can't tell me that I can't have a drink. Read Less
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