March 2014 - Brilliance of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
This was our fourth cruise on Royal Caribbean but first on the Brilliance.
First and foremost, when we boarded our ship we discovered that it was a Spring Break week for Florida colleges. There were a large number of college students, including two large organized groups, on the ship. The interior cabins in our area were occupied by groups of three or four students. We were not advised of this when booking (directly through Royal Caribbean) and would not have booked had we been made aware. While we had no problem with noise in the halls during the days and evenings, we were unhappy being woken up at 2:00 a.m. every morning when students returned from the bars. When we inquired at customer service the person taking the information advised she had the same problem. Hardly the expected response. The suggestion that we call after being awakened and security would be dispatched was entirely unacceptable. Who needs them after the damage has been done? Also, it was almost impossible to use the pool in the afternoons because of the number of students attached to the bar and filling the pool.
The dining room layout aboard the Brilliance was such that there were no quiet areas as there are on other RC ships we sailed on. It was very noisy. There was no live music to perhaps mask the background noise, such as we had on other RC ships. Also, the food from the “Classic” menu (salmon and steak) was served dry and was unsatisfactory. Food from the daily menu was much better prepared and served.
The layout of tables at the Windjammer and in particular tables for six in all areas bordering the windows meant that when a single person or couple sat at a table, others did not want to ask to sit there and wandered about looking for tables, particularly at breakfast. It would be far better if they arranged tables in the Windjammer similar to the way you did at Rita’s Cantina with tables of two and four which can easily be joined to accommodate larger groups.
Some of the more experienced cruisers we met expressed the sentiment that Royal Caribbean is now offering less than it did a few years ago in terms of service. There is now much more harder selling of goods and services. One couple pointed out that most hotel chains these days offer free wi-fi in all rooms or at very least in lobby areas. Royal Caribbean continues to “nickle and dime” its passengers by making them pay for this service and then offering slow and inadequate service.
On a more positive note, we have only great things to say about Giovanni’s Table (specialty Italian restaurant) where we dined twice. The Maitre D and waiters offered excellent service. They were very welcoming and made sure that we enjoyed our meal there. Also, although we had limited contact with our room steward he also did an excellent job and when we asked for an extra face cloth made sure that there was an extra one there every day. This is the type of service we have come to expect from Royal Caribbean.
When we communicated with "customer service" after the cruise, all they did was regurgitate my e-mail with some brief acknowledgment of my comments and an indication that they either “understand” or “regret”. They provided no explanation of the failure to deal with the issues nor did they advise what their plans are for any changes.