April 2016 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Tampa Roundtrip) Cruise on Brilliance of the Seas
Took this cruise with my husband, in-laws, and my brother and his family. I've cruised several times on the west coast, but this was my first time to Florida and the Caribbean. Everything about this trip worked out perfectly. We all got to Tampa the night before and stayed at the Tahitian Inn, which I would recommend. It was $150/night, they picked up my brother's family at the airport, we parked our car there for free, and their shuttle took us to the port the next day. Rooms were fine, they have a nice pool with a bar, and the restaurant served an excellent breakfast. There's even a Starbucks next door. Embarkation was a breeze, I've never seen it go that quickly. It actually made me nervous that we were doing something wrong and would get sent back to the beginning, but no, we were on the ship in about fifteen minutes from when we were dropped off. We ate in the Dining Room each night. The only glitch in the plans I'd made was that they lost the reservations I had made before the cruise so we had to eat at 5:30, but that turned out to be a good thing as we were done with dinner in plenty of time for the 7 o'clock shows. I always laugh when I see people complain about the food on cruise ships, and wonder where they usually eat. I've never had a bad meal on a ship and this was no exception. Our servers were Jaromy and Raveen and we had such a good time with them every night. They really made it special for us.
We didn't do a whole lot of activities onboard, we watched the musical shows and comedy acts, the Love and Marriage and Battle of the Sexes game shows were hilarious, and the music and dancing in the Centrum were excellent. My inlaws enjoyed the movie theater, and we watched about half of the James Bond movie out by the pool one night. Played mini golf and ping pong. Spent a little time in the casino--my husband and mother in law spent a lot of time there and actually came out ahead--a lot of people complain about the smoke, but I didn't find it bothersome. If you like a late night snack, they serve food late in the solarium. Mostly I relaxed. I did get the internet package, I signed up for it onboard and got a discount so it's better to wait. The service was okay, but too slow for videos. We carried our luggage off ourselves and were off the ship and on the road by 7:30. All in all it was a perfect vacation.