January 2016 - Brilliance of the Seas to Caribbean - Western
This was a girl's cruise with a group of friends that was booked last summer. First, I will say that the ship itself was fine and I loved the atrium area which was lovely.
The trouble actually started with our booking through . We booked in mid-August when was offering a deal that included a $100 OBC and a $150 Excursion credit for our balcony staterooms. Somehow, my friends were given their proper credits but I only received the $150 excursion credit although the bookings were done on the same day for the exact same cabins which were just a few doors apart. I spend hours on the cruise ship trying to get this fixed to no avail.
As far as the ship crew went, I think that this must be one of their less experienced crews and that they need to be a bit better trained with respect to customer service. The only exception being the folks who staffed guest services although they could never solve the issues. My belief is that this is probably the less experienced crew as this ship is one of the smaller, older ships out of Tampa and expect RCI is smart enough to use the best crew on the new mega ships leaving from the east coast (Oasis/Allure/Quantuum).
Although booking about six months in advance, we could only get My Time Dining. Surprisingly, this ship on has ONE dining room! We could not get seated the first night until 8:30PM and when trying to get an advanced reservation the next night for either a party of 8 or 2 tables for 4 (even tried any other combination) we were told that 8PM would be the earliest. Same for any other night as RCI had allowed some people with My Time Dining to book online in advance of the cruise. Our party of 8 booked this cruise using 3 different "vendors" (one being directly with RCI) and none of us were advised we could pre-book our dining times. The fact that other people were able to do this meant that there really wasn't available openings prior to 8PM for anyone else. The maitre'd was extremely rude and refused to help. We did engage Zeynel with My Time Dining who was able to get us a table for 8 at 7:15PM every night starting on the 3rd night.
Our cabin steward was somewhat efficient although he didn't speak English & we had a hard time communicating. You have to request ice on this ship and it took several attempts before we were able to get ice in our cabin. Our friends with the same steward asked for wine glasses on several occasions and never got them.
The food was fair at best.
This experience will send me back to my preferred cruise line (Princess) and will gladly drive to another port to get a better ship.