Second Mate

Hometown: Dunedin, FL
Joined: 03/29/2014
Helpful Votes

About Veronika

I have no cruise control. They just seem to book themselves!



Veronika's Upcoming Cruises

Veronika's Past Cruises

Allure of the Seas

September 2016 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean

"President's Cruise"

Navigator of the Seas

April 2016 - Navigator of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Brilliance of the Seas

January 2016 - Brilliance of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Brilliance Packs a lot of Punch into a Small Package

Brilliance of the Seas is one of the smaller ships in the fleet, but she is very well layed out and all venues are easy to get to. 


This was my second time on Brilliance of the Seas - just over a year apart. This time was a short 4 night getaway and "girls cruise" with my daughter.  We booked an Inside Guarantee and were assigned a cabin in Deck 2 which is a nice quiet and quaint deck with only about a dozen cabins total.  Don't hesitate to book on Deck 2 - all the cabins are mid ship and there is very little movement.


The ship itself has been revitalized with the additions of Izumi, Park Cafe, Rita's and Chef's Table.  We did enjoy lunch at Izumi and the roast beef sandwiches and salads at Park Cafe were excellent.  The MDR food and service was very good to excellent.  Really like the leg of lamb on the last night.  Our waiter and assistant waiter did an exceptional job and the service was fast and food well presented.


There were 2 production shows and 2 headliner shows and one late night comedy show.  Plenty of activities to keep busy from the Quest to Trivia as well as casino and pool.


There is also an indoor Cinema and pool side screen.  The Colony Club is a nice additional venue and if you like to play pool, there are pool tables on board.


Brilliance packs a lot of punch into a small package!


Love this ship!!!  



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Vision of the Seas

November 2015 - Vision of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern

Wonderful Cruise on Vision of the Seas to the A-B-C's!

Sailed on Vision to a 10 night southern itinerary to the A-B-C Islands and Key West and Grand Cayman the first week of December 2015 out of Tampa. 


Vision is an older and smaller ship but has had some nice additions with the recent refurbishment.  There is a Park Cafe, Izumi, Giovanni's Table and Chef's Table as well as Chops Steakhouse. We had dinner at Izumi one evening and it was very good and the lunch at Chops was good also. The food in the MDR was disappointing and not up to normal RCI standards.  It was only good at best and the time to get it was painfully slow.  Our servers however did an excellent job.


There were only 2 production shows, which is surprising for a 10 night cruise.  The headliner shows were good, but there was no late night comedy at all and not much entertainment after 11pm. The Quest game show was fun as always.


Enjoyed the movies on the big screen.  Would like to see popcorn and blankets and hot chocolate offered (like some other cruiselines). 


Really enjoyed the ports of call we'd not visited before:  Bonaire, Aruba and Curacao.  Key West was a short stop and Grand Cayman was fun even though we'd been there several times before.


Overall Vision is a very beautiful ship with lots of nice public spaces. 


The Ports of Call.  I will focus on the A-B-C Islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.


Aruba:  "One Happy Island”   We did an excursion with Trikes Aruba.  We had the orange bike and after a short driving lesson, we set off on the roads of Aruba. (Que the Steppenwolf music.....)   Our tour took us to about 75% of the island and 95% of the highlights. We stopped at the California Lighthouse. We then drove to the Alto Vista Chapel where there was a Pina Colada (made with fresh coconut and pineapple juice) food truck set up. On the way to the Gold Mill Ruins, we drove along the west coast and past several beaches including Eagle, Palm and Arashi (which we planned to take transport back to once the Trikes tour was over). At the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, we saw hundreds of cairns (man-made rock formations) on the beach. There were also some very rough waves crashing onto the rocks. Not safe for swimming although our tour guide told us that some (crazy) locals do partake in the challenge. This was the only area that the Trikes were able to drive off road. Here we saw the ATV’s and jeep tours stopping as well to visit the ruins. There was also a food truck set up here selling beverages and snacks.  The last stop was the Casaberi Rock Formation. From the top, there is a breathtaking view of Aruba although it is very windy. Our Trikes were the highlight of stop at the Casaberi Rock Formation. Guests on other tours were coming over and taking pictures of the Trikes. We felt like rock stars when they found out that we were riding them!  It was an experience we will never forget.


Bonaire:  The Woodwind crew of Dee, the captain, underwater photographer and assistant snorkler were fantastic.  The provided us with caps and shirts and wetsuits to wear.  They also had a full face over mask that allowed me to breath from my nose and mouth and also had an attached snorkel.  We went to 2 snorkel spots in the Bonaire Marine Park and spent approximately 45 minutes “drift” snorkeling at each site.  We saw turtles and some amazing schools of fish.  When we were finished with snorkeling, we were served a wonderful Thai recipe lunch of noodles, chicken and vegetables along with beverages of our choice including beer and rum punch.  We were even served dessert. One of the BEST excursions we have ever done.  Definitely the BEST snorkeling!!!


Curacao: We reserved a private tour with Gaby of Sand & Stilettos.  She sent us a brief questionnaire so that she could build a tour based on our interests. As a local she knew the best places to see which we would not have seen or been able to spend as much time as we did had we been on a cruise ship tour.  We visited the northern most tip of Curacao at Shete Boka National Park. We saw amazing crashing waves and a very cool cave and there were hundreds of man-made rock formations called cairns all over the place!  We stopped for a photo op at Playa Kenepa - the most photographed beaches in Curacao. Gaby then took us to the Karakter Curacao Restaurant for lunch. We had the daily special which was a whole lionfish! It was fantastic and served with seasonal veggies. The Karakter was right on the beach and there were seating areas under papalas on the beach and also in the open air restaurant. The water was a bit rough and rocky so make sure to have water shoes!  On the drive back to Willemstad, we drove over the Queen Juliana Bridge (apparently the highest in the Caribbean) which divides Willemstad into the Punda and Otrobanda districts. We were dropped off in downtown Willemstad near the Riff Fort which has shops and restaurants and we had to walk through it to get back to the ship. Before heading back however, we walked across the Queen Emma pontoon bridge (which swings open sideways to let ships pass) to the Punda district. It was late in the day, so many of shops were closing. We did get to see the floating market where ships make the trip from Venezuela, bringing fresh fruit and produce to the island for locals and tourists. We ended our day in Curcao with drinks and dinner at the Gouverneur.  We sat outside on the balcony and had a fantastic view of the Punda and the Queen Emma Bridge as night fell on the beautiful island of Curacao. Gaby gave us a great first impression of her beautiful and friendly island and we can't wait to come back again someday soon!


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Brilliance of the Seas

November 2014 - Brilliance of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Independence of the Seas

April 2014 - Independence of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Allure of the Seas

November 2013 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Celebrity Silhouette

March 2013 - Celebrity Silhouette to Caribbean - Eastern

Freedom of the Seas

November 2012 - Freedom of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Dream

February 2012 - Carnival Dream to Caribbean - Eastern

Nieuw Amsterdam

November 2011 - Nieuw Amsterdam to Caribbean - Eastern

Oasis of the Seas

March 2011 - Oasis of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Norwegian Star

March 2010 - Norwegian Star to Mexico

Carnival Legend

May 2009 - Carnival Legend to Caribbean - Western

"Wedding Cruise"

Liberty of the Seas

October 2008 - Liberty of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Norwegian Jewel

February 2008 - Norwegian Jewel to Caribbean - Southern

Norwegian Pearl

May 2007 - Norwegian Pearl to Alaska - Inside Passage

Caribbean Princess

October 2006 - Caribbean Princess to Caribbean - Eastern

Enchantment of the Seas

March 2006 - Enchantment of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Inspiration

October 2005 - Carnival Inspiration to Caribbean - Western

Carnival Spirit

March 2005 - Carnival Spirit to Mexico

Navigator of the Seas

September 2003 - Navigator of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Carnival Fascination

October 2002 - Carnival Fascination to Caribbean - Western

Veronika's Tips

Brilliance of the Seas Brilliance of the Seas - There is an area on the port side of the ship just outside the Windjammer with comfy seating that has 24 hour self service coffees and teas. Go to Park Cafe and get a cookie or two and then come back to enjoy with your evening cuppa tea!
Vision of the Seas Vision of the Seas - Hidden Gem: Visit Park Cafe on embarkation day and it it's generally not as crowded as the Windjammer. They also have great late night snacks of fruit, soups and salads, etc. They also have chips and cookies. Book one of the Panorama OV's they are priced below and are larger than a balcony!
Cozumel, Mexico - Pancho's Backyard has free margaritas with coupons. Print one for each person. Nice place for lunch. Nachi is a nice all inclusive.
Colon, Panama - DO a tour! Colon is not a walkable port. Visit the Miriflor locks, Panama City or do the Jungle Tour.
Belize City, Belize - The tender takes about 30 minutes. We missed our non-ship excursion because of the tenders.
Celebrity Equinox Celebrity Equinox - Splurge on Morano's but get only 1 lobster entree if also sharing the Chateaubriand. Also, try the goat cheese soufflé and save room for dessert.

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