August 2014 - 12 Night Scandinavia & Russia (Harwich Roundtrip) Cruise on Brilliance of the Seas
Good itinerary but issues with Royal Caribbean ethos and service
What was good: nice ship, reasonable facilities, good choice and quality of food, lovely waiters, interesting destinations.
What was less good: our overall impression was that RC are more focused on extracting money from their guests than providing good customer care. For example, drinks (wine, bottled water) were extremely overpriced compared to P&O. Expensive ship photographers were everywhere and caused problems moving around busy areas. There was not much information about ports (eg walking distances and availability of shuttle buses) and pressure to use the ship's own excursions. Around the ship, staff were either absent or disengaged from what was going on. The ship's own rules were not enforced, so some children were playing and jumping around in adult areas like the spa pools without being challenged. In the theatre, some people reserved seats for their entire family, took photographs during the performance, allowed children to run about, etc, in spite of notices prohibiting this. There was always a queue at guest services from early morning to late evening.
Overall, this seems to be a fairly informal family orientated ship and might therefore suit people with young families who don't mind a bit of noise and boisterous behaviour.