Nice Ship, Nice Cruise
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review to Europe - Northern Europe
Sail Date: May 12, 2012
Ship: Brilliance of the Seas
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Traveled As: Singles/Friends
Reviewed: 5 years ago
Review SummaryAn older ship, but nicely maintained.
The ship has plenty of public spaces and never seemed crowded (other than the queue waiting for the dining room doors to open each evening).
There was always a show in the theater each evening - worth the visit. There were activities during the day but most of the "lectures" were barely disguised sales pitches for either shore excursions or other products offered by the ship (spa, salon). Do you really need an acupuncturist on board a cruise ship? Teeth whitening services?? Really??
Biggest complaint is the never-ending sales pitches. RCCL cabin rates are often a great deal. I would suspect they barely make a profit on the rooms alone. But most things are "extra cost" and that is where RCCL makes their money. Average wines at overly-inflated prices. Specialty coffees, sodas, fresh juices - all extra. Use of the gym is free, but yoga or pilates or other "specialty" classes - extra. Shore excursions are quite expensive for what you get - but sometimes it is the only option to see things. In the fjord towns, sometimes just walking around the town is all you really need to do. Onboard ship activities were mostly free but some had fees attached. I did splurge on an expensive spa treatement - the Thai Poultice Massage, and it was really quite wonderful. Also - gratuities are automatically added to all services - in the spa and in the dining room. So tack on 15% when calculating the costs of spa services, bar, coffee shop and dining room (even purchasing the ship's cookbook, which you can only get from your wait staff, came with an additional 15% tacked on).
Would I cruise RCCL again? Maybe. I'd have to get a much better deal on my stateroom so as to make up for all the additional costs that occur during the cruise.
Food and Dining
The other dining option, the Windjammer Cafe (buffet style dining) has decent food but is poorly laid out so it gets quite crowded and people are urged to "eat and move from the tables" because in poor weather, there isn't enough space for everyone to sit and enjoy a leisurely meal there. I tried to avoid Windjammer at all times, but on some days it was the only option for breakfast or lunch. Not good!
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Pros: Excellent cabin and dining room service
Cons: Windjammer Cafe, Constant sales pitches to buy unnecessary things