Brilliance of the Seas Honeymooners
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: March 01, 2014
Ship: Brilliance of the Seas
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 4 years ago
My wife and I had the pleasure of taking our first cruise together for our honeymoon from March 1st- March 6th in 2014. Overall, we were very impressed. There was an abundant amount of entertainment including a large theatre that had an acrobat show, comedian, band, and a newlywed game show type thing while we were aboard. Beyond that, there was a piano bar we frequented during our trip. There was also a singer we thoroughly enjoyed in the king and country pub one evening. Throughout the day there was no shortage of things to do. There was assorted trivia throughout different bars daily. There were different fun classes you could take as well. The casino had texas holde'm tournaments, blackjack tournaments, and slot tournaments nearly every day. (Although the slots were pretty tight). The entertainment staff were phenomenal and very enthusiastic about what they were doing. Overall, the entertainment aspect was the biggest strength of the ship.
The setting was elegant all across the ship. When we boarded it felt just like the titanic as there was a band playing classical music. The atmosphere was classy all the way around.
The service was excellent in regards to the main dining room, housekeeping, guest services, bartenders, and entertainment. The one criticism we had was the service in one of the ship's restaurants, Rita's Cantina. The server seemed to hate his job and was extremely unattentive each time we dined there. We tipped him the first time but tipped minimally the second time as a result. You would think that after we tipped the first time we would have received good service the second but it was completely opposite. It felt as though we were a burden on him, so we avoided that restaurant from that point on.
The ports of call depature and arrival were always smooth and had boats running constantly back and forth from shore to ship while in the grand cayman islands. They do provide plenty of information for shore excursions and allow you to book ahead of time. We did a couple shore excursions but always found a way better deal when off the ship. In each port we had 7-8 hours of time which is a good amount to shop, drink, and explore on your own.
The food in the main dining room was outstanding every time. The service was always terrific as well. We had prime rib, filets, roasted duck, and marinated chicken breast. They changed a few entrees daily so the menu always stayed fresh. The upscale pay restaurants were even better. We only dined at chops grille but the rest of our dinner table raved about the other pay restaurants quality. I will say the best meal was at chops grille. Truly classy. We had the filet mingon and I will say it was the best steak I have ever had. Definitely worth it to splurge. The server was top notch and we tipped him accordingly.
The main criticism of our cruise was the nose dive in food quality after the main dining room. The windjammer cafe buffet area was just gross. We ate there twice and never went back. It was bordering on school cafeteria quality, and that's being generous. Rita's Cantina's food was actually decent but the service was very poor. The late night food- forget about it! It was absolutely terrible! I ate pizza that I swore was actually cardboard with pizza drawn on. We ordered room service the first night and it was barely edible. Additionally, they royally (pun intended) screwed up our order. The spinach dip we ordered came with a piece of american cheese on top without any chips or bread. I guess we were supposed to just spoon it right in our mouth? We ordered pepperoni pizza and received a turkey panini. The steak sandwich had no top bun and was gross looking anyhow. We literally had about two bites of stuff and placed the food outside our stateroom door. We called and complained but were told we had to go to guest services. We did eventually get them to take it off our bill although we were still left with the 3.95 room service charge.
There was a wide variety of drinks at every bar. The cocktails were delicious, perhaps a bit on the strong side overall. The bartenders were pretty cool mainly with a few bad apples. We tipped pretty consistently and received great service at the King and Country Pub. However, one night my wife and I were craving bailey's coffee in the early evening and had to go all the way to deck 11 to get coffee and then down to deck 6 at the bar for the bailey's. The bartender in the schooner bar (where we hung out quite frequently and tipped regularly) gave her hell for asking for a double shot of bailey's. Mind you, there were spring breakers on our cruise that were CLEARLY overserved the entire time. We were stone cold sober at the time so we found this quite demeaning. He actually threatened to not serve us at one point which was simply appauling. He eventually gave in and poured us a half and half bailey's coffee. We apologized but avoided that bartender the remainder of the trip. I will say the other female bartender at that same bar was friendly and fun. We hung out on her side of the bar the rest of the trip. The other drawback was that the pool bars closed daily at 6pm! It was not even dark out and they stopped serving. So if you wanted to hang out by the pool in the early evening you had to go up to deck 13, the nearest place to grab a drink. That was quite annoying to have to continue to go back and forth just to sit by the pool.
The final thing to keep in mind is that the daily itinerary is given the night before. I wish they would have had the full five days of entertainment laid out ahead of time so we could plan accordingly. Given the amount of entertainment/activities aboard the ship, it's important to plan your days out accordingly. Also, if you are a smoker there are a few designated areas to smoke aboard the ship. Deck 5, 11, and 12 allowed smoking as well as the casino on deck 6. They only supplied large ashtrays where you deposit your butts, however, which was a small dissapointment being a smoker. You're technically not allowed to smoke on the balconies although we did the entirety of our cruise. We brought our own ashtray and deposited the butts in an empty beer can and were never talked to or yelled at about it.
Overall we would give the cruise an 8.5/10. The staff was predominately friendly and warm, especially the entertainment staff. The main dining room and pay restaurants were superior. Housekeeping was terrific and seemless. Our oceanside stateroom with the balcony was awesome. Centrally located and close to the main pool area. Departing the ship was smooth and only about a 20 minute process. The main tip we give is to plan your dining in the main dining room or the pay restaurants. You'll most likely be disappointed with the rest of the restaurants. Thanks for reading, hope this helps you in your future decision on a cruise.
-Kevin and Renee