Tampa to Barcelona
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review to Transatlantic
Review summaryThe cruise was very good. There were only five kids on board, which was somewhat disappointing as I really like kids. There were a lot of elderly folks, so of course, it meant having to watch out for walkers and wheelchairs. There weren't too many of our ages on board, but I guess being retirees in our late 40s isn't the norm, either. ;) We got a lot of exercise due to my husband's anxiety issues. When people would start crowding into the elevator, he'd push his way out and take the stairs. I'm sure a lot of folks were confused by his need to get out when the elevators were getting full. I love that there were a lot of folks transiting back to Europe. We met folks from Germany and Switzerland, und ich hat mit Sie Deutsch sprechen. It was great how we were able to time zone change across the pond, thus waking up at our final destination without jet lag. Even though it's a relatively small ship, there are plenty of ways to occupy your time. If you can't find anything interesting, you can take a nap, take pictures, read, or watch the ocean waves. I loved being able to see nothing but water as far as the eye can see from my balcony stateroom and the excitement of seeing land as we came into various ports. Oh, and going under the Skyway Bridge from Tampa was amazing.
Food and Dining
Minstrel Dining Room
The food and service were very good. The menu changed little from day to day. The wait staff would bring my husband a menu the night before and ask him what he wanted as he is diabetic and can't have a lot of carbohydrates, sugars, and Canola Oil. They really try to provide top-notch service.
We frequented this place. The coffees were excellent.
I love Buffets. My husband loves being able to get his omelets Made to Order. The wait staff do excellent work here. I love the variety of food selections. My only gripe is the smell of the seafood, especially on Fridays. The food here is very good.
It was great being able to piece-meal a salad and get chips and cookies at the Solarium area. The desserts were good, too.
This is a lovely place. I'm not sure why RCCL says this is an adults area but allows 16 and 17 year olds here. I would think they'd make it 18 and up, but oh well. I saw some reviewers complain about "teenagers" hogging the hot tubs in the Solarium, and it may be because RCCL's policy is the Solarium is for 16 and up and not 18 and up.
Logo Souvenir Shop
We learned early on we needed to shop on day one if we were going to find a shirt in my husband's size. They have some really neat items.
Very pretty, except the Guest Services Desk was too close to the noise of the Centrum. When we had to dispute my stolen debit card, we had to practically scream at our USAA representative on the phone in order for him to hear us. It would be nice if Guest Services had a wall (maybe a glass or plexiglass wall) to block out some of the noise of music being played in the Centrum so customers could take care of business without having to scream like a Drill Sergeant at Basic Trainees. I have nothing against the entertainment in the Centrum, I actually enjoy it, it's just the proximity of Guest Services to the Centrum that's an issue.
The shows were incredible.
It was very small and seats were not too comfortable. I like that it is there and gives an option for another venue to view movies. You have to get there early if you want to guarantee getting a seat. The good thing is, they do show the same movies at least twice on the same day.
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Don't buy any drink packages unless you intend to drink tons of liquid. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water, and lemonade are included. Determine how much you would need to drink every day of Pop and Specialty Coffees (and Alcoholic beverages if you drink those) in order to break even or get a price per item that you'd expect to pay if you purchased a single drink on land. I purchased two drink packages (minus alcohol), and it turned out, we could've done without. We did drink sodas and specialty coffees, but we didn't break even. The next RCCL cruise we did, we did not buy the drink packages, purchased drinks as we wanted them, and actually came out better cost-wise. Oh, if you're a Crown and Anchor Gold or Above, you'll get some freebies and two for ones to take advantage of. That can also help with the costs of drinks.