Tampa to Barcelona

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review to Transatlantic

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Reviews: 4
Helpful Votes: 74

Overall rating:

4.6 out of 5
Brilliance of the Seas

14 Night South Florida To Spain (Tampa To Barcelona)

Sail date: April 17, 2017

Ship: Brilliance of the Seas

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 7124

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

The 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.

Embarkation

4 out of 5
Embarkation was not difficult.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
The food was good. The menus in the main dining areas changed some but not a whole lot. The desserts were very good. I'm partial to the Coconut Cookies. It would've been nice to have more sugar free options that use Stevia or Splenda in place of sugar and honey (for diabetics) as well as some Keto friendly meals that use Avocado Oils for cooking instead of Canola Oil. Even so, it is difficult to meet the dietary needs of every person, and I believe all cruise lines try their best to accommodate as much as possible. The service was good as can be, considering many of the wait staff are from various countries, and English may be their second or even third language. I love how the main dining room serves up European Style. That is, your food isn't all brought out at once as in the US. Instead, it's brought out in segments: Drinks, breads, and rolls, then salads and appetizers, then the main courses, then desserts. It's also nice to be able to order as much as you want and whatever you want off the menu. You can actually vary the menu. For instance, you can have 2 appetizers instead of an appetizer and a main course. You can ask for a vegetable instead of Potatoes. You can ask to have a menu item removed from a plate. The wait staff aim to please.

Minstrel Dining Room

4 out of 5

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.

Cafe Latte-Tudes

5 out of 5

We frequented this place. The coffees were excellent.

Windjammer Cafe

5 out of 5

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.

Seaview Cafe

4 out of 5

It was great being able to piece-meal a salad and get chips and cookies at the Solarium area. The desserts were good, too.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
We watched a few movies, though the theater was very small and seats uncomfortable. Still, it is nice to go see a movie that's already included. It's also nice to be able to get food and drinks and bring into the theater that you don't have to pay extra for. We also went to the Veterans' Get Togethers and enjoy talking to our fellow Retirees and Veterans. My husband and I are both Retired Air Force.

Solarium

5 out of 5

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

4 out of 5

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.

Entertainment

5 out of 5
The shows in the large auditorium were amazing. The Movie Theme Songs performance was incredible. The band who did Queen (made us think of my deceased stepmother, who adored Freddy Mercury) and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons songs were amazing. The Abba songs were a lot of fun to listen to and sing along with.

Centrum

4 out of 5

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.

Pacifica Theatre

5 out of 5

The shows were incredible.

Cinema

3 out of 5

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

5 out of 5
Our room steward was fantastic. When I was sea-sick, she told us we could get Dramamine for free at the front desk.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
The ship was well maintained from what I could see. It was slippery in some places on the open areas, but it had rained and we had some rocking. I love the fact you can walk through from fore to aft on every deck, unlike some cruise lines.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
The cabin had plenty of closet and storage space. The beds were comfortable as were the pillows.

Ship tip

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.

Ports of call

Tampa, Florida

4 out of 5
It was a good port. We visited a Navy Ship while there. It wasn't an excursion, but since we're Military, we tend to gravitate towards Military things.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

5 out of 5
San Juan was lovely. Since my husband and I are both Disabled Veterans and have free National Parks Passes, we took advantage of our passes to visit the Fort. We enjoyed it.

Ponta Delgada, Azores

5 out of 5
It was wonderful to be back in the Azores again and to see an island we had never been to. I was surprised to see they had McDonalds. My husband and I met on Terceira Island when we were both stationed there during our time in the Air Force. Terceira didn't have any fast food places when we were there. It was so great to get some Brigadeiros and Galaoes again. Maybe next time, I'll ask for "Prego nao prato com batatas fritas." It would be nice to be able to have a few days here or maybe even cruise to the other Islands.

Malaga, Spain

5 out of 5
We walked around on our own. It was beautiful.

Ibiza, Balearic Islands

5 out of 5
We walked around on our own and climbed up a hill.

Barcelona, Spain

5 out of 5
It was great. We rode a train. We visited a mall. We got caught up in a "Demonstration" and had to laugh as, had we still been active duty, we'd have been forbidden from going to it. We had a hotel room that was nice and close to a mall. We flew from there to Austria.

Disembarkation

4 out of 5
Disembarkation wasn't too bad.
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