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Royal Caribbean International: Brilliance of the Seas

Brilliance of the Seas Review

The second of four Radiance-class ships, Brilliance of the Seas debuted in 2002. Upgrades in 2013 brought new staterooms, an outdoor movie screen poolside, a pub, the casual Park Café, Asian, Italian, and steak-house specialty restaurants, a Mexican restaurant, lounges for elite past passengers, a new nursery, and digital signage.

Considered by many people to be the most beautiful vessels in the Royal Caribbean fleet, Radiance-class ships are large but sleek and swift, with sun-filled interiors and panoramic elevators that span 10 decks along the ships' exteriors.

Big, bigger, biggest! In the early 1990s, Royal Caribbean launched Sovereign-class ships, the first of the modern megacruise liners, which continue to be the all-around favorite of passengers who enjoy traditional cruising ambience with a touch of daring and whimsy. Plunging into the 21st century, each ship in the current fleet carries more passengers than the entire Royal Caribbean fleet of the 1970s, and has amenities—such as new surfing pools—that were unheard of in the past.

All Royal Caribbean ships are topped by the company's signature Viking Crown Lounge, a place to watch the seascape by day and dance at night. Expansive multideck atriums and promenades, as well as the generous use of brass and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, give each vessel a sense of spaciousness and style. The action is nonstop in casinos and dance clubs after dark, while daytime hours are filled with poolside games and traditional cruise activities. Port talks tend to lean heavily on shopping recommendations and the sale of shore excursions.

What You Should Know


  • Aft on deck 6, four distinct lounges and a billiard room form a clubby adult entertainment center
  • Spacious family ocean-view cabins sleep up to six people
  • Ships offer a wide range of family-friendly activities and games


  • Upgraded features of the fleet are not consistent throughout this ship class, so check before booking
  • Dining options that charge have replaced some that were previously complimentary
  • Libraries are tiny and poorly stocked for ships this size
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 857
  • Entered Service 2002
  • Gross Tons 90,090
  • Length 962 feet
  • Number of Cabins 1,056
  • Passenger Capacity 2,112 (2,501 max)
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Apr 26, 2016


WOW! Who doesn't love a cruise?! My wife and I just returned from our Royal Caribbean cruise on the Brilliance of the Seas out of Tampa on 4/18-22/2016. Having cruised with Royal Caribbean several times before we were sure this trip would be equally amazing especially since our port of call was Cozumel, Mexico; check that off the bucket list. The revitalization of the ship, Brilliance of the Seas, was stunning and the entire staff was awesome.

Unfortunately Royal Caribbean really missed the mark with the food - AWFUL - cafeteria food for fine dining! Room Service: Breakfast- 30min early - YEA... only cold & flavorless. The Danish appeared to have been left over from the day before. The scrambled eggs were a flavorless ice-cream scoop mound of yuk. By the way, no amount of salt and/or pepper can fix cold (powdered?!) eggs...believe me we tried. Buffet Breakfast: Not bad but nothing special...again the eggs left ALOT to be desired although the eggs from the “eggs cooked to order” looked good if I felt like waiting and waiting and waiting. Lunch Buffet: Standard lunch fare....probably better than breakfast but nothing memorable except the self-serve ice cream. Park Cafe: Thankful for a go to spot for a quick snack "after-hours"- oh wait... that was only till 10:30pm. Guess that explained why I saw so many guests squirreling food away to their cabins. Aside from that...snacks, pizza, and sandwiches were adequate. Minstrel Dining: THIS IS WHERE IT WENT FROM BAD TO WORSE. Ever since I can remember, one of the highlights of cruising was the food; specifically the main event-dinner. I gotta hand it to the wait staff...really on top of their game. It's just a shame they have such a poor product to work with. Many of the entree items featured were simply leftovers from the Windjammer lunch buffet or at best the same food prepared again for dinner with a slight variation and better presentation. Two specific items topped the list of worst of worst for us- the chicken marsala and the seafood medley were complete failures. Mrs. Pau's, Gorton's & Tyson have better or comparable products. So disappointing. We both felt like the bulk of the dinner entrees were essentially cafeteria food in a fine dining environment-and many of our fellow cruisers relayed the same sentiment even going so far as to advise others ahead of their meal of what NOT to order...sad, just sad. Bartenders: Not the most jovial bunch but who can blame them; so overworked it seemed they could barely look up. Regrettably this cruise was to be the benchmark for a future family cruise in February and it really has left a very poor taste in our mouths. No comps, coupons or refunds are being solicited, just needed for you to be aware of why you will not be seeing us for repeat business anytime soon.

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  • New

Nov 21, 2015

Cozumel and grand cayman

Dinning room service was terrible at our table. Bathroom smelled bad. Employees seemed tired and didn't smile much of the time. Bed pillows were old and flat. Need new towels as well they were old. Food was fine nothing special good salad bar. Nice cabin but it smelled bad in the bathroom and the pillows were old and very flat. Bingo was expensive $38.00 to play We didn't do any activities. Went with

family and it was stressful at dinner because service was very poor very difficult to get a drink No smiles from staff and our waiter and his assistant complained and seemed tired.

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  • New

Nov 14, 2015


Our most recent cruise was a 13 day repositioning cruise from Boston to Tampa. This cruise appeared to attract older travelers many of whom take this same voyage every year. While there were a few newlyweds on board the cruise was predominantly retired folks. The food was not bad but not amazing or memorable. In general, the food lacked flavor although moderately salted (especially the soups). Omelets and fish were most generally overcooked

and not appetizing. With regards to dining venues the food available on the buffet stayed generally the same throughout the cruise. The food in the main dining room was okay with two notable exceptions. The horseradish crusted salmon and the prime rib were by far the best foods tasted during the 13 days on board. Our experience with the any time dining option was a nightmare. Expect long wait lines unless you are choosing to eat at 5:30 pm or after 8:15 p.m. If you are thinking of paying for food in the specialty restaurants expecting to be wowed, save your money. Both the Chops Grille and Giovanni's were huge disappointments. They only provided a more intimate dining experience than what we had in the main dining room. If you like coffee with your dessert be sure to order it at the beginning of your meal. For some unexplained reason it was very difficult to get coffee served just prior to desert. If I were to look for the silver lining it would be that I did not gain any weight during the cruise. The stateroom was nicely appointed, very comfortable and kept immaculate by our stateroom attendant. Surprisingly, there was lots of storage space available for all of our clothes and toiletries. On sea days there were a lot of activities available. The cruise director and her staff work hard and it showed. The entertainment in the theater was fantastic. If I were to make one suggestion it would be to turn down the volume for the RC singers because there were times that a lovely song turned into painful screeching. We enjoyed the progressive trivia, and the many demonstrations that were provided. One of our favorite sessions was a chat from the captain at both the beginning and end of the cruise. It was so informative and our captain was engaging and interesting. As far as the movies, we were disappointed with the options as they seemed to be either science fiction, adventure or serious. A lighthearted comedy or two would have been wonderful additions. We loved waking the deck and we were so pleased that we could walk all around Deck 5 which we did daily. I really appreciated the opportunity to attend daily Mass. Thank you Father Connolly and Royal Caribbean for making that happen. We actually played pool a few times on the gyro pool tables. That was something that we had never experienced on any other cruise. We enjoyed our excursions. They were long enough to allow us to see the islands that we were visiting while still allowing time at port for shopping and an ability to enjoy a local beer/cocktail. My only disappointment was the limited hours to enjoy Curacao which is one of my favorite destinations. Unfortunately we were only allowed six hours in port. We had a lovely and relaxing cruise. The Brilliance of the Seas was a nice ship and as with every cruise - it is what you make it. When looking back - my one pet peeve was that RC tended to favor the platinum and diamond guests (there were than 500+ on board) so much that we sometimes felt like second class passengers. While I understand the need to reward repeat passengers, that desire should be balanced with providing first time travelers with a reason to want to sail with RC again.

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Jun 14, 2015

Baltic cruise

The food was the worst I have ever encountered on any cruise,( previously been with P&O & Fred Olsen). There were virtually no vegetables, and what there were were severely undercooked. One main meal had 2 button mushrooms and half a tomato as its only veg, another had 4 very small pieces of potato and 9 peas. Most guests, including Crown & Anchor Diamond members,were very unhappy with the standard. Often it was at too low a temperature to be safe

from microbiological hazard. This was raised with the catering staff, but despite this the problem was not resolved until the final dinner, when suddenly we were served with our only hot meal. The ship has its faults, but is generally well-maintained, and is quiet and smooth, and the crew are all very friendly. The ports of call could not have been bettered, but some of the shore excursions were poor. An evening river cruise in St Petersburg drew lots of complaints, but Royal Caribbean offered a miserly compensation of under US$10. On the following day, a trip to Peterhof Palace was spoiled by insufficient time at the venue. The guide knew at the outset that the journey would take up most of our time, resulting in completing the tour of the grounds at a virtual jogging pace, yet no apology for this was ever made. See above. The waiters were not of the highest standard. It was not unusual to be presented with menus upside down, and on one occasion being given the menu for the previous day. Sometimes the meals provided were not what had been ordered, resulting in the waiters dashing around to find replacements. Excellent, as was our steward, who was very attentive. Not brilliant. There could have been much more done to occupy time on sea days, and the venues used for events were often unsuitable. Many evening events were in the Centrum, which is far too small, and of poor acoustics, resuting in many guests wandering around trying to find seats. There is an excellent venue, The Colony Club, which is severely underused. Avoid the St Petersburg evening river cruise. Otherwise, all of the shore excursions were to venues which were worth seeing, even if time was sometimes too short Everyone should do a Baltic cruise, but not with Royal Caribbean. It's well worth seeing, but the itinerary means you have 5 active days without a break. It's back to P&O for me.

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  • New

Apr 25, 2014


Overall the cruise was what we made it. Some entertainment was fantastic - others were boring and we had to participate in order to keep the passengers awake. The greeter as you came aboard was the most boring I have ever encountered - she clearly did not want to be there and Royal Caribbean should have thought that one out before putting someone with 0 people skills at that position. For the first time ever on a cruise - I never saw the cruise

director and absolutely no staff members smiled or were friendly - with the exception of our room steward - Roxanne who always greeted us with a smile - and our dining room staff. Bars were always understaffed and crowded and bartenders were rude and nasty - in fact after patiently waiting in line for a drink or 20 minutes and being constantly overlooked - the bartender told me to relax I was on vacation and he would get to me eventually - really! Not - been on 23 cruises and have never encountered a crew with no personality! Disappointing to say the least. The food was ok...still miss formal lobster night - althought for an additional charge I hear you can get it from the dining room. The times for the Windjammer need to be extended and there should be more availability of food throughout the ship for those not wishing to attend the dining room. The stateroom was over the top and absolutely fantastic! They were ok - I didn't like the fact that most shows were in the main hallyway and people crowded the halls to look over the balcony. Entertainment was definitely of cruise ship level - nothing spectacular - did like the "fliers" and the passenger participation with Thriller was original. Been to Cozumel many times and would have normally rented a car but with a 6 pm back at ship departure it made that difficult so we just hung around the port and spent time at Senor Frogs - which was fun. Since we were celebrating my daughter's birthday - it was fun but again after all the cruises I have been on - the crew was absolutely boring. They all looked like they were at the end of their contracts and couldn't wait to get off the ship. Also the cost of the photos is getting out of hand. There should be more affordable packages available for those who would like - but cannot afford the $17 5x7 photo. Loved the perks of the Emerald level and hope one day to achieve Diamond - but you will have to pick up your game - already booked our next cruise - on Carnival....

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