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Royal Caribbean InternationalBrilliance the Seas ReviewTransatlanticMichael Agus

Age: 61

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Brilliance of the Seas

Sailing Date: April 28th, 2006

Itinerary: NOT FOUND

Royal Caribbean International
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Review
Transatlantic

Michael Agus

Embarkation
This cruise was an enjoyable experience in almost all respects. Embarkation was a breeze, quick and very efficient. I was on board this ship at 11.30am and sat comfortably in a lounge until Lunch was served at noon and was in my cabin at 12.45pm a little earlier than the 1pm promised. The cabin was well appointed and very comfortable and the room steward treated me like royalty for the entire voyage. My checked luggage was outside my cabin at 3.30pm and I was unpacked and ready for the lifeboat drill having had a little nap by 5pm.

The Ship
This ship is simply beautiful. It is easy to navigate, has lots of light and lounges for everyone. The cabins are reasonably large (170sq Ft) Inside and Ocean view, well appointed and there are lots of elevators and stairs so rarely do you wait long to get to another floor. There are lots of nice touches on this ship which gives you the impression of an elegant Hotel – especially the Centrum which is astounding. At 92,000 tons the ship is large enough without being too large. It seems to be well maintained with little or no showing wear, except perhaps on the balcony handrails, which are in need of varnish. No consequence to the passenger really but it does spoil an otherwise fresh, clean look for the exterior of the ship.

Food
I ate most breakfasts in the Windjammer Buffet and was happy with the very extensive buffet, which included fresh fruit, the usual breakfast fare and an Omelet station. It is a challenge to line up for food and get back to your table with everything still hot I don’t know how to get around that problem. I rarely bother with lunch, perhaps a snack but here again reports on the food in both the Dining Room and what I saw in the Windjammer was that the food was varied, good and plentiful. I ate Dinner in the Main Dining Lounge every night except four occasions when I ate at Chops and Portofino. The food was varied, nicely prepared and presented in the Dining Room and I had no complaints. I met some super people on my table and the servers were superb. Chefs actually do a great job with lamb, steaks, chicken and Duck especially considering they are catering to 2400 people every night. The food at the Specialty Restaurants was absolutely 5 star and outstanding.

Entertainment
We were at sea for the first 7 days and there is always lots to do if you wish, or you can simply take the opportunity to relax in the Solarium, have a massage, sauna or simply find a nice spot to sit and read. The seas were a little heavy over the first 2/3 days and although personally I was fine, a few people did say they felt a little queasy. The shows at night were average. Nothing to shout about but it was o.k. Rarely do you come across an outstanding act these days on Cruise Ships – lots of Dancing and singing from the ships company, which was fine but there were no real Star performances. You have a choice whether to attend or not and I suggest that the only way entertainment will improve on all Cruise Ships is for passengers to stay away from the shows until they do----. I stress that this is not specific to Royal Caribbean this refers generally to all cruise lines. In fairness the logistics of getting an artist of some caliber on and off the ship, especially when there are a number of days at sea are not easy not to mention the price many top artists are asking these days.

Disembarkation
Getting off the ship at Ports of Call turned out to be a bit of a challenge for those assigned to this task. I am sure they will get it right but there were just too many people in one location and confusion amongst passengers many of whom are challenged with the English language and with mobility! I know there were some complaints about long lines and waiting time and I would say that they have to get better or more and more people will simply forego organized tours and simply get off the ship on their own. I suggest that groups of 4 do just that and get a Taxi or tour bus on land – sharing the costs which will end up being no more than that charged for organized tours. If they simply handed you “colored stickers” for the tour bus you would be using as you entered the room and then directed you to an area where you would sit and wait it would be far more efficient.

Leaving the ship in Barcelona was a breeze. I had time for an early breakfast then I was off and in a taxi to the airport by 8.15am and had little or no waiting time. The Europeans make travel and enjoyable experience at their customs and immigration sites. They are polite, quick and obviously have a far different approach to security than the US. Frankly after disembarking in San Diego in October I swore I would never cruise and land in the US again. That was a horror story of standing in line, waiting and being treated like a criminal rather than the law abiding retired citizen that I am. Believe me, Sailing into and out of Barcelona and indeed just about any European Port is a pleasure.

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