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Bridget

Age: 55

Occupation:Homemaker

Number of Cruises: 6

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Brilliance of the Seas

Sailing Date: 04-10-2009

Itinerary: Barcelona - Canary Isles

My family and I cruised with Royal Caribbean less than 2 years ago on Vision of the Seas. I much prefer this ship to the 'Brilliance.'
We were quite shocked to see the vast price increases and cutbacks on this cruise.
Whilst the cruise was very good, with interesting ports of call, I felt like the customers are treated rather liked 'Cash Cows.' Royal Caribbean started with their sales pitch before the ship was even boarded. I really felt quite hassled. Drinks on board are VERY expensive and carry a 15% surcharge on top of that. You are not allowed to take your own drinks on board and scanners are used to ensure this. On the very rare occassion that we were offered the bargain of 2 drinks for the price of one we were still charged 15% on what the price of the free drink would have been!! Dinner wine is also expensive and the only way to do it at a half reasonable price is to buy one of their wine deals. This wine, although paid for, can only be ordered through the restaurant at meal times - we wanted to get a bottle to drink on our balcony and were not able to do this.
Photographs are very expensive, but the staff were very helpful - even airbrushing some phtos for us free of charge.
Personally I would not cruise Royal Caribbean again unless it was on a very, very good deal.

The food and service in the Minstrel Restaurant was, on the whole, good. The windjammer food was good enough, due to the sheer quantity, although the 'fruit juices & beverages' available were almost undrinkable. You had to pay extra for decent drinks.
There were two other restaurants, each of which you had to pay for.
My granddaughter is diabetic and we struggled to get anything other than pizza for her supper.

The stateroom was fabulous - spacey, with a huge bed and adequate balcony. Plenty of storage space. It was cleaned twice daily (supposedly) - I found a paper cup full of cigarette ends hidden behind the curtain! The shower was rather cramped. Plenty of clean towels. The only complimentary toiletries are mini soap bars and shower soap in a dispenser. Although I didn't use it, I believe the room service was good.

Apart from the show in the evening, which was very good, most of the activities were rather mundane - i.e. towel folding, cake icing, etc.
The children seemed to keep happily occupied although you had to pay an extra $25 to have them go on the climbing wall, which I think was rather unfair. Mid-evening entertainment was pleasant, but dull - discos did not get going until midnight and not everyone wants to stay up that late.
The fitness centre is a very good size for a ship, althought it did get rather hot at times.
I think a little more information could have been given on excursions available. On enquiring at the Guest Relations Desk it seems that Royal Carribean seem to expect everyone to watch the television in the cabins constantly to get the relevant info.

On the whole most of the excursions seemed quite expensive. Beach transfers cost at least 4 times as much as it cost to 'do it alone.' We did the volcano trip on Lanzarote and the Mosque and Bazaar trip in Casablanca - they were both very good, although I would have liked time to go round the Souk.

This should have been a lovely, hassle-free holiday, but there were quite a few times when we were stressed - especially on transfer to the airiport.
Royal Caribbean arranged our flights, and at our request flew us out 2 days early so that we could stay in Barcelona - really great.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CLASS THIS AS AN 11 DAY CRUISE:
DAY 1
We were told that we could not board the ship before 3pm on 10th April, so after having a rather expensive lunch in Barcelona we hailed taxis to the quayside. We were ushered straight through check-in, met with rather a lot of Royal Caribbean sales patter which was unexpected and unwarranted, given our cabin numbers and left to find our own way. We then found out that we could have boarded at 1pm, had lunch in the Windjammer and had a relaxing afternoon.
DAY 11
Our Flight had been booked by Royal Caribbean for 3:25 pm.
We breakfasted at 6am to be in the lounge forn 8am. Our cases had been taken out the night before.
We were unloaded from the ship by 8:15 am and dumped at Terminal A at Barcelona Airport. We were told to get ourselves down to Terminal B and we could hire a porter at a cost of $25.
At 9:15am our family of 5 (one of which is a diabetic) were hanging about landside with all of our luggage waiting to check in for a flight that afternoon. Very fortunately for us Iberia checked us in early and took our luggage, which allowed us to go airside to get drinks and food while we waited FOR 6 HOURS!
I have never before had such treatment from ANY Holiday company, much less a cruise company.
Upon enquiring it seems that Royal Caribbean expect you to pay an extra $59 for a tour to take up the morning.
I personally think it is the responsibility of the cruise company to ensure that your needs are catered to - after all, we did pay for an 11 day holiday!! I do not pay vast amounts for a luxury holiday to be dumped at an airport on our last day.

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