I'm going on Brilliance on 23rd July, and am really excited because I've read so many fabulous reviews.
Are you posting a review?
I have questions about the cost of drinks and ancilliaries on board, I've heard they are expensive on this ship.
We are desperately trying to get our friends on the same cruise as us, but it is full, so we are hoping a cabin becomes available soon. They are regular Royal Caribbean cruisers and would love to join us, however, they have probably left it too late for this one.
The bad thing about them coming with us is the amount of money we'd spend on alcohol. If we just went as a family, we wouldn't drink half as much, so the cost of drinks is important to us. Mind you, at the end of the day, you just pay if you want it anyway.
We've just changed over from late seating to early because we read on here that late seating was moved to 2115, which is too late for us.
Did you eat in the paying restaurants? We are planning to, but I have heard mixed reports about the quality of food and service.
I'm just so excited I want to speak about it all the time, so any advice would be appreciated.
Oh, and another thing we are a bit concerned about is the dress code.
We are used to formal nights (tuxedos etc), informal nights (lounge suits and ties), and casual. I hear that it is only 2 formal, and the rest tended to be casual. Is this correct?
I don't know where to start... we were in room 7018 and it was great! the balcony was about double the size of the regular balconies in that small section of the ship. It wasn't too far from the elevator.
We did late seating for dinner..if you go on any of the excursions and get back late in the afternoon you have time to rest, shower and change for dinner and not be rushed. It takes a little adjusting but I am used to eating later anyway.
The food was pretty good..just toooo much of it. DO NOT PLAN on sticking to any diet. You actually could have three or more of every meal! Room service is available 24/7 and there is no extra charge for any of these meals, just tip the waiter bringing it. You can have breakfast in the main dining room or go to the cafeteria style dining room. Even in the cafeteria they will make things to order for you(omellettes, eggs any way, etc.)
I am not much of a drinker. Every day they have a "drink of the day" which was $4 or $5. They also sell a drink punch card for $39 for I think 10 drinks. Trouble is what I drink(cosmopolitan)wasn't included on the card so I never did purchase one. I know people bought beer off the ship and were allowed to bring it to the rooms but you could not bring any hard liquor to your room, they take it at the gangway and you get it at the end of the trip.
Unfortunately except for at meals even soda is charged for. You can also buy a soft drink punch card. I usually only drink water so in one of the ports I bought a couple of 12 packs of bottled water and kept that in my room.
We had two formal nights with about 50-60% of the men wearing tuxedo's. Others wore suits and then the stragglers wore whatever.(Stragglers is being nice) I don;t care what anyone says...men sure do look good in a tux!!!
Other nights were "dress casual" which meant just about everything.
The shower has a small pull out clothesline and I wish I had a few clothespins to use with it. Next time I will pack a handful.
The pool areas are very crowded, so if you are a die hard sunlover you need to get there early wespecially on an "at sea"day.
Another thing I really found handy: I went to my local bank a few weeks before departure and got 50 - $2.00 bills. They were GREAT for tipping drivers, porters, waiters, etc. I never had to worry about being caught with a large bill when I needed to tip. Also EVERYTHING is put on your cruise card(even a 37 cent postage stamp)you cannot pay for anything with cash on the ship. You can pay the ship catd off at the end of the cruise with cash if you wish.
This was my first cruise and it was great. I will definitely go on RCCL again. In fact the 11 night cruise next year goes to the other side of the Carribean and I am seriously looking at that itineary. I will not go back to Jamaica and I was not crazy about Cozumel, Mexico either.
Sorry this is quite long, tried to cover questions from all of you.
You are lucky you got that cruise in. I have been planing this cruise for a long time, got so much information, printed it off only to find the Ultimate Western Caribbean cruise is no longer. Now I have to start all over for ships going to the Western Caribbean. Oh, the Ultimate Cruise has been moved to the Eastern Caribbean, and the ports have changed in the Western Caribbean. I am not to happy right now with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.