Brilliance of the Seas – May 2013

Ian Warren – 15-05-2013 – Royal CaribbeanBrilliance of the Seas


In July 2002, long before I worked in the travel industry, my wife Ellena and I were paying passengers on the maiden voyage of Brilliance of the Seas. It was a 7 night cruise from Harwich to the Norwegian Fjords, and I remember being amazed by the beauty of the ship.

The opportunity to take a 1 night cruise onboard recently, following her multi-million dollar revitalisation, was too good to turn down. I was really interested to see how she had aged over the 11 years, and check out the new features which had just been introduced. I wasn’t disappointed!

Ship Facts and Figures – with a gross tonnage of 90,900, Brilliance of the Seas, which is one of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Radiance Class ships, isn’t large by current standards. However, has 13 passenger decks, and carries between 2,100 and 2,500 passengers, looked after by around 850 members of crew.

Dining Options – the Minstrel Dining Room offers open sitting breakfast and lunch, and at dinner there is the choice of first and second sitting. There is also the option of My Time Dining for dinner, meaning you can eat at a time to suit you.

The Windjammer Café is open 24 hours a day, so you can grab a coffee or tea whenever you want one, and it also offers self-service buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks at other times. Serve yourself ice cream cones are also available whenever you want one. Park Café offers sandwiches and Panini’s, soups, salads and pastries from 11am until 1am.

There are a number of Speciality Dining venues, which incur a cover charge, most of which are new to the ship.

  • Chef’s Table – a maximum of 16 diners can be accommodated, at one sitting per evening, with pre-dinner cocktails served in the lounge area. The meal consists of 5 or 6 courses, each complemented by a different wine
  • Giovanni’s Table – a classic Italian restaurant serving Tuscan cuisine. Open for lunch from 11.30am to 3.30pm, and for dinner from 5.30pm to 9.30pm
  • Chops Grille – the signature steakhouse is the place to go for a juicy steak or fresh seafood, and is open from 6.30pm until 9.00pm
  • Rita’s Cantina – open from midday until 9pm, serving Mexican dips and snacks
  • Izumi – a traditional Asian restaurant serving dishes including sashimi, sushi rolls and sukiyaki

Onboard Facilities & Entertainment – there will always be plenty to do onboard, and here are a few suggestions: -

  • A newly introduced 220 sq ft Outdoor Movie Screen, perfect for relaxing by the pool, and watching films and major sporting events from around the world
  • Spa & Fitness Centre
  • Sports Deck and Climbing Wall
  • The new Nursery, equipped with a large range of Fisher Price toys. It will be open from 9am on sea days and 8am on port days, although there is an hourly fee for this facility
  • Centrum WOW – this really is the heart of the ship, where there will be spectacular acrobatic and aerial shows, as well as live music. It is also the home of the new R Bar, where the staff are fully trained mixologists
  • The new King & Country Pub is a great place to meet friends and choose one of the 46 beers available
  • Vintages is a first-class wine bar, where wine tasting events also take place
  • Wi-Fi is now enabled throughout the ship, so you can check on your emails anywhere

Accommodation – there are over 20 grades of accommodation, ranging from a G grade interior 2 berth stateroom up to the RS grade Royal Suite with Balcony. Other grades include the TS Two Bedroom Suite with Balcony, JS Junior Suite with Balcony, E1 grade Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony, and the FO grade Family Ocean View Stateroom. All are furnished to a high standard, and offer a choice to suit all budgets.

Entertainment – There is a great choice onboard to suit all tastes. The Theatre will be the place to watch the main production shows, but there will always be something going on around the ship, whether it is piano music, quizzes or the aerial shows in Centrum WOW.

What is included? – the price you pay for your cruise includes all your meals, apart from speciality dining, tea, coffee and ice cream, and entertainment. Additional costs would be drinks (although packages can be purchased), shop and spa purchases, shore excursions and gratuities.

Summary – for a ship which is 11 years old, she looks surprisingly fresh and new. The recent revitalisation has ensured that the Brilliance of the Seas will continue to be a popular choice for many people. She offers a choice of 11 night Fjords & Iceland, and 12 night Scandinavia & Russia itineraries, sailing from Harwich during summer 2013 and summer 2014.