Brilliance of the Seas - Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)

Brilliance of the Seas


Berlitz’s Ratings

Ship: 382 out of 500

Accommodation: 143 out of 200

Food: 242 out of 400

Service: 279 out of 400

Entertainment: 73 out of 100

Cruise: 270 out of 400

Overall Score: 1389 out of 2000

Brilliance of the Seas Statistics

Size: Large Resort Ship

Tonnage: 90,090

Lifestyle: Standard

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean International

Former Names: none

IMO Number: 9195200

Builder: Meyer Werft (Germany)

Original Cost: $350 million

Entered Service: Jul 2002

Registry: The Bahamas

Length (ft/m): 961.9/293.2

Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2

Draft (ft/m): 27.8/8.5

Propulsion/Propellers: gas turbine/2 azimuthing pods

Passenger Decks: 12

Total Crew: 869

Passengers (lower beds): 2,112

Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 42.6

Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.5

Cabins (total): 1,056

Size Range (sq ft/m): 165.8-1,216.3/15.4-113.0

Cabins (for one person): 0

Cabins (with private balcony): 577

Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 24

Wheelchair accessibility: Good

Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts

Elevators: 9

Casino (gaming tables): Yes

Slot Machines: Yes

Swimming Pools: 2

Hot Tubs (on deck): 3

Self-Service Launderette: No

Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/40

Library: Yes

Onboard currency: US$


This ship has Contemporary decor and style for youthful families

Overview. This ship was constructed for longer itineraries, with more space and comfortable public areas, larger cabins and more dining options. For the more sporting, youthful passengers, there is activity galore - including a 30ft (9m) rock-climbing wall with five separate climbing tracks.

The Ship. Brilliance of the Seas is a streamlined contemporary ship, built in 66 blocks. Along the port side, a central glass wall protrudes, giving great views (cabins with balconies occupy the space directly opposite on the starboard side). The gently rounded stern has a nicely tiered appearance, giving the ship a well-balanced look. As is common aboard all Royal Caribbean International ships, the navigation bridge is of the fully enclosed type - good for cold-weather areas, and one of two swimming pools can be covered by a large glass dome for use as an all-weather indoor/outdoor pool. The interior decor is modern, but quite elegant. While not as large as some of the newer ships in the fleet, Brilliance of the Seas is perhaps more suited to couples and families with children that don’t need all those bells and whistles, but want to cruise with up-to-date facilities and have multiple dining choices for more convenience. In 2013 the company added some of the dining options found on the larger ships, and enhanced the overall onboard experience by adding, for example, ship-wide Wi-Fi (it costs extra if you use it), flat-screen televisions in all cabins, and finger-touch digital ‘wayfinder’ direction screens.

A nine-deck-high atrium lobby called the Centrum is the real focal point within the ship, and the social meeting place. In the 2013 makeover, the whole area was revamped, and new features were added. On its various levels, it houses an R Bar (for some creative cocktails), several passenger service counters, art gallery, and Café Latte-tudes (for coffee). Aerial entertainment happens in the Centrum, too. Close by is the decidedly flashy Casino Royale (for table gaming and slot machines), the popular Schooner Bar, with its nautical-theme decor and maritime art, the Centrum shops, and the library.

At the top of the ship and you’ll find a Viking Crown Lounge set around the ship’s funnel. This functions as a sort of observation lounge during the day; in the evening, it becomes a high-energy dance club. Gratuities are automatically charged to your onboard account.

Families. Youth facilities include Adventure Ocean, an ‘edutainment’ area with four separate age-appropriate sections for junior passengers: Aquanaut Center (for ages 3-5); Explorer Center (6-8); Voyager Center (9-12); and the Optix Teen Center (13-17). Adventure Beach includes a splash pool with water slide. Surfside has computer stations with entertaining software. Ocean Arcade is a video games hangout.

The largest family-friendly cabins consist of a suite with two bedrooms. One bedroom has twin beds (convertible to queen-size bed), while a second has two lower beds and two upper Pullman berths, a combination that can sleep up to eight persons - good for large families.

Accommodation. A wide range of suites and standard outside-view and interior cabins comes in several categories and price groups. Except for the six largest suites (called Owner’s Suites), which have king-size beds, almost all other cabins have twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed. There are 14 wheelchair-accessible cabins, 8 of which have a private balcony.

All cabins have rich (faux) wood cabinetry, including a vanity desk (with hairdryer), faux wood drawers that close silently (hooray), television, personal safe, and three-sided mirrors. Some cabins have ceiling recessed, pull-down berths for third and fourth persons, although closet and drawer space would be extremely tight for four persons (even if two are children), and some have interconnecting doors. Audio channels are available through the TV set, so if you want to go to sleep with soft music playing you’ll need to put a towel over the television screen.

Most bathrooms have tiled accenting and a terrazzo-style tiled floor, and a rather small half-moon shower enclosure, 100 percent Egyptian cotton towels, a small cabinet for toiletries, and a shelf.

Occupants of cabins designated as suites get the use of a private Concierge Lounge where priority dining room reservations, shore excursion bookings, and beauty salon/ spa appointments can be made.

Many ‘private’ balcony cabins are not very private, as they can be overlooked from the port and starboard wings of the Solarium, and from other locations.

Dining. Minstrel, the main dining room, spans two decks (the upper deck level has floor-to-ceiling windows, while the lower deck level has windows). It seats 1,104, and has Middle Ages music as its themed decor. There are tables for two, four, six, eight, or 10 in two seatings for dinner. Two small private dining rooms (Zephyr, with 94 seats, and Lute, with 30 seats) are located off the main dining room.

Choose one of two seatings, or ‘My Time Dining’ (eat when you want during dining room hours) when you book. Minstrel is closed for lunch on most days, which leaves passengers scrambling for food and seating in the Windjammer Café - an awful prospect after passengers return from morning excursions.

The cuisine in the main dining room is typical of mass banquet catering that offers standard fare comparable to that found in American family-style restaurants ashore - mostly disappointing and without much taste. However, a decent selection of light meals is provided, and a vegetarian menu is available. Caviar, once a standard menu item, incurs a hefty extra charge.

Other dining options. There are two specialty alternative dining spots: Portofino, with 112 seats, has Italian-American cuisine (choices include antipasti, soup, salad, pasta, main dish, dessert, cheese, and coffee); and Chops Grille Steakhouse, with 95 seats and an open (show) kitchen, has premium veal chops and steaks (New York Striploin Steak, Filet Mignon, Prime Rib of Beef). There is a per-person cover charge for both, and reservations are required. Newly added in 2013: Giovanni’s Table (an Italian trattoria), Izumi (for Asian cuisine), Rita’s Cantina, a Chef’s Table, and a Park Café (deli-style venue). Some venues incur a cover charge, and some food items have à la carte pricing.

Casual meals (for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) can be taken in the self-serve, buffet-style Windjammer Café, which can be accessed directly from the pool deck. It is impossible to get a hot plate for hot food because the plates are plastic, so things go cold quickly.

Rita’s Cantina, set along the port side of the Windjammer Café, caters to families by day, and adults by night. It features Mexican-style cuisine, and à la carte menu pricing applies.

Additionally, the Seaview Café is open for lunch and dinner. Choose from the self-serve buffet, or from the menu for fast-food seafood items, hamburgers, and hot dogs. The decor, naturally, is marine-, and ocean-related.

Entertainment. The Pacifica Theatre, the main showlounge, is three decks high, has 874 seats, including 24 stations for wheelchairs, and good sight lines from most seats.

The entertainment is always lively and upbeat. There is even background music in all corridors and elevators, and constant music outdoors on the pool deck.

Spa/Fitness. The Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center has themed decor. It includes a 10,176-sq-ft (945-sq-m) solarium with whirlpool and counter current swimming under a retractable glass roof, a gymnasium with cardiovascular machines, an aerobics room, sauna and steam rooms, and therapy treatment rooms. All are on two of the uppermost decks.

Sports facilities include a 30ft (9m) rock-climbing wall, golf course, jogging track, basketball court, a nine-hole miniature golf course with novel decorative ornaments (Fairways of Brilliance), an indoor/outdoor country club with golf simulator, and an exterior jogging track.