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Brilliance of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean's beautiful Radiance-class ships. This means that she's the sister ship of the Radiance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas. Radiance-class ships have a ton of balconies and have quite spacious public areas, rock-climbing walls, a nice casino and classy glass-walled elevators that offer a spectacular view while you're inside them.
Brilliance of the Seas will be featuring cruises in the following regions (subject to change, based on the cruise line's discretion):
2012: Southern Caribbean 2013: Canada & New England, Southern & Western Caribbean, Europe
There are a wide array of stateroom types onboard Brilliance of the Seas. Rooms range from basic interior staterooms all the way up to 1,000+ square foot suites. All Royal Caribbean staterooms come with a private bathroom, vanity area, hair dryer, closed-circuit TV and phone.
Interior Staterooms: The interior staterooms onboard the Brilliance have all of the standard features listed above, as well as two twin beds (that can be converted into one queen-size bed), a minibar (that you're charged for eating/drinking from) and room service that is available 24 hours a day. The least premium interior staterooms are the category Q's. The category Q, N, M, and L rooms (in order of usual price) are all 165 square feet in size. The least expensive interior stateroom category that can accommodate over 2 people is the category L.
Ocean View Staterooms: At 170 square feet, the Brilliance's standard ocean view staterooms (categories H, I, F and G), known as Large Ocean View Staterooms, are larger than her interior staterooms and feature the same amenities as the interiors. The largest ocean view staterooms onboard the Brilliance are the category FO (Family Ocean View) rooms. These feature three twin beds (two of which that can convert into a queen-size), a sofa and/or Pullman beds, a minibar and a sitting area. The FO's can accommodate up to 6 people and are 319 square feet.
Balcony Staterooms: The most basic balcony staterooms onboard the Brilliance are her Deluxe Ocean View Staterooms with a balcony. These rooms (categories E1, E2 and E3) feature two twin beds (that can convert into a queen-size), a sitting area (some with a sofa bed that one person can sleep in), a minibar, and (of course) a private balcony. These rooms are 179 square feet and have a 41 square foot balcony. E1, E2 and E3 rooms are exactly the same in size and features - the main difference is their location on the ship (E1's are usually more expensive, as they are usually in a more desirable location). Category D1 staterooms are more premium than the E's. They are called Superior Ocean View Staterooms with a balcony. These rooms are the same as the E's in features, but are larger in size - they are 204 square feet, with a 41 square foot balcony.
Suites: The most basic suites onboard the Brilliance are the Junior Suites (category JS). These rooms have two twin beds (that can convert to a queen-size), a private balcony, a sitting area (some with a sofa bed), a minibar and a bathtub. The Junior Suites are 293 square feet, with a 66 square foot balcony.
Grand Suites (category GS) range in size from 358 to 384 square feet (depending on the particular room), with a 106 square foot balcony. These suites feature two twin beds (that can convert to a queen-size), a private balcony, a sitting area (some with a soda bed), a bathtub, a minibar and concierge service.
The Royal Family Suites (category FS) are very popular and get taken quickly. They range in size from 533 to 586 square feet, with a 139 to 193 square foot balcony. They have two bedrooms with twin beds that can convert to a queen-size (one of the rooms has third and fourth Pullman beds). There are two bathrooms (one with a shower, one with a bathtub), a living area with a double sofa bed, a private balcony, a minibar, and concierge service. These suites can accommodate up to 8 passengers, making it a very popular choice for large families.
The Owner's Suites (category OS) are 512 square feet, with a 57 square foot balcony. They have a queen-size bed, a private balcony, a separate living area with a queen-size sofa bed, a bar, a walk-in closet, a bathtub, a minibar and concierge service.
The most premium (and, of course, most expensive) suite onboard Brilliance of the Seas is the Royal Suite (category RS). This massive suite is 1,001 square feet, with a 215 square foot balcony! This suite has a separate bedroom with a king-size bed, two TVs, a whirlpool bathtub, a bidet, a living room with a queen-size sofa bed, a baby grand piano, a dining table, an entertainment center, a minibar and concierge service.
Royal Caribbean offers a choice between traditional dining (with assigned seating times) or My Time Dining (an open-dining setup). You'll have the same menu regardless of which dining format you choose. When making your reservation you must let the booking agent know which dining setup one you'd like to request. The one you want may be unavailable or on a waitlist. If that's the case, you'll have to wait it out and see if you get the one you want.
Traditional dining is where you must choose between a specific seating time: the main seating (at 6:15 pm) or second seating (at 8:30 pm). With this format, on each night of your cruise you'll dine at the same table, with the same people and same wait staff. One of the nice things about having assigned dining tables is that you get to build a rapport with your waiter, rather than having a different one each night.
My Time Dining allows you to select when you dine and who you dine with. With this flexible dining setup you can choose to dine in the main dining room at any time between 6:00 pm and 9:30 pm on each night of your cruise. If you choose this setup you must pre-pay your gratuities prior to your cruise. With My Time Dining you'll be able to request a specific waiter (subject to availability). You'll be seated with the party you arrive with, and you can request to be seated alone or with other guests. If you select My Time Dining, reservations are recommended to avoid a delay in seating (reservations can be made once you're onboard the ship).
The elegant main dining room (named Minstrel) spans two stories and is located towards the rear of the ship, on decks 4 and 5. There is a five-course menu that changes each day, with cuisine that is slightly above average for the cruising industry. The menus usually have a theme each night (such as French, Italian, Caribbean, etc).
The Windjammer Cafe is the Brilliance's buffet. This is a very popular dining option, especially for lunch. The food being served changes on a daily basis, and is constantly being refilled throughout the day. During lunch times you'll find items such as sandwiches, burgers, pizza, fries, buffalo wings, salads, wok-dishes, sushi, desserts, and more. You can also go there at dinner time (instead of to one of the restaurants) for a more casual setting, with the same basic menu as the main restaurant.
Portofino is the Italian specialty restaurant onboard Brilliance of the Seas.
This intimate restaurant (located on deck 6) features a seven-course meal, with a nice menu that does not change. The cover charge is $20 per person. Chops Grille is the Brilliance's steakhouse specialty restaurant, and has a $25 per person cover charge. Reservations are highly recommended for the specialty restaurants, as they can book up quickly. The best idea would be to plan ahead, before your cruise. Then, within the first few hours after boarding the ship make your reservations for the week. Dining reservations cannot be made prior to your cruise. If you'd rather not plan so much, just to be sure make reservations at least the night before you want to dine, to help ensure that the time you want to dine at will be available for you.
Don't forget that 24 hour room service is available for all passengers. There is a basic complimentary menu, but it's an excellent option for a late night snack, or for when you're feeling a little lazy and would rather the food come to you. There are a few items on the menu that you can order at an additional cost, such as bar drinks.A new policy, as of 2009, is that Royal Caribbean will be charging guests $3.95 per room service order placed between 12:00 am and 5:00 am.
Brilliance of the Seas is a truly elegant ship, with many onboard features sure to keep you entertained or relaxed (depending on your preference) throughout your cruise.
One of the most often crowded areas of the ship is deck 11. This is because the Windjammer Cafe, the main buffet area of the Brilliance, is located at the rear of the ship on this deck. Also on deck 11 is the Brilliance's main outdoor swimming pool, as well as various whirlpools and outdoor lounge seating.
The Pacifica Theatre, the Brilliance of the Sea's main show lounge is located forward on decks 4, 5 and 6. There is a nightly show performed in this huge theatre. Among the types of shows typically available are Broadway-style production shows, magicians, comedians, musicians, singers and acrobats.
For those looking to just lounge and enjoy a drink, there is a wide variety of bars and lounges located throughout the ship. Among them are the Champagne Bar, the Schooner Bar and the Scoreboard Sports Bar (all three of which are located on deck 6). The Colony Club is located at the rear of the ship, on deck 6, and is made up of four different clubs: the Calcutta Card Club, the Bombay Billiard Club (with self-leveling pool tables), Singapore Sling's and the Jakarta Lounge.
Casino Royale, located mid-ship on deck 6, is one of the most popular places to be onboard the Brilliance, especially after one of the shows lets out of the Pacifica Theatre. There are six Blackjack tables, 2 Roulette wheels, a Craps table, 190 slot machines and much more.
The Brilliance's day spa is located on deck 11, forward. Within the spa are a hair salon, various massage rooms and a thermal suite. The average price of a manicure is $45, while the average price of a (full-body) massage is $120 (both prices are averages that are subject to change). The fitness center (located a floor above the spa) onboard the Brilliance is great, featuring various classes (such as kickboxing and yoga), as well as state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment. Some fitness classes may have an additional charge.
Deck 12 is a popular deck for the more active cruisers. This is because the jogging track, the fitness center (as mentioned above), Optix Teen Disco, arcade room, sports court (featuring basketball), golf simulators and Adventure Beach (the Brilliance's children's waterpark) are all located on this deck. Just one deck up, on deck 13 (the ship's highest deck), is the large rock-climbing wall, mini-golf course, Viking Crown Lounge and the Stardust Nightclub.
For those thinking about using Brilliance of the Seas for business-related travel, there is a variety of onboard amenities available for such groups. The ship has internet access throughout, as well as dedicated conference spaces and various A/V equipment. The main internet cafe (called royalcaribbean online) is located mid-ship on deck 4, nearby the Lobby Bar.
In the case of an emergency there is a medical center located on deck 2.
While onboard the ship the following is considered by Royal Caribbean to be typical attire, for indoors or outdoors: shorts, t-shirts, slacks, trousers, casual skirts, blouses, and sundresses. Don't forget to bring bathing suits for the pools and hot tubs. Pretty much, it's casual during the day.
For dinner, there is a certain dress code in place. Depending on the night, there may be a casual, smart casual, or formal dress code recommended. On a Royal Caribbean cruise there will be at least 1 formal night. The number of formal nights on your cruise depends on the length of your cruise. Please be aware that the number of nights are subject to change at the ship's discretion. Formal night clothing is considered to be cocktail dresses for women. For men, suits and ties (or tuxedos) are good. Smart casual is considered dresses or pantsuits for women, and jackets for men.
Here's a general guideline that Royal Caribbean provides for its nightly dining types:
2 or 3
Royal Caribbean offers babysitting in group settings, and on an individual basis in your stateroom (based on the staff's availability). Children must be at least 1 year old for babysitting services. If you want to have in-stateroom babysitting you must reserve that service at least 24 hours in advance (just call the main desk while onboard, as it cannot be arranged for prior to boarding the ship). The current (subject to change) rate is $8 per hour for one or two children of the same family. It is $10 per hour for three children of the same family.
Adventure Ocean® is Royal Caribbean's youth program. Their program is divided into groups, by age: Aquanauts (3-5 Years), Explorers (6-8 Years), Voyagers (9-11 Years), Navigators (12-14 Years), and Guests (15-17 Years). Every member of the Adventure Ocean® staff has a college degree in education, recreation, or related field and has experience working with children ages 3-17. There is a Teen Center that is open from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am.
Royal Caribbean has Fisher-Price programs for younger children as well: Aqua Babies (6-18 months), and Aqua Tots (18-36 months).
There is a ton of kids and teens facilities on deck 12. For example, there is a video arcade, featuring both old and new games. The Teen Disco is also there; it's a great place for teens to meet, dance, and hang out. Adventure Beach is an area with a kids' pool with child-sized furniture.
Royal Caribbean recommends the following gratuity guidelines:
Suite Attendant: $5.75 a day, per guest
Stateroom Attendant: $3.50 a day, per guest
Dining Room Waiter: $3.50 a day, per guest
Assistant Waiter: $2 a day, per guest
Head Waiter: $0.75 a day, per guest
These gratuity rates apply to guests of all ages. Please be aware that a 15% gratuity charge will be automatically added to your bar bills. Gratuities for the room service, casino and spa staff is at your discretion.
You can pay for your gratuities by one of the following ways:
- In cash (at the end of your cruise)
- Having the cruise line add them to your SeaPass (onboard) account
- Pre-paying them (by having your travel or booking agent add them to your reservation)
The official minimum drinking age on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships is 21. However, on cruises departing from European and South American countries, where the legal drinking age is typically under 21, a parent that is sailing with their 18 to 20 year old son(s)/daughter(s) may sign a waiver allowing them to consume alcoholic beverages.
Guests are not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages onboard. Alcoholic beverages that are purchased in ports of call or from the onboard shops will be stored by the ship and delivered to your stateroom on the last day of sailing.
The official minimum gambling age on all Royal Caribbean cruise ships is 18 years old. Guests under 18 are not even allowed to be inside the casino. Proof of age is required. On Alaska cruises you must be at least 21 years of age to gamble. All gaming operations are performed in U.S. currency.