BRILLIANCE (British Isles) June 19-July 2,2018 REVIEW w/lots of photos

#1
Maple Ridge, BC
4,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Hi everybody,

I just got home a couple of days ago from an excellent bucket list 12-day British Isles cruise aboard Brilliance:



June 21 - Amsterdam
June 22 - at sea
June 23 - Edinburgh (Scotland)
June 24 - Invergordon (Loch Ness)
June 25 - at sea
June 26 - Greenock (Glascow)
June 27 - Dublin
June 28 - Dublin
June 29 - Holyhead (Wales)
June 30 - at sea
July 1 - St. Peter Port (Guernsey, Channel Islands)
July 2 - Dover, England
July 3 - Amsterdam


Jetlag has been a little rough on me this time around, and I've had a super heavy work load on my return... besides sorting through a couple thousand photos and a few videos (nowhere close to being finished doing this!) and a wedding to go to Saturday, I haven't had time to start a review. Hopefully I'll start by Sunday or Monday. I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride!

For now, here's a few teaser photos.... can you guess where they are?









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NEXT UP:
Explorer - Best of British Columbia Sept 17/18


AFTER BRILLIANCE:
Land Vacation - Whistler, Beautiful British Columbia Sept 10/18
Land Vacation - Gorgeous Zihuatanejo ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ~~ Dec 29/18
Ovation of the Seas - Alaska May 13/19

GREAT MEMORIES:
OCEANIA - Marina review (18-03 French Polynesia)
RCCL - Explorer, Mariner*2, Voyager*2, Adventure, Independence, Freedom, Liberty, Majesty*2, Rhapsody*2, Enchantment, Radiance, Oasis, Vision*3 refurb review (13-11), Navigator review (14-05 Western Caribbean), Serenade review (14-09 Med/Adriatic), Quantum review (14-12 Southern Caribbean), Legend review (15-03 Southern Caribbean), Radiance review (15-09 Vancouver to Hawaii), Jewel (15-12 Southern Carib), Explorer review (16-05 4day Best of BC ), Adventure review (16-08 ABC's), Harmony review(17-01 Western), Explorer review(17-05 4day Best of BC), Jewel b2b review (17-08/09 Greece & Western Med), Brilliance review(18-06 British Isles)
Celebrity - Constellation, NCL - Pearl & Sky, Princess - Golden, HAL - Volendam
#4
Sussex, England
7,088 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
I barely recognise those pictures being the UK because of the blue skies!! Hope you had a good time!

Ps: we just loved Vancouver!


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Celebrity Constellation 04/20 Suez Canal
RCI Jewel of the Seas 01/20 Dubai
RCI Anthem of the Seas 09/19 Canada and New England
RCI Jewel of the Seas 06/19 West Med
RCI Rhapsody of the Seas 12/18 West Med
RCI Navigator of the Seas 10/18 Canaries
RCI Symphony of the Seas 09/18 Mediterranean

RCI x 32
Celebrity x 10.
Azamara x 5.
NCL x 3.

MSC x 3.
Uniworld River Cruise x 1.
Windstar x 1.
Star Cruises x 1.
Cunard x 1.
Nord Deutsche Lloyd Hessenstein x 1.
P&O x 1.
Grimaldi Siosa x 1
#5
London UK
611 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
[quote=little britain;56472712]I barely recognise those pictures being the UK because of the blue skies!! Hope you had a good time!



I agree we are just having some amazing weather at the moment
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Dave
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Previous Cruises
Jewel of the Seas 7 nights Southern Caribbean 06 December 2015
Jewel of the Seas 7 nights Southern Caribbean 29 November 2015 (B2B)
Legend of the Seas 15 nights Panama Canal 17 March 2014
Majesty of the Seas 3 nights Bahamas 14 March 2014
Brilliance of the Seas 7 nights Southern Caribbean 17 November 2012
Brilliance of the Seas 7 nights Southern Caribbean 10 November 2012 (B2B)
Norwegian Dawn 10 Nights Southern Caribbean 25 December 2011
Legend of the Seas 12 nights Greece and Eastern Med 07 July 2009
Brilliance of the Seas 12 days Mediterranean 17 June 2005
#7
629 Posts
Joined Aug 2014
We have brilliance booked for next year and never been on this ship before so interested to hear your thoughts and see your pictures. We are from the UK and even I think your itinerary looks great - I would do it!
Weather here has been fantastic for the last few weeks so you picked a great time to go.


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#9
Texas
170 Posts
Joined Nov 2016
I LOVE your reviews! Thank you for doing this!
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RC Majesty OTS * RC Voyager OTS * RC Liberty OTS * Disney Magic * Carnival Breeze * Carnival Magic * Carnival Freedom * Carnival Dream
#10
Kansas City MO/Fort Myers FL
2,388 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

You’ve started your review!!!!!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

(Can you tell I’m excited??!!)

So, Mike and I just got home the day before yesterday - and from all of the unpacking, laundry, sorting mail, playing with pets, kissing on the kids, etc, etc, I haven’t even had a chance to breathe - let alone start a review!!!

With that said, we had an AMAZING time on this cruise with you - TOO MUCH FUN!!! “The Three Amigos” could have been our name - it was cool that you hung out with us “old fogies” - and the laughter we shared I will remember always!!!!

Can’t wait for your review!!! (Say good things about us, please...ha ha!)
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Sherri

Middle Aged Drama Queen Goes BIG

Middle Aged Drama Queen Goes to the Caribbean

Middle Aged Drama Queen Conquers Europe
#11
Israel
1,704 Posts
Joined Dec 2011
Following with interest, on my bucket list. Thank you for doing this

And, what a great and pleasant surprise to find Sherri again, after... what... 4 years??

Glad to have u back on board, DQ
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Dani




2/2010 RCL Jewel - Caribbean + Panama Canal
7/2011 Crown Princess - Norwegian Fjords
5/2012 Celebrity Xpedition - G A L A P A G O S
7/2013 RCL Radiance - Alaska - Vancouver to Seward
7/2014 Celebrity Equinox - East Med & Adriatic from Venice
6/2015 RCL Allure - West Med from Rome
9/2015 RCL Anthem - Canaries, Lisbon & Bilbao
4/2016 NCL Pride of America - H A W A I I
3/2017 RCL Jewel - S. Caribbean from San Juan
9/2017 RCL Vision - Cape Liberty to Quebec [lousy cruise]
2/2018 RCL Radiance - New Zealand from Sydney
#12
Maple Ridge, BC
4,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by dani negreanu
And, what a great and pleasant surprise to find Sherri again, after... what... 4 years?? Glad to have u back on board, DQ
Originally posted by KansCocoa
SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!
YES!!! Sherri is back!

Haha... For those of you who are unfamiliar, Kanscocoa is an iconic reviewer on CC.... for me, made famous by her hilarious "Middle Aged Drama Queen" solo-Allure review several years ago. Many of you might remember it
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/show...ed+drama+queen

She has several others as well (insert "Middle Aged Drama Queen" into the search tool here on CC and scroll down).
I had the honor to have dinner and hang out with Sherri & Mike much of this cruise.... what a blast!
She is so not a drama queen.... other than when dh leaves her stranded on the side of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with no one else in site (foreshadowing) LOL!!
(do keep your Seattle idea in mind, k? I'm all over it.... or you guys detouring to Vancouver and I'll show you around )
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NEXT UP:
Explorer - Best of British Columbia Sept 17/18


AFTER BRILLIANCE:
Land Vacation - Whistler, Beautiful British Columbia Sept 10/18
Land Vacation - Gorgeous Zihuatanejo ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ~~ Dec 29/18
Ovation of the Seas - Alaska May 13/19

GREAT MEMORIES:
OCEANIA - Marina review (18-03 French Polynesia)
RCCL - Explorer, Mariner*2, Voyager*2, Adventure, Independence, Freedom, Liberty, Majesty*2, Rhapsody*2, Enchantment, Radiance, Oasis, Vision*3 refurb review (13-11), Navigator review (14-05 Western Caribbean), Serenade review (14-09 Med/Adriatic), Quantum review (14-12 Southern Caribbean), Legend review (15-03 Southern Caribbean), Radiance review (15-09 Vancouver to Hawaii), Jewel (15-12 Southern Carib), Explorer review (16-05 4day Best of BC ), Adventure review (16-08 ABC's), Harmony review(17-01 Western), Explorer review(17-05 4day Best of BC), Jewel b2b review (17-08/09 Greece & Western Med), Brilliance review(18-06 British Isles)
Celebrity - Constellation, NCL - Pearl & Sky, Princess - Golden, HAL - Volendam
#13
Maple Ridge, BC
4,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by little britain
I barely recognise those pictures being the UK because of the blue skies!! Hope you had a good time!

Ps: we just loved Vancouver!


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Hey little britain! I'm glad you enjoyed your Alaska sailing... followed your thread there. Yes, had a great time on this sailing visiting your neck of the woods.

From previous posts last month, looks like the May UK sailing had 10-11 days of rain out of 12. The UK weather on this sailing was beyond phenomenal and extremely lucky for us obviously. The morning we were rounding the north coast of Scotland, I was jogging the running track in regular gym gear in the cool morning breeze. Some of the pictures you'll see you won't even recognize the seas .... some days they were as smooth as glass with ripples of the sun or moon shining as Brilliance sailed onward.

Most days were 20 degrees celsius (mid 70's F), t-shirt and shorts weather... only in Guernsey did we get a hard dump of rain for about an hour and it became cooler, a majority of cruisers ran back to the tenders mid-day as we were all drenched and needed to get warm and dry.
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NEXT UP:
Explorer - Best of British Columbia Sept 17/18


AFTER BRILLIANCE:
Land Vacation - Whistler, Beautiful British Columbia Sept 10/18
Land Vacation - Gorgeous Zihuatanejo ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ~~ Dec 29/18
Ovation of the Seas - Alaska May 13/19

GREAT MEMORIES:
OCEANIA - Marina review (18-03 French Polynesia)
RCCL - Explorer, Mariner*2, Voyager*2, Adventure, Independence, Freedom, Liberty, Majesty*2, Rhapsody*2, Enchantment, Radiance, Oasis, Vision*3 refurb review (13-11), Navigator review (14-05 Western Caribbean), Serenade review (14-09 Med/Adriatic), Quantum review (14-12 Southern Caribbean), Legend review (15-03 Southern Caribbean), Radiance review (15-09 Vancouver to Hawaii), Jewel (15-12 Southern Carib), Explorer review (16-05 4day Best of BC ), Adventure review (16-08 ABC's), Harmony review(17-01 Western), Explorer review(17-05 4day Best of BC), Jewel b2b review (17-08/09 Greece & Western Med), Brilliance review(18-06 British Isles)
Celebrity - Constellation, NCL - Pearl & Sky, Princess - Golden, HAL - Volendam
#14
Pittsburgh, PA
639 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
any Brilliance experts? The search function isn't helping me. Just realized our (aft) cabin 1604 is beneath the Windjammer outdoor cafe!!! How much noise can we expect? We like to sleep in.
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RCCL: Grandeur 1/17/08
RCCL: Majesty 11/24/08
RCCL: Radiance 2/14/11
RCCL: Liberty 3/8/12
RCCL: Adventure 2/9/14
RCCL: Majesty 12/18/15
RCCL: Freedom 1/15/17
RCCL: Adventure 3/17/18
RCCL: Grandeur 6/30/18
RCCL: Brilliance 1/17/19
Celebrity: Solstice 6/7/19
RCCL: Liberty 1/19/20



#15
Maple Ridge, BC
4,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by B&J_Pgh
any Brilliance experts? The search function isn't helping me. Just realized our (aft) cabin 1604 is beneath the Windjammer outdoor cafe!!! How much noise can we expect? We like to sleep in.
Google:
https://www.google.ca/search?q=brill...hrome&ie=UTF-8
https://boards.cruisecritic.com.au/s....php?t=2537612

You should start your own thread.... in a day your question here will get lost on my review (or on anyone's other threads) as we get to the next page. That way when the next person types in "1104" or "1604" in the search tool they will find your thread you created asking the same question.
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NEXT UP:
Explorer - Best of British Columbia Sept 17/18


AFTER BRILLIANCE:
Land Vacation - Whistler, Beautiful British Columbia Sept 10/18
Land Vacation - Gorgeous Zihuatanejo ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ~~ Dec 29/18
Ovation of the Seas - Alaska May 13/19

GREAT MEMORIES:
OCEANIA - Marina review (18-03 French Polynesia)
RCCL - Explorer, Mariner*2, Voyager*2, Adventure, Independence, Freedom, Liberty, Majesty*2, Rhapsody*2, Enchantment, Radiance, Oasis, Vision*3 refurb review (13-11), Navigator review (14-05 Western Caribbean), Serenade review (14-09 Med/Adriatic), Quantum review (14-12 Southern Caribbean), Legend review (15-03 Southern Caribbean), Radiance review (15-09 Vancouver to Hawaii), Jewel (15-12 Southern Carib), Explorer review (16-05 4day Best of BC ), Adventure review (16-08 ABC's), Harmony review(17-01 Western), Explorer review(17-05 4day Best of BC), Jewel b2b review (17-08/09 Greece & Western Med), Brilliance review(18-06 British Isles)
Celebrity - Constellation, NCL - Pearl & Sky, Princess - Golden, HAL - Volendam
#17
Maple Ridge, BC
4,716 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Amsterdam's Schiphol International Airport

I wish to point out some things you should all know about Amsterdam's International Airport known as Schiphol Airport



This airport is MASSIVE!!!... Not necessarily the terminal, but the physical area (acreage) of the entire airport. As we were landing, I noted I couldn't see the airport terminal. I did notice other planes and a large(r) building way off in the distance, as well as another plane landing beside us on another runway (probably a mile away I'm guessing?). Turns out our plane landed on the farthest runway possible from the airport terminal.... to make matters more complicated, our terminal we had to get to turned out being at the opposite side of the terminal and the very farthest gate of that entire wing of the terminal.

I remember glancing at my watch when we landed as we were about 10 minutes late. I noted this as I had a hotel shuttle booked for a certain time after landing. Not exaggerating one bit, it took almost 25 minutes for the plane to roll along at what, maybe 25-30mph, along runway after runway, crossing over a freeway, then down more long runways, and all the way around the entire terminal to get to the gate.

It was then another 10 minutes of a very brisk walk to get through the huge terminal to the customs/immigration desks. Thankfully, travelling in Air Transat's "Club Class" (business class) in the first row, I was able to get off first and high-tail it through the airport, arriving to immigration at a relatively small line.... US/CAD/"other country" passports on the left, EU passports on the right... extremely easy and quick.

Bottom line --- do not book your transportation to your hotel or the ship too early... give lots of time leeway. Imagine if that immigration line had several planes coming in at once for example! That could've added another 1/2 hour or more.



The airport is extremely easy to get around, plenty of large signs everywhere and more information desks than I can remember than in any other airport. The options are endless upon exiting... service desks offering shuttle services are right there, along with taxi's and hotel shuttles. Outside everything is clearly labelled with various pick-up points for transit and private vehicles




Unlike many large port cities in North America, Amsterdam (like many European large cities) has an amazing network of transit and transportation that makes it extremely easy to pick and choose for your needs ($$ vs. convenience). Post cruise, I took the the tram and direct train from Brilliance back to the Airport, which I will explain at the end of the review... so easy I couldn't believe it... all the talk about being scared of being late for a plane, not knowing what to do, booking a RCL shuttle for 5 times the cost is hogwash... just the smallest bit of planning would show many options to fit anyone's needs. I hope to dispel any myths or apprehension with this part of anyone's journey.

Because I arrived 2 days earlier than the cruise, I booked a hotel shuttle service called "Connexxion".
https://www.schipholhotelshuttle.nl/

I could not have been any more satisfied with the service and delivery. Waiting for my luggage, I found my confirmation email and quickly sent a reply stating the plane had arrived late and I missed my shuttle time. I was replied back to in 5 minutes "No problem sir. Just head on out to A7 as per the directions to find us and we'll be there for you". On their website, this map is available to find them... and it's to scale.



Aha! A7, labelled with the company's name.... just down the sidewalk from where I exited the Airport terminal



I found the representative just off to the side with the blue jacket and he checked me in. Within 10 minutes, 7 of us were loaded into the shuttle bus and off we went. I was the last to be dropped off. With dropping off the first 3 couples it was 30 minutes total from airport to my hotel in central Amsterdam close to all the site-seeing venues.

Cost?.... 17.50 euro per person. This includes one luggage and one carry on. Great service.... excellent communication, quick, comfortable, easy to find, not one bit stressful whatsoever. Having landed at 11:30am, I was at my hotel checking in at approx 1:15pm. Note this company will not pick up or deliver to the cruise terminal, however fully recommend them for arrival pre-cruise or after a post-cruise stay at a hotel.

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NEXT UP:
Explorer - Best of British Columbia Sept 17/18


AFTER BRILLIANCE:
Land Vacation - Whistler, Beautiful British Columbia Sept 10/18
Land Vacation - Gorgeous Zihuatanejo ~~ HAPPY NEW YEAR!! ~~ Dec 29/18
Ovation of the Seas - Alaska May 13/19

GREAT MEMORIES:
OCEANIA - Marina review (18-03 French Polynesia)
RCCL - Explorer, Mariner*2, Voyager*2, Adventure, Independence, Freedom, Liberty, Majesty*2, Rhapsody*2, Enchantment, Radiance, Oasis, Vision*3 refurb review (13-11), Navigator review (14-05 Western Caribbean), Serenade review (14-09 Med/Adriatic), Quantum review (14-12 Southern Caribbean), Legend review (15-03 Southern Caribbean), Radiance review (15-09 Vancouver to Hawaii), Jewel (15-12 Southern Carib), Explorer review (16-05 4day Best of BC ), Adventure review (16-08 ABC's), Harmony review(17-01 Western), Explorer review(17-05 4day Best of BC), Jewel b2b review (17-08/09 Greece & Western Med), Brilliance review(18-06 British Isles)
Celebrity - Constellation, NCL - Pearl & Sky, Princess - Golden, HAL - Volendam
#18
North Carolina
12,947 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Hey There!! Been a while! Loving your review and reading with interest. We are doing this same cruise in a couple of weeks!!! Can’t wait to see what you did!
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#19
Arizona
1,016 Posts
Joined Jul 2013
Thanks for doing this review. I’m interested in how tendering in Edinburgh went. It was a near disaster last year on Vision—shore side tenders didn’t show up, water levels were lower than reported, so a tender ran aground and others sucked up mud and overheated!
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Allure of the Seas 12/2019 Eastern Caribbean
Brilliance of the Seas 11/2019 Transatlantic
Celebrity Summit 12/2018 Southern Caribbean
Adventure of the Seas 9/2018 Canada/New England
Ruby Princess 5/2018 Alaska
2017: Brilliance of the Seas Western Caribbean (solo), Vision of the Seas British Isles
2016: Jewel of the Seas Southern Caribbean (solo), Explorer of the Seas Pacific Coastal (solo), Explorer of the Seas Alaska
2015: Brilliance of the Seas Canada/New England, Jewel of the Seas Pacific Coastal
2014: Vision of the Seas Western Caribbean, Adventure of the Seas Southern Caribbean
2012: Jewel of the Seas Canada/New England
#20
Cocoa Beach, Florida
423 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
YAY, HOOPSTER95, I LOVE your reviews!! I've been waiting for this one. Thanks for taking the time, you reviews are so detailed and thoughtful!
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Mariner of The Seas 5/24/2019
Brilliance of The Seas 11/22/2018
Majesty Of The Seas 5/05/2017
Freedom Of The Seas 5/19/2013
Radiance of The Seas 1/27/2011