Pictorial Review: Brilliance OTS 12/16/13 ~B2B~ with Carnival Ecstasy

#1
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Day 5, The Changeover

We woke up early on our last morning aboard the Carnival Ecstasy. We decided to skip breakfast and just get drive thru on the way to Tampa. The VIP debarkation area was in the Chinatown Lounge at 7:15. The crew walked us off the ship and we were in the parking lot within fifteen minutes. It was a very easy process. The Radisson had two shuttles waiting on us, so there was no wait there either. This was definitely one of the fastest departures from Port Canaveral that we've ever had. It was a great cruise overall, very relaxing and enjoyable.

After leaving Port Canaveral we had to make a stop to pick up my wife's parents before heading on to Tampa to embark on the Brilliance of the Seas. We had fairly light traffic until we got into Orlando. No surprise there, O-Town is usually a traveler's nightmare. It seems to only exist to prevent anyone from getting anywhere in a reasonable amount of time. But we eventually collected the in-laws and made our way to the Port of Tampa. It was time for round two.
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Grady's Past Cruises

Royal Caribbean: 36, Carnival:23, Celebrity: 2, Other Lines: 4

#2
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Day 5, The Brilliance, Tampa, 12/16/13:

For those wondering why this review starts at day five, it's actually a continuation of a back-to-back review that started on the 12-12-13 sailing of the Carnival Ecstasy from Port Canaveral. As a quick recap, it was a great little four night cruise. We did a day at Sandals in Nassau and enjoyed the wondrous beauty of Freeport from deck of the ship. That pictorial review can be viewed HERE

We booked this sailing of Brilliance to celebrate my wife's thirtieth birthday. It also marks a few important events for us with Royal Caribbean. It was exactly five years ago that we took our first cruise with RCI aboard the Monarch of the Seas. I remember not being totally sold on them back then. Monarch was a great ship, but not so superior that I saw Royal becoming my cruise line of choice. That first impression of Royal Caribbean can be found HERE if anyone wants to reminisce with me.

But on the advice of some folks in that thread we decided to try one off the newer Royal ships. We took a cruise on Freedom of the Seas the next year and were thoroughly impressed. My "wow factor" was well documented HERE.

So five years later we're officially Royal Caribbean fans and will be moving up to Diamond Plus after this cruise. Several factors have contributed to that aside from the awesome ships. Royal's past guest program is well beyond most of their competition. The perks and nightly events (for Diamond level and above) make you feel very welcome and foster a camaraderie that you don't see on many other cruise lines. We've met many new friends during Crown and Anchor events and see lots of folks over and over again.
#4
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by lrowe70
Thank you for continuing this thread over here. Really enjoyed the first half, looking forward to the rest.
No problem!
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Grady's Past Cruises

Royal Caribbean: 36, Carnival:23, Celebrity: 2, Other Lines: 4

#5
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
We got to the terminal around noon, Beth dropped her parents and I off while she left the car at The Parking Doctors. She caught their shuttle back to the terminal and we headed inside to check in. Then it all sort of fell apart. My wife booked each of her parents into two rooms song with me and her to get the senior discount on both cabins. The pier check-in agent just couldn't figure out how to put people from different cabins on the same expense account. Even after another agent came over and explained it to him, he just couldn't get it. What's normally a five minute affair turned into twenty minutes or more. We eventually got checked in, but it was a painfully process. Thank goodness for the priority line.

The Brilliance, at Port of Tampa


My last Diamond card
#6
Atlanta/Palm Springs
23,163 Posts
Joined Apr 2002
Thanks for the reviews. I just read your Ecstasy review. That ship docked in Freeport was the Explorer which is a Semester At Sea ship.

Have to say that the old/earlier Fantasy class ships are actually some of my favorite Carnival ships. That was back when Carnival had imagination and presented a good product.

Now I will enjoy part II of your review.
#7
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Upon boarding the ship I was immediately impressed with the new look given to get during her renovations. I'd been on two of Brilliance's sister ships (Radiance and Jewel), but neither had gotten the new renovations.

The Brilliance's lobby had been totally redone with the new R Bar design that I'd previously seen on Enchantment_of_the_Seas. The look was very modern/elegant and much better than the old decor. Even the staircases and elevator lobbies had been made over and looked excellent.


The R Bar








#8
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by cruisingator2
Thanks for the reviews. I just read your Ecstasy review. That ship docked in Freeport was the Explorer which is a Semester At Sea ship.

Have to say that the old/earlier Fantasy class ships are actually some of my favorite Carnival ships. That was back when Carnival had imagination and presented a good product.

Now I will enjoy part II of your review.
I saw that on her funnel, I was trying to figure out what that was all about.
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Grady's Past Cruises

Royal Caribbean: 36, Carnival:23, Celebrity: 2, Other Lines: 4

#9
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
The stairwells and elevator lobbies also got the new carpeting colors




The atrium got new wall decor with color changing LED effects. The old atirum fountain and glass staircase are gone.






#10
4,135 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Subscribing...we'll be on her in August for a Baltics cruise


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Spreadsheet for 5/24/16 roll call: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1135979365

Previous Cruises (97 days at sea)
Norwegian Jewel - 05/31/15 (Venice to Barcelona)
Brilliance of the Seas - 8/7/14 (Baltics)
Navigator of the Seas - 3/9/14 (Western)
Allure of the Seas - 8/4/13 (Eastern)
Adventure of the Seas - 3/10/13 (Southern)
Rhapsody of the Seas - 7/27/12 (Alaska/Sawyer)
Grandeur of the Seas - 3/18/12 (Panama/ABC)
Voyager of the Seas - 12/31/11 (Western)
Navigator of the Seas - 5/22/11 (E. Med)
Adventure of the Seas - 12/19/10 (Southern)
Majesty of the Seas - 11/19/10 (Bahamas)
Liberty of the Seas - 4/11/10 (Western)
NCL Jewel - 12/13/09 (Western)
#11
Orlando, FL
887 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Nice review so far Grady. Sorry to hear of your hiccup at the port. You, too, have some really nice photo's. Patiently waiting to hear more about your trip experience.
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COMPLETED CRUISES
Disney Dream - December 2015
Enchantment of the Seas - August 2015
Brilliance of the Seas - Dec 2013 / Dec 2016
Oasis of the Seas - June 2013
Freedom of the Seas - Dec. 2011 / June 2014
Monarch of the Seas - Dec. 2009 / Dec. 2008
Sovereign of the Seas - Aug. 2008 / Sept. 2005

#12
656 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Looking forward to reading more! We take our first cruise on Brilliance (and RCI) in March!
L
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~~~~~
04/2017: NCL Breakaway, Bermuda
05/2015: NCL Breakaway, Bermuda
01/2015: NCL Breakaway, Southern Caribbean
03/2014: RCI Brilliance, Western Caribbean
05/2012: Princess Diamond, Alaska
#13
Florida
3,636 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Wahoo a Grady review!! Thanks Grady!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk - Please excuse any errors.
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Upcoming Cruises


Rhapsody of the Seas. February 18, 2018
Symphony of the Seas. October 28, 2018


Past "Live" Trip Reports


RCCL - Oasis of the Seas "Live" cruise report. November 12-19, 2017. "Live" report can be found HERE

RCCL - Brilliance of the Seas "Live" cruise report. December 12-16, 2013. "Live" report can be found HERE.
RCCL - Allure of the Seas "Live" cruise report. Nov 17-24,2013. "Live" report can be found HERE
RCCL - Enchantment of the Seas "Live" cruise report. July 19-26, 2013. Back -2- Back. "Live" report can be found HERE
RCCL - Jewel of the Seas "Live" cruise report. April 13-18, 2013. "Live" report can be found HERE.
RCCL - Monarch of the Seas "Live" cruise report. July 20-23, 2012. "Live" report can be found HERE
CCL - Carnival Sensation & Carnival Freedom B2B "Live" cruise report. November 8-17, 2012. "Live" report can be found HERE.
CCL - Carnival Ecstasy "Live" cruise report. December 3-8, 2012. "Live" report can be found HERE.

CCL - Carnival Ecstasy. Nov 24-27,2000. Report can be found HERE.

Royal Caribbean Cruises:
Oasis of the Seas(1), Harmony of the Seas(1), Enchantment of the Seas(3), Monarch of the Seas(2), Jewel of the Seas(1), Allure of the Seas(1), Brilliance of the Seas(2)
Carnival Cruises:
Carnival Ecstasy(2), Carnival Freedom(2), Carnival Legend(2), Carnival Inspiration(2), Carnival Imagination(2), Carnival Fantasy(2), Carnival Sensation(2)



#15
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by The Big Booper
They took out the green glass staircase from the Centrum? Boo.
I thought that too at first, I though the old staircase and fountain were neat. But I do like the new look, its much cleaner and more modern.
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Grady's Past Cruises

Royal Caribbean: 36, Carnival:23, Celebrity: 2, Other Lines: 4

#16
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
The old Champagne Bar had given way to the new Vintages. I don't care about champagne or wine, but the new look is certainly an improvement. Up at the top of the ship there were more changes. What used to be the Crown and Anchor study had apparently turned into some sort of weird establishment that uses chains, ropes and leather harnesses. My hopes were dashed when I found out that it's just an area for staging the new atrium acrobatics show.

The new Vintages











#17
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
What was once the Crown and Anchor Study is now the rigging area for the new atrium acrobatic show. It is now off-limits to guests, so no more cool views down into the atrium through the glass floor (which has been removed).



#18
Ocala, Fl.
10,960 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Other changes up top include the big LED screen above the main pool and the replacement of the old Solarium Cafe with the (much better) Park Cafe. The port side of the aft Windjammer porch is now a Rita's Cantina, and the former Seaview Cafe is now a for-fee Izumi Sushi (boo!).

Speaking of Izumi, it looks very nice inside and I would consider eating there if they didn't price gouge. You have to pay five bucks per person just get in, and then you have to buy the sushi ala carte. I wouldn't mind buying the sushi rolls, but I'm not going to pay money to have the opportunity to spend more money. Entry should be free if you're paying per item. What's odd is that Rita's Cantina is setup same way, but doesn't have a cover charge.

The main pool with its new LCD screen.






Thankfully the name plaque was retained






#20
Orlando, FL
887 Posts
Joined Jun 2013
Do you mind if I post a link of your review in mine? You have a ton of pictures from areas I don't and you know of all the changes since Brilliance went through it's revitalization where as I don't since this was my first go 'round with it.
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COMPLETED CRUISES
Disney Dream - December 2015
Enchantment of the Seas - August 2015
Brilliance of the Seas - Dec 2013 / Dec 2016
Oasis of the Seas - June 2013
Freedom of the Seas - Dec. 2011 / June 2014
Monarch of the Seas - Dec. 2009 / Dec. 2008
Sovereign of the Seas - Aug. 2008 / Sept. 2005