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glossygal121

Brill of Seas Review - very long

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We cruised the 11-night Panama Canal on the Brilliance of the Seas (Jan 23), and I just finished writing this review! My computer crashed and I had to write this all over again!! Since I have learned everything about cruising on these boards, I thought it was only right for me to write a review and try to give some advice, too. I never would have thought about flying in the day before or requesting a foam mattress pad if it wasn't for these boards - thanks so much. I hope you enjoy my review and feel free to ask any questions.

 

Pre-cruise day

The day before the cruise we were picked up at our house at 4 a.m. by limo to take us to the airport for our 6:18 a.m. flight to Miami. The flight left exactly on time, and we arrived in Miami at 9:06 a.m. We were met at baggage claim by an RCCL rep that escorted us to an awaiting van. After a relatively short ride, we arrived at the beautiful Doubletree Grand Hotel. The hotel check-in was very easy with no lines at the counter, and we received freshly baked, still warm chocolate chip cookies – yum! I also requested a room over looking Biscayne Bay and GOT IT! The porter wheeled our luggage to our beautiful, big room with a balcony on the ninth floor with a great view of the cruise ships. Our porter recommended a very good restaurant down in the lobby of the hotel called the Steak House that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. So off we went to the Steak House for a late breakfast and everything was delicious. After breakfast and settling in our room, we took a well deserved nap on an extremely comfortable bed.

After we woke up from our nap, we decided to catch a cab to a local store to buy three bottles of wine to smuggle onto the ship. We ran into our porter in the lobby, and he got us a cab and sent us on our way. When we got back to the hotel, our porter gave us a coupon for two free glasses of wine with dinner at the Steak House. Guess where we had dinner that night - The Steak House! It was delicious! This is a small, romantic, intimate restaurant with great service and good food. We walked around for a bit after dinner before changing into our swimsuits and heading for the outdoor pool and Jacuzzi area on the tenth floor of the hotel. The Jacuzzi was shaped like a Cloverleaf and was so big that you could actually swim in it; the pool was also very large. This whole area was so beautiful, and we had it all to ourselves. It was very relaxing and romantic sitting in the Jacuzzi and looking up at the stars; I didn’t want this night to end.

Day 1 – Cruise Day

The next morning we went out onto our balcony and saw all the cruise ships in port! Cruise day was finally here at last! Our shuttle was scheduled to pick us up around 12:00 p.m. to take us to the ship, which worked for us since I do not like to get to the ship too early. We ate breakfast (guess where?) at the Steak House – I do highly recommend this place! Our porter came up to our room around 11:30 to take our luggage down to the lobby, and the shuttle was there right on time to take us to the ship. We had the most wonderful pre-cruise stay at the Doubletree Grand; the people and the service they gave us were outstanding – two thumbs up!

On the shuttle over to the ship, we became friendly with another couple that were cruising with us and enjoyed their company throughout the cruise. Check-in at the pier was so easy and organized with absolutely no lines to wait in. I put my smuggled bottles of wine in my carry-on bag and had no problems getting them on the ship! They said our room would be ready in about 30 minutes, so we ate lunch in the Windjammer while we waited. Once we were done eating, our room was ready and waiting for us! Since seeing the Panama Canal has always been a dream of mine, we decided to book the beautiful #1600 Grand Suite on the back of ship. After cruising in mostly inside cabins, I could really, really appreciate this beauty. Once in our room, I immediately put our wine in the little refrigerator to get it cool for the sail away at 5:00 p.m. I even told our cabin attendant that I had my own wine, and he gladly emptied our refrigerator to make room for it. I also asked him for a foam mattress pad for the bed and he brought it right away. We had the best cabin attendant for this cruise.

After the muster drill, our luggage was in our room! We immediately put all our clothes away and got everything all organized for our fabulous 11-night cruise. We decided to go to the Concierge Lounge to make reservations for Portifino and Chops. We also made an appointment with the Loyalty Ambassador for the next day to book our January 6, 2007, cruise. Then we took a tour of the fabulous spa! We booked a package deal that was offered for unlimited use of the Thermal Suite for $129 a couple. The Thermal Suite has these ceramic tiled lounge chairs that heat up – WOW, so relaxing! The chairs overlooked the beautiful ocean. Also in the Thermal Suite, are the saunas, aromatherapy room (cleans out those sinuses) and showers that are all included in this package deal. I booked the complete body massage that even included my hands, feet, scalp, and a facial for the next day, too. Yes, this is heaven!

We broke opened a bottle of sparkling Asti wine for the sail away, and we made a toast to each other on our balcony! Then it was off to the dining room for dinner. We were assigned to table #551, a table for four. We sat with a nice couple from Chicago and really enjoyed their company every night for dinner throughout the cruise. We were very tired after dinner and just went back to our room to relax. We got hungry around 11 p.m. and went up to the Sea View Cafe! We walked out onto the deck were Sea View is located and almost got knocked over by the 40 mph winds! The food at Sea View was so good; we ordered the Cuban sandwiches – yum! After we ate our sandwiches, we had to go back out onto the windy deck to get to our room. Yes, by now the ship was a rocking and a rolling! The rocking put us right to sleep.

Day 2 – Sea Day & Formal Night

The winds were still strong and the ship was still a rocking. Today will be a busy and fun day for us. We ate breakfast at the Windjammer before heading up for our appointment with the Loyalty Ambassador to book our next cruise. We booked a 7-night Southern Caribbean on the Serenade of the Seas for January 6, 2007, in a JS aft. The back of the ship is our favorite place to be; we love watching the wake. After booking our next year’s cruise, it was off to the Meet & Mingle party in the Hollywood Odyssey Lounge on the 13th deck! It was so exciting to finally meet everybody in person, and what a great bunch of people they were! This M & M thread was started back in February ’05, so we have been posting to each other all that time before finally meeting in person – WOW! We also had a gift exchange at this party, which was so much fun! Everybody brought one gift that was exchanged grab bag style. It turned out to be a fun party, and we made new friends that we enjoyed seeing throughout this cruise. We already made many new friends and it was only day two!

Aha….next was my massage appointment including a facial! What a way to start a cruise! After my massage, we did a little shopping at the stores onboard before getting ready for the first formal night. Today was also the Captain’s Reception that we did not attend because we didn’t feel like it! Since we were in the Grand Suite, our cabin attendant delivered a tray of goodies for us from the captain. Dinner was delicious and we enjoyed chatting with our tablemates. It was off to the casino for us after dinner! Bill played the slots and won a couple hundred dollars! I’m not a lucky gambler but love drinking cocktails, so I sat at the casino bar enjoying my drinks while Bill played the slots. After having some fun in the casino, we went back to our room for a rest before going up to the Sea View at 11 p.m. for our favorite sandwiches. We did not go to the show tonight. What a wonderful day at sea we had!

Day 3 – Labadee

Today we woke up in Labadee to beautiful, sunny weather and no winds – yay! We had breakfast on our balcony before heading on out around 11 a.m. for our scheduled excursion on the Waverunner at noon. Getting off the ship was very easy and the line moved fast because the boat that took us from ship to land was huge. The ship’s photographers were there to take our photos when we arrived. I thought Labadee was beautiful and would have been a great beach day, but Bill really wanted us to do the Waverunner. He was the driver and I, the passenger. They showed us a video about safety before the excursion. The ride was 50 minutes with three tour guides that were with our group. Since I do not like things that are noisy and fast, I did not enjoy this at all and couldn’t wait for it to be over! This was my first time on a Waverunner and will be the last! After this thrill ride, we ate the picnic lunch that was set up by the ship’s crew. It was typical picnic food consisting of hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, ribs, salads and fruit. Then we headed back to the transfer boat that took us to the ship. If I ever get back to Labadee, it will definitely be a beach day for me. My favorite things to do at the ports of call are swimming and sitting on the beach – I’m a real beach rat. Once back on the ship, I headed on up to the spa and relaxed on a thermal chair and then sat in the aromatherapy room. Wow, I felt so much better! Bill stayed back in the room to read his book and take a nap. We drank some wine on our balcony as we sailed away from Labadee at 5 p.m. Wine glasses are also supplied in the Grand Suite. Another concierge perk that I enjoyed was the open bar from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. every night in the Hollywood Odyssey Lounge. We could also get drinks in the Concierge Lounge on the 10th deck, but they just served the basic mixed drinks; thus we always went to the Hollywood Odyssey since we could have any drink that the ship makes – wonderful, wonderful! Again, we enjoyed dinner with our tablemates. All the food so far has been outstanding – no complaints. Off to the casino we went after dinner so Bill could play the slots, and I sat at the casino bar to enjoy more drinks. I had a great time talking to the friendly bartender and other passengers at the bar, too. Bill was lucky again at the slots! We then went back to our room to change into our swimsuits and headed up to the Solarium for swimming and sitting in the Jacuzzi. The pool was heated and opened 24/7! We were the only people in the Solarium that night and really enjoyed the relaxation. What a way to end another terrific day! The winds were back and the ship was a rocking, but it really made us sleep well.

Day 4 – Sea Day

Woke up and still rocking – another windy day! This did not make us seasick, but we talked to people that felt sick and some had headaches. Today we just relaxed on our balcony and took it easy. We did go to the Thermal Suite to lounge on the chairs for a while – ha-ha. Since we were in total relaxation mode, we did not attend the Crown & Anchor Party that was scheduled for this day – didn’t feel like getting dressed to go! Bill did surprise me with a new Seiko watch that he bought in the ship’s jewelry store – so sweet of him. Tonight we ate at Portofino and really enjoyed this. We ordered the filet of beef that was so tender it could be cut with a fork! It was off to the casino after dinner where Bill was lucky at the slots – again! I, of course, sat at the bar and had a couple of drinks. I also went to the photo gallery to purchase our Welcome Aboard and Labadee pictures. I prefer casual pictures, so I did not purchase any of the formals. After the casino, we called it a night so we could arise early for Aruba. It was another glorious day in paradise.

Day 5 – Aruba

We woke up in time to watch the ship dock and ate breakfast on our balcony. This was our second time to go to Aruba on a cruise. The first time, we did the De Palm Island Snorkeling excursion and enjoyed that very much. This time in Aruba, we decided to hire a cab driver to take us on a tour of the island and then drop us off at a nice beach for the day. We finished breakfast, got dressed and off the ship by 9:00 a.m. Our cab driver gave us a very informative and enjoyable tour of the island, but we decided not to go to the beach because it was RAINING. Yes, it was rainy and cloudy on this day in Aruba! The cab driver said that since the weather patterns are changing, they are getting more rain than usual – darn! The cab driver dropped us off at the pier, and we did a little shopping and had lunch at Iguana Joe’s. I did find some nice jewelry that I bought for myself and for Sherri, our 22 year old daughter. We decided to go back to the ship for some swimming and lounging under the clouds. The sun came and went all day, but we still enjoyed the outdoor pool since most of the people where off the ship. Bill sat on a lounger and read his book while I swam and chatted with some people poolside. As usual, we went for a few drinks at the Hollywood Odyssey before dinner, and then we just walked around town that night after dinner – beautiful night. Tonight we were too tired to stay up for the Sail Away Party at 11:30 by the pool. I was very disappointed about not getting to the beach, but it turned out to be a great day after all. I would love to come back to Aruba to do an all-inclusive one day. It is such a beautiful island!

Day 6 – Curacao

We woke up just in time to watch the ship dock. Today was partly cloudy, but I was still bound and determined to get to a beautiful beach called Playa Porta Mari for some anxiously awaited beach time. We ate breakfast at the Windjammer before catching a cab to Playa Porta Mari. This was a very long cab drive and an expensive one, too. It was $20 per person each way. We arrived at the beach around 9:15 a.m. and stayed until 12:30 p.m. The cab driver waited for us since there are no cabs that go to this beach looking for passengers. The beach is in the middle of nowhere, but it sure is a beautiful one! If you are a beach lover, this is the place for you – highly recommended! They have great facilities and a nice beach eatery there. Once back at the pier, we went in town to look around and stop some place for lunch. I do not recommend going to lunch in Curacao, unless you don’t mind extremely slow service. It will take along time for a waitress to come to your table. We talked with other people that also complained about the slow service. Once the waitress finally came over to take our order, we told her that we wanted hamburgers and ended up getting beef kabobs instead – serious language barrier. We walked back to the ship after lunch to take a much needed nap. We watched sail away at 5 p.m., and I enjoyed a couple glasses of wine on our balcony. It was dinner time and off we went to the Hollywood Odyssey for a couple of drinks before dinner. Again, we really enjoyed chatting with our tablemates about what we all did that day. The food has just been exceptional throughout the cruise so far. We did call it an early night since we were so tired. The waves where now very high and the ship was really rocking; it put me right to sleep! It had been pretty rocky throughout the cruise and very windy, too. I would also love to do an all-inclusive on this beautiful island one day!

Day 7 – Sea Day

Slept in this morning and just had coffee and Danishes that I brought back from the Concierge Lounge to eat out on our balcony. We enjoyed the morning sun sitting on our loungers. On our balcony, we had two loungers, two chairs and a table – nice! We stayed on our balcony all morning until lunch. Today we had a special invitation from the Loyalty Ambassador to have lunch in the dining room. The food was very good and they serviced wine. Bill is not a big drinker and some other people at our table where not either, so they gave me their wine to drink – loved it! I got really good travel advice about booking our own airfare from the other passengers at our table. I have never booked our own airfare for a cruise, but I really think I’ll give it a try for next year. We took some more pictures of the ship after lunch; this ship is awesome and so beautiful. After drinking just about everybody’s wine at our table for lunch, Bill buys me a nice, strong tropical drink at one of the bars. Do I need to say that I was feeling pretty good by this time? We spent the rest of the day swimming at the Solarium pool before having dinner at Chops. Their steaks are the best – very tasty and tender! And the service was top notch! We were so stuffed after dinner that I had to change into my workout clothes and go for a long walk. During my walk I did something every tacky, I walked to that famous room (9062) and took a picture of the door. This is the room where the groom went overboard in. This gave me an eerie feeling as I stood there momentarily wondering what went on in that room! Once back in my room, I filled out the room service card so that we could have breakfast the next morning on the balcony as we go through the Panama Canal, and we didn’t want to miss a moment of that!

Day 8 – Panama Canal and Cristobal Pier

The ship was scheduled to go through the locks at 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. We arose around 5:00 a.m. to shower and get ready for the much awaited locks. This is a real dream come true for me. I have watched many documentaries and read the book “The Path Between the Seas”; I never thought I’d ever get to the Panama Canal to see it in person, but here I was at last! I was so excited to be here, and I kept thinking that I’m going to wake up and this was just going to be a dream – it wasn’t! Our breakfast arrived around 7:15. If you ever decide to take a cruise to the Panama Canal, get a balcony like we did on the back of the ship – it’s the best view. We ate our breakfast on the balcony so that we would not miss one moment of this amazing and fascinating adventure. I feel that this is something that everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime. This was only a partial transit that went through three locks called the Gatun Locks. After going through these locks, we sailed onto Gatun Lake where only guests that booked shore excursions were allowed to tender off the ship. We stayed on the ship since we did not book an excursion. We ate lunch at the Windjammer and then went to the Solarium for some swimming and reading – very relaxing. We started back through the locks around 3 p.m., and I ran around the ship to take pictures at different angles. After I was done running around the ship taking pictures, we went to the Pool Bar for a few drinks (I had a few drinks; Bill drank a Coke) before heading off the ship at Cristobal Pier. Getting off the ship at Cristobal was very easy, and the ship’s photographers where there to take pictures of everybody. There is a really big warehouse that is the market place right off the ship. Very good prices here for shopping and bought most of our souvenirs here. There was a cute tropical looking bar in this market place and, of course, we stopped for a drink! I couldn’t believe Bill ordered a beer to drink (hardly ever drinks), and I had a yummy fruity cocktail. As we were sitting at the bar, Bill looked over and noticed an acquaintance of his from back home – small world! He and his wife were on the same ship as us and just met up with them this far into our cruise, that’s how big this ship is! We chatted with them for a while before going back to the ship. There was also entertainment by the natives doing dances. We were only at this port of call from around 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., but we really enjoyed it. It was around 6 p.m. by the time we got back on the ship and decided to just have dinner at the Windjammer tonight. We also went up to the Hollywood Odyssey for a drink (drink for me; Bill a Coke) before going to the Windjammer. The food here was so good! I created my own pasta dinner from the pasta bar – delicious, delicious! The next morning was Costa Rica and we had an excursion scheduled for 8 a.m.

Day 9 – Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

We booked an excursion called the Caribbean Train, Boat & Bus Adventure. This tour also included a tour of the Dole Banana Plantation. The tour was scheduled from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This excursion was very enjoyable and informative – I highly recommend this one. The weather was awful, though! It rained from the time we got there until the time with left – rained nonstop! Our tour guide did say that it does rain like this all the time on the Caribbean side, and the Pacific side has the nice, sunny weather. We did not get wet on this excursion since we were covered on the bus, boat, train, and we were inside at the plantation. I was so excited to ride down the Tortugero Canal on the pontoon boat that I hardly slept the night before! We did see many different kinds of species and many monkeys! I brought along my binoculars and really got to see the animals up close! They also served fresh fruit and Costa Rican coffee at the dock where we boarded the pontoon boat. We did buy some of that good coffee at the dock’s gift shop to bring back home with us. The banana plantation was very informative and we learned a lot that we didn’t know about growing bananas. This is back breaking work and the employees only make $14 a week – awful! We rode the 100 year old train that was refurbished beautifully; this was also very enjoyable and interesting. During the train ride we did get to see how impoverished the Costa Ricans live – really makes you appreciate what you have! Once back at the pier, we decided to just get on the ship because it was still raining. There was a flea market set up at the ship’s pier and looked like it could have been a good place for souvenir shopping. We went right up to the Windjammer for lunch since we were starving! Then we went back to our room for a much needed nap. It was off to the Thermal Suite after we woke up – so relaxing! We enjoyed our dinner and chatting with the tablemates. We went to the onboard shops after dinner, and I bought a dolphin necklace with matching earrings and bracelet – love dolphins. While I was shopping for the dolphin jewelry, Bill bought and surprised me with a pair of real diamond earrings and an 18ct gold bracelet – what a wonderful surprise! I think I’m going to need a bigger jewelry box when I get home! We wanted to go for a relaxing swim in the Solarium pool, but it was closed for cleaning so we sat in the Jacuzzi instead. Another great day!

Day 10 – Sea Day

We spent a leisurely morning on our balcony before having breakfast at a requested table for two in the dining room. We paid the balance on our Seapass after having breakfast. We always do this about one day before the cruise ends to beat the long lines at the desk on the last day. I also do not want to have the charges billed to our credit card because I don’t want to have to look at it in the mail the following month. We did some of the dreaded packing on this day, too. Tonight was the last formal night and we opened the last bottle of Asti a few hours before dinner. Lobster was served for dinner and I ate three tails – so yummy! The executive chef came to all the tables, and we took his picture when he came to ours. We also took pictures of our head waiter, waiter and asst. waiter. Our tablemates took our picture and then we took theirs. We also exchanged email addresses with our tablemates; they were a pleasure to dine with on this cruise. As usual, it was off to the Solarium for a swim and sitting in the relaxing Jacuzzi after dinner. We had the place to ourselves again! As you have noticed, we prefer swimming at night while everybody is dining or at the show. We did not attend the show or the midnight Grand Buffet – too tired! We had another very enjoyable, relaxing day, but I was getting very sad by this time! I always hate cruise endings! Each ending is just as sad as the last. I do suffer major “cruise withdrawal” for several weeks after!

Day 11 – At Sea

The dreaded final day arrived too fast! It was a very cloudy and cool day just like the majority of the days on this cruise. The weather had been a disappointment, but that was nobody’s fault. I also was disappointed that I only had one beach day because of the weather. Other than that, it had been a very enjoyable and memorable cruise. Seeing the canal was the highlight and purpose of this cruise for us. Well, today was another leisurely morning before having breakfast at the Windjammer around 9:00 a.m. We came back to our room and started the chore of finishing the packing – ugh! I also finished the leftover bottle of Asti from the night before while we packed – “cruise withdrawal” was starting to kick in! After packing, we went up to the Spa for the final time to enjoy the Thermal chairs! Purchasing the Thermal Suite package was definitely worth it – great way to relax. We gave our wonderful waiters their tips at dinner. They were the very best and spoiled us like crazy. All the waiters came out and sang the farewell song, and I did notice quite a few tears streaming down on some faces; I was also fighting back a few of mine! I guess I’m not alone with feeling sad when a cruise comes to an end. Bill was feeling a little sad, too, and he just wanted to go back to the room after dinner. So I went back up to the Odyssey Lounge by myself to say goodbye to my M & M friends and our wonderful bartender that took great care of us. I then went over to the Stardust Lounge, also on the 13th deck, to say goodbye to the friendly bartender there that I enjoyed talking to throughout the cruise. I really did overdo the drinking on this night, but I was still on vacation and was trying to have fun until the very end! We went to the Solarium to swim and use the Jacuzzi one last time. Before going to bed, I went out on our balcony to gaze up at the stars and look down on the calming water one last time.

Day 12 – Disembark Day

The dreaded day had come – disembarking the ship! We were Group 1 and color tag white – first group off ship. We arose at 5:30 a.m. to get ready for what was to become a very long, exhausting day. We ate breakfast in the dining room at 6:30 a.m. While still eating breakfast, they called our group to disembark at 7:00 a.m. We just stayed in the dining room until we finished eating, which really didn’t matter since our luggage did not arrive in the terminal until Groups 3 and 4 arrived. Getting off the ship went extremely fast and smooth, but waiting for the luggage took quite awhile. The porter helped us to the awaiting bus that took us to the airport. We scheduled a five-day post-cruise stay in Sarasota. The cruise line could not get us a flight into Sarasota, but they got us one going into Tampa. They were able to get us a flight out of Sarasota for our return trip home, so that was good. While flying into Tampa, we got caught in a terrible thunderstorm and hit the worst turbulence that I have ever experienced. The plane could not land and was put in a holding pattern above Tampa. After a while the pilot announced that we were heading on back to Miami since we did not have enough fuel to wait above Tampa to land! Not only did we experience a lot of rocking and rolling on the ship, now we were experiencing a lot of rocking and rolling in the sky! I can handle rocking at sea, but not in the sky! We did arrive back in Miami safely, and I was just happy that we landed. Our flight was now delayed until the next day, so we spent the night at the Marriot Airport in Miami. The airlines are not responsible for delays caused by the weather, but we did buy trip insurance that covers delays. The next day we took the Marriot shuttle back over to the airport to catch our flight leaving at 12:29 p.m. for Tampa. After boarding the plane, we ended up sitting there for about an hour because of mechanical problems – just our luck! They eventually got the problem fixed and we landed in Tampa about two hours late – better to be late and safe. We did have three glorious days in Sarasota and have booked this same condo for next February for two weeks! Our flight home went very smooth with no problems.

Overview

This was the most beautiful ship that we ever sailed on. This was a sold-out cruise, but we never felt crowded since the ship is so big. There were some nights that felt like we were the only ones on it! The food and service was outstanding – no complaints. Since we did not attend any of the shows on this cruise, I can’t comment on it. I did hear that the shows were very, very crowded and that people were saving seats so that nobody would sit next to them. I also can’t comment on chair hogs since we only went to the pool at night and had it all to ourselves! About 75% of the cruisers were of retirement age and all seemed very friendly. There were very few children onboard, but the ones that I saw were well-behaved and always accompanied by an adult. All our previous cruises were taken during hurricane season, and we always had beautiful weather. I assumed the weather on a January cruise would be just as, if not more, beautiful – how wrong I was! This “outside of hurricane season cruise” was the worst weather we ever experienced. I know now that having good weather is no guarantee no matter what time of year you cruise.

Now for my biggest complaint – the cruise came to an END!

Happy Cruising,

Sue

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Thank so much for your excellent review. It sounds like you had a great time, and didn't let the weather dampen your trip!

 

We hope to do this ITN in a couple years, and your review was very helpful.

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Sue,

Thanks so much for your review. We are doing the 10 day on the Brilliance in April. We too are looking forward to the Panama Canal. It sounds as though you had a wonderful trip even with the weather.

 

I am so ready to go, thanks again.

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Great review, sounds like fun I cannot wait until we go in April. Quick question what was the menu at the Seaview Cafe, I thought posters here said it changed to a Med. menu, is that the case. I was really looking forward to trying a Cuban sandwich.

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I'm so happy that everybody is enjoying the review. This was the best cruise - ever! I'm sure all of you that are going on this one will enjoy it.....and it will go sooooooo fast!

 

I never saw the captain since we never made the Welcome Aboard party or the C & A party. This was our first cruise not to attend these parties.

 

The Sea View did have the Cuban sandwiches during our cruise. They were the best that we ever had! I also heard that the menu does change in this place - hope they have them when you go.

 

Take care,

Sue

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Sue,

 

Thanks for the great review, I actually just booked this cruise last night but for March 2007. This will be our first RCCL, but our 9th cruise overall. Do you have any of the menus for the cruise. What do they do for the 11 day....repeat menus? I can't seem to find on the website any menus posted, just a general listing of they kinds of dishes they offer. We love to go to the dining room but we do want to try the Portofino and Chops, these I can find the menus for, just not the regular menus.

 

 

Sue

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Sue

 

Thanks for making our day. We're booked on the Brilliance's Transatlantic April 28th and are even more anxious in light of your very positive review. The Thermal Suite deal sounds great - I hope its the same price for our cruise.

 

Barry in Miami

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Thanks for the great review, Sue. DH and I are doing the same cruise in December... can't wait! :D

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Sue, thanks for the wonderful review. We will be on this same cruise on

April 17th and we've been looking forward to it for over a year!! One question- does the ship dock at the Cruise terminal Mall OR the Mega pier in Curacao.

Our car rental is at the Mega pier and hope that is where we'll be. Also- you only listed two formal nights, is that really all there is? I've heard both 2 & 3 and don't know which it is. Thanks- :).

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Thanks for the review. I learned something new! I never knew about the Thermal Suite. It sounds great.

 

What is the dress code for the heated chairs. Do people usually wear street clothes, bathrobes or bathing suits while using the heated chairs in the Thermal Suite?

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I highly recommend the Termal Suite package! They have towels & robs in the suite. I wore my bathing suit under the rob. I also saw people with just their suits on, but with a towel underneath.

 

Everyday was a new menu in the dining room - great selections. I will look through all my cruise stuff to see if I have any menus. Portifino & Chops should not be missed.

 

We docked at the Mega pier in Curacao, and I'm sure that's where you'll dock since this ship is huge. We booked this cruise in Oct '04 while on the Empress to Bermuda, so I know how anxious you must be!!!!

 

The cruise director is Becky Thompson - she was wonderful!

 

Talk with you all later.

 

Sue

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Sue, outstanding review. Thanks. We did this same itin on the Brilliance on Jan. 2-13 this year. Sue's posting brings back many great memories. The canal, the Costa Rica jungle cruise, Aruba . . . what a great itinerary! Becky was a wonderful CD. She seemed to be everywhere on the ship. She came to our M&M and gave a little talk and then chatted with everyone. Our captain was Capt. Thomas Wildung, and I am guessing he was there for Sue's trip. He's quite a guy. Had the fortunate opportunity to chat with him a few times. He is from Sweden, and announced at the Captain's party, "There seems to be a language problem on board with all the international guests. I have an easy way to solve that. From now on, we all speak Swedish." The audience exploded with laughter.

One group of the natives we saw performing at the pier in Panama was attired in very brief garments. It is quite hot there. The women were actually topless, and that's OK. It's their native habitat. But in the middle of watching this Panamanian local culture, one of the male's cell phone rang and he ran off to a corner to answer it! Quite amusing at the time.

Those of you who have not tried the Brilliance, give her a good look. You won't regret it.

Rick

PS: The Paninni sandwiches at the Seaview were delicious!

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I never saw the captain since we never made the Welcome Aboard party or the C & A party.Sue

 

If you kept any of your Cruise Compasses, the information might be listed there. But if you didn't that's OK. It just means I'll have to go on a Panama Canal cruise to find out myself!!

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Great review! The Doubletree sounds very nice. How did you book and what was the approximate cost? Thanks in advance.

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Thank you for the review, it was great. I would also be interested in the information for the DoubleTree. I do not fly and we take tyhe train down a day early so I would enjoy the Doubletree. We sail the Brilliance next Feb. I am sorry about those bad weather days.

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glossygal,

I have heard coflicting stories about where to watch the process of going through the locks. Was it good from the aft balcony or do you think it will be better to go early and watch from the heli-pad?

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I highly recommend the Doubletree Grand - you won't be disappointed!! Our hotel arrangements were booked through RCCL and was $90 a night. Sometimes RCCL's hotel deals are really good.

 

I think the best view of the canal is on an aft balcony. You can also sit and eat your breakfast & drink coffee while you're going through instead of standing in the crowds on the heli-pad. When we went back through the locks, I did go down to the heli-pad just to get a few pics in the front of the ship; it was so crowded and not as relaxing as on your own private balcony. We also like to watch the wake & hear the water swoosh while at sea on the aft balcony.

 

I know I brought back all the compasses, but I just have to find them. I do plan on starting my scrap booking this weekend. I will look for it and post the captain's name. I do believe we had the same captain as on Pumbaamd's cruise - the name rings a bell.

 

Pumbaamd, so glad I brought back some memories for you. I really miss being on this cruise!

 

Talk with you later,

Sue

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I know I brought back all the compasses, but I just have to find them. I do plan on starting my scrap booking this weekend. I will look for it and post the captain's name. I do believe we had the same captain as on Pumbaamd's cruise - the name rings a bell.Sue

 

Sue - The only reason why I ask is that a few months ago someone posted that Capt Wildung was going to retire 2-12-06 to get married. If it was him, then obviously he didn't retire!

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Sue,

Thanks for the memories, again. The Brilliance is our favorite of many ships. I'm hoping Capt.Wildung was on your cruise, I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with him a couple of times and he is a cool guy.

You got a great deal from RCL for your Doubletree room. We'll give that a try next time in Miami.

Our next cruise is in November on the Grandeur, a 13 day repo from Baltimore to NOLA. Kinda neat itin, you might wanna check it out.

Later, Rick

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We were on that same cruise,and the captain was Captain Wildung. He gave a great presentation about the ship on the last sea day. When he retires from sailing he could be a good stand-up comedian.

Whenever we saw him walking around the ship, {which was a lot}, he usually was with a very nice looking lady. Fiance perhaps?

The OP was right on about the weather. We always cruise in January, and this was the worst weather we have ever had. Although the rain is still a lot better than the white stuff back home. Will try it next January on the Freedom.

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Captain Wildung is retiring at the end of April, so if you want to catch him cruise now. I just got off this wonderful ship.

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the review was great, I was on the Brilliance when it first came out and will be on her again on May 11 doing the Med. Can not wait.

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