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jstducky

Sailing through Scandinavia - A Long Review with Lots of Pictures!

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Cruise Details:

 

I recently returned from a 7 day Scandinavia & Russia cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas. The itinerary was a roundtrip sailing from Copenhagen, Denmark with port stops in Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland; St. Petersburg, Russia and Tallinn, Estonia.

 

Sailing through the Stockholm Archipelago in the early morning hours

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Background:

 

I took this cruise with my husband. We are a couple in our early 30s. This was my 13th cruise, and 4th with Royal Caribbean – all on Radiance Class ships (2nd one on Brilliance). This was my husband’s first cruise. This was also my 2nd Scandinavia/Russia cruise (although the first one was on Holland America) and I had previously been to every port on this itinerary.

 

Brilliance of the Seas docked in Copenhagen

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Part of the motivation for my husband and I in choosing this itinerary was due in part to the fact that my husband is part-Finnish, so having been to Helsinki before, I had really wanted him to see Finland, and the rest of Scandinavia.

 

We chose this itinerary because it fit best with our work schedules. While it would have been nice to have 2 (or even 3) days in St. Petersburg (I had 2 days on my previous cruise), we couldn’t make it work because work schedules dictated that we couldn’t take anything longer than a 7 day cruise. The major requirement we were looking for on the cruise was a port stop in Helsinki. This cruise had included a stop in Helsinki and 1 day in St. Petersburg, it was the best we could do, so we went for it.

Edited by jstducky

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Pre-cruise: Amsterdam

 

Since we wanted to maximize our trip to Europe, and we had already planned to do Copenhagen post-cruise since the cruise ended on a Saturday, we wanted to look for a different city that we could do pre-cruise. Our main requirement was that there be direct, non-stop flights between our pre-cruise destination and our embarkation city (Copenhagen) since we would fly to the embarkation city on the morning of the cruise. After looking at several options, we ended up choosing Amsterdam, a city that neither of us had ever been to before.

 

The I amsterdam campaign was all over the city

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Through Priceline we were able to bid on a hotel room for the one night we would be in town. We were lucky enough to have our bid accepted by the Hotel Pulitzer, which is recognized as one of the city’s top hotels. Essentially, the hotel is made of 27 historic canal homes connected together to and situated between 2 canals which all come together to form one luxury hotel. The hotel itself located just down the block from the Anne Frank House and an easy 5 minute walk to Dam Square.

 

Since we booked our plane tickets with Copenhagen as our final destination (even though there was a 24 hour stop in Amsterdam) we were told when we left LAX that our bags would meet us in Copenhagen. That was a blessing, because we had everything we needed for 24 hours in our carryon. Not having to deal with dragging our luggage around Amsterdam for our short stay was great news. We arrived into Amsterdam the morning before the cruise, walked right through immigration, and right out of the airport. It was easy and simple.

 

Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam

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We purchased roundtrip tickets for the Hotel Connexxion shuttle, a shuttle service that offers service to more than 100 hotels in the Amsterdam area. The shuttles were easy to find, and as we were the only ones using the service when we arrived, the shuttle took us directly from Schiphol airport to our hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, they checked us in right away, even though we were early. We were given a room on the 2nd floor, but it was a lovely, and quiet corner room facing the hotel’s beautiful garden/courtyard. The room was spacious by European standards, and had tons of charm and character. More than what we had hoped for and could have expected. To say it simply, we LOVED the hotel and would go back there in a heartbeat. Our only regret was that our time in Amsterdam would be so short!

 

Hotel Pulitzer

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Some of the buildings that make up the Hotel Pulitzer

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Room 240 at Hotel Pulitzer

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Our garden view at the Hotel Pulitzer

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The "Story of Our Room" that was left on the bed, explaining the history of the hotel

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Our very charming bathroom

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We walked all over Amsterdam during our short time there. For starters, we left the hotel and did the easy walk over to Dam Square which was filled with people, especially since there was some sort of outdoor soccer tournament going on using a makeshift field that had been set up right in Dam Square. From Dam Square we walked up the Kalverstraat pedestrian street and started exploring.

 

 

Building we saw walking to Dam Square

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The Magna Plaza just outside of Dam Square

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Atlus with the weight of the world on his shoulders

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Walking up Kalverstraat

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We found a terrific little croissanterie called Outmayer where I had an amazing chocolate waffle and my husband had the most fantastic fresh squeezed orange juice. The further away we continued from Dam Square, the less crowded it started to become.

 

Outmayer

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They had some of the most beautiful pastries

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I could have eaten one of everything!

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I settled on the chocolate waffle

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My husband fell in love with the fresh squeezed orange juice

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We continued on to the beautiful Flower Market. I was enraptured by all of the varieties of flowers they had; tulips in every color you can imagine, but there were also cactus, dahlias, amaryllis, and every type of bulb flower you could think of it. It was colorful and charming. From the Flower Market, we walked out towards Leidseplein and then found ourselves on Prinsengracht, just a few blocks from our hotel. It was an incredibly warm day in Amsterdam, reaching into the 90s, and it felt humid. After having flown for 12 hours and traveled 9 hours ahead in time, the heat and humid was starting to wear down our weary bodies. As we headed back towards our hotel, we saw a Dutch ice cream shop, IJScuypje, that we had passed earlier, and decided to stop in for a little pick me up. I had some really delicious lemon and orange melon (essentially cantaloupe) ice cream, and my husband had blood orange. The ice cream was so soft and smooth it felt more like a mix of gelato and Italian and ice than ice cream. It was heavenly!

 

 

A stall at the Flower Market selling all sorts of flower bulbs

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Ice cream from IJSuypje

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Pretty view of a canal and bridge near our hotel. 3 different pictures of the same scene: one in the morning, one at dusk, one at night

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In the afternoon, we had pre-purchased and pre-reserved tickets for the Anne Frank House. And boy are we glad we did that! When we made the 2 minute walk from the hotel to Anne Frank House (passing the beautiful Westerkerk church) we saw that the line, even at 3 in the afternoon, to get into the Anne Frank House was easily more than an hour long. With our pre-reserved tickets, we rang the bell at a special side door and walked right into the museum. No wait, no hassle! How can you beat that? The Anne Frank House is interesting, sad, and well put together. You walk through the original storefront of Otto Frank’s business, through the bookcase and into the Secret Annex where Anne and her family, along with the Van Pels and later to be joined by another man, lived for years hiding away during the **** Occupation of Holland. It’s amazing to think that 8 people lived in this tiny space day after day without seeing the outside world, without being able to make noise, without being able to breath fresh air. It was moving to see items like the Hollywood pictures that Anne glued to her make-shift bedroom wall and all the other mementos that are displayed at the museum. To remember having read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and now standing in this place she lived for years just brought it all home. (No photos allowed inside)

 

Just outside Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht, a canal boat company was operating a one-hour canal tour. We had already planned on taking a canal tour, but had been led to believe that Leidseplein would be the closest place to where we were to get on a boat, so when we saw this company operating 2 minutes from our hotel, we decided to save our feet the walk and use this company. We booked tickets for the last canal cruise of the day departing at 5:45 pm. At the appointed time, we boarded a large, covered boat for our canal cruise. There was a total of 8 people on the boat, so we had plenty of room to move around. The canal cruise was really nice. By now, the weather had cooled down a bit, and traveling down the canals and feeling the breeze was perfect. Though the canal boat had canned English narration, our captain actually chimed in from time to time to give us some additional live narration. The one hour tour took us down Prinsengracht and out towards the main waterway passing behind the Centraal Station and near to where the cruise ship dock is. We turned back into the smaller canals and passed the Nemo Museum, the new Library, the Hermitage Amsterdam, the beautiful Seven Bridges area, and through the Golden Bend area with their multi-million Euro ultra-luxurious homes. We saw so many parts of Amsterdam that our feet just never would have been able to take us through in just 24 hours in the city!

 

 

The Westerkerk Church next to Anne Frank House

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Anne Frank Statue

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Amsterdam Canal

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Amserdam Canal Boat

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Beautiful architecture

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More beautiful buildings

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Even more architecture

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Last one, I promise!

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Interesting bridge we saw on the canal cruise

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After our canal cruise, we wandered back through Dam Square and into the Red Light District. We walked down a street that was just filled, one after the other, with “coffee shops.” Who needs to visit one when you can just walk through this street and get (or smell) more than your fair share of marijuana. Then we found the Chinese Buddhist Temple in the middle of the Red Light District (unfortunately, it was closed by this time). Finally, we found the famous Red Light District filled with windows. Unfortunately, there is so much construction going on in this area with the building of the new subway line, that the canal in between the 2 streets was completely inaccessible, and most of the sidewalks were torn up and fenced. Of the window fronts we saw, less than 5% were actually occupied with girls and this was at around 7 pm. So, our visit to the Red Light District wasn’t really more than just walking through a couple of blocks of storefronts and cafes and coffee shops.

 

At night, after the sun had set, we wandered back outside just to see the canals lit up at night. In front of our hotel, in the middle of the canal on Prinsengracht, set up had been ongoing for a couple of days on a stage that would host a classical music concert for adults and kids the next evening which would be broadcast on Dutch television. We were lucky enough to catch part of a rehearsal that was taking place, it was almost as good as seeing the actual concert. Walking around the canals, now that the city had quieted down, and the bridges were all lit up was beautiful and romantic.

 

 

Canal at night

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Side street with outdoor cafe at night

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The next morning, my husband and I were wide awake early in the morning. I guess we hadn’t adjusted to the time change yet. At a reasonable time we decided to leave the hotel and walk around the area to see if we could find a bakery or café that was open for breakfast. Amsterdam is a very different city in the early morning hours as opposed to the busy day time hours. We hardly saw anyone outside, let alone an open bakery or café. I guess at 6 am, the city hasn’t yet recovered from the previous night. Looks like there wouldn’t be any breakfast for us this morning.

 

We had scheduled the Hotel Connexxion shuttle for a 7:40 am pickup, so we had to get back to the hotel and check out. Our shuttle ended up arriving early at 7:30 am. When we boarded, there was already another couple onboard, and on our way to the airport, we stopped at another hotel to pick up another family of 3. The shuttle was quick and efficient and we were at the airport just past 8 am for our 9:35 am flight. Since we had printed out boarding passes for our flight the day before when we arrived in Amsterdam, we were able to just go right through security since all we had was our carryon luggage.

 

Our flight from Amsterdam to Copenhagen passed uneventfully and the hour passed by in the blink of an eye. We arrived in Copenhagen around 10:45 am and went straight to baggage claim. Getting our bags seemed to take forever, but eventually our bags showed up (yipee!). While there were MSC, Costa and Royal Caribbean personnel at the airport waiting for incoming cruise passengers who had pre-booked transfers, we had decided to get to the pier on our own. Once we had our bags in hand, we headed for the terminal exit. I found an ATM and withdrew all the DKK we had thought we’d need for our time in Copenhagen. Near the ATM was the Tourist Information Desk where they were selling Copenhagen Cards. We had previously decided that we would purchase 24-hour Copenhagen Cards to use on our one night post-cruise stay in Copenhagen. At the end of the terminal was the train ticket office where we needed to purchase train tickets for our ride out to the meet the ship. There is both an office (manned with agents) as well as automated ticket machines where tickets could be purchased. Standing at the ticket machines was an agent who was helping guests who were purchasing tickets using the machines. Since we now had DKK on hand, purchasing the tickets was easy. After a few questions, the agent helping guests directed us as to which track we needed to go to in order to wait for the next train into the city. The train tracks are immediately below the terminal.

 

Shortly after noon (a little later than scheduled), when the train arrived at the station coming from the direction of Malmo, Sweden, we noticed how full it was. With the number of people, and luggage waiting to get on the train, we weren’t sure we were all going to make it, but we didn’t want to wait another 20 minutes for the next train. When the doors opened up, we all packed in. We were literally packed in there like sardines with no room to move; in between all the people and the bags, it was kind of crazy. What we didn’t know was that everyone was headed in to the city because it was Pride Weekend and there was a large parade happening. Luckily, once we got to Central Train Station, 90% of the passengers got off the train. Thank goodness, we could breath again. We ended up getting off the train at Østerport station and transferring to the S-train. With escalators and good signage, the transfer was quick and easy and the wait was minimal. On the S-train, we would go one station to Nordhavn.

 

As we approached Nordhavn, we could see the cruise ships at Freeport (Frihavnen) Pier just ahead. From the train station, we would walk to the ship. Standing at the train platform, that seemed easy enough to do since it didn’t look that far away. At Nordhavn, the train is elevated from ground, so we needed to get down to ground level, cross the street, and walk into the terminal area, or so we thought. Not so simple. First, there was no moving escalator at this station, so we had to carry our bags down to ground level – good thing it was down and not up. Once we got down to street level, we needed to find a place to cross under the train tracks and across the street to where the terminal area was. It turns out, there’s not really a simple way to do this other than walking down a sidewalk for a block or so, then under the train tracks, across the street, then walking down that side of the street for a distance until an intersection where we could turn right into the terminal area, but then continue walking all the way (the long way) around until we got to the ship. Luckily, once across the street (after going under the train tracks), there was a blue line on the sidewalk which directed us to which way we needed to go. Unfortunately, the sidewalk is a bit uneven, and near the train station the sidewalk is filled with bicycles. When you’re each carrying a backpack, and dragging along a carryon, and a heavy, large suitcase, it’s not fun when the sidewalks are crowded and uneven. Couple that with it being really warm, and quite humid, it’s not a fun combination. The walk from the train station to the cruise ship, instead of being an easy straight shot, is a roundabout, out-of-the-way walk which must have been 1 – 1.5 miles in distance. By the time we arrived at the luggage drop off, I think my husband and I were both dripping in sweat. Not a pretty sight. We were both just happy to get rid of our luggage (though we did keep our carryon with us).

 

As we had already checked in online and printed out our Set Sail Pass, all we needed to do was fill out the mandatory health questionnaire, which was simple enough. As we approached the line to check in, for some reason, the gentleman directed us to go to the express lane. As I wasn’t qualified for express check in, I wasn’t sure why he had sent us that way. When I got to the front of the line (there was no one in line), I told the lady that I wasn’t sure why I was sent this way. She wasn’t sure either, but she said it didn’t matter. The next available check-in agent saw us right away. (To be fair, in the regular check-in line, there weren’t more than 5 parties waiting in line.) The whole process was quick, easy and seamless. We were onboard and in our room by 1:15 pm. And surprisingly, our bags arrived pretty quickly thereafter (one before we went to lunch, and one after we came back from lunch).

 

After the mandatory muster drill at 4:00 pm, and the usual announcements by the Captain and crew on the PA system, the ship dropped her lines at 4:45 pm, and we departed Copenhagen.

 

 

Do you see the train moving through the photo? It's there, look close. That's where the train station is....

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Now the train is parked at the station. Can you see it? That's where the train station is in relation to where the ship docks. Too far! Don't do it!

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Sunset as we sailaway from Copenhagen

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Ship:

 

When I was finally able to convince my husband to take a cruise as our summer vacation, I knew immediately that I wanted it to be on Royal Caribbean. Having sailed Princess, HAL, NCL, Carnival, I felt from my experiences that Royal Caribbean would offer the best mix of service, food, and entertainment for what my husband and I were looking for. When I saw that the itinerary we were thinking of doing gave us the possibility of either sailing Vision of the Seas or Brilliance of the Seas, I knew right away that I wanted to do Brilliance. Of all the ships I’ve ever sailed Royal Caribbean’s Radiance class is my favorite. With all that glass which offers views out towards the ocean from just about every public spot on the ship, I knew my husband would love it. And having previously sailed on Brilliance myself through the Mediterranean, I knew I would love it. It didn’t matter to me that the ship was 10 years old and would be going in for refurbishment next year.

 

My husband loved the amount of glass on the ship and especially loved the Centrum elevators that went out over the water. He couldn’t understand why ever ship wasn’t designed like this with this much glass. We did notice in certain places that Brilliance is showing her age. The carpeting and décor in the dining room is looking a bit worn, as is the carpet in some other public areas on the ship. But it wasn’t to the point where we were bothered by it or put off. It certainly didn’t affect the cruise itself. After 10 years of use, and 2,500 passengers every week coming and going, you’d expect this. Heck, I’d expect this from a ship half her age.

 

I will say that I was surprised by the number of foreign cruisers on this voyage. Of my 13 cruises, to different parts of the world, this cruise had more non-North Americans than I can ever remember. Due to the large number of Europeans, especially, on board, all major announcements were first made in English, and then followed the next 10 minutes by the same announcement in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German and French. It sometimes made for long announcements. It was interesting to see in the main dining room for breakfast and lunch the table set up outside the entrance with menus in every conceivable language. I heard the Head Waiter mention the first night on the cruise that he had a large table for 10 made up of 4 different couples/families, and none of them were from the same country and none spoke English. Next to our dining room table, there was a large Chinese group of about 40-50 passengers who didn’t really speak English either. I was a little surprised by the lack of English speakers on the cruise. Also, I felt that for activities such as Bingo, the number caller was more interested in explaining the rules and calling out numbers in English, Spanish, Italian and French that we never got any of the nuances of the game itself (like calling out “quack quack” for 22 or referring to 75 as the grandfather of all bingo numbers, etc.). Or, at one point my husband and I tried to pay mini-golf during our sea day. We were just beaten to the golf course by large Italian family of about 15 people. They all decided to play together and each took their turn one at a time until they completed the first whole. After almost 20 minutes of waiting for them to finish the first hole so we could play, we realized this would be fruitless because we’d be waiting at every hole, and after 20 minutes only half their group had gone. So, we abandoned the mini golf idea. These things didn’t detract from our cruise experience, it was just interesting to note the make up of the guests of this cruise. In fact, as an interesting fact, I read in some of the materials handed out on board that of the 2,500 passengers on the ship, only 489 were returning guests. That low number surprised me.

 

 

Saturday - Cruise Day 1

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Brilliance of the Seas

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Ship Directory found in the elevator bay on every floor at the Centrum

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Guest Relations

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Centrum Bar

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Centrum

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Pool deck

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Kids Pool

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Solarium

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Pacifica Theater

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Shipshape Fitness Center

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Cabin

 

We started off by booking a Category H oceanview room. We had both decided that an oceanview room at the minimum was what was required – I just feel like I need to be able to look out the window and see the what’s going on out there whenever I need to; is it sunny, cloudy, rainy, stormy, dark, gray, etc.? In looking at the available options, we found a Category H room we both agreed on located on Deck 3. However, about 2 months prior to the cruise, after we had already made final payment, due to some weird circumstances, we were given the option to upgrade our room to a balcony guarantee. We went for it and I knew that this being my husband’s first cruise, he’d be spoiled thinking we could get a balcony at any time! I was just hoping that we wouldn’t have to wait too long to find out our room assignment. Low and behold, within 30 minutes of upgrading to the balcony guarantee, our room was assigned. When I saw the room number and checked out the ship’s deck plans, I couldn’t believe my eyes! How’d we get so lucky? We ended up with cabin 7174, a Category D2 aft balcony!! We hit the jackpot. Ok, so it’s not a corner aft, but it’s an aft balcony!

 

Let me tell you that the room was amazing. It was spacious. All of the items in our 2 large suitcases and 2 carryon bags fit easily in the closet, drawers and shelves in room. The room had a full couch and coffee table, a nice flat screen TV that swiveled between the living area and the bedroom area. My one complaint is that for being such a large room, the bathroom was tiny. Trying to maneuver around in the shower was impossible, and trying to take a shower without getting water all over the floor and having towels sopping wet was impossible as well. But everything else in the room made up for the lack of size in the bathroom. The bedroom area was separated from the living area by curtains that you could open and close. The bed was nice and comfy. No complains whatsoever! And the balcony… oh that balcony! People often say that once you go aft you never go back, now my husband and I want to cruise this way every time! The balcony is HUGE, much bigger than a normal balcony. Our balcony easily fit 2 loungers, 2 deck chairs, and 2 tables and still we never felt cramped. Because we had the balcony, we used it much more than I ever thought we would. We were out on the balcony pretty much every morning and evening, checking out the scenery as we sailed in and out of port, checking out the weather, and just generally unwinding or starting each day and the beautiful view we had.

 

Our room steward was Totok from Indonesia, and although we didn’t interact with him that much, he was always friendly whenever we ran into him. He kept our cabin immaculate. Every morning we’d go out and our cabin would be cleaned right away. As soon as we left for dinner every night, we performed turndown service immediately. We couldn’t have asked for more!

 

 

Hallway leading down to our cabin

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Cabin 7174

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Partial view of the cabin - what's missing is the living room portion of the room with the full couch, coffee table and the dressing/vanity area

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Partial view of our balcony - what you don't see would be on the right side of this photo; that's 2 deck chairs and 2 tables, and a pathway that leads from the balcony door to the balcony railing

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Food

 

We booked traditional first seating dining for this cruise. Of all our port days, we knew that there would only be one day where we wouldn’t return to the ship in time for our first seating dining, but that was fine since we would do specialty dining that night. About a month or so before the cruise, I had emailed Royal Caribbean dining to request a private table for two by the window for my husband and I. To my surprise, I received a reply within hours confirming a table for two. That was good enough for me. If we didn’t get a window table, that would be fine.

 

As soon as we boarded the ship we headed to the dining room to check out our dining assignment. We could see from our SeaPass cards that we were assigned Table 465 in the Minstrel Dining Room deck 4, but that didn’t mean anything to us. After asking the waiter if we could go and check out our table, we were thoroughly surprised to find that tucked in between only large tables of 6, 8 and 10 there was 1 table of 2 set up right next to the window and that was our table! One of the waiters commented that they just added in this table for this cruise! I guess writing in advance to Royal Caribbean and making our dining request really paid off for us. My husband and I were thrilled.

 

Our waiter was Hari and assistant waiter was Haberd, both from India. By the end of the first night, our waiter already knew our names and continued calling us by our names through the rest of the cruise. Our assistant waiter worked every morning up in the Windjammer, and one morning when my husband and I were having trouble finding a table for breakfast, he located one just for us. That’s what’s great about building a relationship with the same wait staff every night of the cruise. My husband and I tend to eat faster than most people and chit chat less, and our waiter was great with that. He was always ready with the menu, to take our order, and to bring out our dishes in a timely manner. And our wait staff was always friendly, always telling us stories, or providing us information we would need for subsequent days, etc.

 

One thing I noticed that I hadn’t ever seen much of on previous cruises is that a lot of the non-English speaking guests chose not to follow the dining room rules as far as time. If first seat dining started at 6 pm, there were 2 tables near us that without fail showed up to eat some time between 6:30 – 7:30 pm each night. I felt like that wasn’t fair to the wait staff who then had to hurry and serve their dinners and get them out of the dining room in time to clean up and set up again for the 8:30 second seating dining.

As mentioned, there was one night of the cruise we knew we’d return back to the ship from land late, so we pre-booked Chops Grille. This may have been my 4th Royal Caribbean cruise, but this would be my first experience with specialty dining on a Royal Caribbean cruise. Our waitress Maria from the Philippines was fantastic. She made some great recommendations for food for both my husband and I. We felt that the service and the food was fantastic.

 

Almost all of our breakfast meals (with the exception of one day) were taken in the Windjammer. I had been worried about the Windjammer due to some negative reviews I had read regarding how busy and crowded it was and the lack of tables and people wandering around aimlessly with trays looking for a place to sit. But we were pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t this way at all. For the most part, we generally had no trouble finding a table to eat at. The one day we did have trouble, our assistant waiter found us a table in a less used part of the Windjammer that was nice and quiet. The food selection for breakfast in the Windjammer was fantastic and my husband and I always filled up before going out on shore.

 

We enjoyed lunch once at the Seaview Café on our first sea day. As most people have noted, the Seaview Café on Brilliance is little used because it is tucked all the way at the back of the ship and above the Windjammer. But that’s one of the appeals of Seaview, it’s not crowded and the food is made to order. Unlike the Seaview Café on other ships, due to the Brilliance’s itinerary, the menu at this Seaview Café is different. There is a selection of paninis, made-to-order pasta, and made-to-order pizza. For the pasta dishes, there were a variety of pastas and a variety of sauces that you could mix and match. For the pizza, there was a list of toppings that you could choose for your pizza.

 

I took TONS of food photos, and I'll share each day as it comes up through the review.

 

 

Minstrel Dining Room

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Table 465

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Vitality and Alternative Selections Menu

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Starters Menu

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Entree Menu

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Melon Proscuitto

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Vidalia Onion Tart

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Chilled Watermelon Gazpacho

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Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

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Slow Roasted Prime Rib

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Pan-seared Catch of the Day (Sea Bass)

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Dessert Menu

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Strawberry Pavlova

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Savarin

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Coffee Ice Cream

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Orange Sherbet

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After having hit the ground running for 2 days straight since we left Los Angeles, thankfully, the next day was a sea day! The day was spent exploring the ship, working out, attempting to play mini-golf, attending the Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle (food, drinks, games, prizes, and meeting our fellow Roll Call members), relaxing, some Bingo and lots of food!

 

 

Sunday - Cruise Day 2

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Sunrise on the sea day

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Seaview Cafe

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Farfalle with Basil Pesto

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Farfalle with Quatro Formagi

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Pizza with Pineapple and Ham

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Dear ucla,

Thanks for the lovely pix.ni just have a quick question. How many months beforehand did you bid on Priceline for the hotel and did you have to try multiple times.

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Dear ucla,

Thanks for the lovely pix.ni just have a quick question. How many months beforehand did you bid on Priceline for the hotel and did you have to try multiple times.

 

I booked this cruise at the end of March - 24 weeks before sailing. I started bidding every day from March 27th through April 16th when my bid for Amsterdam was accepted.

 

As you'll see at the end of my review, my bidding for a one-night stay in Copenhagen at the end of my cruise never got accepted. After 4-5 weeks of bidding we gave up and just booked a hotel room.

 

Generally though, I've been successful with my bids. And I've been happy with the hotel every time I've won a bid.

 

If you want more information about bidding, you should check out TripAdvisor and BiddingForTravel

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Thank you for this review. I didn't have a chance to read it all yet - but I'm coming back when I have more time.

 

My 16 y/o daughter is an exchange student in Denmark and we've already decided this is the cruise we're going to do when she graduates - so she can show us around. So excited!

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Cruise Day 2, our first sea day, was also the first of 2 formal nights on the cruise - the Captain's Gala

 

 

Vitality and Alternative Selections Menu

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Starters Menu

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Entree Menu

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Oxtail Broth

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Lobster Bisque

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Caesar Salad

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Escargots Bourguignonne

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Filet of Beef

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Roasted Duck

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Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle

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Double Strawberry Cheesecake

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Vanilla Ice Cream

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