If you want the busy, active Royal Caribbean experience but prefer a classic-style ship over the city-at-sea Oasis-, Freedom-, and Voyager-class experience, the 90,090-ton, 2,100-guest Brilliance of the Seas or one of her three twin sisters might be the vessels for you.
Launched one per year between 2001 and 2004, they’re Royal Caribbean’s most elegantly traditional ships, with classic nautical lines and handsome, nearly traditional interiors.
One of the most noticeable things about these ships’ design is the amount of glass used in their public rooms, which helps bring the outside in when sailing scenic destinations like Alaska and the Norwegian Fjords. The ship’s atrium, for instance, has a five-story wall of glass on the port side, and rooms like the Viking Crown Lounge, Singapore Sling’s piano bar, the Sky Bar, Champagne Bar, and Windjammer Café all offer huge views.
In the stern on Deck 6, a cluster of five intimate, interconnected lounges is one of the most classically designed spaces Royal Caribbean has ever created, giving a real old-world vibe with their Oriental-style rugs, parquet flooring, and woody wall paneling. The romantic Singapore Sling’s piano bar stretches across nearly the entire stern, offering views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Next door, the colonial-style Billiard Club offers some of the only pool tables at sea, kept level through gyroscopes that counteract the ship’s motion.
Other public rooms include the lovely main theater; the large Casino Royale; a sports bar with interactive bartop games; the nautically themed Schooner Bar; a specialty-coffee bar; and the Viking Crown Lounge, perched way up on Deck 13 and offering both quiet lounging space and a disco with a rotating bar.
For kids, the Adventure Ocean center on Deck 12 includes a large, multi-area playroom, a video arcade, an outdoor pool with water slide, and a separate teen disco.
Outdoors, Brilliance offers a large and often busy main pool area; a covered, Asian-themed, adults-only Solarium; and a Sports Deck featuring a rock-climbing wall attached to the ship’s funnel, a basketball and volleyball court, a 9-hole miniature-golf course, a golf simulator, and a jogging track. The spa and fitness center, a two-story space on Decks 11 and 12, offers a huge aerobics floor, dozens of exercise machines, more than a dozen individual treatment rooms, and a Thermal Suite steamroom with heated tiled loungers and showers that simulate tropical rain and fog.
At dinnertime, guests can choose between several elegant options. The two-story Minstrel Dining Room is a classic, glamorous cruise ship experience, decorated with silk-draped columns, a dramatic split staircase, and evocative artwork. The intimate, 90-seat Chops Grille is a classic steakhouse, decorated in dark woods and rich upholsteries, and offering lovely sea views. Just next door, the upscale, 130-seat Portofino serves Italian cuisine.
A number of outlets scattered around the ship also offer quick, casual meals and snacks, including the Windjammer Cafe buffet restaurant and a pizzeria in the Solarium.
Staterooms on board are pleasantly styled and fairly spacious. All offer small sitting areas, roomy closets, vanities with pullout trays for laptops, interactive TVs, minibars, and smallish bathrooms. More than half the cabins on board have private verandas. Most suites are located on Deck 10, and range from the 294-square-foot Junior Suite to the 951-square-foot Royal Suite, with its separate bedroom and living room, whirlpool bath, baby grand piano, and 283-square-foot veranda.
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