I have heard that this cruise was not good in many respects, especially the sea conditions. If you had the same experience, can you give me the details of what was wrong, and what you did to overcome this?
I am sailing from 1/3 - 1/13 and could use this info!!
We were on this sailing, and while it was not the "cruise from hell", don't think we'll try RCI a second time!
We enjoyed smooth sailing, except for having to skip Grand Cayman due to choppy seas. No big deal, as this would have been our 3rd stop there. Most of the days at sea were overcast & rainy. Jamaica, Aruba & Curacao were rather warm, while Cozumel weather was very pleasant.
I'll be glad to answer any specific questions you may have.
The 12/13 cruise was not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. The ship rides so well, and the stablizers work so well that we were never aware of any sort of rough seas. It is true that due to heavy swells we could not stop in Grand Cayman. The local authorities closed the tender pier in town. Being on the ship you could not tell that the seas were a problem.
We had one day of rain, but it was a sea day and had plenty of time to catch up on reading. As I stated in an earlier posting - I was "sick" with stomach issues for about 4 days and on a few nights the dining room appeared to be about 25% vacant. Rumors were running rampant about lot's of sick people, but the crew would not discuss the issue at all. They were aggressively disinfecting every surface on the ship non-stop from the time we left Miami until the time we disembarked on 12/23.
I just felt that the Brilliance, and RCI in general just sort of "miss the mark" in food, presentation, entertainment, etc. Compared to Celebrity which I have cruised on about 8 times, and Holland America which I have cruised on 3 times, RCI falls way short. I think this was our 7th or 9th cruise with RCI - loosing track with old age.
I would sail with RCI again, and I'd even sail on the Brilliance again - as long as they continue to offer spectacular rates - $70 per person per day. If they were the same price, or only 10% less than Celebrity or HAL, I'd opt for either of the other two cruise lines.
Do not agonize over your choice of sailing on the Brilliance. Go with an open mind and enjoy the beautiful ship, the weather and the islands. If you have other experiences to compare it to, you might be a bit disappointed. If not, you will have a wonderful trip. It's just that with over 20+ cruises under my belt, this one didn't live up to my expectations, and I was not expecting HAL type of service or quality. A lot of people on the ship felt that this cruise definitely "missed the mark". I am not alone in my feelings. On the other side of the coin, many people on board were very happy and had virtually no complaints. I guess if you look to nit pick, you could probably be disappointed in a Crystal Lines cruise also.
I read your post and continue to scratch my head in bewilderment. Why in the world do you expect the RCI on board experience to be the same as Celeb and HAL? Celeb and HAL are at the top of the Premium brands and RCI is somewhere in the middle. Space Ratio's, Crew/Passenger ratio's, per Diem's for food and lots more are measures used to "place" the lines. Why in the world do you think RCI, as an example, purchased Celebrity?
I can never understand folks comparing lines and ships in different levels... sort of like someone saying that a Pontiac doesn't have the Úlan of a Caddy... or a Chevy being not up to the level of a Pontiac... and so on.
All cruise lines are NOT the same... they offer different levels of cruise experiences. (Of course, you can prefer one over the other regardless of their ratings).