Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas launched in 2002 and is the second cruise ship in the cruise line’s Radiance class. While the ship is on the older side (more than two decades old!) and on the smaller side, don’t skip over this ship when planning your cruise. It has lots to offer.
Only holding a few thousand passengers, but boasting quite a few options in terms of activities and entertainment, the ship feels intimate, not overwhelming, and manageable, not crowded.
Royal Caribbean refurbished the ship in 2018, with updates more in line with Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class, with major refurbishments completed in 2013. So, what can you expect on this cruise ship? Here’s what you need to know.
In This Article…
- Brilliance of the Seas Stats
- Construction and History
- Free Dining
- Specialty Restaurants
- Bars and Lounges
- Activities and Entertainment
- Kids Venues
- Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Itineraries
- Brilliance of the Seas FAQ
Brilliance of the Seas Stats
Brilliance of the Seas measures in with:
- Gross Tonnage: 90,090, the same as Radiance of the Seas and less than half the size of today’s largest cruise ships
- Length: 292 meters or 958 feet
- Passenger Decks: 12
- Guest Elevators: 9
- Staterooms: 1,070
- Maximum Passenger Capacity: 2,543
- Passenger Capacity: 2,142 at double occupancy
- Crew Capacity: 848
Construction and History
Brilliance of the Seas was ordered in 1998 from Germany’s Meyer Werft. The cruise ship cost $350 million to build. Launched in 2001, the ship was first christened and set sail in 2002. It has been in service ever since.
The Royal Caribbean cruise ship underwent its last major dry docking refurbishment in 2013 — so a decade ago — but it also received more recent updates in 2018.
A member of the Radiance class, like its sister ships — Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas — Brilliance of the Seas features more than three acres of glass when you combine all of the glass used in its viewing elevators, pool roofs and other areas. Radiance-class ships also boasted, at the time of their debut, the first self-leveling pool tables in the cruising industry.
So what kind of staterooms can you expect aboard Brilliance of the Seas? When you’re choosing your accommodations for your upcoming cruising adventure, you’ll have more than a thousand staterooms to pick through. Brilliance of the Seas offers 1,070 total staterooms. These are split down into other categories, including…
- 587 balcony staterooms
- 236 exterior staterooms
- 246 interior staterooms
- 345 staterooms with third or fourth berths
- 15 handicap accessible-staterooms
There are just a few suites to choose from, but we’ll get to those in a moment. For the basic staterooms, expect updated furnishings that are more akin to what you might find in a mid-scale hotel.
The interior staterooms feel roomier than they are, with extra seating, beds with crisp white linens and a minimalist color palette that incorporates a lot of neutral tones (which is probably why the staterooms feel larger than they are). Most interior staterooms offer either twin beds or twin beds that can be combined into a king-sized bed.
The exterior staterooms are just slightly larger than the interior staterooms, but come with a big perk: a huge window that really puts the ocean-view windows on a lot of similarly older cruise ships to shame. You can easily lie in bed and sit back and watch the waters flow by.
There are also some slightly larger, family-geared ocean-view staterooms that you can book and that are designed for larger families or groups that need extra sleeping space.
The balcony staterooms are the most plentiful option aboard this ship, so you might as well book one, as they aren’t necessarily hard to come by unless you’re booking at the last minute.
Balcony staterooms are split into two categories: deluxe or superior. Depending on which of the two that you book, you’ll get a larger room and larger balcony (superior balcony staterooms are the larger of the two).
Whichever of the two balcony stateroom types that you choose, you can expect gorgeous views from your private space, thanks to the transparent, glass railing and big glass doors that lead out to the balcony.
No matter which stateroom you book, expect amenities such as flat-screen televisions, mini bars, vanities that double as workstations and storage space.
If you have special stateroom-related needs or considerations during your cruise, Royal Caribbean is more than happy to accommodate. For example, families traveling with an infant can request cribs and other infant-specific items. Likewise, those traveling in groups that want adjoining staterooms can request that as well.
There aren’t too many suites on Brilliance of the Seas, but there are enough that you can take your pick from several suite types. Brilliance of the Seas suites are split across a few categories, including:
- Royal suites
- Family suites
- Owner’s suites
- Grand suites
Depending on the suite you book, you’ll enjoy extra amenities, such as concierge service, priority reservations, priority check-in, and more. Grand suites are the smallest suites on offer. However, these suites do have spacious bedrooms and living areas. The balconies are also pretty spacious.
The family suites offer two bedrooms. Bathrooms are outfitted with bathtubs rather than just stand-up showers, which is a nice perk if you’re traveling with a young child. The balconies on these suites are also pretty nice.
The Owner’s suites offer even more space, including separated living rooms and bedrooms. The bathroom includes a jacuzzi tub and bidet, as well as a vanity with double sinks, which is always a great touch when traveling as a couple. As you could expect, the balcony is quite spacious, too.
The largest suite of them all is the Royal suite and there’s only a single Royal suite on the ship, so be sure to snag it if you can. The Royal suite does what all of the above suites do, just bigger and better. It also features a baby grand piano.
While you won’t find quite the same number of dining options on Brilliance of the Seas as you might on some of Royal Caribbean’s newest ships, you’ll still find an appropriate number for the size of ship it is, as well as for the number of passengers that are usually traveling aboard it. Plus, if you’re only taking a short cruise (as this ship often offers), then you certainly won’t run out of options to try over the course of your vacation.
Unfortunately, most of the dining options on Brilliance of the Seas are considered specialty restaurants, which means you’ll have to pay extra when you dine at them.
If you want to dine only at complimentary restaurants, where your basic cruise fare covers the cost of your meals, you’ll have three options. Complimentary, free dining on Brilliance of the Seas is available at…
- The Minstrel Main Dining Room (for a classic cruise dining experience across a huge, two-level dining room)
- Windjammer Cafe (the cruise line’s buffet)
- Park Cafe (a very casual cafe option serving salads, sandwiches, coffee and the like)
You can also order room service for free, but only for continental breakfast and only between the hours of 6:30 and 7:30 a.m.
If you don’t mind splurging a bit, you can check out the dining options aboard Brilliance of the Seas that are available for an additional fee. Specialty restaurants include:
- Cafe Latte-tudes, serving coffee and dessert
- The Chef’s Table, an exclusive and private dining experience
- Giovanni’s Table, a traditional Italian restaurant
- Chops Grille, a classic steakhouse
- Izumi, the ship’s Asian cuisine options
- Rita’s Cantina, a restaurant serving Latin cuisine
Bars and Lounges
Luckily, while there isn’t a huge number of restaurants aboard Brilliance of the Seas, you’ll find a ton of bars and lounges ready and waiting. Whether you want to dance, listen to live music, enjoy a quiet drink in an intimate setting or people watch the night away, you can do it all, depending on which watering hole you visit.
The bars and lounges aboard Brilliance of the Seas include…
- Schooner Bar, a favorite on Royal Caribbean ships
- R Bar, a 1960s-themed, casual bar
- King and Country Pub, offering a wide range of European brews
- Vintages, a wine bar
- Sky Bar, for drinking in the great outdoors
- Viking Crown Lounge, a large lounge with dancing and live music
- The Colony Club, with a true club atmosphere with dancing and music
- Singapore Sling’s, a bar with huge windows and fantastic views
- Jakarta Lounge, a small, casual bar
Activities and Entertainment
But you can’t just dine and drink your cruise away (well … you could, but why would you, when there’s so much more to do on this ship?). When you’re ready to get in some fun, here’s how and where to do it.
Worth Reading: Are Royal Caribbean Cruises All Inclusive?
Try Your Luck at the Casino
What’s a cruise ship without a casino? Hit up the slots or settle in for a night of table games, as you sip a drink.
Catch a Show at the Theater
Royal Caribbean has outfitted this ship with a large, state-of-the-art theater, offering Broadway-style shows. There are usually a few different shows running during each cruise, so you can find something to fit your tastes.
Get in Some Shopping
The cruise ship’s shops are situated on Deck 5, and include a few places to pick up your typical duty-free items and souvenirs.
Check Out the Daily Activities
Every sea day is jam-packed with activities led by the enthusiastic Royal Caribbean crew. Whether you want to take a class, engage in a friendly competition or play some easy-going games by the pool, you can most certainly find something that catches your fancy on each day’s schedule.
Hang Out by (or in) the Pool
There are three pools and three hot tubs on Brilliance of the Seas. The main pool is always a hopping spot and activities are always on tap, all day long and into the evening. A solarium pool is open to those ages 16 and up only.
Climb the Rock Wall
The rock walls are a classic Royal Caribbean feature. Climb to the very tippy top and check out the views — if you’re brave enough.
While the kids will likely enjoy many of the above activities available on Brilliance of the Seas, they’ll also appreciate the dedicated kids spaces that are just for them.
Royal Caribbean offers its Royal Babies & Tots program to those under 3 years old. However, this programming does require a parent to be present. Otherwise, babysitting services are available for a fee.
The kids-only, no-parents-needed programming is for kids ages 3 to 11. The Adventure Ocean program is split into several different categories, with activities and events geared toward specific age groups.
Teenagers can enjoy their own space as well, near the arcade, in a space christened Fuel, where there’s less strict programming and more fun amenities that teens are sure to appreciate, such as a coffee bar and entertainment centers.
Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Itineraries
There are plenty of reasons to take a Brilliance of the Seas cruise. This smaller ship offers a more laid-back, intimate setting than what you’ll find on other, larger Royal Caribbean ships, but you’ll still never run out of fun things to do. See what upcoming Brilliance of the Seas itinerary might be a perfect pick for your family!
Brilliance of the Seas FAQ
Brilliance of the Seas offers lots to do, while still being on the smaller, more intimate side. This makes it ideal for first-time cruisers who are maybe not keen on mega-ships, or those looking for a shorter cruise at a steal of a price.
Brilliance of the Seas is a Radiance-class ship. The Radiance class launched in 2001 with Radiance of the Seas and also includes Serenade of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas. Brilliance of the Seas was the second ship in the series.
Brilliance of the Seas launched in 2002. It received major refurbishments in 2013.