Friday, February 14, 2014

Brilliance of the Seas Cruise Recap

Last Thursday through Monday, we (G, EM, myself, my parents, and his parents) set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas.  We left from the port of Tampa, had a sea day one day in Cozumel, another sea day, and we were back in Tampa, bright and early Monday morning. 

the ship from Senor Frogs
G, EM, his parents and myself drove over to Tampa together and when we arrived in Tampa Thursday morning, everything was going great, we dropped off our luggage and went into the terminal to do our check in. Well, I reached for our passports and then realized we didn’t have EM’s Birth Certificate (she doesn’t have a passport yet). G was the one that gathered our passports and I never looked to check about EM’s birth certificate (BC) nor did I remind him. I'm just SO GLAD it wasn’t me who forgot to grab it. So, we go to the security guard to check in and he asks to see our documents and of course we tell him we just realized we forgot EM’s BC. He asked where we were from and we told him it was about a 2 hour drive away and he said that there would be no way we could do roundtrip and make it back in time. I know we aren’t the first people to forgot something like this, so I figured there was SOMETHING that could be done but wasn’t sure what it was. I was a little mad/upset about the whole situation but the security guy was super nice and said we’d figure it out. He suggested we call the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics and ask if they could fax over a copy, so we called and they said they can not fax over copies. The nice security guard asked if we had a copy of it anywhere and then I remember that I scanned a copy of her BC on my home computer. I thought maybe I emailed it to myself just in case but couldn’t find it in my or G’s email on our phones. Knowing that they would take the scanned copy, I called up one of my neighbors who knows the code to get into our house and asked her to go get on my computer and email it to me/the port security people. Luckily, she was able to do that rather quickly and we were able to board the ship! We WILL be getting EM her passport before our next cruise so that all 3 passports can sit together and we don’t have to worry about forgetting the BC. Although now I do have a copy of it in my email, just in case!

During the BC fiasco, my parents arrived and they waited for us to get everything figured out and we were all able to board together which was nice. We had a nice lunch together and then went back to the room to take a nap before the Muster Drill. I know they are required by law but they are always the same and always annoying and by now, I am more than aware what I need to do in case of an emergency. Plus EM was sleeping so it required her nap to be interrupted, luckily she got a good amount of time in before that happened so she wasn’t cranky. 

staying occupied during the muster drill

We hung out on the pool deck for some drinks and chatting before all kind of doing our own thing (unpacking,relaxing, etc) and met in the Diamond Lounge before dinner for a few drinks. Since my in-laws are Diamond Plus they each always get BOGO coupons for Dinner at a specialty restaurant so the four of us went to Giovanni’s Table for dinner. My parents opted out and watched EM for us during dinner. Dinner was great, although I would have preferred Chops Grille (but they were booked for the evening and the coupons are only good for the 1st night). Giovanni’s Table is all gourmet Italian and it’s served family style. We of course all wanted different things so we had a TON of food and tried everything. I’d tell you what we ate but to be honest, I have no idea how to spell it or pronounce it and of course I forgot to take any pictures (actually we took very few pics all together on the entire cruise, not sure what I was thinking!). The cannoli’s at the end were amazing and if I wasn't already stuffed, I would have had seconds! 

My parents took EM for the evening so that G and I could get a night alone. They took her to dinner and to watch the show which they said she really enjoyed. She’s getting to the age where she’s really going to start liking the dancing and singing and bright colors.  The plan was they would have her for 2 night and G’s parents would have her for 2 nights so that we could have some alone time since this was supposed to be our anniversary cruise. Yes, we are those type of people that invite others (*gasp* and parents!) on anniversary trips. I mean we had 18 people on our honeymoon, so it shouldn't be THAT shocking.
playing with Paca
Friday was a sea day and I got up early-ish to go to the gym. I ran 2.5 miles and did some of my arm/strength training.  I met my parents and EM for breakfast and went to change into pool attire. It was nice out, but not hot enough to really go into the water but we did take EM to the kid pool and she loved going up and down the steps and down the slide. I wish I would have taken more pics but here is at least a short video. We relaxed most of the day, all doing various things, I spent most of my time by the pool. I think it’s a little ridiculous that they post signs that babies (even in swim diapers) aren’t allowed in the pools. Even the kids poo! Especially since you don't get discounts on babies. We all had a nice dinner together but since I was so tired after dinner (we had an 8:30 dinner so it was close to 10 by the time it was over) I decided I would just take EM and go to bed and let everyone do their own thing. No sense having any of the parents watch her if I was just going to sleep anyways. 

Playing in the Diamond Lounge:

love the towel animals!
Saturday, we spent the day in Cozumel. All of us went to my new favorite place, Mr. Sanchos.  (I went there with my family on the Carnival cruises I took in September and December - which I just realized I never really did a full recap on - whoops!) Unfortunately, G woke up with a sore throat and wasn’t feeling 100% so he didn’t quite indulge in the all you can drink as much as he normally would have. The weather was beautiful. Although, I do wish it had been a little hotter as it was just a tad too chilly to really stay in the water too long. I think everyone had a great time, especially our dads. They were TRASHED by the time we left. We stopped at Senor Frogs before heading back to the ship. G, EM, and I left our parents there and luckily they (barely) made it back to the ship on time. We all met for dinner later on (except G since he wasn’t feeling well) – I was pretty surprised to see our Dads there since I was sure they would have missed it after the condition they were in when we left them at Senor Frogs. Once again, since G and I weren’t going to be really spending the night doing anything due to him feeling like crap, we ended up taking EM (plus our parents were all still pretty toasted).

Nap Time before Play Time!

cuddling with Nan

swimming in the ocean with Grandma
Enjoying Senor Frogs
More love from Pappy

Sunday was our last true day, as Monday you just wake up and get off the ship. It was a sea day again and after breakfast, EM and I spent it at the pool with my parents (my in-laws were off doing something else as they aren’t big pool/sun people and G was sick in bed the entire day). Once EM was ready for her nap, I dropped her off in the room with G and I went to the gym and ran 3.5 miles. I was very proud of myself for making it to the gym twice - I guess having to report back on Follow Through Friday helped! Most of the afternoon I just spent walking around the ship exploring (none of us had ever been on this ship before) and relaxing/reading. 

G playing with EM

I also took EM to play in the Fisher Price Royal Tots play area (we went a few other times as well). This play area was NOTHING compared to the play area we experienced on Allure of the Seas in December but nonetheless, I love that they have it. It give babies/toddlers the opportunity to play together with a bunch of age-appropriate toys and just space to crawl around and well, be babies. While in there, I met a girl from Israel who was on the ship with her daughter for 1.5 months staying with her husband who is one of the Security Officers. I thought it was nice that she and her daughter were able to do that and the dad didn't have to miss so much of his daughter's baby milestones. That always makes me sad that so many of the crew members are away from their families for so long (most aren't able to have their families come stay with them on board since they share rooms with other crew members). Even if it's making a better life for their families back home, still makes me sad. Although, my father-in-law gave a great analogy, it really is no different than our US Military who do the same thing during deployments (and also make crap money). Not that, that makes it any better/less sad, but some Americans are doing the same exact thing AND  protecting our freedom and missing out on so much with their families.

Our last evening was nice and low key. G stayed in bed all day/night and EM and I hung out around the ship, visit my parents in the casino (only for a few minutes before we got kicked out since obviously children aren't allowed in there) and made our stop in the play area mentioned above. I enjoyed a nice dinner with my parents and father-in-law (I put EM to bed with G and my MIL came down with a bad cold as well so she skipped dinner) and got a good night sleep. Now of course, our evenings alone didn't go as planned so G and I plan to go to St. Augustine next weekend to celebrate our anniversary, just the two of us. Hopefully we'll both be feeling better by then since now I've got the cold that G and his mom had, and G still has it a little bit too.  Overall though, it was a great, relaxing vacation! 


  1. that sucks that G was sick. sounds like a fun cruise anyway!

  2. I think brilliance is going to be my next cruise. I am sure it doesn't compare to allure but how was it?

    1. It was definitely smaller and not comparable allure at all but still a good time and a fun ship!


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