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LIVE - "Back on Brilliance, baby!" Brilliance of the Seas February 14-18, 2019


Matt
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Practice what you preach is what they say (whoever "they" are), so I'm dipping my toes into the fabulous Live Blogs forum of the Royal Caribbean Blog message boards!

We're headed on Brilliance of the Seas for a 4-night weekend getaway cruise and I usually post my live blogs on the blog portion of this site, but, I decided to do things a little differently this time because I've blogged this particular ship and sailing a few times already.  Instead, I'm taking my talents to the message boards to show some love for what I believe is a vastly underrated and extremely entertaining feature of this blog!

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Our cruise departs the fabulous port of Tampa on February 14 and on this sailing, it will be just me and my wife.....and @ShakeDownCruise's family.  We originally booked our kids on this sailing with us.  Kids Sail Free was in full effect, so we put a deposit down. As it turns out, I convinced my parents to fly down and watch the kids so it will be just me and my wife enjoying this quick sailing. 

Fun fact, my kids are still technically booked on this sailing because we got kids sail free, so removing them from the reservation seemed pointless.  Plus, gives me a safety net if my parents reneged on the plan.

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We booked a category 1B Spacious Balcony stateroom on deck 9.  We picked this room primarily under the guise of my kids sailing with us, but now we will enjoy some extra space and the ocean views my wife enjoys. In my experience, I barely spend time on the balcony on most cruises.  If I am going to lay out, I prefer the pool deck for the music and people watching.

Our 4-night itinerary takes us to one port, Cozumel.  While I went to Cozumel six times in 2018, this will be one and only stop in Cozumel in 2019. ? I will be sure to eat as much chips, salsa and guacamole as humanly possible. Nothing booked yet on what we will do, but we have some time to figure it out.

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In the weeks left until this cruise, I will take some cues from some of the awesome live bloggers here, such as @ellcee, @melski94@JLMoran, @Lovetocruise2002 & @twangster.

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2 minutes ago, Matt said:

In the weeks left until this cruise, I will take some cues from some of the awesome live bloggers here, such as @JLMoran

Cue #1 -- Don't blabber on as much as I do, at least not if there aren't pictures to break up the Tolkien-esque narrative! ?

Seriously, I re-read my live blogs and say to myself, "God almighty, SHUT UP AND LET THE PICS DO THE TALKING!" @Lovetocruise2002 and @twangster are far better at describing beautifully while keeping the actual words minimal.

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7 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

Cue #1 -- Don't blabber on as much as I do, at least not if there aren't pictures to break up the Tolkien-esque narrative! ?

Note to self, never begin live blog posts with "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." Got it!

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6 minutes ago, J_Keeble said:

Lots of different pictures would be great and some more thoughts on the ship that we do not normally see on the blog.

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6 minutes ago, twangster said:

Whoa!  In the words of the Monty Python...  "And now for something completely different".

Gotta keep you all on your toes.

3 minutes ago, lauraodonnell86 said:

I've just recently "found" the message boards on this wonderful website so I'm excited to follow along with your live blog. ? 

These message boards are so fun.  I think you'll love it, Laura!

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5 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

That sounds exactly like our cruise on her in 2005! That 12 night Med cruise was one of my favourite vacations of all time.

ooohhh….I am so excited to go in July!  We are repeating on Vision, so I wish I was trying a different ship just because that is always fun.  Vision was my very first cruise only 4 years ago, though, and I'm anxious to get back on and see if I remember things correctly!  Jane

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17 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Whoa...starting this blog a little early aren’t we? Excited much?

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16 hours ago, Twangster Fan said:

Well Now @Matt Favorite Ship Is The Brilliance.....Or Is It

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13 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I’ve never sailed on Brilliance.  Can’t wait for the group cruise !

That group cruise is going to be awesome. I can't wait to go to Canada and see all the igloos!

13 hours ago, yaya luvs to cruz said:

Our first cruise with Royal was sailing the Mediterranean for 12-days on the Brilliance in October 2004. It was amazing. Can't wait to read your blog and see your pics. Might be motivated to try her again.

Brilliance has grown on me quite a bit.  It's a fun ship!

1 hour ago, coneyraven said:

I may have to "borrow" a few pics to share on our group page.

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I love Brilliance! Sadly, it doesn't look like we'll be making it back on her until at least 2020. ? Looking forward to following your trip along - it seems like you always have a different adventure in Cozumel. 

At least I have Enchantment to take me to Cozumel in a few months! Already booked Nachi! 

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6 minutes ago, KLA said:

I love Brilliance! Sadly, it doesn't look like we'll be making it back on her until at least 2020. ? Looking forward to following your trip along - it seems like you always have a different adventure in Cozumel. 

At least I have Enchantment to take me to Cozumel in a few months! Already booked Nachi! 

Can't wait to get to Nachi in April .... it'll be our first time there.

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16 minutes ago, coneyraven said:

Can't wait to get to Nachi in April .... it'll be our first time there.

Super excited to hear how you guys like it - it's one of me and my husband's favorite places. The last time we were there was on our honeymoon, and we've been super excited to get back. The last time we were in Cozumel we went to Mr. Sancho's, and I don't think I'll ever go there again. I'd try Chakanaab or Sky Reef or Paradise Beach before I'd try it again. 

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Just booked a Brilliance cruise yesterday.  Thanksgiving 2019.  It was on the list of "free" cruises that I received yesterday from Club Royale...so why not ?  So now we will be doing our FIRST EVER Side to Side (S2S).  We will be on Brilliance 25-30 November, then drive down to Miami to catch Oasis (hopefully disease-free by then !) on 1 Dec - STAR CLASS <balloons drop, confetti falls from the sky !!> (also a [upgraded] free cruise from Club Royale !).  Dan isn't real excited about the 4 hour drive from Tampa to Miami but he'll get over it.  We will do some relocation recon while we're down there.  He has decided that he wants SOUTH Florida for retirement.  Come on, Oct 2020....

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2 hours ago, Matt said:

Nice! Have done that sailing before and its great. How many nights is your sailing?

5 nights.  Going to Key West and Coz.  Monday - Friday.  I have a feeling that the Monday-Fri itins aren't as popular as those that are over a weekend.  Probably why this one was on "sale" on the casino list !  It worked out perfectly though, for us, since we were already on Oasis on Sunday, Dec. 1.

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9 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

5 nights.  Going to Key West and Coz.  Monday - Friday.  I have a feeling that the Monday-Fri itins aren't as popular as those that are over a weekend.  Probably why this one was on "sale" on the casino list !  It worked out perfectly though, for us, since we were already on Oasis on Sunday, Dec. 1.

We are also on this cruise next November. Having cruised over Thanksgiving the last three years on Brilliance, I know you will enjoy the ship. Unfortunately, the Christmas decorations generally don't go up until the Friday after turkey day, so we probably miss out on that.

Also the the Tampa-Miami trip is not too bad until you pass FLL, and that last part down 95 is pretty awful...but, you are headed for another cruise, so you have that workin' for ya!!

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As an update, here's what I've pre-booked for this sailing. I usually wait to pre-book most purchases until the particular sailing I'm going on is my next sailing.  Call me crazy, but most pre-cruise purchases don't usually sell out and for budgetary reasons, I prefer to give myself more time to split up my purchases.

Here's what I've got so far:

Voom internet package

Do I need to explain this purchase?

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Deluxe Beverage Package

I'm the world's biggest flip-flopper on deciding if a drink package makes sense for me.  I seem to buy it every other sailing.

Ultimately I purchased it because no kids with us on this sailing and pre-purchasing means being able to budget my drinks far more effectively.

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Cozumel

We've looked at a few different options for what to do here but have not settled on anything. Since Brilliance will be one of two ships in port (along with the Carnival Valor), I'm not too worried about anything booking up.

My wife reminds me that since we have the drink package, we would be better off visiting a spot like Paradise Beach rather than investing in an all-inclusive.

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  • 4 weeks later...

One more day!!!!

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My parents arrive today to watch the kids and we briefly considered staying in Tampa tonight just to start our vacation a bit early, but ultimately decided against it. Staying here would allow some extra time to get ready....and time to actually spend with my folks.

One mistake I've already made is neither my wife nor I remembered to print out our SetSail Pass.

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This has occurred in the past, and it just means some extra time during check-in.  So let this be a reminder for everyone to print out your SetSail pass before it's too late.

Plan is to hit the road around 9am tomorrow morning. Should take us a little over an hour to get there. I already informed my wife I'd prefer to be in Tampa by 9am, but I got "the look".

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"Plan is to hit the road around 9am tomorrow morning. Should take us a little over an hour to get there. I already informed my wife I'd prefer to be in Tampa by 9am, but I got "the look"."

Perhaps you can convince your wife its gator season and traffic could be snarled because of Gator Crossings on the across the state trip

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13 minutes ago, marti314 said:

Perhaps you can convince your wife its gator season and traffic could be snarled because of Gator Crossings on the across the state

These are real concerns and it would be irresponsible of me to put our vacation in jeopardy due to gators

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