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CrusingWithMatt

LIVE - Brilliance of the Seas TA May 4-19, 2019

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We spent yesterday at the Tampa Zoo. It was a great day for the wife (the every animal everywhere lover). Then spent the late afternoon relaxing outside our air bnb watching the lightning/thunder Strom; drink in hand. Today we will be touring the SS American Victory down in the Tampa Port. One more day!

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13 hours ago, CrusingWithMatt said:

We spent yesterday at the Tampa Zoo. It was a great day for the wife (the every animal everywhere lover).

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Fellow animal lover also from Minnesota here - worked for over 16 years as a zookeeper at the Minnesota Zoo. Tampa Zoo is on our radar for things to do when we take our cruise out of Tampa next!

 

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17 hours ago, CrusingWithMatt said:

The victory ship was a self guided tour. I believe they do guided ones on the weekend. $10 adults $5 veterans. Very cool and it took us a little over an hour to see everything at a very relaxed pace. Tomorrow we board Brilliance!

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That brings back some memories.  I served on a ship that was commissioned in 1944 and she served from WWII until the 90's.  Nothing like haze gray and underway.

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Embarkation day success! Tampa Port security was a breeze as was check in. We have never had so many friendly people around us before.

We arrived at the port between 1015-1030  and we're through security within 5 minutes. Check in took no more than another 5 minutes. We had the pleasure of enjoying some company and conversation of Candice and Roy that we had met on the message boards.

Once onboard we headed straight for the helipad and were the only ones out there exploring. The windjammer buffet was packed full with no available seating in or outside so we decided to go to the park café. We were able to get a salad and sandwich from there which was more than enough for us. We grabbed drinks at the pool bar which was not busy and by that time it was still only 1300.

Our rooms were ready by 1330 and all of our prepaid paperwork was waiting for us (Excursions & arcade credit). The only confusion was with our BOGO dining package. We  where initially told that a reservation would be made on our behalf for the first night but that was not the case. We called Chops after the must drill and were told that both Chops and Giovanni’s was booked full for the first two nights but we could pick a different day. We ended up stopping by Chops on the way to the windjammer just to double check and the were actually able to get us into Giovanni’s at 1730 that night.

The food at Giovanni’s was phenomenal. Corin and I were in agreement that we apparently had never eaten good food before because our taste buds were stimulated in ways we had never had. I would list exactly what we ordered but I couldn’t pronounce it let alone remember what it was called. (I do have pictures of the menu for anyone interested) we split the pork belly appetizer and each ordered the filet mignon main dish. Both were FULL of flavor and melted in your mouth. By far the best restaurant experience we have ever had. We have Chops booked for day 5 and the chef’s table on day 6 so our standards are very very high for the next two.

We wrapped up our evening watching the ship pass under the bridge out of Tampa from the helipad and then taking a dip in the pool while (it seemed like) everyone else was eating.

So far we really feel like Royalty with Royal Caribbean. Stay tuned for more updates and pictures.

*Sorry for the lack of pictures form the first day. Was a little hectic.

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51 minutes ago, CrusingWithMatt said:

 

*Sorry for the lack of pictures form the first day. Was a little hectic.

 

 

Don't apologise - you're enjoying yourselves. ANY photos you share with us are a bonus!

Looks like you're off to a great start! Have a fabulous cruise. 

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1 hour ago, JLMoran said:

Chef’s table is going to spoil you for all other meals. If there’s a particular wine you find you really like, don’t be afraid to ask for seconds. (or thirds/fourths! 😁) They don’t always allow it, but seems to happen at least as often as not.

I agree joe that both chefs tables I have been to were amazing!!   Best meals I have had on the cruises!  Jane

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15 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Chef’s table is going to spoil you for all other meals. If there’s a particular wine you find you really like, don’t be afraid to ask for seconds. (or thirds/fourths! 😁) They don’t always allow it, but seems to happen at least as often as not.

I agree with Chefs table being great and sicking with a wine you like .  My daughter stuck with one the entire dinner.  They opened a second bottle for her and then sent a bottle to her cabin.

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Day 2 update:
I was woke by the sun rising through our balcony window and was lucky enough to be able to grab a decent picture. Quite honestly day 2 was a bit of a blur I swear we did a bunch of things but I can’t really remember them. We did some exploring and saw the show which was the  instrumental men’s singing group Revoiced. We attended the Captains welcome aboard reception and it just so happened to be formal night in the minstrel dining room.

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On 5/1/2019 at 1:58 PM, Jaymac Radio said:

I Am On The Rhapsody  TA Right Now!

I'll see you in Barcelona! I just realized that Rhapsody arrives there the same day my cruise makes port... I'll wave from the Seaview as we pass

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Day 3 update (sea day):

Weather made it to mid/high 80s breezy. It was hot.

We designated today as our official do nothing relax at the pool day. Even though we have barely been on the ship it feels like we've been here for a week already. Crazy right?

Other than relaxing at the pool/whirlpool drink in hand we did do a couple other activities. We went ahead and checked out the arcade we had purchased $25 credit for each of us ahead of time since it was 20% off on the cruise planner. The arcade however left much to be desired. The air hockey table is worse for wear the puck will not float across the table and the table has chips out of the surface there was also a few games that would not accept credit on one side making a two player game impossible. We still managed to have a little bit of fun in there. Also most games were $2 per play.

After the arcade we went up to the Rockwall and I enjoyed climbing each of the three difficulties with ease. I will have to do it again because I forgot to look around while I was up that high. Corin made it about halfway on two of the Rockwall Lanes. She plans to give it another shot here too.

*We also forgot to mention we attended the Cruise critic meet and mingle on day 2. We weren't disappointed but it was definitely not what we were thinking it was. Essentially we all met in the colony club and they gave out a handful of prizes through raffle drawing. Afterwards everybody just kind of left.

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Day 4 (sea day)

Day 4 we attended  the cabin crawl organized on the cruise critic roll call. It was nice to get to see other types of cabins. We saw an interior, family ocean view, Jr suite, and a master suite among others.

Later that evening after our main dining room sitting we learned the hard way that you need to arrive extra early to get a seat in the Cinema. We arrived 10 minutes early to “Instant Family” and the Cinema was completely full. We instead decided to check out the casino and met the wonderful casino bartender Timothy. He went out of his way to make a special drink concoction for Corin and she really enjoyed it.

We ended our night listening to a few songs in the king and country pub with some friends we met on board.

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We loved the King & Country Club when we were on board her.  The only complaint was that it just seemed too dark with the lights dimmed.  But the atmosphere, the beer, the other drinks .... all good.   And, you're right about the Cinema, there were a couple of films that we wanted to watch, but the place was packed.

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Day 5 update (sea day)

Day 5 I got up with the sunrise and while the wife got more beauty rest I grabbed a  grande mocha and a yogurt parfait and sat out on deck 5 port side near the centrum. It was cool and wavy this morning but I found it relaxing and got caught up on my live blogging. After an hour or so Corin and I played some chess in the colony club and decided today would be a good day for mini golf. We played a non competitive round (which was difficult for me) of golf then I drug her down to deck 5. We knew you could go out on the helipad in the front but didn’t realize you could get all the way to the back on deck 5 too. The view is spectacular.

We ended up in the king and country pub for a pre lunch bloody Margret for me and a gin fizz for Corin while we played (our own rules)  darts. Both were very good. After lunch the village fair was going on. We were provided 10 brilliance bucks to use in games to try to win more bucks. At the end of the event all your bucks (with your name and room number) went into a drawing for some onboard goodies. Two winners got champagne and another won a thermal spa day and ship tour.

Our Chops reservation was at 1730 and boy did it fill us up. Peppercorn bacon, raw tuna tartare, 12oz NY Strips and asparagus…..oooof. we were both so stuffed we (tried to) skip desert…but they had made a special gluten free one for Corin so we split what appeared to be a strawberry/vanilla mousse of some sort.

Our last stop for the night was the Cinema for “central intelligence” we were wise enough to get there 30 minutes early this time and got center seats. We made it through about a half hour of the movie before Corin started to get a bit sea sick so we dipped out early for bed. The ship was rocking the most it has yet. Our bathroom door open would swing all the way open then completely close itself. It was a bit harder to fall asleep with this but I imagine it will get worse as we get closer to Europe.
 

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1 hour ago, coneyraven said:

Oh, and what's a Bloody Margret?

Also curious about this. I like a Bloody Mary with jalapenos and bacon myself; doesn't seem to be any fun "official" name for that particular combo. 🤔

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2 hours ago, CrusingWithMatt said:

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Where do you access this location screen? On the cabin tv or located around the ship? I love this feature on planes so much that I keep it up constantly during the flight.  

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