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Thanksgiving Side to Side: Brilliance to Oasis

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Dinner tonite at 150 Central Park. Joyce took a pic for us 

ISince we are docked at the downtown pier, we decided to go out into town for a while. Beside us is docked NCL Breakaway. Out in the bay, offshore, is the NCL Escape.  She is tendering her p

I promised Sabrina that I would do this, so here goes. First:  I am the worst live blogger EVER since I hate to take pix.  I DO realize that long, text review/live blogs are less effective b/c no

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First of all, we are docked at the Port at the Naval Air Station, Key West.  The last time I remember visiting KW, we docked right downtown.  


The super secret shuttle that was provided by the Concierge was a very nice trip down the elevator to the gangway and a trip to the front of the line to get off the ship.  Then we walked a short distance to where there were a series of shuttle vehicles waiting to drive everyone to town.  This service by the Concierge actually gave us quite an advantage as the line off the ship snaked waaay up the stairs to distances unknown.  We walked straight off the ship without any wait at all.  Our vehicles ended up being one of the conch trains. 


So, we rode the conch train into town along with a very nice guided tour by the driver.  The ride was perfect -  not too hot, not too windy,  just right.  To my utter shock, Lootenant Dayan (his other nickname) suggested that he had seen all of KW that interested him and perhaps we might consider simply remaining on the shuttle right back to the ship.  Imagine my surprise!  This is kind of suggestion that I would normally try and weasel into the conversation but it came out of HIS mouth.  I was delighted !

So we did not detrain when the shuttle stopped.  The “conductor” seemed not at all amused that we were hightailing it back to the ship without even getting off and his audible heavy sigh into the microphone (more like a groan) made us 🤭.  So....we rode back the same path we had just come as the only conch train passengers.  THIS is how the suites do it !  😂😂


Back on the ship in probably less than 30 minutes, we did what all good slugs do....eat.  We wandered into the WJ; I had a burger and Lootenant Dayan had some kind of stewish-looking thing with rice.  He had a chocolate ice cream cone and I had some Boston Cream Pie.   Ahhhh....life is good.  Could be we will try and see Spidee at 4:00.

But for now - nap time !


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2 points to report on the bread, olive and garlic warm-up

The olives do not have pits !  My already cracked molars thank you !

They did not make us dig the garlic out of the husks !  Much more elegant than making us dig and launch the cloves across the room.

Win, win

No cold soup tonite, by God !  It was steamin’.  Dan had some tuna tartare from Chops, I had minestrone and pork belly.  Our main courses should be coming shortly 

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The steak I got tonite at Giovannis was orders of magnitude better than the cold crap I got yesterday at Chops. Everything was better...the food, the service, the ambiance. Everything.  To be completely fair, yesterday’s epic fail at Chops was the embarkation lunch so I will withhold final judgement until tomorrow night when we will go to Chops for dinner. I’m not going to hold my breath though. It will be hard to top that extraordinary steak at Giovannis. 

For those who are counting, this makes 2 filets in 2 days. That’s a lot for me.  I’m not normally a big steak eater. 


Dan has the prawns. Really just shrimp, but prawns sounds fancier. He said his was very good.  



Reh-Roh. It’s 7:03 and I don’t see how I can drag my feet long enough to miss the start of the cattle call.  Looks like we’ll be going there before heading to the casino.  🥴🥴

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Casino update:  I came out + $25 tonite so I was able to repay Lootenant Dayan for his generosity last night.  Now sitting at even Steven after night #2. Winner, winner, chicken dinner !

I have figured out the mystery of using two devices interchangeably.  It seems that logging out (log off.com) is not enough. I must turn off the WiFi on whichever device I do NOT want to use before trying to log on to the second device.  This is a bit of a pain as I choose to take photographs with my iPhone but want to blog with the iPad so I am constantly changing between the devices. But since I broke the code I have had no problems at all and I have not bounced Dan off of his device once since figuring it all out.  I feel so smaaaat.

Night night.  Sea day tomorrow. #sleepingin

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Good morning !

Beautiful day on the seas as we sail, leisurely, towards Cozumel.  There are some modest swells but I have yet to feel the ship move even ONCE on this cruise.  One of the smoothest sailings I can remember.  I think we must have a tail wind.

Breakfast was in Chops.  Food was hot and good.  Service was a bit slow but we have nowhere to go today so I didn’t care.  We will be back at Chops for dinner tonite. Planning on doing Izumi for lunch but not sure I will be hungry enough to eat much.  #stuffedatchops

Happy Dan was in one of his special moods this morning.  He had French Toast and got bored waiting for me to finish eating.


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So, not much to report today.  We tried to have lunch at Izumi just to be turned away.  They were having a sushi-making class today so we slunk back to Chops. Keep in mind that we had just come from breakfast at Chops a little while before (remember the Choo-choo nanner ?)....but we made appearance #2 shortly thereafter.  I was not particularly hungry (go figure) so I just had my beloved mushroom soup and a shrimp cocktail.  Dan had a rather bizarre shrimp-cocktail-Caesar-salad concoction devised by our (now bestie) waiter (I can’t pronounce his name but it starts with a V).

We waddled out of Chops AGAIN and I went to the casino.  Big mistake.  I should have gone with Dan to the sauna. Sadly I must report that my casino fortunes have taken a decidedly negative turn.  That particular session ended in a $600 loss and a subsequent follow-on disaster after dinner netted another $500 soaking. Ugh.  Dan is still up over $600 so he’s obviously much better at this than I am but I have the luxury of not caring whether I win or lose so I’m sure I will continue to lose !  

So guess where we had dinner ?  Yep...the ol’ Chops hat trick !  Dan had steak, I had spicy shrimp.  I now have indigestion due to waaaytooo much food today and lousy gambling skills.  Time for bed. Peace, out.


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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone !

I can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving. That means Christmas is dangerously close.

Yippee !  We are already docked in Coz and it appears that we are at the downtown dock !  I believe this is my first time ever to dock downtown.  I had not planned to get off the ship today but I may change my mind now. I didn’t even know that Royal COULD dock downtown.  #firsttimer

No picture right now b/c I would be shooting directly into the sun (boo) but I will try later.

Heading off to <where else> Chops for breakfast.

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On 11/25/2019 at 10:21 PM, WAAAYTOOO said:

I hear ya. He seems kinda like a curmudgeon already. I’m not overly thrilled with the fact that we only have 1 lounger but I do understand that the Rad class is just essay narrower than the other ship classes. Making do... 

That photo was very interesting - I have one of those grand suites with the extended balcony like the one next to you booked for the brilliance TA in May (we're normally interior stateroom people, but we'd planned to splurge on a junior suite for the cancelled independence TA and the future cruise credit from that allowed us to get up to a GS). It looks like I'll be getting to know my neighbour pretty well.

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Iimage.thumb.jpeg.31102637ecfc84383ef9b349675cee22.jpegSince we are docked at the downtown pier, we decided to go out into town for a while. Beside us is docked NCL Breakaway.


Out in the bay, offshore, is the NCL Escape.  She is tendering her peeps ashore with lifeboats.  Glad I’m not on Escape !

We walked down to the Plaza and decided to have a couple of beers and some chips and pico de gallo.  This was the first alcohol that either of us have had the entire cruise !  The cold Coronas tasted pretty good.  More about this, later.


At some point, Dan mentioned something about maybe getting a cheap massage.  Oh yeah....that sounded like a GREAT idea.  After finishing our beers and chips, we asked our waiter if there was anywhere close where we could get a massage. It seemed we were in luck !  No more than 20 paces down the side street was a spa.  The decision was made.  If the price was right, we were getting massages.  Trust me, this is no foo foo spa.  It’s a hole-in-the-wall place but the price seemed right.  $70 each for a 90 minute massage.  Done.  They put us in a “room” for 2.  I put “room” in quotations because it is really just 1 big room with curtains to separate the “private” areas.  Good enough for us.

I will just say up front that this was one of the best massages I have ever had.  Most masseuses hurt me.  I guess I’m just a wimp but the whole “deep tissue” thing is about as far from enjoyable as I can get.  But this lovely lady’s touch was perfect. You start out on your belly, of course, and I was really settling in...enjoying every stroke.  She did my back, neck and shoulders.  Heaven.  Then she moved to my legs....and trouble began to brew.

Here’s where the forewarning from the beer and chips photo comes back into play.  As if, by some awesome force of nature and gravity combined, the moment she started pushing “up” (towards my torso) on my legs, the beer bubbles began to be pushed up from my belly.  Had I been standing, I would simply let out a diminutive “burp” and all would have been fine....but I was laying on my stomach and those beer bubbles were trapped between my stomach and my throat.  I tried to maneuver in a way that would allow them to escape, but nopesville.  They just kept accumulating in a most unpleasant location, soon to be joined by some chips and salsa (thank you, hiatal hyneria).  It was both horrifying and hilarious at the same time.

I thought the legwork would never end.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, she whispered “turn over on your back, please”.  As soon as I moved, the loudest, most manly, horrific belch came roaring out.  It was so loud I’m sure they heard it across the street.  Dan said “are you ok ?”  I was so relieved.  I just muttered “yes, I’m fine”.

The moral of this story is NEVER drink a beer before having a massage !








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23 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

As soon as I moved, the loudest, most manly, horrific belch came roaring out.  It was so loud I’m sure they heard it across the street.  Dan said “are you ok ?”  I was so relieved.  I just muttered “yes, I’m fine”.

The moral of this story is NEVER drink a beer before having a massage !








At least it didn’t come out the other end.........not that I know from personal experience or anything.......cough.........😳

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Final thoughts on Brilliance

Our suite (1052) was very nice  The fixtures in the bathroom seem a bit dated (lots of gold) but it was clean and everything worked !  Of course we are directly beneath the pool deck so there’s a bit of bumping and chair-moving overhead, but they aren’t super loud and it wasn’t objectionable.  The room is close to the elevators without being noisy.

The Suites lounge (Iliana) was very helpful.  We did not go into any of the lounges during Happy Hour so I have no idea how crowded or uncrowned either of them got.  IMO, the Diamond Lounge has a better view than the Suites Lounge.

We never set foot in the MDR so I have no idea how good or bad it was.  We went into the WJ once for lunch on day 2 and it was standard.

Voom service was sluggish occasionally but once I learned how to successfully switch from one device to another, I had no problems with Voom. To my knowledge the signal never dropped entirely. I will say, however, that there seemed to be a lot of people out in the “common areas” with laptops so I feel that there may be some dead spots.  No direct knowledge of that.  Just an impression. 

I did not go to any shows.  Dan went to 1 magic show which he said was ok. Sadly, we never made it to a showing at the Cinema.  I hope others did.

The kids’ water splash area is a small and uninspiring place at the aft of the ship, completely separated from the main pool area.  While I’m sure the kids couldn’t have cared less (they seemed to be having a ball), I felt bad for the parents b/c they were totally isolated from the rest of the adult areas.  We did go to the Solarium one afternoon.  It’s lovely there but there is only one TINY hot tub. Even Grandeur has 2 !  It was day 4 before I realized there was a Park Cafe back there.  The roast beast looked good we but didn’t try it. The main pool area seemed very busy. 

The casino is smallish and was hoppin’ the entire time it was open.  That probably has a great deal to do with the fact that this sailing was on the “complimentary” list for a long time. It makes sense that there are a lot of gamblers on this cruise. BTW, the same is true for next weeks Oasis cruise, so I expect the casino to be very busy there, as well.

No opinion on bar service as we never ordered a single drink other than our coke or pelligrino with meals.

I’ve already talked about the specialty restaurants. Chops got progressively better all week. I think embarkation lunch is a logistical nightmare for Chops. The suites breakfast at Chops was always good.

We will be walking off with the Suites Concierge tomorrow at 7:15.  We will go directly to the Tampa airport via National Car Rental shuttle where we have a car reserved.  We will be doing  a little house hunting recon during the day, and then on to Miami where we will spend the night at the Miami Biscayne Bay.  Then, boarding Oasis at 10:30 on Sunday.  Looking forward to meeting Joyce, our Genie.

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21 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Then, boarding Oasis at 10:30 on Sunday.  Looking forward to meeting Joyce, our Genie.

Take pictures!  Still no pics of any of the Star Class suites on any social media forum.  And see if Joyce will sneak you into an ATS for a quick pic too. 😉

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