Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Traveler Review: 5 Night Cruise on Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas and Disney Quest

Amy, her husband, and her two children wanted a fun Spring Break in the sun! Here's her story: 

"Family Spring Break

Trips With Angie helped us plan a Spring Break trip that allowed for time to visit with family who had moved to Orlando. After a brutal Michigan winter, having 3 days in sunny Florida to thaw out before embarking on our first cruise was really nice! We had time to explore Downtown Disney and discovered that the grown men were more into light sabers and legos than the kids. We checked out Disney Quest Indoor Interactive Theme Park. I'm glad both of my children were older (8 and 12) as most of the rides/attractions required more skill than a smaller child could have managed. It was a lot of 3D headsets (can be challenging if you have vision problems or suffer motion sickness!) and activities that required hand/eye coordination and some level of skill (manuevering controls, following instructions). There were a few rides/interactive experiences like Buzz Lightyear's Astro Experience (bumper cars + dodge ball) and the Virtual Jungle Cruise, which tracks where you go virtually and has different routes based on how your group paddles (we were apparently going in circles!) and the virtual CyberSpaceMountain. If you've ever wanted to ride on a roller coaster designed by an 8-year-old, here's your chance! Riders design a coaster then take their "ticket" to a ride operator who loads the design into a simulator that looks like a giant hamster ball and rolls and spins to give you the experience of the roller coaster. My 8-year-old loved this--my 12-year-old did not, and I learned that Mai Thais and child-designed roller coasters do not make a good mix.

Brilliance of the Seas Royal Carribean was our next stop for a 5-night Carribean cruise! Our cabin was decorated courtesy of Trips With Angie for a Royal Bon Voyage send off. We found our way to the WindJammer Cafe while waiting for our cabin and quickly began to explore the ship. There was supposed to be an open house for the Teen and Kids Clubs per the ship's iteniary yet this was not communicated to the Club Staff. Meanwhile, many parents and children were crowding a hallway waiting for the doors to open. Once we got past that hiccup--both kids thoroughly enjoyed their experiences. We hardly saw our 12-year-old as the teen club was open at all times with periodic activities scheduled so kids could come and go as they pleased. Our 8-year-old couldn't wait for her kids club and never wanted to leave. All children under 12 (who attended Club) were given a lanyard to attach their Sea-Pass and reduce chances of losing it. Kids Club would be open in 3-hour blocks and required children to be signed in and out with staff requesting to see ID to verify only select people could check out the child. Older children could sign themselves out if given permission to do so. We did find that this schedule meant a good part of our time was spent around when we could drop her off and when we had to pick her up. We also discovered that the drink packages for the children was an unnecessary expense (we chose the Royal Beverage to include milkshakes) as they spent most of their time in activities and could get drinks in the WindJammer Cafe as part of the cruise cost and the number of "extra" drinks ordered would have been cheaper a la carte compared to a package.

The food was fantastic and we all tried a number of new dishes including watermelon-peach soup! Staff were wonderful--very helpful and friendly. Our waiter literally had several tricks up his sleeve and entertained our youngest with a new magic trick each night. The adult activites included the ship's casino, attending an art auction, trivia and other games and watching our fellow passengers perform Michael Jackson's Thriller with full costume. We floated in the pool (where my husband had to point out that the tile work was not as good as the backsplash he recently installed) and had drinks on the balcony. We were entertained by a belly-flop contest and checked out the comedian. When it was time to go, both children were reluctant to leave, saying goodbye to new friends and their favorite staff. We opted for a taxi back to the airport which was a better deal than shuttle tickets and returned to a slightly warmer Michigan. 

This was our second vacation planned out by Trips With Angie and once again, she was able to help design an experience that was enjoyable for all of us!

One note I had hoped to pass along to RC--children under 12 were issued wristbands that had their muster stations printed on them; the ink on Hailey's had worn away within 2 days and she had to get a second one--which also faded away within a couple days and was no longer readable." 

Email me at to start planning your family vacation. 

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