Signed up for the November 25 sailing of the Ruby Princess back in September. Sailed with a party of seven. My wife and I had been on the Ruby a year or so ago.
We have been doing a post Thanksgiving cruise for several years. Prices are good, the ships are generally less crowded and there are very few children. This was the case, as well on this cruise.
Drove from Central Florida, parked in the Park n Fly lot, and I believe we were on board about an hour and a half after parking the car. A little wait at the terminal but not too bad.
First of all, we have been on 15 or so cruises and never had a bad cruise...and this was no exception. Dinners in the main dining room (anytime dining) were as good as we have had on other ships. Never waited for a table, even with 7 of us. A few dinners were slow but we supplemented the down time with extra drinks. Buffet for breakfast and lunch was very good. No lines even when the kitchen folks were serving you in line. Quality was good. Pizza place and Belgian waffle shops were equally good.
As for the ship, it seemed in good shape. While we had a balcony, we really did not need it. On this ship, there were plenty of chairs and places to go on deck to read and watch the world go by. Workout gym and the Promenade Deck provided plenty of places to get away.
Good ports. Princess Cays was in good shape. We grabbed a cab and headed to the beach in other ports. Went to Dawn Beach in St Maarten and found Emerald Beach in St Thomas. Close to the ships but uncrowded.
Entertainment on board was good. My wife said there were not enough places to dance....although I thought the late night deck party was perfect for both entertainment and dancing.
Room steward(Carlos) was outstanding...as they always are. Deck folks and bartenders were also good. Overall good attitudes by every Princess employee.
Our only complaint was dinner at the Crown Grill. We had had great experiences here before, but the celebration night here was not good. The place was almost empty (although we had a hard time getting reservation...this seems strange) yet they were not able to get the food served timely. They brought our a few plates at a time and the side orders came out 30 minutes after the main course. All of the food was cold. I believe they just could not handle a table of seven. After a couple discussions, the staff reluctantly took off 50% of the bill. Not a good experience but decided we were on vacation and did not want to waste my time bickering.
We had an outbreak of the cruise flu, but we were unaffected and had no idea of what the severity was. The staff seemed to do a nice job enforcing the no self serve rule and pushing the hand sanitation. My advice....wash those hands a lot.
Overall, a great cruise.