To start I want to state we enjoyed this vacation on the Ruby Princess and the points listed below although frustrating at times did not affect our overall enjoyment of this sailing.
Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale was fairly smooth in typical princess fashion. Only issue worth noting is once though security some of the queue line dividers were not clearly lined up so some people were confused as to which row they should be following.
On board the ship was very clean and tastefully decorated for the holidays.
E724 is 1 of 12 aft mini-suites that have a covered deck. The stateroom was clean and well maintained by Ariel who was very pleasant and efficient.
I was a little frustrated by the process required to obtain bottles of water in the stateroom. It took a full day sometimes two days to get new water delivered. Towards the end of the cruise we just picked up bottles from a bar. The impression is that paperwork and processes had to be followed. I think Princess needs to revisit this to make it more customer friendly and easier to make a sale.
We dined in both the Michelangelo and Da Vinci main dining rooms for dinner. As well as the Crown Grill twice and Sabatini's once.
In the main dining room the food ranged from good to very good.
We eat breakfast in the Di Vinci Dining room 3 times. Food was good and the service was very good.
We had Lunch in the Di Vinci Dining room on Embarkation day at the recommendation of my sister. It was a great way to start the cruise. Both the service and the food were very good.
The newly introduced menu items were also good to very good. A pasta fan, I enjoyed the new Seafood Mac and Cheese as well as the Tri-Tip. My son claims the new burgers are the best he has ever had.
Service in the main dining room ranged from very slow and frustrating to very good. The inconstancy in the main dining room service during dinner is our single biggest complaint, and at times we were just out right mad at how long it took between courses to have plates removed. Our impression is that work load of the waiters and junior waiters was the issue and not a lack effort on the part of the waiters.
Food in the Crown Grill was good to exceptional. My favourite was the veal chop and the mussel pot.
The service on our first visit started off very good, but stalled quickly after the first course when the restaurant become busy quite quickly. Additional staff had to be brought in to help with the rush. Following dinner the Waiter apologized for the slow service.
On the second visit the restaurant was quite busy, but the service was very good.
Our visit to Sabatini's was pleasant aside from the noise form the kids club on the deck above during the end of our meal.
Both the food and service were very good.
We were slightly disappointed that the menus in both the Crown Grill and Sabatini's haven't changed in the past year. Nor were there any off the menu specials offered.
Princess Cays appeared to be in very good shape following the end of season Hurricane that took its toll on Eleuthera. Overall we thought the property was cleaner and in better overall condition that it was last December.
We walked around the town of Philipsburg, St. Maarten for a few hours. It's been about 15 years since I had been to St. Maarten so, I was looking forward to the visit. Disappointed! Though the beach was beautiful, the high pressure street vendors reminded my of Barbados. Counterfeit products were prevalent in many small independent stores.
On St. Thomas we took a Princess excursion to the Dolphin Swim Adventure on Tortola. Overall we enjoyed the experience. Warning: the pictures at the end of the swim are expensive.
On Grand Turk we spent a few hours at Margaritaville.. Fun place and enjoyed by all. Sadly some people on the Carnival Glory enjoyed it a little too much and could be found passed out pool side.
Princess is not a luxury line and nor does it pretend to be. The entertainment options on board offer something for everybody including children and at no time did with think we had nothing to do.
Dining room service is the area in my point of view Princess needs to address.
In summary the ship, our stateroom steward, the bartending staff particularly Don and Selwin in the Adagio Bar made this a great vacation.