Having never cruised on Princess before, we opted for this quick getaway before the holidays, Dec 9-16. Normally we choose our cruises based on itinerary and price; we've been on quite a few different cruise lines and prefer a busy, port driven itinerary. Our last few cruises have been in Europe. So this was a bit more unusual for us.
Loved sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. Spent the day before eating Cuban food and enjoying the river walk area of Los Olas.
We took a cab from our hotel (Hyatt Place 17th Street Convention Center- GREAT place to stay precruise...) as it was cheaper than the shuttle. We knew better than to go during prime time check in but just decided to head over anyway around 12:30pm. The lines were so long it looked overwhelming. But, Princess has a well oiled machine and we moved along quickly.
Initially we thought maybe the larger size ship would put us off but we were very pleasantly surprised that even while sailing full, it never felt very crowded. We were always able to find a deck chair, a table to eat at around the buffet and to get a table for two with anytime dining.
Itinerary MEH- just okay. As mentioned previously, we much prefer a busier itinerary. In the Caribbean we enjoy sailing out of San Juan.
Food- decent- good but not exceptional but the presentation in the dining room and speciality restaurant was lovely. Sushi in the Vine was excellent
Service- Friendly and efficient. We finally got into our groove in anytime dining and managed to be seated the last few nights in the Michelangelo dining room with Luis (from Peru) as our waiter. Thoroughly enjoyed him and his assistant.
Entertainment- This is where Princess really stands out compared to previous cruises. The entertainment was exceptional. As others have stated, the comedian, the illusionist, the production shows were fabulous. The various music offered throughout the ship was also excellent. The one thing that we really appreciated was the fact they offered 3 different times for each different show (Explorers Lounge and Theatre) so that we never had to choose between two different shows. We always went to one show before dinner, had dinner around 8, and then went to a different show after.
The other aspect concerning the entertainment that was also appreciated is the fact that they rotated the musical entertainment to different venues/bars/lounges around the ship. So we were happy to catch some acts that we might have missed because we didn't frequent a particular bar.
Plenty of pools to choose from.
Loved Movies Under the Stars! Movie going should always feature roving delivery of fresh popcorn, pizza, ice cream and milk and cookies. However, as stated by previous reviews, this pool was not necessarily quiet during the day as they always had movies or music videos going.
My only complaints may seem minor but having cruised many times before you just can't help but compare. First and foremost, I was APPALLED by the lack of hand sanitizer around the ship. The only place that they had it was at the entrance to the buffet line or by the pizza/ice cream station. We are used to seeing it everywhere and being asked to use it prior to entering the dining room. The main defense offered on board is frequent hand washing and offering receptacles for paper towel by the exit door of the bathroom so that you can use it to open the door. This ship has had previous issues with Norovirus. You can't help but think that even if it may not be entirely successful against Noro- it is effective against other bacteria and viruses.
Also found the music by the main pool to always be way too loud. Whether it was the band or the DJ it was nearly impossible to read or listen to your own Ipod.
Wish they would at least enforce the dress code in the dining room. (Shorts and T-Shirts) But most cruise lines aren't bothering with this either as I'm sure no one wants to "offend" paying customers.
The Ruby is a lovely ship; we would love to sail on her again but definitely on a different itinerary.