We cruised before on the Ruby 2 years ago. This time we were with our "kids" to celebrate my daughter graduation from HS. She is 18 and my son 21. They has a inside room across hall from us. We had a balcony room A618. We stayed 2 night before cruise at the Galveston Hampton Inn. Nice view of Wal-Mart (LOL it is what it is) and the ocean . Nicely decorated room and hotel. Our room, 518 nice but smelled like something died in the wall, phew!
Embarkation was good. Got there about 1100 and were on just after 1200; Waited for about an hour.
Right off the bat we noted the age of the passengers. My kids thought they were the youngest on board. They weren't but pretty close with ourselves running right behind them. It felt like you walked in a "retirement home". I never saw more scooters, walkers, oxygen tanks in one spot in my life. Our neighbor, 60 yrs old himself mentioned to me the over whelming age of the passengers. We estimated 70-80% being over 60 and well over 60. Those under 50-30 10%. We took this cruise as it fit our schedule and price.
Entertainment: Good. The comedians excellent and the shows we thought. MUTS did not show many movies and had large gaps of time just showing scenic nature shots of Alaska. The pool side band played maybe 2-3 times a day for about a half hour. The cruise out party nothing other than drinks.
The Pools: of 4 hot tubs around the two main pools 1-2 were closed much of the cruise. Rarely were they all open. Disappointed and not acceptable to me. The pools were cold most of the time as well. For a ship coming out of Galveston with weather already cool, common gives of something not so frigid.
The Food/Dinning; Poor to OK. Very bland or over salted; The dining room food seems to have deteriorated. They featured nightly "home style cooking". They had meatloaf one night as an item or a turkey dinner. If I wanted that I would have stayed home. For what is supposed to be a higher end cruise line and in comparison to before the food in the dining room and the buffet were OK at best. I'm not that fussy but I expected better.
Ports Visited: Roatan -- excellent. Belize City -- what a dump. Four ships in anchor off with tenders required, which we like actually, but the port is small and crowed. If you're not doing an excursion don't bother. I don't know why Princess even goes there. Phew! Cozumel. Excellent port. Took excursion on speed boat twister to private island called Paradise. Lunch provided, open bar, wild & fast but save ride 2 $84 each. Lot of fun. Galveston, wish we had more time there. However for a cruise location and if your looking for warm weather and only have 7 days to cram that in like us before heading back up north at least 1-2 days are in cooler weather cruise day wise, FYI so you really get about 4-5 days in hot weather. Next cruise for us will be back out of FLL or MIA.
The ship: as cruised Ruby before we knew what we were getting; even so still can't help but feel for a "big" ship how small it is and how little it has to offer in public spaces. Very chopped up. Small dining rooms. Smoking: Despite no smoking in staterooms and balcony we had 1 near us either below or beside who smoked on his balcony. Despite complaints never seemed to go away. The Piazza Atrium, was constantly filled with the smell of smoke coming out of the casino. Wasn't like that on the Ruby. This pretty much ruined the piazza and go to feel for the employees who have breathe that in every day.
So next cruise for us will be in sometime in the future. We are going to try Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or even Carnival. At least Carnival I hear has some sort of ambiance of fun I'm told. It was still a nice cruise just not a "higher end" cruise that it should have been.