We boarded Ruby Princess on February 10th, which was our first Princess Cruise, after having sailed the Caribbean on Royal, Celebrity and Carnival. This ship and cruise line came highly recommended by fellow Canadian cruisers we know personally. We were impressed by the overall decor, style and cleanliness of the ship, and of our balcony stateroom on Deck 11. The staff pay attention to little details that enhance your experience, that some may take for granted. For example, in the Horizon and Carib buffets, to eliminate the mass confusion cruisers cause by entering and exiting and literally spinning around and around to find food, a staff member is posted at the exit line, politely asking you to go to a specific entry point, and not enter where others are trying to exit with loaded plates. This logically keeps almost everyone in a good queue, making for better traffic flow. And utensils; you don't have to hunt for, or carry them to your table, as the staff prepare tables with fresh napkins and utensils for you. Buffets and main dining rooms were very good experiences, with superior and tasty food quality, and very friendly and helpful wait staff.
Speaking of food, we opted for the special 'Chef's Table' night, at extra cost. It would take a whole page to detail that delight, but we received so many special entrees and selections, we could hardly get up to walk from the table. The personal attention of the Executive Chef and the Maitre'D was incredible, as was the personal tour of the kitchen, the included cook book and photos.
Ruby Princess has two large pools, which we never used. However, at the stern, there is a smaller adult pool which was beautiful, overlooking the aft wake, and just above, were a hottub and a small pool, very quiet and an exceptional place to spend a few hours in relative peace. If one likes the party and music atmosphere, then use one of the central pools, but the point here, is that there are many options if you want quiet time in the sun.
The itinerary was very good, with a first stop at Princess Cays, and the usual tender ashore. We were well fed there, and had a spendid day on the beach.
St. Maarten and St. Thomas are always complete hits, as there is so much to see or do. We opted for a combination of beach time, ferry time to tour St. John, shopping, snorkling and enjoying the great weather.
Grand Turk was the final stop and there is a spectactular cruise centre for you, complete with a resort-sized pool, shopping and again, the spectactular beach and turquoise waters were we spent most of our day in and out of the water.
We met with Angela, a delightful Canadian gal who sells future cruises. We enjoyed all of the singers and dancers and Theatre shows. All well done!
We enjoyed the Movies Under The Stars and Under The Sun, in one pool area.
We enjoyed the ice cream, the treats, the lobbies, the elegant Piazza area, the onboard shops - Jane picked up a nice Citizen watch - and then we discovered something really special - 'The VINES' Located just off the Piazza, the Vines serves wines and soft drinks. We had purchased the soft drink package. Vines serves the most delicious appetizers such as sushi, tapas, hummas, meatballs, chicken wings, and so we stopped there every evening before dinner for a relaxing sit and bite and chat with folks. We were served by the most charming Cynthia each evening. And the appetizers were amazing.
There's too much to write about, but overall, Ruby Princess was a smash hit for us and we were very satisfied. How satisfied? We purchased the $100.00 per person deposit off our next cruise with them, and it will provide us with an additional $50.00 per person or $100.00 per couple onboard credit when we cruise with Princess again. So I guess we're going back!
On a sad note, we did have to disembark, but even that experience was a good one; very organized and trouble free.
If you are considering Princess, don't hesitate to book and enjoy.
Cheers and safe sailing!
Steve & Jane