Previously we had great cruises on Island Princess (Alaska) and Coral Princess (Panama Canal). We enjoyed them so much we came back for more with a trip to the eastern Caribean.
Check-in and boarding proved smooth despite a lengthy but brisk moving line outside the terminal. Once on board we realised how much bigger the Ruby was than our two previous ships. The relatively simple layout of the sister ships Coral and Island was not repeated on the Ruby. The ship's layout seems less than intuative and at times rather confusing. Having to walk through the Horizon Court to get to and from the pool deck seemed a little less than hygienic at times.
We found the service to be frankly somewhat unattentive both in the Horizon Court and especially drinks service around the pools. It was excellent in the Crown Grill and the main dining rooms (Da Vinci). The food was pretty decent in the Horizon Court, good in the dining room and EXCELLENT in the Crown Grill.
We can't quite put our finger on what was missing this cruise from our two previous and very recent and enjoyable cruises. Somehow there seems a lack of atmosphere on the ship and indeed any real enthusiam from the staff. We just didn't feel part of the experience.
In particular the entertainment seems to let the whole thing down. We especially missed the choice, variety and quality of the shows on the two previous cruises. The Princess theatre is great but the shows we saw , magician, comedian,production show whilst very professional completely lacked any "soul".
We very much missed the Universal Lounge shows that we experienced on previous cruises. Switching between Princess theatre and Universal Lounge gave a series of almost continuous entertainment.
On Ruby the "Fusion Lounge" seemed very much under utilised.
Musical entertainment was somewhat lacking, The Speakers band where the best of a disappointing bunch. The steel drummer we thought was awful,and the carribean band dreadful. Even the Princess Orchestra seemed mired in an unadventurous set of lack lustre jazz tunes. Pianist David Moore was pretty good but his laconic style very much seemed to reflect the overall feel of the cruise - a little cynical all in all.
Trips included kyaking - pretty good, snorkelling at StJuan - decent, snorkelling and rays in Gran Turk - very good, but we felt there was no need to handle the rays in the way the excursion staff did.Lifting the poor things out of the water and rubbing them on people.
We enjoyed our 7 days, but somehow the magic was missing so much so that it may be a while before we consider another Princess cruise.