This was my first cruise - Ruby Princess. My father treated us to a cruise for his wedding. This was definitely the way to be initiated into cruising.
Transfers. As there were 8 of us converging all from around the world all at different times. The reliability, friendliness and amount of organization was great at the airport. The only thing that could have been improved, as a first time cruiser, was maybe a quick briefing of what to expect once we arrived at the port.
Embarkation. As they had decided to board by different groups, there was about a 45 minute delay in getting the journey started. I feel that more security staff to increase the rate of passengers boarding would benefit everyone! Although a little lengthy, was a good experience as all the staff were incredibly friendly and willing to assist with any questions or concerns.
The Room. The room was great. My brother and I were lodging together in a balcony room closer to the aft of the ship. The room included a safe (punch code), a mini-fridge (very useful), small desk, a chair, nice balcony, and a full washroom. Amenities were included and were refreshed daily - all great (for hotel soaps and shampoos). The room was always clean and comfortable. An incredible experience.
The ship itself was huge. I'm happy that the trip took 12 days as it took the first 4 just to become familiar with it. The entire ship was a palace on the water. The restaurants were the most luxurious however it was a little too much (I can take care of my own napkin on my lap, thanks!).
The schedule / ports of call were amazing, although I do have to say that as the population on the cruise was more for the 50+ generation, there were very few people on board close to our ages and few activities geared to the younger generation.
The staff was phenomenal. Every aspect was incredible. Rod Goodman (the cruise director who is now on the Royal Princess), was amazing as were all of his staff. Friendly, knowledgeable, and fun.
The food. The food and culinary staff were exceptional. Throughout the trip, the standards never changed. Although it was a 12 day trip, and some of the fruit and produce was starting to show signs of mold, the taste and presentation was amazing. At the restaurants, the service and food was beyond compare. The steakhouse on the ship was also incredible. With many different special requests from our group, it was so well done.