We had already booked the Ruby Princess for a 7 day cruise Dec. 2014. When I saw this cruise with the 100% credit toward a 7 day or more 2014 cruise we had to jump on it.
I treated my Mom to this cruise as a surprise, especially since I told her only 4 days before we left. We live in Orlando, Fl. and drove down the evening before and arrived in Ft. Lauderdale about 9:15 pm. We stayed at the Rodeway Inn with their stay/park/cruise package. We settled in for the night.
Saturday, 1/9/2014 was embarkation day. I woke up at 6 am and we had breakfast at 7:30 am. I always have a ritual that if I am not in a hotel that has a view of the ship that I drive to it prior to boarding. Definitely gets my adrenaline going even after 75+ cruises. Mom wanted to go and so we did. Even though it was lightly raining the beautiful Ruby Princess was at Terminal 2 closest to the 17th Street bridge. I filled the car up with gas so it would be ready for when we returned home. Went back to the hotel and waited until the shuttle took us to the ship at 11 am.
We had 2 carry-on bags plus Mom was in her folding wheel chair. She is not capable of standing long. We went through Platinum check-in which was a breeze. Asked where the Elite Lounge was and was escorted up the elevator to the private sitting area. We boarded the ship about 12 noon. I dropped our carry-ons in our cabin and we went to the dining room for a nice quiet lunch, skipping the buffet.
We had a last minute upsell offer from our accessible partial ocean view cabin to a Caribe balcony with the huge 9x9 balcony. Since we were getting the fare back as a credit toward our 7 day cruise we jumped on it.
Upon entering the cabin the first thing we noticed was that Mom had the full Elite liquor/drink package. For 4 days this was more then enough. We actually traded in several liquors for soft drinks. We kept the Dos Equis beers, Perrier and bottled waters.
Absolutely beautiful. I can not say one bad thing about the decor or layout. Enjoyed ship immensely. With this cruise being so short I expected there to be curtailed items. I was wrong. My experience was that everything was offered that we encountered on 7 day or longer cruises. The only exception was that we were given a free drink coupon each in lieu of the past passenger party and they did not have the Most Traveled luncheon. However, the Most Traveled couple were given a free dinner house meal one evening.
Many music venues throughout the ship. Lots of trivia. Comedian/Magic/Broadway type shows. Had an individual from Russia who did balancing acts in the Piazza several times during the cruise. Very interesting balancing himself on two to three round rolling round cans with a small plank on top. The champagne waterfall was as nice as ever.
In one word Very Good to excellent! We did Any Time Dining and asked for table for two and only had to wait twice a maximum of 5 minutes. Twice during dining the food was served so hot I had to actually let it cool. What a wonderful experience, hot food served hot and cold food served cold.Great variety of food items to choose from in several venues. The dining rooms off course, but also the buffets. The pizzeria is still the best at sea, in my opinion. The International Cafe had excellent salads, sandwiches and desserts. We did not eat in the for fee restaurants due to Mom not being able to eat but very small amounts.
This was held each night from 5-7 pm in the Skywalkers Disco. On this class of ship this is a wonderful location up on Deck 19. We went 3 of 4 nights. We got a table on the "wing area with views all the way to the bridge. Wonderful viewpoints. Very nice appetizers each night - with Smoked Salmon one night and then Beef Carpaccio, Excellent Guacamole and a cheese spread another night. Every night had another table with cheeses/crackers and olives. Drink of the day was $5. You could also use your free drink coupon her also. We also drank the Elite beers here one night.
We decided to use the self debarkation and walked off the ship at 7:40 am, through Customs and into a cab to hotel by 8:00 am. VERY EFFICIENT. We were in the car and on our way back toward Orlando by 8:30 am.
In summation, this was an excellent getaway and even though it was to short I would do it again. In closing the cruise price minus taxes were credited to my Dec 2014 cruise only 6 days after returning.