A recent four-night quickie cruise on the Ruby proved to be relaxing and on par with our other recent Princess experiences. Of course, much has changed since our first Princess cruise in 1992.
The ship was clean and in good repair. Our teak railing was in need of refinishing and the ship had it on their maintenance schedule - based on the several notifications of access that we received aboard. They never did make it, fortunately for us!
Embarkation was quick - preferred helped. We were aboard around noon and went for lunch at the Caribe Cafe. Everything was just fine, the offerings were displayed well and the food was good. Princess pizza remains delicious and the Grill is a dependable option poolside.
We were greeted by our Room Steward with complimentary sparkling wine - which we promptly disposed of in favor of our carry-on of Veuve Clicquot.
Robes arrived on Day 2. What have the bean-counters done with the robes?? They are far too small to fit anyone outside of a small child. The dreaded suits in Miami or LA also discovered that people don't really soap or bathroom amenities, so off with them as well! How much are we saving here folks? The constant penny-pinching - now evident in the cabins, dining rooms, and staffing - has undermined the significant efforts of the hard-working, professional crew and staff. While I'm at it, once towels start showing fraying, they should be replaced.
But I digress. We opted for Anytime Dining and our usual two-top. The first night was chaotic and we experienced the longest wait ever on Princess at 30 minutes. Once in however, we were treated to an excellent table in the Michelangelo, far back left - either 281 or 821 - with the stellar service of Joel from the Philippines and the lovely Julia from the Ukraine, among the very best service we ever had on Princess. I had the Asian duck dish, which was excellent. The wine list is still pretty good also.
Night 2 was at the Crown Grille which showed signs of short staffing. The meal was very good though.
From there, back to Joel and Julia for the remainder of the cruise, at 7:30 on reserve. The DR offerings reflect the cost-cutting caused by the discounting, but we always found something pleasing to order.
Entertainment, for us, was limited to the southern-styled comedian in the theater and the guitarist/vocalist on the piazza. Both were entertaining. The production shows - or what's left of them - were poorly scheduled for our dining preferences.
Princess Cay and Grand Turk were very nice ports during the beautiful weather we had.
We know what to expect on Princess and that keeps us coming back. On a positive note, the Elite level perks are generous and welcome. We appreciate the many nice comments from the staff once they see our card. We do wish that the Marketing department would wake up and differentiate themselves better rather than sinking into a price/expense race to the bottom with the competition. I guess this is what happens when you build too many mega-ships.
We did hear of very positive comments from some folks we met off shore in Grand Turk who had frequented other cruise lines. They liked the more formal look of the ship and thought that Princess offered a more traditional cruise experience. For contrast, there was a rather loud individual braying about the benefits of Disney Cruises one day for anyone and all to hear. Obviously, the poor dear did not get a visit from Mickey onboard the Ruby.