It was great to be back aboard Ruby, having cruised over Christmas, however I will start at the beginning. Booked an obstructed view cabin on Emerald this time and sure do miss that Mini-Suite (I LIKE the open balcony) I had at Christmas, but any cabin is better than staying home! Cruised with a friend this time instead of DM, and at the last minute 2 more friends grabbed a cabin 2 doors down. I awoke at 4:30 am with excitement! We are a 2 hour drive from Port Everglades and we left home about 9:30 and parked at the port. We breezed through check-in and even with stops at the wine table, we were in our cabins at 12:30 and un-packed. Our view was barely obstructed. (E-612). (No, we were not funneled through the casino). I understand from the boards that there was a Coast Guard drill and a jam just before our arrival, but we timed it perfectly.
My ONLY complaint is that for 4 out of 5 times, the bed was made as a Queen, when I had requested twins. Come ON Princess!!! You configure the beds correctly only 20% of the time? We left a note for our steward "Won" and I explained to my friend that it might not get changed until turn down. I have never had a problem with any mattresses on Princess and laughed when I passed someone in the hall telling his wife he was going to request an egg crate. To each his own!
Since I was the only one who knows Ruby, we voted to grab a quick lunch at Café Caribe sitting outside and then I gave a tour of the ship. When we got to Crooners, Franky was not there and I found out he is now working in Sky Walkers. I had brought gifts……Girl Scout cookies called "Thank You Berry Munch" and magazines including SI's 50th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition. I thought that would be good barter material! We returned to our cabin to ready for muster and the bed was already changed and we met Won who turned out to be one of my favorite Stewards yet! (Just after Michael from December).
We decided ahead of time that we would do Anytime Dining and after our tour and sail away done from the aft deck, we changed and were seated straight away, sharing a table with 2 other couples...no waiting. We each had different meals and everyone at our table was very happy with the food. For activities that evening, some wanted to see movies (Gravity, in the theatre that all agreed was an awful movie), Last Vegas at MUTS and I went to Sky Walkers where Franky was surprised to see me and welcomed me back to Ruby. As we had an early morning, I called it a night.
Sea Day: We all agreed that the adult only aft Terrace pool was preferable over the adult only Spa pool and we grabbed chairs first thing the next morning. I don't like the fact that the Spa pool sits down in a hole whereas the aft pool has the best views on the ship! Some people do not realize that you do NOT have to walk through the buffet area to get there. I take the elevator to Riviera deck and walk aft and there is a small staircase. Easy Peasy!
3 of the 4 of us wanted to attend the meet & mingle so we abided by the 30 minute rule and popped up to Sky Walkers. Captain Fabrizio Maresca was in attendance and it was nice to meet some of the other CC members! I confirmed with the Captain that there would be no champagne fountain, just a balloon drop. :( Also that Commodore Romano aka The Sea Wolf, would be returning the first week of March. I may have to book another cruise in April before Ruby heads across the pond. I was disappointed that there was no champagne fountain. I think it adds a bit of elegance and class, especially over balloons!
Two of us went back to Sky Walkers later for the steel drum lesson, however it was full. We received tickets for the next sea day and I'll tell you now that Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star isn't as easy as it looks!!!! Very fun event, but do get there early! The instructor told us the idea on the longer cruises is to get the same group to have 2-3 lessons and then PLAY in the Piazza one evening. For once I was happy I was on a short cruise! After a day of too much sun by the pool, we again dressed to impress and had a seat at Vinz for the balloon drop. Not nearly as impressive as the fountain, but still fun. We then walked straight in to dinner....no pager...no waiting, to share a table with 6 + the 4 of us. The only trouble with the tables this size is it is a long dinner but we had no pressing agenda.
Shore Day: I had reserved with Moby Dick a tour for snorkeling and to swim with the stingrays. We grabbed something at the IC and then we were the first tender off the ship. We walked into Michaelangelo and were given number 2 tickets and a whole group (1) had just gone through the door and we were held. Then with just us sitting there and no one else coming in, they told us we could go and we ended up on a tender that wasn’t even half full. We were the first 4 people onshore and still had 1 ½ hrs. before meeting the Moby Dick rep. We shopped in the little kiosks and strolled around the waterfront a bit and decided we would come back to Margaritaville because it WAS National Margarita Day! As we waited we watch a RCL ship come in that was chartered by an Ohio alumni group, who we would see more of (too much) later in M-ville!
I will write a separate review of Moby Dick but I can tell you they get FIVE STARS!!! This excursion turned out to be more than we ever expected, especially since 2 of our party had swum with stingrays before in the Bahamas. They said this was the BEST Stingray experience ever. The 3 guides from Moby Dick have VERY personal relationships with certain stingrays they’ve been associating with for 20 years. All I can say is “how many stingrays have you ever kissed that kiss you back?” Definitely worth $45 and no deposit necessary, just reserve spots ahead of time via their web-site.
There were only 18 in our group and 4 of those were from hotels we picked up along the way to the boat. Afterwards Moby Dick dropped us wherever we wanted along the way. Some got off at seven mile beach, some at another restaurant, etc. We went all the way back and went to Margaritaville. As we sat there waiting the restaurant began to fill up with those Ohio alumni and let’s just say I am glad there were no small kids in the restaurant as some of the revelers decided to remove their tops in order to win a drinking game. Go Ohio!
We were back onboard about an hour before the last tender. Since we wanted to watch Captain Phillips at MUTS which was a 6:00 movie, we planned to eat at Café Caribe afterwards. Not being a “foodie”, I am always happy with what I eat onboard and I don’t ever overeat. Ok, maybe I have TWO desserts! We spent some time at Crooners later and I really wish Ruby would get a GOOD piano man. They had a different one at Christmas and I was not impressed with either, and Crooners is usually one of my favorite hang places. We ended up in the front row of the theatre for the comedy show which was very good! (Rollin Jay Moore). Then back to our comfortable beds.
Last Sea Day: Onboard Outlet Sale which I find as a hit or miss. In December, I found some things, this time no. I sent 2 of our party to the culinary demonstration and galley tour which I had done before and they enjoyed it. Then 2 of us went to the Pub Lunch in the Wheelhouse for fish n chips, always a not miss for me. In the afternoon, we finally got to do our steel drum lesson which is very chaotic with 15 newbies all trying to play at the same time but a lot of fun!
We had reserved the Stammtisch Old World wine tasting at Vines 2 days prior at 4:30. ($15pp). THAT was well worth it and “Allen” was superb. This is an extra I would pay for and do every cruise! The venue, the table, the information was all fabulous. They had also promoted a couple of wine tastings in the dining rooms. The first night it was $35 for the next day. The 2nd night it was $9.00 for the next day??? I’m not sure if they were trying to get rid of wine they no longer wanted to carry or what. But you can’t beat the Vines location for a wine tasting and I am very happy we had reserved that one and not be stuck back in the dining room.
Later we decided to eat (again!) at the buffett. I wanted to say good-bye to Frankie and also our cabin steward Michael from our December cruise and the others ended up seeing just a bit of the yes/no game (Explorers Lounge). I was tired and the other 3 wanted to see the “adult” version comedy show being held in Club Fusion that from what I understand was completely packed and should have been held in the Princess theatre but wasn’t. I went to bed and watched the Great Gatsby (one of my favorites) on tv. I missed ALL of the Love Boat reruns this cruise, but saw them every day on the December cruise. Guess I was just in my cabin less this time as it was not a Mini Suite! Lol
Disembarkation: We grabbed something agin at the IC and then easily walked off with all of our luggage and from the time we left the cabins until we were in our car was 45 minutes. We planned to walk off AFTER we would miss most of the Ft. Ld. Traffic as we headed North on 95 and our plan worked very well.
Summary: As I have said, I was just on Ruby at Christmas and I swear this crew is the very BEST. One of my friends has cruised recently with RCL and the other 2 had not cruised in over 15 years. Everyone raved about this cruise and there truly was no real disappointment at all. I hope everyone’s cruise goes as swimmingly!!!! Happy to try to answer any specific questions. Bon Voyage!