To start off, my family and I took a 9 year hiatus from Princess. (This cruise was my 14th cruise overall and my 5th princess cruise) Back in 2005 we took two cruises with Princess - a new year's cruise to the Caribbean and a Mexican Riviera cruise in February. We had been disappointed by Princess because of the food and entertainment. Princess seemed to be going through a growing period then and wasn't sure who their target audience was.
Anyways, in that time we took a lot of Holland America cruises (which we all really loved) and I took a Carnival cruise with some friends (I'm 24, btw).
So I had received a good deal for this cruise with the Ruby Princess and my best friend and I went together! I just fell in love with Princess again!
Food: I thought overall the food was great. The appetizers, soups, and entrees were consistently good throughout the cruise and whenever I did not like something (which was rare!), my waiter (who was amazing!) would gladly get me something else very quickly. My only caveat was breakfast. While it was good, I did not think the selection was as wide. My favorite breakfast is on the Holland America ships - their breakfast in the dinning room and buffet is always great. Other than that, I was happy with the food throughout the cruise and probably gained a couple pounds to prove it. We hardly ate in the buffet because we enjoy being served in the dinning room (seriously, go to the dinning room for as many meals as possible, it's a really enjoyable experience). I got the feeling that many people thought going to the dinning room would take too much time, but for breakfast and dinner we were in and out within 45 minutes. Each course was served very quickly and they did not wait for a table to fill before taking orders or serving (which I thought was great!). And GO to the dinning room on embarkation day for lunch! It's much less hectic and more relaxing than combing your way through the buffet on the lido deck. The menu isn't as big but it's delicious! I personally like the pizza on Princess - as an Italian-American from NYC, it reminds me of pizza home in NY and in Southern Italy, but I know people's preferences may vary. Don't knock it, till you try it!
I'm also someone who LOVES afternoon tea and Princess's afternoon tea did not disappoint (except I wish they served cucumber sandwiches - but maybe I missed them, there were so many trays of food floating around).
The International Cafe is great and definite must! We went there for lunch on a port day and it was very nice and relaxing. I liked the quiche a lot and the cookies are good too!
Cabin: Now after traveling on Holland America a lot recently, I got used to bigger cabins, but I thought our cabin on the Ruby Princess was very nice. We had an obstructed view on the Lido deck (L101). I had heard from others that the sound from the gym above us would be unbearable, but I did not hear a single thing! I'm not sure if this was because I slept so well on the cruise or maybe no one was working out in the gym in the mornings! Who knows?! The cabin was always clean and our cabin steward was wonderful. Whenever he saw us in the halls, he always said hello to us by name and asked us how our day was going. So thoughtful!
Activities: There were so many activities throughout the day that I wasn't able to go to all of them. And mostly this vacation was for recharging my batteries, so I spent a good amount of time reading (or napping) by the pool. I am a bit of a Bingo queen, so I was always there for a game. Didn't win anything, but I still love it! Especially the corny jokes. Just a little shout-out to all you guys who haven't played Bingo on a cruise, the corny jokes are part of the experience! Laugh at how bad they are and learn the interactive ones (egs. Bingo Caller: The number is I-16. I-16 and never been kissed!! Bingo Players: RUBBISH!!!). There were also some fun games to take part in and I really enjoyed the deck parties.
Entertainment: I was just blown away by the live music on board. So many talented people! Seriously, stop by the different lounges on your first night just to get a feel for all of them and then decide which ones you want to stick with. They are all really great!
I did think the stage shows performed by the singers and dancers were OK, nothing fabulous. I've seen some really great shows that I loved and aboard the Holland American cruises, I was a finalist in the Dancing With the Stars competition, so I got to know the cast a bit more, so maybe I'm biased. :) I just thought Princess's shows were a bit disjointed and the music selection was odd in places (If you go see Once Upon a Dream, you'll know what I'm talking about). And as someone who grew up in NYC and goes to the theater a lot, I'm just a little more critical. But my best friend enjoyed them a lot and so did other passengers!
I really enjoyed our comedian on board, Carlos Oscar. He was very funny without being crude, which I really like. I don't think you need to be crude to be funny and it was nice to see a family show (don't get me wrong, I enjoy adult comedy shows too, but I feel like we have been inundated with them and this was a nice breath of fresh air). But I know people's comedy preferences may differ.
Landon Swank (illusionist) was also on board and I enjoyed his show. I hadn't realized he had such a following, so it was a bit hard to find seats!
And go to the Cooking Demonstration on the last day. It's hilarious and then you get a tour of one of the kitchens on board.
Lounges: The lounges were all in great condition on the ship and I enjoyed several great cocktails on board (most between $5.50 and $7.75 - which I thought were reasonable). Some of my favorites were the Explorer's Lounge and Crooners. Crooners got a lot of action and had a nice piano singer with some great waitresses (who had fun and entertaining ways of pouring your martini!).
Theater: I prefer ships that have theaters that are more like lounges (you know, couches and tables for drinks) that the straight up stadium seating. The seats were comfortable, but it was a bit hard to get a drink for a show with the set-up. I think on their newer ships, they are changing this. Still had a great time seeing the shows!
Public spaces on board: The atrium is beautiful and a nice place to relax inside. I'm someone partial to sitting on the promenade deck and enjoyed that (do wish they were chaise lounge chairs rather than just seats, but most folks just pulled up another chair to set their feet on :)).
Pools: I liked all the pools. When I wanted something a little more quiet, I would head to the Terrace pool or the Lotus Spa pool. Or if I wanted something a little more lively or snagged a good shady spot, I would hang out by the Neptune or Calypso pool. None of them seemed overly crowded and I was always able to get a chair, even later in the day on a Sea day! Which can sometimes be impossible on other lines (ran into this problem a lot on Carnival, for instance).
MUTS: Loved, loved, loved MUTS. Went to see Frozen (played during the day) and Secret Life of Walter Mitty (last night) and really enjoyed it. They also played Gravity and Captain Phillips (opted not to see that - felt a little odd with being on a ship...).
Ports: So we didn't pick this cruise for the ports. We picked it because of price and timing. Our ports were Cozumel and Grand Cayman. Only made it to Cozumel because there was bad weather that closed down the port of Grand Cayman. We weren't disappointed because we had visited these ports on prior cruises. In Cozumel we walked off for a bit in the afternoon but spent the morning by the pool with NO ONE else around. It was wonderful. Felt like I had the whole ship to ourselves.
Overall I loved this cruise and I am looking forward to cruising with Princess again in the future. On my next cruise I'll be Platinum! So I can't wait to experience that. I would recommend the Ruby Princess in a heartbeat!