This was my 9th cruise, my husband's 4th and both my kids (ages 17 &14) first cruise. My sister and mother also traveled with us. We drove 13 hours straight through the night from NC to Fort Lauderdale. The port parking was very convenient. Because we got to the port so early, we were able to board the ship around 12 noon. Minimal lines and next to no waiting. As soon as we boarded we were greeted by Princess staff who offered the $250 all you can drink alcohol card. This covered any drink or beer less than $10 each and gave 40% off of wine bottles at dinner. This was a great deal if you planned to drink 7 or more drinks per day. Keep in mind if you choose this, you may not drink as much on port days. It definitely saved us money. We got both kids soda/smoothie cards for $35 each. They each got a water cup souvenir with the card.
The boat was beautiful. It had been 10 years since we had sailed with Princess but I quickly remembered how beautiful and classy the ships were and Ruby Princess was no different. It was amazing how clean the ship was. Every staff member you passed greeted you with a smile/ good morning/ afternoon etc. Our room steward Joequin was very efficient and kind. The cabin was very large to be an ocean view. The shower was small and I could see any larger person having some trouble. There was a huge closet area for luggage and clothing. Beds were a little hard but I still slept well. Our air conditioner on embarkation seemed a little warm and they sent a repairman by the next day and it was fixed. I do recall a foul smell when we initially got onto the boat but this quickly went away. I think it was the sewage that they were pumping off the boat. This sounds gross but the smell was not noticeable once we left the port.
The food was amazing. Presentation was as good as the taste as well. The only complaint was that they did not serve lobster as it was only a 5 night cruise. We did anytime dining but requested and got the same waiter each night. Our waiter Jeffery was phenomenal. As well as our Jr waiter Ketut. They were knowledgeable about the food and very personable. Loved the tiramisu on the 2nd night and the crème brulee (which you could get every night if you wanted to). Also, the prime rib was the best I had ever tasted and you could cut it with your fork. Buffets were good. I did not like the sushi bar which was offered one lunch. I am a huge fan of sushi and I felt that it was mediocre at best. This was my only food complaint though.
I only saw one dance/singers show and it was great. The comedian and the illusionist were amazing as well. My husband enjoyed the casino too much and he played bingo every opportunity. He actually won once $300. I did not go to the art auction but I did go to the cooking demonstration and kitchen tour. This was entertaining but the tour was fair as no one was in the kitchen cooking. The sky lounge night club was somewhat boring but it may be our age (early 40's) or the crowd. The pool on sea days was crowded as expected but we always found a chair. I also had a hot stone massage that I thought was good but over priced. It's hard to pay $225 (including tip) for a massage no matter how good it was. My sister and mom got the same massage the same day but their's was only $175. Not sure why the price difference except my husband booked mine the day before for my 40th birthday present. It was great though.
The teen center was great for the kids. Most nights they were out later than we were. My kids made a lot of friends.
I do think that $25 per photo is too much. They take so many pictures that you want several. We bought 3 pics at $75 dollars and it breaks my heart to think of all the photos that were shredded after the cruise. It would be nice if they were more affordable. I think that they would sell more pics if they had better packages too.
Tendering to the Caymans was easy and no wait. We did not book any tours through the boat. We took a local bus for $2.50 each to 7 mile beach and then did a little shopping. The highlight of the Caymans was that we got to meet Guy Harvey at his shop. Cozumel was much more fun. We took a taxi for $28(6 people) to Ocean Beach resort for parasailing. This place was great because it had the ocean, a pool, bar, grill, beach chairs, umbrellas, and a water trampoline and slide out in the ocean. The staff there were so friendly and they let us use the chairs for free since 4 of our party were parasailing. The food was phenomenal. Then we returned to the port for some souvenir shopping.
Disembarkation was amazingly organized. We requested an early release and were granted 7:45am. We took our own luggage and were off the boat in about 10 minutes. The last cruise I was on was much more caotic with disembarkation.
We were blessed with beautiful weather, no illness and calm seas. What more could you ask for I will definitely cruise with Princess again and again. To me the passengers seem more laid back and mature. I never saw anyone get out of hand and it did not have a party boat atmosphere but everyone had a great time.