The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship with understated elegance. It definitely does not have the wow factor as the larger RCI ships. Our overall impression was that this was an older crowd than other cruises I have taken. It worked out fine for us as we are 63 and 52 years young.
Embarkation - We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Ft. Lauderdale and Cruise Port on Friday night and paid $130 on priceline. This worked out nicely for us. We grabbed a taxi from the airport and were able to check in at 3:00 pm. We were within walking distance to a seafood restaurant for dinner. The next morning we took the complimentary 10:00 am shuttle to the cruise port. We arrived at 10:30 am and were in group #1 to board the ship. The called our number at 11:45 and checkin was a breeze and straight on the ship and our room was ready. I started dialing the dine line to try to sign up for the chef's table. At first the calls did not go thru to a live person but after several attempts on the alternative dining option I was able to reach someone and she was able to take my request. I asked what the chances were and she said I was the first to be put on the list. I had a confirmed first seating on my paperwork before boarding but my ship card listed us as having anytime dining which I did not want. I had to see the maitre'd who was available at 3:00 pm. I waited about 45 minutes and was able to get our seating changed back to 1st seating right before the muster drill started. A lady I talked to while waiting said she had gotten through to request the chef's table at 1:00 pm to be told they were not taking any more requests. I later learned there had been over 300 requests.
Day 1 - At sea - We saw the welcome aboard show and enjoyed it and also tried our hand at the slots in the casino - sorry to say did not win much.
day 2 - Ocho Rios - We took the ship's excursion to Dunn's River Falls and the Shaw Garden tour. The tour was fun and well organized. I think Princess does a top notch job in getting people on and off the ship smoothly.
Day 3 - Grand Cayman - The ship excursion today was the two person mini boats to see the stingrays and snorkeling. Enjoyed our guide and holding the stingrays.
Chef's Table - Quite an experience and one I would highly recommend - The food and service was great with everyone going out of their way to make the experience wonderful and definitely worth the $75 per person price.
Day 4 - Cozumel - The weather was cold & drizzling rain but our excursion went as planned. Today was a two person dune buggy into the jungle to see caverns and an underground cave. Wear old clothes as you will get dirty - today it was mud but lots of fun.
Day 5 - At Sea - Thank goodness - We need a day to relax.
We did not try any of the other dining options. We did eat fish and chips in the Wheelhouse Bar for lunch one day and really enjoyed it. Overall I would have to say the food on this was not all that good. If fact overall all it was my least favorite - under Carnival, RCI, and Disney and the buffet in the Horizon Court was nothing to be impressed by either. Don't get me wrong we found things to eat and did not go hungry - just nothing special. The food was also inconsistent - my partner's lobster was great and mine was inedible for instance. Definitely did not ruin our cruise and the wait staff was more than happy to bring more if you requested.
I enjoying trying different cruise lines. This was my first Princess cruise and would definitely use them again but am not a converted Princess only cruiser. I probably will try NCL and Celebrity next just to see what they are like.
Disembarkation - We had a late flight out so we did the Everglades and Airboat ride and Flamingo Garden tour that finished at the airport. Got to the dining room to wait at 8:10 am and were off the boat about 8:30. Again Princess does a great job with this.
Other notes - I enjoyed the MUTS and saw Momma Mia even though it was windy and chilly. If you would like a link to my Shutterfly Pictures and have an questions you can E-mail me a Talulah40@aol.com and just put Ruby Princess in your subject line. Overall a great trip and can't wait for the next one - planning already.