We were expecting more "Love" from the brand new Ruby "Love Boat" that Princess was famous for. First of all, we booked a mini suite category. We felt that this line, in comparison to other cruises, seemed to charge for all the amenities we typically receive for free on other ships. We had to pay for ice cream at the pool, appetizers before dinner in the lobby, pizza delivery from room service and $12 for a cheese board/fruit platter from room service! The excursions were overpriced compared to other cruise lines.
"Anytime dining" is not a good idea if you want to eat anytime other than 6pm or 8pm. When we would show up at 7pm, we received a pager and then had to wait for a table for 15-40 minutes. You can call ahead in the morning to make a reservation, but we found out they only take about 20% of the restaurant as a reservation and only before 4pm. If you make a reservation, you get a table right away. You will have a different waiter staff each night, which made it difficult to receive any special attention or friendly "get to know" atmosphere we enjoy on other ships. Next time we would do the late seating.
I highly recommend the specialty Italian restaurant. It is worth the $20 supplement. The food in the dining room for dinner was just OK. Not as good as Royal or Holland. Menu is a little boring and tasteless.
Our room was beautiful, although smaller than the mini suite on Royal Caribbean. Room service menu was not very good and we felt that suite passengers should be offered a different menu to choose from, other than free sandwiches. The room attendant was friendly and probably the best cruise staff we met on board as far as attention and helpfulness. Our room was decorated nicely outside for our anniversary and my birthday. We also enjoyed receiving special cards to give to the head waiter at the restaurant to notify that it was a special occasion. They brought us a special dessert each time we notified.
Tendering on two ports (Princess Cay and Grand Cayman) was not a great experience at all. We had long lines to wait in on the return to ship from port and watched as other cruise lines were handing out water and snacks to their passengers. Also, we felt that we had to get on the ship much earlier in each port than necessary. We would have enjoyed staying longer in each port, rather than on board by 4pm.
The activities on board were not much to be desired. We were comparing to all the fun activities on the Royal Caribbean, with rock climbing and ice skating. The Ruby should have more focus on the education programs and add another cooking demonstration, which was the best demo I have seen on any ship. I highly recommend it and the cookbook for purchase is reasonable $28 and you can have it personally signed by the Exec. Chef.
The shows at night were fair. The second evening show, Broadway Review, was the best. All the others we were not that impressed. They had a guest singer from Vegas that was excellent, but he is not normally on the ship. Compared to Royal, it was a 4 and Royal entertainment an 8 out of 10.
So, in conclusion, bring back the LOVE. Please stop charging for ice cream! Where was someone like Issac at the pool? The pool drink attendants need to smile and enjoy their job. What is better than serving drinks under the sun! Make it a more personal experience for the guests, especially if you are paying suite pricing. Ruby needs to hire a different Cruise Director. By the end of the trip, we had to turn her off our TV screen.
Best things on board: Movies Under the Stars (need less sports and more movies) Cooking Demonstration and Ship Kitchen Tour Decoration of the ship, live musicians playing in the lobby upon check in. Ports of call were excellent, but you'll need to book excursions.
Least favorite things: Lots of little charges everywhere. Cost of fruit drinks without alcohol. Entertainment and getting turned away because all the seats were filled! Bingo prices. Art Auction not as great as Royal Caribbean.