I find it interesting to read other reviews, and often wonder what folks who book passage on a cruise ship that accommodates over 3,00 passengers really expect. Do they do any research...look at diagrams and websites etc?? From some of the negative comments I have read...I doubt it !! Let me start by saying this was my sixth cruise, although my first with Princess...and I will certainly cruise with them again based on my week on the Ruby. I chose the ship, not only to experience the virtues of Princess, but because the Ruby was a new ship, and I was looking forward to the shine and sparkle...I was NOT disappointed. The ship is beautiful, and spotless, and during my week on board I watched with fascination the degree and effort of hard work the crew puts into maintaining that sparkle. I am an early riser, and was up each of the seven mornings by 330am, and spent those quiet hours exploring every inch of public space...and as I said, watching the crew work tirelessly to making sure everything was spotless by the time the bulk of the passengers began to emerge from their slumber.
Embarkation: Effortless and speedy in every way. We (I was traveling with my wife and our single Mom friend and her 2 teenage daughters) arrived at the luggage drop-off area of the terminal at approximately 1:15pm, and were on board, picture taken, and in our cabins with champagne in hand by 1:40pm. All luggage arrived by 4pm.
Cabins: Decent size and accurately represented in the brochures, catalogs and website. And yes, our balconies (Dolphin deck) did extend out further than those above us, but not once during the seven days, and countless hours I spent on the balcony was I ever bothered or annoyed by those above us. I am happy to say that the view out to sea, or port kept my rapt attention, so I never found it necessary to look above me anyway. I do wish that the mini-suite cabins did have a curtain separating the bed area from the sitting area so I could have easily gone onto the balcony or turned on the second TV in the early morning hours without rousing my wife.
Dining: Traveling with teens we opted for Anytime Dining, thinking this would work with our schedules better. We ate each night in the DaVinci dining room, and on only one night did we encounter a wait (12 mins). The other nights we were seated immediately, regardless of the hour...in fact we varied our dinner times from as early as 7pm, to as late as 945pm. The food in the dining room was not exceptional, but was very good. I have learned that cruise ship waiters are nothing if not accommodating, and I often order 2 appetizers, or 2 entrees or 2 desserts...or sometimes 2 of everything. So, I certainly tasted more than my fair share of the food. Good job chefs!! Service was quick and efficient, and sure there appeared to be a very few Assistant waiters/waitresses who were still learning the finer points of dining service, but that is certainly to be expected, and was not ever annoying or bothersome. The staff went out of their way to ensure an enjoyable dinner each and every night. We had briefly considered trying one of the specialty restaurants, but found the food in the dining rooms quite satisfactory and the desire to pay more to eat elsewhere was not necessary.
Activities: For the teens, the activities were well planned, and the personnel were professional and helpful. We three adults are the types who enjoy spending time with each other, so shows etc are not really big on our agendas. We did attend several activities, and the most enjoyable was the Culinary presentation by Princess Cruise Line Master Chef and tour of the galley after. The music acts were enjoyable, as were a couple of the comedians we saw...but as I said, we would rather enjoy the decks, the views, the sea, the fresh air, and each others company etc, more than the planned shows. MUTS was always a welcome diversion as well, and allowed for enjoying the air, sea, view etc at the same time.
Service: Without fail, the service was quite good, from ALL areas of ship personnel. I am always amazed when reviewers say they encounter rude staff etc....as I have never encountered a rude staff member on any cruise and have always found in every aspect of life..that when you treat someone with kindness, respect and friendliness, you more often than not receive the same back in return. This is especially true of those in the service industries, such as the cruise lines are. I did not see or meet one rude staff member...only rude, inconsiderate fellow passengers. On the rare occasion I encountered a staff member who didn't appear to be in the best of moods, a friendly hello and perhaps an inquiry of where they are from; how long they have been cruising etc...brought out their true friendliness and genuine caring service oriented personalities. I spent most of my early life in the Philippines, so I was thrilled to find a great majority of staff on the Ruby were from the Philippines...and always loved surprising them by throwing a few Filipino words their way. Instant smiles all around !! Remember the quantity of work each of the crew members carryout each day, seven days a week, week after week, month after month...treat them accordingly with respect, and be treated with kindness and genuine caring in return.
Fitness Area: The gym was spotless, and being a newer ship, all machines and equipment were completely operational, and in good repair. Warning to anyone over 6 ft, watch out for the low ceiling if you get on the elliptical machines...Ouch !!!
Overall, this was a fantastic ship, with a great crew, and plenty of venues to please everyone of every age. Ruby Princess is a true gem, and a pleasure to cruise on.