This was our first Princess cruise and our 3rd overall. I have to say that it was a great cruise from beginning almost to the end. More on that later. We flew in the day before the cruise and stayed in the Crowne Plaza Hollywood hotel. Nice hotel, but a little far from the port. The taxi cost was $35 from the hotel to Port Everglades. We will stay closer next time.
Embarkation: Arrived at the port at 10:30 and received the first boarding (after elite and priority passengers). Began boarding at 11:30 and we went straight to the Passengers Service Desk and signed up for the Ultimate ship Tour. We were 11th and 12th to sign up so we were hopeful. More on that later. Embarkation was incredibly fast and we were in our room by 11:45 even with a stop at the PSD. Luggage was at our room an hour later and our room steward (Mariana) greeted us with a huge smile and our tickets for our excursions. She was great. Our room was spotless and she always greeted us with a smile and a "can I get you anything?"
Ship: Beautiful. Loved the colors and decorations were very high class. The ship was extremely clean and even though it is new they were constantly polishing her and doing touch up painting.
Stateroom: This was a very nice balcony room on the Lido deck. The balcony was fully covered and the room was close to the elevators. Straight down to deck 7 and you are at the Princess theater. Lido deck is nice since you have easy access to MUTS (great), the pools (nice), and the buffets (very nice).
Entertainment: Princess Theater was way too small. I felt very cramped and you better get there 30 minutes early if you want a decent seat. The shows were very good and the singers were amazing. Phil Tag was the comedian that we went to see and he was hilarious. The entertainment in the Piazza was good also.
Ports: Jamaica, we took the Mystic Mountain Chairlift excursion through princess and it was a very nice way to avoid the local vendors. It was beautiful on the mountain with swimming, zip lining, and the bobsled. We rode the bobsled and it was really fun. The shops had local vendors but they were not pushy at all and it was very safe. Caymans, we took the trip to Hell, Turtle Farm, and Tortuga visit. Tortuga was disappointing as it turned out to be nothing more than a tiny shop that offered rum and rum cake tasting. Incredibly crowded. The prices were good though and we bought some rum cake. Hell was ok. Only stopped for 10-15 minutes and that was all we really needed. The turtles were fun. Plenty of interaction and the tour guide was informative. Cozumel, we went to the Mayan ruins in Tulum. 45 minute ferry ride to Playa del Carmen and then a long bus ride to Tulum. The guide was incredible and Tulum is amazing. Came back to Playa and shopped for 45 minutes or so and back to the Ruby by 5:30. Long day but well worth it. Princess Cays, we just laid under our clamshell and rested. Very nice place.
Ultimate Ship Tour: We were selected and this was well worth the money. We toured on the second sea day. We were told that they had 60 sign up and they only took 12 on each sea day. We felt fortunate. We enjoyed visiting the bridge and meeting the captain. They took pictures and delivered them to our state room. We received a chefs jacket, bath robe, and personalized stationary. All very nice. The head chef was very nice and informative. We met the ships chief engineer. Could have stayed with him for a couple hours. Went back stage and saw how/where the entertainers get ready. I could go on and on. Basically, if you want to see alot of behind the scenes stuff then you should sign up. It is a little pricey, but worth it for a one time thing.
Dining: We had Anytime dining and never had a problem getting a table for just two. We went around 6 every night and went right in. The food was good to very good. We ate in the dining rooms for breakfast and the food was incredible. We ate lunch at the International Cafe on most days. The sandwiches were very good and we could watch the entertainment in the Piazza from there. This quickly became our favorite place. The coffee is great there also. Bought the coffee card and used it everyday. Crown grill was great and we loved the buffets too. Never had a bad meal.
Service: Incredible. Everyone seemed to be happy to help you when you had questions. The drink servers weren't pushy but they were accessible when you wanted something. All of the servers were very nice and attentive.
Disembarkation: Not too good. We arrived in port an hour late due to having problems getting the last lifeboat back onboard at Princess Cays. Left there 3 hours late but only came into port an hour late. Not too bad. The problem was with communication. We were told to be in Club Fusion at 8:10 but since we were an hour late we assumed that we would be told new times to be in our location. No announcements were made so we got there at 8:30. An hour later we were finally told that we could disembark. From that point on it wasn't too bad. Found our luggage quickly and took the princess transfer to the airport for a 1:25 flight.
Summary: Incredible ship and incredible service. I would love to sail on the Ruby again and will definitely sail with Princess again. All in all it was a very nice cruise.