Background Information :
We are partial to Princess...we went on our first cruise in 97 with Princess and had such a great experience that we never wanted to go anywhere else!
Hotel Info (if any) We flew in early on Friday morning (cruise was on Saturday) and stayed at the Rodeway Inn ...cruise/port....Not a bad hotel...the room was clean, there was a pretty good restaurant in the hotel....internet access, pool...I would stay there again. It was a good bargain and we don't need much.
We booked their Port to Airport transfer and that was a BAD IDEA....they contract it out...and although we waited for 25 minutes for the transfer and were the first ones waiting for the transfer (they gave us a description of the van and told us where to wait)....when the van got there....a family of 9...who had just got off the ship went running over and got to the van before us....I said something to the driver and was told we would have to wait for her to take them to the airport and come back....so we flagged a taxi and got there in 10 minutes....I would not recommend using the transfer offered by the Rodeway!!!!!
The Ruby is beautiful. She looks great and as with most Princess Ships, she is elegant and well maintained. There are things I like better about other ships but she is still an amazing ship.
Likes: The Piazza is very nice....Vines is a great addition...MUTS is so much fun...glad they are adding it to other ships...
Dislikes: I still don't like the Club Fusion set up....I preferred the Vista Show Lounge..I think it is a better venue...
I was not a fan of our Cruise Director. He is a good guy, but not nearly as much fun as some of the other CD's we have met. I did speak to him a couple of times....just in passing...and felt like he was a bit fake. I know others have really liked him and again he is probably a good guy...just not my taste.
Along those same lines, we missed some of the activities that we really like....that they didn't not offer...one example....The music trivia games...
The comedians were wonderful....we really enjoyed every show we went to.
Tony Tillman : Do not miss this show!....he was FANTASTIC!!!!
We had fun at Bingo...especially when Mike was calling...if you see him....tell him that it Heinz 57....not Campbell's 57....he was very, very funny!
We did like that they did the champagne waterfall early in the evening as opposed to midnight...lots more people got to see it!
I think Princess is very good at it's service. Our room stewart was not as warm and fuzzy and friendly as we have had in the past, but he did his job and handled anything we asked of him.
At dinner, we were so lucky to find Francois and Danny! Table 212 in the Michelangelo Dining Room....anytime dining! Francois is the BEST! He took such great care of us... And the head Waiter...Augustus...what a great job....he was going non-stop all night making sure people got tables as quickly as possible and really keeping that dining room going strong. I have to say he was the BEST head waiter I have ever seen!!! Port & Shore Excursions
Travel To Port of Embarkation :
The Rodeway provided this service and it went pretty smoothly. I would use this service again.
When we got to the ship at 11:25, we went to the Platinum lounge, waited about 15 minutes and were in our room by 11:50...WOW!!!! Princess does this really well!!!!
Stateroom: Lido deck 305...we love the Lido deck...so much to do right at your doorstep...and we never notice a noise problem. I do bring a small fan that probably helps...but we aren't light sleepers and again, have never had a problem. We love this deck and our room was great!
I already mentioned this when talking about service....Francois is the best and Augustus in a great head waiter....
Food: We enjoyed every meal. We enjoyed some of the new additions: Homestyle...like the chili....really good! The lobster meal is always good. I didn't see some of our old favs but really didn't care as there was always something that we liked.
We didn't eat in the buffet very often but when we did, it was okay. Just what you would expect from a buffet type situation. We did eat breakfast here almost everyday..only one lunch...no dinners.
The Crown Grill ...we thought was well worth the money. The filet I had was absolutely perfect...and the service was also very good!
Entertainment: I already mentioned this....just to add on...MUTS was fun...we enjoyed Momma Mia and Maid of Honor...watched all the way through...as well as catching parts of other movies....Tony Tillman....best entertainment on the ship....and all the comedian's were very, very funny.
Disembarkation : We had a 10am flight...we told them at the Purser's desk and were given the first color off the boat after the walk offs....had we not waited for the Rodeway shuttle that we booked, we would have been at the airport by 8:20...The only complaint I had was that there was line to get downstairs to the luggage. The line was for the walkoffs that need to use the elevator instead of the escalator....there was a crew member there ...organizing...and when I asked about those who did not need the elevator walking around the line, she said no and told me that our luggage was not even there yet...which we all know is a lie. Several people created a second line for those going to the escalator...and this worked well...when I walked by her, she said...see that wasn't so bad....! I have seen this lady before and she is the worst Princess employee I have ever met...she is always at the Port in Fort Lauderdale for disembarkation and embarkation.....
Summary: We will be heading out on our first non-Princess Cruise this summer...only because our friends want us to come to them ...in LA... this time and this was what was available in our time and location situation. I hope we will not be disappointed. We really do love Princess and have NEVER had a bad cruise with them....that is not to say that there haven't been things we didn't like, but if it could be changed, they did their best to fix it....For the money, Princess does a wonderful job. We have booked our next Princess Cruise and will continue to use Princess whenever we can...I just wish they would expand their offerings in the spring and summer....
Our cruise was great from start to finish...beautiful weather, beautiful ship, fantastic service....I would say it exceeded our expectations....but since we love Princess and expect it to be great...it was...and always is....!!!!!!!!!!!!