We sailed on the Caribbean Princess on a similar itinerary last year and loved every minute. This cruise on the Ruby Princess was even better. The ship was very clean in every area and the staff really seemed to enjoy being on this beautiful ship. It's great to sail with people who love their jobs and understand the concept of "service." Since this ship had just repositioned from the Med, there were many cruisers from different countries and it was fun to get to spend time with different nationalities. Pre-embarkation hotel: We stayed at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Courtyard Airport and CruisePort. Hotel provided a free shuttle from the airport as well as a free shuttle to the ship. In addition, the complimentary breakfast was fantastic. Rooms were clean and quiet. Hotel is located by a good seafood restaurant and also the Sport Fishing Hall of Fame.
Embarkation: We found embarkation at Port Everglades to be very well organized and painless. We arrived at the port around 11:45AM and thought we'd be able to get right on the ship. However, because of the Coast Guard inspection (a good thing for a ship that has just come from overseas!)boarding was delayed for about an hour. We sat inside the terminal which was air conditioned and had restrooms. At the "all clear," boarding was effortless. After we checked out our stateroom, which was all the way on the back of the ship, we began the Scavenger Hunt to find all the fun areas of the ship.This was a great thing to do and we actually won a prize in the sailaway drawing! The tour of the Lotus Spa was really the best! They did such a good job of showing us all the amenities that we signed up for quite a few which included massages, exercising in the gym, swimming in the Sanctuary pool, and acupuncture with Dr. Martina. We are in our 60's and have some arthritis issues that we decided to address. We found the acupuncture treatments to be an unexpected benefit of this ship.
Stateroom: Our stateroom was a regular balcony stateroom on the Baja Deck, but at the aft of the ship looking out over the wake of the ship. It was wonderful! The balcony was 1/3 bigger than usual balconies with an overhang for shade. We could not see into a balcony below or above. Because of the breeze, there was never any cigarette smoke smell on the balcony. There were some food smells from the kitchens below but these were not offensive. This area of the ship did not seem any "tippier" than any other area of the ship. The view was always amazing and peaceful. We'll try to do this again.
Sea Days: We had 2 sea days at the start of the cruise and we found lots to do as well as relax during these days.
Dining: We were wait-listed for First Seating Traditional and so we experienced Anytime Dining for the first time. We ate in the DaVinci dining room the first night and joined 4 others at a table. Enjoyed the company, but found this dining room to be a bit noisy for conversation across the table. Our breakfasts were either in our stateroom or in the Horizon Court. Because we're not picky or huge eaters, we always found good things to eat there. Yes, at times it was hard to find a table by ourselves, so we asked other diners if we could join them and met some very nice people this way. The 2nd through the 10th evenings we ate at about 5:30PM in the Michaelangelo dining room. We met another couple that we enjoyed so much that we became traditional diners at a certain table at 5:30 every night. This standing reservation allowed us to get to know our Waiter and other dining staff. We were very well accommodated at a table by a window where it was quiet and delightful. The food choices were enough so that we could always put together a gourmet meal. Our waiter's recommendations were always very good and we came to trust his choices. One night he brought us one of every dessert on the menu for a sampler! Now that was fun!