This was our 6th cruise, 5th with princess, 1 with Celebrity. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale a day early and stayed at the Hampton Inn North Cruise Port Airport Hotel. Very nice hotel with free shuttle service from airport,to and from restaurants and to the cruise terminal. We have stayed here on three previous cruises. Embarkation was quick. We arrived at the cruise port at 11:30 and were on board by 12:30.The ship is absolutely beautiful and well maintained as one would expect being that the Ruby is the newest of the Princess fleet. Our Balcony stateroom was on caribe deck 10. The balconies on deck 10 are slightly larger than the others with half being covered and half exposed to the balconies above. The Ruby is identical to the Emerald which we sailed on this time last year.
The food on this cruise was excellant. We dined in the Michangelo dining room each night after making a standing reservation with the maitre'd for a table for two each night at 6PM. We like having the same waiter and Jr. waiter each night as it give us an opportunity to get to know them. Our waiter and Jr waiter were from thailand and were outstanding (Pashinai and Thungpool). The tables are close enough that you can carry on conversations with the guests sitting next to you if you choose to. We met several people who also sat next to us each night. We ate breakfast and lunch in the horizon court or cafe caribe and found the variety and quality of food there to be excellant as well. Complimentary lemonade is available during lunch in the horizon court if you ask your waiter for it. Cafe Caribe had a different theme each day for variety.
First stop was Princess Cays, We decided to stay on the ship as the day was overcast and we have been there on 4 previous occasions. Next was a relaxing day at sea soaking up bright sunshine. Second stop was St. Thomas, We booked a day sail on High Pockets and had a great day sailing around St. John with two other couples. Stopped at two snorkeling spots, had a nice light lunch onboard and unlimited High Pockets special rum punch as well as other beverages. We highly recommend High pockets for a daysail. Next stop was St. Kitts. We took a 20 minute taxi to Cockleshell beach and soaked up the sun for most of the day. Very nice beach with facilities. Chair and umbrella rentals for $5 each. Next up was Barbados, We had a catamaran excursion planned with Calabaza. Unfortunately it was raining pretty hard and the captain of the vessel gave us the option of not going out. We chose to stay on the island. Although the rain dampened our plans the island is in desperate need of rain so it was a good thing for the locals. We will try again with Calabaza on our next trip to Barbados. On the Island of St. Lucia we took a taxi to Reduit Beach and again soaked up some beautiful caribbean sun for the day. The taxi ride was $25 each way for the two of us. Beach chairs and umbrellas $5 each and facilities on the beach. The last stop was Antigua. We took a scenic cab ride to Valley Church Beach. This beach was beautiful. There is a small beach bar called the nest there. Chairs and umbrellas again for $5 each.
The last two sea days were relaxing on board. We did not find it difficult to find loungers on deck 16. If you wanted a lounger on deck 15 next to the pool you had to get out bright and early by (7-8AM) or you were out of luck. We hit the gym regularly at 7 am and had no trouble getting a treadmill for a 45 minute run. We found the entertainment on board to be very good. We took in just about every thing including the three production shows,comedians, illusionist, hypnotist as well as both resident bands for dancing each evening. The band Nexus was especially enjoyable to dance to in the Wheelhouse bar each evening. One word of advise. If planning to see a production show in the princess theatre get there 20 - 30 minutes early or you may not get a seat. Most shows we offered two or three different times to accommodate everyone.
All in all this was a very relaxing and enjoyable 10 day cruise. We look forward to our next princess cruise.