Coming from New England, we flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before we embarked on the Ruby Princess to assure that weather was not an issue. We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel at the Pt. Everglades cruiseport and it is a perfect pre-cruise hotel. We love getting a quick croissant at the French Bakery directly behind the hotel. Almond croissants are the best and the service is wonderful. We find it a great way to start our vacation to walk from the hotel to Ft. Lauderdale Beach (about 2 miles). The walk is pleasant and you can make it to the beach in about 35 minutes. We love the water taxi back to the hotel but the walk back is a great way to burn some extra calories. Walgreen's directly across 17th Street from the hotel is a great place to purchase last minute items. Of all things, I brought 4 pairs of shoes but forgot my flip flops. There are a lot of great restaurants for dinner but we walked to the Outback and then stopped at the strip mall behind Embassy Suites on 17th Street. Total Wine was a great place to purchase little "nips" in plastic bottles. Coconut rum was great in pineapple juice! We took a taxi to the cruiseport and were able to embark quickly and efficiently. Princess handles embarkation better than RCI and Celebrity and we were in our cabins by noon and off to explore. Ruby Princess is a gem. The cabins are spacious and love the neutral colors. The public areas and the atrium are well groomed and well thought out. The epicenter of the ship is the large atrium area which includes numerous shops, a coffee area, a piano player and numerous dance and musical performances, and Crooner's which is the lively martini bar mid-ship.
The food in the buffet areas was generally good but the flow of people was not well strategized in design. We ate dinner in Boticelli during the second seating and found the service impeccable and the people superior. We were at a table for two in a small area where we enjoyed making friends with table mates near us. I found the dinner menus a challenge but my husband thought the food was terrific. I am not a lover of beef, pork, or veal and found myself eating lots of salad and standard "traditional" items. It's actually a good thing since when I returned home, I had dropped a few pounds and called it a "Princess Diet." Elena from Ukraine was extremely attentive and was the best Assistant Waitress we have ever encountered at sea.
The entertainment was enjoyable but geared to an older crowd. We are in our early 50's and enjoyed the production shows and comedy routines. We also love Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) and think that is a major draw of the Princess line.
Being Gold Captain Circle members, we participated in the Captain Circle event which is a great way to meet key ship personnel as well as other passengers.
The Terrace Adult Pool is our favorite place on the large Princess ships. The addition of tables and chairs makes a lot of sense for those of us who prefer to sit at a table rather than on a lounge. Good job Princess!
Princess designs formal nights as truly special events and we look forward to dressing up and taking formal photos at the various picture venues. Nadia is a great photographer and if you see her at a photo station, ask her to take your photo.
Disembarkation was well planned and very well carried out. We were able to make a 11:00 am flight out of Ft. Lauderdale with no problem. I would be hesitant to book a flight that early coming off another cruiseline.