My husband and I took our first cruise on the Ruby in October 2009. 2009 was the year of our Ruby anniversary and the Ruby cruise seemed an appropriate way of celebrating our 40 years of marriage, blissful and otherwise. We were completely new to cruising but had been given lots of helpful information and advice from many friends who had cruised before us. We booked the cruise some 18 months prior to embarkation as we wanted to savour the anticipation, the advance shopping and the dieting before the expected enjoyment of the actual cruise. In fact, we savoured all these things a little too much and in the end we had to agree not to mention the cruise again as we were driving ourselves mad in anticipation. Needless to say this embargo did not last long but we did manage to curtail our worst excesses!
Came the longed-for day at last and you can imagine we were almost apoplectic with excitement and anticipation. To be honest we were also a little doubtful at this point as we had hyped ourselves up so much. However, we were so well looked after from the minute we were picked up at home that any doubts soon evaporated. We shared our cab with a delightful couple from nearby Bexleyheath who had cruised many times before and were able to fill us in with what to expect in the next 17 days. Things went so smoothly, in no time we were in Southampton, checking in and boarding the ship. What a change to the usual scene at the airport, delays, chaos. This is definitely the way to travel.
The actual cruise was a dream with all that had been promised in the brochure actually occurring. We did enjoy the on-board activities, entertainment, meals (superb), trips (we went on all of them)and our interactions with the other passengers. However, strangely, or maybe not so, our abiding memory that we have brought back with us has been that of the wonderful Filipino staff or crew I should say. They were so kind, helpful, friendly and I cannot praise them enough. They seemed to be young, happy people who put everything into the job and worked hard to make sure we enjoyed our cruise. They always went the extra mile to give excellent service to us passengers. We were particularly privileged to attend the ceremony marking the demise of Saga Rose, the highlight of which was singing by the Filipino choir. The choir then had to leave the ceremony early in order to prepare for our next meal!
I would also single out the Captain, whose voice became very familiar throughout the trip. He was always concerned that passengers should take care and not injure themselves. He also conducted two most moving services while we were on board.
So summing up, we did enjoy our cruise. All Saga staff seemed to go all out to ensure we had a great holiday and we have some wonderful memories to look back on.