We traveled by vehicle to board the ship,arriving in FLL the day before embarkation. We stayed Sat night at the Hyatt Place South in Dania Beach which offered secured parking for the week and shuttle service to and from the port.($8.00 per person each way,or in some cases vouchers were given for free shuttle service). Arriving at the port sometime between 12:30-1:00 p.m., we were able to get through security and processing very quickly. Personnel in the terminal area were very pleasant and accommodating. Once on board,we found our interior cabin which seemed a little on small side for 3 people,but worked out a-ok as the week went on. Beds were just as hard as has been described on the CC boards,but we were prepared with polyester mattress toppers we'd purchased on-line and put into Space Bags and our luggage to bring on board.We were very thankful during the next week we had gone to the expense and added luggage etc to sleep on those toppers! Originally, we'd faxed request to Princess for their foam egg crates which were supposed to have been in cabin upon arrival but never showed up the entire week,but we didn't pursue the issue since we had brought along a much better solution.
Met our cabin steward,Juan, who was not any too friendly upon that first meeting. This was first cruise we were ever on that the steward didn't go out of his way to be friendly and helpful upon that first meeting and going forward!
(not off to good start re service!)
We explored the ship and found it to be beautiful. Our one concern during the whole cruise was the attitude and lack of friendly,good service among many of the crew. It appeared to us that ship was understaffed and crew thus overworked in the dining rooms, buffet areas and cabin steward areas. We witnessed Cafe Caribe manager, Peter, berate and discipline 2 different employees in front of all the pax which displayed very poor management training. In one instance, he grabbed a girl's arm and dragged her a distance !
We had opted for anytime dining and because of the Princess decision to close the Da Vinci D.R. to A.D. early in the evening, the wait at the only other one was at least 45 minutes each night. We only endured this poor service for 2 nights and then opted to eat in the buffet each evening-not really what we had planned on doing on this cruise! We even missed the Champagne waterfall and Captain's welcome due to long wait and very poor service in the Michelangelo D.R. on the first formal night. So, on second formal night we were eating up in Cafe Carib and skipped our formal attire-what a waste of luggage space...
We were not impressed one bit with the cruise director,Lisa Ball! Her assistant should be the C.D. She does not have a C.D. personality and having read negative remarks about her on C.C. boards, we totally agree. We attended some of the production shows and found them better than on some other cruise lines. We enjoyed the comedian very much and were glad we caught his shows.
We dined one evening at Sabatini's and the service was wonderful. We had Daniela and her partner as our servers and they were very friendly and did an excellent job of keeping our plates full at all times. The food was good,but we would not do it again. Cuisine is probably more to our liking in Crown Grille and if we would decide to do another Princess cruise that might be what we'd choose instead.
Disembarkation took the longest time on any cruise we have ever taken. As the morning wore on,they kept getting farther and farther behind the published schedule. We were almost an hour later than published in getting off the ship. There didn't seem to be enough porters to handle the amount of passengers and their luggage needs and the lines to get through the immigration process were way too long causing even more delays in getting to the outside of the terminal building. We heard a lot of passengers saying this whole process would give them reason enough to not consider doing a Princess cruise again. Someone mentioned that they'd been on the Oasis with over 5500 pax and disembarkation had gone so much faster! Princess take heed.....
Now the question to be answered-Will we be willing to try another Princess cruise?(this having been our first time on a Princess ship) To be perfectly honest, the 3 people in our family are not real sure about the answer to that after having some time back at home to think about it.
As stated, we loved the ship and the ports of call,but the one big negative factor for all of us was the lack of a friendly, efficient and smiling crew in many areas of the Ruby.