We decided on a sunshine cruise from Florida, to get away from the winter weather, not really sure of what to expect. We hoped we had chosen a cruise ship that was not too formal, but were going into the "unknown". We stayed at the Lago Mar Resort, Fort Lauderdale, for one night before joining the cruise. Lovely hotel right on the beach, was nice to be back in Florida. Limo transfer took us to the Pier and embarkation was quick and efficient, albeit basic surroundings. We were in our mini suite stateroom in no time, and the luggage was waiting for us when we returned from our initial orientation of the ship. The stateroom was excellent - enormous amount of storage - more than any hotel room we have visited - lots of hanging space, and spotless bathroom with full bath and shower and lots of toiletries. The balcony was really nice and despite being open at the roof (on Dolphin deck), because we were at the front of the ship quite private.
Took a little while to orientate ourselves as such a big ship and our first cruise, but everywhere was spotless and we soon became accustomed.
The dining rooms (Da Vinci and Michaelangelo we used mainly) were very pleasant and a good variety of dining menus presented and we were always seated at a table for two. The lounges and bars were of a really high standard, as were the informal all day eating options.
Excellent selection at Horizon Court for breakfasts (we seemed to miss the timings in the restaurants most days) - and nice selection for lunches and evening buffets. Although we had read Horizon Court got very busy, we had little difficult getting an individual table most days, and on the couple of occasions we "shared" it was nice to chat with fellow travellers and pick up their tips.
We felt the Ruby Princess had just the right amount of activities. Enjoyed the various dancing lessons, deck movies , tivias and games, shows (as expected on ship were really well performed and colourful) and the ship's comedian - all excellent.
Shore days were very well organised - Princess Cays very relaxing, with excellent barbecue and soft drinks provided by the ship's staff; St Maarten's beach was spoilt by constant harassment from ladies 'hawking' their wares; St Thomas was nice to stroll around the town and market place, very friendly; Grand Turk very pretty with lovely beach area and beach walks, very relaxing. (We did our own thing so can't comment on the set excursions!).
The daily newsletter was exceptionally welcome - everything we needed to know about the ship, the weather, navigation tips, staff and the day's activities and very well presented.
Last comment on the ship - and what really excelled our expectations - was the welcome and attentive service shown by all the staff on board. It was superb. Our stateroom steward made us feel very special, as did the bar stewards, waiters from all the eating outlets, and the entertainers. A young and mixed nationalities crew but they all worked so hard. All made us feel important passengers on their ship and took time to chat and advise.
We were really impressed with the Ruby Princess and would definitely like to take another cruise with this particular cruise line.
Returning to Fort Lauderdale, we had plenty of time for breakfast before disembarkation - very well organised so everyone took their turn leaving the ship. Again it was helpful to have a limo booked to take us back to Miami for a couple of days relaxing before flying home.