After being on the sister ship, Emerald Princess, during our Mediterranean voyage, we were excited to board the Ruby Princess for the islands. Everything from check-in to departure went very smoothly. THat is what your vacation should be, a no brainer!
We loved the cruise island of Princess Cay and could have stayed there hours more. THe food they served for lunch on the island was a wonderful barbeque and you can use your cruise card to purchase drinks on the beach area. You will take a tender from the ship and the water was a little rough, but we made it. Weeks before our cruise,on another voyage, they couldn't tender the passengers to shore because of rough waves, so we were lucky.
Once we arrived in St. Maarten, my husband and I wanted to just relax, as we know the island well from our timeshare being there. Once you get off the ship, take a $4.00 water taxi to town. You catch it at the end of the pier. Once you get to town, you could choose to shop til you drop or sit on the beach right there. Rent an umbrella and 2 chairs and then they throw in a bucket of 5 beers. all for $20. WE just watched the activity and relaxed! It was wonderful. Of course, the native people try to sell you everything, but it was entertaining. THe beer on ice was great too.
St. THomas was another jewelry shopping destination. We just hired a shared taxi at the pier, walked around town and then ate lunch at a place on the water right next to the Rolex store. You eat on the second floor and there was a great view, high prices for a sandwich ($9), but worth the view!!
Grand Turk was a super time. Princess Cruises helped to build this new cruise center there and they did a great job! Margaritaville was right there at the dock along with hundreds of beach chairs for free. If you want a covered cabana , you do pay a few dollars. There are so many palm trees for shade, but you have to be some of the first groups off of the ship to get them. Expect to pay a lot for drinks and food if you stay near the dock, but if you walk on down the beach, there are restaurants and beer for a lot cheaper!!! Check it out. Some stores for shopping are part of the cruise center, but the duty free store is the best because there are perfumes, jewelry, all kinds of things! You can also use the pools at Margaritaville if you don't want the beach sand. There is also a bar in the pool. Cool day!
THe ship entertainment was wonderful! THe group Rhapsody in the Wheelhouse Bar was the best for dancing and singing great tunes. THe stage productions were fantastic as always. The comedian Phil Tag in teh Explorers Lounge was so so funny that our sides were splitting and we almost soiled our pants. Don't miss him for sure. THe second comedian was terrible and we wrote to the cruise line in our comment survey about getting rid of him on future cruises. Can't remember his name, but he was bad!! Sitting at an art auction was a new experience and very interesting. THe passenger pop choir was really neat to join and they had some rehearsals and the last day performed for the ship. So fun! If you can sing, don't miss joining them. THey have about three rehearsals during the cruise. Lisa, the cruise director, is involved as well.The slots seemed tight the last few nights, so if you play, start early in the week. During our voyage, 6 weddings were performed by the captain and it was fun seeing some of the cermonies near the rear pool on the Riviera deck. THat is a small quiet pool, so if you want some readng time, that is the place to get to very early in order to get a chair.
Whatever you do, don't leave any valubles out of your safe when you leave the cabin. WE know that when a bowl of fruit was delivered to our stateroom while we were gone, the person took a pair of opera glasses, small binoculars, that we had left on the cocktail table and had forgotten to put back into the safe. Of course, we couldn't prove anything, and it was our fault, but don't be negligent when protecting your things.
This is our third Princess and we really love it. Food again was very good, service was super, and the specialty restaurants are both phenominal and not to be missed. It is well worth the extra charge to eat in either the Crown Grill or the Sabotini Restaurants. THe only thing we missed was at the Gold Member party, they didn't serve as many appetizers as on the Emerald and the drinks were really watered down. Still is was a nice ocassion on one of the formal nights. We chose not to do any extra excusions this trip and to do just what we felt like doing that day- no stress to race anywhere. All of our other cruises were scheduled everyday and not as relaxing. This was a wonderful trip and just what we needed!! You'll have a great trip.