We drove to Ft. Lauderdale from our home in Northeast Florida to begin our cruise on the Ruby Princess.
Embarkation - we arrived at Port Everglades around 11:30 a.m. and we had to sit and wait until boarding commenced around noon. Once our boarding number was called, the process went fairly quickly. Our cabin was immediately available when we boarded.
Princess Cays - we reserved a clam shell for the day. I had read a tip that you need to disembark early to get a clam shell in the first row looking out at the beach so we were one of the first passengers off the ship. The beach is pretty, but the water was cold. Eventually you get used to it. Walking in the water can be hazardous as there are holes, rocks, etc. Watch out for lobsters. There was one swimming around the rocks near where we were swimming. Princess serves a buffet lunch while you are on the island. One thing we noticed is they put the fixings at the beginning of the buffet. By the time you realize they are serving hamburgers and you want cheese, you have to backtrack.
The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and very well maintained. We did notice the staff is blah. They seem to be really tired. We talked to one bartender who said they work 7 days a week with one afternoon off. He worked 360 hours in one month. There is no way a person can work that many hours and deliver quality customer service. We never saw the Cruise Director our entire trip. Even though we did not attend a lot of the different shows, you would think we would have at least seen her somewhere during our trip. Other cruise reviews have said the same thing.
The food on the ship was good at times and not so good at other times. If you do not plan on dressing up for Formal night, you have to eat at the buffet. They will not let you eat in the dining room or any of the speciality restaurants. Smart Casual dress still requires men to wear slacks, no shorts. Several men had to be sent back to their cabins to change. The first formal night we ate at the buffet, it was the Welcome Aboard buffet and it was quite good. The second formal night we ate at the buffet, it was Indian food night. Since I am not a fan of Indian food, I was disappointed with buffet. I recommend they have this buffet on a night when not as many people will be eating in the buffet. We ate at Sabatini's, the Italian restaurant, on the last night. Another disappointment. We ate at this restaurant on the Golden Princess and remembered it was quite good. Not so on this trip. We should have eaten at the Crown Grill instead.
Disembarkation - we chose the Express disembarkation. They give you tickets with a number 1, 2 or 3 on it. Everyone meets in the Michelangelo dining room. The tickets don't mean a thing. When it is time to disembark, everyone gets off at the same time. This makes for a very crowded disembarkation. It did move pretty well once you got off the ship.
This is our third time cruising Princess. While the trip was okay, we will probably go back to sailing on Royal Caribbean. We like it better overall!