Our cruise vacation was the week of March 27th. As other reviewers mentioned, boarding was very efficient. We were in our rooms by noon. I had read that the photographers were "in your face", and not pleased if you didn't want to take a picture. I don't like having my picture taken, and I didn't find this to be a problem for anyone. If you don't want your picture taken, then politely decline. It wasn't a problem. Our luggage arrived at the rooms shortly after we did. We met our steward, Maricel, shortly after our luggage arrived. She was extra sweet to my youngest, and surprised the kids with very elaborate hand towel animal creations. Maricel directed us to where we needed to be for the emergency procedures protocol, and then we sailed off. We had opted for anytime dining, which was fine since we have three kids, and sometimes it's hard to have everyone ready for dinner at a specified time. The buffet was different every night, and I found the food to be good. We never dressed up for the formal nights, and it wasn't a problem when we dined at the buffet.
The ports were all very nice, my favourite was St. Thomas. I would recommend the excursion to Magens Bay, and the trip to Blackbeard's Castle following the beach. Magens Bay was lovely. The water was warm and calm, and the beach has partial shade for those of us that don't want to roast in the sun. It was a serene spot, and makes me want to return there for a longer vacation. St. Maarten was nice too. We went to the Butterfly Gardens, and we all found it to be very interesting (the kids too). The kids stayed on the boat when we docked at Grand Turk, although they probably would have enjoyed the beach, my husband and I wanted to do a little shopping without having to watch the kids as well. Princess Cays was nice, although the water does have a lot of coral, and rocks, so I stayed close to shore.
My kids, especially my oldest (12), really enjoyed the kids' program. He wanted to go ALL THE TIME. He met a lot of boys around his age there, and I'm not sure what the attraction was. He liked playing air hockey and foosball with his new friends, and I'm glad he liked it. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they have Playstation 3! The staff at the kids program are very nice and I appreciated that I could have the kids go there on certain nights so that my husband and I could have a bit more freedom for a few hours.
Some suggestions that I would have for people going on the Ruby Princess for a future vacation:
1. Book excursions early. We noticed that a lot of the options were already sold out by the time we got on the ship. Book them before you go, if there is something you are interested in doing.
2. Make reservations early. On the third night of the cruise I tried to make reservations for the Crown Grille, and it was booked until the end of the cruise.
3. If you are planning to do a class at the gym (ie: spinning), put your name on the list as soon as you board the ship. The night we boarded the ship I put my name down for a spinning class at the gym only to find out it was actually the wait list for the class. The class had already filled up on the day we boarded, and it wasn't going to be held for another two days. After that I just gave up on any classes and did the cardio myself on the elliptical.
4. Do one of the special classes or courses that they offer. They had some ceramic classes and wine tastings during the week. We went to the wine tasting. It was $9.50 per person, and it was a lot of fun sampling five different wines from different places in the world. We also each got a souvenir shotglass for attending. I liked it because I am not a wine drinker by any means, and it's something I would never do had I not been on the cruise.
5. If you like specialty coffee, get a coffee card from the International Cafe. For $29, you get a card that entitles you to 15 specialty coffees, and free unlimited hot chocolate (for the kids).
6. Try to see the Movies Under the Stars. We all liked that. The deck chairs are draped in red velvety material, and blankets are provided. They make popcorn for the movies as well.
We all had a great time on the Ruby Princess, and would do it again!