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Ruby Princess Cruise Review by mycruz

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Ruby Princess
Ruby Princess
Member Name: mycruz
Cruise Date: March 2011
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Cabin Category: VS
Cabin Number: E733
Booking Method: Local Travel Agency
See More About: Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews | Eastern Caribbean Cruise Reviews | Princess Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 5.0
Public Rooms 5+
Cabins 5+
Entertainment 5.0
Spa & Fitness 4.0
Family & Children (By Age Group)
        3-6 5+
        7-9 5+
Shore Excursions 4.0
Embarkation 5.0
Service 5.0
Value-for-Money 5.0
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: Ruby Princess Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Ruby Princess Deck Plans
Spring Break on the Ruby Princess
Our first cruise with three of the grandkids turned out better than I hoped!

Here's a little about us, early to mid fifties, my DD and her BF, early 30's along with the grandkids 12, 8 and 6. This will be our 8th cruise with Princess and have also sailed on Disney and Carnival. We always like to arrive the day before we sail when leaving Port Everglades. I reserved 2 rooms at the Sheraton Ft. Lauderdale Beach Hotel last September and I'm glad I did as it was totally booked for the pre-cruise night. We arrived with the two girls around 4:30 and fought traffic from the causeway to the hotel. Once inside the hotel I finally felt like we were ready for the cruise I'd been planning for a year! We dropped off our luggage in our rooms, changed into swimsuits and headed to the pool. It was a beautiful evening sitting around the pool watching the ships leave port while the girls swam. Our room was in the main building with an ocean view on the Starwood Preferred floor. My overall impression with the Ft. Lauderdale Sheraton (formerly the Sheraton Yankee Clipper) is it was a great pre-cruise hotel. The rooms were very clean, the staff was attentive and I left wishing we could have come down earlier! To me it's always a good sign when you want to return to a resort. DD and her BF along with the grandson arrived just as we were leaving for dinner. We decided to leave the hotel since we thought the restaurant was a little too pricey for what we wanted but in hindsight I wish we would have stayed put. We sat in traffic for an hour trying to get to Las Olas for a Mexican restaurant we found on the web. We made it across the bridge and decided to try Carlos and Pepe's. I expected to wait but would not have minded if the service and food had been better. I understand it's popular with the locals but I won't be going back.

Finally the day has arrived! I awake to my Starbuck's coffee in the room, ahhh! I'm really excited that I have finally orchestrated a family trip and today is the official cruise day. Now, to get all seven of us up, dressed into two cars and to the port for check in. But first, I am so lucky to get to meet a fellow CC'er that I cruised with over a year ago for coffee. We have a nice time chatting over coffee down on the pool deck with a nice breeze blowing off the Atlantic. I'm already dressed, packed and having coffee while my companion, DD and BF get up and get the kids a light breakfast. Now it's time to get all of us checked out and to the port. We take one of the two cars to the Embassy Suites extended parking while the other care we park at the port. We manage to check out of the hotel around noon and even with unloading a ton of luggage and dropping the car off we are all checked in and having lunch in the Horizon Court by 1pm! The grandkids immediately get their Ultimate Drink Cards which was quite a value since they love virgin daiquiris, milk shakes, soda and juice. Me, I'm a coffee card person so I also made sure I purchased a new card as soon as possible. After lunch we headed to the Kids Club to register them before the Muster Drill. DGS was so attentive and really paid attention, I was very impressed.

Cabins - We had an aft suite on the Emerald deck with and Interior right down the hall. DD had an Interior cabin all the way forward on the Aloha deck. They booked pretty last minute but still managed to get a 2 category upgrade from the interior guarantee that they booked. The balcony on the suite was smaller than the previous suite we had on the Dolphin Deck. I was really hoping to have the same size balcony but it was all good, it was a suite after all and I love the perks! The mini bar was set up, the flowers were in the room and the Wi-Fi was free! Since we had an Interior room as well which I was booked in with two of the kids, I was also given suite privileges. Good thing since it was my idea to book the suite! I made good use of the laundry service for being a suite passenger. We had our formal wear pressed first night and several loads of laundry done during the week. I have enjoyed the Thermal Suite on previous cruises and just knew sailing with the family it will be a nice place to visit. The interior cabin was not as bad as I thought it would be. It was made up with two twins and at night the steward pulled down the top bed which my grandson claimed first thing. This is going to be a great trip for the guy that didn't even want to go! He was in heaven with his Ultimate Drink Card, all the pizza he could eat and a top bunk.

The Ruby - What a beautiful ship she is! Here are some of my impressions of the ship. The Piazza of course was a great place to visit, from getting a great cup of coffee in the morning, to a light snack in the afternoon or Sushi and wine from Vines. Oh, and the gelato, my favorite dessert in the Piazza. DGD and I sat and watched a couple of performances while sharing a dish of three scoops and loved it. The stores were well stocked, and I bought the cologne I thought I was going to buy in St. Thomas the first night aboard but they were offering a discount to get passengers to buy on the ship instead. The pools were pretty crowded on sea days, didn't really use them except on the last sea day. We had lunch usually in the Horizon Court, the Grill and the Pizzeria. The kids loved the pizza and milkshakes and had them almost every day. Muts was also a big hit with our bunch especially on the last night with the Final Four games played. We had had dinner that night at the Crown Grill, my favorite, and it was nice to stretch out after a nice dinner and watch the game. We also dined at Sabatini's and it didn't disappoint anyone. I paced myself and made sure I didn't leave miserable from over doing it. The first day I made it to the gym for a 7:30am stretch class that was offered every day, somehow I never made it back to the gym for stretching or anything else. The casino, what can I say, it took more than it gave. It did appear that the tables were very busy on this cruise and the slots not as much as on other cruises. They did have two smoke free nights. We held our CC Meet and Greet in the Adagio, what a beautiful lounge right next to Sabatini's. We didn't get a chance to try Sabatini's for breakfast, which is one of the suite perks. The morning we were going to go, the last sea day, I awoke in terrible pain and had to visit the Medical Center. The nurse and doctor that attended me were very good and I can't express how much I appreciated their professionalism and genuine care for me. So after they released me we went back to the suite and fell asleep on the balcony for a couple of hours. We ate in the Michelangelo Dining Room a couple of times with Anytime Dining. The servers were very good in all the dining areas, especially the Michelangelo. Generoso runs a top notch operation in his dining rooms and is such a great person to meet.

The Kids Club - I was so relieved that the two youngest kids really enjoyed their time in the kids club. The youngest attended the Pelican's Club while the 8 yr. old went to Shockwave's. The 12 yr. old wouldn't go because she would be in the same group as her younger brother so she hung out with us most of the time. The staff of the clubs were amazing, always smiling and knew everyone's name by the second day. The youngest actually had a meltdown the last sea day because she couldn't go to the kid's club due to it being closed for the last afternoon break from 5pm - 6pm. They also closed for lunch from 12pm - 1pm.The extended hours available from 10pm - 1am came with an additional fee of $5/hr per child. Over the week the youngest one managed to make quite a collection of crafts and they were bagged up the last night to take home. In the Pelican's Club parents are given a pager at the time they sign in just in case they need to get in touch with you. They always scanned your key to make sure you are who you say you are.

Food - This is very subjective so I won't go into details. Must have enjoyed it, I gained weight!

The Lotus Spa - This is the first cruise that I didn't reserve a spa treatment. Instead, I used the Thermal Suite along with the Steam and Sauna in the Women's dressing room. The steam room was very good and the Thermal Suite was very relaxing. My sailing companion had a massage and said it was probably the best one he's ever had, and he's had quite a few. I was amazed that he didn't come back with some product as they usually are able to get him to buy something. The 12 yr old got her first facial and mini massage just for teens. It was a good value of $79 for 50 minutes.

Ports

Princess Cay - This was the first time we've left the boat and ventured ashore. Since we had the family with us we reserved a bungalow. I was disappointed that ours was the very last one before the Sanctuary. There was no shade at all around ours, I would suggest you request bungalows 7 -10, they have some nice trees that give you plenty of shade. We arrived to find two floats for our use as well as a Princess picture frame. It was a beautiful day to be on the island, the weather was perfect. Lunch was pretty good, we all found something to eat that we liked. There were Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Ribs, Chicken and Grilled Fish along with salads and cookies for dessert. The water was nice and cool and the kids enjoyed snorkeling for a while. After lunch, the two youngest, you guessed it, wanted to go to the Kids Club on the island. After a full day at the beach we boarded the tenders and headed back to the ship. The line was quite long but it was because the seas had picked up and the tenders couldn't go as fast as they would have liked to get us all back to the ship.

St. Maartin - This is the second time we've been to St. Maartin. I booked a private excursion for my companion through Island Marketing, Ltd. for and ATV excursion. The kids and I were booked through the ship to the Butterfly Farm. There were five ships in port that day and traffic was crazy. It may have been the reason no one showed up as scheduled to pick up for the ATV tour. After the tour of the Butterfly Farm we were then driving over to Marigot for some free time. More traffic on the way back which cut the time I had wanted to have to shop around the port so we just headed back on the ship. We watched all the ships sail away while relaxing on the balcony.

St. Thomas - I love this place! My second favorite island in the Caribbean, where else can one just shop, shop, shop! We found a nice jewelry store that I was able to pick up a couple of early Christmas gifts. Also made our required trip to pick up several bottles of liquor to take back home with us. The A H Rise store has a service that they will deliver the purchase to your ship and it shows up in your stateroom the last night of your cruise. No more lugging around liquor while shopping and back on the tram to the ship. We took the taxi/tram into town from Crown Bay for $4/pp each way. We were only one of three ships in port that day and the only ship docked at Crown Bay. What a nice change from the hectic traffic from the day before.




Food - This is very subjective so I won't go into details. Must have enjoyed it, I gained weight!

The Lotus Spa - This is the first cruise that I didn't reserve a spa treatment. Instead, I used the Thermal Suite along with the Steam and Sauna in the Women's dressing room. The steam room was very good and the Thermal Suite was very relaxing. My sailing companion had a massage and said it was probably the best one he's ever had, and he's had quite a few. I was amazed that he didn't come back with some product as they usually are able to get him to buy something. The 12 yr old got her first facial and mini massage just for teens. It was a good value of $79 for 50 minutes.

Ports

Princess Cay - This was the first time we've left the boat and ventured ashore. Since we had the family with us we reserved a bungalow. I was disappointed that ours was the very last one before the Sanctuary. There was no shade at all around ours, I would suggest you request bungalows 7 -10, they have some nice trees that give you plenty of shade. We arrived to find two floats for our use as well as a Princess picture frame. It was a beautiful day to be on the island, the weather was perfect. Lunch was pretty good, we all found something to eat that we liked. There were Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Ribs, Chicken and Grilled Fish along with salads and cookies for dessert. The water was nice and cool and the kids enjoyed snorkeling for a while. After lunch, the two youngest, you guessed it, wanted to go to the Kids Club on the island. After a full day at the beach we boarded the tenders and headed back to the ship. The line was quite long but it was because the seas had picked up and the tenders couldn't go as fast as they would have liked to get us all back to the ship.

St. Maartin - This is the second time we've been to St. Maartin. I booked a private excursion for my companion through Island Marketing, Ltd. for and ATV excursion. The kids and I were booked through the ship to the Butterfly Farm. There were five ships in port that day and traffic was crazy. It may have been the reason no one showed up as scheduled to pick up for the ATV tour. After the tour of the Butterfly Farm we were then driving over to Marigot for some free time. More traffic on the way back which cut the time I had wanted to have to shop around the port so we just headed back on the ship. We watched all the ships sail away while relaxing on the balcony.

St. Thomas - I love this place! My second favorite island in the Caribbean, where else can one just shop, shop, shop! We found a nice jewelry store that I was able to pick up a couple of early Christmas gifts. Also made our required trip to pick up several bottles of liquor to take back home with us. The A H Rise store has a service that they will deliver the purchase to your ship and it shows up in your stateroom the last night of your cruise. No more lugging around liquor while shopping and back on the tram to the ship. We took the taxi/tram into town from Crown Bay for $4/pp each way. We were only one of three ships in port that day and the only ship docked at Crown Bay. What a nice change from the hectic traffic from the day before.

Grand Turk - Our first visit to Grand Turk and I now know why everyone raves about the beach there. The water is unbelievable, it reminded me of Bonaire. Again we reserved a bungalow at Margaritaville and loved it. As soon as we arrived we were escorted to the bungalow and our server showed up shortly afterwards to take care of us. We had drinks delivered as well as lunch. You can easily go back to the ship for lunch if you choose since it's very close to the pool area. There was another ship, the Carnival Glory that docked before us so most of the loungers at the pool were already claimed by the time we arrived. Another reason I'm glad we booked the bungalow. I took a walk down the beach and noticed a couple of smaller bar/restaurants on the beach with chairs to use.

The Staff - What an amazing crew we had on this ship. The Commodore Romano really is a great guy and it showed with how outstanding the crew was. He actually helped me catch my hat that had blown off my head as we headed down the pier in St. Maartin. He had just left a wedding up in the chapel and stopped by before attending a Crew of the Month celebration next door in Sabatini's. So many of the crew showed up at our Meet and Greet and they truly seemed glad to meet us. The Maitre'd, Genneroso Mazzone was so personable and attentive to everyone's needs. He actually took notes during our Meet and Greet with several CC'ers. Cruise Director Lisa Ball also came and we chatted for quite a while. She too seemed very nice and interested in everyone there having a nice time. I really wish I could remember everyone that came, there were just so many crew members that came in and introduced themselves, I was impressed! Last but not least, our head waiter which I never did catch his name was fabulous. He was so quick to greet us when we arrived in the dining room and whisk us off to our table.

On the last sea day and we had such a good time with the kids we decided to book again for next Spring Break. We visited the Future Cruise Consultant and are now booked on the Grand Princess for 2012. I can't wait to sail on the Grand again, especially after all the great changes taking place in dry dock.

Disembarkation was nice a smooth. As Platinum members we waited in Club Fusion for our Color to be called. Since we drove and I forgot to fill out our disembarkation forms we were some of the last ones off the ship. The upside to that is there is not as much luggage to look through to find yours. We grabbed a porter for our ton of luggage and made it through Immigration and into our cars for the ride back to Orlando. What a great time we had, we were exhausted but enjoyed every minute of the time we had with the kids.



Publication Date: 04/09/11
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