Embarcation time of 5 minutes(!) from our arrival at Port Everglades aboard our Marriotts Springhill Suites free shuttle, thru "Processing" (keep moving please) to the moment we swiped our shiny new Sailing Cards as we boarded Ruby Princess. IMPRESSIVE! Went right to our stateroom - clean (we checked EVERYTHING), bright, balcony Cabin B631, Starboard, listed "midship" but just at 'Aft' (which may explain the unrelenting vibrations that persisted throughout the 2 weeks in OUR cabin, while others in Interior and midships had none) - Luggage arrived at cabin within 1 hour.
Armed with a ships 'maplet' we explored the lovely vessel we'll call "home" for the next 2 weeks!
The Piazza - spacious, lounge area you can enjoy from Decks 5, 6, 7 - resplendant with glittering brass, gold, and glass details, artwork and spiraling staircases - a pianist plays, there's dance & sushi exhibitions and pre or after-dinner dancing.
The 'International Cafe' (a must if you really like coffee) adjuts the Piazza -we loved their fresh pasta, seafood salads, quick sandwiches and French Patisserie style desserts all FREE but they charge for gelato! (The coffee card for $28 for 15 specialty coffee drinks was a BARGAIN! Makes up for 'concentrated coffee' served in Buffetts. Regular coffee is free)
After 4pm Muster Drill, we went up to Tradwinds Bar to personally meet the folks we'd been 'posting' with for months at the Cruise Critic Roll Call Boards. About 100 of us from all over the USA, Canada, and UK! We'd taken a vote online and named ourselves 'RUBY GEMS' - About 50 of us showed up in Red Ribbons for the informal "Drinkaway" that afternoon as we lifted anchor and began our transatlantic journey together!
Later, we had formal Meet & Greet in Skywalkers Bar at Deck 18 where Captain Tony Yeomans and 5 of his Executive Staff surprised us "Ruby Gems" for about 45 minutes of chat, questions, experiences and photos!
The Upside of the Ruby Princess is definitely its crew. Ask a question - If crew did not know, they found someone who did. My complaint about 'tepid' hot tubs to GM Gunther was rectified within hours. However, the Customer Service desk, one person might know and another not. That should be rectified. ALL customer desk staff should know how to acquire stamps and mail a letter. Casino personnel was abrupt and less interested in helping. After the first night at Traditional Dining, we switched to Anytime to join some Ruby Gems friends - The level of service was really Exellent - Da Vinci restaurant was upbeat, lively and well run! Meats were well prepared but poultry, such as duck, seemed to suffer too much heat lamps. We'll continue Anytime dinners - it suits us. We dined every day in Horizon or Caribe for breakfast. We LOVED the smoked salmon, bagels and cream cheese! What a treat. However, staff is too exuberant about removing plates. Had to actually keep a hand on dishes to prevent removal while I chatted. The ship was constantly cleaned, fussed about, and maintained. You'll love the clean decks, railings, tables, sofas! The Ports were imaginative and fun - however, don't Tender into Monte Carlo in choppy seas, crew was not skilled at docking and folks got very ill.