This is my 37th cruise with 7 cruises on Princess. My DH(60) and I(59) along with my parents(83,86) drove from Kissimmee to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday morning. We parked in the Park and Go lot which was 7.99$ with the on line coupon. Due to Noro we knew boarding would start at 2 so we left a little later than we normally would. We arrived at the park and go at 2 and were greeted at our car by the van driver who took our luggage. We did have to leave our keys with the people at Park and Fly so they could park our car. We have parked here several times and it has always worked well. We got right in the van and were taken to the ship where our luggage was given to the porters. Since they were cleaning the ship for Noro we had to go to the convention center to check in. We used the priority check in line and were given priority boarding passes. Since they were at our number we were able to board right away. Every thing went very orderly and we were on the ship in about 30 minutes. The lifeboat drill was pushed back to 4:30 and the ship was able to leave at 5.
We were told that the ship was on code red and we would be served the food and drinks in the buffets and there would be no salt and pepper shakers on the tables. We were reminded every day to wash our hands frequently and to try to use the restrooms in our staterooms. By the end of the week the code red was lifted.
We have been on the Ruby before and she is a beautiful ship. We had a large balcony cabin on the Caribe deck which had plenty of room to store stuff. The balcony had 4 chairs and a table. Two of the chairs reclined. Our cabin steward Atilla was great. He brought everything we asked for promptly. I don't care for the duvet as I find it too hot so we asked for a sheet and light blanket and they were on our bed that evening. We also always had plenty of ice.
We had anytime dinning and never had to wait for a table. We went to the Michelangelo between 6:30 and 7 and were always willing to share a table. The service was hit or miss. Some wait teams were very good others could use improvement. I enjoyed most of the food but there were some things that I just didn't like. That was more personal taste than bad food. The best night I thought was the Chefs Dinner on Friday. I really enjoyed the seared scallops, goat cheese souffle and French onion soup. There were a few things that were not on the menu and you had to ask for like the French onion soup and escargot.
We enjoyed the entertainment on board very much. We really liked the Ballroom dancing production show. We thought the Stardust show was a little boring and didn't stay for the whole thing. We didn't go to see the Dream production show but my parents enjoyed it so much they went to both shows. Some nights the shows were 8:30 and 10:30 and others they were at 7 and 9. The 10:30 shows were not as crowded as the earlier show. The comedians were in the Explorers Lounge for 2 nights each and always seemed to be SRO. There were also lots of different games to play like liars club, majority rules, marriage show, lots of trivia and the Quest. We didn't care for the movies playing in MUTS so we never saw any. There was also a lot of live music being played; piano players in Crooners and Adagios, various musicians in the piazza, and the Wheel house bar every night.
Since we are Platinum we both get 150 minutes of free internet so I brought my net book with me. Most days I was able to log on easily and the speed was pretty good. But if I got on at a popular time it wasn't good at all. I never could get on Friday night and Saturday morning. But it worked fine at lunch on Saturday. We were also able, on most days, to use a Magic Jack to call our sons at home. Sometimes it wasn't real clear but we still were able to check on things.
We had been to most of the ports several times except for Grand Turk. We really enjoy the beach so that is what we did in each port. We spent a wonderful day at Princess Cay. The weather was perfect. Cool enough for a long walk along the beach to see the graves and walk a bit further. Warm enough for some afternoon snorkeling. The day started out a bit cloudy but soon cleared up to be bright and sunny. We were on one of the first tenders in the morning and on one of the last to leave in the afternoon. I thought the lunch was pretty good. There was grilled fish(a bit overcooked) and chicken, Hotdogs, hamburgers, ribs, and sausages along with several salads. There was also fruit, cookies and muffins. We ate at the grill on the cabana side which seemed much less crowded then the main beach.
We had another perfect day in St Martin. We rented a car and drove to Margot. We walked up to Fort Louis which overlooks Margot and walked around the outdoor market. We then headed to the beach for the rest of the day.
We arrived in St Thomas at 6AM in the morning and they actually cleared the ship by 6:15. I couldn't believe it when I heard the announcement and it was still dark out. My DH and I walked out to the main road and took a 2$ taxi that the locals use to Sapphire Beach. It was a 40 minute ride and one of the locals helped us know where to get off. We have done this before to Red Hook so we kind of had an idea where to get off. We spent a few hours at the beach snorkeling before heading back to Crown Bay. The sail out is really pretty as the commodore has to swing the ship around in a tight place. We watched from on top of the bridge so it was a real cool sensation as the ship spun around. This was the second formal night. The first formal night was the first sea day on Tuesday.
On Grand Turk morning we got to sleep in. The clocks were turned back to EST that morning which gave us an extra hour. We arrived at Grand Turk at 12:15 and were able to disembark at 12:30. The water is a beautiful shade of blue. The ship docks very close to shore so it's an easy walk to the beach. There are plenty of beach chairs and the pool is huge. Margaritaville is right there at the pool so you will hear Jimmy Buffet music all day. We walked down the beach to the right past the point and found some decent snorkeling. Don't bother picking up any shells because they will stop you from bringing them onboard. The x-ray people look for them. We saw the Friendship 7 memorial and looked in the shops. We saw a beach bar right outside the cruise area that offered free chairs and free WiFi. All in all this is a very nice port.
The last sea day the seas were nice and calm. There were all kinds of things to do. At 12 noon we walked around the top deck and there were no empty chairs near any of the pools. We really enjoyed our balcony so we didn't need to worry about chairs near the pool.
Disembarkation this morning was easy. It started at about 7. The Horizon Court is open until 9. They give you a list of the color tags and numbers so you know what time each tag gets off. If you don't like your time just go to passengers service desk and request the color and number of the time you want. We like to eat breakfast at 8 and usually get a tag for 8:45. They do immergration and customs together so only one line to wait in. We called Park and Go when we got outside and they sent a van right away. This was a great cruise and I'm ready to go again.