Ruby Princess Eastern Caribbean
Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
This was my 7th cruise and my wife's 5th, we are in our early fifties and like to get away a few times a year. Our flight was from Seattle just ahead of a little snowstorm and landed in Ft Lauderdale sunshine Friday Morning. The plan was the the town and surrounding areas a little as we've never been there before. My wife booked the Sheraton Plantation Suites as the price was half that of the hotels near the beach, we got an entire suite for $145 per night but had to drive 25 minutes to get anywhere, this was good and bad, but still had a great time. I really like the Sheraton but will probably stay somewhere near the river and shops next time.
Sunday Morning we dropped the rental car and took a cab to the pier. Within 10 seconds of exiting the cab we were greeted by a porter and were directed to the boarding line nearby. Princess is very organized, about a 40 minute continually moving line which just helped to build the excitement and lots of friendly smiles More
The cabin was a little smaller than on Carnival but much nicer. After unpacking, we went up to the Lido deck for lunch and explored the ship.
The spa: I enjoyed the spa and gym as my wife and I like to workout daily but this place is really expensive if you want more than a workout. We opted for the couples mud bath and full access to the spa and 4 saunas, $240...Too much, not really worth it, enjoyed it but not again. Spinning class was a great workout and the gym equipment was first rate.
We had booked that late seating for dinner and enjoyed the first 3 nights with a nice couple at a table for 4. The food was great, not perfect but nothing to stop us from ever going back. I've read a lot of bad reviews about the food on this boat but found it to be as good or better than I get at home. This ship and most others are filled with overweight people so I'm sure most of them are a better judge that us but we loved every bite. When you only have a week of vacation and only so many hours of prime time entertainment to see, skip the dining room with its 2 hour meal and drop by the buffet for 20 minutes, much better use of your time.
The entertainment was good in most places but don't waste your time on the dream show in the main theatre, this was easily the worst show I have ever seen. The magic show was pretty good but not good enough after being on other ships. Stick to the lounges as all had great entertainment. Less
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Cabin review: Ruby Princess Oceanview Obstructed Emerald Deck e215
The cabin was very quiet, the fully obstructed view was completely wide open as the lifeboat was underneath the window. Great pillows, slightly hard bed. Shower is small, nice sized close with lots of drawer space.
Port and Shore Excursions
Grand Turk again has a beautiful pier and beach area with lots of shops owned by the cruise lines. We decided to go against our better judgement and rent some bikes to see the island as it's pretty flat and not very big. Grand Turk has a little shopping area in Cockburntown a few miles from the pier with a nice little shack on the beach for drinks and food. Most of the things to see on this island are at the cruise port or in the water surrounding the area. It appeared to have numerous buildings under construction that were abandoned and had the usual shacks and garbage everywhere. The highlight of my bike ride was coming over a hill to find wild donkeys on the left and a wild steer running down the road just ahead of me. Stay on the beach and you'll have a great time. Island exploring was fun but not as fun as we would have had in the nice part by the cruise port.
Princess Kays was amazing if you're looking for a party or just a quiet spot on the beach. We got off the ship and had a BBQ lunch which was average but who cares, we weren't there to eat. The beach was beautiful but the water was a little cold.
St Martin has a beautiful broadwalk about a mile from the cruise port. We met up with another couple from the ship and decided to walk to town as it was a nice day and we wanted to enjoy the sun. The beach was incredible and they had lots of restaurants and vendors everywhere. NOTE: The ship talks a lot about preferred vendors and people that that Princess is getting kickback if you shop there...not true...Princess owns all of the stores that they send you to. Only a fool would buy any of that jewelry on vacation, I wouldn't buy a couch or a car on vacation, why would I buy expensive diamonds or art?
I rented a segway with another friend from my ship and had the greatest time. $25 for 30 minutes and I could go anywhere I wanted. The excursion on the ship had 10 people riding single file very slowly and seemed to spend most of their time watching the guide demonstrate techniques. The nearest beach by the cruise port is by far the nicest on the island. We took a cab to Orient beach and had a great time but this island is very poor with more garbage than you'll ever see in any slum. I plan on staying near the ship on every single Island next time I cruise as there was very little to see once you got far from town.
St Thomas was a nicer more developed island that St Marten but didn't have the nice beachfront that they had in St Martin. Overall St Thomas is also a dump that you wouldn't want to spend much time on as they are really poor with extremely high prices. I paid $42 for 2 burgers and 2 frozen margaritas on Koki beach. Koki beach is an excellent place to snorkel, the water is very clear and has tons of fish right up to the shore on the left side of the beach near the rocks. Koki beach has a lot of shacks and pot smoking locals everywhere, teeth optional. Magens bay was awesome with a nice bay and almost no waves. The water is not as clear as Koki beach and is run as a state park from the looks of things with a small entrance fee and is much cleaner. Again, this is a nice place to visit for the day but I wouldn't want to stay there overnight.