Kids' centers are located aft on the Sports Deck (Deck 17), which features Princess Links, the ship's mini-golf course. The basketball court is just above on Deck 19. The placement of the facilities gives the feeling that kids have an onboard place designated just for them.
Youth centers break down into three main groups. Princess Pelicans, for 3- to 7-year-olds, comes complete with its own outdoor play area. Shockwaves is decked out with colorful leather couches, gaming stations and its own air-hockey table for the 8- to 12-year-old crowd. And Remix is the ship's hip hangout for teens, ages 13 through 17. All of the youth centers offer a wide array of things to do each day, from arts and crafts to games and themed dinners. For many activities, the youth activities coordinator will further subdivide kids into specific age groups and specially tailor the fun to them. After all, a 3-year-old certainly would not have the same interest in investigating sharks as a 7-year-old would.
Kids can visit youth centers on sea days between the hours of 9 a.m. and noon, 2 and 5 p.m. and then again from 7 to 10 p.m. On port days, hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. Times may be adjusted as demand warrants. On our sailing, we found these hours to be accurate for Princess Pelicans, but Shockwaves remained open until 11 p.m., and Remix entertained teens until 1 a.m. Group babysitting is available from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the rate of $5 per hour, per child, and reservations must be made the day before by 8 p.m.
Princess incorporates plenty of activities into its programs for kids, both day and night. Among the newest additions to the roster is Princess' new partnership with Klutz, a company that makes toys and activity-oriented books; it provides fresh, new arts and crafts projects, like creating spiffy spiral drawings and making fun friendship bracelets. The California Science Center has teamed up with Princess to offer science enrichment; among the hands-on projects is one in which kids can build miniature loop-de-loop roller coasters.
Ruby Princess' youth centers tout the newest video-gaming systems in the fleet. Nintendo Wii and Sony Play Station 3 are all the rage with kids, and stations with multiple systems are set up in Shockwaves and Remix. Plus, children are invited to give their best performances and play the recent video-game hit, Guitar Hero, on the Movies Under the Stars big screen. Wii Fit challenges are also a mainstay on the kids' schedules each week.