Foodies will appreciate the many choices -- both free and fee-based -- aboard this ship; there are many options available throughout the day (and night). The food was good and the options diverse at all of Ruby Princess’ restaurants, and if you don't like a meal you've received, they will promptly replace it with something else you'd prefer.
We did appreciate that, overall, the food in the Ruby Princess dining rooms, buffets and the specialty restaurants seemed equal in taste and presentation. You don't have to pay more for good food on Ruby.
Cruisers with special dietary needs (gluten-free, low-sodium, vegetarian) can be accommodated but should alert the cruise line ahead of sailing or the main dining room maitre d' immediately upon getting on the ship.
For Ruby Princess' Alaska sailings, passengers can plump for the Wild for Alaska Seafood menu, which makes it possible for guests to order Alaska seafood dishes every night in the main dining rooms. Fish served include multiple varieties of Alaska salmon -- King (Chinook), Sockeye and Coho -- wild Alaska cod caught by hook and line, halibut, rockfish, Dungeness crabs, wild spot prawns and razor clams. Complementing the food offering are a series of Alaska drinks, too, including spiked coffee and hot-chocolate offerings; Alaska beer tastings; cocktail flights made from Alaska-distilled spirits.
Michelangelo, Botticelli and Da Vinci Dining Rooms (Decks 5 and 6)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D) There are three dining rooms open for both traditional dinner seatings and the line's more flexible Anytime Dining, where passengers can sit with just their immediate group or ask to be seated with other cruise passengers. Michelangelo and Botticelli are used for traditional dining and Da Vinci is for Anytime Dining.
Breakfast is usually offered in just one of the main dining rooms (which one may vary by sailing), while lunch is only available on sea days and on select port days.
Breakfast includes the usual morning options, such as French toast, omelets and pastries. Lunch and dinners include salads, soups, meat and fish. Service for breakfast and lunch is a little longer than dinner, especially if you're signed up for early dinner where the servers need to get everyone served and out of the dining room in time for the later seating.
International Cafe (Deck 5)
Meals: Open 24/7 One of the biggest draws of this cafe is that it's open 24 hours and is a popular place for a late-night snack or a grab-and-go breakfast before an early-morning excursion. You'll find both free and extra-fee items, though most of the food and pastries are complimentary.
Horizon Court (Deck 15)
Meals: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D) Horizon Court is a casual buffet restaurant on Ruby Princess and is a big draw for many passengers who enjoy the fresh meals (food is constantly being replenished) and prefer the serve-yourself atmosphere to the more formal sit-down options in the main dining rooms.
At lunch and dinner, there is always a nice combination of healthy options (salads, fruits and vegetables), American cuisine (chicken and beef) and different international dishes (Indian, Italian) each day.
The Salty Dog Grill (Deck 15)
Meals: L, snacks The poolside grill serves made-to-order items such as burgers, tacos, sandwiches, hot dogs, and loaded fries. There are a couple of vegetarian options as well, including a veggie burger and a sweet potato-green chili tacos.
Slice Pizzeria (Deck 15)
Meals: L, D Perhaps the most consistently popular place on the ship, Slice Pizzeria offers freshly made pizza, usually with different toppings each day. Plus, you can get an order of avocado toast. We loved how creative the cooks were here; on our Alaska sailing, they served a "glacier pizza," which consisted of various cheese toppings.
Coffee & Cones (Deck 15)
Meals: Snacks This is another popular spot onboard, especially with kids who lined up every day for the complimentary ice cream cones -- chocolate, vanilla or swirl -- with sprinkle toppings. Additional items, such as specialty coffees and desserts, are available for a fee.
Meals: Available 24/7 Room service is available all day, with breakfast items more limited and ordered via a paper menu you hang on the outside of your cabin door. Always available items (such as sandwiches) are available most of the day. Most items were complimentary, but some carried a charge.
Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria (Deck 16); prix fixe
Meals: D This restaurant is a good spot for couples looking for a romantic evening out or groups looking to share a big meal together. The space is elegant but subdued, with lots of wood finishes and private nooks for more intimate gatherings. Dinners starts with the house appetizer, which includes olives, prosciutto and bread, and continues with a full four-course menu that includes antipasti, a starter, a main, and dessert. Portions are big and food tasty.
Crown Grill (Deck 7); prix fixe
Meals: D The most popular extra-fee dining venue onboard, Crown Grill is a French-style steakhouse that works well for both a romantic dinner or a festive group outing. The service is top-notch and the food excellent with a variety of cuts along with seafood options. Reservations are highly recommended.
The Salty Dog Gastropub (Deck 7); prix fixe
Meals: D This pub-style venue, located inside the Wheelhouse lounge, was developed with chef Ernesto Uchimura, creator of the original Umami Burger. In addition to the various burgers on the menu, the alcohol selection (which costs extra) includes a diverse variety of beer, whiskey and cocktail selections. The live music gives this a fun, festive vibe.
Chef’s Table; prix fixe
Meals: D This is the most exclusive dining option on Ruby Princess. It offers a multicourse experience with wine pairing, which takes diners to a beautifully appointed table for the lavish meal with just a handful of other passengers. The meal changes each time, and special diets will not be accommodated; diners should be up for just about anything.
Vines Wine Bar; a la carte
Meals: L, D Located in the Piazza, the ship's wine bar offers tapas-style snacks when you buy a glass of wine. Food cannot be purchased separately from the wine, nor can you get food if you want something nonalcoholic.
Ultimate Balcony Dining; prix fixe
Meals: B To take advantage of this private experience, you need to have booked a cabin with a balcony. Ultimate Balcony Dining is a romantic breakfast for two, outdoors, complete with table set with white linen and festooned with flowers. The menu includes fresh pastries, Champagne and smoked salmon, among other options.
* May require additional fees