13 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Bahamas Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

My wife searched for bargain cruises while we are wintering in Florida and this cruise to Jamaica was what we chose. You get what you pay for. We've sailed on other Princess ships and this one didn't compare. Here are the Pros ... Read More
My wife searched for bargain cruises while we are wintering in Florida and this cruise to Jamaica was what we chose. You get what you pay for. We've sailed on other Princess ships and this one didn't compare. Here are the Pros and Cons: PROS - Cabin stewart was excellent - Ship was overall clean and in good repair - International Cafe was superb - Overall, the staff was friendly and accommodating - Food in all areas was acceptable - Nice having silverware on tables in buffet area - Sanitation was stressed by staff - Disembarking was very good - expedient - Walking deck for exercise was excellent CONS - Entertainment was sub-par; musical was performed at a high school level - no band - Art on walls throughout ship was low-end - Hardly any flowers throughout - Our server in dining room was overtaxed; Princess has cut back on restaurant staff too much - Embarkation was terrible; took excessively too long to board. - Shore excursion to the Falls was not well thought out Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My husband and I just returned from a 5-night cruise to the Bahamas and Grand Turk on the Ruby Princess. We are in our mid-sixties, and both retired. This was our 6th cruise, 3rd with Princess. The other 3 were with Celebrity. Mostly we ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 5-night cruise to the Bahamas and Grand Turk on the Ruby Princess. We are in our mid-sixties, and both retired. This was our 6th cruise, 3rd with Princess. The other 3 were with Celebrity. Mostly we take longer cruises, and 5 nights was definitely too short. But last summer we got an offer we couldn't refuse, a balcony stateroom for the cost of an oceanview, so we grabbed it. And thank heavens we did--the winter here in Northeastern Ohio has been brutal and endless, so we needed a break. Pre-cruise: We flew to FLL from CLE Sunday and stayed at the Sleep Inn in Dania Beach. We have stayed there before, and find it a very clean and comfortable hotel in a good location. They offer free shuttle to and from the airport, and shuttle to the port for $5.00 per person. There is a Mexican restaurant across the street which offers a 15% discount to hotel guests. If you don't care for Mexican, there are also an Italtan and a Japanese restaurants. There's a Walgreens across the parking lot, where we stopped Monday morning to stock up on Coke Zero and buy me some socks. The hotel also includes free continental breakfast. Embarkation: We caught the 11:30 shuttle to the port,. By the time we checked our luggage, filled out our health forms, and got our sea passes, they were letting people board. My husband uses a cane, and the staff was extremely helpful, allowing us to bypass the long line and use the Elite/Suite passengers check in. After posing for the Welcome Aboard photo, we were in our cabin by 12:30. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on Deck 11, Baja, midship starboard side. It was a very nice size for 2 people, although there was a drop-down bed in the ceiling which might make it crowded. The sitting area was smaller than a similar cabin on Celebrity, and there was much less drawer space, but it was adequate for a short cruise. And there is a HUGE walk-in closet, with a set of shelves. But the bathroom is the smallest I've ever seen. The stalls in the ladies' restrooms have more floor space. And there were only 3 tiny shelves for toiletries and drinking glasses. The shower had barely room to turn around. I don't know how a larger person would manage. The balcony was very nice, with 2 canvas chairs and a small table to hold your drinks and camera. Food: We ate breakfast in the Horizon Court buttet every morning. There was a good selection of various types of food, mostly geared to US or British passengers, but there were some Hispanic and Asian dishes. I didn't find out until after breakfast the last day that they make yummy waffles out at the pizza station. I really like that the flatware and napkins are already set at the tables. They also come around serving coffee and orange juice, but you can get tomato juice and other types for free, and they'll also bring water. Service was hit-or-miss the first 2 mornings, but improved as the cruise went on. For lunch, we ate in the DaVinci dining room once, where I found the selection disappointing and uninspiring. We ate at the Mast Grill once, and the burgers were excellent, and at the Pizza station once. Princess undoubtedly has the best pizza at sea. The other 3 days, we ate in the buffet. Again there was a good variety and the beverage service was much appreciated. We chose anytime dining so we could eat either at the Michaelangelo or DaVinci dining room. We enjoy meeting other people and sharing experiences. We went to the Michaelangelo (deck 5) if we wanted to eat early. If we went to the early show, we would just stay on Deck 6 and go across to the DaVinci, which didn't open for anytime dining until 7:30. After hearing everyone complain about needing pagers, we only had one on the third night. Then we went out to the piazza and listened to the musicians for about 10-15 minutes, a reasonable time to wait. I think the fact that we were willing to sit with others made it easier for us to get seated promptly. Food ranged from good to excellent, but I had nothing to really make me go WOW until the last night. Then I had the chilled Granny Smith apple soup, which was wonderful. The really fun part was that they served it in a pina colada glass with a straw and an apple slice on the edge. Because it was a short, port-intensive cruise, we didn't do much onboard. We went to the production shows, "Colors of the World" and "Broadway Ballroom." Both were fun, high-energy, well-performed and well-produced shows. We skipped the magician and comedian, and missed the Welcome Aboard show due to dinner running long. We saw only a few of the casual entertainers, and found them underwhelming. Unusual for us, we never made it to the fitness center, let alone the spa. We only encountered one serious glitch, which was eventually resolved. We signed up for EZcheck, where, for a fee, they will check you in with the airline and print your boarding passes. They also check your bags through from your stateroom to your final destination. The problem was, they delivered my husband's boarding pass and luggage tag on Thursday evening, but I didn't get mine. After 4 trips to guest relations, where we were repeatedly told not to worry, everything will be fine, I finally got mine at 3:30 Friday afternoon. They just couldn't seem to understand why we were worried. Well, maybe they are used to the process, but we aren't. Plus, our flight down was oversold, and people who checked in last, or not at all, got put on standby. We would have been much less concerned IF they had held his until mine was also available. Since our flight was at 5 pm Saturday and United doesn't let passengers check in prior to 24 hours in advance, we really didn't expect anything until dinnertime Friday. I'm not going to comment much about the layout of the ship except to say I found the Lido deck confusing. We normally used the midshop elevators, which come out between the 2 swimming pools, and I could never keep it stratight which way to the buffet, grill, pizza, etc. Signage was less than helpful--arrows pointing up and down rather than left and right. I'm sure if the cruise had been longer, I would eventually have gotten myself oriented. The staff was exceptional--everyone was polite, cheerful, helpful (except for the woman handling EZcheck). Passengers: Age-wise, this was the widest range of passengers since our first cruise to Alaska. There were families with toddlers and school children on spring break, a large crowd of 20-30-somethings, and adults of all ages. (Note, we didn't encounter much drunkeness or other excessive behavior, but then again, we avoided the pool and didn't stay up past 11. Others may have a different perspective.) We were at the older end of the spectrum, although definitely not the oldest people on board. From over 3300 passengers, 2/3 were Americans, 450 were Canadians, 50 were Chinese, and the rest were a mix of British, German, and 16 other countries. Disembarkation: Since we had a late flight, we booked a shore excursion following disembarkation. Everyone with excursions met in the casino. After about half an hour wait, our group was called. Having just 2 carry-ons and one of us walking with a cane, we got through the handicapped line and had no problems. Then we boarded our bus and were off on our tour. Ports/Excursions: We prefer to book through the ship and choose easy excursions due to my husband's mobiiity issues. We like to see the island highlights and get a taste of the history and culture. In Nassau, Grand Bahama Island, we took the "Forts, Ardastra Gardens, and Scenic City Drive." This took us to Fort Charlotte for a photo stop, and to the Ardastra Gardens, which is part zoo and part nature preserve. Seeing the flamingos march in formation was a sight not to be missed. A fascinating tour. Since there was a long walk from the drop-off point to the ship, we decided to stay in town and browse through the shops. There was the usual mix of cheap souvenirs and high end jewelry stores. Then we caught the shuttle bus back to the ship and headed for pizza. At Princess Cays, on the island of Eleuthera, we took the "Rock Sound, Tarpon (sic) Bay, Scenic Drive, and Lunch" tour. We stopped at an elementary school, where the 5th graders sang the national anthem and shared information about their country, The Bahamas. Other stops included a local church with shopping across the street; Ocean Hole, a "bottomless" pool which is somehow connected to the ocean; the town of Tarpum Bay to see the government offices; and lunch at a local bar/restaurant. We were served conch fritters, mac & cheese Bahaman style, honey barbeque wings, and pineapple muffins. There was also a demonstration of how to make conch salad and a Junkanoo performance with audience participation. The tour was very informative. Outside the fence to the Princess Cays area, there is a local craft fair, and more shopping just inside the area. Not being beach people, DH headed for the shade while I browsed the shops. Princess Cays is a tender port, and the seas were rather choppy, which made for an uncomfortable ride. Also, the tender lurched just as DH was getting ready to step back onto the ship, which wrenched his back. Nothing to spoil the trip--just a warning to others. Grand Turk: Here we took the "Scenic Drive, Lighthouses, and National Museum." We drove past a replica of John Glenn's space capsule, which made splashdown offshore. We visited the National Musuem, which has artifacts from the Molasses Reef wreck, which may be Columbus's ship, The Pinta. We visited a couple churches and the historic lighthouse, which is located in a donkey sanctuary. The final stop was at a former salt house, now a museum and gift shop. If you're looking for unusual and authentic souvenirs, this is the place to go. I think this was my favorite tour. Local carft are available in Cockburn Town of at the various tour stops. There is a large tourist shopping area at the port, again with high end gift and jewelry shops, along with the largest Margaritaville in the western hemisphere. Ft. Lauderdale: We chose the "Intracoastal Waterway by Boat and Las Olas Boulevard with FLL transfer." The intracoastal waterway tour was on a riverboat and was very enjoyable. Then we were taken to Las Olas Boulevard, Ft. Lauderdale's answer to Rodeo Drive, for time to shop or eat. We had lunch. Back on the bus for a ride along the waterfront, seeing all the spring breakers. Passengers going to FLL got dropped off first, then those who were returning to the ship, then those flying from Miami. It was a very enjoyable tour. In retrospect, I wish we had chosen to make this cruise part of a B2B. We needed more sea days to appreciated this beautiful ship, and a longer respite from the endless winter we're experiencing in NE Ohio. I guess this just gives us an excuse to book another cruise on the Ruby Princess.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Just got back today; figured I'd write a review while it's fresh on my mind. Pros: 1. Very clean public rooms, state rooms, dining rooms, etc.: all first class. 2. Service and attitude among staff was professional, friendly ... Read More
Just got back today; figured I'd write a review while it's fresh on my mind. Pros: 1. Very clean public rooms, state rooms, dining rooms, etc.: all first class. 2. Service and attitude among staff was professional, friendly and courteous. 3. Nightclubs/dancing (at Explorers): Thank goodness for the Liquid Blue Band. They were an awesome party / dance band that played in the Explorers Lounge. For 50-somethings that like to dance to music from the 70's and 80's [and a variety of other non-hip hop music], this is a great band. 4. Buffets for breakfast / lunch were fine. 5. If you're looking to get away from other people's kids, you found your cruise line. Fewer kids running amok. 6. Non-dance bars: Crooners Bar (can't say enough good things about their martinis, variety of drinks, customer service, excellent staff etc.) 7. Pools: thumbs up. Quite a variety of choices and plenty of lounge chairs were available. 8. Spa: thumbs up. I did the "thermal lounge" - access for entire trip for $69; they have sauna rooms and hot tile lounge chairs to relax in. Nice retreat spot. The massages were very expensive, so the wives did the massages and my wife had a good experience. 9. Grand Turk: we strongly recommend www.gtdiving.com (3 hour Gibbs Cay Experience); we got to swim with and hold stingrays, swim with and touch nurse sharks. Very cool. $70 pp. Arranged online with Al & Chris in advance. Jason was a great guide. Meets you right on the beach. Cons: 1. Food: The evening meals in the main dining rooms (Michelangelo and DaVinci) were disappointing [versus our experience on Royal Caribbean]. The prime rib was dry, tasteless and pathetic. I gave NY strip a try another night and it was mediocre (I'm a medium rare guy; they didn't overcook it, but it was still dry and tasteless). I veered away from red meat the rest of the trip, but the fish/chicken etc. was equally pitiful. Nothing else was particularly noteworthy (appetizers, vegetables, desserts). The reports from my wife and our traveling companions regarding their meal selections were equally disappointing. One night we skipped the "fine dining" and did the buffet. I felt like I was at the Golden Corral, which is fine if you like the Golden Corral. At least it was quick. 2. Average Age: A comedian and a magician [separately] joked during their respective performances about the average age on the ship being 80. I guess that's OK [if you're 80, like my parents], but if you're closer to 40 than 90 you might want a different demographic experience. 3. Other dance scenes (other than the Explorers Lounge): The Skywalkers Lounge is designed to appeal to a younger set, so it had a DJ that played mostly hip hop music that all had the exact same remix beat. Think: Tokyo Disco scene. In fairness, one night (request night) he played more 70's and 80's music that appealed to the baby boomers. Club Fusion had more of a Las Vegas lounge singer type atmosphere. Not my personal preference but it might appeal to you. 4. Entertainment (Stage Acts at the Princess Theater): Meh. Thumbs down. 5. Cigar Bar [should be renamed the "Marlboro Lounge"]: Thumbs down (and I am a cigar enthusiast). This is a relatively small interior room (with no balcony/outside access) next to the casino; it had 5 to 10 cigarette chain smokers puffing away every time I opened the door to poke my head in. It's a cigar bar, not a cigarette bar. No thank you. I was able to smoke a couple of my premium stogies on excursions. Overall, despite the cons, we had a fantastic time. A cruise is what you make of it. But the point of a subjective review is to give people information so they can make educated decisions based on their own personal preferences. Would I go on a Princess Cruise again if I could take a comparable cruise for the same price on Royal Caribbean? Based on the dining experience alone, I'd say "no". If this review helps you, great. If not, move on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This is our 2nd cruise on Princess, and it did not disappoint. After parking our vehicle in Park and Go (near the dock (very convenient due to lots of road construction in Fort Lauderdale) and reasonably priced, we arrived at the ship ... Read More
This is our 2nd cruise on Princess, and it did not disappoint. After parking our vehicle in Park and Go (near the dock (very convenient due to lots of road construction in Fort Lauderdale) and reasonably priced, we arrived at the ship close to 1pm, and literally walked on (I had completed all required paperwork in advance). Since Princess always has their rooms ready early, we brought our carry-on bags to Aloha - 327 (room ok, but did not realize there were overhead bunks) and then headed to DaVinci for a quick lunch, which was very good (beef so tender you could cut it with your fork). After checking out some areas of the ship, it was time for muster drill, which took about 1/2 hours time. Anytime dining works for us; Michelangelo at 6:30 pm was not crowded. We had a table of 12 and were served promptly. All the meals in the dining rooms were very good - no complaints whatsoever. Production show "Once Upon a Dream" was creative and very enjoyable. Day 2: Breakfast in Horizon Court (buffet) - good selection of fruit, eggs, omlets, meats, even fruit smoothies, etc. Water and coffee served at your table. 11:30 am - Princess Cays (Princess private island) - tendered to the island where we found a beach chair and headed into the beautiful Caribbean water which was cool and refreshing. Tough getting out of water due to sinking in the sand, but otherwise beautiful. Did not partake of the barbecue and headed back to the ship about 2pm for some pizza on Deck 15-midship, which is pretty good; Movies under the Stars going all day and well into the night. Dinner, comedian Rollin Jay Moore (very good),casino, karaoke. Day 3: Breakfast Horizon Court. Departed ship at 11:30 am, walking-off in Grand Turk, where a golf cart drove us the length of the pier to beach and shopping. Lots of beach chairs available (some in the some, some in the shade of palm trees). Water chilly, but refreshing once you got in. Again, tough getting out due to undertow. Shops are pricey, but nice to visit. Margaretville was hopping - pool and bars were full with everyone having a great time. Dinner (Horizon Court), magician Landon Swank (from America's Got Talent), Latin Fiesta Deck Party. Day 4: At Sea day. Lots to do, or not - your choice. Wheelhouse Bar offers a British lunch - fish and chips, meat pie, etc.; always good. Hunger Games on big screen, Dinner: DaVinci - Surf and Turf (wonderful). Colors of the World Production show, Late Night Comedy (Rollin Jay Moore) in Club Fusion - Adults only - laughed til I cried! Icon (band) opened for Rollin Jay Moore and were very entertaining. Staff was great throughout. Disembarkation a bit of a nuisance - should always walk-off if possible. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
CRUISE REVIEW – Jan. 15, 2014 Type Cruise: 4 Day Voyage to Nowhere (Getaway) from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA.  Cruise Line: Princess Lines (a.k.a. The Love Boat) Ships name: Ruby Princess. Italian-made 2008; Large type; 19 decks; ... Read More
CRUISE REVIEW – Jan. 15, 2014 Type Cruise: 4 Day Voyage to Nowhere (Getaway) from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA.  Cruise Line: Princess Lines (a.k.a. The Love Boat) Ships name: Ruby Princess. Italian-made 2008; Large type; 19 decks; Navigational crew: Italian/World-wide; Max: 3,599 passengers and 1,200 crew. Note: Only two (2) Americans were in the crew at administrative positions….. go figure. Dates: Jan. 9, 2014 @ 4 PM to Jan. 13, 2014 @ 7 AM Parking: Adjacent to departure pier at $15/day. Excellent, quick and easy Check-In: Slightly unprofessional; some things did not work at first; Check-in Agents used ordinary laptops placed on top of cardboard boxes. Luggage was checked-in at the curb. Embarking: Somewhat slow due to multiple/long zig-zaging lines. Over a 1 hour process. Cabin: Original booking was for an Inside Stateroom, but they upgraded us to an Ocean view Stateroom. Well-appointed, could be bigger and the shower was a bit small. Getting around: Confusing; due to insufficient directional signage throughout the ship; the deck plan provided only showed a profile of the entire ship vice individuals deck plans for each deck. In addition, all the crew members encountered were extremely friendly and helpful to guide us. Health/Safety: Needs more Purel hand sanitizing stations. Common areas: Two (2) main mediums sized pool/sunning areas. One pool area has a huge JumboTron screen for Movies at Night and Sports games during the day or night. It can be a bit loud at times. Quiet and cozy smaller pool areas are located at the bow and stern areas. Activities: Just far too numerous to cover. There is something available for all tastes and styles. Internet: Satellite (slow) internet connection is available. Price plans vary from $0.79/min to $19.90/hour. Entertainment: The showroom was large and well appointed. The entertainment was well done. Dining/Casual: The five (5) casual buffet style dining areas were open “alternatively” between 5 AM and midnight making it a “guess where is” on each visit. The food served was excellent and very well presented, although the selection could have been slightly greater. Of special note, these dining areas had low (7 foot) ceiling heights with a crowded seating arrangement, whereby making it a tight, squeezed-in type of ambience. Avoid the Ice Cream stand for Ice Cream…UGH. Dining/Semi-Casual: Casual attire, no formal nights during this cruise. The dining room seating and the general ambience was excellent. The latter of the two services was about 55-60% of its full capacity. The service was impeccable and precise. All the chosen food was excellent and well presented. It is worthy of my equivalent to a Michelin 1 Star rating. Destination(s): Princess Cays (A Princess Line owned 40 acres beachfront area at the deserted southern end of Eleuthera Island in the eastern Bahamas). It was nice and well-appointed with shops and inclusive dining places. The 3,000+ lounge chairs were tightly packed together. It can be a bit noisy at times. The only major issue was when walking into the water at the beach to take a dip …. the bottom was hard coral or limestone, not soft sand, whereby making it difficult to “safely” walk without “water shoes”, especially in rough surf. Renting snorkeling gear is a waste of money since there really is nothing to see underwater. The best bet activity would be the small sailboats to rent for an hour, providing there is wind. Disembarking: Up at 6 AM, went to breakfast and packed the suitcases by 7:15 AM. We decided to carry/roll out our luggage to save time, and it did. We arrived at the disembarkation muster point on the ship, left the ship at 8 AM, through U.S. Customs / Immigration and in our vehicle by 8:25 AM. Well done. Overall: We would do again even with its minor issues. Just stay onboard at Princess Cays. Total costs: Booking rate of $149 base price per person (Original was $449). Itemized: $448 base for two persons with taxes and port fees + $92 gratuities @ $11.50/pp/day + $60 terminal parking @ $15/day = $600 Total for two(2) people.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was bought on the premise that almost all our fare could be used on a new voyage before Dec. 31, 2014. We just wanted to get out of the Niagara area for a week and a half to escape the worst winter in years. We got the most expensive ... Read More
This was bought on the premise that almost all our fare could be used on a new voyage before Dec. 31, 2014. We just wanted to get out of the Niagara area for a week and a half to escape the worst winter in years. We got the most expensive cabin left (C320) just a couple weeks before sailing and booked the Hyatt near the Harbour Shops the night before. Super hotel if the price is right. $6.50 cab ride to port so ignore their pitch for a $7 each shuttle. Embarkation was a breeze, especially compares to the disaster trying to get on the Royal back in Novermber. We have been on the all three sister ships before and we were surprised to see serious aging signs on the Ruby. Its the youngest of the 3 but in far worse shape than the Crown was in 2013. A lot of nasty rust on the promenade and our balcony and varnish completely gone on railings. Drains on the veranda were bubbling up during rainstorms. The carpet in our room was badly stained and the heat/air conditioning was always out of whack. You could be freezing then 5 minutes later you would be sweating. We were told traditional dining was full only to learn that it was never more than half full. We were moved for the second 5 days to the rear dining room which is the best layout with the best waitstaff. The food was above average here as was the service. Entertainment was fairly good but as I am reaching Elite status , we have seen many acts before. Sad to see the bandits in the casino have upped their commission for poker to a record 15% . You really should be ashamed of this amount of greed and although I enjoy playing, you have taken away some enjoyment from the cruise experience. Final kudos to Alberto, our room steward. You were the best steward we have had in over 40 cruises and I can only hope a promotion is in your future. Disembarkation was easy because we carried our own bags in order to grab a cab for an early flight out of FLL back to brutal conditions up north. Lets hope the Ruby gets a much needed upgrade before we hop on here again in Southampton in the end of June. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Took this short cruise on a lark and a "special" that applied the price to a future cruise. The ship offered all the amenities you would expect and the staff was very efficient and assistive. Too short a trip to make any real ... Read More
Took this short cruise on a lark and a "special" that applied the price to a future cruise. The ship offered all the amenities you would expect and the staff was very efficient and assistive. Too short a trip to make any real judgments but a few things really stood out. Check-in was a breeze and we able to immediately go to our cabin. Food was okay but a bit below the standard for Princess. Disappointing that with all the years Princess has had Princess Cays, you still have to tender. You would think by now they would have a pier. Tendering with that many people is a hassle. We stayed on board and enjoy free run of the ship. Rather sparse offerings at the Princess Elite lounge. Not the variety we have come to expect at this venue. DEFINITELY loved the mixed performances times. 7pm, 8:30pm and 10:15pm so you could choose when to go. The talent was good too.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Major flaws- played elevator music in the AM thru late mornings on the pool decks. Options for activities in the AM to late morning hours were card making and knitting. For REAL? My wife and I have cruised on NCL 4x , Carnival 2 x. ... Read More
Major flaws- played elevator music in the AM thru late mornings on the pool decks. Options for activities in the AM to late morning hours were card making and knitting. For REAL? My wife and I have cruised on NCL 4x , Carnival 2 x. Princess was by far the most boring. The entertainment in the evenings was pretty good. The magician was fantastic. The comedian was crude and allowed some old fart in the front row to take control of his 30 minute act. The ship was relatively new and built in Japan. Our stateroom was the best ever with a balcony and soft king sized bed. Food- don't get me started.... the worst ever. I actually saw and SMELLED baked fish and vegetarian baked beans on the breakfast items. I ate oats and grapenuts every morning. The lunch was just as disgusting on the buffet lines- the burger/hotdog bar was ok- probably the freshest item on the ship. Dinner was descent in the dining rooms. Stay away from the Fettucini Alfredo- gag and the heartburn was terrible. The last night they offered me filet medallions and shrimp which was a B+ at best. The stateroom guy Fredo was super nice. The rest of the staff was okay. The skinny englishman (I think he was the asst cruise dir) was pretty funny. He got the crowd stirred up on says at sail. Never saw the real cruise director except on the TV. The game shows were quite funny too. Some Irish host that was a member of the cruise staff was pretty cool. I beleive that NCL has them beat - especially on price, and food quality and entertainment. The rooms on the newer Ruby were actually nice. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! ... Read More
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! Besides I have a full time job! That said, I have been in the resort/travel industry for over 30 years and lived on 5 continents, 12 countries and many islands in-between. I am fairly new to cruising, having taken my first cruise on RC over Christmas out of the port of Singapore in December 2008, and have been hooked on cruising, especially over Christmas, ever since. Yes, I know Christmas cruises are more expensive and full of kids, and as someone who has no kids you would think I would avoid them, as opposed to paying MORE for them. But who can resist the beautifully decorated ships, real snow falling in the Piazza and the entrances that Santa makes. (More on that in my review). And this cruise was a DEAL, and I did not even use my TA discount. Just booked directly with Princess in late November. I now cruise with my DM (a young 82) since we lost my Dad a few years ago. She prefers not to spend the holidays at home and who can blame her after sharing 63 years of her life with my DD. We are fortunate that we live in Vero Beach and it’s an easy drive to Port Everglades. I did some cruise ship inspections in November during the cruise convention and we learned that Port Canaveral is set to become the largest cruise port on the East Coast within 5 years. I hope Princess will place some ships there! EMBARKATION DAY (Or as I call it Woo-Hoo Day).: On Sunday, Dec. 22nd with the dog off to the sitter we left Vero for the no traffic Sunday drive down I-95. We arrived at PE around 11:00 am and I dropped DM off at Pier 4 with our luggage. I had packed a cooler of Diet Cokes (for me) and Caffeine Free DC’s (for DM) and water. I also had 2 allowed bottles of champagne and Christmas decorations for our cabin and door. (You may have seen our door on Dolphin deck, port side, mid-ship near the elevators, as very few doors were decorated and our was done top to bottom! I forgot to take a pic though. I parked on-site and in the few minutes it took me to park and come down the elevator my DM was waiting right there for me. There was no line, zippo, nada and we proceeded straight through to the waiting area. I stopped at the table to “register” my bubbles, but since it was in my roll along carry on, I am not sure how they would ever have known if I chose to not claim it??? We were given a card for group 6 and we waited for approximately 45 minutes to be called. I would point out that it was difficult to understand the person calling the groups, whether it was a faulty system or a bad microphone, and reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher! Wah-wa-waa-wah! If they would just hold up fingers on their hands it would have been a better system. Regardless we were soon through the doors and the line slowed as everyone waited to have their boarding photos. Having cruised with Commodore Romano previously, I actually saw him stick his head in a door in this area and have a quick look around and then duck back out. We bypassed those who wanted their photos taken and were soon stepping onboard. For those of you CC members who say their cruise starts when they hear the…. take your pick…… Plink, Blonk, etc. of having their cruise card entered, you will be disappointed as they are all done with hand scanners now and there goes that noise. Who would think it’s the little things you miss??? We proceeded directly to Dolphin 416 and were pleased to find it right by the elevator. For those of you who ask about upgrades near the elevator, I can say that we are always mid-ship near the elevator which is extremely convenient, but never the first door. It was no problem whatsoever and I would book this cabin again with no hesitation. Our cabin steward was Michael, and he was surely the best, non obtrusive, accommodating cabin attendant I have ever had. Every day we would leave for a quick breakfast, and EVERY day our cabin was made up when we got back. We never had to ask for ice. He was superb! This was our first time in a Mini-Suite. This was the THIRD time I have booked a cabin with two single beds, only to find it made into one bed. (This happened in my brother’s cabin on the Island for a Christmas Panama cruise, but my brother left it as he was with his then 7 yr. old son and happened to me again on RC in Nov.) I explained to Michael that we had requested 2 beds and he showed me the post it note that said “D416- Q”, but I assured him that as the TA who booked it, I knew I had requested 2 beds. He said he would change it later which he did. The pillows and beds were as comfortable as could be! No need for an egg crate. No pillow substitutions necessary. I make it a habit to tip extra at the beginning of a cruise, and at the end, and I did. (Especially for crew working over a holiday). We requested robes and slippers and he said that it would probably be later or even the next morning, but we had big fluffy robes in 20 minutes. I am not sure if our refrigerator was meant to have a mini-bar set up or not??? I know I requested for it to be emptied on the Island and the (very lazy) steward told up to just empty it ourselves and set everything around the tv. So it being empty worked perfectly as our luggage arrived very quickly and I set about filling the frig with coke and water and putting our Christmas decorations up including lights and a small tree. Michael suggested that we may want to take the stockings on our door in at night or they might disappear as the decorations that they had put on all of the mail-boxes were already half gone. Sure enough, I looked down the hall and most of the cabins in our area had been stripped of the little decorations that had been there just 45 minutes before. Seriously cruisers??? Anyway, I never put anything on our doors I am not willing to lose (most from the dollar store) and all of our decorations remained in-tact during the cruise, except for the candy canes we kept re-filling for people to take and I know Michael enjoyed a few of those!!! I had a letter, poem and photo for the Commodore (with a bridge tour request for DM) and when I asked Michael the best way to get it to him, he said he would take care of it. Within the hour he informed me that it had been delivered. With the cabin decorated, the luggage un-packed and our first time in a balcony cabin, I enjoyed the sparkling wine Michael brought to us on the uncovered balcony, which I did not mind at all. (I have not had a covered balcony, but I feel like it would be like looking out of a box with all sides covered.) DM does not drink so I had her glass as well. I chilled a bottle of my Veuve Clicqout for sail away. We passed on lunch in the MDR as I just can’t eat a FULL meal for lunch and then again for dinner. We went to the Horizon Court which was busy and shared a table. From that point on we ate at the Café Caribe, which I think is less busy as most “starving passengers” stop at the first line available! HINT to future cruisers, keep heading aft to Café Caribe and you’ll find tables both inside and out, and shorter lines. We then went for a tour of the ship, which I was familiar with from my cruise on the Crown Princess. The Christmas decorations were beautiful! So far, so good! The muster drill was uneventful and we were in the Explorer’s lounge. I asked if my DM could take a seat outside but the crew said that was reserved for handicapped. I found her one of the last seats left and I stood a bit away. It always amazes me travelling with her at the number of young people who never offer an “old lady” (more on that later) a seat. We went back to our cabin and I opened my bubbles and we watched all of the other ships sail away and finally it was our turn at “last”. We did sail away from our balcony, but now that I know about the sail away cam I will surely be one of those holding a poster from somewhere on the ship next time, if we do not have a balcony! We did see the Princess flag get raised and as soon as we passed those condos it was gone. What fun that must be for those who live in those buildings and participate in that ritual! We made our sail away calls to family and doglet sitter and then sailed away from land-lubber worries! I for one was looking forward to no phones, no internet, and I hope the majority of the cruisers I saw with their noses stuck in iPads were reading a good book, but to each his own. The seas were some of the calmest I have ever experienced. As a long time sailor, and having done that trip on my own sailboat, I knew this was going to be one of the smoothest cruises ever. DM does suffer from vertigo from time to time, and I could tell from the forecast that this would not be a concern on this voyage and we would not need to unpack the Sea Bands, Dramamine, etc. We dressed nicely for dinner. I am one of “those” who figure if I am on a cruise, I am going to dress the part. We do anytime dining in the MDR and enjoy sharing a table each night. (We do not want to HAVE to be ready at a certain time to eat). As we waited a very short time, Commodore Romano approached with two young boys and told the hostess that the boys were with him. I put together that these were his sons and he must have popped his head in the door earlier looking for his family to come through the VIP line. This was confirmed the next night when he was again at the Da Vinci entrance with his wife and sons and introduced us all. Our first night sharing a table in Da Vinci’s was quite the experience. Our table was a family of 4 (2 boys approx. 9 & 11) and both Mother-in-laws. This was the first cruise for the family (not the Mothers) and it turns out they are Vegans. Now I WISH I could do that, but that is never going to happen in this life-time, and I don’t think a cruise and Vegan make a good pairing, especially if you’ve made no prior arrangements and it’s your FIRST cruise. These people had the chefs out of the kitchen 4 different times. Could they prepare this without this? Could they make that? They did finally ask to see the menu for the next night so hopefully, they were more prepared. In the mean time, the two Mothers ate meat, desserts, etc. lol. The poor wait-staff was already saddled with a party of four making special requests (Honeydew sorbet), and the one lady was demanding dessert before any of them had even been served their “meal” and while we were still eating out entre. Needless to say, I was happy we were never re-seated with them again, and I don’t think I ever saw that family the rest of the cruise. For those of you who are looking for food reviews, please find another reviewer. I do not take pictures of food on my plate, although we did share a table the 2nd night with a couple and she asked if she could take pictures of everything I got! I am not a “foodie”. I did eat at a specialty restaurant on the Crown once and for some it’s worth it, for me it’s just not. I did buy a bottle of Danzante Pinot Grigio that I have had before, to drink with dinner each night in Da Vinci’s. I will summarize and say that I was very happy with the food on this cruise whether it was the Caribe, the IC, Da Vinci’s, the pizza, etc. I heard my share of complaints about the food though…..”not up to Princess standards”, etc., but I do not share that view. My service was great, my food was great. And you will NEVER hear me complain about dessert. I also heard my share of complaints on this cruise about the “short” cruises and how they are “not Princess’s niche”. I guess I am just not a complainer and am just happy to be lucky enough to cruise! So, back to that…… As much as I would have liked to see the Colors of the World, we missed the early show due to dinner and sacked out early and missed the later show. I have heard good things about it. I did stop in the Piano Bar where I met a server, Franky from Bali. Having lived in Bali for a few years, I always enjoy meeting Indonesians aboard and usually befriend one just because they are amazed that I can speak some Bahasa Indonesian to them and Franky & I had both lived in Nusa Dua, so we hit it off and I did make a point of seeing him each night. The Piano Bar is usually my place to hang, but I did not find Craig Andrews very interactive with the crowd. I should probably stop here and explain that we chose this cruise for R&R. We were not interested in a port intensive cruise. We just wanted to be on a beautifully decorated ship, have someone else do all the work, and have no agenda. This cruise ticked all the boxes and I was not disappointed one bit. Day 1 At Sea: We awoke with no complaints and went to a leisurely breakfast at the Café Caribe. After brekkie we went to the Onboard Outlet Sale in the Michelangelo Dining Room where I found some great tank tops that Old Navy stopped making so I was a happy camper. There was a “Holland Line” lady in a hurry to check out and complained that all she had done with Princess so far was wait in lines. Again, seriously? You booked a sold out cruise over a holiday and you forgot to pack your patience??? We did mark the patters every day, (Creativity @ Sea, Turkey Carving, etc.) but if we didn’t make it to something, we didn’t worry. We were not interested in the trivia contests or the Pop Star or The Treasure Hunt or the line dancing, or the Spa, etc. Just R&R on the high seas and we napped in our mini-suite every day! After the sale, it was impossible to find two loungers together at the pool, but this was partly our fault as I wanted the sun and DM wanted the shade. I bumped into the Commodore and he told me that he had received my letter, poem and photo, and I introduced DM. At that point I settled her into the shade and went off to the adult only aft pool where after a short wait I was able to score a lounger overlooking the stern on the pool level. Now a bit about chair hogs. As someone who often travels single/solo, it is difficult to sometimes reserve your rights (as you dash off for a slice of pizza or to the loo for example) and not be accused of chair hogging. The whole 2+ hours I was in that lounger, there was a chair next to me with a towel and one sneaker on it. No one ever used that lounger. I should have gone back and rescued DM from the termites, I mean kids, but I did not want to be accused of chair hogging or lose my prime spot. There was a gentleman behind me who was asked by an ”ahem” lady if the chairs surrounding him were being used and he said yes. She then told him in no uncertain terms that you were not allowed to save chairs. He told her that he could assure her they were just over there in the pool. She scored a chair near-by and within 10 minutes, 2 more became available and she plopped down 2 of her party in those chairs. Literally 2 mins. later her DH asked what time it was and she said 1. He said, “what I thought it was like 11:00. Let’s go eat lunch at the buffet.” So they left all of their stuff and took off for lunch. I guess the rules don’t apply when you look in the mirror!!! Lol This night was the “Dress To Impress” night and the champagne waterfall. We did a few portraits until we got tired of being asked to pose in awkward poses (lol) and we found a front row seat under the staircase and watched the glasses being set up. I had never seen it done in red before and lest you think it was for Christmas, the very talented gal setting up the glasses explained it is because of the “Ruby” Princess. It is one of the cruising rituals I love! We engaged the couple sitting next to us. She had a “Christmas Cape” on, which she explained was really a Christmas Tree skirt. She said she has a whole wardrobe of them that she buys on sale after Christmas. Very clever! We waited until the end to get our waterfall pictures taken. We then went to DaVinci’s and the Commodore introduced us to his beautiful wife and 2 handsome sons. We sat with a couple. This was the gal who took pictures of ALL of the food plates. We passed on the Comedy show and DM called it a night. I wandered up to Sky Walkers but there were not many people there. Came back to Crooner’s and had a specialty martini. A “Poinsettia”, had a chat with Franky and then off to bed. Day 2 Princess Cays: Having been to Princess Cays previously, I could have bypassed it altogether and stayed aboard enjoying the empty ship. Being from Florida I knew I was not going in the water! As DM had never been, we decided to watch the movie (The Princess Bride) and enjoy the pool to ourselves and get some sun. At one point DM decided to use the hot tub. The previous days, it was just too crowded. As she entered the hot tub, it was occupied by another woman and 2 small girls. One of the girls looked up and said “Oh no, not another OLD LADY!”. I won’t go into all of their bratty behavior but the other woman gave up and left. Now the parents of these 2 brats were in a lounger near the hot tub and never once minded them. It’s a good thing I was up on deck watching the big screen or these “non” parents would have gotten a piece of my mind. I am not a public hot tub user but isn’t the rule that kids are not supposed to be in them unaccompanied??? About the same time that the movie ended (noonish), they announced that we no longer needed tender tickets to go ashore. WE caught a tender with no waiting and ventured ashore. We ate a burger which was what you would expect it to be as everything has to be ferried over, and shared a table with 4 young crew members on a rare day off. DM bought a trinket for a friend and we caught a tender back. We easily scored some prime loungers on the upper aft deck at the adult only pool, and I had a Mud Slide for a very reasonable $6.50. Then it started to drizzle so it was back to the mini-suite for a nap. I do love having the sofa to nap on! We returned to our cabin where we found an invitation for our “Navigational Bridge Tour” on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas DM! I had visited the bridge previously on the Ultimate Ships Tour on the Crown which I highly recommend, but thought it would be a bit ambitious for DM. Therefore I was hoping the request to the Commodore would be granted and he did not disappoint. We dressed festively as it was Christmas Eve, but passed on any casual photo opportunities. This night was the crew Christmas caroling and it’s another reason I love cruising at Christmas. We got our Holiday Carols booklet and joined in. When they got to “Let It Snow” and that real snow starts falling from the top of the Piazza, it is magical! We again shared a table with a large group this time and afterwards caught the tail end of the Beatles Medley in the Piazza. DM spent a short time in Gatsby’s which was waaaayyyy too smoky for me and came out $20 ahead on her slots. I had a drink from Franky in Crooners. Our plan was to attend the Ultimate Deck Party. The drizzling rain outside forced the deck party to be held in the Piazza. The change of venue did not seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. For those of you who were on this cruise, I was the one in the blinking red glasses and flashing ring. The fact that I got DM to wear both as well is why I love cruising with her! I think a good time was had by all, even though we mostly just took advantage of our front row seat and people watched! Afterwards it was time for DM to retire. I had a Bailey’s in Crooners, and chatted with Franky who had a Christmas present for me…a crew pin! I now have the old version and the new! CHRISTMAS DAY at SEA: We awoke and exchanged a few small presents we had brought aboard and DM won $10 on her scratch lottery tickets I had put in her stocking. We did some packing and I took down the Christmas decorations, as we were one of the few who put luggage out later that night. We gave wrapped presents to Michael and Franky, some candy we had brought on board. Today was Santa’s arrival! I have to comment that other than the bratty girls in the hot tub, the 750 children on board were all well behaved. And I believe all 750 were lined up to sit on Santa’s lap and get a gift! The line went FOREVER! I love the radio chatter between the Coast Guard and the Bridge when Santa arrives. I thought I was video taping his whole entrance thru the Piazza as “Here Comes Santa Claus” blared, and afterwards realized I had not pushed the button to tape! Well, some things are just meant to be seen in real time! I think Santa had a l-o-n-g night as his sparkly attendants had to help with his bowl full of jelly belly which was sort of sagging. The kids, big & small, did not seem to mind. We watched for a bit and then went off for the pub lunch and some great fish & chips in the Wheelhouse Bar. We caught a bit of magician Ben Seidman in the Piazza and we did some reading on the Promenade deck which is just a peaceful place to relax. I wish they would make it a “quiet zone” as the people strolling tend to shout at each other as they walk by. Our Bridge Tour was scheduled for 3:00 and we were met by a member of the security team and escorted to the Bridge where Commodore Romano greeted us. We had brought gifts of candy to the Bridge as well. We were allowed to take photos and DM even got to sit in one of the pilot chairs. I love the bridge and the crew there takes watches of 4 hours on, 4 hours off with no days off. The watcher stands his visual watch and with all of the electronics onboard, his position is considered the most important. Some things never change in hundreds of years! http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 After the Bridge Tour, DM went for a nap and my plan was to have Afternoon Tea. When I turned the corner, the line for tea was longer than the line for anytime dining! Oops. Now I am the one complaining about lines! Lol I think it was due to the fact that the weather was not that great. I passed on the tea and went to the IC and had some goodies! Dinner was shared with a table of 6 others. One couple did the food complaining, the short cruise complaining, etc. Another couple was frustrated as they were doing a B2B and had to change cabins from an interior to an obstructed view. Seriously? Take the upgrade! DM had the turkey and I had the beef and all was tasty and the best part was we did not have to cook it! Dessert (Christmas Pudding for me) was as always, fabulous! My favorite dessert on this cruise was the French vanilla bean crème brulee, and I am an admitted vanillaholic! After dinner we went to see the show Broadway Ballroom, the only time we went to the theatre. It was your typical cruise ship production. My bad, but I almost fell asleep. I was looking forward to seeing “Now You See Me” on the big MUTS screen and after dinner we changed into comfortable, warmer clothes and headed up only to find it raining. So we returned to the cabin to watch it on tv and as much as we had planned to see the Christmas production, Holiday Wishes, with the crew…..once in the cabin to watch the movie…. we were done for the night. DISEMBARKATION DAY: (Sad Day) - Having put our luggage out the night before we were to wait in the Wheelhouse for a Group Orange 7, 9:20 disembarkation time. We had a leisurely brekkie in the MDR and still had an hour to kill. I found a seat in the packed Wheelhouse for DM and then went to drop my Consummate Host card off. I also dropped our Future Cruise Deposit Form in the box. This was literally 15 minutes before we disembarked and within 5 hours we had our e-mail confirmation. I had read some other posts complaining about this, so possibly we benefited from those previous complaints. I can say that each time I cruised by there, I never once saw the consultant. I noticed no one disembarking. I went and collected DM and it was about 20 minutes before our group was to be called. I asked the crew if we could walk off and she asked if we were in a hurry. I said we had a long drive and she smiled and said sure go ahead. We were the only two down the gang plank and into the luggage area. We elected to have a porter help, found our bags and he walked us thru the lane where the wheelchairs were going and we bypassed the whole passport line so we were literally off the ship and outside in 3 minutes. He took our luggage to our floor of the elevator and we were parked only about 6 spaces away. We loaded up and were off to A1A to visit my brother in Lighthouse Point. SUMMARY: This was one of the most relaxing cruises I have ever enjoyed. I wish I had booked the B2B, but prior to the cruise my Miata had to have a fuel pump replaced, and after the cruise my Yorkie fell and needed an x-ray so the mechanic and the Vet cost more than my whole cruise! I’m hoping they offer the “free cruise” again and I would book this same cruise in April for my birthday. Princess is my favorite line so I might be biased. The bottom line for me is the complainers are on a CRUISE! They are not fighting an illness in hospital. They have discretionary money to cruise. Unless the ship breaks down, or the seas are 30 feet, what is there to complain about??? Bon Voyage until next time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our second cruise on the Ruby with the 1st being Nov. of last year. We loved our last cruise so when I found out the Ruby was doing a special 3 night cruise in Dec. my husband and I decided to give ourselves an early Christmas ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Ruby with the 1st being Nov. of last year. We loved our last cruise so when I found out the Ruby was doing a special 3 night cruise in Dec. my husband and I decided to give ourselves an early Christmas present. We loved our cabin before so we booked the same cabin. Embarkation was a breeze for us. We drove down the night before and stayed the night at the Hyatt Pier 66 and had a very nice dinner at the restaurant there. The next moring we drove to the pier to park but since my husband has a concealed to carry permit and had a weapon in the car we were told we had to park at the Park N Go over by the airport. That was a great idea as the parking there is only $10 day and you get a discount off that if you are a AAA member. The shuttle picked us up immediately and took us to the pier and when we got of the shuttle was right there. The neet thing about Park N Go is that they have a family of monkeys living right next door and they feed them banannas so we got to see them. Parking at the port is $15 a day. We were on board very quickly. Cabin: The cabins on Caribe (10) deck have the biggest balconys onboard. They are a huge 9' x 9' and the front half is covered. The balconys are tierd so if you don't want to look down on someone or have someone look down on you do't book princess. We don't care. Now you can hear others on their balconys and you can smoke on your balcony. You have no control over that and neither does Princess or any other crusie line. It is just like a hotel balcony in that you have your personal space but it is not completely private. FOOD & SERVICE: The staff onboard to us was wonderful and very courteous and friendly. We are not buffet people so we only did the buffet for lunch the first day. It was crowded and impersonal. We had anytime dining and never had to wait more than 50 or 10 min. to get seated ever for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The food was great we thought. ULTIMATE BALCONY DINNER: I HIGHLY recommend doing this if you are at all romantic. WOW we felt like royalty. The cost is $50 pp. but so worth it. Our personal waiter arranged everyting out on the balcony with a beautiful table set up complete with flowers. First course was canapies, Second course was appatiser and we had steak for the main course and the dessert was do die for WOW along with water, wine and champagne. The photographer took some beautiful pictures of us. Between courses the waiter waits outside your door so you do have complete privacy. Our dinner was the ultimate highlight of our cruise. We had a day at sea so early that moring at 7 am I went to sign us up for the Sanctuary for the afternoon in the adult area. We love that area as it is quiet and relaxing with wait service. Then I went and worked out in the gym. In the moring I shoped and took pictures. PRINCESS CAY DAY: We slept in as we were in no hurry to get to the island. Princess Cay is a pretty island with tons of water sports opportunity with bars, grills and local shopping. IT was a fun day. The tendering was very organized getting to shore and back. CROWN GRILL: our last night of the crusie we had dinner in the Grown Grill. IT was wonderful and so was the food. MISC: Movies under the stars was fun with blankets and popcorn. Loved the internationa cafe with sandwiches and desserts. The Champagyne waterful they do was so much fun and a great photo op. It only lasted a few minutes. We never did so see a show as time and our plans did not allow. We spent a lot of time on our balcony reading and just looking at the water. We love the Ruby Princess and are now looking forward to our next crusie on her. the only negative was that the cabins never really get what I call cool, like you keep it at home so I brought a small fan and extension cord and used that at night. I think the thermastates are just there for looks. In the day time it helps to keep the drapes closed if you are not in your cabin. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We just returned from the 3 night Ruby Princess Cruise to the Bahamas. The weather was not good, but the cruise was great! It was just me (Larry) and my DD, (Lindsay), who was on her winter break from Grad School at FAU. She's in her ... Read More
We just returned from the 3 night Ruby Princess Cruise to the Bahamas. The weather was not good, but the cruise was great! It was just me (Larry) and my DD, (Lindsay), who was on her winter break from Grad School at FAU. She's in her 20s and I'm in the second half of my 50s. This was my 20th cruise and 10th cruise on Princess. This was Lindsay's 5th cruise and 1st on Princess. The weather in Ft. Lauderdale was ominous with big black clouds and periods of hard rain. The embarkation process was quick and easy. We parked the car around 11am. There was no line at all to enter the terminal and we were through security within minutes. I Platinum level and we were seated in a waiting room for Elite and Platinum members. The wait was about 15 minutes and then we were allowed to proceed to registration. Registration took less than 5 minutes and we were on the ship by 11:45am! Princess has always had a great embarkation process. We found the way to our cabin which was an aft/starboard inside cabin on the Aloha deck. Since it was only a 3 day cruise we carried our luggage on with us and we couldn't even fill half the drawers and closet with our clothes! Our cabin steward met us in the room. I asked to have 2 extra pool towels each day and for 2 bathrobes which he placed in the room by the time we got back from lunch. I had been on the Emerald Princess (identical twin of the Ruby) twice before and know the layout of the ship very well; so I gave Lindsay a full tour of the ship. For those of you that have not been on the Ruby, Emerald or Crown Princess, they are very impressive ships. I pointed out my favorite places like the International Cafe, Piazza and the aft adult pool area. I love the fact that the layout of the ship is somewhat confusing as I continue to discover new things every time I sail. We had lunch in the Horizon Court buffet which was excellent. I had a salad that was crispy and fresh, sliced turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. The turkey and mashed potatoes were warm and delicious. I then discovered something new to me on Princess, which is Free Ice Cream!! They now have free soft serve ice cream at the ice cream kiosk next to the Pizza Kiosk. Very yummy! The rain stopped for a while, so we changed into our bathing suits and enjoyed the Aft Pool Jacuzzi for a while. The heavens opened up around 3:30pm and they moved the Sail-away party from the Neptune Pool to Club Fusion. The rains subsided a little when we sailed away, so we enjoyed sail-away on aft pool deck. Prior to dinner we went to the Cafe Caribe for the Seafood extravaganza buffet. As always Princess came through with a sea food spread of delicious shrimp and large lobster claws. We shared a plate and then went to the Monticello Dining room for dinner. I love to meet new people, so we opted to share a table and met some interesting tablemates. The food and service in the dining room was excellent. For dinner I had the porticini (sp) mushroom soup and the prime rib. Princesses' Porticini mushroom soup is one of the best mushroom soups I've ever had. I always order it and as I always I was not disappointed. The prime rib was cooked to perfection, cooked medium rare as I like it. I am an ice cream aficionado and order a different kind of ice cream each night. I had hazelnut ice cream this night and it was very good! I can't remember everything Lindsay had for dinner, but she definitely enjoyed her meal. Our waiter was very friendly and efficient. We had a different waiter each night and all of them were very friendly and efficient. We were in and out of the dining room each night within an hour and had plenty of time to make it to all the evening shows and events. After dinner we went to the Princess lounge for the welcome show. The Princess singers and dancers were one of the best dance troupes I've seen on Princess. They also had a one of the funniest comedians I've ever seen. His name is Troy Thirdgill and I highly recommend him if he performs on your cruise. We then enjoyed the Karaoke event in club fusion where there were both excellent singers and not so excellent singers. We ended the night by going out on deck to see what movie they were showing on MUTTS. It was raining fairly hard, but there were some die hard people watching and enjoying the movie under the sheltered part of the deck. The movie was The Time Travelers Wife. It was off to bed for us and a good night's sleep as the ship gently rocked back and forth. Friday was a great sea day! I am an early riser, so I hit the gym around 7am and worked out for about an hour. They have a great gym on board with lots of weight machines, elliptical machines and treadmills. They had a yoga class going while I was there with about 40 people. After the gym I went down to the International cafe and got a latte using my frequent coffee card. It you love coffee, especially specialty coffee drinks, Princess has a great deal. You can buy a coffee card that allows you to have 15 specialty drinks for $27. That's less than $2 for any specialty drink like Lattes, Cappuccinos, espressos, etc. You can also get unlimited free coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. with the card. I then went to the Cafe Caribe buffet for breakfast. I try to be healthy on the cruise and hence I had oatmeal along with some fresh fruit, but I did cheat a little and ate one piece of bacon. It was all warm and delicious! If you want more, the buffet has a full variety of scrambled eggs, sunny side up eggs, omelets cooked to order, bacon, ham, sausage, French toast, waffles, bagels, lox, various rolls, breads and pastries, etc. I find all the food to be hot and perhaps the reason some people seem to find the food cold is because they load so much food on their plate, it can't all stay warm before they eat it all! :rolleyes: I then went outside to find a place to sunbathe and read my book. It was overcast most of the day, but the sun did peak through many times; enough to give us both a little sun burn! The temperature was a perfect 80 degrees most of the day. We sunbathed at the Aft Pool deck on starboard side railing right at the back of the ship. It's one of my favorite places on the ship as it is very quiet and it's just you and the ocean! We went in the aft Jacuzzi several times as well. The lunch special in the Cafe Caribe was Mexican and Lindsay had a Taco salad that she said was delicious. As much as I try to eat healthy, cruising brings out the worst in me and I thoroughly enjoyed a delicious cheeseburger and fries from the grill located by the Neptune Pool. Later I had to get my free ice cream cone which really hit the spot. There were dozens of activities both inside and outside during the day, but we were more than content to sit outside and read almost all day. We went to dinner around 7pm in the Da Vinci Dining Room and again sat with some very interesting people and enjoyed our meal with them. Again the food and service were excellent. I had a shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad and Lamb Chops. I always get the Caesar salad mainly because they only give you a very small portion which does not fill me up. A lot of people complain about the small portion and I'm not sure why. If they want a larger portion, all they have to do is ask for a larger portion, but it seems some people would rather complain. Princess serves a delicious shrimp cocktail and the lamp chops were cooked to perfection and were to die for! It was butter toffee ice cream for dessert which I thoroughly enjoyed. Lindsay had a tossed salad and chose the Chilean Sea Bass for her entre, which she loved. After dinner we went to the Princess Theater to see the Production show called "Once Upon a Dream." The show was fantastic. It featured the Princess Singers and Dancers and used a cool new technology where the side and rear backdrops were all done with multi-dimensional video projection. It's the first time I've seen this technology and it was really cool. After the show we went to the Explorers Lounge to see the comedian Troy Thirdgill. His full show was hilarious and everyone in the crowd was howling with laughter. We really loved his show. After his show, we went to the Grand Piazza for the "New Year's party event. They had a live band playing dance music and the crowd danced the night away. Everyone is given steamers and at midnight everyone throws their streamers. It's a blast of a party and I've attended many on past Princess ships. By now we were totally exhausted from a wonderful day at sea and made our way to the cabin for another nights relaxing sleep. I was up at 6:30am on Saturday and decided to skip the morning exercise routine as I wanted to be one of the first to take the tender to Princess Cay. Lindsay and I had our usual fare for breakfast in the Cafe Caribe and afterwards made our way to pick up our backpacks from the room to take on the tender. As we left the room with our backpacks, the Captain came on the loud speaker to announce that due to rough seas and high winds, we would be unable to safely tender over to the Island. I had a feeling this was going to happen as it was very over cast and it was windy on deck. If you've heard the expression of turning a lemon into lemonade, that's exactly what Lindsay and I did. While the weather was quite windy and overcast, we found an area by the aft pool that was somewhat isolated from the wind and spent half of the day lounging and reading our books. As the hours went by, the weather conditions improved, but as the sun peaked out more and more the temperature dropped. By mid afternoon, it couldn't have been more than 70 degrees. We decided to go inside for lunch and very much enjoyed fish and chips in a traditional pub lunch that they serve at the Wheelhouse bar. The fish and chips were almost as good as I have had in Alaska! I decided to splurge when we went back on deck and had a delicious piece of Pizza from the pizza grill. Again, Princess has some of the best pizza I've ever had. It may not be as good as NY Pizza, but I live in Orlando and it's definitely as good as or better than anywhere in Orlando! If that wasn't enough, I had to then have my ice cream cone on top of that! My dd just shakes her head at my lack of will power!:o We went back to the room to watch a movie on the TV. I was browsing through the Princess Patters guide where I saw that they had afternoon tea in one of the dining rooms. My wife always goes to the afternoon teas and I have never gone with her. So we decided to try it out. I never knew what I was missing! We were seated with other people and enjoyed their company while we dined on little sandwiches, cookies and cakes and of course, tea. The icing on cake was when they served us scones with whipped butter and jam. It was so delicious!! Having filled myself with all this food, it was very easy to fall asleep and take a great nap until it was time for dinner! Once again we ate in the Monticello Dining Room and joined other interesting folks to share our dinner. It was Italian night, of which I am not a big fan, but I made some good choices and enjoyed my dinner very much. I had a shrimp cocktail appetizer along with a Caesar salad and finished it off with the Pot Roast entre. The pot roast was hot, juicy and delicious (just like mama made)! Lindsay had the Shrimp Fra Diablo, which she said was not too spicy and tasted delicious. They had two different gelatos for the ice cream dessert. Not knowing which one to get, Lindsay and I shared them both and they were both excellent! After dinner we went to the Princess Theater for the evening's main show which was a man and wife Illusionist team,Tony Laffan and Kasey-Laura. I'm not a big fan of magic or illusionists, but they were very good. The illusions they performed were mind boggling and I'm glad we went to their show. Afterwards we went to the Explorers Lounge for the Liar's Club Game Show. It was entertaining and hilarious as a couple of words were, "BALDERSNATCH" and "COCKSHY". You can use your imagination as to how a couple of the "celebrity" players defined those words! :eek: As it was our last night on the ship (way too short), we made our way to the cabin and packed our bags so we would be ready for our 7:25 am walk off departure in the morning. Before we went to the cabin, I went to the purser's desk to pay cash for our bill. As neither of us drinks, our bill came to a whopping total of $27. I own 100 shares of Carnival Stock, so I received $50 OBC and to my delight Princess credited our account by another $15 per person for not stopping at Princess Cays. My only expenditures were for a coffee card and sun screen I purchased on board. Princess also posts $10.50per person per night for tips which makes the tipping process very simple. I do usually tip some of the staff extra especially if they go out of their way and go over and beyond. We awoke bright and early at 6:15am on Sunday. We dressed and went to the Cafe Caribe for our final breakfast of Cereal and fruit. We then picked up our luggage out of the room and went to our pre-disembark area in the casino. We got there at about 7:10 and were received our notice at 7:30 that we could disembark the ship. As we never made it to land, we did not have to go through customs and were in our car within 5 minutes. I dropped off my daughter at her apartment in Boca at 8:30 and was home in Orlando by 11:30am! Just as Princess excels in their embarkation process, I don't think they are second to anyone on their disembarkation process. In conclusion, I rarely write reviews of cruises any longer, but due to some of the negative reviews floating around about this cruise, I wanted to give another perspective. I really don't mean to take away anything from people that do have negative experiences on a cruise, especially when they are serious. But sometimes people make a little more out of the negative experience that it deserves. Was our cruise perfect? No. On the first cruise day, I ruined my coffee card in the Jacuzzi. I went to the International Cafe to see if they would replace it and I was told rudely that they could not replace it. Did I get mad and upset? No, I called the Food and Beverage Manager and politely told him about the card and he did replace it for me. Even if he had not replaced it, would it have done me any good to get upset? No, I would have ruined the cruise for me and my daughter. Losing a $27 card is hardly enough to ruin an entire cruise and a horrible reason to not cruise on that cruise line again (as some would surely do)! Also, as this was one of very few 3 night cruises that Princess offers and the total cost for the entire cruise for my daughter and I was less than $400, I didn't have sky high expectations. I am pleased to say that Princess totally exceeded all my expectations by a wide margin. Four years ago, my daughter and I sailed on a 4 night cruise on the Imagination ship and Carnival's food, service and entertainment far exceeded my expectations for that cruise as well. As usual others found something to complain about in their cc reviews. Cruising is not for everyone. For those of you expecting 5 star meals on a cruise ship, you'd be wise to go on a land trip where there are 5 star quality restaurants or on a very high end very expensive cruise line like Crystal; for those of you expecting Broadway quality shows on a cruise ship, you might want to go to NYC or London to get that kind of quality and for those of you looking for the comfort of a Heavenly Bed, you should consider a land trip and stay in a Hotel that offers that type of bedding. For those of you that are generally happy people that enjoy the true gifts of life, I think you will find a cruise on any cruise line to be a fantastic vacation! Just my 2 cents...Happy Cruising!:) Larry Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We really enjoyed sailing the Ruby Princess, but not for the reasons we thought we would. It had been about a year since we last sailed on Princess Cruises, our last sailing on favorite ship Caribbean Princess. Since then we had sailed ... Read More
We really enjoyed sailing the Ruby Princess, but not for the reasons we thought we would. It had been about a year since we last sailed on Princess Cruises, our last sailing on favorite ship Caribbean Princess. Since then we had sailed on several other cruise lines, some not as great, some about as great and one greatly less than wonderful. We are on a health management program that required we follow certain guidelines and hoped we would be able to on the ship. What we found were plenty of good, healthy options aboard Ruby Princess that worked well with our program. What we did not count on was a deadly combination of two factors that drove us off our plan: Fabulous food and an equally fabulous, helpful crew. We just were not counting on either being as good as they are. As a result we went far off our plan, have no regrets and nothing but nice things to say about both. This ship truly blew us away in most all areas so let's get right into it Embarkation A breeze. We entered Pier 2 at Port Everglades about 11:00 and were on the ship by 11:30, in our aft balcony stateroom by 11:40. Very nice. Food As mentioned, fabulous. What made it difficult to stay strictly on our plan was Maitre d' Jose who just could not do enough for us. From a personal phone call upon embarkation, to his personal commitment throughout the cruise, this was a first for us. It seems more the norm for Maitre d's and other dining room management people to stop by tables occasionally during a cruise. This man was really into being sure we had a good time and did what it took to see that happened. The ship Beautiful. As this was a holiday cruise the ship was decorated quite tastefully and was spotlessly clean throughout the voyage. The familiar basic layout of the ship mirrored other Princess ships so we felt at home and enjoyed the new features added, especially the International Cafe offering a nice variety of light meals and snacks throughout the day plus some fabulous coffee selections. The crew Again, fabulous. From our cabin steward to electricians and maintenance people met in random encounters walking the halls, everyone seemed so happy to be there doing what they do. It was really refreshing to see. Not that other lines do not have happy people on board there working, they do, the crew on this ship just seemed so over the top happy to be there that it was a real pleasure to see. Itinerary This was the perfect ship to miss a port when we could not stop at Princess Cays for safety concerns about the tender operation in high seas. It was a great day to spend in our stateroom for the most part even though a revised and updated activity schedule was promptly distributed and featured plenty for everyone to do on the ship that day. Disembarkation We needed to get off the ship early for our drive back to Orlando and got just that, off the ship and on the road before 8am. Very nice. I like that they keep it simple and their "silent disembarkation" without a bunch of annoying announcements was pure heaven. Some highlights: Internet Access in-cabin- Decent. We had an aft balcony cabin, all the way at the back of the ship, probably about as far away from the Internet Cafe as possible and got a signal. A low signal but it worked. Others I talked to, closer to the center of the ship, had signals much better. I chose to go sit at the International Cafe, within view of the Internet Cafe on deck five, to connect. Very good signal there Motion in the Ocean- We sailed away under rough sea conditions and a rain storm. I can not remember sailing on rougher seas since a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 but this ship handled it well. Our aft balcony stateroom on the Baa deck was rocking and rolling all night long that first night. Lisa always takes Bonine for this purpose, forgot to take it until we were well under way and had no problems but I would suggest a more midship location for those who experience motion discomfort...and a note to take precautions before getting on the ship Quality of the food- It is difficult for me to believe that the cuisine on this ship could be rated anything less than remarkable but as I have said many times before, food is such a subjective thing that I suppose it could happen. Our experience as noted earlier: fabulous. For those with food issues, look forward to your sailing on this ship; they really try hard to make it work for you. Dining room issues: None. Best advice: see the Maitre d' once on the ship no matter what. I think this is going to be a new rule for us, just something we do. Knowing the Maitre d' proved to be richly rewarding for our dining experience. These people really do want us to have a good time, we just need to give them the chance to make that happen Clientele- Short cruises on lines that don't do a lot of them often draw the curious. I know we had never sailed Celebrity until the Century offered shorter cruises so we could give them a try. We saw and talked to a lot of people just like that. Nice people who were regular guests on other lines, trying Princess for the first time. It might have been just luck but I did not talk to anyone who was not blown away by the Princess experience. I also talked to a number of repeat Princess guests, all mostly happy to be there. Front desk personnel- Bob from Tulsa had experienced less than wonderful service from the Pursers desk on a different Princess ship and was concerned. Bob, relax, this was one of the best bunches of Pursers desk staffers I have ever seen. I did have some issues with my bill, a double charge that was just a mistake and a charge for something I did not buy. Both were handled quickly and efficiently. I could not have asked for more. Past Guest perks- Sailing on Princess a bunch in the past had earned us Elite past guest status which was fabulous. From complementary laundry, to a priority disembarkation lounge and very accessible Captain Circle host, this program is a real winner, I think the best of the bunch. A couple we talked to while waiting to board who had not sailed the ship before had booked this one and the next two sailings for a total of 22 days on the ship. We happened to see them the last day at breakfast and were happy to see that they really enjoyed the ship. Princess past guests can be a really vocal group and don't hesitate to mention something they don't like. This couple thought there should be more places to sit and "people-watch" but were solidly loyal Princess fans who had tried other lines and said they "always come back to Princess". I can sure see why. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My favorite vacation, without a doubt, is cruising... and the location does not really matter, which is why we chose a 3-day Ruby Princess cruise that fell in-between my anniversary, my birthday, and the holiday season! My husband and I ... Read More
My favorite vacation, without a doubt, is cruising... and the location does not really matter, which is why we chose a 3-day Ruby Princess cruise that fell in-between my anniversary, my birthday, and the holiday season! My husband and I have sailed on Princess several times previously, and although this voyage would be much shorter than previous sailings, we were excited to to sail on the Ruby and expected nothing but Princess perfection. With all of this said, although we had a wonderful time, we were disappointed and our taste for Princess has become sour. The Ruby is big, beautiful, and decked out for the holidays. She was everything that we expected and more! We happen to like an indoor cabin, because I like to take a quick nap during the day; thus, the room gets dark when needed. As expected, the indoor cabins were tiny, very tiny, but we were able to put our small suitcase under the bed, giving us adequate room. I was quite happy to feel HOT water in the shower, which was a perk. On the flip side, we received 2 towels, and although we asked several times, they never arrived until the 3rd day. What was even more frustrating was that the bed did not have a sheet, just a duvet cover. My husband and I have never cruised without a sheet on the bed, and although we asked several times, we never found a sheet on our bed. How unsanitary was this... yuch! Along with this frustration, I will mention that our steward did not refer to us by name, and he just about said "hello" when he saw us walking down the hallway. Perhaps such communication is not necessary, but I bet if we were doing individual tipping, we would receive some recognition. Let me also mention that our toilet did not flush one morning, and when we called, we were assured that someone would be in the cabin within a matter of minutes. An hour later, we called again, and we were told that they do not have to come into the room to fix the toilet... this was early morning, and we did need to go the bathroom. About a half hour later, no one had fixed the toilet, and we called again. They said that a man would be there sometime in the morning [!], but this was not a priority since there were toilets throughout the ship... right during our phone call, someone knocked on the door to fix the toilet. Obviously, something is missing in communication. Did I mention that the walls are paper thin and you hear everything, all night long! Moving on, although Princess knew about both special celebrations, we never received balloons on our door. After seeing them on various doors, I called to question this, and I received an apology plus the assurance of balloons. After 4 additional calls, the balloons were on the door; believe me, the balloons were not what was important... it was just the principle of the entire process. It was a celebration after-all! The entertainment was alright, but it was not what we had expected. We received a notice from Princess stating the names of the shows that would be shown on the Ruby, along with information on the cruise director, Lisa. However, the one Broadway show was not "Once Upon a Dream," which is one of the reasons for choosing Ruby. Why would Princess tell us one thing and then the show is something totally different? There was only one cast show of sorts on this short cruise, but the cruise staff was constantly telling us the shows that we missed because we were on a short cruise. I would have preferred to hear what I would be seeing, rather than what we were missing. The comedian, whose name unfortunately I do not remember, was the best, super funny and totally appropriate. He opened the show, returning for the final show. On such a short cruise, I would have liked to see 3 different shows, even though, as I said, he was a riot. In addition to the main showroom, which filled to capacity every night, there were smaller shows offered, along with the traditional game shows. We have sung with piano player Arny Galayo and Bert Stratton for hours into the morning, so the piano player on the Ruby was quite a disappointment. Her voice screeched and her personality lacked personality! Speaking about lacking personality, this is the first cruise that my husband and I ever took where the crew was anything but warm and friendly. We would pass by members of the staff, and they were in their own dream world or chatting amongst themselves. They certainly did not know anyone, and being a short cruise should not have made a difference. We are used to be acknowledged by the cruise staff. I must mention the Cruise Director, Lisa Ball, who was, without a doubt, an unhappy camper. She never smiled, and when she spoke, it was all memorized and did not relate at all to her audience. We heard others on the ship sharing these same feelings... her smile was not there, and the most important thing that she shared with us was that we were missing a lot with a 3 night cruise. Moving on, the food was alright, but it was not up to Princess standards. We chose Anytime Dinning, and we never had a problem getting a table for 2. We never saw lines in the dinning room. The menu was very limited, and the waiters told us that this was due to it being a shorter cruise. I had heard that reasoning once to much. We did the buffet at the Horizon Court for breakfast, and that was typical buffet food. No complaints, but no real rave reviews either. Unfortunately, we met many passengers who shared their disappointment on this short cruise. When I called to share my views, I was connected with the head purser [although I wonder!], and it took 3 calls before I was finally connected with her. She never returned my message; I had to call her back. I finally spoke with Tamara who promised to check into everything and call me back within 15 minutes. Needless to say, she never called back. Lisa, the cruise director, did return my call, but we were out... we called her back, and were told that Lisa was working and could not be reached. Well, we knew she was working on the ship... So... all in all, we were disappointed with the little things... things that we expect when we are in a cruise. We expected Princess to show the scheduled shows... we expected a sheet... we expected a working toilet... and we expected to feel a part of the Princess family and being recognized as a member. I will definitely cruise again and cannot wait, but I have doubts if I would choose Princess again. This what not the way to celebrate... Please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail if you wish further information at beginningsteps@bellsouth.net These reviews have helped me so much in the past, and I hope our experience, even the worse it, will help you. Cruising is supposed to be special; the special was missing from this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Ruby Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find a Ruby Princess Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click