4 Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Bahamas from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

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
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
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
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

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