11 Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews for Holiday Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern from Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

We have been on cruises before, but years ago. We have taken Princess, Cunard, Royal Caribbean. The stateroom on this cruise was nicer and larger than we expected. The food on some nights, however was inedible. We were on the ... Read More
We have been on cruises before, but years ago. We have taken Princess, Cunard, Royal Caribbean. The stateroom on this cruise was nicer and larger than we expected. The food on some nights, however was inedible. We were on the "traditional seating" plan. The menu items sounded wonderful, but the resulting meals served were far below what had been described. The food seemed to get worse, nightly. One night our table ordered the lamb chop/braised veal. I ordered the chop to be done rare. It was so well done that I couldn't cut it. It was like shoe leather. Our other table mates had the same problem, although they didn't order their lamb rare. It was dreadful. The next night they had leg of lamb on the menu. I had to ask our waitress three times to check to make sure I could get a rare to medium rare piece. She finally assured me that that is what I would get. Instead it came out grey. I did send it back that night and got a rare steak instead. One night I was served duck. Again I asked for it rare. It didn't happen. It was horribly over sauced and well done. The last night was Christmas. Both my husband and I ordered the starter "Jumbo Shrimp, Diver Scallops, and Craw-fish. The craw-fish was absolutely inedible. It tasted like water-soaked cardboard and was still frozen in the center. The shrimp were very small. At Walmart I buy a bag of this size for salads (medium) and the scallops were the size of a small fingernail. It was all awful. Next we had the starter of foie gras pate. It was not foie gras. It was, however edible. Then we had the butternut squash soup. There was no seasoning. It was so bland, you could feed it to a baby. Terrible. We both ordered pastas that night, because we hadn't had much luck with the meat. My husband took 2 bites of his Fettucini Alfredo and pushed it away. I had a Crispellla with cheese sauce and bacon. You could have used both for wallpapering a room. The desert was good. The buffet is a cafeteria. If you get there when they first put the food out, it's not too bad, but it gets old in the steam table pans, pretty quickly. The eggs are hard, the pancakes tough and the ham curled. The best food was my midnight hamburger, room service breakfast (rolls and fruit) and the Wheelhouse pub day fish and chips and the International Cafe (where they charge for tea and coffee and much to my husband's chagrin also for ice cream). Their salads were quite good. Their Panini Sandwiches not so much, according to my better half. I think he used the term "truly dreadful". The tea was pleasant but nothing to write home about. We don't like loud music, so we couldn't use the pool area. All our age group (over 50) seemed to run for cover when the concerts and movies started. We didn't want to pay $10.00 per person for half day $20.00 for a full day, to go to the quiet pool (did not see the charge advertised on the web site, but I might have just missed it). We would only have spent maybe an hour on two at the most so it wouldn't have been worth it. We did sit on the promenade deck, but there was no service there. At least it was quiet. The Wheelhouse and Crooners bar were both fun. Really nice music for us older group. The staff is very nice. The library was very small and not set up for small groups who were looking for an indoor quiet area. The shows were good, but we had to stand for a couple, because the theatre is not large enough for the ship. Everything was geared at selling you something. My husband said that he felt like he was on a floating shopping mall. Not our thing. If the cruise had been any longer, I think he would have jumped overboard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
For the past several years, we've opted to cruise for New Year's. Usually it's been a 3 to 4 night cruise, this time we opted for 7 days. Although it was a great getaway, I have a few comments to share if you plan to go next ... Read More
For the past several years, we've opted to cruise for New Year's. Usually it's been a 3 to 4 night cruise, this time we opted for 7 days. Although it was a great getaway, I have a few comments to share if you plan to go next year to be aware of. Let me start by saying, I have 2 sons, so it's not that I don't like kids, I just don't like spoiled rotten kids. I like Princess because it's usually a cruise line with mostly adult travelers and even when there have been children, it's usually not a problem. This time around, we were not happy with the amount of children running around EVERYWHERE. What do I mean by everywhere, I am referring to kids going to the middle of stage during performances at the clubs. Parents just did nothing to prevent this from happening. This happened a couple of times and then during the production shows the kids were just plain obnoxious and the parents thought their behavior was funny! Did this spoil our week, absolutely not, but it did disappoint me to see parents being so unconcerned of others. Therefore, if you are going during vacation times: Spring Break, Summer, Christmas or New Years, know you will definitely have more kids than usual. Now to Ruby Princess -- the service level has decreased a little in the Restaurant, although the cabin steward and others were great. We were in the Botticelli Restaurant and we had to wait for services that are usually pretty standard, like refilling your water glass. The food was very good and there is really no need to pay for the specialty restaurants. What I find is that most cruise lines, including Princess and with the exception of Disney, are trying to nickel and dime you for things that are a little silly. What I mean is you have a "coffee" card for specialty coffees, for example, for a cappuccino at dinner, which previously was included. You pay and get 15 coffees. I find that a little silly and unnecessary. The Coke cards are expected and reasonable around $4/day/person and the smoothie card $7/day/person. We purchased the smoothie card for my husband. Looking back on it, how many smoothies can you have a day? To me, it was not worth it. Back to nickle and dime you: In the Piazza they have an area with fine pastries and nice snacks and salads at no cost which was extremely nice, especially when we arrived from the tours and don't really want to eat something too heavy but something to munch on until dinner. Then, you find a sign right next to this, $1.50/scoop for ice cream, which I find ridiculous! We opted for the second seating, which is the way I always go. Nevertheless, I found out waiting to disembark, that even if you choose anytime dining you can arrange a reservation at the same time every day and if you like your waiter, you can request that they serve you. I have to give them a kudos, they have made more table for 2 persons available, which is great if that's what you prefer. Fabio, the Matre'd at the Botticelli, was wonderful. Overall, we had a great time. Would I do this cruise again? Absolutely, but this time around, we will be better mentally prepared of what to expect and what to and what not do. Shopping, we found the best prices for tablecloths and jewelry in St. Maarten, don't wait until St. Thomas, I found the things more there more expensive. I didn't check the price for the liquor to compare, and we bought the liquor at St. Thomas. I felt very safe everywhere, which was great. Transportation: St Maarten, $7/person to get to downtown, roundtrip unlimited times St Thomas $4/person from pier to downtown, worth it Grand Turk none needed all is right there for beach Princess Cay none needed either Coke card does not work at the beach, but the cruise card does work to charge you for whatever you drink (water, soda or liquor) at the same price as in the ship. No cash is accepted for drinks only cruise card. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The Eighth Wonder of the World -- Princess Cruise Lines! My family recently completed a Christmas cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, December 23-30 2012. The highly professional staff kept the vessel shipshape throughout the journey in a ... Read More
The Eighth Wonder of the World -- Princess Cruise Lines! My family recently completed a Christmas cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, December 23-30 2012. The highly professional staff kept the vessel shipshape throughout the journey in a most proficient and seamless manner. During our seven night stay we were impressed by a clever layout of the stateroom for optimum comfort with ample balconies, tremendous storage, good lighting, and super bathrooms. Our steward took extra care to make surprise towel animals for our youngest child even though the children's' room was not in his section. Our other steward worked perfectly making our three-room separation from our children seem mostly unnoticeable. Both stewards were quite helpful with the various ports regarding distance for shopping, snorkeling and sightseeing. It was so refreshing to see someone take such intense pride in his work. Both stewards were a joy. Facilities for easy self-service laundry including stations for a quick ironing touch-up was much appreciated for the formal nights. The vast gastronomical experience was led expertly by the Executive Chef and Maitre 'dHotel. We ate in the Botticelli Dining Room at the early sitting and had the type of service that harkens back to a more elegant time. Our waiter was especially professional, sophisticated, and expertly helpful at every turn. My children appreciated the opportunity to try escargot, pheasant, and beef wellington just to name a few. Every evening our waiter would offer recommendations that never failed to impress; from presentation, to timing, to taste, all was wonderful. I would also like to express a special acknowledgement for my favorite gathering place. The International Cafe became the spot to start and end each fun filled day on Ruby Princess. The selections of sandwiches, soup, and desserts were unique, enticing, and delectable and all served in a most gracious manner. We discovered the flavor and flair with which the staff maintained this most comfortable European-style respite in the Piazza. The spa and fitness center were well-equipped but a bit solicitous. Classes for yoga and the like fill up fast so get there early. We enjoyed marvelous fish and chips at the Wheelhouse Pub, a gracious afternoon tea in Da Vinci dining room, and an informative wine tasting hosted by the astute sommelier in Michelangelo. The entertainment including a juggler, comedian Glenn Hirsch,illusionist David Catz, and all the singers and dancers especially Ron Goodman as Cruise Director did a superb job. The magical snow show for our ultimate Caribbean Christmas experience was surreal. Captain Tony Yoemans runs a fine ship and you should be very proud of his remarkable staff. We truly did escape completely! Thank you Princess Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Pre-Cruise: We stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport North in Fort Lauderdale. The hotel was about a 5 minute ride to the cruise port in the hotel's complimentary shuttle. It was clean, comfortable and conveniently located beside a ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: We stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport North in Fort Lauderdale. The hotel was about a 5 minute ride to the cruise port in the hotel's complimentary shuttle. It was clean, comfortable and conveniently located beside a strip mall with a Winn Dixie and other services. For a one night pre-cruise stay, with little time to sight-see, I would recommend it. Also within walking distance was a Walgreens which was important to us because we require Bonine to cruise without feeling ill and are unable to buy it at home in Canada. Embarkation: We arrived at the cruise port at 11:30 am. Embarkation took approximately half an hour from start to finish. The staff was efficient and friendly. Ship and Crew: This ship is really beautiful. There are many lovely tile mosaics on the floor and walls as well as attractive artwork. There were several Christmas trees and other decorations around the ship which made it festive for those of us who celebrate this holiday. Christmas music played all week. All crew members we interacted with were friendly and worked really hard. If we were on deck on in a lounge, service was prompt and efficient. We were very conscious of the fact that they were away from their families for the holidays. Cabin: Our cabins were located mid-ship close to the aft elevators on the Aloha deck (A631 A634 and A530). They were very convenient to the buffet and pool decks. They were all pristine when we arrived, with a bucket of ice in the mini-fridge and a cover on one of the beds to protect the linens from luggage while unpacking. We found the storage to be plentiful for two passengers, with loads of room in the closet, cupboard and various drawers. The balconies on this deck are covered which we prefer for some protection from the sun as well as privacy. We did have neighbours who were smokers and although we are sensitive to the smell of smoke, it was not a big problem. We seemed to use our balconies at different times and the odour was rarely noticeable. Dining: We had a 5:30 seating time for traditional dining in the Da Vinci dining room. We only booked this cruise 4 weeks before departing so were not surprised that the 6:00 time was full. We were concerned that it would be too early but in the end worked out well. We were able to eat and enjoy the earlier shows, as well as later activities when we wished to do so. Our server (Norman) and his assistance (Francisco) were awesome. They were quietly efficient, friendly, remembered our preferences each night and handled my food allergies with great care and consideration. We found the food to range from good to excellent. The fillet of beef on the last night was incredibly tender and the many fish dishes I choose were memorable. The shrimp cocktail was a bit soft but fine. One complaint was that my daughter, who is vegetarian, found that the choices for her were very limited. There was one entre each night as well as the standing fettuccini alfredo (which is yummy but very rich and not the healthiest). The buffet was fine. There was a lot of choice although it strangely all starts to taste the same by the end of the week. Still, I did not have to cook or clean up and all family members could choose what they wanted so I have no complaints. Entertainment/Activities: In the inevitable comparison to RCCL, we felt that this was not Princess's strength and would rate it as good - not great. We saw a comedian (Phil Tag), two shows in the theatre, pianist David Juneau in Adagio's and The Luciana De Rissio Quartet in the Wheelhouse Pub. We played in several of the trivia contests which were sparsely attended but enjoyable. On our last Princess cruise we enjoyed MUTS, however on this cruise we were not as happy with the selection. Sometimes it was just a problem with timing (movies that appealed being played in the middle of port days instead of the evenings.) Again, this is just our opinion. In case they are of interest to others, here are a few that were offered: Three nights of NFL football, Clash of the Titans, Toy Story 3 (the best of the bunch for us), The Polar Express, U2 concert, Beyonce concert, Christina Aquilera Concert, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Inception, The Switch, and Eat Pray Love. My son attended the teen club on the first night and met some nice kids. There were many organized activities and the staff seemed to be enthusiastic and welcoming. Despite this, as often happens I think, the teens left the club and hung out elsewhere on the ship. For the remainder of the cruise he chose to stay with the family which was great for us.He was disappointed with the sports deck compared to the one on the Liberty of the Seas. Ports It was a bit windy and only 21 C (72 F) on PRINCESS CAY but we enjoyed a nice beach day. It is a lovely place and totally relaxing. The clamshells we had reserved worked well on this day to block the wind. We opted to skip the beach on ST MARTIN and spend the day in Marigot. There was a ton of traffic and it took about 45 minutes in the cab to get there (our driver was very frustrated and clearly voiced this). We shopped in the boutiques, the West Indies Mall (several upscale stores) and the outdoor market. We then walked to the top of Fort Louis where we got great photos of the kids in the ruins and the breathtaking views. ST THOMAS was a beach day at Magen's Bay. We had never been there but had read about the calm, clear water. In fact, on the day we were there, the waves were the biggest and strongest I had ever seen. We were soaked just walking along the beach looking for a place to sit for the day. It was actually really funny. We had a great time playing in the waves but you did have to be careful because a few times we would actually be caught in the force of the water, knocked over and pushed up against the shore. It was not a good day for the families with small children. We did really enjoy our time there. It was clean, there were bathrooms and showers, and we felt very safe during our visit. The last port was GRAND TURK. This day was disappointing but only because of the weather. I am sure it is gorgeous much of the time. It was overcast and a bit cool. We were looking forward to snorkelling but it was too rough. Still, sitting under the palms reading a book and chatting is not a bad way to spend a day and it was very easy to just exit the ship and walk to the beach. We did some shopping in the shops at the port. Disembarkation: This part of the cruise was incredibly efficient. We left the ship at 8:15 am, as scheduled, and had checked in our luggage with our airline by 8:45. Unbelievable! Overall Impressions: We had a wonderful Christmas cruise and time with our multi-generational family on the Ruby and will not hesitate to take another cruise on this or any Princess ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was a last minute Christmas cruise. Embarkation was efficient and effortless. We arrived at 12:30 and were in our cabin by 1PM. Our cabin was a balcony category BB, C201 on the Caribe deck at the front of the ship. Our cabin Steward ... Read More
This was a last minute Christmas cruise. Embarkation was efficient and effortless. We arrived at 12:30 and were in our cabin by 1PM. Our cabin was a balcony category BB, C201 on the Caribe deck at the front of the ship. Our cabin Steward Ruel was polite, friendly and seemingly always available. The cabin was typical Princess, but with a large balcony. We ate in the DaVinci Dining Room, early seating at 5:30 PM. This worked well for us with one exception. Although we had traditional dining and Anytime dining was not to start until 8PM, this was not the case. Each and every evening after we were seated a steady flow of Anytime diners were placed at tables around us, including at our table. We found this constant activity disconcerting and disturbing. We found our table mates often eating their first course while we might be on our dessert course. Our waiter was ok, not excellent and originally would not serve us until 6PM, waiting for Anytime diners to join us. After two nights of this I made it plain and clear to him that I would not accept this. He understood and we ate on our assigned schedule with the interruptions previously referred to. His forced humor as the cruise wore on did wear on us. The Christmas week ambience onboard was spectacular with the ship decorated and with carols, decorations, all the Christmas themed activities, highlighted by the wonderful spirited demeanor of all crew members. The Piazza was the best meeting and greeting place of any ship we have been on. The activities , decorations and songs and music were outstanding. The International Cafe was another highlight of the Piazza. We often times spent hours there with the wonderful attentive servers at our beck and call. Santa with presents for all the children onboard exceeded our expectations and the falling snow during the caroling was a memorable highlight as well. The ports were just that, typical ports that we have been to numerous times in the past. We did not take this cruise for ports, but for a new Christmas experience. Our expectations were exceeded, no doubt. We are hoping to repeat this cruise next Christmas on the Ruby Princess. Well done Princess!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Background: This was our 11th cruise on Princess. This was our first time on Ruby Princess. We have sailed on Caribbean Princess previously which is the same ship class, and have done Eastern Caribbean itinerary once before. We are a ... Read More
Background: This was our 11th cruise on Princess. This was our first time on Ruby Princess. We have sailed on Caribbean Princess previously which is the same ship class, and have done Eastern Caribbean itinerary once before. We are a married couple in our 50's. We booked this with our travel agent and had onboard credits as CCL stockholders. Pre-Cruise: We had scheduled to fly into Fort Lauderdale from Michigan on Saturday, one day before the cruise. But after watching the weather-related travel delays the week prior, we changed our flights from Saturday to Friday. We had used Delta Frequent Flyer miles and ended up with a 20,000 miles reduction for the change in dates -- such a nice surprise. Hotel 1: We stayed at the Fairfield Inn on Griffin in Dania the Friday of arrival using Marriott points. The hotel was completely sold out, mostly guests getting ready for Saturday cruises. We used the free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. We arrived at about 1pm (early) and our room was not ready, so they took our cell number and drove us across the street to the BassPro shops to do some shopping. We were called about 20 minutes later notifying us our room was available. Instead of calling for the free shuttle to return, we just walked back to the hotel. Our room was standard Fairfield Inn with clean bed, clean shower, and TV with cable. Breakfast was included. The breakfast area was very crowded, but we found a table for 2. The breakfast employees worked hard to keep the food supplied and did an excellent job. Hotel 2: We transferred to the Hampton Inn on 12th (FLL Airport North) on Saturday using free shuttles. We had reserved this for Saturday night using Hilton Honors points. We would have also stayed here on Friday too but it was fully booked before we changed our travel to arrive another day earlier. We arrived at about 1pm (early again) and our room was not ready. We checked our bags and headed across the street for lunch (Wendy's) and shopping (Winn Dixie) for soda and water. Our room was standard Hampton Inn with clean bed, clean shower, and TV with cable. Breakfast was included. The breakfast area here was also very crowded, again due to guests heading to the ports. The hotel provided a free shuttle to the port and we were scheduled on the 10:30am shuttle. It was a little hectic trying to get the groups organized by ship and loading all of the luggage. We arrived at the pier by 11:15am. Embarkation: Getting onto the ship was a breeze. We waited in the lounge for Platinum status until we could check in. Coffee, juice, water, and sweet rolls were provided during the wait. We boarded about 11:50am. They verified our passports, scanned our credit card, and gave us our cabin keys. We bypassed the embarkation photo as this was our 11th Princess cruise and didn't want one. Our steward was still busy preparing cabins on the busy turn-around day. We did the introductions, asked for top sheets, face cloths, and robes and discussed our dining times. So easy! Muster: Our muster drill was at 4:00PM. Princess makes this so easy, with everyone assigned to a lounge - no standing outside wearing life jackets! There were the usual number of passengers who arrived wearing the jackets, and others who were brave/dumb enough to blow on the whistles. The Ship: The Ruby was launched in 2008 in still looks new. It was sold out and filled with capacity with lots of families onboard. We had worried about a holiday cruise having too many kids onboard. A crew member from the kid's club said there were almost 700 kids registered in the clubs (ages 2-17). But our worries were unfounded as most were very well behaved. This ship includes the International Cafe, 3 main dining rooms for traditional and anytime dining, the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe for buffet dining, Vines for wine and cheese, a Pizzeria, Trident Grill for burgers and hot dogs, Scoops Ice Cream bar, plus Crown Grill and Sabatini's specialty restaurants. There are 5 bars/clubs/lounges. The library has plenty of books to borrow plus some games. There are 3 pools (one adult only near the spa), the Sanctuary for relaxing poolside, a fitness room, a spa, a theater, plus Movies Under the Stars (MUTS). We have been spoiled by the Princess Sun Class ships where the promenade is all on the 7th floor, whereas the Ruby Princess has the promenade on the 8th floor at the front of the ship, requiring stairs up and down to walk around the deck. I did not schedule a spa treatment on this sailing, but loved that I was still allowed to use the spa steam room, pool, showers, and locker room without charge. Stateroom: We had an inside cabin, which is typical for us. We were upgraded to the Baja deck and we close to mid-ship. The inside cabins are pretty small, but there is plenty of storage room in the closet, drawers, and on shelves. The bathroom is furnished with bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. Is seems Princess has stopped providing face/wash cloths unless you request them. Our steward did an excellent job of getting in while we were out. Activities: In addition to the usual cruise activities, there were extra events for Christmas. The entire ship was decorated, Christmas music was playing in the dining rooms, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was read in the Piazza, Carols with Ship's officers and crew twice, and Santa was available several time and he handed out gifts (stuffed Teddy bears) to the children (and many adults). Many of the cabins doors were decorated by the guests. Entertainment: Lisa Ball, the Cruise Director, kept the schedule full with so many things to do it was difficult to stay idle for long. The theater had the usual Welcome Aboard Show on the first evening. There was also "Stardust", "Holiday Showtime", and "Once Upon a Dream". The comedian, Phil Tag, was excellent. I went to see the Magician/Illusionist David Cats, but left after 15 minutes - it was too loud for me to enjoy. His show was standing room only, so others must have enjoyed seeing him. The Piazza had plenty of entertainment including a woman who did Hula Hoops (very talented), a Juggler, a Jazz band, and lots of other music. Dining: We did the Anytime dining for dinner every night and ate at the Michelangelo Dining Room each evening at about 5:30PM. We always requested and got a table for 2 only and never had to wait. The dinner menus were excellent. The French evening has been eliminated much to my enjoyment. The Chef's menu was presented one evening with fewer choices than usual, but you can also order from the always available list that night too. I especially love the cold fruit soups and had a difficult time choosing a flavor of ice cream from three different offerings each evening. One evening I ordered mixed berries for dessert, which is not on the menu but always available. The waiters must be required to try to sell the bottle water, because we were offered it every night. A polite "no thank you" worked each time. We ate breakfast in the Horizon Court most mornings and enjoyed the selection of fresh fruits. We did choose the International Cafe several mornings for coffee and donuts. For lunches we mixed between the Da Vinci Dining Room, the Horizon Court, Trident Grill/Pizzeria, and the International Cafe. I was surprised that the Main Dining Room (MDR) was closed on 2 of the port days. The Horizon Court was nearly empty those days, so it made good business sense to close the dining room. But we love to be "served" in the dining room and missed those 2 days. The fish tacos in the dining room were excellent, plus there is ice cream for dessert. The Horizon Court has everything you need for an excellent salad. One afternoon we grabbed a quick burger and fries at the Trident Grill. And I absolutely love the Chicken Salad in the International Cafe - the recipe has been shared on the CruiseCritic Princess boards several times. If that wasn't enough, we also spent one day at the Pub Lunch and had Fish and Chips. The food was plentiful and we enjoyed every meal. The Ports: We stopped at Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. We have been to Princess Cays multiple times in the past and decided to stay onboard during that port call. We had the ship almost to ourselves and found plenty to do onboard. The previous 2 sailings of Ruby Princess had missed this port due to rough waters for the tenders, so most onboard were happy when Captain Tony Yeomans decided to allow tenders to go to shore. We did not do any excursions at St. Maarten or St. Thomas and just visited the port shops. Grand Turk was a new port for us and we walked through the shops and Margaritaville, watched the Flowriders at the pool, and walked along the sandy beach. There were lots on conch shells on the beach, but the cruise team advised all to not try to bring any off the island. The Seas: The seas seemed a little rough on the first evening heading to Princess Cays and again on the way to Grand Turk. The pools were emptied and then one was filled again. The water was really sloshing out with every wave. There were plenty of poolside chairs available that day! Disembarkation: Princess has really improved the disembarkation process. Instead of everyone crowding the public areas and stairs, passengers are assigned one of the public lounges based on the scheduled departure. We did not fly home until 4 days after the cruise, so we were in one of the last groups to get off. We left the cabin at about 7:15AM and headed to Club Fusion with other Platinum cruisers to wait for our 9:15AM exit. We had coffee, juice, and sweet rolls and read the newspaper provided in the Platinum lounge. When our group was called, it was fast and easy to exit. Our luggage was waiting for us and getting through customs was uneventful. Once we were on the pier, things were not as smooth. The layout of the port has passengers crossing a busy street with all their luggage and the median on the other side was full of luggage and people. It was not very organized. When the rental car shuttles arrived, passengers mobbed the doors and were very rude. We struggled trying to get a ride to Budget Rental car at the FLL airport. There were plenty of big shuttles for National but we only saw one Budget shuttle and it was full. After several calls to Budget, we ended up taking a public shuttle for $10/pp to the airport. Post-Cruise: We had a rental car and stayed in South Florida for 4 more days. We stayed at the Homewood Suites (Hilton) in Dania. The suites were very nice and include a kitchenette. The hotel includes breakfast in the morning and a manager's reception (light dinner) in the evenings. Summary: We enjoyed the entire trip. For anyone planning to fly to a cruise port, I would encourage you to fly in at least one day prior. The Ruby Princess is an excellent ship and still seems new. The service was excellent, and the food was very good. There was plenty to do onboard and the ports had lots of excursions available for everyone. Our hotel choices for pre/post cruise all provided clean rooms with easy access to the port and the Ft. Lauderdale area. While onboard, we bought 2 Future Cruise Credits (FCC) to sail on Princess again. We have since booked the Diamond Princess for Alaska in May/2011 and are looking forward to sailing Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess (December 5-12, 2010) Princess Fan: This was our 5th cruise on Princess but the first on Ruby Princess. We did a similar cruise on the Crown last December and had done a Crown (back to back) in ... Read More
Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess (December 5-12, 2010) Princess Fan: This was our 5th cruise on Princess but the first on Ruby Princess. We did a similar cruise on the Crown last December and had done a Crown (back to back) in 2008. The Dawn (Mexico) and Coral (Panama) were our other two Princess ships and we are looking forward to the Star in the Med next June. We booked on the web in August and were accompanied by friends who had also taken the Crown cruise with us last December. Leave one day early if possible: We left Halifax on Saturday morning on a US Airways flight through Philadelphia. We mostly always travel Air Canada and have had terrific luck with connections over the years. We never want to relive our 2008 journey when we had a Continental flight through Newark cancel hours before we were to leave which unleashed an amazing race to our ship that included 8 airports in 42 hours to make our cruise in Puerto Rico The Crown actually waited an hour for the unforgettable back-to-back 14 day cruise. Returning home had us storm stayed in New York for three and a half days as well. We now avoid New York/Newark at all possible costs. Having never been in Philadelphia, we found the airport very friendly and relaxing during our four hour break between connections. We arrived in Lauderdale at 2:00 p.m. Picked up our rental car and were in our Sheraton Suites room in Plantation by 3:30 p.m. We were minutes away from the Broward Mall and decided to do some last minute Christmas shopping for a few hours. The facility was a very nice 'Starwood' suites facility, we didn't have much time to enjoy the hotel. After shopping we were off to a local Outback Steakhouse for dinner. It was Saturday evening at 7:00 so there was a line. While we were waiting for our table (45 minutes) we had time to find the ABC Liquor location to purchase our wine and spirits for the cruise. This terrific store is near Sawgrass Mall. It actually had its' opening last December and we were some of its' first customers. We got back to Outback just in time to be called to our table. I've been to Outback Steakhouse on many occasions and this was the first time I was disappointed with my steak. Apps were fine, service good but steak was overdone and returned. It was replaced with a much better steak but it really takes away from the dining experience. Pre-Cruise: The next day was Sunday (cruise day from Everglades). We were ready to leave the Hotel at 9:00 a.m. Had breakfast at IHOP and then found a Walmart for a few last minute supplies. We took the 595 back to the airport to return our car. There was a motorcycle rally or charitable run heading west as we went east. The bikes took over the 595 for miles. We are talking thousands of bikers in everything from Santa suites to beach wear. We were happy to be going east and having had a view of this event from an opposite direction. Our wives were dropped off with luggage at 11 am and we returned the car to the airport. Eight ships including the RCL Allure were departing that day. Everglades has it down to a science. No delays getting in and out of port facility. Our car rental company actually drove us back to the port in our rental car so we did not have the added expense of a taxi or shuttle bus. Embarkation and First Impressions: On our return to the Port, our wives had secured a place in line to get into the facility. Getting onto the ship was a breeze. We boarded about noon. They verified our passports, scanned our credit card, and gave us our cabin keys. The Ruby is very similar to the Crown so we felt right at home. We checked our cabin on Riviera aft and then set out to have some lunch and explore the ship. We had our passport stamped at each of the featured destinations and purchased a soda card. After all of that we had 30 minutes to unpack before muster time and our CRUISE CRITIC meeting at the Terrace Pool for the Sail Away. While our discussion group had about sixty or seventy participants, only about 16 to 20 showed up. We were all happy to finally meet, had a few drinks and then we were off to the Sail Away Party and prize draws. Next to the Horizon for the Sailaway Buffet. Lots of food variety but seafood is featured including lobster claws, bay scallops and shrimp. Living on the east coast of Canada we are spoiled and get our share of lobster and deep sea (large) scallops and cold water shrimp. The lobster on cruises is not much of a treat for us but for some reason we always manage to enjoy a plateful of claws with drawn butter. The Ship: The Ruby was launched in 2008 in still looks new. It was sold out. We noticed a much younger demographic than previous cruises. We were told there were about 300 kids onboard maybe that was why we noticed a younger demographic. We also noticed a much busier Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe and quieter dining rooms in the evening. We mostly choose a room mid-ship on Baja but always enjoy the Terrace Pool so this time we decided to get a room on Riviera with easy access to the Terrace. The pool side chairs were busy most days so plan a strategy if you want a place in the sun. On one of the sea days there was actually a wedding one deck above (outside Adagio) which we watched. The library has plenty of books to borrow plus some games. On the first sea day, I picked up three for the week. The movie Eat, Pray Love was scheduled for Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) on one evening. After hunkering down with chairs, warm blankets and popcorn, the rain started and made the experience less than enjoyable. Having seen the movie a few months prior, I wasn't too disappointed. Couldn't get into watching MUTS during the day but if you are a football fan, there were a few games featured during the week. Activities: In addition to the usual cruise activities, the entire ship was decorated, Christmas music was playing in the dining rooms. Many of the cabins doors were decorated by the guests. We brought along our Santa hats for beach and port pictures. We managed to get a few good shots which made our 2010 Christmas card. Entertainment: Lisa Ball was our Cruise Director. There have been a few negative postings on Lisa. I think most of these comments are very unfair. Every staff person brings their own unique talents and personalities to their job. Passengers also vary from the very pleasant and some not so! I am certain there are no staff who go out of their way to antagonize guests however, I am certain the same cannot be said for more than a few passengers. In life you reap what you sow. There were the usual Princess Theatre productions, which for the first time, we didn't attend. We did see a portion of the Steve Sasso show in Explorers and caught Bert Stratton for a few minutes passing through Crooners one evening. The only evening we did sit through a show was for the Princess Pop Star Final in Club Fusion. Not sure why this happened but we are late diners and by the time dinner finished at 10 p.m. we were not in the mood for a show. We visited the Casino a few times to people watch and spent some time in the photo gallery and boutique shops. Dining: We did the Anytime Dining for dinner but only used the dining room on three evenings. One of the things about anytime dining is the opportunity to share a table with fellow cruisers. We found this happened less on this cruise than any other cruise we were on. There were four of us and on two of the three evenings we were seated with one other couple at a table for eight or ten. Very pleasant experiences but as I noted earlier the dining rooms were not as busy as previous cruises. We did enjoy Sabatinis ($20) one evening and the Crown ($25pp) on another. Both are fabulous culinary experiences lasting two to three hours and well worth the extra charge. Reservations were made the first day we were aboard but I do not think we would have had a problem had we waited until later to make a reservation. We only had one breakfast and did not have one lunch in the dining rooms unlike other cruises where this was mostly our choice. I have a coffee card so every morning my favourite destination was the International Cafe for a fresh brew at 7. I discovered they made a wonderful egg and cheese on a toasted crispy bun. They also had a small serving of oatmeal and great yogurt with fresh berries not to forget a big selection of pastries. This was a great way to start the day. A few mornings this was followed by a trip to Horizon Court for some fresh fruit. Don't miss the waffle station which is mid ship on Deck 15 which is also open for breakfast. One other dining experience that shouldn't be missed is the English-style pub lunch in Wheelhouse. Usually happens on a sea day and it is busy!!!! Compliments on the fish & chips and mushy peas. The International Cafe also has some great choices during the day for snacks or even lunch. The Princess Chicken Waldorf salad is memorable. The recipe has been shared on the Cruise Critic Princess boards several times and we made it for the first time for a New Years buffet this year. Who would miss having a gelato break at least once or twice - 3 scoops for $1.50. The Ports: We missed Princess Cays due to wind. This had been our last stop in 2009 and was quite enjoyable but the sun was shining on deck and it meant starting a good book and enjoying the Terrace Pool. A bonus was arriving three hours early in St. Maarten. There were two other ships behind us, the Oasis and Carnival so it was going to be a busy day. We went ashore at 8:30 a.m., waited for a few shops to open before getting our rental car to explore the Island. We appeared to be ahead of the traffic. Went up to the French part of the Island and found Waikiki Beach for an hour walk before finding another spot on a nearby beach for lunch with the locals. Started driving back to Philipsburg and as we approached Marigot we were faced with unbelievable traffic. While we managed to keep moving the traffic in the opposite direction was gridlock!!!! So rather than stop and enjoy Marigot we carried on toward Philipsburg and did some more shopping. Our friends kept the car for a few extra hours and headed out to watch the planes land at the airport which borders the beach. All in all, it would have cost us more that $50 (cost of car rental) to have done a four hour tour. In St. Thomas we docked at Crown Bay (a few miles outside town). We were off the ship at 8:30 so we decided to find a last minute tour group and explore the Island sights for a few hours. We had been to St. Thomas twice before so we were not too disappointed in not being able to hear our guides commentary. We did see the spectacular hilltop views and vistas spending an hour at the Home of the Banana Daiquiri. The admission of $2 or $3 dollars was worth it for pictures and to see the gardens. Our driver dropped us off at the Best Western Emerald Resort for an hour of beachtime and agreed to come back for us. We explored some of the shops near the ship before getting back aboard. The next time we are in St. Thomas I hope we dock at the newer dock closer to the downtown. St. Maarten and St. Thomas offer great shopping opportunities for jewellery and watches. Our last island was Grand Turk. We had never been here before but had simply planned a beach day. We had read about Jack's Shack so this was our destination. We walked through the shops and Margaritaville (Carnival had docked a few hours before us and the party was already started). Instead of walking along the beach to Jack's we took the road but eventually found our way. Met Jack and his daughter, had our complimentary rum and enjoyed the beach in full view of our ship for a few hours. Our ship wasn't leaving until six so we visited a few of the shops and then explored the new beach area being developed on the other side. By the time we were ready to get back aboard the partly cloudy sky made for a beautiful sunset. Final Day(s): The last day was another sea day and the sea was a bit rough. Just enjoyed some deck sunshine, reading and dining. Late afternoon packing, selecting some photos, final dining night for some early Christmas Tom Turkey and a pleasant end to another Princess Cruise. Disembarkation: Our disembarkation lounge was in the Casino. We waited about twenty minutes before being called. Very smoothly orchestrated and before we knew it we had our suitcases, were through Customs and on our way to the Lauderdale Airport. We arrived at 10 a.m. but our flight didn't leave until 2:00 p.m. We were flying through Philadelphia again and unlike those going through New York, D.C. and the mid west our flights were on time. Had another four hour wait in Philadelphia but made our scheduled flight to Halifax in the rain for a green Christmas. Summary: Our next cruise on Princess will be on the Star from Venice to Rome in June and we will be platinum cruisers. While onboard, we bought 2 Future Cruise Credits to sail on Princess again. Will it be Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, South America....so many places to escape completely. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I sailed on the Ruby Princess with my wife and son over thanksgiving and we had a nice time, relaxing as much as we could. The Ship was beautiful and was well maintained, very clean. The crew members were very friendly and helpful ... Read More
I sailed on the Ruby Princess with my wife and son over thanksgiving and we had a nice time, relaxing as much as we could. The Ship was beautiful and was well maintained, very clean. The crew members were very friendly and helpful everywhere you turned. But here are a few specifics about what I observed: Embarkation was quick and painless. It took less than 15 minutes before we were walking onto the ship. It was early (about 1pm) and we went immediately to the solarium to try and reserve a spot for the week...but no luck. Unfortunately, it turned one of the ships positive features into a negative for us. Same was true for the Chefs table..no luck. We were able to capture the last two spots in the thermal spa area, which was very nice to relax in... Our cabin was very nice and our balcony was large and inviting. But the location at the back of the ship made us wonder bout our chioce the first two days of the cruise. We had ALOT of movement dur to high seas and wind....but it calmed down mid cruise and made it much more enjoyable. Dining was mostly average with few exceptions. We selected the anytime dining option and the maitre'd was very quick and remembered our names and preferences after the first night, which made us feel welcomed. However, the service was dependant upon the luck of the draw. One of the young ladies was very rushed and short, making two errors on our meals (she brought the wrong ones), but in contrast, the next night I felt I had the best service ever, so much that I was compelled to tip the waiter an extra $20 as we left. Specialty restauraunts were OK. We ate at the steakhouse on thanksgiving and I definately overate. The lobsters were great but I didnt care much for the kansas city steak, I found it very tough and left most of it. Additionally, the atmosphere was significantly impacted by one of the ships senior officers who let his son scream and run around the restauraunt. The international cafe had some great fare, and the buffett was what you would expect. Carlito, our cabin stewart was very enjoyable and he always had a smile on his face... as did JR, my bartender of choice. The ports were interesting as I had not been to any of them before. Embarkation was hampered by an inoperative ram, but the crew/port did a good job getting us off quickly. All in all, I enjoyed the cruise and really relaxed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We decided on this trip close to the last minute, and found it to be a bargain. We drove into Ft Lauderdale that day, and boarded without fuss at about 3:00pm. Enjoyed a snack at the International Cafe with an iced coffee. All in all a ... Read More
We decided on this trip close to the last minute, and found it to be a bargain. We drove into Ft Lauderdale that day, and boarded without fuss at about 3:00pm. Enjoyed a snack at the International Cafe with an iced coffee. All in all a pleasant departure. We had two prior trips on the Crown, so we pretty well knew our way around the ship and what to expect. We opted for anytime dining. Things had changed, and one of the two anytime dining rooms now accommodated an additional traditional early seating. We did not have any trouble being seated. We only had to wait on Thanksgiving, for about 20 minutes. We enjoy sitting at a large table so we could meet people. We had great dinner conversations every meal, and met a wide range of interesting people. The beds were rock hard, which pleased my husband, but me, not so much. Our wonderful steward Johnny got me an "egg crate" right away, and it helped a bit, but it was still hard! And the pillows were mushy. Oh well, I did manage to sleep anyway! As we had done this itinerary already, we did not visit the Princess Cay. We did a bit of rocking and rolling the next two days, but not so hard that things pitched off the shelves. Our main objective was to relax as much as possible, and catch the trivia in the morning. We tended to have all our meals in the dining room. The lunches, especially the salads, were quite good, and your order is custom made. We really don't enjoy the hassle of the buffet, and did not visit it except while sunning at the back pool. We did our own tours in St Maarten and to Marigot, St Martin, which we loved a lot. Same with St Thomas. Sorry, but beaches are not that much a draw for us, living in Florida. Got off the ship at Grand Turk, but not much there, and it was pretty hot midday. The dinners were at times rather unusual in their offerings. The cold soups were wonderful, the hot soups tended to be salty. My husband enjoyed most of the meals, and I was always urged to select something else if the waiter saw I wasn't eating. We almost felt wasteful, because we were not allowed to have a bit of this or that. On Thanksgiving, we had to order both lobster tails (rather large ones, from Maine), and a Turkey dinner to have a taste of both, when a tail on a turkey plate, or a slice of turkey and dressing on a lobster plate would have been perfect. The desserts were wonderful, as usual. And although it fell to the waiters to plug a lot of events such as wine tastings, cooking demo, Irish coffee, they did not push at all. nice. The best kept secret on the ship was the $2.99 drinks after 8. They are listed on the outside back cover of the drink menu, and the cocktail waiters did not call attention to it. For the record, house spirits, Dos Equis (sp?), Becks, MGD, and Miller lite, pina coladas, singapore slings, and long island ice teas were all $2.99 in every bar after 8pm. Even in Adagio, our fave bar, but then who wants those when you have their special cocktails exclusively? We hit a couple of shows. Went to Broadway Ballroom (songs and dance), the comedian, and the magician. All were pretty good for shipboard entertainment. And of course, Burt was in Crooners. He was great, and worked hard at getting everyone involved. It was sometimes difficult to get out of the dining room in time for shows, but we were entertained by our company every night, and to be honest, enjoyed that more. Disembarkation was slowed due to a malfunction in the jetway. Customs seemed particularly strict this time, but we had our info together, and passed quickly once we got there. We had to wait a long time in the casino (our assigned waiting area) and it was rather uncomfortable after a while. All in all, a good trip, and a relaxing holiday getaway. It was made particularly pleasant, by being greeting by all the crew we encountered. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
Background Info: This was my 7th Cruise and first official cruise with Princess but we are Captains Circle members due to a previous cruise with Sitmar in 1984, and they were taken over by Princess. Our other cruises were on NCL, RCI and ... Read More
Background Info: This was my 7th Cruise and first official cruise with Princess but we are Captains Circle members due to a previous cruise with Sitmar in 1984, and they were taken over by Princess. Our other cruises were on NCL, RCI and Carnival, so I will make comparisons where I see fit. Travel: We used the Cruise Air and from Winnipeg so the air travel is the day prior with a forced overnight hotel. We got our flights around 6 weeks prior with Northwest, with one stop in MSP en-route. The flight times were excellent and not going east protected us from the major snow storms that caused many to miss the departure. Hotel: The Marriot North is a little off the beaten path but after a long day of travel it has everything you need to rest up before the cruise. There are many restaurants just a few short blocks from the hotel and I understand that the hotel will even provide a complimentary shuttle. Transfer to Port & Embarkation: The Princess rep met us in the hotel lobby after 11AM and gave us the new health questionnaire that must be filled out declaring that you are not actively ill. This is a new procedure to me that attempts to eliminate passengers from bringing illnesses into confined spaces. The bus left at 12 noon and after the 15 min bus ride we were at the port. Embarkation went very fast and if it wasn't for a couple of passengers, that happened to be in my line, who hadn't filled out their on-line boarding pass info, we would have been on board in less than 15 minutes. My suggestion to Princess would be if someone arrives without their ship boarding info completed, they should send them to another table or computer terminal to complete it rather that holding up the line. Ruby Princess: The ship is stunning and very tastefully decorated. It follows a more traditional promenade, lido & sun deck design, with the Grand Piazza as a gathering spot. It can be more confusing to navigate compared to the RCI ships with the multi-story Royal Promenade. It was comical to see the looks on people's faces when they suspect then realize they are going the wrong way. My suggestion here is for Princess to have the hair of their Sea Witch always trailing to the rear. We had a BD balcony for ourselves and an inside JJ with twin beds for the boys across the hall. Both rooms were spacious enough and I liked the open closet layout that eliminated always having to open another door. The washroom was compact but efficient. This was our first experience with the tiered balcony's that you look down on from Baja. Caribe deck rooms are the same size and the balcony is twice the size, with half covered and half exposed. Dolphin deck has the mini-suites and their deck is fully exposed so if you plan on "hanging out" on your balcony sans clothing you had better request a robe. Public Rooms: All lounges and dining facilities were tastefully decorated and well staffed. Club Fusion and Explorers Lounge had similar entertainment of singing, dancing and smaller comedy games/acts. Crooners Lounge was the main piano bar and Heather was an excellent classical pianist and singer. I found that the ship needed another piano bar or guitar player that was less formal and interacted more in a sing-a-long way. The Pianos in both Crooners and Adagio (at the back by Sabatini's) was at the end of the room more like a performance, rather than an interactive intimate setting. The Piano Bars I have experienced on all other cruise lines were more interactive and fun. The Wheelhouse bar also had some jazz type performances and maybe this could also be another venue for raw sing-a-long pub style entertainment. Skywalkers night club, at the top of the ship, is where the late night DJ music happens but when I say late night it doesn't really get going until after 11PM and then some. Princess Theatre and Shows: When I first walked in I was looking around to see how the balcony opened up but there was none. While waiting in there for the tenders I found out that it held about 850 people so for a ship of 3200 + passengers they have to run the production shows over 2 nights for everyone to have an opportunity to view it. Their two production shows Broadway Ballroom and Once Upon a Dream, were very well done. The singers and dancers were some of the best I've seen and the shows were awesome. The special effects used for once upon a dream projects the sets onto movable walls, providing great flexibility and eliminates the need to store large sets. The other Comedians, Hypnotists', Jugglers, Singes helped to pass the time. We didn't catch all the games because we were just too busy. Pool Decks: I saw the sanctuary area but don't go for the pay and pay as you go cruising. You could still use the pool in that area that has the swim against the flow feature and it was very refreshing. The aft pool was a protected and enforced adult pool. The chair hogs were out in force around the main pool and around the MUTS pool. I really wish they would develop a system of marking vacant seats and removing the personal belongings that get more sun than their owners. Some people have take to removing items on their own and taking the vacant seats. This is a universal problem to all ships as I do not think the cruise lines like the idea of confrontation with the passengers. Dining: We opted for traditional First Seating in Botticelli Dining Room. I like the fact that they now offer the option for Anytime Dining but I miss the elaborate multi floor open dining rooms found on RCI and CCL. There are many options for snacking from Pizza and Burgers on the pool deck to the nice selection of salads, sandwiches and treats at the international cafe. The international cafe needs to set up line cues for the busier times as people come from all directions and it is difficult for the servers to keep track of who is next in line. Like the chair hogs, some people feel they have a sense of entitlement and that their time is more important than anyone else's. I also found the Sushi bar very confusing because they have it so far back into the Vines Wine bar they make it intimidating for you to approach the counter without feeling you have to sit down and order a drink. Service: This was fine everywhere and we did not experience the up-selling pressure that others have complained about. Our Waiter and Asst Waiter Surrey and Don kept us entertained and fed. Elmar our stateroom attendant was the ultimate ghost who got everything done without you knowing he is there. Ports and shore Excursions: I really liked doing the time change when leaving and returning to FLL. It helped keep us on local time and I never missed a sunset prior to first seating. Antigua: Went on our own to Dickenson's Bay at Sneaky Pete's for cab fare and chair rental. Barbados: Our shipwreck & turtle snorkelling with the ship was cancelled and we went to the beach at the Boat Yard that includes chairs, a drink and a shuttle back to the ship, all for $ 10 pp. St Lucia: We did the best of St Lucia Land and Sea and highly recommend it. The tour was awesome as were the guides who spent the better part of their Christmas Day catering to our every whim. St Kitts: Went to Ziggy's on S. Frigates Bay for a great day on the beach. St Thomas: Did the Ship Discover SCUBA at Coki Beach. This was a PADI sponsored tour that was well run with the correct balance of briefings and dive time. They also had the option of purchasing an HD Video of your dive for $ 60. Since it was the first dive for me and the boys we got it and the picture and sound quality was to a high standard. Thank goodness you don't have to get up early to go through customs like you used to prior to leaving the ship. Princess Cays: They have a spectacular set up that would be perfect if it were not for the tendering process. The fact that they use their life boats to tender assures you they work but they really bob around like corks with only a moderate chop. I feel sorry for the poor guy who got soaked because the front window was not properly sealed. Disembarkation: This was by far the best experience we have had for all the cruises. We had the proper tags and were directed to a lounge to wait to be called. When we were called we were off and through customs in less than 15 minutes. Pet Peeves': - Chair Hogs and Line jumpers require control mechanisms since they have none - The up and down elevator lights are red so everyone is always asking which way the elevator is going - Need more indications of Forward and Aft - Princess does not organize a Meet'n'greet for Cruise Critics members but hats off to Princess for providing a room and for Cruise Director, Lisa Ball, for taking time to spend with us. Thanks to Umbargar for doing the work to organize ours. Summary: I do not have a Favourite Cruise line because all the major players have their own Niche and Princess is no different. She is a classy cruise line with a hard working staff that looks out for our every whim. Sure we all have likes and dislikes but that will happen with any major operation. I would sail any of the major Cruise lines again including Princess, based on their itinerary and value for the $. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Hi all....back from the Ruby yesterday (it was our tenth cruise: Norway, Mariner, Zenith, Oosterdam, Liberty, Grand, Millennium et al)...and I have to say it was one of the best cruising experiences we've ever had. Embarkation was ... Read More
Hi all....back from the Ruby yesterday (it was our tenth cruise: Norway, Mariner, Zenith, Oosterdam, Liberty, Grand, Millennium et al)...and I have to say it was one of the best cruising experiences we've ever had. Embarkation was remarkable - we got to Port Everglades at 1.30pm and were expecting the usual shuffling lines and (im)patiently waiting around, but I kid you not, from stepping out of the cab to stepping into our stateroom took less than 5 minutes!.... Stateroom was lovely - Mini Suite on Dolphin deck (D727) uncovered balcony, which concerned me slightly pre-cruise - but I ended up loving it...enjoyed chatting with folks above me - and lots more sun than i'm used to on a balcony!...would definitely go open again Food - despite the excellent embarkation lunch buffet in the Horizon (short ribs and creamy mash yum yum yum!) - we were initially disappointed with the meal arrangements - we were anytime dining for the first two nights but the service was poor and the food was bland to average - we switched to the Cafe Carribe for the remainder of the cruise and it was the best decision of the holiday - Cafe Carribe food was delicious, different theme every night and the service / waiters and overall mood of the place was superb..... ...elsewhere dont miss the Hot Dogs on the pool deck ...and the delights of the International cafe in the Piazza....including the delicious Ice dream ($1,50) three mixed scoops on an ice cold dish - hit the spot every time Entertainment was an eye opener....to be honest we dont usually bother with the cruise shows, not really our thing ...but we loved the entertainment on the Ruby....highlight was the comedy Hypnotist Tim Tripp who did a cracking show in the main theatre and then an hilarious adults only Midnight show in Club Fusion...didnt finish till almost 2.00am and the place was in hysterics at what the volunteers (victims) got up to! ...I was going to take part - I'm so glad my wife stopped me ..........the Ventriloquist show was also hugely entertaining...and the Crew Show was a very pleasant surprise - featuring some Benny Hill'esque comedy from the entertainment staff ...corny but great fun Excursions were very expensive (is this the case with all lines now?) but we love the Catamaran trips so took two - Honeymoon Beach at St John ...gorgeous.....and half day Champagne snorkelling and Turtle encounter at Barbados...both of which supplied me with memories that will sustain me throughout the damp cold grey UK winter ...........however the Catamaran and and snorkle trip in Antigua was a big let down - there was just too many people on it - should definitely have split the crowd onto two craft - and the snorkle spot was a fish free zone!.....whatever, by my reckoning 2 out of 3 aint bad and I was soon sitting in various shack bars in Antigua swigging cheap cold beer and discussing cricket with the locals Disembarkation was again a breeze...we'd booked the Fort Lauderdale CarrieB tour to take the sting out of going home and waiting around an airport all day (great move btw..v much recommended) and we were swept off the ship and onto the tour coach at 8.30 without so much as a backward glance So there you have it - ....add the splendid 3 days pre-cruise stay in Hollywood beach to the mix, together with the almost perfect weather every day for the entire holiday - meeting some lovely fellow cruisers and two hassle free transatlantic flights.....and you can see why Im now sitting here green with envy at anyone who's currently on - or will shortly be sailing on the beautiful Ruby Princess. Bon Voyage to all ..... Karl Read Less
Sail Date November 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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