4 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to South America Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

I loved Princess, I have traveled with them on a few long, long voyages.This was on the Ruby Princess. From the start of this mismanaged voyage there was trouble. In Port Everglades, the ship had lengthy, long lines to embark, no one to ... Read More
I loved Princess, I have traveled with them on a few long, long voyages.This was on the Ruby Princess. From the start of this mismanaged voyage there was trouble. In Port Everglades, the ship had lengthy, long lines to embark, no one to tell you which queue was yours, no one to stop many passenger joining in the middle. The wait staff, many of whom did not speak English adequately (to the extent that their serving partners could not communicate with them) are not trained how to serve at table correctly, removing dishes across the front of diners sitting next to each other is one example. Losing ones wine, serving bottles of wine which had been bought by other people on other nights, whenever this was brought up, accusing one of lying, loudly, in front of the whole table. This did not just happen to me, but several times to others who we shared our table with. We ate at 'anytime dining' so we changed partners daily. When glasses of replacement wine were brought it was never of the quality one had paid for. At best the food was over cooked and mostly flavourless. We had booked this as many others had a single cruise, somewhere it became three cruises. The first time of seeing the very talented dancers and singers perform the various shows in the Princess Theatre it was a delight, but three times the same show, not so much, and the nights they performed there was very little other choice. The same food selections in the dining rooms, advertised as ' have your favourite again, or try something new' does not cut it when the choices are so bad to begin with. Staff members were often rude, I walked into the laundromat on the 11th deck, it was really dirty, someone had spilt washing powder and water over the floor, I spoke with a crew member outside, he told me not his problem, if the passengers made a mess. Maybe not, but as a steward could he not get someone to clean it up? The excursion desk people on the whole were uninformed, and unwilling to help if there had been any problems on the excursions, even when there were 4 passengers complaining about the trip, at the same time, to the 4 people on duty, Princess sells these tours, I am sure makes a profit, and then says it is not their problem when the things advertised do not take place, tours are cut short, or for any other reason. The Internet, is terrible, the worse of any ship that I have ever travelled on, the internet manager, often very ratty in temperament, I am sure this is because everytime it went down and you could not log off, costing you very expensive minutes, she was shouted at. The cabin is exactly like any balcony cabin on Princess, it is a ship not a luxury hotel or even a luxury cruise line. It is fine. Princess has itineraries that no other cruise lines has, this is why one cruises with Princess, but the level of unhappiness with this cruise among the Princess Circle Elite and Platinum members leads me to believe if any other line starts to have the same type of cruise itinerary we will leave in droves. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We are elite and have returned recently from Rio de Janeiro on the Ruby Princess - What a disappointing cruise overall. I should add that after full payment, the price on this cruise dropped to the tune of $500 - $1000 per passenger ... Read More
We are elite and have returned recently from Rio de Janeiro on the Ruby Princess - What a disappointing cruise overall. I should add that after full payment, the price on this cruise dropped to the tune of $500 - $1000 per passenger depending on the cabin category......so no money back, but we got a cabin upgrade. I would rather have the money back to put towards shore excursions!! The itin was good – that’s what we signed up for but the cruise amenities itself definitely were lacking in every aspect. The cutbacks were hugely evident…the toiletries for elite have been cut back, we asked for housecoats only to be told that they were unavailable because they were all being laundered. After three days, we received teeny tiny shrunken worn out housecoats that would fit a 12 year old. Needless to say, we didn’t bother with them. We don’t drink alcohol and asked if we could exchange the free mini-bar booze for soda (like we do on other previous Princess cruises) The front desk told us it was not allowed. We then called housekeeping, they made the exchange within a day. The food in the dining room was at times, tolerable. Many times, we skipped our traditional dining room dinner time and picked our way thru Horizons Buffet for dinner. Even then, it was a challenge – the food quality has gone way down. One can eat casseroles at home!! The activities on board were lame – our cruise director should retire – he is so done with his job – why do they still keep him on?? The celebration of crossing the equator was pathetic, obviously a time killer for being a sea day……people lined up to kiss a rubber fish and to have jello and spaghetti smashed into their faces….really????? We have sailed with Princess at least 25 cruises and are going on a Baltics cruise on the Regal on June 4th, 2015. Having read the comments on this blog on the Regal scares me….I will report back upon our return. By the way, after full payment of this Baltics cruise, the prices dropped dramatically….again...only for new bookings. If they keep this up, they’re going to lose their loyal customers !! We were on RCL for Australia/New Zealand 33 days in Oct/Nov 2014 - superb in every aspect. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This was our second Princess cruise, and our first cruise longer than 3 weeks. We stayed in a balcony cabin. We usually cruise Celebrity and Oceania. Embarkation: probably, no absolutely the worst embarkation we have ever ... Read More
This was our second Princess cruise, and our first cruise longer than 3 weeks. We stayed in a balcony cabin. We usually cruise Celebrity and Oceania. Embarkation: probably, no absolutely the worst embarkation we have ever experienced. Ever. Signs not clear, "line" attendants rude. Inside, we of course picked the wrong line, and wondered in amazement how the other lines moved so quickly. Plenty of time to "guess" what the problem was -- and it was not the passengers in front of us. A completely "clueless" person checking in -- I would guess she asked for help 3-4 times from someone near her station. She had an "ahah" moment, when someone asked her if she was checking Brazilian passports -- and she said, "oh, was I supposed to do that?" Anyway, the guy in charge of embarkation after that point was good -- and we boarded. -- Cabin: plenty of storage, even tho we were on a long trip. Beds adequate, and we liked the pillows. lots of wear on the furnishings -- room decor needs updating -- Steward was OK, I don't know if he wasn't well, but he seemed a little upset during our trip. Ship: with a trip that included some adverse weather -- inside seating sometimes was difficult. We enjoyed the Wine bar -- but many others used it for other purposes-- that often there were no seats available. Not enough seating at the International Cafe either. Using the Atrium as a venue for some activities made it worse. Activites: If we crossed off all the activities that involved a sales pitch, there wasn't much to do on board. internet was horrible except at off hours-- library was a joke. Happy hour was at an odd time -3-4pm. (usually well attended) We liked the MUTS-- but after 49 days, the repetition was a little too much. We went to some shows, but found you couldn't find a seat unless you showed up 30 minutes early. They tried to hold pool "games", but considering the average age of passengers was 70+, they were not well attended. Zumba class was popular -- the gym was very crowded -- but equipment couldn't be used until a certain time in the morning (i guess someone complained about the noise??). Several treadmills were out of service -- for the entire cruise. The waste receptacle was always overflowing, and I never saw any staff in attendance. The machines have a monitor that blocks the view in front, so having them by the windows was silly. Excursions; we took mostly private tours. The ship's tours we took were fine. there were issues, such as people not being at the departure point in time -- which is typical and why we book private tours whenever possible. Little complaints; there were some issues when we began new segments, and room keys wouldn't work -- not much of a problem except when you wait in line to exit the ship and find you can't leave and need to go rekey your car (and wait in line again) to get off. There were a few "bugs" going around the ship. This ship probably had fewer "sanitizer" stations than other ships we have been on . I also did not see anyone cleaning backs of chairs, etc. Other ships have the hand sanitizer when entering the dining venues, not just when entering the buffet lines. Food: We had anytime dining. we never had trouble getting a table for 2. We enjoyed our wait staff. We bought a wine package, and found wine that we liked. Mid way in the cruise we tried to get assigned seating, to be able to sit near people we had met during the cruise, but we didn't have any luck. The food was good. We didn't go hungry -- we had our favorites, -- the menu repetition didn't bother us. We went to specialty steak house one night -- and found the service to be poor, the steaks too big to eat-- so we didn't return. We noticed it was empty most evenings. Staff in general were very good. Ship's officers were visible and friendly. We enjoyed our trip -- we liked the ports. We would cruise Princess again if the itinerary suited us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Traveled as a couple on this 18 day "Brazilian Adventure", going out of Ft. Lauderdale, through the Southern Caribbean, down to Brazil and ending up in Rio (on the last Carnival day). As always, my wife and I had a blast and a ... Read More
Traveled as a couple on this 18 day "Brazilian Adventure", going out of Ft. Lauderdale, through the Southern Caribbean, down to Brazil and ending up in Rio (on the last Carnival day). As always, my wife and I had a blast and a great experience. However, it is hard not to reminisce about how much better the quality of food and service on Princess were in the past - but such are our times, and we know for a fact, that it is no different on other cruise lines, including the so called "luxury cruise lines" - so we adapt and adjust and still love cruising. Embarkation: As always the worst part of the cruise. Arrived at 1:30PM and encountered two lines, a huge line wrapping around the back of the embarkation building and a shorter one - and of course the long line was for "preferred boarding" (Elite, Platinum and suite guests) - and so our "escape completely" did not include escaping moving slowly in a long queue in the heat and sun of Ft Lauderdale. The only relief from the usual dread of standing in a long line and listening to order-barking-officials/volunteers ot whatever they are, were to see the DYKWIA people briskly walking up to the beginning of the queue waving their priority BP, only to be shown to the w-a-y back (that you couldn’t see because it wrapped around the building) by the line police. Once inside the building (30+ minutes), things as usual went smoother, and our check-in clerk was friendly enough, and we were soon on the ship. The Ship Ruby Princess while laid out like the other Grand Class ships is truly beautiful as stated by many, very well kept up, with all the familiar mile posts on the various levels of the Piazza. With our last cruise being on the Royal P. (which we loved) - we did enjoy the wrap- around promenade deck (sort of - going up one deck in the front) and the central staircase. But the ship was in as good a shape as we had experienced on any Princess ship. Our Stateroom We had a PH suite, the only available when we booked, and being used to aft suites with huge balcony's, we knew the PH balcony would be smaller and narrower (basically being the size of 2 balcony staterooms balcony). True enough, it was a little crammed, but we were able to have comfortable meals on the balcony for 2 – w would not cut it) and we learned to live with it. The inside was standard suite size and furnishing, not quite sure what we were paying premium price (+$2,000/p) for compared to other suites like the VS. Service Our stateroom attendant was very attentive and discreet, did a good job trying to please us and keeping the suite tidy in the context of having to cover a lot of staterooms and being worked very hard. With that he did a great job. Laundry was included in the suite benefit, but a note on the desk when we first entered alerted us to the fact that laundry turn-around was likely to be “72+” hours due to the "great demand" - Translation: high number of Elites on this journey. Room service was excellent, and as we always tip room service generously (in Cash), we were only served by 2 different room service waiters (who, I am sure, pulled seniority to bring things to us) and always went out of their way to present the food nicely and show appreciation for our tips. Canopies arrived punctually if we remembered to order them every day. We were called daily by someone who wanted to make sure we had reservations for our dinner, which was a nice touch, but far from the absolute pleasure of having a Suite-only-concierge lounge on the Royal with special coffees, foods and orange juice ad libitum 24h/7 with dedicated concierges in that suite there only to to take care of our every want and need. Getting fruit, and fruit we liked, turned out to be very difficult on the Ruby. There was no door order tab provided – even when requested, and when it came down to the sad kiwis and apples lingering at the bottom of our bowl, they were just sitting there getting sadder by the day. I asked our stateroom attendant for a fruit order form to no avail, and finally made one up myself, punched a hole in it and hung it out in the evening – that helped, even though we still got small portions, including of fruits we did not put on the list, and missing fruit (like bananas) that we did want– and thus continued to be a minor irritant throughout the journey. Breakfast in Sabatini We do like the upgraded food, espressos and juices (including mimosas) in Sabatini at their suites only breakfast in the morning. Still feel the pomp-and-circumstances of presenting the menu every morning is over the top when it hasn't been changed since these breakfasts started years ago, meaning that we know every single item on the menu by heart having sailed in suites on many Princess sailings now. But the food is good as they truly make it to order, with whatever twist you desire, whereas the in-suite breakfast, while fancy, is a little more generic. The obligatory over-the-top Serbian waiter complimenting the women for merely existing was on hand as usual - which does get to be a little old (for the man at least!!) Dinner in the main dining room It took us a week before we found "our table" in Michelangelo - and while we really appreciated the helpfulness of the head waiter (Francesco) and our waiter (Rhona) and assistant waiter (Hilton), and while the food at times was great, we were disappointed by the food overall seemingly having gotten a click down in quality compared to last year/the Royal. Turkey dishes had proliferated, and the more exotic dishes becoming more rare. No lobster night for the first time in 10 years – “surf and turf” the closest resemblance. Often the garnish was inedible (and unidentifiable), and even though I was dutifully asked how I wanted my high end meat cooked, whether I said "rare" or "medium rare", it didn’t matter, it always arrived "well done". The breadbasket had been downgraded to only have 2-3 different kinds of rolls, not as fresh baked and delicious as we remember them (and more of the same (I am sure) of dry-as-a-bone bread sticks that looked and felt to be identical to those on our last cruise. But we did enjoy our dinners, if not because of the food, then because of the service, banter with the waiter/assistant waiter and ambience. The Head waiter of Michelangelo was very gracious, and arranged for us to have the same table every evening at 7:00 PM independent of the dine line, and the fact the time was out of “sync” with the seatings, and we truly appreciated that (we did feel our suite “priority” came in handy here). We always sign up for the Chef’s table (and always get selected) and as always, enjoy the greatly upgraded food and paired drinks, part of that experience, as well as being able to commiserate with the Maître Di and Executive Chef. Horizon court food was a mixed bag as well. Sometimes good, especially the salads, sometimes a bust when having unexciting soups and ethnic/geographic themed main dishes which were not appetizing to those not a fan of the theme, with no alternatives if not into the theme. Just not like the “old days” (and not like on the Royal) – but adequate – that is the word: adequate and edible in a pinch. “Bland” as a general theme. Entertainment For as long as we have cruised, we have watched one production show (on our first on the Sea Princess back in the day) and didn’t like it, and never got into that – so we can’t comment on that on the Ruby. Comedians, magicians and jugglers usually are on right in the middle of our dinner (either too early or too late), so we didn’t see any of those either. But we loved the game shows and cruise-staff entertainments. In particular Kess and Charles were in OHO as funny as can be individually, and hilarious together. As groupies, we followed all the games, quizzes and events they were involved in, and that was plenty entertainment for us. Costumer Service Did not have good experience with this. When we lost electricity in most of our stateroom (including a pitch dark bathroom) – the agent at the service desk had great difficulty hiding his annoyance when we “interrupted him” reporting this – did get fixed within a few hours though, but had to take a shower inb the dark after a sweaty excursion prior to dinner. Bar service I had the “all inclusive beverage package” which for the most part worked fine, and with the bartenders at my most frequented bars quickly learning my cruise card ID and preferences. However, there were a few bartenders who would not speak a word after you gave your order and pretty much appeared quite unfriendly, however, that was clearly a minority, with most being very attentive and interactive. But when you stick out for being unfriendly on Princess you do get remembered! Spa Service We are suckers for Spa services, one of our “vices” when cruising. The spa area and services were no different than other Princess cruises – you quickly learn who to pick and who not to, and we as usual enjoyed this part of the cruise Fitness The fitness area was by-and-large underequipped, and we often had to waiting for TM, elliptical or bicycle. The weight and machine choices were adequate, but far from being as elaborate as on the Royal – but most of the time I was able to put in my 1 hour of cardio and 1 hour of weights/machines per day without too many problems. Internet An absolutely disgrace! – Despite getting 500 minutes for free (elite/suite) – never were able to use them. The connection consistently was so slow that pages consistently expired and you had to start over. Was only able to connect to my simple work-email within an hour twice (out of 5) when I finally gave up using time and frustration on this exercise in futility. It is a disgrace that you can not connect to a simple email server without using hours and being kicked out constantly because of “timed out”. And we did disconnect pictures and never tried to send anything but a simple email. Instead joined hundreds at the cruise terminal at our destinations, paying a few dollars to get the same emails done in 30 minutes that hours on Princess failed to do. Shame on Princess to narrow the bandwidth and basically taking money for fictitious internet connection. (Every day for duration of the 18 days cruise, there were a l-o-n-g line of people with all sorts of devices at the Internet cafe not looking too happy! Princess Excursions: Very few choices, basically sucked for our destinations – no other word, very few, and mostly “Scenic bus drives” of one sort or another. Set up much more interesting (and cheaper I am sure) excursions through Costco including SCUBA diving that Princess didn’t offer at all despite being at some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean, and a Carnival street party tour in Rio through guide discussed in the roll call, which turned out to be an absolute highlight of the cruise – absolutely riveting and fantastic, has to be experienced, no pictures or video can accurately depict the energy and fun of these mass carnival street parties for the ordinary Brazilians. Princess offered nothing related to the carnival going on in Salvador, Santos and Rio, only the same tired “scenic city highlight tours”. Disembarkation Chose a Princess disembark tour which was OK, mostly to make sure we saw some of Rio and had our luggage safely transported to the airport with ouyr flight leaving at 21:30P. Once there, they had put our luggage nicely on carts and the day was actually better than expected, seeing the stock highlights of the big C statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain with a surprisingly nice lunch intertwined. Thus, disembarkment was as if you went on any Princess excursion, meeting in the restaurant and being herded when the “bla-Bla” on the walkie-talkie said so. In summary A great cruise on a great ship with hick-ups as mentioned, and an acknowledgement of the ever (however thinly) slicing away at food quality and consistently good service. But having no illusions that it is different on any other cruise line, it is what it is – and we learn to live with it. Paying $15,000 for 2 for the cruise, and $5,000 for onboard activities for a total of 20K I did – again – explore Seaborn, Silversea and RSS to see if the time had come to re-try the grass on the other side of the fence, but when looking in detail at the reviews and remembering our own not too good experience on RSS, we have reconciled, that with warts and all, Princess still seem to hit what we like about a cruise the best on the balance of scales. So yes, we did reserve our next annual cruise for March 2016 on the Grand Princess to Hawaii – for the first time in a “Grand Suite” – which we are looking forward to, as we do spend a lot of time in our suite. Since part of the problem is, that the hundreds if not thousands of Elites on the ship (and we are elite ourselves) having the exact same benefits as we had, with us staying in a $15,000 suite for a couple compared to $4,000 for an inside stateroom, I really would like to see Princess doing more of what other cruise lines like Celebrity are doing: giving more value for money to the high paying guests and in addition to Sabatini have lunch and dinner restaurants for suite guests with upgraded food – now that I would not mind paying big bucks for.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
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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