35 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Caribbean - Southern Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

Our cruise took in a wide sweep of the Caribbean with calls at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel, St Thomas , St Maarten and Princess Cays. Although we purchased the trip as one cruise, Princess treated at as two cruises as it sailed in and ... Read More
Our cruise took in a wide sweep of the Caribbean with calls at Grand Cayman, Roatan, Cozumel, St Thomas , St Maarten and Princess Cays. Although we purchased the trip as one cruise, Princess treated at as two cruises as it sailed in and out of Lauderdale on the Middle weekend. This had positive and negative aspects which I will mention in the body of this review. We made our own flight and hotel arrangements so our first interaction with Princess was at embarkation which was a breeze, so much so that it might be the easiest way of travelling to the USA in future! Ten minutes waiting in line compared to the good hour long experience at most airports!. Admittedly the process was a little slower re-embarking on the Middle weekend, but disembarkation at the end of the cruise was also slick. Our cabin was on the Lido deck and was well appointed with a decent balcony large enough to sit and catch early morning and late afternoon sun and enjoy drinks and the few sunsets we got. Our cabin steward, Marian, was great, attending to the cabin most discreetly and providing us with useful tips throughout the cruise. For the most part we dined at Da Vinci Restaurant, although we did have one meal at Michelangelo and one at the premium restaurant, Crown Grill. Our meal pattern was Anytime Dining and worked extremely well. Apart from the first evening, we never had to wait in line and, through a willingness to share, met some great people, some of whom became regular dining partners as the cruise progressed. Apart from our evening meals we also took breakfast at Da Vinci and so avoided the scramble of Horizon Court. We did take one lunch at Da Vinci but found it a little too filling for midday, and our experience of the pub lunch in The Wheelhouse was disappointing with unbelievably soggy batter on the fish.in every other instance we found the main dining room experience to be very good. The menus were interesting and varied and the food of a very good standard. The service was generally excellent despite a few teething issues with staff changeovers at the Middle weekend. Must mention Daniella the hostess at front desk at Da Vinci, always bright and cheerful and most helpful in getting diners sat promptly. As a rule we did not worry too greatly about excursions as they are often hugely overcharged and generally equalled for quality at dock side. As a result we only did two. One was a boat trip to Passion Island, a somewhat disappointing affair with wTered down drinks and an uninspiring buffet at a reasonable but crowded beach. The other was the day package at Mahogay bay on Roatan, adjacent to the port. There's a cable car to the beach and the ticket allowed all day access, as well as providing a beach clamshell with loungers. In addition we took the optional snorkelling equipment. At first that seemed a potentially disappointing choice as our neighbour said there was nothing to see. However we trusted to luck and met a diving enthusiast on the pier who told us it was one of the best snorkelling experiences he'd ever had. He pointed out an area roughly 50 yards out at a 45 degree angle to the left of the pier end. It was great. Huge, colourful fish and attractive coral plants visible even though it was a cloudy, drizzly day. If that diver ever reads this review... Thank you sir! For the most part our evening entertainment was the great people we met whilst dining and we rarely left therestUrant before 9:30. That said we did attend some shows and other entertainment sessions. The "Once Upon A Dream" and "Colours of the World" shows were both very good with excellent video wall backdrops. The Ballroom theme show was mixed. Whilst the dancing was very impressive, some of the singing was poor. We only saw the tail end of Marlon(?) Washington's comedy set but he seemed very good and Carl Strong's comedy set was great. The pianist in Crooners was interesting! His playing was very good but some of his vocal performances missed the mark. We used the Wheelhouse as as pre dinner meeting point for drinks with friends and often found that spoiled by the over amplification of the dancing music. I used the treadmills or promenade deck for running, as with many ships the jogging track it short and tight for comfort. My wife took advantage of the Lotus Spa Sanctuary and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing time there. It's a pity that some negatives crop up in review but we all have our cruise expectations and it's a shame when some aren't met. We booked a 14 day cruise but we're told there was no wine card over as this is only provided on cruises exceeding 10 days and Princess considered this to be two 7 day cruises. OK that got us to Platimum status mid cruise but it did mean we were paying premium price for our wine. We were offered a beverage card at a rate of $49 per day, but as we don't drink coffee or more than one cocktail a day this was never an economic benefit, so we declined. The wifi was pitifully slow and, as we had no great need for access, we were better served by seeking out free access on shore days. During the second week the ship was joined by a group of 800 Rock and roll enthusiasts who had their own private functions around the ship at different times. This did seem to reduce the number and nature of entertainment options available to all other passengers, which was unfortunate. I never saw any indication that this was acknowledged by Princess prior to the cruise. Our only concern was that areas could become congested outside their show venues at the end of concerts and they could be slow clearing the area, but otherwise they caused us no direct problem. Our greatest disappointment came on the final evening at Crown Grill where a party of 20 diners occupying 2 tables were allowed to holler across the two tables with no comment from management. That they stopped was only because I requested them to do so in an assertive man er. I reported this to Customer Serviceand they were very apologetic but, as this was the final evening, I got no further response from the ship. I will take this up with the company on return home. None of these issues would deter us from joining another cruise on this ship in the future. As we should we are returning home with many fond memories and will look forward to our next cruise with Princess later this year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
First time cruising on the Princess line so I decided to go with my friend on their newest ship, the Ruby Princess. This was my lucky 13th cruise. Here are a few of my impressions: Embarkation: Total chaos. Neither definable lines ... Read More
First time cruising on the Princess line so I decided to go with my friend on their newest ship, the Ruby Princess. This was my lucky 13th cruise. Here are a few of my impressions: Embarkation: Total chaos. Neither definable lines nor instructions issued by Princess port personnel. My friend decided rather than join the mass of people, we would sit down until the terminal was almost empty then get on board -- finally around 3:30 PM (we arrived at the terminal at 1:00 PM thinking there wouldn't be a crowd). We both concluded this was a one off situation and were pleased that Princess acted speedily to sanitize the ship. Cabin: Was located on the Emerald deck forward. For being an "obstructed view", there was IMO no obstruction -- window view was beautiful. Cabin steward, Georgy, was attentive and kept the ice bucket filled plus the extra towels requested were available. Dining: Horizon/Caribe buffet - who designed this area? Considering the number of passengers, they were the smallest buffet areas I ever encountered and people were frequently bumping into each other. In addition, for some odd reason they ran out of silverware and napkins frequently and by the time they appeared, the food was cold! I did like being served as it cut down on any potential disease but I did not return to the buffet area until almost the end of the cruise. MDR (Da Vinci) good service and good food. Had very nice tablemates. I loved the English Pub fish and chips and the International Cafe for a great sandwich and cappuccino. I tried the beignets and they were great! I did go to the MDR again for lunch a couple of times and again the service/food was good. I have to agree -- the pizza was wonderful! Entertainment: The best assistant cruise directors ever. The Cruise Director, Sam, has a good staff. Dave, Aris, Angela and Tatum were always courteous and patient, especially when I tried the line dancing and the trivia contests. The deck party was really good. I don't remember the name of the singer, but she had a fantastic voice. The stage productions were very entertaining and I liked the way the theater was designed because it cut down on interruptions from the bar service. What's the point of the Sanctuary? There were lots of areas around the ship that were quiet where you could sit down and read a book, nap, etc. The Wheelhouse bar had an area to the side that was comfortable and quiet. Most of the decks had chairs and depending on the side of the ship, not too windy. Ports: Princess Cay was enjoyable. St Maarten was the best for the ocean and beer. St Thomas -- just walked around then went back to the ship. The Captain made a good call in diverting to the next port, Nassau, rather than stopping at Grand Turk due to reports of food and/or water contamination. I got the chance to visit the Atlantis resort again and loved the aquariums. I haven't visited Nassau for over 5 years and I was amazed at how big the straw market has grown. Same touristy stuff just more of it. Liked the Kalik beer. Just a note: my friend was a past passenger, her 4th cruise on Princess, thus she attended the Past Passenger party. She told me she received a voucher for one free drink and no hors d'oeuvres were served. Huh? I've been to past passenger parties on the other cruise lines and there were choices of beverages plus the goodies. Debarkation: Thankfully, my friend suggested self-debarkation and it was the 1st time I got off a ship so rapidly. All went very smoothly and we were off the ship and out of the terminal in record time. Beats searching for your luggage in the hanger-type terminal. Overall, I would give Princess another try. All the staff I met were friendly and helpful. The Ruby Princess gave me a workout going from one venue to another but considering the size of the ship it was easy to find your way. As most of us have said before, any day at sea beats the daily grind at work. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
My wife and I are very familiar with cruising and with Princess. This was New Years cruise and the Princess people did not disappoint - they threw a great party (actually a couple of great parties)for New Years. Ports and excursions - ... Read More
My wife and I are very familiar with cruising and with Princess. This was New Years cruise and the Princess people did not disappoint - they threw a great party (actually a couple of great parties)for New Years. Ports and excursions - We went to Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, the USVI and the private "island" in the Bahamas. I'd say it's an ok group of ports but the Western Caribbean is more fun with better shopping and excursions. The Champagne Reef Snorkel on Dominica was a mixed bag; the contractor running the excursion made it very educational and it was perfect for the occasional snorkeler. There just weren't a lot of fish to see. The St. John Sail and Snorkel in the USVI was great although the weather didn't really cooperate very well (some rain). Food - Excellent as always. My wife loves escargot. We didn't see it on the menu so we asked if it had been discontinued. Presto - my wife got her escargot. Bonus points for the waiter and the ship! We had lobster twice on board and it was great both times. We did anytime dining and we liked it; it was flexible and it allowed greater shore flexibility and show availability. Shows - Princess has a production show (don't remember the name) that features a young girls dreams. It's been around about 4 years; we've seen it once before. They need to change this. The other production show was new and good. Comedians and piano bar player were very good as was the ship's "house band" Cabin - I guess the issues on this cruise involved our cabin ands cabin steward. The balconies on Aloha and Baja decks are smaller; pick a balcony cabin on Capri or Dolphin for a larger balcony. I think Princess has installed a pressure limiter on the shower in the bathroom; pressure is ridiculously low and very irritating. I bet they get a bunch of complaints on this one and probably a false economy. We also had issues with our cabin steward supplying pool towels promptly; we needed to pursue him for towels to go ashore. Loading and Unloading - simple and easy, we got off on time and found our bags easily. Ron Goldman is the Cruise Director and he was great. We'll go again on Princess!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Well DW & I are recovering from our cruise - time change, lots of activities, and last but not least, the feeling of the motion from the ship. I heard that others and we too feel the after affects of the ship motion on the seas even ... Read More
Well DW & I are recovering from our cruise - time change, lots of activities, and last but not least, the feeling of the motion from the ship. I heard that others and we too feel the after affects of the ship motion on the seas even after coming home for a few days. Our cruise vacation started early enough - ie leaving home 8 PM for LAX to be conservative in getting there and going thru airport checkin of luggage and security. It was a red eye flight that Princess Air put us on - but then we got smooth sailing (pun intended) to the airport thru Los Angeles traffic! We did the hotel park and fly (Hilton at LAX - a great tip from a co-worker of Christine's). Hotel shuttle took us to the airport and we already had boarding passes thru on-line (a good way to go) ticketing with American Airlines so just did baggage checkin and the line was short at that hour and time of the week (Thursday night/Friday morning) for our 1 AM flight. Also security checkin was relatively fast. Arrived at Fort Lauderdale, Florida where we were met by Princess reps and we knew our pampering had begun with Princess Cruises service. Their shuttle transfer took us to the pier to board the Ruby Princess and the checkin process was fast and efficient. Princess uses a new terminal that is away from the main terminal of several other ships. Went to our balcony cabin on the Carib deck to drop off our carry-on luggage and off to the 1st of many meals on the Ruby. While on the subject of food, we had traditional dining for dinner, 1st seating. We requested a table to share but got a table for 2 adjacent to other tables for 2 - a great way to go it turns out. We had our privacy and yet could and did converse with the very nice folks we met. On occasion (more than I want to say) we did the musical shows/magician acts/comedy acts and then headed for a 2nd dinner at the Horizon Court and/or Caribe Cafe buffets. We also did the fast foods near the pool areas and the great freshly made snacks at the International Cafe in the Piazza (the oatmeal cookies were perfect - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside) besides room service for the healthy foods - apples and bananas. The musical shows had great talent for the lead singers and the magic acts were great. The island ports we visited were Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, St Thomas. We decided not to take the tender to Bahamas due to the showers and not smooth seas. Great weather and seas - only last two days of our 10 days we encountered some showers. Did sightseeing on all the ports except Bahamas - some with Princess tours and some we just booked when we got off the ship. Especially liked the waterfalls and the very scenic waters and landscapes near the shorelines. We said no souvenirs but then picked up some very nice watches in Aruba and St Thomas and even some art work at the ship art auction. The disembarkation was very good. Unlike last year, the checkin baggage was organized by decks that correspond to the color tags Princess issued so made it easy to find our stuff. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Travelling with my twin sister, brother-in-law and husband for many special occasions - B'days, 40th Wedding Anniversary and my retirement after 43 years of Nursing. My twin and I chose the 2 PS on Caribe deck on the aft of the ship ... Read More
Travelling with my twin sister, brother-in-law and husband for many special occasions - B'days, 40th Wedding Anniversary and my retirement after 43 years of Nursing. My twin and I chose the 2 PS on Caribe deck on the aft of the ship and couldn't have made a better choice. The suites lived up to our every expectation, were not overlooked, and served as our private sanctuary for the duration of the cruise. The partition between the 2 suites was left open by our wonderful cabin steward (Kittimasak) who couldn't have been more helpful and attentive. Embarkation was a breeze having parked our car at Park N Fly (highly recommended) since we didn't leave from Pier 2, rather, Pier 25. We did not partake in many of the cruise activities (our choice) but did have dinner on the balcony one night (well worth the extra - very attentive waiters). We also ate at Sabatini's and The Crown Grill - excellent choices. We had anytime dining in the dining rooms and both dining rooms were beautifully maintained (the tables were not crowded together as they are on "other" lines). Others on Cruise Critic have expounded on the ports & shore excusions - we did get to Princess Cays (Eleuthera)(didn't get off the ship), St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Cauacao, and Aruba - my two favorites being Dominica (for its quaintness) and Grenada (for the Rhum Boat cruise - lots of fun). Disembarkation was a breeze - we headed to the Fusion Lounge as Suite passengers and waited for our color to be called. I did forget to mention that we had room service breakfast (extended menu for suite passengers) on our balcony every morning which was the highlight of our day. GREAT!!! All 4 of us have agreed that this was our best cruise ever and after having had a luxurious suite, could never go back to "other" accomodations on future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Background Having been married on the Caribbean Princess four years ago and spending our first anniversary cruise there as well, this was our first voyage back to Princess,  having enjoyed the Celebrity Millennium and the Celebrity ... Read More
Background Having been married on the Caribbean Princess four years ago and spending our first anniversary cruise there as well, this was our first voyage back to Princess,  having enjoyed the Celebrity Millennium and the Celebrity Solstice in the interim. We live in South Florida so hotels were not necessary and family members dropped us at the port the day of the cruise. A little further background on preparations for the trip; we have found it very beneficial to become involved in the Cruise Critic boards as we did again this year, and were very glad that we did. Our official March 20-30 Ruby Cruise group name was the "Jewels of the Ruby Princess" or "Ruby Cruisers" having over 120 on our roll call and over 100 active on our website, we became friends with each other even before the cruise. The web site gave us a chance to put a face with a name, small bios on each member, and a list of excursions each person was taking on each island. A few of had sailed together previously before although the majority were about to meet a whole new group of friends! Embarking We arrived at the port at approximately 12:15 PM and after handing our bags to the porters made our way to the terminal. We moved fairly quickly through security and then were moved into a second room to fill out our health questioners. We were then directed up an escalator and found our way to the short line for the Aloha Deck. We presented our passports and credit card and were quickly issued our room key card. Then to our cabin 20 minutes after clearing security, good job to Princess for the efficiency on handling this task. On the Ship, Day 1 Once in our cabin (Aruba Deck 509, balcony) we were met by old friends from last year's Celebrity Cruise and joined them and a third couple we had also met last year for a lunch buffet in the Horizon Court. Nice to catch up, it seemed as though it had only been weeks since we saw each other last, instead the year it had taken to reunite. The lunch was very good and hit the spot after missing breakfast. After lunch it was time to get to know the Ruby as we walked around checking her out, she was a beauty, reminded us much of the Caribbean Princess as they are both Grand Class ships, but some four years apart in age. The ship was clean, still looking new, not showing her young age at all.  We were impressed by the way the crew cared for her on a continual basis, constantly shining, vacuuming and polishing the entire length of the voyage. We passed many people involved in the $1000 treasure hunt, getting their cards stamped at specially marked kiosks on decks 5, 6, 7, 16 and 17, but since you were required to be present to win at the Neptune's Reef Pool at Sailaway, we abandoned that idea. Time for our four o'clock muster in the Explorer's Lounge, a quick stop was made to the room to pick up life jackets and to check on our luggage. Upon arrival to our room we were greeted by our cabin steward Mariano. Mariano was very pleasant, had a nice smile and assured us that when our luggage arrived he would gladly stow it in our room for us. We grabbed our life jackets and assembled in the Explorers Lounge for Muster. Muster was painless and did cover some important topics, once this drill was over and having a better idea of the procedures during an emergency we headed up five flights to our room.  Our luggage had arrived, including our case of water, and as promised Mariano had it all efficiently lined up just inside the door. We were able to quickly unpack and stow our luggage underneath the beds and head out for our planned sail away at the Outrigger Bar with our Cruise Critic friends. Prior to leaving the cabin a knock at the door revealed some Cruise Critic friends that had made us a laminated sign for our door, nice touch! Sailaway The culmination of eleven months of our group planning a few events was about to begin, our sail away party was scheduled to begin at 5PM at the Outrigger Bar adjacent to the Terrace Pool at the aft end of the ship.  Several members had volunteered to provide name tags and Mardi Gras beads and they were waiting there for us ready to go. Someone had mentioned that our sail away was attended by 38 couples, and a few singles, which in our limited experience with sailaway's 75 people is phenomenal! Now most everyone was together shaking hands, smiling and toasting each other waiting for the Ruby to leave port. Nearly 5:30 and we were still tied off to the dock in Ft. Lauderdale, hoping all was good we continued the party. We overheard that a Delta flight with Ruby customers was running late and we would wait for them and their luggage to make way. Ten minutes later we were underway, saluting the web cam as we passed through the inlet leaving Port Everglades! A few more drinks after escaping into the Atlantic Ocean really set the mood as the stressors of work were left behind. We met for our late dinner seating in the Botticelli Dining Room, we had arranged two tables adjacent to each other, one for nine and one for seven.  They were actually tables for eight and six but we had no problems squeezing a couple of our friends in, the headwaiter was there to please! Prior to dinner and after sailaway, we made a nice plate from the seafood buffet which included shrimp, lobster claws and crab legs and returned with it to our cabin. After our 8;15 PM late seating,  a trip to the Club Fusion with some friends and then upstairs to close Skywalkers at 2AM, don't remember staying up that late since last year's cruise! Day 2 - Princess Cays  Well the weather was perfect this morning once we awoke anchored just off Princess Cays. Reports from the previous three Ruby outings indicate that this venue was dropped due to sea conditions, could not ask for better weather today!  Having been to Princess Cays twice, we treated ourselves to a 9 o'clock wakeup call and planned on doing some more ship exploring! After a very leisurely breakfast at the Cafe Caribe we hit the much un-crowded Terrace Pool below the Outrigger Bar. We checked out the International Cafe and discovered a nice surprise, the chicken salad is wonderful and so are the pinini's!   A little more ship exploring, she is so well maintained and clean, and then a quick trip to the pool for some pizza. The pizza is actually very good, every day there seems to be a new special but there is always cheese and pepperoni.  As friends arrived back from Princess Cays we hosted a small happy hour in our room prior to dinner. After dinner back to Club Fusion for some Karoiki and then some 50's music by the Black Hat Band. We decided that the Black Hat Band was average at best and Princess has a little room for improvement in this area of entertainment. Day 3 - Sea Day Day three the Ruby walking/jogging track was given a try by some, it was determined that this track is probably too small and crowded for its intended purpose and the Promenade Deck seemed to be a more popular place to stretch ones legs. Breakfast again at Cafe Caribe, this place never gets tiresome for me, all the salmon, cream cheese, bagels, onions and capers I can stand after bacon, eggs, sausage and waffles! The wait staff gladly brought our drinks to us each morning and cheerfully cleared our table when we finished.  After breakfast we went by the Club Fusion and were just in time for some dance lessons. Today's dance of the day was the meringue; we had lots of fun and were definitely not the best in the group, nor were we the worst! Time for a little shopping on decks 5, 6 and 7 mid-ship, the 2 for $20 dollar princess t-shirts were a good deal so we picked up a few and I am told that the makeup is reasonably priced on the ship as well. After shopping we stopped by the martini demo in the piazza, we watched for a while and were actually awarded a free martini for celebrating our anniversary on board.  At 2 PM our Cruise Critic group met in Skywalkers lounge for a "mad hatters" party.  Everyone was asked to wear their craziest hat and prizes were awarded after being judged by the ship's crew.  After the award ceremony Captain Tony Yeoman's made his appearance welcoming us all to the Ruby. The Captain is genuinely a very nice and likeable man with a quick wit and good sense of humor. He actually took photos with all that asked and wore some of the mad hats for our photos. The cruise director James also came by to chat and to be sure all was well and a good time was had by all, he loved our hats and unbeknownst to us at this time, selected hats that would appear each morning on the Wake Show that he and the assistant cruise director would wear. We estimate over 50 were present at this event and the turnouts for ruby cruiser events were wonderful. Prior to diner this evening we checked out the martini bar "Crooners" for cocktails and there was plenty of seating for everyone. As it was also formal night many of us posed for our formal photos and were part of many group photos.  After dinner the ladies went to MUTS to see Julie and Julia and the men were off to the casino.  The casino is laid out nicely and is especially nice on non-smoking nights; I believe there were two or three non smoking nights during our cruise. Returned to the wonderfully re-cleaned room and had seen that Mariano had prepared the cabin for turn down service. This young man is great! Day 4 - St. Thomas This morning we had breakfast delivered to our room and it was received promptly at 8 AM. I also noticed a note in my mailbox from a fellow passenger that was having some issues with Princess. Having seen our Cruise Critic door sign and not being familiar with what Cruise Critic was she offered to buy me a drink if I would speak to her about her "issue".  Having been to St Thomas three times and never venturing to Megan's Bay, today was our day to hit the beach! A half hour cab ride and $8 fare each way was painless as was the park admission fee of $4. We were there just after 9:30 and walked half way down the deserted beach and had the place to ourselves (for a while). With 5 ships in port this day including the Oasis of the Seas by noon Megan's Bay seemed to get a bit crowded. Funny thing was that it was only crowded at the center of the beach, not bad if you walk a hundred yards down the beach. After noon we headed back to the ship for a quick bite at the International Cafe.  This venue really never disappointed us and there was never long wait to be served. After lunch a quick cab ride to downtown and the shopping was on! This was the most crowded we had ever seen St. Thomas, although it wasn't so crowded that we were uncomfortable. Ran into many Ruby Cruisers we recognized from the roll call and it was fun to catch up with them in St. Thomas. Back to the ship we were greeted by a friendly crew and given a coolrefreshing face towel, we thought this was a wonderful gesture. Time for more pizza and hotdogs poolside prior to our Sailaway from the Virgin Islands. Since our balcony cabin room faced Havensight we went back to the room to see who may run up to ship at the last minute and cheer them on. Last minute arrivals back to the ship were not personally observed at this port or at any other port during our entire cruise! A first for us!  By the way Mariano our room looks really nice! Day 5 - Dominica Based on recommendations from the Cruise Critic message boards we booked a van for 11 through Reyno tours. Reyno, a likeable young man, arranged a tour for us that included Mr. Nice Fruit Stand, a quick bathroom break at the International Airport, Traflagler Falls and snorkeling at Champagne reef. We were accompanied by a young lady that narrated during the entire tour and she was very familiar with the island and its history. Reyno arranged to have a large cooler in our air conditioned van with local beer, water and soda. Our tour lasted approximately 5 hours and we were charged $45 a piece. We enjoyed this tour and wish we had more time to explore the island.  Reyno dropped us off downtown adjacent to the ship and we still had a couple of hours left to explore. Two hours prior to sailaway the Ruby Cruisers had informally arranged to meet at Ruin Rocks Cafe. This colorful hole in the wall local bar was two blocks from the ship and had a limited menu of drinks. Featured were $3 Carib Beers, $2 Kubuli Beer and a local Rum Punch for $7 that was very potent. Many of us gathered there to share our adventures of the day and a good time was had by all! Back to the ship and crew were awaiting our arrival with freshly chilled face cloths and a friendly smile!    Day 6 - Grenada After consulting the cruises critic message boards for Grenada we had also pre-arranged a tour for 46 from our ship with Mandoo. Having been to many islands in the Caribbean and enjoying private and ship sponsored excursion, I can safely say that this venture turned out to be one of the best excursions I have ever been on. Mandoo, a true ambassador of the island of Grenada, greeted us all with a warm smile and showed us to the two 23 passenger air conditioned busses he had waiting.  Our first stop was an old nutmeg receiving station where local folks had artwork, food items and fabrics for sale. This stop also included complimentary rum and non-alcoholic fruit punch which we all enjoyed. The next stop was one of the highlights of our trip, Douglastown Spice Plantation. Mandoo actually had his own private table where he continued the tour educating us on the different spices that come from this lush island. Samples of each spice were passed around the table for all to enjoy and after his presentation we were afforded the opportunity to purchase the local spices for a nominal fee. After the spice plantation we enjoyed a long ride through the rain forest, this one of the 2 times we actually saw rain on our entire cruise. I guess when traveling through a rain forest that the chance of precipitation increases a bit and we were glad to have the effect! Next stop was Grand Etnag Lake and Park, this is a huge volcanic lake situated in the top of the mountains is very beautiful, and is now the source for some of Grenada's drinking water. There were crafts for sale at his venue along with refreshments and were we allotted some time to walk around and enjoy the scenery. Prior to our departure Mandoo coaxed a Mona Monkey out of the forest and fed her bananas right in front of us, very nice!  Finally we were taken to Allendale Waterfall, not quite as breathtaking as Trafalgar Falls in Dominica, but a very scenic stop. More arts and crafts and trinkets for sale here with refreshments for sale. It should be noted that at each stop, Mandoo would gather the folks from both busses and speak to us about the area and answer any questions we had.   Not to be redundant, but Mandoo was a class act and his tour is not to be missed, he is an environmentalist that cares deeply about his people and his island. He promotes tourism and feels that if done properly, can benefit his island and makes all that visit this beautiful island feel very welcome. Due to our large group were given a discount and paid $40 each for this 4 hour tour. Mandoo is an excellent driver and all that journeyed with him felt safe and secure in his company. Great Job Mandoo! A little shopping in the cruise ship terminal prior to boarding the ship where more cool face towels awaited us!   Day 7 - Curacao Another day to have breakfast delivered to our room and within the half hour time in the window that Princess promises. Today would be our only day without an excursion. Instead, a little journey around Curacao alone to check out the old and new towns that make up Williamstead.  Ventured out to observe our docking in Curacao and noticed that it was incredibly windy. We were later told that it is often windy in Curacao and Aruba due to their close proximity to South America. We ventured the perimeter sidewalk in the new town and walked past the Queen Emma Bridge which was open for at least 20 minutes and caught the ferry to the old town. We checked out the shops one by one and had decidedly seen everything within a couple of hours. We then walked across the Queen Emma Bridge and shopped a bit in the new town. This was also a great place to buy a 20 minute phone card for $5.00 and call home to let everyone know that we were alive and well. Towards the end of our stay we met up with some Ruby Cruisers and had a few drinks in the shops that line the port. Back to the ship the friendly Ruby crew with cold wash towels greeted us back aboard. We met up with some more Ruby Cruisers for our "secret door party" and enjoyed the sailaway from above the forward deck.  We skipped dinner this night and enjoyed our time with friends at Vines and the International Cafe. Vines is a truly nice place where you get plenty of appetizers, including cheese tapas and sushi. We felt we could have just planted ourselves there for the evening and pretty much did enjoying an early bedtime prior to some ice cream and coffee on the promenade deck.  Did I mention how nice and neat our cabin looked, thank Mariano! Day 8 - Aruba After contacting Bully for a tour of Aruba we were told that his excursion was completely full. We were disappointed, however, he recommended us to his friend Ivan. We made contact with Ivan through his email address and he responded to us immediately. He indicated that he had an air-conditioned van that would accommodate up to 5 people. His rates were $45 an hour for the van regardless of the number of passengers. We reserved his van for 3 hours and left it to Ivan to design a tour for the 4 of us.   Once we departed the Ruby Princess, just inside the passenger terminal, Ivan awaited us with a sign bearing our names with his van waiting just outside. Ivan was able to give us a thorough overview of the entire island from Palm Beach to the California Lighthouse over to the Natural Bridge on the north coast. But basically once inside the van anywhere we wanted to go or any place we wanted to stop we could. He made it clear that it was our tour and we could modify it at anytime.   Ivan was born and raised in Aruba and has a very good knowledge of her history, he is familiar with the local crowd and makes sure his van gets to the area attractions before the tour busses do. After our tour Ivan even took us to the grocery store on his own time so we could pick up some local drinks to take back to the ship, he then dropped us off downtown right next to the ship terminal.   You can really get a pretty good overview of the island of Aruba in three to four hours and we recommend that if you are looking for a really nice, small private group excursion, that you give Ivan a try!   After the tour we did a little shopping in downtown Aruba and met the Ruby Cruisers at Iguana Joe's for a pre-planned off ship happy hour then back to the ship for a sailaway with our new Canadian and South African Friends.         Day 9 - Sea Day Another beautiful day in the Caribbean Sea today as we awoke with perfectly clear skies and mild temperatures. We checked in on the Wake Show and noticed yet more Ruby Cruisers crazy hats from the Mad Hatters Party on James and Eric! Seemed like they had as much fun with the hats as we did! We set our sights this morning on the adult pool to the aft of the ship just below the Horizon Court. We were there early enough to score some poolside loungers, this area wasn't awfully busy and it seemed as though there was always a chair or two available, if not directly by the pool, then up one flight.  The pools are fresh water and seemed a little warmer than they were at the start of the cruise, our assumption is that they drain the pools after each cruise and re-fill them with fresh water. Cabin Crawl! Another Ruby Cruisers special event today was the much anticipated cabin crawl. The cabin crawl is a walking tour of the ship, with stops in various volunteers' rooms. Outfitted in special t-shirts we had printed prior to the cruise, that bared the name of our group, we set off in a mass sea of blue from the outrigger bar. It was 2PM and happy hour was already beginning! Once in the room you were provided snacks, drinks or small gifts from the host and then picked a card from a standard deck of playing cards. Not only did this give you the opportunity to see the various style cabins on the ship from different angles it also provided a new game, a poker run! The top three hands would win small gifts provided by some of the members of the ruby cruisers. To top it off after the cabin crawl we adjourned to the casino where each person gave $10 to be distributed in to three side by side slot machines. This was our official slot pull, although we did not hit any jackpots it provided a nice hour of laughs and fun for all involved.  Our last formal night would be this evening and reality started to hit that the festivities would soon be over! After dinner we went to the theater and were surprised to see how easy it was to get good seats for ten of us fifteen minutes prior to the show. Once Upon a Dream was a show about a young girl's dream that used projection against the back drop to make it almost seem 3-D. It was very nice and we thought it was worth our time to see.   Day 10 - Sea Day Up and Adam early as we retreated back to the Terrace Pool and were lucky enough to find some seats still available next to some friends. The terrace pool gives you an awesome view for the aft perspective of the ship, the sound of the wake from the propellers is so soothing it's almost tranquil.  A little brunch poolside was a great way to start the day as the weather and the temperature were again perfect! Prior to leaving for dinner we set our luggage outside our room as setting it out before bedtime was no longer the procedure. Having submitted a prize winning limerick to the wake-show prior to dinner we ventured off to the Adagio Bar, Deck 16 aft. This was actually a very beautiful lounge, nicely kept with soft colors that made you feel at home in luxury. We sampled a Rubyrita and a Martini and were sorry we had not discovered the little gem of a lounge before.   Day 11 - Ft Lauderdale We were out of room by 8AM as requested, hit Cafe Caribe for a little breakfast and phoned the parents for a pick-up. We then went down to the Explorers Lounge and easily found a sofa to sit on to await our number to be called to disembark. Overheard two gentleman sitting in front of us as one man stated to the other "this has got to be the worst cruise I have ever been on, we will never sail Princess again!" It amazes me how there can be so many opinions from great to poor on the same cruise that we ranked as one of our best! As our number was called we were headed off the Ruby for our last time and made our way to the luggage area where our bags awaited us for the trip home. The disembarking process was the smoothest I have ever seen and we were impressed with the organization.  Overview The Ruby is a beautiful ship and is very clean and well maintained. We were not only impressed with her, but also with her crew, form our fantastic cabin Steward Mariano, to the Cruise Director James, who made us feel so welcome, to the Captain, who was so accessible and genuinely friendly to the passengers. The food was very good and our wait staff worked hard to please all at our two adjoining table. We would not hesitate to sail Princess again and are looking forward to their two newest ships and hope at least one will sail the Caribbean. The weather was absolutely beautiful, with calm seas and plenty of sunshine. To top it all off we got involved on the Cruise Critic Message Boards and met some wonderful people, who I am sure we will be sailing with again someday. So get involved in the message board for your sailing and plan a few events together, it's nice to see some familiar faces from time to time to have others with you to share your happiness!  Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
First, a bit of background. We are a married couple in our fifties who have been on six previous cruises. We have cruised before on Holland America and Celebrity and on Carnival with our kids and we were excited to experience our first ... Read More
First, a bit of background. We are a married couple in our fifties who have been on six previous cruises. We have cruised before on Holland America and Celebrity and on Carnival with our kids and we were excited to experience our first Princess cruise. We chose this cruise primarily to be with friends who had already booked it and who were seasoned Princess cruisers. We discovered that there is much to like about Princess. While we are particular about our travel experiences, we have learned over time to just "go with the flow" and thus, we don't let much disturb the fun we have on a cruise. Embarkation went smoothly and we were happy to be able to get into our cabin as soon as we boarded. We felt fortunate to book one of the twelve mini-suites on the Emerald deck. It was a short hike from the aft elevators but we didn't mind. The aft hallways are very quiet, since no one goes there unless they have to. We liked the cabin design and found that we had more than enough storage space. We especially enjoyed the covered balcony, having been originally booked in a mini-suite on the uncovered Dolphin deck. I know many cruisers don't mind the exposure but we like the privacy. Adelino, our stateroom steward was attentive and fulfilled our every request immediately. The Ruby Princess is a beautiful ship and we were impressed right away with the lovely Piazza. It feels like the heart of the ship and we found ourselves there often, meeting for drinks in Crooners (we loved the Goldfinger and Passionada martinis) or stopping for coffee and a snack in the International Cafe. We wondered how we would like being on such a large ship with so many passengers but found the ship to be well laid out and with so many venues, we did not experience any unusual crowding. Finding pool chairs for sunning was not a problem, as long as we were willing to leisurely walk the deck and check out the options. During peak hours on our first sea day, a couple at the terrace pool, who had spent several hours tanning/burning on two chairs right at the aft railing, were just leaving as we arrived. It was a beautiful spot to nap and read. Then later in the week, our friends clued us in to some partially shaded chairs just next to the Sanctuary. If you want a chair right next to one of the main pools, you may not find one. But we saw an abundance of chairs all around the upper decks and were never disappointed. This was a pleasant surprise. The lap pool near the Sanctuary was a welcome place to cool off. It was just the right temperature and not too crowded. We had been forewarned from reviews that the main theatre filled early for shows but we were able to find good seats about fifteen minutes before one of the 10:30 performances. Without checking the Princess Patter, we showed up thinking we were seeing a magician and soon realized it was a production show with the Princess singers and dancers. We thought the show's production values, choreography and performers were of a higher quality than we'd seen on other cruises. The theatre was well designed, with nothing blocking the sight lines and had some nifty drink trays that stowed away in the arms of the seats. Later in the cruise, we saw a comedian and the hypnotist in the Explorers Lounge and thoroughly enjoyed both shows. Movies Under the Stars was new to us and we thought for sure we'd take advantage of it but never quite found the time to make it there. It was a nice feature though, to be able to view the first run movies in our cabin on tv. I watched "The Blind Side" late one evening when I couldn't sleep during our one night of brief, choppy seas. We had the best of intentions and thought we'd make it to Skywalker's at least once during the cruise but didn't. The same was true for Bingo. We had been part of the Cruise Critic roll call for this cruise and made it to a couple of the organized events. They were a great bunch of cruisers! The cabin crawl provided a good opportunity to see other cabins and was a lot of fun. This was the first cruise where we've done Anytime Dining. We normally prefer to have a set dining time to allow us to get to know our waiters. But we were able to dine at the same table with our friends each night, with the same wait staff. Our waiter, Harin, brought many extra plates for our table to share. It was the best of both worlds with some flexibility on the time of our reservation yet we were still able to sit at the same table with the same servers. Thanks to our friends for handling all the details that made this possible! The food was excellent every night, with only a couple of exceptions. Two in our party ordered veal one night and did not enjoy it and a few of us were turned off by the frog's legs. Otherwise, we couldn't have been more pleased with our meals. We made reservations for the Crown Grill one evening and while the food was excellent, the service was hit or miss, with the waiter mixing up our appetizer orders right from the start. After dining at premium restaurants now on other cruises, we find that the food is often exceptional but the service can be spotty. We had an expectation that the service would be unusually attentive, but instead found the service in the main dining room to be better overall. It was still a wonderful meal, with tender, juicy steaks and way too much food to eat. I actually took a doggie bag to the room since I couldn't bear to waste half of my filet mignon. It came in handy the next day when we needed a snack after getting back on the ship after a day in port. I know it's odd to ask for a doggie bag on a cruise! As if we would ever go hungry! As far as ports go, Dominica was our favorite stop. We had booked a private tour for six of us with Sheppee from Sheppee Fun Tours. Sheppee is an island native who really knows his homeland. He drove us all over the island in his air-conditioned van, plying us with STRONG rum punch and a killer sound system. We saw the highlights of the island including Titou Gorge, Trafalgar Falls, Morne Rouge and the botanical gardens. We learned a lot about his country and shared many laughs that day. It was definitely the signature excursion for us on this trip. Our other major venture was to ferry over to St. John from St. Thomas. Our friends joined us as we made our way to Cinnamon Bay, where there's a beautiful beach and campground. It's part of a national park on the island and was un-crowded and peaceful. Since there were four or five ships in port that day, we wanted to escape the crowds. Our trip to St. John accomplished that and gave us a nice respite. It seems that most tours stop at Trunk Bay and few go to Cinnamon Bay. It was our second time there and was as lovely as ever. If you enjoy getting away from crowds and being on a beach without vendors, this is a great choice. Grenada was the only port where we took a Princess excursion. We signed up for a brief city tour including a stop at the historic Fort and ending with 90 minutes at Grand Anse beach. We'd heard mixed reports about this beach and didn't know what to expect. We were dropped off at Grand Anse Beach Resort, where we had access to the beach, four pools, the changing/restrooms and were given two free drink coupons. It was a very nice beach and we did some snorkeling in the shallow, turquoise waters. (We did notice the presence of armed security guards at each resort.) We heard later when back on board that there had been a shooting on the beach that day, but we saw no signs of it during our stop. The only downside of this excursion was the non-air conditioned tour van. The driver would stop to offer comments and when not moving, the van quickly became unbearably hot. Fortunately, though, the drive back to the ship from the beach was a shorter route and went quickly. In the future, we will always try to book tours on an air conditioned vehicle. Although it comes as no surprise, the casino proved to be a no win situation. A fellow cruiser from Cruise Critic shared that she thought it was the tightest casino at sea she'd ever been in. I had one night of short lived fun on a penny slot machine but couldn't repeat it again. Plus, the casino was excessively smoky. It could really use better ventilation. I should have made the effort to check out the smoke free night. One aspect we appreciated about the Ruby Princess was the Promenade Deck that runs the length of the ship. Even though there are stairs that route the deck up a level and then back down at the bow of the ship, it is a lovely place to walk or just to sit on a deck chair and relax. This is one of the features on Holland America ships that we've always enjoyed and one that we missed on our Celebrity cruise. The Aqua Spa was a tranquil escape and I was able to schedule a "Top to Toe" treatment that was offered as a port day special. For only $10 more than a 50 minute Swedish massage, ($129) it included a 75 minute assortment of treatments. It was terrific and seemed to go on forever. On the last sea day, it was still available so I treated myself to one more luxury. It was a nice way to wind down before facing the depressing task of packing. We felt that Princess did a great job managing disembarkation with their silent version. We'd never experienced disembarkation without all the annoying announcements. The flyer that was sent to our cabin seemed to answer every possible question and it turned out to be as pleasant of an experience as disembarkation can be. For us, this was another great cruise. The ship had a fun vibe. While the passenger mix skewed a bit older, we were comfortable with the mix of travelers. (Could that have something to do with our ages??) There were very few kids on board, it seemed, but those that we saw were well behaved. There seemed to be enough activities to appeal to everyone. Not only did we get to have fun hanging out with our friends but we got a feel for what Princess is all about. We usually choose our cruises for the itinerary and the ship. We now know that big ships can provide a personalized and unique experience without making us feel like a number. We enjoyed the beautiful Ruby Princess and can understand why our friends love Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
Embarkation was simple enough and our room was ready by the time we got on around 1PM. We carried on most of our bags except for one so we could change, have a drink, then explore the ship. The Ruby was a beautiful boat, the design and ... Read More
Embarkation was simple enough and our room was ready by the time we got on around 1PM. We carried on most of our bags except for one so we could change, have a drink, then explore the ship. The Ruby was a beautiful boat, the design and finish was excellent. For a boat that is about 2 years old though, it is showing a lot of wear and tear. The main thing I noticed was the hallways were banged up and often dented. Probably from baggage, but still very surprising to see that. Food: The food was ok. As others have mentioned, the buffet is poorly designed and the layout leads to people walking all over the place. The food on some days was very good, but on others was poor. It was hit or miss. Same with the food in the dining rooms. Some days our meals were good, on other says the selection wasn't very good and the food was just ok. We did try Sabatini's one night and that was definitely one of our favorites! Employees: Again a mixed review here. Some employees really went out of their way to help you, others couldn't give a darn. Our room steward was nice, but we've had better on Carnival and Norwegian. Waiters at DaVinci and Michelangelo were the same. Some were very pleasant, others would make things very difficult, especially when asking nicely for a substitution. The bartenders were all very nice, especially the ones in the casino. Entertainment: This is where we felt that Princess really catered to the older crowd and that was the majority of the people on board. There was a good number of people over 65 years old and many people on walkers, scooters, etc... Not a bad thing, we met some wonderful people, but we were really hoping to meet and connect with more people our age. So, the bands and lounges were often geared towards the older crowd so we didn't enjoy it too much and found ourselves in the casino a lot. The comedians were great, the magician had a bunch of tired routines, the movies under the stars were good, the nightclubs were often empty, and the poolside bands were just ok. Actually, one day the singer didn't really know the words to any of the songs, she would just sing intelligible words. How do you not know the words to Red Red Wine? Ports: Enjoyed all the ports, even Barbados in the rain. Did zip lining in St. Lucia and spent the days in other ports on the beaches. Cabin was nice, well laid out. One thing that somebody else mentioned is the boat is loud! We were on the deck 10 specifically chosen so there was no public rooms above or below us. Even then, we could hear the music from the Lido and the theater in our room. Don't know why it would echo through all those decks but it did. Very weird. The cabin was nice, amenities were good. I personally would have put less closet space (who needs that much room for clothes for 10 days?) and made the bathroom/shower bigger. Probably the smallest shower of all other ships we've been on. So again, not a horrible cruise, but I would definitely not cruise Princess again until I'm over 50 years old. I feel they are really not trying hard enough and enjoy Norwegian, Carnival, and RCL more in terms of fun and service. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
This was our fifth cruise, two prior with Norwegian and two with Holland America. This is the second time we have left from Fort Lauderdale. We arrived at the port around 11:45, dropped off our luggage, parked our car and we were in our ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise, two prior with Norwegian and two with Holland America. This is the second time we have left from Fort Lauderdale. We arrived at the port around 11:45, dropped off our luggage, parked our car and we were in our mini-suite at 12:45. By far the smoothest embarkation we've ever experienced. The Ruby is a very nice ship, excellently maintained by a very friendly crew. The piazza was so pretty and a great meeting place in the evening. There was always something going on, day and night. Although it was the largest ship we have ever been on we never felt crowded; whether we were in the hallways, dining, or walking around the deck. The lines were not bad in the buffet and we never had a problem finding a seat. There were always plenty of empty lounges on deck for laying in the sun or shade. It is a little hard to learn your way around due to the layout, but it wasn't really a big deal. We really enjoyed all crew members we came in contact with. We had many enjoyable meetings with Generoso, the Hotel Maitre D' and have never been on a ship where the Captain was so personable and friendly. As previously mentioned we had a mini-suite, port side aft. It was a very nice room and we had such a nice room steward, Rolando. Our room was kept immaculate and he kept our ice bucket full and always was prompt with any request we had. There was plenty of storage, shelving, etc. Our room had two TVs, a spacious balcony, nice seating area, and a desk. The bathroom was nice with a full tub and lots of storage. The only thing we would change would be the layout; the closet and shelving were right outside the bathroom, so when the bathroom door was open you couldn't access the closet or if you were in the closet area, the bathroom door would hit you. We had read a lot of posts regarding the pros and cons of the uncovered balcony. We really enjoyed it. It was great to have the sun in the afternoon. We never felt like people were watching us from above and we never experienced trouble with smokers or anything falling on us from above. We enjoyed all of our meals on the Ruby. We had traditional seating, table 66 in the Botticelli dining room with excellent service. The food was very good and we really have no complaints. We ate at the Crown Grill on four occasions and felt it was well worth the extra fee. Our waitress Mihalia was wonderful and made every evening special. Special mention for the blue onion soup, the steaks, and the special desserts that came to the table ( it was a mini of all the desserts on the menu). Just excellent. We went to Sabatini's one evening which was the Italian specialty restaurant. The food was very good, service was excellent, but it was very gourmet. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, my DH was just disappointed he didn't get lasagna, etc. A lot of the food was unfamiliar to us, but the evening was very enjoyable nonetheless. We had breakfast most mornings at the buffet; we both thought they should add an omelet station but otherwise we enjoyed the food. On sea days we went to the dining room for breakfast and lunch and that was very good as well; great eggs Benedict. On Valentine's Day we enjoyed a champagne breakfast on a balcony that was very special and elegant; a very nice memory. We also really enjoyed the coffee bar (the coffee card is a great deal) and the international cafe was very good. And a special mention for the pizza out by the pool, it was excellent and we enjoyed it several times during the cruise. Okay, enough about the food... It was a nice itinerary; Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire, and Aruba. A special mention for the all day snorkel and lunch tour in St. Thomas we took to Turtle Cove. It was ship sponsored and the catamaran was called the V-Cat. It was a brand new boat, great crew, and turtle cove was beautiful; great snorkeling. Then we were brought to Buck Island on Honeymoon Beach which was paradise for a nice lunch. It was a perfect day. We did a private tour in Dominica with Levi Burton Bumping Tours and we would recommend him highly. Another great day,very informative, and very safe. We booked a private snorkel tour in Bonaire through Woodwind tours. The snorkeling was the best we have ever experienced but the catamaran was a little too crowded. I will save my comments regarding Princess Cays for a later paragraph. We don't really go to the shows very much, however we really enjoyed the comedian one evening and the hypnotist's show was really fun as well. A quick mention about cruise critic and the roll calls. We had never participated prior to this cruise and we are so glad we did. We made such wonderful friends on board and enjoyed all the get-togethers. It really made our cruise so much more enjoyable and I would encourage anyone reading this who is planning a future cruise to get involved; not only do you get to meet new friends from all over the world, but the information you gain through the posts is invaluable. Lastly, just a few negative comments and suggestions. First and foremost, we both really felt there should have been many more hand sanitizing stations throughout the ship. The only one we saw was at the buffet. Noticeably absent when boarding the ship after excursions, and outside of all the dining rooms. On Princess Cays we rented a cabana for the day and were very disappointed in the location. We couldn't even walk down to the shore for a swim, we were barred by a cement barrier and no shore at all. We paid about the same price for one on Holland America's private island and the location was perfect and we were also provided with snacks, better service, and soft drinks. Due to the location we will never reserve one again and feel Princess should have been more forthright in their advertising of these. In Dominica, when we left the ship the security officer at the end of the gangway was wearing a face mask. Once on land we noticed several other people from the island were wearing them as well. Come to find out volcanic ash from a nearby island 40 miles away was being blown towards Dominica and there was noticeable ash in the air. We felt if Princess alerted their staff to this potential health hazard their passengers should have been alerted as well, especially people with asthma, COPD, etc. And finally, Movies Under the Stars is a great idea, but the movies shown were not for us; Michael Jackson concert, etc. Was hoping for some fairly new releases or better yet, the Olympics! Please don't take my negative comments to mean we didn't have a wonderful time. We would recommend Princess Ruby to anyone and in fact, we already booked next year's cruise on the Emerald; we just couldn't turn down that on-board credit! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We embarked at FLL and were on the ship just after noon. As suite passengers we were in the embarkation lounge, need more seats in there. Found our suite easily. Loved the room, however the rest of the rooms on the ship except for suites ... Read More
We embarked at FLL and were on the ship just after noon. As suite passengers we were in the embarkation lounge, need more seats in there. Found our suite easily. Loved the room, however the rest of the rooms on the ship except for suites have larger clothes closets. It was cool in FLL for sail away. We went to DaVinic dining room first night where we had waiter Edwin ((4 Edwin's in Davinci)(table 408 or 418)best waiter on the ship. We had anytime dining and a table for 2, later we asked for a larger table and met some wonderful people. Received our chocolate covered strawberries, if you have a suite make sure you get the tag from steward so you can order them, our steward for 3 days didn't know what I was talking about -thank goodness I ordered my own before sailing and room service told me how to get my daily orderves Our cabin steward was just like all of the other cabin stewards we have had. Haven't had a good cabin steward yet on Princess, thought a suite would make a little difference. Room service people are excellent and take care of everything promptly -they do deliver. In St. Thomas we bought Caribbean rum balls and saw friends. Dominica -loved, loved our tour booked through Princess Titou Gorge/hot springs. Not enough time at Hot Springs, however, guides were the best,Wacky Rollers! Grenada, met friends, bought spices from Teresa (friend says she is best to buy from at the market), went to Grand Anse beach for a few hrs, walked to fort, did not have $2.00 per person to get in. Bonaire went bonefishing, had the best time ever thanks to Chris -Piscatur fishing, saw flamingos up close and enjoyed being at Carnival. Aruba went to the beach, could not wait to get back to the ship. Went to "Once Upon A Dream" almost did not get seats after getting to Princess Theatre 1/2 hr early, people were saving seats, seats near us saved for over 20 minutes, show started and the women still would not let us move down to sit in them so we just did -lucky it did not cause a fight on because the show was starting and we were front row. Princess really needs to address this, ruined going to the shows for us, never did another and we love the shows and look forward to them. Had great weather, made new friends. Princess photographer Tamryn is the best photographer ever! Princess crew,restaurant people and staff -wow! made you feel as though you were the only passenger on board. The food was good and Sabitinis chef and assisants make the best breakfast and dinners, loved everything about Crown Grill as well. Enjoyed our CC get togethers. As always on Princess made everlasting friendships. Smoking is an issue on balconies and rooms. We did smell smoke in the hallways and saw a lit cigarette thrown from the port side, of our balcony on 1st or 2nd night. Princess really needs to add non-smoking rooms and balconies. Most of the lounges are now non-smokng which was so nice. We spent alot of time in them. Wish Skywalkers was all non-smoking -too much smoke smell to enjoy the special drink night. The Ruby has the best captain on the seas, Captain Tony Yoemans and is a beautiful ship. We enjoyed having full service dinners on our balcony and watching the wake. Our room was very noisy, slept only 2 of the 10 nights, would not book an aft PS again. Overall, this was one of our best cruises ever thanks to the Princess crew and staff and new friends through CC. Too many wonderful memories took place over our 10 journey that will last a lifetime and friendships made not only with other CC'ers, but with crew that we look forward to seeing again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Coming from New England, we flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before we embarked on the Ruby Princess to assure that weather was not an issue. We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel at the Pt. Everglades cruiseport and it is a perfect ... Read More
Coming from New England, we flew into Ft. Lauderdale the day before we embarked on the Ruby Princess to assure that weather was not an issue. We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel at the Pt. Everglades cruiseport and it is a perfect pre-cruise hotel. We love getting a quick croissant at the French Bakery directly behind the hotel. Almond croissants are the best and the service is wonderful. We find it a great way to start our vacation to walk from the hotel to Ft. Lauderdale Beach (about 2 miles). The walk is pleasant and you can make it to the beach in about 35 minutes. We love the water taxi back to the hotel but the walk back is a great way to burn some extra calories. Walgreen's directly across 17th Street from the hotel is a great place to purchase last minute items. Of all things, I brought 4 pairs of shoes but forgot my flip flops. There are a lot of great restaurants for dinner but we walked to the Outback and then stopped at the strip mall behind Embassy Suites on 17th Street. Total Wine was a great place to purchase little "nips" in plastic bottles. Coconut rum was great in pineapple juice! We took a taxi to the cruiseport and were able to embark quickly and efficiently. Princess handles embarkation better than RCI and Celebrity and we were in our cabins by noon and off to explore. Ruby Princess is a gem. The cabins are spacious and love the neutral colors. The public areas and the atrium are well groomed and well thought out. The epicenter of the ship is the large atrium area which includes numerous shops, a coffee area, a piano player and numerous dance and musical performances, and Crooner's which is the lively martini bar mid-ship. The food in the buffet areas was generally good but the flow of people was not well strategized in design. We ate dinner in Boticelli during the second seating and found the service impeccable and the people superior. We were at a table for two in a small area where we enjoyed making friends with table mates near us. I found the dinner menus a challenge but my husband thought the food was terrific. I am not a lover of beef, pork, or veal and found myself eating lots of salad and standard "traditional" items. It's actually a good thing since when I returned home, I had dropped a few pounds and called it a "Princess Diet." Elena from Ukraine was extremely attentive and was the best Assistant Waitress we have ever encountered at sea. The entertainment was enjoyable but geared to an older crowd. We are in our early 50's and enjoyed the production shows and comedy routines. We also love Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) and think that is a major draw of the Princess line. Being Gold Captain Circle members, we participated in the Captain Circle event which is a great way to meet key ship personnel as well as other passengers. The Terrace Adult Pool is our favorite place on the large Princess ships. The addition of tables and chairs makes a lot of sense for those of us who prefer to sit at a table rather than on a lounge. Good job Princess! Princess designs formal nights as truly special events and we look forward to dressing up and taking formal photos at the various picture venues. Nadia is a great photographer and if you see her at a photo station, ask her to take your photo. Disembarkation was well planned and very well carried out. We were able to make a 11:00 am flight out of Ft. Lauderdale with no problem. I would be hesitant to book a flight that early coming off another cruiseline. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
This is our review of our unforgettable holiday on the Ruby Princess. We had cruised once before, in the Med with Royal Caribbean and had an extremely enjoyable holiday. This was our first Caribbean holiday of any description. We have ... Read More
This is our review of our unforgettable holiday on the Ruby Princess. We had cruised once before, in the Med with Royal Caribbean and had an extremely enjoyable holiday. This was our first Caribbean holiday of any description. We have tried to write it for anyone in a similar situation who is going or thinking of going. Air arrangements; these were with Princess and we were happy with the service (with the exception of the amount of leg room on the BA flight from Heathrow - Economy/World Traveller) They collected us from Miami airport and transferred us to the Miami Intercontinental Hotel West for the first night. The town was buzzing as the Super Bowl was being played in Miami that very night! Embarkation; Princess transferred us from the hotel to Fort Lauderdale and embarkation was a breeze. After a very short queue to get into the building (this was just before 1pm) we went straight to a desk and virtually straight on to the ship within a few minutes. Our luggage arrived a few hours later. The Ruby Princess is a lovely ship. We were able to compare it with the Voyager of the Seas as they were virtually the same size and capacity. As a relatively new ship the Ruby was beautiful, and very well maintained as we went along. We did however think that the RCCI 'felt' a larger ship due to the central mall and expansive design. There were several restaurants and we chose fixed dining first sitting. This suited us well and after dinner we were able to see most of the shows (which were mostly excellent) as we wanted. We heard mixed reviews about Anytime Dining. Some people loved it and others felt it was 'cattle class'. The food and service in the Botticelli Dining Room was excellent, and our waiter Joey made it clear that he wanted to do everything possible so that we would rate the service as excellent when it came to the customer feedback form at the end of the cruise! To be honest there was little more that he could have done - it genuinely was an excellent service, although my wife felt that the range of food on offer was slightly less than the range on RCCI. We did not feel the need to visit any of the speciality restaurants. Cabin - we had a balcony cabin on Baja deck and had read about some cabins being overlooked by others. If this is a concern of yours - don't worry. Any balcony that is overlooked is of a larger size so you can either sit out near the edge and be overlooked or if you prefer sit further towards your cabin and have an equal amount of room but in private. We were very happy with our balcony cabin (especially when my wife was ill with a short stomach upset and had to stay in the cabin for 24 hours as a precaution - the balcony was invaluable). We cannot be sure what caused the illness - it may have been something brought onto the ship by passengers or something to do with the food but we really do not know. Entertainment - there was lots to see and do on the ship as you would expect. The Princess Theatre was open nightly and virtually all shows were repeated at least once in case you did not see them first time. In some cases you had to be in the theatre half an hour before Showtime to get a seat. The entertainment team performed 3 shows on the 10 night cruise and they were all of excellent standard. On other evenings there were magic shows, comedians, a hypnotist and also movies. Movies under the stars was excellent - a great idea. There were lots going on in the other bars around the ship every night. There was more ballroom dancing on the ship than RCCI - a real plus for us as we do enjoy it. Lessons were provided and catered for anyone wanting to dance for the first time - give it a go if you fancy it. Ports Princess Cays - this was a cruise company-owned part of a Bahamian island and was purpose made for a day at the beach - plenty of beds, snorkelling (wish we had done that) and all kinds of beach type activities. The ship staff put on an excellent buffet (included).We felt it was an excellent day and a great start to the cruise. St Thomas - we wanted to do the cable car and the ship docked almost right next to it so we did our own thing, followed by shopping. This was a beautiful island and a truly wonderful harbour. Dominica - We took the ship tour on a cable car-type gondola through the rainforest and thoroughly enjoyed it. Each group of eight in the gondola had a guide who explained all kinds of things about the rainforest and the island - another excellent day Grenada - time was limited here and we wanted to see as much as possible so took the ship trip which was a scenic drive around the island stopping at the various sights. It crammed a lot into the day - excellent again Bonaire - we had booked the mountain bike ride but had to cancel because of my wife's brief illness. The reports we heard were that it was good but not great. There was a carnival on in the town which I went to see and it was truly special - a fantastic atmosphere and very loud! Aruba - a lovely island which has a number of upmarket hotels and beaches. We took the ship snorkelling and beach trip in a very loud decorated bus with a lively driver. Again it crammed a lot into a short space of time but thoroughly enjoyable Disembarkation; very well organised as we had come to expect of Princess. As we had a late afternoon flight Princess took us to the Intercontinental for lunch followed by shopping at a nearby (huge) mall before transferring in plenty of time for our flight. Cruise Critic. Pam 'teachergal' had arranged several events and established a roll call of around 90 people. We have to thank her again as she did a tremendous job. On the first day we met up, followed later in the cruise by a meet and greet with the staff, including the Captain who was very approachable throughout the trip. We then had a cabin crawl which was super as we got to see all of the different type of cabin which obviously we normally would not have seen. There were a few pre-dinner photo and drink sessions and a pub lunch in the Wheelhouse bar. We met some lovely people from all over and it really does emphasise the power and benefits of a website such as CC. If you are going and someone arranges any of these - please take part! Overall - we only had RCI to compare with and the Ruby was on as par with the excellent Voyager - some things were better, some were not. There was a strong indication throughout that Princess wanted you to spend as much as possible on your cruise card but if you chose not to purchase what was on offer the staff were very polite about it. On the whole an excellent, well managed ship, lovely staff and companions and some wonderful sights - an unforgettable holiday! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
My first impression of Princess was the extremely smooth and efficient embarkation process. What a breeze compared to other lines. (I've previously sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival) We had flown to Ft. Lauderdale the ... Read More
My first impression of Princess was the extremely smooth and efficient embarkation process. What a breeze compared to other lines. (I've previously sailed on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Carnival) We had flown to Ft. Lauderdale the day before the cruise and stayed at the Marriott Renaissance on 17th St. Very easy access to the port and the location is convenient to the port. There is a Walgreens across the street which is nice for any last minute purchases and a Starbucks and Einstein Bagels in walking distance as well. The hotel offered shuttle service to the port in our rate so we opted to use that. There were 6 ships in port that morning, but the Ruby was the first stop and a quick trip from the hotel. I would say it was around noon by the time we were checking in. There was a line, because I think they hadn't started boarding yet, but once it started moving it went quick. I cannot say enough about the embarkation process. First it was sorted by deck and the lines were about 1 person/group deep for any deck. We were checked in in a matter of minutes and then split in two directions depending on your room location so they had two entry points to the ship. We were on board and the room was ready immediately so we set off exploring after dropping our carry-on's off. The ship was in excellent condition. We chose this ship because it was newer, because of some different ports of call and because we wanted to try something different. (Primarily sailing Royal Caribbean in the last few years) The room was a balcony room on the Baja deck (Deck 11). This was the first deck that didn't have balconies above that could see you. The three floors below us, you could see down to those balconies. The room did offer what I thought to be more than the normal storage space. The closet was large and without doors, plenty of shelves and other cabinet space and the beds were high enough that our large luggage fit underneath. My only complaint would be that the shower was probably smaller than most and had a curtain versus doors. (Royal Caribbean and Celebrity both had doors which I tend to prefer) But the curtain didn't blow around or anything which was good. All of the public areas were in good condition and clean. The first two days were at sea and we didn't have any trouble finding deck chairs at any point in time. Not sure if this was due to what I believe to be an older crowd or if there really was ample space. They did have pool games/activities like Royal Caribbean and often had a difficult time rounding up some people to participate. I would say my largest disappointment would be the food. The buffet had limited offerings compared to Royal or Celebrity. The buffet was also a tight space that didn't seem to work well when crowded. They had a burger place out by the pool as well as a pizza place but offered neither closer to the buffet. They do not let you sit an eat at the bar locations by the pool, only at the tables or at your deck chair. We had selected anytime dining - which was new for us on any ship. I did enjoy the freedom of going to dinner as we pleased and the wait was never that long - which we usually opted to go have a drink at Crooners (the Martini bar) while we waited. The buzzer worked two floors up. (dinning room was on deck 5 and Crooners was on deck 7) Food in the dining room was okay - but just not as good as I remember Celebrity and Royal being. I did enjoy that the waiters didn't have to do "perform" as they do on Royal on two nights. The buffet did not have drink machines - just water. (Royal usually offered lemonade and tea that were more easily accessible) Juice at breakfast was in pitchers (apple and orange). There were two formal nights on the 10 night trip. I would say that more people were in tuxedos on this cruise. Again, could be the older crowd... I won't go into detail on the ports - they were all nice in their own right (Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, St. Thomas and Princess Cays). We did opt for cruise line excursions in both Bonaire and Dominica. In Bonaire we did the the Samur sail and snorkel. The crew of the Samur was very nice and the snorkel location was great. It seemed to be a longer than necessary trip to and from the snorkel spot, but having never done it before I really don't have any comparison. But it is worth going out to the island/snorkel spot as it is just beautiful and worth seeing how the ocean floor just drops off about 20 feet away from shore. Amazing and a lot of fish to see as well. In Dominica, the excursion we chose was Twin Falls and Emerald Pool. It was okay. Nice to see something different, but the bus ride was long and bumpy. Movies under the Stars was great. They played newer movies (Julia and Julia, The Blind Side, An Education, etc) so that was nice. It wasn't windy at all the one night we went up to watch. They offer blankets, popcorn and come around with cookies and milk later in the show. It was a nice experience and something I would definitely do again on a Princess ship that offered it. We didn't really partake in any of the other shows or entertainment. The cruise director (James) seemed to be quite a hit with folks. And I have to admit the dry humor and personality of the captain (Tony Yeomans) was a treat to listen to during his announcements. They definitely had more announcements on this one. (Celebrity just has one at noon each day) And they definitely are trying to sell things just about everywhere on board. Crooners is a martini bar and offered quite the selection - however service was slow and the bar was always busy during dinner hours. Princess does allow people to smoke in their cabins. And in some instances you could smell it in the hallways. Our room smelled clean so if people had smoked in it previously, it was covered up well. There was not a lot of smoking at bars inside the ship. They offered non-smoking nights twice in the casino, on the other nights it was definitely smoke filled. Overall, it was nice to try something different. And at the end of the day it wasn't drastically different from our experiences on Royal Caribbean an Celebrity. Some pros and cons across the board. Not sure how I feel about the food but it wouldn't deter me from sailing on Princess again. Disembarkation was just as easy. We opted for express walk-off, which was more organized then our one comparison on Royal Caribbean and we were off the ship, got a taxi and at Fort Lauderdale airport and through security by 8am. FAST! It was a great trip and I would recommend it to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
We left Ft. lauderdale on January 19th on the Ruby for the Southern Melody Caribbean Cruise. It was our second cruise with Princess. The ship was really beautiful and the people on board were great. We enjoyed the entertaiment, there was ... Read More
We left Ft. lauderdale on January 19th on the Ruby for the Southern Melody Caribbean Cruise. It was our second cruise with Princess. The ship was really beautiful and the people on board were great. We enjoyed the entertaiment, there was a lot to do during the day on sea days. The islands were really pretty. The food was great the whole trip, as was the service that we had. Both in the dining room and in our cabin. We had anytime dining, since we could not get Traditional. So at our CC meeting we teamed up with 2 other couples and make up our own table for 6pm each evening. Our CC meeting was really good, we probably had over 50 people there. Great Job Vickie! We took a ship tour in Dominica and as other ones has said, the roads are really rough. The island was pretty and really clean. Our guide was really good. We rented a car in St. Thomas, and that is one thing I would not do again. The roads are not marked with any kind of things to stop at. We just rode around in circles. But we did go to the sky ride and we found Megans Beach. We got really great pictures. In Aruba, we took a lot of pictures, and just walked around town. The ship could not stop in Curacao, due to high seas and winds. I am sorry that we missed it, but we understood the reason. In Grenada, we took a taxie around the Island for $37.00 and I will go that route from now on, unless I use a tour group that I can find on Cruise Critic to go around with. The Island was pretty and our taxie driver, Tony, was really good, We went to a water falls where some of the local guys dived off of the top of it. I also bought some spices here. Princess Cay, we did not care very much for it as we are not "beach" people. We think that Royal Caribbean's island, "Labadee" is a lot more to do and a lot nicer. So we just took some pictures and returned to the ship for lunch. The only flaw that we can say was bad was on our return to Ft. Lauderdale, the port had the cruise port closed to us so the Captain had to dock at dock 29 and they bused us back to the parking lot where we had left our vehicle. People were cutting in line to get onto the buses, the porters were going ahead of us and putting on people's luggage onto the bus before any of us could do so, Princess only had one person handling this and even though he tried to stop the porters from breaking in line, they just ignored him and he gave up. I think Princess could have handled this a lot better. But over all, we will again sail with Princess and would tell anyone what a great cruise we had with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Pre-embarkation we stayed at the Renaissance, we booked through Priceline and got a great deal for the two nights before embarkation. We were surprised when checking in and got an upgrade to a Junior Suite at the hotel! We have stayed here ... Read More
Pre-embarkation we stayed at the Renaissance, we booked through Priceline and got a great deal for the two nights before embarkation. We were surprised when checking in and got an upgrade to a Junior Suite at the hotel! We have stayed here before and find it very comfortable and would stay here again. We took a cab to the port which was about $10 plus tip. We were in R750. I believe that the balcony is a little smaller, but not much. It is not completely private, when you are standing at the railing you can see and be seen by those standing at the aft railing, but while sitting on our balcony I felt it was completely private. We love the aft cabins! Watching the wake, we may not be able to see where we are going, but we almost always had a good view of the ports when in port and had an excellent view of the ports to say goodbye! Our room steward was also Francisco and as previously stated by others he was amazing! We had late traditional dining. We asked for a large table as we like meeting others, but were given a table for 4, which turned out fine as it really gave us chance to recap our day. Our waiter Arthur and his assistant Deepak were fantastic. The only problem was that after the third night Arthur had a health problem and was not able to return except to say goodbye on the final night. His replacement was Joeleen and she was fine, but seemed a little overwhelmed and out of place, but got much better as the cruise went on. We found the food to be very good. There was only one night that we choose something from the anytime menu, because nothing appealed to us on the main menu. My favorites...rack of lamb, lobster, prawns (almost as big as the lobster!!), goat cheese soufflE, the soups, the fish, the veal and the sorbets. We ate at both the alternative restaurants. Sabatini's, first and foremost pace yourself or learn to just eat a bite of everything, it is a lot of food and very good! The Crown Grill was also fantastic! Three of us had the filet med rare and they were perfect; one had the ribeye also done to perfection. My DH ordered the extra charge lobster tail and said it was very good; I tried a bite and thought that the regular lobster tail was just as good. The IC (International Cafe) was a first for us and it was amazing we got a lot of snacks and lunches there. Breakfast and lunch we tried all the different choices and probably didn't prefer one over the other, except I do believe that my DH had the pizza every day. My favorite drink and one of my favorite bartenders can be found in Adagio. Rhea and her Tiramisu Martini are both incredible! We also hung out in Crooners with bartenders Carla and Ryan also great people as well as Hervy and Nickola in Vines, which also had some great tapas and sushi. Ports of Call....Princess Cays...we rented a bungalow and really enjoyed it. We really didn't need the air conditioning because it was a beautiful day, but having the loungers and chairs was nice as well as having a place to eat and keep our stuff out of the sand and the sand flees!! St Thomas, we did the ½ day Catamaran and champagne sail to St John (booked though the ship). It was a perfect day of sailing and snorkeling. I could have spent the entire day on the catamaran!! The crew also helped to make it a perfect day. Dominica is the island that I probably enjoyed the most, at least it is what I am telling everybody who asks what my favorite stop was. It was with other CC'ers on the trip to Emerald Falls and the river tubing, it was a great time. The island was so different than what I have ever experienced and I think that is what makes it my favorite. This tour was booked through Antours and they did a wonderful job. Grenada, we also did a snorkeling trip with our CC friends. The first stop was the underwater statues it was different, so enjoyable. The second stop was incredible I could have stayed there all day. The coral and the different varieties of fish and creatures were great. The third stop was okay the fish were a little bigger and it was a lot deeper than the previous stop, but maybe I was just a little tired and that is why I didn't enjoy it as much. Curacao, was a missed port because of the waves. As others have said though we did not have any plans on the island so I took it as a bonus sea day!. Aruba, we did another tour through the ship, it was also a sail and snorkel. It was a lot wavier and windier that any other day and that made it a little difficult, it was not as relaxing as our previous tours, but did get to see a sunken ship. It would have been nicer if we had not had to fight the waves the whole time, but it was pretty cool. A note about accessing the internet on a laptop....my husband had to do some work one day on the trip and was having trouble logging on using his laptop, which he had to use because all his info for work was there. Nobody seemed to be able to help, we turned off all firewalls and anything that could be blocking it, no luck. As he was reaching panic mode, we were talking through all our options (he was going to go ashore at Curacao and get internet there, but as we all know that didn't happen), he had been trying to open it up in Internet Explorer and that turned out to be the problem, when he opened up the google browser it worked perfectly. Well as perfectly as the internet works on the ship, not terrible but not great! We spent most of our day's people watching and chatting by the pool. We did not attend any of the shows. We saw the ending of some while walking by the Explorers Lounge, but that was about it. My husband enjoyed the casino some nights more than others! I found it to be too smoky most of the time, but it was not bad on the two smoke free nights. All the staff that we encountered were absolutely wonderful, even with all the extra work the first few days. Some passengers on the other hand need to take a chill pill and realize they are on vacation, relax!! But they did make the people watching more interesting!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Cruise Review: Ruby Princess 1/19-1/29, 2010 For a variety of reasons, this was not among our favorite Princess cruises (13 for me, 12 for DH). That said, we put a deposit on a future sailing but not a specific voyage and eill likely ... Read More
Cruise Review: Ruby Princess 1/19-1/29, 2010 For a variety of reasons, this was not among our favorite Princess cruises (13 for me, 12 for DH). That said, we put a deposit on a future sailing but not a specific voyage and eill likely sail with Princess again. As always when I post reviews at CC, I will provide an honest and balanced commentary about the cruise. Pre-cruise accommodations: We stayed again at the Renaissance on 17th Street that is convenient to the airport, pier, restaurants, shopping. We are Rewards members and choose Marriott properties when traveling. This hotel is fine for one or two nights before/after a cruise, but it isn't luxurious enough for a long-term stay. Embarkation: We took a shuttle ($5/person) from the hotel to the pier and entered the terminal with our priority embarkation boarding passes. We were seated in the Platinum/Elite waiting area for about 30 minutes before embarkation commenced promptly at noon. We were onboard and in our stateroom before 12:30. Stateroom/Steward: As much as we've enjoyed balcony staterooms, we have been opting for inside cabins recently due to past issues with smokers and/or noisy passengers. Once we're unpacked and settled in the stateroom, we are pleased with our accommodations and don't have to worry about smokers or noise from adjacent balconies. Our steward, Edward, rendered competent, personable service, and the only problems that we encountered were burned-out light bulbs in both nightstand lamps for which replacement was prompt. The beds on the Ruby were the worst that we've experienced despite the egg crate mattress pad that we requested prior to the cruise. Due to allergies/asthma, we exchanged the feather pillows for fiberfill that were very comfortable. As noted with last year's Emerald cruise, stewards are stingy with bathroom amenities: On disembarkation morning, there wasn't enough shampoo for both of us, and we were out of Kleenex. Dining Room/Dinner Service: We choose "anytime" dining because we like the flexibility. While we prefer a table for two at dinner, we accept group seating if a wait is involved. On the first and second nights of the cruise, we arrived at the dining room before 7:00, were given a pager and advised that there might be a 45-minute wait. We agreed to sit with others but were still told that we'd have to wait to be seated. On both nights, we were seated with others within 10-15 minutes, and, in fact, didn't even get to taste the wine that we ordered at Vines on sailaway night. Beginning on the third night, we had a standing reservation at a table for two in DaVinci for the duration of the cruise. A waitress whom we had met on the Caribbean Princess four years ago waited on us for breakfast on the third morning, and she made arrangements for us to have the same table nightly. To this day, Magda from Poland remains the finest waitperson whom we've encountered in the Princess fleet. Magda and her assistant, Jeanette provided exceptional service, and our evening dining experience was a pleasure. Dining Room/Breakfast: We try to have breakfast in the dining room as often as possible as neither of us likes the buffet. On this cruise, breakfast service was laborious with coffee refills virtually non-existent. Custom eggs/omelets were good, although some items were not always hot. The best breakfast service was on disembarkation day when coffee was refilled without having to ask, food arrived promptly and hot. Horizon Court/Service: For the first few days of our sailing, we were under a Noro-alert, so foods were served by crew at the buffet. We had breakfast there a couple of mornings and were impressed with the prompt beverage service and bussing of tables. We don't go to Horizon Court for other meals but thought breakfasts were as good as in DaVinci. International Cafe: The shrimp and the Greek salads were my favorites for a light afternoon snack, and DH liked the chicken and tuna salad sandwiches. While we prefer a protein-laden breakfast, preferably in the dining room, we'd like to see some savory offerings at IC in the morning (besides that sad-looking egg/muffin and the croissants). Bagels w/cream cheese, English muffins, or toast would be nice alternatives in this venue for those who don't want a morning sugar rush. Despite the additional charge, the coffee bar is very popular. DH and I stopped here occasionally for freshly brewed coffee or Cappuccino and will probably purchase pre-paid coffee-cards on our next cruise. Grill/Pizza: I've never had anything from the poolside grill on a Princess ship, but DH tells me that the burgers and fries are good. I allow myself one slice of pizza per cruise, and, with that fabulous crispy crust, it's some of the best pie I've eaten. Food Quality: In previous reviews, I rated food on Princess very good to excellent. While others have mentioned the deterioration in food quality for a while, I hadn't really noticed it until this cruise. I'd have to say that food quality overall was average to good with only a handful of excellent items. One of our favorite Princess dishes is the Eggplant Parmesan appetizer that we have ordered as a main course on occasion. On Chef's Night, the dish was practically inedible with too much cheese and not enough sauce: We took only a couple of bites and couldn't eat any more of the overly-salty dish. My opening night Prime Rib was tasty enough but had large globs of fat that made it look unappetizing. I wasn't particularly hungry and might have sent the meat back had I really wanted to eat the entrEe. Lamb Shank (Caribbean) and Rack of Lamb (Chef's) were fabulous, and the Goat Cheese Souffle was exquisite. Sabatini's: We made reservations at this Italian eatery for the night that we were supposed to be in Curacao. We thought that the Sun Deck venue would provide a magnificent view of the harbor and sailaway from the port. Even though we were unable to dock in Curacao due to high winds, we still went to the restaurant for dinner the night before my 60th birthday. We've dined in Sabatini's previously but not in its new location on Jewel Class ships. The room is gorgeous, and neighboring Adagio Lounge is our favorite place on the ship for daytime reading/Scrabble or pre-dinner cocktails. Food portions in Sabatini's don't seem as enormous as we remembered (and the reason why we haven't been for a while), and everything was well-prepared and tasty. The Chilean Sea Bass was the best entrEe that I had on the ship, the buttery-garlicky breadsticks were to die for, and the Espresso mousse was exquisite. DH enjoyed his choices, too, and we had selected a very nice bottle of wine to accompany our dinner. While the meal itself was delightful, Sabatini's seemed understaffed for the number of guests: After the first glass, we poured our own wine and had to request water refills repeatedly. Service was generally inattentive and sub-standard in this upscale alternative dining venue. We've left generous gratuities for specialty dining in the past but did not feel that the service in Sabatini's warranted more than a token tip. Entertainment: Our entertainment choices usually include production shows, musicians, both popular and classical, and interactive passenger-centered activities. We generally avoid comedians, illusionists and magicians. I would rate our overall entertainment experience on the Ruby as below average. We saw two of the three production shows, "Broadway Ballroom" and "Stardust" that were average, at best, although costumes and sets were impressive. The solo singing was weak, except for Crystal, one of the female leads; dancing was adequate with one or two standouts in the corps. Neither show had a central theme: Both productions were merely random songs and dances strung together. On previous cruises we have found bands that we really enjoyed, especially Exotique last year on the Emerald. On this cruise, neither Black Hat Band nor Nexus provided any listening pleasure. Both bands were too loud in any of their performing venues and both had weak lead vocalists. We were spoiled with the lovely and talented Astoria String Quartet for two consecutive sailings on the Emerald. On the Ruby, the mediocre violin soloist played the same melodies each time that he performed in the Piazza. We usually look forward to interacting with the Cruise Staff and have been impressed with many of them on previous cruises. We have sailed with CD Lisa Ball on several previous cruises and always find her to be extremely personable, hard-working, and approachable, but other members of this cruise staff were totally uninspiring. We walked away from the pool games after only 5 minutes one afternoon because the staff was unable to get the audience involved in this usually fun activity. We went to the "Marriage Game" and were embarrassed by the inability of ACD Alicia to remember the names or simple details about the contestants. In previous years the "Marriage Game" was a hilarious cruise highlight, but this version was painfully boring. Spa/Sanctuary: I celebrated my 60th birthday during this cruise and was pleased to receive a special invitation from Lotus Spa offering 20% off on any signature body or facial treatment. I opted for the Collagen Facial and also had a manicure and pedicure. I enjoyed both Spa services and resisted the pressure to purchase the pricy products that were offered during the facial. My husband treated me to a half-day Sanctuary pass for my birthday. Unfortunately, during my visit the excessively loud Nexus band was performing at Neptune's Reef: This was not the "pocket of tranquility" that Princess promises, and I doubt that I'd escape to the Sanctuary again. Exclusive Lounge for Elite/Platinum/Suite Guests: Both my husband and I found this to be a highlight of our Ruby cruise. We went to Skywalker's Lounge almost every evening of our voyage for pre-dinner drinks and complimentary hors d'oeuvres. We were warmly greeted by waitstaff who indicated available seating in the non-smoking section of the venue. Service was prompt and friendly, and we enjoyed chatting with the servers each night. In addition to a featured appetizer nightly, there were olives, assorted cheeses, cruditEs, and breadsticks. We observed intently while Steak Tartare was prepared on two evening and look forward to creating this delicacy in our home soon. Thank you, Princess, for making us feel welcome and respected on each of our visits to this exclusive evening venue! Ports of Call: On this southern Caribbean voyage, our itinerary included Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Curacao, and Aruba. Having visited each of these ports previously, we spent little time off the ship. Due to high winds, the ship was unable to dock in Curacao, but we'd been there before and weren't among the disgruntled passengers who were disappointed to miss the port. We enjoyed our trip to Trafalgar Falls in Dominica, several hours on a beautiful beach in Aruba, and late breakfast with friends who were vacationing in Grenada. Highlight of the Cruise: My 60th birthday was on the second formal night of our 10-night voyage. Our fabulous waitress in DaVinci, Magda, promised to serenade me in her native Polish for the occasion. In addition to serving our table for two, Magda also waited on a Polish family at a large adjacent table. When my little birthday cake arrived and the single candle was lighted, Magda began to sing and was quickly joined by the Polish family who stood with their glasses raised. It was an honor and a pleasure to celebrate my birthday with these fine people. I hope that I've presented readers with a comprehensive, fair, and balanced review of my recent cruise on the Ruby Princess. While this was not our best cruising experience, there were more positive aspects of the cruise than negative, and I'm sure that we'll find ourselves aboard another Princess ship very soon. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We drove down early from Michigan to Florida planning to have a few days to adjust to non-freezing temperatures - big surprise this year as Florida was freezing! As usual we parked our car at Air and Sea and their van dropped us off at the ... Read More
We drove down early from Michigan to Florida planning to have a few days to adjust to non-freezing temperatures - big surprise this year as Florida was freezing! As usual we parked our car at Air and Sea and their van dropped us off at the pier around 11:30 am where we were directed to the "preferred line" and the guy apparently in charge told us to "stand up against the wall." It was a rather ominous start as we stood there for about 45 minutes (being cautious not to get too far away from the wall) - the delay supposedly because of "coast guard inspection." But once in the terminal we went directly through TSA and off to short check-in lines and onboard in 15 minutes. We had tried a guarantee reservation for this sailing and received a specific room assignment a few days after booking. That initial room assignment never changed. So for the first time ever booking a guarantee reservation we ended up in the same category we booked and the initial cabin we were assigned. It was not a bad cabin except we were over the Princess Theatre and rehearsals and shows would "rock" our cabin (more on that later). Although we were in a "fully obstructed" cabin (E207 GG category) we actually had a nice view as the window looks out over a large platform between two lifeboats. We had done this itinerary last year on the Emerald - actually did a B2B both Eastern and Southern. This time we just did the Southern as we are doing the Grand 14 day Caribbean Collection in Feb. We've been to all these islands before and have done most of the shore excursions so we expected to enjoy quiet times, sea breezes, reading good books, wandering around towns a bit, and getting some sun and warmth. There is a lot of information on these islands elsewhere on cruise critic and our roll call was a wealth of information on private tours. The Ruby is a beautiful ship, very similar to the Emerald and the Crown. It has all the advantages of the Crown class ships as well as the disadvantages. If you are not aware of the advantages and disadvantages of this class of Princess ships just read a few reviews and you will soon realize that larger size means only a bit more room but a deck more of passengers than Grand class ships so at times it is very crowded. Just imagine how crowded it can be when 3000 passengers try to go to the same show at the same time or on beautiful sea days when everyone wants to get some sun. We found it useful to eat a little later for all meals and to avoid the first showing of any entertainment program. Still there were some guest entertainers who performed in the Explorer's Lounge we did not see as there wasn't even standing room available. Princess tries to fix the problem of limited seating by offering the same shows multiple times on multiple days. The Ruby has new production shows - Broadway Ballroom, Stardust, and Once Upon A Dream. Now everyone has their own personal preferences so I'd suggest you see them and make up your own mind. Every once in a while Princess produces some really strange shows - and I'll leave it at that. There were also the typical guest performers -comedian, illusionist, hypnotist, magician, etc. The one we really enjoyed was comedian Dan Riley. Food on the Ruby is very good to excellent and service as well. We usually like to have a table for two for dinner - a romantic interlude if you will - but the Ruby has mostly those bench type rows of seating for two where you end up sitting physically closer to the person at the next table on either side of you than you do to the person across the table from you! Depending on who is sitting next to you that can be either good or bad - but we often end up chatting with those next to us and have found it is even more conducive to discussion than sitting at a table for six or more. We split our dinners between the dining room and the Cafe Caribe buffet because Cafe Caribe has a different food theme each night and can be really good - plus no need to dress up or wait for a table! We tried the "Exclusive Elite Lounge" the first night but found it is actually not exclusive for Elites but is a "Platinum and up" roped off section of SkyWalker's with some not too special hors d'oeuvres - salsa and chips is not our idea of "special." All in all it was a good cruise but there was one major exception - major noise pollution! Apparently the Ruby is known for being extremely loud. Maybe the CDs think louder is better, maybe the officers in charge never experience how loud the "music" or MUTS is, who knows? But the pool "music" is very loud and can be heard even in The Sanctuary which is supposed to be a "sanctuary." The thunderous bass at MUTS made it difficult to understand the dialogue and even made the speakers shake. The piercing audio in the Princess Theatre hurt our ears and the loud bass made our cabin fixtures (E207) shake during rehearsal and performances. According to the experts noise levels over 80 decibels are considered dangerous but I would imagine the noise levels on the Ruby are more like those experienced at rock concerts (115 dB). Or in other words, entertainment on the Ruby could be deafening and should come with a warning! So - if you like loud music and don't mind potential hearing damage sailing on the Ruby could be a great experience for you. But if you are looking for peace and quiet don't book a forward cabin on Emerald deck, get your tanning done before the band starts, forget MUTS and watch the movies in your cabin, carry ear plugs so you can protect your hearing - or perhaps just forget about sailing on the Ruby. There are many other Princess ships that provide a much more enjoyable entertainment experience... Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We stayed overnight in the Holiday Inn Express which was just up the road from Port Everglade. Very handy and a good standard of accomodation with a complimentary buffet breakfast. We caught the free shuttle from the hotel to the port at ... Read More
We stayed overnight in the Holiday Inn Express which was just up the road from Port Everglade. Very handy and a good standard of accomodation with a complimentary buffet breakfast. We caught the free shuttle from the hotel to the port at 11,30 as the checkout time was 11am. This turned out to be a big mistake, when we arrived outside the terminal buildingd the queue was very long and it continued to grow, as there was no sign of any progression inside for checking in. We later discovered that there had been a novovirus issue and that the hold up was due to the fact that the public health authorities were doing an inspection. Eventually things got moving but we must have been waiting at least 45 minutes. When we went to the buffet to get lunch it was a very long queue and that was due to the fact that all the food was being served by the catering staff...a precaution brought in as a result of the novovirus outbreak. Thankfully the restrictions were relaxed after a couple of days. The ports of call were generally good. Princess Cays is just a beach which is good for swimming and watersports.st Thomas was a revisit for us and so we took one of the open-backed vehicles to tour part of the island anD spend a couple of hours at Sapphire Bay(St johns on the map) It is the most beautiful spot!!! Dominica was very green and beautiful. We booked our trip independantly through Bumpiing Tours (on yhe internet) It was the Roseau Valley tour and was very enjoyable.We found the proprietor Levi very informative and helpful. In Grenada we were a bit disappointed due to the quietness as it was Sunday.we just wandered ariund and bought a drink in a small bar. The visit to Curacao was aborted due to rough sea conditions, so we had to miss out on what could have been a good port stopover. It was the only day on which we had booked a trip through the ship. The final stop was in Aruba. This seemed to be quite a dry arrid island, and we ended up taking the bus to the area of the island where there is a long strip of hotels. The wind was quite strong though which rather spoiled our beach experience. Generally speaking we enjoyed our second time cruise on Ruby Princess. I was disappointed that the shows were the same as last January with the exception of one. I also felt that the music around the ship was lacking in variety. On speaking to one of the pianists we were told that cutbacks had been made.As I personally enjoy that aspect of cruising a great deal I found it hard going to keep hearing the same musical group playing the same tunes in the piazza every day. The food was generally good but I felt that the standards were not quite up to last year and at times the breakfast service in the Da Vinci Restaurant was chaotic. Overall I would still cruise with Princess Cruise line, but the experience of embarkation and disembarkation can be very stressful due to the numbers of people and lack of organisation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We have been on 15 other cruises- mostly HAL and RCCL. This was our first experience with Princess and we were looking forward to the "Love Boat" and MUTS. No problem with embarkation. We were very impressed with the Christmas ... Read More
We have been on 15 other cruises- mostly HAL and RCCL. This was our first experience with Princess and we were looking forward to the "Love Boat" and MUTS. No problem with embarkation. We were very impressed with the Christmas decor of the ship and everything was spotless. Staff were attentive. Food was great, although lacking in variety. We soon started to feel VERY young, however, as the median age of the passengers leaned toward 80 with many walkers, canes and scooters. My husband had booked scuba at Princess Cays. This was cancelled as not enough had signed up, so I would guess that the aging passengers did impact what was available through the ship . It did impact the entertainment as well - all geared for the older crowd. The liveliest seemed to be a tribute to ABBA (yawn). Finding seating at the shows was difficult as the place always seemed packed, even when we got there 15 minutes early. I think the older crowd arrives VERY early to shows. We enjoy movies and were looking forward to MUTS (Movies Under the Stars). Actually, they play a lot of football games as well as movies and provide popcorn and blankets for cool nights. Great concept, but, as we were watching State of Play one evening, we were pelted with black oily soot! We were sitting on the right side balcony and yelped as we were hit by what felt like sandy gravel. It was in our eyes (yes, painful), hair and clothing. My white pants had black streaks. We jumped up and ran for cover. My husband sought out a crew member to report this. They did not appear surprised and just asked to see our clothing as he asked about getting it cleaned. We were told to bring the clothing to the purser's desk for complimentary cleaning service, which we did. We were then told to give them to our steward. We did, but we ended up with a $16 charge on our final bill for this cleaning. The most disturbing part was that, at no time, did we ever receive any apology and the only explanation was that this was a planned "cleaning" that had to take place while the engines were running. If this was a planned event, why weren't we warned and why couldn't it have waited until after the movie when the decks were clear? This impacted only 20 people, I guess, but I do not know how often this is planned, so I would warn folks NOT to sit upstairs during any MUTS. It left a very bad taste for MUTS for us! The service on board was excellent and the ports great (see reviews). We enjoyed ourselves, but we were with two other couples. I believe the geriatric nature of this cruise would have been a big negative if we had been travelling as a couple or as a family with young children. I would be hesitant to try Princess again (at least for another 20 years or so), but it sure beat being back home in a snowstorm! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Live Ruby New Year Cruise We departed LAX at 10 pm the night before our cruise in the midst of security issues and weather issues and experienced none of them at all! Our Virgin flight was smooth and easy and I was able to catch some ... Read More
Live Ruby New Year Cruise We departed LAX at 10 pm the night before our cruise in the midst of security issues and weather issues and experienced none of them at all! Our Virgin flight was smooth and easy and I was able to catch some zzzs in spite of being a little squished. Got to FLL at 6am, hung out at the port and walked around a little then finally got on the ship at about 11:30am, they were having problems getting people off the ship; it must have been a darn good cruise for them! This is my first elite cruise but I have not noticed any difference, nothing new in the room, no bathrobes, no bar set-up, no upgraded amenities, and no name tag on my room! I keep asking nicely for my name on the door because of CC people and hopefully it will happen today. The Elite embarkation room at the port did not have any coffee and tea, no water, and no munchies. I was surprised and suppose this might be an economy cut. I was in D734 and I always got excellent wifi reception on my netbook, Dining We found a dining room open for lunch on the ship, otherwise we always eat at the "trough" which sets the pig out tone and this was much more restrained and refined. Love that this was available by noon on embarkation day! We had a great first night dinner at a funky table in the corner of the MDR which was very hot, but wonderful dinner mates made it good. Food very good so for! One of our guests looked just like Susan Boyle, but I did not have the nerve to ask, and then they never showed up again at the table! It really looked like her. We are in traditional early seating and our first formal dinner in the MDR is OK, we are stuck at a half empty table for 8 and it's hard to have conversation. Truthfully I am spoiled by my past experiences on this ship, and this cruise seems disorganized and the MDR is in disarray with many half empty tables and a long, long line to the Maitre d. We really like our table mates, they are a precious couple in their 80s/90s and just the kind of people I love meeting and sharing traveling stories with during dinner! I want to fill our table but don't seem to be able to affect anything. Whoever did the seating really messed things us, families broken into different tables for no reasons and they want to be with their loved ones. The Maitre d was very nice when I finally asked him if we could switch tables but the new table was just as empty as the first table and we missed the older couple who were now on their own at a table for 8 so we switched back! I was embarrassed but the Maitre D Jose did not mind me switching and he was very sweet about it! I can see how difficult it is to balance these things when people don't show up but don't bother to tell anybody they are not coming to the MDR, I know when I first started cruising I would switch from the MDR to anytime and back until I learned that this is not cool. I had a Bacon Blue Cheese burger that was incredible, the burgers continue to be wonderful. Last year I had my first Princess Burger, I had not eaten ground meat for 13 years but after the first one, I had to eat one every night! They are still great. Entertainment The entertainment on the ship was nice and sometimes fun, but not great. There was a really bad comedian who started the show throwing toilet paper and it basically degraded from there and was not funny (in the John Belishi Animal House way) and kind of offensive. I missed the Hypnotist but heard she was a riot and hope to see her on my next Ruby cruise. We saw Broadway Ballroom again (3rd time on this ship) and it was OK, and even a little funny because the dancers were falling and very off, I think maybe a mix of ship movement and early New Years partying might be the cause. Anyway, its tough comparing because I saw the premier of this show last spring and it was much better then. This was true for all the shows, I never did see the best one, "Once upon a Dream" because they showed it only one night at the regular times, and once at 5PM which conflicted with trivia ?! We made it to New Years, but only on our lovely balcony where we tried to see the New Years Blue Moon, a rarity indeed! I am sorry I cannot give first hand info on the parties but I hear they are very fun. There was a party on the top deck, as well as a balloon drop in the atrium, with lots of partying and reveling. Trivia and Wheelchairs and the Medical Center (aka having an accident while funning around) I had an accident while playing trivia! We were in a run off to determine the winners of the game with a tie breaker question and as I was rushing to give our team's answer I tore my medial (inner) calf muscle! We won! I was in a wheelchair for the rest of the cruise and had to miss snorkeling in Bonaire but the staff was taking such good care of me that I enjoyed doing nothing and staying on the ship. Thanks again Andreia (a waitress in the International Cafe) for pushing me all over this ship! I adored the medical staff a lot, Dr. Frederick was incredible and I looked forward to seeing him every two days. The entire staff was so pleasant I have to say they took incredible care of me and I appreciated that so much. They equipped me well for the rest of my cruise and gave me and wheelchair and cane that I used on and off the ship constantly (and often as a weapon, lol) and I don't know how I could have salvaged my cruise as well as I did with out them. Giant Thanks to them! Lots of rude and ill mannered folks around who don't give a hoot about disabled and handicapped people and this pissed me off but also opened my eyes. It is truly a different world from a wheelchair and I will never be the same from this experience. In fact my therapist would be proud of me because I found the gift of this experience almost immediately. I had never realized how vulnerable and scary it is to be in a wheelchair, especially on a ship, and I am grateful for the opportunity to gain compassion with this experience towards those who cannot get out of their wheelchairs as I will soon. This is the best kind of traveling experience for me because I have grown and learned. Nice. Perks Our friends loved having a shady spot at the Sanctuary, A 10 day pass costs $150 pp for the package, however they only sell a few and if you want this you should get to the ship early, race to sanctuary and hope there are still some passes available. I hear it's easier to get shade than sun. They had incredible service from their waiter there and even got "Tea" (meaning the fancy food service) in the afternoon. After never trying this service, I might have to next time I am on a holiday sailing! I ordered formal tea service in my room once, it was amazing. They brought trays and trays of sandwiches, scones, sweets, and teas and it was completely wonderful. I had invited friends up to my balcony for this and Princess brought tea service for 5 which amounted to a lot of food. Excellent experience, we will do this again. We also ordered CanapEs for formal night, another opportunity to invite friends to enjoy this. I made a special order asking for no seafood and they easily accommodated this although they do ask for 24 hour notice for special orders like this. Disembarkation in a wheelchair We disembarked with ease, me in a wheelchair and still carrying off my own luggage! I thought this would be impossible considering I am still in a wheelchair and really cannot carry off my own luggage yet Princess made this happen and it was a breeze. We were asked to be in the Casino 10 minutes before our "walk off time" and once there an army of wonderful people carried my luggage, pushed me, and made my disembarkation on this journey the smoothest and easiest ever. They even broke the rules and pushed my luggage almost all the way to the taxi stand! A port employee came running after us, telling the boys that they were not supposed to carry my luggage past a certain point, I did not want to get them in trouble but they insisted it was no big deal and pushed my luggage anyway. I cannot say enough about this kind of stellar service from the employees, really a great bunch on this ship. I was once again so sad to leave and even more so because of the kindness of this staff. Ports Princess Cays Woke up at Princess Cays, the day was warm and cloudy and perfect weather for grave hunting and info gathering on the Island! We were planning on searching for the mysterious graves and whatever else unfolds, maybe a climb down to a basement if I could find the location! I heard from friends that on the last cruise there was a 2 hour tender wait; hopefully my elite benefit will help here! I get a large pot of hot water and use my coffee press, and the new Cubita coffee that I am addicted to, and I make the best coffee which we enjoy from out aft balcony. Our balcony is huge, almost as large as our room and we love it. My room name tag is on this morning, which makes me happy since it's the first time I see it in black! We go directly to the tender and jump into the line going on the tender and I am very impressed with this great benefit. PC is beautiful, it is quite scenic and there are lots of opportunities to spend money, eat, drink, and oh yes water sports galore. Of course all we want to do is go grave hunting! We head south, cross the bridge and after talking to several locals, we make our way to the graves. Nobody I talk to knows about them, I am asking everybody, I even bump into the Assistant Maitre d who is surprised to learn about the graves but has not seem them. We follow the directions given on cruise critic and find them easily. We place a shell on each grave, and after a moment of reflection, we depart. I make a mistake by wearing new tennis shoes and by the time we get to the graves I have an ugly blister and we need to turn back! Will I ever learn to not wear new shoes on cruises? Having to wear a large bandage on my heel doesn't really say "formal" and that is what I must wear for the night's festivities, it's New Years Eve. These bandages stay on my heels for the entire cruise. We catch an early trivia game, which is really fun; we meet some nice folks and have some laughs. I am convinced that "Frottage" is grave tending, but of course it is not! Frottage is the act of rubbing brass! I could think of a lot more creative ways to use that word, such as "quit giving me frottage!" St. Thomas We took a Princess Tour of St. Thomas, kind of a best of thing where we visited the Island via open air bus, spent a few hours at Megen's Bay which I found disappointing especially compared to a place like Kapulua Bay in Maui. Megen's bay was nice, but crowded and commercialized and not even any good snorkeling. Not a "be-back" for me. We also visited Blackbeards Castle where we climbed down to the town, lots of shopping, via several historical houses and museums and stores. Next time, I'd skip the tour and walk up the 99 steps to Blackbeards and then walk down again on my own. We also visited the old Synagogue which is an easy walk up a small hill right in town, although it was closed and we could not get in. St Thomas reminds me of an Alaskan Port in that there are so many Jewelry shops it is kind of gross! The vendors are hawking their wares at their storefronts while the taxi cab drivers are simultaneously trying to lure you back to the ship (or anywhere else for that matter as long as it is in their cabs) and the total cacophony of it is tacky and funny. But only for a short period of time, I cannot stand to see such disarray in the midst of such natural beauty! Yuck Dominica We had an incredible tour guide named Levi Bumpling in Dominica. This man and his tour guides were so careful and safe and I cannot recommend his company enough. We visited Titou gorge and swam up to the falls, Levi made sure each of us were able to get to the falls by throwing a rope and pulling those who could not swim against the strong currents caused by the waterfalls. This was such an incredible experience, and only the beginning. Our van was stocked with water, local beer, and banana sodas. Next we went to Trafalgar falls where we hiked down to the thermal pools and sat in them for 15 minutes. Levi knew where to walk, where to sit, which rocks were slippery and the best and safest routes to these pools and I felt safe and sure footed the whole time. Levi was always ahead of us and ready to help us cross rocks and pools. He is an incredible guide. Next we went to Champagne beach and snorkeled, this again was quite incredible. At all times we felt safe, our driver Cecil was conscientious and never scared us on the roads, he had a plethora of history to share with us and showed us plants and all sorts of things. It was a great day! Grenada We took a Princess excursion (rare for us) River Tubing in Grenada and the ride up to the starting place was long but beautiful, it took about 50 minutes. After a brief lecture about safety, we were put in individual tubes and outfitted with helmets and life vests and off we went. The river is very low and there were lots of rocks and I was a little nervous about jamming into them but there were guides strategically located along the tube route to help us past high or jagged rocks. One thing I hated was the incessant splashing of our faces by the guides--I wear contact lenses and had sunscreen and the minute they started splashing the sunscreen was dripping into my eyes causing stinging, and I could not see. I started asking each guide as I passed them to please not splash me, one did anyway and thats when I told him splash me and no tip! Then they stopped! After that I began to enjoy the ride down the river, although it was very short and basically lasted about a half hour. At one point they removed me from the group; they proceeded to give them a massive splash!!!! I was so grateful that they removed me that I gave them a large tip. Nonetheless, I would not recommend this excursion unless the river is higher, and since they got minimal rain last rainy season do be careful if you do this soon. It was fun and I was concerned about my safety because I am a klutz and accidents happen to me! LOL The locals are very kind and sweet here, I noticed that they are not obnoxious sellers and nobody bugged us when we walked around looking at trinkets and spices. The spice necklaces are wonderful; I got 4 for $10 if anybody is looking for those that would be the best price I found. Do buy at least one; it makes the cabin smell heavenly! Get a plastic bag so you can bring it home and that helps retain the moisture. Bonaire I had to visit Bonaire in my wheelchair. The streets were easy to navigate in the wheelchair although the occasional rude shopper was not as easy for me, I always seem to find teachable moments and then I teach! My weapon, I mean cane, helped me with these occasional rude people a lot! Thanks to the awesome Doctor Frederick on the ship who made sure I was equipped. Aruba We spent a full day in Aruba, where we usually have a half day, this time we were able to see and do so much more. We hired Bully, an incredible "giant of a guide" and he was top notch from the start to finish during the full day tour. He let us set the pace, and always made great suggestions, making sure each of us got what we needed! His large ice chest was filled with waters, cokes, beer, and wine! At several points he checked to make sure there was always enough of whatever drinks we were drinking and this impressed me so much. He also stopped to buy some local candy and let us all try it. This man is a sweetheart, smart, informative, and really with-it! Bully was able to accommodate me in my wheelchair easily and he recommended places where I could experience the wonders of Aruba, such as the caves. I felt completely safe and secure! Our first stop was the Jewish Temple, a place where I have been before and I got to light two memorial candles for my parents, a very tender and sweet moment. There was a very grumpy Rabbi there and I got him to let us in and begrudgingly he even opened the store so I could buy something or sentimental value. His grumpy attitude did not even faze us, if anything it added to the mystique of the whole experience. Next we drove south to the San Nicolas area where we visited Baby Beach which was (in the words of Justin our teenage friend) "gorgeous" and he was describing the water! It was astounding, calm, relatively small amount of people, and just about perfect for beaching, swimming, and snorkeling. We saw Golden Eagles, beautiful Orange and Yellow birds, and lots of Iguana's in blues, greens, and browns. At the Seroe Lighthouse we took beautiful pictures and caught glimpses of the rough sea and volcanic cliffs of the North coast of Aruba. Next we entered Arikok National Park, a beautiful and wild land filled with Cacti, and lots of Donkeys! We visited the Natural bridges, it was so crowded and filled with tourists flicking their ciggies into the ocean and we wanted to get the heck out of there fast. Next we came to the caves which were awesome, easy to enter and at least one accessible to me hobbling with a cane. These caves were filled with ancient cave drawings and many of them already scribbled on by people who didn't seem to care about them. That is why the caves became closed at night and protected by National Park service employees. They were just magnificent and a must see. Next we visited the Ayo Rock formations, although this time I could not climb them but the rest of our crew loved it. Onto the Goldmine/ruin, we visited the old "fake" fort and got some great pics through the various windows. There was so much garbage in the ruin that I hobbled around and picked up the trash and hopefully people who saw me doing this will remember to carry their garbage out! Geesh! Making our way north up the island, we visited the Alto Vista Chapel, learned of the traditions surrounded by this first Catholic church in Aruba, and even followed their 14 staged of the Cross! Kind of cool for this Jewish girl! We also visited the California Lighthouse but it was a zoo of people so Bully took us to a place where we could get pictures but be away from the crowds. These types of things of the best reason to hire a great guide like Bully because he know us, knows what the island is like when there are 4 cruise ships in port (yikes) and knows how to get around the masses! Excellent! Next we made our way through the "Beverly Hills" of Aruba where all the high rise resorts are. Bully took is to several upscale resorts where we were able to scout them out and gather info on them. We also got to stop for a quick swim, impeded by a mass of water sport enthusiast with no sense of children in the water; we left this area pretty quickly. Watch yourselves and you families on these beaches especially when there are so many cruise ships in port! Last stop was the supermarket where I bought my favorite Cumin cheese and a little Dutch candy. We made it back to the ship with several minutes to spare, and Bully was able to drive me almost to the ship so I did not have to hassle beating off people with my cane! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Going on Ruby Princess, this was our 6th cruise, but, only our 2nd with princess. On this cruise there were a lot of positives and a lot of negatives. To start we got a great deal on this cruise. In February of 09' we booked this ... Read More
Going on Ruby Princess, this was our 6th cruise, but, only our 2nd with princess. On this cruise there were a lot of positives and a lot of negatives. To start we got a great deal on this cruise. In February of 09' we booked this cruise. I don't remember the exact price, but this 10 day was cheaper than a 7 day on Royal Caribbean. The next positive was embarkation.Parking was very easy, unlike last year were we were waiting 1 hour for the shuttle. This year, Port Everglades used a new system where you were given a number and when your number was called you were to go to an avalibale desk. This reduced waiting time not only to check-in and receive your cruise card, but also to wait on the gangway. As we always do, we went up to our room before eating lunch. Our room seemed much more spacious than last year on the Crown Princess. While leaving our stateroom we met Cerry, our room attendant. Unlike past years he was very very friendly. Whenever we saw him in the halls he greeted us by name and asked how we were doing. He was probably the best room staff we ever had on our 6 cruises. Now I feel it is a good time to talk about the dining and dining service. The service at the Horizon Court, or buffet, was not the best. I was never greeted with a smile, but they did do their job correctly. The food was not great either. In the morning the scrambled eggs tasted dry and most of the cereal tasted stale. At lunch the food was not pleasing either. We never ate at the buffet for dinner, but we did come for a midnight snack every once in a while. Even though it was late at night, the food still shouldn't have been that disgusting and terrible. Many nights we were very hungry at night and we didn't want to order room service so we went up to the buffet. There was a very little variety of food, and it was all very disappointed. The pool food was quite the opposite. Free of charge, every morning there were Belgium waffles which were so soft and sweet. At 11 a.m the Belgium waffles became a pizzeria. The workers there were so friendly. Every time I came for pizza I was greeted with a smile and, "Hi, what can I have for you today?" The pizza was even better. It beats anything we have at home in Florida. If you need a great lunch, go to the pizzeria not the buffet. Equal service and food quality was also at Trident's grill, also free of charge. On this cruise, I got a coke package card. By getting the CPC (coke package card) you get sodas, mock-tails, hot chocolates, and milkshakes. Any time I would go to a bar to get a soda I wouldn't get a friendly smile, actually no speaking at all, because once they saw you had a coke card they knew what you were going to order. In Crooners, the bar in the Piazza, I ordered a coke on night. 20 minutes later I get a diet-coke. I re-order a coke which I never get. Disappointing.The Dining Room was a whole new story.We were in the Botticelli Dining Room, which was at the back of the ship. To get to it you had to start on six, go up 1 floor, across 1 floor, then down 1 more. It was surely a hassle to get down their. On rocky days, the dining room moved so much it frequently made me sick. There are 19 people in our party. We were given 1 table for 6,1 table for 5, and 1 table for 8. Our waiter Joey was very stressed to get us all fed. Some nights he was even yelling at us to stop getting up and socializing because dinner was coming. The beverages or sodas in the dining room were always pre-poured. So when I ordered a coke it was already flat. The food was not pleasing either. On the last night I ordered the meatloaf which was too dry, so I ordered the fillet,which was too hard to chew. Eventually, I ordered a hamburger which was disgusting, but I wasn't going to waste my time ordering again. The Piazza, or lobby, was a wonderful place to meet up. The International Cafe had delightful appetizers and good coffee and hot chocolate. There were comfortable benches to sit and talk with a friend. There was always entertainment, whether it was classical music or a juggler. There were wonderful shops were you get a great deal on a beautiful necklace or a souvenir. There was Crooners, the bar I spoke about before, and a great library. Nearby was the shore excursions desk which always had a long line, but a wide variety of excursions. There were 2 venues for entertainment, The Explorer's Lounge and The Princess Theater. The entertainment was not amazing. There's not much more to say. Overall it was a great cruise. I would give it a 8.5 out of 10. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
First Princess Cruise went perfect! We had two trips with Carnival and they were good, but this was even better. Our balcony cabin on deck 10 Caribe had a huge balcony and I just loved hanging out on the balcony while my wife got ready ... Read More
First Princess Cruise went perfect! We had two trips with Carnival and they were good, but this was even better. Our balcony cabin on deck 10 Caribe had a huge balcony and I just loved hanging out on the balcony while my wife got ready in the morning and later at night before dinner. I didn't go with the Jr Suite and felt that the standard room with the big balcony was a better deal. The room seemed to have plenty of space, even though we had gotten use to the Jr suites on our previous Carnival curies. The one odd thing about the trip... is we thought the food selection in the buffets was better then the dining room (all you can eat lobster claws the first night). We hadn't done any buffets on our last two trips, but this time we found the portions and selections to be more tempting than the dining room most nights. I had no idea that we would finish our trip with a professional published book, that documented the entire incredible trip! But my wife talked me into buying the new book that Princess sells on board. We over-planned our trip with multiple excursions in each port and had no idea that we would be able to fit it all in. But the weather and ship's timing was perfect so we were able to hit every event we had planned. Wow! It couldn't have gone any better on our first cruise with Princess. If you want to see some different excursions on Aruba, Bonaire, Eleuthera, Dominica, Grenada, St John, Little Cayman, and Cozumel... take a look at our trip report with the help of the new service Princess is offering- PanRaven which allows you to enter your text and photos into a professional looking book which you then share with friends on-line and print out a copy for your home. http://www.panraven.com/visitor/VisitorViewStory.epage?sp=Sview&sp=154975 ONE TIP- if you click on the arrows below the photos, you can see 2 pages at a time, which give a better panoramic view. If you click directly on the photo instead of using the arrows...you can only see one BIG page at a time (click again to go back to two page view) Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We cruised on Princess Cruises last September to Alaska. While we loved Alaska and the itinerary, we were not impressed by the Coral Princess. Everyone has always raved about Princess so we decided to try again, this time in the Southern ... Read More
We cruised on Princess Cruises last September to Alaska. While we loved Alaska and the itinerary, we were not impressed by the Coral Princess. Everyone has always raved about Princess so we decided to try again, this time in the Southern Caribbean for 10 days on the new Ruby Princess. Once again we were disappointed. Embarkation was fine....long lines, but they moved pretty fast. Our room was ready when we arrived. There was no champagne on boarding, just information about a scavenger hunt of some sort. The Ruby is just the same old ship design....nothing new or innovative. The bathroom and especially the shower was still very small. The balcony room we had was adequate and the beds were comfortable. One complaint with the Princess designed balconies is the tiering style. Instead of seeing the water directly below our balcony, we looked down into the balcony below us. We were on the 11th deck, so no one above us looked down, but privacy is definitely an issue. Also, a constant complaint of mine, lots of smokers who love to pollute the fresh air on the balconies. One feature we enjoyed was the "Movies Under the Stars". At night covers were put on the lounge chairs, blankets and popcorn were passed out, and you could relax and watch a movie up on deck. It was especially fun to watch the football games on the huge screen. Food was edible, but just the usual stuff on the buffet. After 10 days, it was tiring to see the same old stuff everyday. There was not much variety. Some cruises we have been on have omelet stations, stir fry stations, delis and other options to spice the buffet up. Not this one....very boring and it seemed that at least one side was always closed making for long lines and crowdedness in the area. The design of the seating for the buffets is meant to make smaller intimate areas but it just didn't work. There were too many barriers to try to make your way through carrying food. Waitstaff was not friendly. In fact, we saw many being very rude to the elderly passengers. Granted, this cruises average age was probably 80 something, but the rudeness was uncalled for. Dining room food was better than the buffet. On several nights it was excellent....what one would expect on a cruise. But several nights, it was hard to find something to choose on the menu. Plates were not presented as well as they could have been and service was very slow.We chose the anytime dining, and would recommend that you call ahead and make a reservation as it gets crowded. They pass out "beepers" and you have to wait. One night we waited over 40 minutes, then missed the show. We did not get to see many shows. Because of the large senior population on this ship, the early show was impossible. People were in the small theater an hour before the show just to get seats. The shows were sometimes repeated the next night. People raved about the hynotist show, but we were not able to get seats at either show. If you are patient and can sit and wait an hour you will see the show. We did not have that patience. We chose this cruise because we liked the intinerary....all islands we have never been to before. After 9 cruises, it becomes difficult to do that. We were disappointed in our tour in St Thomas....tours are very expensive, and this "Views of St. Thomas" was awful. Unairconditioned trucks, tacky stops, and a guide who we could not understand. The "state of the art" tram up the mountain was old, broken down, and definitely NOT state of the art. Dominica was not a nice place to walk around. Many passengers got off, and came right back on the ship. Locals were unfriendly and tried to rip people off on the cab ride to town. One couple told us about the driver charging $1 to get to town ( which is really only one small street), and then wanted $10 to get back to the ship. The dock was in the middle of a working truck yard and was dangerous to manuver your way through. The other ports of Princess Cays, Grenada, Bonnaire, and Aruba were all very nice. Princess Cays offered many water activities. Bonnaire was friendly, although the beaches are all coral and not great for swimming. The mangrove tour was very interesting. Aruba was gorgeous, and felt very safe. Don't head to the beaches until afternoon, as the winds whip the sand around. Lots to do in this port. Disembarkation was not easy. The typical wait to wait deal. Crowded lounge, then wait to get to customs, wait at customs, etc. You expect this but there were many delays in this ship's processes. Not run smoothly. Overall, we had a good time, but will probably stay with other lines for a while. I think Princess attracts many repeat cruisers who are very loyal even when things are not as they should be. Until they start complaining or going with other lines, things will stay the same. Work needs to be done on friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Perhaps, the seniors who are so loyal, should try other lines, like Celebrity or Royal Caribbean, to see how they should be treated. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Just some thoughts/review: - Great cruise overall, loved the itinerary - Entertainment was some of the worst we have had on any cruise. We had over 1,000 cruisers from the UK, as well as most of the entertainment staff - not sure if that ... Read More
Just some thoughts/review: - Great cruise overall, loved the itinerary - Entertainment was some of the worst we have had on any cruise. We had over 1,000 cruisers from the UK, as well as most of the entertainment staff - not sure if that was the reason for the poor entertainment, but it seemed that all of the main stage performers has a UK slant - and geared for an old clientele. That may work 50 weeks a year, but at XMASS and New Years, when the age of the cruisers goes down, so should the type of entertainment. On XMASS Eve, the 'grand holiday show" was a classical pianist. The next night we had an old (and I mean OLD) British performer who sang (ok), danced (eh) and told jokes (HORRIBLE). In the clubs there were 2 UK based bands that covered all of the venues. 1 had a female lead that missed some high notes, but was pretty good. The other should not be retained. As for the production shows - boo. Carnival's shows are FAR superior....even NCL's are better. Again, you know you are in trouble when one of the shows is captioned "featuring the songs of your Parents and Grandparents"....That said, the comedians and the hypmotist were pretty good. However, no late night or adult shows at all. Last show each night was 10:30. - Sailaway - Princess should be embarrassed. This is a Caribbean cruise...everyday there should be a band and music by the pool. (Not all of the pools, but the one deemed the "party pool") EVERY day when you get back on board, there should be calypso, or steel drum, or at least light rock and the "sounds of the Caribbean" out by the pool. Sadly, this was not done. In fact for 3 days we got NOTHING. And for 3 days we got an old Bob Marley playlist - the exact same music. The playlist was exactly 1 hour long, and repeated 2x. At the 48 minute mark there was a skip in the music that lasted about 10 seconds. Then "Don't Worry be Happy" would come back on, and the list would start again. It was sad...It was so bad, I complained to the CD (which I never do). - One night we had a real "Sailaway" = this was very good. - This ship is not for teenagers. They are not entertained in a proper way, and any "antics" (like some horseplay around the pool) will lead to an imediat call from Security. I actulay over heard this conversation: Security - "Stop jumping in the pool" Teen - "So where can we fool around" Security - "Not here" Teen - "Can't fool around at the movie pool, the adult pool, or the spa pool...this is supposed to be for families" Security - "Can't do that here" Teen - "So where?" Security - "Somewhere else...." - Kids club - our 8 yr olds LOVED it, and could not wait to go....however, as a parent I believe that other cruise lines do it better. out of the 10 nights, a movie was shown 6 nights as the entertainment. Other nights included Casino night, Wii, game tournaments, pajama party - all met with big YEAS! But the movie nights were a bust. Felt more like babysitting, and less like "camp". - Food was very good. We did the Chef's Table one night - and loved it. Overall we had a great cruise, and would go back on Princess again...but without kids. Princess can try to fight the reputation of being an "older" clientele, and being family friendly...but (in my opinion) they lose that fight. On a scale of 1 - 10; I would give it a 7.5. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
The Ruby is a beautiful, huge ship. Princess takes good care of it--very labor intensive, constantly. The food was excellent. Crown Grill is fantastic and it feels like a $200 meal for two for 50 bucks. The buffet on the pool deck was ... Read More
The Ruby is a beautiful, huge ship. Princess takes good care of it--very labor intensive, constantly. The food was excellent. Crown Grill is fantastic and it feels like a $200 meal for two for 50 bucks. The buffet on the pool deck was primary source of b-fast lunch and dinner--food was very good to great every night except one , which was Indian food. Ate is Crown Grill 2x and main 2x and serrice and food was excellent there. Entertainment: The productions shows were top notch--best cast overall have seen in many , many cruises. Got used to repeating the same show 2 nights in a row, because it gave the opportunity not to miss a show if there was something else we wanted to do. Comediansd were very good too. Shrotcomings--the absence of a decent rocknroll band was very noticable..the Fusion 21 was perhaps the worst rock band we have seen in cruises. The 2 girls sounded not quite as good as two high school sophomores auditioning in a high school gym. They had no range nor strength to their voices and the repetoire was very limited. Heard the rock band before them was terrific. No rock/reggae band available for pool deck in the afternoon--which is part of what a caribbean cruise is all about...this was a glaring and disappointing omission. Jugglers and hypnotist--a 1950's trip to the Catskills, they might have fit--very hokie and passe. They also need a sing along piano bar, more contemporary--like the Emerald princess had on the August cruise to new england and other cruise lines have--the piano man in the atrium not same thing, with pre-civil war reptoire. The shopping Director was fun to listen to and quite enthusiastic--tho the cruise lines get at least 5-8% back from the stores for hawking them, and she gets a commission too i think something general along these lines should be disclosed, like some cruise lines too--but the cruise line guarantees if things dont work out on a purchase are probably worth the vigorish the stores pay. Spa treatments were also top notch. and the service everywhere was excellent. The itinerary was quite special. Princess Cay,. which is actually at the end of an inhabited Island was relaxing and much fun. St Thomas--is great fun to shop, and we took the Ferry over to St. Johns and snorkeled in magnificent Trunk Bay--which is a US national Park , and gorgeous . did this on our own , at last minute, and without excursion.snorkel renatl is cheap because it is on fed property--no gouging Dominica is a very poor island with extraordinary scenery, as it is volcanic. The islanders were very nice [unlike Martinique and interior of Jamaica] and proud of their island--did a tour, Ti Tou Gorge, and the hot springs for a dip--this is a very good excursion Grenada is likewise mountainous and beautiful, and economically better off than Dominica. Did a tour with Anse Beach which has a gorgeous club med type hotel that reminded me of the Marriott resort in Costa Rica. We swam and used hotel pool and facilities. Cant say enough about the beauty of the hotel resort at anse beach. Bonnaire--is all about snorkeling which was fantastic in their marine park, via a Catamaran. Aruba--no excursion..took the bus for 2 bucks to the Marriott report--the beaches are public so you can swim there. Then bus back to downtown--shopping is great fun in Aruba--the stores and the flea market This was a very enjoyable cruise and Princess took good care of us. Not as much action and entertainment overall not quite as good as RC, but a very relaxing and unforgettable cruise Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Ruby Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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