103 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) to Caribbean - Western Princess Ruby Princess Cruise Reviews

Last time we cruised, we notice those cool looking balcony rooms next to the small Terrace Pool (aft) near Horizon dining area. There are two on each side on the Riviera floor. We always get a balcony on that floor but usually it is near ... Read More
Last time we cruised, we notice those cool looking balcony rooms next to the small Terrace Pool (aft) near Horizon dining area. There are two on each side on the Riviera floor. We always get a balcony on that floor but usually it is near the center Starboard side (around 607). But this time, we decided to try a rear balcony. BIG mistake. Normally, we spent about an hour a day (or more) on our balcony reading, snacking, watching things go by and I love to go out late at night and read. This time we spent about a tenth of the normal balcony time out there. Most of the day, the sun was beating down on us. If the sun wasn't there, it was raining OR even worse, someone above will wash down the upper deck and the water comes right down on our balcony. I sat down on what appeared to be a dry chair several times and my shorts were soaked!!! We finally learned to keep a towel handy to sit on whenever (which was rarely) we sat out there. Also you will get toothpicks from folks hanging off the rails above dropping them "overboard". This trip also had a lot of rough seas so the door kept sliding open whenever we were outside!! Imagine hearing that door open and close, open and close, again and again......just not worth being out there most of the time. Now the only good thing about that room is the view.....there were a few times when the view was absolutely incredible. In fact, one of my favorite things that we saw/experienced was the water spout. Without that rear balcony, we'd never have seen it!! I even managed to get photos. So final verdict is that we will never again get a rear balcony. Other than that, the trip was good as always!! Our room steward, Douglas was wonderful. Loved the trivia, especially the Who Sang What music trivia. Not enough other games like Scattergories, Taboo, etc., though. They are apparently timed for when then ship is in port. Since we get off on the islands, it means that we were never on board when the games were scheduled. Wish that there were some indoor movies and also would love to see some actual classes like watercolor, photography (without trying to sell us something)--something for those of us who aren't into movies on the deck and pools. Food in Horizon was wonderful!!!! Especially loved the Indian food this time. Overall, the trip was fun and we will be back next year and look forward to our regular balcony on the side!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We've sailed Princess five times. We like the line, even with the sales push, but this cruise was just okay. You have to pay for some things that used to be included, like king crab and lobster, and the ship needs repairs and ... Read More
We've sailed Princess five times. We like the line, even with the sales push, but this cruise was just okay. You have to pay for some things that used to be included, like king crab and lobster, and the ship needs repairs and upgrades... The ship just feels worn, and some failing systems are evident. Our shower sprayed dark brown dirty water one morning. It was disgusting, it turned my towel brown, and we could see grit in the water. The maintenance guys were fast and had the shower fixed in less than four hours. We were allowed to clean up in the spa. The big screen is dying too, which made the movies under the stars less enjoyable. According to the maintenance workers examining the screen from the pool deck, it's been dying for several years, "but it costs over $1,000,000 to repair because the supporting framework around the screen has to be cut out, and that can only be done with the ship out of service in dry dock. The crew did a great job with the various failures we encountered, but there would be fewer challenges if the ship was in better shape. My husband and I would also prefer to pay a few bucks more to avoid the constant sales pressure, but you see that nowadays on most cruise lines. Cruise pricing hasn't changed much over the last twenty years, so the lines have had to make more and more money from the extras, like those annoying photo-ops that block the crowd from getting off the boat. My husband and are are grateful the Princess has further restricted smoking areas. We'd be tickled pink if they'd stop the smoking in the casino too. If that happened we might enjoy a little gambling, and we wouldn't have to hold our breath walking through to the theatre! Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Left Ft Lauderdale on the Ruby on January 10th. Embarkation a breeze. Went right up to the Sanctuary to reserve our spot for the week. Some of our luggage came quickly but one bag did not come till about 6:30pm and had a large sticker on ... Read More
Left Ft Lauderdale on the Ruby on January 10th. Embarkation a breeze. Went right up to the Sanctuary to reserve our spot for the week. Some of our luggage came quickly but one bag did not come till about 6:30pm and had a large sticker on it "Security inspected". Same thing happened to our friend's luggage. Cruise was a pleasure. Well run, clean ship, good meals, nice cabin (aft balcony). Never a long wait for our anytime dining. Sailed on the Royal last year and can say I really enjoyed this one better. Never saw anyone in the dining room in the evening in shorts and tee shirts (unlike the Royal). Saw the captain a few times walking around the ship and he was always friendly. Balcony was bigger than the Royal. Other guests seemed more seasoned. Just a nice group of a few thousand people with only a few exceptions! This is our 6th Princess cruise and have booked for next year. Thankfully we don't take the cruises for the ports any more. Nothing exciting about any of them... Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our first cruise on Princess was aboard the Golden to Alaska. Our second was aboard the Ruby to the Caribbean. The Ruby was much more modern and showed less wear and tear than the Golden did. Service, across the board, was great, other ... Read More
Our first cruise on Princess was aboard the Golden to Alaska. Our second was aboard the Ruby to the Caribbean. The Ruby was much more modern and showed less wear and tear than the Golden did. Service, across the board, was great, other than the Horizon Court. Out of 7 days we were on-board, we were only offered something to drink twice, maybe three times and we had to go fetch it ourselves when we weren't offered it and the help seemed offended when we finally gave up on them to get it ourselves. Embarkation and disembarkation was miles ahead when compared to the Seattle cruise port, which was terrible. Other than a terrible experience with Delta (who I'll never fly again) the entire experience with Princess was as I'd expected. I won't be looking for another cruise operator anytime soon, that's a fact. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
"Oh, you are the Hammann's? You have been upgraded!" OK. I'm not an idiot. I realize that getting upgraded is fairly standard. However, don't we all love to hear that phrase? It put a smile on my wife's face ... Read More
"Oh, you are the Hammann's? You have been upgraded!" OK. I'm not an idiot. I realize that getting upgraded is fairly standard. However, don't we all love to hear that phrase? It put a smile on my wife's face as well as mine and set the tone for our 20th wedding anniversary cruise. We arrived at 2:00 as suggested by our boarding pass. It literally took about 5 minutes to get through the check-in process. We stood for about three minutes behind on family and then was instructed to move to a quicker line by an attendant. We were greeted, given our cruise cards and moved on to the ship. Quick and easy! We had reserved an obstructed view stateroom and were upgraded to a balcony stateroom. We were excited to see our room. Both of us had never cruised before so we were enjoyed each and every step of the process. From the name tag on the room to the greeting from Jeffrey, our steward, we were amazed at the service. The food and food service was top of the line. We loved our meal times. Not only were we served amazing food, we established some great relationships with the servers who come from all corners of the world. While I haven't been on other cruises so I cannot compare, I suspect that it would be hard to beat what Princess offers in this area. We dined using the anytime dining package which offered a great amount of flexibility. The balcony cabin we were booked into was amazing. It offered amazing views. The bed was comfortable. Our steward, Jeffrey, was efficient and stealthy! It took some getting used to the two a day service plan on our rooms but once we had the system down it was great. The 2015 New year celebration was great. We had a great time hanging out with people of all nations. This was a memory for a lifetime. I certainly would sail Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This ship is in excellent condition. We were on the Ruby a few years ago and I didn't notice any wear and tear since then. She is a beauty! We were on during a very crowded New Year's week and yet never felt too crowded. ... Read More
This ship is in excellent condition. We were on the Ruby a few years ago and I didn't notice any wear and tear since then. She is a beauty! We were on during a very crowded New Year's week and yet never felt too crowded. Embarkation took place at 11:30 am but disembarkation was delayed by about 30 minutes. Also the taxi line outside the terminal was horrendous. We waited about 45 minutes for a taxi to the airport. This is the reason I'd never book an early flight. The towel game was in full effect - if you were not out on deck on sea days by 9 am you'd have difficulty finding a chair, and there are hundreds and hundreds of chairs. We watched the Sugar Bowl under MUTS and despite the rain, had a great night! They come around with pizza slices. The gym was packed every morning. You usually had to wait for any piece of cardio to open up. We stayed at the Hyatt House on 17th street pre and post cruise - great location next to Embassy Suites and Publix and Total Wine. Very nice hotel! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
Background information - This was my first time sailing on Princess. I had just taken a sort of impromptu Carnival cruise a couple of months earlier (probably won't sail them again), and based on what I knew about Princess, I was ... Read More
Background information - This was my first time sailing on Princess. I had just taken a sort of impromptu Carnival cruise a couple of months earlier (probably won't sail them again), and based on what I knew about Princess, I was looking forward to something more relaxed. I've previously sailed on Royal Caribbean, NCL, Holland America, and Carnival. Travel information - We flew into Fort Lauderdale the day before the cruise and overnighted at the Embassy Suites near the port. The hotel is very conveniently located and handles a huge amount of cruise traffic. We thought the hotel was very comfortable and liked our room and the complimentary breakfast as well. Travel to embarkation Port - We had rented a car with Avis, who maintain a rental facility at the Hyatt hotel on the causeway next to the port. It was perfect weather on the day our ship sailed, and we had several hours to kill so we drove along A1A, had some drinks across the street from the ocean, and then dropped our car off around 1pm. Avis provides a shuttle between their facility and the port, a service we had utilized last year, and it worked just great. Embarkation - Smooth as silk. We weren't in a rush to get on board the ship and probably arrived at the port around 1:30pm. There were no lines at the Princess check-in desks and after we passed through security and filled out a quick health questionnaire, we were given our room keys and were walking on board in less than 10 minutes. The ship's crew took our pictures to match up to our room keys as we entered the atrium of the ship and that was that. Crowding around the elevators was not bad, but we elected to walk up to our cabin. Ship information - If I'm not mistaken, the Ruby Princess is about six years old and it is one of the most beautiful ships I have ever been on. Everything, the public areas, the bars, lounges, rooms, etc. was very tastefully done, elegant, and comfortable. The ship was spotlessly clean, and everything was in good working order. The ship's atrium, which they call the Piazza, is three decks high and is surrounded by shops, some bars and lounges, and a snack and coffee area. Two panoramic elevators travel from the ground floor of the atrium up to the top of the ship, next to the pool and the buffet area. Navigating from one end of the ship to the other was easy, although depending on the elevator bank taken, there are some areas where you have to more port or starboard to move forward or aft as one of the dining rooms blocks your path. The ship is also fairly large so it was not until the second day that I felt comfortable with knowing where everything was. Cabin - We booked a Vista Suite, which was located all the way aft on the starboard side of the ship. A bit smaller than the suite we had last year on Holland America's Westerdam, it was more than large and comfortable enough for two people. The balcony in particular was great. There was a walk in shower and a tub (we never utilized the latter) a walk-in closet, safe, two televisions, a sofa with coffee table, and a small bar/sink area. Small canapes were delivered to the room each night, if we remembered to fill out the order form, and we were also given a complimentary mini-bar setup at the beginning of the cruise. A selection of alcohol minis, beers, and soft drinks were included, but there was not a complimentary restocking of anything we consumed. If we wanted anything replenished, that came with a cost. Complimentary fruit was also delivered during the trip, which we enjoyed. Two service misses in the cabin were a shower door that leaked at the bottom so we were always throwing towels down to stop the flood, and no shelves in the bathroom. The shelf issue sounds very minor, but counter space was limited and there were a lot of wall space that could accommodate a few places to store personal items. Activities - This was a more leisurely itinerary than what I had just experienced on Carnival, with two days at sea at the beginning and towards the end of the cruise. I enjoy sea days, feeling that they force you to relax. As mentioned earlier, the weather in Fort Lauderdale was great on the day of departure and this held true for the entire duration of the cruise. There were a few nights when it was actually a bit chilly out on deck, which did not bother me in the least. Daytime was sunny, not humid, and just great temperatures in the mid 70s to low 80s. Each night we received the "Princess Patter" at our cabin, which is the daily rundown of what's going on, on board and in port for the following day. There was a lot of things to choose from on board to stay busy. We utilized the ship's exercise room almost every day, which is located at the front of the ship next to the spa. A large selection of treadmills, elliptical bikes, resistance equipment and free weights were available. There is a water fountain in the gym but unfortunately the water was on the hot side of warm and tasted awful. We learned after the first day to bring bottled water with us. There is also a locker room with dry and wet saunas. Our cabin was a suite, which gave us complimentary access to the ship's thermal suite, which is located below the spa and gym area. It was nice with a selection of wet and dry saunas, as well as rain and mist showers, but no hydrotherapy pool. It was also in a bit of an odd location with no windows. It was extremely underutilized and I remember seeing no more than one or two other people in it the entire time we were on board. We liked the Westerdam's thermal suite much better. Fellow passengers - A very mixed group on board, leaning towards an older crowd but not entirely. We saw some kids on board, but not too many, and a lot of passengers were our age, i.e. in their 40s. Princess apparently has a big appeal with international customers as there were a lot of British citizens on board, as well as Japanese and Russian. Not a big, party crowd on this ship like I experienced on Carnival, but the bars, lounges, and casino were well attended each night into the wee hours of the morning. Service - Not as good as I expected it to be. Service in the up-charge restaurant, Crown Grill, was very slow both times we ate there, despite most of the tables being empty, and the main restaurant's service was rushed and informal, very much like a banquet meal in a hotel. Some wait staff were a bit cold and on the edge of unfriendly, so that was a bit disappointing as well. The standout was Sabatini's restaurant, where we enjoyed an excellent breakfast on several days, and dinner on two evenings. The staff there was just excellent, friendly, chatty, personable, etc. I can't compliment them enough. Our cabin steward was pretty good and special requests were accommodated, but he was a bit cool towards us. We were always greeted by him in the halls, but we felt our cabin steward on Holland America to be much more friendly and the service better all the way around. Service in the shops and the front desk was not impressive. I'd say it leaned towards a staff that was at best, indifferent and that was disappointing. One thing in particular that was bad was an order we submitted to have our luggage transferred directly from our cabin on the last night to our airline for the flights home. We utilized this service last year on Holland America and it was excellent. For $20 per person, you leave your bags outside your cabin on the last night and don't see them again until you arrive at your destination on the baggage carousel. Princess offered the same thing, or so we thought. I filled out the forms and turned them in but the crew-member manning the desk said he needed hard copies of our itinerary from the airline. The order form mentioned nothing about that and I didn't have hard copies to give him. He said he'd see what he could do and that was the last I ever heard about it. Our luggage did not automatically transfer and we received no notice that they couldn't accommodate our request. I'm inclined to think that our order form got tossed in the garbage. Port & shore excursions - A good selection of things to do were available for each port, although we missed our opportunity to book in Grand Cayman ahead of time and wound up booking a quick island tour in port, which included Hell (yes, that's the name of the town), a Dolphin seaquarium, the Tortuga Rum Cake factory/store, and 7 Mile Beach. The stop in Roatan was actually at Mahogany Bay, which is something of a compound for Princess and Carnival cruise lines. Very safe and isolated, it's nothing more than a day on their beach with some bars/dining and shops. I'm not a big fan of the Roatan stop, having done it once before on an NCL cruise, so staying within Mahogany Bay was fine. Cozumel was a shopping day for us, and we walked up and down the waterfront and stopped for drinks before heading back to the ship. Again, we were blessed with wonderful weather so being out in the sun all day was not uncomfortable. Princess Cays, which is Princess' private "island" (actually it's a stretch of land on the island of Eleuthera) was beautiful, and here we rented dune buggies and were gone for 2 hours on some very bumpy, sandy roads and trekked to some local sights including a gorgeous beach and an old lighthouse. We thoroughly enjoyed our day at Princess Cays. Dining - Unfortunately it was at best, marginal. The buffet was always easy to navigate, utilizing islands instead of a long buffet line, but the food was not particularly good. We tended to stop there only for lunch, and for dinner on just one occasion. It was very bland, and there seldom seemed to be a theme to the offerings, with the exception of Mexican food when we departed Cozumel. There was also another buffet area towards the back of the ship that was only open for 90 minutes in the afternoon. We tried it once when they were serving sushi and a selection of Asian dishes, but again the food was not very good. Crown Grill was a big disappointment, as I looked forward to the selection of steaks. Having eaten at both Cagney's on NCL ships (always outstanding), Scarlett's on Carnival (again, excellent), and Pinnacle on Holland America (delicious!), Crown Grill was a let down. The aforementioned slow service certainly negatively impacted my opinion, but the quality of the appetizers, steaks, and dessert was also a let down. In fairness I will say that the person I was traveling with said that his seafood entrees were always great. We dined at Sabatini's twice for dinner. Again, my friend said his seafood was very good, but the chicken I ordered on one evening was bland and disappointing. The steak I ordered on the last night of the cruise, however, was decent. We ordered room service a lot for breakfast, and it was always right on time and pretty good. We also received a "suite" breakfast menu each night but no indication on how to order any of the special offerings. The hang tag that got placed on the door to order food included none of the special offers, so we never experienced it. Entertainment - Activities up on deck and in the lounges included several musicians and bands (all pretty good), a ship's theater with shows throughout the week (we caught part of one but didn't enjoy it very much), and a huge video screen out at the pool deck for watching movies. Princess places fabric covers on the lounge chairs and distributes very warm and comfortable blankets for the movies running at night. We watched one, Defenders of the Galaxy, on a chilly and very windy night but enjoyed it very much thanks to the amenities. Princess' staff also circulate during the movies with snacks. Disembarkation - We had to be out of our cabin by 8am and then queue up in a lounge two decks down. There was coffee, water, juice, and pastries. We didn't have to wait long as about 20 minutes later, our group was called to disembark. The process was smooth and we were off of the ship, had our luggage, and cleared Customs and Immigration in less then 30 minutes. We purchased airport transfers and were quickly directly to the motor coaches that took us to Fort Lauderdale. Summary - Coming on the heels of a Carnival cruise, I definitely enjoyed this much more. No offense against Carnival, they have a market they appeal to and are very successful with their niche. Princess' ship was beautiful and the entire week was very relaxing. The disappointments on this cruise pertained to the food and several service misses. I would sail on Princess again to give them another shot as the positives outweighed the negatives.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The Ruby Princess is in great shape with a wonderful happy crew. Food is as good as always in all the different restaurants and the Crown Grill is exceptional and you must try it when onboard. In the Horizon Court on Deck 15 you get ... Read More
The Ruby Princess is in great shape with a wonderful happy crew. Food is as good as always in all the different restaurants and the Crown Grill is exceptional and you must try it when onboard. In the Horizon Court on Deck 15 you get amazing service and all staff are excellent and you will want for nothing in relation to service. We did the 14 day cruise - back-to-back Western and Eastern Caribbean and the ports were all fabulous. We made the Wheelhouse Bar our regular watering hole, which was very well run by Carlo and his team. And special mention has to be made for thr amazing bar skills of Petar from Croatia. His tricks and showmanship was only superseded by the quality and taste of r drinks he made. For ladies looking for a special surprise you must ask for his special - The Burrito. The only negative on the holiday was the EZ Air from Princess, which was anything but easy as the air bookings were a disaster from the start. Princess please note that this seems to be a common issue with your passengers and will lose you passengers.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Ruby Princess November 2014 Western Caribbean Saturday – Embarkation and General ship comments We arrive after 1:30pm to check in at Pier 2 of Port Everglades. The ship looked very nice even though it was small in comparison to others ... Read More
Ruby Princess November 2014 Western Caribbean Saturday – Embarkation and General ship comments We arrive after 1:30pm to check in at Pier 2 of Port Everglades. The ship looked very nice even though it was small in comparison to others in port. He check in went very smooth and all of the staff were very friendly, upbeat and helpful. Before we could get the key in the door Ernesto, our steward, greeted us from down the hall; knowing our names! Unbelievable!! The mini-suite was just the right size. We’ve been aft in a balcony which was nice, but the extra living and seating area was so nice. Ernesto offered us flutes of Champagne for us to toast our cruise. Soon the Muster Station Drill was called. The drill was a little unorganized with lots of wasted time just waiting for announcements. Dinner in the Horizon Court was very good. Prime rib, fish, pasta, and shrimp cocktail, good soups were the highlights. Plenty of salads and fruit are always present. The vanilla moose was light and fluffy. Service at the table for drinks was very good – cleaning our plates and asking if we wanted coffee of tea. They even had decaf tea! The “crossing” always worries me. It’s at night with lots of ship traffic. Our stateroom is in the middle of the ship. With the big waves we just had a little shimmy. Ernesto comes to turn down the bed, freshen the towels and leaves us chocolate on the pillow and a blue Princess bag. (Love free stuff). The bathroom in our stateroom had a tub, which was nice. It did provide more room than the small showers. So, if you don’t bring your glasses, here is how the tub knobs work. The top one is easy. It controls the shower head. Up is a shower; down it drains out the faucet. Next two knobs down. The top one is the off – on knob. The right directly below is the temperature. They are hard to see but there are temperature numbers on the knob. Ernesto even folded my son’s clothes that were lying around his room. He also provided us with extra beach towels. He went well beyond what we expected his regular duties were. The location of your stateroom is the MOST important thing to consider when booking a cruise. Think about what activities you think you might participate in. How far from the dining room do you want to be? How from the pool? How far from the shore excursion deck? If you are just going to eat, book a stateroom AFT. Excursion every day – Front. Wherever your stateroom is there will be LOTS of walking. We are used to walking every day, but there was a lot of walking on the ship. The boat is long. From room, to breakfast, to pool, to lunch, to excursion, to room, to dinner, to shows, to room. There is lots of area to cover. Wear not only comfy shoes but walk to get prepared. Location is also important when the seas get rough. The crossings are in open water. WE had high seas with high winds. The winds were strong enough to cancel the Ultimate Deck Party one night. The water in one of the pools had 4 foot waves in it. It was crashing over the seating area that surrounds the pool. But mid-ship wasn’t that bad. Towards the front of the boat it rocks up and down, slowly heaving in and out of the waves. In the back of the boat there was a severe shimmy. Mid-ship you could hear the walls creaking and things shifting, but with just a little movement. Prone to sea-sickness? Get a room lower in the boat (and mid-ship). The winds were so strong that you couldn’t open the promenade deck’s doors. Sunday – Sea Day We had reservations for the Crown Grill. You easily make reservations by calling from your stateroom. Smart casual dress code – bonus! Glad it wasn’t formal. The room is beautiful with dark wood, luxurious seats and fine linen and china. Appetizers of prawns and scallops were yummy. Sasha, our server, was one of the best waiters we have EVER had! Soup and salads were just ok; beautifully served but not to our taste. The filet was huge and very tender. NY strip steak was terrific. Everyone liked the baked potato with choice of toppings. The lobster was shelled right at the table by Sasha and so tender. I didn’t like the spinach. It had too many flavors. Desserts were wonderful; chocolate, lemon, cheesecake, marshmallows (not all in one piece but multiple on one plate) all very good. Still can’t decide which one was the best! We probably would have gone again, on another night, but our schedule got too crazy as the cruise went on. Dave was the game show host for BINGO. He was funny and made it fun. The trivia game that followed was hard but fun too. We also played some casino games that evening and won a l Monday – Grand Cayman Two from our group went on the excursion of the 2 tank dive was with Don Foster’s. Meet in the Wheelhouse Lounge at 7:15am. Bring towels and sunscreen besides your C-card and dive log. All other equipment was supplied by the dive shop. The tender left at 7:30am. Got to the bus which drove a short distance to the dive operation. After filling out a liability form you choose your equipment. Tanks and weight belt were on the boat already. There were two groups of 6 divers and a dive master. They were extremely well organized. Before and after every dive they called BY NAME, roll call. Love that safety protocol! Dove P.A.D.I dive tables and in a group. The first dive was terrible. A wall dive into a sand shoot without much life. The second dive was wonderful Lots to see – turtles, assorted tropical fish, etc. Back on the boat, to the shop, to the bus, to the pier and to the Princess tender. We would dive with Don Foster’s again. The staff was pleasant and professional. I went independently to explore Georgetown, having visited the Caymans a few times before. You assemble in the Michelangelo Lounge to wait for a tender. Upon arrival on the pier you are bombarded by picture takers, tour operators and taxi drivers vying for your business. The streets and sidewalks are uneven and chipped severely. Beeping cars are right next to you and the smell of rotting fish permeates the air. Expensive jewelry stores and cheap t-shirt and souvenir places line the street. It was very much like any Bahamian port. I turned around and couldn’t get back on the ship fast enough. Your I.D is checked multiple times for security. Georgetown has changed so much since my last visit. I hope the rest of the island was still as beautiful and clean as it was before. There was free wi-fi in the pavilion. Back on ship I wanted to relax in the shade of the Calypso pool. The cruise director’s constant advertisement that ran on the screen ruined my calm. I heard it three times. It was so obnoxious. I got it, last tender 3:30, shows, music, buy another cruise – just went on and on, LOUDLY. And those two ladies… what were they talking about? I couldn’t understand them at all. Then a concert started. I didn’t buy a ticket to THIS concert. Did they look at the crowd? No one wanted to hear this music. We really do not need constant entertainment. I returned to my stateroom where it was quiet. Tuesday – Roatan, Honduras We originally had scheduled a tour of the island but decided against it after the state department warnings. Actually staying on the boat in Roatan was nice. We had the pool all to ourselves. We did visit the marketplace shops (a secure area) and found the people warm and some of the shops with unique wares. There were a lot of mahogany wood products, crafted right on the island, not from China. Some real artistic craftsmanship in the products. We had a quick lunch at the Trident Grill. Hot dogs, hamburger, chicken sandwich, fries. Friendly chef cooked them to order. Wednesday – Cozumel The boat got in late and tried to dock a couple of times. The winds were very strong, blowing over 45 knots. 90% of the shore excursions were cancelled. Anything in or on the water –cancelled. Any crossing to Cancun – cancelled. The cloudy and cool temperatures pool activities a bad idea. We were saddened because the ONE excursion we were looking forward to was the Coba Ruins – cancelled. We went ashore to the DUFRY, duty free market place. The duty free store products and prices were similar to Roatan, except for the Mexican products, like Mexican vanilla and some liqueur, the prices were lower. There were 30 stores ALL selling the SAME products. They were clean but the ALL had painted wood, NFL backpacks, ugly Mexican clothing, large Mexican hats, over-priced chocolates and cocoa, and some leather products and toys. A FEW unique shops were scattered around the mall. Those were a joy to visit. Those didn’t need a “barker” trying to sway you into their store. We walked down to Caraloha, a bamboo made products store. As soon as you carried a shopping bag you were an easy target for the “barkers” yelling at you to come into their store. I guess they figured out you bought something there, why not me? But that city street was much cleaner then Georgetown, Grand Cayman. For dinner we went to Bocelli’s dining room for our scheduled sit down dinner time. We didn’t know which table was ours, as everyone else at 6pm rushed to get seated. The maître d graciously showed us to our table. The waiter immediately came over to welcome us. The fettuccini was excellent. Service was terrific! (Table 109) Excellent medallions of beef. Just ok gnocci. Excellent desserts. The chocolate trio was fantastic! Great crème brulee, and a huge piece of cheesecake. We usually do not go to the shows, but the magician was FANTASTIC. Really felt he loved what he was doing and could not have been a better show. Thursday – At sea – Thanksgiving I don’t remember much about what we did on Thanksgiving. Ate, watched some football, the usual Thanksgiving for us. The turkey and trimmings were all good and I didn’t have to clean up. The entire crew would wish you a Happy Thanksgiving all day! It was nice. Friday – Princess Cays The first thing we did was a Dune Buggy excursion to see the island. It was a 2 hour trip to Lighthouse Beach. It was a bit too slow for us. We could have made it to the beach in half the time and still drove safely. The beach was beautiful and the surrounding limestone cliffs were amazing. We suggested they put the slow drivers in the back of the parade and let the rest have a little fun in the sand and puddles. Bernadette was terrific! She loved her little island and was very proud of it. The history of the island was interesting too. Just would have been more fun had the first driver in line not been such a slowpoke. We went from the dune buggies straight to lunch. There were lines but it is not Princess’ fault that the lines move so slow. The food is out and ready. We can’t understand what takes so long to put a patty on a bun and move along. The beach was larger than we anticipated. There were plenty of lounge chairs, but maybe not in the sun or shade you may prefer. We did notice that there were people at the Horizon Court around 4ish, snacking. The lunch just wasn’t that filling. The cay was very clean and it was a nice day. That evening you must have your luggage out by 10pm. We noticed most rooms had it out before dinner. The luggage was picked up almost as fast as it was placed in the hallway. On our last cruise it was there almost all night. This is just another example of how nicely this cruise was run. We don’t know who handles and hires the staff but they ALL were professional, friendly and helpful. From the cleaning lady in the bathroom to the servers and all the behind the scenes personnel, All were nice and friendly. Also that evening you get specific instructions on disembarkation. All well organized and handled nicely. Saturday – Disembarkation You must be out of your stateroom by 8am. Everyone has the same idea. Leave the stateroom and go to breakfast before you leave. The breakfast areas were packed. The wait staff was still very nice. If you followed your instructions on where and when to meet the crew handled it from there. There was always friendly staff around to direct you off the ship and through customs. They also made sure you knew where to pick up a bus or taxi. Throughout the cruise not one crew member passed us without a greeting or smile. Of course the “game show hosts” and your steward you have the most contact with; they were terrific. Even Gustavo in the boutique was extra nice. We really noticed the crew always working, but always happy. It was a pleasant feeling all week long. Thank you to the crew of Ruby Princess. You made our cruise special!   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
A delayed review from our third trip on the Ruby Princess in the past year. Since first sailing on the Ruby Princess in December, 2013 and getting engaged on that trip, we now consider her "our" ship, and were disappointed to see ... Read More
A delayed review from our third trip on the Ruby Princess in the past year. Since first sailing on the Ruby Princess in December, 2013 and getting engaged on that trip, we now consider her "our" ship, and were disappointed to see her being repositioned to the west coast. Embarkation: No doubt about it, this was not pleasant. Apparently there was some sort of issue with clearing the ship, and not enough ICE personnel on hand. The biggest problem was no communication in terms of updates as we stood in a non-moving line for the better part of an hour and a half. Once we got up the counter, we were handed our cruise cards with hardly a greeting. All the shore side Princess employees we encountered were less than pleasant, and that is an understatement. This all changed once we were on board, however. Everyone crew member we ran into was friendly and helpful. Our luggage was delivered to our stateroom within an hour. Cabin: After having a Caribe balcony on the previous two trips, we opted for an oceanview this time around. After much research, including the excellent threads here on Cruise Critic, we opted for E403, listed as a partial obstructed view cabin. We could not have made a better choice; in our opinion, there is no obstruction at all to speak of. If you look down to the service walkway below the window, there is a white rectangular equipment locker attached to the railing that is the only thing even remotely that can be called an obstruction. With the overhang from Dolphin deck above, we felt the cabin stayed cooler and was shaded during the day when the sun was on our side of the ship. Location was perfect, starboard side amidship just a short walk to both elevators and stairs, and one flight down to the Promenade deck. No noise issues whatsoever in this cabin. Cabin condition was excellent, and our steward, Leo provided attentive and friendly service; our ice bucket was never empty. The ship: I was looking at some other, recent reviews of the Ruby Princess, and this really drove home the point that reviews are sometimes truly subjective, and you have to really sort out opinions from fact, though they sometimes blur. As mentioned, having been on this ship three times in 11 months, we were very aware of her condition, and changes between trips. I've read where some recent reviewers called her "worn", and "getting tired", and frankly, we did not see that at all. In fact, we both commented that the Ruby looked better on this trip than she had on our previous two voyages. Clean and sparkling, there was maintenance everywhere you looked, from varnishing the wooden deck rails to painting. We had to excuse ourselves as we stepped over a crew member polishing the metal door thresholds on the doors leading in and out of the Promenade deck, just one example of what was always going on (but didn't interfere with any passenger activities). Having said all that, given her age, the Ruby is due for a total refit/refurbishment, but we never felt that she was "past her prime". Dining: The food on a ship is not always going to hit the mark, but overall we found our dining choices and food to be good ones. We split our dining between the MDR, late seating, the Horizon Court, and a night at the Crown Grill. Our steaks at the Crown Grill were excellent, as was the whole dining experience. Dinner in the MDR was generally good, and though we requested a table for two, were seated at a larger table. We were promptly moved to a 4-place table for the rest of the cruise, so we had extra space, as well as good service by our waiter and assistant waiter. We both thought German night at the Horizon Court was excellent, and the staff was very friendly all the way around. Of course being a buffet some things just don't work, but there was nothing that was just plain bad. It's hard to walk away from a buffet without finding at least something that was very good. Ports/Shore Excursions: Princess Cays. We had booked an excursion with Eleuthera Tours to do something a bit different and see more of Eleuthera, but that did not work out; you can read my review of that experience on Trip Advisor titled "No tour for us", dated November 13th, 2014. We just ended up doing the beach thing. It turned out to be a typical Princess Cays experience, meaning it is what it is, a relaxing afternoon lounging on the beach, with a fairly good cookout lunch provided. Ocho Rios: We booked an excursion with Yardie Tours, and it was an incredible day. You can read my recent review for them on Trip Advisor titled "Just go with Yardie!" We did the Countryside Excursion Tour, and got to see the real Jamaica. It was well worth it and I highly recommend this company. Days at Sea. Typical what should we do now if anything types of days, very relaxing. We did book an afternoon in the Sanctuary, and it is well worth it. Very cool lounging in a shaded, quiet area as we sailed along the coast of Cuba. One of those things that stays with you. We also attended the culinary demonstration and took the galley tour, both well worth the time. This was actually the second time we took the tour of the galley, and on both occasions it was absolutely SPOTLESS. Disembarkation: No issues, we were off in a fairly quick manner. Port Everglades was crazy busy that day, so a bit of a line both at customs and to find our luggage, but nothing too bad. Summary: We are going to miss the Ruby Princess, as we are not likely to cruise from the west coast. In planning for a Eastern Caribbean trip later this year, we have to decide between the Emerald Princess and the Regal Princess, the Emerald being a sister ship to the Ruby and therefore quite familiar (we do love the layout and appearance). As there have been many mixed reviews for the Royal/Regal, we have decided to see for ourselves, and will be doing the short trip to Princess Cays on April 12th, to see if we like the design and layout of the newest Princess ship. I hope this review has been at least somewhat helpful, as it is my first one here on Cruise Critic. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
We're just off a 5-night Western cruise, only ports were Princess Cays and Ocho Rios, so I'll try to make this brief. Pros: Service was mostly excellent. Our room steward, Cecile, was one of the best we've ever had - and ... Read More
We're just off a 5-night Western cruise, only ports were Princess Cays and Ocho Rios, so I'll try to make this brief. Pros: Service was mostly excellent. Our room steward, Cecile, was one of the best we've ever had - and we've cruised a lot on nearly every major line. Happy hour every day between 3 and 4 at the Wheelhouse bar, buy one get one free. Princess drinks are VERY expensive, so a BOGO brings them down to drinkable range! Princess website and pre-cruise communications are excellent. The deck 7 promenade deck is a nice bow to traditional sailing. We enjoyed strolling the deck around the ship and just sitting in the shade watching the ocean. Liked the decks/bars that overlooked the aft pool and ship's wake - very nice spot. Liked the napkins and utensils already set on tables in the buffet areas and back deck tables, plus the table service offered in these areas. Cons: Cabins - These have to be some of the smallest cabins on any major cruise line. You'd have to upgrade to a suite to get anything comparable to what's offered in standard balcony cabins on other lines. Food - pretty awful. The worst buffet layout I've ever seen, with the fewest selections. Breakfast was awful in both the Horizon Court AND the MDR. Husband had a "ham steak" in MDR, and he got a thin slice of something that was 4 little bites. It should have been labeled "ham sliver." Several of us ordered French toast and couldn't eat it - tasted like it had been deep-fried and oozed grease with a rancid taste. Breakfast and lunch were huge disappointments in all venues. Entertainment - disappointing. Embarkation - the worst we've ever encountered. Arrived at the pier for our designated 12:00 PM boarding time, stood in a line that snaked around the terminal building WITHOUT MOVING for nearly one and a half hours . Didn't get on the ship until 2:30. It's the first time our luggage got to the cabin before we did! Poor selection of drinks on Princess Cays. This may sound trivial, but we had our hearts set on Bloody Marys on the beach, but found they're not available on Princess Cays! Our friends ordered a bucket of beer and the beers didn't have screw-off caps nor were they given a bottle opener. Huh?!!! Smoky, smelly casino. In summary, despite the disappointments, we had a fun, relaxing time. It was a good value for the great deal we got. Princess would not be our line of choice, however, and we felt it was sub-standard to all of the other lines we have cruised on - Carnival, Hal, RCCL, Celebrity, MSC.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This was my 9th cruise, my husband's 4th and both my kids (ages 17 &14) first cruise. My sister and mother also traveled with us. We drove 13 hours straight through the night from NC to Fort Lauderdale. The port parking was very ... Read More
This was my 9th cruise, my husband's 4th and both my kids (ages 17 &14) first cruise. My sister and mother also traveled with us. We drove 13 hours straight through the night from NC to Fort Lauderdale. The port parking was very convenient. Because we got to the port so early, we were able to board the ship around 12 noon. Minimal lines and next to no waiting. As soon as we boarded we were greeted by Princess staff who offered the $250 all you can drink alcohol card. This covered any drink or beer less than $10 each and gave 40% off of wine bottles at dinner. This was a great deal if you planned to drink 7 or more drinks per day. Keep in mind if you choose this, you may not drink as much on port days. It definitely saved us money. We got both kids soda/smoothie cards for $35 each. They each got a water cup souvenir with the card. The boat was beautiful. It had been 10 years since we had sailed with Princess but I quickly remembered how beautiful and classy the ships were and Ruby Princess was no different. It was amazing how clean the ship was. Every staff member you passed greeted you with a smile/ good morning/ afternoon etc. Our room steward Joequin was very efficient and kind. The cabin was very large to be an ocean view. The shower was small and I could see any larger person having some trouble. There was a huge closet area for luggage and clothing. Beds were a little hard but I still slept well. Our air conditioner on embarkation seemed a little warm and they sent a repairman by the next day and it was fixed. I do recall a foul smell when we initially got onto the boat but this quickly went away. I think it was the sewage that they were pumping off the boat. This sounds gross but the smell was not noticeable once we left the port. The food was amazing. Presentation was as good as the taste as well. The only complaint was that they did not serve lobster as it was only a 5 night cruise. We did anytime dining but requested and got the same waiter each night. Our waiter Jeffery was phenomenal. As well as our Jr waiter Ketut. They were knowledgeable about the food and very personable. Loved the tiramisu on the 2nd night and the crème brulee (which you could get every night if you wanted to). Also, the prime rib was the best I had ever tasted and you could cut it with your fork. Buffets were good. I did not like the sushi bar which was offered one lunch. I am a huge fan of sushi and I felt that it was mediocre at best. This was my only food complaint though. I only saw one dance/singers show and it was great. The comedian and the illusionist were amazing as well. My husband enjoyed the casino too much and he played bingo every opportunity. He actually won once $300. I did not go to the art auction but I did go to the cooking demonstration and kitchen tour. This was entertaining but the tour was fair as no one was in the kitchen cooking. The sky lounge night club was somewhat boring but it may be our age (early 40's) or the crowd. The pool on sea days was crowded as expected but we always found a chair. I also had a hot stone massage that I thought was good but over priced. It's hard to pay $225 (including tip) for a massage no matter how good it was. My sister and mom got the same massage the same day but their's was only $175. Not sure why the price difference except my husband booked mine the day before for my 40th birthday present. It was great though. The teen center was great for the kids. Most nights they were out later than we were. My kids made a lot of friends. I do think that $25 per photo is too much. They take so many pictures that you want several. We bought 3 pics at $75 dollars and it breaks my heart to think of all the photos that were shredded after the cruise. It would be nice if they were more affordable. I think that they would sell more pics if they had better packages too. Tendering to the Caymans was easy and no wait. We did not book any tours through the boat. We took a local bus for $2.50 each to 7 mile beach and then did a little shopping. The highlight of the Caymans was that we got to meet Guy Harvey at his shop. Cozumel was much more fun. We took a taxi for $28(6 people) to Ocean Beach resort for parasailing. This place was great because it had the ocean, a pool, bar, grill, beach chairs, umbrellas, and a water trampoline and slide out in the ocean. The staff there were so friendly and they let us use the chairs for free since 4 of our party were parasailing. The food was phenomenal. Then we returned to the port for some souvenir shopping. Disembarkation was amazingly organized. We requested an early release and were granted 7:45am. We took our own luggage and were off the boat in about 10 minutes. The last cruise I was on was much more caotic with disembarkation. We were blessed with beautiful weather, no illness and calm seas. What more could you ask for I will definitely cruise with Princess again and again. To me the passengers seem more laid back and mature. I never saw anyone get out of hand and it did not have a party boat atmosphere but everyone had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Point of View: I'm a 42 year old woman and took this cruise with my 24 year old niece. Good points: This was my first time with Princess. I booked through Expedia and let the cruise line choose our room. I paid for an interior, basic ... Read More
Point of View: I'm a 42 year old woman and took this cruise with my 24 year old niece. Good points: This was my first time with Princess. I booked through Expedia and let the cruise line choose our room. I paid for an interior, basic cabin (no windows). To our surprise, they upgraded us for free to the midsize balcony room which would have costed us about $400-500 more. Comedian and magician were great. Movies under the Stars was great. You do need to get there about 30-45 minutes before it starts to get a good seat. Most are taken about 15 minutes before it starts. The movies were recent ones unlike Carnival where they can be 5-8 years old. RB showed Captain Phillips, Gravity, Walter Mitty and a few other movies that were released in the last 6 months. I attended a Palm Sunday nondenominational church service led by the cruise director. There were only 20 in attendance but we sang a few songs, did a reading and had a small sermon. The service only lasted 40 minutes but it was really good. The food in the Horizon Court was surprisingly good. Much better than the one offered on Carnival lines. We only ate in the formal dining room twice because the food in the Horizon Court was just as good. ON the Carnival Ship we always ate in the dining room because the food wasn't that good in other places. Ice cream is excellent. Tastes more like gelato than soft serve ice cream. I found that all of the staff were very friendly. The goofy photos with staff dressed up like natives, etc was offered but the pushy feel you get with Carnival wasn't there. Coffee bar was great and their prices are cheaper than Carnivals and Starbucks. Embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze. They really have their act together. We went to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. They used the first come, first served number system for Grand Cayman to board the tender boats. It went very smoothly. Carnival should do theirs this way. I booked excursions on my own which I will now do in the future. I saved money and had plenty of time to make it back on the ship. I booked through Captain Marvin's in Grand Cayman and Nachi CoCom in Cozumel. Based on the photos and video of the ship, I was nervous that this would cater to a much older clientel and there wouldn't be any activities that I enjoy. But, the comedians were great, movies were great and we had a great time. I sailed with Carnival Magic last year and thought it was great. But, it was the little touches on this cruise that will keep me coming back - the fact that they offered a church and Passover Seder service (morning BIble studies were also offered), non pushiness of sales, good food options ( I found no powdered eggs on this cruise) and up to date movie offerings. I will sail with Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Please note this is my first cruise and thanks to all of the previous ruby princess reviews which lead me to select this ship. My fiancé and I traveled on the April 17 Western Caribbean cruise from the frozen tundra of Washington DC. Took ... Read More
Please note this is my first cruise and thanks to all of the previous ruby princess reviews which lead me to select this ship. My fiancé and I traveled on the April 17 Western Caribbean cruise from the frozen tundra of Washington DC. Took the princess bus from Miami (cheaper than supershuttle/taxi from Miami). Embarkation was a breeze and we were in the room in no time at all. I was worried from reading the review about the rooms/bathrooms since I am a big guy (6'6 270+). The shower was tight but I was able to maneuver just fine and thought the bathrooms are designed well for such a small space. I also was concerned about the bed size but it is bigger than a Queen and smaller than a king...similar width to a California king bed but not as long (good sized). The room was nice and the balcony was plenty of space for two people. We are in our late 30's and I thought there was a good mix of people from 20-70. Most people looked in there 40-60 range. We hung out at the main pools for fun and swam at the adults only terrace pool at the back. We didn't see the need to hang out at the sanctuary as I never felt it was that crowded. The Casino was fun and we ended up getting the drink package ($49 each per day) which was reasonable and also included unlimited bottle water. We were situated on deck 12 which made it easy to go two flights to the lido deck/pool and easy to walk down to the piazza. The reviews are correct on the Princess Pizza which is thin and similar to NYC style pizza; Delicious. We tried the Crab Shack pop up on the day it was offered and loved the king crab and popcorn shrimp. Crown grill was really nice and we enjoyed the MDR as well. All the meals I had were great. The design is really nice and made for a very relaxing time. My fiance enjoyed her spa day but it is pricey (even by downtown DC standards). I enjoyed the in room tv movie options which ran very recent movies (Saving Mr. Banks, The Hobbit 2, Man of Steel, etc). It was relaxing to chill in the room and stare out the balcony door to the ocean. Movies under the stars were fun and we did that two evenings. The dance parties were also fun at night time. My knock: I could only work out on the bike's in the fitness center since I would hit my head on the treadmill or elliptical machine (if your under 6'3 your probably fine). However I am a runner so I noticed many runners using deck 7/8 (front of the ship you go upstairs to 8 then back down to 7) to run around the ship during off hours (5 laps to a mile). I was able to run for 30 mins when the ship was docked in Cozumel. They probably discourage you from running on deck 7 during sea days and prime hours. Ports: Grand Cayman; We skipped the excursions and took an 8 buck cab to the Royal Palm beach club and had a wonderful time chilling out on the beach. Cozumel; we checked out the port but stayed on the ship and relaxed. All in all a wonderful time and I wouldn't hesitate to book a cruise on Princess again.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Along with another couple, my husband and I boarded the Ruby with high hopes and great expectations, and also to see if we wanted to talk this ship for a longer trip to the British Isles in 2015.Now it is true that we took an inside cabin ... Read More
Along with another couple, my husband and I boarded the Ruby with high hopes and great expectations, and also to see if we wanted to talk this ship for a longer trip to the British Isles in 2015.Now it is true that we took an inside cabin ( inexpensive- however we slept like bears hibernating!) and there were things that we had to pay for that came with the more expensive staterooms- and that was fine. BUT!!! Let me first say that the ship is beautiful- just stunning- ( we have cruised many, many times and this is even prettier than Crystal). The staff is amazing- very eager to please, very helpful and these are the marks of Princess. Just what we had hoped for and had heard from our friends. And that is were it stopped. As it morphed into a Carnival cruise ( we have travelled Carnival) the food was underwhelming, the towels in the rooms where like the ones you put aside to wash your car, dog, etc.- stiff, thin, small. The liquid soap and shampoo was just that, liquid and not great. There is a spa on the ship. You would think they would promote their products for people to buy after they tried them. ( However, I did find out that the towels in mini-suites and suites were plush and lovely- what's next, the sheets) When asking about an upgrade, we were told the ship was full; met a lady who was moved up 3 times! The ship allows smoking on 1 side of the casino- the smoke doesn't stay on that side! It travels through the whole casino and into the halls. We couldn't get near it. Can you imagine being charged for COCO- yup, $1.50 for a cup of hot chocolate! And the juices that are normally self serve and out all day, are not out at all! You must ask the servers if you want any. Needless to say, this was all very disappointing.- not what you think of when you chose Princess. The entertainment was good-movies under the stars was fun, there was a terrific comedian and the dancers and singers were great. And as mentioned before, the ship is beautiful and the staff excellent. I only hope the Carnival people don't screw with that. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I have been on cruises before, but not with Princess. I had high expectations based on reviews. To put it simply, there was a lot of misinformation, poor planning, and the atmosphere was just lacking. Let me at least start with the ... Read More
I have been on cruises before, but not with Princess. I had high expectations based on reviews. To put it simply, there was a lot of misinformation, poor planning, and the atmosphere was just lacking. Let me at least start with the positive: Food was great. That Pizza is Amazing. There were a FEW staff that were actually pleasant. Mostly the issues I experienced were just a lot of little things. Not major things nor directed to individual persons. But it added up. Let me address some issues that I came across · I made some excursion reservations before the cruise. I had decided to cancel one of them. When I called the Princess phone line before the cruise to inquire about how to do that, I was told to just not show up and that I would be taken off and there would be no fee. In the back of my mind, this didn't sound right. When I checked with the desk the first day, I was told this is not the case. I needed to actually write cancel on the ticket and drop it off to the excursion desk/drop box. It is a good thing I followed through, or I would have been stuck with a bill for an excursion that I was told would be canceled had I not shown up. This is one example of misinformation or lack of information I experienced. Here are some others. Tulum Excursion ·We had no time to shop after the tour. There was nothing to indicate (even on your websites details) if we would or would not have time between getting off the bus and getting on the shuttle boat for any shopping. Had I known, I would not have taken the tour. Everything felt very rushed (keep this in mind, it will come up again). The only shopping was a 20 minute stop at a tourist store obviously with an arrangement of the tour lines. Unless of course you want to buy from the street vendors at Tulum. · Make a note, to tell people what specifically they should know about Tulum. Such as, the only bathroom at the ruins is outside the gates. And there was no opportunity to stop right there as we were rushed inside. Also, if you had wanted to swim at the small beach while you are there, make sure you have a bathing suit on under the clothes, otherwise you either can’t change, OR you have to change behind a towel and hope no one is looking. ·The "snack" provided...really. A bag of salty chips (on a hot day), with a bottle of water (useful!) and a small cookie about the size of a quarter. Sure...I’ll believe it’s a snack. But don't be so vague about it on the excursion details. I would have purchased something more substantial had I known. On the ship · Everything felt rushed. I was on the cruise to relax. Yet every time I want to do something on the schedule it was one right after the other, and trying to get from one to the other was a nightmare because whoever does the planning has no idea about time or logistics. Most of the events did not end on time, and then when I was trying to get to another location, there was a giant crowd blocking my way because of something going on there. (For example from the lounge, to the theater, being stuck as something is happening in the lobby and not being able to get through them). Logistically, they want to do better with crowd control and how things are timed to create better movement and traffic flow. Especially with as many older people as they cater to. Being younger, I tried to be considerate of the older people and their mobility, but when other people are almost shoving you to get through it makes it difficult to maneuver at all. Again...can be controlled with a proper logistical traffic pattern · TV shows. Most of the movies were fine, but the majority of the channels were just princess logos. · The last night there was the married couples show. Obviously a very popular event on any ship I have ever been on. But instead of putting it in the theater, it is done in the Explores lounge. So with what? 100 seats only and 200+ people trying to watch it. They need a bigger venue for that. Why not put it in the Theater which has tons of seats? Other options would be to have it earlier in the trip so it can be recorded and watched on tv over the course of the trip. · Getting a drink should be simple. Several times in the buffet I would sit down and there would be no one around to provide even water. One breakfast I was entirely ignored while on either side of me servers are bringing them drinks. One of the guests just gave me her orange juice because she felt bad for me. · One of the dinners I couldn't get anyone to come over. I actually went up to one of the attendants and pointed them to my table. He said he would come by. Still nothing, and finally as we were done eating, I was able to get a hold of a manager who sent someone over, but at that point we were done. · All around the sun decks, if you are on any of the top levels (Particularly around the movie side) there is no one to take drink orders. If you are on the bottom by the pool they were there, but no one would come by. · In the theater, only 2 people serving drinks in a theater that size and they would only go to the outer edge of seats. Do they need more staff? · We only ate at the formal dining room 3 times, twice at our assigned time and table, once later on because we were too tired from an excursion to come at the assigned time. The first night - at assigned table, seemingly well, no issues. Armando came to check on me...good man. The second time - Non assigned time, different table and waiter. Joe I think...was awesome. Great service. The last time - the last night of the cruise, our assigned table. The servers seemed distracted. 15 minutes to get me a coke (no surprise). It took a long time for food to come out. It seems that the servers were more attentive to 2 other tables. Our food came out wrong (we did not want shrimp with our food as it makes me sick). Regardless it was a long dinner and i just wanted to get up and leave. It’s not that the servers were horrible, they just seemed distant. This brings me to the crew in general · If addressed directly, the crew was very polite and helpful. Occasionally there was a nod or smile, but most if the time, if you were not making direct eye contact they were not engaging. Perhaps they were busy and just focused on the task at hand. It just seemed that the other cruises on had a more positive atmosphere. · Finally, the last night of the cruise, it was after midnight and I was looking for some food. The buffet was closed but someone in a uniform (naval uniform black and whites) told me that I could get room service. I went to the room and called, but was told there was none. Again more misinformation. I think Princess is going off my list of cruise-lines to use. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our 5 day W. Caribbean (Cozumel, G. Cayman) cruise was terrific. We met wonderful people, with whom we hope to cruise again. The upgrade/upsell fairy did not come prior to our departure, but she greeted us at Embarkation with a wonderful ... Read More
Our 5 day W. Caribbean (Cozumel, G. Cayman) cruise was terrific. We met wonderful people, with whom we hope to cruise again. The upgrade/upsell fairy did not come prior to our departure, but she greeted us at Embarkation with a wonderful Port side balcony suite. A few other huge perks included Sabatini’s for breakfast, fresh fruit basket, canapés at night, internet time and coveted laundry service… totally amazing! Room steward: Shiv was the best we’ve had in 13 cruises. What a great guy- hugely informative, helpful without hovering, anticipatory and so pleasant-always a smile to greet you. Food: Late seating was well run, served delicious food prepared perfectly. The Head Waiter allowed us the privilege of escargot every night. DR census was lower than normal; the British pub fish and chips this time were excellent! We taught the bartender to pour Black and Tans. The DR was so good we never visited Sabatini’s or the Crown Grill once this trip. Embarkation, Debarkation: Smooth as silk. While we embarked from Pier 19, we returned to another pier, which was quite a distance from our starting point. Princess shuttled us back to the originating pier. (Thank you, Princess!) They dropped us at the right parking ramp, but locating our car was harder than necessary. We'd like USA Parking to improve the signage within their parking ramps. Ship itself: We love the Ruby, but she is starting to look a bit worn in spots (especially the handrails). While riding in the tenders we noticed that she needed an exterior paint job, too. MUTS also has some burned out pixels. I have every faith Princess will be attentive to her needs, which history has proven. Excursions: We are sooo done with Princess shore excursions. They need to make the groups smaller to improve the traveler’s experience. They are more costly when compared to their competition (especially local/ashore providers), and their groups need to be segregated by levels of experience (first timers vs. newbies). They do a good job of describing their excursions, but they are often too crowded to be enjoyable. I suspect the decreased time in port is not directly correlated, but that fact doesn't encourage booking solo excursions. Most of us cruise for the destinations, as well as the onboard experience. We don't want Princess to continually Increase ship time at the expense of shore time. CC: We enjoyed meeting everyone on our “role call” who attended. Our CC Hostess ScrappyJ did a fabulous job. She invited the Commodore and is staff to our “Meet and Greet” –they came and it was quite a treat! A true highlight of our trip. Entertainment: Dancers, jugglers, comedians, and musicians were great! The Art show, selection, and pricing truly stunk- Princess made a big mistake with this change. Bingo cards- the sheet colors were confusing in the low light conditions of the lounge. How about printing the color name on the sheets for those of us who are red/green color blind?! We’d appreciate more non-smoking time in casino. Either that, or improve the air exchangers! Shopping: Great deals, low pressure, and less hallway hawking this time. Thank you Princess! I missed the lower cost jewelry spot where I traditionally bought charms (jewelry) for employees, family, and friends. They only offered Pandora this time.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We booked the Ruby for 4 consecutive cruises, a 5, 4, 5, 5 day, and the first 3 were fine. Feb 15 Pre-Cruise and Embarkation: We got a great deal for secure parking at the Embassy Suites on 17th street - 1/2 the price of parking at the ... Read More
We booked the Ruby for 4 consecutive cruises, a 5, 4, 5, 5 day, and the first 3 were fine. Feb 15 Pre-Cruise and Embarkation: We got a great deal for secure parking at the Embassy Suites on 17th street - 1/2 the price of parking at the port - and took the free shuttle to the ship. Embarkation was painless - we have preferred boarding and walked right on. CABIN: Luggage was delivered very quickly and we unpacked to settle into our 19 day vacation. Typical inferior cabin. Room steward was very nice, & got us a pillow top mattress cover. Several times we did not get a daily "Patter" and had to go to the Pursers desk to get one - pretty inconvenient if you are trying to plan your day in the morning. But As I said the first 3 legs were fine, I will concentrate on the last cruise starting March 1: Spring Breakers invaded the ship. Loud, obnoxious behavior everywhere. Pools & hot-tubs quickly became disgusting brown-green and the aft pool was so dirty you could not see the bottom logo. One of the main pools had to be closed - I didn't even want to know why. I asked if underaged kids were being carded and all the bartenders said yes, but I never saw it once. I did see chugging contests, shots being slammed and inebriated kids everywhere. The quiet, adults only aft area was not quiet, and not adults. Saw small children and teenagers in the pool frequently and the deck attendants nowhere in sight. Trash was everywhere, pool towels and chairs were at a premium and there simply was not enough staff to keep up with it. Tables in Horizon Court were not cleaned, you had to stand there and wait for someone to clean it off. Dining room attire was unbelievable, on formal nite - I saw people come in t shirts and jeans, & no one enforced any kind of dress code. Screaming college kids were running down the hallways late at night, taking things out of mailboxes, and switching door signs from "do not disturb" to "please refresh room" - and several people I talked to had some embarrassing moments. For the first time in 14 cruises with Princess - I felt it necessary to book the Sanctuary to get some peace and quiet. STAFF: As a result of this invasion, some of the staff became harried and overworked. Most were very pleasant dealing with us, but expressed frustration with so many irresponsible, obnoxious kids. So many people I talked to said they had never seen anything that remotely approached what they saw on this Princess ship for those 5 days. I can't say enough about how well the waitstaff, room stewards, bar tenders, etc dealt with the mess. Should have received hazardous duty pay! Dining: The shorter cruises mean that they repeat the menus frequently which is something I was not used to, having always done longer ones. Food did not seem up to par - only the Fettuccini Alfredo and the pastries remained outstanding. Lamb chops were fatty, fish had bones. Crown Grill had an excellent filet, but the veal chop was so fatty and tough, we sent it back and got our money back. Horizon court was good for a buffet and I was always able to find something good for breakfast (made to order omelets) and lunch (really good fruit and salads). Its just the service was lacking - seemed understaffed. Pizza & ice cream at pool deck remains the best afloat!!! Int'l Cafe had some nice salads and pastries. Public areas: everything appeared very clean & well-kept. The chairs in Crooners seemed to have been "sat out" for lack of a better term - they need re-cushioned. Teak in several areas was being redone - routine maintenance. There was a lot of emphasis on hand-wasking stations. I did however see people walking into the "Exit" opening of Horizon Court without using the hand sanitizer, and that was a bit disconcerting. Entertainment: the band New Deal was excellent - way above normal expectations, Comedian ok, shows ok. - standard fare. Piazza singer/guitar player Toby Reilly was really awful - not many people watching or listening, & his voice was so annoying, it actually drove people out of Crooners! Whose son/grandson dropped out of college and needed a job??? Shore excursions: we had been to all the islands before so the only new thing we did was Off-Shore Fishing in Cozumel - and it was outstanding!! Caught 3 large barracudas and had a great time for the money. Misc: And I'm sure it was because of the clientele on the ship that week but - why did the previously MIA all day deck attendant in the aft pool start stacking loungers at 4:30 in the afternoon before sail-away?? So many people hung out here, as soon as he left, they unstacked the chairs and sat down. Why can't they keep Outriggers open later - at least until 7PM?? Again, are they understaffed? Also - on the Promenade deck, i was told I had to "please move" at 5:30PM so they could gather and stack chair pads. Whaaaat??? This was one of the very few quiet places on the ship where you could actually sit and read listening to the ocean, now they are taking your chair pads away while it is still daylight?? All in all I had a good time over the full 19 days, but lesson learned - I will never cruise the Caribbean in March again. And I noticed many little things that I think are a result of cost-cutting on Princess's part. So many previous Princess cruisers wonder why the longer 10-14 day cruises are not being offered. Seems like $ is the issue? But the clientele these shorter, more affordable cruises attract are going to drive loyal Princess customers away. Service, food, and amenities suffer. Does Princess care? They should ! Leave this market to the Carnival people, or customers like us will take our money and cruise with another line.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our 15th cruise (RCCL, Disney, Celebrity, and Princess combined) and although nothing exotic by definition of length or ports visited, it was one of our most enjoyable. I won't bore you with a lengthy minute by minute ... Read More
This was our 15th cruise (RCCL, Disney, Celebrity, and Princess combined) and although nothing exotic by definition of length or ports visited, it was one of our most enjoyable. I won't bore you with a lengthy minute by minute description but rather comment on some of those things that contributed to making it so enjoyable. #1) embarkation - we virtually walked on. Two years ago, we waited in line 2+ hours to board the Crown Princess (same terminal, approx. same time of arrival). Go figure! #2) cabin service - perhaps the best we have ever had. Not 2X/day; more like 4. And we never saw him! Previous requests for wine glasses have gone unheeded or we've been told to contact dining or room service. Not this time! Glasses were delivered quickly and brought daily same as other glassware. #3) cruise director (Lee) - unbelievably energetic. Have never experienced a CD that actually participated/performed in shows. #4) entertainment - great and varied - bands, comedian, magician, stage shows, trivia, games -- all very good. Believe this is a reflection of the cruise director as well. #5) good selection of Movies Under the Stars (we caught Capt. Phillips and Gravity). #6) pool attendants actually monitored lounge chairs and helped control those who "reserve" chairs and never are really there. #7) buffet did not seem as hectic as on previous cruises. #8) although I believe cruise was technically a "sell out," it never seemed overly crowded anywhere -- no problem finding a seat for shows, table/chair in pool area, elevator, spot in the casino. My only downside comment would be that some evenings, dinner selections in the MDR were not quite as good as what we have experienced in the past (on Princess). I would never-the-less rate the 5 evenings together as "good." Desserts were very good! Bottom line: the Ruby Princess was a very pretty ship with admirable service and entertainment. We had a great time and would not hesitate to repeat this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Just got off of the Ruby Princess. It was a short four-night cruise with Cozumel as the only stop. Princess did a great job from start to finish. The ship is very well maintained and clean. The staff is exceptionally trained. Everything ... Read More
Just got off of the Ruby Princess. It was a short four-night cruise with Cozumel as the only stop. Princess did a great job from start to finish. The ship is very well maintained and clean. The staff is exceptionally trained. Everything about this trip was smooth, from embarkation to debarkation. The weather was great and seas very smooth, which helped. But Princess delivered excellent service all around. We have been on many cruises and there are always things that can be done better. I cannot think of anything that Princess dropped the ball on. The food was consistently good, although not great. The entertainment was pretty good for your standard cruise fare. The Ruby entertainment staff has some talented singers and dancers. The shows were pretty much what you would expect. The comedian was OK and the magician was OK too. We were disappointed that Lee Childers was the CD, after we were told it would be Colin Banyard. As others have commented here, Childers mailed it in and was hardly seen on the ship at all. As a result, the entertainment staff was a bit disorganized. But the food service, bar, cabin, and front desk staff were first rate. The ship felt a bit crowded at times, particularly by the spa area, pool, and in the buffet. We could not get seats for the showing of Gravity, and even the marriage game show was standing room only. Not sure why it was so crowded at some of these shows and events. Fellow passengers generally were friendly and courteous. It was a bit of a mixed crowd. It was heavy on an older crowd, but also had plenty of 20, 30, and 40 year olds, and some teenagers, too. There were some younger kids, but not too many. The kids seemed happy in the kids club, but you did not see many kids around the ship. Overall, Princess delivered exactly what we were looking for in a cruise: good food, good service, and a relaxing time. We will definitely be back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Having sailed Celebrity for the past few years but longing to return to try Princess again we chose the Ruby out of Ft Lauderdale. We were NOT disappointed. A little wear and tear and some refinishing on the railings was all we could see. ... Read More
Having sailed Celebrity for the past few years but longing to return to try Princess again we chose the Ruby out of Ft Lauderdale. We were NOT disappointed. A little wear and tear and some refinishing on the railings was all we could see. The food and service more than made up for it. We did not eat in any prime restaurants but we did anytime dining in Michaelangelo and made that our dining room every night. Service was above the norm and food arrived hot and great every night! The choices were plentiful. Same goes for the buffet upstairs. Average mid ship room. Love Princess closets!!! Bed was comfortable but the pillows were not great. Did not like that there is not a sheet between the comforter and passenger. Shower is too small but manageable. Need hooks on wall between door and bedroom (we bring our own). Cabin clean. And we did see people smoking below us although they say NO SMOKING. Aloha deck was perfect. Our cabin steward was very nice but we did not see him but once the whole cruise and while disembarking. He kept the room clean and we did not have to ask for anything. The robes were VERY worn and not worth even asking for (who could they fit, a small child?). The bar staff was great and the entertainment was good. What more could we ask for? Thank you Ruby for a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
It was great to be back aboard Ruby, having cruised over Christmas, however I will start at the beginning. Booked an obstructed view cabin on Emerald this time and sure do miss that Mini-Suite (I LIKE the open balcony) I had at Christmas, ... Read More
It was great to be back aboard Ruby, having cruised over Christmas, however I will start at the beginning. Booked an obstructed view cabin on Emerald this time and sure do miss that Mini-Suite (I LIKE the open balcony) I had at Christmas, but any cabin is better than staying home! Cruised with a friend this time instead of DM, and at the last minute 2 more friends grabbed a cabin 2 doors down. I awoke at 4:30 am with excitement! We are a 2 hour drive from Port Everglades and we left home about 9:30 and parked at the port. We breezed through check-in and even with stops at the wine table, we were in our cabins at 12:30 and un-packed. Our view was barely obstructed. (E-612). (No, we were not funneled through the casino). I understand from the boards that there was a Coast Guard drill and a jam just before our arrival, but we timed it perfectly. My ONLY complaint is that for 4 out of 5 times, the bed was made as a Queen, when I had requested twins. Come ON Princess!!! You configure the beds correctly only 20% of the time? We left a note for our steward "Won" and I explained to my friend that it might not get changed until turn down. I have never had a problem with any mattresses on Princess and laughed when I passed someone in the hall telling his wife he was going to request an egg crate. To each his own! Since I was the only one who knows Ruby, we voted to grab a quick lunch at Café Caribe sitting outside and then I gave a tour of the ship. When we got to Crooners, Franky was not there and I found out he is now working in Sky Walkers. I had brought gifts……Girl Scout cookies called "Thank You Berry Munch" and magazines including SI's 50th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition. I thought that would be good barter material! We returned to our cabin to ready for muster and the bed was already changed and we met Won who turned out to be one of my favorite Stewards yet! (Just after Michael from December). We decided ahead of time that we would do Anytime Dining and after our tour and sail away done from the aft deck, we changed and were seated straight away, sharing a table with 2 other couples...no waiting. We each had different meals and everyone at our table was very happy with the food. For activities that evening, some wanted to see movies (Gravity, in the theatre that all agreed was an awful movie), Last Vegas at MUTS and I went to Sky Walkers where Franky was surprised to see me and welcomed me back to Ruby. As we had an early morning, I called it a night. Sea Day: We all agreed that the adult only aft Terrace pool was preferable over the adult only Spa pool and we grabbed chairs first thing the next morning. I don't like the fact that the Spa pool sits down in a hole whereas the aft pool has the best views on the ship! Some people do not realize that you do NOT have to walk through the buffet area to get there. I take the elevator to Riviera deck and walk aft and there is a small staircase. Easy Peasy! 3 of the 4 of us wanted to attend the meet & mingle so we abided by the 30 minute rule and popped up to Sky Walkers. Captain Fabrizio Maresca was in attendance and it was nice to meet some of the other CC members! I confirmed with the Captain that there would be no champagne fountain, just a balloon drop. :( Also that Commodore Romano aka The Sea Wolf, would be returning the first week of March. I may have to book another cruise in April before Ruby heads across the pond. I was disappointed that there was no champagne fountain. I think it adds a bit of elegance and class, especially over balloons! Two of us went back to Sky Walkers later for the steel drum lesson, however it was full. We received tickets for the next sea day and I'll tell you now that Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star isn't as easy as it looks!!!! Very fun event, but do get there early! The instructor told us the idea on the longer cruises is to get the same group to have 2-3 lessons and then PLAY in the Piazza one evening. For once I was happy I was on a short cruise! After a day of too much sun by the pool, we again dressed to impress and had a seat at Vinz for the balloon drop. Not nearly as impressive as the fountain, but still fun. We then walked straight in to dinner....no pager...no waiting, to share a table with 6 + the 4 of us. The only trouble with the tables this size is it is a long dinner but we had no pressing agenda. Shore Day: I had reserved with Moby Dick a tour for snorkeling and to swim with the stingrays. We grabbed something at the IC and then we were the first tender off the ship. We walked into Michaelangelo and were given number 2 tickets and a whole group (1) had just gone through the door and we were held. Then with just us sitting there and no one else coming in, they told us we could go and we ended up on a tender that wasn’t even half full. We were the first 4 people onshore and still had 1 ½ hrs. before meeting the Moby Dick rep. We shopped in the little kiosks and strolled around the waterfront a bit and decided we would come back to Margaritaville because it WAS National Margarita Day! As we waited we watch a RCL ship come in that was chartered by an Ohio alumni group, who we would see more of (too much) later in M-ville! I will write a separate review of Moby Dick but I can tell you they get FIVE STARS!!! This excursion turned out to be more than we ever expected, especially since 2 of our party had swum with stingrays before in the Bahamas. They said this was the BEST Stingray experience ever. The 3 guides from Moby Dick have VERY personal relationships with certain stingrays they’ve been associating with for 20 years. All I can say is “how many stingrays have you ever kissed that kiss you back?” Definitely worth $45 and no deposit necessary, just reserve spots ahead of time via their web-site. There were only 18 in our group and 4 of those were from hotels we picked up along the way to the boat. Afterwards Moby Dick dropped us wherever we wanted along the way. Some got off at seven mile beach, some at another restaurant, etc. We went all the way back and went to Margaritaville. As we sat there waiting the restaurant began to fill up with those Ohio alumni and let’s just say I am glad there were no small kids in the restaurant as some of the revelers decided to remove their tops in order to win a drinking game. Go Ohio! We were back onboard about an hour before the last tender. Since we wanted to watch Captain Phillips at MUTS which was a 6:00 movie, we planned to eat at Café Caribe afterwards. Not being a “foodie”, I am always happy with what I eat onboard and I don’t ever overeat. Ok, maybe I have TWO desserts! We spent some time at Crooners later and I really wish Ruby would get a GOOD piano man. They had a different one at Christmas and I was not impressed with either, and Crooners is usually one of my favorite hang places. We ended up in the front row of the theatre for the comedy show which was very good! (Rollin Jay Moore). Then back to our comfortable beds. Last Sea Day: Onboard Outlet Sale which I find as a hit or miss. In December, I found some things, this time no. I sent 2 of our party to the culinary demonstration and galley tour which I had done before and they enjoyed it. Then 2 of us went to the Pub Lunch in the Wheelhouse for fish n chips, always a not miss for me. In the afternoon, we finally got to do our steel drum lesson which is very chaotic with 15 newbies all trying to play at the same time but a lot of fun! We had reserved the Stammtisch Old World wine tasting at Vines 2 days prior at 4:30. ($15pp). THAT was well worth it and “Allen” was superb. This is an extra I would pay for and do every cruise! The venue, the table, the information was all fabulous. They had also promoted a couple of wine tastings in the dining rooms. The first night it was $35 for the next day. The 2nd night it was $9.00 for the next day??? I’m not sure if they were trying to get rid of wine they no longer wanted to carry or what. But you can’t beat the Vines location for a wine tasting and I am very happy we had reserved that one and not be stuck back in the dining room. Later we decided to eat (again!) at the buffett. I wanted to say good-bye to Frankie and also our cabin steward Michael from our December cruise and the others ended up seeing just a bit of the yes/no game (Explorers Lounge). I was tired and the other 3 wanted to see the “adult” version comedy show being held in Club Fusion that from what I understand was completely packed and should have been held in the Princess theatre but wasn’t. I went to bed and watched the Great Gatsby (one of my favorites) on tv. I missed ALL of the Love Boat reruns this cruise, but saw them every day on the December cruise. Guess I was just in my cabin less this time as it was not a Mini Suite! Lol Disembarkation: We grabbed something agin at the IC and then easily walked off with all of our luggage and from the time we left the cabins until we were in our car was 45 minutes. We planned to walk off AFTER we would miss most of the Ft. Ld. Traffic as we headed North on 95 and our plan worked very well. Summary: As I have said, I was just on Ruby at Christmas and I swear this crew is the very BEST. One of my friends has cruised recently with RCL and the other 2 had not cruised in over 15 years. Everyone raved about this cruise and there truly was no real disappointment at all. I hope everyone’s cruise goes as swimmingly!!!! Happy to try to answer any specific questions. Bon Voyage!   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising ... Read More
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising was a popular way to vacation) and in all of my travels with this line I have never really felt the need to complain about any ship/service/port, etc. Having said that, here are my thoughts on the Ruby Princess 5 day cruise (I would hope that these complaints would only apply to these shorter cruises and things would be "Princess normal" on the regular sailings). LIKES: 1. Great embarkation procedures -- as an elite passenger we waited to (priority) board in a separate area. The cruise rep made passengers sit in the order in which they came into the room (as opposed to "the mad rush to the door" we recently experienced on the Royal Princess) and we were permitted to board in the order in which we had arrived. Kudos to Princess for finally "getting it right" on this aspect -- hopefully it will trickle down to all the ships' embarkation procedures. Our Princess hostess was fantastic -- friendly, cheerful, entertaining and very professional. Nice way to start a cruise! 2. Delicious food -- the food on every other Princess ship has been very good, but the food on the Ruby was excellent! No matter where/what we ate....it was all delicious! We had anytime dining and were lucky enough to catch the same waiter both nights we ate in the dining room (Mandol and his assistant Victoria) and they made our dining experience pleasurable. We also dined in both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill and enjoyed both meals. 3. Wait staff/bar staff/cabin steward -- The staff on this cruise was outstanding -- some of the friendliest men and women I have ever met on any cruise I've been on! I sailed many times with the Commodore of the Ruby way back when he was a staff captain on Sitmar's Fair Sky (later Sky Princess) and his warm, gentle, friendly personality seems to have had an effect on the staff on his ship. Kudos to all working on board -- they were the best crew I have sailed with in many years! CONS: 1. The Sanctuary -- The Sanctuary is now $30 per day per person. REALLY? (No one told us about the increased cost and while we would have still booked at whatever price, it would have been nice to know in advance what I was paying, especially since we didn't pay that much on the Royal in December.) Also, they charge you on embarkation day (Royal, as well as the other ships on which we booked the Sanctuary for the entire week didn't open until first day out). In my opinion this was a wasted day since most people don't carry their swim gear with them and have to wait for their luggage to be delivered to their cabin (or are out "exploring the ship"). On this particular cruise there were only 20 people who reserved for the entire week; on day 2 when my husband went to the Sanctuary ahead of me he sat down "one seat over" from our seats and the original "owner" of the seat made a huge scene and the crew member chided my husband for not remembering his seat. Again...REALLY??? For what we are being charged and for the small amount of "guests," it would seem to me that SHE (the person who escorted my husband to our seats) should have known exactly where to seat him. Also, we didn't see the Sanctuary manager the entire cruise and the staff was not attentive in the least (no towel to take to the pool; had to chase them down for iced tea/water; no cool towels or mists, no one standing at the reception desk greeting passengers as they came into the Sanctuary). This was really an annoyance to me -- Princess is known for its attentiveness to its passengers, especially in specialty areas such as the Sanctuary, and in my opinion both the "missing in action" manager and his staff need extensive training if they are to stay in this location. The Sanctuary is located on deck up from the Spa and on other cruises the pool near the spa was reserved for Spa and Sanctuary guests only so that the environment was one of relaxation - not so on this cruise; the entire pool area was loud (which carried into the Sanctuary), crowded and, on certain days, filled with older teenagers. Again, I am not a complainer, but I have experienced and expect a certain environment (which I paid for) and was disappointed by what was actually experienced. As I stated earlier, it is my hope that these problems would all be rectified once the Ruby was back on a "normal" sailing schedule. 2. Passengers -- there was a wide variety of passengers on this cruise (still spring break in some parts of the US) and it was extremely obvious that many people were having "one too many" cocktails. I have never seen so many drunken people staggering around the public areas nor have I ever seen the maître d' permit passengers wearing flip flops/shorts/wrinkled tee shirts into the dining room at dinner time, let alone seating in the middle of the dining room clearly intoxicated women. Where has happened to the Princess standards? The same concerns hold for the one "formal" night - and I use that term loosely. I have NEVER seen such a casual formal night -- especially in a specialty restaurant. We dined in Sabatini's on formal night (excellent food, wonderful waiter) but we were quite surprised to see so many people dining in shorts, jeans, etc. (Again, I am hoping that everything reverts to normal after the short sailings have concluded.) 3. Passenger services -- I guess the staff here has never heard of the phrase "the customer/passenger" is always right... We had a problem with the safe in our room. We boarded at 11:15 a.m. and, once I could get someone to answer the phone (3 separate calls, wait times of 2 or 3 minutes before hanging up) I was told that someone would be sent up in "10 minutes" -- we waited 45 minutes and decided to leave for a quick lunch at the buffet (excellent food selections and everything was delicious!). Got back to the room a little after 2:30 and the safe had not been fixed. Called again; no answer. Went to muster drill, came back and called one more time only to be told that they were "busy" and would get to us shortly. Finally an extremely personable officer showed up, made a call to have the prior combination removed, and we were back in business! It took all of five minutes. Not sure what was happening at the front desk but they need to be instructed to answer the phone when it rings. Please do not think I am a "snob" or a "cranky old lady" because of my complaints. I am 57 years old, have sailed on many ships over the course of the past 30 years and I just think that cruising (and the passengers who enjoy the cruise experience) should be awarded the respect it is deserving of. Princess has always had high standards which were well known in the industry and to its loyal passengers. I hope that this is not a precursor of things to come with this line. I personally have always held it "above the rest" in terms of passenger service and it's "classiness" -- I will be highly disappointed if it falls into the same category as Carnival but that is what I felt on this past cruise. Will I cruise on Princess again -- ABSOLUTELY! Will I do a five day (or less) sailing again on Princess -- absolutely NOT. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
5-nt. Western Caribbean. Mini suite aft. 1st 5-nt. cruise, 7th Princess cruise, 2nd on Ruby. Relaxing itinerary with great weather. Mini suite aft / great cabin in good condition but starting to look dated or maybe overly familiar. Same ... Read More
5-nt. Western Caribbean. Mini suite aft. 1st 5-nt. cruise, 7th Princess cruise, 2nd on Ruby. Relaxing itinerary with great weather. Mini suite aft / great cabin in good condition but starting to look dated or maybe overly familiar. Same Princess special slightly too thin mattresses that seem very comfortable the first night but are not comfortable by the third night. Did not notice any peeling paint or much rust. Ship seemed in excellent condition - a little wear here and there but constant work being done to clean / varnish, etc. We love these ships with their 5 pools, lots of open deck space, and wonderful promenade decks, and thiis was a warm and sunny cruise... but to us the overall product continues a slow slip into mediocrity. More regimented approach to almost everything - Princess is as formulaic as any other mass line but we experienced an inability to adjust or be flexible by staff at many levels throughout the cruise. Very "clunky" customer service and waiters who seemed more "trained" or following a specific set of instructions on what to say and do but with no idea as to why or how they were doing it. The food was really bad. The quality of ingredients, menus, and resulting product were poor in all areas - worse than during our last cruise on the Ruby two years ago and much worse than Emerald 4 years ago. This was particularly apparent in the main dining room and alarmingly so in the Horizon Court / Caribe Cafe buffet areas. Teen / kids program was bad but Princess seems to attract so few kids it is hard to blame the line for this - why bother putting effort into a program that attracts maybe 30 kids per cruise? Overall we had an OK time but we are looking for something more. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This will be short and sweet, Princess has entered the 4-5 day cruise market. And this is NOT their forte. Leave the shorty cruise to momma Carnival. For those Princess die hards used to the 7 day cruises, let me tell you what you ... Read More
This will be short and sweet, Princess has entered the 4-5 day cruise market. And this is NOT their forte. Leave the shorty cruise to momma Carnival. For those Princess die hards used to the 7 day cruises, let me tell you what you WON'T find. No welcome back parties on the 4 day cruise. No liquid soap AT ALL for non-Elite or suite guests. No towel figures in your bed at night. Nightly premium lounge food reduced down to "chips and guacamole" (just an example). Reduced entertainment in the evenings. There were a group of us who had cruised Princess in the past and we noted the decline in the food on Ruby Princess. One man said it best, "I go by a successful meal if I truly enjoy all 4 courses." He never once had that happen. The evening we ate at Sabitini's was 169 minutes (yes, almost 3 hours) of mediocre food and skimpy service. I was expecting something fancy, but this wasn't even up to Olive Garden on a Tuesday night. Now for the good stuff: decent comedian, but why oh why did Princess stick the overpacked adult show in the lounge instead of the showroom? The G-rated show was almost full when it was held there! People were wall to wall, and sitting on the band instruments in the back in that stuffy lounge! Poor planning there. There was plenty of deck space to spread out, and MUTS was good at showing different venues for different folks. Please note that if you take the back-to-back cruises you are getting the same food, and same menu. Stick with Carnival for the short cruises, leave Princess alone for the longer ones. Mixing the two together isn't pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
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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