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

My lovely lady and I cruised the Ruby from the 14th through the 21st of March. We are in our mid 30s and early 40s respectively. This was her 2nd cruise, and my 4th. We are both from the suburbs of Philly, on the NJ side of the Delaware ... Read More
My lovely lady and I cruised the Ruby from the 14th through the 21st of March. We are in our mid 30s and early 40s respectively. This was her 2nd cruise, and my 4th. We are both from the suburbs of Philly, on the NJ side of the Delaware River. We arrived in FLL around 11:45am, got our luggage in the normal amount of time, and somehow due to some confusion in the taxi line caught a quick cab ($20 including tip) with very little wait. We shared a cab with a very nice couple from Vancouver. We spent some time with this couple during the cruise and at Princess Cays...this new friendship enhanced our cruise for sure. Anyway, once we arrived at the cruise terminal, we boarded within 15 minutes and were onboard before 1pm. Our stateroom was Plaza 309, which is a little forward of the Piazza. A quick walk through the art gallery, and there was our stateroom. Plaza 309 is actually a great location....very close to the forward elevator....it was very easy to get to the casino or theater, just 10 steps out the door and up. Also, when boarding from ports, when entering through the front gangway we were a quick shot up to the room. This stateroom was very quiet despite being directly below the casino, though apparently it was above where they handle baggage on the last evening, and we heard some noise that night. After dropping off our carry on-s, we went up to Lido deck for lunch, planning to hit the buffet. We took the forward elevator up, and at once saw the Neptune's reef pool area, which is where we would end up lounging. Two steps toward the back where the buffets are and we realized there was a hamburger and hot dog place right on the pool deck!! We skipped the first day chaos of the buffet and had a burger and a dog, and a couple drinks. We were off to a great start. As for the ship, how beautiful. Its newness was apparent, the carpets had very little wear, and all the surfaces looked clean and new. We loved the tiered layout on the upper decks, albeit it requires one to go up and down steps more often. The extra step climbing was well worth it; because once you got up high you could see 3 or 4 decks below you. The effect was stunning. As mentioned in other reviews, sometimes you had to use deck 7 to traverse from front to back of the ship, as other decks were cut off by the galley. No big deal really once you learned what to do, it gives one the opportunity to walk the outside promenade deck, which is a cool thing to do. The pool areas were beautiful, we never had very much trouble sitting by the pool, though on the sea days we made a special point to grab chairs early. We had Personal Choice dining, which was PERFECT for us. The two of us were by ourselves, so we didn't have to spend crazy amounts of time dolling ourselves up to compete in beauty contests with table mates. We got to dinner between opening at 5:30 some nights to as late as almost 7 one night I think. Only one night when we dined with our friends from the taxi did we have to wait a few minutes for a table. When it was the two of us, they seated us in the corner a couple times, which I didn't like too much, but the service and the food were terrific. Once we were done one course, they quickly brought us the next course. The food including the soups came out very hot, which delighted us. The waiters didn't mind bringing us free iced tea, which surprised me. We were out of the dining room in an hour or less most nights, which gave us the chance to catch the early shows and get to bed at a decent time. The entire dining experience was top notch, we both loved it. We were also pleased with the alternative dining choices. We lunched or snacked at the International Cafe (an advantage of a stateroom on Plaza deck) which served pastries, simple sandwich type things and some more fancy things later in the afternoon, along with fancy coffee drinks at a price. We also took frequent advantage of the pizza bar (New York style, or as close as one can find over open water), both buffets, and more burgers and dogs by the pool. As much as we ever enjoyed dining on our previous cruises (all on RCCL), we enjoyed dining on the Ruby more, lock, stock, and barrel. The evening entertainment was great. The singers and dancers as well as the orchestra were awesome, and the shows in my opinion were more professional and less cheesy than the shows I remember from RCCL. The hard rock band was great, we saw them at the sail away party and at the Explorers Lounge. The other bands and entertainers were fine to good. The one comedian we managed to see was hysterical. We missed the other two, because we got to the venues less than a half hour before show time. If you don't show up at least a half hour early, the search for two seats together is futile. So show up early. One entertainment venue that we loved on the Ruby was Movies Under the Stars. The loungers were set up with nice covers...crew members brought out blankets to warm us on the cool nights...and during the movies served popcorn and sometimes warm cookies and milk. After the movies, we would sometimes indulge in a sinful late night snack at the Cafe Caribe, the buffet at the rear of the ship, which was open 24 hours. The ship sailed very smoothly except the final day at sea, and especially the final sailing out of Princess Cays. Our poor friend Ben had a very difficult time fighting sea sickness during our final dinner. He was a trooper though, with the help of some Dramamine and Bonine. I had no real problems this cruise with the ships motion. My lady had the patch, and only when she let too much time go by before reapplying did she have a little problem. As for the ports of call: Ocho Rios was the most picturesque port. While there we took a snorkeling excursion...there weren't many fish but the catamaran took us over to the bottom of Dunn's River Falls and we saw some of the beauty of Jamaica. Afterward we walked the quarter mile or so to the shopping area and had no problems whatsoever. At least for us, Jamaica didn't live up to its bad reputation. In Grand Cayman, we took a cheap bus down 7 mile beach to Cemetery Beach. The beach and snorkeling were perfect. Then we bussed back to Georgetown and did some shopping. The tendering in both directions was quick. There was an incredibly long line for the tendering back to the Carnival ships, but no line at all for the tender to the Ruby. In Cozumel we took an excursion to Passion Island. It was a very nice beach with a lot of amenities. The ride there was a bit of a pain, as you had to be driven over some unpaved road. It was a good day though, as we missed out on the rain that fell in town. I might add the pier area in Cozumel is one of the most lovely I've seen or shopped at. My lady is a good barterer. At Princess Cays, we spent the day with our new friends. The boys snorkeled, the girls beached in the sun. We were lucky to be able to find 4 loungers for free. Princess charges money for lots of things on their island, but we managed to eat, snorkel, and lounge free of charge. We bought some t-shirts there for very cheap. The tendering both ways was fairly quick, though not as quick as Grand Cayman. Sadly, the next day we disembarked. The process was easy, though it was held up a little. We were off the ship and in a cab to the airport in roughly 25 minutes once our group was called. Overall, we enjoyed our first Princess cruise immensely. I think we've found ourselves a cruise line we can be loyal to. This was our greatest cruise, until the next one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Background: We are a professional couple...late 30's, mid 40's. This was our 7th cruise together, 5th on Princess. We've previously sailed on the Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, Grand Princess, and Crown Princess. We consider ... Read More
Background: We are a professional couple...late 30's, mid 40's. This was our 7th cruise together, 5th on Princess. We've previously sailed on the Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, Grand Princess, and Crown Princess. We consider ourselves somewhat well-traveled with usually at least one trip out of the country each year. Pre-cruise travel: Normally, we would try to arrive at the embarkation city at least one day early but we were able to get a direct non-stop flight into Ft. Lauderdale early on the day of embarkation at a considerable savings so we decided to chance it this time. There were no issues with the flight and taxis were plentiful at the airport.  We were at the Port Everglades Cruise Terminal by 10:15 am. Embarkation: Although many people were still disembarking from the previous cruise we were allowed to enter the terminal immediately through a small, secondary entrance that was set up for early arrivals. We were assigned to Group #1 and we waited in the holding area until our number was called around 11:30 am. The check-in process is very well designed with multiple check-in stations based on what deck you are assigned. We were the first ones in line for our deck and the whole check-in process took less than 5 minutes. We quickly boarded the ship and even though it was still before noon, our stateroom was already available. So we dropped off our hand baggage and immediately headed up to the Sanctuary to reserve our spot for the entire week. Thanks to all our fellow CC'ers who suggested you get there early to make sure you can get a spot.  We were the first ones there and we got our choice of all the loungers in the whole place. Sailaway: We are not big fans of buffets, so after getting our Sanctuary seats reserved we headed to the dining room for lunch. At first the greeter said that the dining room was only for in-transit guests. We assumed this meant passengers who were between back-to-back sailings. But, since there were many open tables and several staff members just standing around we decided to ask to speak to the Head Waiter to see if he would make an exception.  He came over and before we even had a chance to say anything, he waved us in and sat us immediately. Just another lesson, it never hurts to ask. The food was good and during the meal it finally felt like our cruise had really begun.  After lunch, we decided head for the Crown Grill to make reservations for later in the cruise.  We had already reviewed the menus for the week (thanks again fellow CC'ers!) so we knew we wanted to skip the Caribbean Night in the main dining room.  Since we had been on the Crown just over a year prior, we didn't need to spend much time exploring as the Ruby is virtually identical to the Crown. After the muster drill we met up with the crew from our CC roll call for drinks at the Adagio bar for sailaway. Our bags didn't arrive to our stateroom until sometime between 4:30 and 5:30 pm so we decided to get ready and go to dinner before unpacking. Ship Info: The ship is beautiful. As mentioned previously, we knew what to expect because the Ruby is almost identical to the Crown. It just felt newer and fresher since it is a brand new ship that had just launched. The common areas are plentiful and very tastefully decorated. Stateroom: We booked a Category G (Outside - Obstructed View) Guarantee and were assigned a Category D (Outside - Unobstructed View) on the Plaza deck (P316). Due to budget constraints, this is the first time we have booked anything below a balcony category since our very first Princess cruise which was to Alaska. We were a bit concerned that we would not be happy with the accommodations. The room was quite a bit smaller than we are used to but adequate with lots of storage space. The upper berths on both side walls made it difficult to walk up on each side of the bed when it was in the Queen configuration.  It would have been much easier to move around if the beds were separated in the Twin configuration. This is just something to keep in mind if you are considering a stateroom in this category. The bathroom is also quite small but we didn't really notice any difference from the balcony rooms in this regard. The bed was quite comfortable and we had no problem sleeping even without our usual egg-crate mattress. The main saving grace was the location of the room.  It is just down the hall from the main Piazza so it was a very short walk to many areas of the ship that we like to frequent such as the International Cafe, the dining rooms, the Casino, the shops, etc. So, even though it is a smaller room, we would certainly consider this category and location again the next time we're on a tight budget. I also have to mention our Stateroom Steward, Jirasin. He was fantastic. After noticing that I had pulled an extra blanket from one of the upper berths on the first night, he made sure to include it on my side of the bed every night for the remainder of the cruise. He even made me a towel animal dog when I mentioned that I liked the towel monkey I happened to see in another room. This was the first time I've ever felt that the room steward deserved extra money on top of the automatic tip for going above and beyond. Dining: We prefer Princess' anytime dining and request it on every cruise. We ate at a table for two every night and although some nights we were not able to be seated immediately, we never waited more than 10-15 minutes for a table. If we had agreed to be seated with others, we would have been seated immediately every night. Overall, we felt the food in the dining rooms was very good. The evening that we ate at the Crown Grill there was a large wedding party seated near us. Because of this, initially the service was quite slow. But once they cleared out, everything was fine. The food was very good but not excellent as it had been during our previous cruise on the Crown. Still, it was worth the extra cover charge. We highly recommend the dessert sampler tray with a small portion of all but one of the desserts on the menu. They were all very good and we were glad we were able to sample them all. The waiter also recommended that we share an order of the cobbler that does not come on the sampler tray. We're glad we did, it was delicious. We didn't really utilize the buffet except for a late-night dessert a few times which were OK. Not outstanding but not terrible either. As mentioned previously, we enjoy the International Cafe and recommend that everyone at least check it out to see if there is something there you might like. We also enjoyed the English Pub Lunch in the Wheelhouse Bar on sea days.  It was a nice change of pace for lunch. We utilized both the on-deck grill and pizza place for lunch on days when we returned late from tours. The food from both was good although there was quite a line at the pizza place when we went and a lot of people had to wait a very long time to get their food. And, don't forget the free ice cream at the buffet during lunch and the warm cookies on deck in the afternoons. These are two nice touches that we don't remember on previous cruises. Service: We felt the service was on par with previous Princess cruises we've been on. We never ran into a rude or seemingly unhappy crew member. Everyone was friendly and helpful. Overall, service was very good. Activities/Entertainment: Daytime Activities - There was the typical daytime fare. We always enjoy the horse racing and I joined a team for Passenger Feud which was fun. Uber Rossi in the Piazza was good but we had seen his act before when we were on the Crown so it wasn't quite as exciting as the first time you see him perform.  We spent a lot of time in the Sanctuary. This was one of the things we were most looking forward to.  As some have mentioned, it can be very windy especially during sailing but we had very good seats that were blocked from most of the wind and when we did get chilled from the wind they always had blankets for us without even having to ask.  Our main steward, Karanyot, was fantastic. They really go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable and relaxed.  We will definitely be using this amenity on all future warm weather cruises. Nighttime Entertainment - We tried to make it to as many evening shows as we could since last time we only caught a couple of shows during the entire cruise. James Micheal, comedy magician, was fantastic.  If you ever get a chance to see him on a future cruise, make sure you do.  His act is hilarious and he is a very good magician as well.  Jason Neistadt, comedy impressionist, was OK but we felt his material was in need of updating.  Many of the characters he did are very old and while I know that the average age of cruisers tends to be up there, many in the audience didn't seem to recognize some of his characters.  We caught both production shows and while one, Ballroom Broadway, was just OK the other, Once Upon A Dream, was excellent. They also had the basic Princess shows.  We enjoyed the Love Boat Legends karaoke where the singers dressed up as the artists and Peer Factor which was exactly the same as when we participated during our last cruise on the Crown.  This time we just watched and laughed along with the rest of the audience.  It gave us a fun perspective of what we looked like up there when we did it. Another highlight was the International Crew Show where some of the ship's crew members perform.  Our Sanctuary Steward, Karanyot, sang "Suddenly" and he was fantastic. It's fun to see the people you've been interacting with all week get up and show off a hidden talent like that.  Another activity we enjoyed was the "Have You Seen It?" trivia game where they show scenes from popular movies re-enacted by the ships crew and then ask questions about it. A lot of fun! Overall, we felt the entertainment was pretty good.  Casino - We both enjoy gambling a bit but we do it just for fun so we are what you would call "low rollers".  But, we did spend some time at the tables and had fun. I wish I could say that we did well, but that would be a lie.  In fact, this was probably our worst stretch at the tables ever. But, that happens and you can't blame the casino. We just had a bad run of cards. We were glad that the casino offered non-smoking and low-limit periods. We understand that there is going to be smoke in a casino and we tolerate it because we enjoy playing but it's nice to have a couple of times during the cruise where we don't have to breathe all that second-hand smoke in order to play. Spa - We decided not to use the spa this time. The Sanctuary was relaxing enough for us. Ports/Shore Excursions: We pre-booked all of our excursions through Princess. We usually use Princess excursions in ports that we've never been to before because we like the security of knowing that they are already set up on the ship's timetable and we've always been pleased with Princess' execution of the tours. Ocho Rios, Jamaica - We've been to Ocho Rios before on land-based vacations and we've done all the usual stuff like Dunn's River Falls, etc. so we were looking for something different. We had rented the documentary film "Sun Dogs" about the Jamaican dogsled team and we were pleased to see an excursion that would allow us to not only visit the kennels to meet the dogs but also have a ride on a special cart that the dogs pull. We pre-booked the last two spots for the tour but what we didn't know until we got there was that these were the ONLY two spots for that particular tour.  There was one other couple that went with us and did the same tour except without the ride.  It was expensive but we're glad we did it. We met many of the dogs that were featured in the film as well as the main musher Devon who was also in the film. He was very nice and eager to talk about the dogs and the program. All of the dogs are rescue dogs. Although they can't be taken out of the country due to Jamaican animal control laws, the mushers actually train for and compete in big name races.  In fact, one of them was on his way back from just completing the Yukon Quest race in Canada when we were there. We had a great time on this tour and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of dogsled racing. Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - We booked the mini-boat stingray tour but it was cancelled at the last minute due to rough seas. This is the first time we've experienced poor coordination from the shore excursion team.  The entire group (about 12 of us) sat patiently for about 45 minutes waiting for our tour to be called before finally asking what was going on.  It wasn't until then that we were informed that the tour was cancelled. One of the staff members got confused and thought that we had already been informed of the cancellation.  We were immediately taken to the tenders with the next group to go ashore and were told to see the Shore Excursion Manager on shore. We talked to him and, although he was not very sympathetic to our situation, we ended up booking a normal stingray snorkel boat trip. So, at least we got to go out to the sand bar and snorkel with the rays but it definitely was not the experience we had planned for. However, since this is the only time we've ever experienced an issue with a Princess excursion, we're willing to give them a pass and just chalk it up to human error. Cozumel, Mexico - We did the all day tour to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. The tour was interesting and our guides, Pablo and Ignacio (aka Nacho), made it enjoyable with their obvious interest and passion for the Mayan history and culture.  Be aware that any tours to the mainland will require a 45 minute ferry ride. Even though the water didn't appear to be that rough, there was a lot of movement in the boat on the way over and many people ended up very nauseous, including us. So even if you're not prone to seasickness, you might want to take precautions. Also be aware that this tour does take ALL DAY. We had a little time for shopping in Playa Del Carmen but no time for shopping in Cozumel.  In fact we had to rush to get back on the ship when our ferry got back. Princess Cays, Bahamas - Based on advice from fellow CC'ers we made sure to get to the Theatre early to get on the first tender over to the island. Also, on the advice of CC'ers we headed straight over the bridge and down to the quieter section of the beach. Since we were some of the first people to arrive, we had our choice of seats so we settled into a couple of loungers under a palm tree for shade. We had decided to forego a clamshell because we had heard that they get very hot and weren't necessary because there is plenty of shade available. In retrospect, we probably should've gotten a clamshell for two reasons.  First, it was only about 70 F that day so the heat would not have been an issue and second, all of the clamshells are set up close to the waters edge so the view from where we sat was that of the backs of a bunch of clamshells. LOL. Oh well, even with CC you still have to learn some things yourself, I guess. The barbeque lunch was OK.  We weren't expecting much from what we had read but overall it wasn't as bad as some people made it out to be. Other than the baked beans, which were horrible, everything was typical barbeque quality. Disembarkation: Based on significant airfare savings, we chose a flight that was scheduled to leave very early on the day of disembarkation so we elected to do the express walk-off disembarkation. We had done this before so we pretty much knew what to expect. We like this option because you do not have to worry about getting your bags outside of your room by any certain time. We packed at our leisure the night before disembarkation. Be aware that you need to be able to easily handle your own luggage if you want to do this because there really is nobody there to help you. I was a bit annoyed by Princess' choice to have the express walk-off passengers gather in one of the dining rooms to await disembarkation.  It was very difficult for people to maneuver their luggage in and out of all the tables and chairs. On the Crown Princess, we waited in the casino which was much more open and easier to move through.  Even so, we were in the first group to get off the ship and we were through customs in a matter of minutes. Taxis were plentiful and we were at the airport with time to spare for our early flight. Summary: Overall we had a wonderful time as we've done on every Princess cruise previously. If you enjoy the good stuff and don't sweat the bad stuff, it's pretty difficult to have a bad time on a cruise. We loved the Ruby, Princess' newest jewel. Next it's off to the Panama Canal! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
This ship has only been sailing for a few months and it is awesome. I was concerned sailing on a ship that had over 3200 passengers but I rarely felt inconvenienced. Getting on and off the ship was simple and quick in both ... Read More
This ship has only been sailing for a few months and it is awesome. I was concerned sailing on a ship that had over 3200 passengers but I rarely felt inconvenienced. Getting on and off the ship was simple and quick in both directions. Princess has done a very good job with this. We had an outside room without a balcony. We don't spend a lot of time in the room so didn't see the need for the extra expense. The room was a nice size for a ship and we never felt like we were living in a closet. Speaking of closets, there was plenty of room for all our clothes and our huge suitcases fir under the bed. The showers don't leave room to change your mind but I am 6ft 2in & 250 pounds and I had no trouble maneuvering in there. We did traditional dining. The dining room was beautiful and the service was excellent. The food was adequate but I did not eat anything that was not good. There was never a long line at the buffet for lunch or breakfast. There was always plenty of entertainment and the Theatre is very nice with the utmost in state of the art technology. The best thing about this ship for my wife and I was the "Movie Under The Stars" feature. This ship has a huge digital screen outside above one of the pools on the upper deck. They show movies during some parts of the day, but at night they cover the lounge chairs with cushions, give you a blanket, pop fresh popcorn, and you watch the movie under the stars....This Was NEAT!!! In the morning, they allow you to play Wii fitness on this huge screen. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Royal Carib and Princess are very equal in the type of experience you will have overall. We found the RCI ship itself to be easier to figure out, more intuitive than the Princess. But the Ruby is a beautiful ship and is kept sparkling ... Read More
Royal Carib and Princess are very equal in the type of experience you will have overall. We found the RCI ship itself to be easier to figure out, more intuitive than the Princess. But the Ruby is a beautiful ship and is kept sparkling clean with lots of places to explore. Its amazing how so many people can be on the ship and yet you rarely feel crowded and are made to feel special by the staff. I recommend the Carib deck and we liked being mid ship. I also preferred being on the starboard side of the ship. The layout of the room is good and the balcony is large. There is no couch as in the similar stateroom on the RCI but the closet area is better. All in all, quite comfortable. The bathroom is, of course, tiny. I always bring a clear shoe bag holder, the kind you put behind a door, and hang that in the bathroom with my toiletries to get them off the counter and give my husband some room. The food is okay, some meals better than others. I recommend eating one night at Sabitini's. A lovely experience. Great entertainment but get there early as the popular shows book up early and you can easily find yourself with no seating. They booked us at a table of four at the late seating. We asked for a larger table so I don't know why this happened. We ended up at the any time dining and ate with different folks each night which worked out fine. The breakfast buffet is a bit overwhelming with so many people trying to get on line and find a table and the waiters do seem a bit annoyed at times. The spa area includes the gym. Very good gym. Spa bathrooms are sparse. No products, not even hair dryers, and no place to hang your towel outside the shower. Princess pushes you to buy stuff throughout the trip which can get annoying. From photos to DVD's to spa services, you are always being bombarded. At the end of the trip, you will be surprised at how much you owe. Its still a bargain overall but not as much as you think. Avoid going to the ruins on mainland Mexico when you go to Cozumel. We didn't do that but heard many folks complaining that its too long a day trip. We went to X-Caret and loved it. I highly recommend it. The Princess Cay private island was a fun day although they close the bar much too early and the BBQ was only okay. Getting on and off the boat is easy and the staff is very helpful. We did the "walk off" which made it even easier. The Princess Patter is the daily newsletter and is very helpful. All in all, a very good vacation. I would not hesitate to go on another Princess cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
I have always gotten a ton of information about cruises on this Board, so I thought it was time to contribute, especially for Ruby Princess, which is still a relatively new ship. It has only been sailing for 5 months now. My partner and ... Read More
I have always gotten a ton of information about cruises on this Board, so I thought it was time to contribute, especially for Ruby Princess, which is still a relatively new ship. It has only been sailing for 5 months now. My partner and I booked a Vista Suite, E732, but 4 days before we sailed, we were upgraded to a Premium Suite, A750. We were quite surprised because unlike other cruise lines they didn't ask us if we wanted an upgrade, nor did they charge us. We discovered we had been upgraded when we went to check in for the cruise and to print our boarding passes. I know there is always a lot of discussion and questions about room sizes on this Board, so here is what I found out when I called to find out about the upgrade. Original Suite: Vista Suite E732 Room 397 sq ft and a 13 x 10 ft balcony Upgrade: Premium Suite A750 Room 531 sq ft and an approx 18 x 11 sq ft balcony CABIN: It is true that passengers in Suites (not mini-suites) on Ruby Princess can have breakfast in Sabatinis. The breakfast there is made to order and they have actual brewed coffee and not the awful coffee syrup. Strangely, if it weren't for folks here at Cruise Critic, I would never have known! We were never told by anyone on Princess that we could use this Private Dining area for breakfast. I am not sure they do this on other Princess ships, and the information in the Suite is generic and not specific to Ruby Princess. It wasn't in any of the information in the rooms. But thanks to this board, we went on the last two days and it was great. We wish we had gone every day. Also, Internet: You get free internet if staying in a Suite. You have to go down and set it up at the Internet Cafe, but once set up with username and password, you don't have to ever go back to the Internet Cafe. I checked email and used the internet from my laptop in my room. They charge you and then credit it back at the end of the cruise. I had always read that you had to use the Internet Cafe for the free internet in the Suites, but this is not so on Ruby Princess. You just have to go down there to set it up so it shows you "registered" at the internet cafe. Once registered, you can use a laptop anywhere. The entire ship seems to be wired. Free Laundry and Dry Cleaning: Yup, it is true. Negatives: Unlike Celebrity and Oceania, Princess provides no butler service. Nor do the stewards in these rooms do anything more than the stewards elsewhere! You do not get priority disembarkation. You do not get priority tenders unless you have an excursion. You do not get priority dinner reservations. You get a larger room. And despite being of similar size to the Royal Suite on Celebrity, the room is set up so that it doesn't utilize space well. The suite feels much smaller. The one major plus to A750 (and I gather A751) is the VERY large balcony. It has a table with four chairs, two lounge chairs, and tons of space in between. Our originally-booked suite (E732) would have had the "dreaded beam" but this had what some call the "dreaded vent." I have no idea why Princess would put their suites in these positions. Makes no sense to me. And they have known about this since the Caribbean Princess or even longer ago. Despite the vent, we didn't smell any noxious stuff until the very last night. We used the balcony all the time. Our parents met us their for every sail away. And seeing the full wake of the ship is spectacular. DINING: We had anytime dining. They allow you to call each day for reservations between about 9 and 5. If you don't have a reservation, then you just go to one of the two anytime dining rooms and they give you a buzzer. You know, the kind they give you at PF Changs or other busy restaurants. They flash and buzz when your table is ready. We never waited more than about 20 mins for a table. Best to call in the morning and reserve. Tip: Da Vinci dining room on Deck six is open for breakfast and lunch and more passengers go to that anytime dining room because it is also on the same level as the casino and the bars. Michelangelo one floor down almost never has any wait at all. We learned this from one the hosts at the stand at DaVinci. Overall, the food was very average. I suspect this is because they are cooking for 3000 passengers. The food isn't awful and it isn't good. And food is very subjective anyway. We didn't starve, but we didn't enjoy the meals. The Crown Grill, however, was spectacular! You pay an extra $25 per person to eat there, but the food is amazing. Sabatini, however, was not worth the extra charge. SHOPPING: Ample stuff to buy. Lots of overpriced jewelry and the usual stuff. Okay, on to the day by day: EMBARKATION: This was probably one of the smoothest things about this cruise. We arrived at the Cruise Terminal at noon and were able to Board the ship and go straight to our rooms. We were traveling with both of our parents and both sets of parents had mini-suites on Emerald Deck. The buffet was open and had great selection and pretty good food. We thought it was going to be a great cruise. We set sail on time. Day 1 (Sea Day): Was relaxing and great. We had booked spa appointments for Deep Tissue Massages. This ship, unfortunately, has no male massage therapists, so don't bother wasting your time booking deep tissue massage. Neither of the female therapists we had were strong enough to do more than what would be considered a swedish massage with mild pressure. Of course, after the massage both of got the hard sell for products, but we were prepared for this. Steiner, which runs many spas on cruise ships, also run the spas on Celebrity and Oceania. They may even be the ones who run the spa on Royal Caribbean (though I can't remember). Day 2 (Ocho Rios): Not the best stop. The island is very poor and the locals are very aggressive. We had tried to book the Sandals Beach Day but it was sold out. Apparently it always sells out on this itinerary and people rarely make it off the waiting list. I got on-line and found that the Jamaica Grande hotel (the yellow tower hotels you can see from the ship in port) sold day passes for $60 per person to cruise ship passengers. The Sandals one was something around $180 per person. The hotel had a beach grille, a buffet restaurant, 5 pools, a water slide, snorkel equipment, kayaks, a sea trampoline, and bars everywhere. For your $60 you got use of all the facilities, unlimited food and drinks (including alcoholic beverages). The snorkeling was actually pretty good here! I would take a taxi to the hotel and then walk back. Day 3 (Grand Cayman): My partner and his parents went to 7-mile Beach and swam and snorkeled. They had a great time. I went shopping with my parents. Great deals here. Day 4 (Cozumel): Both sets of parents accompanied us on the Tulum Mayan Ruins excursion. This is now the worst shore excursion I have ever been on. You ferry for 35 minutes from Cozumel to Playa del Carmen. Then you get on a bus for an hour to go to the ruins. The excursion said we would see the ruins and then be dropped back at Playa del Carmen where we would get to shop and eat etc. Well, the tour group diverted us twice to places for bathroom breaks, which were always at these stops for shopping. This ate up 1 whole hour of the trip. As a consequence, we has only 30 minutes in Playa del Carmen and got back to Cozumel at 5 so we had only 20 mins there to do anything. The ruins are incredible. But don't book this excursion through Princess. Day 5 (Sea Day): Not sure why they did the sea day on this day and not the day before disembarkation, but so you have it. Day 6 (Princess Cays): Private Island Beach Break. We booked the Private Bungalow, which was great and worth it. The snorkeling here was not so great. The barbeque lunch was disgusting. Everything tasted as if it had been cooked 3 days prior and left in a warming bin all that time. Even a plain old burger was awful. I didn't think one could ruin burgers and hot dogs, but I have been proven wrong. Day 7 (Ft. Lauderdale/Disembarkation): I have heard many horror stories about disembarkation, but to be honest I have never encountered a bad one until now. We arrived in Port an hour late. Everything went poorly. We got off the ship and couldn't get our luggage. When we finally got the luggage and thought we were leaving, we went outside into what could only be described as HELL. They had one small area for those who drove to pull up the car and get the luggage, which is not how it was when we embarked. To get your car from the parking lot, you had to leave the terminal and do a U-turn to get back in. It took us 1.5 hours to leave after walking out of the terminal. It was a mess. We have sailed on Celebrity, RCL, Oceania, and SilverSea. We have never seen anything like this. Overall, we had fun because we were with our family. There were lots of kids on board, but it never seemed like a problem. Both the pool in the Spa and the Aft Terrace pool are adult only areas, so no kids there. A wide variety of passenger ages on the ship. We are in our late 30's, my parents in their mid 70's, my partner's parents in the mid 50's. We all had fun. Basically, if you are used to traveling in Suites on Celebrity or Oceania, you will be underwhelmed by the Suite experience on Princess. This was our first cruise with Princess. We will book Princess again if there is a good deal, but don't pay extra money for a suite on Princess because all you get is a little bit more room. The pampering other lines offer you for the money you spend on a suite just isn't available on Princess. Friends of our had warned us, but we wanted to try out a new line. We will be returning to Oceania and Celebrity. P.S. We brought a case of wine to the ship, stuck a luggage tags to it and labeled it fragile. They delivered it to our room with our luggage and no questions asked. I know lots of folks are always asking about that. We just did it. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Just got back from our fantastic cruise on the Ruby today. Since I have never been on a cruise before, I have nothing to compare this one to, but it was absolutely wonderful. What a beautiful, first class, ship the Ruby is. Here's a ... Read More
Just got back from our fantastic cruise on the Ruby today. Since I have never been on a cruise before, I have nothing to compare this one to, but it was absolutely wonderful. What a beautiful, first class, ship the Ruby is. Here's a few thoughts on our trip, Ruby Princess: Beautiful, classy, immaculate, first rate ship. Embarkation: Very smooth. Arrived at Port 11:00 was on the ship in our room at 12:00. Service: Also, first class. Entire staff was great. Always ready to please, friendly, and wanting to make your trip perfect. Dining: We had Anytime Dining and ate in the Davinci Room every night. Never had to wait for a table which we requested each night. Our Server Team were Luisito and Biljana. They were great and made us look forward to dinner. Food was excellent. Always something different to choose from and we were always pleasantly pleased and stuffed. We were going to try the Crown Grill one night but never felt it necessary. Cabin: We loved our Aloha deck balcony cabin midship. We made good use of the balcony and spent quite a bit of time out there. The view was amazing. The room was a good size and never felt to small. The bathroom on the other hand was a bit small and women need to be contortionists to shave their legs in the shower. By the end of the week I had figured it out. Steward: Arlan was our steward. He was very nice and took care of the few little extras we asked for right away. The room was always immaculate when we returned to it and we always had clean towels. Entertainment: Was ok. Broadway show was enjoyable and Phil Tagg who performed in the Explorers Lounge was great. The other nights the shows were so so. But, no matter what we went to see we had fun. Excursions: We only did the Mystic Mountain/Jamaican Bob Sled. That was very fun. Grand Cayman and Cozumel we just walked around port then went back on the ship to get some R&R and enjoy the quiet and movies by the pool. Princess Cays was beautiful. We enjoyed spending the day there. Motion Sickness: For you other newbies, it was not a problem. One night it was rather rough and the ship was rocking quite a bit. I felt a bit queasy when I went to bed but took some Bonine and used sea bands and slept like a baby. Only downsides Chair Hogs on sea days. Not reserving chairs and leaving empty for hours on end should be strictly enforced. Let's be fair to the people who are actually at the pool and want to sit down. Slow elevators. Was faster to take the stairs. Disembarkation was awful but that was due to a 2 hour delay getting into Ft Lauderdale. The ship left Princess Cays 2 hours late due to a tender malfunction which put everything behind schedule. I am sure in normal circumstances disembarkation would not be so bad. This was a fantastic vacation. We were totally impressed and have already done a future booking for next year. We're addicted. Now, I just have to get over the depression I am feeling because I am no longer on the beautiful Ruby. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Embarkation was quick and painless... no waiting at all (we arrived around 12:45). The first-day buffet was insane, but expected. The Ruby is a gorgeous ship, inside and out. It is a little hard to get around the rear of the ship, but ... Read More
Embarkation was quick and painless... no waiting at all (we arrived around 12:45). The first-day buffet was insane, but expected. The Ruby is a gorgeous ship, inside and out. It is a little hard to get around the rear of the ship, but otherwise it's very well-designed and nicely laid out. We had balconies forward on the Aloha deck (three in a row, with an inside for the kids across from our cabin). The cabin was smallish, but it worked pretty well. There was plenty of closet space, although it would have been nice to have a little more shelving. The fruit baskets delivered to the cabin was a nice touch. Our cabin steward, Romlan, was wonderful, and made some great towel animals for my daughter, which delighted her. It was nice to be able to open the dividers between our balconies, so that we could move between our cabins without going through the halls. I don't know if it was the acoustics of the ship, or just the passengers, but we could hear other people's conversations on the balconies, often being woken up by loud talkers. The food in the dining room was delicious, and it was always difficult to make a selection, with so many great choices. I thought they did a nice job of balancing the more exotic choices with "safer" ones. For us, one of the joys of cruising is being able to try something that you might not like without any risk, so we really appreciated the number of unique dishes available. They also did a good job of letting us mix-and-match from the kids and adult menus- so that my daughter could order fruit salad and king crab. The waiters were good with the kids, and stuck a nice balance between warm and professional. On formal nights, I saw fairly few tuxes, (10-20% max), some men in dress shirts and tie with no jackets, or jackets with no tie (another 10-20%), but no one dressed down from that. The buffets were good for buffets, but did not compare with the dining room quality. And I don't understand why Princess serves lousy coffee in the buffet when the rest of their product is so good. The lemonade was terrific, but only offered in the buffet (why not in the dining room?), and you needed to ask a waiter for it, and it seemed a big hassle for him to get it. Based on recommendations I'd read here, my father-in-law and I signed up for the Chef's table. I'm usually fairly cheap, but that was a very well-spent $75. Amazing food, amazing experience. The shows were excellent. The first, "Broadway Ballroom" (or something like that) was a show-tune review with excellent singing and dancing. The other "Once Upon a Dream" had the ghost of a plot, but was mostly another song-and-dance vehicle, with some great special effects. Both shows were great for kids as well as adults. I was disappointed that there were only two different "big" shows, and that to get a good seat you needed to be in the theater at least 35 minutes early. The kids club had all sorts of great equipment- air hockey, foosball, Playstations, but it seemed to me that generally it was the toys that the kids were interacting with, not the staff. The counselors didn't really engage the kids, they supervised. I also think that the 8-12 age range is too broad- there's not much that the kids at the extremes have in common. Also, the programs shut down from 12-2 and 5-7, which are not the most convenient times. I'd also have hoped that they would have had something more family appropriate on MUTS during the hours that the Kids Club was closed on Sea Days- but "Eagle Eye" really doesn't fit that bill. Speaking of MUTS, it is a great concept, and a lot of fun. What I don't understand is why they don't have something running all day. A movie would end at 1:30, and the next wouldn't start until 3:00. I understand that not everyone wants to see something, but if you're sitting in front of the MUTS screen, chances are good that you do. Even filler such as music videos or cartoon would be nice. And while I'm up on deck, let me add my voice to the chorus of those frustrated with chair hogs. I really think Princess needs to be more proactive in dealing with them. My family found the only open chairs (not enough), and then were offered a couple more by a family that left after having been there an hour or so. An hour later, some guy came up, irate, saying that those were HIS chairs, and he'd just gone to lunch (although a group on the other side confirmed he'd been gone at least 2 hours. Who needs conflict like this on vacation? The service overall was very good. It was much better than on Norwegian, where even the passenger services people didn't seem to know anything. But it still wasn't quite in the same league as Disney, where every cabin steward seemed to know everything about the ship. Our arrival in Port Everglades was delayed over an hour due to problems stowing the lifeboat. I understand that things like this happen, but Princess did a terrible job managing it- the only announcement was around 5:30pm, with the Captain announcing that it "would affect our arrival"- but they never said by how much, or when we should report to our debarkation places, etc. When I called passenger services and ask what time I should show up in the dining room for my 7:10 walkoff, I was told "You should be there at 7:10, but it will be late, so you don't need to be there at 7:10". "So, what time should I be there?" "Um.... 7:30?" It didn't exactly fill me with confidence. It surprised me that there were not "standard delayed arrival procedures" that could be followed to keep things running smoothly and keep the passengers informed. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
This was my 18th cruise. I can't help but compare each cruise to our best experiences at sea. So here goes... We arrived in FLL one day before the cruise. Princess booked us at the Hollywood Beach Marriott. The price was $300 ... Read More
This was my 18th cruise. I can't help but compare each cruise to our best experiences at sea. So here goes... We arrived in FLL one day before the cruise. Princess booked us at the Hollywood Beach Marriott. The price was $300 plus for one night! If I could do it over, I would book a 4-star on hotwire.com for at least half off that price. Wished our travel agent had advised us that we didn't have to go through Princess. We liked that the hotel was located on the beach. We dined at the hotel for dinner and then breakfast on cruise day and enjoyed both meals. The hotel, however, didn't look like a typical Marriott. It was an older building that most likely Marriott had purchased from another chain. The interior was refurbished nicely. Still, not worth the steep price. The room was fine except that there wasn't a full-length mirror and the bathroom door was glass! Pretty, but not too private for families. Tip* If you have booked your pre-cruise night through Princess and want to get to the ship late morning, do not take the transportation they provide! They'll start lining you up like cattle at 1pm, and you'll be lucky to be on the ship by 2:30. The concierge will hire you a taxi. Four of us split the $35 cost, and we had our driver make a stop at a liquor store (Crown Liquor?) that was adjacent to Walgreens. We picked up some champagne splits and wine. We then hit Walgreens for some items we forgot and a big 2.5 gal. of purified water I like to have in the stateroom. Embarkation: A breeze for us at approximately 11:30 a.m. Our room (mini suite on Dolphin 9) was ready for us. This was a relief as some cruise lines (such as Disney) will not even let you drop off luggage before 1 p.m. Tip* I always make sure I bring on a roll-aboard (carry personally, don't check with the porter) all the bathroom toiletry items and makeup, clothing, sunscreen, etc. so that I can start setting up "my areas" and change to a swimsuit and coverup, or whatever and not have to wait for a late-arriving suitcase. Beware, if you are want a totally private balcony, the mini-suites on the Dolphin is not your floor. All balconies on this deck are 100% exposed. People standing on the top deck down to deck 10 can see you. As soon as I pop out of bed I like to go out on the balcony. Can't do that on deck 9 without feeling self-conscious. The ship is attractive, but I find that of all new ships I've been on. I guess I have to say the The Brilliance of the Seas was the prettiest with the glass elevators with the view to the sea beats all. I was hoping that the Piazza, the main atrium area, would in a small way compete with the Royal Promenade on the larger Royal Caribbean ships. It does not. Saw a woman doing the hoola hoop one day....Okaaay.... My husband and I seemed to get disoriented on this ship a little more often, even late into the cruise. Not sure if it was us or this boat. For some reason I decided to try my luck at winning a free spa procedure and attended the must-be-present-to-win raffle at the spa the first day. Forget this. I wasted 45 minutes of precious first-day at sea time. The last drawing was for a seaweed wrap massage. I "won"! When I read the fine print on the certificate, it was for $40 off (approx. 20%). It had to be booked by 10 p.m. that night and could only be used for a port day! This left a bad taste in my mouth. If they understood customer service a little better, they would realize that by delivering what they had promised would have resulted in return visits. Ladies, do not wait to be onboard if you want to have your nails done. I finally got a cancellation appointment on Monday at 5 p.m.! Tip* Do not let them rub your arms and legs during your manicure/pedi with their course salts!! Ouch!!! This hurts after getting a little too much sun. But should'nt they know this?Recommend: The Maitre D' wine tasting. $25pp for better wines, champagne. Had a lot of fun. 4 or 5 different presenters. Recommend: The Italian pay restaurant, Sabitini's. Everything was great. A total departure from the regular assigned restaurant. This was the way crusing was before all the cutbacks and pay restaurants. I ordered the lobster as my main course. It was ever so slightly overcooked with a brown sauce. If you like it the traditional way with drawn butter, ask your server if you can have it served that way. Recommend: The Margharita's. You can get it made with the real deal such as Grand Marnier and real squeezed lime. So many lines only serve the junk from the cartons. Obvious cutbacks: Did not see anything promoting a Captain's Gala party on the first formal night? But they did have the repeaters Princess Captain's Circle party the night of the second formal night. We were assigned late dining so our Circle party time was 7 p.m. There were shows etc. also scheduled for this time. To me, it was obvious they were hoping for low attendance by scheduling it at this busy time. My last cruise was on NCL. The party for the repeat guests was scheduled late a.m. on a sea day. Also, NO musical group at the pool!! Instead, one guy who didn't sing. Big disappointment. We didn't even want to hang at the pool. First time this happened. This cruise was just too crowded. When we checked in, I asked if it was a full boat. I was told it was bursting at the seams. My husband and I are ready for a mid-size ship and a luxury line such as Crystal or even Oceania we would like to try. Lines and more lines, can't find a table at the buffet, etc. People sometimes erroneously equate bigger with better. Now, bigger usually means another deck of cabinsmore bodies, not extra ammenities.Food: Breakfast was fine. I usually only eat eggs and fruit. I had to get the sunnyside up eggs because the scrambled tasted and looked like they were made from a mix. Lunch: Only eat salads and the variety was good and they had extra virgin olive oil! Wish they had sea salt, but I do bring my own packets. Dinner: The entrees didn't knock off our socks as far as sounding appetizing and lacked in quality, especially the beef. We gave the beef about 4 tries. Bombed each time. Princess gets low, low-grade beef. Why should we have to spend $25pp to get a decent steak? On lobster night I asked our server what to order. He said the beef or lamb. Was hoping he would recommend the lobster. I tried the beef. Left half and did not enjoy the half I ate. Entertainment: We love to attend the shows. We were disappointed with the shows on this ship. We did love the comedian, Phil Tag! He's been on Leno and will be on again when Leno moves to 10 p.m. Too many of the shows involved wanting more from the audience. Telling us, "is that the best you can do???!!!" So we had to clap louder, yell louder, etc. Hey, I just want to be entertained! My clapping and yelling will be commensurate with the quality of the entertainment being provided. For instance, I was on the Mariner of the Seas twice, 3 monthes apart in 2006. Saw all the shows again on the second cruise. I loved them no less the second time around. The quality was that good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
My husband and I have always been cautious about taking a cruise, for one we don't like planned activities and another I get awful motion sickness. Anyway, we decided to try a cruise for Spring Break on Princess based on ... Read More
My husband and I have always been cautious about taking a cruise, for one we don't like planned activities and another I get awful motion sickness. Anyway, we decided to try a cruise for Spring Break on Princess based on recommendations from friends whose children really enjoyed the kid's program. We took a taxi to the Port at 1:30 and were in our cabin within about 15 minutes. We had a mini-suite on Dolphin, which was very nice with plenty of room for all three of us. The balcony has little privacy, because the other decks can see onto the Dolphin deck, but I think that may be the price for having a mini-suite room. The Kid zone was well staffed and the program seemed to have a lot of activities for those days at sea. My son was excited about attending the program until toward the end of the trip and by then he was burnt out on going off to camp (he comes by this honestly). The food in the dining rooms was generally good with some meals very good. The service was excellent. We had dinner in the Crown Grill as well and thought that meal well worth the extra price. The Horizon buffet and Caribe buffet were at best fair and I would suggest either the pizza at the pool or the International cafe instead of the buffets. The pastries at the International cafe were exceptional in the morning and that was where we had breakfast most days. We went on two excursions, Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman. At Cozumel, we took a taxi into town to do some shopping, which was fine. As to the motion sickness, it was fine except for going through the Straits of Florida on both sides of the trip. I had a patch on for the first half of the trip and used children's bonine for the return trip. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
First, we flow from Burlington on Jet Blue the Friday and save $600 per couple compared to fly from Montreal. Everything was perfect; planes were on time and seats. We were at the pier by noon on the Saturday. Embarkation was smooth and ... Read More
First, we flow from Burlington on Jet Blue the Friday and save $600 per couple compared to fly from Montreal. Everything was perfect; planes were on time and seats. We were at the pier by noon on the Saturday. Embarkation was smooth and easy within 30 minutes we were in the Piazza... MARVELOUS... It is very XXX and of course everything is new. We adopted the International Cafe having a latte or cappuccino every morning and our favorite place for cocktails was the Vines for a glass of wine before dinner both on the Piazza. Our cabin on deck 10 (Caribe) had a nice balcony. Our balcony was larger then the one of our relatives on deck 14 (Riviera). The room was nice and comfortable. Zaldy our cabin Stewart came to meet with us as we first come and he was perfect, doing anything possible to make us feel good and comfortable. Everything on the ship was perfect... services, public spaces, pools areas, bars and restaurants. It was always clean; the staff was always helpful and smiling. ABOUT THE FOOD... After reading a couple of review about de Ruby I was a bit scared. We expect the food to be excellent on a five-star ship, even better then in a five-star all-inclusive. THE FOOD WAS EXCELLENT. We ate at the buffet, the two anytime dinning room and the Sabatini. It was perfect everywhere. We also had the Ultimate Balcony Dinner which really worth the $100 per couple. Drinks, champagne, flowers, lobster, filet mignon, dessert and super service. It is a memory that I will cherish all my life. Soooooo romantic! We booked prior to the cruise all the shore excursions with Princess. Cozumel at the Playa Mia is a must, Seven Mile Beach at Grand Cayman also. We also had a fantastic time at Princess Cays. The day in Ocho Rios was different... Unfortunately it was pouring... We had booked the Shaw Park, Beach and Dunn's River excursions and we decided to go even if the weather was not on our side. The park visit with our guide was very interesting and fun. Like he said it was liquid sunshine! I would do the Dunn's River anytime a very nice challenge. But the beach was awful. The chairs were dirty just like the Beach. Even if it was raining we would have gone in the ocean but because of the way it looked the four of us decided not to go. But this was the only bad experience we had during the whole week. Our cruise was perfect. I will never thank my husband enough for this fantastic vacation. The Ruby is the perfect decor for a romantic and relaxing vacation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
This was our second cruise out first on Princess. We booked the cruise last June and enjoyed the anticipation of spending seven nights on the new Ruby Princess. Our first cruise was on the Carnival Triumph in February 2008 departing from ... Read More
This was our second cruise out first on Princess. We booked the cruise last June and enjoyed the anticipation of spending seven nights on the new Ruby Princess. Our first cruise was on the Carnival Triumph in February 2008 departing from Miami. We had a fabulous time and decided that cruising is the best way to vacation. So it was on to Ft. Lauderdale for our trip to the Western Caribbean on the new Ruby Princess in a double room with a balcony. It was cold when we left Washington state and according to Floridians, it was cold in Ft. Lauderdale although it felt pretty nice to us! Arrived at Port Everglades on Saturday, February 7. We were surprised to find a port facility much older than what we found in Miami, plus pretty dirty. The process was pretty fast to board and our room was ready when we boarded at noon. We were disappointed with the size of the room, but understand that the room plus balcony was about the same size as the room we had on the Triumph last year. Ultimately, we loved having access to the balcony. One small issue that was unavoidable was that the neighbors smoked and while in port the smoke from the neighbors was really apparent. Food was good not great on the Ruby. I personally liked having 24-hour access to free ice cream/yogurt on the Triumph which was not available on the Ruby. The room service menu on the Triumph was also much better than on the Ruby. In general, I did not see much difference in the quality of the Princess food which I had been told to expect. As far as the Ports go, we had a fabulous time zip lining in Jamaica although it rained nearly all the time we were ashore. The zip lining team was great, very professional and safety oriented. Loved it! Grand Cayman was okay. Did not take any tours, just ashore for some "shore time" and wandering. Not much to do within walking distance other than shop, eat and drink or take advantage of the 500 local banks! Cozumel was "interesting" although we did not get to see anything but the dock! We had signed up for the tour of Tulum Ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula. We went directly from the Ruby to the boat that took us to Playa del Carmine a pretty bumpy 40 minute ride where we boarded a nice bus for another 45 minute ride to the ruins which included a required "rest" stop for rest and souvenirs. Tulum is fascinating and sits above a beautiful beach. When we left we had to wait for some folks who did not understand that we were actually expected to be back to the bus on time! Anyway, by the time we got back to the dock at Cozumel, we only had time to "double time" it back to the ship, so we had no time to see anything but the dock in Cozumel. Princess Cays was gorgeous, but not quite as nice as Half Moon Cay that we visited last year. The weather this year was bad Saturday, Sunday, and Monday with some ugly seas. It all cleared up Tuesday and was gorgeous after that with nice flat seas which we really enjoyed since my wife tends to get a little motion sick. Our room steward was Richie for the cruise and he was fabulous. And with all cruises, it came to an end. Took little time to get off the ship, collect our luggage, and breeze through customs. That is where the fun ended. We became extremely unhappy and frustrated with Port Everglades. We were told to go to a specific area to catch a cab. It took 40 minutes to get a cab with sheriff/port deputies telling us to get closer together and keep out of the way of traffic. There was no order at all as to who got or did not get a cab. It would seem to me that a Port as busy as Port Everglades would be able to have experience in dealing with a lot of people trying to get transportation. Seemed as if this was the very first time they had ever seen anyone get off a ship needing transportation away from the port. The bottom line is that we loved the cruise and are planning for our next cruise, but will never cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale again. Today's plans are for Carnival Legend out of Tampa next February. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
HAL vs Princess This is a review after taking back to back 7 day cruises. The first week (Feb7-14) was spent on the Ruby Princess, the latest addition to the Princess fleet. The second week (Feb14-21) was spent on the Eurodam, the latest ... Read More
HAL vs Princess This is a review after taking back to back 7 day cruises. The first week (Feb7-14) was spent on the Ruby Princess, the latest addition to the Princess fleet. The second week (Feb14-21) was spent on the Eurodam, the latest addition to the Holland America fleet. This review will be focussed on comparing the ships and services of these competitors versus our particular itineraries which were both out of Fort Lauderdale, the western Caribbean on Princess and the eastern Caribbean on HAL. First the cabins: We had a balcony stateroom on Princess, an obstructed view on HAL but, other than that, here are the differences we observed: Bathroom: The bathroom on HAL is bigger than Princess, with a bath/shower combination vs a small shower on Princess. The towels are bigger on HAL, softer on Princess. The shower hardware on HAL allows for more adjustment. Storage: Although HAL has closets with doors which are aesthetically more pleasing than Princess which is basically an open closet rod adjacent to the bathroom, we found the Princess setup more practical. The closets on HAL are adjacent to the cabin and bathroom door which creates congestion. Also, because there are several closets (3 separate compartments) you need to remember where everything is and you are constantly opening and closing doors in competition with each other when getting dressed or undressed. Combined with the desire to get in and out of the bathroom it can make for some comical results! With Princess the storage area is open and well lighted....not so aesthetic to see all your cloths hanging there, but it is well lighted and just works better. Mini Fridge: the HAL fridge was fully stocked with beers, wines, Perrier, soft drinks and bottled water. The Princess fridge had a few cans of coke and bottled water. They are essentially the same size. Furniture: The HAL bed was adjacent to window with a couch adjacent to the bathroom and across from the desk/TV. It had a table in front of the couch. The Princess bed was closer to the cabin door and had a desk and console adjacent to the balcony doors. We find the beds on HAL more comfortable than Princess. The bedding on HAL has you sleeping between sheets, while Princess has you sleeping under a duvet. The waste can on HAL has separate compartments for paper and waste, Princess has a single compartment waste can. HAL's desk comes with a lighted magnified make-up mirror. None on Princess. One thing we like about Princess is that their balcony door is a sliding patio door versus a hinged door on HAL. It is great to leave that sliding door open on Princess and go to sleep with the sound of the water on the hull of the ship. It is harder to do that on HAL as the hinged door of their balconies are spring loaded and designed to stay closed. In the past we have wedged them open with a chair. I believe the TV was larger on the Princess than HAL, however, I did not see a DVD player on the Ruby. The Eurodam comes equipped with a DVD player and the library has a good selection of movies for rent. The bedside tables are similar on each ship...a couple of drawers each with a cubby. The Princess bedside tables have deeper drawers which make them more useful. Princess has bedside table lamps which take up space. The Eurodam has neat wall mounted reading lamps on each side of the bed, leaving the top of each bedside table available. Cabin Amenities: The bathrobes are better quality on HAL and are available when you arrive. The Princess robes arrived on the second day of the cruise as they were being cleaned. The soaps and shampoos are better quality on the Eurodam. No towel animals on Ruby. On the first three nights we received small presents at turn down in the evening on the Eurodam. The first night we had a special plate of sweets to celebrate Valentine's day. The second night we received complementary Pinnacle invitations and a nice HAL tote bag for the beach or shore excursions. The third night we received our Mariner tiles. We were also impressed with the amount of personalized mail we received on the Eurodam. Dining arrangement confirmations etc. The small newspapers provided on HAL are not provided on Princess. HAL even provides an edition for Canadians! Dining: Main Dining Rooms: There a few things that set these two ships apart when it comes to their main dining room. We had 'as you wish' dining on each cruise. We identified a table we liked and made reservations everyday for that table which worked well. However, in the case of HAL, each afternoon a note was delivered to our cabin confirming our reservation. It was a nice touch and by presenting the note when we arrived for dinner, it eliminated any confusion or line-up. The food was good in both dining rooms. HAL serves cappuccino gratis after dinner, where on Princess it is an extra $2.50. The regular coffee is terrible on Princess...not fresh brewed as on HAL. What Princess serves for coffee....well, I`m not sure what it is. You would think they would try and get that right. Probably why the cafe in the Piazza became my favourite spot on the Ruby. They served great coffee and I ended up purchasing a coffee card for my daily fix. With HAL we had better service. Two waiters plus a wine steward, whereas the waiters (2) on the Princess handled the wine as well. Service and quality of the food I would say was more consistent on the Eurodam. Lido Dining: The Lido buffets are setup differently on HAL and Princess. On Princess there is more pre-prepared offerings and guests can help themselves, whereas HAL provides staff behind more food stations who prepare your plate of food and hand it to you. We found the line-ups for food about the same on each ship and they varied based on time of day. Again, the food was very good on both Lido decks. I would say the service was better on the Eurodam`s Lido deck. We noticed many staff carrying trays for passengers and they always greeted you warmly. Tables were cleaned and reset more efficiently on HAL. One other bonus for HAL was freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning.....didn't see that on the Ruby. Specialty Dining: Each ship offers two specialty restaurants. Each has a restaurant focussed on Steaks - HAL with the Pinnacle Grill and Princess with the Crown Grill, which features an open galley. I have to say Princess wins the battle of the steaks, although the Crown Grill is more expensive. Sabatinis on the Ruby has a wonderful Italian tasting menu, where you enjoy many flavourful appetizers. You only need to order the Entre. The Tamarind on the Eurodam features an Asian fusion experience. Sabatinis was a very lively experience, while the Tamarind delivered a more refined dining experience. These are both great restaurants. In Room Dining: There is a bigger selection on the in-room menu on HAL than on Princess by a long shot. Also, full breakfast is offered in-room on HAL versus a continental selection on Princess. Common Areas: This is where the Ruby really shines. The fit and finish on the Ruby is far superior to the Eurodam and the richness of her many entertainment venues are what larger ships are able to offer....and the Ruby delivers. From the rich wood panelling of her bars to the marble in the Piazza she is a beautiful ship. The Piazza is a lively centre of the ship with entertainment and events happening on a frequent basis. The lower level is very comfortable with the cafe offering designer coffees with full bar service and across the way is Vines which is a sushi wine bar. The shops are nicely laid out and the various bars all have their own purpose and personality. Also, we found the movies under the stars feature was neat. We sat on deck chairs one night after supper and watched a concert by Tina Turner. The sound system and video screen is impressive. The Ruby offers 4 separate swimming pools versus two on the Eurodam. A couple of things we found more attractive on the Eurodam was the more expansive promenade deck with room for loungers and a full circuit around the perimeter of the ship all on one level...great for those walks in the morning or after dinner. Also the Crows nest on the Eurodam offers a venue to gaze forward, whereas the Ruby only offers that view from the gymnasium, which is very well equipped. Conclusions: We enjoyed both our cruise on the Ruby and the Eurodam. The Ruby offers a richer, livelier experience, while the Eurodam was a more refined atmosphere. I have to say the staff on the Eurodam seemed more friendlier than the staff on the Princess. I swear I said Good Morning to more staff on the first morning on the Eurodam than the entire week on the Ruby. While we felt there were many more things to do and places to be on the Ruby, I`m not sure that is what we were looking for in our cruise. Bottom line is that we preferred our week on the Eurodam better. It seems that HAL focuses on a refined, more personalized service versus a livelier albeit more impersonal product offered on the Ruby. We really enjoyed the opportunity to compare the two ships and the style of each cruise line. For anyone looking for 2 weeks to spend cruising I would recommend a back to back on these two fine ships. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
This was my second trip on a Princess Cruise and I was joined by my wife on this voyage aboard the Ruby Princess from February 14 - February 21, 2009. We tend to do a little bit more "adventurous" travel, and have done a ... Read More
This was my second trip on a Princess Cruise and I was joined by my wife on this voyage aboard the Ruby Princess from February 14 - February 21, 2009. We tend to do a little bit more "adventurous" travel, and have done a Galapagos Cruise on a 20-person yacht run by Ecoventura, and an expedition on a Russian Icebreaker to Antarctica (43 passengers, great experience with Quark Expeditions). So, for us - this is a little different than we normally travel. For perspective, I'm 44 and she is 36. We arrived very late the night before travelling from San Francisco to Miami and driving to Ft. Lauderdale. The next day we returned our car to the airport, and Hertz offered to drive us over to the ship (and didn't charge us anything). The driver was great, and due to the fact we didn't pay a cab, we were able to over-tip - which I really enjoy. I haven't used Princess' transfers on either of my cruises, and based upon what I've seen would consider them way overpriced compared to what I can do personally. Embarkation - this ran VERY smoothly. It took no more than about 15 minutes from walking in to getting on our ship and going up to our room. We met our steward for the trip, Pol, who was a great day and did a very excellent job at keeping our room clean and was always very friendly. We liked him a lot, so my wife was sure to fill out a blue "comment card" that you can complete for recognition of great customer service. After dropping things off, we went out in search of the soda passes ($29.75 + 15% gratuity for all the soda you can drink in 7 days), and then up to the buffet for lunch. I had read many reviews on the site about the quality of food on the voyage, and would have to say that I thought the food was fine. It tasted good, didn't cause any gastrointestinal problems, and overall was fine. It was a slight notch down from what I had on my Alaskan Cruise - but was still very good, and there was plenty of it. After that, we went back to our room to watch the sail away, and then relaxed for a bit before going around and exploring the ship. The ship itself was very nice, and we liked the layout of it. The Sanctuary looked like a great place to rest, and the miniature golf course, basketball hoops, and other athletic amenities were definitely state-of-the-art. We played miniature golf one day, and it took only about 15 minutes to complete 9 holes - but we had fun (the purpose of this trip, after all). We had dinner in the Michelangelo Dining Room (we had anytime dining this time around, whereas we had assigned seating on the last trip). The food was good, and we were seated with people whom we didn't know (they were nice) and it took 2 hours to get through with dinner service. Normally, my wife and I don't take that long to eat - and when we were with her extended family up in Alaska, that was a positive - but we didn't want to miss many activities...so, we learned something. If you go at 9:15, you get a table by yourselves, and you are served faster, and can finish by a little after 10 PM. One night, we arrived at 9:40 PM and were out by 10:15 PM having an appetizer, main dish and dessert - and caught a late show of something. The first night, we also went to the "spa giveaway" night. Now, the spa was an interesting place. I didn't go to the spa on my previous journey, but my wife and I did sign up before we left for the couples massage on Thursday. After going that night, I equate going to the spa as going to a Timeshare Presentation. When we arrived Antwanette (how she spelled it) wanted to show us around, and showed us a private area where only 40 guests were allowed and it had steam rooms, heated chairs, and other amenities - all for the price of $110 each for full use during the cruise. We didn't think that we would use it that much, so turned it down. Then came the "drawing" - which was basically coupons off for various services that they offer - teeth whitening, acupuncture, massage, facials, weight loss treatments for cellulite, etc.. My wife didn't win anything, but another woman won the $40 off a facial, and didn't want it - so gave it to my wife. We went to the front desk, and they scheduled her facial for the next day (we also got them to knock $20 off of our couples massage). The next day (Sunday, a sea day) she went down for her facial and described it to me. For the first 15 minutes her dear friend Antwanette told her about the procedure and the products that they would be using. During the facial she was explaining what each did, and talking about their benefit, and then when she was done, Antwanette was nice enough to recommend that she purchase the whole kit n' caboodle for an additional $290. (The facial, with coupon, was $105). My wife was not happy with the whole experience, and felt that all it was was an upsell attempt. And that was the sad part of the trip that we kept talking about - the constant pressure (especially in the spa) to upsell and buy more stuff. The fact that Princess pictures are $30 each (we saw a couple in line struggling to make that purchase - my wife and I travel a lot - but for them, it may have been their one big trip in five years), the fact that everywhere you go, the pressure is on to buy the Reflections DVD, to buy more spa product, to buy this, to buy that - sale here - shop at one of "Princess' recommended stores" (I bet Princess gets a cut out of what people spend on shopping at their shore excursions). You spend so much time on that ship telling people "no", that it really cuts into my "totally escaping" and enjoying a relaxing vacation. There were many times that I felt that I was at a Timeshare Presentation with the way the sales worked. One more word on the spa, then I'll hit entertainment. We did our couples massage on Thursday. The massage was excellent! I will say that the two ladies who did the massage were in the top 10% of massages that I've had in my life (and I've had quite a few). Right pressure, right tempo, all very nice (although at $269 for 100 minutes - 50 minutes for each of us, it was expensive). I would recommend the massage - HOWEVER, all throughout I kept waiting for the "upsell". I had told my wife before hand that it would probably be massage oil that they would try to get us to buy. Sure enough, after it was over, they left us for a few minutes - and came back and did a little presentation on how buying this massage oil would be great and we could re-create this experience with just the two of us. I told them "no" (and again, this kind of ruined the great spa experience for me as I always feel slightly guilty telling people no. I liked the two ladies - but had no need for their product - I still have tons of massage oil from when I got married in Tahiti). So, with that letdown, they led us to the Sanctuary where champagne and chocolate covered strawberries awaited us. Once again, the Timeshare mentality continued. The entertainment was great and a lot of fun. Phil Tag, the comedian was hilarious, and my wife would love to see him again if he makes it to San Francisco. The two main production shows, "Ballroom Broadway" and "Once Upon a Dream" were both excellent - although I definitely enjoyed the Dream more, as I loved the creativity with the music and musical themes. As someone who performs Improv regularly, I thought the performers were good, the dances fun to watch (one woman had the best abs that I have seen in my life. No body fat, incredibly toned - both my wife and I always had our eyes drawn to them, we were amazed). Definitely catch the entertainment - it will be well worth it (and no "upselling")! One of the big highlights of the trip was doing Movies Under the Stars. My wife and I enjoyed this more than we thought we would and saw three movies - The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Flash of Genius, and Mama Mia. We got blankets, free popcorn (although an "upsell" opportunity to movie candy for $2) and it was nice watching the movie like that. The Jacuzzi was open, so you could also watch from there. The movies were all good, and we really enjoyed the experience. My wife and I also took part in one of the game shows - Peer Pressure, which was a lot of fun. It's always fun to get involved with those and I had a great time with the task that I got. We also did the trivia quizzes when we could (I won once). The only down note on that is during one of the scheduled sessions, the staff person never showed up leaving about 25 people waiting for about 45 minutes. Then the Wheelhouse changed to a British Pub and we had to leave (the bangers and mash were just "OK" - although they did have my favorite HP sauce). The Destinations: Jamaica - Wow. This is an interesting place. I did the Plantation Tour with Dunns River Falls. I liked this tour. I felt the Plantation was interesting, our guide was funny, and I enjoyed this. There were some good views, and we learned a little about the crops of the Caribbean. Dunns River Falls is a must-see if you go to Jamaica, and don't wimp out - climb the falls. It's not that difficult. We liked our guide up the falls, but the two videographers were EXTREMELY annoying and our group was around 35 people - so it took a long time. The videographers (who were there to hawk a DVD they would make of your climb for the bargain price of $40, although you could talk them down if you wanted it) were constantly trying to get you to look enthusiastic and yell "Hot Hot Hot", and other things, and I just wanted to do the hike up the falls (200 yards), enjoy the scenery and the water, and hang out with my wife and other passengers on my ship who were there and very friendly. The experience of going up the falls and seeing the plantation was great - but dealing with the videographers was not. Additionally, they FORCE you to go through all the vendors on the way out of the Falls area and they harass you incessantly. Let me give you this, buy that, I feel left out - it's enough to take a great experience and make you regret coming. The same attitude was true for the stores that I visited during the 30 minute "shopping stop". It seemed like the woman in the store (there were about 4) kept checking how much we were spending and kept showing us more things, whether we wanted them or not (we did spend about $50 - and I brought out my American Express. They told me that it doesn't usually work and did I have another card. All I had was my ATM, and I wasn't going to give them that - so I said if it didn't work, I would just have to leave. They tried it, and guess what? IT WORKED!!!!). For those planning a trip, Princess has taken Jamaica and Ocho Rios off of their itinerary and from what I saw, added Roatan, Honduras. Having spent a week there three years ago (I became a certified scuba diver there), I think it's a great move - and they have a great marine mammal/dolphin facility there, zip-lining, and awesome scuba diving and snorkeling (plus the people are great). If any activities are done from Anthonys Key Resort - do them! We loved that place! Cayman Islands - My wife and I did Snorkeling at Stingray City and had scheduled the Island Tour with a stop at the Turtle Farm. The Stingray City tour was good, and if you haven't had much diving or snorkeling experience, I would highly recommend it. There were a lot of people in our group, and the stingrays stayed toward the bottom (although it was only 15 feet deep). Only toward the end, when half the people were on the boat, did the stingrays come and play with me - and that was fun. The captain and crew were good on the trip, and they also did a DVD (surprise?!) which you could buy for $50. Since my wife and I had previously played with stingrays (in Tahiti), and there were so many people in the water (she was constantly kicked and bumped into), we thought that the overall experience was average. When we got back, our second tour had left already (I booked them very close together hoping I could catch them as in Alaska our tours all got back early). So, Princess gave us a full refund (I was shocked, and didn't even consider asking for it - they volunteered), and we were told that we could take a taxi or local bus to the turtle farm. The bus was $2.50 each, so we chose that. We walked a few blocks, caught the "bus" (which was more like a van) and headed up there. The turtle farm is great, and we are glad that we did it on our own. We thought we saw our tour group at one point, and they were rushed through, given a turtle to hold (had their picture taken which they could buy - I don't know the cost), and left pretty quickly. We stayed for about 45 minutes - 1 hour, and bonded with the turtles. They had about 8 turtle tanks, and we bought turtle food for $3/bag. And then we hung around feeding them. They all came up close to us, and we pet a few of them - and they even ate out of my hand! We could have stayed longer, it was so interesting just watching with them and trying to play a little with them. I would highly recommend this - but NOT on a tour as you will be rushed through it. They have another section that also might be worth checking out if you have more time (not turtles, but other activities - it's more expensive). Overall, my wife enjoyed the turtle farm most of all of our excursions. Cozumel - We elected to do the Coba Ruins, which took a 45-minute ferry boat and a 90-minute bus drive to get to. There, you had two hours to spend at the ruins (I climbed a pyramid as the highlight, great views all around from the top), and then you headed back. You had the option on the bus to buy a souvenir which is a Mayan Calendar and the highlight on a day you pick. It was $30, and as I've always had an interest in time and calendars - bought it, and was happy with the product when I got it. Lunch was Subway (one woman commented that "I come all the way to Mexico and got Subway????" - but I was glad as I knew what it was, that it was edible, and was happy with the sandwich). The only sad thing is that we didn't get to spend any time in Playa Del Carmen, which is where the ferry leaves you and you walk to your bus. As a matter of fact, the guides MADE sure that you didn't shop anywhere in this community (and this was true from the three other tours that stopped there, form what people told me). I think Princess doesn't have any deals with the vendors here, so need to make sure the passengers spend money in Cozumel and not in Playa Del Carmen. My wife was very upset as they had a Starbucks there and she REALLY wanted to go…so close, yet so far… Overall, it was a good trip, but you really are pressed for time. It's good exercise, but I would think Tulum is prettier from the pictures that I saw (HOWEVER, you cannot climb the pyramid at Tulum, so if that is important - Coba is the place to go). Princess Cays - Great concept, poor execution. I did my one scuba dive on the trip here, a dive called "Boiling Hole" with Ocean Fox Divers and it was a good dive (only 35 feet), and a lot of fun. I left the ship around 9:15 AM, and my wife was going to get a beach shell and we were going to meet at around 12:30 PM at a store from the map. Well, I get back from my dive at 11:45 AM (15 minutes early), and I see my wife at the dock. Apparently, she had JUST arrived, and it had taken her well over an hour to get off the ship on the tender and get to Eleuthera (the actual name of the island in the Bahamas that Princess owns a piece of). She was not happy at all. She also informed me that a bunch of people gave up on going to the island and left the Princess Theatre where you met and went back upstairs. We rushed to get to the clamshell claim area (we only had 10 minutes to claim it), and ended up spending about 15 minutes in it. We then went to eat, and then it rained, so we went back on the ship. I think they could skip this stop in the future unless they find a better way to get people on and off the ship. The line to get back was also incredibly long. Final thoughts - I enjoyed the cruise (with the exception of the "upselling" pressure) and liked the little things - the milk and cookies at 3 PM in the pool area, or the good service. We ate at Sabatinis (never again, below average service and mediocre food) and the Crown Grill (definitely again on the next cruise - awesome food and awesome service). We had fun, but Princess needs to stop the upselling so much. As it is, I probably won't visit their spa ever again - so, if they want to drive away customers from some of their services, they are doing a great job. Besides that - all was well and good on the Ruby Princess. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
we booked a luxury holiday of a lifetime we thought, really excited everything in the brochure sounded perfect,but should have realized as soon as we checked in to manchester airport,we checked lots of different flight options but princess ... Read More
we booked a luxury holiday of a lifetime we thought, really excited everything in the brochure sounded perfect,but should have realized as soon as we checked in to manchester airport,we checked lots of different flight options but princess reassured us that they had chosen the best root to the ship in f/lauderdale, basically it was the cheapest flight to the ship !!! we had to wait in atlanta 3 hours for the connecting flight to miami, so tiring, willing to put it all behind us , we got up the next morning went down for breakfast and got stung with a bill for 45 dollars just for a buffet breakfast,which princess hadn't covered for,anyway finally got to the ship after the coach breaking down on the way, to be hoping to be greeted like a vip bearing in mind we have booked the penthouse suite, got to the room and basically it was no different to the normal suites, only slightly bigger,got introduced to our butler marlon who was really lovely and helpful, but any service we asked for we was charged, what perks have we paid for in the penthouse suite !!! had cloths pressed up , and was charged 19 dollars,we should have just booked a normal suite and requested room service, and saved ourselves 2thousand pounds,they was no way you could have balcony dinning, it wasn't wide enough for the table and chairs,and it was another extra charge, the shows was excellent, the ship was really nice decor, but just felt a number, not a special experience we thought it was going to be,!!the trips was organized good, but overall you felt robbed all the holiday,and would definitely not be in no rush to do it again!!and the final insult was the bill at the end of the week when an extra gratuity charge was applied of 140 dollars,for the staff we haven't seen on board,hadn't we paid enough for the penthouse suite, and had no perks back in return! we have been to lots of special places where the people made you feel welcome and special but princess cruises isnt on our list, got nice memories of the places we have visited, and the sights we have seen, we will book a direct flight next time, straight to the Caribbean and hope to have the luxury holiday we thought this was going to be !!!!.(excuse the spelling) Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Pre-cruise we stayed at the Marriott Springhill suites in Dania. We arrived early and the room wasn't ready, but they were accommodating and checked our luggage so we were able to explore the large shopping center directly across the ... Read More
Pre-cruise we stayed at the Marriott Springhill suites in Dania. We arrived early and the room wasn't ready, but they were accommodating and checked our luggage so we were able to explore the large shopping center directly across the street, which included a bj's liquor store and barnes and noble. As we were upgraded to a suite, we had certain perks, including priority embarkation. we were in our room 10-15 minutes. (we arrived at the port at 12:00). We then went to make our dinner reservations at the Crown Grill for Caribbean night (when in Jamaica) We went to the beautiful and impressive gym to sign up for spin class and the thermo spa. We ate lunch at the Horizon Grill, which was adequate nothing exciting. The entertainment night in the Princess theater was the princess dancers, who were excellent and a small bit by a comedian Phil Tag (whose been on the tonight show). He was very entertaining. Since it was valentine day there was a slight theme of this, including rose boutonnieres and corsage. 2nd day- we ate breakfast at Sabatini's (only for suite guests) I felt like I was at the ritz-carlton for breakfast. Service was impeccable, and even the orange juice was better than at the buffet. At night we went to the explorers lounge which had an Impressionist/comedian. He was pretty funny. We had to stand, as there were no longer seats. We had anytime dining, and as long as we joined others there was never a wait, even at prime time (between 6-8PM) Food for the most part in the Dining room were pretty good. And actually the lobster was better there than in the Crown Grill. We ate lunch one day in the Dining room and it was very good. Entertainment- Princess entertainment is always good. The once upon a dream show was excellent. The theater is a little small so you sometimes have to get there early on a full ship. The magician/comic was also good. Facilities.- great. We didn't use the sanctuary sitting area, but it looked great. Gym- great. The whole ship was beautiful Staff- was excellent, franco our steward on dolphin deck did an outstanding job. service at dining room was always good. P Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
I find it interesting to read other reviews, and often wonder what folks who book passage on a cruise ship that accommodates over 3,00 passengers really expect. Do they do any research...look at diagrams and websites etc?? From some of the ... Read More
I find it interesting to read other reviews, and often wonder what folks who book passage on a cruise ship that accommodates over 3,00 passengers really expect. Do they do any research...look at diagrams and websites etc?? From some of the negative comments I have read...I doubt it !! Let me start by saying this was my sixth cruise, although my first with Princess...and I will certainly cruise with them again based on my week on the Ruby. I chose the ship, not only to experience the virtues of Princess, but because the Ruby was a new ship, and I was looking forward to the shine and sparkle...I was NOT disappointed. The ship is beautiful, and spotless, and during my week on board I watched with fascination the degree and effort of hard work the crew puts into maintaining that sparkle. I am an early riser, and was up each of the seven mornings by 330am, and spent those quiet hours exploring every inch of public space...and as I said, watching the crew work tirelessly to making sure everything was spotless by the time the bulk of the passengers began to emerge from their slumber. Embarkation: Effortless and speedy in every way. We (I was traveling with my wife and our single Mom friend and her 2 teenage daughters) arrived at the luggage drop-off area of the terminal at approximately 1:15pm, and were on board, picture taken, and in our cabins with champagne in hand by 1:40pm. All luggage arrived by 4pm. Cabins: Decent size and accurately represented in the brochures, catalogs and website. And yes, our balconies (Dolphin deck) did extend out further than those above us, but not once during the seven days, and countless hours I spent on the balcony was I ever bothered or annoyed by those above us. I am happy to say that the view out to sea, or port kept my rapt attention, so I never found it necessary to look above me anyway. I do wish that the mini-suite cabins did have a curtain separating the bed area from the sitting area so I could have easily gone onto the balcony or turned on the second TV in the early morning hours without rousing my wife. Dining: Traveling with teens we opted for Anytime Dining, thinking this would work with our schedules better. We ate each night in the DaVinci dining room, and on only one night did we encounter a wait (12 mins). The other nights we were seated immediately, regardless of the hour...in fact we varied our dinner times from as early as 7pm, to as late as 945pm. The food in the dining room was not exceptional, but was very good. I have learned that cruise ship waiters are nothing if not accommodating, and I often order 2 appetizers, or 2 entrees or 2 desserts...or sometimes 2 of everything. So, I certainly tasted more than my fair share of the food. Good job chefs!! Service was quick and efficient, and sure there appeared to be a very few Assistant waiters/waitresses who were still learning the finer points of dining service, but that is certainly to be expected, and was not ever annoying or bothersome. The staff went out of their way to ensure an enjoyable dinner each and every night. We had briefly considered trying one of the specialty restaurants, but found the food in the dining rooms quite satisfactory and the desire to pay more to eat elsewhere was not necessary. Activities: For the teens, the activities were well planned, and the personnel were professional and helpful. We three adults are the types who enjoy spending time with each other, so shows etc are not really big on our agendas. We did attend several activities, and the most enjoyable was the Culinary presentation by Princess Cruise Line Master Chef and tour of the galley after. The music acts were enjoyable, as were a couple of the comedians we saw...but as I said, we would rather enjoy the decks, the views, the sea, the fresh air, and each others company etc, more than the planned shows. MUTS was always a welcome diversion as well, and allowed for enjoying the air, sea, view etc at the same time. Service: Without fail, the service was quite good, from ALL areas of ship personnel. I am always amazed when reviewers say they encounter rude staff etc....as I have never encountered a rude staff member on any cruise and have always found in every aspect of life..that when you treat someone with kindness, respect and friendliness, you more often than not receive the same back in return. This is especially true of those in the service industries, such as the cruise lines are. I did not see or meet one rude staff member...only rude, inconsiderate fellow passengers. On the rare occasion I encountered a staff member who didn't appear to be in the best of moods, a friendly hello and perhaps an inquiry of where they are from; how long they have been cruising etc...brought out their true friendliness and genuine caring service oriented personalities. I spent most of my early life in the Philippines, so I was thrilled to find a great majority of staff on the Ruby were from the Philippines...and always loved surprising them by throwing a few Filipino words their way. Instant smiles all around !! Remember the quantity of work each of the crew members carryout each day, seven days a week, week after week, month after month...treat them accordingly with respect, and be treated with kindness and genuine caring in return. Fitness Area: The gym was spotless, and being a newer ship, all machines and equipment were completely operational, and in good repair. Warning to anyone over 6 ft, watch out for the low ceiling if you get on the elliptical machines...Ouch !!! Overall, this was a fantastic ship, with a great crew, and plenty of venues to please everyone of every age. Ruby Princess is a true gem, and a pleasure to cruise on. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
I originally booked this cruise back around September knowing I would be unable to make it through a Northeast winter without jetting off to a warmer climate for a week. I booked directly via the cruiseline. I also started looking for ... Read More
I originally booked this cruise back around September knowing I would be unable to make it through a Northeast winter without jetting off to a warmer climate for a week. I booked directly via the cruiseline. I also started looking for airfares which were through the roof expensive being President's week and the week many schools have winter break. I chose this weekend because I would be traveling with a child on such a break. The fare was due in full on December 1 and at that time, I started hearing that fares may have dropped. To my delight, I found out that the fare for my cabin had dropped about $800. I was even able to get a better deal by booking through one of the discount online cruise sites. Always check before making your final payment if fares have dropped. And don't buy your airfare too soon either. I booked a horrible flight itinerary around October and then later had to pay $150 change fees per ticket to get something more reasonable. In the first round of air itineraries, I was going to FLL via Houston from Laguardia. Shoot me now!! I wound up leaving Newark and going via Cleveland . .far FAR BETTER!! Hotels for the night before were also expensive . .even the dives, but I wound up using some American Express miles and staying at the Hilton in Fort Lauderdale. I got a quick and free pick up from them on Friday night. The room was very nice and comfortable for three people and they had a shuttle to the cruiseport in the morning that was $9 per person and very easy. Embarkation on the Ruby Princess could not have been smoother and quicker. The ship is very beautiful and impressive. We had a BD balcony cabin on the Aloha deck. It was a room equipped with a bunk for a third person. .we were two ladies and a 7 year old. I had requested for comfort and style that we have the beds configured as a king instead of two twins. When I checked in,it was as two twins and I assumed it was because the steward saw it was all women in the room, but then found out that for some safety reasons a king bed was not allowed in a room with a bunk. This was my first annoyance as I hate sleeping in a twin bed. I tried to work out some alternate plan whereby we could even put the bunk mattress on the floor and slip it under the big bed during the day,but that would not fit. The steward went ahead and gave us our king bed even though apparently against the rules. I definitely prefer a pull out couch for the third, but these rooms did not have them. The rooms were smaller than the similar category I was used to on Celebrity. The bathrooms was smaller too and so was the teeny tiny shower stall. There was a relatively spacious area to hang clothes which was convenient. The room steward did a very nice job and tried his best to keep us happy. I much appreciated him letting us do the beds the way we wanted. The food in the Horizon was fair at best and sadly the food in the DaVinci for anytime dining was not much better. I have sailed quite a few times on Celebrity from about 2000-2005 and their food was far better. I felt uninspired most nights to even make my selections where I always felt on Celebrity that I had a hard time picking because so many items sounded delicious. I loved the Anytime dining, however,which was the reason I went ahead with Princess this time over Celebrity. I ate 5 nights in the DaVinci at differing times. One night we arrived around 6:30 PM and were able to get a private table for three. All other nights we arrived around 7-7:30PM and were immediately seated, but needed to share. That was totally fine and we met some nice people. Seemed that those that arrived around that time and wanted private tables had to wait about 20 minutes. The other two nights, the formal nights, we ate at the specialty restaurants. You only have to dress "Smart Casual" in the specialty dining rooms. Sabatini's was excellent ($20 per person cover). It was the best food we had on the Ruby all week. It was set up as a tasting menu. You only selected your main entree,soup and dessert. You tasted everything else, and it was terrific. We also did the Crowne Grill ($25 per person cover) which was nice enough, but the steaks are definitely not of the quality that you would get in a fine steak house nor grilled to the nice crust of those restaurants, but it was good enough and definitely better than what was in the DaVinci. I got the molten chocolate cake for dessert which was great. Skip paying the extra $9 for the Brazilian lobster tail. The pizza was excellent!! They had perfectly cooked over medium fried eggs every morning in the Horizon and they properly poached eggs. .not overcooked which I appreciated. The best things I had in the Davinci were the Prime Rib, a seafood antipasto, Veal Chops, Lamb Shank and Rack of Lamb . .all were good, not excellent. My friend ordered the Seabass one night . .not good at all, overcooked and tasteless. and we had Strip Steak the last night . .not good. I wished I had ordered the meatloaf. The Caesar salad is like caesar dressing out of a bottle. The Fettucini Alfredo is offered every night and was good. The desserts were mostly pretty good. For another good point, Movies Under the Stars is a lot of fun. We saw Mama Mia one night at 7PM. It was like going to a drive in movie, but better. You got your own lounger. They came around with popcorn, candy snacks to buy and blankets. The movie was great. I heard you had to arrive early to get loungers for the more popular showing of the same movie at 10:30PM. What we did was see the movie at 7PM and had reservations at Sabatini's at 9PM . . .perfect. And it's not like you would starve on a cruise ship. They also ran movies on that screen during the day which I did not find nearly as enjoyable. The loungers are much more comfortable in that pool area, but if you were not watching or interested in the movie, it was a cacophonous racket. And depending on where you sat, you could hear the movie AND the music in the adjoining pool area or the cruise director running the pool games in same pool area . .noisy!!! The ship was too crowded. This made the "at sea" days unpleasant for anyone who loves the water . . .picture loungers and random bodies strewn across the upper decks like at Coney Island on 4th of July. The chair hogging was atrocious. Princess needs to do something. I sat in one section with about 16 loungers from 9AM to 12 Noon, and only two other loungers even had butts in them . . .the rest had towels or books or hats. Their towel policy thoroughly annoyed me. Instead of leaving fresh towels by the pool, your room steward brought them to your room. So if you ran out of dry towels by the pool, you were out of luck unless you went back to your room and paged your steward to bring you more immediately . .good luck with that!!! This towel policy not only left you wrapped in damp towels all day and then turning your balcony into shantytown overnight as you tried to dry your precious towels, but led to even a bigger chair hogging problem when some believed that leaving their towel on the chair was marking their territory. You did not have to "turn your towels in" nor did you have to keep track of your towels on the boat, but getting fresh dry ones only happened in the room, as far as I knew. The kids program was great. The seven year old with us really enjoyed herself. You can even get babysitting for only $5 an hour from 10PM-1AM. You can't beat that deal with a stick!! I heard that the Sanctuary was a great deal and made the "at sea" days pleasant. If I ever do a Princess cruise again and they have a Sanctuary, I am DEFINITELY doing it. It seemed if you got in on this, you paid for the mainstream cruise and for a small upcharge got the upscale pampering and privacy of a much pricier line, avoided the tacky "Coney Island" experience. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was slow and crowded as was disembarkation at Princess Cays. Next winter, I think I am doing a land vacation. I really love cruising and being on the water and sitting on my balcony and dreaming, but all the "herding" got to me a little this time. The weather, the beautiful scenery and ship and the beautiful islands all got an A+ for the week, but overall, I have to give the Ruby about a C+ for everything all in. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
This is our 11th cruise, the third one with Princess. We travelled with two other couples, (one in their 50's, the other in our same age range 41-52). Ruby Princess is the best Princess ship we have sailed on, beautifully decorated, ... Read More
This is our 11th cruise, the third one with Princess. We travelled with two other couples, (one in their 50's, the other in our same age range 41-52). Ruby Princess is the best Princess ship we have sailed on, beautifully decorated, with a more classical look than Sapphire, and with many improvements on the Grand class. We flew from Toronto to Ft Lauderdale two days ahead of the sailing, rented a car and enjoyed shopping at Sawgrass Mills Mall and spent a day at Key Largo. We stayed at University Inn, which was of great value; it's about 12 miles north of the terminal. Embarkation on Feb 21, 2009 was smooth and very efficient. We were there before noon. They lined us up according to the decks and it took no time at all, after staying briefly in the waiting area. Of course, it depends on whether you arrived with other passengers from buses and bigger groups at the same time, for that would slow you down. We were in our cabin by 12:30 pm. Our luggage arrived after we had lunch on the Lido deck (after 2 pm). We had enough time to unpack and tour around, well before the Emergency Drill. There was ample room for storing our bags and clothing in the closet area; there were more than enough hangers for the two of us. Service was as good as we have experienced in previous journeys. The only thing is the cabin stewards did not fold the traditional "towel animals" this time. Having read other reviews that criticized the food on the ship, we were pleasantly surprised by its quality and selections. (Perhaps Princess has responded to those criticisms). It far exceeds our expectation and the dining experience of previous cruises, including RCCL & Celebrity, which was excellent. We were not fans of Anytime Time Dining, but we are very happy with our experience this week. We went to the Da Vinci most of the evenings. Even though we had different servers every meal, they were fantastic, made us feel welcomed and valued every time. We did not miss having the same servers every dinner. Even the staffs at the Horizon buffet were great; of course, some were better than others... We found the food at Horizon/Caribe Cafe also as good as it can be, not disappointing at all. Another couple tried the Crown Drill and they really liked it, and told us it is worth every dollar they spent. We had just one bad experience with a Sea Bass dish one night, it was very fishy - but other than that, all the seafood and beef dishes were excellent! The overall selections were more than adequate. We tried the Fish & Chips/English Pub Lunch at the Wheelhouse Bar on the second At Sea Day, it was fantastic as reviewed. There were no line-ups at about 1:30 pm that day. It was free - I mean no extra charge. The two new theatre production shows (Broadway Ballroom & Once Upon A Dream) were both excellent, definitely worth getting there early to get good seats. They ran them two evenings in a row, so everyone on the ship gets a chance to watch it. The stage is beautiful and it truly seems to spark. Even the "Welcome Show" on the first night was very well done. The performers and the Cruise Director, Lisa Ball certainly set the right tone for the rest of the week. The highlight of the week was the guest performer from Las Vegas, Tony Tillman, a high energy song & dance act that worked the crowd to a frenzy! We also enjoyed the different musicians and performers who worked the Piazza, which made the mid-ship "gathering place" very pleasant. While "Movies under the Star" was a nice experience, the movies offered were rather limited. We seldom went near the Lotus Spa in our previous sailings. But this time, I really enjoyed the Thermal Suite through the whole week, and had a Seaweed /Hot stone massage on the first At Sea Day. It is a most relaxing experience; highly recommended, if you don't mind paying for it. We had gone through the western itinerary before, so the ports were nothing special for us. Still, it was nice to snorkel at Cozumel again, and fun to climb Dunn's River Falls in the pouring rain. We went ashore on our own, without taking any of the excursions offered by the ship. (Note: the ship did change time on the night before going to Cozumel, so ship time and local time is the same there for that day). Overall, the sailing was very smooth the whole week; my wife did not feel too sea-sick, except on two occasions. Of course, she enjoyed all the shopping. She did take the Photoshop computer @ sea course, and Steve the instructor was great! The only downside was disembarkation on Feb 28. Something went wrong and things were delayed for at least 20-30 minutes according to schedule. When we went to the baggage claim area and through to the US customs & immigration, we were stuck with another 500 passengers with no clear lines guiding us. While the ship was able to handle the 3000+ passengers rather efficiently throughout the week, they really dropped the ball this time. It was totally chaotic. They simply let too many people down from the ship at the same time, perhaps to make up for lost time. We were stuck in this crowd for over half an hour. Thankfully, most of the passengers were courteous and patient under the circumstances. We tried not to let this last bit of disappointment ruin a wonderful week of cruise experience for us. Now that we are back in the cold white north, it's time to dream of another vacation, and work off the few extra pounds... which was proof that the food was indeed good! Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
I will start with the beauty of the ship. Let me remind you that beauty is only skin deep. I booked this cruise for my anniversary gift to my wife. I had arranged for roses and chocolate covered strawberries to be in the room at ... Read More
I will start with the beauty of the ship. Let me remind you that beauty is only skin deep. I booked this cruise for my anniversary gift to my wife. I had arranged for roses and chocolate covered strawberries to be in the room at embarkation. The roses were there but the strawberries were MIA. This takes the element of surprise out of it when you have to ask where they are. They were brought up all at one time!!! Two trays at once, they are not any good after put them in the ref. They next stop was the balcony of the mini-suite. Great balcony on the 9th floor (6' x 8')the 10th are bigger. The sea spray and salt build-up on the glass door and glass railings was NOT acceptable. We ask for these to be cleaned and maintained, this was not done. Our luggage finally got ther about 8 pm Do not stay this far back as the vibration on the PORT side is bad, I never found the machine on the nightstand for quarters but that was free. Now on to the rest. You must get off the pool deck at the Terrace pool at 7-ish they are afraid that the chairs will blow off with you sitting in them. The attendants on the pools were hard to find and you might go thirsty waiting. The chair HOGGING was horrible. I am an early riser and there would be towels on the loungers at 7 am. The very top deck (sky deck 18 mid ship)the chairs were never unstrapped this would have been much nicer for people who don't want all the traffic, one way up and one way down; not an option. The cruise director on TV is soooo annoying that you will turn her off too. The volume level on all speakers and movies is full blast. The BINGO games are too short for $20/per card (4 games). Bring your own dobbers. I did win $250 on Friday to offset the over-priced scuba trips I took. Finding a place to sit for any-time dining and buffets was difficult. The food was not up to my expectations. The Pepperoni pizza and the hot dogs and fries were the best FREE meal on the ship. The BEST dining for an upcharge was The Crown Grille($25/steak and $9 more get lobster). Spend the $34 for the full meal deal and eat the Brazilian Lobster tail, much better than Maine lobster for my count. The ports are OK. Jamaica do not get off unless you enjoy saying NO THANK YOU every 3 seconds. Grand Cayman, too many banks beautiful beaches. Cozumel, great eat the tortilla soup at the Fiesta Americana Dive Resort. Princess Cays, the island you want to be stranded on just make sure you have shoes. Some people think that glass and bare feet go together(not me) bottle caps are everywhere except the trashcan. The ship is very hard to navigate at mid-ship levels 5 & 6 to get through you must go up or down one floor to get around. If you like to know what is happening in the world while you are at sea, go to the computer bar and pay.75/minute. The only news you get is Nancy Grace and Octo-mom. the "patter" is going to make sure you know about the Sanctuary not any news; unlike Celebrity (my favorite) This was my first Princess cruise and probably my last. I will certainly remember my anniversary for sure. Before I go; be sure to allow 4-5 hrs to make a plane once you get to FLL from the terminal. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
This was our first Princess cruise, and we decided to book the Ruby Princess because it was a new ship, and the reviews were generally good. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale 2 days prior to sailing, and we stayed at the Holiday Inn. The hotel ... Read More
This was our first Princess cruise, and we decided to book the Ruby Princess because it was a new ship, and the reviews were generally good. We arrived in Ft. Lauderdale 2 days prior to sailing, and we stayed at the Holiday Inn. The hotel accommodations were average and overpriced,but Ok for a pre-cruise stay. The embarkation went pretty well. We took a chartered bus from the hotel, and we arrived at Port Everglades by 11:30 AM. We were herded into a huge room with a large number of people and not enough seating! After a 30-45 minute wait, everyone filed out of the room in groups and were then dispatched to registration stations. We were then allowed onto the ship and we were in our room by about 12;45 PM. We found our way to the buffet for lunch, and we got an unpleasant taste of what to expect during most of the trip-unbearable crowds and lines! It felt like we were standing in line forever before we got our lunch, and then it took quite a while to find a place to sit! My luggage arrived at the room within a few hours, but my wife's luggage did not arrive at all! By 5;00Pm, I complained to our cabin steward, and he went to look for the luggage. He could not find it, and he suggested that I go to the purser. The purser suggested I wait and return at 7 PM before anything could be done. Since dinner was at 6 PM, I returned at 5:40 PM and told the purser I wished to check the luggage room myself. The purser then pointed to a group of 8 suitcases sitting in the open and unprotected about 50 feet away. I checked the suitcases, and I found my wife's suitcase(WITHOUT A LUGGAGE TAG)!! The purser said the luggage would be delivered to our cabin, but I refused and dragged it to the cabin myself! The ship itself is absolutely gorgeous and generally spotless. The crew and staff were from many different nations, and most were hardworking, friendly, and courteous. I am sorry to say that the only rudeness we encountered came from crew and employees from the US. For us, there were just too many passengers on board. We constantly encountered lines, and we had difficulty finding chairs for lounging and tables at which to eat. Another complaint was the constant smell of tobacco. Even though smoking is forbidden in many areas, we constantly were irritated by the smell of tobacco in all parts of the ship, but mainly in the cabin hallways and on the decks. For us, the problem was intolerable! There were passengers of all ages, but mainly under 45. There were numerous teenagers and children on board, many of them out of control. Also, there was no shortage of constantly crying babies! The main dining rooms were quite uncomfortable with an extremely high noise level, a feeling of crowdedness, and perpetually crying children. The service was good, but the food was remarkably below average-extremely rich with little taste! After trying the main dining room for several nights, we finally gave up and started eating dinner at the buffet. The food at the buffet was much better-average to above average, and the noise level was tolerable. The breakfasts and the lunches at the buffet were fine. One thing that bothered me was to be charged for ice cream! Room service was pretty good, but not enough variety on the menu! We did not eat in the specialty restaurants. We stayed in what is described as a mini-suite( more expensive and slightly larger than a balcony stateroom)). The cabin was beautiful, comfortable, and spacious, but whoever designed the balcony must have been on drugs! Our balcony had no covering, and it was totally visible to numerous other balconies above and around us! So much for privacy! Also, we had no protection from the elements(sun, wind, rain) and no protection from the horrible tobacco smoke! There were smokers occupying the cabins above us and on both sides of us. I do not understand why there cannot be a group of cabins set aside for non-smokers! I should add that our cabin steward was great! He did his best to meet our needs, and he was always friendly and courteous! The entertainment was OK, but I do not understand why the music has to be so loud. The loudness of the sound around the pool, in the lounges, and in the Princess Theater is guaranteed to injure one's hearing apparatus! The Movie Under The Stars is a good concept, but its sound is also too loud. The sound was disturbing enough in the immediate area of the movie screen, but it could be heard in all outdoors areas of the ship, thus destroying the evening ambience. There is certainly not enough seating in the Princess Theater. People began arriving 45-60 minutes before the shows, and there were usually no seats available by 20-30 minutes before the shows were to begin. We finally gave up and stopped trying to attend the shows! I should also add that the cruise and entertainment director was too ever present, obtrusive, and a bit annoying. S he finally began getting on our nerves! The "street performers" in the Piazza were entertaining and enjoyable(although it was annoying that some of the acts lasted only 5 minutes!) The Ports of Call were less than desirable, and for us, not an attraction. Because of the crowds,waiting for the tenders became quite irritating! The disembarkation went fairly well, but we were forced off the ship by 8 AM. It seems we should have been given an extra hour at least to relax and enjoy breakfast! We booked a transfer to the airport through Princess. We stood in line for an hour waiting for a bus. After I originally booked the cruise, I had asked Princess representatives what time I should expect to be picked up by a bus. No one could(would) give me an answer. To be safe, I therefore booked a late flight, and we had to sit at the airport for quite awhile. For the reasons described above, we were generally disappointed on our first(and last) Princess cruise. In summary, our principal complaints were with luggage disposition, disappointing food, disappointing ports, too many people, long lines, too much tobacco exposure,crowded and noisy dining room, terrible stateroom balcony design,loudness of music and inability to attend shows because of not enough seats. The positives were as follows: beautiful ship,wonderful crew and staff, nice entertainment in the Piazza, and nice cabin(except for the balcony!) Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
We, husband and wife, both youngish seniors, embarked on the shiny new Ruby Princess for the last week of February after completing successive cruises of the Panama Canal eastbound on Celebrity Mercury and the eastern Caribbean aboard ... Read More
We, husband and wife, both youngish seniors, embarked on the shiny new Ruby Princess for the last week of February after completing successive cruises of the Panama Canal eastbound on Celebrity Mercury and the eastern Caribbean aboard another new ship, RCCL's Liberty of the Seas. For this cruise, we were joined by brother/in-law and wife who met us in the terminal. I'll write reviews of the first two cruises later, but will make some comparisons as we proceed with this one. This was our 8th cruise. The others have included the 3 lines mentioned plus Holland America (Noordam), and four main sizes of ships from small, Tahitian Princess, to gigantic, Liberty. Our past voyages have been to the south, east and west Caribbean, the eastern Mediterranean and recently the Panama Canal for the first time. We have certain preferences partly determined by our age group, but we are happy to cruise with young people. We're not fussy or overly demanding, but we have quality standards rooted in our experience in a Celebrity Galaxy cruise 11 years ago. Cruise ship standards have changed over the years, just as cruise ship operating costs have changed. Standards have declined, prices have risen. We can't escape this reality unless luxury lines are an option and price not an object of concern. For us, the class of cruise lines I have mentioned represent the limit, so we try to be realistic in our expectations. Ruby Princess met most of them quite well. Our embarkation went smoothly. We arrived at the terminal at 11:30 by shuttle, relieved of our luggage by porters who knew their jobs and did them smartly and courteously, and were then seated with a group assigned a boarding priority number (3) for 40 minutes. When we were called, the documenting process went quickly and efficiently. The Princess agent was cheerful and welcoming. Upon boarding, we found ourselves in the central plaza, greeted by smiling attendants and a pianist playing beautifully on a white grand piano. Very nice. The plaza/atrium defies my poor attempts at description. Search out some pictures. It is, in a word - magnificent. We went straight to our cabins which were ready for occupancy. These were both inside cabins (class JJ), just forward of midship on the Aloha Deck (12). We were pleasantly surprised to find the cabins were larger than most of similar class that we have seen, far larger than the equivalent on giant Liberty of the Seas and seemed as large as the deluxe oceanview we occupied on Celebrity Mercury. We were more than pleased. One deficiency, though, the main door has a fair size ventilation screen which admits some distracting light at night and also the noise of passers-by. This may account also for the smoke odors encountered in the passageways by another reviewer, the smoke perhaps escaping a cabin faster than the ventilation system could remove it. The walls were not quite as soundproof as in other ships - we could hear some coughing and TV sounds from adjacent cabins. The crowning jewel of the cabin was the clothes closet - incredibly, impossibly huge. I was reminded of Dr. Who's Tardis, the time machine that is bigger on the inside that it is on the outside. The beds were good, not too soft, not too hard. We slept well. Cabin steward service was everything it should be. After dropping our carry-ons in the cabins, we hurried to the Horizon Court buffet/cafeteria on the Lido Deck for lunch. Yes, the cafeteria was crowded as they always are at boarding time. Not sure how many stations were operating, seemed like all of them, and they offered a wide variety of excellent food options. The layout of the serving stations leaves something to be desired. Diners may enter from two directions, but the plates (no trays) are only available at one end which is not clearly indicated and not obvious in a crush of people. Space between main buffet counters and dessert/condiments display cases opposite is limited. Al this leads to some bumping of hips and elbows followed by "excuse me's" and "sorry's". I would not say there was pushing and shoving but a non-cruiser might be reminded of feeding time at the zoo. We found the food quality, variety and presentation first rate. If we have a complaint, it was that beverages are served by the waiters which can involve some additional delay after finding a table. There are beverage stations at the ends of the cafeteria but the waiters tend to prefer taking your order and shooing you away from the station. I eat in cafeterias when I am in a hurry so I tend to prefer getting the beverage myself. But that's me. Certainly, there is less spillage the way it's done on Ruby, but waiters' time might be better spent guiding diners to sometimes hard to spot tables. As for crowded conditions, this tended to be the case at popular dining times, but there are two sides to the cafeteria and aft of Horizon Court lies another similar area called Cafe Caribe with more buffet options and more tables. It was often less crowded. Aft of that, it's the rear deck Horizon Terrace with some outdoor tables. Finding good food and a place to eat it is not a really a problem. Better than two-thirds of Lido Deck is given to two pools, hot tubs, pizza, burger and ice cream bars and the cafeterias; the remainder, forward, holds cabins cabins. At 950 feet long and 118 wide, Ruby Princess does not lack for casual dining and sunning/swimming space, but there is still more space above for sunning and relaxing on the Sun Deck and Sports Deck. Entertainment there goes on most of the day with Movies under the Stars, a screen surprisingly bright in daylight, over one pool area and live music above the other pool. Dining rooms (3) are somewhat differently laid out than on other ships. Rather than all stacked at the aft end, two, Michelangelo and DaVinci are stacked just aft of midship on decks 5 and 6 respectively. The third, Botticelli, is also on deck 6 but all the way to the aft end and separated from DaVinci by the kitchen. Access is from the aft elevator and stairway. All are nicely decorated in an "Italianate" style adorned with copies of old masters. The large spaces devoted to the rooms, full width of the ship, are broken up by partial walls and other somewhat natural divisions, giving the appearance of smaller groupings of four to six tables of various sizes. We found the layout attractive and far less noisy than the huge, open spaces usually found on cruise ships, though it does break up the standard Baked Alaska parade, which maybe should pass into history. The food was always good, sometimes great, of high standard in terms of quality of foodstuffs, cooking and presentation. I would rate it slightly below Celebrity's standard due to their unequalled sauces and above average deserts, equal to HAL's and much better than RCCL's. Table service was of a high professional standard, friendly but not too familiar, skilled and at times entertaining, definitely a plus. It was equal to Celebrity and HAL, probably better than that we experienced on Liberty of the Seas but only due to that staff's incessant inquiries as to whether we were satisfied with the service and their constant talking up the ship and line. I was there to eat, not be sold again on the cruise. A final note about dining. We had one dinner in the premium restaurant Crown Grill. Outstanding. It was one of the best restaurants I have patronized on land or sea in recent times. Great food, great service. Highly skilled chefs and waiters. We had a memorable evening. Crown Grill is better than HAL's Pinnacle, way better than Liberty of the Sea's Chops. We did not try Sabatini's, the Italian restaurant. One nagging bother about dining venues - hand sanitizers must be more prominently displayed at entrances and staff must actively encourage their use. This is the industry standard. Princess falls below that standard. I would also like to see more regular, constant cleaning of surfaces touched by passengers hands. Entertainment on Ruby Princess was the best of three ships in our four weeks at sea. Singers, dancers, choreography and costumes in theatre shows were all first rate, though a show billed as a demo of a revolutionary hi-tech video projection system was not so great. All seats were occupied for most shows. The ship's orchestra was a highlight of the cruise, as were two excellent rock bands and other musical groups. The rock bands positively inspired a pool deck party and a formal night champagne bash in the plaza. One note definitely worth making here is that while the rock music was loud, as it should be, it was always at a comfortable volume and a joy to hear, whereas on Liberty, music everywhere, whether rock or instrumental, indoors or out, was always painfully deafening, making it impossible to talk or even think. Dancing hurt on that ship. Not the feet, the ears. I could write more about this beautiful and pleasant ship and great crew, but it's already too much. Disembarkation was delayed by 30 minutes for unknown reasons but probably a slight tardiness in the ship's arrival. We opted for Express Disembarkation to catch a 10:00 AM flight from FLL. The early birds were assigned to four priorities and 7:10 or 7:20 departure. All were made to wait in the DaVinci dining room which proved too small for the task. The head waiter assigned to the supervisory job was completely overwhelmed by the task and clearly worried about potential for damage to his chairs and tables. I sympathized. It's a beautiful room and shouldn't suffer luggage bumps and bruises. No attempt was made to seat or stand passengers according to departure priority which made for a mob all trying to leave the room at once when two priorities each were called in quick succession. Fortunately, close proximity to the gangway/bridge made for a quick escape and we were ashore and through US immigration and customs by 7:45. Twenty minutes later, we were at the airport. Overall, this was a great cruise and a great ship. I would sail on her again and definitely would give Princess Line priority in choosing my next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
RUBY PRINCESS Western Caribbean Jan. 24-31,2009 by Mary & Vincent Finelli We booked our 40th (ruby) Wedding Anniversary cruise on the Ruby Princess - very fitting. The Ruby is a most elegant ship; while berthed in Port ... Read More
RUBY PRINCESS Western Caribbean Jan. 24-31,2009 by Mary & Vincent Finelli We booked our 40th (ruby) Wedding Anniversary cruise on the Ruby Princess - very fitting. The Ruby is a most elegant ship; while berthed in Port Everglades, she is unmistakable with the distinctive logo of a Princess with flowing hair. She is the newest of the fleet and a credit to Fincantieri, her constructors. Captain Tony Draper (Scotland and Cornwall) is a very personable and erudite gentleman - We look forward to sailing with him again in the near future. EMBARKATION Ft. Lauderdale Port is a highly secure one, so on the way to the pier allow time for up to 30 minutes for security checks. We arrived at 12:45pm and had wheelchair assistance; we were through check-in, which is done by separate counters for each deck. This system makes the lines shorter and faster. We were on board by 1:15 and in our cabin. After checking on our dinner arrangements with our old friend Maitre D' Generoso Mazzone, we reserved a table for two at 6:00pm each evening. We were off to the buffet, Princess pizza served out on the Horizon Terrace. Excellent! Then we went back to our cabin to rest until the boat drill, which was well organized and orderly. Our station was the Wheelhouse, we were comfortably seated. Princess does not make passengers line up in the sun facing the elements on the Promenade deck as other lines do, rather it assigns public areas inside the ship for muster stations. SHIP The Ruby Princess (Hull # 6150) was built in Fincantieri, Cantieri Navali, Monfalcone, Italy, like her sisters the Emerald and the Crown Princesses. Her inaugural cruise was on November 8, 2008, thus making her only three months old. She is 948.0 ft long, 118.1 ft wide (165.7 ft including stabilizer wings), with a draft of only 27.88 ft. The Ruby Princess is 113,561 tons and her height is 219.8 ft, with a total of 18 decks and a passenger capacity of 3,150 (3,175 this cruise), with a crew of 1,200 from 54 countries around the globe. Decks 1, 2, 3, & 4 are for crew only except for the Medical Center on the latter. Decks 5, 6, & 7 are all public areas. Deck 5 aft has the Michelangelo Dining Room, with the wood panel walls and sconces for lighting; in the ceiling there are miniature lights that twinkle on and off like stars. The room is elegant in a subdued manner. The walls have murals of Italian pastoral scenes. Next, midship is the impressive Piazza, an atrium three decks tall, with a waterfall and a huge Tiffany light covering almost the entire ceiling. The floor is a mosaic of arcs and circles. This is a popular gathering place with a Cafe` serving specialty coffees and delicate pastries including marzipan "Pasta Reale" (miniature fruits), etc. There is also a wine, cheese and sushi bar which encourages sampling of many savory delights. Forward on Deck 5 are a Laundromat and cabins. Deck 6, all the way aft is the Botticelli Dining Room and toward midship is the Da Vinci Dinning Room. Here, midship are located the Reception desk and the shops, then the Gatsby Casino and the Speakeasy Cigar Lounge (this tiny area keeps the Casino smoke free). Forward is the Princess Theater with a red Austrian tucked curtain and red and gold embossed seats. There is a clear, unobstructed view of the stage from every seat. Bravo! The Walnut wood walls add to the understated elegance of the theater. Deck 7 aft has the Club Fusion, the Photo Gallery, the Explorers Lounge (nightly live shows and music) and the upscale restaurant Crown Grill. Midship there are the Wheelhouse Bar and a well stocked Library with convenient hours. Forward is the Princess Theater balcony with a reserved area in the rear for wheelchairs. Deck 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, & 14 are all passenger cabins. Deck 15 has the Horizon Terrace, the Cafe`Caribe and the Horizon Court Buffet. Next, midship is the Calypso Reef and Pool, Pizza and Ice Cream Bar, Neptune Reef and Pool, Mermaid's Tail and Trident Grill. Forward there are other passenger cabins, Thermal Suites and the Lotus Spa. Deck 16, all the way aft is the upscale Sabatini's Restaurant which is bigger and more impressive than the Sabatini's found on other classes of Princess ships. Here, midship is "Movies Under the Stars" giant screen, and forward are the Lotus Spa, Fitness Center and Aerobics, and the Wedding Chapel (8 weddings this week). During dinner in Sabatini's, we spoke with one of the brides, who was having the reception dinner there, and she expressed high praise for the Princess royal treatment. Decks 17 has aft the Chill Out, the Fun Zone, Off limit and the Video Arcade for the young ones, midship the Sun Terrace, and forward the posh Sanctuary, an exclusive relaxing oasis, a "Pocket of Tranquillity", with a nominal charge of $10.00 for a half day or $20.00 for a full day pass. Deck 18 aft has Skywalkers Nightclub. Deck 19 aft has Cyber golf. The ship overall is stylish and elegant with lovely murals like the "Reef Scene" Deck 16 by Morandi Studios, Sassuolo, Italy (a white on white tile design with accents of the palest pastels, all portraying a dream of an underwater scene). Also in the stairwell in this same area is a painting of two Kimonos in red and black on a gold background. There are many lovely decorations on board to enjoy, interspersed with fresh floral bouquets and live orchid plants. SERVICE & FOOD Passenger Services Director Dirk Brand has everything under control. The ship is immaculate (CDC Sanitary Inspection score is a perfect 100) and the service is snappy. The passengers are most acutely interested in the food, of course. Here Princess excels, the Executive Chef Manlio Cuzzolin (Mortegliano, Italy) is excellent. Princess accents Italian food with pasta courses served daily. There is an abundance of fresh fruits and cheeses that add variety and elegance to the menus. Plating was exquisite and the Always Available list featured the following: Shrimp Cocktail, Salmon Filet, Fettuccine Alfredo, Steak, etc. Appetizers included : Spring Rolls, Fried Calamari, Fresh Fruit plates; Soups included both hearty like minestrone and cream of asparagus and delicate broths, as well as cold ones. Salads were dressed lightly or at the table. There were at least two pasta courses (i.e., Puttanesca, Four cheese rigatoni). Vincent liked the spaghetti alle vongole, especially. Entrees were varied and included meat (beef filet and prime rib, lamb and veal), fish (lobster tail, crab legs, shrimp, cod, etc.), fowl (chicken, Cornish hen, duck, etc.) and vegetarian (stir fried oriental vegetables, egg plant Parmigiana, etc.). Dining service on board is under Maitre D' Generoso Mazzone who epitomizes elegance and style. Service in the Michelangelo was terrific. There are several options with anytime dining selections available. Specific restaurants were for personal choice times and others for fixed times. Our waiters every evening were Sopha and his assistant Panche under the direction of Head Waiter Rui - impeccable. There is also "An Evening At The Chef's Table" which includes a galley tour followed by a multi-course tasting menu with Exec. Chef Manlio, all for the culinary connoisseur ($75). We were also very happy to encounter Asst. Maitre D' Pasquale Marino once again. We have cruised with him several times and are always so surprised that he remembers us by name he's very personable. All of the crew made us feel very welcome. Approximately one third of the passengers were repeat cruisers on Princess. That is a great testimonial to the fact that Princess is doing an excellent job. CABIN Baja B301 (deck 11) is a wheelchair accessible cabin with balcony decorated in blues and aquas with beige cabinetry trimmed in pecan wood. When entering on the left there is a huge bathroom with many safety rails and a 4'X4' shower with a folding seat. There is a large sink and two small shelves for toiletries. Next, there is a king size bed flanked by two low bureaus with reading lamps. The far wall is all glass with a sliding door to the balcony on which are two chairs and a small table. When entering on the right there is a huge full length mirror, a triple armoire with two sections for hanging clothes and one section with shelves and a personal safe. Next, there is a long table with a TV console, Refrigerator and a cupboard. A desk chair, two beige leather barrel chairs, and a coffee table complete the furnishings. On the walls are two large paintings of the Lake Region of Italy. Our Cabin Steward was Wirot who was helpful and efficient all through the cruise. Just terrific! ENTERTAINMENT The "Best Smile At Sea" goes to Cruise Director Lisa Ball - energetic and friendly, she keeps everyone on board hopping. We cruise to relax and rest, and there are plenty of nice quiet places to sit and enjoy the sea: The promenade has deck chairs conducive to reading and the library is well stocked! There are several areas with pianists or small combos. Princess Patter reports daily the many events at different venues from the Piazza to the Theater, from the Club Fusion to the Explorer Lounge. In the Piazza there are always demonstrations (cooking, flower arrangement, etc.), music and dancing (music each evening with a violinist, piano and bass, and we especially enjoyed the violinist and Magdalena the pianist). Princess Theater had two excellent production shows: "The Great White Way" pairing musical song hits with dance numbers, and "Once Upon A Dream". Every cruise Maitre D' Generoso does a Champagne Waterfall, tall and terrific and a cooking demonstration in the Theater with Chef Manlio, very entertaining! The Chinese New Year Eve was celebrated on Jan. 25th; this is the year of the Ox. In the Explorer's Lounge were comedians, and a lively music group. There are Bingo and Slots Tournaments, Basketball, Shuffleboard, and Table tennis, etc. There is something for everyone. PORTS OF CALL 1-24-09 Fort Lauderdale, FL Sail Away 5:00pm 1-25-09 At Sea 1-26-09 Ocho Rios, Jamaica Arrive 8:00am Depart 4:00pm 1-27-09 Grand Cayman Arrive 7:00am Depart 4:30pm 1-28-09 Cozumel, Mexico Arrive 7:15am Depart 5:30pm 1-29-09 At Sea 1-30-09 Princess Cays Arrive 8:30am Depart 3:30pm 1-31-09 Ft. Lauderdale Arrive 7:00am Debarkation DEBARKATION Princess handles debarkation very nicely. We had wheelchair assistance from our cabin, down to the Gatsby Casino where first come, first serve ruled and with about a twenty minute wait we were assisted off and were through passport check, customs and outside by 9:00am and at home by 10:00am. CONCLUSIONS This was our eleventh cruise on Princess ships, thus with four more cruises we'll graduate from Platinum to Elite members in the Captain's Circle program which will mean more benefits and perks for us: Preferred Service Package (Shoe polishing and complimentary laundry/dry cleaning service), Complimentary Mini Bar Set Up, Upgraded Bathroom Amenities, Complimentary Wine Tasting, 10% Boutique Discount, and other VIP treatment including a special cocktail party with the Captain. These are in part the incentives that make Princess one of our favorite cruise lines. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We did the following excursions... Peat Taylor in Jamaica. Dunns River Falls/Tubing/Tour... Peat will take care of you. Sting Rays with Moby Dick...This team was first class and I suggest them without hesitation. Tucan Sailboat in ... Read More
We did the following excursions... Peat Taylor in Jamaica. Dunns River Falls/Tubing/Tour... Peat will take care of you. Sting Rays with Moby Dick...This team was first class and I suggest them without hesitation. Tucan Sailboat in Cozumel. Excellent time. 6 hours...Cab waiting pre/post trip. The crew, drinks, and freshly prepared food was excellent. Skywalkers was a lot of fun. Great music. This club jammed til 3am everynight. Club for every taste from Piano to classical to rock to soul singers. Great planning by Princess. This cruise was not "stuffy" by any means. Great demographic mix. Primarily European. Exhausted myself everynight at skywalkers trying to keep this 30-something body at pace with the 20-somethings. Crown Grill: Fillet and Brazilian lobster tail were the best that I have tried; including Morton's etc. Sabatini's: 14 course meal....enough said. Fantastic. Veal Chop was excellent. Food was excellent. Ship was excellent. Ruby was all class. Princess...5 stars. Champagne Pour was great. Chocolate covered strawberries excellent at the International Cafe are a must. Horizon and Club Caribe Buffets were very good and fresh, even served fried eggs...which I like for a change of pace. Great selection and rotation as well. Finally, the design is like staying in a 5 star hotel. Beautifully crafted vessel with so many small spaces that the it is very private. The extensive hardwoods and paintings add class. Finally, initially I was considering the Carnival Splendor vs the Ruby Princess. While sipping Mango Tango at the embarkation party on the 15th deck, I peered over the rail to see approximated 1000 Carnival passengers standing in the sun and heat waiting to board. One passenger even collapsed from the heat and wait. This affirmed my choice of the Ruby Princess and the next seven days did not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We flew in a day early which we recommend. We stayed the night at the Hilton Airport which worked good for us. Cool seafood place close by that a friendly cabby took us to cheap. There was an airport shuttle to the hotel for free which ... Read More
We flew in a day early which we recommend. We stayed the night at the Hilton Airport which worked good for us. Cool seafood place close by that a friendly cabby took us to cheap. There was an airport shuttle to the hotel for free which picked us at the airport up promptly and was a fun short ride with others excited about their cruises. We took a cab from the hotel to the cruise ship which we also recommend as it wasn't expensive and allowed us the opportunity to stop by the drugstore for some last minute things. Cigarettes are cheaper in FL so we bought ours there. Embarkation was smooth and well managed except for a few people that were a little too anxious to get on the boat. On the boat we immediately signed up for the chef's table which I hope people don't catch on to as it's fabulous and very limited. We'll get to that later. Our first day was at sea, which was perfect, as we got to get used to the ship. If this is your first cruise don't be nervous everyone wants to help you so relax, order what you want, and do exactly what works for you. We did the spa tour and later in the cruise realized that waiting to sign up for some of packages later in the cruise is less expensive. We did sign up for the thermal spa which we could use all week and we thought it was a bargain if you like the spa thing. Steam, aroma therapy, sauna, rainfall showers and these cool, heated tile beds to lie on and listen to that relaxing spa music. I won't go into the ports of call much because if your reading this to pick a cruise you need to know the ship as most cruises seem to follow each other around and you can read about them on any review. But we did enjoy Jamaica (felt safe), Grand Cayman (kind of expensive), Cozumel (fabulous! do the snorkel beach thing, loved it can't go wrong with this one), Private Island (so, so I think the private island thing is over-rated). Back to the ship, you'll love the pools, the one at the back is more adult oriented and the one near the spa a little less crowded. My wife loved the movie pool. I thought it would only be at night but the movies went all day. Fun to lie by the pool watch a movie drink dos equis (no corona) and lie in the sun or shade as you can find either. Make sure to grab a piece of pizza by the nearby pizza bar as it's excellent!! Always available, thin crust and my wife said it was her favorite ever. Ok, more of the food, I've read some critical reviews of the food on this ship so either they got it figured out since, or those reviewers are on crack, or nothing could make them happy. It was all fabulous. The Crown Grill was an extra $20.00 but we sat at the bar stools in front of the kitchen, watched them cook, talked to the chefs that were meticulously preparing the meals and had a great time. We also ate at Sabitini's which if you want the best possible Italian meal in your life, I would recommend. Servers were fun and the food fantastic!! I have a side thought about the dining.... Go early you get the servers full attention and they go to extremes to make sure you enjoy your meal. The two main dining rooms were fabulous, (we did the anytime dining) but if you get there during the rush you'll get a beeper thing which also worked fine. It gives you a chance to shop, gamble or watch the entertainment going on throughout the ship. Watch the shows if you can. The comedians are funny but for me some of the theatrical shows were a little boring. The night club wasn't for us but if there were a bunch of younger kids on the boat it would be a blast! Play a round of putt putt, it's hardly used and fun! Came down to the last two holes between my wife and me. we'll let it go at that. The casino was large and uncrowded, the service was good at the tables, maybe a little slow. Service at the bar was excellent. dealers are friendly and you don't get that feeling that that the casino staff is watching your every move. Comfortable. We watched a guy win $5000.00 on a slot machine! Ok, lastly I want to describe the Chef's Table. First they dressed us in Chef's coats paraded us through the main dining room like we were VIP's and took us to the galley. It was 10,000 sq ft. and it was all stainless steel, ceilings, walls, counters, all immaculate. Champagne and appetizers were served there while the head chef gave us a description of how they put out all that food. They served us crab legs, caviar and tarter of beef right there in the galley! After that they took us out to the dining room for a meal I could go on about forever! Three kinds of meat all served on a kind of primeval stand that caught everyone's attention. A bloody mary sorbet palate cleanser followed by 2 desserts. You really should check this one out but sign up early as there are only a few people who get to do it. I'm getting tired of writing so you'll have to figure the rest out on your own. Great time, recommend it! It's all good! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We booked a mini suite which is very spacious, beautifully decorated and well thought out. The two TV's are so nice to have. The ship is rich with amenities we were not on long enough to fully enjoy it all. The public spaces are ... Read More
We booked a mini suite which is very spacious, beautifully decorated and well thought out. The two TV's are so nice to have. The ship is rich with amenities we were not on long enough to fully enjoy it all. The public spaces are what I'd call tastefully gaudy - on the busy side but so much better than so many other ships. Love the adult only areas, we rarely saw kids which kept it more calm. This cruise definitely had a wider range of age groups than others we've been on. Not sure how the few bad reviews on the food came to be. Every meal we had was excellent. Sabitini's was a great way to spend our last night. The most exceptional element of the ship experience was the extravagant shows in the Princess Theatre. The level of professionalism is tops and would fit right into Las Vegas. The stage and all of its bells and whistles were astounding - we even took a backstage tour one day that was more than interesting. My complaints are VERY few: I wish they offered group aerobics but didn't so I made due with machines. When arriving for anytime dining we received misinformation from a hostess who didn't speak the best English. Getting a cab after disembarkation was ridiculous chaos as 2 ships were unloading at the same time. The constant "sales" and special deals are so cheesy - give us some credit for having a brain. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Ruby Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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