This is my fourth cruise, second on Princess, and my husband's second cruise in general. My mom joined us for this cruise and it is her 6th. We chose this cruise as it was over my husband's birthday. We also have always talked ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise, second on Princess, and my husband's second cruise in general. My mom joined us for this cruise and it is her 6th. We chose this cruise as it was over my husband's birthday. We also have always talked about going to Alaska and the idea of going the inside passage with Glacier Bay National Park was what sealed the deal for us on this cruise. We booked all our tours through Princess, as well as transfer to the airport after the cruise.
I enjoyed going out of Seattle as I have always wanted to visit, and we went a day before to spend some time in the city. When we woke up the morning of embarkation, we grabbed a coffee (Starbucks in the Hotel Lobby, of course.) and took a shuttle to Pier 91.
As we approached Pier 91 the Ruby greeted us on a wonderfully clear morning. The shuttle dropped us off around 10:45am. My mom, husband and I dropped our luggage with a porter before going into the terminal at Pier 91. All the staff at the terminal were extremely nice. We asked for a wheelchair for my mom who needed the extra help for getting onto the Ruby. We were escorted to an elevator, that took us to the floor above, where we had to walk a short walk to check in. A quick glance at our passports and we had our cruise-cards. It was a very quick check in process.
We then sat in the ‘Assistance’ area, where we were told a wheelchair would be right over and that we would be let on the ship momentarily. We sat for just long enough for me to put our boarding passes and passports back in my travel document keeper before one of the cruise ship staff came with a wheelchair and lead us on. I am glad we asked for a wheelchair as it was a bit of a walk to the deck. After a scan of the card and a quick picture, the gentleman who brought us onboard asked where we wanted to go. We ended up asking to go to Horizon Court on the Lido Deck. He brought us right to a window seat before going to get more passengers that needed assistance. We all got some lunch and sat at the window for an hour or so.
We decided to let others have a chance at our “prime real estate” window table and we went down to deck 7 for the Captain’s Circle Desk. Husband and I had switched to “Gold” so we got our pins as well as our cruise passports and stickers.
We then went down to the International Cafe. Between the two of us, we had around 20 punches left on some Coffee Cards from the Crown in 2017. We got our favorite salted caramel latte and sat and listened to the performer in the atrium. The atrium was decorated in “50 years in alaska” banners. The musician was singing solo with a guitar, and it was very pleasant. We sat for about 15 minutes and enjoyed the performance and our latte’s.
Around 1:30pm the announcement was made that Staterooms were ready and we decided to go up to our rooms. We chose our staterooms on deck 10 (Caribe) as on our last Princess Cruise on the Crown in 2017 we had a balcony stateroom on the same deck and I personally loved how it was basically in the middle of everything. This cruise however we had inside cabins. My mother stayed in C244 and we stayed in C245. The Ruby was refurbished in October 2018 and I will say that it is very obvious. The carpet in the hallways to the staterooms looks great, and the LED screens for the conversion to Medallion Class is nice. I will admit I missed the little ‘name cards’ on the mailbox at the door, however.
Once we got my mom settled, and got her luggage into her room and confirmed the walker with seat she ordered was in her room, we went to ours. The first thing I noticed is how the room didn't seem small. The mirrors really make it seem larger than it is. The bed was configured in a queen style which I assume helped as well. The next thing I noticed was a large flower arrangement on the dressing table. The note said they “Enjoy your stay on the Ruby Princess, Compliments of the Hotel General Manager”. This was a wonderful surprise. The Televisions in the staterooms have been upgraded We both loved the “Love Boat” themed safety video. We took advantage of the TV shows and Movies on demand a lot.
We had traditional dining at 5:00pm. We had a table in the Botticelli Dining Room - which is located deck 6 aft. We found our table which was set for 3 people. We had the most amazing team in the dining room. RIza, assisted by Nikolai and head waiter Alberto. My mom has a food allergy so he helped us with making sure what she ordered she was able to eat. He made sure to check on us each night we were in the MDR. The food in the MDR was amazing and the service was the best I have ever had on a cruise.
We did eat at the Crown Grille one evening, and in my opinion it wasn't worth the cover fee, especially when with the service we had at the MDR.
We had a naturalist on board and we did take advantage of seeing his talk in the Princess Theatre on the first sea day His name is Michael Modzelewsi. I will say if you ever get the pleasure of cruising to Alaska with this amazing gentleman, I highly suggest it.
The shows in the princess theatre each night were great. Oscar Carlos and Michael Minor were guest stars, as well as Libby Riddles. The shows of Colors of the World and Once Upon a Dream were well done, but Magic To Do was the real show-stopper. We didn’t see Voice at Sea finale, as it honestly didn't interest us.
We did excursions in Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan. Juneau - Mendenhall Glacier and Mt. Roberts Tramway, Skagway - White Pass Scenic Railway and Ketchikan - Great American Lumberjack Show with Totem Bight State Park. All Excursions were worth the money and got a lot out of them. Every driver we had for excursions was very knowledgeable and very proud to talk about Alaska.
Glacier Bay was amazing. They had park rangers on board, and it was really great to hear them talk and point out sights to us.
Victoria was a late port day - We got off and took a bus into town. It was a little pricey - 15.00 CAD each round trip, but it was worth not having to walk the long way into downtown. Busses ran roughly every 15 minutes to and from the port. We had our passports stamped here as well at the Customs desk.
We had an amazing experience with the photo staff as well, who helped my mom with a package and loaded pictures onto her USB as well as giving us a private photo sessions at Glacier Bay. Rene was the name of the crew member that helped us at the photo area and honestly she was very good at her job!
Disembarkation went strange, with my mom needing the wheelchair off, we ended up being off the ship about 15 minutes before our luggage was off. The staff member who had her in the wheelchair waited with us, and a porter grabbed our luggage as soon as it came out. We had the Transfer to SEA booked through Princess, and we got to SEA without a hitch. The bus driver was very knowledgeable and told us a lot about Seattle on our way to the airport.
This has been my favorite of the four cruises I have taken, and honestly has been the best of the two I have done with Princess, and I only ended up with one punch left on my coffee card! Read Less