Family Reunion Cruise: Ruby Princess Cruise Review by BJzink

Ruby Princess 3
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298 Forum Posts

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Family Reunion Cruise

Sail Date: October 2012
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Embarkation was pretty ragged, not all Princess' fault - they had to do a in-depth cleaning of the ship due to some ill passengers on the previous cruise. We did know about this via an email sent to us 3 days prior. However, when we arrived at the cruise terminal we dropped off our luggage, then had to go to the convention center for check-in. There was a line - about 1/4 mile, moving very slowly, to the check-in desks. My husband is unable to stand or walk very long without sitting to rest. There were very few wheelchairs available, and fewer "pushers" to move the wheelchairs. They would not let me use the wheelchair by myself. After getting to the check-in desk, we were taken to a huge ballroom where 3000 of our closest friends were crowded together at round tables. There were drink/bar stations where refreshments were sold, and there was food available somewhere - we never did see that. Finally there was an announcement that boarding would begin, and everyone tried to leave More the room at once. We did get outside without injury, and were told that the boarding was just a "short walk away". Maybe a half-mile later we found the actual terminal where we got in another line for security check. By the time we arrived on the ship around 4:30 we were sweaty & exhausted. The wine bar right inside the embarkation door was a welcome sight. It's a great place in the atrium to sit & visit - nice selection of wines and free tapas.

The stateroom: Pretty small, the bathroom reminded us of an airline restroom with a shower. There wasn't any way for the 2 of us to be in there at the same time. Only 3 small shelves at the corner of the mirror, and a shelf under the sink. The closet was great!!! Very long, open and lots of nice wooden hangers. Plenty of shelves for small stuff by the closet and some others in cabinets in the bedroom. Had read complaints about the beds - we thought they were great. No place to sit to watch TV though, had to sit on the bed. Only a desk chair & a small barrel chair in the room. The verandas on Caribe deck are larger than the other decks. Two very comfortable lounge chairs and 2 regular chairs, plus a round table. We did enjoy it for happy hour in the afternoon. Our room steward was great - ice twice a day, extra pillows, but only one night with a towel animal. The robes provided are lucky to fit a size 14 female, males are sort of out of luck. Since we were on the ship for a "cousins' reunion" we spent a lot of time catching up with each other, and didn't really take part in many of the activities.

Dining: We had 2 tables together in the dining room, early seating, and we changed seats every evening so we could sit with a different relative. The waiter acted confused, but he managed to keep us straight and knew our preferences. The food was good, we always found something to our liking on the menu, only comment is the same as all the cruises we have been on - not enough spice or flavor on the food. I guess being from the Southwest US we are accustomed to more spicy food than most folks. We ate our breakfasts in the dining room also, found the Lido buffet very crowded at lunch so we did the little buffet at the aft of the ship (can't remember it's name). They had "theme" food each day - Mexican, Asian, Italian, etc. We didn't do the extra-fee restaurants, didn't see a need to do them. Meal service was variable, some servers were excellent, some seemed confused.
We thought that the ship seemed crowded in several of the places like the deli in the Atrium. The coffee bar was very busy all the time, and not enough tables. We did do the pizza one day for lunch - it was very good.

Entertainment: Very good - the musicians, singers & dancers were as professional as any we have seen on a cruise, great production numbers. Several of our group went to the comedian's shows, and they said they were also really funny.

Disembarkation: Was again not pleasant. Everything went well for awhile, they were ahead of the schedule until the Coast Guard wanted to do some sort of drill. The passengers who needed wheelchairs were in the casino & left with the regular passengers with their number. The drill started with about 6 of us still in the casino, and all the regular passengers were asked to leave at once. All the attendants who were pushing the wheelchairs left, and we were pretty much deserted. None of the elevators were working, no one came to let us know what was going on - we were just abandoned. 20 or so minutes later a few of the crew came back and took us to the elevators, talked someone into getting them started so we could get out. All of the passengers who had left in a mass were backed up at the customs desks. Pretty bad.
All in all, we had a good time with the relatives, but we probably won't sail with Princess again. Just not as smooth as our other cruises and we don't like the really big ships. Less

Published 12/05/12

Cabin review: BBc259 Balcony

Tiny bathroom, great closet & shelf space, nice balcony/furniture, bed was very good, would like pillows other than feather. Need something to sit on to watch TV other than bed. Desk chair & barrel chair very uncomfortable.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Island Tour

We had not been to Grand Turk before, so the tour was all new ground for us. We did the "Trolley Train", and again, the guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the island, enjoyed his narrative. The problem with the train was that it has seats that face each other with maybe 18" between them so we had a very hard time being comfortable with the other passengers across from us. Again, no golf carts to take passengers from the gangway to the end of the pier.

Actually this was our second scheduled port - were supposed to stop at the Private Island, but it was the week after Hurricane Sandy & some damage occurred there. We didn't go on any excursions at St. Maarten. I went off the ship to the dock-side shopping stores. Bought a CD from the Steel Band playing there.

St. John Tour

Enjoyed the ferry ride across to St. John, the bus driver was personable and interesting narrative. Amazing views of the beaches & ocean from the high hills. I gave the tour a 3 because we were supposed to have time for shopping at the end, and since there are a lot of little boutiques and independent jewelry stores, I really wanted to do this. He spent so much time at a little rest stop getting refreshments that we only had 15" before the ferry left to go back. At St. Maarten there were golf carts making round trips from the ship gangplank to the end of the pier. Great for folks who have a hard time walking a distance. None of them at St. Thomas. The tours don't take this walk into consideration when rating the tours as "easy".

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