1st time on Princess: Ruby Princess Cruise Review by cruiseintoheaven
Overall Member Rating
1st time on Princess
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Both embarkation and debarkation were a breeze - party because of carrying off our own luggage.
We had signed up for the RC for this sailing, which I think was very helpful - it allowed us to connect names with faces once onboard and the opportunity to have a good balance of time on our own and chances to connect with some very nice folks.
I can't say too much about the MDR as we only ate there the first night. The food was average/good, service attentive, but It was quite enjoyable because of the conversation we had with two sweet women from Canada we'd met.
We did grab breakfast in the Horizon buffet a few times, perfectly fine/standard, good service.
We really enjoyed the International Café - a nice More variety of salads, sandwiches and desserts, and the opportunity to catch a few performances in the Piazza while eating. We also tried Vines one night - my husband enjoyed sushi and I had tapas, free with the purchase of a glass of wine.
We took advantage of non-smoking night in Gatsby's and were happy to walk away with more than we came in with - yay!
In terms of entertainers/entertainment: Toby Reilly, Liquid Blue, and the Comedian were excellent, as was the singer/pianist playing in Crooners whose name is escaping me. Enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails in Crooners most nights. Had fun playing the standard cruise trivia and bingo games, and a particularly aggressive Quest game, again more fun because of our RC connections being there.
Ports: Tendered in Princess Cays, seas a bit rough, but not bad and it's a short ride. We'd rented a bungalow, which gave us priority tendering, free floats, and an attendant to come by for drink orders, also an air-conditioned place to store our stuff, change and rinse off. In hindsight, this would probably be a good value if it was extremely hot, you had a large group, or wanted drink service at 9 AM:-) We wound up floating in the water and enjoying the sun, a little trinket shopping, etc. We were happy to dock in Grand Turk as it allowed us to come on and off the ship as we pleased. We had rented a car, which was a bit stressful - between driving on the left side and little signage, we decided to return the car (on way back a donkey stuck his head in the window - too funny and wish I'd gotten a picture). We headed back to the ship for a bit, and then back to the island to get down to the serious business of lounging on the beach and swimming in the water - what a nice escape from the brutal weather we've had (along with many others of course). Ended our day by meandering down to Jack's Shack for a drink and some trinket shopping. Some friends did the catamaran snorkel trip and said it was fun but a bit crowded.
Spent our last day at sea, enjoying a whole lot of nothing. We were on the sky deck by 9:00 for a morning of rest and sun....did a little pre-packing later that day, purchased FCC, and ended our day watching Gravity on MUTS with friends.
In terms of the ship and screw/service: we found the Ruby to be a beautiful ship, well maintained and crew performing some form of maintenance daily. By and large, the crew was attentive and friendly. The Ruby is a nice size, though by the time we got our bearings, it was time to go home:-(. The only complaint or suggestion we (husband really) had was the fitness center didn't have enough variety of weight machines.
There were several areas we just didn't get to try, or experience - the spa, sanctuary, Crown Grill....next time:-)
A final thought: We booked this cruise about six weeks before sailing, and did not have much time to research or read many reviews. Being home now and having that time - I think we would have missed out on a great ship, crew, weather, and a chance to meet new people if I'd read some of the reviews and given them more weight in our decision to go! Perhaps people that sail frequently grow immune to the basic joys of cruising: unpacking once, your meals, entertainment and room included in your fare, the ability to relax while someone else transports you to ports to enjoy, etc. There is always room for improvement, but to me, there is no such thing as a bad cruise (barring dire circumstances) - only good or great! Just a thought to share for folks that sail extensively and review, and those that haven't sailed and read reviews for guidance. We had a great time, and look forward to our next cruise, hopefully with some of the friendly faces we met onboard the Ruby.
Sunny skies and smooth sailing ~ Lynn Less