Ruby Princess Cruise Review by Caribe87
- Sail Date: November 2014
- Destination: Western Caribbean
No doubt about it, this was not pleasant. Apparently there was some sort of issue with clearing the ship, and not enough ICE personnel on hand. The biggest problem was no communication in terms of updates as we stood in a non-moving line for the better part of an hour and a half. Once we got up the counter, we were handed our cruise cards with hardly a greeting. All the shore side Princess employees we encountered were less than pleasant, and that is an understatement. This all changed once we were on board, however. Everyone crew member we ran into was friendly and helpful. Our luggage was delivered to our stateroom within an hour.
After having a Caribe balcony on the previous two trips, we opted for an oceanview this time around. After much research, including the excellent threads here on Cruise Critic, we opted for E403, listed as a partial obstructed view cabin. We could not have made a better choice; in our opinion, there is no obstruction at all to speak of. If you look down to the service walkway below the window, there is a white rectangular equipment locker attached to the railing that is the only thing even remotely that can be called an obstruction. With the overhang from Dolphin deck above, we felt the cabin stayed cooler and was shaded during the day when the sun was on our side of the ship. Location was perfect, starboard side amidship just a short walk to both elevators and stairs, and one flight down to the Promenade deck. No noise issues whatsoever in this cabin. Cabin condition was excellent, and our steward, Leo provided attentive and friendly service; our ice bucket was never empty.
I was looking at some other, recent reviews of the Ruby Princess, and this really drove home the point that reviews are sometimes truly subjective, and you have to really sort out opinions from fact, though they sometimes blur. As mentioned, having been on this ship three times in 11 months, we were very aware of her condition, and changes between trips. I've read where some recent reviewers called her "worn", and "getting tired", and frankly, we did not see that at all. In fact, we both commented that the Ruby looked better on this trip than she had on our previous two voyages. Clean and sparkling, there was maintenance everywhere you looked, from varnishing the wooden deck rails to painting. We had to excuse ourselves as we stepped over a crew member polishing the metal door thresholds on the doors leading in and out of the Promenade deck, just one example of what was always going on (but didn't interfere with any passenger activities). Having said all that, given her age, the Ruby is due for a total refit/refurbishment, but we never felt that she was "past her prime".
Dining: The food on a ship is not always going to hit the mark, but overall we found our dining choices and food to be good ones. We split our dining between the MDR, late seating, the Horizon Court, and a night at the Crown Grill. Our steaks at the Crown Grill were excellent, as was the whole dining experience. Dinner in the MDR was generally good, and though we requested a table for two, were seated at a larger table. We were promptly moved to a 4-place table for the rest of the cruise, so we had extra space, as well as good service by our waiter and assistant waiter. We both thought German night at the Horizon Court was excellent, and the staff was very friendly all the way around. Of course being a buffet some things just don't work, but there was nothing that was just plain bad. It's hard to walk away from a buffet without finding at least something that was very good.
Princess Cays. We had booked an excursion with Eleuthera Tours to do something a bit different and see more of Eleuthera, but that did not work out; you can read my review of that experience on Trip Advisor titled "No tour for us", dated November 13th, 2014. We just ended up doing the beach thing. It turned out to be a typical Princess Cays experience, meaning it is what it is, a relaxing afternoon lounging on the beach, with a fairly good cookout lunch provided.
Ocho Rios: We booked an excursion with Yardie Tours, and it was an incredible day. You can read my recent review for them on Trip Advisor titled "Just go with Yardie!" We did the Countryside Excursion Tour, and got to see the real Jamaica. It was well worth it and I highly recommend this company.
Days at Sea. Typical what should we do now if anything types of days, very relaxing. We did book an afternoon in the Sanctuary, and it is well worth it. Very cool lounging in a shaded, quiet area as we sailed along the coast of Cuba. One of those things that stays with you. We also attended the culinary demonstration and took the galley tour, both well worth the time. This was actually the second time we took the tour of the galley, and on both occasions it was absolutely SPOTLESS.
No issues, we were off in a fairly quick manner. Port Everglades was crazy busy that day, so a bit of a line both at customs and to find our luggage, but nothing too bad.
We are going to miss the Ruby Princess, as we are not likely to cruise from the west coast. In planning for a Eastern Caribbean trip later this year, we have to decide between the Emerald Princess and the Regal Princess, the Emerald being a sister ship to the Ruby and therefore quite familiar (we do love the layout and appearance). As there have been many mixed reviews for the Royal/Regal, we have decided to see for ourselves, and will be doing the short trip to Princess Cays on April 12th, to see if we like the design and layout of the newest Princess ship. I hope this review has been at least somewhat helpful, as it is my first one here on Cruise Critic.
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