Hello, this morning we disembarked from the Ruby Princess after a one-day re-positioning from Seattle to Vancouver.
Our cabin was C409, we paid about $140 each for a balcony, but we had started out booking an inside room. About a month and a half before the cruise, the prices dropped hard and I was able to kick us up to a balcony for the same price we had originally booked the inside for. Just before we left, the prices for an inside were around $70 CDN. I am happy with the costs of the cruise as I believe we got our money's worth for the trip.
We live in Vancouver and had debated going down to Seattle the day before the cruise and stay in a Hotel, but with every decent Hotel costing in the market of $300-$400 for the night (Saturday), we decided to slum in it on a Greyhound during the early morning before the cruise.
We hopped on a Greyhound in Vancouver at about 0530hrs and it had us in Downtown Seattle at around 1000hrs (we had gotten hung up at the border for an hour or so). We didn't realize until we saw almost everyone from the bus later on the ship that we were all coming down for the same thing.
From the Greyhound station in Seattle, we walked through the baseball and football stadiums and caught a cab at the King Street Station (10-15 minute walk). We had caught an Amtrak train back to Vancouver on our last re-positioning one-day cruise in April so we were familiar with the area). Taxi from King's Street Station to Pier 91 was about $15 USD.
We spoke with some others whom had arranged a transfer. They arrived at the Pier at around the same time as us and had spent $12.50 for the transfer. Worth it to spend $15 for the pair of us, and be able to work at our own schedule to get there.
Anyways, we arrived at port around 1045hrs. Took a few pictures of the Ruby sitting there. We shared the port with Holland America's 'Amsterdam' that day. The Amsterdam looked to be an older vessel, one that we haven't seen much of in Vancouver in the last few years, though we do see the 'Nieuw Amsterdam' quite a bit and it is a beautiful ship.
The Ruby looked very beautiful as we had seen it from a distance in the taxi and it looked very clean as we arrived at the port.
We entered, traveled through Security and registration with the quickness and sat down in a large staging area. I am only a Gold status member and my fiance a Ruby, but we did not see a priority area for Platinums or Elites, not sure if they had one for this trip. I could see a special area for Holland America passengers (with uniformed waiters) but couldn't spot anything on the Princess side.
After about 15-20 minutes of waiting, boarding began. We were in staging group 11, but the wait from group 1 to 11 was only about 5 minutes. We boarded the ship around 1130hrs, I would estimate.
My fiance loves the embarkation photos and she was very concerned when they didn't have anything set up before we boarded. We found that they had a quick screen set up just on board for the photos. The area for embarkation photos was a bit rushed, as we would have like to prepare and pose for a good one, but I guess we were just glad to get one done.
We had received a notice on check-in within the terminal that our rooms would not be ready until 1300hrs. Nuts to that, we went straight to the room at 1130hrs to drop off our bags at least. We found that the room was ready and no sign of a steward, so we dropped the bags and settled in.
We were in C409, 'Caribe' Deck 10. The room was basic, I suspect the bottom rung of the balcony categories, but had a very large balcony. I did notice, however, that once I was out there that I could look right down on the balcony a level down and I suspect the people above us could look down and see us on the balcony. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to keep my pants on.
We hit up the Horizon Court for Lunch. Since we boarded so quickly, we were able to beat most of the crowd to the buffet.
On food, we did not try any of the specialty restaurants this time, just the buffet, Trident Grill and Pizza stand. Nothing was bad, but nothing really stood out as being that great either. I've rated dining as average but again, we did not visit any of the true dining venues.
After napping from 1300-1500hrs, we took part in the Muster Drill. We were station D and attended a lounge on Deck 7. We showed up before the alarm so we could secure some seats. The drill was about 20 minutes and was painless.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the top decks. Hung around the sailaway party for a bit, played some basketball and hung out until the rain started. Was a beautiful day until, right on schedule at 1700hrs, the rain began and sent us back into the depths of the ship.
At around 1730hrs, we bought a embarkation photo for $20. They worked at trying to get us to buy 2 for $40 but it was basically the same picture, the 2nd one merely being a smaller picture but with a display on sailing Seattle-Vancouver along the border, no deal.
We listened in to Comedian Joe Yannetty for a few minutes. His act didn't strike us as that funny so we retreated to the Library to play board games for a bit. We broke off that at 1945hrs to snag a seat in Princess Theatre for the first seating of their stage show "Colour of the World". Really enjoyed it. Between myself and my fiance, we recognized all of the songs and the show appeared to be very polished.
After that, we spent the rest of the night taking part in the Majority Rules gameshow (fun), the Yes/No game show (kinda bland) and the karoke in Club Fusion. Enjoyed Cruise Director Kelvin Joy's narration through the end of the stage show and the game shows afterward. While not particularly good-natured in his ribbing, he was very witty and fun throughout and definitely added to our enjoyment of the evening.
Retired at around 2330hrs and caught a few movies on the television. The on-screen setup is one that I am disappointed with. On this, and our last cruise on the Crown Princess in the spring, the visual set up is pretty basic. My first cruise was on the Royal Princess last year and their On-Demand setup was quite good and one that the other ships have not caught up with.
Slept like a baby on our mattress and woke up home in Vancouver.
We were out of our cabin just before 0800hrs and headed up to Horizon Court for breakfast. So had everyone else. So we filled our plates and had to go back out onto the open deck to find a table to eat at. But the servers were out there as well and hit us right away for drinks, etc.
Disembarkation occurred off of the promenade deck and after handing over our customs forms, were back into the city without any delays.
A few issues that I had during the cruise:
1) I had booked the Soda and More package for both of us on my cruise personalizer months prior to boarding. We did not receive anything to state this on boarding. When I visited Guest Services, they said that did not see anything on my profile to confirm this and would not sell it now that I was on the ship. This was fine, but a recurring theme on this and our previous cruise on the Crown was that the Guest Services desk would never seem to put much effort into fixing problems or offering solutions.
2) While we were waiting for the stage show to start in Princess Theatre, we had ordered drinks on my cruise card. The waiter came back and said that the charge did not go through and he wasn't sure why. We used my fiance's cruise card and the charge when through fine. What is weird, is that both cruise cards were tied to my credit card. I didn't think anything more of it, just resigned to use her card for any further purchases.
3) As we tried to disembark the next day, we were stopped and told that we had to return to the Guest Services desk to resolve an issue. We did and found that it was the same credit issue as above. Once again, Guest Services couldn't do much of a job explaining it but it was found that a $15 charge (I assume the auto-grat) had bounced back. Did a manual payment and noticed that there were quite a few of this manual payments on her clipboard and at the other stations of the desk. Perhaps this was an ongoing issue.
On the whole, we enjoyed the cruise. The only drawbacks are a mixed-bag of crew members who would sometimes go to the moon to get you what you needed and some that felt like you were bothering them to ask something. We had no interaction with our Room Steward, but had no issue with the cleanliness of the room or service times.
No complaints about the cabin. Standard Balcony cabin with just the basics.
Very large balcony but we were looking right down on someone else's balcony and someone could look right down on ours. Big balcony but not private.