Ruby Princess Cruise Review by yorkshireyank
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite with Balcony
Embarkation was excellent at Seattle. The cruise terminal (#99) and Princess have it down to a science. As a suite passenger, you get to sit in the Wheelhouse Bar on disembarkation and that process went even smoother than embarkation. To make your trip even go smoother—use their EZ Check service. Princess partners up with participating airlines to transfer your luggage to the airline and you won’t see it until you get to your final destination. While it does cost $20 per person, there are no excess weight fees should your luggage be over the weight limit. The service also checks you into the flight and you will receive boarding passes on the ship. You must pay the airline for any additional 1st, 2nd, etc. bag fees not covered under your reservation.
Excursions/Itinerary. September is the rainy season in Alaska and the weatherman did not disappoint. The rain wasn’t bad but the constant low cloud cover and fog really obscured a lot of Alaska’s beauty. If this were our first time to Alaska this cruise truly would have been a bummer, but luckily we still managed to have fun on the majority of our excursions we took. Recommend taking the Evening Whale Quest with Dinner out of Juneau. Allen Marine Tours ran an excellent tour and we saw everything from Orca pods, humpback whales, and Steller Sea Lions barking away on one of the islands in the gulf. The stop in Victoria was disappointing because you get in late evening (around 7 PM) and city sightseeing really means all you get to do is see the city and Craigdarroch Castle. You can save yourself the $45 per person fee and skip this tour if you get in once it is dark.
Dining was pretty good but the tables in the main dining room tended to look overcrowded at times. On formal night we sat at a table for “10” in Michelangelo’s which clearly should have been for eight. So we were less than impressed. Food options were alright but I would highly recommend trying out the Crown Grill. It has a $29 cover charge but the food is great and the staff in this restaurant, while some lacked personality, they were always professional. We ate here three times for dinner and five out of seven days for breakfast. So you know we had to like it.
Customer service and staff. Outside of our room steward Inri and a server named Milan (from Serbia), quite a few of the staff seemed like they were nearing the end of their contracts and you could see it in their actions. You did get a friendly greeting from time to time, but the waitstaff in all the main restaurants just appeared to be tired and unfriendly. However, the photographers were very good and be sure to seek out Hector when he is taking photos--he knows his craft.
The shopkeepers and spa technicians offered an average attention span but at times lacked any personality. I understand it’s tough to be cheery but you are in a customer service industry—at least smile and say hello and thank you. Perhaps, since this was the ship’s last trip to Alaska, the staff was ready to leave the dreary weather behind for their next cruise to the Mexican Riviera.
Entertainment. We saw two of the ship’s main entertainment venues: Magic to Do and Colors of the World. We felt that while Magic To Do was a good performance, it was hyped up too much and not as good as the latter show mentioned above. There was a bit more dancing than magic in Magic to Do but the show was entertaining. However, we felt that Colors of the World truly showcased the ship’s cast singing and dancing talents by offering a diverse set of numbers. We felt the shipboard entertainers did a great show and we rated them second to Disney cruise shows. We also took in various performances given by the performing artists (jugglers) Rootberry and singer-actor, ventriloquist Michael Minor which were highly entertaining. The variety of trivia games offered were also a lot of (free) fun.
Bottom line is this. The Ruby Princess didn't inspire us to sign up for a future Princess cruise while on-board and in fact have us thinking about trying an RCL cruise next time out. If we do Princess again it will probably be with one of their newer vessels but I can't see us doing cruise with Princess for the next few years when there are so many options available.
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This room is nicely situated under the Lido deck and centered across from the mid-ship elevators but very low traffic area. We did hear the moving of chairs and tables above on the Lido deck from time to time but not enough to bother our sleep. There are quite a few suite perks not available on the Ruby Princess as on other newer ships but take full advantage of the free laundry/dry cleaning services!
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Whale WatchingAllen Marine Tours ran an excellent evening whale watching tour and we saw everything from Orca pods, humpback whales, and Steller Sea Lions barking away on one of the islands in the gulf.View All 823 Whale Watching Reviews
Misty Fjords Wilderness CruiseSaw black wolves! What a rarity to see according to the cruise operator and certainly a first for me.View All 100 Misty Fjords Wilderness Cruise Reviews
Horseback RidingVery professional staff and the horses were well trained. Enjoyed the day. Its a 2.5 hour trail guided ride to a tidal basin. In September be prepared to get wet.View All 17 Horseback Riding Reviews
Craigdarroch CastleI guess a highlight of Vancouver Island but if you have been to the UK, you have seen plenty of castles with similar decor and more grandeur. Very lovely home and nicely curated.View All 34 Craigdarroch Castle Reviews
Scenic Victoria City TourMostly in the dark and so much of the pretty scenery is missed. Don't recommend if your ship comes in late afternoon and its September. Limited time for souvenir hunting if that's what you are looking for.View All 53 Scenic Victoria City Tour Reviews