A Gem of a Transatlantic Crossing on the Ruby: Ruby Princess Cruise Review by Badgerone

Ruby Princess 5
Member Since 2009
25 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

A Gem of a Transatlantic Crossing on the Ruby

Sail Date: April 2009
Destination: Transatlantic
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We arrived  the day before departure and stayed at the Marriot  North in Ft Lauderdale . The rate is reasonable and the hotel is very nice and is geared to Cruisers on Weekends . We used the transfer bus from Princess from the airport to the hotel and then the next day to the ship . The Princess reps were well organized and we like the ease of this feature.

    Embarkation is a breeze at this port and we were quickly on board the  ship . The Ruby is the familiar Princess design and it is beautiful . Every public area is spotless and even though it is only 6 months old, the crew was doing constant maintenance.

  From the Cruise Director, James, and his assistants, to the room stewards, the wait staff in all dining areas, and ,yes, even the Pursers' desk staffall were pleasant and friendly and helpful. The tour desk is well situated and that staff was very informative and readily answered questions . The Port More Speaker was available too and provided suggestions for those folks who were going to do independent shore visits .

   The Piazza on deck 5 was a comfortable place to relax and the entertainment was enjoyable and quite varied from a string quartet , pianists, acrobats, jugglers , etc, and even the 4 singers from the Production shows did an informal concert one afternoon .

  The Entertainment in the main lounges was well done. At sea, the show band played for dancing in the afternoons which was a nice touch .  The 4 production shows we attended in the Princess Theatre were very good . The latest technology and outstanding costumes added an extra enhancement to the very talented singers and dancers. The new "Once Upon a Dream " was truly amazing .  Not to be missed is the Crew Talent show . They had excellent voices and showmanship. And the traditional skit "If I Were Not Upon The Sea "  was hilarious.

  There were many activities available during the sea days including interesting presentations by a motivational speaker, a financial advisor  and the Chief Navigational Officer. The Port Talks were very well done also . Since the library is small , they encouraged passengers to go up to Skywalkers at the top deck,astern, and make use of its comfortable chairs and expanse of windows to do reading and relax. 

   Our Balcony cabin on the Baja deck was as nice as usual but this time even better . For our 50th wedding anniversary, our family surprised us with a gift of the Ultimate Balcony Dinner. This truly was an Ultimate dining experience, starting with cocktails, champagne,canapes,salads, followed by two enormous lobster tails or a large steak to the special desserts . Along with this comes a floral centerpiece, a 5 by 7 picture taken by the ship's photographer. All of this is served to you by a waiter and his assistant with the white table clothes and crystal ,etc . Check out the blue book on the desk in your cabin for details and the menu and definitely  try it.

    Food Comments . We have to say that the food on this voyage was the best we have had on Princess  and that goes for the Dining rooms as well as the buffets,. We have seen the menus and portion size change over the years to reflect changing tastes of passengers and nutrition  and environmental  concerns as well as a more casual approach to eating out. If you are seeking fine dining than the optional dining rooms for a fee will provide you with that .  We ate breakfast and lunch in the Horizon Court or Club Caribe. They have the usual breakfast type items ( skip the scrambled eggs though ) with a lot of good fruit and they do give you the chance to expand your horizons with different items . For example, one morning there were 5 types of smoked fish another time several sausages including English bangers , and mushroom ragout and even baked beans .

    Cafe Caribe is a great place for lunch and dinner . They have different themes ranging from American BBQ to Oriental and Sushi to Curry dishes,etc. In the evening, they served most of the items that were on the Dining room list that night but also have some special theme nights such as a Bavarian Bier Fest . That was complete with German beer , many types of sausages and even a roasted young pig which the chef would slice for you ,  Then at 11:30 , they switch to their all night buffet with pizza, rotisserie chicken, sub sandwiches and good desserts and of course peanut butter cookies, We made that our stop every night after the entertainment for our Midnight snack.
    Another well kept secret are the freshly baked cookies and milk served on Deck 5 in the piazza about 3:30 each day  The  International Cafe there has a very nice selection of pastries, small sandwiches along with  salads . And for a $ 1.50. you can try 3 scoops of the gelato which is also good . Around the corner is a coffee bar for those of you who need your speciality  drinks (for a small Fee )

    The other secret is that from 3 to 5 , the Horizon Court serves free ice cream sundaes and also makes waffles with all the toppings .

   Our special traveling companion, our Brother in law , suffered a back problem the second day at sea with a strong back spasm which caused him to be prone on the floor and had to be taken down to the Medical Center via a stretcher . He found the Doctor and Nurses to be very professional and they were able to help him during several followup visits. The facility is quite complete and it is reassuring that such a service is available in case of such events ,. And, the staff in the Horizon court were very attentive during the incident and when they saw him during the following days, keep inquiring about his health .  He did recover by the time we got to land and was able to do his shore excursions,

    We were scheduled to stop at Monte Carlo as our last port but that morning as we arrived, strong winds came up and it was impossible to put the Tenders out to get to  shore . The Captain wisely would not chance the safety of the passengers or the crew . This is out of everyones control and can happen on any type of vacation

   We took a 15 day Transatlantic cruise last year and that was great too . We would now like to try the repositioning trip in the Fall from Europe visiting Iceland and Greenland etc.

   We would definitely sail on the Ruby again ., 

Published 05/30/09

Cabin review: BAL

The cabin is good size with lots of storage area , While the bathroom is small it is certainly functional . We invest in the balcony cabin as we like the added space  and the quiet ,private area for reading and sunning . We also like watching the arrival and leaving from a port , And , if your traveling companions are in the cabin next door you can have the room steward open the partition so you can share the balconies .   We like the Baja Deck and the 600 block as it is easy to get to the Horizon court and the polls on the 15th deck and for getting snacks,etc to take back to the cabin .  

Port and Shore Excursions

Again we were over an hour from Florence but it was worth the trip . The crowds were enormous because it was a Saturday after the Holiday . This again is a lot of walking from the buses but that fine as you get to see all the amazing 1500s buildings as you walk along and the many marble statues  around the squares . The huge Cathedral with its elaborate marble exterior is great . Because of the crowds we could not get inside some of the buildings. 
   We then went on to Pisa to see the leaning tower. That was not up to the quality of Florence as besides the tower which was the bell tower for the Church - there is only the Cathedral( which is nice ) and the Baptistry . And then many souvenir shops and places to eat . I would skip Pisa.

Being able to stand at the observation point on Gibraltar and look across to Africa on one side and Spain on the other was something., The first part of the tour going up the rock on narrow winding roads in a minibus was not helped by a guide that we all had trouble understanding but the views made up for that . When we got into the WW2 tunnels that were dug into the rock , that guide was much better and it was fascinating how the troops and their support staff lived and worked underground  We also stopped to see the apeslarge monkeys-which inhabit part of the rock ,. They were regarded by the British troops as good luck charms during the war and now  are tourist attractions. Keep your distance as they can be pests and will jump on you looking for food . 

We enjoyed Funchal as it was a Holiday and the Festival of the Flowers was taking place. We took a tour of a large private garden and then stopped at the Old Blandy Tasting Room for samples of their famous Madeira wine .  They had a variety pack of small bottles of the wine which was a popular purchase by our group. We walked  around the town briefly  and the main streets are right by the harbor so after you take a courtesy shuttle bus from the dock ,you could have a good time sight seeing.

The port is over an hour away from Rome and since we have never been to Italy we chose to take the Princess Shore Tour. They arranged for some very comfortable buses and our local guide who traveled with us was very informative along the way , When we got to Rome , the City guide joined us . The busses park away form the Roman ruins and Vatican city so we did a lot of walking which was fine as the temp was in the 60s . It was very crowded as this was May first which is a National Holiday , Labor Day . Our guides were outstanding and did a great job of keeping us together . The tour guides have a transmitter and a mike and you wear a small receiver and headphones so you can hear her despite all the crowd and traffic noise and your distance from her as the group walks along ., This is a great innovation . She had  an extensive knowledge of the history of the CIty  , the Roman empire and Vatican city . We stood there in awe and could not believe that we were seeing all of this in person .  The only thing we missed was the Vatican Museum with the Sistine Chapel as that was closed because of Labor day .  We will go back again some day .

Here again the ship is within easy walking distance of a main street . You should go to the Port Talks to get some ides of the layout of the city and also pick up a map from the local tourist people on the dock to help you find your way around .We like to walk around the side streets to see how the residents live and shop . We found the main shopping streets several blocks up from the dock and did our window shopping and picture taking along the way. When we got back to the main street near the dock we stopped in a Gelateria for some Gelato and it was superb. 

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Member Since 2009
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