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Had not traveled to Mexico since 2010 when Royal Caribbean pulled out. We wanted to take a cruise where we did not have to fly. Embarkation The check-in area is well organized. The woman checking us is was pleasant. Unfortunately she was not efficient. We had priority boarding, but she gave us a boarding card for the very LAST boarding group. As we were new to Princess, we did not realize this until we had gone through security. I tried to ask some of the representatives in the boarding area for assistance, but there only response was to go back to the initial check-in area and go back through security. Ship The first thing we noticed is "you can't get there from here". The ship layout does not flow as well as the other ships we have been on. The hunt for the restaurant where we could talk with the Maître D was frustrating as several decks do not go through and some elevators do not go to all decks. You cannot go from one restaurant to another without an up-over-down trek. The up side of our adventure was that we found the anytime dining restaurant designated for suite guests that nobody had told us about and was not included in any of our information from Princess. We did notice how clean the ship was. We consistently saw crew members cleaning (and not just wiping down, but getting into every nook and cranny). The ship was one of the cleanest we have been on. Food and Restaurant Service Horizon Court is the worst buffet we have encountered in 34 cruises on 20 different ships. The buffet area is small, crowded and with minimal choices. Poor salad bar at lunch and only slightly better at dinner. On three occasions we walked out without anything as we were so disappointed in choices. (and in discussing with other cruisers we found we were not alone) On the two times we did eat there, hot food dishes that should have been hot were cold (not cool, but refrigerator cold) The baked goods did not appear freshly baked. They were all tough, and reminded me of something purchased at a grocery store and then frozen. The cakes were always dry. The cookies were good, but usually the tray was empty. On the first day my husband asked a server for lemonade and the server looked at him like he was from outer space and told him they didn't have anything other than water or iced tea. Overall drink choices are minimal compared to other cruise lines as there are no self serve drink stations. As example RCL provides water, Ice tea, lemonade, fruit punch and OJ at multiple drink stations throughout the buffet area. The service in the Horizon court is dismal during lunch and only slightly better at dinner. Da Vinci Dining room (Club Class Dining Area) The food was generally very good in this dining room. We ate there four times and the food was very good each time, but service was not consistent. Three of the times the service was attentive and efficient and the pace of the meal was perfect. On one occasion the service was aloof, inattentive (at least for us), turning into rude. The meal started out with her being cold but efficient. (we were her only table) Then when a party of two came and sat near us, she actually stopped talking to us in mid sentence, turned her back to us and began to fawn over this couple. From this point on we could not even get our water refilled. We had also noticed that the glasses of wine we ordered were woefully under pored but could not get her attention to complain. (she poured them). The glass of wine she poured for the other couple was at least twice as full as our glasses. After sitting for a long time without service, we decided it was time to go, and we left. The head waiter followed us out to the elevator to ask what was the issue. We told him and he apologized, but made no effort to rectify the wine issue. Crown Grill. The crown grill was the saving grace for the food and food service. We ate dinner twice in the grill ($58 charge) and had breakfast four times (included with a suite). The service was friendly, attentive and very efficient. The food was generally excellent (I did have one incredibly tough steak, but they rectified it very quickly). The breakfasts were as good as any we have ever had on a ship. The atmosphere was some of the best we have experienced in a ship restaurant. The room is decorated in dark wood, with picture from around the world. The grill was our favorite spot on the ship. Trident Grill. The trident grill made good (not great) fresh burgers and sausages. The Bratwursts were excellent. Unfortunately there was always a long line (25-30 people) for the grill. Room service was excellent both in the morning and evening. Food arrived exactly on time. If you asked for breakfast to be delivered between 9:00-9:30, it would arrive at exactly 9:00. The person delivery the food was friendly and efficient. The breakfasts were only average (same tough pastries) but the salads at night were better than in any of the restaurants. Bar and Bar Service. There was a nice selection of wines throughout the ship, but beer selection was poor. At first glance, the prices appear average for a ship, however the pours were on the light side. Drink sizes were small for the prices. Drinks were often poured short in the dining room, Skywalker Nightclub, and Mermaids tail. One time we ordered margaritas in Mermaids Tail and they came in small water glasses yet we saw people walking around with regular margarita glasses. One drink in the Skywalker Nightclub was only 2.5 oz. (the glass was less than 1/2 full) When asked why so small, the waiter said "it's a martini - 1 oz gin, 1 oz lemon juice and .5 oz sugar syrup". (a martini is normally 4.5 - 6 oz) Servers in Skywalker would often ignore cruisers (not just us) while they talked with other cruisers for 5-10 minutes at a time. We did attend a wine tasting in Stammtisch that was excellent. It was reasonably priced with good wines and a great presenter. Overall Service. I think my wife put it best when she said "the service is subdued - there is just no enthusiasm ". Most of the staff (including officers - upper staff) will walk past without acknowledging you. The only regular exception were room stewards and Edgar in the Crown Grill. Most staff were efficient, but with few exceptions we found them very mechanical and rarely felt that they really cared if you were having a good time. Spa. When we checked in for our treatments the receptionist just handed us robes and told us the changing rooms were around the corner. After we changed we had no idea where to go. We waited in the wrong area as there was nothing to indicate otherwise. I had to flag down a staff member in order to find out if we were in the correct location. There also is a lack of lockers. It took me about 5 minutes to find an empty locker. Had I not found a clear locker I would have canceled my treatment. Fitness Center Good equipment. Plenty of treadmills. Nice selection of weights. It need a separate locker room from the spa. Disbarkation Luggage tags and disbarkation info was never delivered to our room. We had to go down to customer service for the info. While they gave us our tags, we were not given the customs form. Overall I think the cruise would be fine as there would be limited expectations. This was not a great cruise for us as we knew how good it could/should be.

Inconsistent service, Terrible buffet food

Ruby Princess Cruise Review by DC0743

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2017
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Vista Suite with Balcony
Had not traveled to Mexico since 2010 when Royal Caribbean pulled out. We wanted to take a cruise where we did not have to fly.

Embarkation

The check-in area is well organized. The woman checking us is was pleasant. Unfortunately she was not efficient. We had priority boarding, but she gave us a boarding card for the very LAST boarding group. As we were new to Princess, we did not realize this until we had gone through security. I tried to ask some of the representatives in the boarding area for assistance, but there only response was to go back to the initial check-in area and go back through security.

Ship

The first thing we noticed is "you can't get there from here". The ship layout does not flow as well as the other ships we have been on. The hunt for the restaurant where we could talk with the Maître D was frustrating as several decks do not go through and some elevators do not go to all decks. You cannot go from one restaurant to another without an up-over-down trek. The up side of our adventure was that we found the anytime dining restaurant designated for suite guests that nobody had told us about and was not included in any of our information from Princess. We did notice how clean the ship was. We consistently saw crew members cleaning (and not just wiping down, but getting into every nook and cranny). The ship was one of the cleanest we have been on.

Food and Restaurant Service

Horizon Court is the worst buffet we have encountered in 34 cruises on 20 different ships. The buffet area is small, crowded and with minimal choices. Poor salad bar at lunch and only slightly better at dinner. On three occasions we walked out without anything as we were so disappointed in choices. (and in discussing with other cruisers we found we were not alone) On the two times we did eat there, hot food dishes that should have been hot were cold (not cool, but refrigerator cold) The baked goods did not appear freshly baked. They were all tough, and reminded me of something purchased at a grocery store and then frozen. The cakes were always dry. The cookies were good, but usually the tray was empty. On the first day my husband asked a server for lemonade and the server looked at him like he was from outer space and told him they didn't have anything other than water or iced tea. Overall drink choices are minimal compared to other cruise lines as there are no self serve drink stations. As example RCL provides water, Ice tea, lemonade, fruit punch and OJ at multiple drink stations throughout the buffet area. The service in the Horizon court is dismal during lunch and only slightly better at dinner.

Da Vinci Dining room (Club Class Dining Area) The food was generally very good in this dining room. We ate there four times and the food was very good each time, but service was not consistent. Three of the times the service was attentive and efficient and the pace of the meal was perfect. On one occasion the service was aloof, inattentive (at least for us), turning into rude. The meal started out with her being cold but efficient. (we were her only table) Then when a party of two came and sat near us, she actually stopped talking to us in mid sentence, turned her back to us and began to fawn over this couple. From this point on we could not even get our water refilled. We had also noticed that the glasses of wine we ordered were woefully under pored but could not get her attention to complain. (she poured them). The glass of wine she poured for the other couple was at least twice as full as our glasses. After sitting for a long time without service, we decided it was time to go, and we left. The head waiter followed us out to the elevator to ask what was the issue. We told him and he apologized, but made no effort to rectify the wine issue.

Crown Grill. The crown grill was the saving grace for the food and food service. We ate dinner twice in the grill ($58 charge) and had breakfast four times (included with a suite). The service was friendly, attentive and very efficient. The food was generally excellent (I did have one incredibly tough steak, but they rectified it very quickly). The breakfasts were as good as any we have ever had on a ship. The atmosphere was some of the best we have experienced in a ship restaurant. The room is decorated in dark wood, with picture from around the world. The grill was our favorite spot on the ship.

Trident Grill. The trident grill made good (not great) fresh burgers and sausages. The Bratwursts were excellent. Unfortunately there was always a long line (25-30 people) for the grill.

Room service was excellent both in the morning and evening. Food arrived exactly on time. If you asked for breakfast to be delivered between 9:00-9:30, it would arrive at exactly 9:00. The person delivery the food was friendly and efficient. The breakfasts were only average (same tough pastries) but the salads at night were better than in any of the restaurants.

Bar and Bar Service.

There was a nice selection of wines throughout the ship, but beer selection was poor. At first glance, the prices appear average for a ship, however the pours were on the light side. Drink sizes were small for the prices. Drinks were often poured short in the dining room, Skywalker Nightclub, and Mermaids tail. One time we ordered margaritas in Mermaids Tail and they came in small water glasses yet we saw people walking around with regular margarita glasses. One drink in the Skywalker Nightclub was only 2.5 oz. (the glass was less than 1/2 full) When asked why so small, the waiter said "it's a martini - 1 oz gin, 1 oz lemon juice and .5 oz sugar syrup". (a martini is normally 4.5 - 6 oz) Servers in Skywalker would often ignore cruisers (not just us) while they talked with other cruisers for 5-10 minutes at a time. We did attend a wine tasting in Stammtisch that was excellent. It was reasonably priced with good wines and a great presenter.

Overall Service.

I think my wife put it best when she said "the service is subdued - there is just no enthusiasm ". Most of the staff (including officers - upper staff) will walk past without acknowledging you. The only regular exception were room stewards and Edgar in the Crown Grill. Most staff were efficient, but with few exceptions we found them very mechanical and rarely felt that they really cared if you were having a good time.

Spa.

When we checked in for our treatments the receptionist just handed us robes and told us the changing rooms were around the corner. After we changed we had no idea where to go. We waited in the wrong area as there was nothing to indicate otherwise. I had to flag down a staff member in order to find out if we were in the correct location. There also is a lack of lockers. It took me about 5 minutes to find an empty locker. Had I not found a clear locker I would have canceled my treatment.

Fitness Center

Good equipment. Plenty of treadmills. Nice selection of weights. It need a separate locker room from the spa.

Disbarkation

Luggage tags and disbarkation info was never delivered to our room. We had to go down to customer service for the info. While they gave us our tags, we were not given the customs form.

Overall

I think the cruise would be fine as there would be limited expectations. This was not a great cruise for us as we knew how good it could/should be.
DC0743’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Vista Suite with Balcony
Cabin S6 C751
We were in C751, a Vista Suite at the rear of the ship. The room was large and very clean. There was tons of storage and the walk in closet had enough hanger space for enough clothes for a round the world cruise. The room was pretty quiet except for the occasional engine rumbling. It did not have the groaning and creaking that often occurs in ship cabins. The bed was very comfortable and the sheets and pillows were of high quality. The balcony was large with two lounge chairs and a nice table and chairs. The room steward was excellent. This is not to say the room was not without issues. The couch was getting a bit tired and you could feel the metal bars underneath the seat cushions. The faucet at the mini bar was loose and when fully turned on would take forever just to fill a water glass. The water pressure and temperature issues continued into the bathroom. The bathroom included a small shower and a nice Whirlpool tub. Unfortunately the tub was hardly usable because the hot water was barely hot and the pressure so low it took 26 minutes to fill the tub just up to the bottom jets. (yes, I timed it) We tried different times of the day, but the pressure never improved. Since the water didn't start out very hot, it cooled off during the slow fill making for a warm bath at best. The shower was ok as long as you don't want really hot showers (and yes, we went past the pre-set hot water stop) and you only want to wash your hair. This is one of the few shower on a ship I have been in that did not include a hand shower so that you could rinse off completely. I ended up with a rash from not being able to rinse off the soap properly. To top it off, the towels were very rough.
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