My wife and I were on the October 25th sailing of the Ruby Princess. This was our first 10-day cruise and we were really looking forward to getting away. Our trip to Fort Lauderdale on Saturday October 24th was uneventful. We spent the night in the Comfort Inn and Suites in Fort Lauderdale. Nice people at the hotel, and the facility was nice enough. They offer a shuttle from the airport as well as to the cruise port. We took the shuttle to the cruise port and arrived at the ship at a little after 1:00 pm. The line was pretty long, but it moved fast and we were on the ship by a little after 2:00 pm. Our room A746 was a balcony room at the back of the ship on Aloha deck. The room itself was standard for a balcony room, but the balcony was oversized, and had a nice view forward as well as to the side. Our room steward Mariano was one of the nicest persons you would ever meet. He always had a big smile on his face, our room as always made up nice, and he helped with correcting some issues with the room.
Regarding the Ruby Princess it is a beautiful ship, and it was nice to see that the maintenance staff worked diligently to keep it that way. We were on the Crown Princess in January and didn't get the same sense that the ship was being cared for. We dined at the Horizon Court and Caribe Cafe for most meals. We do this because we just prefer the convenience of eating when we want. We ate at the Crown Grill one night. The food over all was good. One thing that I didn't really understand was that on about the 5th day out they started closing the Horizon Court at about 5:30 pm. My wife took the opportunity to utilize the spa a few times, and talked me into going once. We did a couples thing with a hydro bed, and massage. The massage was nice, but I was sore from it for several days after. Can't really blame that on the masseuse, as I'm normally quite stressed out! My wife liked the hydro bed, but I can't say I did. Didn't take the opportunity to go to any of the shows on the ship, but we did watch Movies under the Stars a few times.
During the trip we made 6 stops! After 2 sea days we made our first stop at Aruba. While there we took an excursion with Jolly Pirates. It was the 3-stop snorkel, which included a stop at the shipwreck Antilla. The excursion was a lot of fun and the crew of the Jolly Pirate II was very entertaining. Going to and from the excursion we rode on the banana bus, which was equally entertaining. Once back at the port we boarded and got cleaned up and went back into town to do a little shopping. All together this was a great stop; I really enjoyed Aruba, and would like to go back some day.
Next stop was at Bonaire. We didn't take an excursion with this stop, as we didn't really see much that interested us. Looking back thought we should have grabbed a tour at the dock. Bonaire likewise is a very nice island, and the people there are very friendly. We ended up walking through town and doing a little shopping.
Next day we arrived in Grenada! We were amazed at the beauty of the island as we approached. Here we did the Spice island tour and rum tasting. We boarded a tour bus at the port and made a stop at a business that processed nutmeg into various products. Then on to an island sponsored attraction for a guided tour that went over the various agricultural products of the island. Last we stopped at the Westerhall distillery to tour the remnants of the original sugar plantation and distillery, including a tasting. On the drive back to the port we stopped for souvenirs. This was a good stop, and the tour was a lot of fun.
Next day was Halloween, and our stop at Dominica. The crew had the piazza all decorated for Halloween. Likewise as we approached the island the beauty of the rainforest struck us. On Dominica we booked a tour through Barefoot Tours called the Wellness tour. Our guide, a nice young man, drove us to a spa in the mountains to sample the hot springs and local fruits. It was a really nice place and the dip in the spa was very relaxing. Next we went to Trafalgar Falls. After a nice little hike back into the forest we arrived at the Falls. It is a beautiful site seeing the water running from the twin falls. After that he drove us up into the mountains for some photo opportunities. He also took us to a local restaurant to try some of the local food. I must admit that I was a little leery of this, but the meal that we had was tasty and we both enjoyed the opportunity. All in all Mr. Jeffery did a nice job of introducing us to the island. This was a great stop also and I wouldn't mind going back some day.
On Sunday we stopped at St Thomas. As we did in January on the Crown Princess we tied up at the Crown Harbor dock. In January I was less than impressed with the Crown Harbor facilities. But I will say in the time since then they have been worked to improve the facilities. I do prefer the West Indies facilities still, but Crown Harbor isn't as bad as our previous visit. While here we booked a tour with St Thomas Cruise Excursions. This included a couple hours downtown shopping, a couple hours at Meghans Bay beach, and a general tour of the island. After a rocky start to the tour trying to find the operator, we ended up in downtown Charlotte Amalie. This is a really nice area with lots of nice shops and restaurants. Later when we were picked up for the rest of the tour we asked if we could just see the island, as we didn't really want to spend the time at the beach. Alvin was very accommodating and stopped at several stops for photo opportunities. He was very knowledgeable about the history of the island and we really enjoyed the time we spent on the tour. This was the third time we have stopped at St Thomas, but we had just snorkeled there before. The tour gave us a much better idea of what the island has to offer and I wouldn't mind going back for a few days.
After another sea day we stopped at Princess Cay. Since we had been there in January we stayed on the ship and just relaxed. Then an overnight sail back to Port Everglades. We had an early flight out of Fort Lauderdale so we were in the first group that exited the ship. Disembarkation was smooth and we had no problem getting off the ship and through customs. We got transfers from Princess back to the airport, and getting to the airport went smoothly.
My wife and I really had a great time on this cruise. The ship is beautiful, and the crew was very nice. In the future I certainly wouldn't hesitate to book another cruise on the Ruby Princess.
The cabin itself was your average balcony stateroom. It was a nice room, there was some vibration from the engines, but it wasn't bad. What made this room special was the balcony. It was bigger with a great view forward and to the side.