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Background We are Darren and Cindy in our late 40’s and early 50’s from Great Falls, Montana. We have been on 8 cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, and a California Pacific Coastal. We began looking for cruises in the late fall of 2018 for January 2019. Montana can be very cold and dark in the winter months and late January was an ideal week for us to travel in 2019. We were pretty set on this last week in January yet decided to wait until after the “final payment” date to seriously consider a cruise. In early December we narrowed it down to a couple of “last minute” options. The deals were pretty good for a 7-night Caribbean cruise with a variety of companies, but the airfare per person from Montana to Miami or Fort Lauderdale, FL was going to be more than the cruise. OUCH!! We generally prefer Celebrity Cruises, yet we also were considering a Mexican Riviera cruise with Princess since the price of the cruise was excellent and the airfare was going to be less than A THIRD of the cost to fly to LAX compared to Florida ports. Eventually about December 17 we committed to the January 26 Ruby Princess. The “Drop and Go” deal was the lowest price we have EVER paid for a balcony stateroom cruise (no perks included). We purchased a “Balcony Guarantee”, made our airline reservations, and a pre-cruise night at the Hilton LAX the same day. This was our third cruise with Princess. In the past we have always had a good experience with them. Admittedly, when booking a “guarantee” cabin, you need to be prepared to be satisfied with the worst cabin in your category. For us, the worst possible balcony cabins would have been a cabin under the fitness center/treadmills or a cabin with the balcony just above or near a smoking section. About two weeks later, we were assigned R-504, a perfectly acceptable balcony stateroom mid-ship. Goals: For us, the goal for the cruise was a week of sun, warmth, and relaxation with good food and wine in a casual (yet upscale) environment. We made a couple of decisions pre-cruise which would help us with this goal. 1. We like Good Food. On our past Princess cruises, the food in one of the Main Dining Room was always fine considering the amount of people the main dining rooms must feed within a couple of hour period. With some of the money we saved flying to LAX as opposed to Florida we chose to reserve EVERY evening in the Specialty Restaurants (Share and Crown Grill) on the ship which we could do for about $200 per person. 2. We like Good Wine. Each stateroom can carry on 2 bottles of wine per stateroom for in room/balcony consumption. For us, we considered the $15 corkage fee Princess charges for guests to bring additional wine on board to drink in the dining rooms/restaurants to be a VERY GOOD DEAL. 3. We planned to book the Thermal Suite in the spa for the entire cruise. We had purchased it on one of our Princess Cruises in the past and were very happy with it. Pre Cruise and Embarkation We flew from Great Falls, MT to LAX via Seattle on Alaskan Airlines. We left Great Falls in a blizzard but landed on time in Seattle then onto LAX on time as well. We stayed the night before at the Hilton LAX and were pleased with the room and hotel. The Hilton ended up being a good hotel for us since it offered a variety of light dining options for Friday night. Since it was warm on Saturday morning and since check out was not until 12:00 noon, we spent some time by the pool in the morning, then arranged a ride to the San Pedro Cruise Terminal. We shopped at Purdy’s wine/liquor just a block away from the Hilton. We bought and carried on 6 bottles of wine 3 white and 3 red and paid the corkage fees. For us this was a good deal since the wines were about $20 each and corkage was $15. The wines would have easily been $80-100 on the ship. We left the Hilton about 11:00am on Saturday and were at the pier by 11:30. We checked our luggage outside. Check in at the desk was easy and trouble free. In fact, at 11:45 there was not a single person in line. We boarded the ship shortly after we arrived. Our room was ready at 1:00pm. Our luggage arrived shortly after. Stateroom R-504 R-504 is near the mid-ship elevators and under the pool deck. Actually, it is immediately under a dining area for the pizza, ice cream station. The room was very clean and updated from the recent dry dock. There was new carpet, TV, mattress, etc in the room. There was some significant noise from the pool deck (table area) all day long. In general, it did not bother us too much and we got used to the noise. If we were to ever book a cruise on Ruby again and choose our room, we would never choose R504, yet for the “balcony guarantee” and the price, we were satisfied with the room. Storage space – plenty of storage space for us and our stuff Bed – We both found the bed very comfortable Staff – Our Room Steward (Glen) was very pleasant and kept our room well stocked and spotless. The room staff work hard, and we appreciated their work. Food Share by Curtis Stone – We booked reservations before the cruise on night 1, 3, 5, and 7 at Share. While the menu is somewhat limited, we consider this the best Restaurant on the ship. The service was exceptional and would highly recommend it to others. We never found Share to be crowded and wondered by more people do not book this restaurant. Crown Grill - We made advance reservations for night 2 and 4 (which ended up being nights 2 and 6) at the Crown Grill. We think the Crown is a step up from the Main Dining Room and the steaks (or seafood) good. International Café – We had a coffee card from our last cruise and the coffee and tea selections at the Café were again excellent – For us, the coffee package is worth it. The sugar-free deserts at the Café were also excellent. Buffet – We rarely ate in the buffet Chef’s Table – We were invited to dine at the Chef’s table Spa/Thermal Suite Once on board, we purchased the Thermal Suite pass at the Spa for the entire cruise. For us, the cost of the suite is well worth it for its heated tiled lounges, multiple steam rooms, and relaxation area. Sanctuary - We booked the sanctuary area for most afternoon's of the cruise and found it a wonderful and quiet place to relax

Mexican Riviera - Jan 26 Ruby

Ruby Princess Cruise Review by deultgen

Trip Details
Background

We are Darren and Cindy in our late 40’s and early 50’s from Great Falls, Montana. We have been on 8 cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, and a California Pacific Coastal. We began looking for cruises in the late fall of 2018 for January 2019. Montana can be very cold and dark in the winter months and late January was an ideal week for us to travel in 2019. We were pretty set on this last week in January yet decided to wait until after the “final payment” date to seriously consider a cruise. In early December we narrowed it down to a couple of “last minute” options. The deals were pretty good for a 7-night Caribbean cruise with a variety of companies, but the airfare per person from Montana to Miami or Fort Lauderdale, FL was going to be more than the cruise. OUCH!! We generally prefer Celebrity Cruises, yet we also were considering a Mexican Riviera cruise with Princess since the price of the cruise was excellent and the airfare was going to be less than A THIRD of the cost to fly to LAX compared to Florida ports. Eventually about December 17 we committed to the January 26 Ruby Princess. The “Drop and Go” deal was the lowest price we have EVER paid for a balcony stateroom cruise (no perks included). We purchased a “Balcony Guarantee”, made our airline reservations, and a pre-cruise night at the Hilton LAX the same day. This was our third cruise with Princess. In the past we have always had a good experience with them. Admittedly, when booking a “guarantee” cabin, you need to be prepared to be satisfied with the worst cabin in your category. For us, the worst possible balcony cabins would have been a cabin under the fitness center/treadmills or a cabin with the balcony just above or near a smoking section. About two weeks later, we were assigned R-504, a perfectly acceptable balcony stateroom mid-ship.

Goals:

For us, the goal for the cruise was a week of sun, warmth, and relaxation with good food and wine in a casual (yet upscale) environment. We made a couple of decisions pre-cruise which would help us with this goal.

1. We like Good Food. On our past Princess cruises, the food in one of the Main Dining Room was always fine considering the amount of people the main dining rooms must feed within a couple of hour period. With some of the money we saved flying to LAX as opposed to Florida we chose to reserve EVERY evening in the Specialty Restaurants (Share and Crown Grill) on the ship which we could do for about $200 per person.

2. We like Good Wine. Each stateroom can carry on 2 bottles of wine per stateroom for in room/balcony consumption. For us, we considered the $15 corkage fee Princess charges for guests to bring additional wine on board to drink in the dining rooms/restaurants to be a VERY GOOD DEAL.

3. We planned to book the Thermal Suite in the spa for the entire cruise. We had purchased it on one of our Princess Cruises in the past and were very happy with it.

Pre Cruise and Embarkation

We flew from Great Falls, MT to LAX via Seattle on Alaskan Airlines. We left Great Falls in a blizzard but landed on time in Seattle then onto LAX on time as well. We stayed the night before at the Hilton LAX and were pleased with the room and hotel.

The Hilton ended up being a good hotel for us since it offered a variety of light dining options for Friday night. Since it was warm on Saturday morning and since check out was not until 12:00 noon, we spent some time by the pool in the morning, then arranged a ride to the San Pedro Cruise Terminal.

We shopped at Purdy’s wine/liquor just a block away from the Hilton. We bought and carried on 6 bottles of wine 3 white and 3 red and paid the corkage fees. For us this was a good deal since the wines were about $20 each and corkage was $15. The wines would have easily been $80-100 on the ship.

We left the Hilton about 11:00am on Saturday and were at the pier by 11:30. We checked our luggage outside. Check in at the desk was easy and trouble free. In fact, at 11:45 there was not a single person in line. We boarded the ship shortly after we arrived. Our room was ready at 1:00pm. Our luggage arrived shortly after.



Stateroom R-504

R-504 is near the mid-ship elevators and under the pool deck. Actually, it is immediately under a dining area for the pizza, ice cream station. The room was very clean and updated from the recent dry dock. There was new carpet, TV, mattress, etc in the room. There was some significant noise from the pool deck (table area) all day long. In general, it did not bother us too much and we got used to the noise. If we were to ever book a cruise on Ruby again and choose our room, we would never choose R504, yet for the “balcony guarantee” and the price, we were satisfied with the room.

Storage space – plenty of storage space for us and our stuff

Bed – We both found the bed very comfortable

Staff – Our Room Steward (Glen) was very pleasant and kept our room well stocked and spotless. The room staff work hard, and we appreciated their work.

Food

Share by Curtis Stone – We booked reservations before the cruise on night 1, 3, 5, and 7 at Share. While the menu is somewhat limited, we consider this the best Restaurant on the ship. The service was exceptional and would highly recommend it to others. We never found Share to be crowded and wondered by more people do not book this restaurant.

Crown Grill - We made advance reservations for night 2 and 4 (which ended up being nights 2 and 6) at the Crown Grill. We think the Crown is a step up from the Main Dining Room and the steaks (or seafood) good.

International Café – We had a coffee card from our last cruise and the coffee and tea selections at the Café were again excellent – For us, the coffee package is worth it. The sugar-free deserts at the Café were also excellent.

Buffet – We rarely ate in the buffet

Chef’s Table – We were invited to dine at the Chef’s table


Spa/Thermal Suite

Once on board, we purchased the Thermal Suite pass at the Spa for the entire cruise. For us, the cost of the suite is well worth it for its heated tiled lounges, multiple steam rooms, and relaxation area.


Sanctuary - We booked the sanctuary area for most afternoon's of the cruise and found it a wonderful and quiet place to relax
deultgen’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BA R 504
Stateroom R-504
R-504 is near the mid-ship elevators and under the pool deck. Actually, it is immediately under a dining area for the pizza, ice cream station. The room was very clean and updated from the recent dry dock. There was new carpet, TV, mattress, etc in the room. There was some significant noise from the pool deck (table area) all day long. In general, it did not bother us too much and we got used to the noise. If we were to ever book a cruise on Ruby again and choose our room, we would never choose R504, yet for the “balcony guarantee” and the price, we were satisfied with the room.

Storage space – plenty of storage space for us and our stuff

Bed – We both found the bed very comfortable

Staff – Our Room Steward (Glen) was very pleasant and kept our room well stocked and spotless. The room staff work hard, and we appreciated their work.
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