We took our 9th Princess Cruise on Ruby Princess from Fort Lauderdale on March 10, sailing the Eastern Caribbean itinerary. We were fortunate to be able to book the Isla Margarita Suite A750, and it, along with John our cabin steward, were the highlights of our trip.
Ruby Princess is a very nice, standard Princess ship. I understand the importance of a brand identity, but it is very hard to tell one Princess ship from another, especially having cruised on them 9 times. It would be nice if each ship had some unique features to distinguish itself and make them a little less like the Marriott Courtyard of cruising. That said, the ship was clean and appeared in great condition on our arrival.
Embarkation was a relatively painless affair, with our Platinum status giving us a waiting area with seats until the check-in area opened. We were among the first passengers on the ship and found our cabin without needing assistance -- which was not offered anyway.
Our suite on the Aloha deck was waiting for us, with fresh flowers, a mini-bar setup, and a warm welcome from John, our cabin steward. We gladly noted the full-size shower and whirlpool tub, the separate toilet/sink room, walk-in closet, large living area and the HUGE balcony facing aft. Many people have questioned the location of the suites on Princess ships, but we can say this suite was ideal. We had absolutely no noise from the Terrace Pool above, nor mechanical noise from the adjacent vent opening. There was no unusual vibration from the propulsion system except when the rear thrusters were being used to position the ship in port, and even then it lasted only a minute. The most obvious feature is the noise of the water when the ship is underway, a rushing sound that varies depending on the speed of the ship. This was never a problem, and we slept with the sliding glass doors open every night, enjoying the water sounds and the gentle breeze. Finally, there is little or no wind on the balcony while underway, making it a very pleasant place to spend a lot of time. It almost feels like a private yacht.
Traveling in a Suite does provide some other benefits: canapes delivered to your stateroom every afternoon (we had chocolate-dipped strawberries most days), Lotus Spa products in the bathroom, an expanded room-service menu, priority tender tickets and, most significantly, access to the breakfast service in Sabatini's that is provided for Suite passengers only.