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308 Princess Romantic Cruise Reviews

My wife and I cruised French Polynesia (aka Tahiti) on the Pacific Princess from 9 to 19 October 2009 for our 30th Anniversary. We loved Tahiti but did not enjoy the ship as much as other ships we'd been on (9 total cruises). But ... Read More
My wife and I cruised French Polynesia (aka Tahiti) on the Pacific Princess from 9 to 19 October 2009 for our 30th Anniversary. We loved Tahiti but did not enjoy the ship as much as other ships we'd been on (9 total cruises). But due to shallow waters and cost of getting to Tahiti, small ships are all that cruise there. We flew Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti, to catch the ship. The ATN counter at LAX international terminal opened 3 hours prior to the flight and everything went smoothly. Food on ATN in coach is somewhat poor, especially the dinner - breakfast was OK. I recommend you eat prior to boarding - note the restaurants at LAX international terminal are before the security lines, there is only a coffee shop once you pass thru security. We arrived in Tahiti at 4:30 AM - the bank at the airport is open 24/7, it's the best place to exchange dollars to French pacific francs. I recommend you bring enough cash for what you want to exchange - my ATM card did not work at any banks I tried in Tahiti. Also, the Pacific Princess did not have an ATM machine. Most merchants took credit cards - visa & master card - the street vendors took only cash. Some islands, like Bora Bora and Moorea, took dollars, but don't always count on it. We stayed overnight at the Intercontinental Hotel in Papeete in an overwater bungalow - very nice room worth the exorbitant cost. Going to Tahiti is expensive so you might as well enjoy it. I highly recommend planning 1-day stops in LA and Tahiti before getting on ATN and the ship. We ran into several couples on the ship that had to divert to Tokyo or Hawaii to make connections to Tahiti and either missed the ship in Papeete (so flew to Huahine to board) or did not have their luggage. We stayed overnight in LA & Papeete and had no problems. Boarding on the Pacific Princess at 11:30 AM on 9 October was fast, we never saw much of a line the first day. Passengers arrived up to 5 PM on 10 October when we sailed. Although we felt the ship was small and dated, with not too much to do, we both thought the crew were very friendly and helpful. Having cruised on the RCCL "mega ships" before, the Pacific Princess seemed tiny. It's OK for Tahiti where you have a lot of stops, but I'd think an overwater cruise would be very boring. Also the ship pitched and rolled a lot, even in gentle seas, so plan ahead if you are prone to sea sickness. We stayed in a mini-suite, the cabin was roomy. Only complaint was they "upgraded" us to a wheelchair accessible room (#8044) which had a large shower in the bathroom instead of a tub - it took up way too much space plus the water flow was poor. We tried to get back to our reserved mini-suite (#8002) but were told the ship was full and room assignments were made at Princess HQ, not by the ship. Food onboard was adequate, not that tasty, but plentiful. Dinners had gourmet titles that often tasted strange. Best meal was the lobster on the second of two formal nights. Buffet was open 24/7 so you could usually find something there, like pizza, if still hungry. Best food was the fresh pineapple but they ran out halfway thru the cruise (in Tahiti?) until near the end. Room service menu is very limited, only a few sandwiches. We did the continental breakfast on our balcony, which included some basic egg dishes, a few times to watch the ship sail into ports. We ate at Steakhouse ($15 per) and had great filet mignons, worth the cost as you can't get good beef in the main restaurant. One tip - we chose late dining at 8:15 - this was too late as dinner was slow so we didn't finish until after 10 PM. Early dining at 6:15 is better choice although you may miss some island viewing. The one pool was pitiful, barely a large tub. So we bought passes to the spa deck in front of the gym/spa. Although slightly expensive, it was worth it! Had a large jacuzzi and was limited to 16 people the entire cruise, but you have to buy the passes at spa within first day or 2. We spent most of our deck time there as it's also the best view out the front. Gym had old equipment - we were told it was due to be replaced this winter. Exercise classes were great - the instructor, Arlene, was fantastic. But limited in size so sign up the first day. My wife enjoyed some of the spa treatments as well. Shows in lounge (no theater on Pacific) were OK, singers/dancers not great, but we enjoyed the comedy acts. Not very crowded as most people tended to go to their rooms after dinner, mostly due to the tropical sun & heat of the day. IMPORTANT! Take a lot of sun tan lotion, SPF 50 or higher - we went thru 2 bottles. We saw many red bodies in the beginning as the sunshine is brutal near the equator. We had great weather which was a mixed blessing as some days we hoped there would be clouds to keep sun off. Also take bug spray if you go inland as flies and mosquitoes abound away from the shoreline. Islands were fantastic and got better at each stop. Main island, Tahiti, is very crowded so we just took a ½ day trip sightseeing. We used Carl Emery for our tour, he speaks English and is very knowledgeable about the island - check out his website. Papeete is OK to shop before ship sails but I recommend you just browse and check prices, then look for better deals during the cruise. You are back in Papeete at end of the cruise so you can always make the last purchases there. First stop, Huahine, is OK. Pretty at first, but paled in comparison to later islands. We took bus to the small town and walked to the beach. I recommend you bring your own mask & snorkel and take them with you onshore wherever you go as there are always places to swim. Sea day to sail to Rangiroa, which is on east side of Polynesia. Rangiroa has best scuba diving, also good snorkeling & glass bottom boating. We did a drift dive along a gorgeous reef, most colorful fish I've seen! Saw one gray shark and many small barracuda. Sea day to sail back to Raiatea. Raiatea was only place we docked besides Papeete, rest was tenders which were pretty efficient. We did the pearl farm/snorkel and enjoyed it, the pearl farm is interesting and you snorkel right off the overwater farm so you can see their oyster beds plus the reef. Wife bought some Tahitian dark pearls there since they are authentic although pearl prices are pretty consistent throughout Polynesia. We also hiked up the 1,000 ft hill behind the ship to get a great view of Tahaa & Bora Bora - take water if you do as it's a hot hike. Good Polynesian dance show on ship that evening and a dessert/fruit buffet. Bora Bora was fantastic. We stayed 2 days and enjoyed both. Scuba dove the first day, reef was good but not as colorful as Rangiroa, but saw several 9 ft lemon sharks and many 4-5 ft black tip sharks. They are fed by local scuba divers so are docile and looking for hand outs (but I kept my hands in). Good shopping in Bora Bora - finally found some T-shirts and other tourist junk. Tahitians don't go in for tourist junk like they do in Caribbean so you have to hunt to find what you want. Also they are very friendly and not pushy. Second day we went wave runnering (aka jet ski) thru the local tour vendors by the pier. Went totally around Bora Bora in 2 hours, saw all the fancy resorts as well as the mountain from all sides - expensive but worth it. Had lunch at Bloody Mary's restaurant about 2 miles from the pier - apparently a well-known tourist stop, especially for Americans. Last island was the best, Moorea. Very beautiful, amazing mountains, not too crowded. We did a catamaran/snorkel trip, it was OK. Heard scuba diving was good also. But best tour was the whale watching as they found a pod of whales and were allowed to snorkel with them... so take your mask & snorkel if you do it. Good shopping there also. Only 3 hours from there to Papeete, we were docked by 8 PM on 18 October. As most of us had late flights on ATN the next evening, we did not have to leave the ship until 6 PM on 19 October. You have all-day in Papeete to finish shopping and take any last excursions. Princess was very gracious to let us stay on the ship using all facilities as the new passengers were arriving. We had to leave our cabin by 8 AM but gym/spa has good changing room with lockers and showers, so we swam & sunbathed most of the day. I recommend taking Princess transfer to airport as otherwise they want you off the ship by 3:30 PM. The lines to check-in, immigration, and security for ATN were slow but we got thru in 1 hour total. They provide carts for your luggage. Once inside terminal, the waiting room is great - comfortable couches and a small restaurant. I recommend you keep 2,000 francs (about $25) for last-minute snacks & drinks there. ATN flight back was OK - poor dinner and better breakfast. Tight seating in coach. I recommend going first or business if you can afford it - we will if we do it again. Once back in LA, it was nice to hear announcements only in English as everything on ATN and ship was repeated in French, Tahitian, sometimes Spanish, and English. To summarize, Tahiti was fantastic - expensive but a once-in-a-life trip for most. Ship was not great but it was OK. Crew was great and tried hard to please, given the small older ship. I think we're spoiled by the larger RCCL ships like Voyager & Independence but their destinations are limited. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Nice ship, excellent dining room staff and food! The food was wonderful. Crown Grill is excellent (cost you extra but it is worth it -- 5 star dining service and food!!) All the food from the dining room and buffet is excellent too. If ... Read More
Nice ship, excellent dining room staff and food! The food was wonderful. Crown Grill is excellent (cost you extra but it is worth it -- 5 star dining service and food!!) All the food from the dining room and buffet is excellent too. If you are a smoker -- this is probably not the cruise ship for you!! Very, very limited smoking -- and you can hardly even find an ashtray in the casino! You cannot sit at any bar and smoke-- neither pool side, or casino, or inside. Wish I had known that before I booked this trip! You can smoke on Port Side on level 7 and Port side on level 15 by the small pool-- not the big pool where the movie screen is and you can smoke on level 16 port side next to the bar in a very, very tiny space with 3 ashtrays. Smokers were having a real hard time trying to cram into very little spaces in segrated areas with hardly any ashtrays. They might as well make it a non-smoking cruise ship other than in your room -- that's about what it amounted to. Wed night in the casino was "Non smoking night". We have traditionally been on NCL and loved it! We wanted to go to St. Maarten so picked Princess this time. Everyone kept asking "what do you think of Princess" -- we just listened -- alot of people had been on Royal Caribbean & liked that better,etc. The people who had only been on Princess said they liked it. I said I think it's just what you are used to --personally I still like NCL and I've been on Carnival (which I hated), been on Royal Carribean which I really liked and now tried Princess -- which I prob won't go on again. Why not Princess? Like I said -- the food was probably the best I've had! They do not make people sanitize their hands getting back on the ship. You do it going into the buffet, but not in the dining room. The ice cream lady did not wear gloves. They are not as bacteria conscious as NCL. The bar staff on our departure date on the pool side -- almost didn't have a clue as to what they were doing. Couldn't get a drink for 20 minutes and that was after the rush hour when we finally ordered one. 1 bartender & the waiter just stood and roamed around waiting for 15-20 minutes not knowing what to do. As my friend said -- they just don't have it together and look like they don't know what they are doing. Our room steward Mike was a Godsend!! He was absolutely wonderful!! I wanted to take him home!! He's so fast -- I bet he could clean my whole house in one day! I will say their prices were very reasonable on the ship for anything you buy. That was nice. The entertainment was good. I wish the captain would have spoke to us more often and explained what islands we were passing by or given us a morning report from him. The cruise director was about the only one we heard from telling us when we could depart, etc We really had no idea what we were passing or seeing as they didn't tell us. I will say every crew member was very friendly. If you passed anybody in the hall or on ship -- officer or staff they always said hello to you and spoke to you -- that was nice! Overall, we had a great time and really got to relax and enjoy our vacation. I'm sure you will too. Comdoc 2 Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My husband and I are loyal RCCL passengers but decided to try another line for our anniversary, booking the Emerald Princess. While we did relax and enjoy ourselves, this cruise only solidified our loyalty to Royal Caribbean. THE ... Read More
My husband and I are loyal RCCL passengers but decided to try another line for our anniversary, booking the Emerald Princess. While we did relax and enjoy ourselves, this cruise only solidified our loyalty to Royal Caribbean. THE GOOD: Embarkation was smooth and efficient. From the time we exited our car (we drove, stayed the night at Embassy Suites in Boca), we were in our stateroom in less than a half-hour. Luggage was delivered about four hours later. The ship itself was, in a word, gorgeous. Tasteful colors, immaculate and well-appointed. Our stateroom was a bit smaller than those on other ships because Princess chose to take the sitting area and use the space for expanding the balcony, which we loved and preferred. Four adults could comfortably occupy the space. Also, we had more closet and storage areas. Besides the two large pools mid-ship the Emerald Princess also featured an adult-only area (in addition to the Sanctuary) aft, called the Terrace Pool. The area itself as well as the pool were smallish, and passengers were eating breakfast in deck chairs at seven in the morning to ensure a seat later. Nevertheless, we had no difficulty finding space regardless of the time of day. Hands down the very best and most consistent experiences we had were at the International Cafe and the Crown Grill. The food and service in these areas were the shining stars of our vacation. Had we known the Grill would be so exceptional (we visited on night five), we would have gone every night, regardless of the upcharge. Tim, the cruise director, and his staff were superb--probably the best team I've seen on any ship. They were upbeat, happy people and their attitudes were contagious. The activities offered on days at sea were the very best. Regardless of your preferences, they had something for everyone. THE BAD: Overall, service was severely lacking. The deck waiters were in absolutely no hurry to serve passengers. Likewise in the upstairs buffets, Cafe Caribe and Horizons Court, which was worse because only coffee and water were self-serve. I rarely had juice available for breakfast. The juices and milk were kept in pitchers at small service areas dotted around the dining room, which meant the juices were diluted from the ice and the milk was room temperature. While the service was more consistent in the dining room, our waiter knew very little about the menu and was unable to advise us in dining choices. He was unable to anticipate needs and any special request (two appetizers instead of a salad course) threw him off his game. Not only were the waiters and bar staff less than willing to speed their paces, we heard them openly gossiping about passengers and each other. They were rude to one another and also to passengers. This was also true of the ship's photographers, who were hostile to any passenger who chose to use their own cameras in lieu of the ship's services and were openly critical of the passengers' equipment. (At $20 per photo, can you blame us?) Now for the ship's boutiques. Prices were over the top, and the cruise line assumes the passengers to be complete morons. My husband was eyeing a watch and noted the price was $150, which was supposed to be 10% off USRP. Five days later, the sign on the display indicated the price to be 40% off USRP but guess what price we were quoted? You got it--$150. When we asked if the price were correct, the sales clerk confirmed it. Overpricing was also noted in the spa. Services were 30% to 40% more expensive than on other lines. The gym was very well equipped, though you should bring your own water bottle because no fountain or cooler was present. Menu choices were more expansive on this ship than others, but frankly my palate isn't sophisticated enough to eat pate' or mackeral for breakfast. Apparently, neither was anyone else's as most of these choices dried out under the warming lights. Given that our waiter knew nothing of the menu in the dining room, I was unwilling to sample the unfamiliar delicacies there. (I have a sensitive tummy.) The omelet station in Horizon Court is marked by a small sign displayed among other items atop the hot bar. Finally, Princess has a way of nickle-and-diming its passengers to death. The Sanctuary, an adult-only area costs about $150 to use for the week. Royal Caribbean offers the same service at no cost. The ice cream next to the pool area is not complimentary, and if you want juice or coffee mid-morning or afternoon, you pay for it at the bar--no machines in the buffet as noted with other cruise lines. Popcorn for Movies Under The Stars is at cost, not free. Your gratuities are automatically charged at a set rate (again, more than the recommended amount for other lines) to your shipboard account, which was dismaying considering the service we received. THE UGLY: I suppose the entire attitude of the staff belongs here; we found that pleasant, helpful employees were the exception, not the rule. The entire ship seemed to have an air of discontent. When most of the employees in a business are unhappy, one should consider the impact management has on the attitude. Also, we felt that people in key positions (such as our waiter) had been poorly trained. Sadly, the service we received in the Crown Grill is the level of service we've enjoyed in every area of our Royal Caribbean ships. The absolute worst was on our return to Port Everglades. As we pulled into the waterway, my husband noted we were not returning to the same pier as embarkation. We had chose early disembarkation, which meant we carried our own luggage off the ship and to our car. I went to the purser, who confirmed that we were docking at pier 21. The distance was about two miles by street. I asked if a shuttle would be provided to return us to pier 2 and he suggested we take a cab. (Nevermind that the cabs wouldn't show up until eight-thirty and we would be off the ship by seven-fifteen.) We moved on the dining room that served as a holding area for other passengers carrying their own luggage. Being the good citizens we are, my husband and I informed others about the change in piers. As you can imagine, it became a bit heated--particularly when the ship's employee denied the change in pier until I told him that I had already confirmed it with the purser. Mysteriously, Customs and Immigration were an hour delayed arriving at our ship, which coincided with the arrival of complimentary shuttles that would transport us to our cars. Had we not spotted the change, Princess was prepared to let us disembark without notifying us. Once off the ship, we were no longer their problem. Don't get me wrong--we enjoyed ourselves on this vacation. We do not regret going. But we will never choose Princess again. They've been reading too much of their own press. Not a lot of love on the Love Boat. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Well after years of looking forward to my first cruise I finally got to go. We left Texas early in the morning and flew to LGA in NYC, and we booked a limo service to pick us up in a town car and that was the greatest start to it all.  We ... Read More
Well after years of looking forward to my first cruise I finally got to go. We left Texas early in the morning and flew to LGA in NYC, and we booked a limo service to pick us up in a town car and that was the greatest start to it all.  We arrived at the terminal at about 1 and got our luggage checked in very easily and each station getting on the ship was timely and easy, but then again I was cruising with a very seasoned Princess Cruiser (14 trips so far). The weather was iffy at best with clouds and overcast, but the line can't control that. Once on the ship we went to the cabin and downloaded our carry-ons and got settled in before we toured the ship. Overall the ship was clean and in good order, and things looked very hopeful. On embarkation the rains started and the Verrazano Bridge was cast in clouds but again not a thing anyone could do. Our first day at sea was sunny and warm so we proceeded to the deck for what it was all about for us, LAYIN OUT IN THE SUN. This is when we had our first of what was to be many issues. We met our steward and asked for extra towels since we needed 2 towel each to shower, he agreed with us and we thought it was taken care of but we should have known he didn't know enough english to understand us. We had to keep asking throughout the cruise for towels and we finally just took them from the cart in the passage so we could have them. That was the first issue but we adapted. Well day 2 and the rains and rough seas reappeared but again that was up to a higher being. On night 2 we had or first formal night and we dressed to the 9's, I in my dress blues with all my shiney medals in order and my lovely lady in her new Pink dress and what a sight she was. Well we chose the any-time dining so we had to wait for a table and were given a pager but not a big deal, we just roamed and took pictures till our seating was ready. Well we finally went in and were seated and the waiter gave everyone at the table a menu (SO HE THOUGHT) and left for about 15 minutes. When he returned he started to take orders but before he could my lady informed him that not everyone was given a menu, yes, me in all my glory with medals and shining gold on that blue uniform was OVERLOOKED and I stood out so much people were stopping me to say thank you for my service. But oh well I was invisible to the staff. Well they corrected the issue and I had until they circled the table taking orders to decide what I wanted and the selection wasn't what my lady had told me it would be and we were both disappointed. Well, we move on to Grand Turk, our first stop and the weather seemed to be holding off and we planned for our first excursion a snorkling trip. Well we had decided on the later morning trip to allow us to leisure our way off the first stop. Well as we approached our meetup point the weather had turned for the worse and they cancelled all the excursions, but again not the fault of the line. We were refunded the fee and all was good. Spent the day on the beach looking at the ship and decided to get back to the ship before the rains came again. Good move on our part beat the rush. Day 4 and into San Juan, which we could take or leave for our taste, 2 other ships in port and streets smaller than and road stripe so we stayed on the ship to get some sun. Day 5 into ST THOMAS, the port of excitement for us. And wow, I got to try on more jewelery than she did, of course we were looking for my wedding ring. We then took a taxi on our own to Megan's Bay and if you go that is a must see. Well back to the ship before 3:30 for a 4pm departure so all in all a great stop. Well back on the ship and that night was a special occasion for me they were honoring my retirement at dinner that evening and they left a letter in our cabin for us to give to the Matradee wish we did and he looked at it and had us seated without taking the letter. This seemed strange so I showed our waiter and he had no idea what to do so I asked him to show the head waiter or the matradee and after a few minutes he returned and said it was taken care of. Well here come INVISIBLE INCIDENT #2, the photographer came to the table to take pictures and the night was "individual pictures" so she started with my lady and worked the way around the table opposite me, to finally get the the gentleman next to me saying "last but not least" about him and my lady went off saying "WHAT IS HE INVISIBLE?" and the lady said oh I'm sorry and took the picture. Well dinner menu was sparse again but made do, and in the end ordered a desert and just as they delivered it I was also given a personal chocolate cake for my retirement celebration, They could have told me before I started eating my desert I ordered, but had it boxed and sent back to the cabin for later. OK that was enough that night to the Casino, and now that is a dangerous place to be now that you can use your cruise card to play the machines and tables. Just like the alcohol you can run up a charge and never know just how bad if you mix the two. But that is a personal choice not the line again. OK, back to the cabin, the beds as most know are hard at best for most but when you are used to a soft bed it is almost impossible to sleep on them, we had asked for a matress pad to help soften it and were told none were available. I'll get back to this on the last night. Well a day at sea again and out  to the Pool for some sun all in all a good day, OK, here is another issue, in the buffets we always had an issue with silverware and drinks it took over 10 minutes each time to get either or both and refills were NONE EXISTENT. We began to order 4 Lemonades with no ice so that we would have enough to hope to get through the meal. Cups and ice were easy to get at the stations at each end anyway so again another adaptation. Again goes back to what I was told that they wait on you to make sure you are happy, so far not luck there. Into Bermuda, for day 7 and this is such a beautiful place but not near enough time to see even a portion of it, Just going to have to take a dedicated cruise on NCL for 7 days there for that. Well day 8 at sea and last formal night and the rented tux was great and for a change the dinner was an enjoyable experience for all. Now back to the cabin to pack up for the debarkation the next morning. Well after packing the bags and placing them in the passageway we notice of all things a rolled up matress pad in the hallway. And we think to ourselves I thought they didn't have any of those. We know they did because our bed had one on it to connect the 2 twin beds to make the queen so there has to be a storage place on the ship full of them should one get wet, dirty, or damaged, again WHY WERE WE TOLD THERE WASN'T ANY ON THE SHIP. Again not enough english comprehension is our thought. So over all we both decided to do the only thing we could do to complain at this point and have the Gratuties backed out of our charges and low and behold we had to stand in line at the Purser's desk because we were not the only ones. This we believe is a key factor in the level of service because not everyone is told they can do this and the service staff will get the rewards regardless. We are going on a RCL cruise in May 2010 for Wedding/Honeymoon and next will be Celebrity for that adventure. If Princess makes changes then we may return but since Carnival owns them now we doubt that, just hope they don't fall to that level. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Second time cruiser. My first cruise was 8 months ago on RCL in the Easter Caribbean. We are late 20s newlyweds who took this cruise with good friends (they are new to cruising). First of all, let me say this ship really is beautiful. ... Read More
Second time cruiser. My first cruise was 8 months ago on RCL in the Easter Caribbean. We are late 20s newlyweds who took this cruise with good friends (they are new to cruising). First of all, let me say this ship really is beautiful. The decorations are nice and the Piazza is very pretty. The onboarding process was downright impressive. We were through the front door, security, and check in within 15 minutes. It was a far cry from the long wait we had with RCL. Our room was a bit of a let down, although this is partly our fault. We booked a balcony guarantee room. Initially I didn't expect much because of the guarantee. We wanted to get away from the cold and we wanted a balcony - done deal. We got our assignment well in advance of the cruise. I read on the boards here before about the tiered balconies and was pleased to see we were on the top level of balconies. Hooray for privacy! Unfortunately, when we got on the ship we realized we were right below the pool. At 6:30 every morning we awoke to the sound of lounge chairs slamming around. During the afternoon and late evening we heard MUTS when our balcony door was open. Then we heard the chairs being put away at night. To top it off, our friends were on the Caribe desk - and we realized we lost the balcony lotto. The balconies on the top decks are private - but smaller!! Our friends had the same category stateroom, but had a balcony 2x the size of ours. Also, the pool deck hung over our balcony, so we never really felt out in the open like you do on the balconies on the lower levels. Unless you really care about people above you being able to see you - book a balcony on one of the lower levels. The privacy wasn't worth it. Speaking of MUTS, this is one of Ruby's most redeeming qualities. How wonderful it was to be out in the open on a comfy chair. We enjoyed the popcorn, milk, and cookies. We were a little annoyed when about 15 minutes before the movie ended, it looked as though a tour bus pulled up and dropped off a load of loud drunken buffet dwellers. We were still enjoying the 7 o'clock movie and people were swarming around marking their chairs for the next screening. It was as if we weren't there at all! I saw several people around us just get up and leave well before the movie was over due to all the noise. The food was exactly as I have read on all the other Ruby reviews - a real snooze fest. The buffet wasn't bad and it wasn't good. The selections for anytime dining were either boring or odd. Most nights I had a hard time finding either an appetizer or entree that looked appealing. We ate at the Grill on the first formal night. We are huge foodies - we love to go out to eat and we're not afraid to spend a lot of money on a great meal. That being said, the Grill was just OK to us. We overheard a man behind us tell the waiter he had just consumed the best steak in his life. We joked that he may frequent Applebees and Outback, because the food was similar. If you do go to the Grill, get the chocolate lava cake dessert. It was absolutely delicious and made up for my average dinner. Sabitini's was upsetting to say the least. Our waiter was a real know-it-all. He showed us a menu with an antipasta selection, salad selection, pasta, and entree. Then the waiter told us we could only pick an entree and the rest would be served to us family style. Other than the pasta course, the food was not good at all. I have never been to a place that soaks their crab cakes in lemon juice for 3 days before serving...they were absolutely horrible. I wanted our $40 back. It wasn't worth the money. Now the children...they were everywhere. I'm not sure if this particular cruise is appealing to parents with small children but they were absolutely everywhere. And unlike RCL, the two large pools are open to everyone. On RCL, one large pool was adults only and was a little slice of heaven. The only place on Ruby to get away from kids is the terrace pool on the back of the boat - which is beautiful and a fabulous view - but the area is VERY small. There aren't many chairs out there. I had to get up at 6:30 AM on our 2nd at sea day to get a chair out there. Once in a while an adult would bring their child out to the terrace pool and the staff wouldn't tell them to leave! The other all adult pool is part of the spa - and is $20 a person for the day. Paying to use a pool is absolutely ridiculous. I rarely saw children with the staff or participating in children's programs. On our other cruise, most children were gone all day. Because of this (I'm assuming here) I think Princess may not have the best children's programs like other lines do. The staff in the anytime dining rooms were always great. Full of personality, quick, and very accommodating. The bartenders and pool servers often were less than impressive. We went to the nightclub on the first night and the bartender was completely rude to us when we ordered waters. After we finished our water, he picked up the glasses and walked away as if to say "get away from my bar so I can make money." I noticed that anyone with a refillable soda cup would have to wait longer at the bar for service. I guess if the staff isn't getting a tip, they don't want to waste their time on you! Overall, it was nice to get away. The ports are beautiful - we had gorgeous weather every single day. I expected more out of this cruise for two reasons: 1) the ship is the newest in Princess' fleet 2) I was always under the impression that Princess was one of the luxury cruise lines (within certain patron age limits, of course). I was ready to write Princess off completely until we met another couple the last night who have cruised over 30 times (they were under 35 years old!). They told us that they always cruise with Princess and were extremely let down by this cruise. They had been on a Hawaiian cruise just two weeks before and had a wonderful time. They had the same complaints as us - the food and the children. On their several other cruises they never experienced such disappointing food with Princess. They also said they never had to deal with children everywhere - in the pools, taking up lounge chairs, running around the decks, and splashing around in the hot tubs. I will give Princess another try but definitely in another location. If and when we return to the Caribbean, I think the best experience is with RCL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
My wife and I took our 5th and longest cruise this time, choosing Princess per itinerary and length.3 previous on NCL and 1 on Carnival and this our 1st on Princess.I am 51 and my wife 47.Went alone this time w/ high expectations as our ... Read More
My wife and I took our 5th and longest cruise this time, choosing Princess per itinerary and length.3 previous on NCL and 1 on Carnival and this our 1st on Princess.I am 51 and my wife 47.Went alone this time w/ high expectations as our cruise planner recommended Princess highly. Flew into Miami 2 days prior to embarkation and took Super Shuttle to Ft.Lauderdale to the tune of $66 for a 24 mile ride.Stayed at the Courtyard by Marriot.What a beautiful hotel w/ great location and fantastic views.Only complaint that there is no shuttle to airport/cruise port but caught the local bus for $2.50 and walked into the port area.We aren't cheap but a cab is $10-15 for a 1.5 mile ride. Embarkation: arrived at port at 1200 noon to a huge line.Met a great Canadian couple who had been there since 10:45 and were told ship would not start boarding until at least 2pm as there had been an Noro-virus outbreak and the ship was being "sanitized".No brainer there, sanitize away.Once line started moving it went very fast and we were on the ship in our cabin in about 30 min. Cabin: KK on deck 10, inside forward C-244.Nice decor.Large storage area made so by the smallest bathroom we have ever had.The shower can't possibly get any smaller.Living/bed area was about the same as other ships.Very firm mattress and had egg crate placed on 2nd day per other post's on C.C..Our cabin stewart was very cordial and efficient. Ship:as per other reviews the theater is way too small for # of passengers (our cruise was sold out 3100+)and getting there 30 min prior to shows was a must to get a seat.The Explorers Lounge where other acts took place had the same limitations and was considerably smaller than the theater.Grand Atrium was beautiful/elegant w/ often a 4 person string quartet playing classical music.The ship is large and poorly laid out.It seemed as if it was cut up and difficult to get around.We heard this complaint over/over during our cruise.The MUTS idea is a big hit w/ us and we really enjoyed the movies day and night.There seemed to be ample lounge chairs available even w/ the ever present "saving" going on.But frankly we had no problems finding 2 chairs pretty much when and where we wanted.There are 2 main pool areas mid ships and 1 small pool at the stern.These didn't seem to get used a whole lot.No pool slides but I doubt there were more than 20 children on board anyway and very few young couples either.My wife enjoyed the gym but was quite upset they didn't open earlier due to being built over cabins below.Shops were about the same as on other ships.Live band at pool side was good.Overall ship seemed in good shape and was clean though already showing signs of wear in carpeting etc. Food:had high expectations and were disappointed.3 main dining rooms, 1 traditional seating and 2 either/or anytime/traditional.No wait EVER w/ our anytime option.But all 3 dining rooms had the same menu each night so there was no variety to speak of unless going to buffet or one of the 2 upscale dining options.The morning buffet style breakfasts were chaos.There is no flow to these area's and though there are 4 area's they are all relatively small.We did not have breakfast/lunch in any main dining rooms.The variety at lunch/dinner in the buffet area's were good though.And the pizza was very good as was the grill at poolside.We ate one night in Crown Grill at $25 pp.The meal was good but not overly so as it should have been.Quite frankly we both felt the overall food is superior on NCL and we did in fact meet several devoted Princess cruiser's who felt as if this particular cruise was just off a bit.One couple had even been on Emerald 1 year prior and felt there was a big difference this time. Crew: in general the entire crew were fantastic.Cruise director was funny and energetic as were his asst's.Almost every crewman we met seemed happy and energetic. Shows:the comedy shows were very funny and the 2 shown in the theater we were able to get into were also well done.We both felt though that the shows in general are better and more contemporary on NCL.We do not do art auctions,bingo,etc. Drinks: they just seem to get more and more expensive each cruise we go on.On NCL when you buy the souvenir glass you get $2 off each drink you buy when you have that glass in hand, not on Princess.$6.95 + gratuity for regular drinks and 4 for the price of 5 buckets of beer that were just plain too rich for our pocketbooks.The cruise lines should note that in this current economy lowering the price even just a little would probably dramatically increase consumption.We did not spend much on board on drinks and chose to drink more when ashore where prices were more reasonable.We are not rich and simply have to budget somewhere in order to cruise each year. Excursions: only did 1 in Greneda.Way over priced for what we got, but had a good time and we know better but time there was very limited. Ports.Princess Cays: nice area but seemed extraordinarily crowded w/ just our 1 ship.Was a windy day and water seemed quite cool/cold.Good food at BBQ.Little else to do and were not allowed out of the general area.St Thomas: took cab to Coki beach and while small and crowded, had decent snorkeling/swimming.Drank a couple buckets of cold Presidente and enjoyed the sun.Dominica:took a 3-4 hr bus tour of interior to waterfalls etc and had a great time.Cynthia our tour guide was exceptional and only cost $50 at the pier. the took $5 cab ride to black sand beach to finish off the day.Would come back.Greneda:too short a time (see excursion above).Bonaire: took water taxi to Klein Bonaire to snorkle.What an incredible place, the best snorkeling we have ever had including in Hawaii.Did a little shopping prior to leaving.Aruba: what a total disappointment.1st time there and with all the hype about the place was shocked when got a few streets away from port area.Up by the resorts it is pretty nice and up past to the lighthouse but the other side and end of island are rugged and barren.Just flat expected more beaches and beauty. Debarkation: pretty well organized, no real complaints except that the cabs in Ft.Lauderdale are flat overpriced.$15.00 for a 2 mile 10 min ride is outrageous.And then they want a gratuity on top. Overall: our expectations were not met and we were disappointed.But wanted to branch out and try another line.Will probably go back to NCL next time as they seem to be more our style.We met many wonderful people (hi to Sandy and Leroy from Toronto) and still had a great time as weather was good and afterall, it's hard not to have a good time in the Caribbean in winter. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
My husband and I were enjoying our second cruise, a babymoon actually on the Ruby Princess. It was by far the most beautifully decorated ship I have been on and this compares to Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Carnival ships. We had ... Read More
My husband and I were enjoying our second cruise, a babymoon actually on the Ruby Princess. It was by far the most beautifully decorated ship I have been on and this compares to Holland America, Royal Caribbean and Carnival ships. We had previously taken a honeymoon cruise on the Royal Caribbean to Eastern Caribbean and enjoyed our experience tremendously. We were expecting more "Love" from the brand new Ruby "Love Boat" that Princess was famous for. First of all, we booked a mini suite category. We felt that this line, in comparison to other cruises, seemed to charge for all the amenities we typically receive for free on other ships. We had to pay for ice cream at the pool, appetizers before dinner in the lobby, pizza delivery from room service and $12 for a cheese board/fruit platter from room service! The excursions were overpriced compared to other cruise lines. "Anytime dining" is not a good idea if you want to eat anytime other than 6pm or 8pm. When we would show up at 7pm, we received a pager and then had to wait for a table for 15-40 minutes. You can call ahead in the morning to make a reservation, but we found out they only take about 20% of the restaurant as a reservation and only before 4pm. If you make a reservation, you get a table right away. You will have a different waiter staff each night, which made it difficult to receive any special attention or friendly "get to know" atmosphere we enjoy on other ships. Next time we would do the late seating. I highly recommend the specialty Italian restaurant. It is worth the $20 supplement. The food in the dining room for dinner was just OK. Not as good as Royal or Holland. Menu is a little boring and tasteless. Our room was beautiful, although smaller than the mini suite on Royal Caribbean. Room service menu was not very good and we felt that suite passengers should be offered a different menu to choose from, other than free sandwiches. The room attendant was friendly and probably the best cruise staff we met on board as far as attention and helpfulness. Our room was decorated nicely outside for our anniversary and my birthday. We also enjoyed receiving special cards to give to the head waiter at the restaurant to notify that it was a special occasion. They brought us a special dessert each time we notified. Tendering on two ports (Princess Cay and Grand Cayman) was not a great experience at all. We had long lines to wait in on the return to ship from port and watched as other cruise lines were handing out water and snacks to their passengers. Also, we felt that we had to get on the ship much earlier in each port than necessary. We would have enjoyed staying longer in each port, rather than on board by 4pm. The activities on board were not much to be desired. We were comparing to all the fun activities on the Royal Caribbean, with rock climbing and ice skating. The Ruby should have more focus on the education programs and add another cooking demonstration, which was the best demo I have seen on any ship. I highly recommend it and the cookbook for purchase is reasonable $28 and you can have it personally signed by the Exec. Chef. The shows at night were fair. The second evening show, Broadway Review, was the best. All the others we were not that impressed. They had a guest singer from Vegas that was excellent, but he is not normally on the ship. Compared to Royal, it was a 4 and Royal entertainment an 8 out of 10. So, in conclusion, bring back the LOVE. Please stop charging for ice cream! Where was someone like Issac at the pool? The pool drink attendants need to smile and enjoy their job. What is better than serving drinks under the sun! Make it a more personal experience for the guests, especially if you are paying suite pricing. Ruby needs to hire a different Cruise Director. By the end of the trip, we had to turn her off our TV screen. Best things on board: Movies Under the Stars (need less sports and more movies) Cooking Demonstration and Ship Kitchen Tour Decoration of the ship, live musicians playing in the lobby upon check in. Ports of call were excellent, but you'll need to book excursions. Least favorite things: Lots of little charges everywhere. Cost of fruit drinks without alcohol. Entertainment and getting turned away because all the seats were filled! Bingo prices. Art Auction not as great as Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Background Information: We selected this cruise based on price, departure date, and itinerary. We were traveling for our honeymoon, and this was our first cruise. Ship Info: The ship was not as clean as I expected it to be (especially ... Read More
Background Information: We selected this cruise based on price, departure date, and itinerary. We were traveling for our honeymoon, and this was our first cruise. Ship Info: The ship was not as clean as I expected it to be (especially the windows). However, our stateroom was very clean and our cabin attendant was excellent. BIGGEST COMPLAINT: The boat rocked...ALOT...this was not normal we were told by other passengers who had cruised many times before. The waters were not rough at all, yet people were stumbling all over the place because the boat moved so much. My husband and I spent our first "at sea" day lying in the room sick ordering room service because we couldn't stand up. The roomer onboard was that there was some sort of problem with the stabilizers. Best advice if you go...don't use the gym (I think running on the treadmills while all this was going on did us in)...and get a room as low and in the middle of the ship as you can get. Activities: Lots of activities on board but more geared toward an older crowd (we are in our early 30s). The comedian on board was decent. Princess pop star was fun to watch. The shows in the theater were far from Broadway but entertaining none the less. MUTS was great...but bring warm clothes...the adult movies are in the evening and it gets chilly. Thermal suite is not worth the money for the week pass, because you won't use it on the port days if you have excursions planned...and most of the people I saw in there just walked in and didn't pay (they don't really monitor whether the people in there paid or not). Service: Dining room service was hit or miss (we had the anytime plan so we didn't have the same server each night). Our first night the server was beyond fantastic, most of the nights were so-so, and we had one night where the guy was just terrible. Shore Excursions: Best of St. Martin was nice...but not alot of time to shop in Margot, Meagans Bay in St. Thomas was FANTASTIC, Chukka Buggy Tour in Grand Turk was ok...but get the early tour...we did the late one and got eaten alive by mosquitos (the tour takes you into some wooded areas)...I counted 28 on one arm alone. Embarkation: Excellent, quick, and very organized. Stateroom: More room than I expected. Should have asked for a sheet in addition to the one blanket they give you...husband complained about that...he got warm at night. Disembarkation: Excellent, well organized, very efficient. Pros: Price, Ports of Call, Lots of seafood on the menu (we love seafood), Crown Grill (worth the extra $25 per person), & MUTS Cons: Too much movement on ship, too many kids in adult areas, not enough choices on the buffets, food choices for lunch were not great, sushi was beyond bad, too many announcements in the mornings (not great for people who like to sleep in on vaca), too many "extra charges" for things, spa was very expensive, elevators were REALLY slow. Overall we had an ok time...I think that maybe cruising just isn't for us. It just felt like we didn't get the kind of rest we would have liked, and there were always crowds and lines everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
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