21 Princess Ruby Princess Holiday Cruise Reviews

This cruise was my third time aboard the Ruby Princess, having boarded the ship one year ago with the same destination (Holiday Mexican Rivera). My family and I enjoy cruising on mid-sized ships. Mexico was humid, but nice overall! My ... Read More
This cruise was my third time aboard the Ruby Princess, having boarded the ship one year ago with the same destination (Holiday Mexican Rivera). My family and I enjoy cruising on mid-sized ships. Mexico was humid, but nice overall! My favorite port was Cabo. Although I have already been to all the destinations, the cruising experience never really gets old. As a seasoned cruiser, I have learned that each cruise is a completely different experience. Since this was a Christmas cruise, Santa came and handed out presents in the Atrium (there were stuffed-animals for the younger kids and Popsockets for the tweens/teens). Note: the pools were very, very crowded. The best times to go were when everyone else was at port or right after embarkation (tip: don't store your suit in your luggage because it takes a while for it to arrive in your cabin). Other than trivia and bingo, there wasn't as much to do compared to the bigger ships on RCL like Oasis of the Seas where you can ice-skate, zip-line, rock-climb, etc... As for the demographics, most of the passengers were Americans from the LA area. I liked the Movies Under the Stars and also having the messenger system on my phone to communicate with other guests. One tip for Princess would be to make it so that guests can receive a notification on their phones when they get a message (maybe w/ an app?) because it was annoying having to refresh the website to receive new messages. I enjoyed watching The Voice of the Ocean because the singing performances were fantastic, there were actual swirling chairs, and the audience got to choose the winner. Embarkation went very smoothly, but disembarkation could have went a bit quicker. Overall, this cruise was worth the price and I would definitely sail again with Princess. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
I traveled with my family of four on the Ruby Princess for its Christmas Cruise to Hawaii. We flew from Oklahoma the night before the cruise was to debark and had done 'massive' preparation for the trip. We packed seven ... Read More
I traveled with my family of four on the Ruby Princess for its Christmas Cruise to Hawaii. We flew from Oklahoma the night before the cruise was to debark and had done 'massive' preparation for the trip. We packed seven checked-in bags plus carry-ons. We marked each piece of checked luggage with bright green duct tape on the sides, top and handles, and made luggage tags out of candy-cane red striped paper slipped inside of plastic nametag holders and connected to the bags with zip ties. This made identifying our bags in the busy LAX airport very easy. We did have to pay for a luggage cart in a couple of places due to the number of bags, but we needed the extra items packed this time (more to come on that later). As our cruise was scheduled the day that the new Star Wars movie was to come out, we decided to stay in Hollywood and go to the Disney-owned El Capitan theatre (across from the Chinese Theatre on the Walk of Fame) for a midnight showing of the movie. We bought these tickets online a couple of months earlier to ensure we'd have a seat. We rented a car and drove to Hollywood and parked at the highland mall to have access to the Lowes hotel, which is extremely nice and freshly renovated. The lobby of the hotel was filled with an amazing display of decorated gingerbread houses, which we really enjoyed looking through. Warning on this is that there's someone to pull your bags out of the car, and another porter (who won't take no for an answer) to whisk your bags up to your room. We spent $14 on tips before we got to the first night. Because we got in so late, we got a free upgrade to a huge room with a great view of the walk of fame. We got back from the movie and viewing the extensive prop and costume collection on display at El Capitan at about 3 AM. The next morning we did the short, 2-hour Paramount Studios tour, and enjoyed the short drive from Hollywood to the studio. The tour was really fun, with a tour guide driving us all over the backlots with stops to get out and see sound stages, prop rooms, a museum, the employee theatre, and backlot locations like the area that makes up New York City and more. They offer a four hour tour but we didn't want to be rushed for getting to the port. We had planned to get to the port at the beginning of debarkation and I would drop my husband and one kid off at the port with all the luggage, and drop the car off at the San Pedro location of the Hertz rental car, just a few blocks away. We did this and then Hertz dropped us off at the port for free. After having read numerous reviews about embarkation and the perks suite guests get, including priority embarkation and a suite lounge to wait, we were expecting to walk in, check in, and walk on board. We gave the porters our 7 bags and 7 dollars and went inside to an absolute madhouse. The entire building was completely full and we had to literally climb through and over people to find the check in area for suite passengers. Once we fought our way to the entrance of checkin it was smooth, but we were notified that at 1 pm there were still hundreds of passengers on the Ruby due to some immigration issue. We inquired about the suite lounge and the guest services lady said it would be completely overflowing if we could even get there. We were basically directed to 'find any spot we could' and wait. We waited over an hour before the passengers holding Black Elite / Suite cards were allowed to embark, so this was not a great start. (note, when we got home, I saw that Princess did email us during the morning of embarkation to let us know of the delay, but we weren't checking email that day.) However, once we crossed that gangway to the ship, magic happened. We walked into the piazza of the Ruby Princess, completely decked out with Christmas trees, garland, lights and three singers dressed in 1940's singer costumes in red and white singing lovely Christmas songs. At that moment, I felt the stress from the awful embarkation experience drain from my soul. We immediately caught an elevator and made our way to D101/105, the family suite on Dolphin Deck 9 to find a lovely, large group of rooms waiting for us, fresh from dry dock with amazing new beds. As other reviewers stated, the family suites are all the way at the forward end of the ship and there are two entries to the suite. One entry goes to the master bedroom with what felt like a king-size bed, a large closet and full bathroom. The other entry went into basically an interior room for the kids with twin beds and twin berths overhead, and a half bath, with two closets. Both bathrooms had a suite amenities bag, including some lotion, a loofa, gel eye cover, sunscreen, emory boards. Other amenities in the rooms included canvas totebags to keep, sewing kits to keep, fluffy robes to borrow, disposable spa slippers, notepads, and pens. Both rooms had desks with chairs and their own flat-screen TV's, refrigerators with ice buckets filled; they were connected by a family / living room with two love-seat sized couches that have seen better days and were not comfortable for long sits. There was also one sitting chair and a small table. There was a ton of storage nooks and crannies all over the suite, so much that we left a majority of the cabinets unused, which says a lot since we packed so much. The family room had a curved wall and then a sliding glass door out to the extremely oversized balcony with four chairs, a table, and two footstools. The chairs were not in my opinion, any kind of upgraded furniture for suite guests, so that was a bit of a disappointment, but the balcony location is directly under the bridge and with the best views of the sea and port anywhere on the boat. The downside of this suite is that it's on the front of the ship and there is no glass on the forward side of the balcony. We thoroughly enjoyed the balcony on port days and spent all our sailaways there, but on sea days the wind was very heavy (up to 40 knots some evenings), this particular balcony was so windy that we had to flip the furniture over because it was flying around. We recommended to the cruise line that they add a glass wall to the front to the expensive room's balcony could be usable on sea days. We had planned to eat lunch in the main dining room while all the other passengers fought their way through the horizon buffet. Unfortunately due to the lateness of disembarkation and embarkation there truly was no MDR open for lunch. We called dining reservation to book our complementary night at the Crown Grill (suite perk) and then left to get a piece of pizza to hold us over. One thing that was frustrating was that the time for the muster drill changed a couple of times, making it hard to plan for dinner, and getting showered, beforehand. One other thing we noticed about the ever-changing muster drill times was that these were being announced by a person with such broken English that we caught ourselves saying, 'what?' to each other to figure out the announcements, and we'd recommend to the cruise line that safety information be delivered in clear English in the future. We made it through muster drill, which was unlike we'd had on other cruiselines where you actually go to your lifeboat and put on your jacket. Here we met in the extremely crowded princess theatre and listened to announcements and then stood up to wriggle our way into lifejackets while trying not to elbow our neighbors. But it was over soon enough and we raced back to the room for the Crown Grill. The suite perk of a complementary entry fee to the specialty restaurants on embarkation day should not be left unused. The food and service in the crown grill is impeccable, and the food selection are amazing. At our table of four we had a huge tray of lobster tails, salads, steaks for three people, and prawns for the fourth. Everything was cooked perfectly and was a wonderful meal to celebrate the start of an amazing cruise. We also did not have to dress very nice that first night since luggage had not been delivered, although we all had on long pants and blouses/collared shirts since we packed them in carry ons along with our bathing suits. After dinner our luggage had arrived and I unpacked as much as possible. We already had two rounds of dirty laundry so we started the process of cataloguing and sacking up the laundry bags to take advantage of another suite perk - free laundry and dry cleaning. We also sent out all our formalwear for the trip to be dry cleaned and pressed for the first formal night. We sent laundry out six times during the trip and watched bills be added and removed on our stateroom account throughout the cruise. At the end I noted that we'd gotten over $500 in free laundry/cleanig services on the trip. All the laundry came back clean, pressed, and hung or folded, and had a little itchy label identifying us ironed inside each piece. I highly recommend taking advantage of this suite perk. Back to dining. On the first few days of the cruise, we ate breakfast all over the ship, including the buffet, room service and the international grill, but then we decided to try the suite perk of private-ish dining (only other suite passengers) in the crown grill. Immediately we knew we'd made a mistake by not doing this every day. The Maitre'd checked our name and room number one time and then recognized and greeted us each morning. This became one of the highlights of the trip - wonderful, personal service, fun conversations with wait staff, and really good coffee. We ordered things both on and off the menu, but highlights were the massive amounts of amazing bacon served, beautiful crustless French toast, fruit plates, and omelets with any ingredient you like. We enjoyed this part of the trip, and the same two or three waitstaff each morning that I actually cried on the last day of suite breakfast. (They give free mimosas at suite breakfast too, but we usually didn't have them.) From that first discovery, we only had breakfast there unless it was a port day with an early shore excursion meet time. On disembarkation day there was no suite breakfast but suite passengers were allowed to have room service, so we did that. On our room service mornings, we ordered ungodly amounts of food to feed four people and the waitstaff a;ways had it there at the beginning of the service time we'd requested. To. The. Minute. They would come in, set out a table cloth and then lay down the food and leave after getting a small tip. We had nice conversations with the same waitstaff each morning and became friends with this young lad as well. For lunches, we mostly did pizza, hotdogs/hamburgers and the buffet. I think we ate in a MDR one time for lunch but that takes a lot of time so we preferred to grab and go for lunchtime. The hamburgers on the ship are the best around, so don't miss out on that. Dinners we had anytime dining and enjoyed the MDRs many nights. The selection and quality of food were good, but dinner was always time consuming. We did the buffet one night at 5, which is officially snack time, not dinner time. This was a mistake and we felt like it was 'scraps' being served. This put us off the buffet for several days until we tried it again one night after 530 and found that it was better food a little later. In the MDRs we did shared/social tables a lot and actually enjoyed meeting people who've traveled all over. We did not expect to enjoy that, so it was a good surprise. The desserts including the chocolate journeys, were all pretty much perfect and delicious. For Christmas they served turkey and dressing along with a large selection of really nice dishes. On New Year's eve, they served prime rib, escargot, several nice fish dishes, among other tasty treats. They also passed out hats and party favors, which was a nice touch. On drinks. there are perpetual coffee, tea, hot water machines in the buffet, and you can order lemonade for free in the buffet as well. The coffee in the buffet is NOT the same as room service or the MDR/suite breakfast and is frankly, awful. We came to call it, 'sludge.' If you're a coffee drinker, we recommend having it delivered via room service along with free hot chocolate for the kiddies, served in cute teapots. Our kids also got the drink cards and went to the international cafe for mocktails and hot chocolate numerous times. They probably paid for the drink cards 3x over, so we'd do that again. We bought about ten drinks in bars over the course of the cruise and spent a little over $100 on that. We also took advantage of the free mini-bar that started with 2 courvosiers, 2 vodkas, 2 gins, and 2 whiskeys, along with 2 beers, 2 perriers and 2 bottled waters (another suite perk). We did leave a note for our room steward that we wanted to swap the gins, the perriers for other things and he changed them out on his next visit. This leads me to the Room Steward, who was amazing and friendly. Not a lot to say other than we had a perfect experience with him. We did wrap a Christmas gift for him and gave a little cash in a card on Christmas morning. It turns out he is from the Phillipines with a wife and young son at home. Our room was thoroughly cleaned and we enjoyed visiting with him. We got corsages and boutonnieres delivered free (suite perk) on the first formal night, enjoyed canapes in the room, and chocolates delivered on formal nights as well. One other thing on the room. As promised, here's why we had so much luggage. We packed a Christmas tree, room decorations, magnetized door decorations for two doors, tinsel, lights, stockings, Christmas table cloths, unwrapped presents, stocking stuffers, and paper/bags/tissue. We decided to do a regular Christmas. So we took the time to really decorate it up. A lot of other cabins did their doors so that made the trip extra fun. After I wrapped presents, I gave the cabin steward all of the leftover wrapping supplies to share with crew. At the end of the cruise, I left two suitcases worth of decorations, which also got taken downstairs after I discussed it with the cabin steward. I'm so glad we drug extra bags with us to do this. Things we enjoyed doing on the ship included trivia three times daily, led by the cruise director's staff. Each session was hilarious and entertaining. We also went to a magic show (meh), and then a big production magic show (excellent), a culinary demonstration and galley tour (amazing and funny), karoke night, a blackjack tournament, the casino, movies under the stars, a couple of lectures, hula lessons, the voice of the ocean contest, and just so much more. We also enjoyed binge watching the Love Boat series, showing on the TV's 24 hours a day. My husband is still watching episodes now that we're home. There was so much to do we just couldn't do it all, and that's the way it should be. My husband and daughter did the behind the scenes tour (highly recommend this). You need to sign up for this on day 1 at passenger services, as it's limited to 12 people. This cruise did a second round on the way back so we got in with our late signup. This tour was about 3 hours in length, cost $150 and was worth every penny to see the bottom floors of the ship, meet the captain, and all kinds of special access things. When they got back, each of them received pictures of them throughout the ship with their tour group and the captain, a frame, a robe, customized stationary. We thought this was a really nice touch. Our teenage son had the most wonderful trip. The teen club kept him hopping and with friends from afar all day long. There were most days on the ship that we didn't see him and had to set check in times or tell him that x activity/dinner with the family was mandatory. He just had so much fun with the teen hot tub parties, formal nights, video games, etc There's a lot about his trip that we'll never know but we always felt he was safe and out of trouble so c'est la vie. Our ten year old daughter had sign out privileges of the kids club and she enjoyed the evening movies in there and a few of the daytime activities. They had full schedules but the boat was very full of kids so she often preferred to hang out with us, especially once she started having so much fun at all the trivias. We swam a few times and did hot tubs a few times too. I used the thermal spa (suite perk) many many days, and loved this free aminity. All but one day I was the only one there. My routine for this was to wake up at 745 and have bathing suit/robe on and be in the hall by 755, spa by 8 when they opened. I'd check in (leave my cruise card) at the spa desk, make my way to the waiting area for massages to get an icy lemon water to take downstairs with me, then I'd shower in a cool fog shower and sit in an aromatherapy grotto for as long as I could stand, shower again, and then fall asleep on the 'rock chairs' (heated chairs), covered in towels. I'd wake myself up snoring and then drag my way back to the room to get ready for the day. There's nice soft music playing in there and it was a great place to reflect and meditate (sleep). If you're a suite passenger, don't miss this perk. I loved the solitude and relaxation. One other note about the spa - my son got a good haircut on the ship for $35, which was high, but it was a good haircut. We loved New Year's on the ship, which was a fun, (very formal) night on board. Tuxes and real gowns were the order of the day. We were glad to have these items, as even going to the show would be awkward when not dressed like everyone else. We also participated in a gingerbread house making contest, and had packed a ton of little sweets, lights, and decorations for it. We were disappointed to find we couldn't use the items, scissors or anything else to help us, but it still turned out to be a jolly fun time for all. We were AMAZED to see some of the creations people came up with using only the things provided in the box. As a side note, after the contest the ship put out a huge display of their chef-created gingerbread houses which were unlike any I've ever seen anywhere, so beautiful. Shore Excursions - we did the volcanoes national park excursion on Hawaii through princes. This was a large bus full of people and a day packed with activities and a lunch. If you want to hike, see a ton of the island in one day, we'd recommend this. Bring your walking shoes and a bottle of water. Also, lunch isn't until 130 or so, so you might want to throw in a protein bar or other packaged item for this excursion. No ship food is allowed offboard. On Oahu, we rented a car and prearranged for pearl harbor tickets. We spent the morning there then did the dole pineapple plantation (a waste of time in my opinion), drove to the North Shore to watch the surfers enjoy the big wintertime waves (expect heavy, slow traffic full of people in bikinis), and then we drove to Waikiki and spend the last few hours of sun in the lagoons by the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We watched sunset on Waikiki, dropped the boys off at the ship and then the girls went shopping. It rained on an off during this day, but it did not keep us from thoroughly enjoying a convertible and warm weather. ON Maui Christmas Day, we took a snorkel boat, which was waiting for us at the tender point. Weather was very rough, and the captain couldn't get us to Molokini Crater that day. We instead went to two amazing snorkel sites that were calm and just wonderful, with tons of fish, turtles, eels, rays, etc. We had nice breakfast and lunch on the snorkel boat and went from the boat back to our tender, never really seeing Maui, which was just perfect. On Kauai, we did the tour of the island in a minibus that took us to all the movie sites. It was a cool setup - the guide had a TV in the front of the bus where he'd show 'so many' clips of scenes filmed in a location while we were driving. Then we'd look up and boom, we'd be at the same spot we'd just seen on screen. Things like gilligan's island, jurassic park, just so many movies made here, for a reason. Kauai is beautiful and the beaches are the best and most beautiful in the world. We saw the entire east half of the island, had a lovely lunch at a local restaurant, and saw the property of many celebrtieis like Bette Midler, Mark Zuckerberg, and also where Elvis had a bungalo at the CocoPalms resort. A very full day that got us back to the ship with minutes to spare before sailaway. My comment on Hawaii was that we'd like one more day there, made up with faster ship speed or a day tacked on. We didn't have enough time to see it all, especially on Oahu. We did not get off the ship in Ensenada, which appears to be a poverty-stricken, dirty port that has brown water and heavy industry. I heard from other passengers that they were followed numerous times by families with small children begging and/or selling items, and that they felt not good about this. I'm glad we stayed on the ship, packed and enjoyed our last day of eating too many desserts. We discovered late in the cruise the cruise messenger service, which you can access free on your iphones. We recommend figuring this out on day 1 to keep track of those in your party. This eliminates the need for walkie talkies and whiteboards, both of which we very rarely saw on this cruise. What did I forget to pack? A clock - they're rare on the ship. I saw a few outside the elevators, and around the pools. Other than that, you're left to wonder what day and time it is. There is a channel on the ship where it scrolls the ship's position and time, but we sure wished I'd brought that clock. I would not pack beach towels or snorkel equipment again. We used the excursion's equipment and brought ship's striped towels with us, along with all the other passengers doing water activities. Disembarkation was well communicated in advance. We asked for a 930 disembarkation and knew where to have luggage when, and where to be (club fusion / suite members). We did have room service that morning, and then enjoyed coffee in the disembarkation lounge while we waited. This was smooth and on time. We had a wonderful time on this cruise, came back totally disconnected from the real world and with so many fond memories. Other than the few bumps, we'd highly recommend this cruise to families or anyone who wants to be around other travelers for two major holidays. Just a great great cruise. Also, if you think this might be your only time to Hawaii and you can spare the money, we highly recommend getting a suite if there's one available. The perks of the suite breakfast, the thermal spa, priority tenders, free flowers and special chocolates made our trip so special that it was definitely worth it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
"Oh, you are the Hammann's? You have been upgraded!" OK. I'm not an idiot. I realize that getting upgraded is fairly standard. However, don't we all love to hear that phrase? It put a smile on my wife's face ... Read More
"Oh, you are the Hammann's? You have been upgraded!" OK. I'm not an idiot. I realize that getting upgraded is fairly standard. However, don't we all love to hear that phrase? It put a smile on my wife's face as well as mine and set the tone for our 20th wedding anniversary cruise. We arrived at 2:00 as suggested by our boarding pass. It literally took about 5 minutes to get through the check-in process. We stood for about three minutes behind on family and then was instructed to move to a quicker line by an attendant. We were greeted, given our cruise cards and moved on to the ship. Quick and easy! We had reserved an obstructed view stateroom and were upgraded to a balcony stateroom. We were excited to see our room. Both of us had never cruised before so we were enjoyed each and every step of the process. From the name tag on the room to the greeting from Jeffrey, our steward, we were amazed at the service. The food and food service was top of the line. We loved our meal times. Not only were we served amazing food, we established some great relationships with the servers who come from all corners of the world. While I haven't been on other cruises so I cannot compare, I suspect that it would be hard to beat what Princess offers in this area. We dined using the anytime dining package which offered a great amount of flexibility. The balcony cabin we were booked into was amazing. It offered amazing views. The bed was comfortable. Our steward, Jeffrey, was efficient and stealthy! It took some getting used to the two a day service plan on our rooms but once we had the system down it was great. The 2015 New year celebration was great. We had a great time hanging out with people of all nations. This was a memory for a lifetime. I certainly would sail Princess again! Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! ... Read More
First let me disclose that I am a part-time travel agent, and limit myself to booking strictly for family and friends as I would never take on the responsibility of booking cabins for strangers. Too many liabilities and complainers! Besides I have a full time job! That said, I have been in the resort/travel industry for over 30 years and lived on 5 continents, 12 countries and many islands in-between. I am fairly new to cruising, having taken my first cruise on RC over Christmas out of the port of Singapore in December 2008, and have been hooked on cruising, especially over Christmas, ever since. Yes, I know Christmas cruises are more expensive and full of kids, and as someone who has no kids you would think I would avoid them, as opposed to paying MORE for them. But who can resist the beautifully decorated ships, real snow falling in the Piazza and the entrances that Santa makes. (More on that in my review). And this cruise was a DEAL, and I did not even use my TA discount. Just booked directly with Princess in late November. I now cruise with my DM (a young 82) since we lost my Dad a few years ago. She prefers not to spend the holidays at home and who can blame her after sharing 63 years of her life with my DD. We are fortunate that we live in Vero Beach and it’s an easy drive to Port Everglades. I did some cruise ship inspections in November during the cruise convention and we learned that Port Canaveral is set to become the largest cruise port on the East Coast within 5 years. I hope Princess will place some ships there! EMBARKATION DAY (Or as I call it Woo-Hoo Day).: On Sunday, Dec. 22nd with the dog off to the sitter we left Vero for the no traffic Sunday drive down I-95. We arrived at PE around 11:00 am and I dropped DM off at Pier 4 with our luggage. I had packed a cooler of Diet Cokes (for me) and Caffeine Free DC’s (for DM) and water. I also had 2 allowed bottles of champagne and Christmas decorations for our cabin and door. (You may have seen our door on Dolphin deck, port side, mid-ship near the elevators, as very few doors were decorated and our was done top to bottom! I forgot to take a pic though. I parked on-site and in the few minutes it took me to park and come down the elevator my DM was waiting right there for me. There was no line, zippo, nada and we proceeded straight through to the waiting area. I stopped at the table to “register” my bubbles, but since it was in my roll along carry on, I am not sure how they would ever have known if I chose to not claim it??? We were given a card for group 6 and we waited for approximately 45 minutes to be called. I would point out that it was difficult to understand the person calling the groups, whether it was a faulty system or a bad microphone, and reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher! Wah-wa-waa-wah! If they would just hold up fingers on their hands it would have been a better system. Regardless we were soon through the doors and the line slowed as everyone waited to have their boarding photos. Having cruised with Commodore Romano previously, I actually saw him stick his head in a door in this area and have a quick look around and then duck back out. We bypassed those who wanted their photos taken and were soon stepping onboard. For those of you CC members who say their cruise starts when they hear the…. take your pick…… Plink, Blonk, etc. of having their cruise card entered, you will be disappointed as they are all done with hand scanners now and there goes that noise. Who would think it’s the little things you miss??? We proceeded directly to Dolphin 416 and were pleased to find it right by the elevator. For those of you who ask about upgrades near the elevator, I can say that we are always mid-ship near the elevator which is extremely convenient, but never the first door. It was no problem whatsoever and I would book this cabin again with no hesitation. Our cabin steward was Michael, and he was surely the best, non obtrusive, accommodating cabin attendant I have ever had. Every day we would leave for a quick breakfast, and EVERY day our cabin was made up when we got back. We never had to ask for ice. He was superb! This was our first time in a Mini-Suite. This was the THIRD time I have booked a cabin with two single beds, only to find it made into one bed. (This happened in my brother’s cabin on the Island for a Christmas Panama cruise, but my brother left it as he was with his then 7 yr. old son and happened to me again on RC in Nov.) I explained to Michael that we had requested 2 beds and he showed me the post it note that said “D416- Q”, but I assured him that as the TA who booked it, I knew I had requested 2 beds. He said he would change it later which he did. The pillows and beds were as comfortable as could be! No need for an egg crate. No pillow substitutions necessary. I make it a habit to tip extra at the beginning of a cruise, and at the end, and I did. (Especially for crew working over a holiday). We requested robes and slippers and he said that it would probably be later or even the next morning, but we had big fluffy robes in 20 minutes. I am not sure if our refrigerator was meant to have a mini-bar set up or not??? I know I requested for it to be emptied on the Island and the (very lazy) steward told up to just empty it ourselves and set everything around the tv. So it being empty worked perfectly as our luggage arrived very quickly and I set about filling the frig with coke and water and putting our Christmas decorations up including lights and a small tree. Michael suggested that we may want to take the stockings on our door in at night or they might disappear as the decorations that they had put on all of the mail-boxes were already half gone. Sure enough, I looked down the hall and most of the cabins in our area had been stripped of the little decorations that had been there just 45 minutes before. Seriously cruisers??? Anyway, I never put anything on our doors I am not willing to lose (most from the dollar store) and all of our decorations remained in-tact during the cruise, except for the candy canes we kept re-filling for people to take and I know Michael enjoyed a few of those!!! I had a letter, poem and photo for the Commodore (with a bridge tour request for DM) and when I asked Michael the best way to get it to him, he said he would take care of it. Within the hour he informed me that it had been delivered. With the cabin decorated, the luggage un-packed and our first time in a balcony cabin, I enjoyed the sparkling wine Michael brought to us on the uncovered balcony, which I did not mind at all. (I have not had a covered balcony, but I feel like it would be like looking out of a box with all sides covered.) DM does not drink so I had her glass as well. I chilled a bottle of my Veuve Clicqout for sail away. We passed on lunch in the MDR as I just can’t eat a FULL meal for lunch and then again for dinner. We went to the Horizon Court which was busy and shared a table. From that point on we ate at the Café Caribe, which I think is less busy as most “starving passengers” stop at the first line available! HINT to future cruisers, keep heading aft to Café Caribe and you’ll find tables both inside and out, and shorter lines. We then went for a tour of the ship, which I was familiar with from my cruise on the Crown Princess. The Christmas decorations were beautiful! So far, so good! The muster drill was uneventful and we were in the Explorer’s lounge. I asked if my DM could take a seat outside but the crew said that was reserved for handicapped. I found her one of the last seats left and I stood a bit away. It always amazes me travelling with her at the number of young people who never offer an “old lady” (more on that later) a seat. We went back to our cabin and I opened my bubbles and we watched all of the other ships sail away and finally it was our turn at “last”. We did sail away from our balcony, but now that I know about the sail away cam I will surely be one of those holding a poster from somewhere on the ship next time, if we do not have a balcony! We did see the Princess flag get raised and as soon as we passed those condos it was gone. What fun that must be for those who live in those buildings and participate in that ritual! We made our sail away calls to family and doglet sitter and then sailed away from land-lubber worries! I for one was looking forward to no phones, no internet, and I hope the majority of the cruisers I saw with their noses stuck in iPads were reading a good book, but to each his own. The seas were some of the calmest I have ever experienced. As a long time sailor, and having done that trip on my own sailboat, I knew this was going to be one of the smoothest cruises ever. DM does suffer from vertigo from time to time, and I could tell from the forecast that this would not be a concern on this voyage and we would not need to unpack the Sea Bands, Dramamine, etc. We dressed nicely for dinner. I am one of “those” who figure if I am on a cruise, I am going to dress the part. We do anytime dining in the MDR and enjoy sharing a table each night. (We do not want to HAVE to be ready at a certain time to eat). As we waited a very short time, Commodore Romano approached with two young boys and told the hostess that the boys were with him. I put together that these were his sons and he must have popped his head in the door earlier looking for his family to come through the VIP line. This was confirmed the next night when he was again at the Da Vinci entrance with his wife and sons and introduced us all. Our first night sharing a table in Da Vinci’s was quite the experience. Our table was a family of 4 (2 boys approx. 9 & 11) and both Mother-in-laws. This was the first cruise for the family (not the Mothers) and it turns out they are Vegans. Now I WISH I could do that, but that is never going to happen in this life-time, and I don’t think a cruise and Vegan make a good pairing, especially if you’ve made no prior arrangements and it’s your FIRST cruise. These people had the chefs out of the kitchen 4 different times. Could they prepare this without this? Could they make that? They did finally ask to see the menu for the next night so hopefully, they were more prepared. In the mean time, the two Mothers ate meat, desserts, etc. lol. The poor wait-staff was already saddled with a party of four making special requests (Honeydew sorbet), and the one lady was demanding dessert before any of them had even been served their “meal” and while we were still eating out entre. Needless to say, I was happy we were never re-seated with them again, and I don’t think I ever saw that family the rest of the cruise. For those of you who are looking for food reviews, please find another reviewer. I do not take pictures of food on my plate, although we did share a table the 2nd night with a couple and she asked if she could take pictures of everything I got! I am not a “foodie”. I did eat at a specialty restaurant on the Crown once and for some it’s worth it, for me it’s just not. I did buy a bottle of Danzante Pinot Grigio that I have had before, to drink with dinner each night in Da Vinci’s. I will summarize and say that I was very happy with the food on this cruise whether it was the Caribe, the IC, Da Vinci’s, the pizza, etc. I heard my share of complaints about the food though…..”not up to Princess standards”, etc., but I do not share that view. My service was great, my food was great. And you will NEVER hear me complain about dessert. I also heard my share of complaints on this cruise about the “short” cruises and how they are “not Princess’s niche”. I guess I am just not a complainer and am just happy to be lucky enough to cruise! So, back to that…… As much as I would have liked to see the Colors of the World, we missed the early show due to dinner and sacked out early and missed the later show. I have heard good things about it. I did stop in the Piano Bar where I met a server, Franky from Bali. Having lived in Bali for a few years, I always enjoy meeting Indonesians aboard and usually befriend one just because they are amazed that I can speak some Bahasa Indonesian to them and Franky & I had both lived in Nusa Dua, so we hit it off and I did make a point of seeing him each night. The Piano Bar is usually my place to hang, but I did not find Craig Andrews very interactive with the crowd. I should probably stop here and explain that we chose this cruise for R&R. We were not interested in a port intensive cruise. We just wanted to be on a beautifully decorated ship, have someone else do all the work, and have no agenda. This cruise ticked all the boxes and I was not disappointed one bit. Day 1 At Sea: We awoke with no complaints and went to a leisurely breakfast at the Café Caribe. After brekkie we went to the Onboard Outlet Sale in the Michelangelo Dining Room where I found some great tank tops that Old Navy stopped making so I was a happy camper. There was a “Holland Line” lady in a hurry to check out and complained that all she had done with Princess so far was wait in lines. Again, seriously? You booked a sold out cruise over a holiday and you forgot to pack your patience??? We did mark the patters every day, (Creativity @ Sea, Turkey Carving, etc.) but if we didn’t make it to something, we didn’t worry. We were not interested in the trivia contests or the Pop Star or The Treasure Hunt or the line dancing, or the Spa, etc. Just R&R on the high seas and we napped in our mini-suite every day! After the sale, it was impossible to find two loungers together at the pool, but this was partly our fault as I wanted the sun and DM wanted the shade. I bumped into the Commodore and he told me that he had received my letter, poem and photo, and I introduced DM. At that point I settled her into the shade and went off to the adult only aft pool where after a short wait I was able to score a lounger overlooking the stern on the pool level. Now a bit about chair hogs. As someone who often travels single/solo, it is difficult to sometimes reserve your rights (as you dash off for a slice of pizza or to the loo for example) and not be accused of chair hogging. The whole 2+ hours I was in that lounger, there was a chair next to me with a towel and one sneaker on it. No one ever used that lounger. I should have gone back and rescued DM from the termites, I mean kids, but I did not want to be accused of chair hogging or lose my prime spot. There was a gentleman behind me who was asked by an ”ahem” lady if the chairs surrounding him were being used and he said yes. She then told him in no uncertain terms that you were not allowed to save chairs. He told her that he could assure her they were just over there in the pool. She scored a chair near-by and within 10 minutes, 2 more became available and she plopped down 2 of her party in those chairs. Literally 2 mins. later her DH asked what time it was and she said 1. He said, “what I thought it was like 11:00. Let’s go eat lunch at the buffet.” So they left all of their stuff and took off for lunch. I guess the rules don’t apply when you look in the mirror!!! Lol This night was the “Dress To Impress” night and the champagne waterfall. We did a few portraits until we got tired of being asked to pose in awkward poses (lol) and we found a front row seat under the staircase and watched the glasses being set up. I had never seen it done in red before and lest you think it was for Christmas, the very talented gal setting up the glasses explained it is because of the “Ruby” Princess. It is one of the cruising rituals I love! We engaged the couple sitting next to us. She had a “Christmas Cape” on, which she explained was really a Christmas Tree skirt. She said she has a whole wardrobe of them that she buys on sale after Christmas. Very clever! We waited until the end to get our waterfall pictures taken. We then went to DaVinci’s and the Commodore introduced us to his beautiful wife and 2 handsome sons. We sat with a couple. This was the gal who took pictures of ALL of the food plates. We passed on the Comedy show and DM called it a night. I wandered up to Sky Walkers but there were not many people there. Came back to Crooner’s and had a specialty martini. A “Poinsettia”, had a chat with Franky and then off to bed. Day 2 Princess Cays: Having been to Princess Cays previously, I could have bypassed it altogether and stayed aboard enjoying the empty ship. Being from Florida I knew I was not going in the water! As DM had never been, we decided to watch the movie (The Princess Bride) and enjoy the pool to ourselves and get some sun. At one point DM decided to use the hot tub. The previous days, it was just too crowded. As she entered the hot tub, it was occupied by another woman and 2 small girls. One of the girls looked up and said “Oh no, not another OLD LADY!”. I won’t go into all of their bratty behavior but the other woman gave up and left. Now the parents of these 2 brats were in a lounger near the hot tub and never once minded them. It’s a good thing I was up on deck watching the big screen or these “non” parents would have gotten a piece of my mind. I am not a public hot tub user but isn’t the rule that kids are not supposed to be in them unaccompanied??? About the same time that the movie ended (noonish), they announced that we no longer needed tender tickets to go ashore. WE caught a tender with no waiting and ventured ashore. We ate a burger which was what you would expect it to be as everything has to be ferried over, and shared a table with 4 young crew members on a rare day off. DM bought a trinket for a friend and we caught a tender back. We easily scored some prime loungers on the upper aft deck at the adult only pool, and I had a Mud Slide for a very reasonable $6.50. Then it started to drizzle so it was back to the mini-suite for a nap. I do love having the sofa to nap on! We returned to our cabin where we found an invitation for our “Navigational Bridge Tour” on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas DM! I had visited the bridge previously on the Ultimate Ships Tour on the Crown which I highly recommend, but thought it would be a bit ambitious for DM. Therefore I was hoping the request to the Commodore would be granted and he did not disappoint. We dressed festively as it was Christmas Eve, but passed on any casual photo opportunities. This night was the crew Christmas caroling and it’s another reason I love cruising at Christmas. We got our Holiday Carols booklet and joined in. When they got to “Let It Snow” and that real snow starts falling from the top of the Piazza, it is magical! We again shared a table with a large group this time and afterwards caught the tail end of the Beatles Medley in the Piazza. DM spent a short time in Gatsby’s which was waaaayyyy too smoky for me and came out $20 ahead on her slots. I had a drink from Franky in Crooners. Our plan was to attend the Ultimate Deck Party. The drizzling rain outside forced the deck party to be held in the Piazza. The change of venue did not seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. For those of you who were on this cruise, I was the one in the blinking red glasses and flashing ring. The fact that I got DM to wear both as well is why I love cruising with her! I think a good time was had by all, even though we mostly just took advantage of our front row seat and people watched! Afterwards it was time for DM to retire. I had a Bailey’s in Crooners, and chatted with Franky who had a Christmas present for me…a crew pin! I now have the old version and the new! CHRISTMAS DAY at SEA: We awoke and exchanged a few small presents we had brought aboard and DM won $10 on her scratch lottery tickets I had put in her stocking. We did some packing and I took down the Christmas decorations, as we were one of the few who put luggage out later that night. We gave wrapped presents to Michael and Franky, some candy we had brought on board. Today was Santa’s arrival! I have to comment that other than the bratty girls in the hot tub, the 750 children on board were all well behaved. And I believe all 750 were lined up to sit on Santa’s lap and get a gift! The line went FOREVER! I love the radio chatter between the Coast Guard and the Bridge when Santa arrives. I thought I was video taping his whole entrance thru the Piazza as “Here Comes Santa Claus” blared, and afterwards realized I had not pushed the button to tape! Well, some things are just meant to be seen in real time! I think Santa had a l-o-n-g night as his sparkly attendants had to help with his bowl full of jelly belly which was sort of sagging. The kids, big & small, did not seem to mind. We watched for a bit and then went off for the pub lunch and some great fish & chips in the Wheelhouse Bar. We caught a bit of magician Ben Seidman in the Piazza and we did some reading on the Promenade deck which is just a peaceful place to relax. I wish they would make it a “quiet zone” as the people strolling tend to shout at each other as they walk by. Our Bridge Tour was scheduled for 3:00 and we were met by a member of the security team and escorted to the Bridge where Commodore Romano greeted us. We had brought gifts of candy to the Bridge as well. We were allowed to take photos and DM even got to sit in one of the pilot chairs. I love the bridge and the crew there takes watches of 4 hours on, 4 hours off with no days off. The watcher stands his visual watch and with all of the electronics onboard, his position is considered the most important. Some things never change in hundreds of years! http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/attac...1&d=1388518142 After the Bridge Tour, DM went for a nap and my plan was to have Afternoon Tea. When I turned the corner, the line for tea was longer than the line for anytime dining! Oops. Now I am the one complaining about lines! Lol I think it was due to the fact that the weather was not that great. I passed on the tea and went to the IC and had some goodies! Dinner was shared with a table of 6 others. One couple did the food complaining, the short cruise complaining, etc. Another couple was frustrated as they were doing a B2B and had to change cabins from an interior to an obstructed view. Seriously? Take the upgrade! DM had the turkey and I had the beef and all was tasty and the best part was we did not have to cook it! Dessert (Christmas Pudding for me) was as always, fabulous! My favorite dessert on this cruise was the French vanilla bean crème brulee, and I am an admitted vanillaholic! After dinner we went to see the show Broadway Ballroom, the only time we went to the theatre. It was your typical cruise ship production. My bad, but I almost fell asleep. I was looking forward to seeing “Now You See Me” on the big MUTS screen and after dinner we changed into comfortable, warmer clothes and headed up only to find it raining. So we returned to the cabin to watch it on tv and as much as we had planned to see the Christmas production, Holiday Wishes, with the crew…..once in the cabin to watch the movie…. we were done for the night. DISEMBARKATION DAY: (Sad Day) - Having put our luggage out the night before we were to wait in the Wheelhouse for a Group Orange 7, 9:20 disembarkation time. We had a leisurely brekkie in the MDR and still had an hour to kill. I found a seat in the packed Wheelhouse for DM and then went to drop my Consummate Host card off. I also dropped our Future Cruise Deposit Form in the box. This was literally 15 minutes before we disembarked and within 5 hours we had our e-mail confirmation. I had read some other posts complaining about this, so possibly we benefited from those previous complaints. I can say that each time I cruised by there, I never once saw the consultant. I noticed no one disembarking. I went and collected DM and it was about 20 minutes before our group was to be called. I asked the crew if we could walk off and she asked if we were in a hurry. I said we had a long drive and she smiled and said sure go ahead. We were the only two down the gang plank and into the luggage area. We elected to have a porter help, found our bags and he walked us thru the lane where the wheelchairs were going and we bypassed the whole passport line so we were literally off the ship and outside in 3 minutes. He took our luggage to our floor of the elevator and we were parked only about 6 spaces away. We loaded up and were off to A1A to visit my brother in Lighthouse Point. SUMMARY: This was one of the most relaxing cruises I have ever enjoyed. I wish I had booked the B2B, but prior to the cruise my Miata had to have a fuel pump replaced, and after the cruise my Yorkie fell and needed an x-ray so the mechanic and the Vet cost more than my whole cruise! I’m hoping they offer the “free cruise” again and I would book this same cruise in April for my birthday. Princess is my favorite line so I might be biased. The bottom line for me is the complainers are on a CRUISE! They are not fighting an illness in hospital. They have discretionary money to cruise. Unless the ship breaks down, or the seas are 30 feet, what is there to complain about??? Bon Voyage until next time.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We have been on cruises before, but years ago. We have taken Princess, Cunard, Royal Caribbean. The stateroom on this cruise was nicer and larger than we expected. The food on some nights, however was inedible. We were on the ... Read More
We have been on cruises before, but years ago. We have taken Princess, Cunard, Royal Caribbean. The stateroom on this cruise was nicer and larger than we expected. The food on some nights, however was inedible. We were on the "traditional seating" plan. The menu items sounded wonderful, but the resulting meals served were far below what had been described. The food seemed to get worse, nightly. One night our table ordered the lamb chop/braised veal. I ordered the chop to be done rare. It was so well done that I couldn't cut it. It was like shoe leather. Our other table mates had the same problem, although they didn't order their lamb rare. It was dreadful. The next night they had leg of lamb on the menu. I had to ask our waitress three times to check to make sure I could get a rare to medium rare piece. She finally assured me that that is what I would get. Instead it came out grey. I did send it back that night and got a rare steak instead. One night I was served duck. Again I asked for it rare. It didn't happen. It was horribly over sauced and well done. The last night was Christmas. Both my husband and I ordered the starter "Jumbo Shrimp, Diver Scallops, and Craw-fish. The craw-fish was absolutely inedible. It tasted like water-soaked cardboard and was still frozen in the center. The shrimp were very small. At Walmart I buy a bag of this size for salads (medium) and the scallops were the size of a small fingernail. It was all awful. Next we had the starter of foie gras pate. It was not foie gras. It was, however edible. Then we had the butternut squash soup. There was no seasoning. It was so bland, you could feed it to a baby. Terrible. We both ordered pastas that night, because we hadn't had much luck with the meat. My husband took 2 bites of his Fettucini Alfredo and pushed it away. I had a Crispellla with cheese sauce and bacon. You could have used both for wallpapering a room. The desert was good. The buffet is a cafeteria. If you get there when they first put the food out, it's not too bad, but it gets old in the steam table pans, pretty quickly. The eggs are hard, the pancakes tough and the ham curled. The best food was my midnight hamburger, room service breakfast (rolls and fruit) and the Wheelhouse pub day fish and chips and the International Cafe (where they charge for tea and coffee and much to my husband's chagrin also for ice cream). Their salads were quite good. Their Panini Sandwiches not so much, according to my better half. I think he used the term "truly dreadful". The tea was pleasant but nothing to write home about. We don't like loud music, so we couldn't use the pool area. All our age group (over 50) seemed to run for cover when the concerts and movies started. We didn't want to pay $10.00 per person for half day $20.00 for a full day, to go to the quiet pool (did not see the charge advertised on the web site, but I might have just missed it). We would only have spent maybe an hour on two at the most so it wouldn't have been worth it. We did sit on the promenade deck, but there was no service there. At least it was quiet. The Wheelhouse and Crooners bar were both fun. Really nice music for us older group. The staff is very nice. The library was very small and not set up for small groups who were looking for an indoor quiet area. The shows were good, but we had to stand for a couple, because the theatre is not large enough for the ship. Everything was geared at selling you something. My husband said that he felt like he was on a floating shopping mall. Not our thing. If the cruise had been any longer, I think he would have jumped overboard. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
For the past several years, we've opted to cruise for New Year's. Usually it's been a 3 to 4 night cruise, this time we opted for 7 days. Although it was a great getaway, I have a few comments to share if you plan to go next ... Read More
For the past several years, we've opted to cruise for New Year's. Usually it's been a 3 to 4 night cruise, this time we opted for 7 days. Although it was a great getaway, I have a few comments to share if you plan to go next year to be aware of. Let me start by saying, I have 2 sons, so it's not that I don't like kids, I just don't like spoiled rotten kids. I like Princess because it's usually a cruise line with mostly adult travelers and even when there have been children, it's usually not a problem. This time around, we were not happy with the amount of children running around EVERYWHERE. What do I mean by everywhere, I am referring to kids going to the middle of stage during performances at the clubs. Parents just did nothing to prevent this from happening. This happened a couple of times and then during the production shows the kids were just plain obnoxious and the parents thought their behavior was funny! Did this spoil our week, absolutely not, but it did disappoint me to see parents being so unconcerned of others. Therefore, if you are going during vacation times: Spring Break, Summer, Christmas or New Years, know you will definitely have more kids than usual. Now to Ruby Princess -- the service level has decreased a little in the Restaurant, although the cabin steward and others were great. We were in the Botticelli Restaurant and we had to wait for services that are usually pretty standard, like refilling your water glass. The food was very good and there is really no need to pay for the specialty restaurants. What I find is that most cruise lines, including Princess and with the exception of Disney, are trying to nickel and dime you for things that are a little silly. What I mean is you have a "coffee" card for specialty coffees, for example, for a cappuccino at dinner, which previously was included. You pay and get 15 coffees. I find that a little silly and unnecessary. The Coke cards are expected and reasonable around $4/day/person and the smoothie card $7/day/person. We purchased the smoothie card for my husband. Looking back on it, how many smoothies can you have a day? To me, it was not worth it. Back to nickle and dime you: In the Piazza they have an area with fine pastries and nice snacks and salads at no cost which was extremely nice, especially when we arrived from the tours and don't really want to eat something too heavy but something to munch on until dinner. Then, you find a sign right next to this, $1.50/scoop for ice cream, which I find ridiculous! We opted for the second seating, which is the way I always go. Nevertheless, I found out waiting to disembark, that even if you choose anytime dining you can arrange a reservation at the same time every day and if you like your waiter, you can request that they serve you. I have to give them a kudos, they have made more table for 2 persons available, which is great if that's what you prefer. Fabio, the Matre'd at the Botticelli, was wonderful. Overall, we had a great time. Would I do this cruise again? Absolutely, but this time around, we will be better mentally prepared of what to expect and what to and what not do. Shopping, we found the best prices for tablecloths and jewelry in St. Maarten, don't wait until St. Thomas, I found the things more there more expensive. I didn't check the price for the liquor to compare, and we bought the liquor at St. Thomas. I felt very safe everywhere, which was great. Transportation: St Maarten, $7/person to get to downtown, roundtrip unlimited times St Thomas $4/person from pier to downtown, worth it Grand Turk none needed all is right there for beach Princess Cay none needed either Coke card does not work at the beach, but the cruise card does work to charge you for whatever you drink (water, soda or liquor) at the same price as in the ship. No cash is accepted for drinks only cruise card. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
The Eighth Wonder of the World -- Princess Cruise Lines! My family recently completed a Christmas cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, December 23-30 2012. The highly professional staff kept the vessel shipshape throughout the journey in a ... Read More
The Eighth Wonder of the World -- Princess Cruise Lines! My family recently completed a Christmas cruise from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, December 23-30 2012. The highly professional staff kept the vessel shipshape throughout the journey in a most proficient and seamless manner. During our seven night stay we were impressed by a clever layout of the stateroom for optimum comfort with ample balconies, tremendous storage, good lighting, and super bathrooms. Our steward took extra care to make surprise towel animals for our youngest child even though the children's' room was not in his section. Our other steward worked perfectly making our three-room separation from our children seem mostly unnoticeable. Both stewards were quite helpful with the various ports regarding distance for shopping, snorkeling and sightseeing. It was so refreshing to see someone take such intense pride in his work. Both stewards were a joy. Facilities for easy self-service laundry including stations for a quick ironing touch-up was much appreciated for the formal nights. The vast gastronomical experience was led expertly by the Executive Chef and Maitre 'dHotel. We ate in the Botticelli Dining Room at the early sitting and had the type of service that harkens back to a more elegant time. Our waiter was especially professional, sophisticated, and expertly helpful at every turn. My children appreciated the opportunity to try escargot, pheasant, and beef wellington just to name a few. Every evening our waiter would offer recommendations that never failed to impress; from presentation, to timing, to taste, all was wonderful. I would also like to express a special acknowledgement for my favorite gathering place. The International Cafe became the spot to start and end each fun filled day on Ruby Princess. The selections of sandwiches, soup, and desserts were unique, enticing, and delectable and all served in a most gracious manner. We discovered the flavor and flair with which the staff maintained this most comfortable European-style respite in the Piazza. The spa and fitness center were well-equipped but a bit solicitous. Classes for yoga and the like fill up fast so get there early. We enjoyed marvelous fish and chips at the Wheelhouse Pub, a gracious afternoon tea in Da Vinci dining room, and an informative wine tasting hosted by the astute sommelier in Michelangelo. The entertainment including a juggler, comedian Glenn Hirsch,illusionist David Catz, and all the singers and dancers especially Ron Goodman as Cruise Director did a superb job. The magical snow show for our ultimate Caribbean Christmas experience was surreal. Captain Tony Yoemans runs a fine ship and you should be very proud of his remarkable staff. We truly did escape completely! Thank you Princess Cruise Lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife and I are very familiar with cruising and with Princess. This was New Years cruise and the Princess people did not disappoint - they threw a great party (actually a couple of great parties)for New Years. Ports and excursions - ... Read More
My wife and I are very familiar with cruising and with Princess. This was New Years cruise and the Princess people did not disappoint - they threw a great party (actually a couple of great parties)for New Years. Ports and excursions - We went to Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, the USVI and the private "island" in the Bahamas. I'd say it's an ok group of ports but the Western Caribbean is more fun with better shopping and excursions. The Champagne Reef Snorkel on Dominica was a mixed bag; the contractor running the excursion made it very educational and it was perfect for the occasional snorkeler. There just weren't a lot of fish to see. The St. John Sail and Snorkel in the USVI was great although the weather didn't really cooperate very well (some rain). Food - Excellent as always. My wife loves escargot. We didn't see it on the menu so we asked if it had been discontinued. Presto - my wife got her escargot. Bonus points for the waiter and the ship! We had lobster twice on board and it was great both times. We did anytime dining and we liked it; it was flexible and it allowed greater shore flexibility and show availability. Shows - Princess has a production show (don't remember the name) that features a young girls dreams. It's been around about 4 years; we've seen it once before. They need to change this. The other production show was new and good. Comedians and piano bar player were very good as was the ship's "house band" Cabin - I guess the issues on this cruise involved our cabin ands cabin steward. The balconies on Aloha and Baja decks are smaller; pick a balcony cabin on Capri or Dolphin for a larger balcony. I think Princess has installed a pressure limiter on the shower in the bathroom; pressure is ridiculously low and very irritating. I bet they get a bunch of complaints on this one and probably a false economy. We also had issues with our cabin steward supplying pool towels promptly; we needed to pursue him for towels to go ashore. Loading and Unloading - simple and easy, we got off on time and found our bags easily. Ron Goldman is the Cruise Director and he was great. We'll go again on Princess!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
12 Days on Mediterranean on board Ruby Princess. My Evaluations: Ship: 5 stars The Ruby is the newest ship of the fleet. It's everything perfect, new, the style is classic and elegant, very nice. Cabin: 4 stars We had a ... Read More
12 Days on Mediterranean on board Ruby Princess. My Evaluations: Ship: 5 stars The Ruby is the newest ship of the fleet. It's everything perfect, new, the style is classic and elegant, very nice. Cabin: 4 stars We had a interior cabin, it was nice. We did 7 cruises in the past, we knew the kind of cabin we booked. Food: 4 stars Everything fresh, good, nice service. The Sabatini and Crown Grill are great. They changed the Sabatini's Menu. really nice. Entertainment: 5 stars Entertainment was great. Lisa Ball is a great Cruise Director. Good production shows, excellent Dancers. Princess did a good job there. The Magician Illusionist David Cats amazing, superb - Great Shows. Ports: 5 stars Great Itinerary. All Europe in 12 days. Venice, Rome, Florence, Istambul. Gorgeous. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Pre-Cruise: We stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport North in Fort Lauderdale. The hotel was about a 5 minute ride to the cruise port in the hotel's complimentary shuttle. It was clean, comfortable and conveniently located beside a ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: We stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport North in Fort Lauderdale. The hotel was about a 5 minute ride to the cruise port in the hotel's complimentary shuttle. It was clean, comfortable and conveniently located beside a strip mall with a Winn Dixie and other services. For a one night pre-cruise stay, with little time to sight-see, I would recommend it. Also within walking distance was a Walgreens which was important to us because we require Bonine to cruise without feeling ill and are unable to buy it at home in Canada. Embarkation: We arrived at the cruise port at 11:30 am. Embarkation took approximately half an hour from start to finish. The staff was efficient and friendly. Ship and Crew: This ship is really beautiful. There are many lovely tile mosaics on the floor and walls as well as attractive artwork. There were several Christmas trees and other decorations around the ship which made it festive for those of us who celebrate this holiday. Christmas music played all week. All crew members we interacted with were friendly and worked really hard. If we were on deck on in a lounge, service was prompt and efficient. We were very conscious of the fact that they were away from their families for the holidays. Cabin: Our cabins were located mid-ship close to the aft elevators on the Aloha deck (A631 A634 and A530). They were very convenient to the buffet and pool decks. They were all pristine when we arrived, with a bucket of ice in the mini-fridge and a cover on one of the beds to protect the linens from luggage while unpacking. We found the storage to be plentiful for two passengers, with loads of room in the closet, cupboard and various drawers. The balconies on this deck are covered which we prefer for some protection from the sun as well as privacy. We did have neighbours who were smokers and although we are sensitive to the smell of smoke, it was not a big problem. We seemed to use our balconies at different times and the odour was rarely noticeable. Dining: We had a 5:30 seating time for traditional dining in the Da Vinci dining room. We only booked this cruise 4 weeks before departing so were not surprised that the 6:00 time was full. We were concerned that it would be too early but in the end worked out well. We were able to eat and enjoy the earlier shows, as well as later activities when we wished to do so. Our server (Norman) and his assistance (Francisco) were awesome. They were quietly efficient, friendly, remembered our preferences each night and handled my food allergies with great care and consideration. We found the food to range from good to excellent. The fillet of beef on the last night was incredibly tender and the many fish dishes I choose were memorable. The shrimp cocktail was a bit soft but fine. One complaint was that my daughter, who is vegetarian, found that the choices for her were very limited. There was one entre each night as well as the standing fettuccini alfredo (which is yummy but very rich and not the healthiest). The buffet was fine. There was a lot of choice although it strangely all starts to taste the same by the end of the week. Still, I did not have to cook or clean up and all family members could choose what they wanted so I have no complaints. Entertainment/Activities: In the inevitable comparison to RCCL, we felt that this was not Princess's strength and would rate it as good - not great. We saw a comedian (Phil Tag), two shows in the theatre, pianist David Juneau in Adagio's and The Luciana De Rissio Quartet in the Wheelhouse Pub. We played in several of the trivia contests which were sparsely attended but enjoyable. On our last Princess cruise we enjoyed MUTS, however on this cruise we were not as happy with the selection. Sometimes it was just a problem with timing (movies that appealed being played in the middle of port days instead of the evenings.) Again, this is just our opinion. In case they are of interest to others, here are a few that were offered: Three nights of NFL football, Clash of the Titans, Toy Story 3 (the best of the bunch for us), The Polar Express, U2 concert, Beyonce concert, Christina Aquilera Concert, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Inception, The Switch, and Eat Pray Love. My son attended the teen club on the first night and met some nice kids. There were many organized activities and the staff seemed to be enthusiastic and welcoming. Despite this, as often happens I think, the teens left the club and hung out elsewhere on the ship. For the remainder of the cruise he chose to stay with the family which was great for us.He was disappointed with the sports deck compared to the one on the Liberty of the Seas. Ports It was a bit windy and only 21 C (72 F) on PRINCESS CAY but we enjoyed a nice beach day. It is a lovely place and totally relaxing. The clamshells we had reserved worked well on this day to block the wind. We opted to skip the beach on ST MARTIN and spend the day in Marigot. There was a ton of traffic and it took about 45 minutes in the cab to get there (our driver was very frustrated and clearly voiced this). We shopped in the boutiques, the West Indies Mall (several upscale stores) and the outdoor market. We then walked to the top of Fort Louis where we got great photos of the kids in the ruins and the breathtaking views. ST THOMAS was a beach day at Magen's Bay. We had never been there but had read about the calm, clear water. In fact, on the day we were there, the waves were the biggest and strongest I had ever seen. We were soaked just walking along the beach looking for a place to sit for the day. It was actually really funny. We had a great time playing in the waves but you did have to be careful because a few times we would actually be caught in the force of the water, knocked over and pushed up against the shore. It was not a good day for the families with small children. We did really enjoy our time there. It was clean, there were bathrooms and showers, and we felt very safe during our visit. The last port was GRAND TURK. This day was disappointing but only because of the weather. I am sure it is gorgeous much of the time. It was overcast and a bit cool. We were looking forward to snorkelling but it was too rough. Still, sitting under the palms reading a book and chatting is not a bad way to spend a day and it was very easy to just exit the ship and walk to the beach. We did some shopping in the shops at the port. Disembarkation: This part of the cruise was incredibly efficient. We left the ship at 8:15 am, as scheduled, and had checked in our luggage with our airline by 8:45. Unbelievable! Overall Impressions: We had a wonderful Christmas cruise and time with our multi-generational family on the Ruby and will not hesitate to take another cruise on this or any Princess ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was a last minute Christmas cruise. Embarkation was efficient and effortless. We arrived at 12:30 and were in our cabin by 1PM. Our cabin was a balcony category BB, C201 on the Caribe deck at the front of the ship. Our cabin Steward ... Read More
This was a last minute Christmas cruise. Embarkation was efficient and effortless. We arrived at 12:30 and were in our cabin by 1PM. Our cabin was a balcony category BB, C201 on the Caribe deck at the front of the ship. Our cabin Steward Ruel was polite, friendly and seemingly always available. The cabin was typical Princess, but with a large balcony. We ate in the DaVinci Dining Room, early seating at 5:30 PM. This worked well for us with one exception. Although we had traditional dining and Anytime dining was not to start until 8PM, this was not the case. Each and every evening after we were seated a steady flow of Anytime diners were placed at tables around us, including at our table. We found this constant activity disconcerting and disturbing. We found our table mates often eating their first course while we might be on our dessert course. Our waiter was ok, not excellent and originally would not serve us until 6PM, waiting for Anytime diners to join us. After two nights of this I made it plain and clear to him that I would not accept this. He understood and we ate on our assigned schedule with the interruptions previously referred to. His forced humor as the cruise wore on did wear on us. The Christmas week ambience onboard was spectacular with the ship decorated and with carols, decorations, all the Christmas themed activities, highlighted by the wonderful spirited demeanor of all crew members. The Piazza was the best meeting and greeting place of any ship we have been on. The activities , decorations and songs and music were outstanding. The International Cafe was another highlight of the Piazza. We often times spent hours there with the wonderful attentive servers at our beck and call. Santa with presents for all the children onboard exceeded our expectations and the falling snow during the caroling was a memorable highlight as well. The ports were just that, typical ports that we have been to numerous times in the past. We did not take this cruise for ports, but for a new Christmas experience. Our expectations were exceeded, no doubt. We are hoping to repeat this cruise next Christmas on the Ruby Princess. Well done Princess!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Background: This was our 11th cruise on Princess. This was our first time on Ruby Princess. We have sailed on Caribbean Princess previously which is the same ship class, and have done Eastern Caribbean itinerary once before. We are a ... Read More
Background: This was our 11th cruise on Princess. This was our first time on Ruby Princess. We have sailed on Caribbean Princess previously which is the same ship class, and have done Eastern Caribbean itinerary once before. We are a married couple in our 50's. We booked this with our travel agent and had onboard credits as CCL stockholders. Pre-Cruise: We had scheduled to fly into Fort Lauderdale from Michigan on Saturday, one day before the cruise. But after watching the weather-related travel delays the week prior, we changed our flights from Saturday to Friday. We had used Delta Frequent Flyer miles and ended up with a 20,000 miles reduction for the change in dates -- such a nice surprise. Hotel 1: We stayed at the Fairfield Inn on Griffin in Dania the Friday of arrival using Marriott points. The hotel was completely sold out, mostly guests getting ready for Saturday cruises. We used the free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. We arrived at about 1pm (early) and our room was not ready, so they took our cell number and drove us across the street to the BassPro shops to do some shopping. We were called about 20 minutes later notifying us our room was available. Instead of calling for the free shuttle to return, we just walked back to the hotel. Our room was standard Fairfield Inn with clean bed, clean shower, and TV with cable. Breakfast was included. The breakfast area was very crowded, but we found a table for 2. The breakfast employees worked hard to keep the food supplied and did an excellent job. Hotel 2: We transferred to the Hampton Inn on 12th (FLL Airport North) on Saturday using free shuttles. We had reserved this for Saturday night using Hilton Honors points. We would have also stayed here on Friday too but it was fully booked before we changed our travel to arrive another day earlier. We arrived at about 1pm (early again) and our room was not ready. We checked our bags and headed across the street for lunch (Wendy's) and shopping (Winn Dixie) for soda and water. Our room was standard Hampton Inn with clean bed, clean shower, and TV with cable. Breakfast was included. The breakfast area here was also very crowded, again due to guests heading to the ports. The hotel provided a free shuttle to the port and we were scheduled on the 10:30am shuttle. It was a little hectic trying to get the groups organized by ship and loading all of the luggage. We arrived at the pier by 11:15am. Embarkation: Getting onto the ship was a breeze. We waited in the lounge for Platinum status until we could check in. Coffee, juice, water, and sweet rolls were provided during the wait. We boarded about 11:50am. They verified our passports, scanned our credit card, and gave us our cabin keys. We bypassed the embarkation photo as this was our 11th Princess cruise and didn't want one. Our steward was still busy preparing cabins on the busy turn-around day. We did the introductions, asked for top sheets, face cloths, and robes and discussed our dining times. So easy! Muster: Our muster drill was at 4:00PM. Princess makes this so easy, with everyone assigned to a lounge - no standing outside wearing life jackets! There were the usual number of passengers who arrived wearing the jackets, and others who were brave/dumb enough to blow on the whistles. The Ship: The Ruby was launched in 2008 in still looks new. It was sold out and filled with capacity with lots of families onboard. We had worried about a holiday cruise having too many kids onboard. A crew member from the kid's club said there were almost 700 kids registered in the clubs (ages 2-17). But our worries were unfounded as most were very well behaved. This ship includes the International Cafe, 3 main dining rooms for traditional and anytime dining, the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe for buffet dining, Vines for wine and cheese, a Pizzeria, Trident Grill for burgers and hot dogs, Scoops Ice Cream bar, plus Crown Grill and Sabatini's specialty restaurants. There are 5 bars/clubs/lounges. The library has plenty of books to borrow plus some games. There are 3 pools (one adult only near the spa), the Sanctuary for relaxing poolside, a fitness room, a spa, a theater, plus Movies Under the Stars (MUTS). We have been spoiled by the Princess Sun Class ships where the promenade is all on the 7th floor, whereas the Ruby Princess has the promenade on the 8th floor at the front of the ship, requiring stairs up and down to walk around the deck. I did not schedule a spa treatment on this sailing, but loved that I was still allowed to use the spa steam room, pool, showers, and locker room without charge. Stateroom: We had an inside cabin, which is typical for us. We were upgraded to the Baja deck and we close to mid-ship. The inside cabins are pretty small, but there is plenty of storage room in the closet, drawers, and on shelves. The bathroom is furnished with bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion. Is seems Princess has stopped providing face/wash cloths unless you request them. Our steward did an excellent job of getting in while we were out. Activities: In addition to the usual cruise activities, there were extra events for Christmas. The entire ship was decorated, Christmas music was playing in the dining rooms, "Twas the Night Before Christmas" was read in the Piazza, Carols with Ship's officers and crew twice, and Santa was available several time and he handed out gifts (stuffed Teddy bears) to the children (and many adults). Many of the cabins doors were decorated by the guests. Entertainment: Lisa Ball, the Cruise Director, kept the schedule full with so many things to do it was difficult to stay idle for long. The theater had the usual Welcome Aboard Show on the first evening. There was also "Stardust", "Holiday Showtime", and "Once Upon a Dream". The comedian, Phil Tag, was excellent. I went to see the Magician/Illusionist David Cats, but left after 15 minutes - it was too loud for me to enjoy. His show was standing room only, so others must have enjoyed seeing him. The Piazza had plenty of entertainment including a woman who did Hula Hoops (very talented), a Juggler, a Jazz band, and lots of other music. Dining: We did the Anytime dining for dinner every night and ate at the Michelangelo Dining Room each evening at about 5:30PM. We always requested and got a table for 2 only and never had to wait. The dinner menus were excellent. The French evening has been eliminated much to my enjoyment. The Chef's menu was presented one evening with fewer choices than usual, but you can also order from the always available list that night too. I especially love the cold fruit soups and had a difficult time choosing a flavor of ice cream from three different offerings each evening. One evening I ordered mixed berries for dessert, which is not on the menu but always available. The waiters must be required to try to sell the bottle water, because we were offered it every night. A polite "no thank you" worked each time. We ate breakfast in the Horizon Court most mornings and enjoyed the selection of fresh fruits. We did choose the International Cafe several mornings for coffee and donuts. For lunches we mixed between the Da Vinci Dining Room, the Horizon Court, Trident Grill/Pizzeria, and the International Cafe. I was surprised that the Main Dining Room (MDR) was closed on 2 of the port days. The Horizon Court was nearly empty those days, so it made good business sense to close the dining room. But we love to be "served" in the dining room and missed those 2 days. The fish tacos in the dining room were excellent, plus there is ice cream for dessert. The Horizon Court has everything you need for an excellent salad. One afternoon we grabbed a quick burger and fries at the Trident Grill. And I absolutely love the Chicken Salad in the International Cafe - the recipe has been shared on the CruiseCritic Princess boards several times. If that wasn't enough, we also spent one day at the Pub Lunch and had Fish and Chips. The food was plentiful and we enjoyed every meal. The Ports: We stopped at Princess Cays, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. We have been to Princess Cays multiple times in the past and decided to stay onboard during that port call. We had the ship almost to ourselves and found plenty to do onboard. The previous 2 sailings of Ruby Princess had missed this port due to rough waters for the tenders, so most onboard were happy when Captain Tony Yeomans decided to allow tenders to go to shore. We did not do any excursions at St. Maarten or St. Thomas and just visited the port shops. Grand Turk was a new port for us and we walked through the shops and Margaritaville, watched the Flowriders at the pool, and walked along the sandy beach. There were lots on conch shells on the beach, but the cruise team advised all to not try to bring any off the island. The Seas: The seas seemed a little rough on the first evening heading to Princess Cays and again on the way to Grand Turk. The pools were emptied and then one was filled again. The water was really sloshing out with every wave. There were plenty of poolside chairs available that day! Disembarkation: Princess has really improved the disembarkation process. Instead of everyone crowding the public areas and stairs, passengers are assigned one of the public lounges based on the scheduled departure. We did not fly home until 4 days after the cruise, so we were in one of the last groups to get off. We left the cabin at about 7:15AM and headed to Club Fusion with other Platinum cruisers to wait for our 9:15AM exit. We had coffee, juice, and sweet rolls and read the newspaper provided in the Platinum lounge. When our group was called, it was fast and easy to exit. Our luggage was waiting for us and getting through customs was uneventful. Once we were on the pier, things were not as smooth. The layout of the port has passengers crossing a busy street with all their luggage and the median on the other side was full of luggage and people. It was not very organized. When the rental car shuttles arrived, passengers mobbed the doors and were very rude. We struggled trying to get a ride to Budget Rental car at the FLL airport. There were plenty of big shuttles for National but we only saw one Budget shuttle and it was full. After several calls to Budget, we ended up taking a public shuttle for $10/pp to the airport. Post-Cruise: We had a rental car and stayed in South Florida for 4 more days. We stayed at the Homewood Suites (Hilton) in Dania. The suites were very nice and include a kitchenette. The hotel includes breakfast in the morning and a manager's reception (light dinner) in the evenings. Summary: We enjoyed the entire trip. For anyone planning to fly to a cruise port, I would encourage you to fly in at least one day prior. The Ruby Princess is an excellent ship and still seems new. The service was excellent, and the food was very good. There was plenty to do onboard and the ports had lots of excursions available for everyone. Our hotel choices for pre/post cruise all provided clean rooms with easy access to the port and the Ft. Lauderdale area. While onboard, we bought 2 Future Cruise Credits (FCC) to sail on Princess again. We have since booked the Diamond Princess for Alaska in May/2011 and are looking forward to sailing Princess again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess (December 5-12, 2010) Princess Fan: This was our 5th cruise on Princess but the first on Ruby Princess. We did a similar cruise on the Crown last December and had done a Crown (back to back) in ... Read More
Eastern Caribbean - Ruby Princess (December 5-12, 2010) Princess Fan: This was our 5th cruise on Princess but the first on Ruby Princess. We did a similar cruise on the Crown last December and had done a Crown (back to back) in 2008. The Dawn (Mexico) and Coral (Panama) were our other two Princess ships and we are looking forward to the Star in the Med next June. We booked on the web in August and were accompanied by friends who had also taken the Crown cruise with us last December. Leave one day early if possible: We left Halifax on Saturday morning on a US Airways flight through Philadelphia. We mostly always travel Air Canada and have had terrific luck with connections over the years. We never want to relive our 2008 journey when we had a Continental flight through Newark cancel hours before we were to leave which unleashed an amazing race to our ship that included 8 airports in 42 hours to make our cruise in Puerto Rico The Crown actually waited an hour for the unforgettable back-to-back 14 day cruise. Returning home had us storm stayed in New York for three and a half days as well. We now avoid New York/Newark at all possible costs. Having never been in Philadelphia, we found the airport very friendly and relaxing during our four hour break between connections. We arrived in Lauderdale at 2:00 p.m. Picked up our rental car and were in our Sheraton Suites room in Plantation by 3:30 p.m. We were minutes away from the Broward Mall and decided to do some last minute Christmas shopping for a few hours. The facility was a very nice 'Starwood' suites facility, we didn't have much time to enjoy the hotel. After shopping we were off to a local Outback Steakhouse for dinner. It was Saturday evening at 7:00 so there was a line. While we were waiting for our table (45 minutes) we had time to find the ABC Liquor location to purchase our wine and spirits for the cruise. This terrific store is near Sawgrass Mall. It actually had its' opening last December and we were some of its' first customers. We got back to Outback just in time to be called to our table. I've been to Outback Steakhouse on many occasions and this was the first time I was disappointed with my steak. Apps were fine, service good but steak was overdone and returned. It was replaced with a much better steak but it really takes away from the dining experience. Pre-Cruise: The next day was Sunday (cruise day from Everglades). We were ready to leave the Hotel at 9:00 a.m. Had breakfast at IHOP and then found a Walmart for a few last minute supplies. We took the 595 back to the airport to return our car. There was a motorcycle rally or charitable run heading west as we went east. The bikes took over the 595 for miles. We are talking thousands of bikers in everything from Santa suites to beach wear. We were happy to be going east and having had a view of this event from an opposite direction. Our wives were dropped off with luggage at 11 am and we returned the car to the airport. Eight ships including the RCL Allure were departing that day. Everglades has it down to a science. No delays getting in and out of port facility. Our car rental company actually drove us back to the port in our rental car so we did not have the added expense of a taxi or shuttle bus. Embarkation and First Impressions: On our return to the Port, our wives had secured a place in line to get into the facility. Getting onto the ship was a breeze. We boarded about noon. They verified our passports, scanned our credit card, and gave us our cabin keys. The Ruby is very similar to the Crown so we felt right at home. We checked our cabin on Riviera aft and then set out to have some lunch and explore the ship. We had our passport stamped at each of the featured destinations and purchased a soda card. After all of that we had 30 minutes to unpack before muster time and our CRUISE CRITIC meeting at the Terrace Pool for the Sail Away. While our discussion group had about sixty or seventy participants, only about 16 to 20 showed up. We were all happy to finally meet, had a few drinks and then we were off to the Sail Away Party and prize draws. Next to the Horizon for the Sailaway Buffet. Lots of food variety but seafood is featured including lobster claws, bay scallops and shrimp. Living on the east coast of Canada we are spoiled and get our share of lobster and deep sea (large) scallops and cold water shrimp. The lobster on cruises is not much of a treat for us but for some reason we always manage to enjoy a plateful of claws with drawn butter. The Ship: The Ruby was launched in 2008 in still looks new. It was sold out. We noticed a much younger demographic than previous cruises. We were told there were about 300 kids onboard maybe that was why we noticed a younger demographic. We also noticed a much busier Horizon Court/Cafe Caribe and quieter dining rooms in the evening. We mostly choose a room mid-ship on Baja but always enjoy the Terrace Pool so this time we decided to get a room on Riviera with easy access to the Terrace. The pool side chairs were busy most days so plan a strategy if you want a place in the sun. On one of the sea days there was actually a wedding one deck above (outside Adagio) which we watched. The library has plenty of books to borrow plus some games. On the first sea day, I picked up three for the week. The movie Eat, Pray Love was scheduled for Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) on one evening. After hunkering down with chairs, warm blankets and popcorn, the rain started and made the experience less than enjoyable. Having seen the movie a few months prior, I wasn't too disappointed. Couldn't get into watching MUTS during the day but if you are a football fan, there were a few games featured during the week. Activities: In addition to the usual cruise activities, the entire ship was decorated, Christmas music was playing in the dining rooms. Many of the cabins doors were decorated by the guests. We brought along our Santa hats for beach and port pictures. We managed to get a few good shots which made our 2010 Christmas card. Entertainment: Lisa Ball was our Cruise Director. There have been a few negative postings on Lisa. I think most of these comments are very unfair. Every staff person brings their own unique talents and personalities to their job. Passengers also vary from the very pleasant and some not so! I am certain there are no staff who go out of their way to antagonize guests however, I am certain the same cannot be said for more than a few passengers. In life you reap what you sow. There were the usual Princess Theatre productions, which for the first time, we didn't attend. We did see a portion of the Steve Sasso show in Explorers and caught Bert Stratton for a few minutes passing through Crooners one evening. The only evening we did sit through a show was for the Princess Pop Star Final in Club Fusion. Not sure why this happened but we are late diners and by the time dinner finished at 10 p.m. we were not in the mood for a show. We visited the Casino a few times to people watch and spent some time in the photo gallery and boutique shops. Dining: We did the Anytime Dining for dinner but only used the dining room on three evenings. One of the things about anytime dining is the opportunity to share a table with fellow cruisers. We found this happened less on this cruise than any other cruise we were on. There were four of us and on two of the three evenings we were seated with one other couple at a table for eight or ten. Very pleasant experiences but as I noted earlier the dining rooms were not as busy as previous cruises. We did enjoy Sabatinis ($20) one evening and the Crown ($25pp) on another. Both are fabulous culinary experiences lasting two to three hours and well worth the extra charge. Reservations were made the first day we were aboard but I do not think we would have had a problem had we waited until later to make a reservation. We only had one breakfast and did not have one lunch in the dining rooms unlike other cruises where this was mostly our choice. I have a coffee card so every morning my favourite destination was the International Cafe for a fresh brew at 7. I discovered they made a wonderful egg and cheese on a toasted crispy bun. They also had a small serving of oatmeal and great yogurt with fresh berries not to forget a big selection of pastries. This was a great way to start the day. A few mornings this was followed by a trip to Horizon Court for some fresh fruit. Don't miss the waffle station which is mid ship on Deck 15 which is also open for breakfast. One other dining experience that shouldn't be missed is the English-style pub lunch in Wheelhouse. Usually happens on a sea day and it is busy!!!! Compliments on the fish & chips and mushy peas. The International Cafe also has some great choices during the day for snacks or even lunch. The Princess Chicken Waldorf salad is memorable. The recipe has been shared on the Cruise Critic Princess boards several times and we made it for the first time for a New Years buffet this year. Who would miss having a gelato break at least once or twice - 3 scoops for $1.50. The Ports: We missed Princess Cays due to wind. This had been our last stop in 2009 and was quite enjoyable but the sun was shining on deck and it meant starting a good book and enjoying the Terrace Pool. A bonus was arriving three hours early in St. Maarten. There were two other ships behind us, the Oasis and Carnival so it was going to be a busy day. We went ashore at 8:30 a.m., waited for a few shops to open before getting our rental car to explore the Island. We appeared to be ahead of the traffic. Went up to the French part of the Island and found Waikiki Beach for an hour walk before finding another spot on a nearby beach for lunch with the locals. Started driving back to Philipsburg and as we approached Marigot we were faced with unbelievable traffic. While we managed to keep moving the traffic in the opposite direction was gridlock!!!! So rather than stop and enjoy Marigot we carried on toward Philipsburg and did some more shopping. Our friends kept the car for a few extra hours and headed out to watch the planes land at the airport which borders the beach. All in all, it would have cost us more that $50 (cost of car rental) to have done a four hour tour. In St. Thomas we docked at Crown Bay (a few miles outside town). We were off the ship at 8:30 so we decided to find a last minute tour group and explore the Island sights for a few hours. We had been to St. Thomas twice before so we were not too disappointed in not being able to hear our guides commentary. We did see the spectacular hilltop views and vistas spending an hour at the Home of the Banana Daiquiri. The admission of $2 or $3 dollars was worth it for pictures and to see the gardens. Our driver dropped us off at the Best Western Emerald Resort for an hour of beachtime and agreed to come back for us. We explored some of the shops near the ship before getting back aboard. The next time we are in St. Thomas I hope we dock at the newer dock closer to the downtown. St. Maarten and St. Thomas offer great shopping opportunities for jewellery and watches. Our last island was Grand Turk. We had never been here before but had simply planned a beach day. We had read about Jack's Shack so this was our destination. We walked through the shops and Margaritaville (Carnival had docked a few hours before us and the party was already started). Instead of walking along the beach to Jack's we took the road but eventually found our way. Met Jack and his daughter, had our complimentary rum and enjoyed the beach in full view of our ship for a few hours. Our ship wasn't leaving until six so we visited a few of the shops and then explored the new beach area being developed on the other side. By the time we were ready to get back aboard the partly cloudy sky made for a beautiful sunset. Final Day(s): The last day was another sea day and the sea was a bit rough. Just enjoyed some deck sunshine, reading and dining. Late afternoon packing, selecting some photos, final dining night for some early Christmas Tom Turkey and a pleasant end to another Princess Cruise. Disembarkation: Our disembarkation lounge was in the Casino. We waited about twenty minutes before being called. Very smoothly orchestrated and before we knew it we had our suitcases, were through Customs and on our way to the Lauderdale Airport. We arrived at 10 a.m. but our flight didn't leave until 2:00 p.m. We were flying through Philadelphia again and unlike those going through New York, D.C. and the mid west our flights were on time. Had another four hour wait in Philadelphia but made our scheduled flight to Halifax in the rain for a green Christmas. Summary: Our next cruise on Princess will be on the Star from Venice to Rome in June and we will be platinum cruisers. While onboard, we bought 2 Future Cruise Credits to sail on Princess again. Will it be Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, South America....so many places to escape completely. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I sailed on the Ruby Princess with my wife and son over thanksgiving and we had a nice time, relaxing as much as we could. The Ship was beautiful and was well maintained, very clean. The crew members were very friendly and helpful ... Read More
I sailed on the Ruby Princess with my wife and son over thanksgiving and we had a nice time, relaxing as much as we could. The Ship was beautiful and was well maintained, very clean. The crew members were very friendly and helpful everywhere you turned. But here are a few specifics about what I observed: Embarkation was quick and painless. It took less than 15 minutes before we were walking onto the ship. It was early (about 1pm) and we went immediately to the solarium to try and reserve a spot for the week...but no luck. Unfortunately, it turned one of the ships positive features into a negative for us. Same was true for the Chefs table..no luck. We were able to capture the last two spots in the thermal spa area, which was very nice to relax in... Our cabin was very nice and our balcony was large and inviting. But the location at the back of the ship made us wonder bout our chioce the first two days of the cruise. We had ALOT of movement dur to high seas and wind....but it calmed down mid cruise and made it much more enjoyable. Dining was mostly average with few exceptions. We selected the anytime dining option and the maitre'd was very quick and remembered our names and preferences after the first night, which made us feel welcomed. However, the service was dependant upon the luck of the draw. One of the young ladies was very rushed and short, making two errors on our meals (she brought the wrong ones), but in contrast, the next night I felt I had the best service ever, so much that I was compelled to tip the waiter an extra $20 as we left. Specialty restauraunts were OK. We ate at the steakhouse on thanksgiving and I definately overate. The lobsters were great but I didnt care much for the kansas city steak, I found it very tough and left most of it. Additionally, the atmosphere was significantly impacted by one of the ships senior officers who let his son scream and run around the restauraunt. The international cafe had some great fare, and the buffett was what you would expect. Carlito, our cabin stewart was very enjoyable and he always had a smile on his face... as did JR, my bartender of choice. The ports were interesting as I had not been to any of them before. Embarkation was hampered by an inoperative ram, but the crew/port did a good job getting us off quickly. All in all, I enjoyed the cruise and really relaxed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We decided on this trip close to the last minute, and found it to be a bargain. We drove into Ft Lauderdale that day, and boarded without fuss at about 3:00pm. Enjoyed a snack at the International Cafe with an iced coffee. All in all a ... Read More
We decided on this trip close to the last minute, and found it to be a bargain. We drove into Ft Lauderdale that day, and boarded without fuss at about 3:00pm. Enjoyed a snack at the International Cafe with an iced coffee. All in all a pleasant departure. We had two prior trips on the Crown, so we pretty well knew our way around the ship and what to expect. We opted for anytime dining. Things had changed, and one of the two anytime dining rooms now accommodated an additional traditional early seating. We did not have any trouble being seated. We only had to wait on Thanksgiving, for about 20 minutes. We enjoy sitting at a large table so we could meet people. We had great dinner conversations every meal, and met a wide range of interesting people. The beds were rock hard, which pleased my husband, but me, not so much. Our wonderful steward Johnny got me an "egg crate" right away, and it helped a bit, but it was still hard! And the pillows were mushy. Oh well, I did manage to sleep anyway! As we had done this itinerary already, we did not visit the Princess Cay. We did a bit of rocking and rolling the next two days, but not so hard that things pitched off the shelves. Our main objective was to relax as much as possible, and catch the trivia in the morning. We tended to have all our meals in the dining room. The lunches, especially the salads, were quite good, and your order is custom made. We really don't enjoy the hassle of the buffet, and did not visit it except while sunning at the back pool. We did our own tours in St Maarten and to Marigot, St Martin, which we loved a lot. Same with St Thomas. Sorry, but beaches are not that much a draw for us, living in Florida. Got off the ship at Grand Turk, but not much there, and it was pretty hot midday. The dinners were at times rather unusual in their offerings. The cold soups were wonderful, the hot soups tended to be salty. My husband enjoyed most of the meals, and I was always urged to select something else if the waiter saw I wasn't eating. We almost felt wasteful, because we were not allowed to have a bit of this or that. On Thanksgiving, we had to order both lobster tails (rather large ones, from Maine), and a Turkey dinner to have a taste of both, when a tail on a turkey plate, or a slice of turkey and dressing on a lobster plate would have been perfect. The desserts were wonderful, as usual. And although it fell to the waiters to plug a lot of events such as wine tastings, cooking demo, Irish coffee, they did not push at all. nice. The best kept secret on the ship was the $2.99 drinks after 8. They are listed on the outside back cover of the drink menu, and the cocktail waiters did not call attention to it. For the record, house spirits, Dos Equis (sp?), Becks, MGD, and Miller lite, pina coladas, singapore slings, and long island ice teas were all $2.99 in every bar after 8pm. Even in Adagio, our fave bar, but then who wants those when you have their special cocktails exclusively? We hit a couple of shows. Went to Broadway Ballroom (songs and dance), the comedian, and the magician. All were pretty good for shipboard entertainment. And of course, Burt was in Crooners. He was great, and worked hard at getting everyone involved. It was sometimes difficult to get out of the dining room in time for shows, but we were entertained by our company every night, and to be honest, enjoyed that more. Disembarkation was slowed due to a malfunction in the jetway. Customs seemed particularly strict this time, but we had our info together, and passed quickly once we got there. We had to wait a long time in the casino (our assigned waiting area) and it was rather uncomfortable after a while. All in all, a good trip, and a relaxing holiday getaway. It was made particularly pleasant, by being greeting by all the crew we encountered. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
We really enjoyed sailing the Ruby Princess, but not for the reasons we thought we would. It had been about a year since we last sailed on Princess Cruises, our last sailing on favorite ship Caribbean Princess. Since then we had sailed ... Read More
We really enjoyed sailing the Ruby Princess, but not for the reasons we thought we would. It had been about a year since we last sailed on Princess Cruises, our last sailing on favorite ship Caribbean Princess. Since then we had sailed on several other cruise lines, some not as great, some about as great and one greatly less than wonderful. We are on a health management program that required we follow certain guidelines and hoped we would be able to on the ship. What we found were plenty of good, healthy options aboard Ruby Princess that worked well with our program. What we did not count on was a deadly combination of two factors that drove us off our plan: Fabulous food and an equally fabulous, helpful crew. We just were not counting on either being as good as they are. As a result we went far off our plan, have no regrets and nothing but nice things to say about both. This ship truly blew us away in most all areas so let's get right into it Embarkation A breeze. We entered Pier 2 at Port Everglades about 11:00 and were on the ship by 11:30, in our aft balcony stateroom by 11:40. Very nice. Food As mentioned, fabulous. What made it difficult to stay strictly on our plan was Maitre d' Jose who just could not do enough for us. From a personal phone call upon embarkation, to his personal commitment throughout the cruise, this was a first for us. It seems more the norm for Maitre d's and other dining room management people to stop by tables occasionally during a cruise. This man was really into being sure we had a good time and did what it took to see that happened. The ship Beautiful. As this was a holiday cruise the ship was decorated quite tastefully and was spotlessly clean throughout the voyage. The familiar basic layout of the ship mirrored other Princess ships so we felt at home and enjoyed the new features added, especially the International Cafe offering a nice variety of light meals and snacks throughout the day plus some fabulous coffee selections. The crew Again, fabulous. From our cabin steward to electricians and maintenance people met in random encounters walking the halls, everyone seemed so happy to be there doing what they do. It was really refreshing to see. Not that other lines do not have happy people on board there working, they do, the crew on this ship just seemed so over the top happy to be there that it was a real pleasure to see. Itinerary This was the perfect ship to miss a port when we could not stop at Princess Cays for safety concerns about the tender operation in high seas. It was a great day to spend in our stateroom for the most part even though a revised and updated activity schedule was promptly distributed and featured plenty for everyone to do on the ship that day. Disembarkation We needed to get off the ship early for our drive back to Orlando and got just that, off the ship and on the road before 8am. Very nice. I like that they keep it simple and their "silent disembarkation" without a bunch of annoying announcements was pure heaven. Some highlights: Internet Access in-cabin- Decent. We had an aft balcony cabin, all the way at the back of the ship, probably about as far away from the Internet Cafe as possible and got a signal. A low signal but it worked. Others I talked to, closer to the center of the ship, had signals much better. I chose to go sit at the International Cafe, within view of the Internet Cafe on deck five, to connect. Very good signal there Motion in the Ocean- We sailed away under rough sea conditions and a rain storm. I can not remember sailing on rougher seas since a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 but this ship handled it well. Our aft balcony stateroom on the Baa deck was rocking and rolling all night long that first night. Lisa always takes Bonine for this purpose, forgot to take it until we were well under way and had no problems but I would suggest a more midship location for those who experience motion discomfort...and a note to take precautions before getting on the ship Quality of the food- It is difficult for me to believe that the cuisine on this ship could be rated anything less than remarkable but as I have said many times before, food is such a subjective thing that I suppose it could happen. Our experience as noted earlier: fabulous. For those with food issues, look forward to your sailing on this ship; they really try hard to make it work for you. Dining room issues: None. Best advice: see the Maitre d' once on the ship no matter what. I think this is going to be a new rule for us, just something we do. Knowing the Maitre d' proved to be richly rewarding for our dining experience. These people really do want us to have a good time, we just need to give them the chance to make that happen Clientele- Short cruises on lines that don't do a lot of them often draw the curious. I know we had never sailed Celebrity until the Century offered shorter cruises so we could give them a try. We saw and talked to a lot of people just like that. Nice people who were regular guests on other lines, trying Princess for the first time. It might have been just luck but I did not talk to anyone who was not blown away by the Princess experience. I also talked to a number of repeat Princess guests, all mostly happy to be there. Front desk personnel- Bob from Tulsa had experienced less than wonderful service from the Pursers desk on a different Princess ship and was concerned. Bob, relax, this was one of the best bunches of Pursers desk staffers I have ever seen. I did have some issues with my bill, a double charge that was just a mistake and a charge for something I did not buy. Both were handled quickly and efficiently. I could not have asked for more. Past Guest perks- Sailing on Princess a bunch in the past had earned us Elite past guest status which was fabulous. From complementary laundry, to a priority disembarkation lounge and very accessible Captain Circle host, this program is a real winner, I think the best of the bunch. A couple we talked to while waiting to board who had not sailed the ship before had booked this one and the next two sailings for a total of 22 days on the ship. We happened to see them the last day at breakfast and were happy to see that they really enjoyed the ship. Princess past guests can be a really vocal group and don't hesitate to mention something they don't like. This couple thought there should be more places to sit and "people-watch" but were solidly loyal Princess fans who had tried other lines and said they "always come back to Princess". I can sure see why. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Background Info: This was my 7th Cruise and first official cruise with Princess but we are Captains Circle members due to a previous cruise with Sitmar in 1984, and they were taken over by Princess. Our other cruises were on NCL, RCI and ... Read More
Background Info: This was my 7th Cruise and first official cruise with Princess but we are Captains Circle members due to a previous cruise with Sitmar in 1984, and they were taken over by Princess. Our other cruises were on NCL, RCI and Carnival, so I will make comparisons where I see fit. Travel: We used the Cruise Air and from Winnipeg so the air travel is the day prior with a forced overnight hotel. We got our flights around 6 weeks prior with Northwest, with one stop in MSP en-route. The flight times were excellent and not going east protected us from the major snow storms that caused many to miss the departure. Hotel: The Marriot North is a little off the beaten path but after a long day of travel it has everything you need to rest up before the cruise. There are many restaurants just a few short blocks from the hotel and I understand that the hotel will even provide a complimentary shuttle. Transfer to Port & Embarkation: The Princess rep met us in the hotel lobby after 11AM and gave us the new health questionnaire that must be filled out declaring that you are not actively ill. This is a new procedure to me that attempts to eliminate passengers from bringing illnesses into confined spaces. The bus left at 12 noon and after the 15 min bus ride we were at the port. Embarkation went very fast and if it wasn't for a couple of passengers, that happened to be in my line, who hadn't filled out their on-line boarding pass info, we would have been on board in less than 15 minutes. My suggestion to Princess would be if someone arrives without their ship boarding info completed, they should send them to another table or computer terminal to complete it rather that holding up the line. Ruby Princess: The ship is stunning and very tastefully decorated. It follows a more traditional promenade, lido & sun deck design, with the Grand Piazza as a gathering spot. It can be more confusing to navigate compared to the RCI ships with the multi-story Royal Promenade. It was comical to see the looks on people's faces when they suspect then realize they are going the wrong way. My suggestion here is for Princess to have the hair of their Sea Witch always trailing to the rear. We had a BD balcony for ourselves and an inside JJ with twin beds for the boys across the hall. Both rooms were spacious enough and I liked the open closet layout that eliminated always having to open another door. The washroom was compact but efficient. This was our first experience with the tiered balcony's that you look down on from Baja. Caribe deck rooms are the same size and the balcony is twice the size, with half covered and half exposed. Dolphin deck has the mini-suites and their deck is fully exposed so if you plan on "hanging out" on your balcony sans clothing you had better request a robe. Public Rooms: All lounges and dining facilities were tastefully decorated and well staffed. Club Fusion and Explorers Lounge had similar entertainment of singing, dancing and smaller comedy games/acts. Crooners Lounge was the main piano bar and Heather was an excellent classical pianist and singer. I found that the ship needed another piano bar or guitar player that was less formal and interacted more in a sing-a-long way. The Pianos in both Crooners and Adagio (at the back by Sabatini's) was at the end of the room more like a performance, rather than an interactive intimate setting. The Piano Bars I have experienced on all other cruise lines were more interactive and fun. The Wheelhouse bar also had some jazz type performances and maybe this could also be another venue for raw sing-a-long pub style entertainment. Skywalkers night club, at the top of the ship, is where the late night DJ music happens but when I say late night it doesn't really get going until after 11PM and then some. Princess Theatre and Shows: When I first walked in I was looking around to see how the balcony opened up but there was none. While waiting in there for the tenders I found out that it held about 850 people so for a ship of 3200 + passengers they have to run the production shows over 2 nights for everyone to have an opportunity to view it. Their two production shows Broadway Ballroom and Once Upon a Dream, were very well done. The singers and dancers were some of the best I've seen and the shows were awesome. The special effects used for once upon a dream projects the sets onto movable walls, providing great flexibility and eliminates the need to store large sets. The other Comedians, Hypnotists', Jugglers, Singes helped to pass the time. We didn't catch all the games because we were just too busy. Pool Decks: I saw the sanctuary area but don't go for the pay and pay as you go cruising. You could still use the pool in that area that has the swim against the flow feature and it was very refreshing. The aft pool was a protected and enforced adult pool. The chair hogs were out in force around the main pool and around the MUTS pool. I really wish they would develop a system of marking vacant seats and removing the personal belongings that get more sun than their owners. Some people have take to removing items on their own and taking the vacant seats. This is a universal problem to all ships as I do not think the cruise lines like the idea of confrontation with the passengers. Dining: We opted for traditional First Seating in Botticelli Dining Room. I like the fact that they now offer the option for Anytime Dining but I miss the elaborate multi floor open dining rooms found on RCI and CCL. There are many options for snacking from Pizza and Burgers on the pool deck to the nice selection of salads, sandwiches and treats at the international cafe. The international cafe needs to set up line cues for the busier times as people come from all directions and it is difficult for the servers to keep track of who is next in line. Like the chair hogs, some people feel they have a sense of entitlement and that their time is more important than anyone else's. I also found the Sushi bar very confusing because they have it so far back into the Vines Wine bar they make it intimidating for you to approach the counter without feeling you have to sit down and order a drink. Service: This was fine everywhere and we did not experience the up-selling pressure that others have complained about. Our Waiter and Asst Waiter Surrey and Don kept us entertained and fed. Elmar our stateroom attendant was the ultimate ghost who got everything done without you knowing he is there. Ports and shore Excursions: I really liked doing the time change when leaving and returning to FLL. It helped keep us on local time and I never missed a sunset prior to first seating. Antigua: Went on our own to Dickenson's Bay at Sneaky Pete's for cab fare and chair rental. Barbados: Our shipwreck & turtle snorkelling with the ship was cancelled and we went to the beach at the Boat Yard that includes chairs, a drink and a shuttle back to the ship, all for $ 10 pp. St Lucia: We did the best of St Lucia Land and Sea and highly recommend it. The tour was awesome as were the guides who spent the better part of their Christmas Day catering to our every whim. St Kitts: Went to Ziggy's on S. Frigates Bay for a great day on the beach. St Thomas: Did the Ship Discover SCUBA at Coki Beach. This was a PADI sponsored tour that was well run with the correct balance of briefings and dive time. They also had the option of purchasing an HD Video of your dive for $ 60. Since it was the first dive for me and the boys we got it and the picture and sound quality was to a high standard. Thank goodness you don't have to get up early to go through customs like you used to prior to leaving the ship. Princess Cays: They have a spectacular set up that would be perfect if it were not for the tendering process. The fact that they use their life boats to tender assures you they work but they really bob around like corks with only a moderate chop. I feel sorry for the poor guy who got soaked because the front window was not properly sealed. Disembarkation: This was by far the best experience we have had for all the cruises. We had the proper tags and were directed to a lounge to wait to be called. When we were called we were off and through customs in less than 15 minutes. Pet Peeves': - Chair Hogs and Line jumpers require control mechanisms since they have none - The up and down elevator lights are red so everyone is always asking which way the elevator is going - Need more indications of Forward and Aft - Princess does not organize a Meet'n'greet for Cruise Critics members but hats off to Princess for providing a room and for Cruise Director, Lisa Ball, for taking time to spend with us. Thanks to Umbargar for doing the work to organize ours. Summary: I do not have a Favourite Cruise line because all the major players have their own Niche and Princess is no different. She is a classy cruise line with a hard working staff that looks out for our every whim. Sure we all have likes and dislikes but that will happen with any major operation. I would sail any of the major Cruise lines again including Princess, based on their itinerary and value for the $. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
We cruised on Princess Cruises last September to Alaska. While we loved Alaska and the itinerary, we were not impressed by the Coral Princess. Everyone has always raved about Princess so we decided to try again, this time in the Southern ... Read More
We cruised on Princess Cruises last September to Alaska. While we loved Alaska and the itinerary, we were not impressed by the Coral Princess. Everyone has always raved about Princess so we decided to try again, this time in the Southern Caribbean for 10 days on the new Ruby Princess. Once again we were disappointed. Embarkation was fine....long lines, but they moved pretty fast. Our room was ready when we arrived. There was no champagne on boarding, just information about a scavenger hunt of some sort. The Ruby is just the same old ship design....nothing new or innovative. The bathroom and especially the shower was still very small. The balcony room we had was adequate and the beds were comfortable. One complaint with the Princess designed balconies is the tiering style. Instead of seeing the water directly below our balcony, we looked down into the balcony below us. We were on the 11th deck, so no one above us looked down, but privacy is definitely an issue. Also, a constant complaint of mine, lots of smokers who love to pollute the fresh air on the balconies. One feature we enjoyed was the "Movies Under the Stars". At night covers were put on the lounge chairs, blankets and popcorn were passed out, and you could relax and watch a movie up on deck. It was especially fun to watch the football games on the huge screen. Food was edible, but just the usual stuff on the buffet. After 10 days, it was tiring to see the same old stuff everyday. There was not much variety. Some cruises we have been on have omelet stations, stir fry stations, delis and other options to spice the buffet up. Not this one....very boring and it seemed that at least one side was always closed making for long lines and crowdedness in the area. The design of the seating for the buffets is meant to make smaller intimate areas but it just didn't work. There were too many barriers to try to make your way through carrying food. Waitstaff was not friendly. In fact, we saw many being very rude to the elderly passengers. Granted, this cruises average age was probably 80 something, but the rudeness was uncalled for. Dining room food was better than the buffet. On several nights it was excellent....what one would expect on a cruise. But several nights, it was hard to find something to choose on the menu. Plates were not presented as well as they could have been and service was very slow.We chose the anytime dining, and would recommend that you call ahead and make a reservation as it gets crowded. They pass out "beepers" and you have to wait. One night we waited over 40 minutes, then missed the show. We did not get to see many shows. Because of the large senior population on this ship, the early show was impossible. People were in the small theater an hour before the show just to get seats. The shows were sometimes repeated the next night. People raved about the hynotist show, but we were not able to get seats at either show. If you are patient and can sit and wait an hour you will see the show. We did not have that patience. We chose this cruise because we liked the intinerary....all islands we have never been to before. After 9 cruises, it becomes difficult to do that. We were disappointed in our tour in St Thomas....tours are very expensive, and this "Views of St. Thomas" was awful. Unairconditioned trucks, tacky stops, and a guide who we could not understand. The "state of the art" tram up the mountain was old, broken down, and definitely NOT state of the art. Dominica was not a nice place to walk around. Many passengers got off, and came right back on the ship. Locals were unfriendly and tried to rip people off on the cab ride to town. One couple told us about the driver charging $1 to get to town ( which is really only one small street), and then wanted $10 to get back to the ship. The dock was in the middle of a working truck yard and was dangerous to manuver your way through. The other ports of Princess Cays, Grenada, Bonnaire, and Aruba were all very nice. Princess Cays offered many water activities. Bonnaire was friendly, although the beaches are all coral and not great for swimming. The mangrove tour was very interesting. Aruba was gorgeous, and felt very safe. Don't head to the beaches until afternoon, as the winds whip the sand around. Lots to do in this port. Disembarkation was not easy. The typical wait to wait deal. Crowded lounge, then wait to get to customs, wait at customs, etc. You expect this but there were many delays in this ship's processes. Not run smoothly. Overall, we had a good time, but will probably stay with other lines for a while. I think Princess attracts many repeat cruisers who are very loyal even when things are not as they should be. Until they start complaining or going with other lines, things will stay the same. Work needs to be done on friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Perhaps, the seniors who are so loyal, should try other lines, like Celebrity or Royal Caribbean, to see how they should be treated. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Live Ruby New Year Cruise We departed LAX at 10 pm the night before our cruise in the midst of security issues and weather issues and experienced none of them at all! Our Virgin flight was smooth and easy and I was able to catch some ... Read More
Live Ruby New Year Cruise We departed LAX at 10 pm the night before our cruise in the midst of security issues and weather issues and experienced none of them at all! Our Virgin flight was smooth and easy and I was able to catch some zzzs in spite of being a little squished. Got to FLL at 6am, hung out at the port and walked around a little then finally got on the ship at about 11:30am, they were having problems getting people off the ship; it must have been a darn good cruise for them! This is my first elite cruise but I have not noticed any difference, nothing new in the room, no bathrobes, no bar set-up, no upgraded amenities, and no name tag on my room! I keep asking nicely for my name on the door because of CC people and hopefully it will happen today. The Elite embarkation room at the port did not have any coffee and tea, no water, and no munchies. I was surprised and suppose this might be an economy cut. I was in D734 and I always got excellent wifi reception on my netbook, Dining We found a dining room open for lunch on the ship, otherwise we always eat at the "trough" which sets the pig out tone and this was much more restrained and refined. Love that this was available by noon on embarkation day! We had a great first night dinner at a funky table in the corner of the MDR which was very hot, but wonderful dinner mates made it good. Food very good so for! One of our guests looked just like Susan Boyle, but I did not have the nerve to ask, and then they never showed up again at the table! It really looked like her. We are in traditional early seating and our first formal dinner in the MDR is OK, we are stuck at a half empty table for 8 and it's hard to have conversation. Truthfully I am spoiled by my past experiences on this ship, and this cruise seems disorganized and the MDR is in disarray with many half empty tables and a long, long line to the Maitre d. We really like our table mates, they are a precious couple in their 80s/90s and just the kind of people I love meeting and sharing traveling stories with during dinner! I want to fill our table but don't seem to be able to affect anything. Whoever did the seating really messed things us, families broken into different tables for no reasons and they want to be with their loved ones. The Maitre d was very nice when I finally asked him if we could switch tables but the new table was just as empty as the first table and we missed the older couple who were now on their own at a table for 8 so we switched back! I was embarrassed but the Maitre D Jose did not mind me switching and he was very sweet about it! I can see how difficult it is to balance these things when people don't show up but don't bother to tell anybody they are not coming to the MDR, I know when I first started cruising I would switch from the MDR to anytime and back until I learned that this is not cool. I had a Bacon Blue Cheese burger that was incredible, the burgers continue to be wonderful. Last year I had my first Princess Burger, I had not eaten ground meat for 13 years but after the first one, I had to eat one every night! They are still great. Entertainment The entertainment on the ship was nice and sometimes fun, but not great. There was a really bad comedian who started the show throwing toilet paper and it basically degraded from there and was not funny (in the John Belishi Animal House way) and kind of offensive. I missed the Hypnotist but heard she was a riot and hope to see her on my next Ruby cruise. We saw Broadway Ballroom again (3rd time on this ship) and it was OK, and even a little funny because the dancers were falling and very off, I think maybe a mix of ship movement and early New Years partying might be the cause. Anyway, its tough comparing because I saw the premier of this show last spring and it was much better then. This was true for all the shows, I never did see the best one, "Once upon a Dream" because they showed it only one night at the regular times, and once at 5PM which conflicted with trivia ?! We made it to New Years, but only on our lovely balcony where we tried to see the New Years Blue Moon, a rarity indeed! I am sorry I cannot give first hand info on the parties but I hear they are very fun. There was a party on the top deck, as well as a balloon drop in the atrium, with lots of partying and reveling. Trivia and Wheelchairs and the Medical Center (aka having an accident while funning around) I had an accident while playing trivia! We were in a run off to determine the winners of the game with a tie breaker question and as I was rushing to give our team's answer I tore my medial (inner) calf muscle! We won! I was in a wheelchair for the rest of the cruise and had to miss snorkeling in Bonaire but the staff was taking such good care of me that I enjoyed doing nothing and staying on the ship. Thanks again Andreia (a waitress in the International Cafe) for pushing me all over this ship! I adored the medical staff a lot, Dr. Frederick was incredible and I looked forward to seeing him every two days. The entire staff was so pleasant I have to say they took incredible care of me and I appreciated that so much. They equipped me well for the rest of my cruise and gave me and wheelchair and cane that I used on and off the ship constantly (and often as a weapon, lol) and I don't know how I could have salvaged my cruise as well as I did with out them. Giant Thanks to them! Lots of rude and ill mannered folks around who don't give a hoot about disabled and handicapped people and this pissed me off but also opened my eyes. It is truly a different world from a wheelchair and I will never be the same from this experience. In fact my therapist would be proud of me because I found the gift of this experience almost immediately. I had never realized how vulnerable and scary it is to be in a wheelchair, especially on a ship, and I am grateful for the opportunity to gain compassion with this experience towards those who cannot get out of their wheelchairs as I will soon. This is the best kind of traveling experience for me because I have grown and learned. Nice. Perks Our friends loved having a shady spot at the Sanctuary, A 10 day pass costs $150 pp for the package, however they only sell a few and if you want this you should get to the ship early, race to sanctuary and hope there are still some passes available. I hear it's easier to get shade than sun. They had incredible service from their waiter there and even got "Tea" (meaning the fancy food service) in the afternoon. After never trying this service, I might have to next time I am on a holiday sailing! I ordered formal tea service in my room once, it was amazing. They brought trays and trays of sandwiches, scones, sweets, and teas and it was completely wonderful. I had invited friends up to my balcony for this and Princess brought tea service for 5 which amounted to a lot of food. Excellent experience, we will do this again. We also ordered CanapEs for formal night, another opportunity to invite friends to enjoy this. I made a special order asking for no seafood and they easily accommodated this although they do ask for 24 hour notice for special orders like this. Disembarkation in a wheelchair We disembarked with ease, me in a wheelchair and still carrying off my own luggage! I thought this would be impossible considering I am still in a wheelchair and really cannot carry off my own luggage yet Princess made this happen and it was a breeze. We were asked to be in the Casino 10 minutes before our "walk off time" and once there an army of wonderful people carried my luggage, pushed me, and made my disembarkation on this journey the smoothest and easiest ever. They even broke the rules and pushed my luggage almost all the way to the taxi stand! A port employee came running after us, telling the boys that they were not supposed to carry my luggage past a certain point, I did not want to get them in trouble but they insisted it was no big deal and pushed my luggage anyway. I cannot say enough about this kind of stellar service from the employees, really a great bunch on this ship. I was once again so sad to leave and even more so because of the kindness of this staff. Ports Princess Cays Woke up at Princess Cays, the day was warm and cloudy and perfect weather for grave hunting and info gathering on the Island! We were planning on searching for the mysterious graves and whatever else unfolds, maybe a climb down to a basement if I could find the location! I heard from friends that on the last cruise there was a 2 hour tender wait; hopefully my elite benefit will help here! I get a large pot of hot water and use my coffee press, and the new Cubita coffee that I am addicted to, and I make the best coffee which we enjoy from out aft balcony. Our balcony is huge, almost as large as our room and we love it. My room name tag is on this morning, which makes me happy since it's the first time I see it in black! We go directly to the tender and jump into the line going on the tender and I am very impressed with this great benefit. PC is beautiful, it is quite scenic and there are lots of opportunities to spend money, eat, drink, and oh yes water sports galore. Of course all we want to do is go grave hunting! We head south, cross the bridge and after talking to several locals, we make our way to the graves. Nobody I talk to knows about them, I am asking everybody, I even bump into the Assistant Maitre d who is surprised to learn about the graves but has not seem them. We follow the directions given on cruise critic and find them easily. We place a shell on each grave, and after a moment of reflection, we depart. I make a mistake by wearing new tennis shoes and by the time we get to the graves I have an ugly blister and we need to turn back! Will I ever learn to not wear new shoes on cruises? Having to wear a large bandage on my heel doesn't really say "formal" and that is what I must wear for the night's festivities, it's New Years Eve. These bandages stay on my heels for the entire cruise. We catch an early trivia game, which is really fun; we meet some nice folks and have some laughs. I am convinced that "Frottage" is grave tending, but of course it is not! Frottage is the act of rubbing brass! I could think of a lot more creative ways to use that word, such as "quit giving me frottage!" St. Thomas We took a Princess Tour of St. Thomas, kind of a best of thing where we visited the Island via open air bus, spent a few hours at Megen's Bay which I found disappointing especially compared to a place like Kapulua Bay in Maui. Megen's bay was nice, but crowded and commercialized and not even any good snorkeling. Not a "be-back" for me. We also visited Blackbeards Castle where we climbed down to the town, lots of shopping, via several historical houses and museums and stores. Next time, I'd skip the tour and walk up the 99 steps to Blackbeards and then walk down again on my own. We also visited the old Synagogue which is an easy walk up a small hill right in town, although it was closed and we could not get in. St Thomas reminds me of an Alaskan Port in that there are so many Jewelry shops it is kind of gross! The vendors are hawking their wares at their storefronts while the taxi cab drivers are simultaneously trying to lure you back to the ship (or anywhere else for that matter as long as it is in their cabs) and the total cacophony of it is tacky and funny. But only for a short period of time, I cannot stand to see such disarray in the midst of such natural beauty! Yuck Dominica We had an incredible tour guide named Levi Bumpling in Dominica. This man and his tour guides were so careful and safe and I cannot recommend his company enough. We visited Titou gorge and swam up to the falls, Levi made sure each of us were able to get to the falls by throwing a rope and pulling those who could not swim against the strong currents caused by the waterfalls. This was such an incredible experience, and only the beginning. Our van was stocked with water, local beer, and banana sodas. Next we went to Trafalgar falls where we hiked down to the thermal pools and sat in them for 15 minutes. Levi knew where to walk, where to sit, which rocks were slippery and the best and safest routes to these pools and I felt safe and sure footed the whole time. Levi was always ahead of us and ready to help us cross rocks and pools. He is an incredible guide. Next we went to Champagne beach and snorkeled, this again was quite incredible. At all times we felt safe, our driver Cecil was conscientious and never scared us on the roads, he had a plethora of history to share with us and showed us plants and all sorts of things. It was a great day! Grenada We took a Princess excursion (rare for us) River Tubing in Grenada and the ride up to the starting place was long but beautiful, it took about 50 minutes. After a brief lecture about safety, we were put in individual tubes and outfitted with helmets and life vests and off we went. The river is very low and there were lots of rocks and I was a little nervous about jamming into them but there were guides strategically located along the tube route to help us past high or jagged rocks. One thing I hated was the incessant splashing of our faces by the guides--I wear contact lenses and had sunscreen and the minute they started splashing the sunscreen was dripping into my eyes causing stinging, and I could not see. I started asking each guide as I passed them to please not splash me, one did anyway and thats when I told him splash me and no tip! Then they stopped! After that I began to enjoy the ride down the river, although it was very short and basically lasted about a half hour. At one point they removed me from the group; they proceeded to give them a massive splash!!!! I was so grateful that they removed me that I gave them a large tip. Nonetheless, I would not recommend this excursion unless the river is higher, and since they got minimal rain last rainy season do be careful if you do this soon. It was fun and I was concerned about my safety because I am a klutz and accidents happen to me! LOL The locals are very kind and sweet here, I noticed that they are not obnoxious sellers and nobody bugged us when we walked around looking at trinkets and spices. The spice necklaces are wonderful; I got 4 for $10 if anybody is looking for those that would be the best price I found. Do buy at least one; it makes the cabin smell heavenly! Get a plastic bag so you can bring it home and that helps retain the moisture. Bonaire I had to visit Bonaire in my wheelchair. The streets were easy to navigate in the wheelchair although the occasional rude shopper was not as easy for me, I always seem to find teachable moments and then I teach! My weapon, I mean cane, helped me with these occasional rude people a lot! Thanks to the awesome Doctor Frederick on the ship who made sure I was equipped. Aruba We spent a full day in Aruba, where we usually have a half day, this time we were able to see and do so much more. We hired Bully, an incredible "giant of a guide" and he was top notch from the start to finish during the full day tour. He let us set the pace, and always made great suggestions, making sure each of us got what we needed! His large ice chest was filled with waters, cokes, beer, and wine! At several points he checked to make sure there was always enough of whatever drinks we were drinking and this impressed me so much. He also stopped to buy some local candy and let us all try it. This man is a sweetheart, smart, informative, and really with-it! Bully was able to accommodate me in my wheelchair easily and he recommended places where I could experience the wonders of Aruba, such as the caves. I felt completely safe and secure! Our first stop was the Jewish Temple, a place where I have been before and I got to light two memorial candles for my parents, a very tender and sweet moment. There was a very grumpy Rabbi there and I got him to let us in and begrudgingly he even opened the store so I could buy something or sentimental value. His grumpy attitude did not even faze us, if anything it added to the mystique of the whole experience. Next we drove south to the San Nicolas area where we visited Baby Beach which was (in the words of Justin our teenage friend) "gorgeous" and he was describing the water! It was astounding, calm, relatively small amount of people, and just about perfect for beaching, swimming, and snorkeling. We saw Golden Eagles, beautiful Orange and Yellow birds, and lots of Iguana's in blues, greens, and browns. At the Seroe Lighthouse we took beautiful pictures and caught glimpses of the rough sea and volcanic cliffs of the North coast of Aruba. Next we entered Arikok National Park, a beautiful and wild land filled with Cacti, and lots of Donkeys! We visited the Natural bridges, it was so crowded and filled with tourists flicking their ciggies into the ocean and we wanted to get the heck out of there fast. Next we came to the caves which were awesome, easy to enter and at least one accessible to me hobbling with a cane. These caves were filled with ancient cave drawings and many of them already scribbled on by people who didn't seem to care about them. That is why the caves became closed at night and protected by National Park service employees. They were just magnificent and a must see. Next we visited the Ayo Rock formations, although this time I could not climb them but the rest of our crew loved it. Onto the Goldmine/ruin, we visited the old "fake" fort and got some great pics through the various windows. There was so much garbage in the ruin that I hobbled around and picked up the trash and hopefully people who saw me doing this will remember to carry their garbage out! Geesh! Making our way north up the island, we visited the Alto Vista Chapel, learned of the traditions surrounded by this first Catholic church in Aruba, and even followed their 14 staged of the Cross! Kind of cool for this Jewish girl! We also visited the California Lighthouse but it was a zoo of people so Bully took us to a place where we could get pictures but be away from the crowds. These types of things of the best reason to hire a great guide like Bully because he know us, knows what the island is like when there are 4 cruise ships in port (yikes) and knows how to get around the masses! Excellent! Next we made our way through the "Beverly Hills" of Aruba where all the high rise resorts are. Bully took is to several upscale resorts where we were able to scout them out and gather info on them. We also got to stop for a quick swim, impeded by a mass of water sport enthusiast with no sense of children in the water; we left this area pretty quickly. Watch yourselves and you families on these beaches especially when there are so many cruise ships in port! Last stop was the supermarket where I bought my favorite Cumin cheese and a little Dutch candy. We made it back to the ship with several minutes to spare, and Bully was able to drive me almost to the ship so I did not have to hassle beating off people with my cane! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
I traveled with Ruby Princess on their Caribbean Christmas Cruise and thought it was fab! Considering it was my first time ever on a cruise ship I was very impressed. The food was excellent, staff very helpful and courteous. I loved waking ... Read More
I traveled with Ruby Princess on their Caribbean Christmas Cruise and thought it was fab! Considering it was my first time ever on a cruise ship I was very impressed. The food was excellent, staff very helpful and courteous. I loved waking up in a new port every day. Some of the sights were out of this world and even the sea days were bliss just sun baking or listing to the live band. I enjoyed the theater performances but feel that some of the performances could have been a bit more updated, saying that the Ruby Princess Dancers were fantastic and put on a great show! Just because you are of a certain age doesn't mean you have to be stuck in that era, I know plenty of older people who enjoy modern music/musicals! I did think it was geared up for an older generation and a bit stuck in the 50s and next time I will definitely look around before I book. I did travel with 7 others my daughter being 15, she didn't join the teen club but I think most of the post 15-teens didn't. Hence didn't make that many friends. Mostly American teens who tended to stick together! I went to Sky walkers with my son and nephew who are 21/20 a couple of times (my nephew was not allowed to drink alcohol) they were very unimpressed with the nightlife and it is definitely not for young adults. Staterooms were very clean and well equipt, beds were very comfortable and the room was always clean with fresh towels, beach towels, complimentary shampoo/conditioner/body lotion provided from the on-board spa. A very enjoyable holiday but judging from the reviews of a gentleman on here who was on my cruise and who I overheard him relay his exact review to another holiday maker on the beach in Princess Cays (down to the skip in the Bob Marley tape) it would seem there is a whole world of cruises out there who cater to different people and if this was his worst cruise then Im going to be even more impressed with my next one! Happy Cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
Hi all....back from the Ruby yesterday (it was our tenth cruise: Norway, Mariner, Zenith, Oosterdam, Liberty, Grand, Millennium et al)...and I have to say it was one of the best cruising experiences we've ever had. Embarkation was ... Read More
Hi all....back from the Ruby yesterday (it was our tenth cruise: Norway, Mariner, Zenith, Oosterdam, Liberty, Grand, Millennium et al)...and I have to say it was one of the best cruising experiences we've ever had. Embarkation was remarkable - we got to Port Everglades at 1.30pm and were expecting the usual shuffling lines and (im)patiently waiting around, but I kid you not, from stepping out of the cab to stepping into our stateroom took less than 5 minutes!.... Stateroom was lovely - Mini Suite on Dolphin deck (D727) uncovered balcony, which concerned me slightly pre-cruise - but I ended up loving it...enjoyed chatting with folks above me - and lots more sun than i'm used to on a balcony!...would definitely go open again Food - despite the excellent embarkation lunch buffet in the Horizon (short ribs and creamy mash yum yum yum!) - we were initially disappointed with the meal arrangements - we were anytime dining for the first two nights but the service was poor and the food was bland to average - we switched to the Cafe Carribe for the remainder of the cruise and it was the best decision of the holiday - Cafe Carribe food was delicious, different theme every night and the service / waiters and overall mood of the place was superb..... ...elsewhere dont miss the Hot Dogs on the pool deck ...and the delights of the International cafe in the Piazza....including the delicious Ice dream ($1,50) three mixed scoops on an ice cold dish - hit the spot every time Entertainment was an eye opener....to be honest we dont usually bother with the cruise shows, not really our thing ...but we loved the entertainment on the Ruby....highlight was the comedy Hypnotist Tim Tripp who did a cracking show in the main theatre and then an hilarious adults only Midnight show in Club Fusion...didnt finish till almost 2.00am and the place was in hysterics at what the volunteers (victims) got up to! ...I was going to take part - I'm so glad my wife stopped me ..........the Ventriloquist show was also hugely entertaining...and the Crew Show was a very pleasant surprise - featuring some Benny Hill'esque comedy from the entertainment staff ...corny but great fun Excursions were very expensive (is this the case with all lines now?) but we love the Catamaran trips so took two - Honeymoon Beach at St John ...gorgeous.....and half day Champagne snorkelling and Turtle encounter at Barbados...both of which supplied me with memories that will sustain me throughout the damp cold grey UK winter ...........however the Catamaran and and snorkle trip in Antigua was a big let down - there was just too many people on it - should definitely have split the crowd onto two craft - and the snorkle spot was a fish free zone!.....whatever, by my reckoning 2 out of 3 aint bad and I was soon sitting in various shack bars in Antigua swigging cheap cold beer and discussing cricket with the locals Disembarkation was again a breeze...we'd booked the Fort Lauderdale CarrieB tour to take the sting out of going home and waiting around an airport all day (great move btw..v much recommended) and we were swept off the ship and onto the tour coach at 8.30 without so much as a backward glance So there you have it - ....add the splendid 3 days pre-cruise stay in Hollywood beach to the mix, together with the almost perfect weather every day for the entire holiday - meeting some lovely fellow cruisers and two hassle free transatlantic flights.....and you can see why Im now sitting here green with envy at anyone who's currently on - or will shortly be sailing on the beautiful Ruby Princess. Bon Voyage to all ..... Karl Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Ruby Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 5.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 5.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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