Sail Date: February 2014
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising ... Read More
Just came back from a birthday cruise with my husband...WHERE to begin....First of all, I am probably one of Princess cruises' biggest fans and "PR" people (cruising not only with Princess but also SITMAR way before cruising was a popular way to vacation) and in all of my travels with this line I have never really felt the need to complain about any ship/service/port, etc. Having said that, here are my thoughts on the Ruby Princess 5 day cruise (I would hope that these complaints would only apply to these shorter cruises and things would be "Princess normal" on the regular sailings). LIKES: 1. Great embarkation procedures -- as an elite passenger we waited to (priority) board in a separate area. The cruise rep made passengers sit in the order in which they came into the room (as opposed to "the mad rush to the door" we recently experienced on the Royal Princess) and we were permitted to board in the order in which we had arrived. Kudos to Princess for finally "getting it right" on this aspect -- hopefully it will trickle down to all the ships' embarkation procedures. Our Princess hostess was fantastic -- friendly, cheerful, entertaining and very professional. Nice way to start a cruise! 2. Delicious food -- the food on every other Princess ship has been very good, but the food on the Ruby was excellent! No matter where/what we ate....it was all delicious! We had anytime dining and were lucky enough to catch the same waiter both nights we ate in the dining room (Mandol and his assistant Victoria) and they made our dining experience pleasurable. We also dined in both Sabatini's and the Crown Grill and enjoyed both meals. 3. Wait staff/bar staff/cabin steward -- The staff on this cruise was outstanding -- some of the friendliest men and women I have ever met on any cruise I've been on! I sailed many times with the Commodore of the Ruby way back when he was a staff captain on Sitmar's Fair Sky (later Sky Princess) and his warm, gentle, friendly personality seems to have had an effect on the staff on his ship. Kudos to all working on board -- they were the best crew I have sailed with in many years! CONS: 1. The Sanctuary -- The Sanctuary is now $30 per day per person. REALLY? (No one told us about the increased cost and while we would have still booked at whatever price, it would have been nice to know in advance what I was paying, especially since we didn't pay that much on the Royal in December.) Also, they charge you on embarkation day (Royal, as well as the other ships on which we booked the Sanctuary for the entire week didn't open until first day out). In my opinion this was a wasted day since most people don't carry their swim gear with them and have to wait for their luggage to be delivered to their cabin (or are out "exploring the ship"). On this particular cruise there were only 20 people who reserved for the entire week; on day 2 when my husband went to the Sanctuary ahead of me he sat down "one seat over" from our seats and the original "owner" of the seat made a huge scene and the crew member chided my husband for not remembering his seat. Again...REALLY??? For what we are being charged and for the small amount of "guests," it would seem to me that SHE (the person who escorted my husband to our seats) should have known exactly where to seat him. Also, we didn't see the Sanctuary manager the entire cruise and the staff was not attentive in the least (no towel to take to the pool; had to chase them down for iced tea/water; no cool towels or mists, no one standing at the reception desk greeting passengers as they came into the Sanctuary). This was really an annoyance to me -- Princess is known for its attentiveness to its passengers, especially in specialty areas such as the Sanctuary, and in my opinion both the "missing in action" manager and his staff need extensive training if they are to stay in this location. The Sanctuary is located on deck up from the Spa and on other cruises the pool near the spa was reserved for Spa and Sanctuary guests only so that the environment was one of relaxation - not so on this cruise; the entire pool area was loud (which carried into the Sanctuary), crowded and, on certain days, filled with older teenagers. Again, I am not a complainer, but I have experienced and expect a certain environment (which I paid for) and was disappointed by what was actually experienced. As I stated earlier, it is my hope that these problems would all be rectified once the Ruby was back on a "normal" sailing schedule. 2. Passengers -- there was a wide variety of passengers on this cruise (still spring break in some parts of the US) and it was extremely obvious that many people were having "one too many" cocktails. I have never seen so many drunken people staggering around the public areas nor have I ever seen the maître d' permit passengers wearing flip flops/shorts/wrinkled tee shirts into the dining room at dinner time, let alone seating in the middle of the dining room clearly intoxicated women. Where has happened to the Princess standards? The same concerns hold for the one "formal" night - and I use that term loosely. I have NEVER seen such a casual formal night -- especially in a specialty restaurant. We dined in Sabatini's on formal night (excellent food, wonderful waiter) but we were quite surprised to see so many people dining in shorts, jeans, etc. (Again, I am hoping that everything reverts to normal after the short sailings have concluded.) 3. Passenger services -- I guess the staff here has never heard of the phrase "the customer/passenger" is always right... We had a problem with the safe in our room. We boarded at 11:15 a.m. and, once I could get someone to answer the phone (3 separate calls, wait times of 2 or 3 minutes before hanging up) I was told that someone would be sent up in "10 minutes" -- we waited 45 minutes and decided to leave for a quick lunch at the buffet (excellent food selections and everything was delicious!). Got back to the room a little after 2:30 and the safe had not been fixed. Called again; no answer. Went to muster drill, came back and called one more time only to be told that they were "busy" and would get to us shortly. Finally an extremely personable officer showed up, made a call to have the prior combination removed, and we were back in business! It took all of five minutes. Not sure what was happening at the front desk but they need to be instructed to answer the phone when it rings. Please do not think I am a "snob" or a "cranky old lady" because of my complaints. I am 57 years old, have sailed on many ships over the course of the past 30 years and I just think that cruising (and the passengers who enjoy the cruise experience) should be awarded the respect it is deserving of. Princess has always had high standards which were well known in the industry and to its loyal passengers. I hope that this is not a precursor of things to come with this line. I personally have always held it "above the rest" in terms of passenger service and it's "classiness" -- I will be highly disappointed if it falls into the same category as Carnival but that is what I felt on this past cruise. Will I cruise on Princess again -- ABSOLUTELY! Will I do a five day (or less) sailing again on Princess -- absolutely NOT. 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
I have never been on a cruise that I was counting down the days until it ENDED. This was the worst cruise my husband and I have ever been on. We typically go with RC or Carnival but had decided to book Princess for our honeymoon since it ... Read More
I have never been on a cruise that I was counting down the days until it ENDED. This was the worst cruise my husband and I have ever been on. We typically go with RC or Carnival but had decided to book Princess for our honeymoon since it was supposed to be more upscale. Unfortunately, the only thing upscale about this cruise was the price... The service was horrible from the second we got to the port and got on the ship, the crew was poorly trained, rude, snotty, and aloof to the needs of their passengers. They acted more like minimum wage employees than professional men/women who provide services for gratuity. Our steward never kept water stocked in the room, despite numerous requests and we frequently saw trays of food piled in the hallways. When we asked for any kind of assistance or service, we pretty much got the standard "its not my job" response and got direction to call some obscure department. Also, typically on cruises they have very good communication about what is going on for the day and where to find things but this ship always left you not really knowing what was happening. The first couple days of the cruise we thought it was strange that they would not let you touch anything and kept all silverware/condiments off the dining room tables. We later found out that the sailing previous to ours had been quarantined because of a significant breakout. The quarantine continued through the first 2 days of our cruise, without us knowing... The second day of the cruise my husband started showing symptoms of the Norovirus and was forced to spend the entire cruise in our cabin...what a waste. It was clear that even though the ship had gone through the mandatory quarantine period they had not properly cleaned to ensure it did not continue to be an issue. By the time my husband was quarantined, we had also already purchased multiple spa services, many of which were couple oriented. The spa gave me a very hard time canceling the services and was quick to let me know that they are their own company. After multiple calls we were finally able to cancel his services but they would not allow me to cancel mine without paying the full price. Some of the services they made me pay for were ones that it would not make sense to do alone (like the couples thermal suite) so we ended up paying for services we did not receive. To make things worse, we never received any acknowledgement of it being a special occasion, despite other passengers receiving banners/balloons, etc. And at the end, we were slapped with a $100 medical bill from the SHIP to cover the paramedic visit and basic OTC drugs we were given. They did not offer any reimbursement or voucher for the sickness incurred from THEIR ship. On top of all this, at the end of the cruise, even with them knowing that my husband had been quarantined and was still contagious we were kicked out of our room for disembarkation and forced to wait in a busy lobby for 3 hours....Feel bad for anyone sitting near us or boarding the ship afterwards. We will continue to cruise but needless to say, we (or friends/family) will never go near this cruise line again, an outcome could have been very different if Princess had made a few small steps to rectify. It is disappointing to see a service driven company with ethics and customer service as poor as theirs. Read Less
Ruby Princess Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 5.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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